Aunt Joanna Graduates

December 19th, 2008

Hope’s Aunt Joanna graduated today!
Joanna graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNM, and with a Clinical Award for Excellence in Maternity Nursing.

Joanna & Hope, 4.5 months Joanna & Hope, 4.5 months Aunt Joanna with 'Grandpa & Grandma'
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Hope managed to wait patiently through the ceremony and speeches … but unfortunately with perfect timing she decided she was done literally as Joanna headed for the stage. I missed seeing Joanna’s actual graduation as I was hanging out in the hallway (with the rest of the parents with fussy kids), but Richard got some good photos for me to see, and we got to hang out with Joanna afterwards.

Congratulations Joanna!  : )

4 Months! (and Growing Fast)

December 8th, 2008

Hope, 4 months old

Hope at four months is changing so quickly, she seems to learn something new or better on a daily basis!

She’s holding her head up easily, alert, looking around, watching things and people, laughing, standing (with help to balance herself),  squeaking, talking with a growing assortment of baby sounds, and smiling – there’s no way I can forget to mention the ear-to-ear SMILES she shares with us every day!

Forget sitting, Hope wants to go straight to standing. Being held for balance while she stands and sways is becoming a favorite pastime of hers. Rolling over is going to happen soon too – she gets almost all the way there … but not quite yet.

Faith really can’t understand why Hope doesn’t play with her yet. Faith & Hope, 4 months oldShe tries so hard… Faith will bring Hope a toy, and set it by her hand. Then she’ll wait, pick it up and move it, and drop it by Hope’s hand again … and nudge it closer … and watch and wait again. After repeating this for a minute or two, Faith apparently thinks that perhaps a different toy will be more interesting and catch her attention! This usually results in my returning to find Hope surrounded by a small mountain of assorted dog toys while Faith eagerly waits for her to catch on!

The other recent favorite Faith/Hope interaction is Hope’s toe bathing sessions. Hope will stick her little bare foot out (thru the car-seat slit) of her warm and fuzzy eskimo suit – and Faith will oblige with a personal toe washing licking. Hope will watch ever so interestedly, and will LAUGH and wiggle her little toes around, then pull them back in … only to stick them back out and wait for Faith to do it again! 

Hope, 4 months old Hope, 4 months old Hope, 4 months old
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Our little girl is growing every day and oh-so much fun! She smiles so frequently, she brightens my every day and melts my heart with each one. There are the morning smiles – the big excited happy-to-see-you grins when she first sees me at her crib in the morning. Then there are the happy excited playful interaction smiles. And the smiles of recognition when she sees her mom or dad. But my favorite are the sleepy content smiles when she is nursing. She’ll be busy eating, and then will stop to roll her head and look up at me and her little face just beams with some of the most peaceful content smiles I have ever seen. Then she’ll get back to the business of eating for a minute more, and again, stop to just look up at my face and smile. She’ll usually do this for about 5-10 minutes at the end of the day, as she is getting more sleepy and ready for bed… and she melts my heart completely with each one. I have never known such a feeling of satisfaction and joy as to see her so happy in my arms. I love this little girl!  : )

Video!

December 1st, 2008

Hope, 3.5 months oldHope is becoming very vocal recently. She’ll get this serious look on her face, and muster up all the concentration she can manage, then spit out these squeaks and sounds that make her so proud! She’ll usually concentrate on talking, then take a breather and smile so big – then go right back into talking again. I think the effort to do both at the same time is still beyond her, but she is learning fast! Mornings are her favorite talking time. This past week, rather than starting to fuss when she wakes up in the morning, she starts talking instead – such an assortment of noise coming from the crib across the room … sometimes it almost sounds like a flock of crows landed in the house!  : )~

I have a video to share of her squeaking & talking, but it is taken in the afternoon so she is not nearly as vocal as she can be in the mornings, but hope you enjoy it anyway! Be sure to turn your volume up!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcLRIMJ-R-k&fmt=18&rel=0]

Smiles & Laughs

November 17th, 2008

Hope, 3.5 months oldHope is growing more and more alert and mobile every day. She is bright eyed and happy, and those big happy smiles are starting to make quite frequent appearances!

She’s getting very good at holding her head up looking around, and especially at locating mom & dad when she hears our voices (usually followed by a HUGE smile)!

 She laughed the other day, and looked quite surprised with herself. It was pretty funny. I don’t think she could figure out where that noise came from…

Short note as I seem to be behind on everything, but had to get some new photos up as the masses are demanding their updates!  : )~

More soon! 

 Hope, 3.5 months old Hope, 3.5 months old Hope, 3.5 months old
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Daddy Time & Rogaine

November 10th, 2008

Hope, 11 weeks oldMost mornings Richard spends an hour or so of ‘Daddy Time’ with Hope. Especially as she is growing she is becoming very responsive and enjoys interactig with us more and more. She certainly does love her Daddy – full of laughs and smiles and squeaks! Richard has a lot of fun as well, I think he really enjoys his time with her. Though he keeps threatening to steal her for good, I always get her promptly returned when she has a dirty diaper!

So far Hope has kept her full head of thick dark hair – despite warnings that it would fall out. She is, however, becoming much more active and rubbing the back of her head turning it back and forth quite a lot now. This morning Richard called and I ran into the bedroom thinking something was wrong … he had picked her up out of her ‘eskimo suit’ and found a noticeable amount of hair left inside the hood – he thought she was going bald (and might be contagious)! Poor guy kept asking if there wasn’t something we could do for her (Rogaine perhaps?), but I think I have finally managed to convince him that his daughter is not destined to go thru life bald as a result of early irreversable hair loss.  : )~

3 Months!

November 8th, 2008

Faith & Hope, 12 weeks oldHow time flies … Hope is three months old today!

On one hand, it seems like these past three months have passed so quickly… watching Hope grow, change, and become more active, alert, and responsive. That it has been three months already since she arrived is hard to believe.

On the other hand, it seems like she has been here for so long already. At first everything was ‘different’ after she arrived, it was new and required some adjustment and getting used to. The nighttime feedings, unloading a baby at every stop when running errands, remembering to pack the diaperbag every time we left (and yes, mom did forget the all important clean diapers on a couple occasions), the re-scheduling each day’s planned activities around baby feedings, naps, diaper changes, and playtimes… it was a lot of changes to adjust to – very different from simply picking up and leaving on our own schedule anytime we wanted to.

Hope, 12 weeks oldToday, I’m hard pressed to remember a time without Hope. She has become such a part of our lives. Though the months have passed quite fast, I can hardly believe it has been ‘only’ three months since she was born.

Hope is growing, changing, maturing, and becoming more alert, active and responsive every day it seems! She smiles, she wiggles and kicks (and scoots – see the “Scooter” entry below), she waves her little arms around, and gets so excited! Diaper changes are always welcomed with a big smile, the toys hanging on her car-seat are becoming quite exciting, and she will stare at her mobile above her crib while wiggling and waving enthusiastically. She always has a huge smile for the first one to her crib in the morning (and the second one too), and easily recognizes Mom and Dad with very regular and frequent smiles now too. She is becoming very vocal – everything from soft contented grunts and hums when she eats, to cooing and and squealing when she tries to ‘talk’ – she is gathering up quite an assortment of sounds. She is starting to laugh too now. Today she was in her crib watching her mobile and she laughed so loud that Richard bolted across the room to make sure she was OK! (I think she startled herself with that laugh!)

Hope, 12 weeks oldHope, 12 weeks oldHope, 12 weeks old
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The first picture on this post makes me laugh!  : )  As usual, when I get out the camera, Faith has to pop in to make sure I don’t forget her and she isn’t missing any of the fun!

Waterlogged Popcorn

November 4th, 2008

I think there used to be a time when I was ‘normal’ … or at least reasonably close to it! Funny how things change with a baby.

Hope, 12 weeksI used to drink water by the glass. Once  Hope (and her big appetite) arrived, I started drinking water by the quart. Multiple quarts would be more accurate. 
So on days when we are running errands and I get thirsty, I’d run into a gas station and buy a big one-liter bottle of water… soon realized a small problem though, my liter of water would be gone in 30 seconds and I’d still be thirsty.
Next, I started coming out with two of the big one-liter bottles of water at a time. That worked better, lasted me for about an hour on a good day  ; )~
Then I started looking at the price of the one-liter bottles, compared to the price for a gallon (only about $.30 more), so I started coming out with a gallon of water which would last me happily thru the rest of the day.

It never occurred to me there was anything odd about that, until one day Richard asked me when I was going to start drinking like a normal person again. (Apparently ‘normal’ people don’t lug around gallons of water to chug on all day long)! I just smile and offer him a drink… not like I don’t have plenty to share!  : )~

Yesterday was a long busy day. Lots of working on websites and running dogs to the vet for appointments and vaccinations, We came home pretty tired and decided to rent a movie and relax in bed with the laptop for the evening.
      It was nice.
   …I was hungry.

Not wanting to bother Richard to get up and take the time to make food, I grabbed a bag of popcorn to munch on thru the movie.
      It was good.
   …I think I ate a lot of popcorn.

The movie ended and I got ready for bed, brushed my teeth, drank my usual ‘normal’ quart of water before bed, and climbed under the covers.

   …It only took about 2 minutes to come to the painful realization that a full belly of dry popcorn does not mix well with a quart of water.

Ouch.

Perhaps one day I’ll go back to being ‘normal’ again … Grandma says it’s not going to happen.
She’s worth it though!  : )~

'Scooter' the Eskimo

November 2nd, 2008

It’s official. Hope’s new nickname (for the moment) is “Scooter”.

Hope, 11 weeks oldScooter has discovered the wonderful world of locomotion. Lying on her back, she digs her heels in and marvels at her new-found ability to scoot herself around now. A couple days ago she had scooted about 8 inches out of her blanket at night. This morning though, she went all the way up the length of her crib, then turned the corner and was heading down the side! At this rate she’s going to be doing laps pretty soon!

It’s getting to be just a wee bit chilly up here in the mountains (coming up on my least favorite time of year) Brrrr. Last night was a whopping 14 degrees. COLD! (Have I mentioned lately I hate being cold?)

I think when ‘Grandpa’ goes back for his next trip to Alaska I’m going to have to ask him to bring back some warm fuzzy Eskimo outfits for me. Hope, on the other hand, she’s already all set!

At first, I don’t think she was quite sure what to think of her Eskimo outfit … but it was so snuggly she warmed right up to/in it rather quickly. After that, she seemed to think it was pretty funny – even if she does look like she just escaped from Antarctica! 

Hope, 11 weeks oldHope, 11 weeks oldFaith, keeping warm in the sun
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And talk about SMILES!!! I caught some of my first photos of Hope’s BIG HAPPY SMILES today! Normally I get them all the time – Daddy does too – but when my face dissapears behind that big black thing … the big smiles fade away. I guess I’m more fun and interesting to look at than the camera is.  : )~

Hope, 11 weeks oldHope, 11 weeks oldHope, 11 weeks old
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Photo Requirements

November 1st, 2008

It was brought to my attention that I had failed to live up to expectations as I didn’t include any photos in my previous post.

SO … just a public announcement to let everyone know that this unfortunate situation has been corrected. The previous post (Caffeine & Rumble Strips) has been edited to include the required new pictures of Hope!

Enjoy!   : )~

Caffeine & Rumble-Strips

October 31st, 2008

Hope, 11 weeks oldFor the most part, I am not very big on caffeine. Now that Hope is here though, I don’t drink any caffeine at all. If I do, she has a really bad, irritable, and upset time for the next day or two, so I simply avoid it completely now.

Never really missed it much … until we left for our 10 hour drive to Dallas Texas for the dog show this past weekend. Despite efforts to get things packed and ready early thru the week, we ended up running into late Thursday evening trying to get loaded up and ready to leave. We planned to get up to leave at midnight (after heading to bed early and getting a good couple hours sleep first), but in reality didn’t ended up finished packing until after 10PM. For some reason, rather than taking a short nap before heading out, it sounded like a good idea to just leave early and have a couple extra hours to nap the next afternoon when we arrived early. Oh how you see things differently looking back!

Hope, 11 weeks oldWe started out driving, and not even an hour into the trip I was already done. Richard switched me and he drove, but I felt bad for him as he was tired too. So after an hour of trying to nap I offered to trade him again so he could rest. This time his break lasted barely long enough for him to close his eyes – within 15 minutes I was hitting the rumble strips and had to switch him back again. Unfortunately (for Richard) the rest of the trip was mostly the same. Try as I would (and did – repeatedly), I could not manage to stay awake and drive for more than 15 minutes at a time. Finally in frustration I suggested that he park for an hour and take a nap himself. That worked great till Hope woke up 15 minutes into his nap and started fussing…

Hope, 11 weeks oldWe did finally make it to Dallas around 2:00 the following day. Sure was a long hard trip though. I never realized how much help a little caffeine is to stay awake on those drives. I guess rumble strips must have been developed as an alternative for nursing moms who can’t drink caffeine!

Dog Show Weekend

October 29th, 2008

Hope came to the SACCI National Show with us this past weekend in Texas. It was a great dog show, well put together and a lot of fun. We had the honor of having two of the shows judged by Dr Pierluigi Scalia & Michele Palazzo (who traveled in from Italy to be here).

Many folks at the show commented on Hope, she was adorable and very well behaved quietly sitting and watching the bustle with big eyes. Michele Palazzo especially seemed quite taken with her. He held and played with her, said she needed to learn to speak Italian, and he insisted on having his picture taken with her on a number of occasions. I think she’s well on her way to winning the judges over – have to start her showing the dogs soon!

10 Weeks Old

October 22nd, 2008

Hope is 10 weeks old, 10.5 lbs, and just full of smiles! We’re getting ready to head out to TX for a dog show weekend … so not enough time to write all I want to here, but had to drop in a couple new photos to enjoy before we left!

 

Two Sleeps Forward & One Sleep Back

October 14th, 2008

Hope has settled into a regular sleeping schedule after her first couple weeks. She goes to sleep by 10PM, eats at 1:30 & 4:30, and then wakes up for the day between 6 - 7 in the morning.

For the previous two days, she slept thru her usual 1:30 feeding, not waking up till 4:30. I figured the first night was a fluke, but after the second night in a row the same, I began to get hopeful she was going to make this her permanent new schedule.

Yesterday I went to bed anticipating a nice night of sleep … and she threw all consistency to the wind and stayed up half the night and most of the morning.

 
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Would be nice if she goes back to sleeping thru most of the night again soon. Still, she’s worth every minute of lost sleep  : )

Fun at the Park

October 12th, 2008

We spent the afternoon today with my family enjoying a picnic and some games at a local park. It was a nice sunny day with a slight breeze, though it did start out a bit chilly. Hope made the rounds with many willing arms to hold her, and slept contentedly for a while with Amanda while I got to be the ‘playground tickle monster’ for Amanda and Mark’s three daughters. Much to everyone’s amusement I had their middle daughter Jenna leash-trained by mid afternoon! (I just convinced her it was really fun for her to hold on to the handle end of a dog leash … and all that was needed after that was to clip the other end to a belt loop or whatever as we were walking around to keep her nearby!)

After Hope woke up, she got her Grandma-time in. She was very warm and content sitting on Grandma’s lap in the sun, and actively looking around with wide bright eyes. She seemed to think the spot in the sun was just wonderful. I think she takes after me and likes to be warm. Bad news for Richard though, as she grows he’ll be outnumbered when it comes to voting on how the heater runs in the car during the winter!

 

 
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Who needs Sleep to Function anyway?

October 11th, 2008

Sleep. Ah yes. I can remember times when I actually used to get the required amount needed to maintain the ability to function properly throughout my day. Those times seem to be far in the foggy past (not very well remembered by my tired brain I guess). Sleep is one of those little things you sometimes take for granted till you’re running short enough on it that you don’t function well anymore!

Hope was awake last night. Hmm. Let me re-phrase that.

Hope was Wide Awake, Happy, Active, Excited, and Bright-Eyed (which is more than I can say for Richard and myself) until some time after 1:00 AM this morning! She had such a fun night, trying to laugh, waving her little arms in the air, and kicking so excitedly. We did miss the sleep we weren’t getting, but she is so worth it and is so much fun to interact with.

  
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Unfortunantly, our day started very early the next morning.
As it turns out, “very early” was apparently way too early to get nearly enough sleep to function properly. 

Richard had to be up at 4:30 AM to take a puppy down the the airport. I was trying my hardest to let him get as much sleep as possible so every time Hope started fussing to eat I would quickly jump out of bed to get her before she woke Richard up. I woke up again to her fussing, and as I was getting up I hear Richard tell me he’ll get Hope for me, as he had to get up anyway. I was surprised to find he was awake, and when I commented on it he told me he had just been hitting snooze on the alarm for the past 30 minutes. I must have been sleeping so soundly … our alarm always wakes me up, and it had been going off at 5 minute intervals for 30 minutes and I hadn’t had a clue!

He brought me Hope, and I fed her again and settled her in bed with me as he left for the airport. A couple hours later I awoke to a strange warmth in my left hand. Opening my eyes I was rather confused to find a foil wrapped breakfast burrito had mysteriously materialized in my bedroom and settled in my hand! A confused inquiry across the house brought Richard (who had returned from the airport) to the bedroom where he proceeded to laugh at me. Apparently he had called on his way home (I didn’t wake up enough to hear the phone) to ask if I was hungry. After getting no answer, he brought me a breakfast burrito, walked in the bedroom, woke me up and told me he brought me breakfast, and gave me the burrito before heading back out to the kitchen to eat his. Honestly though, all I remember is waking up (apparently 30 minutes later) in a state of confusion regarding a burrito that appeared by itself in my hand!

Since Richard had been up really early taking the puppy to the airport already, I thought I would make the drive we needed to pick up a big (1,000 lb) bale of hay for the horses that morning. I told him if he hitched up the trailer for me, he could go take a nap while I got the hay. I backed the truck up, he hitched the trailer, told me I was good to go, and went back to bed. As I was returning home towing the hay, the trailer started making strange jerking and clunking noises. I slowly pulled over and stopped – just at the top of a big hill -  to get out and find that the only thing keeping the trailer from rolling back down the hill was the safety chains … it was not hitched to the truck anymore! I called Richard to tell him we had a problem, the trailer hitch had come off the truck, he told me the pin (that locked the hitch) had probably fallen out, and the trailer had sliped off. So back I went to jump on the front of the trailer and try to re-hitch it up to the truck. All went well until I got the trailer hitch back on the truck … and couldn’t seem to lock it into place … until I realized the pin WAS still in the trailer hitch … In the UNLOCKED position! Seems Richard had set the trailer hitch on the truck and completely forgotten to latch and secure it in place before I left that morning (although he did swear repeatedly that he hadn’t been trying to kill me). At least he did remember the safety chains or I would have been watching cars dodging out of the way as my trailer and hay went rolling back down the hill in my review mirror!

After re-hitching the trailer (properly this time) I made it back home, we unloaded the hay, and I came in to feed Hope again. I noticed her little nightgown (that Richard had put on her that morning) was fitting a little loose around her neck, then I noticed the tag on the inside under her chin. As I started to give Richard a hard time about remembering to put the tags toward the back … I noticed the large puppy patch (that was suppost to be on her chest) in the middle of her back!

Shortly later in the morning, Richard went out to check a cracked water pipe under a faucet in our yard. While checking it … it snapped clean off giving him a nice shower! After shutting off the main water line to the house he started digging up the pipe and sent me to town to buy the stuff he needed to fix it. That worked great till I found myself standing in Home Depot staring at bags of rocks too heavy for me to lift into my cart, or from the cart to the car for that matter. Meanwhile, back at home Richard was upside-down face first in a muddy hole trying to saw off the broken pipe 4 feet deep in the hole. Wet and muddy and almost done, he heard someone honk their horn. Rather than trying to get out of the hole right then, he figured they could wait for just a minute … he continued sawing faster and faster, while someone kept honking the horn intermettently every 30 seconds or so. The dogs started barking, the horn sounded again, and he finaly got the pipe sawed off, climbed out of the hole, went to the gate, and there was no-one there… He had stuck our car keys and remote in his pocket and had not realized he was pushing the button while in the hole causing the horn to honk on our own car!

As some point you have to just give up on a day and go back to bed!