Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Toys & Tips

It's amazing how many products there are for babies at just a specific stage of development. It seems a little excessive, but some things really do the trick. Also, I love spending time with other moms and getting new tips on how to play with Emily, since I don't always realize what things she is ready for now! A few weeks ago some friends (hi Jamie & Katie) suggested that Emi might like tummy time better if she was on the boppy. True!

This weekend my sister-in-law (hi Bekah) told me she thought Emily was big enough to use her excersaucer & assembled it for me. She looks like such a big girl playing in it. Most of the time she is in it she has her serious concentration face as she studies the toys and contemplates how to get her hands to them, but I think she likes it.

Also this weekend, my parents brought us a Bumbo - which is perfect since Emily likes to be upright but can't really sit by herself yet. Now she can join us at the dinner table. New horizons! :)

Monday, September 28, 2009


Emily was baptized on Sunday. My family came down from MA & NY to spend the weekend with us. We went for a walk in Fairmount Park, watched a Red Sox game, and subjected the girls to yet another photo shoot. (The rest of the pictures are here.)
The baptism was bittersweet and beautiful, as "Uncle" Doug Green prayed over Emily and reflected on her grandfather in heaven. We were honored to have our families & close friends there to witness Emily's dedication to the Lord and to pledge to support us as we raise her in the faith. It was a joy to stand alongside our dear friends Erik & Amanda as they had their daughter Madda baptized as well. (I forgot to get a picture of us with the Groves side of the family, but they were there too of course!)

Next weekend the we will all head up to NY for my niece Rosalie's dedication! It's nice to be together so often.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is reality

For most of this summer, I felt like we were living in this alternate reality where all we did, or at least all I thought about, was taking care of this little baby. It's finally sinking in that life isn't going "back to normal" once fall starts. I know, I'm a little slow... But now that I am back at work and we are settling into what will be our regular routine, I'm getting used to this new normal. And with a few months under our belt the mental stress of learning to take care of a baby has mostly faded, and I am excited about re-engaging with the outside world.

I actually like being back at work, I just signed Emily up for childcare at the gym (they had a promotion going for only $10/month for up to 4 hours a day! ps - who spends 4 hours a day at the gym?!) so I can start pilates classes and swimming, I just started a book group, and I'm finally joining our church's Women's Bible Study. I'm starting to feel like a normal person again. It's almost weird.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Onesie pictures

I finally compiled all the pictures of Emily in the onesies that my friends made at my baby shower. You can see them here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A few little things

Nothing major happening this week, just lots of fun little baby milestones. Emily has been starting to make some new noises, little giggles & squeals. She's reaching for her feet and sometimes managing to get ahold of them. She will grab anything near her hands (clothing, blankets, our fingers) and sometimes will wrap her arm around a little stuffed animal. She holds on to her hair when she is sleepy.

She watched her first Eagles game. (I am trying hard to convince her that she's a Patriots fan, but I'm pretty outnumbered around here as you can see!)

This is also my first "full" week of work. I was able to work out an arrangement with my company to work just three mornings a week. I'd rather not work, but I've actually been enjoying being back more than I expected. On Wednesdays & Thursdays Alasdair stays home with Emily and goes to work in the afternoon/evening. On Tuesdays, Emily spends the morning with Granny Groves. It makes it so much easier to go to work knowing that Emily is getting special time with her dad and grandmother!

Oh, and Alasdair & I don't get to eat dinner together often, but a few nights ago while Emily was taking a late nap, we managed to cook, eat & clean up from a full meal (including an appetizer, salad, main course & dessert) in a half hour! Pretty impressive, right?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Healthy Baby

I've been meaning to write a post about this for awhile, but my thoughts never really came together. So, here are some unformed musings...

When Emily was a few days old, we were told that one of the many infant screenings they do now had come back "inconclusive" and required further testing. Emily has one of the two genetic mutations required to be diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-shortening disease that seriously affects the lungs & digestive system. At ten days old, we brought her to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) for further testing (rather traumatic, but more so for us than her), after which we had to wait about 6 weeks to hear final results. We asked some friends to pray, but for the most part it was something that we tried to leave in God's hands and not talk/worry about. While we had been told that the chances of her testing positive were quite low, the question was of course in the back of my mind throughout that time. Emily's results did come back clear (meaning that she is a carrier for CF, but does not have the disease), but the experience has made me do a lot of pondering about this idea of health. It's interesting how many people comment on a baby being healthy, or "perfect" - and I sort of wonder what this means. And what qualifies as "healthy" - the absence of active sickness? All the right genes in the right places? Emily could bear the marks of a disease, but still look healthy. Clearly none of us are perfect! And even on a physical level, we all bear the marks of being born into a fallen world. Yet every one is fearfully and wonderfully made. I remember reading an article (I can't remember where it was from, or if it was for a class) written by a woman whose baby had Downs Syndrome and who wondered about our American idol of perfect health, especially after hearing other babies exclaimed over as "perfect," but not hers. She didn't value her baby any less for his diagnosis, and wondered why others seemed to. She pointed out that even before the Fall, human beings were not perfect, and wonders if in Heaven we really will all have what we consider perfect health (lack of Downs Syndrome or CF or physical handicaps) or if being in the presence of God will fill us with such Health that our physical limitations will be irrelevant. I'm sure someone could talk more extensively about the theology of all of this, but I thought the questions were interesting. Initially I wondered if I would I bond with Emily less/more/differently knowing the potential challenges in store for her?

Another question I'm considering is what to do with the information that either Alasdair or I and potentially both of us is a carrier for CF. One of us has to be in order for Emily to have received the mutation. If only one of us is, then we can't have a child with CF, since it's recessive. But, if we both are, then there is a 25% chance that any child we have would have the disease. Should we be tested to find out? If we did, what impact would that have?

Ponderings aside, the real impact the experience has had is to give me a small bit of insight into what it would be like to have a child who required significant medical care. Walking around CHOP and seeing all the parents there with children for so many different reasons. Wondering what is going on inside your child's body. For so many, the test results don't come back with good news. We have friends who have children with CF, and I think I took the grace and faith with which they manage that for granted until I considered doing it myself.

More recently, a few friends have had babies with serious medical conditions, and I have been moved to pray for them with a passion I wouldn't have before. If you are the praying type, maybe you would also like to lift up Jillian Gregg (born on my birthday, August 2) to my coworker, who has two holes in her heart and is looking at heart surgery by the time she is 3-4 months old to fix them. You can read about her & her parents beautiful faith at threegreggs.vox.com. Also, baby Mitch Richards (born to our family friend Cindy Craig Richards & her husband this week), who is currently also on a feeding tube as well as an artificial respirator at Mass General. My heart breaks for these little babies and their parents, and I am so grateful to talk to a God who cares even more than I do and loves them even more than their parents do!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Emily slept in her crib for the first time last night. She is getting so close to outgrowing the bassinet, we thought it was time. It was strange going to sleep without her next to me for the first time in three months! We did both sleep very well though, so I guess it was a success. You can see she is very proud of escaping her swaddle. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ergo Baby

The Ergo baby carrier is one of our favorite baby products. My aunt had given me a sling, and I discovered that Emi seemed to really like being carried in it, plus it freed up my hands to actually do something besides just carry her. I went to a little workshop to learn more about "baby wearing" where we could try out a bunch of different slings and carriers, and discovered the Ergo. We love it because it has a waist belt and comfy adjustable arm straps (like any good backpack!), so we can carry her for longer without getting sore. When she's older, we can wear her on our backs too. Best of all, she falls asleep in it almost every time! Since early evening tends to be when Emily is awake and rather needy, Alasdair & I could never really sit down to dinner and talk when he got home from work. Instead, we've started taking walks with Emi in the ergo, and voila! a contented sleeping baby, and time for us to talk. Alasdair usually carries her, since I've done my time with a baby on/in my belly!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crazy week: bugs, travels, a new friend, back to work

It's been awhile since I posted, because life has been stressful lately! Last week we spent just about all day every day trying to kick two bug problems in our house. Our cats got fleas, so we had to have the house treated (which involved getting everything up off the floor and doing a couple rounds of obsessive vacuuming both before & after the treatment). While pest control was here, we decided to have them also take care of the roach problem we've been having in our kitchen. That involved removing everything from the kitchen cabinets, and since we couldn't put anything in the rest of the house because of the flea bombs, we moved it all to the backyard (I'll post a picture of this when I get it on my computer). While our house was full of various pesticides, we took Emily and the two cats to Alasdair's mom's house overnight (the cats stayed outside in a carrier lest they bring fleas in to her cats). Moving at a breakneck pace, I was able to get the house mostly put back together (about a dozen loads of laundry, lots of vacuuming, washing & returning kitchen gear to cabinets- thanks to my friend Katie's help!) just in time to pack up for our trip to MA for Labor Day.

The weekend was great, but we are learning that we need to slow our pace of life now that there is a little one in the picture. Emily had a hard time with all the extra stimulation and missed naps. The reason for the trip was my Auntie Cindy's 50th birthday bash, which turned into a family reunion! Such a treat to see my grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles from TX, TN, FL, NC & MA. This was Emily's first time meeting my mom's side of the family. We were also able to visit with my dad's family, and Alasdair's cousins who also live in MA. And of course, Emily got to spend some more time with her grandparents and her cousin Rosalie. As you can see from the pictures on our picasa page, the size difference between them is less dramatic than it was a couple months ago!

We drove home yesterday, and went over to meet Emily's new friend Madda Rose Larsen! (Born to our dear friends Erik & Amanda on September 5th.) One of the pictures above is of
us along with fellow Red Sox fans Josh & Laurel and their two kids. We're so glad to have good friends on this journey!

Today I started back to work. I'll be working three mornings a week: two mornings Emi will be at home with Alasdair, and the third she will spend with Granny Groves. We're so grateful that we can cover childcare within the family. The day went well - it was very strange to be back in the office, but the day went quickly. Alasdair & Emily did well too - she took her bottle well and napped better than she had this weekend (although still not back to her two hour naps!).

So now we are home, trying to catch up on rest & settle into a routine, and finish up the battle against the bugs. We're tired!!

Pictures above: Emily & Rosalie with Great Grampy T, most of the Tavilla cousins & families with the birthday girl, GG (Claire) with Emily Claire, Dianna Clare & Amanda Claire, meeting Madda Rose. More on the picasa page!