Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter?

Well, we have safely made it back to LA. Our trip this time went much more smoothly than on the way out (and it went well on the way out also). Whether it was the fact that Alex was there to help (wonderful!), that Noelle was three weeks older, or just luck, we had a very uneventful trip home. Noelle took a short nap on our flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis and a full two-hour nap on the flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Then, when we arrived home at 3:30 pm LA time, she passed out for the night (minus eating breaks, of course)!

While at home, I dug around my parents' boxes of old photographs and found some baby pictures of myself. Much to my surprise, it appears Noelle actually looks like me. I only remember photographs from when I was 1 year old and up, where I look very different from these early pics. In these pics, though, we look remarkably similar. Observe:

Early Baby Photos

Hanging out with Dad/Grandpa 

Alex and I had been shocked, and Alex was a bit suspicious =), when Noelle was born with dark hair, since we were both very fair as children. Who knew, I was actually born with dark hair too! I absolutely love the pictures with my dad, so cute. Again, Noelle and I appear to be quite similar. Even my dad doesn't appear that different, considering the 29 years between the pictures!

Unfortunately for Noelle, I looked pretty goofy by the time I was 1-year-old (see below). Maybe she'll be lucky and stop looking like me by then!

Lindsey at 1-year

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wedding and 3 Months Old

Yesterday was a big day for the Brock/Hayes clan!

First up, and most importantly, my sister Stacy got married to a wonderful man, Ian McLellan. It's so hard to believe that this day has already come and gone!

The Happy Couple

Adorable Flower Girls

Stacy and Ian met when they were both in the Teach For America program in Los Angeles, about 4 1/2 years ago. They share a great sense of humor, compassion for others and make a lovely couple! 

Their wedding was just beautiful - black & white theme and accented with the seasonal decorations. The ceremony was very intimate and the reception couldn't have been a more energetic party. It was a wonderful night all around.

Little Noelle, who turned three months old yesterday as well, got to make a cameo at the wedding. She was escorted in as part of the processional by her father. Little girl seemed to know she was on stage, because she was all smiles for her appearance. Afterward, she took a nice nap downstairs during the ceremony.

Daddy and Baby Girl

The highlight of Noelle's day, I think, was meeting more of her extended family. Especially wonderful was meeting her great-grandfather, Francis Brock (my father's dad). He made the trip up from Indiana to see his granddaughter's wedding and meet Noelle. Noelle will have a busy week meeting more family as Christmas approaches!

Meeting Great-Grandpa

Getting Comfy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hanging Out

Taking a bottle from Mom

Things have been going well so far during our visit in WI. The only problem we're facing now is that Noelle won't take a bottle from anyone else but me. I've given her a few to verify it isn't that she's still refusing the bottles themselves. Rather, she is refusing to associate eating (nursing or bottle) with anyone rather then me. My parents are patiently working with her (read - tolerating a lot of crying). Hopefully, we can get her to eat from other people by the end of the week. Otherwise, I won't be able to attend all of the wedding activities. At least, not sans baby.

On Wednesday, some of my mother's friends came over to coo over the new grandbaby. Below is Noelle meeting Susan Sokol. This was a special meeting for me, since some of my earliest memories are playing at Susan's house. Her family lived across the street from my parents and my sister and I would wander over there frequently to feed their golden retriever crackers =) The summer before 1st grade I even broke my arm playing in their yard!
 Meeting Susan

The weather has been cool (at least by baby standards - I think it's been perfect for running!). So, we have mostly been staying inside. For the requisite transfers between car and building, Noelle has been staying warm.

 Bundled in the warm snuggly - Thanks Uncle Billy!

 Sitting up - my new favorite position!

Clean Baby

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Safe in WI

Very tired baby on Monday

Whew, we made it. On Sunday, Noelle and I took on the major task of flying to WI, alone and with a connection in Atlanta. That was stressful... I will not do that again soon =).

The first frustration was in LA. Arriving in the terminal 1 1/2 hours before our flight, I planned to relax in the Delta's SkyClub lounge and have the baby well fed and rested for the flight.

They wouldn't let me in.

I had a 1st class, cross-country ticket... they should have let me in. Darn it. (Alex called to complain and they're sending us some free passes - too little, too late).

So, instead we spent that time in the busy/loud terminal. Noelle was a real little trooper. Especially on our first flight from LA to Atlanta. She hardly cried, ate semi-decently, considering the distracting surroundings, and even took a 40 min nap right when my food came.

In Atlanta, she breezed through the whole terminal change process. Atlanta is a big airport, but has convenient trains so transfer time was small. Then, waiting at our gate in Atlanta, things fell apart a little. It was very crowded/loud and our plane was about 1/2 hour late. By the time we finally got on the plane, poor baby girl was very tired, very hungry (wouldn't eat in the terminal) and way overstimulated. She spent about 10 min screaming as the plane boarded. The other passengers were probably horrified at the possibility of the whole flight being like that =) Thankfully, once the flight started, the engine noise went up and the lights went off she was able to relax, eat, and even sleep a little.

So, we made it to Milwaukee safe and sound. I knew I was back in the Midwest as soon as we stepped off the plane and someone offered to help me setup the stroller. That was the only offer of help I received from another passenger the whole day!

Noelle spent almost all day Monday sleeping to recover, and now she's a happy, well-rested baby again =) To her great surprise, she has a better set-up in Wisconsin then at home! My parents set up the crib and changing table that they used when my siblings and I were growing up. She also has a swing, rocking chair and bassinet. What more could a baby want?

All ready for Baby Girl

Enjoying the crib (it's so big!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Holiday Photos

Now we just have to choose which photos to use on the holiday card =)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day

This Thanksgiving we had a real treat - we went to my sister Stacy and her fiance Ian's place for turkey dinner. All we had to bring were pies (courtesy of Pasadena establishment Pie 'n Burger) and a green bean casserole. Now that's an easy way to do Thanksgiving! Also in attendance was their friends Calvin & Keith and Ian's sister, Sarah, and her husband, Chris.

Stacy with the spread
Everyone contributed dishes to come up with the wonderful spread pictured above. Special mention goes to Calvin, who prepared an exceptional turkey with bacon and pears!

Calvin - a.k.a. Master Turkey Chef

Little miss Noelle behaved exceptionally for her first full afternoon/evening away from home. She loved all of the attention she received. Best of all, she took a two-hour nap right at dinner time so mom and dad could enjoy a meal like adults =)

Getting some lovin' from Aunt Stacy
Rockin' the Travel Bed

The only ones who did not appreciate us spending Thanksgiving away were the dogs. I had taken them for a run earlier in the afternoon, hoping it would tire them out and they'd just sleep while were were gone. Unfortunately, it was not sufficient. The dogs built up some serious nervous energy when we didn't come home until 9pm. Fortunately for us, they channeled it like good dogs, into a hole in the ground, instead of eating the furniture!

The dog's Thanksgiving Entertainment

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby Photoshoot

 Christmas Baby

Today our friend and photographer, Olga Batygin, returned to take baby and family pictures. She took some maternity pictures for us back in late August (link) and we were really excited to have her return for the baby pictures! More pictures from the shoot will follow, as Olga has time to work her magic on them. You can check out Olga's company, Lily Blossom Photography,

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 Months Old

Enjoying the New Play Mat
At two-months-old everything is exciting. The picture above is Noelle enjoying the 'new' play mat we picked up yesterday from the Caltech baby furniture exchange. Caltech has a wonderful, volunteer-run program that loans baby and household essentials to Caltech affiliated families (link). We picked up a changing table from them months ago and a few other baby items. Most items are free and large items are available for only a small fee. It's a great way to get toys for the baby. You can 'check out' three toys at a time and keep them as long as you like. This way, we can always have age-appropriate toys for her with out accumulating a ton of them in our tiny apartment.

The two-month doctor visit went well for Noelle this morning. She weighs 12 lbs 12 oz and is 24 inches long! She has gained exactly 50% of her birth weight already! Alex and I bet Sunday night's dinner and movie on how much she would weigh. Fortunately for me, I guessed it right on the nose. I see an evening of romantic drama and sushi in our future =)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Getting Hot in Here

As most of you know, Alex is a resident advisor at Caltech's Avery House. Living at Avery the past two years has been very enjoyable. It's a quiet, clean dorm with wonderful residents who tolerate us and the noisy dogs. Even Noelle has settled in comfortably there. Though, our one-bedroom apartment is starting to seem a little small with two dogs and the baby!

One drawback from dorm living is frequent fire alarms. From burnt toast to too much shower steam, sometimes it seems like anything will set off the alarm system. This week, however, we've had two actual fires! Okay, I use the term 'fire' loosely... more like two cases of something actually burning within the building.

Fire #1 was Monday morning (when baby girl was dead asleep, of course). A student had fallen asleep with a candle burning under the bunk bed! Needless to say, it wasn't long before the bottom of the bed was black and started to smoke. Thankfully for the student, he used the bunk as storage and slept on the floor.

Fire #2 was this morning, when the contents of an overstuffed dryer caught fire. By overstuffed, I mean really overstuffed; sleeping bag, blanket, towel, clothes and foam pillow!

Dryer Contents (sorry about the over-exposure)

This 'fire' was much  more inconvenient... in that it required an actual visit from the fire department and use of a fire extinguisher. Lucky for us, the fire department is across the street. I think the firemen just walked over! The foam pillow was a particularly nice addition, since it really smelled and filled the whole building with smoke while burning. The culprit dryer had to be hauled away.

Hole Left in Laundry Room

Noelle was a good sport about this, but after being outside for 40 min she was wound up and her morning schedule was pretty much shot. As all parents have discovered, trying to put an overtired baby to sleep is near impossible. After an hour and a half of trying to get her to sleep in her crib (Dr.s nowadays recommend motionless sleep, consistently in the crib) I gave up and plopped her down in the swing. Ten minutes later, I had this:

Finally Asleep 
(yes, Dr.s recommend not using a pacifier either... oh well!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Savior Swing

The Live-saving Swing
There is something very curious in the video above. It's a baby like any other, to be sure. This baby, unlike usual, is sitting awake, alone and quiet. That is a first! Click on the image of the video to see it play.

We put off buying a swing for Noelle for a long time because, realistically, we don't have the room for it. However, baby girl is a motion junky and we were getting very tired of carrying her and walking all the time whenever she was awake. The wonderful invention featured above will give us some real breaks =) The dogs sacrificed one of their dog beds in the living room to make some space.

On another note, Noelle is smiling more and more. It's really fun to watch her become more interactive!
Happy Baby

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Little Trooper

Our Little Trooper

Noelle has been a real trooper the last few days. Yesterday she made it through my yoga class and Dr. appointment with almost no fussing. She even took an hour long nap at yoga, swaddled on the mat next to me. What a good sport! 

Today, she had to go to the pediatrician and the pharmacy. She finally hit her max, poor thing. After being up much longer then she should have been (the pediatrician's appointment didn't mesh with the baby schedule today) we had the audacity to give her three vaccinations. The requisite amount of crying ensued... though she wasn't the loudest one at the office.

The fun part of the pediatrician visit, for Alex and I, was the weigh in. Baby girl already weighs 12 lbs, 3 oz! At home we frequently refer to her as "muncher" or "little Buddha" because she's getting so big. It's all relative, though. The 7-month-old's mom at the Dr. couldn't believe how small she is... and we couldn't believe how small the 2-day-old in the office was =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

7 Weeks Old

Noelle is now 7 weeks old and we're all a little better adjusted to family life. During the early weeks, Noelle often had 2-3 hour crying (screaming) spells in the evening. These have thankfully turned just generally fussy periods. We have learned that baby girl still gets over-stimulated very easily... even spending some time in a friend's apartment in our building for a few minutes seems to be a lot for her. So, we're trying to keep things mellow until her tolerance for stimulation increases.

The final thing that has really helped is getting her to sleep ASAP when she starts to show signs of being tired. Most of the time, she's hardly awake for an hour before it's time to put her down for a nap. Her naps, during the day, are all about an hour to an hour and a half. One nap, the early afternoon one, will be a little longer. A nice side effect of this is that Alex has been able to get some work done at home, so he's spending some more time hanging around during the day. Sometimes, he has a little helper! The 'morning nap' picture below is her in bed next to me right now, as I play around on the computer =)

Dad's little helper

Morning nap time

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Halloween

Considering we were housebound with baby duty, we had a very busy Halloween. Our friend Pete, from Cornell, came to visit. Pete came down to LA on his motorcycle from San Francisco, where he is currently working on his PhD at Berkeley. It's always wonderful to see fellow A&EP (applied & engineering physics) alumna. Pete has been much better about visiting us in LA than we have been about visiting him in San Francisco =)

Traditional Halloween antics ensued, with some very serious pumpkin carving. The finished product was impressively scary. Given this is Noelle's first Halloween, Alex and I couldn't resist having a little fun with her... seeing if she would fit in the pumpkin. It wasn't her favorite part of the day. After all of that visiting and parent shenanigans, she was one tired baby!

Noelle's first crush!

 Serious business, pumpkin carving

The finished product
Pumpkin Baby
Passed-out Baby

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Newborn No Longer

 Noelle is 6 weeks old, which means she's passed her first milestone... newborn to infant! Already, she has outgrown all of her newborn outfits. I was a little sad packing them away this week. It really is incredible how quickly she's growing. Alex and I can't believe, looking that the size of the 6 month and 9 month clothing that we have, that she'll be that big so soon!

About three times a week, Noelle and I have been making it out for a run with the jogging stroller. She usually does really well, falling asleep during the run. Our outings still aren't very long, but I'm starting to feel more like a runner again.
Ready for a run

In honor of Halloween, we give you what we like to call Noelle's "monster" face:
Beware, a scream is on the way!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Sleep = Happy Mom

Technically, my birthday was a few weeks ago (October 11th). However, I believe Noelle gave me her birthday present the last few nights, when she slept for some 5 hours stretches. It certainly made me happy!
Sleepy baby - My shirt has my name on it!

While fussy in the evenings (and that is already getting better), Noelle has actually been great at night since the first week. She usually wakes up every three hours to eat, but falls asleep quickly again once done. Hopefully that will continue.

Monday, October 18, 2010

1 Month Old

Noelle - 1 Month Old

Today, Noelle is 1 month old. While we're going through the normal stresses of having a newborn (lots of crying for Noelle and little sleep for us), time is still flying. It's hard to believe she's already been with us for a month. We haven't broken her yet!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet the Grandparents: Part II

Alex's parents are in town this week. So, baby Noelle is again overflowing with attention! Another nice benefit, of course, is that Alex and I have been able to go out sans baby for brief periods. Going to get Pink Berry without a stroller is our new found luxury =)
Grandma Hayes

Grandpa Hayes

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bigger Already

As of yesterday's doctor's appointment, Noelle weighs 9 lbs 7 oz. One of the (many) pieces of advice I received while pregnant was that I'd be proud of every ounce my baby gained. It sounded silly to me at the time, but now I know it's true =)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Meeting Grandma & Grandpa Brock

Little miss Noelle is already getting spoiled =) My parents have helped make sure that the baby girl has never been put down the last few days. It's a perfect scenario for the newborn who loves to snuggle!

Grandma Brock

Grandpa Brock