Who’s Afraid of Santa Claus?

No Comments
Children, Photos

The answer to that question is easy:  our daughter Katherine.

People who have spent any time around Katherine know that right now she is friendly and unafraid of people. She lets herself be held by people she has just met.  At baby laptime last Monday, she crawled up to the library employee who led the session and demanded (in her nonverbal way) to be picked up and held.

I knew that the day would come when she would not easily greet a stranger.  Who knew that it would be jolly ole St. Nick himself?  I have never seen her cry around someone like she did when we handed her over to Santa Claus at the mall.  At least it is more memorable than if she had just grinned at the camera.

Katherine says she knows how Randy felt. Ho ho ho.

Katherine’s First Haircut

No Comments
Children, Photos

In my defense, Katherine’s hair was getting into her eyes.  If I just snipped about half an inch off of one lock of hair, it would be perfect.  One pair of scissors, one misjudged “half inch,” and one wiggly baby later, she had bangs in the shape of a lopsided V.  Off to Cookie Cutters we went, and they managed to fix the damage I had created.  Here is a picture of Katherine after her first real haircut.

Next time, leave the hair trimming to the professionals.

Halloween 2010

No Comments
Children, Photos

Katherine experienced her first Halloween tonight.  For those of you who are not in Central Ohio, you might be surprised to learn that Columbus schedules trick or treating for a Thursday night if Halloween falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  I think it is far more fun to have trick or treating on the actual Halloween day, but I have gotten accustomed to this odd Columbus practice.

Katherine wore the best type of costume – a free one!  This was thanks to her Grandma Jacobs, who passes around an adorable cow costume to her friends and family with babies.  Without further adieu, here are pictures of Katherine in her first costume.

The ears are my favorite part of the costume.

So this is where all of the candy will go.

And she's off!

If you look closely, you can see that the costume actually is a cow wearing a faux fur coat.

I just noticed how uninterested she looks in that last picture.  It certainly was cold, so we were not out for longer than 25 – 30 minutes.  I’m sure she’ll enjoy this more next year.

Edited to add, because I know her grandmothers will see this post …   The last picture does not show that she actually was wearing mittens.  This picture was taken right after we left the house, and I put them on her after the picture was taken.  I have witnesses.

A Morning at the Park

No Comments
Children, Photos

After Katherine got her flu shot from her pediatrician’s office, we headed to Homestead Park off of Cosgray Road.  I enjoyed strolling around the park, and Katherine – as always – loved the swings.

Quit taking pictures and get back to pushing the swing

Our Contribution to Science

No Comments
Children

Soon after Katherine was born, we received a letter from the Ohio State University’s Cognitive Development Lab.  The researchers at the lab are working on some study relating to how infants learn and categorize information.  I disregarded the first letter as well as the follow-up letter we later received.  However, when I received a call from Diana, the research associate at the lab, I let her convince me that this would be a worthwhile expenditure of our time.

The experiment consisted of having Katherine sitting on my lap and watching a computer monitor. Attached to the monitor was an infrared device which could tell where Katherine was looking on the screen.  For about half an hour, broken into much shorter modules, various objects flashed on the screen.  By tracking her eyes and where she looked, the researchers would be able to tell how she was identifying the objects and then later distinguishing them from different objects.

The lab itself is located in the Horseshoe, so I was able to get a picture of Katherine inside of the Shoe (unfortunately not on the field).

Quite appropriately, Katherine is clutching her Brutus doll

As a token of the lab’s appreciation, Katherine also received a diploma of sorts from OSU:  her bachelor of infancy.  How many people receive a bachelor’s before they step foot in kindergarten?

How the Cat Gets Exercise

No Comments
Pets, Photos

“He needs to lose weight,” said the vet in his Hungarian accent.  Our cat Elvis has been carrying a bit too much weight on his Russian Blue frame.  The vet advised us to change his food to Science Diet Light and to make sure he got exercise.

Until mid-July, Elvis’ best form of exercise was chasing (and being chased by) our other cat Jacob.  Jacob has gone to live elsewhere, and we have a new way to make sure Elvis moves around:  Katherine in her walker.  It took her about a week or two to become proficient in her walker, but once she figured it out, she realized that she could use her newfound mobility to chase after her very favorite toy – Elvis.

Yesterday, I was able to catch a few pictures of such a chase.

Katherine is minding her own business in her walker.

Katherine spots her quarry.

Elvis is unaware that the chase is about to begin.

Game on!

I Love College Football

2 Comments
Football, Photos

I love college football.  This started when I first moved to Ohio and began dating Ryan.  As do so many others, we ensured that no home game was scheduled on our fall wedding day.  (It was the away game at Cincinnati in the 2002 season.)  I have been lucky enough to attend a few home and away games.

I hope Katherine will enjoy the college football festivities and games as much as we do.  My cousin Ildi passed down some Ohio State clothes which her daughter had worn.  Below are some professional photos taken of Katherine in early June, 2010 sporting her Ohio State gear.

Thoughts on Flying with a Baby

1 Comment
Children, Travel

I have to admit that I was extremely nervous about flying with a baby on my lap.  The worst case scenario played through my mind repeatedly:  us sitting in a middle seat, the person in front of me reclining their seat so far back that Katherine would have no space to move, her crying at the top of her lungs for 4 hours, and people glaring at us.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the trip went.  On one long leg of the trip, I was in the middle seat, and the person in front of me had their seat fully reclined.  However, even that scenario was not as bad as I had expected.  We still had space to move around a bit.  Granted, I was lucky that the stranger in the window seat was kind and gracious despite Katherine’s repeated attempts to grab his arm.

I had solicited advice before the trip, and it was quite helpful.  Here is a list of the best pieces of advice I received about flying with a baby.

If you are not buying a seat for the baby, still check with the airlines to see if they have open seats.

Many people told me, and one of the Southwest agents confirmed (at least for Southwest), that if there are any open seats on a flight, they may give you one of those seats for your baby.  Of course, you’d have to have your car seat with you, but that would likely be more comfortable than flying with an infant on your lap.

The day before our trip to California, I called Southwest to find out if there were empty seats on the two legs of our trip.  There were, but the agent recommended that we check again before arriving at the airport.  The next morning, hours before our flight, I called again and learned that the leg from St. Louis to LA was completely full, so we left the car seat in our car.  It was nice, however, to know that we had the option to get a free seat for Katherine if space had allowed.

Find out in advance whether you need to bring the baby’s birth certificate.

Some airlines require at least a copy of the birth certificate for the traveling child.  Southwest accepted a copy, and the agent also advised me that an immunization record would have sufficed.  This could be useful for a parent who is traveling with a very young child, in which case the birth certificate may not yet be available.

Bring more diapers and baby food than you think you will need.

In case of travel delays, it is better to be prepared.  Airport gift shops carry a number of items, but other moms advised that it is very difficult if not impossible to find diapers there.  Pack about twice as many diapers as you think you will need.

Have new toys with you on the plane to entertain the baby.

One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a friend who recently moved from Seattle and who has flown quite often with her baby.  She recommended having a few new toys for the baby.  The baby should be more enthralled and spend more time exploring and playing with the new item.  If getting a handful of new toys is not feasible, the alternative is to put some toys aside a few weeks before the trip.  That way, the toys are essentially “new” to the baby during the flight.

We did the latter, and it worked on the trip out.  In fact, I did not have to whip out the heavy artillery (the Baby Einstein iPhone app) during our trip to California.  On the trip back, I borrowed a couple of toys from my mom, including one large Duplo block (far too big to be a choking hazard), which was a big hit.

Have the baby nurse, drink from a bottle, or use a pacifier during the ascent and descent.

As most everyone knows, this helps the baby with any ear discomfort while flying.  Katherine fell asleep during the descents on both legs of our return flight, and I chose not to wake her up to try to make her drink.  This turned out fine, as she did not signal any discomfort with her ears after she woke up.  For those occasions where she refused to nurse, the pacifier seemed to be a good alternative.

If anyone has any additional pieces of advice, please share in the comments.

California Vacation

1 Comment
Travel

Recently, Ryan, Katherine and I traveled to Huntington Beach, California, to visit family.  Here is a quick recap of the highs and lows of our trip.

The airplane flight was better than I expected.

I was nervous about flying for the first time with Katherine, who was 8 months old.  We flew on Southwest, which was a great experience overall.  The workers for the most part were all friendly, and I liked the open seating.  It certainly worked to our advantage on the long last leg of our flight from Phoenix to Columbus.  The flight was “completely full,” but apparently there was one open seat, and it was next to us.  Go figure – no one wanted to sit next to a baby.  But she was good and only cried a little bit when she was tired.  We kept her entertained with a couple of toys, her sippy cup, and the Baby Einstein iPhone app.

Katherine loved being around her cousins.

Katherine had met her cousins Luke (10) and Linnea (12) back in April when we went to my cousin Eric’s wedding, but this time she got to spend a couple of days with them.  It was funny to watch her chase after Luke in her walker.

Ryan and I kayaked almost every day.

I am so grateful to my mom, who watched Katherine quite a lot during our vacation and enabled us to paddle around Huntington Harbor on a regular basis.

Katherine was able to experience the Pacific Ocean.

We took Katherine to Sunset Beach (north of Huntington Beach) and put her feet in the ocean.  She seemed to enjoy the experience.

Katherine and Rebecca at Sunset Beach, August 2010

We also went to a little beach on Trinidad Island in Huntington Harbor, where we set Katherine up in her walker at the edge of the water just to let her put her feet in the sand.  A few young children came over to meet her and ended up entertaining her for quite a while.

The new friend entertained Katherine as I hovered nearby

Katherine said her first word.

“Mama.”   Need I say more?

The one low of our trip – the smash and grab.

After we returned to Columbus, we learned that someone had broken into the front passenger side window of our minivan.  It did not appear that anything was stolen, and the parking lot replaced the window before we returned and offered to pay for the interior cleaning.  Regardless, it was a hassle, and it’s quite disconcerting to get into your car and see smashed glass all over the place.

Overall, it was a great trip, and we look forward to getting back out there for our Christmas vacation.

Infertility Survivor Part 2: What Archie Griffin Said

1 Comment
Infertility

We started trying to conceive in January, 2004.  It started to get tough emotionally by the summer of 2004.  It was especially painful whenever I saw a stroller, a diaper bag, or a pregnant belly.  I dreaded trips to Babies R Us to buy gifts for expectant friends.

In 2005, we had two particular disappointments – very early pregnancy losses.  I later figured out that I had been pregnant during my first solo jury trial in January, 2005, which explained the insatiable craving for chocolate I experienced the weekend after the trial ended.  While my client lost the case, we defeated the opposing side’s motion for prejudgment interest … you have to take your victories wherever you can!

In late 2005, we started fertility treatments.  I was on Clomid for a few months, and we became familiar with administering trigger shots and identifying blobs on an ultrasound screen as ovaries. The first couple months of Clomid were not too bad, but by the last round, I fully understood the misery of hot flashes.  The treatments did not work, the doctor recommended against injectibles because he thought they would not increase our chances, and we decided not to pursue in vitro treatment.

Time does not necessarily heal all wounds.  By the end of 2006, it had been three years, and the pain was just as fresh.  In my mind, only having a baby would make me feel better.  But after listening to a televised interview of Archie Griffin, I learned that there was another way to heal.

He spoke about winning two Heisman trophies.  The interviewer asked him how much he wanted that second Heisman trophy.  He said that he did want it, but he adopted the mindset from Psalms 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I had previously interpreted this to mean that if you focus on God, He will answer all of your prayers with a hearty “yes” and grant you access to His cosmic vending machine.

Archie had a different take on it.  I believe that his words were along these lines:  he would focus on serving God, and God would either grant his desire for the second Heisman trophy or God would take his desire away.

It made sense.  If I did not have a desire for children, then being infertile would not hurt as much.  I started to pray that God would remove the desire for children if He was not going to fulfill it.  While I still hoped for children, the pain of not having them lessened.  It became easier to find joy in various activities Ryan and I could do together such as kayaking, biking and traveling.

Archie probably never realized that when he shared that experience about the Heisman, it would impact a woman dealing with infertility.  It goes to show that you never know what kind of an impact you could have when you share your experiences and feelings with others.