Thursday, April 28, 2011

OshKosh Baby

I snagged these overalls at a garage sale last summer when Chloë was a few weeks old. They fit her now.

"Mom, seriously? Another photo shoot?"

She forgot all about the camera when she realized she was sitting in some pretty awesome grass.

Her eyes still mostly blue, and here, they're very happy.


Taste test.

She may live in the city (er, town), but she'll be a country girl at heart.

Funny looking baby toes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chloë's First Easter

We woke up while the sun was still rising, and the light was still low. Chloë wasn't used to being up that early, but she rubbed her eyes and yawned, sleepy, but happy to see Mama and Daddy. We bundled her into her snow suit over her pajamas, loaded the car with blankets, coffee, and juice, and drove to the cemetery. Within a few minutes of arriving, all of Bryan's family, plus a few others had pulled up. We laid the blankets on the cold grass, and started dishing up the breakfast feast that we had all helped prepare. Cinnamon rolls, egg strata, sausage, cheesy croissants, fresh fruit, fruit salad, and coffee and juice. Bryan's dad read the account of Christ's resurrection. It was bright and sunny, but crisp and cold. Chloë wasn't really interested in the fresh banana, but liked the sausage her daddy let her taste. For the second consecutive year, we all feasted early on Easter Sunday, celebrating life in a graveyard. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

And then we went home to get ready for church at the extra early time of 8 am. So we were home by 10, and had time to take some pictures of Chloë's first Resurrection Sunday. The dress she wore was actually a baby shower gift, and I thought it was a perfect Easter dress, even though it was a bit large. So we took some pictures, and then went on to do more feasting and celebrating.

We went to a baptism party, and feasted and celebrated there, and then out to Mom and Dad Blakey's and had a fabulous Easter dinner. There were Easter Baskets at everyone's place on the table, including the baby, and in Chloë's there was a banana that Aunt Laura had drawn the Easter Bunny on, calling it the Easter Banany.

I'm a little sad that I didn't bring the camera for breakfast in the cemetery or dinner at the Blakey's, but here is a video of Chloë's first chocolate bunny taken with Bryan's iPhone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeding the 400

Or more accurately, beginning to prep the food for feeding an estimated head count of 400.

Sarah and I have been doing lots of brainstorming and planning for our church's big Easter Fest in May. We're actually having the feast two weeks after Easter so that we are celebrating Christ's resurrection well into the Easter season.

We decided to get a few things done ahead of time, including making the bread. The Indian bread, or naan, as it is traditionally called, has been made. We will be serving it along side Chicken Biryani.

Sarah has great connections with Bucers, our town's best coffee shop, and they graciously let us use their big kitchen on Sunday when they were closed.

Sarah mixed up all the dough. Each bucket would make 50 flatbreads.

Sarah's husband Joseph and Sarah's sister Becca shaped dough.

I sliced dough.

The four of us worked frantically for hours. Here, we paused for one group photo.

Sarah managed the ovens. When we were done, she had some good burns and a busted knee.

The naan. It was spectacular.

We made about 380 flatbreads. This is a few of them.

Wrapping up the bread after it had cooled.

Ready to be frozen.

There it is.

So if you'll be in the area on May 7th, come to Trinity Reformed Church's 3rd Annual Easter Festival. Seriously. Contact me if you're interested in more details. It's going to be awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 Months Old

Chloë is 10 months old today. And what a little person she has become. To use the word "baby" seems a bit far fetched. She isn't a toddler yet, but she is such a different person compared to that little sleepy newborn she was just a few months ago.

Shortly before Chloë was born, my mom left me with a little journal of hers to read. It details some of the joys and trials of her pregnancy and labor, and then of raising me. It is both amusing and amazing to read about myself, and the striking similarities (or downright identical tendencies) in my own little girl. Strangely, the thing that strikes me most is the description of my stubborn will at that age. And then I think of my own daughter... and worry for a moment. Doesn't every mother say "you just wait until you have children. Then you'll understand"? I think I'm starting to.

The older Chloë gets, the more obvious it is that we live in a fallen world. She is usually a cheerful, and fun and silly baby. But sometimes, and usually if she doesn't get her way, she suddenly becomes a very loud and angry little person. She throws her body backwards until the back of her head is within an inch or two of her diapered bottom. She manages this well if we're holding her, but if she's in her highchair or on the floor, she sometimes gives herself a solid bump on her head. And still she throws fits. Sometimes we lovingly try to correct her attitude. And sometimes we are merciful. Being a parent can be hard work.

So the baby is growing up. She scoots and army crawls all over the place, and I have to be careful when I'm cooking dinner so that she doesn't sneak up right behind me. She still hasn't figured out a true crawl, but I'm thinking she might just skip it. She just gets around so well with her scooting. In the last couple of weeks, she has mastered the art of pulling herself up on furniture, and walks along it quite well. But she can't figure out how to get down. So once she's up, she's happy to play for a while, and then whimpers for help down when she's ready.

She is quite the chatterbox, constantly jabbering to herself or to her toys when she's playing on the floor. Occasionally she'll mimic us when we try to get her to copy our "mama"s and "dada"s, but usually opts for complete nonsense. She is still one of the most active babies I know, always moving in some way. We've figured out that one way to keep her occupied for a while during church is to bring her in in her car seat, and she can kick her legs and rock herself until she gets bored of it. In the unlikely event that there is lots of commotion going on around her, it's as if a magic spell is cast, and she becomes still and quiet while she observes all of the craziness around her.

She uses her hands and fingers very well, and has recently figured out how to "unlock" daddy's iPhone. She loves to roll and play with with her tongue, suck on her upper lip, and those hands and fingers of hers are so strange. Especially when she's tired, she'll grab her daddy's or my hand, trace it until she finds a satisfactory finger, and then try pick at the edge of my fingernail or cuticle until we make her stop. I really don't understand this quirk of hers.

Chloë still nurses throughout the day. I make an effort to give her a full "meal" of baby food at least once a day, and she's been eating all sorts of fun things recently. She eats lots of cheerios, and other cereals and crackers. I introduced squash a couple of weeks ago, peas last week, and let her try a dill pickle today. She tolerates the squash and peas, but prefers them mixed with applesauce. And she loved the pickle, the weird child. I cut up little pieces for her and watched her try to pick up the slippery little things off her high chair tray. She resorted to pushing them close to the edge of the tray, and leaning over and slurping them up. It was hilarious. I am amazed at her ability to figure things out. She absolutely hates the Gerber "garden vegetable" cracker puffs I bought for her to try. She tries to swat or throw them as far away from herself as possible. What a funny child.

Chloë is not very good at sleeping. (I'm not sure why. Her daddy could win contests he sleeps so well.) She rarely has more than one nap, and usually only 30 or 45 minutes at that. She had a two hour nap the other day and I got so much done. And at night, she wakes up frequently. If we bring her to bed, she'll grab one our hands and pass right out. But we've been working on having her sleep all night in her pack-and-play bassinet, but it is always a long night. She wakes up after 2 or 3 hours of being asleep, pulls herself up to stand, and cries. So I put her on her back, tell her to sleep, give her her pacifier, and we continue this cycle for up to an hour until she finally falls asleep again. But then she wakes up after another hour or two. We'll get there. Someday. I'm not too worried about it. Just a little sleepy.

When she wakes up in the morning, usually in our bed, she is often content to just lie there for a while, playing with her pacifier or staring out the skylight windows. Sometimes she gets cuddly and pushes or slams her head into my face or neck. As soon as she gets restless, she crawls towards the digital alarm clock and just looks at them. She is very fascinated by them.

She loves her car seat and going on short car rides. She usually starts jabbering with delight when the car starts rolling. She likes to "sing" with us. She usually just hits the hymnal with her hand and yells rhythmically in a monotone. She loves her baby doll that she got her, and her favorite thing to do is poke her eyes or suck on her ear.

Her daddy is frequently giving her new nicknames. Lately he uses Bonkis Nonkis and Chogkis Nonkis, among the many others we've adopted.

Her hair is growing, lighter than it was when she was born. Her eyes still have lots of blue in them, but are looking a little more hazel. Her eyebrows are getting bushy, and her eyelashes are getting very long. She still just has the two teeth, and occasionally I think she must be getting more. Her ears stick out quite a bit, especially the right one with the hemangioma behind it. I think it's adorable.

So there's an awful lot of scribblings about my baby. Since this is the only journal I keep, you'll have to bear with my overly detailed accounts of everything.

I know there are a lot of pictures of her here, but she is so expressive that I had to share just a few of the many, many faces and attitudes I see throughout my day. My goodness I sure do love this little girl.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunny Saturday

It was a beautiful day today.

Since we have a big yard now, there is lots of work to be done outside. I managed to prune all my rose bushes, pruned an apple tree, weeded my flower beds, tossed wood, hauled logs, gathered sticks, and took some pictures of my happy baby exploring the details of God's beautiful creation. She loved being outside. I think her favorite part was trying to eat the sticks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mandibular Advancement

I finally made an appointment for Thursday to have a consult for jaw surgery. With these guys.

I have always had a bad overbite. So bad, in fact, that I can actually stick out my tongue a good centimeter, even when my mouth is closed. It really has nothing to do with my teeth alignment, and everything to do with having a "short" jaw. When I got braces over 2 years ago, my orthodontist recommended having this surgery done. And so has every dentist I've ever seen. But I've disregarded the advice mainly for one reason: the price tag. It is an expensive surgery, and one that is rarely covered by insurance. But I often think about what life would be like if I went ahead and had the surgery. Because my jaw is so short, I am constantly sliding it forward to talk, bite into food, smile, and simply because I think it looks better. Then to chew food, I have to slide it back to it's "original" position so that my molars can meet. All of this sliding back and forth causes unnatural strain on my jaw, which causes inflammation, tightening of the muscles, clicking and popping of the joint, and almost always some level of pain. Once it high school, the joint was so irritated that I had lockjaw (not to be confused with tetanus) and couldn't open my mouth more than a knuckle's width for almost three months.

Orthognathic surgery is a broad term relating to the reconstruction or realignment of the jaw (mandible) or lower face (maxila). What we are considering is Mandibular Advancement: to "lengthen" my short jaw, which would relieve the stress of my jaw (temporomandibular) joint, and allow for better (and hopefully pain-free) eating, talking, sleeping (the short jaw puts pressure on my airway), and possibly even help with the frequency of my migraines.

This video is a great 30 second clip that explains the surgery well. And really, that bite is just about exactly what mine looks like.

Yes, they would be sawing my jaw in two. Sounds like medieval torture. The recovery looks hard, and the risks look scary. The mouth would have to be wired shut for a month while the jaw heals, and that just sound miserable. And then there's the possible nerve damage from the large nerve having to stretch so much, and there's even the chance that the joint pain wouldn't improve much.

So this really is a tough one to figure out. I'm hoping that the consult will go well and answer our questions.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How Big Is Chloë

Our sweet baby has her first fever, and I stayed home from church with her this morning. We aren't sure what she has, but she has a little bit of a bumpy rash on her arms and legs, so I don't think it's just teething or an ear ache. We gave her some tylenol last night, and she perked up so much that we decided to try a new game.