Friday, January 30, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 11: Max and Ruby

This is the first time that Ivie's gotten to take TWO items to Show-and-Tell. Generally, of course, the limit is one. But since these two "go together like peanut butter and jelly", we broke down and let her take them both today. It is not lost on Ivie that she's getting a special treat. She's very fired up about being able to talk about Max AND Ruby. For those of you unfamiliar with these characters, they have their own show on Ivie's favorite channel, Noggin.

These Ty Beanie Babies were a gift for Ivie from a good friend of mine named Mark, whom I've known since my first year at Carolina when I was teaching a weight training class (part of the requirement to get my tuition paid for grad school) and Mark was a scrawny (I say that just to make him mad) kid in my class who then (and still now!) much preferred playing basketball to lifting weights. I've seen Mark on and off in the past 8 years since that class, and he's not quite as scrawny any more. I think my weight training class is at least partly responsible for bulking him up a bit!?!

Anyway, Mark brought Max and Ruby to my office last week. And since it was almost the end of January, we're considering them a joint Christmas and birthday gift for Ivie. When I brought them home and gave them to her, she said, "Yea! Max and Ruuuuuuuby!" That night, and every night since, Max and Ruby have joined select Disney princess dolls in bed with Ivie. That's when you know you've given her a good gift - when she chooses it to sleep on the pillow next to her.

If you look closely at the picture, you'll see the perils of sleeping in a bed with a 2-year-old. On his first night "home", Max lost the whiskers from the left side of his face. I actually found them a couple of days later in Ivie's sheets, but attempts to re-connect them to Max's face were futile. So he's a one-sided-two-whiskered rabbit that will have to rely even MORE on his big sister, Ruby, now that he's down a couple important sensory mechanisms. But Ivie loves him just the same.

Thanks for the great gift, Mark!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We'll Miss You, (Grandpa) Dad!

Dear Dad,

I'm too young to know what's been going on this week, but Mommy keeps telling me that you've gone to Heaven to be with God. I'm not sure what that means, but it makes Mommy and Daddy very sad and very happy, all at the same time. That's really confusing to me, but someday they'll explain it so I understand.

Since I won't get to talk to you again, I wanted to write you this letter and tell you how much I love you and how special our time together was. I also asked Mommy, Daddy, and Macie what their favorite memories are, so I'll put them in this letter, too.

Mommy and Daddy say that they will always remember pulling up in front of the house when we would come to visit you and Grandma. As soon as we got our car doors open, you would come walking out of the garage and say, "Hello! What can I carry?". It's like you KNEW that Mommy and Daddy had packed up our entire house and brought it along (even though we were only visiting for a couple of days), and we would certainly need help dragging it all inside!

You were always so excited for us to come visit. Grandma says that you would ask her over and over what time we were supposed to arrive. Then, when it was time for us to go back home at the end of the weekend, you would walk us out, give us all kisses, and say to Mommy and Daddy, "Love you all! When are you bringing my girls back to visit again?". It sure was nice knowing that you loved us so much and wanted to see us all the time!

Mommy also will always remember how smart and clever you thought your grandkids were. You loved to tell stories about the intelligent things that we would all say and do. Mommy thinks that I must have saved all my special tricks and meaningful thoughts for when I was hanging out only with you, because she just couldn't believe some of the things you claimed I would say. She's right! I loved impressing you with my "smarts". But I can only hope that I really DO grow up to be as brainy as you knew I was at age 2!

MY favorite memory of you will always be playing with you in your rocking chair. I loved when you would pretend that you were asleep (and I had you all comfy with your blanket and stuffed animals, just like how I sleep!), and I would wake you up and scare you and make you jump! Mommy took some pictures of us in action. I'm going to ask her if she can put them up in my room so that I can always remember how much fun we had. I know that I laughed as hard as I've ever laughed when we played that game! Daddy uses the word "hysterically" to describe my laughing. Whatever that means.

Macie only got to know you for a few months, but she said that her favorite memory will be the Donald Duck sound you made with your mouth. It was very loud, and sometimes it would scare Macie, but she said to tell you that she still loved it! And so did I. I would always ask you to do it again, and again, and again...

Dad, I'm not old enough to know what it means to be a Christian, but I DO know that Baby Jesus was born and did something very special for us when he grew up. And because you believed in Jesus and loved him, Mommy and Daddy tell me that you're sitting with Him smiling down at us and watching us, even though we can't see you any more, or give you hugs, or talk to you on the phone.

Mommy says that a singer that you really liked sang this song at your funeral. So I bet when he sang this part, you nodded your head and smiled:

"When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Dad, I'm really going to miss you. But Mommy and Daddy say not to worry. They're going to always tell me stories about you and show me pictures, so that when I'm older, I will still remember the fun times we had together. And then, someday, in a whole, whole lot of years, I'll be able to see you again in Heaven. And maybe then you can do that Donald Duck sound for me again?!?

We love you, Dad! You keep watch over us, okay?

Hugs, Kisses, and Nilla Wafers Always,

Macie's 4 (and a half) Month Stats

Macie had her 4-month doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning. Yes, I certainly realize that Mac was 4 months old 17 days PRIOR to her 4-month appointment. And I also realize that half a month means a lot when it comes to stating baby's heights and weights, particularly when you go for appointments every other month! But I also can't help it that on the day of Macie's originally-scheduled appointment, we got what was most likely the ONLY snowstorm that we'll see this winter. It resulted in probably 3-4 inches of snow and pretty much shut down our snow-phobic southern city. Hence, the appointment was cancelled, not by me (I'm from Missouri, remember?), but by the staff at Chapel Hill Pediatrics who headed for the safety of their homes at noon that day.

So, anyway, here are Macie's 4 1/2 month stats:

Height: 25 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 15 pounds, 13 ounces (75th percentile)
Head Circumference: 42 centimeters (75th percentile)

Comparing that with Ivie at 4 1/2 months (using the median between her 4 and 5 month stats):

Height: 25 3/8 inches
Weight: 15 pounds, 7 ounces
Head Circumference: 41.9 centimeters

So Macie is a teensie bit shorter, a teensie bit heavier, and has a teensie bit bigger head. But you sure can tell they're sisters, can't you?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now You Can Eat...

Before lunch at school every day, the kids all say a prayer together. So it's also the prayer we use at home before mealtime, since Ivie can recite it herself. It's a standard kid's prayer that you have all heard before:

God, our Father
God, our Father
Once again
Once again
Thank you for your blessings
Thank you for your blessings

Now, I've never been there to witness it at school, but apparently, at the end of the prayer, the teachers give the kids the go-ahead to start eating. So often, and in the same manner, that Ivie now mistakes the phrase as part of the prayer. Take a look. Too funny!

Our Week Together

Dear Nina,

We just dropped you off at the airport a little bit ago. And I already miss you so much. I was doing so great at not getting emotional until Mommy got back in the car. I could tell she was crying. And then I looked out the window at you, and your face was wet, too. So that made me sad, and all the way home, I whimpered, "Niiiiiiiina! Niiiiiiiina!".

By the time you read this, you'll be safely back home with Papa. I know it will feel good for you to be back in your house. And sleep in your own bed. I know how hard it is to sleep in a bed that isn't yours. And you did it for 6 whole nights just so you could spend time with me and Macie! Now THAT is a special Nina.

I had so much fun with you this week, Nina! Gosh, I think I gained 3 pounds with the yummy food that you cooked for us. Mommy loves meatloaf, and lasagna, and Manwich, but she doesn't have much time for cooking since she's gone back to work. That's what she says, at least, but I sure don't remember her doing much cooking when she was home with Macie on maternity leave, either. But I probably shouldn't bring that up, should I?

Anyway, I loved skipping school and going to the museum with you on Friday. Dancing in that sound room was great, huh? And screaming in the tunnel on the train ride, and looking at the butterflies up close (but not too close - they're kinda scary!), and looking at the possum (or the opossum, depending on whom you talk to), and trying your really hot soup, and being disgusted by the cockroaches, and watching the caterpillar eat the leaf on the television, and, well, I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It was just a really great day!

Macie can't talk since she's just a baby, but she had so much fun sitting on your lap and listening to you talk to her. And not many people can get her to eat a full bottle, Nina, but you sure could. That's a special Nina that can do that. And Macie also wanted me to tell you thank you for holding her while Mommy played outside in the snow with me.

I still don't really understand the whole "Mommy is my mommy and you are Mommy's mommy" thing that you tried to explain to me. But all I know is that you must be a very special person to love me as much as you do and spend so much time with me at my house. So I just wanted to write you and say thank you, just in case Mommy didn't thank you enough for all of us. I'm only 2 1/2, so I don't know the best words to use. But when I asked Mommy to help me find the right words, she told me just to tell you that words can't express how thankful we are to you and how much we love you and miss you. She said you would know that it comes from the "bottoms of our hearts" if I said that. Not sure how we can talk from the bottoms of our hearts, but I guess that's something that only big people understand. Kind of like how I put food in my mouth and it goes into my belly. I guess I'll figure it out someday, but, for now, I'll just take Mommy's word for it.

I could go on and on, but I'll just stop now. Cuz I'm really tired and it's my nap time. But I'm sad that you won't be here when I wake up. I'll probably check your room for you just to be sure that you're really gone. Don't worry, any time anyone else sleeps in that room, I'm always very quick to tell them that it's Nina and Papa's room. And it will be here waiting for you the next time you come to visit me. Mommy mentioned something about April and Cancun. That sounds like a trip, and I have a feeling I'm not invited. But if it means I get to spend time with you, then that's okay with me.

Like I told you on the way to the airport today, "I very very love you, Nina." And I'll see you again soon. Give Papa a hug for me.


Ivie (and Macie, too)

"Chicken Fried"

For those of you who either don't listen to country music or who flip the station when you hear a song you don't know, you might not be familiar with the Zac Brown Band. I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but apparently it's an Atlanta-based band that finally went mainstream, and one of their first songs (at least that I know of) is called "Chicken Fried."

So the first time I heard it was on Dale's iPod a few weeks ago. He is addicted to it, and one evening he played it over and over in the car as we were driving around. He promised I would like it... And as much as I hate to admit it, the song does have quite a catchy tune and cute lyrics:

And a little bit of chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up

Well I've seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman's eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother's love

Fast forward to today, on our way home from Sam's Club (on a diapers, paper towels, and toilet paper run!). Mom and I witnessed another milestone for Ivie. The first time that I've heard her sing along to a song on the radio (other than a kid's song from her CD).

You guessed it. The song she chose was none other than "Chicken Fried". So my not-yet-3-year-old daughter was in the backseat singing about "cold beer on a Friday night". Wonderful! Thank goodness she has no idea what beer is.

So there you go, Daddy. I know you're thrilled to read this story on your phone while in a meeting in Phoenix. We're so excited for you to get home tomorrow. Maybe you, Ivie, and I can sing "Chicken Fried" together and dance in the kitchen. With Macie watching us from her bouncy seat wondering what kind of a family she's been born into.

We miss you, Daddy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comparison Pics - Part II

People ask us all the time if we think Macie resembles Ivie. Here are some pictures to help you decide for yourselves. Ivie is 5 months old in the picture below, and Macie is only 4, but I couldn't pass up the Doorway Jumper comparison!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back Yard Playground

Dale and I have been talking for some time about getting a playground for the back yard. We've gone back and forth, questioning whether we would be in this house long enough for it to be worth it (because we don't want to go through the struggle of moving it on a year!). We've decided, though, that we love our location, and probably don't need to move until either a) we decide to have another child, and said child outgrows our current nursery or b) we decide to move into Chapel Hill's school district.

Since neither of those things are in our foreseeable future, and probably won't be for another 2 to 3 years, we bit the bullet and got a playground. And I can tell you that the look on Ivie's face as she played with it for the first time this past week made it entirely worth it...

Now, of course, the week that it gets delivered is the coldest week we've had all winter. But that didn't stop us. Below are some of the pics from our first outing. As I type, though, it's snowing sideways outside, so I guess more fun on the playground will have to wait for a few days... But it sure looks pretty in white! The good news is that I think Ivie will have enough to keep her busy learning how to make snow balls instead of swinging and sliding...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 10: "Cosby"

Ivie has become much more intrigued by baby dolls in the past few months. I don't believe it's a coincidence that this increased interest has directly correlated with Macie's arrival...

For Christmas, Great-Granny and Great-Papa got Ivie a baby doll with a seat that doubles as a carrier. Ivie loves that she can carry her on either her back or her belly, "just like Mommy carries Macie!" (in the Baby Bjorn). Ivie has named this particular doll "Cosby". Cute.

Cosby has a bottle that didn't make it into the picture. So Ivie's been practicing her feeding skills. She got pretty good, so yesterday I let her take a shot at feeding Mac. It only lasted a few minutes, though; Macie is pretty peculiar about how her bottle is held when she eats, and Ivie hasn't quite caught on to that yet. But it was still a photo op that we'll enjoy looking back at when they're older...

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Check on Macie"

Ivie's bedtime routine is pretty set in stone these days. While I'm nursing Macie, Dale gives Ivie her bath and gets her dressed in her pj's. Then they both come give Macie and me a goodnight kiss, and head back to Ivie's room for 2 books in the rocking chair. Then Ivie turns off her lamp, crawls in bed, and asks Dale to hold her hand. Dale does, for "one minute" (that is actually more like 5), and then, most nights, she will say, "Good night, Daddy" and let him leave the room without her getting upset.

Tonight was thrown off a bit. I got Macie to bed a bit early, and Ivie was being rambunctious, so I thought I'd try to help calm her down by going into her room while Dale was putting on her pj's. Dale immediately called my move "a fatal mistake," guessing that Ivie would then want me to hang around for the rest of the bedtime routine. He was right. After she was dressed, she said, "Mommy, you sit there" and pointed to the ottoman.

Trying to get out of the room and avoid the later chaos of Dale and I both trying to leave, I tried an "out". I said to Ivie, "Ivie, I'm going to go check on Macie, okay? Go read books with Daddy." Ivie promptly responded with "I go with you, Mommy!" and headed to Macie's door. Since that clearly was a BAD idea, as Macie was, by now, sound asleep, I redirected Ivie back into her room and agreed to sit and listen to one book.

Dale read "Fun on the Farm" and flipped through the 2008 UNC Cheerleaders' Calendar (looking for pictures of Rameses the mascot, of course). Since Ivie was agreeable to then turning off her lamp and crawling into bed, I decided to go ahead and stick it out, hoping it wouldn't turn in to a 10-minute hand-holding session, followed by cries and tears when Dale and I insisted on going to bed ourselves.

Of course Ivie wanted to hold both of our hands as she settled onto her pillow and Disney Princess sleeping bag. After finding her "puppy" and "bunny" and getting one last drink from her water bottle, Ivie closed her eyes.

The 10-minute hand-holding session never materialized. In fact, it didn't even last a minute. She must have remembered my feeble attempt to leave her room 10 minutes earlier. Because after about 30 seconds of holding my hand, Ivie looked up at me and said, "Go check on Macie, Mommy."

It doesn't get much sweeter than that. Ivie's already a GREAT big sister.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 9: "Kesha"

Sometimes, you can actually get a pretty cool toy in a fast food restaurant's Kid's Meal. Or at least something that your kid thinks is cool for more than, say, 5 minutes.

Dale got such a toy for Ivie at McDonald's the other day. It's a mini-Shrek plastic toy. It's actually one of Shrek's babies (from Shrek the Third), which has 3 different noises when you press its button. It says "Da-da", cries, and burps (gross, I know).

Not sure why, but Ivie decided to name it Kesha. Maybe because she has a bigger version of a Shrek baby that we call "Felicia", and "Kesha" sounds close to that? Or maybe because it's the name of one of her former teachers in the toddler class at school? Who knows, but Kesha it is.

Given that Ivie's a huge Shrek fan (it's in the running for the theme for her 3rd birthday party, which I realized the other day is only 3 short months away), the toy is a hit. But it's also something else that ends up on the floor in the kitchen with regularity. Which means Mommy and Daddy quickly become annoyed with it! But as long as it keeps the kiddo happy, right?!?

Short explanation about the picture. As you can tell from her pouting, Ivie was throwing a fit Friday morning. I don't even remember what the fit was about (they're pretty regular in the mornings in our house when we're trying to get her ready to get out the door in time to make it to school for snack at 8:30a), but she refused to pose for a picture with Kesha. So this was the best I could do. And wouldn't you know that as soon as I snapped the picture, the fit was over, and she was climbing out from below the swing, saying "Let me see it, Mommy!".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Identifying Trends

Three short stories from tonight about how Ivie is starting to pick up on trends...

1. Meal Combinations

I don't have a very good memory. But one thing I DO remember from my childhood is that one of our regular meals at home growing up was fish sticks and macaroni and cheese. In fact, on April 29, 1984 (I was 7), I distinctly remember having fish sticks and macaroni for dinner when a tornado came through Owensville, inflicting a lot of damage on our little town. I will always remember the date, as it was my best friend, Jill's, birthday. (Must admit that I didn't remember the year, but Google is amazing...)

Anyway, back to fish sticks and macaroni. Tonight, on our way home from school, I was thinking to myself that I was in the right mood for this meal. Trying to remember if I had enough fish sticks in the freezer for both of us, I said to Ivie, "Ivie, I was thinking we'd have fish sticks for dinner. What do you think about that?". Her response? With great excitement and anticipation, she said, "I want maganoni, too, Mommy!"

Apparently I've already got her trained to think about these 2 foods as a great dinner combination!

2. Showing Pride

Ivie has been really good lately at pooping in the potty. Not so good at potty yet, but I'd prefer her start with poopy anyway! Each time she's gone poopy, I've looked her deep in the eyes and said, "Ivie, I'm so PROUD of you for using the big girl potty!" She always gives me a big smile and says, "Thank you, Mommy!".

Tonight, as she was eating the aforementioned macaroni, she was excelling at holding her head over her bowl so it wouldn't spill on her lap (or the table, or the floor...). I complimented her, saying "Ivie, you're doing GREAT at holding your head over your plate!". She looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm so proud of you!".

Not sure if she was hoping I would say it back to her, or if she's just not quite sure when to use the phrase. Either way, she definitely knows it's a good thing!

3. Bedtime Hugs

Each night before bed, as I'm nursing Macie, Ivie comes in and gives both of us a hug and kiss goodnight before heading into her room with Daddy to read books. We've been out of our routine the last 2 nights with Dale gone, though, so Ivie's been relegated to her room to watch Chicken Run on the portable DVD player while I put Macie to bed. Obviously, the goal is that she will watch the movie and stay out of Macie's room, as she hasn't quite learned how to come into Macie's room QUIETLY at bedtime...

Last night, she did great. Only came in one time, and it was because she wanted her water bottle. I told her where it was, and she obediently left and went to get it. Then headed back to her rocker and the movie.

Tonight, she came into the room about halfway through Macie's nursing session. I gave her the "quiet" sign, and she came in saying, "I want to give you hugs!". So she came around the side of my chair and gave me a big hug. Then walked around to the other side of the chair, where she could reach Macie, and planted a big kiss on the back of her head.

That's one routine I'm glad we've got going!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Sunday night was Macie's first Carolina men's basketball game. Sadly, she came out of the game with a losing record. We're disappointed that she'll NEVER get another shot at winning her first Carolina basketball game. Until she's playing for the women's team herself, that is. (Though the chances of that are slim-to-none if she inherits her mom's speed!)

As for her first game, Macie did great! Game time was 5:30p, which was the perfect time of day for both girls. Macie took in the crowd intently when we first arrived, and we set to work on her bottle around 6p.

This proved to be slightly difficult with the crowd noise. Each time the crowd erupted in a cheer, all 4 of Macie's limbs, and the rest of her body, for that matter, flailed wildly in surprise. Then, by the time she had settled back into the bottle, it would happen again... Over and over, for about 45 minutes until the milk was finally gone...

Following the bottle, she "watched" the game for a bit until she started to get tired. Then the noise finally got to her and she had a short bout of wailing. So I snuggled her into my lap, covered her ears as best I could, and she promptly fell asleep until about 2 minutes left in the game. Have I told you all lately that I think we have the world's most perfect baby?!?

Here's a short video clip of how that bottle feeding went in the Smith Center. Oh, and by the way, Mac... Don't fret. You'll have plenty of opportunities to improve upon that current losing record. Go Heels!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 8: Kid's Camera

For those of you that know Brooke Dever, you will NOT be surprised that the Devers' Christmas gift to Ivie, a kid's camera, has quickly risen to the level of one of her favorite toys. Ivie has obviously grown up around her mommy's camera, so much so that she now often reminds me when I need to be taking pictures. So the opportunity for her to take her own pictures excites her to no end.

Not able to say "camera", Ivie calls it her "cam-er". And she loves snapping pictures of her little sister, or her feet, or our Christmas decorations, or the floor, or her toys, get the picture! We're still working on getting the target of the picture actually in the center of the screen (or sometimes in the screen at all), but I think we've got a budding photographer on our hands.

Middle-of-the-Night Memories

December 5th. The last day, according to my nursing records, that I was awake for a middle-of-the-night feeding (4:20a).

I guess Macie missed the 1-on-1 time, because she woke up crying at 2:45a this morning. Since it had been nearly a month since I'd been up before 6a to feed her, I tried everything else first. Changed a VERY wet diaper, which resulted also in a change of pj's, since they, too, were soaked. Rocked and sang lullabies for a few minutes. Stood and bounced for a few more. Nothing worked. So back to the glider we went, this time for a late-night snack.

Ahhhhhh, now THAT was what she wanted! And about 15 minutes later, with a smile on her face, she cozied back into the sleep sack and settled in for another 5 hours of sleep.

Let me rewind for a minute. When I first awoke at 2:45a to the cries, I was caught off-guard. Took me a few seconds to figure out what the sound was! Once I connected it to Macie, my first thoughts were ones of disappointment. Being pulled out of my soft, warm bed in the middle of the night. Thought we were through with that stage! Bummer!

But only minutes later, as I held my sweet baby girl and watched her eat contentedly, I took all of those feelings back. Believe it or not, there's not much better than occasional 1-on-1 quiet time with a sweet baby in the dead of the night, when you realize that she depends on you for everything she needs, and you're able to give it to her.

I'll let you in on a secret. I COULD have been back in my soft, warm bed a few minutes sooner than I was last night. But I was distracted. I was too busy snuggling with my sleeping infant, staring at her sweet, innocent, satisfied face. Realizing sadly that the times go by so quickly, and that too soon these late-night feedings would be a distant memory. To be replaced by middle-of-the-night cries from a toddler who has misplaced her water bottle. And then by those of a school-age child who has had a bad dream. And then by late nights staying awake waiting for the teenager to get home safely from her evening out.

So, for now, I'll cherish the middle-of-the-night stumbles into Macie's room. Not that I want them to happen every night or anything. Don't get any ideas, Mac...!