Colorado in March

(This post is a little tardy, so some of Julianna's accomplishments may seem like old news. But the story is a little lengthy, so it's taken me a while to sit down and document it.)

Dear Julianna

One of the great benefits of me not working right now is being able to take you to see Grandma and Grandpa. We got to spend two whole weeks with them in Colorado, and boy did they enjoy it! They couldn't believe how much you had changed in the last three months.

Because I was never particularly close to my grandparents, it has been very important to me that you have the opportunity to spend time with yours. I feel so blessed to have parents who are excited about being a part of your life and getting to know you. And even though your paternal grandparents are thousands of miles away, I know their love for you will reach across the world and be a constant you can always depend on.

They say grandparents share an extra special bond with their grandchildren because they get to spoil them and then send them home. But I think there is even more to it than that. Through you, they are reminded of a time not so long ago when they had newborn babies of their own. They get to enjoy the precious and fleeting moments of childhood all over again; their spirits are awakened, and they are able to fully grasp what joy you will bring into their lives and those around you. And they do all this without the weight of responsibility on their shoulders. They have the wisdom of experience on their side, and they know that although we can all try to shape you, you will be who you want to be. Their only responsibilities are to love you and show you the fullness of life.

Your CiCi has so much to show you. She is a wonderful listener and has the ability to appreciate the differences in people she meets, resulting in her having a diverse group of friends who trust her completely. She loves literature and feels that it gives us a window into a world that is vast and full of endless possibilities, and she recognizes how important it is to write and journal as a way to express ourselves. She loves the beauty found in nature; a rock is a place of rest, fresh air clears the mind, a mountain range gives new perspective, a trickling stream provides solitude, calm and focus. And she is so excited to share all of these loves with you.

CiCi is already showing you that life is an adventure; she took you on nature walks around the yard (each day you were wrapped in a different colorful afghan), and she let you peak in the house windows to discover who was inside.
While we were in Colorado, we had three good snows, each about a foot and a half deep. This was nothing like your first Winter in Seattle, so you got bundled up and ventured into the blistery white (well, onto the front porch).
You also practiced sitting up unsupported, and we were finally confident enough to leave you that way, unchaperoned (for a few minutes). Another first was learning to eat a "biscuit" (a baby rice cake shaped like a surf board) with your hands. It was a big challenge at the beginning, and you were quite frustrated with us for not just feeding it to you. But eventually you relented, tried it yourself and then were quite proud of your big accomplishment!
Grandpa also enjoyed every minute with you. He took care of you ALL BY HIMSELF one night while Mommy, CiCi and Uncle Jarrett went to the movies. And by the time we got back, he had you fast asleep (albeit you were rocked to sleep in the rocking chair rather than being put to bed awake like mommy has been trying to do - but that's just the beginning of Grandpa and his spoiling!). The next morning after we heard all about how good you had been the night before, you showed us how you could have walked all over Grandpa if you had needed to!
He adores you and even brags about how he is going to spoil you rotten every chance he gets. Grandpa has a huge soft spot for family, and will do anything for you. You really will have him wrapped around your little finger; and I have a feeling those big brown eyes of yours will get you ice cream anytime you want!
You didn't get to see Uncle Jarrett too much this trip (you were always sleeping when he was coming and going), but I think he's just waiting until the day he can put you on a snowboard and race you down the mountain (that, or until you can crawl and start to give the cat as difficult of a time as he does!).

Overall, you had a great trip. Your sleeping patterns were light years better than at Christmas, and you were generally more content. Grandma and Grandpa did try to accommodate your needs so you could get a little work done while you were away from home, and after a couple of days you were very comfortable with your "satellite office".
That St. Patrick's Day button you brought to ward off Grandma and Grandpa wasn't even necessary. They seemed to prefer kisses!
It's just the beginning of a beautiful relationship that I'm hoping you will develop with your grandparents. Here's to Summer camp at Grandma and Grandpa's while Mommy and Daddy go on vacation! Yay!

I love you Julianna,

Mommy Play Dates

Yep. I'm at that point in my life. Julianna's friends and their moms are the center of my social circle. But it really is awesome. In the three years that we have lived in Seattle, making friends has been a bit slow for me (I'm not the most outgoing or involved person you'll ever meet). So after attending a free class called Snugglers, offered at the hospital where I delivered for moms with babies between the age of 0-3 months, I have met a diverse group of supportive and well-rounded women.

It's a large group and we all keep in touch to find out which car seat to buy next or at what age we need to start child-proofing the house. Every 4-6 weeks the whole group gets together to see how the babies have changed and to line them up side by side and force them to play nice for a picture.
I have clicked with a couple of the moms in particular, and we have now formed a smaller mommy group which meets every Friday. We rotate to one of the four of our homes each week, and there is always something yummy served for lunch (last week was olive risotto and homemade banana bread with cupcakes for dessert). With all the questions that crop up surrounding being a first time mom (when do they start to sit? when do they start teething? What do you do to help alleviate the pain (theirs and ours!)? What foods do we feed them first? etc, etc... the list goes on and on), having a group of women who's babies' ages are all within a month of each other is priceless.
These three have a bit of a love triangle going on. Jack is having a little trouble deciding between the blue-eyed blonde and the exotic half-indian! And shortly after this they were fighting over who would take a nap in the only crib in the house and who would be stuck in the pack-n-play. Last month they were all lying down for a picture, this month they're sitting up and grabbing each other's toys; I'm a little afraid to find out what they'll be doing next month!


The Georges 'Take A Hike'.

Lately Matt and I have been feeling a little cooped up... no longer making it to the gym, our waistlines are starting to reflect that we have a new priority. So last weekend, Matt suggested that we try a short hike. One of the advantages of living in the Pacific Northwest is that there are a multitude of hikes to choose from within a short a distance of our house.

We thought for our first nature adventure, we'd check out St. Edwards' State Park. Julianna rode with Daddy in her carrier sling and we ventured down through the woods until we came to Lake Washington where we decided to rest and enjoy lunch.
Julianna is such a big girl that she was able to sit in the grass on a little blanket we brought for her and eat Cheerios while we enjoyed a Subway sandwich. She even nibbled on a few small pieces of turkey and some honey oat bread. As you can see above, we weren't the only ones who had this idea, but the other families made for good lunchtime entertainment.

Then we were off for the second half of our hike which was a bit more secluded. The cool air, the wind in the trees, the jostling of a slightly rough trail made good conditions for a nap, and Julianna is never one to pass up that kind of opportunity!
This time away from work and homework and his Blackberry seemed to do Daddy good too. He snuck a few kisses atop her sweet head and wrapped his arms around her even though she was secure and snuggly in her pack. And along the way he looked back at me and said, "I love her so much". This new life has brought us so much purpose and meaning and it fills us to the brim.


Mirror Twin

Julianna has been sitting up by herself for quite a while now, and this makes it a lot easier on Mommy who can now put her on the counter and get a few things done while Julianna amuses herself. On this particular morning, Jules was emptying a Kleenex box when she leaned back and bumped her head on the mirror. She turned around and to her surprise, it was another baby who had backed into her so carelessly!
She tried to make nice, giving Baby a little smile.Come'on Baby, no need to fret over who was at fault. Let's be friends.
Maybe Baby would like to play Itsy Bitsy Spider?
Or she might even like to be on the receiving end of a few Eskimo kisses...See what a sweet girl I am, mom?
Yes, Julianna, you bring joy to my heart every single day.


Julianna's Nemesis

It's minuscule.
It moves at a snail's pace.
It wakes her up at 4am.
It's not witty but it certainly is sharp.


Here's a hint:

A villan usually comes under the cover of darkness, but not this pearly white culprit!

(Like I said, it's minuscule, but Jules will definitely let you know it's there!)


Booo to Tummy Time.

This is what happens when you have only figured out how to scoot backwards.Currently, sitting is the preferred playing position.