Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seattle Storm fans are the best

Tonight's family outing is another great Seattle Storm game, this time against the Indiana Fever. Ava waves her arms and kicks her legs in excitement whenever there's a basket and the crowd roars.

Since we have the same seats each time, we're starting to recognize the other regular fans around us. When we arrived tonight, a lady behind us handed us a $20 and said, "You dropped this the last time you were here, along with a business card for the University of Texas, but I don't have it anymore."

J. and I were perplexed. First, we hadn't been to a game in nearly a month because they'd been on the road and we'd skipped one to attend a wedding.
"We don't have any affiliation with the University of Texas..." J. started to explain. Then I remembered one of my travel mates from the fellowship last year is a UT professor and I'd been carrying his card in my pocket to remind myself to send him & his wife a thank you card and gift.

I knew I'd dropped the card and cash for postage somewhere but figured it was a $20 lesson in taking better care of my pocket paraphenalia. But thanks to an incredibly considerate Storm fan, I got the lesson without the loss. How nice is she?! Proving once again that Seattle Storm fans are class acts, just like the team they support. And they won tonight to boot! Go Storm go!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flying the increasingly expensive and not-so-friendly skies

The Washington Times has a piece about airlines now charging fees for checked bags due to rapidly rising fuel costs. American Airlines and United Airlines have announced that they'll start charging $15 for the first bag checked and $25 for a second bag. You cannot pre-pay this charge: it has to be paid at the airport.

Wow, what's next? Bring your own seat cushion? A tip jar for the flight crew?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Checkups, blood tests and crying - oh my

Ava had her 9 month check up this week and she's doing great for the most part, but there was one thing to keep an eye on for later. First the good news though. Developmentally she is right on track: pincer grasping like a pro, following objects with her eyes, pushing and pulling and rolling rather than crawling. She's a motor skills dervish! We'll be breaking out the baby gate from the baby shower in no time.

She didn't have to get any immunizations this time around, but she did need a blood test just to check some things out. Not the relatively painless heel or finger prick she had as an infant, but a full on vein draw! This is probably one of the worst parts of being a parent: watching your baby deal with pain that can't be avoided and that they're too young to understand the need for.

As the burly male lab technician and female lab tech worked to draw Ava's blood, the pain, betrayal, confusion and anxiety on her face killed me. They had to draw from both arms because she was fighting so hard they couldn't get the vein to stop rolling in the first arm.I distracted her the first time but it wasn't working by the end. Finally, the guy held her arm with both hands while I laid across her body and the woman drew a sample. All while Ava screamed at the top of her lungs! He marvelled: "She is STRONG!" Uh, yeah. A tiny force to be reckoned with who is already testing her strength, as also shown in the video below, which ends with a special "gift" for Dad.

I worry what the teen years will bring if we don't get a handle on how best to manage her in the coming months. And tiny is the operative word: only 5th percentile for weight, which was the other thing that was a concern. But the doc says she's just long and skinny, like her mom.

Still, we had been getting her to try more jar baby food, and she's been really taking to them. Apples and blueberries, squash, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, banana and peach blend: she hasn't said no to anything, although the first bite still elicits a scrunched face, followed by bleating for more. And she wants some of whatever we're eating. Sugar snap peas, rice, grapes: she tried it all this weekend. Instead though, the doc said to help her continue to get most of her calories from breastmilk and formula rather than solids until she's a year, to help with the weight.

We'll have to let the relatives know: some of them keep pushing to give her solids, as in "She'd put on weight if you gave her some chicken and potatoes." Hmm. Maybe, but I'm going to trust my doc and baby and gut on this one. We'll keep working our way through the fruits and veggies for now, along with the milk.

Each week is something new with this little girl and it is amazing to watch her learning and making connections. She's pulling up on things and taking steps that way. I think she may skip crawling altogether and just get to walking. Even in this she's all about efficiency. Again, like her mom. I'll await her first temper tantrum and attribute that to her dad. ;-) More later!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who you callin' a baby? I'm nine months old

Ava hits nine months this week and it's hard to believe she was a helpless seven and a half pounder not that long ago. Every week there's some new motor or physical development with her and she seems more and more like an actual little girl instead of a baby. That goes for her diaper as well. Uh, suffice to say, the introduction of several real foods over the past two and a half months has also meant the introduction of really awful diapers. Really awful. It's got me wondering: can't we just feed her breastmilk or formula until she's potty trained? Okay, maybe not, but the new moms and dads out there know what I'm talking about.

So the latest advances are clapping, playing peek-a-boo on her own, and the appearance of two upper teeth poking through to join the two little Tic-Tacs on the bottom. And now: standing! This week, she pulled herself into a standing position in her play yard and later pulled up on the laundry basket.

Note the baby junk in the trunk. Finding pants to fit is already a challenge. I'm telling you, Baby Apple Bottom pants are a clothing niche that needs to be filled.
In the video below, Ava has just pulled up on her changing table. What's hilarious is that after the screeches of triumph at being up, she seems to decide, "While I'm up, I'll just rearrange this blanket. Who put this here anyway?"

I am loving being a mom to my growing little girl. Putting her down at night is still challenging sometimes: she goes down for an hour or two at 7:30pm, then wakes up and hangs with us for another hour or two until we go to bed. But after spending a few minutes nursing while fiddling with my chin, cheeks and lips, and trying to stick her fingers up my nose, she soon drifts off to sleep and basically sleeps through until morning.

Compared to the nights, the start of the day is wonderfully languid as I wake up and spend a few moments watching her sleeping and breathing lightly before I get up and rolling. She looks so deliciously cute and plump with her curls alternately matted to her forehead or sticking up wildly in all directions, I could just dunk her in milk and eat her like a cookie.

She is more and more of a hoot every day and J. and I feel very blessed to have her.

Sunday, June 01, 2008