Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you, wherever you are!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Schedule

(returning after a bit of a hiatus - hopefully our audience has not abandoned us!)

Christmas for us this year is a bit weird. Hilary's schedule as a first-year resident pretty much keeps us pinned down this year, though I haven't got much time off accrued at my current job, and Brynna is too bouncy for long trips, either. Hilary is feeling particularly shortchanged this week: after working a 30-hour overnight shift Tuesday-Wednesday, she's right back to it by putting in a full day today, Christmas Eve. Tomorrow, Christmas Day, she'll head off to work at her usual before-7-am time to work another overnight shift. When she manages to escape on Saturday morning, we'll all pile into the car and head down to her folks' place in CT for their annual Boxing Day party. We'll hopefully get a full night's sleep before heading back midday on the 27th, just in time for Hilary to start two weeks of night float - 2nd and 3rd shift on hospital service. Included in that awfulness is working overnight on New Years, meaning she'll miss our usual gathering of college friends.

It's not all bad, though. We had a bit of Christmas last weekend with my family, who were kind enough to come to us and bring some holiday cheer to our new home.

image credit: Tom G.

We dearly missed some who could not make it due to difficult schedules and weather (this was last Sunday, when it snowed many inches up and down the east coast). Among some of the goodies that Brynna received: a 6' 7" maple ruler that we can use to chart her growth (the advantage being that it is not physically attached to the house) and a collapsible tent holding a few dozen plastic balls (less well filled than a ball-crawl, but the same idea).

Brynna likes the Christmas tree, we think.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Purple-Faced Blueberry Monster!

Brynna went blueberry crazy when we had our waffles last Sunday morning. It's a good thing we froze plenty of them for the wintertime!

"More, please!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brynna At 16 Months

Brynna is so much fun right now!

Her favorite things right now are:
-building block towers (she build one 5 blocks high, all by herself, the other day)...and boy does she get mad if it falls down when she adds another block on top!
-reading books
-walls and logs and other balance-beam like things to walk on
-singing the ABC song

She can sing the Indiana Jones theme song (Miss A's cell phone ringtone). I will try to get this on video, because it hilarious.

She can do many of the animal sounds for Moo Baa LaLaLa: moo, baa, meow, and quack. (She does the lalala too, for the three singing pigs). Still no oink, neigh, or identifiable dog noises. She can also hoot when you ask her what an owl says.

She is still nursing avidly—once when I get home from work, a quick touch-base before bed, and once or twice in the middle of the night.

She spends the second half of the night in bed with us almost every night.

She knows a LOT of signs: milk, more, eat, drink, apple, banana, cracker, dog, cat, bear, frog, monkey, horse, sheep, pig, fish, airplane, car, truck, walk, Nuk, change (i.e. a diaper), build, color, where?, father, down, up, book, (and she understands "stand up" and "sit down" even though she can't make them yet), and she has a special sign for Miss A

She knows how to say some words: Mama, Dada, M (her maternal grandfather), Dickie (her great-grandfather), eye, down (the current favorite), and can mimic lots of other words when coached

She can identify her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, belly button, hands, feet, and toes. (Next, we will work on "xiphoid process.")

She has parts of eight teeth (four on the bottom, four on the top)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Milk and Books

One of the reasons that we were late for our own party (see last post) is that one of our favorite children's book authors was doing a reading at our local bookstore.

Jane Yolen has written many books for a variety of ages, but in our house she is most famous for How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, which, along with The Going To Bed Book, plays a key role in our bedtime ritual.

So I took Brynna to the store for the reading. She sat happily on my lap for approximately one half of one story, then looked up at me and made the sign for milk.

Me: "Brynna, look at the story! Look, dinosaurs!"

Brynna: (opens and closes fists)

Me: "Want to stand up on my lap and see better? Listen to the story!"

Brynna: (opens and closes fists more vigorously, adds insistent grunting)

Me: "you want some milk? Now? You don't usually nurse in the middle of the afternoon!"

Brynna: (throws herself backward so she is laying down on my lap)

Me: "oh, OK, OK" (hikes up sweater and shirt and tries to find way to discreetly nurse in back row of book signing)

One minute later:

Brynna: "done" (wipes hands together)

Me: "OK, let's sit up and listen to the story!"

Thirty seconds later:

Brynna: (makes sign for milk again, moves straight on to insistent grunting)

Me: "again? really?"

Brynna: (signs more vigorously, bounces up and down on lap)

So we got up and went to seek out a more comfortable place to nurse. One of the bookstore employees told us that there was a comfy chair back in the children's section, so we headed back there and got settled in to nurse.

Brynna nursed for another minute or two, then sat up and slid off my lap. I stood up, took her hand, and we started back toward the crowd. Brynna stopped, looked up at me, and signed "milk" again.

So we went and sat back down in our nursing chair, nursed for about thirty seconds, and then Brynna signed "done" and got down again. Once again, we headed back toward the front of the store. And once again, Brynna stopped me and asked to nurse!

I have no idea what was going on. Perhaps it's just such a novelty to have me around in the middle of the afternoon (I've been working six days a week, mostly) that she thought she'd better take advantage? Or maybe dinosaurs make her hungry?

We did come away with a copy of How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food:

...but it doesn't seem to mention repeated speed-nursing bouts at author signings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Christmas Gathering

So, last week I decided that we should get our tree over the weekend...Sunday, to be exact, since I was on call Saturday. And then I thought that it would be fun to invite my fellow residents and their families over for a tree-trimming party.

Which is how we found ourselves zooming off toward the Christmas tree farm, half an hour away, exactly one hour and twenty minutes before the start of said party. Oops! May have cut things just a little too close there.

Despite being in a rush, it was a beautiful drive. It snowed on Saturday night, and the trees were still decorated with a layer of white frosting. We went through a state forest and up, up, up to the peak of a hill with spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. Then we jumped out of the car, strapped Brynna into her carrier, and set off into the fields with...oh...just about fifteen minutes to find the perfect tree!

There was a collection of already-cut trees leaning against a fence, and one of the farm workers told us that since we were looking for a 7 or 8-footer, we'd probably have more luck with one of those. But we hadn't driven all that way to pick up an already-cut tree, even if that would be a bit faster! So we took our saw and headed down the hill in the snow. The worker was right...there were many small trees, and many very tall trees, but not much in our ideal range.

So we huffed our way back up the hill, feeling very pressed for time, and resigned ourselves to taking one of the pre-cut trees. Then, just as we crested the hill, we realized that there was quite an attractive tree growing right next to the path! We circled it several times, squinting at it from various angles, before deciding that it was indeed a winner.

Alex the mountain man:

I was so impressed...I got all set to help Alex drag the tree up to the car, and he just picked it up and wandered off!

While Alex and a couple of the farm guys got the tree onto the roof of the car, Brynna and I took a look at the available wreaths. We settled on two basic ones, added two big red bows from another pile, and then we all buckled ourselves back into the car and zoomed back down the mountain, racing the clock so as not to be late for our own party!

Luckily, no one showed up at 4:30, as we arrived home at 4:34. Brynna and I went into the house to do some final tidying up (known in other cultures as "moving piles of stuff into rooms that are not going to be holding guests") while Alex wrangled the tree into the stand out on the porch. We did put our first guests to work chopping up veggies, and the hot cider wasn't quite hot until a few more folks had arrived, but no one seemed to mind.

Since I had only given people a few days' notice, we had no idea how many guests we would have. I originally scattered our food, with some in the kitchen and some in the living room. However, we turned out to have a large kiddie turnout, so the living room floor became the center of the action!

It was such a delight to watch all the kids playing together! Brynna was actually the second youngest, and she did a great job. She shared all her toys, including her wooden blocks...though she did run over and sit on her little ladybug chair a few times when it seemed like one of the other little girls had some interest in it.

And, yes, that is Jasper in the middle of the action! We could hardly believe our eyes. We were sure that we'd eventually have to put him upstairs, but after a little initial barking and lots of hiding under the table, he ventured out to explore the world of toddler-and-dog-level-food, and ended up quite happily receiving pats from the guests, particularly the kids. Never in a million years, even last Christmas, would I have thought that Jasper would be brave enough to do that!

With the help of some extra hands, we also got the tree decorated! We have a mixture of white lights and colored lights, because that's what I could find in the boxes. We put all the soft and unbreakable ornaments at the bottom, and Brynna has been having a blast playing with them.

All in all, a lovely time. We're looking forward to our first New Hampshire Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Word Today...


Said aloud, quite emphatically, while B wiped her hands together in the sign for "all done."

Pretty soon she's going to learn "no," and then our lives are never, ever going to be the same.

She also said "bean" this evening, quite clearly. That's our vegetarian baby!

And she came up to me this evening dangling the monkey magnet from the fridge and making "ooh, ooh" monkey noises.

The new sign yesterday was "fish."

The words are coming fast and furious now, whether out loud or in sign language!