Merry Christmas, from our goofy family to yours.
Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
We are overjoyed to announce the arrival of Mari Beatrice, born on September 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm after 18 hours of labor. She weighs 7 lbs, 10 oz and is 20 inches long. Mom and Dad think she already looks like her big sister, except chubbier! Mari is a Norwegian name and a version of Mary. Beatrice was my paternal grandmother.
One week after moving in to our new house we headed up to northern Wisconsin to join Hallie’s parents for a week at a cabin near Hayward. We didn’t take nearly as many photos as we should have, but here are a few notable shots as well as a short, calming video of the sun coming up over Lost Land Lake (located approximately six feet from the cabin we stayed in). Genna, in particular, had a great time swimming, pushing sand around on the beach, taking steps in the cabin, watching grandma and grandpa blow bubbles and demanding some of whatever grandpa was eating or drinking.
Usually, when I take a photograph, I don’t realize the importance of it until later, when I view it on my computer. I don’t know that I can remember a single instance where I thought to myself before taking the shot, “this is going to be a meaningful photograph.”
The photo above is one of the rare exceptions. In fact, it might be the only exception. This is a photo of Genna’s old room/nursery (in our rented duplex) and it’s the last photo I took in that house. We had moved out the previous day and I had just finished cleaning. The landlord was downstairs waiting for me to turn over the keys but I ran upstairs, on the pretense of making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, so that I could snap this photo.
The first thing to understand about this room is that it was initially a very pale pink. Before Hallie and I moved into the duplex in late March of 2011, my mom and I painted this room yellow because at that time we didn’t know if our baby would be a girl or a boy. When we moved in it had very little in it. Slowly, we started to fill it with baby stuff. Shower gifts, a dresser, a crib, a chair. Eventually, the room took on a life of its own when Genevieve Dolores arrived on May 7th, 2011.
The new house is far, far better in every conceivable way. It’s nicer, bigger and, most importantly, it’s ours. It also represents what is yet to come. The large upstairs room is Genna’s, but she will share it with her little sister. God only knows how many more children will live under our new roof and that is a very exciting thought. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving the duplex behind.
That being said, I can’t help but feel sad when I look at this photo. It will always represent the first year (or so) of Genna’s life. It brings back the late night feedings when she was days old, the first time she crawled, the times that I laid down on the rug with her on my chest and many other very specific memories. I really miss the yellow nursery, and I guess I also miss that first year of Genna’s life when every little “first” that took place in that room seemed like a miracle. But I don’t think that this sense of loss will last long. Genna will have many other firsts and she will do incredible things in different places. Plus, with Girl #2 just weeks away, we’ll be going through it all again very soon.
The day after I took the photo above, I emailed it to my mom. She completely understood why I found it so meaningful and responded with this:
“I can remember painting another yellow room, actually Dad did most of it. We painted it for a little baby we didn’t know yet either. Yellow was a good choice then, too. Beautiful and sunny and painted with so much anticipation and love. With animal curtains sewn by Grandma. Your room. It seems like it was just yesterday.”
The cliche holds true: it does seem like it was just yesterday.
When I took a photo of Genna in the passenger seat of our car last weekend, I knew in the back of my mind that there was a similar photo of me at about the same age. Here I am in the driver’s seat of my parents’ Chevette, circa 1981. I think Genna is much cuter than I was!
Genna celebrated her first birthday on Saturday (though her actual birthday is today) with a party at Como Park here in St. Paul. Many adoring fans stopped by to wish her well and she had a great time. Mom and Dad also had fun watching her open her gifts and enjoying her first piece of cake (below).
I definitely wouldn’t call myself a “country music fan.” That being said, there are a few songs in the genre of twang that I do admit I like. Today, while feeding Genna applesauce at lunch and watching her smile and giggle at me from her high chair, the song “Happy Girl” by Martina McBride popped into my head. This is a fantastic song. It’s the type of song that makes me see the good in country: a positive message, wholesome lyrics, and belt-it-out-loud-in-your-car-with-the-windows-down-in-the-summertime worthiness. It’s also a song that has a new meaning to me today.
I found the song online and turned up the volume. I picked up my baby girl and held her on my right hip. Then I picked up my sweet niece, Anna, and put her on my other hip. Then, we sang and we danced, all three of us girls. We were loud, we were silly, and we laughed a lot. As we twirled and bounced around the living room, I realized the new meaning in the lyrics: all I want, the thing that matters most now, is that my girls are happy. My own daughter, my niece, my soon-to-be-born second niece…I just want them to be happy in life. The world can be confusing and cruel, especially to girls. I hope that their souls break free, I hope they’re not bottled up inside, I hope they laugh when they feel like it, and cry when they feel like it. Let the axis twirl. Let the world try its best. We’ll watch them go.
Today they’re happy girls, and we all know that the sweetest thing in the whole wide world that you’ll ever see, is a happy girl.
Post script – Here’s a video from today of my little happy girl:
I realize this is quite late, but better late than never, eh?
For Genevieve’s first Halloween, she decided to throw a party for all her little friends. She invited anybody she could think of who her parents knew and who had tiny tots in their households as well. This turned out to be family members, a few old friends of Mike’s from high school, new friends from our ECFE New Parent Connection class, and some friends from college and the neighborhood. Our home ended up having around 30 people at any point in time–with about 2/3 of those people being babies or small children. It was a very lively party! We had snugglers, tummy-timers, sitters, crawlers, standers, climbers, walkers, and runners. The moms and dads were kept busy keeping up with their wee ones, especially since our home is not yet well baby-proofed. (Side note: we can’t seem to fit any safety gates at the top or bottom of our stairs due to the woodwork. Does anyone have any tips?) We had a great feast of treats, thanks to everyone who brought items to share, and of course, there was a ton of candy. The kiddos all showed up in costume to some degree or another, including a mouse, a pumpkin, a couple of superhero-type people, a ladybug, and a “very hungry caterpillar”. Genna was a dinosaur, as she wanted her costume choice to be a nod to her former newborn self, at which time we called her “Dino Baby” due to the interesting sounds she made when she was very young. For more on that, see this older post.
Genevieve really enjoyed herself, after she arose from her requisite nap (which she chose to begin right as the party was getting started, of course):
It seems that Halloween 2011 was a great one!