Sunday, December 6, 2009


it's official: emerson has made it past the gestational age at which bryn was born! i feel like i've won the lottery or something. and he is as big as ever, now weighing approximately 5 lbs. 3 oz. and on track to be over 8.5 lbs. if he goes full-term! so we could even have the opposite issue - wanting to induce and get him out at 38 or 39 weeks, before he gets too big...

in any case, we're keeping our fingers crossed that this little cutie hangs out right where he is for another few weeks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

happy birthday bryn!

Monday, November 2, 2009

trick or cookie

bryn is big into sesame street these days. in fact, some of her earliest words were "elmo" and "cookie", so i had to get her a cookie monster costume for halloween (and it helps support pbs!). she seemed excited about the costume, but more in theory than in practice. until we got to trick or treating. then she was too interested in the candy to even notice that she was wearing a big furry blue suit with goggly eyes.

first, we went trick or treating at the mall.

it was a complete zoo. i had no idea that so many people go to the mall for trick or treating. maybe it is something specific to our area? in any case, there was a lot of waiting in line and a lot of hyper kids. bryn had to stop every 4 stores to eat another piece of candy. at one point, she handed me a lollipop to unwrap while still eating another lollipop (it was, admittedly, a different color), and that was where i drew the line.

the next night was "beggar's night" in our neighborhood... in central ohio, they make a concerted effort to coordinate trick or treat night on a weekday, and usually on a day other than october 31, presumably to minimize children's exposure to drunken partiers and the like. i don't really see the need, but, well, that's the way it is here. bryn was very excited, watching for her neighborhood friends from the driveway and checking out our pumpkins on the porch.

the actual trick or treating part was less exciting (she had to mostly go with just mom, since she can't keep up with the older kids and dad had to pass out candy at home), except for the candy, of course. i don't think bryn ever actually said "trick or treat" (she did say it at home a couple of times) or "thank you", although she recognized some of the costumes she saw ("chicken", "bert", "ernie", "kitty", "doggy", etc.). or maybe she just didn't want to talk with a mouthful of candy. in any case, she perked right up once her friends got back home and they all started running back forth between our houses.

it was a fun night, and we all had a great time. bryn even managed to process all that sugar by her usual bedtime. the end of daylight savings time has her schedule all screwy though...

Friday, October 30, 2009


emerson is on his way to being the first in the family to fall in the upper half of the standard growth charts. according to our ultrasound technician, he is a "porker" - he's got a big belly (up over the 90th percentile), although his head circumference and femur length are closer to average (more around the 70th percentile). and his estimated weight is just over 2.5 lbs as of tuesday, again well above the median. we're thrilled. everything is going smoothly, and e seems to be happy and growing great. he is quite a kicker and flipper - much more active, or at least more forceful, than i remember bryn being. of course, it could be that i'm more aware this time around too.

and, 'cause i have to, here is the latest photo of our bouncing baby boy - a 3D! you can see his face behind a little hand and, i think, a foot (toes pointing out at you). he was being coy during this scan, so this was the best we could get.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

autumn adventures

this has been a big month of family-friendly outings, at least by our standards. it is a bit odd to find ourselves suddenly among "those people" who voraciously seek out all kinds of community festivals and kid-friendly freebies, but here we are. and, actually, we're loving it... especially bryn! it's great to have places where she can run around like a crazy person and no one really minds, and where you know that everything is mostly safe, including the people. also, no one bats an eye when she flings herself to the ground in the middle of everything screaming, "NOOOOO!" before getting distracted and running off in the other direction, laughing maniacally all the way.

so, we we've been to two local fall festivals with hay rides, fire trucks, ponies, and lots of inflatables. truman even got to tag along on one of the outings, and he was reasonably well-behaved.

we also made sure to get in one trip to the zoo before the end of the season. bryn definitely enjoyed seeing the animals, but then she seemed equally interested in seeing the (inanimate) animal statues and playing in the bushes. among her favorites were the baby elephant, the rhino, the mini-aquarium and, of course, the inflatables set up for halloween.

and, finally, we visited a local pumpkin "patch", which turned out to be just a bunch of pumpkins stacked around bales of hay with some corn stalks and assorted gourds to spice things up. but, they did have a wide variety of pumpkins, and bryn had a great time.

look forward to seeing more of our pumpkins in a soon-to-follow halloween post!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


as you know (or as you may have noticed from our photos, if we have been bad about keeping in touch - sorry!), we are expecting our second baby in january!! everything has been going smoothly so far and, i'm happy to report, easier than they did with bryn. according to certain old wives' tales, this may because we are expecting a boy this time around! we're very excited and keeping our fingers crossed that he will wait until 2010 to make his official appearance into the world.

of course, that doesn't we mean we can't give you some sneak peeks of our adorable little boy. this picture is from about 6 weeks ago.

as of our last visit, he is nearing 1.5 lbs and starting to fill out a little. we both think he looks a little like adam, although not nearly as much as bryn did. anyway, mom and baby are both doing fine, and dad's doing a great job taking care of us all. bryn seems to understand that there is a "baby in mommy's belly." she will even give him kisses from time to time and loves looking at pictures of other babies and playing with baby dolls. then again, she also sometimes flings her dolls to the ground and then says, "you ok?" all innocent-like before telling me, "mama, baby cry."

Monday, September 28, 2009

foot week

two weeks ago, bryn let me paint her toenails for the first time... one of the many perks of having a daughter!

a few days later, we went to the park. bryn has been enjoying her kiddie slides at home, so we decided to go on the bigger slides at the park. since i was alone with her and not feeling particularly agile, i decided to climb up and go down the slide with bryn, instead of letting her go alone. that way, i figured, i wouldn't have to catch her awkwardly at the bottom, or try to prevent her from jumping off the big toy altogether, or help her climb down the rock wall the wrong way (which i saw a younger kid try to do, just seconds earlier). so we went down the slide twice, without event, and both had a great time. the third time, bryn's foot, shod in a knock-off croc, got caught between my leg and the wall of the slide on the last turn, about 3 feet from the bottom. her shoe popped off, and she immediately started crying. i could see a nasty scrape caused by her shoe, but this did not seem like her typical cry.

long story short, we got to children's urgent care about half an hour later, and they determined that bryn had a sprained left ankle but, thankfully, no fractures (she did NOT like the x-ray, especially since i had to leave her and stand behind a partition... very sad). so they wrapped her foot up and sent us on her way. i felt terrible and even confessed to the nurse that i thought i probably should have just let bryn go down the slide by herself. she immediately said, "oh that would have been worse!" which i appreciated, even if she was just being comforting. of course, this article appeared in the news the *next* day (!), so it turns out both she and i were dead wrong.

anyway, the next several days were full of motrin and movie-watching, which was actually quite fun for me. bryn was content to just snuggle with me on the couch and also not mobile enough to create her usual path of destruction throughout the house. and, gradually, bryn started scooting around on her butt, then crawling and now she is back up and walking again. and i have to say that a limping 22-month old is about the cutest thing ever, although i still feel guilty every time i see it. *sigh*

Friday, September 11, 2009

first family camping trip

over labor day weekend, we went camping in the hocking hills with some friends and their kids, who are also bryn's friends... camping is a lot different with kids than when you are childless and carefree in your 20s. for one, three minivans were barely enough to haul all our stuff, which seems ridiculous even by car camping standards. for two, there are about a million things kids shouldn't do at a campsite (we also had a riverfront site, which was lovely and lots of fun, but further required that we ensure no children tumble down the 15' cliff onto the rocks below), even once you accept the fact that they are going to get filthy and general hygiene is going to be severely limited. of course, these are related because #2 means that you have to bring a bunch of toys from home, which causes #1. third, one parent in each family has to stay sober at all times, should anything happen. and finally, kids do NOT sleep well in tents in the woods.

that said, we had a great time. we went canoeing down the hocking river and had big campfires and lots of s'mores. bryn did pretty well in the canoe, and even managed to get in a 10-minute power nap. we think she had fun, although on the last morning she did keep asking to go home...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

operation clean baby

as you may recall, bryn has been absolutely terrified of the bath for about six months now. i know lots of kids cry in the bath, but this has been full-on screaming, clutching at my neck hysterics. so we've been making do with infrequent sponge baths on the bathroom counter and trying all kinds of tactics: new toys, new tubs, showers, swimsuits, dolls/parents/friends in the bath/shower, bubbles, outdoor water toys, wading in lake chelan, you name it, but nothing worked. UNTIL...

we finally got bryn to a real swimming pool with all her little friends. she started off in the kiddie pool with her best bud and about two inches of water. then, after about an hour of watching the adults and other kids scoop water out of the big pool to put in the kiddie pool, bryn decided to venture over and give that a try. another half hour of that, and she was finally ready to get into the big pool. we went gradually, and by the end, she was in up to her chest and loving it!!

to keep up the momentum, we started offering "bubble play time" in our big bathtub, which actually turns out to be really handy when i am in the shower because they are next to each other, which makes for both easy supervision and mess containment. we let her do that for about a week, gradually increasing the amount of water and decreasing the amount of clothing, until we finally tried a bath at the end of play time. the bath was better than most, and she still wanted to play in the tub the next day. so, we're keeping up this routine and seeing baths get better little by little. here's hoping that continues!

Monday, August 17, 2009

bryn shows off

if you listen carefully (and use our translation), you should hear: eye, nose, mouth, elbow, nose, mouth, and ear (twice). all interspersed with "cheese" because what else would you say when there is a camera on?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

congratulations, teresa and scott!

... and it was the best wedding ever!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

summer fun

yes, it's been a long time. in my defense, our computer had a massive failure and has just now been repaired and, without it, i wasn't able to post any pictures (so why bother posting, right?).

anyway, our summer has been great and very eventful. bryn had her first trip to the circus with dad and some of our friends. she slept through most of it, so here is a picture of her pre-circus excitement.

her inexplicable terror over the bath remains, and we are out of ideas. but, she has warmed up to (outdoor) water toys, although any water on her head usually causes whining and crying, ending playtime very abruptly (see video).

we had a lovely trip to washington in july, complete with a trip to lake chelan. we rented a little house in manson with a gorgeous patio and an even more beautiful view of the lake. bryn, kaya and sierra got along great, although it wasn't so much actual playing together as it was staring, pointing and following, and occasional stealing of toys and sippy cups.

and, i got to see all my best girl friends and their adorable kids, plus get my beach fix at dash point!

back in ohio, we went to see griffey, felix and the mariners play (beat) the cleveland indians.

bryn got her first hair cut, which went much better than expected, since she was exhausted and half-asleep.

and we went to the state fair.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the terrible twos

despite being a preemie and only 18 months old, bryn seems to have already entered the terrible twos. at least we hope she has, because we may not be able to take it if she gets any worse. most of the time, she is still sweet and adorable. but, if she doesn't get her way... sometimes, she goes with passive resistance - laying down, going limp and becoming dead weight. other times, she goes with the more standard tantrum - throwing herself to the ground, crying and kicking. usually, it is a combination of the two. she has also started hitting and pulling hair. the other day, she and one of the neighbor boys, who is about one year older, had a full-on knock-down drag-out fight. at least she doesn't let herself be bullied, i guess.

the good news is that bryn has been picking up more words (up, down, bye, monkey, kwa-kwa (quack-quack) for duck and, finally, mama - yay!) and is learning that they can be used to get things that she wants, so hopefully the pre-verbal tantrum phase will pass sooner rather than later.

we experimented with giving bryn a bath in a swimsuit (with me, also in a swimsuit, also in the tub), but i think that may have just made her afraid of swimming pools as well (the photos below were pre-bath).

we're also teaching bryn good eating habits...

but in our defense, she fell from the 5th to the 3rd percentile in weight, so she needs to fatten up anyway. her head moved up from the 50th to the 75th percentile though... poor girl. finally, her favorite toys these days are dolls, in all sizes... in fact, i think i've given the dolls more baths than bryn, as part of our grand plan to entice her back to bathing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

an oldie but a goodie

i took this picture in september of last year with my phone, but i couldn't figure out how to get it onto my computer until now. and i am not tech-savvy enough to blog directly from my phone (nor did I have a data plan, but i digress). this was at the dermatologist's office, where bryn was being seen for eczema. the nurse took us back and instructed me to put her in a gown (this was at the clinic at children's hospital, which explains why they had tiny gowns, but not why they thought a baby needed to be in a gown. i guess it is warmer than nothing, but the neo-natologist never gives us a gown - bryn always just waits in her diaper like at the pediatrician's office...) in any case, bryn seemed quite pleased with the outfit, and i thought she looked like a teeny tiny (adorable) escaped mental patient. i kept the gown.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

first word and other developments

it's official. we're calling it: bryn's first word was "doggie" dated march 7. as i mentioned in my last post, we'd been hearing "doh" for awhile, mostly around the dog. but that day, bryn was looking at truman, pointed to him and said "doggie!" we gave her lots of positive affirmation, and she did it two more times, and again later that day and the next. she now also points out "doggies" in photos and on tv, although she still sometimes calls other, wildly inappropriate things "doggie" (her father, a cup, the grass). she also uses "daddy" and "kitty" with about the same degree of accuracy and reliability, as well as "yucky" and "uh oh" (but i think they only sort of count as words). she is just starting to say "hi" (playing with a phone or walking into a room to find me) and "no" (which seems to be for both no and nose). bryn now also recognizes the inflection for questions but, so far, she still seems to think that the only answer is "yeah," which is nice to hear if not all that informative. i'll confess to feeling a little slighted though... i was prepared for bryn to say other words before "mama," but it's starting to get a little excessive. the other morning, i went to get her out of bed, and she looked right through me to declare, "kitty!" with a huge grin.

we also had another great visit from the chen family. grandpa and grandma are still spoiling bryn, and she's still loving it. she also helped out by giving them, and aunt teresa, a few subtle hints while they were babysitting. as teresa and my mom were having a discussion about whether or not she needed a diaper change, bryn went and got a diaper and her changing pad, then stood in the middle of the family room floor (where we usually change her diaper... yes, we are those people) and waited until they caught on. she also showed them how to put lotion on (push down on pump and rub hands together), which is part of our morning and bedtime routines.

in other news, bryn is getting much better at following basic directions - "can you get..." (book, diaper, baby (doll), socks, shoes) and, when it suits her, "put it back." she runs around and hates having to hold hands or be restrained in any way. and, when bryn doesn't get her way, she likes to push the envelope with mini-tantrums, which look something like this:

that is usually a sign that a nap is in order.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

bath photos

i figured i better get some pictures of bryn in the bath before she gets too old.

it was a good thing too, because she is T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D of the bath now. you don't want to see what baths look like these days. kicking, screaming, clinging. and i can't figure out what the problem is - she'll play in the tub (we've tried a of couple different ones, and several new toys), but once i take her clothes off, she won't go anywhere near it, water or no water. we also tried the shower, which is slightly better because at least her objective there is to cling to me rather than to get away. but the sheer terror is not lessened, nor is the anguished crying. i've even started giving her baby doll baths, so bryn can help and see that the bath is fun and not life-threatening. but still no progress.

my last hold-out is actually getting in a bath with her, but that just seems like a whole can of worms that i'm not ready to open yet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

big girl adventures

it's been a largely uneventful month for us. we're finally getting our living room in order (replacing stained carpet and old college-apartment-style furniture) to give ernie's library a proper home... he had A LOT of books, so bryn should be very well-read. we had a big snowstorm in january, which turned into an ice storm, wreaking pretty serious havoc throughout the area. they even closed the university for the day, although adam (who works about 500 feet from campus) still had to go to work. bryn got to don her snowsuit and her new boots to play in snow for the very first time.

she wasn't quite sure what to do with it, especially since she couldn't walk in her boots. but she tasted it and crawled around, and i helped her make a snow angel.

we're also trying to work on some "big girl" skills with bryn - feeding herself with a spoon

reading books, and lounging around in her robe for as long as possible. really, who can resist a baby in a bathrobe?

bryn has yet to say any real words, but she does seem to say "yeah" (with an exaggerated nod) and "uh-oh" at appropriate times and sometimes "tee-tee" for, what i believe is, kitty and "doh" for, what i believe is, dog. but all of that may just as likely be wishful thinking. she can, however, identify her ears, nose, belly, feet, shoes and socks. and, when offered yogurt (her new favorite food), she can go to the fridge and point it out. she also loves brushing her teeth, and points to her toothbrush every time she gets in the bath (which is when we brush her teeth). the pediatrician was right about starting good habits early! now, if we could just get her to put herself to sleep...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i knew i forgot something

when my parents were here to visit, we had a great photo session at portrait innovations! i am a cheapskate and always try to get out with just the one pose promotional package for $9.95 (i've been successful 2 out of 4 times), so i am sure the photographers were happy to see my parents walk in the door. they sprung for 5 poses, all excruciatingly adorable, of course, and the bonus CD that has all the photos, in case reprints are required. here is a sampling: