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

video 
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