What a difference a year makes!

St. Valentine’s Day 2008:
St. Valentine’s Day 2009:
Happy Siena
So how did I spend my first second St. Valentine’s Day? (first one on the outside, of course)

  • I went with Momma on a sticky note treasure hunt from Daddy.  My favorite clue was on the bathroom mirror (I LOVE mirrors) and it said, “Close the door” so she did, and found her Valentine on the shelf behind the door. I like it when Momma laughs – so I smiled big when Daddy made her laugh about the Snicker’s bar. He said he knows men are supposed to buy roses and chocolates, but that chocolates in heart shaped boxes just don’t taste as good as Snickers. I’m not sure what that all means, but I sure thought it was funny. (Mama says I’ll probably learn to laugh any day now.)
  • I watched from my swing as Momma got out her lights and umbrellas for a photo shoot of her FLOWERS! I thought photo shoots were just for pictures of me? I felt a bit better when Daddy explained that he asked the florist to put the pink rose in there to represent me. The red roses were to represent their love, and I’m the pink rose growing out of their love. They let me smell the roses and feel the soft pussy willows.
  • I stayed with Daddy while Momma enjoyed a grocery shopping trip without me. You should have seen her face when she walked in and found Daddy feeding me a bottle. (I hate those things – they taste and feel all wrong, but somehow they do deliver the goods so I put up with one every couple weeks or so.)  She said we looked so sweet.
  • I watched from my Jumperoo as Momma prepared a heart-shaped pizza and chocolate fondue. I was asleep when they had their romantic evening, but I think I had chocolate milk for breakfast the next morning so Momma must have really enjoyed that fondue.

So many new things to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch…Yup, St. Valentine’s Day is definitely more interesting on the outside of Momma’s tummy!

These pictures aren’t great, but they do show off three of my latest tricks.
1) I can suck on my lower lip and make an “mmmmmm” sound.
2) I hang out with my hands open more and more.
3) I discovered an ear on the right side of my head! How long has that been there?

More TricksNew tricks

Then And Now: Bridesmaid Dress

As I alluded to in this post, my friend Michelle was my Maid of Honor, and looked lovely in her dress. (Be sure to click the thumbnails to view the pictures bigger.)


Almost a year later, she attended my baby shower with this adorable gift, made by her mom out of the same dress. She even used the tiny seed beads and the little buttons! I was so excited to try it on my baby girl.

So just two days after she was born, and much to the delight of the nurses, we put Siena into her beautiful dress as her going-home-outfit.

Now, three months later, we tried it on her again and it fits much better.

They say every bride thinks she’s chosen the perfect dress that her bridesmaids can wear again… but I sure wasn’t expecting my daughter to be the one wearing Michelle’s dress!

Sweet surprise

As my mom put it, “That’s probably the most expensive dress she’ll ever own…at least until she’s a bridesmaid!”

Saturday Night Out

Hawk in Winter and I have spent many of our waking hours lately working on a website for our photography business. Siena has other ideas for how she’d like us to spend her waking hours, however, so it’s been difficult to find a block of time when we’re both available.

Our friend Jillian had kindly offered to watch Siena for a few hours this weekend if we wanted to get away for an evening alone. In the past, Siena has slept through her trips to restaurants so we hardly noticed we had her along. We chose to take Jillian up on her offer, but to use our time without Siena to work on the website, then take Siena with us to Mass and dinner out.  Things didn’t go quite as planned, however! (I seem to be using that phrase quite a bit since becoming a Momma…)

We picked her up from Jillian’s and learned that she was hungry and fussy, but had refused the bottle. Jillian suspects she’s starting to teethe, so we’re bracing ourselves for that adventure. I fed and burped her in the back during Mass. Not ideal, but she was quiet and alert after that. Previously, she’d slept through most Masses. She still earned her usual praise from those in the pews around us once Mass had ended.

On our way out of the church, the parish priest asked if we could help him with something. When we first met with him about Siena’s baptism, he was delighted to discover HiW’s technical abilities and has asked for help with a few projects. He is interested in the latest technology, but not quite proficient. A few months ago, for example, he asked HiW to teach him how to check the voicemail on his iPhone. He had a couple hundred unheard messages, but instructed HiW just to delete them so he “could get caught up.” (!)

Saturday night’s impromptu project was setting up Father’s new computer, which then evolved into securing the WiFi network for the parish and connecting the printer. This time, I had an assignment too. Once I mentioned our aspiring photography business, he ran to a back room and emerged with another new purchase – a Nikon D60 camera, two lenses, and a flash. Siena was mostly content on a blanket while I took things out of their boxes, put them together, and tried not to drool over it all as I jotted down some instructions for him. After about an hour,  he had to go meet with some other parishioners. Once we finished, we locked up as instructed, and headed off to the second part of our evening – dinner out – almost two hours after we’d planned. Here are some blurry cell phone pictures of our adventure:

We have become accustomed to two things when we bring Siena to a restaurant.

1) Waitresses and other customers come up to us and gush over Siena.

2) We are offered a high chair, turned upside down, so her carseat can rest on the wooden dowels that make up the base.

Both things happened this time. Even a couple of truckers came over to adore our daughter! What made me laugh out loud, though, was reading the sign attached to the underside of the highchair’s seat, visible only when the whole thing was turned upside down. Click the picture to see it bigger:

Highchair warning


That’s okay. Siena didn’t sleep anyway, and didn’t want to be in her carseat. She wanted to be held, preferably in either a sitting or standing position, thankyouverymuch. It looks like her days of extreme portability are over. Which means we’ll be having far fewer Saturday Nights Out.

Double Tiggers = Double Trouble

Car SeatBefore Siena was born, HiW was working on getting the car seat ready. I thought it would be helpful to practice using the straps and buckles if we had a life size doll. I looked in my hope chest and found a beloved baby doll from my childhood. It was made to look like a newborn, complete with wrinkly fingers and toes (and was lifelike enough to play the starring role in a number of Christmas pageants). I found it ironic, as I pulled her out of my hope chest a week or so before Halloween, that she was dressed in a Tigger costume.

The doll served her purpose quite well, but the Tigger costume was too big for our newborn come Halloween. When Siena was ten weeks old I saw a Flickr album of our friends’ baby London wearing a different Tigger costume, and remembered the babydoll again. Siena fit hers well enough at that point, so off we went to London’s house for a Tigger photo shoot. We started off with both babies on the floor, but quickly abandoned that plan in favor of the couch. Never quite got them both smiling at the same time, but ended up with some pretty cute pictures nonetheless, don’t you think?

Not So Jumbo Jack

New babyPlease pray for little Jack, born prematurely to a college friend of mine, at just 27.6 weeks gestation. You can learn his story and follow his progress here.

As a Special Education Preschool Teacher, I have been honored to know some pretty impressive little kiddos who have been fighting for life since the day they were conceived. They tend to bring people together, remind us all to count our blessings and appreciate the simple joys in life, call us to our own personal growth, and inspire us with their strength and determination. Little Jack already seems to be doing all of the above.

Keep it up, kiddo!

(Oh, and watch out parents – it seems like the kids I meet with these struggles in their past are some of the most stubborn strong willed preschoolers ever. But remembering it’s a character trait that helped them through the first few months of their lives does make it easier to be the patient teacher I strive to be!)

January Game Night, Take Two

Because Hawk in Winter didn’t really get to join in on our New Year’s Eve Game Night, we had another one last night. We had a “progressive dinner” of sorts – dinner at Matt and Jillian’s, then dessert at our house. After delicious fajitas, HiW had a special request to check out Super Mario Brothers on their Wii. We all watched and reminisced about 80’s video games. When I say “we all watched” that includes Siena! We tried her in a little seat to help her sit up. Check her out!

Her head kept turning, with fascinated eyes, from the TV screen to her Daddy. Siena’s hands still spend most of their time balled up in clenched fists, tucked tightly to her chest, but a couple times they did touch the sunshine toy! She watched her hands intently, as if starting to realize those things are attached to her. [Read more…]

Happy New Year!

I had a great New Year’s Eve, but poor Hawk in Winter spent most of it in bed with a sinus infection. My friend Michelle was staying with us, and we invited our friends Matt, Jillian, and Baby London over for a game night. Siena’s onesie was a gift from Michelle and her mom. The babies didn’t make it to midnight, but Hawk in Winter joined us for desserts and limoncello toasts as we watched the countdown. It was a peaceful, fun-filled evening full of laughter and good friends. Here’s hoping it was indicative of the year ahead!