Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mucho feliz Navidad

We celebrated Christmas with gusto in Warsaw, IN. Jill's bro + family from Nashville, Jill's bro's wife's sister + family from TX, and we hunkered down at mom and dad's. Maybe there were 12 of us? Plus 6 MI relatives came for a day visit. Spanish, English, laughter, and some tears filled the house.
All but one of us got into the Christmas Eve photo, so here she is below keeping an eye on los primos.
Only two of the four small persons were mobile, so chaos was limited. If we all get together next year, the kids might have to dress in bubble wrap.
A small amount of very dry snow was available for our snowball fights. On the bright side, very little pain resulted from a direct hit with a snowball.

Don't be fooled by the smiley faces. Snowball fire awaits!
Call us mean parents, but we didn't get Clara a single gift for Christmas. The rest of the relatives gave her many gifts.

Finally, I know you're asking, 'Gee, they were in Indiana, I wonder if they played basketball?' I joined dad and 8 other Hoosiers for the weekly 5:30-6:30 AM Tuesday pickup game at Grace College. True story.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry before Christmas

The first snow dusting of the year happened this week. Clara and I celebrated by playing outside in our jammies for 10 seconds. I had more fun, obviously.
After some consideration, I chose to not ride the studded tire bike to work, opting for my normal commuter bike with its better fenders and lights. I'll post a photo of the spikey bike when (if??) it really snows. The coldest temp so far on my way to work was 9 degrees F. By not wearing them, I learned that longjohns under the pants improves the sensation in the legs at this temp.

Some Christmas clothes were included in the great number of hand-me-downs that Clara got, and Jill has been quite happy to put Clara in them for this Christmas season.

Jill's deep thought of the day: babies grow so much faster than you'd (we'd?) think, and at no point in the future will the baby again be like she is now. Me: quick, let me hold her again!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Urbana people

We've put lots of pictures of family (and of course the baby) lately. Now seems appropriate to show off some of the good people that actually live in this town.

First, there's not-far-away-neighbor Nina, Jill's during the day hang out friend. Not only did she ably and willingly watch Clara during Jill's 2nd shift today, but she met us for lunch yesterday at TBMRWBTSFC (the best mexican restaurant we've been to so far in chambana), El Charro on Green St. Jill and I took a bite of cow tongue from Nina's burrito. Quite tender and mild in taste--not bad.
Our church, located next to campus, has many college students. So we volunteered to adopt-a-student-or-2. Eric and Steven are underclassmen that live in the same dorm. Happily, they have time to join us for dinner about once per month between studying and playing video games. We made fudge. Steven (middle) is very tall.
We also joined a small group at church. We love the wide variety of ages, jobs, etc in the group. Clara is the youngest member.
I can't go through a whole post without showing off the baby. She is just starting to get the idea of how useful hands and eyes in combination can be.

Monday, December 7, 2009

3 whole months

Another month surged past. Clara is 3 months old! Smiles are slightly more common and giggles happen occasionally, though we haven't caught those on film. We haven't seen any huge changes lately, not a bad thing. It's fun to hold her a lot and she can't escape.
Last night was the first accumulation of snow this year. I rode to work over a dusting of snow on the road. It was gone when I rode home.

Bike riding is different with Clara around, but happily I'm getting out there, despite cold temps. Mostly I take a 1 hour jaunt by myself. I did ride with the boys on black Friday (photographic evidence here) and have ridden with Tom a couple times on Sunday afternoons. On Sunday, we rode south into a 10 mph wind with 30ish degree temps, and I was happily comfortable. That is until Tom pipped me at the town limit sign. Curiously, I beat him up power climbs (term used loosely as these are not bigger than overpasses) and he beat me in the flat sprint. Psychoanalytical help for my lack of sprint is on the way.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Guess what? Our camera has a black and white setting, and I like it.

Grandpa and Grandma K celebrated thanksgiving a day early with us because they left on Thurs. The food and time together were both excellent.

We heartily agree with what Chelsea wrote in a comment of the last post. We are so thankful that Clara has joined our family. What makes a great gift? Something you can't buy, can't earn, and don't deserve. The long wait makes it sweeter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

more grandparents

Grandpa and Grandma K are in town to visit the baby for the first time. They kindly brought the CA weather with them, ending a string of rainy days.
You may certainly feel bad for them since they live so far from Clara. However, 2 other super fun granddaughters live in their hometown.
My favorite women are quite beautiful.
Clara's eyes are still a lovely shade of blue. Are they going to stay that color?
Since grandpa and grandma are in town, we picked Sunday to have Clara's dedication at church. We promised to do our best in showing her how to follow Christ. The church members promised to help us. Pastor Shannon conducted the dedication.
I still wake up every day amazed that Clara is our daughter. She brings SO MUCH joy to me and Jill, and we are so happy that family and friends also love and enjoy her.

Bonus blessing: she slept 9 hours straight on Sat night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a big milestone

The fun train has slowed just enough for me to get my bearings and report on the goings on.

We took another trip to Warsaw this weekend to be a part of the surprise 25th anniversary of Grandpa S's pastorate at Calvary Baptist Church. That's no exaggeration, he has been the head (and for many years only) pastor at the same church for 25 years. Quite an achievement for both the pastor and the membership! During those 25 years, I have been a regular attender of 10 different churches, 2 of which no longer exist.

Speaking of churches, friends from our church in Abq sent a shower-in-a-box for Clara. She loved it!
October was wet, so November started off gloriously. Jill toted the baby around the local golf course after we got flu mists/shots and got baby checked out. She is 50th percentile in height and 25-50th in weight.
Much family converged on Warsaw for the anniversary weekend. Cousins are huger than Clara. Ricky reported to Papi that Clara hit him. Papi was skeptical. So I will train her to hit them both for real later.
I fear the consequences of not showing the 3rd sister of Grandma S holding the baby. Aunt Jan!
Clara continues to impress us. On Sunday night, she slept 7 straight hours, and she did it again on Mon night. She's looking intently at toys. She and I had a good conversation tonight:

Me: At work today, blah blah blah .....
Clara: ooooooo!
Me: And then ....
Clara: aaaaayyyyyyiiiii!
Me: I love you!
Clara: eeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2 months yes

Clara is 2 months old, so time to check her growth. She weighs about 10 lbs and is getting quite close in size to Raggedy Ann. Of course, she has a long way to go to match RA's hair.
We're still quite happy when friends visit and get to see the baby.
My grandparents have a poster in a bathroom that has two photos of a boy sitting on a chamber pot. In the first photo, he looks like Clara below, and the caption reads, 'I use Dr. Carter's liver pills.'
In the second photo he looks like this, and the caption is 'I DON'T!'
A minor parenting disappointment to date is that Clara is not overjoyed to see me when I get home from work. I assume that this will change rather soon. But maybe the real question is how long that phase will last. I'm hoping at least 12 years, and 18 would be fantastic.
I really hope that Clara doesn't perfect this look when she sees me. We'll work on detraining this expression straight away.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

smiles in pixels

Smiles are still tricky to capture with the camera, but Jill was johnny on the spot this morning. Smiles tend to come in the morning or when changing her diaper. Very rarely she'll smile if I rub her belly.
And this is the jackpot smile! Maybe next time we'll get her smiling at the camera. Stay tuned.
Even though Aunt Jerie used an intermediary to complain about her absence from the IN trip post, we're happy to insert her holding Clara here.
Ironically, Clara is terribly upset as I'm writing this post.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MI pays a visit

Fall is in full swing here in the midwest. Thankfully, our current home has no fence, so I might be able to avoid raking leaves. At our old house, I would fill almost forty 40 gallon bags. One year, someone 'stole' about 1/3 of our filled bags. I remember we spent a long time debating possible explanations for the mysterious theft. Our favorite theory was that some neighbor kids' mom had told them they had to have 15 bags of leaves by the curb before they could quit raking and play video games.
We're not the only parents that waited a while for a kid to arrive. The outfit below was passed down from Julia. Indeed, we're glad to have Clara with us!
This weekend, the U of Michigan brought its football team to town. Of greater note is that Jill's cousins came also to watch the football game and to see the baby. After showing them the sites of downtown Urbana, I went with them to the game, sitting in the MI fan section. The section emptied steadily as Illinois pounded MI in the 2nd half. The cousins took it well, though you can see that Brent's still looking a little serious in the picture below.

* * * * * * *
After church today, we went to Za's for lunch in campustown. Maybe it's just the clientele there, but all the young people seem to wear new clothes, and most were fashionably dressed. Did the grunge era completely die off without anyone telling me? Is there anything else I missed lately?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

first road trip

We took a trip to IN to visit Grandpa and Grandma. Clara slept the entire way there and all but 20 minutes of the way back (she was hungry).

As an added bonus, great-aunts, -uncles, and -grandma drove down from MI to see the baby. The baby did not disappoint. Mom and dad didn't have much baby holding time this weekend, except for the late, late shift.Great-aunt Jo has some good skills -- we learned bobbling from her, a bouncy-patting-making baby happy shuffle.
Big great-uncles still remember baby handling skills.
4 generations together. Great-grandma -> 2nd daughter -> 1st daughter -> 1st daughter. Good heritage!
Grandpa remains fond of the baby. Also note the Illini jersey! Cousins are coming from MI this weekend to watch the IL-MI football match on Halloween. The team with the most orange should win!
Despite the seemingly unending rain this month, we've had a number of beautiful days, as suggested by this photo. The falls colors brighten the many grey days.
Grandpa and grandma's church put on an open house to welcome the baby. She drew a lot of attention.
Good ole friends stopped by to say hello.

Many of the people we saw over the weekend had been asking God to send us a kid for a very long time. Suddenly, we have Clara, and we are overjoyed to introduce her. It's a faith becomes sight moment.

P.S. Apologies to those whose photo does not appear in this post. If you complain enough, we'll put you in a later post.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

eatin' and sleepin'

The fun continued this week with Clara.
Most of the time, she's a happy baby. Not always though! 'Where's my milk?!'
Typical Saturday fun of walking to the farmers' market and eating lunch out.
She's still mostly small enough to sleep on couch pillows.
Dad and Clara get a nice nap before Bible study on Sun afternoon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

some milestones

As requested by grandma S, here's the baby and Raggedy Ann comparison. First, from week 1.
Now from tonight (just over 1 month). She wouldn't leave her legs stretched out, so you'll have to use your imagination about her height. Also, she's wearing lots of clothes because it is quite cold today.
Saturday was a big day for Clara. First, she smiled at us. The smiles were brief and glorious. Second, she copied our arm motions (raise arms, bring back to chest).

Perhaps because those actions were so strenuous, she has done nothing but eat and sleep today. Or perhaps she's gearing up to grow by another leap or bound.