Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dr. Seuss's Thing 1 and Thing 2

On Monday, Ella and I went to music class, called "Little Maestros", at 3 pm. We invited Oona and Amanda along so they could see what a class is like. Four musicians lead each class -- keyboardist, a drummer, a guitarist/singer and a singer -- and class usually involves a lot of singing, some dancing, some bubbles, a puppet show, an activity involving a musical instrument, a story and a little jumping. Pictured are Ella and Oona after class at about 4 pm, overdue for their last catnap of the day, but in pretty good spirits and willing to strike some poses.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

First Concert

Yesterday, Michael and I took Ella to her first concert -- the February show in the Family Concert series at Carnegie Hall -- featuring Bobby McFerrin and the Polygraph Lounge. It started at 2 pm and lasted 45 minutes. Emma, Alan and their 2-year old son, Senan, and Amanda and 8-month old Oona also attended, and we all went out for a snack afterward at Pain Quotidien nearby. The audience was full of babies and kids, and Ella, Oona and Senan all liked the show! Ella stood on our laps to see the stage and enjoyed the sounds that the group made and studied the other kids sitting in our row and the seats around us. The program is pictured.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

6-Month Check-up at 8 Months

Ella is eight months old today, and had her six-month appointment this afternoon.

Weight: 19 pounds (75%)
Height: 28.25 inches (90%)
Head circumference: 45.5 centimeters (92%)

The percentiles show where Ella is ranked relative to other 8-month old girls; for example, at nineteen pounds, she's heavier than 74% of other 8-month old girls taken in a survey by the American Pediatric Association a few years ago. The nurse quoted slightly different percentiles than the doctor; we've reflected what the doctor quoted.

Her two front bottom teeth are coming in, she's 'talking' a lot and making raspberries, nodding her head when she likes a toy, putting her thumb and index finger together as though she's going to snap her fingers, jumping in the jumperoo, and practicing walking (her favorite activity). We're working on a regular eating schedule now that she's started to eat solids again, and longer sleeps at night (she's been waking 3 times a night since the trip in Dec/Jan).

Here is a video of Ella and Michael reading a book called "Spot Goes to the Farm" just before Ella went to bed tonight. The book was a gift from our friend Delyth Harris and the Harris family, and each page has a door or gate that needs to be opened to reveal a farm animal. We started to read this book to Ella 4 weeks ago, and it's become one of her favorites.

Reading from /michael. on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fun Visit!

Birgitta and Julia arrived from Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, Feb 15th, to visit us for the weekend. Julia is 6 years old and interested in becoming a spy. She and Ella enjoyed playing together as soon as we got back home.
Julia was thrilled to see the Statue of Liberty from the plane as it approached La Guardia airport to land, and over the moon to discover that she could see Lady Liberty from our bedroom window and the roof of our condo as well (pictured).
Friday afternoon we went for a walk around Park Slope that included a brief stop at the Superhero Store (closed for the weekend!) and a toy store, where Julia picked up a practical joke toy: a can of peanuts that when opened, causes a plastic snake to pop out. When we got home, Julia asked Michael to help her open her new can of peanuts, and he was genuinely startled! She was thrilled that the joke worked.
Saturday, we went to China Town where we saw many colorful paper lanterns hanging between buildings and trees in honor of the Chinese New Year, and visited a famous donut shop called "Doughnut Plant" to sample the donuts. We took a subway to Times Square to visit the Swatch store so Julia could get her first wristwatch and a souvenir shop to buy some mementos of the trip including a lot of Statue of Liberty paraphernalia. We ate lunch at Chevy's -- reliving an old tradition that Birgitta and I used to have in Silicon Valley -- and visited the Hersheys and M&M "super" stores. Ella accompanied us the whole day and was a happy camper, chattering in her stroller, and finishing an entire jar of pureed pear at lunchtime. Michael picked us up around 430 pm in the afternoon, and it was great to get a ride home.
Saturday night, we made a deal that Julia would babysit Ella for $1, and Michael would babysit Julia so Birgitta and I could go out for dinner. We had a great meal at Sidecar, just around the corner from our condo.
Today we bought bagels for breakfast and drove Birgitta and Julia to the airport to fly home. Next visit it will be our turn to go to Columbus, unless we can arrange to rendezvous in California this summer!

Great Valentine's Day Gift

About midway through our travels in Australia (first week in January 2008), Ella stopped eating solids and would only nurse. On Thursday, February 14th, Ella started eating solid food again. We are thrilled!

After a few test drives, we've got a routine sorted. She eats well after a nap and after she's nursed, and prefers to feed herself, so I put food on the spoon and she puts it in her mouth. It has taken 4-5 spoons to get through each of the last couple of meals. She holds a spoon in one hand while taking a new spoonful with the other hand, so there has to be at least 3 spoons in rotation, and one or two get dropped on the floor. Five or ten minutes after she starts eating, she notices her hands get sticky, and she flexes and unflexes her fingers and puts them on the table to explore the stickiness, and then resumes eating.

Today, while driving in the car, I put my hand back near her face to distract her, and she bit on my thumb. I felt a sharp ridge on her lower gums. Her bottom teeth are starting to come it. This has been a great week: eating and some teeth starting to come in. She's caught up with the rest of her June baby posse!

My mother sent us some gifts from Finland, including a Finnish hat (modeled by Ella and Oona).

Thursday, February 7, 2008


On Sunday, December 23rd, Ella was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church by Pastor Russ Gordon. Pastor Russ officiated at our wedding in 2006, so it was fitting that he baptize the new addition to our family in 2007. My parents have been members of the congregation for more than 30 years, and my brother Ben and I were baptized there when we were little, so we have a long-standing history with the church and the people there.

Ella's godmothers are Dymphna McGrath, Michael's sister, and Laverne Lunde, a close family friend. Dymphna lives in Melbourne, Australia, and could not attend the ceremony, but was there in spirit. Laverne was Ben's and my violin teacher for many years, her husband, the late Pastor David Lunde, was the Pastor of the church for many years, and Andra and Mari, Laverne's daughters, are also good friends. Laverne, Mari and Andra are professional musicians, and played at our wedding. Laverne is also the Music Director at Christ Lutheran, so there are a lot of dimensions to our long-standing friendship.

Ella woke around 615 a.m. on the morning of the baptism, so Michael and I were expecting a meltdown when the time for the service finally arrived at 10 a.m. Fortunately, Pastor scheduled the baptism at the front end of the service so Ella wouldn't have to wait for a long time. Right after the welcome and opening hymn, the baptism portion of the service began.

Michael and I held her for the opening words and prayers and handed her over to Laverne at the appropriate point in the ceremony (whom Ella had met only once before briefly on our trip to California in October, when she was 3+ months old). Laverne was wearing several strands of beads, so Ella was content to play with her necklace. Pastor took Ella in his arms to perform the baptism, and she looked serious and slightly confused by it all ("he's putting water on my head but I'm not taking a bath?"). Once he'd finished drying her head, he walked her down the center aisle of church so everyone at the service could see her. Ella surprised us by staying calm.

Once the baptism was over, we took Ella outside to feed her and then Michael took her for a walk in the stroller where she promptly fell asleep. She woke up right at the end of the service, just in time for the coffee hour and post-church celebration, including a cake to celebrate her baptism. Many friends were eager to hold her after church, so she was passed around to a lot of new faces, and she received several gifts.

Jan Rosendahl embroidered a red cross and lace on the white cloth handkerchief that Pastor used to dry Ella's head, and Lucy Hughes gave Ella a beautiful book, a dress and shoes, and Ella's initials in the form of pale pink porcelain letters threaded with ribbon for hanging on a wall or door.

Laverne gave Ella a silver snowflake ornament engraved with Ella's full name on one side and the date of her baptism on the other. Dymphna and Daniel gave her a pretty bracelet and a porcelain figurine of an angel.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ixnay on the Solids

We took a month-long trip over the holidays to California and Australia: one week in California, where Ella was baptized (on Dec 23rd), two weeks in Australia, and one week in California. Michael, Ella and I traveled together for the first 3 weeks, and then Michael returned to NY to get back to work, while Ella and I spent the last week in California visiting my parents and recuperating from the Sydney-LA flight.

Ella was a trooper the whole trip. She adapted quickly to the different time zones and the new places and faces. She didn't demonstrate any 'stranger anxiety' when meeting new people, and was content to be held by anyone. She didn't cry much on the flights, and received compliments from grateful passengers after each flight. The only two challenges resulting from the travel were than she didn't sleep well at nighttime, and halfway through the trip, she started boycotting solids. She refused to eat, regardless of what we offered her and preferred to nurse exclusively (wouldn't take a bottle either).

Since we got back two weeks ago, we have decided to take some time off from pushing solids and wait for Ella to signal an interest in trying food again. She sits at the table with us for meals during the day, and we always make some food for her in case she's interested in trying it, but so far, she hasn't wanted to eat.

We've been home for two weeks. Three days after we landed in NY, Ella came down with a fever, cough and cold, and she's still recovering. Two days ago, I got a similar bug, so we've both been dragging and going a little stir crazy recently, being mostly home bound.

This weekend has been a highlight because Michael is home so he's taking care of Ella. She's enjoying the playtime with Dad, and I'm sleeping as much as possible to shake the cold. Today at lunch time, she ate some pear (via her mesh pacifier) and gummed a carrot stick, which gives us hope that she may try some food again soon.

Later, she and Michael went for a walk, and she wore a t-shirt Michael brought for her as a souvenir from a trip to London last year. Wagamama's was a favorite restaurant when I lived in England, and there is a Wagamama's next to the Cisco office in London where he visited.