Our Pumpkin Family

The tiny pumpkin we picked out just for Ana was already starting to shrivel and turn gray after only two days, so I decided she needed a new one. Luckily, someone left an extra pumpkin in our garage after the carving party the other day so I didn’t even have to venture out of the house for a new pumpkin.

Since I wasn’t hosting a party, I was able to spend a little more time making my daughter’s “first pumpkin” extra special.

Ana’s new pumpkin fit in nicely with the pumpkin version of ourselves; making us quite the cute “pumpkin family.”

A pumpkin for my pumpkin

On Sunday Simeon and I met up with a bunch of our friends and family at Lakeview Farms for my favorite fall activity: the corn maze and pumpkin patch!

After conquering the corn maze in about an hour, we all boarded the train and crossed the lake to search for the perfect pumpkin. This was Ana’s first pumpkin patch outing and you could see the excitement (and slight confusion) on her face. She wanted more than anything for us to set her down and let her climb among the pumpkins…

…but she settled for being released from the Baby Bjorn and propped up on a giant pumpkin for an adorable photo opp.

Once we selected our pumpkins (Ana even got her very own tiny one!) we boarded the “Pumpkin Harvest Express” train which brought us back to the farm. Then we all headed to my house to carve our pumpkins and enjoy some warm chili and corn bread.

We had a fabulous time and I am already excited to go back again next year! You can see all the pictures from the corn maze, pumpkin patch, and the carving party in the
Pumpkin Patch 2007 gallery. Enjoy!

A Letter: Ten Months

Dear Ana,
Today you turn ten months old. Double digits: WAHOO!

The big news of the last month is you officially became mobile. But more amazing than you actually crawling, was the fact that I was there to witness it. You see, I was worried you would crawl for the first time while your father and I were in Europe. You were so close to crawling before we left that in the days leading up to our departure I told your caregivers if you didn’t crawl before we left they were not allowed to set you down. Ever. Because I knew if they did, you would crawl and I would miss it. It was the scariest thing about leaving you behind. Sure, I knew I would miss you more than anything, but I also knew you were in loving, capable hands and you were going to have a great time. No, the scariest thing about leaving you was knowing that I could very well miss something you did for the first time. And you just don’t get another “first.”

Being the wonderfully considerate daughter that you are, you waited just under a week after we got back to crawl for the first time. I watched you lean down onto your hands and knees, getting stuck on your chubby right thigh, like you had done a thousand times before. Then you twisted just right to free your leg, rocked in place like you had done a hundred times before, but instead of rocking until you were tired, giving up and laying flat on your face, you actually moved your tiny hands and knees and crawled! You moved about a whole foot and a half, in the direction you intended before plopping down on your tummy. The funny thing was you stopped about six inches short of the toy you were crawling toward, laid on your tummy, and reached the rest of the way. Apparently you were unaware that you can actually crawl all the way over to things you want.

Just before you started crawling you started pulling yourself up to standing on furniture and “walking” around the room. You discovered there was a whole level of the room above the floor that you weren’t experiencing and this had to be changed. Oh my do you love to stand! Any moment not spent standing is a moment wasted. It is this very reason we were sure you were not going to crawl at all, but simply proceed straight to walking. As it turns out, there are some things you couldn’t get to from scooting along the furniture and that was the only reason you ever crawled–as a last resort.

Now that you are mobile, that is crawling and walking along the furniture, nothing is safe. You are into everything. And I mean everything. I cannot leave you for more than five seconds before you are off to discover something new. Most of your time is spend chasing the animals around the house, which can keep you quite busy because we have two cats and two dogs and more often than not as you are chasing after one you spot another and get distracted. It is a vicious, but quite entertaining, cycle.

Oh and we cannot forget about the climbing. You have discovered how to climb around in your crib. Just the other morning I walked in only to find you half way up the edge and practically over the side. Needless to say, we lowered your crib that night in an effort to slow down your escape. However, in the lower position the slats (or bars) are totally visible over the bumper and your once cozy little bed has now become a baby prison. You even peak through the bars with your big eyes and beg to be released. You are such a crafty little inmate.

Every day I am amazed at how quickly you are growing up. Not only in your mobility, but at meal time as well. You are such a good eater; trying all the different foods we give you, keeping your mess contained to your high chair, and only occasionally “sharing” with the dogs. Your daddy and I have been giving you more finger foods, or small bites of our dinner, and allowing you to self-feed. Nothing makes you happier than picking up a piece of food and feeding yourself. It is so fun to watch your eyes light up when I sprinkle tidbits of food in front of you and watch you go to town. More often than not you tend to gather up every speck of food I give you and pack them into your cheeks, chipmunk style, so I have to slowly ration your food. On the rare occasion you have a meal of purely pureed foods you spend the majority of the time peering over your highchair to see what we are eating and wondering why you don’t have the same thing.

Over the last month your development has been exponential and you have been learning or discovering something new every day. I simply cannot wait to see what you have in store for me next. I know this adventure we are on is only just getting started, Ana, but I want you to know there is no one I would rather share it with than you.

All my love,

Europe Wrap-Up

Whew. So Simeon and I made it back from Europe (obviously) last week and I am still reeling from the trip. I just barely got over my jet lag, finished all my many loads of laundry, and caught up with stuff around the house. I have been spending any and all spare minutes I come across hugging and playing with my baby, who I am never leaving ever again. Anyway, sorry it’s taken me so long to finish posting about our Europe trip. So here goes:

We spent our last day in Berlin at the Pergamon Museum, grabbed a final German meal then headed over to our hotel at the airport. We caught an early flight out of Berlin’s Tegel Airport and flew into London’s Heathrow Airport. We had a couple hours to kill before catching the “Chunnel” (the Channel Tunnel that runs under the English Channel) from London to Paris, so we met Sim’s friend Mark for lunch. Mark lives in England and works right in London so he took us to a great pub for a bite to eat before we caught the Underground to Waterloo Station and boarded our train.

Everyone we talked to about visiting Paris had said not to book our hotel room in advance, just to find an area we were comfortable and there were always rooms available. Not planning ahead is totally not our style, but we wanted to have fun and be flexible. It was just our luck that the one time we didn’t reserve a room, Paris would be hosting the Rugby World Cup and hotels were totally booked. After walking around from hotel to hotel for what seemed like days (but was only a couple hours), we finally sat down in a restaurant and started calling every hotel we could find until we found a room. Luckily, a hotel a few blocks from the restaurant just had a cancellation so we rushed over to grab the room. It was small, but quaint, and we were just so happy to have a room. And we were in Paris! While we were going from one hotel to the next, we did find one that had a room for the rest of the nights we were there so as soon as we got checked in to our room we called and reserved the room. Boy did that take a lot of stress out of the rest of our stay! Apparently we don’t do “spontaneous” very well.

The rest of our time in Paris was packed full to the brim. We got more than our fill of art at the Musee d’ Orsay (highlights were Monet, Van Gough, and Renoire) and the Louve (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo), walked along the Seine River, toured the Catacombs, enjoyed gelato while walking through the Luxembourg Gardens, took a walking tour of Paris, saw Napoleon’s tomb and enjoyed the view of the city at sunset from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Oh and all the fabulous food! Although the menus were quite intimidating and hard to translate with our pocket dictionaries, we were never disappointed! The pastries, baguettes, and espresso alone made the trip totally worth it.

Then we got up early the next day to take the Chunnel back to London. We met up with Mark once again and he graciously gave us the “local’s tour” of London. Being the giant Harry Potter fan that I am, no trip to London would be complete with out a stop at Platform 9 & 3/4. We visited Platform 4, where they filmed the movie, but they even have a little Platform 9 & 3/4 set up complete with a trolley half-way through the wall. It was fabulous. We also walked through Trafalgar Square, took a boat ride down (maybe it was up?) the River Thames, among other things and finally grabbed a gourmet burger and a couple pints for dinner.

The next morning Sim and I decided we were done walking and took a double-decker tour bus around the city. We saw the London Bridge, Tower of London, Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, and a million other things I will never remember. Then we had a fabulous Italian lunch before touring Buckingham Palace. It was actually perfect timing because there was a special exhibit celebrating the Queen’s 60th wedding anniversary, displaying her wedding gown and tiara, gifts they received, etc. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the palace, so that was a little disappointing. On our final evening in London we went to the Apollo Victoria Theatre and watched the musical Wicked. It was wonderful to just sit and be entertained for a couple hours. The next morning we got up super early to start our almost 20 hour journey home.

The trip was exhausting, but totally worth it. You can see all the pictures on my Flickr page. It was easier to upload them to Flickr when we were abroad (when we actually had Internet, that is). We took just over a thousand pictures, and it took me this long to get them all uploaded there, so it may be awhile before I get them transferred to my own gallery. Some day, I promise!