Saturday, August 27, 2011

Clare at the Fair

On the bus on the way to the Minnesota State Fair! Deep fried pickles, plz!

With Aunt Katie at work at the Fair. Where is my Pronto Pup?

There is so much to see here. And can I please have a Sweet Martha's Cookie?

I am feeling left out of this whole eating thing. Everyone is having frozen cider but me! But I do love my friend Beth.


I am not too sure about this cheese curd.

It is nice to be carried around. Everyone is going to drink milk and have cookies. At least I can have milk!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Vacation

We drove up to the Twin Cities last Friday. Clare did well in the car - the normally 5 hour trip took an extra hour - but that doesn't seem so bad. We have had a busy week!

On Saturday, Clare got to go to a ladies lunch with her two grandmas and two aunts. There was almost a fight about who got to hold her, but luckily everyone remained calm. Except Clare, who had a very poopy diaper, and was changed on the floor of the bathroom at Psycho Suzi's. I told her she might spend some time in this bathroom talking to her friends about boys someday, but that she should wait until she was 21. She was unimpressed. She was, however, enthralled by the enormous fake plant that was right above her head.

On Saturday night, Grandpa and Grandma kindly babysat so I could go out to eat with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law. While I walked to the restaurant after parking in downtown Minneapolis, breathing in the diesel fumes, I actually felt like a real adult doing a real adult thing. It felt good. And dinner was amazing. Especially since I didn't have to inhale it or eat it cold. Clare slept through the night that night - and we both slept in the next morning. That felt good, too.

I am dumb and can't seem to rotate this picture.
On Sunday Clare got to meet some of her second cousins (or second cousins once removed? Or first cousins once removed? Anyway, Ben's cousins' kids) at a graduation party. Then - the best thing ever happened. Ben and I got to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 while Grandma and Grandpa babysat. It was glorious. And can I just say - I am so sad that the Harry Potter era has ended. I loved the books and the movies. I am looking forward to the day when I can read them to Clare.

I also got to see lots of good friends - and Clare got to meet her future BFFs/Possible boyfriends Gavin, Parker, Will, Claire, Alice, Carter, Archer, Adam and Ben. We had a picnic, a get together at a friend's house where we all sat around with our nursing covers on while the infants took turns eating, crying, and passing gas, and we took turns at the kitchen table snacking; and a backyard BBQ. It was so fun to see everyone. I miss you all, and wish we could see you more.

Now, we are off to the Fair where I intend to eat my weight in fried food. And then give up fried food.

Clare at her first Caribou Coffee. Mom used to work there back in the day.
At the zoo in Oxbow Park near Rochester. "Mom, can you put that camera away already?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baseball and Baptisms

Well, it was really just one Baptism, but the title sounds better with the "s" at the end, no?

Anyhoo, it was a big weekend for Clare. First up, Clare attended her first tailgate! If you have never tailgated at Miller Park, you are missing out on one of the finer things in life.

Clare enjoying her drink of choice. Mommy and Daddy's drink of choice? PBR tallboys. Oh yeah.
Yes, that is Ben in a Brewers' T-shirt AND hat. Don't worry, Minnesotans - he is still a Twins fan at heart. And he has not converted into a Packer fan, despite living in Wisconsin for the past five years and the fact that the Packers won the Super Bowl this year. Yes, I will get over that at some point.

Clare - ready for aerobics class or baseball.

The weather wasn't great, but we still managed to have a nice lunch of beer, burgers, and brats. And since Miller Park has a roof, it didn't matter when it stormed during the game. It was a family affair - Clare's grandparents and aunts and uncles on my side of the family were all there. We had a good time.

Seriously. This girl can sleep anywhere.
We also had Clare Baptized this weekend. The ceremony took place at my parents' church in Janesville. It went well, except Clare was the only baby who cried during the ceremony. What a brat! (Joking.)

Clare with her Godparents, Uncle Rob and Aunt Katie.
The ceremony was very nice, and we went out to brunch following. Clare wore the same Baptismal gown that my grandfather, mother, and I wore. I think that is pretty neat. Of course, she spit up all over it. Sigh. You would think all of this action would mean she slept well last night. She did not. But she sure looked cute on Sunday.

Clare in her Baptismal gown from 1925.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Weeks from Today

I got a call from Clare's daycare yesterday, confirming her first day. I have had this day in the back of my mind for the past few weeks, and the thought of dropping her off there and driving away makes me sick to my stomach.

So I decided to look in one of the baby books I have to see if they have any information on what to send to daycare with your infant. THIS DID NOT HELP AT ALL. Here is a quote from the book, which by the way is "The Baby Book" by the Drs. Sears. "Day-care centers are not advisable for infants under one year because of too many kids, too few staff members, and the increased chances of contagious illness at a child's most infection-vulnerable time." Needless to say, Clare is going to a daycare center. What is their preferable solution? Having the baby cared for in-home, by a family member or au pair. And yes, this would be great. However, it is not something that will work for us. The authors also go on at length about how it is best for the baby to be with its mother, and helpfully points out how you will likely miss milestones because they can happen at daycare. This is all probably true. So yeah, it is guilt city over here.

The thing is, I don't have to go back to work. Financially, we could make do without my income. But truthfully, I want to go back.  Aside from the whole daycare situation, I like the idea of having a few days a week that are baby free, and I can interact with adults and do things other than change diapers. Does that make me a terrible mother? I don't really think so. The daycare center where we are taking Clare is clean, organized, and I felt really good about it when we visited last spring. The kids all seemed happy. I think she will be just fine. I think I need to stop reading some of these books, other than as a quick reference to answer questions like, "why in the world is that poop green?"And I should say, this book has been quite helpful when it comes to answering those types of questions. We have used it a lot over the last nine weeks.

I wish I could be in two places at once. Wouldn't it be great if we could clone ourselves we could be home with baby and work?

Now, on a happier note, here is Clare rocking her awesome arm warmers from her Aunt Andri. She is going to be the most stylish girl at daycare.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Two Months

How did two months go by already??

Clare slept through the night for the first time on July 27. She has since done that one other time, so it is hardly routine. Still, she generally only gets up once a night, so I consider myself lucky. (Knock on wood.)

She has been smiling, but is discerning about when she bestows these smiles. If you get one, consider yourself lucky. She has a definite worried look, and I am afraid she has inherited her mother's talent for, well, worrying. However, I think she inherited her dad's lovely long eyelashes. So that's something. Clare fights sleep during the day. She doesn't want to miss out on anything. Her eyes will be rolling back in her head and she'll try so hard to keep them open. I encourage her to sleep, but she doesn't listen.

She has started babbling and cooing. I ask her questions, and sometimes it seems like she is really trying to answer. When I give her kisses, I sometimes get a look that clearly says "Oh Mom. Can't you just leave me alone?" I think I'll be seeing that look a lot when she is a teenager.

She loves sitting with her dad, although sometimes she looks a little concerned by his weirdness. She definitely knows me, and will follow me with her eyes as I cross the room. She loves her awesome butterfly mobile that I found on Etsy. It is her favorite thing. She also loves the Sandra Boynton book "Moo, Baa, La La La." I have it memorized.

Latest statistics: 25 inches long (99th percentile), 11.6 pounds (65th percentile). I feel like she is growing by the minute! Some days it really seems like she has grown overnight. We still don't have much of a routine, but at two months I feel like I somewhat know what I am doing, sort of. Except for when she cries hysterically for no apparent reason, which she is doing right now. It is Daddy's turn to try to make it stop, though. I am in the other room trying to shut my ears. It is not working very well, though. Okay - I had to go get her. Now she is asleep and I am typing one-handed.  Time for all of us to go to bed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Concert on the Square

We took Clare to a concert in Madison on Wednesday night. To expose her to culture and stuff. Actually, Concert on the Square is a really fun event. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs on the capitol square, and everyone brings blankets and picnics and spreads out on the lawn to listen to the music. Alcohol is allowed, and the concert is free. If you are ever in Madison on a Wednesday night in the summer I highly recommend it. There were kids everywhere, so I didn't feel too bad when Clare inevitably had a meltdown.

Clare expresses her opinion of the current governor.
It was a beautiful night, though. Ben and I forgot glasses for our wine, so we drank out of the bottle. Because we are classy that way. It will be fun to take Clare next summer, when I am sure her mind will be blown by all the colors! sounds! people!  For this year, though, it was as good a place as any to take a nap.