Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hand-eye coordination

For the last few weeks Miles has been perfecting the art of putting anything and everything he can get a hold of into his mouth. I am sure this will only continue as teething begins! We have had so much fun watching as he eyes his target, works to get a hold of it, and then pull it to his face. Who knew so much effort went into the seemingly effortless act of hand-eye coordination. Amazing to watch as he literally learns to manipulate his surroundings.

This teething toy from our friend Lisa has been his favorite as of late! Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.
Often he misses the intended target and the object of his desire lands in his eye, or more towards his ear, and I have to work not to giggle as it is so comical and cute at the same time.

And sometimes it goes right where he wants - where he can happily chew away. Until the next pretty thing he would like to devour catches his eye.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Miles and I celebrated his first Earth Day on a walk.

I should note that I am of the mindset that every day should be Earth Day since this little blue marble is the most important thing we have (share)... but, it was the perfect reason to head outdoors and revel in Mother Nature's bounty.

As we stepped outside I was excited to see that the Lily of the Valley by the back door have suddenly popped open. The white bells were all green recently when I checked them. Today they were brimming with the intoxicating smell that screams, "Summer is almost here!" As I knelt down to shove my face into the little LOV forest, it occurred to me, Miles has never smelled one before!

And so the marathon of "firsts" this year continues. When I put it up to his nose he looked at me quizzically, and thoughtfully, and then smiled a shy kind of smile - kind of like we were sharing a secret. As we walked on we came to a lilac bush, also bursting with fragrance, and I shared another "first" with him.

As we walked I found myself just mesmerized by the colors (or maybe it was all that intoxicating perfume). I guess that is what a long gray city winter will do to you... the explosion of colors in early summer is almost overwhelming. There were cardinals flying around and robins hunting hungrily on green lawns. Then the colors of all the blossoms and blooms - tulips, lilacs, young maple leaves, vibrant dandelions, glowing dogwood blossoms, redbuds, and quince (to name a few).

My mother is a talented painter and I sometimes try to see the world as she does - as blocks of color - each combination a still life in itself. Today the whole world seemed to be a painting unfolding before our eyes.

If you can believe it, along our walk, on a side street I have never ventured down before - I looked down and I saw this stone set into someone's garden. Fitting, considering these very words have been on my mind lately!

I do love this Earth, this home we have been gifted for our time here. Having moved back from the high desert I have a new appreciation for the four seasons as we experience them here in Michigan. I am constantly in awe of nature and I do hope my passion is passed on to my son. I have a favorite quote that I often refer to when people ask me why I went back to school to become a teacher. The environmentalist Rachel Carson said that, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder he or she must have the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in.”

I aim to be that companion, especially for Miles. When I look at my son I am even more devoted to my passion to teach children about the wonders of our world! Those little hands and growing minds are quite literally the keepers of our future.

So happy Earth Day to you. Let's LOVE this planet today and every day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


What could make Miles this happy?

He had his friends over to play!

Sofia and Chloe have been off traveling and Josie and Miles were so glad to finally have them back from their adventures.

I adore these sweet babies and I am so thrilled that I met their wonderful mothers when I was pregnant.

Just look at these fabulous ladies working to make our kids smile for the camera! (Thanks again Monica for the maracas you brought us from Mexico.)

We need to get some more instruments and I think we could make own band with these little ones!

I do not want to wish the time away because I adore these babies being small - but, I cannot wait to see them grow and find out who they will become.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heads Up

"Tummy time" has never been a favorite at our house, so we are always trying to find new ways to make it exciting. This series of pictures shows Miles seeming to enjoy being on his belly and even lifting his head up high.

He held his head up so long I was astounded - so I captured the moment with pictures. We laughed, he smiled, we played and played.

Eventually, the inevitable happened - and he just flopped his head down on the pillow exhausted by all that work! So precious!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peruvian Hat

This recent reemergence of cold weather has been celebrated at our house. Only because it brought about the occasion to wear the beautiful Peruvian hat our friends from Santa Fe, the Murphey's, picked up for Miles on their travels abroad.

Miles seems to like it, and we will try to enjoy it as much as we can because I am sure it will not fit next winter. Thank goodness that winters drag long into spring, (and sometimes even summer) in Michigan because I think he looks precious in this colorful hat!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Growing before our eyes!

If I had to recall the one thing I hear most from people about parenting, whether it is from close friends, or unsolicited advice from people at the grocery store it is simply the phrase, "Enjoy it! They grow so fast." And I must admit, I heard this before Miles arrived in our lives, and I thought to myself - sure - but it can't happen that fast.

News flash: He is literally growing before our eyes!

This picture was taken on 12/26 when he was just seven days old. We adore this bouncy chair! It was an awesome gift and it has served as the backdrop for countless pictures, as I am sure you have noticed. It has also been an interesting gauge to measure his growth. When we first plopped him into his chair his eyes barely peeked above the material that held him in.

This picture was taken on 12/30 when he was eleven days old, just five days older than the previous picture, and already he had grown so much!

On 1/27 he was just six weeks old. Not like he was ever a tiny baby, but he was already looking so grown up!

2/27 - One month later he is 10 weeks old, and fitting rather cozily into his favorite chair. Now his elbows rest where his eyebrows used to be!

This picture was taken last Saturday (4/4). As week 16 began I was astounded at the contrast of this picture with the first one we took. Suddenly, the saying rang true - "Enjoy it! They grow so fast." I found myself is disbelief. I almost have a four month old, and truly everything is flying by so very fast!

I will continue the tradition of taking his picture in this chair (as long as he still fits in it) and be sure to share the pictures with you. Almost 1/3 of a year has passed. We are still hit or miss with the sleeping through the night. We have already put away a whole series of clothes that are too small now, and we have moved up to the next size of cloth diapers. I know he is not walking or talking yet, and it will still be awhile before he asks me for the car keys, but I am just trying to hold him close and cherish him now!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Walking Ritual

Last Monday (4/5) my friend Mere was in town from Seattle on the sad occasion that her Nana passed away. She was truly a wonderful woman and her presence will be missed. I will always remember her sparkling eyes, her beautiful smile, and the way that Mere could make her laugh! Although the occasion was sad it was so nice to spend the morning reminiscing with this friend I have known since middle school. In fact not only was Mere my college roommate at MSU, but she was also my campaign manager when I ran for Vice President in sixth grade! Now she has the new title of honorary aunt to Miles!

The morning greeted us with a cool fog and the sunlight was shining through in long rays onto Reeds Lake. This walk has been a ritual we have shared for countless years and it felt wonderful to just walk and talk the miles away. As the hours passed the sun came out and when we ended there were blue skies!

Miles slept though most of the trip in his stroller. Mere had not seen him since he was one day old and she was amazed at how he had grown! In fact this week he weighed 14 lbs. and 14 oz.

We passed beautiful gardens with the Lenten Rose (Helleboris orientalis) in full bloom! The day before I noticed that the same plants were blooming at Mere's moms front door. This hearty plant is known for it's early bloom and the delicate blossoms stand as flags of spring. Again, I am reminded that the seasons are changing as I look to the world outside. This change seems especially significant this year. Perhaps as a parent now I am vividly aware that the next generation has arrived and that it is especially important to cherish and appreciate all those that came before us.

By the end of the walk Miles wanted to be held. It felt good to walk with him in my arms. As the sun came out birds began to fly through the trees. We saw a Red Tailed Hawk, a Downy Woodpecker, and Goldfinches freshly painted yellow for the summer. There is something healing about the power of simply walking and talking with friends. This walk is something that Mere and I have shared for years, and it felt wonderful to do it with Miles. Today was a beautiful day to both reminisce about the past and look to the future as the seasons change around us.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Easter

If the "Earth laughs in flowers" as Ralph Waldo Emerson says in the poem Hamatreya then I think my father was appropriately named Don "Laugh"ter because he loves to show his appreciation for his time here on earth by beautifying the landscape.

This Easter I was reminded of the renewal that the holiday commemorates as I looked all around the yard at the beautiful tulips that have replaced the crocus in full bloom. This life is such a gift we are given, and this sentiment is so evident to me in the spring as everything around us appears to be reborn after a long winter.

Inside my mother decorated the table with some very sentimental memorabilia. These ceramic bunnies, painted by my Grandmother in 1964 I believe, are part of every Easter memory I have ever had. Crazy to think that they will become part of the memories that Miles will create now too.
This year we celebrated on Good Friday with our (almost) in-laws the Van't Hofs. We are so excited for our families to "merge" this June when David and Sarah get married. We have been celebrating holidays together now for a long time though and it already feels like we have been together forever!
Miles hung out on the back porch with the guys and helped with the grilling. He was proudly wearing his "UT" shirt from Nona and Paw Paw and dressed appropriately for the Texas style dinner. (Doesn't everyone eat cheese grits and fajitas for Easter?)

The evening came to a close around the fire to celebrate the unusually warm weather. Unfortunately the winds did not agree and as the smoke was blowing into our eyes as we talked so we decided to retreat indoors.

Then on Sunday we spent a quiet day at home with "the Yia Yia's."
Yia Yia Linda cooked an amazing meal (despite having just had foot surgery) and we had dinner at Yia Yia Liz's place.

Miles got to experience his first "cracking of the eggs." Orthodox Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ. Before dinner each person selected an egg.

Then, with your neighbor, you hit each others egg trying to crack the shell. The hard shell symbolizes the sealed tomb of Christ, and the cracking the "breaking free" or the resurrection. The idea with the "game" however is to have the unblemished egg at the end.

Michael emerged victorious from years of experience with his tricky "clutch" egg hold! I am sure he will teach this technique to Miles in the future. I anticipate a father-son rivalry next year.

This Easter has been especially sacred as we hold close in our hearts the fact that Yia Yia Liz just recovered from a very serious bout with double pneumonia. We truly cherish each day that we are able to watch Miles and his great grandmother interact. I will never forget the moment she got home from the hospital and I brought Miles in to see her. Her eyes just lit up and then they both grinned from ear to ear! They love to sit on the couch together and just make each other laugh. When I am watching the two of them giggle, I cannot help but giggle myself. Often the three of us will just sit and laugh!

As she says, "Isn't is funny the things adults will do to make a baby smile." And I must agree, we have all done it - I find myself doing the craziest things to elicit one of those gummy grins from my favorite little man. So, this season we are especially grateful for all the little things that make this life wonderful. When we count our blessings we are sure to include tulips, and giggles, and the love of family!