Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo Project 2007-2012

In 2007, I started working on a hobby project to get all my photos available digitally online.  I mainly wanted a safe backup of all my photos in case of fire or flood, but I also wanted to be easily able to print whichever photos I wanted quickly.   I got my first digital camera halfway through 2003.  The photos it took weren't very good quality by today's standards, but I almost immediately abandoned my film camera.  Not only that, but I greatly increased the number of photos I took because I wasn't printing most of them.  The economic incentive was the opposite of what it was with film camera: the more photos the more cost-effective my camera was.  It took me two years to get all of my digital photos online 2003-March of 2009,  just because there were so many.  At the same time, I was scanning all of my non-digital prints.  

My photo project mess 2007
My "photo den" (Kevin's office) in Charlottesville, December 2007

Well, this January, I finally finished. I have all my photos of family, friends, and places I've traveled on Flickr.  Some of those people I've lost, and now all I have is these photos and my memories.  I don't regret the time I invested taking, scanning, editing, and posting photos.  And I look forward to enjoying the albums I can make fairly easily now.  I do wish I had a few more of the loved ones I lost, but all I can do is be sure to capture some more important memories from here on out.

Photo Project 2012
Screenshot of my Flickr collections

Friday, January 27, 2012

James is 9 Months Old and Walking 2012!

James at 9 Months 2012
James at 9 months and his first day stumble-stepping day

James is 9 months old as of last Friday and 40 weeks as of this Wednesday! That means he's been out about as long as he was in. James acts like he has a copy of our baby book and suddenly springs to action checking off milestones at the end of the month. A lot of the interesting changes happened starting on his 9-month birthday and the days following, so they should technically go in my next update, but I'm going to cheat and tell you now.

Moving- James is walking! It all happened much faster than I imagined it would.  One moment he was lunging from furniture to furniture ("cruising") just like he has been for a month, and then he's stumbling around on his own. He stumbled forward a few steps Saturday night, then repeated his trick all day Sunday, going just a step or two before falling. By Wednesday he was walking the short length of the kitchen without falling. Wednesday night I got him on video walking down the hall. I love his little zombie arms.

Wednesday evening before bed

Sleep- Guess who's sleeping through the night! This has also been going on for less than a week, but in the name of positive thinking I'm calling it a done deal. James sleeps in his crib from 7:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. He had some really bad nights a week ago, and bringing him to bed was not helping so we made sure he ate a lot and Ferberized him from about 4 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. and since then he's just needed one little pat down about every other night. I'll take it! Now he just needs to start napping in his crib. Up until now we have to hold him while naps otherwise he cuts his naps short and is super grumpy all day. Well, more so.

James at 38 weeks + 5 days 2012
Co-napping at 38 weeks + 5 days

Eating- James eats anything you give him, and doesn't let anyone eat without sharing with him. His favorite foods are apples, bananas, oatmeal, wheat bread, and sweet potatoes. He also eats green bean puree, bits of egg or chicken, bean soup puree, and anything else we share with him. He still doesn't know how to feed himself from the bottle, but he seems totally uninterested in learning.

Growth-  He didn't have a doctors appointment this month but when I measure him, he's about 28.5-29 inches tall. The doctor said he was 30 inches tall last month, but I had him at about 28 then. Measuring him isn't really a science though, it's more of an interpretive art since you can't make him stay still and straight, and he grabs for the tape measure.  He's still wearing 9-month clothing, so he's probably about average in size for his age. James top two teeth are about halfway out now.  He has those and the two bottom ones.

James at 37 weeks + 3 days 2012
This was 3 weeks ago, the teeth are past the gum line now 

Social- Nothing much has changed here. He wants constant attention, and prefers that I sit on the floor with him.  If both Kevin and I are with him, he wants constant attention from both of us.  It drives him particularly batty when one of us leaves the room because he can't figure out how to be where we both are simultaneously. Usually he chases the one leaving the room.

James at 37 weeks + 5 days 2012
James playing with his dad (37 weeks + 5 days)

Language- James seems to understand some simple stuff I say to him in Spanish, and seems to understand less in English, but it's not entirely clear what he does or doesn't know since I'm pretty sure sometimes he gets it but ignores me. Especially if I'm telling him he's not supposed to do something.

He still says zero words, but sometimes he seems to be trying to copy the sound we're making. That might be in my head because he almost never gets close to the word.

He enjoys being read to a little more than he used to, and he'll sit through short books to the end. I trace the words with my finger as I read to him so he gets the idea of what I'm doing, and sometimes when I'm done he traces words with his finger.  He even looks at his books on his own sometimes, occasionally turning the pages. I make him wear his pacifier when he's doing this because his favorite thing to do with books is try to eat them.

James at 37 weeks + 5 days 2012
James looking at his books on his own (37 weeks + 5 days)

Games, Toys, and Trouble-making- For Christmas, James got a bunch of toys that teach cause and effect.  These are mostly his favorite because he can get them to play music. At first, he'd accidentally make it play music and then freak out when the music stopped.  We'd reach over and put his hand on the button or lever that made music and guide him to push it.  Now he can handle all the toys himself: a music box, his work bench, a little orange monkey, a play kitchen, and a shopping cart. Kevin sings all the songs as well.

James at 36 weeks + 6 days 2012
James playing with his work bench (36 weeks + 6 days)

He also likes trying to pass a ball back and forth.  I roll it to him, and he either drops it in my general direction, or sometimes, not quite understanding the game, he crawls over and delivers the ball to me personally. It's cute.  He also hits the ball around with a mallet in his own made-up version of croquet.  If the mallet can't be found, the toy hammer does just as nicely.

With all his new freedom of movement, some of his games involve systematically destroying the order in our home. He's discovered we own hundreds of books, and likes to pull them off the shelves. He opens drawers and starts emptying the contents onto the floor. He walks overs to our television and circumvents the many obstacles we've set up so that he can try to pull all the wires on our electronic equipment.  Freedom is great, isn't it James?

James at 37 weeks + 6 days 2012
James pulling all our books off the bookshelves (37 weeks + 6 days)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baby Evan 2012!

My dear friend Meghan and her husband Ben had their second son, Evan, in early January.  Their first son, Nathan, turned 6 years old just a few day later. How beautiful is their family? Meghan looks amazing right after having had a baby too.

2012 01 05 Ben Meghan Nathan Evan Cip

I met Meghan in college; she was my big sister in my sorority.  I don't see Meghan nearly enough since college because Ben's job has taken then to Japan and California for years, but she's the kind of friend you keep forever. Her three boys are very lucky to have her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Jersey Trip 2012

When we make the trip out to New Jersey with a daytime-travel-adverse James, we try to make the most of it by visiting both my mother and my grandmother. This makes for a long day, especially for Kevin who has a somewhat-limited ability to communicate with my grandmother in Spanish.  She cooks us delicious Cuban meals which is nice.  Then she demands we eat more no matter how much we've eaten for serving one.  We've learned to compensate by eating a very small amount, waiting until she inevitably demands we eat more, and then serving our second helpings only when she is watching. I've also found that taking leftovers helps to appease her. None of this is actually a hardship, since as I mentioned, she makes delicious Cuban food.

New Jersey- January 2012
With his Great-grandmother Daisy ("Abuelita" to me)

New Jersey- January 2012
With his Uncle David

Then we're off to my mother's, which should be a short drive away, but often takes us at least an hour because the highway exits are crazy and mislabeled on Google maps.  There's one basic rule at my mother's: James must come doused in lavender cologne. I almost always fail to put "enough" on him, but this time, I did it.  Nine months of trying, but I finally put enough cologne on him that my mother could properly enjoy sniffing him.  In my exuberance I also doused myself in it to create the illusion of their being more on the baby, but this went unnoticed.

New Jersey- January 2012
Scented snuggling with Nana

New Jersey- January 2012
Time to break stuff in the kitchen

Watching the Patriots and Miss America 2012

About every other week, we have Kevin's friends over to watch sports.  This is nice for me, because on the weeks that they're not here, they're drinking beers in Brooklyn, and James and I miss out on the fun. James enjoys watching the sports a lot more than I do, though he dislikes sports-related-yelling a great deal. Anyway, James usually stays in the living room with his father and his friends and I sometimes make myself scarce until dinner-ordering time.  (I think now it might be clearer why I enjoy sports night at home.)

New Years Day 2012
Brady, Briggs, and James watching football here two weeks ago

Sometimes however, I actually participate in hosting, as was the case last weekend when Sarah and I amended Patriots-watching night to be followed up by the Miss America pageant.  The pageant was amazing, complete with crazy evening gowns, crazy "talents" (why-oh-why didn't they let us see Miss Hawaii's butt-bounce?), and craziest of all, the contestants' personal fears which included megalophobia. Of course, it is a sad that the largest scholarship organization for women has a bikini competition.

James at 38 weeks + 3 days 2012
Three Clous wearing their Patriots gear! (Patriots beat the Broncos 45-10)

James at 38 weeks + 3 days 2012
Lukas and Sarah snuggling with James

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review of 2011- Part 2

Audra and Rob welcomed baby Carter,  Jamie and Emily got married, and James celebrated his first Fourth of July. I survived Kevin returning to work.  We went back to the Cape, and James went for his first dip in the water. James turned 3 months old, got better at grabbing things, rolled onto his side from his back.

Cape Cod- July 2011
James's first dip in the pond at almost 3 months
We took a little beach trip out to North Fork with the Sterns. James went back to New Jersey and back to Cape Cod. James got better at grabbing things. James turned 4 months, had his first stretch of sleeping for 5 hours, and started developing an interest in a few of his toys. We spent time with the Carter family on the Cape. In New York,we had an earthquake and a hurricane the same week.

Trey and Sunny welcomed baby Cort. Allison and Dan got married. James started eating food, rolling over from back to front, and sitting for a few seconds at a time, then he turned 5 months.  Just after 5 months he started rolling away.

James at 20 weeks + 6 days 2011
James sitting up for a few seconds (20 weeks + 6 days)

Megan and Ed visited New York shortly after Christina announced she was pregnant; Megan was not-so-secretly pregnant.  We took James to the Bronx Zoo! James started crawling on his belly, holding himself in a standing position, he turned 6 months old, and then we did the obligatory it's-October-visit-a-pumpkin-patch thing.  He had his first snow in October, which is another sign of the apocalypse after the earthquke and hurricane in August.  James made the cutest monkey ever on his first Halloween.

Halloween 2011
James on Halloween 2011

Kevin and I went to our first concert together in ages, the Jeff Mangum concert in Jersey City.  I threw a party in honor of 11-11-11, a date I'd had on my mind for 9 and half years. James turned 7 months, and just one day later he started sitting up on his own and crawling. James celebrated his first Thanksgiving with Kevin's family and even got to eat all of the sides.

Thanksgiving 2011
Thanksgiving 2011

We lost Kevin's grandfather George.  James got his first teeth in the bottom center of his mouth, started crawling all over the place, pulling up constantly, and trying to cruise right before he turned 8 months.  James celebrated his first Nochebuena with my mom here in Long Island, and his first Christmas with Kevin's family in Cape Cod.  We wrapped the year with a ton of holiday visitors: Jaime, Casey, Victoria, Laurel, Oliver, Uncle Andrew, and Chrissy, Jason, and Owen!

Santa James 2011
Santa James, 8 months old

Read about the first half of 2011 here
Read about 2010: First half and second half when we lost my dad

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review of 2011- Part 1

This January went really quickly.  I think because Kevin's work scheduled increased dramatically with the beginning of his winter session and then his Spring semester, and James took more and more of my attention as he became mobile.  I thought it might be nice to look back on the previous year.

We spent New Years Eve in Northern Virginia. I was fairly pregnant at 24 weeks when other people could feel the baby kicking.  At 27 weeks,  I had my glucose test. There was tons of snow in December and January. I lost my grandmother who took care of me for years when I was little, just two months after losing my father.  My third trimester began, and I was having a lot of trouble sleeping.  My mother moved away from Ramsey after over 25 years.

It kept snowing in Long Island.  We got our first set of living room furniture that wasn't second-hand. I got a 3D sonogram of the baby.   We celebrated Kevin's 31st birthday at a Belgian restaurant in Manhattan.  We went out for Valentines Day in Long Island when I was a sexy 31 weeks huge.

I was very pregnant at 33 weeks - 36 weeks.  My family and friends threw me the greatest baby shower ever.  Kevin and I celebrated my 32nd birthday by going for cooked sushi, just the 2 and half of us.  Kevin made corned beef for me and his friends to celebrate St. Patricks Day. Over the course of the month, Kevin built all the furniture for the nursery.  The Shaws had their third daughter, Clara.

37 Weeks + 4 Days 2011
Super pregnant in March 2011
Game time! We finished the nursery, complete with a big whale on the wall.  My due date came and went. We went in for one last sonogram that convinced my doctors it was time to go ahead with the c-section. So off we went!  A few hours later, James was born! The two grandmas, Jon, Briggs, Chrissy and Jason visited us in the hospital. After a few days recovering in the hospital, they finally let us go home.

James at 2 Days Old 2011
Our little family in April 2011

James had his first Easter, and met his my grandmother Daysi, my brother David and his girlfriend Melanie.  James had his first doctor's appointment, Diary of an Angry Pink Baby (DAPB) was born, and we celebrated him being 1 week old. James went for his first walk around our neighborhood, and Roger came to meet James.

We named the prolonged periods of James crying for no reason "fussy time."  James met Lukas and Sarah. James left the state for the first time, when we went to my home state of New Jersey to  spend my first Mother's Day with my mother. Ash, Michele, and Rachel came to meet James. We took James to Kevin's home state of Massachusetts to meet Kevin's family and my friend Allison. James turned 1 month old, got his first bath, and started smiling. James met Janice and Darren, Donald and Sarah, and then a whole bunch of other people at his first Memorial Day.

Cape Cod- May 2011
James at 1 month

Kevin and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by spending the day with James at a bird sanctuary.  James met his uncle Andrew. A group of us went to the Belmont Stakes together.  We resorted to humor to cope with James's continuing bad attitude. Kevin celebrated his first Father's Day.  James turned 2 months old, started cooing more, and started batting at objects. We got adventurous and took a Long Island field trip we soon regretted.

James at 2 Months 2011
James at 2 months

Read about the second half of 2011 here.

Read about 2010: First half and second half when we lost my dad

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Diary of an Angry Pink Baby #5: Ferberizing 2012

If James were a better sleeper, he might not be so angry. But James is not a good sleeper, so we decided two months ago to implement The Ferber Method. For the uninitiated, The Ferber Method is where you let your baby cry until he (1) goes to sleep, (2) you pick him up, or (3) he throws up all over himself and the crib. Click on the above link to see (2), which is what happens when you're unwilling to wait for (3).

It's really hard to start The Ferber Method because it's painful to listen to your baby cry. Then, after you grow accustomed to the crying, it's really hard to continue The Ferber Method because it's painful not to sleep from 2 am to 3:20 am. The longest James has ever cried is eighty minutes. At the end of those eighty minutes, he either passed out from exhaustion (not strictly the same as sleeping) or we picked him up while screaming WHY DON'T YOU SLEEP? WHY DO YOU HATE SLEEPING? WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR PARENTS SLEEPING?

James's typical response to these questions is a combination of laughing and peeing, sometimes followed by crying.

James at 32 weeks + 1 day 2011

Yet The Ferber Method has been successful for us. Not the success that comes from a baby who sleeps through the night but the success that comes from a baby who goes to bed at 6:30 pm, wakes up to inhale a bottle, and then commences his day wide-awake at 3:30 am. James's schedule would be entirely appropriate if he were a longshoreman in Greenland.

But nine hours is nine hours. His pre-Ferber record was twenty-two minutes. His new nickname is The Ferbert because his sleep schedule has coincided with an increased tendency to maul women's chests, among other questionable acts. In Oedipal fashion, The Ferbert winds up sleeping with his mother in bed every morning before waking up to tear all of the hair out of his father's scalp. Such is the bargain we've made. If he's still acting this way when he can talk, we'll probably have to tell him to ask women first.

James at 34 weeks + 4 days 2011

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's at Jon and Becky's 2011 --> 2012

Thanks to Grandma Kathy, we were able to go out for New Years Eve. Thanks to James's early wake up time, the difficulty in finding babysitters, and the awful timing of the trains where we live, this is probably going to be our last New Years Eve out for a long time.  All the more reason why we were so psyched to go out this year.  Kevin and I had delicious burgers at Peter Luger's in Long Island, then we took the train to Brooklyn and met Briggs and Brady at Angry Wade's for some pre-party drinks.

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
New Years Eve photo at home

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Angry Wade's looks so much better than usual

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Heading out of Angry Wade's with Brady, Kevin, and Briggs

Then we went over to Jon and Becky's place for an evening of fancy champagnes, Asian appetizers, New Years tiaras and glasses, and silly string. Yes, silly string.

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Our hosts Becky and Jon

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Jolie and Gio

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Group shots with all our toys

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Bonding with Jon and Briggs

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Woo! New Years!

INew Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
This is their charming-and-tough look

New Years Eve 2011 --> 2012
Kevin pops in and surprises them
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