Tuesday, July 31, 2012

California Trip, Day 1

In a very last-minute turn of events, on July 19 Nell and I flew out to Northern CA to visit my family and attend a camping reunion of many long-time friends.  We were sad that Nathan couldn't come (and I was mildly nervous about traveling with a two-month old without another pair of hands to help), but I was so glad that Nell got to meet her Grandpa (my Dad), aunts and uncles, cousins, and more!  We arrived in California late Thursday night, and got back into Boston around midnight the following Monday.  A whirlwind trip, but one worth a couple of blog posts, I say.

That Thursday was just an evening, not a full day of the trip, but... it was Nell's first time meeting Grandpa!  The moment was captured with a couple of blurry iPhone photos:

The flights themselves were mostly uneventful.  Nell slept like, well, a baby, and hardly made a peep the whole time.  The flight attendants oohed and aahed over her, and neighboring passengers marveled at how she was so quiet they didn't even know there was a baby on board.

The only really difficult moments were:

1) My first flight was delayed by about 45 minutes, turning what should have been an almost hour-long connection into about 12 minutes for me to sprint through three terminals, pushing the stroller holding Nell's carseat, her diaper bag, and my carryon, carrying Nell in the ergobaby carrier, her head bouncing as she smiled up at me with glee as though to say, "Mom, this is fun!  Why don't we do this more often?"  We made the connection -- barely.

2) I went to change Nell's diaper in the plane lavatory, only to find that there was no fold-down changing surface.  My only option was to use the folded down toilet seat with my changing pad laid on top of it, but there wasn't room for me to bend over it without leaving the bathroom door open and sticking my butt out into the aisle.  {Being a mom is so glamorous.}  Right after I finished changing her diaper, while she was still laying on her back, Nell erupted with spit up, shooting what appeared to be the entire contents of her last feeding out of her mouth and her nose about a foot into the air.  She was drenched, the bathroom floor was wet and slippery, I was partially soaked, my feet were covered in sticky, sour milk, and Nell started crying because some of it was in her eyes.

I cleaned the two of us up, changed Nell's clothes, mopped up the floor with paper towels, and returned to my seat, with my fellow passengers probably wondering why it took me about 30 minutes to use the restroom.

Yep, glamorous life of a mom and all that.

And like I said, at the end of it there were Grandma and Grandpa to meet Nell.  

Since my brother Christopher's flight was getting in a few hours later, in the interim, we went out to dinner.  Oh California, I love your salad bars.  Why don't we have good salad bars in Massachusetts?

By the time we were at my parents' house and Nell and I were snug in bed, it was almost 2:00 am CA time, 5:00 am MA time.  A very long 20-some hours with no sleep.

Crawling into bed that night felt so good.

Next up: California Trip, Day 2: "Swallows and Amazons Forever!"

Monday, July 30, 2012

on parenthood and reading to kids

Recently I was telling Nathan how, if I forget to take this whole parenting thing one day at a time, it can get a little overwhelming.  Right now I feel like I can handle the diapers and night feedings, but when I think ahead to having to really parent this precious girl as she gets older, well, am I really going to be up to the task of raising her to be an obedient child, a morally and ethically upright person, an individual capable of contributing to society and making the world a better place?

I said to Nathan, "Right now, getting up with her twice in the night to feed her is totally doable, but will I be able to read her the same books 500 times apiece?"

Nathan's contribution to the conversation was this:

"I get dibs on the first reading of each book, and you can take it from there."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a sunday afternoon

Our afternoon involved cuteness:

{Yesterday at a wedding, while Nell was wearing a cream-colored dress, no fewer than three people referred to her as a boy.  So today we tried out the hair bow, just to make things even more unmistakable.}

more cuteness:

and summer cherries:

oh, and an afternoon nap for all three of us

and a few episodes of White Collar

It was a nice, relaxing summer Sunday.

There are only so many of these types of summer Sundays left, you know.

Soon Nathan begins a new job as organist of a large church in downtown Boston, and the school year gets back into full swing, and I'll have more lessons to teach than I do in the summertime, and gigs and weekend concerts and all those things will resume.

Those are all good things.

But in the meantime, we're enjoying the good summer things. 

How do you like to spend your summer weekends?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

doody duty

Every night Nathan gets to do the final "doody duty" of the day: Nell's last diaper change before the pajamas go on and the last nursing session of the evening commences.  Tonight's was particularly unpleasant for Nathan, as Nell deposited quite a magnificent poop in her diaper right before bedtime.

After changing it, Nathan declared, "That was the worst thing I have ever seen or heard of in my life."

I replied, "Worse than a dead body?  Worse than mass murder?  Worse than the worst evils in human history?"

And Nathan answered, "Yes, yes!  Obviously!  You saw it!  Why are you even asking me these questions?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

two months

On Sunday, Nell turned two months old.

At her dr. appointment the next day, she weighed in at 13 lbs, 10 oz, measuring 23.5 inches long.

She's already outgrown some of her 0-3 month clothes, this girl!

I've been working on a post of her "birth story."  One of these days, hopefully soon, I'll finish it.

Dear Ellen,

In the past few weeks your personality has been showing more and more, and we love it.  You are a wonderful little person.  

You smile so much, big smiles the involve your whole body, as your tummy tightens and your arms and legs flail with happiness.  

Sometimes when you are at your happiest, and I'm singing to you or kissing you or making silly faces, you suck in your breath in a quick, high-pitched little sound that I think might be your precursor to laughing.  All the happy, talkative sounds you make are so delightful to hear.  Sometimes you and I "talk" for a long time, and I smile at you so much my face hurts.

You are, I think, what people call an "easy baby."  Sure, you have your fussy moments and your sad moments, and occasionally you scream inconsolably (which makes your Mom really sad), but mostly you are a happy girl.  Even the things you used to scream for, like baths and diaper changes and having your clothes put on or taken off, you've grown to like.  You are a good sleeper, too, for which I am very grateful.  You wake me up about twice a night because you're hungry, but then you usually go right back to sleep (which means I get to, too).

Once, you slept for eight and a half hours -- right through the night!  It hasn't happened again yet, but it was enough to give me hope that someday soon you'll be sleeping through the night on a more regular basis.

You are a very curious baby, as I suppose all babies are.  You are becoming a champ at holding your head up while you fix your steady gaze on all the interesting things you see.

I started working again around the time you were a month old, teaching lessons to my violin students.  Fortunately, it's very part-time work, especially in the summer when some people are always on vacation.  But you've been great; you sit in your swing and sleep or watch the lessons.  If you get fussy your Dad comes and gets you, but usually you're just fine.  You're so cooperative that I hope we're not taking advantage of your easy-going personality at all by having you sit in on these lessons.

I'm sure your Dad and I would love you just as much if you screamed like a banshee all day, refused to sleep at night, and didn't spend so much time smiling and cooing, but we are sure glad that you seem to be so generally happy -- not just for our sakes, but also for yours.  We love seeing you happy.

If people got to pick their babies, and I had my choice of a hundred thousand babies, I would have picked you.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

the quotable dad

Nathan: When will Nell be old enough that I can pick her up by her head?
Sarah: .... ???? .... NEVER?!?! .... ????
Nathan: Well, my dad used to pick me up by my head.
Sarah: .... That... explains... a lot...


Nathan: I think I get nervous about giving her a bath because I'm worried I wouldn't know how to deal with certain eventualities.  Like, if she pooped in the bathtub, I wouldn't know what to do.  I guess I would grab her out of the tub, wrap her up in a towel, and run into the bedroom, where I could sit in a corner and cry.

{Incidentally, she has never yet pooped in the bathtub.}

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the first post-baby gig

On Monday I played my first post-baby gig.  Appropriately enough, it happened to be a studio orchestra recording session for a children's book and CD.  The work being recorded was a humorous narration/song called "The Bandshell Right Next to The Zoo," with lyrics and narration by actor John Lithgow.  Mr. Lithgow was so fun to hear - whether he was just speaking to the orchestra, collaborating with the conductor, or narrating and singing the song, every word he spoke was positively eloquent.  When the book and recording are released, I'm definitely going to get a copy for Nell.

After Nell was born, I actually didn't touch my violin for five weeks.

When I picked it up again, let's just say it wasn't pretty.  I thought I'd practice some excerpts, but as it turns out, torturing oneself with the Schumann Scherzo after not playing for over a month is not recommended.  So I turned to Kreutzer instead.  And when Nell was willing to sit happily in her swing while I played (usually for no more than 30 minutes at a time), I'd practice through those etudes.  And that was how I started to get my fingers back in shape again, knowing I'd have gigs like this one coming up soon enough.

It was hard to leave this girl on Monday -- the first time I've left her! -- and drive into Boston, knowing I'd be gone for about five hours.

{She was in the capable hands of her Dad, though, and probably didn't even miss me.}

I missed her, but it was nice to be back in the swing of things, and it ended up being a really fun gig to play - probably in my top five.

The studio, with musicians milling about:

A creepy and unflattering side-shot of the famous man himself, which doesn't do him justice in the least.

The room where the magical mixing happens.

I got to hear some of the takes in the sound booth before leaving, and I think the finished product will be good.  I'm definitely looking forward to it being released so I can buy a copy for Nell, and one for my nephews as well!

So, a fun day of musical adventures, but I was so glad to come home to the most beautiful baby in the world at the end of it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

the good things in life lately

Greek yogurt with honey, fresh apricots, and sliced banana: 

They opened a pinkberry north of Boston, hurray!

{It actually opened just after Nell was born, but I've only been twice so far.  I know... I'm surprised too.}

Raspberry crisp.  Om nom nom.

I told myself I'd do a post without any pictures of Nell, just to mix it up a little around here, but who am I kidding?  Anyway, otherwise you'll think all I do is eat sweets, as the above photos represent a somewhat unbalanced perspective on my daily eats.

Speaking of eating, it's one of the things this baby does best.  At six weeks old (last Tuesday), she weighed about 12 pounds!  Look at those rolls on her arms!

{See how I did that segue there?  I can turn any topic around and make it about my baby, before you even know what hit you!  Wham!  It's like six degrees of separation around here.  Or more like one or two degrees; I'm that good.}