Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Last Two Months

We take tons of happy baby photos, but not enough crying baby ones. This is what Lola looks like when she's upset, a.k.a. when she's on the "fuss bus." Her eyes get really red and, if she cries for five-plus minutes, she gives herself a red bumpy rash from her eyes to ears. We're not sure how that's possible, but it has happened multiple times. Also, she's apt to stand stiffly and stick out her arms when she's really going; we call it "channelling her inner zombie."

Raina has been captivated by all of the baby toys that have re-emerged into the house. She plays with them more than her own toys nowadays.

Raina dresses herself each day. Here she's wearing a red and white dress over a leopard print pair of pants, topped off with a pink hoodie. Also, her socks don't match. Who cares? She's happy.

Raina loves her daddy.

Raina received a bicycle from a friend's neighbor and has ventured out a few times to test it out. She doesn't trust herself fully with it yet.

Neighbor Susan gave Raina this ladybug inspired outfit, which Raina never actually wore. When we decided to dress up Lola for brunch, Raina chose this outfit for Lola to wear. It's ridiculous. What's especially funny is that neighbor Susan came by the next weekend and gave Lola her own ladybug inspired outfit, which is almost identical to this one. It just didn't come with a hat.

We went kite flying in Tower Grove park on a VERY windy day. Raina held on to the handle and Eric launched the kite in the air. Unfortunately for Eric, Raina kept letting the handle go and the kite would zoom away and land in the water. A good time was had by all :)

When she was a baby, Raina would only take naps on top of a parent, although she slept in her crib at night without problem. Lola likes sleeping on a parent too, and there's nothing nicer than cuddling with a sleepy baby.

Poor Lola, she has so many crazy hats. This is a sleeper outfit, so this is an old-timey sleeping cap. She's rather cute in it, although she looks quite grumpy in it here.

Raina turned four, and she was ecstatic about it. She requested a chocolate cake and then proceeded to demolish it over the next three days.
Just a cute picture of the kid while we wait at Krystal's favorite Chinese restaurant.
Oh, the carousel. Raina loves carousels. There's one in a Saint Louis mall and Raina watches it, entranced, and then begs her parents to let her get on it. We never have. There's another carousel in Faust Park, which is much cheaper (only $2), and she saved up her money so she could go. It was adorable watching her trying to pay her fare with nickels from her fishy bank. This picture is of the zoo's carousel, which is free from 9 - 10 a.m. each day. If we're at the zoo, it's as soon as it opens, but we'd never taken advantage of the free carousel rides until recently. Raina, of course, loved it and rode multiple times. (Just looking at the rotating carousel is enough to make Krystal and Samantha nauseous, so Eric rode it a lot too.)

This Winnie-the-Pooh hat has ears! Plus it comes with a matching outfit somewhere, but we much prefer the blue puppy outfit she's wearing here. It's so soft and fuzzy and has paw prints on the feet. Very cute.

Little Lola has a daily exercise routine, which includes a fair amount of tummy time. She has grown to like tummy time a lot more, especially when she can look at interesting objects and/or suck on her hand.
Her exercise routine also includes playing in her baby gym, where she kicks, kicks, kicks in excitement. Her warthog lovey is accompanying here. She likes to grab him and shove him in her mouth. However, her favorite thing to do is stand. She can hold her own weight for multiple minutes at a time -- she just requires balance from a parent. Nothing gets a smile out of Lola faster than having her stand up and be proud!
Lola in her baby gym. Check out all the visual stimulation! Lola, though, is checking out the camera's flashing light.
Raina received a t-ball set for her birthday and she enjoys practicing in the backyard, at least until the mosquitoes come out. She'll play on a t-ball team this summer. Her very first team sport!
Lola is quite serene when in the bathtub.
Mama Jo made this dress for Raina. If you look closely, it has two mama cows on the bodice.
Lola has this intense gaze all the time. In fact, she's attended a few MICDS meetings with Krystal, directed her gaze at whomever was speaking, and never fussed. She's amazing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lola laughs!

Lola is quite the smiley baby and now just loves to laugh. She giggles when tickled, chuckles when tossed (gently) in the air, and full out belly laughs when watching Raina dance. But no one holds a candle to Roxanne, who caused Lola to laugh for a straight 15 minutes the other night. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bathtime: Round Two, Fight!

Raina, historically, has been anti-bath, and her parents are slackers, so she spends most of her time dirty and smelly. She likes having a variety of shampoos, but doesn't like water on her head ... nothing really matched up on the bath front. And then genius struck! Krystal put Raina in charge of her own bath, and it's been much smoother. We fill the tub, Raina washes her hair and body, dries herself off, brushes her hair, and gets dressed. She's not great at rinsing her hair, but she's making slow improvements in the area. She's excited to be independent, and we're excited that she gets clean.

Lola likes her bath, but she's only had like four, so each time is a novel experience. She's developing a little cradle cap -- it took us forever to banish Raina's -- so we're doing an all-out assault with Lola. She likes having her head coated in baby oil, and she likes the first washing of the hair .... but it takes multiple washings to get all the oil out. She's rather unhappy by the end, but the cradle cap is retreating, so hopefully this process will end soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time to brag about Lola :)

At Lola's 2 month check-up, she developmentally placed with the 4 month olds, which is interesting and ridiculous at the same time. What is noteworthy is that Lola can shove her hand into her mouth at any point and suck vigorously (this makes her quite happy), can stand up (with balance support) for multiple minutes at a time, and can roll over! She's rolled from belly to back multiple times now, which seems early to us. Once she masters rolling from back to belly, then it will be time to pull out the big guns of child proofing. Yuck, I mean Yay!

She's a great baby.

Our published author

Raina LOVES stories. The Nicholas story at bedtime has morphed into a joint storytelling venture, where both daddy and Raina contribute. The whole family has tag-teamed a story before, where each person writes a sentence and then moves on. (That's lots of fun, and was a good way to spend our power outage time.) And, of course, she is a book fiend. So we shouldn't have been surprised that she can tell/write her own stories too.

Raina has written and illustrated her very first fiction book, entitled Princess the Unicorn. The plot: Princess was looking for her friends, calling out their names, and then eventually finds them and they all play together. And she has an "about the author" page, where she mentions that she loves to play chase with her daddy. Very cute.

We love, love, love the books she has made, and they have a prime spot in the living room so other people can see them too.

Raina is a rockin' 4 year old!

Raina's daycare, Strictly Pediatrics, has an academic focus -- she practiced writing her letters the very first day -- so we were excited to go to our very first parent-teacher conference this week. The teacher was stressed -- maybe for all conferences, maybe just because ours was the first one -- but it was delightful. She told us what a wonderful girl Raina is (sweet and smart) and she gave us a report card on her progress. Raina passed being a 4 year old.

We knew that already because of the pediatric screening with her 4 year check-up. the parent asks the kid a series of questions or actions, and stops when the kid cannot do three of the things. Raina never got to three, which put her somewhere in the older 5's developmentally. Not bad.

We had no real concerns about our kid. We were worried that her teacher would admonish us parents because Raina is stinky (she doesn't bathe on a really frequent basis) and that she would respond poorly to our comments about computer time, but neither happened. All in all, it was a good experience.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Playing telephone

Raina has become telephone savvy. Each afternoon, she is given the responsibility to call daddy. She dials his cell, talks with him, hangs up, and puts the phone away. Then she memorized his number, and suddenly mom wasn't needed in the process at all. It's great, and she's so proud of herself.

She had not answered the phone before, though, so she tried it out a few days ago. The phone rings, she picks it up, says hello, the male voice on the other end says "Hi, Raina!", and Raina says "Hi, Emily!" She then proceeded to thank Emily (really John K.) for her birthday present, while her parents howled with laughter.

Not quite a success, so we tried again. Raina got a phone call on her birthday from Tina. Tina talks to Raina and wishes her a happy birthday, Raina says something and then declares "I'm done talking" and hangs up the phone. Oops again. It's clear we have some telephone etiquette to teach!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Extravaganza

Raina has been looking forward to her 4th birthday for a LONG time and she got more and more excited as it approached. Krystal and Eric were less excited, because Raina kept mentioning her
"party." Raina certainly was entitled to a party, but we'd have to invite all her school friends, and starting a guest list with 16 4 year-olds is just a recipe for disaster. So we told her she could have a party with 5 guests OR she could plan all parts of a birthday weekend with just family. She jumped on the second option (bless her heart!) and suddenly her parents could breathe easily again.

The first weekend (designated for Krystal) involved the Botanical Gardens, kite flying, tasty brunch, and bike riding. The second weekend (designated for Raina) involved the zoo, tasty Chinese food, lots of home-made chocolate desserts, swimming, bowling, biking, and making birthday snacks for school. This evening (her actual birthday) will have a designed-by-Raina dinner and movie: veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, cake, and Jasmine, a.k.a. Aladdin.

It's been a fun two weeks!