Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Drawing

Crayon on paper, 29 June 2008.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Bean (pre-natal)
Ella Bella
Budgie budgie
Bunny (good bunny)

Happy FIRST Birthday!

June has been a big month for Ella.

In addition to a great visit with her grandparents and Uncle Ben, we had two parties to celebrate Ella and her friends' birthdays.

The first was the June Babies Group Party on Sunday, June 15th, at Amanda's house.

Pictured are the moms and babies sitting on the sofa in the living room at Amanda's house from left to right:
Amanda+stand-in (Oona was asleep), Melissa+Ella, Anneka+Henry, Shenan+Soren, Sarah+Alice, Nikki+Stella.
Also pictured are the dads and babies from left to right:
Jimmy+stand-in (Oona was asleep), Bryan+Henry, Michael+Ella, Nate+Alice, Nelsen+Soren, Pratik+Stella.

We had a party for Ella on the actual date of her birthday, Friday, June 20th, at Prospect Park. In addition to Michael and my parents from California, other guests included Maryanne, Ella's babysitter, Carrie Diamond and her son Jack (6 months), Rebecca Fausel and her daughter Eliza (11 months), Leonie Lewis and her children Ashley (4 yrs old) and Brody (1 year), Keri Altman and Naomi (1 year), and Amanda Kavanagh and Oona (1 year).

The New York Metropolitan Opera was rehearsing for a performance in the park later that same evening, and the rehearsal took place during the party. Throughout the afternoon, we were serenaded with duets from famous operas by world-class opera singers as they rehearsed for the evening's performance (see program pictured above)! Click on the program to see the details.

It was a great party, and Ella enjoyed being in the park surrounded by friends and family. When we got home around 530 p.m., she sat at the table and ate dinner with a birthday hat on, and went to bed shortly afterward without complaint.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

She Passed with Flying Colors

Ella had her one-year doctor appointment today, and Dr. Sarnoff gave her a good review.

Weight: 20 lbs 6 ounces
Height: 29.75 inches
Head circumference: 46.5 centimeters

He said she's in perfect health and is back in line with the growth curve by which children her age are tracked. She weighed 19 pounds at 8 months, and 19 pounds 3 ounces at 10 months, so Dr. Sarnoff had been concerned (at 10 months) that she wasn't progressing well on the rate of weight gain. Now she is back in line with where she should be relative to other children in her percentile bracket, and he is satisfied that she's eating enough, so Michael and I are relieved.

Here's a brief summary of Ella's activities so far:
+ walks independently
+ picks things off the floor and can stand up from a sitting position without holding on
+ holds each of her feet up to allow me to put her shoes on while she's standing up
+ climbs the stairs with her hands and feet, and sits down on each step to descend
+ says "ma ma", "da da", "hiiiii"
+ waves bye bye
+ sometimes greets strangers with a handshake
+ bops ('dances') to music, tries to sing along to familiar songs and tunes (with single syllables....)
+ plays ball with people
+ responds to most of our directions: "can I have that, please?", "Sit down", "Can you put that in the garbage?", "Come find me", etc.
+ "talks" a lot
+ plays games: peekabo; pushing her wagon into my ankles to get a laugh; walking back and forth between Michael and me to give us hugs (repeating many times); playing ball; putting foreheads together; trying sunglasses on together in front of the mirror
+ enjoys 'Music Together' and swim classes
+ focused on getting into cabinets, drawers and baskets and emptying them
+ likes to move furniture (pushing chairs)...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ella's Travel Log - Year One

1st Subway trip: July, 2007, to visit SOHO with Moira for a 1/2 day of shopping (5 weeks old)

1st car trip (overnight): August, 2007, to Montauk, NY with Moira to attend Sheila's birthday beach party (6 weeks old).

1st airplane trip: October, 2007, to Columbus, OH, to visit Birgitta and kids (3.5 months old)

2nd airplane trip: October, 2007, to California, to visit my parents (4 months old)

3rd airplane trip: December, 2007, to California to visit family for the holidays (6 months old)

4th airplane trip: December 07 - Jan 08, to Australia to introduce Ella to family and friends (6 months old)

5th airplane trip: April, 2008, to Fort Lauderdale for a weekend Australian Football trip (10 months old)

2nd car trip: June, 2008, to Boston, MA for Ben's Harvard graduation; Hanover, NY for Ben's Dartmouth graduation (11+ months old)

6th airplane trip: June, 2008, to West Palm Beach, FL, to visit Elvy & Norm Birch and go to the beach with Sonja and Frank (Grammy & Grandpa). 11+ months old.

Racking up the miles

Over the past twelve days, Ella has traveled to Boston, MA, Hartford, CT (by car), and Lantana, FL (by plane).

We attended Ben's graduation from Harvard (weather was cold and rainy) and Dartmouth (weather over 100 degrees F and sunny). One of the pictures above shows us immediately after the Dartmouth graduation (from left to right: Melissa, Ella, Sonja, Natalie, Ben, Bridget, Dad). We didn't pack clothes that were warm enough for Boston or dressy enough for Dartmouth (dress code suggested dresses for women, and neither my mom nor I brought dresses or skirts on the trip).

My cousins John, Paul, Anna and their kids joined us for the Dartmouth graduation and dinner afterward (picture).

Ben doesn't do anything halfway. Both graduations were impressive, and he now has three masters degrees... With his experience, education and brains, he's well-armed to ascend the ranks of management quickly at Google when he starts later this summer.

Ella was a good soldier on all legs of the trips. We were dreading the 5+ hour car trip from CT back to NY (she has proven she can scream for up to 50 minutes in her car seat before crashing into sleep), but she didn't scream once.

My parents, Ella and I spent 3 days in Lake Worth, FL, visiting my mom's Aunt Elvy & Uncle Norm in the Finnish-American Rest Home and enjoying daily trips to the beach. Ella loved the beach. When we'd get near the surf, she'd squirm to be put down, and once on her feet, would head straight for the water (and walk right into the waves). She was fearless.

The warm Atlantic ocean in Florida makes it easy to want to swim.

Ella has 6 teeth now: the front four teeth on the top, and two front teeth on the bottom, with more coming this week. She's been walking for about six weeks, and improving her stability every week. The week of Ben's graduations, her confidence improved a lot with all the extra family members around. She started doing u-turns and bending down to pick up objects and stand up again without holding on to anything for support.

Yesterday, while lying in bed wishing we could sleep longer (Ella has been waking up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. ), we realized we now hear the pitter patter of bare feet on the wood floors...a milestone that crept up on us and caused Michael & my father to hurry to the store to buy a second safety gate for bottom of the staircase. (We have one installed at the top already.) Ella loves to climb the stairs with or without help, but has