Thursday, August 31, 2006

I just got the portraits Emily took of Lulu during our last trip to Texas! Good thing we finally have some pictures of her now. Thanks, Em, we love them! BTW, the blue dress is one that Em and I used to wear.

Cough, cough, sniffle, sniffle. Our girl has her first cold. We went to lunch and shopping today with Hope and John but she was not too happy and just kind of moaned the entire time. I just put her to bed so hopefully she'll get a good night's rest and wake up feeling better tomorrow. Poor baby, she needed lots of hugs today. I was happy to be of service.

In other news, it's the Stephens Family: 2, The Mice: 1. We've zapped 2 mice in the last 24 hours since the RatZapper arrived, but not before they ate through another bag of Tostitos. Unfortunately, after we got home from a quick dinner tonight and I opened the pantry door to see if the Zapper's tell-tale red light was blinking (it was!), there was yet another mouse staring at me from on top of the powdered sugar box, acting like he owned the place. But I have no doubt that he'll be toast soon, too; not only am I completely obsessed with getting rid of them (I even dreamed about them last night), I just realized I've been training for this since the second or third grade when this was my favorite game:
And, Gary just came up from the basement and insisted that I post this photo... (I apologize to all the sqeamish out there):

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oops, I did it again. I pulled a Britney. Yesterday while I was in the shower, I put Lulu in her bouncy seat with some toys to keep her occupied but forgot to fasten her safety belt. Usually she sits in there and plays while I shower and I periodically open the door and check on her, but yesterday, unfortunately, I forgot that her newest favorite thing is to arch her back and push her legs down to scoot out of any reclining object or seat. (The first time she tried that in her swing we caught her mid-flight nearly to the floor.) So, anyway, right in the midst of washing the conditioner out of my hair, I heard a boom. Luckily, the bouncy chair was sitting on the floor so she didn't have far to fall, and she didn't cry, so I'm assuming it didn't hurt too much. She just mostly looked surprised which was probably brought on more by seeing me charging at her naked and soaking wet rather than falling out of her chair. To make myself feel better, I'm telling myself that if there wasn't a 'manny' involved, this would have happened to Britney SEVERAL times. Here's a re-enactment of the event (just of the baby falling, not of me running around naked):

Now I'm trying to redeem myself in other ways. For example, when Lulu is in her walker and gets right up next to the TV while watching her Baby Einstein DVDs, I tell her parental things like "you'll ruin your eyes if you watch TV that close!" and "TV will rot your brain!" Mother of the Year, right?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Here are a couple of pictures of some of Emmylou's friends up here. The first is of Aaron and Alyssa, Eric and Missy's adorable kids. We went to their house Saturday night and they were both so sweet to Lulu. Alyssa helped me feed Lulu some prunes (yum, yum) and get her ready for bed and Aaron offered his bottom bunk and favorite striped blanket for her to sleep with. Aaron was also hilarious earlier in the evening. I took Emmylou over to the couch to nurse her and he followed because he was so interested in her. As soon as I got her to latch on, he said, "babies just love that thing!"

This photo is of a brand new friend of Emmylou's. His name is John and he was born 2 weeks before her. He belongs to Hope, the daughter of my Aunt Carol's friend and they just moved to Baltimore about 6 weeks ago from New Orleans. Although John fell asleep sitting practically straight up in his highchair at lunch today, I'm sure we'll embark on many exciting adventures with him in the near future!

Other than meeting with friends, it's been pretty quiet around here except for my new declaration of war against the pantry mice (yes, now I've seen more than one). For a while I tried to think of them as cute and even named them Bianca and Bernard in honor of the Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart-voiced Rescuers, but now they've eaten through our second bag of hard-to-find baked Cheetos, so it is ON. We got an email that the RatZapper shipped yesterday and I cannot wait for it to arrive. The only thing that can save them now is a giant goggled albatross sweeping through my dining room (or maybe if I actually find them in outfits like these- that would be too cute, wouldn't it?).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Here are a few pics from our trip...


Getting a laugh and a bath from Grammie:

Hangin' out with Lizard:

Em's new dog, Cricket:


...what moved into our pantry while we were gone:

(Don't worry, the RatZapper is on its way...)

Monday, August 21, 2006

We are all finally back home today! After 19 days at "camp," Lola finally arrived home today in a near-catatonic state of exhaustion, as she usually does following a vacation with fellow canines. Here she is giving Lulu a welcome home nuzzle.

And here is Lulu waiting for our plane and onboard yesterday.

I'll try to post a few other photos from our trip tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Aaaah... after a relaxing day yesterday following the insanity of Austin, Lulu and I slept in until 10:30 this morning! I think we both needed it. Last night we went to Pappadeaux with her Mimi and Grammie. Here she is with her Mimi there last night:

and this is what happened when I left her alone with Grammie (and Grammie's camera) for an hour (check out the expression on Emmylou's face!):

and just hanging around on Grammie's sofa with her bunny:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We are back in San Antonio after a couple of crazy-busy days in Austin, but before leaving we got to stop by the Austin Children's Museum (where Lizzie works!) to see the Biscuit Brothers. It was a real foot-stompin', yeehaw shoutin', Old McDonald singin' good time and little Emmylou was plumb tuckered out by the end of it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

That was then...

This is now...

This is Emmylou with her friend Alyssa, who was born 2 months after her. The first picture is from the first time we came to Texas, only a few days after Alyssa was born. I'm so excited that Emmylou and Alyssa will get to play together once we move back! By the way, she's with her mommy, my very good friend, Lizette.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dear Emmylou,

You are five months old today and we couldn't be enjoying you more! I mean, you've always been fun, but now we're realizing you were kind of a bump on a log (albeit a very cute bump on a log) up until the last few weeks, since you've learned some fun, new tricks! We're in Texas right now and a couple of days ago at your Grammie's house, you blew raspberries for the first time and cracked yourself up. We thought it was hilarious and made you do it over and over and over again. Now it's one of your favorite things to do, even doing it this morning while I was feeding you bananas (I guess I got what I asked for). Your other tricks are splashing water in the pool, rolling over, and grabbing both feet when you lie on your back. You're also close to being able to sit up by yourself and you'll take anything we put in front of you and put it in your mouth to see how it tastes. But maybe the best trick you've learned so far, though, is how to sleep through the night. Ever since we got back from New York and you've been in your own room and bed, you've slept a minimum of nine hours a night! Yes, I do think this trick is my favorite.

You are laughing so much these days for lots of different reasons. You laugh when your daddy or I blow a raspberry on your tummy and even more when I follow it up by tickling your sides. And you're really great for my self esteem, because you think everything I say and do is hilarious. I absolutely love it when you look in my eyes and then reach out to put your hands on my cheeks. So sweet!

You were such a big girl yesterday. While your Grammie, Aunts Emmy and Lizzie and I were off at Lake Austin Spa getting our dosha balanced, third eye clarified and bodies stretched, massaged and scrubbed, you spent the morning with your Mimi and then went to see the Am Rhein crew at Aunt Lynn's house. I heard you were a very good girl and that you loved hanging out with everyone. It makes me so happy that you are getting to spend time with everyone here in Texas but it breaks my heart a little that they aren't all part of our daily lives up in Baltimore. Maybe that will change soon-- it's so important to us that you are close to everyone in the family. We all love you so much!

Our lives continue to change in so many ways because of you. There are the little ways, like the millions of snaps I never knew I'd fasten on your clothes and how I never knew I'd care so much about when someone else poops, but then there's the big way we've changed: you have made us into a real family. We never knew how good it would feel to sneak you into bed with us to cuddle on weekend mornings, to board and ride the plane to Texas together as a family, and to see the world through your eyes as you discover new sights, sounds, tastes and smells everywhere we go. We'll be right beside you every step of the way.

Love you,

Friday, August 11, 2006

Although it was a little touch and go at BWI airport yesterday (thank God I didn't pack any breastmilk), we actually landed in Austin on time and were at Guero's for lunch! Mmmmmm, Mexican food! Does it get any better than this? Emmylou had a tough time deciding what to have but Aunt Emmy helped her choose.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Our house has officially turned into Babyland. Here's the latest piece of equipment she's acquired, sent to her from her Pawpaw and Nana the other day. She loves it!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

You're looking at the new Stephens' family champion sleeper! After we got back from New York and I'd had it with getting up at least 4 times a night with her, I decided it was time for a little tough love-- she needed to sleep in her own room, in her own crib. So far, so good-- 12 hours the first night and 9 hours last night! Although I'm sure she enjoys the comfy bed and nice quiet, dark room, I think it also has something to do with her starting the solid foods regularly and going to bed with a nice full tummy. Of course, I'm not sure that will be the case tonight--- today while I was at work she got a little ambitious and Gary ended up feeding her an entire jar of sweet potatoes in one sitting. Needless to say, she's had a bit of a tummy-ache all afternoon. We'll see how it goes. Here she is in her jammies ready to say 'night-night.'

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Since Gary had to cancel his Sideways-inspired wine trip with Kirk this past week due to business, we decided to take a shorter family vacation for a couple of days with Steve, Yvonne and their kids to Steve's hometown of Wellsville, New York. I had always heard that upstate New York is the antithesis of what you think of when you hear "New York," and it couldn't be more true. Wellsville is in the middle of beautiful farmland and is quite the picture of Americana. Gary, Emmylou and I stayed with Steve's sweet Grandma Liz in her 100 year old house on Main Street (complete with a wrap-around porch and swing that Emmylou and I enjoyed several times) and got to make several trips to the bar Steve and his cousin Andrew own called Better Days, also on Main Street, a few blocks down. Everyone knows everyone there and we felt like celebrities because everyone knew who we were everywhere we went! Steve and Gary got to play in a golf tournament (Steve and his dad took first place and Gary and Andrew took third!) while Yvonne and I took the kids around town visiting with lots of animals and taking in the amazing scenery. I couldn't believe the weather-- yesterday the high in Wellsville was 76 degrees! We were in sweaters and jackets this morning if you can believe it. Here are lots of photos:

Emmylou on the porch at Steve's parents' house, with their barn in the background:

With one of Steve's mom's "girls"-- she has a few different kinds of chickens, and the one in the picture is an Araucana, the kind Martha Stewart always talks about that lay blue eggs.

B.B. the pig (short for Bacon Bits?)...

Meeting Velvet the horse...

We went to the top of a very tall hill for a lovely picnic...

Grilled burgers and hot dogs and roasted marshmallows...

Yvonne and Maryanne...

Nora and Lulu...

Steve's parents' crazy dog named (what else?) Scout...

Emmylou riding with Daddy on his golf cart...

(These Are) Better Days...

A favorite restaurant on Main Street (I swear, Texas is everywhere)...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Emmylou's Grammie knows I sometimes call Emmylou "my little bird," so look at what she sent to her! I thought it might be a little big, but I went ahead and tried it on her today and it fit pretty well. And even though she pooped on it about 5 minutes after she had it on and had to have her outfit changed, she's still my "sweet little bird." Thanks, Grammie!

By the way, this blog: not so magic. We're still having fitful nights of sleep but I'm optimistic that we'll find our way back soon...