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December 17, 2002
To start the holidays off on the right foot, here's a splendid picture of Anna getting into the Christmas spirit...
Things have been pretty quiet since our last post. One major thing we have accomplished is to replace the old fence around the pool. While we were at it we decided to push it out to encompass more of the garden, resulting in what I like to call our paddock. Now we've got much more space to play in, and I can reach my veggie patch without walking all the way round the house practically to where I started because the old fence cut me off. We're hoping to do some leveling off at the back, but that will have to wait till the Spring.
For her first Halloween, Anna played the part of a disgruntled cow. She wasn't happy being in costume, and following a very quick visit to her buddies Tyler and Ryan, she came home and went to bed hoping the whole thing was over. By the way, this particular bovine now has two teeth!
Her first Thanksgiving was quite sedate too. We decided to go out for dinner this year -- that way hopefully we could all relax. We chose the Three Bears restaurant because none of us had eaten there before and it has a great reputation. Alas, it's a reputation yet to be met. The consensus was that we could have eaten just as well at our local diner. Perhaps they were just overwhelmed by the Thanksgiving crowd. But the company was good.
Wow -- it's so hard to believe that Anna is now six months old. Time is just flying by, and each day brings another accomplishment or sign that she's growing faster than we can keep up.
However, there will be one less influence in her life. Jim's beloved father Jack passed away in September. Jack had been ill for several years, but before this he had always rallied and beaten each new challenge with charm and quiet strength, never complaining about time spent in the care of various medical institutions or the ever-changing and ever-increasing pharmacopoeia he was prescribed as the months passed. I think Jack was possibly the most optimistic person I've known, and we are so glad that he got to meet Anna and spend so much time with her. We have so many happy memories of him that we can share with her as she grows.
He was buried in Pittsburgh beside Jean, with an honor guard of his firemen colleagues joining family and friends for a quiet ceremony.
On a much happier note, Anna was christened on September 15th. She had a wonderful day -- not a complaint out of her until after the wetting of her head when she seemed to take umbrage at the sermon. Church was followed by a lovely brunch at the Inn at Longshore -- scene of our wedding a few years ago. For her Godparents she chose John Brotherhood, Sherry Scales and Lisa Ferraro. Superb choices all, and we're sure they will provide excellent spiritual guidance.
Another one taking umbrage was Mister Buzz. While we were out of town he decided to go on strike and give up eating. On our return we found a seriously ill boy who spent the next week very expensively at the emergency vet's. (It's not like the Emergency Vet on TV -- these guys aren't nearly that goodlooking). He has now fully recovered and is working on getting us to change his diet to Fancy Feast. Perhaps he did it just to get another mention in this site?
At her six month checkup Anna was 18-1/2 pounds and 26-1/2 inches. She's chowing down these days on fruit and veggies and various meat products for babies, of which chicken noodle seems to be a favourite. We're still working on the rolling over thing, but her doctor predicts she's just going to go straight to crawling and standing without any messing around. As I type she is sitting on my lap, entranced by the monitor, so I can tell already that she's taking after her father (again!).
Finally -- congratulations to Aunties Jane and Mary on their purchase of a new house in Bearsden. Getting awfy posh -- don't forget us common folk. We're looking forward to the housewarming when we visit in the Spring.
Oops -- almost forgot. Here's Anna's official three month portrait:
Ah -- the glorious twelfth! Summer has been as busy as ever. It's the season of parties and visits to and from good friends.
At her four month check up Anna hit the scale at 13 pounds 13 ounces. It was also at this checkup that she discovered the joy of rustly tissue paper. While waiting for the nurse, Anna lay on the examining table and by moving her feet could make wonderful noises on the tissue table cover. This was the first time I've seen her laugh spontaneously and for more than a couple of seconds. Unfortunately It ended too soon when the nurse arrived and gave her four hefty shots in the thigh. Will this mean a lifelong aversion to the sound of tissue paper rustling?
July was the month of the famous Waldini party and firework festival. Anna had hoped to win the prize for youngest attendee but instead came home with the trophy for biggest upset, having been ousted by a pair of twins. It was also the month of our own pool party. The day started out suspiciously cloudy and because of that we didn't quite get the turnout we expected (we'll be eating jerk chicken for months), but those who attended from near and far made quick work of our special hurricanes and margaritas and joined us into the wee hours. Anna's popularity was obvious from the start, and she made the most of it. Her grandfather sat in splendor in the porch overlooking us all and had a constant stream of visitors.
Anna has taken her first dip in the pool and did splendidly. There was the hint of a frown when the water first hit, but it was nice and warm and she took to it after a moment or two of consideration. After that was a well deserved swing in the hammock.
First, congratulations go out to the lucky winner of our quiz, J. Hanley of Partickhill, who wins free access to this website in perpetuity for supplying the collective noun for turtles. A bale of turtles. Watch this space for future competitions.
We've been pretty busy since our last posting. Anna now weighs in at 10 pounds, eight ounces. She smiles constantly and has started to chuckle. We had a rough week or so of screaming fits, but that's now over with and she's become the perfect, happy baby (watch that change in an instant). I'm in love with her chin and can't keep myself from kissing it all the time.
At the beginning of June we took a road trip to Pittsburgh so that she could meet all her Pennsylvania relatives. We were a bit worried how she would handle eight hours each way in the car but it was a breeze. She slept more than half way each time and the final couple of hours she spent gurgling to herself. We had a lovely time with Aunts Lorraine and Ruth (even though we were hugely late in arriving), and spent a great afternoon with cousins Stacy, Lisa and Arianna. Stacy cooked up Jim's favorite: ham barbecues and baked beans.
When Jim's taken me home before we've spent our time in the suburb of Castle Shannon where he grew up, but this time I also got to see downtown Pittsburgh and the new Steelers stadium. I got to see it a lot. Pittsburgh is in the process of massive road rebuilding so all of downtown is detoured and the detours are detoured. But it was a balmy evening and the baby slept through our travels. She also slept at night. For the three nights of our visit she slept for seven hours straight! I worried that when we got home she might revert to her old three hour schedule, and she did for one night but now she'll go down at ten-thirty and sleep till five thirty.
Jim had Factset's engineering conference when we returned and we had a nice evening with his colleagues Meredith and Christine -- luckily the impending storms held off while we had dinner on the porch. Also in this batch of pictures is one taken on Memorial day of our friend Dave with Tyler, Anna and Trevor. Dave, you're a big softie!
And finally, last week I left my long time job with Atlantic Fluidics. It wasn't an easy decision to make since I've been there for over 15 years and there were times when it felt like an extension of home. But Anna has a much stronger pull on my emotions. I couldn't bear not to be the one with her when she takes her first steps or says her first words. So thank you Bob, Pat, Leslie, Barry, Karim, and all the boys in the back. It's been a great experience with its shares of ups and downs, but remember, you're only five minutes away, so you know I'll be coming in to visit. Can I still come to the Christmas party?
As of last Friday, Anna weighs eight pounds, eleven ounces. A whopper! Obviously we're doing something right. Our schedule is improving too. Although she's still eating every three hours during the day, at night she's waiting as long as four hours before deciding it's time for a refill. But there is still the occasional day (or night) when nothing makes her happy other than yelling as loudly and as long as she can. Overall, though, I think we're very lucky with how well things are going.
We need to make more use of the camera to try to satisfy Anna's picture hungry fans, but for now all we have that are suitable for public consumption are the following:
We've had a great time with Auntie Jane here. I was totally spoiled because she was taking care of meals and letting me enjoy the novelty of a long shower in the mornings. During the heat wave that was last week Jane cleaned the porch so that we could enjoy eating outdoors in the summer weather. We took a walk down to the nearby pond to check for wildlife. Apart from the usual ducks and geese there were a bunch of new turtles and we sighted some kind of wild pig in the woods. If anyone knows the East Coast equivalent of a capibara, you have to email us and let us know what it is. And how about the collective noun for turtles?
We came home on Friday after four days in the hospital. The Stamford Healthcare System had taken such good care of me I was more than ready to leave. For some reason they kept feeding me oatmeal, and of course I dressed it up the Scottish way by adding milk and salt. But enough health -- Jim went out and got me a cheeseburger.
Our first few nights home were difficult. Neither Anna nor I really knew what we were doing when it came to nursing, so she was making her disappointment known in a most verbal way. No sleep for 48 hours. Jim stepped in and spelled me, and the two of them cuddled up on the couch while I grabbed a nap. He's also shown no reluctance when it comes to diaper changing -- in fact he was treated to the first full load that we had.
We're now settling into a routine of sorts. Anna eats more or less every three hours so I'm beginning to be able to attempt other things like laundry or taking a shower. We've joined a mother and baby group which meets every Friday, though we won't be attending this week as Auntie Jane is arriving from Scotland for ten days.
We've had visits from Cousin June and George (bearing food to feed us for a week and clothes for Anna's next six months!). Joyce and Bob Waldman stopped by, and Auntie Lisa and Auntie Sherry have been checking in with us every day, supplying groceries and telling me off for going up and down the stairs. Tomorrow we'll have our first road trip up to visit Grandpa in Wallingford.
Anna arrived Monday 3/25 at 2:14pm. She is absolutely gorgeous! She weighed in at 6'13", 18" long, She has blond hair and blue eyes (for the moment).
She is very quiet and happy to sleep the day away. She wakes up, looks around, coos a little, and goes right back to sleep.
Mom is doing fine. Tuesday morning she is up and about. Anna is doing so well, she could come home today, but Mom is not quite ready yet. Of course neither of us slept much last night.
I've sobered up this morning enough to upload some quick photos from the hospital.