Dreaming her baby dreams.

Husband and I have always been the kind who want to find out. I can understand the whole don’t-unwrap-your-presents-before-Christmas approach, but I am just so grateful for modern technology and its ability to give us a glimpse of what is going on inside my burgeoning belly. Laying on that table, holding husband’s hand, looking at that screen, hearing the technician talk about our second daughter — I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

And then there are the pictures. Those wonderful, fuzzy pictures of a tiny person kicking her tiny feet and waving her tiny hands. Amazing.

Just because people couldn’t find out for centuries doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be happy that you live in the century when you can.

This last image was a surprise. I think that a 3D ultrasound usually costs extra, but Baby was in a good position so the tech gave it a try. Here she is, dreaming her baby dreams.

Dreaming.

May they be sweet ones.

Grandparents.

Are great.

I always know that in my head, but each time we’re around them in person this knowledge goes to a whole new level. I can think of few things that are more satisfying than watching my child play happily with her grandparents and seeing the delight they take in each other.

We were blessed with a wonderful visit from my folks last weekend and might get to see them again one more time before they fly out. Mom & dad live in Washington state but are in the area for a very well-timed conference and the birth of my new niece Annie Christine. We’re hoping to drive down the beach to see my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and parents next Sunday, so maybe I’ll have some fresh baby photos afterward.

I didn’t document the whole weekend, but here are some snapshots of one happy, lazy afternoon at home. Camilla was kept extremely amused by…

Bouncing with grandma.

…bouncing with grandma.

…kissing with grandma.

Kisses with grandma.

…playing Duplos with grandma.

Duplos with grandma.

…playing peekaboo with grandpa.

Fun with grandpa.

(and grandma)

…playing dress-up with grandma.

Dress-up with grandma.

…playing boat (=basket) with grandma.

Boating with grandma.

…playing dollies with grandma.

Dollies with grandma.

…and just reveling in the general happy chaos.

(Note my father’s amazing ability to get stuff done in any circumstance.)

As you might guess, we were all sad and a little mopey when they left. I had to remind my selfish self several times that taking care of a family with a newborn is a very worthy cause, and I will be more than happy to have mom do the same for us in June. But I will just go ahead and state for the record that it would be very nice to live several thousand miles closer to both sets of grandparents.

I didn’t have long to mope because this week is c-r-a-z-y busy and I constantly think it’s one or two days farther along than it is (it’s not Thursday yet, right?). Isn’t it annoying when that happens? Thursday is a big day because I have an ultrasound in the morning. I will warn you in advance that, if we can find out the baby’s gender, husband wants us to keep it a secret this time around. My lips are sealed. Some friends have already told us that they don’t think we’ll be able to keep a lid on the news, but we’ll see. We can be pretty determined when we want to be. :)

A momentous discovery.

I took a bunch of photos yesterday morning but the rest will have to wait because I need to scurry around the apartment one last time before my parents visit today (hooray!). They’re staying for the whole weekend, which is just lovely. We are all waiting for my poor overdue sister-in-law to have her baby any day now…I think she’s at least a week late. But everyone will be nicely distracted for a few days by the excitement of having Grandma and Grandpa (otherwise knows as “popop” and, um, “popop”) to play with.

I hope your weekend is filled with fun things too.

An important discovery.

[Breaking news! I just got off the phone with mom and Hilary is in labor. New niece, coming soon!]

18 weeks.

Almost halfway there!

17 weeks.

[Okay, that’s being a bit optimistic, especially since Camilla was 10 days late and I don’t have any reason to believe that this baby will want to vacate the premises any faster. But “half-way” sounds so much nicer than “due in June,” which had might as well be September at this point.]

The photo really doesn’t do justice to the size of my belly, which is quite a bit larger than the last time around. I think it all depends on what shirt I wear: flowy shirts make me feel like a hippopotamus already, while tight ones allow people to wonder if I’m just overly fond of beer. But I think I’m really close to the bystanders-can-safely-assume-I’m-pregnant stage, which is nice for all involved.

So far, the second trimester has been a great improvement on the first. I feel pretty decent, except in the evenings when food doesn’t taste very good and sleep is not my friend. Early mornings are also not that great: I could have slept three whole hours longer yesterday if only my body had been more cooperative. (And please, no comments about “getting ready for a newborn!” That is one of the least helpful things to tell a pregnant woman who can’t sleep.) I had ridiculous headaches for a while, but my midwife told me to start chugging a gallon of water a day and it has really helped. So I thought I would pass that bit of free advice along to other pregnant women with chronic daily headaches. I have found that I can’t just keep a cup count, either…I have to fill up a gallon jug and make it my daily mission to drink it all. Yes, the bathroom and I are still good friends.

I’ve recovered enough energy to make a list of household projects that I would like to complete in the next few months:

– hem Camilla’s curtain (we got a toddler bed and had to move some furniture around)
– sew two waterproof covers for the toddler bed (the Ikea ones are a weird extra-long size)
– sew some clothes for Baby, Camilla’s doll, who is currently wearing a weird clown suit
– possibly try to knit Baby a hat and sweater as well
– sew some new slipcovers for the decorative pillows in the living room
– finish the sofa slipcover

Notice that the energy has extended to making the list, but not completing anything on it yet. I’m trying to start with the quick + easy stuff and work my way down to the more complicated things, like the giant unfinished slipcover that haunts my dreams. I finished all the basic seams on the six cushion covers, but they still need to be serged and topstitched. And then I need to make a pattern for the body of the sofa, buy yards and yards more fabric, and get to work on that. I think I need more energy first. I also need to summon the enthusiasm to have my kitchen table covered with sewing supplies for a couple of weeks — I have to admit that it’s been very nice to have it cleared off for so long. Makes the whole apartment feel cleaner, even if it’s not.

The other sewing deterrent is that I’ve been spending a lot of naptimes doing meal prep. Now that I feel like eating again (tra la la), I’ve spent a lot of time looking for new and intriguing recipes. I don’t know how I could have forgotten so quickly, but it turns out that cooking nice-ish meals takes up a lot of time. Recent dinners have included homemade beef stew, creamy vegetable soup, beef pot pie, chicken pot pie, swimming rama, smoked fish chowder, and a pretty amazing hazelnut and Strega torte (oh, I guess that wasn’t for dinner). For someone who didn’t cook for three months, that’s a lot. I need to work a little on my timing — if we eat after 5:30, whatever I’ve been laboring over doesn’t taste all that great — but in general we are well-fed and happy around here. And since husband seems to prefer that to a new sofa slipcover, I guess we’ll just putter along as we have been for a while.

Morning games.

Camilla plays the most happily during the stretch of morning in between dropping daddy off at school and her first nap. Coincidentally, our living room also has very nice sunshine at that time.

A few days ago, the object of her morning game was to hold all of her bathtime toys at once.

Trying to hold them all at once.

That morning, she managed four.

Although they would keep dropping the moment she tried to walk.

The next morning, I let her cheat a little and gave her a bag to put them in.

Although briefly distracted by the camera…

…the new and improved version was a great success.

All games, however, get interrupted from time to time for a little xylophone solo.

Now for a little xylaphone solo.

We also pulled out the duplos.

She’s pretty good a pulling them apart and putting them together all by herself, but every once in a while one gets stuck.

Help, mamba. These are stuck.

She recently discovered that she can pop the little ones on the ends of her fingers.

Oh, and that mama’s castles are good for kneeling on.

Why not sit on it?

Don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

She sometimes helps pick up afterward,

but usually gets distracted before the job is done.

On to something else.

(You can’t tell, but she is vigorously rocking her baby doll.)

Rocking her baby.

My beautiful girl.

Where we are now.

I’ve always wished that I was as good as my sister Marian at making note of my baby’s progress. At the end of most months, she writes down what sorts of things her son Ransom into, what new skills he’s developed, what words he says, that sort of thing. Seeing as I am an absolute failure at keeping a diary, this blog is pretty much the only record I have of Camilla’s activities.

Uh oh.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions because (for me, at least) that always guarantees failure. But I do hope to start writing down more about Camilla’s life because I think it will come in really handy when the next baby comes along and because she just might enjoy reading it when she’s older. I should also note that I do this in a spirit of recording fun memories, not my-baby-could-walk-faster-than-yours (because I’m sure she couldn’t) or oh-no-she-doesn’t-say-sentences-yet (because I really think it’s best to let her develop at her own pace and not push her to meet certain “milestones”). Better late than never, right?

I guess it’s also worth mentioning that this sort of entry might be the death knell for any pretense that this is an artsy-craftsy blog and not just a plain ol’ baby blog. But to be honest, I almost never read any craft blogs anymore while I do check friends’ and family’s blogs to see what they are up to. Camilla is obsessed with looking at photos of babies on the computer. And who knows? Maybe your kid is too. Happy to oblige.

18.5 months.

Camilla at 18.5 months is:

– Still somewhere between 20 and 21 pounds. Husband and I are both tall and not that skinny and I have no idea how we produced such a puny kid. She has a great big round tummy and little skinny hips, so her pants are constantly falling off if I get her the “proper” size. She’s currently in 12 mo jeans, but they are getting too short and the rise isn’t long enough so I see a lot of diaper at the top. Anyone know where to get simple, non-embroidered jeans with an adjustable waistband? I think that’s what we need.

– Completely despairing to me when it comes to her hair. What to do with it? It’s thick in the back, thin on the sides, and ridiculously fine. It looks scraggly if she goes more than a day without a bath, but who wants to bathe a mostly clean kid every night? I’ve been trying to trim it myself into a cute little schoolgirl bob, but  I think I need professional assistance soon since I make the silliest mistakes when left to my own devices. Oh, and have I mentioned how fast her bangs grow? Almost as fast as her fingernails, but that’s another story.

– Very, very active and inquisitive. “She’s into everything” is not really an overstatement. It’s exciting to see her cognitive abilities grow so quickly, but it also means that I need to provide more interesting and demanding activities to keep her busy. We got some super Christmas gifts from her grandparents, and her favorite toys at the moment are (1) her wood play kitchen, complete with lots of dishes, cups, and cutlery and (2) her set of duplos. I am really proud of her progress with the duplos. When we started playing with them at Christmas time she went mostly for the animals and people and ignored the blocks. But within the last week, she has figured out how to stick the blocks together and pull them apart and will spend 10 or 15 minutes sitting quietly and playing with them. Those minutes are pure gold, people.

– Showing some artistic tendencies that thrill me to death. We’ve been practicing with crayons for the last couple of months, but they inevitably end up in the mouth. She’s been a lot better about that recently, though, and I occasionally get some nice scribbly drawings. She loves stickers and is very good at applying them, although she can’t pull them off the sheet by herself yet.

– Trying out lots of new words. She’s said a few words consistently for the past 5 or 6 months (mama, dah, baby, bye bye) along with a few that were around for a week or two and then disappeared (blue, dog, car, cup). We would try to teach her new words but she’d only repeat them if they were really simple and–I think–she was sure of success. But all of the sudden her vocabulary just exploded and she tries to repeat almost any word you ask her to. They’re still a little garbled, true, but I am so proud of her for trying. Turtle, apple, pear, girl, and lots of animal noises are currently popular. Thank you (“heshew!) is very frequent and please (“bee!”) comes out occasionally, but I’d like to hear that one a lot more.

-An incredibly picky eater. I don’t know what we did wrong. I introduced lots of new foods early on, made her try a little of everything, and what did I end up with? A kid who only wants to eat bread. She’s starting to drink milk (“moo”), which is great since she weaned herself a few weeks ago. But she doesn’t like cheese, meat, most vegetables, or anything unfamiliar. We give her vitamins, she’s growing okay, and the doctor’s not worried, so I guess I shouldn’t be either. But really, what kind of toddler won’t eat cheese?

– Still taking two naps. Yup. You can guess how I feel about that.

These are a few photos I took of this week’s favorite activity, trying to insert the key into our cd cabinets. The day that I took these photos she worked unsuccessfully for about 20 minutes to get the key into the lock. On day #2, she could get the key in and out. On day #3, she could twist it to open the cabinet door. That’s the kind of progress we’re seeing around here these days.

Her new challenge: getting the key in the lock.

Hello 2011.

It’s hard to believe that 2011 has started already since the last bit of 2010 was a blur of nausea, less nausea, shopping, wrapping, packing, shipping, traveling, celebrating, and a teeny bit of relaxing. That doesn’t mean that it went fast, just that I didn’t know when it was over. I really am sorry that I dropped out like that. Those of you who have had morning sickness will understand. I feel kind of bad that Camilla has relatively few photos from that bit of her life, but I had recovered enough by Christmas to take a few. Really, though, I am coming to grips with the fact that not all childhood moments are properly photograph-able. When we went to the Georgia Aquarium last year, Camilla was six months old, behaved splendidly, and there were hardly any people. Result? Lots of nice photos. When we went this year, it was a different story (as you’ll see below). The same goes for Christmas itself. Fortunately, I have a husband who reminds me that the memories are more important than the pictures anyway.

Of course, the other problem with not blogging in a long time is that, when you do feel like it again, you tend to procrastinate because there’s an awful lot of catching up to do. Prepare yourself, because I have two months’ worth of pics to share. Maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t feel like taking any more.

At the end of 2010, we…

…saw the return of the bath monster!

(I like to think of this version as “bigger, longer, and uncut.”)

The Bath Monster returns...

…started eating peanut butter and made the perfect Will Shakespeare beard out of it.

The Will Shakespeare peanut butter beard.

…pulled out the Christmas decorations.

…transformed into Christmas elves, if only for a few moments.

Our Christmas elf.

…rediscovered our creche (which was waaaayyyyy more fascinating this year)

…and piously gave it some kisses.

…tried to take that family Christmas photo in front of the tree.

…skyped with Grandma & Grandpa Gibbs on Christmas Eve.

Opening a few presents on Christmas Eve.

…got an awesome wood play kitchen that has been in use every single day since then.

Her new play kitchen.

…drove to Panama City Beach on Christmas day to be with my brother and sister-in-law.

Christmas dinner.

…tried eating the Christmas lemon that grew on our very own tree.

Tasting the Christmas lemon.

…opened more presents.

…and lit the Christmas pudding on fire.

Flaming pudding.

…froze our hind ends off in Atlanta (there’s some snow on the ground, if you look hard).

Freezing in Atlanta.

…made the best of it.

Snuggled.

…went to the Georgia Aquarium.

…timed our visit all wrong and shared the experience with about one million other people.

At the Georgia Aquarium.

Sighting a whale shark.

…finally got to see the belugas.

Belugas.

…managed not to take a photo of Camilla and the otters, her favorite animals.

…grudgingly accepted that this was probably her favorite view out of the whole aquarium.

Her favorite view.

…and skipped a bunch of exhibits because patience ran out and naptime was needed. C’est la vie.

If you’re hardcore (= related by blood or marriage or a very, very close friend) you can find a few more photos here.

….

I see that I cleverly managed not to take a photo of my impressively rounded belly. Either baby #2 is a lot bigger than baby #1, or the space just, er, accommodated him/her more quickly. But I’m sure there will be plenty of time for that later.

Speaking of baby #1, I hear that she has woken from her nap. Thanks for continuing to stop by my little blog, and I’ll try to amuse you more often in the future.

Happy 2011, everyone.