Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Norah 6 Months. . . (though she is 7 Months today!)

Through 3 children in our house, Uncle Mike has lamented again and again: "Why can't we have a chubby baby?". At 6 months, I can proudly say mission accomplished. At the rate she's going, Norah will have caught up to Kaya by the end of the year, what with her 12 month thighs and bottom, making us rummage through boxes of larger baby clothes sooner than we could have imagined. No teeth, either- although we think they're coming soon.
Anyway, Norah loves food- she is such a willing and happy girl at meal times, especially when the other kids are eating- she just smiles and opens wide, all the time keeping one eye on the mayhem that is our nightly dinner with 3 toddlers around the table. She's also moving- not crawling per se, but scooting on her butt (see video) to grab something close by and she's also begun to lunge for things, laying herself flat out on her belly in attempts to reach, stand, and grab.
Through it all, Norah remains the easiest baby, content in her jumper, or on the floor with toys, or tolerating her big cousins and sister- just totally happy and interested. She can clap her hands and we're pretty sure she's got the "more, more" sign language down pat. Now if we can just get her to sleep through the night, we'll be in business.

And then there's her sister, Liliana, who kicked me out of her room so she could put herself to bed 2 nights ago. Who absolutely refuses to go potty on our schedule- only when she says so, even if it means an occasional accident. But also learning to be so sweet- to look out for Logan, Kaya, and Norah, and even her Mama and Daddy. The story of an almost 3-year old is no longer told in milestones, but in annecdotes- Did you hear- Liliana took Logan potty and read him a book. Or did you see Logan "Neeny- I think you want to go downstairs and play now, riiiiight?"
There's no good way to relate the moments of amazement as these babies turn to children before your eyes- there are no clear signs I can point to, only the tangle of emotions, elations, achievments, and frustrations that accompany a toddler as they navigate life with each other, and with a house full of well-meaning parents who pretend we know the right steps. Anyway enjoy the large batch of pictures. The 2 new slide shows basically cover October- November pics coming soon.
Norah, Liliana, Marita, and Ian

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Okay- it's not quite crawling or anything, but Norah has learned to scoot. Enjoy ( :

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Norah Fall 2010

Dear Norah,

One day, certainly when you're a teenager, and quite possibly sooner you'll look at this blog and say: Wait a second. . . how come there were these posts every month for Lily, but these sporatic ramblings for my infancy? and we'll say. . . . ummmmmmmm. . . .welllll. . . .ummmm. . . Hey! Who wants ice cream?
The truth is that we love you very much, and we have totally appreciated the same simple steps you're taking as you grow. Your first smile. The way you adore the bath, flapping your arms and gurgling with excitement. We are amazed at how patient you are when we dress you, letting us put stuff over your head without crying (most of the time), and being a good sport about all the clothing we make you wear. Mostly, we are in awe of how you handle the love of 3 older children- the headlock hugs, "sharing" your toys, getting hit by errant elbows, knees, blankets, and everything else when playtime turns to crazytime.

And there's sweet Norah, taking it all in stride. Achieving a new level of serenity now that you can sit up on your own and grab the toys you want. Clearly happier when Lily, Logan, and Kaya are in your line of sight. Full of smiles for your Auntie Rach and Uncle Mike. Testing your teeth (which have not broken through yet) on absolutely everything you can get your hands on.

Things move fast for us, so they must move even faster for you, watching as the big kids figure out how to draw pictures instead of scribble, and watching them run around, over, and through anything that stands in their way as Wonder Woman (Lily), Pattern Man (Logan), and Baby Jaguar (Kaya) come to the rescue once again, jumping and giggling in the crib you will soon sleep in (or would have had the big kids not broken the railing). As you can attest, Norah, there is a LOT going on in our house. Amazing, sweet, wild, touching, fun, loving, things are going on all the time. We see you watching.

We are watching you, and your big sister, too. And you guys are growing so fast, we find less and less time to write about it. But we appreciate it more. We see you grow and thrive, and we're grateful. Mostly, we love watching you with each other. The way you light up when Lily says "Hi, Seesterrrr". The way she sings to you in the car if you cry. It's true- your parents have let things slip here on the blog, but only because we're so much happier hanging out with you.

mama and daddy

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Norah 1 Month . . . from Grandma Alice

Anticipation…that moment after the plane lands and before you see the first family member….

The luggage still hadn’t started its spin on the carousel when I stepped outside the Delta terminal to spot Marita and the kidmobile. I stole a quick look at darling Norah then whisked Logan and Liliana back into the airport to help me find my suitcase while Marita fed the baby in the van. Logan and Liliana were generous with their hugs and their help as they took turns schlepping my oversized suitcase (half filled with books and toys of course!) It was the start of a great week in Seattle.

Updates on all the kids: Logan is the big guy, and sometimes it’s hard to remember he’s only three. That’s true in ways that probably make his life harder—you just expect more of him than he can possibly deliver. But it’s true in really terrific ways, too—he’s so smart and capable, so logical and competent. Great Grandpa Ben sent the kids a set of Magna-Tiles (if you don’t know what they are, trust me, they are in the same league as Lego) and Logan was entranced for the better part of an hour, building and rebuilding and creating incredible structures and designs. He’s also Liliana’s big-brother figure, a tease and tormentor at times as all big brothers are, but when push comes to shove it is Logan who has Lil’s back.

Kaya is the most changed since last I saw her—sturdily walking, steadily talking, a delicate beauty with an unmistakable little iron will. She seems to stay centered through the storms of the older kids and the squalls of young Norah (who she tenderly calls “No-wah.”) ‘Kai-kai’ stands her ground, repeating the same word or request again and again until she makes herself heard and understood. It is already clear: she’s never going to be someone who gives up easily.

And Liliana: what can I say? She’s a bright light who is both impish and compassionate; a chatterbox with plenty to say; a child who can’t walk across a room without exploring its every detail, who is starting to experiment with what makes things funny and practicing her jokes on the adults around her. Watching her consider new information is like being caught in an intellectual high beam; you can almost feel the intensity of her inward focus as she scans for references, and then the comprehension flashes on her face as she “gets” it. She includes Norah without hesitation; whatever is happening in Liliana’s world, baby sister is already counted in. She likes to handle things “by myself!” as she says; and she is adamant about her right to privacy. But she is also generous, kind, and astonishingly empathic. At one point when she and I found ourselves momentarily lost, she looked solemnly into my slightly troubled face and reassured me: “Don’t worry, Grandma, I will take care of you.”

Finally: Norah. Blindsided again by the power of love. From the curl of her sleeping body against the curve of a shoulder, to the amazing strength of her neck and head as she cranes for a better view of the world, she already occupies her own special place in the family, the household, the hearts of everyone, including me of course. Every day brought change and growth; by the time I left the smiles that earlier in the week seemed almost random and possibly accidental, were focused and definite and engaged.

This is the longest I’ve visited, and every day brought new adventures. The night I arrived I had the pleasure of seeing a performance by Ian’s band, “The Good Luck Number” at a little club called the Tiger Lounge. The music was great but the best aspect of the band, I think, is their joyful interaction, and the ease with which they invite the audience to share the good times. Even for an old lady like me it was fun to watch and listen, and I once again took pride in the values expressed in so many of Ian’s songs: justice and community and love. I’m especially proud of Ian for the husband and father and artist he chooses to be, and the responsibilities he carries so gracefully.

I took my first trip to the Seattle zoo! I sorted FuzziBunz! I became reacquainted with the literature of Tinkerbell (maybe a few dozen times.) I had the great pleasure of spending several nights at a beautiful hotel with my wonderful sister “Aunt Janet”, and sharing two of those nights with Liliana and her blankets and dollies and binkys (don’t lose the blue one, thank you. By the way, the hotel is a find—Cedarbrook Lodge, right near the airport but nothing like an airport hotel. Check it out at www.cedarbrooklodge.com. If I sound like a paid ad it’s because our every request was met with generosity and graciousness—and booked through Expedia it was one of the least expensive accommodations in Seattle, full breakfast included.)

I shared hours of conversation with Marita, marveling as always at her warmth and wisdom, the depth of her maternal devotion and her capacity to love. I experienced the kindness of Mike and Rachael as they truly went out of their way to welcome me. I can’t say it’s easy being so far away from the day-to-day lives of so many people who are so dear to me. But I can say that every visit, and this one more than ever, has made me feel part of those lives in a profound way; I feel known and appreciated and loved, and grateful beyond measure. Till next time…Grandma Alice

P.S. You should note that we will be taking monthly pictures of Norah in the same sock monkey and silly reversible outfit we made Liliana wear (we thought we'd better be fair and consistent here--though we did start on the blue side instead so that it wasn't exactly the same. Must avoid sibling rivalry).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Norah 3 weeks already?

Did she really just smile at me? The skeptics among you will say it was just gas, but I promise- Norah just smiled at me. And Liliana definitely smiled at me. . . just before she pushed her cousin down, and just after she threw a fit for reasons that we could not actually determine. Yes, such is life with a 2 1/2 year old and a 3-week old. I'll back up a bit. Norah is an angel- she eats like a champ, and has gained almost 2 pounds already. She slept 4 1/2 hours straight at the start of last night, and usually stays asleep (outside of 1 or 2 snacks/diaper changes) for around 7 hours. We DO think she's getting ready to smile, although who knows- could be a bit of wishful thinking. Still, we'll take what we can get.

The big kids adore her- Kaya's favorite word these days- Naw-uh, Naw-uh. Logan usually runs up to her at full speed screaming, stops on a dime, and proceeds to give her the sweetest kiss you can imagine. And Lily? She often wakes up yelling "Mama. . . Sister. . .I'm ready to get up! She is constantly trying to make Norah laugh (undeterred by her lack of success thus far), and sings Norah songs when she's crying to cheer her up. We feel very lucky to have 3 children in our house who totally embrace and love our newest addition. Of course, sometimes we have to remind them not to embrace her quite so rough, but c'mon-what did you expect from a pack of toddlers ( :

Marita is great- her body has been healing well, and her energy, per usual, is amazing. I've been back at work for 4 days, and am constantly reminded of how naturally and expertly Marita handles our children, our house, and the challenges of a new-born. Whether seeing her change Kaya's diaper with one hand while feeding Norah, or coming home to find her making dinner, leading play-dough games, and checking her email all at once, her ability to function in chaos, and turn that chaos into an adventure for the kids is a wonder to see.

It won't suprise any of you who know us that things are busy, crazy, and wonderful, and as we wander into summer. . . any minute now. . . Whenever you're ready to stop raining. . . Mother Nature, I'm looking at you, here. . . Little help? . . . Anyway. As we wander into summer, we're ready for more of the same. Pop-Pop is here. Grandma Alice and Aunt Janet arrive next week. Auntie Gabby makes her annual summer visit in early July (with G-Mo in tow). We have our first big trip with both kids in late July for Ben and Pancham's wedding, a visit with Ramona and Lucy, and Janet's big family BBQ. Whew. Makes me tired just thinking about it. Anyway, see you all soon. Thanks for visiting.

Oh, yeah- one more thing. You'll notice from here on out, we're just going to put all the Liliana pictures and the Norah pictures mixed into one post. Enjoy!

norah, liliana, marita, and ian

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day--Norah's Birth Story

Happy Mother's Day!

So here is Norah Evelyn's birth story:

Thursday May 6, 2010

After spending the morning with Logan, Liliana, Kaya, and Nanny Abbee at the Miller Park Play Gym we put the kids down for nap and I walked to my second acupuncture appointment in Columbia City. Both the acupunturist and his office assistant commented that I was full of energy today. My obvious reply was that because today was a good day to go into labor. ;) Then I went to the our neighborhood toy store and bought Liliana a big sister gift and headed home. By the time the kiddos were up from nap I noticed that I was starting to have more crampy, yet mild contractions. Being weary of getting too excited about whether or not "this was it" I tried to just continue playing with the kids. However, I did think that it was important enough to call Ian and make sure that he was planning on coming home from work on time. He must have sensed something because he asked me if he needed to take a cab. ;) Obviously, there was no need for that. Finally I decided it was worth trying to see how far apart the contractions were coming, see if there was any pattern. When it seemed like the contractions were about 6 minutes apart, I asked Abbee if I could go upstairs to my room and pay a little more close attention to the contractions. Pretty soon Ian and Rachie were home from work so Ian and I were able to take a little walk together. Again, we didn't want to get to excited because although I was getting contractions consistently, they seemed pretty mild.

You will notice a pattern of me not wanting to get too excited and not being sure about whether or not "this was it" because remember I had to wait the full two weeks and forced labor to begin with castor oil. I really had no idea what the beginning of labor could be like. I also didn't want to get to disappointed this was yet another bought of pre-labor contractions. So I tried to just continue on with our day like normal.

Dinner was hilarious. I had one contraction leaning against the kitchen counter while all three kids are in the normal chaos of dinner. One contraction with Ian asking: "Hey, when you are done with that could you go get me my dinner?" Jerk! ;) He is a funny guy. Really I was laughing and giggling all through dinner, all through these early contractions. We put Liliana to sleep and headed up to our room. That's when we realized that we still needed to get a few things ready for the birth. We chatted while we neatened and prepared our room for the possibility of going into real labor in the night. By the time we were going to bed it was near midnight and I was pretty sure I was in labor, but again I was afraid to go to sleep and wake up on Friday without my baby. Luckily Ian kept reminding me that everyone says that you should try and sleep if you can. So we pushed the recliner to the end of the bed and we fell asleep hand in hand with Ian on the bed and me in the recliner. Remember how much I loved the recliner during Liliana's birth.

Friday May 7, 2010
Sometime before 2 a.m. I woke up and started timing contractions again. Yes, I woke up and was still having contractions. With the contractions coming closer to 4 minutes apart we decided to call out midwife Tracy even though the contractions still weren't consistently 60 seconds long. She decided she would pack her thing and head over. We decided to walk around the house until they got here. More hilarious memories of stepping over various toys in the basement while laboring. Time started to fly once our midwives Tracy and Michelle arrived. I was already 7 cm dilated. By the time the sun was rising Ian and I were ready for another walk. This time we walked around the back yard avoiding dog poop. ;) There was also the reality that our kiddos would be up soon and I would still be in labor. It was really nice to see all three kids and know that soon there would be a fourth. It was perfect to see Liliana one last time before she became a big sister. She kissed my belly one last time. Next time she would kiss Baby Sister. I can't even begin to describe the relief I had when I heard Rachie say the was able to find someone to cover her for the day and she would be able to stay home to help.

Ian and I attempted a walk down the street. We made it a block and back. Mike took care of all the kids. Rach joined Ian and our midwives in supporting me. I admit that I got impatient. I wanted to hit transition. I wanted to start pushing. Suddenly I was having back pain. I finally decided to ask to be checked again. Still 9 cm. Baby's head was turned a bit hence the back labor. We had three options: 1) Tracy could hold my cervix opened while I pushed with the next contraction; 2) Tracy could break my water bag; and 3) nothing. I told her throw nothing out the window and because the bag of waters was right up against her head we opted for option #1. And so with the next contraction I pushed, Baby slid down, and I was fully dilated. BTW: My Mama said she opted for option #1 with both my birth and the birth of my younger sister Gabby. Must be a genetic thang--impatience to meet your child. ;)

Finally the pushing. It took me a while to find a comfortable position, but then I remembered my Mama's classic stretching position--standing legs a little apart bent at the waist and wiggling my hips. I giggled thinking of this stretch my Mama ALWAYS does and just how good it felt. After finding this position it was just a few pushes before I had I had sweet Norah in my arms. It was amazing. With Liliana I was on all fours and didn't get to see her for a few moments after she was birthed. With Norah she was immediately in my arms. With Ian's arms wrapped around us. Within just a minute or so we were comfortably snuggled in our bed.

Now without getting into too much detail I just need to pay homage to my midwife Tracy and of course Michelle, too. They were not only amazing support, but they handled the after-birth tasks with a calm professionalism. I got to concentrate on looking at my new little baby girl while they coached me through the passing of the placenta and then took care of my clotting. Now clotting after giving birth is just a cruel thing, but Michelle and Tracy took turns massaging my uterus as I tried to reflexively swat them away. It hurt way more than labor! But, it was necessary for my recovery. Before I knew it the room was clean and I was eating an orange and nursing Norah.

Now the kids could some in to meet Baby Sister/Cousin. WOW! I can hardly describe the love and reverence that our three toddlers showed towards Norah. They just loved her instantly. We all did. I was amazed by how gentle they all were. Liliana was in awe to finally see Baby Sister as a wiggling little baby. She was very insistent about Baby Sister needing her milk. Then Rach and Mike took all the kids on a morning adventure to get Jamba Juice to celebrate. Leaving Ian and I with Tracy and Michelle to do the baby exam. Norah score a 9 on the Apgar test and showed us she had no problems peeing or pooping seeing as she graced Mom with examples of both before we could even get a diaper on. She also instantly knew how to nurse. We don't expect she lost any weight the first week. Then after a quick lunch Ian, Norah, and I snuggled down for the first of many family naps.

We just couldn't have been more fortunate to have the support of Tracy, Michelle, Rachie, and Mike. It was perfect. We had no concerns or worries throughout the whole labor. I want to also say thank you to all the women who wrote me special blessings for the birth. Rachie you are amazing to have made me both the book of blessing and the necklace that represented it all. Thank you dear sister. Ian, I can not find the words to show all my appreciation for your support and love. I truly have an amazing husband who is also an incredible father. Thank you. Thank you for making the birth of Norah Evelyn so perfect. And perfect she is, too. We are lucky beyond words!

FYI: I know this isn't being posted until after Mother's Day, but having a second child is just a whole new game in terms of time. Oh, my.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 1: Watching Norah and birth stories

Our wait is over. At 10:32 AM this morning, Friday May 7th, Norah Evelyn Grunfeld was born. She was 7 lbs. and 19 1/2 inches long. She is happy, healthy, alert, hungry, and absolutely perfect. Mother, Father, Baby, Sister, Auntie, Uncle, Cousin, and Cousin are all doing well and are very happy baby has finally arrived. I'll let Marita tackle the birth story when she's ready- she's napping on the couch with sweet Norah right now- but we wanted to get up some pictures of our first day with the new baby. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baby Watch: 41 weeks

Sweet Baby,

So I know you didn't come last night. It was obvious when I woke up this morning and you kicked me from inside! But, I want you to know that Uncle Mike confirmed for us that both your cousins and your sister were born on a Thursday. So listen. Listen closely. Today is Thursday. Next Thursday is a whole week away. That is seven days. Mama, Daddy and Big Sister Liliana really don't want to have to wait a whole other week to meet you. We just want to hold you and kiss your sweet cheeks. We promise to keep you warm. In fact, today is supposed to have real sunshine! Plus, listen. If you wait another week we will be at 42 weeks which means that things get desperate. Do you know what happened when Liliana decided to make us wait until 42 weeks? Mama had to take caster oil. Caster oil is not fun. Mama REALLY doesn't want to take caster oil. Liliana didn't like it either. We don't want to subject either you or your mama to caster oil. So, please, think about it. Just think about rationally. Today is Thursday and Logan, Liliana, and Kaya all agree that Thursday is a good day to be born. We hope you thinks so, too. See you soon!

Mom, Dad, and Big Sister Liliana (who was born on Thursday BTW)

p.s. Mama has another acupuncture appointment this afternoon, too. Just to help you in your decision.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby Watch: 40 weeks 6 days

Okay. Got it. You're the individualistic sort. Figures, since you're a Taurus. You didn't want to share your birthday with Uncle Dan, and you don't want to share with Auntie Rach and Auntie Sue either. We're totally cool with that. You'll be happy to know that neither of your parents can think of anybody we know whose birthday is tomorrow. Now's your chance ( :

Seriously, though- this morning we had a midwife appointment. Tracy says the baby is doing perfectly fine- heart rate is perfect, measuring a good size. Marita's blood pressure is ideal. More importantly, the baby is lower down, and in perfect position. Awesome. Almost (not nearly as good) as good as on her way. But I digress. We'll just keep waiting. . . patiently. . . mostly patiently. See you all tomorrow.

Marita, Ian, Liliana, and the slightly better positioned yet somehow still very stubborn baby.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Babywatch: 40 weeks, 5 days

Dear Baby,

While your parents truly respect your not wanting to interfere with Uncle Dan's birthday, preserving his moment in the spotlight, we'd like to remind you that May 5th- tomorrow- already is the birthday of both your Auntie Rachael and your Auntie Sue. Since they've been sharing for quite some time, we know they can handle it, and won't mind at all if you want to share too.

Mom and Dad

Monday, May 3, 2010

Babywatch: 40 weeks, 4 days

Well- the good news is that band rehearsal was great this evening. The bad news is that rehearsal would have been cancelled had our baby chosen to arrive. Time to step up our game. Massage appointment? Check. Acupuncture appointment? Check. Pineapple? Check. Spicy foods? Check. Amongst the more entertaining suggestions- a good walk around Ikea, and bowling. What else do you guys got? Suggestions welcome in the comments- the more out there, the better- this is for our entertainment too, after all ( : See you tomorrow!

ian, marita, liliana, and yet another stubborn addition to our lovely family.

P.S. - Happy Birthday Uncle Dan!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baby Watch: 40 weeks 3 days

Sorry Grandpa Tom. No baby yet. We did, however, have a fabulous visit with Grandpa Tom. Now we have G-Mo Cynthia visiting on her birthday. We even almost got to see Uncle Andy and Auntie Amy! Good luck with the move guys--they are moving to Philly on Wednesday so a drive up from Portland and then back just wasn't in the cards. But, what a fun and relaxing day we have had with walk to the park and dinner out at our fav neighborhood Mexican restaurant. G-Mo looks great in a sombrero, by the way. So we will have to see what the evening brings. G-Mo has an afternoon flight tomorrow to Utah for our cousin Hye Soo's wedding on Thursday. She will get to be with our Brimhall family. Pop-Pop will meet G-Mo in Utah and they will also get to see the whole Henrie clan at cousin Ariel's wedding on Friday. Lucky! But, they will both come back to Seattle on Saturday morning. Maybe they will have a new granddaughter to meet by then! It is all a mystery as to when she will join us outside of the womb. But, we are ready when you are sweetheart. We are ready . . .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baby Watch: 40 weeks 2 days

You guessed it . . . no baby yet. We had a great day with Grandpa Tom including a mini hike at Seward Park. G-Mo (Grandmother Cynthia) arrives tonight, as well. There is still a small window of opportunity for baby to arrive before Grandpa Tom's flight back to New York tomorrow. We are hoping to avoid deja vu seeing as Grandpa Tom missed Liliana's birth by one day. Wish us luck for Grandpa Tom! ;) Sweet dreams!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Baby Watch: 40 weeks 1 day

No baby yet. Despite lots of walking at the zoo today and spicy Thai food left overs there is no action as of yet. Sorry folks. This lady seems comfy right where she is . . . maybe tacos will entice her later tonight! ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Watch Begins . . . 40 weeks


So we are officially 40 weeks, full term, and anxious to meet the newest member of our family. We did have our weekly midwife appointment today and everything looks, feels, and measures perfectly. In fact, truth of the matter is that Marita can't complain too much because she is feeling great--big, yes, but relatively comfortable. She has to admit just how much she enjoys the comments about how great she looks and how much energy she still has as she chases the kiddos at the park. However, since we know that some of you are starting to wonder when and how you will get the news of new baby's arrival, we thought we would re-initiate Baby Watch. Like before we will update daily with our status until baby is born then we will will attempt to revive the blog to give ya'll regular updates about both our little ladies. Oh, and pictures, too. Marita was spoiled for her birthday and now has a DSLR camera to catch those wily bigs kids as they race around the house, park, zoo, beach, and every other open space. Admire the sharpness of example picture above of Liliana, Logan, and Kaya all enjoying a Lion ride from Ian just this afternoon. Marita enjoyed a surprise dinner out with her girlfriends to celebrate not just the arrival of her due date, but women and motherhood in general. Thank you Rachael! BTW, Marita also enjoyed an extra spicy Thai meal just to encourage the little one join us. So wish us luck or sweet dreams . . .