Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Christmas 2008 Photos

The 2008 holiday season is winding down but we are squeezing in more fun with family and friends. Here are a few more photos from the last few days.

Emmerson is increasingly mobile now. As a result, she has realized there's a lot to get into, including her grandparents' electronic devices. It's hard to resist cords and blinky buttons.

One afternoon, the family headed off to a children's museum while I stayed behind to work (sadly, I have not been on vacation this holiday season). Emmerson apparently thoroughly enjoyed all of the gadgets and hands-on activities.

Emmerson with her cousin Malcolm.

Emmerson with her cousin Sarah.

I'm so glad that Emmerson enjoys being outdoors, even in the snow.

Emmerson enjoyed her first taste of hillside sledding the other day! She went down for several runs with Gramma, me and her godmother, Aunt Ya-Ya. No spills (well, at least not for Emmerson; Aunt Ya-Ya is another story!). Here she is with Gramma.

What a little cutie!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Scenes 2008

We are having a wonderful first Christmas celebration with family (and friends)! Emmerson even got her two front teeth for Christmas (sort of -- two top teeth poked out on Christmas day!). Emmerson is soaking up the time with her five cousins, ages 10 and under -- she is the youngest at 9 months. She is crawling in her own special way and getting around well now, and starting to get into things. She's trying to keep up with the big kids and holding her own. Actually, they're all very good with her, with only a few spats of jealousy here and there. Emmerson also loves playing out in the snow and being pulled around in the sled.

Sophie Dog is also basking in the attention and the outdoor time in the snow. She just loves being around so many people, and especially the kids.

Here are a few random pictures from the last several days, probably with more to come in the days ahead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review: Jockey's Being Family Adoption Bear

Jockey's Being Family Bear, which supports adoptive families, is a wonderful addition to your baby or child's stuffed animal or "lovey" collection.

Emmerson received one of these Jockey Being Family bears from her grandma a few weeks ago, and she promptly fell in love with it. In fact, I ended up buying a second one to swap out for those times when the other becomes too soggy or needs a washing. At about 11 inches tall, it's a perfect size for babies to cuddle with. The Jockey Being Family bear is soft and squishy, making it easy to grasp. According to Emmerson, it's wonderful to chew on while teething. It doesn't appear to have any unsafe parts, but you may want to check the stitching periodically around the nose. Also, the Jockey Being Family bear comes with a removable backpack, and for now I've taken that off.

The Jockey Being Family bear comes in two colors: mocha and latte. Emmerson has one of each -- we've dubbed them George (mocha) and Georgia (latte) -- and they are equally adorable.

I have washed both bears already. According to the instructions, the Jockey Being Family bear should be placed inside a pillow case to be washed. I also left the bears inside the pillow case in the dryer. Both came through looking -- and smelling -- good as new.

Here's what the Jockey Web site says: "Support newly adoptive families with the purchase of our Jockey Being Family Bear. This lovable, cuddly backpack bear is a heart warming gift and will bring a smile to any child's face. For each bear sold, Jockey will donate $3 to the Debra Steigerwaldt Waller Foundation for Adoption to charities supporting adoption."

The foundation, started by Jockey International's CEO, supports post-adoption services, aimed particularly at families who have adopted children with special needs, including those older than age 7, from the foster system, sibling groups, and children with disabilities.

You can learn a lot more about the program at Jockey's Being Family Web site.

Two things aren't clear: If Jockey is earmarking part of the proceeds for the foundation year-round or if it does so only during November, when it's National Adoption Month; and how long Jockey will continue to sell the bear.

Emmerson gets very excited when she sees one of Jockey Being Family bears. It motivates her to crawl (in her own special way) across a room to get it. She carries it everywhere with her; it's such a comfort to her already. It's a perfect choice if you're trying to get your baby to bond with a "lovey."

Here's a recent photo of Emmerson with Georgia, her Jockey Being Family Bear:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"I Said No More Stinkin' Peas, Mom!"

No, the following video isn't Emmerson having a series of seizures. Apparently she was unhappy with tonight's dinner menu.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sun dogs!

There are very few, if any, benefits to living in a region where it's not uncommon for temperatures to hit double-digits below zero many times during the winter, with dangerous windchills that can cause frostbite in mere minutes.

But this morning, I witnessed something that may (very) loosely be defined as a benefit: a pair of sun dogs (or parhelia). A sun dog is a brilliant circular spot on a solar halo, and it often occurs in pairs. A sun dog is an atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with reflection of sunlight by ice crystals suspended in the air. The sun dogs appear on each side of the solar halo, connected by a brilliant arc (icebow) that resembles a rainbow, or perhaps more fittingly, a sunbow. The sun dogs this morning were almost as blindingly bright as the sun itself. With subzero temperatures, a low-hanging sun and a clear sky, the conditions this morning apparently were perfect (if you can call weather like this perfect) for the formation of a sun dog.

I happened to see this on my way to daycare this morning, dropped the baby off, then raced back home to grab my camera and head back to a high point to snap some pictures.

If you ever see a sun dog, take a few minutes to savor the moment!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just The Stats, Ma'am

Emmerson's doctor's appointment on Friday afternoon confirmed my suspicions: She's getting taller and taller! No wonder it looks like she's wearing capris some days.

She measured in at 28.5 inches long, up from 27 inches near the end of October, putting her at the 81st percentile for her age. She weighed in at 18 pounds, 10 ounces, which is the 45th percentile. So this explains why although she's wearing mainly 12-month and even some 12-to-18 month clothing, most pants remain too big around her petite waist.

Here are a couple pictures of Emmerson from this past September that I don't think I've ever posted here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

9 Months!

Emmerson is 9 months old today! And she's been up to a lot lately.

The biggest news on the health front is that Emmerson is finally relatively healthy - no more GI bug, no more high fever. She does have her usual bit of a cold and congestion (and I have a sinus infection) but what a different baby she is now -- back to her happy self. Her high fever was likely from roseola. She simply never got the rash, or she got a rash but it was over so quickly (it may last only a few hours) that I never saw it. Apparently it's common to not actually get the rash with roseola.

Emmerson has been teething like crazy. But if her top teeth are like the bottom ones, it may take a while for them to actually poke through. I think it'll be soon, though, given her teething symptoms. She probably won't get her two front teeth in time for Christmas, though.

Emmerson is eating much better again these days. In addition to her normal amount of formula (four to five 7-oz bottles a day, for those of you keeping stats), she's eating lots of other food. She much prefers table food over baby food, it seems. On the menu this week was pasta, broccoli (florets only), cheddar cheese, carrots, pancakes and various crackers, along with some baby food.

The biggest development on the eating front is that Emmerson actually fed herself a cracker, or tried to. I know that's not big news for most 9-month-old babies, but Miss E. almost never puts anything in her mouth unless it's one of her soft blankets or stuffed animals -- no toys, no paper, no plastic, no utensils, nada. Oh, she can pick it all up, all right, even with the pincer grasp, which she's had for quite some time. But it never goes into her mouth. Until last night at dinner, when she actually picked up a Saltine and put it in her mouth. The only problem? She tried to stick the whole thing in at once.

With all that eating, she seems to be growing like the proverbial weed. She suddenly seems to have outgrown many clothes, and I even had to buy some 12-to-18 month size outfits this week so that she's not inadvertently wearing capris in the middle of winter.

In other big developmental news, Emmerson can finally flip herself over with the best of them. Again, I know this isn't big news for most 9 month olds, but it is for Emmerson, and I am so proud of her. Although she first rolled over at four months, she has hardly done it since. She just didn't feel the need, mainly because if she complained loudly enough, someone flipped her and saved her the chore. So I finally stopped flipping her over and after a few melodramatic screaming episodes, she finally gave in and started doing it herself. Now she can roll over in both directions in the blink of an eye.

Emmerson is now working hard at pulling herself up and learning to crawl. She'd rather be walking, though.

Miss E. continues to sleep like a champ (sorry for all of you out there struggling with sleep issues). We've worked hard at building a good naptime and bedtime routine, and it has really paid off. We had some challenges when she was sick, and she's had a couple restless nights from teething, but that's understandable. I'm so grateful for her good sleeping habits and hope that they will last for years.

Emmerson is still my happy little screamer. She will scream and scream and scream until she is hoarse, and then scream some more. She studies everything around her and wants it all. She is developing the fine art of the temper tantrum, complete with flailing arms and legs. She shakes her head no (usually just for fun, though). The other day at daycare, I witnessed her blatantly swiping a little friend's lovey, right out of his arms, and when he tugged it back, she pulled it away again with a look of defiance.

How can nine months have gone by already!?

Of course, here are the pictures:

Nine days:

Four weeks:

Eight weeks:

12 weeks:

Four months:

Five months:

Six months:

7 months (and a few extra days to grow on):

8 months:

9 months:

And a few bonus pictures:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sick Again!

Emmerson is sick again, the poor girl.

Emmerson didn't sleep well at all on Tuesday night, and since she has been such a great sleeper lately, I knew she must not be feeling well. When I picked her up from daycare on Wednesday, she felt a little warm and was very irritable, clingy and tired. She was in bed early, just before 7. I got her up around 11 pm to check her temperature and feed her formula (for fluids) and her temperature was 102.5. She (hence, we) had another restless night Wednesday. This morning, her temperature was down, but then tonight it spiked back up to 102, and she was in bed again right before 7.

It's heart-wrenching to see Emmerson sick, and this time especially because it comes on the heels of that horrible GI bug. I'm doing everything that I can for her, but it seems like very little, really. Tylenol, fluids, cuddling, sleep. But she is still miserable. At least I managed to get a few smiles out of her this evening by letting her have a pen to play with (simple pleasures!).

It's hard when our loved ones are sick and when everything we do for them isn't enough to make them feel better. At times like this, I start thinking about the people I know who have (or had) children stricken by life-threatening illnesses - a friend's nephew who died of leukemia at age 9, another friend's toddler who's had multiple heart surgeries, the local adoptive family who's baby boy was diagnosed with cancer just weeks after being brought home, and of course, the countless people around the globe who are virtually powerless to save their children in the face of famine, disease and war. I guess it's why those St. Jude commercials still tug at me after all these years.

I look to them to see how they get through it. I'm sure those parents just say that they do what they have to do. There's no other option. Of course, I'm sure they also fret over the fevers, they second-guess themselves, they call the doctors and nurses, they do the research to make sure they're doing everything right, they worry that they're going to be sleeping soundly while their child spikes a fever of 112 at 3 a.m. (OK, maybe that's just me.) That's what I did for myself, after all -- I just did what I had to do; it was just a matter of fact.

It's so much different now, though, when there's another being that I'm responsible for. And it's more complicated because I'm doing it solo - there's no spouse to share the angst. Oh, I'm great at calling doctors, doing research and getting answers - all that factual stuff I've done for so long now. And I'm pretty sure I could kill someone with my bare hands on Emmerson's behalf, if necessary. But confront me with a real, live being -- my dog, the cats, the, gasp!, baby -- who is sick or ailing and I turn into a blubbering wreck of an idiot, I tell you!