Wednesday, October 03, 2012

J at 6 months

We had a little scramble to get all our paperwork together for him, but we were thrilled to be able to adopt J in February. We named him J, for my father who passed away last November. Our boy has been growing like crazy, in his body and in our hearts, and we are so blessed to have him and Z. We call him “little monster” and “bubba” because that was Z's best attempt at pronouncing “brother” when we brought him home.

He is growing well, but differently from Z. He's about average for height, but he's thinner than she was. It seemed like it took him until he was three months to have anything you could call a bootie, and he never really got the fat rolls. He struggled a lot with his digestion the first few months. We finally figured out that he was allergic to milk around 3.5 months, and that made a huge difference. He stopped spitting up literally overnight when we changed his formula and he's been a happy baby ever since. He is up to date on all his shots and the doctor says he's hitting all his milestones. He started on solids this last month and really loves to eat! He wanted nothing to do with cereal, really, but loves any kind of soft veggie or fruit that we give him, and he's done great on the little bit of beef and chicken he's tried so far. I think his favorite is apple, but it's hard to know for sure because he's so enthusiastic about everything!

He cut his first teeth, found his feet, and got up on all fours all in a week last month. It's like he was racing to see how many milestones he could hit and how fast. Not long after that, he was crawling. It wasn't a big dramatic moment, he just looked across the room at a toy he wanted and started motoring over to it. He was so pleased when he got there, though, that he kinda forgot how he had done it. It was several days before he did it again, and a few days after that before he finally mastered it and added it to his daily repertoire of tricks.

Some of his favorite things to do now are to grab onto faces and chew chins and noses. He knows the word “zrbtt” (I think most people call them “blowing raspberries”) and if Z starts giving zrbtts to me or Rose, he will crawl across the floor to do it, too. He especially likes to zrbtt people on the cheeks. He's very slobbery, so you have to love him a lot to let him do it. He has a great grip, though, and can all but do chinups off my ears. I had been growing my hair out, and trying out dreadlocks, but he was getting his sticky little fingers so tangled in the locs, and then he barfed in them and I couldn't get the smell out, so I had to cut it short. He still gets a good grip on it and pulls me in close so he can chew my nose, but at least now it's easy to untangle him. He's got swimming lessons coming up in the fall, so we can't wait to see if he learns as quickly as Z did. He loves to play and splash in the water, and we've taught him how to float on his back and hold his breath and go underwater already.

J has been to East Texas for a family reunion, and to Houston to visit with the cousins, and to Austin to visit with our friends and family there, and also to College Station to visit with our good friends who live there. His cousins just love helping with getting him changed and dressed and fed, and they are very excited when they know Z and J are coming for a visit. He hasn't gotten to go on any real vacations yet, but we do have one coming up in October, we'll be going to the beach. I think he'll love crawling around in the sand. He's a good traveler and likes to babble in his car seat and he sleeps well in the car.

He's the apple of his Zeidy's eye (Zeidy is Yiddish for grandfather, that's what Rose's dad is called) and loves to tug on Zeidy's mustache and sit with him in the recliner when we go visit. Rose's mom goes by Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother) and she loves to hold him and feed him his bottles. We try to make sure we see them once a week, at least, so J is very familiar with them and always gets excited when he sees either of them open the door.

My mom recently moved to a new house, so we've been to visit with her a couple of times in her new place outside of Austin. J did his first rolling over there, on the rug, at Easter. My mom is very fond of him and often calls him by my dad's nickname. She reminds him sometimes that he'll have to be a little bit tough to hold his own with such a feisty big sister, but tells him it's okay to be sweet, too.

He's surrounded by music all the time, because we sing to him and to Z as we play our way through the day. He likes to have lullabyes at night, and his favorite toys are a little play piano and a musical table that is covered in noisemaking gizmos. He is definitely a pacifier-loving baby, and never was very interested in his thumb or any other soother. The day he figured out how to put his own pacifier in his mouth was probably one of his happiest, and that's saying a lot because he is a very happy baby. He has an easy, bubbly laugh that he uses all the time. Everything from funny sounds to bouncing on a lap will make him laugh out loud. He enjoyed a bouncer, liked his swing, and LOVES his jumpy seat. He can sit and bop up and down in his jumpy seat for what seems like an hour at a time. He's a funny sleeper, he wakes often as he tosses and turns but it's easy to get him back to sleep. He takes several good naps during the day, but doesn't yet sleep through the night.

And even though he's very nearly 8 months old now, I am so proud of myself for getting this and Z's updates written, that I don't even care that it's late. Writing anything at all is a victory right now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Z at 18 months

I know that Z is actually 21 months at this writing. I'm behind. What else is new? This is more or less the story of my life, so I'm patting myself on the back for getting it written at all.

Our Z is now 18 months! How the time has flown by! We were blessed to adopt Z's brother in February. We named him J, for my late father. She had a little trouble adjusting to another baby in the house at first, but she loves him now and is very tender toward him. She especially likes to help him find his pacifier and get it in his mouth!

She has grown in all of her teeth except for the molars and she is eating anything that comes her way, although she is now somewhat skeptical of any “new” food – meaning food she hasn't seen lately. Her bar-none favorite is cookies, but she only gets those in moderation. Her favorite everyday food is no longer the banana – it's probably a tie between apples and pears. She loves to eat chicken and “noon -ells” (noodles) and nuts and if it were an option would probably have macaroni and cheese with every meal – even breakfast! She and I usually share a bowl of oatmeal or cereal or yogurt and berries in the morning, and then she eats whatever we're having for lunch and dinner.

She learned to walk in May, on Mother's Day, in fact. We were over at Rose's parents' house for dinner when Z finally let go of the couch and walked clear across the floor from Rose to Rose's sister, Simona (Aunt Mimo – Z pronounces it Moomoo). We had noticed that she was much more brave about trying out standing and taking steps when she was on a carpeted or soft surface, so a month or two ago we decided to put a colorful foam mat down on our wood floors in the living room. That's the room where she spends the most time, and it really encouraged her to practice her free standing, bouncing, and cruising. So we're excited that she's walking now, and she definitely appreciates the soft landing she gets when she trips. She's also an excellent swimmer. We took swim lessons in the spring and she can now swim up to 10 feet or so from person to person, or to the wall and back. She loves to be in the water and to swim and play.

She does a wonderful job of talking and signing with us and it seems like she picks up a new word every day! She can do signs for all of her favorite foods – apples, pears, oranges, berries, carrots, milk, bread, and juice, and can say something that you can recognize for pretty much all of those things, too. She loves the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and there's a hip-hop version from an artist named Basho that she especially likes. She loves to watch movies of herself and her new brother on my cell phone, and she calls them “mini-moos”. She also really loves the song “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” - which she calls “Go! Go!” for the part where they sing “Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go!” and “Lime In The Coconut” which she calls “Nutnut”. She loves to dance and “The Hokey Pokey” is a big-time favorite. Before she could stand, we would do that song with her sitting on my lap and I would pick her up and spin her around during the “turn yourself around” segment. Now she stands up and spins on her own until she's so dizzy she's giggling and all but falling over. It's a huge joy to watch her growing and learning.

We went to a family reunion last month in East Texas. It was the first gathering on my Dad's side of the family since he passed away. It was bittersweet for that reason – so good to get to see all the aunts and uncles and cousins and all their growing families – so sad to miss Daddy during all of it. Z and J were the youngest ones there, and were quite the hit. Everyone from the aunties to the kids-of-the-cousins wanted to get to snuggle them and play with them. Z also got to go and spend a week staying with her cousins in Katy, TX while my sister, Bebe, and I were packing up our house to get us ready to move. We've been talking about moving to Austin for years, and we're finally getting ready to put the house on the market. We'll continue to be back in Dallas regularly, though, as Rose's family lives up here. We let Z go stay with the cousins while we were cleaning up and staging everything because her favorite trick right now is emptying containers. It's hard to pack when a toddler is going behind you and undoing all your work! She loved visiting with the cousins, swimming and eating popsicles and drawing with sidewalk chalk and dressing up like a princess.

She finally got her first cold in February. Aside from that, she's been a picture of health and is still pretty much average for height and weight. She usually stays between 40th and 60th percentile for both, although she was a little on the tall side at this last checkup. Learning to walk has slimmed her down a little bit. She was a very pudgy baby until then, and now she's burning off so much more energy walking everywhere. She does great with regular cups, and is starting to get the hang of forks and spoons, too. She loves to try, whether she succeeds or not, and most of the time leaves her plate or bowl sitting on the tray. Food does fly occasionally, but not too often. She takes one good nap every afternoon, though it takes some convincing now to get her to go down. We have most success either walking her in the stroller or going to run an errand in the car. Either way, being buckled into stillness helps her fall asleep. She still usually wakes once or twice a night, but is sleeping 10 or 12 hours a night in spite of that, so she gets great rest, for which we are so grateful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adoptive Mama Stretch Marks

Do you realize how much society programs us about what we "should" look like? If you're into things like The Dove Campaign For Real Beauty or the recent no-Photoshop pledge from Seventeen Magazine or maybe Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair or even something like this movie: Dark Girls or maybe the movie Miss Representation you probably are and this will be me preaching to the choir. If you're not up on any of the above mentioned resources, take a gander at 'em some time and start to really THINK about what the media you're immersed in all day is telling you about what is acceptable about your appearance. And the media for sure has a message for you: signs of aging are unacceptable until they're unavoidable. You must look like you're 20-something until you're 60-something. (Did any of you see comments critical of Hillary Clinton's wrinkles on Facebook posts that praised her for shutting down a sexist line of questioning about what fashion designers she favors? I saw a LOT of that.) Your hair must be straight to be "professional" or "serious". (I'm as thrilled as the next curly girl that curly hair is making so many appearances in commercials, but take a deeper look at the way it's portrayed - always as the flip, fun, crazy thing, and never as the serious, intelligent, professional, respectable thing.) The best hair and skin are blond and tan, respectively. Dark hair and skin are "exotic" and a "curiosity" - good for art - but not exactly acceptable and certainly not for movies or magazine covers. The darker the skin, the less acceptable it is (and this isn't exclusive to American society, worldwide there are caste- and class-based prejudices against the dark skin associated with rural or agrarian-working people.)

So, recently on a website called Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care for folks who (like me) have adopted transracially and want to do right by our children in their specific hair and skin care needs, there was a mom who started a conversation. Her question was fairly simple, but it sparked a lot of response and discussion. She had a history of wearing blond highlights, and though she had been blond as a child, her hair had darkened starting around 13 and been dark since. She had decided that embracing her natural hair might help her daughter to do the same. This is a big deal for young black girls - take a look around at the black women you know and survey how many of them wear their hair in its natural state. There is a lot of pressure on black women to "be presentable" by either straightening their hair or wearing a weave, or spending a lot of money on elaborate styles. (Did you hear about all the criticism of Gabby Douglas' hair while she was busy winning an Olympic Gold Medal?) This mom had gotten a lot of pushback, from people as intimate as family to people as distant as cashiers looking at her ID in the store. And she was wondering if she really should go back to blond? Was she teaching her daughter something valuable by persisting, or was she just being obstinate about something that didn't matter much?

A lot of people, quite rightly, said that what matters is not so much what you do or don't do with your hair, but that you are happy with it, and confident in yourself. They echoed again and again the sentiment that nobody's opinion of your hair matters but your own, and if you are happy with how you look, then rock on. I took a slightly different tack. I think she should absolutely persist with the dark, natural hair, and here's what I said about why:

I think you are experiencing something valuable right now - society is telling you that blond hair is more appreciated and "better" than your natural beauty. Developing coping strategies from this experience and embracing your own hair's color will help you be a better ally for your daughter when she starts to internalize those same messages that her hair is more acceptable, more sophisticated, more beautiful when it is straight and light-colored and shiny. There is nothing wrong with straight blond hair, but it is certainly not BETTER than curly brown hair!
One of the reasons that transracial adoptive parents are counseled to find adult role models of color for their children is that they need to see people who live under the same pressure they do, modeling appropriate responses to it. It's one thing to say "be proud of your gorgeous curly hair!". It's another thing entirely to demonstrate specific ways in which one may do so. Practical example trumps sermon EVERY. TIME. Further down the thread, several comments turned to adults who color their hair to cover up gray, and whether this was good, bad, or neither. I have thoughts on that, too! And here is what I said about that:
I think the impulse to cover our gray is the same impulse our chocolate children feel to lighten their skin and straighten their hair. It's the societal message that youth is more acceptable and more valuable than age, that straight blond hair is more acceptable and more valuable than curly dark hair, and that thinness is more acceptable and more valuable than curviness. Have you ever noticed how in movies, all the women either look 20 or 80? There are few 40 or 60 year old female roles in movies. You're not allowed to be gray until you look like the excellent Jessica Tandy or Dame Judi Dench.

Personally, I rock some silver streaks - definitely more since I brought my babies home! They're like my adoptive mother stretch marks!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Profound Motherhood Moments #2

I have these things I write on Facebook, my Profound Motherhood Moments. I just hit #50, so I'm rounding up the last 25 and sharing them here. If you're not a Mother, you may still find these apply to your relationship with your kids (as a dad) or your pets. Here is the first list

  1. A baby who will fight a kleenex like it's a zombie velociraptor intent on eating her brains slowly and painfully will then turn around and blissfully wipe boogers on your shirt.
  2. After spontaneous sloppy baby kisses are planted on your cheek, you would do well to check in a mirror, lest ye enter the doctor's office with a blob of boogers stuck to your face.
  3. Babies totally don't "get" Daylight Savings Time. Spring forward and fall back are ignored by the diaper set.
  4. To use my powers for good or evil? I forestalled the temper tantrum with a game of peekaboo 5 times (good) and then I let it happen and recorded it (evil). Watch this space for a video link
  5. A stay-at-home-mom on vacation is just a stay-at-condo-mom, BUT your afternoon walk to the park is a walk on the beach, and your spouse makes lunch! It's a good life!
  6. That cool jazz riff I'm singing as I putter around? Came from a Leap Frog music toy. My baby's stuff is officially hipper than I am.
  7. (From Rose) We survived the first year and we're still sane. Except I just ate a half-chewed banana discarded by the baby. (imagine Animal from the Muppets here) AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH
  8. You may prefer to eat the nicer loose oranges over the bulk-in-a-bag ones, but you will also be cleaning up after someone who thinks nothing of dripping orange juice from both elbows and her chin simultaneously
  9. Do not feed cabbage to a person who lacks molars
  10. From now on, when I use the phrase, "it's better than a poke in the eye with a fork," I will be speaking from personal experience. Toddler with fork-1, Momma's cornea-0.
  11. I will continue to maintain that glitter is the herpes of the craft world. As evidence, my son spent about 5 hours at the glitter-festooned residence of his girl cousins today, and when I changed his diaper, there was a fleck of glitter on his man business, glinting brilliantly at me. Once you have a glitter outbreak, you'll be fighting them the rest of your life.
  12. What is it about newborns and 21-year olds that makes them think "party at my crib til dawn!" is a good idea?
  13. You never know how fast you can get from the front to the back seat of your car until you spend a moment trying to figure out how many labrador retrievers are attempting to share a car seat with your newborn.
  14. I frequently mock the guitar solos in classic rock, mimicking them in a nasal nee-nee-neer voice. Zoe is in the back seat, copying me, using her foot as an air mic. I am totally winning!
  15. No matter how beloved my eldest child is, she may *NOT* bogart the bacon. There are some table manners she is expected to learn, even at this age.
  16. Growing bicuspids is a pain in the face, but it opens up your world to some delicious foods. Today, pistachios!!!
  17. that very first social smile absolutely melts your heart
  18. On the plus side, my hair is long enough to trail in a pile of spit up on my shoulder. On the minus side, my hair trailed in a pile of spit up on my shoulder.
  19. The optimal nursing position for a baby with a toddler sibling is anything that places baby's head closer to the arm of the couch than to the sibling's pointy flailing elbows and knees. If you have to switch ends of the couch when the baby switches sides, it's worth it.
  20. Wine packed for road trip is wedged between stacks of diapers and padded with burp rags. Victory!
  21. Decide ahead of time how big a puddle of spilled milk will make you cry and put less than that in the toddler's cup.
  22. it's okay to get in the fridge and raid yesterday's sippy cup for milk to cream your coffee if the toddler has a cold and can't drink the milk anyway.
  23. (courtesy of Rose) Motherhood is really meant to teach you the cornucopia of things you can do one-handed while tending a kid with the other.
  24. Things that are just as endearing the second time around - discovery of the feet, learning how to work the pacifier/thumb (they go cross-eyed!), grabbing you by the hair and pulling you in for a big, sloppy, wet chomp on the nose.
  25. If they're gonna call them milestones, they should be a minimum of a quarter mile apart. Guess who found his feet and cut a tooth all in the same week?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Parenting surprise

I'm a casual writer and avid cook, but something about those sleep-deprived early months with my first baby really broke the part of me that cooks and writes. I can ordinarily walk into the kitchen, glance into the pantry and fridge, and whip up a meal from what's there. For six months after my daughter came home, I would walk in and glance at the fridge and ... nothing. It felt to me like what stroke victims with aphasia describe when they try to think of a word for an object in front of them - they know they should know it, everything about it is familiar, but nothing comes to mind, no matter how they stare and concentrate and think! Writing was the same way... I couldn't string two sentences together, no matter how long I stared at the composer screen on my computer, or the blank page in front of me! Eventually, both skills came back, much to the relief of both myself and my wife! I kept up with reading; that was no problem, likely because it allowed me to be more receptive than creative. But I desperately missed adult social interaction, particularly with people who "got me". I'm not looking for anyone to fulfill me or be my reason for being, but all the same, I need a few kindred spirits in my life. I really benefited from online support groups and my friendships with far-flung folks that I maintain through Facebook, but longed for someone to chat with over coffee or a walk. I still went walking with the kid(s) all the same, but I would've liked a buddy to walk with sometimes. I did a poor job of self-care when my first baby was tiny, partly because she was surprisingly needy (may have been a perfectly typical newborn, but she was my first so I don't have a basis for comparison) and it was hard to meet her immediate needs and mine at the same time, and partly because I easily fall prey to inertia. If I'm sitting on the couch after getting the kids to bed, I'm likely to keep sitting on the couch until bedtime, instead of getting up and working on a project. If I get started with the dishes, I'm liable to spend the whole evening cleaning, because that's one chore that is NEVER done! I know this about myself, and have for a long time -- I'm really bad at scheduling my time, at planning finite chunks of time to work on things, and at managing multiple projects in parallel. It's one of the things I liked about my job: all my projects were two weeks or less (usually much less!) in duration and they came on one at a time with little overlap. Parenting is one SERIOUSLY long-term project, with a ton of overlapping aspects. That's not to say there aren't short-term parts, or that there aren't serial aspects of it, but I find those easy to deal with so I don't give them much thought. I've done a much better job taking care of myself and holding onto my sanity with my son. I'm building up a support network, and that helps a lot. I've also done a better job of self-care and making sure I get the rest and nourishment I need. I'm involved in things that give me a sense of purpose apart from my kids. I would say at this point my transition from working girl to working-at-home mom has been successful, but it was not without its bumps in the beginning.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Open Letters Edition

If I had written an open letter to my daughter three hours ago, it would've gone something like this:

Dear one,

Go to sleep. Now. Stop poking your finger into holes in your crib. Lie Down. Put your hat back on. Stop taking your hat off. Yes, you can sing to yourself. Put your hat back on. Go right ahead and babble. Lie Down. Lie Down. Lie Down. Put your hat back on. Lie Down. You know, you're not going to be harmed in any way if you fall asleep. Put your hat back on. Lie down. Stop poking your finger into holes in your crib. Just lie down. Put your hat back on first. Now lie down. And go to sleep. Yes, like that. The snoring is cute.


P.S. You're about 10 times more adorable right after you fall asleep than you are right before.
If I wrote an open letter to the clerk at the UPS store today, it would've gone something like this:

You are very sweet and I appreciate you taking the time to attempt to get the address from me three times because I'm tending two squirming babies who keep interrupting. I'm sorry that I'm not more organized. Letting me write it down was a good idea. Thanks for your patience, I hope you have kids some day and that someone is nice to you when you're trying to manage them and some difficult task at the same time.

That Frazzled Mom
If I wrote an open letter to the neighbor it would go something like this:

Your tree is scratching up my car. Again. You need to trim it. I found a flower from that Crape Myrtle in my underwear today, and that's pretty much the last straw. (Can you call it a straw when it's clearly a flower? I'm going with yes.) I'm tired of getting my clothes and my hair and my babies and my car door snagged on your tree. I can't park any further away from the tree than I do, because I'd be too close to the corner and I'd rather deal with you than City Code Enforcement. I'm probably going to break that branch off again this year. Just like I did last year. And I'm not sorry.

No love and increasingly less good will as the flowers pile up in my footwell,
The Tall Neighbor-lady

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Don't say it!

You know how if you say something like, "I can't live without cheese!" you're supposed to immediately knock on wood so you don't jinx yourself?  Yeah, I shoulda done that.

My totally amazing young son (who I breastfeed) is allergic to cow's milk.  Which is the primary ingredient in my favorite food: cheese.  Also, cheesecake, cheese dip, cheese fondue, baked brie, cheeseburgers, nachos, lasagna, eggplant (or anything else) parmesan, those little plates of cheese that come out with a wine flight, and every hors d'oeuvres on the planet (that's worth eating).  I can do without ice cream.  Seriously, I can! I've liked sherbet and sorbet better since I was 3 and got to pick my own flavor at the Baskin Robbins in the "old" mall in Kingsville.  I always drifted away down to the left end of the little display case, to where the Orange Sherbet, Rainbow Sherbet, and Daiquiri Ice were kept.  That was my favorite frozen stuff and it still is, Bluebell's Pecan Pralines 'n Cream notwithstanding.

So, when my wife was considering the Paleo and Primal diets, I urged her strongly to go with Primal. Why?  Because of the CHEESE, of course!  And every time we got into a conversation with someone about how and why she was eating a Primal diet, this would come up.  And I'd loudly -- and likely melodramatically -- exclaim that I would absolutely DIE without cheese.  As my friend pointed out tonight, when you say things like that, God quirks an eyebrow at you and says, "Really?"  And then He laughs.  Likely melodramatically.

Which brings us to how I totally screwed myself out of cheese for the near foreseeable future.  Because a baby who is allergic to cow's milk is allergic typically to the proteins in it, which pass through breastmilk from mama to baby.  So I'm off the cheese for a while, and all milk-derived products.  The great news is that I'm friends with some awesome dairy-free eaters, and they've already turned me on to some great resources and substitutes that will make this transition as easy as can be.  The hardest thing so far has been finding a non-dairy milk that will do as a coffee creamer.  I'm totally unenthused about non-dairy processed creamers, like Coffee Mate, so I've been exploring the almond milk (fail), coconut milk (fail), flax milk (reasonable), and hemp milk (reasonable) alternatives.  Oh, and I'm allergic to soy, so soy milk is Right Out.  The problem with most of these milks as creamers is that they don't have the right pH and fat content to actually cream the coffee.  The flax leaves an oil slick on the surface of the coffee but tastes good, the hemp milk is grainy and falls out of solution (albeit making beautiful spiral patterns) like miso soup does.  I'm still searching for the perfect alternative coffee creamer, so if you know of one, please feel free to advise me!

Holy crap, we have a baby!

How long have I been away from the blog that I didn't mention my new son somewhere in the four months he's been with us? At least four months, I guess. It used to be that I didn't have much to say unless it was about what went into or came out of a baby. These days, I just don't have the time! If I can't scratch it out with my phone in 140 characters or less, I just don't say it. I'm doing really well if I read something that I don't scan in a minute or less, again on my phone, so sitting down to write has been utterly out of the question. I'm already scrubbing sand out of my eyes tonight, but I have to sit a little longer while some stuff cools off in the kitchen, so here I am.
Z took to her new brother like any big sister would. She started trying to poke his eyes and look in his mouth and check out his hands and feet and figure out if he was a baby why he moved so much and made so much noise. Most of the babies she'd previously encountered were made of plastic. These days, she's doing much better. She loves to kiss him goodnight and snuggle him and if he cries she's the first one to go check on him. She still pinches him from time to time, but she's getting the hang of kindly sisterhood. For his part, he's gotten a few accidental hair pulls in there, so we're calling it nearly even. We're thrilled to have this little miracle in our family, and blessed to have had the opportunity to adopt him. We named him James after my father, which is bittersweet since my dad passed away this past Thanksgiving. This is his first grandson, and he would have loved to have met him. For his part, baby boy is a jolly soul who laughs at anyone who will stand still to make eye contact with him.

I hope to be able to manage more updates now that he's approaching the sleeps-through-the-night part of his life.  You'll see it here if that happens!

Credit where credit is due:  The photos in this post were taken by my stunningly talented sister, Joy.  Thanks, Joy!