Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

The Fourth at the Lake

July 8, 2010

It’s been a tradition for Kristie since her first year, and for me for a decade, but this was Blanche’s first 4th of July trip to the lake for which she was named. Though it wasn’t her first time there, it was a little extra special knowing that this annual week on this specific lake is 90% of the reason why our girl’s name is Blanche. I say 90% because I can’t imagine we’d name a girl Ottertail, the lake across the road from Blanche, even if we’d had the most wonderful memories there. We do like the name on its own.

Beach babe

B didn’t like getting into her swimsuit, but she was quite proud of how cute she looked once she was in it. And at only four months old (this Saturday!), she’s yet to develop a body image issue. Thus, the monster thigh rolls can be considered cute and not unfortunate. I’ve been told they stay cute for up to three years, and at that point a parent can officially start to worry. Or at least switch from fries to apple dippers with their happy meals.

Aside from the obvious cuteness, several things about this picture are indicative of where Blanche is these days. First, she can’t get enough standing. Loves loves loves it. If she’s sitting, she’ll try to hoist her body up. If you give her the slightest assistance, she stiffens her legs and wavers rigidly until you virtually force her legs to bend and butt to touch down. She’s obviously unstable at best, but is adept at using gentle guiding arms to counter-balance her swaying.

Next: it may be hard to see clearly, but Blanche is a little redhead these days! Not fire orange, but more of an auburn. Though there’s plenty of red in my extended family, neither Kristie nor I saw this one coming. It’s her third distinct hue, and I’m sure there are more to come. I was told by an 80-something man I’d just met, on our last trip up north, that redheads are either frustratingly feisty or surprisingly docile. His words, but I guess I wouldn’t check the ‘docile’ box on the day care “My child is…” questionnaire.

Finally, if there were any doubters, this picture confirms Blanche as my daughter. The square head, acceptable pudginess and facial arrangement provide a striking resemblance, though none of the specific features are identical. Kristie says that in a room of 100 men, any fool would pinpoint me as her daddy.

Blanche in Blanche

So, Fourth of July 2010 will be a memorable one. Blanche dipped her toes in her lake for the first of the thousands of times she’ll do so in her life. No need to be overdramatic, and it feels more significant now, looking back, but it certainly was one of those moments I’ve talked about. Kristie grew up with lakes and their activities as a large part of her life, and I did to some extent, but Blanche will be a water girl. Those stiff legs will be perfect for skiing. She’s already endured a two-hour paddleboat trip and even nursed on the ride! Is that legal? The life jacket was strapped to the seat…

Sports gal? Or girly girl?

June 15, 2010

Kristie and I share many loves, and have enough common interests to make our marriage completely satisfying and often intoxicating. One of my passions, most unfortunately, we will never share: sports. In our decade together, we’ve been to one Twins game together…and I honestly cannot recall another sporting event where Kristie was by my side. I’m sure her memories are more crystallized (terrifyingly) than mine, so she’ll be sure to correct me as soon as she reads that line.

I follow it all: the local teams rabidly, my alma mater (The University of Minnesota) regrettably, the national scene obsessively. I’ll wake up before sunrise to watch a World Cup soccer match between nations I know nothing about, stay up well past midnight to watch a college baseball game I have no rooting interest in, and don’t dare get Kristie started on a rant about the Olympics. I have learned some lessons: the ‘big game’ excuse doesn’t fly. There’s a ‘big game’ every night, Kristie has said. And she’s right, but so am I! This is the biggest game of the season (to this point…)! It’s the NBA Finals! The playoffs! An amazing pitching matchup! They’re wearing throwback uniforms! It’s a Thursday night! You get the idea. I can come up with a reason to call any event a ‘big game.’ Truthfully, it doesn’t always matter if the game is ‘big’ or not; I’d still be likely to pay attention. So why bother with the excuse. She sees right through that one, and I’ve quit insulting her intelligence.

I also must thank our DVR, which allows me to watch some events (Vikings games come to mind) after they’ve finished and in much less time. So, if Kristie wants to run some errands or go for a jaunt on a late Sunday morning, the Vikes game doesn’t have to take precedence.

It must be said: while sometimes I feel like I’ve come a long way with my ability to sacrifice some of my sports loves, much of the credit goes to Kristie, who has allowed me to keep most of my obsessions. And though I may see some things as sacrifices, from a perspective that doesn’t understand how compelling competition can be, I still seem insane. I swear I didn’t intend this to turn into a 400-word soliloquy, so let’s see if we can get to the point.

I don’t recall discussing it, but I believe it was tacit that if we’d had a boy, I would be free to submerge him in my sporting world, introduce him to everything athletics, and essentially give him no choice but to be a sports junkie like dad. Of course, if he were to try sports and spit them out, we’d find something he was passionate and explore that instead, but–well what am I even talking about? We didn’t have a boy. (Deep sigh)

With a girl, it’s trickier, isn’t it? Just as I would be excited about molding a son and showing him all the masculine things daddy loves, Kristie wants to spread her girliness onto Blanche. I’m all for that, but no fair!

Before we get too far into this molding, shaping, spreading thing, I’d better say that Kristie and I have no intention of sending Blanche down any path she doesn’t embrace. We will encourage her to explore anything she loves, aside from insane downhill skiing, ultimate fighting, fire breathing or glue sniffing. She may be nudged, as all kids are. 

Anyway…Blanche attended her first sporting event last week: a very competitive, very compelling slow pitch softball game. I seized the opportunity. “That’s called a can of corn,” I told her. “He’s not yelling at the umpire, he’s yelling with him.” It was fantastic! And Blanche was captivated, almost as much as she is by a lighting fixture or ceiling fan.

So do I want Blanche to be a sports fanatic? Not necessarily, but I want her to be able to share some of my love for it with me. I want her to enjoy stuffing a fully-condimented hot dog into her face, or lament a referee’s (clearly incorrect) call until the only thing that can make you feel better is Chipotle. I want her to be able to name all the positions on a baseball field and blare at the television when Adrian Peterson is being careless with the football.

OK. Maybe I do want her to be a fanatic. It is fun to think about. I’ll obviously be thrilled with whatever loves she embraces, and I hope that she, in the end, reminds me of her mother. That sounds pretty good to me.

Check out some new pictures of Blanche!

Daddy’s Big Day: A minute-by-minute examination

June 2, 2010

Today is finally the day: the day Kristie has, for the last three months, forced herself to believe would never come. Today she goes back to work, and leaves Blanche for the first time. I can think of a couple instances when they’ve been apart for an hour or so–never more–so the buildup to this moment has been incredibly emotional.

Thus, to attempt to keep Blanche and Kristie connected, I’ll be documenting my day with her, and updating this post throughout the day. Remember, not only is this a big day for Kristie, but it’s a big day for me as well! My first day alone with Blanche all day; I’ve mentioned my fears before, but mostly I’m excited. With my luck, though, she’ll pick today as her fussiest, poopiest and least smiliest. Nay, we musn’t pollute the mind with unhappiness. With that, let us begin the day.

7:00 a.m. I wake up as scheduled, but wait! I’m not alone! No more dressing in the dark, tip-toeing around the bed or wondering in the shower if I turned the alarm off or just hit snooze…Today we woke up as a family, and I got to play with Blanche in bed as opposed to my usual body-lunge over the edge of her bassinet.

7:20 a.m. After several minutes of play time, I change Blanche as Kristie gets ready. This will rarely be the routine, as I’m always out the door before Kristie in the mornings, but it’s good practice. It’s certainly not my first morning in charge, though. Virtually every weekend I’ve taken B in the mornings to let Kristie sleep in. I’m well-practiced. Kristie puts me in charge of choosing her outfit, though she can’t resist pointing me in a number of directions. It usually takes her a few times to get it just right, she says. I don’t know the difference, but my choice is met with positivity.

8:00 a.m. Blanche is sleeping again in her swing, her go-to comfort spot. I again play domestic dad, making breakfast and coffee while Kristie pumps. This whole bottle feeding idea is the part of the day I’m most unsure about. Kristie has a rhythm, and I’m afraid I’ll lose track of when she’s eaten, or screw up getting the once-frozen breastmilk slush into a drinkable form. Or forget a bottle when we go out (I have a convenient dentist appointment this afternoon). Or give her too much! Or not enough! Or forget to burp her and be confused when she screams because I didn’t burp her!

We know I won’t do any of these things. After all, in this relationship, one of us is regimented. Organized. On schedule. According to plan. And it’s not Kristie.

8:35 a.m. Kristie says goodbye to Blanche for the first time. It is a powerful moment, probably the second-most emotional minute since Blanche’s birth. The most emotional being a dramatic Twins win, of course. Kristie says she can’t remember struggling more with any other moment in her life. She feels “crazy bad sad,” she tells me as I walk her out to the car. I load the car; it’s an event now, with a diaper bag and breast pump accessories accompanying the usual purse, lunch and coffee. And then, she’s gone!

9:00 a.m. Blanche is still sleeping. This is easy! I’m surfing the internet, watching tennis, fighting allergies, texting–I can see how this might become a comfortable lifestyle.

9:23 a.m. Blanche stirs! Is it breakfast time? No. She’s back asleep by the time I get to her side. A Janell Monae song comes on the Current. I crank it up. Still she dozes.

9:35 a.m. The Replacements’ Kiss Me on the Bus comes on. I crank a little higher. Still nothing. This girl definitely got her dad’s sleeping skills. Maybe some clanging dishes will wake her?

9:54 a.m. Dishes do nothing. I check the cupboards for lunch options; I haven’t made lunch for myself on a weekday in quite some time, and our pantry is looking quite bare. I pull out a Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff. Expired December 8, 2005. I didn’t even know those things could expire! Canned soup is the favorite at this point.

10:11 a.m. Still sleeping.

10:20 a.m. I’m awake! And so well-rested and happy! After a few content minutes, I’m ready to eat. Here goes nothing. Oh no…she won’t take the bottle…breathe…maybe it’s too cold. I fill a cup with water and microwave it for a minute. Good job remembering how to correctly heat a bottle, dad. A couple minutes in the warm water and we’re ready to try again. Success! 3.5 ounces down! And we’re still happy!

10:40 a.m. Time to do one of our favorite things: sit in my Bumbo chair! Guess what I learned? If I rock my body a bit, I can make the rocking chair ottoman rock back and forth! This is so fun! Bumbo time lasts about 20 minutes, but then daddy has a bunch of stuff he needs to write on his blog. We transfer the bumbo into the sun room, where dad decides to switch it up and give Blanche a little time on her soft bear blanket…bad idea. Why move her when she’s content? Lesson learned.

11:10 a.m. Now I’ve really done it. Blanche is upset because I moved her. How to fix it. Pacifier. No good. Walk and bounce. A little better. Hold her and type with one hand. Difficult and unsuccessful anyway. The solution? Stash her in the Baby Bjorn, toss her a pacifier (I heard it called a wiggler recently and think I’ll be using that term. Way better than paci, nuk or whatever), bounce on the yoga ball and type away. Aaaaahhhhhh. That’s better.

11:45 a.m. Nothing like a noon shower. Guess it’s probably time to get out of my pajamas too.

11:55 a.m. Out of the shower, and despite my most cautious preparations, Blanche is crying in her swing. Lost her wiggler. Like a champion, I race downstairs, slide that baby back in, and she’s calm in seconds. What did parents do before pacifiers? I can only hold my finger there for so long.

12:15 p.m. Canned soup it is. And potato chips and dip. Hey, I’m not the one responsible for the baby’s nutrition. I can eat what I want. As a matter of fact, I’m going to have a can of regular Coke, too. A little too early for beer I guess…

12:40 p.m. As we get ready to leave for the dentist, my fears seem to be coming true. Blanche is in line to eat at 1:30, exactly when my appointment is. I don’t really know the protocol here; can I feed her while in the chair? Do they mind if she screams for a half hour? Can we just cancel this altogether and say i had no cavities? How often can I do this several-questions-in-a-row thing? Isn’t it getting out of hand at this point?

12:48 p.m. She’s asleep again after being awake but calm in her swing for the last hour. Maybe I can keep her sleeping in her car seat until my appointment is done…but first I have to put away the potato chips. Crap. I crumpled the bag and startled her awake. Nevermind.

12:53 p.m. Am I tweeting?

12:55 p.m. As we were about to leave for the dentist, I thought it might be a good idea to check her diaper. Good thing I did, because inside was a present potent enough to pop one of the snaps on her onesie. We were one spray away from a blowout, and I’d rather not have on in the dentist’s office.

1:05 p.m. We’re on our way, and Blanche apparently isn’t a huge fan of Arcade Fire. Probably didn’t help that the song Wake Up was playing. But, superdad that I am, I blindly reached back, found her wiggler and placed it safely back in her wailing lips. Crisis averted.

1:30 p.m. Just as she had with mom, Blanche sleeps the entire time I’m being probed. It’s a bit unsettling to be stuck in a chair, looking up at the ceiling, sharp things in your mouth, and unable to see what your baby is doing. Thankfully Anita was watching her and giving me timely updates. Everyone at the office was dumbfounded by her gentle giraffe, which played a soft and soothing waterfall as she slept. I wasn’t familiar with the old hotel beds the dentist mentioned that played similar relaxing sounds.

2:20 p.m. A visit to Hot Mama, where we were adored by customers, snuggled by mom and chugged a much-needed bottle. A quick visit to work and we were back on our way home.

3:10 p.m. Since it’s daddy’s day, I get to play whatever music I want and as loudly as I want to, so on the ride home, we blasted David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. I promised Blanche I wasn’t talking about her when I sang “Oh you pretty thing, don’t you know you’re driving your mother and father insane.” But I do agree with Bowie when, on a later track, he sings “If your homework brings you down, then we’ll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.”

3:55 p.m. Get me out of this car seat! I’m crabby! Is this because we didn’t watch Days of Our Lives?

5:20 p.m. After an hour-long struggle, we finally fall asleep. And by we, I mean Blanche in her swing and me on the couch. This baby-watching stuff is taxing! I barely remember answering the phone at 6:30, when Kristie called to say she was leaving work. I’m sure I would have woken up had Blanche started fussing.

6:55 p.m. Finally, after nine and a half long hours, baby and mommy are reunited. No time for saying hello to dad! Must see my baby! Thankfully, I kept her intact and relatively happy. But I am ready for a beer.

Baby Time, Happy Due Date, Easter

April 5, 2010

If it hadn’t hit me already, it did Saturday: I am no longer living on my time, I am living on Blanche’s time. Let’s say you want to go to the mall and scour the Old Navy shelves for some $5 polos. And let’s suppose you would go straight from the mall to your hometown and its Easter feasts. Pre-Blanche, we’d pack a light bag, grab Atlas and go. Things played out a little differently on Saturday.

Has Blanche eaten? Better feed her before we go. How’s her diaper? Pooped through the onesie. Have we packed everything we need? Don’t forget the stroller. It took us five tries before we successfully left the house, and we still managed to forget something. I’m already freaking out about the ten-day West Coast vacation we have scheduled in August. Babies simply can’t pack lightly.

They also, as I learned Saturday, take the Mall of America at a slightly different pace. This is one of my least favorite places to be period, and pushing a stroller through the crowds makes it no less frustrating. Have you ever waited for an elevator there? Bring a magazine. By the end of the afternoon, I was an expert at balancing our stroller on the escalators. No more waiting five minutes to get plowed over by over-zealous elevator fiends. Some people are cutthroat.

Meanwhile, Saturday was Blanche’s due date! I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to celebrate or not. Just a note.

Here are a couple shots from Blanche’s first Easter. (Last year we were told at every holiday and landmark that it would be “our last one before parenthood!” I hated that. This year I’m betting I’ll hear a ton of “Oh, your first _______ as a parent!” Equal amount of hatred.)

Cozying up to Uncle Erik

Dad's family

Newborn Photo Shoot

March 20, 2010

Yesterday morning Blanche had her first photo shoot, and yes, she did some topless shots as well as some full nudes. They were tasteful. We had them done by a photographer who shot our wedding in 2007 and has since done friends’ weddings and babies. A chance run-in at Hot Mama reconnected her with us. Blanche was wonderful; slept when she was supposed to be sleeping, gave a few smiles, always seemed relaxed, and didn’t mind being molded into whatever position was needed. She did pee on me twice. There is a small preview of the gallery up at the photographer’s website. Check them out!

A proud new mama!

March 15, 2010

I know there are a few Hot Mamas out there who want to see pictures of beautiful baby Blanche and as a proud new mama all I want to do is show her off!  Nils didn’t include my favorites in his blog post, so I’m sneaking in a post of my own.  Enjoy!