Sunday, January 30, 2011

"S" @ 2 months: Punching Puppies

During her 2nd month, S grew like a weed and really began to develop a little personality! At last Monday's pediatrician appointment (on her 2 month "birthday") she weighed 10 lb 5 oz right after a big poop, and a day later clocked in at 10 lb 8 oz right before THREE big poops. So she's somewhere in there, anyway. :) Length-wise, the agreed upon consensus was just over 23 inches. She has almost outgrown her bassinet so will be moving very soon to her big girl bed in her own room! That'll be a bittersweet day!

Here is her "official" two month pic - retiring this romper as well (as much as we love it) as it's now stretching awkwardly over her puffy cloth dipes:

(Compare to her one month pic here.)

S tired of her black & white sailboat at around 6 weeks old so we replaced it (well OK, covered it for awhile since we were lazy) with a colourful stuffed doggy toy. At first she just stared at it, but a week or so later she started swatting at it. By the end of the month she was going postal on the poor thing - check out the backhand in particular at 0:24!

She has started swatting at the toys in her Baby Neptune gym as well - I'll get a video of this soon.

About midway through her 2nd month, she started experimenting with cute li'l sounds. She now coos at us from her bassinet in the morning and gurgles happily at her favourite toys. She is totally in love with her Sassy Flutterby Teether - another toy with bright contrasting colours and a big ol' smile! This video was taken when she was just 6 weeks old:

In terms of neck strength & head control, she's just about there! She still does the head flop every once in awhile, but she can now keep it up long enough for Dad to do fun stuff with her like this!

A few other noteworthy developments:
  • She turns in the direction of voices - especially familiar ones!
  • Her attention span is longer. She'll focus for a good 5-10+ minutes on a book or a parade of animal "friends".
  • Her legs are getting quite strong. She loves that pull in and stretch out move, especially during diaper changes. :) If we hold her upright, she pushes down and is showing early signs of wanting to bounce!
  • She can now see people and objects from much farther away. For example, she loves watching hockey, but she's definitely not a Leafs fan:

Finally, we started her on solids this month*. She really likes sushi - the spicy, crispy salmon rolls in particular:

* Yes, I'm kidding. No need to contact CPS.


Small world & sweet covers!

A few days ago during my regular Kijiji cruise for new cloth dipe listings, I saw an ad for 3 super cute covers - medium size, never worn and just $5 each! I emailed the seller for the brand as it wasn't clear from the photo; turned out they were made by a work at home mom (or "WAHM") who sells her stuff on Etsy. Check out her store - she has some great stuff! The Kijiji seller was letting the covers go at less than half the price as she was no longer cloth diapering her son and clearing out her stash. I wrote her back and told her I'd take'm.

So that was awesome - but even cooler was that it turns out the seller and I go way back. She and I were penpals in Grade 8! We both went to Catholic schools in the KW area, and our respective teachers were married to one another and had the idea of matching up their students to write back & forth. I remember having a lot of fun with this as she was really nice and had a sense of humour, and the two of us had a lot in common. We met once or twice as well. Turns out we still share some commonalities nearly 20 years later as we're both new moms, into living green.

Great to reconnect with you, Jaime - small world!!! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First vaccinations

Yesterday S got her 2 month Penta (diptheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio and Hep-B) and Prevnar (pneumococcal diseases) shots. She was a trooper - she did cry when the medication went in, but it wasn't the high-pitched "I trusted you both and you have FAILED me!" wailing I dreaded. After a few minutes, she calmed down and had pretty much forgotten the whole ordeal. She was a bit fussier than normal in the evening and it looked like her thighs were a tad swollen, but this morning she appears to be back to her normal, cooing, smiley self!

In terms of the "to vaccinate or not to vaccinate" debate, many of you know I'm not exactly the first person to spring to action when a new vaccine is introduced. I didn't get the H1N1 shot and I've only been inoculated against the annual flu once or twice. All in all, I'm healthy and I feel like my immune system will do its job if I were to come down with an illness like this. Plus, I'm not entirely comfortable with the amount of testing that goes into new vaccines. They need to ship these things quickly at times, so how can they guarantee that they are safe? On the flip side, most of the vaccinations given to infants and children are certainly tried, tested and true. Government authorities CAN state with confidence that the chance of serious side effects is extremely low. That said, one can debate why we're still routinely vaccinating everyone against old school illnesses; for example, Canada was certified polio-free in 1994 however vaccinations continue as part of the global polio eradication initiative. There was also that study conducted in the late 90s claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism, however it was recently discovered that medical fraud was at play here. All in all, we did some reading when it came time for S's first shots and there is certainly a lion's share of anti-vaccine literature/propoganda (you choose) out there, but nothing which convinced me that the possible risks of our government-funded, routine vaccinations outweigh the benefits. We're of course going to monitor S closely each time she gets a shot, but otherwise we'll trust the system on this one.

In other health-related news, S had a visit with a pediatrician on Monday - Dr. Abdullah in Stratford. The doctor spent about 45 minutes with us reviewing our concerns and checking S out. It was nice to get this kind of comprehensive attention from a medical professional - unfortunately this strikes me as the exception rather than the rule. :-/ In any case, S is doing well. She does have some cradle cap and the doctor thought she might have a touch of reflux, but otherwise she's healthy and developing well! More on this in an upcoming post on her 2nd month! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not really a parent until...

Today I heard two similar, interesting comments from two different mothers - that they didn't really feel like parents until a particular parental milestone was reached. For one, it was her son becoming mobile (and therefore requiring a lot more supervision and interaction), and for the other, it was the birth of her second child. This made me think that perhaps I haven't reached that milestone with S yet. Although Chris and my lives have certainly changed since she came into the world in terms of daily activities, priorities, long term goals, etc., and I spend a lot of time thinking and (obviously) writing about parenthood, I'm not sure it's really, fully kicked in yet. Perhaps this is because we still have a lot of "us time" as she naps a lot and is generally in good spirits when she's awake. Perhaps it's because her needs are relatively simple at this point which affords us a sense of control. Perhaps it's because she's only been with us for two months - a tiny fraction of the time the two of us have been on this earth.

So when will it fully "kick in" for us? As Chris pointed out, it could be anything - a first soccer goal, a first serious illness. Or heck, it could be when the last child has left home for university and our empty nest reminds us of what used to be. Who knows? That said, having spent the lunch hour with a 9 1/2 month old and the evening with two infants and two toddlers, I do feel that the most demanding aspects of parenthood are certainly still to come - but the most rewarding ones as well. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kijiji'd mahself some more dipes!

18 "baby" size (15-40 pounds) Bummis prefolds and a nearly new medium pink "super bright" cover. Paid $26 total. Retail price? $91! Have I mentioned I love Kijiji? Yup, apparently I have! :)

Now I just need to acquire a few more larger covers and S should be all set for dipes until she's potty trained! w000!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Adventures in Babywearing

One thing I got excited about while researching parenting techniques and baby gear was the idea of "wearing" our baby, especially in a soft carrier. The combination of being so physically close together (which has a whole slew of benefits for baby's well-being and development) and hands-free at the same time was very appealing. Benefits include improved digestive and respiratory health, decreased risk of "flat head syndrome" caused by extended time sleeping on the back and less crying (as babies who are frequently worn are calmer). Apparently it can also lower the risk of postpartum depression in mom as it increases oxytocin levels leading to a closer bond.

Chris' sister Tracey lent us a couple baby carriers she had used with Avery - a Snugli front & back carrier and a ring sling. Chris tried the Snugli with S a couple times and he liked it. Pros: it allows you to be fully hands-free, it promotes safe head positioning (straight up; not "chin on chest"), it provides good back support and baby's head is right there for lots of kisses. :) Cons: It takes some time to put together, it appears to be a two-person job to put her in (though this could just be inexperience) and baby's view is quite limited.

I haven't tried the Snugli yet myself; I'd rather stick with soft carriers now while she's still really young as I feel they promote a closer bond with baby. We both tried the ring sling and love how easy it is to use - just thread the ring and pop baby in and out. Plus, Chris reported that S seems to like the bold pattern on this particular sling. :) Cons? It isn't 100% hands free and I found that it strained my back (which is already sore from all the lifting and carrying!).

The carrier I was really excited to use was my Moby Wrap (which was one of the items I scored for a great deal on Kijiji). It is a SPOC carrier ("simple piece of cloth", NOT Sex Professionals of Canada - to eliminate any confusion :). It's literally a piece of fabric which you wrap around yourself in a particular way and then put baby in using one of several different positions. I love the variety it offers in the different holds (from newborn to older baby up to 35 pounds), the closeness it promotes between wearer and baby (which best fosters the benefits alluded to above) and the fact that one size fits all - mom and dad can both use the same wrap! The main downside - there is definitely a learning curve to using this puppy!

I first gave my Moby a shot when S was about 3 weeks old. The initial wrap part was a bit tricky itself, as the fabric is 5.5 metres long and there are quite a few steps to get it tied on right. However the Moby site has a good instructional video which helped out, and there are dozens on YouTube as well. Putting S in...well that proved to be more of a challenge. I tried the newborn cradle hold but it was awkward getting her in and then she didn't appear to be enjoying the situation too much. It felt like she may have already been too big for this position. I called it a night at that point and vowed to try a few days later, but then the whole appendix thing happened which put things on hold for awhile.

Fast forward a month or so, and I've finally got things (mostly) figured out! I was working on the newborn hug hold for a little while as this felt more natural than the cradle hold, but I was still running into difficulty getting her legs and butt down into the pockets properly. I finally concluded that although she's still within the 0-3 month range recommended for this hold, she's big and strong enough for the full hug hold which involves baby's legs hanging out rather than tucked into the fabric. This position is much easier to get her into, and she seems to be quite comfy in it, tending to fall asleep right away.

Chris agreed that it looked warm & fuzzy, so he set up his own Moby of sorts for our other "daughter"!

All in all, I was worried I'd end up giving up on this bad boy, but now I'm glad I persevered! I love having her close to me like this - so much nicer having her snooze against my chest rather than across the room in her swing or bouncer! Now I just need to work on subtle adjustments to ensure that her neck and head are positioned in the most comfortable manner for her. Right now, for example, she's Moby-d up and sleeping soundly, but her head is kind of craned over to the side which doesn't seem ideal! I plan to wear her in the Mobe for at least an hour or two each day, and I look forward to trying the forward-facing position when she's older so that she can discover her surroundings from an adult vantage point!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bummis, you have failed me!!!

Well it was bound to happen at some point. We had our first true poop blow-out which made it past S's Bummis wrap and onto/through her pants. Chris and I were actually confused when we saw the leak spot. "She's wearing a prefold!" I exclaimed. "That can't be a leak!" Then we both touched the spot and declared that it didn't feel like pee - it felt sort of sticky. Since these diapers have been SO awesome at containing messes, my first thought was that we somehow got something on her. But nope - opened the dipe up and there was poo EVERYWHERE. It was impossible for it not to have crept out a bit! This was the first time I felt compelled to actually soak the cover rather than quickly rinse/stain treat it.

...and I feel the need to repeat that these are the things that excite us as new parents. Pee, poop and barf, oh my!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I love Kijiji!

As some of you know (as you've been subjected, possibly more than once, to my monologues on the subject :) I looooove Kijiji! Since early November when I was off on mat leave waiting for little one to arrive, I've been actively involved both buying and selling items and I'm HOOKED! Why? Well:
  1. There are some great barg00ns to be found on nearly new stuff - especially for babies, since many items are only used for a short period of time. So far, I've purchased the following items for S, all in EXCELLENT condition:
  2. It's a great way to de-clutter your home of duplicate, unused, no longer desired, etc. items AND make a little extra cash to boot. Chris and I have sold over $300 worth of stuff so far - better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, especially now that we're temporarily down to a single full income.
  3. Related to 2, it promotes realignment of items so that they're in a better place. It was gratifying to hear that, for example, the Lilliput Lane cottage I received as a gift several years back went from being boxed up in our basement to proudly showcased within the display of an avid collector in Owen Sound. Y'know?
  4. Post creation is a great exercise in honing one's salesmanship skills. Describing the item in a compelling fashion to attract potential buyers, ensuring the right keywords are in place, setting effective price points, photographing the item in the best light, etc.
  5. It's fun! I check a few listings each day (for example, I'm currently scanning the bathing & changing section of baby item classifieds for great deals on new or nearly new cloth diapers to expand our stash) and the prospect of sweet new deals emerging is somewhat titillating. :) In the other direction, it's also great to check email and see new responses to our own ads.
Downsides of Kijiji-ing? Living in New Hamburg, I've had quite a few people request delivery of items to KW. I'd generally only do this if it's very "convenient", but convenience is admittedly relative. For example, we met an individual at the Sunrise Starbucks on the way into town to sell them a $12 item. Considering the time and effort to coordinate and complete the transaction (and also the fact that I "had" to have a latte in the process!) this was of questionable monetary value. HOWEVER...said individual is now happily poaching eggs and we've reclaimed some precious space in our kitchen cupboard, so I'd say it was still win-win in the end, dammit! :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"S" @ 1 month: Sailin' away!

As new parents, Chris and I are of course fascinated with and excited by all the new developmental changes and milestones we observe with S. I thought it would be interesting to track these developments month-to-month so we have a record of how our little one is learning and growing!

Since S's almost two months old now (!!! where did the time go ??) I'll need to rewind a bit to cover her first month, but luckily we have a jillion photos, videos and baby book notes to jog my memory! :)

As I noted in S's birth announcement, she arrived into the world on November 24th, 2010 at a healthy 8 lb, 8 oz and 20 1/4 inches. Her hospital discharge weight 2 days later was just under 8 lb, but then she had almost gained back her birth weight by her 1 week doctor's appointment. As her first month progressed, she lost some of her birth "pudge" and her growth tended toward lengthening rather than fleshing out. She's already taking after Mom & Dad that way. :) By the end of her first month, my guess is that she was just over 9 pounds and close to 21 1/2 inches (based on her measurements shortly after that during her early January check up.) Here's a picture of her taken on Christmas Eve, her first month "birthday" - a few more inches and she'll be too big for her bassinet!

To help stimulate her vision & brain development, we started introducing black & white images when she was around a week old. She was intrigued by these, especially her sailboat picture which we found in a Nestle baby brochure. This was basically baby crack - she's stare at it endlessly, and when she was a few weeks old she started "talking" to it with little cooing sounds. We had it attached to her bassinet initially, and then put it up on her change table to give her some entertainment during diaper changes. You may have seen this pic in my last entry about cloth diapering - it does double duty here!

She liked the "multi-image" pages we printed out as well, but they didn't captivate her as much as her sailboat:

Near the end of her first month, we started showing her some toys with bold colours which definitely captured her interest! She'd stare at them with wide, alert eyes and by the end of the month could track them as we moved them back and forth across her field of vision. Her favourite was her Learning Curve Baby's First Rattle - lots of bright, contrasting colours and a happy, smiley face! Here's a video of her tracking the rattle back and forth:

We also introduced her to her Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym (nabbed on Kijiji, nearly new, for a mere $25) and she was fascinated by this as well - particularly the octopus hanging toy. Of course she wasn't yet old enough at this point to purposefully bash at the toys to make noise, but this'll come along!

Finally, near the end of the month we started giving her some tummy time on her colourful mat. Just a couple minutes at a time for now! She could hold her head up momentarily but she'd get tired pretty quickly.

In terms of social development, S's been very content with other people from Day 1. Usually she'd just fall asleep when someone would hold her, but during her alert phases (especially near the end of her first month) she would smile and even coo a little bit! She was basically smiling from the start, though of course there's that whole argument that a super early "smile" is actually gas (especially when baby's sleeping at the time). That said, this video shows her clearly entertained by Daddy - again near the end of her first month:

Lots of exciting developments during month 2 which I'll write about soon! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Changed my blog name & URL

Bellies & Babies was entirely too generic & heavily used, and Chris isn't really into the blogging thang. Manager to Mom is much more relevant and has a nice ring to it. w00t - can check that off the ol' list! Now I just need to replace the rather boring clouds with something more visually tantalizing, and Bob's your uncle! (Or mine?)

Cloth dipe & wipe update

Now that we've been cloth diapering S for almost 1.5 months, I thought I'd comment on how it's going and what we like and dislike about the different types of diapers we're currently using. We've also been using cloth wipes for over a week now and loving it! I'll post some specifics on what we're doing here too.

The "workhorse" dipes we use day to day are her Bummis prefolds and covers (from the infant size diaper kit we ordered in October). In a nutshell, these are terrific! I commented on some of the theoretical benefits in my earlier entry (before I actually started using them) and not only did these all turn out to be true, but the cons I listed (learning curve, not as convenient as pockets and bulkier) weren't at all a problem in practice. We found them quite easy to start using, and I actually feel they're MORE convenient than the one size pockets; although the change itself may take slightly longer, they don't require stuffing and snapping/unsnapping the rise so overall time investment is actually a bit lower. Finally, they turned out to be less bulky than anticipated - they're about middle of the road relative to the diapers in our stash. And one more HUGE pro - we haven't had a SINGLE leak (poo or pee) outside the cover. All in all, a fantastic diapering system and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone considering cloth diapering options for a new baby. I'm currently surfing Kijiji for larger prefolds and covers for when she outgrows the infant size (at about 15-16 pounds) - time will tell if we continue to prefer these dipes when she's older or whether we gravitate more toward pockets then.

We also use our Kawaii snazzy minky one-size pockets pretty often, mostly overnight. As you may have read, I bought a bulk set of these on eBay back in November. These are as adorable and soft in practice as I was hoping they would be, and they can hold a LOT of pee when stuffed with even a single microfibre insert! They also appear to be well-made and I believe they'll endure a lot of wear. Another nice thing (especially for overnight wear) is that they seem to draw the liquid away from baby's bum better than the prefolds. Downsides of these diapers is that they're super-bulky and some of them leak through the leg holes. Strangely enough, they don't all fit exactly the same as one another - some are more snug than others even on the same snap settings. (I've read other reviews commenting on this as well.) All in all, though, at less than $6 a pop, we're happy with these, and so is Baby Pebbles!

We currently have 8 of these dipes in our rotation and 5 still in the packaging. We'll likely end up selling the 5 as 8 are more than enough assuming they continue to be mainly night dipes. If any readers in the area are interested in trying one or more, let me know - I'll sell them individually at the bulk price.

Finally, we have a couple AMP duo pocket diapers which we've only used a few times so far. Unfortunately we've had a big leaking problem with them. I suspect this is because she's too small/skinny at this point to fit them properly, as I haven't read about this being a problem in general - knock on wood! I'm really eager for them to fit though as they're super cute diapers and by far the trimmest of the lot, so I'd like to see them become the go-to diapers for her "special outfit" events!

A note about cleaning/stains - we've continued to mainly follow the method I blogged about last month but we've changed the first cycle from delicate to light wash as our washer temporarily crapped out during the delicate cycle a few loads ago. I think the load was too heavy for what it was expecting, so it just stopped running! Aside from this, the method is still working well. In terms of stains, we use our Buncha Farmers stain remover stick when she has a touchdown on one of the Bummis covers, and this helps take the stain right out! We only treat the covers; the prefolds, pockets and inserts go right in the washer. As a result, a few of the prefolds have mild staining but this should come out in the warm weather when we can line dry them, or perhaps if/when we do a full strip.

Next topic - cloth wipes! Our system consists of wipe solution in a squirt bottle (specifically the "peri" bottle I got at the hospital which I no longer need for its original use!) and baby wash cloths - the thin variant (e.g. these). When baby's bum needs to be cleaned, we simply shake the bottle (to mix the ingredients), squirt solution onto a wash cloth, wipe her up and toss the wipe into her wet bag to be washed with the diaper laundry. We use the Olive 'n' Tea Tree recipe from the Zany Zebra site, but we mix up a much smaller portion each time to ensure it's always fresh and use slightly less olive oil and baby wash than the recipe recommends. We mix it right in the peri bottle and use a small funnel to add the oil & baby wash. Here's our specific recipe if you'd like to try it out directly:

Olive 'n' Tea Tree wipe solution:
1 cup water (filtered if possible)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp baby wash (we use Live Clean Baby shampoo & wash though any gentle wash would work)
1 drop tea tree oil

This recipe makes enough to almost fill up the peri bottle, leaving some room to shake it and mix the ingredients together before the first use:

We find this portion size lasts about 2 days (or 20-25 diaper changes), and the solution has a nice, fresh scent. Making our own wipes should save us about $100-150 per year, and the best part is that baby's bum has never looked better!

I'm sure the project manager and savings addict in me will continue to look for ways to improve life for our little one and live more economically to boot - stay tuned! :)

** UPDATE ** - Made a few adjustments to our cloth wipe routine since this post. Check 'em out here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Health Updates - Mom & Baby

Lots of doctor appointments recently - for both S and myself!

Let's start with me since that's a quicker update. Had my 6 week postpartum appointment with Dr. Savasi (Dr. Schnarr's mat leave replacement) on Thursday and she said that I've healed well from both S's birth and my appendectomy. She checked me and couldn't even find the cyst that turned up on the ultrasounds, so said I shouldn't be at all worried about this. A couple stitches remain from the delivery repair work, but she said these should come out shortly. Finally, Chris and I got the green light to resume all "marital activities", if you know wha sayin'. w00t!

S, on the other hand, had a couple appointments with our family doctor recently and will be seeing a pediatrician soon as well. She's been battling some skin issues - lots of little bumps/whiteheads mainly on her face and chest which get "angrier" when she's upset, after a feeding, etc.

Our family doctor diagnosed it as miliaria rubra (or prickly heat rash) and prescribed a 1% hydrocortisone cream to use specifically on her chest where the rash was the worst. The directions were to use it 3x per day, however we only ended up using it a few times to reduce the inflammation and any associated discomfort she might have felt. Cortisone cream is pretty strong so we didn't want to expose our little one to any more if it simply for the aesthetic factor. We suspect she might actually have a combination of prickly heat (when she gets all fired up) and baby acne, the latter of which clears up on its own and isn't bothersome to baby. In any case, it seems to have stabilized so we're not too worried about this anymore.

We're also wondering if she has some mild to moderate digestive issues. Sometimes she cries right after a feed and almost looks like she's in pain - she clenches and the cries are really sharp/desperate. At times it's just about impossible to settle her - she needs to be constantly held & rocked in order to calm down. As new parents inevitably do, we've also been paying close attention to her poop, which has ranged curiously from brown to green in colour, and from mushy to foamy and mucousy in texture. Some of these variants may or may not be normal; for example green poop in a breastfed baby COULD be nothing to worry about, or it could indicate a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance or an allergy/sensitivity. In any case, the doctor asked us to take a stool sample to the lab. (That was an adventure in itself, attempting to scrape the wet poo out of her highly absorbent cloth diaper, and S peeing all over it for good measure.) We will also be taking her to a pediatrician once the results of the poop sample come back. I've been keeping a "food & mood" journal to see if there may be a link between what I'm eating and how S's feeling. It's possible she's sensitive to something like dairy, which is quite common in infants (though thankfully most of them outgrow this.)

Despite some of these concerns, S continues to thrive overall from all standpoints. During Monday's appointment, she weighed in at 9 lbs, 10 oz (just over a pound heavier than her birth weight) and measured 22 inches (a gain of almost 2 inches). She's growing more alert every day, and when she isn't fussin' & mussin' she's a super happy baby, grinning away and starting to find her little voice to make cute little cooing sounds. She can track colourful objects in all directions and she loooves face time, especially with Mom & Dad! Lucy the Tuxedo Cat is even warming up to her too! :)

All in all, S's symptoms are probably nothing to write home about and Chris and I are just being prototypical concerned new parents. But - better to be safe than sorry & all that jazz. I'll post an update following her appointment with the pediatrician.

Amusing middle-of-the-night thought

Shifting a baby to her bassinet after a 4 AM feeding is like moving a 6-ft tall Food Network Challenge cake to the judging table.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

S's first Christmas - the abridged version!

It was my intent to do a fairly elaborate and picture-heavy post here, however it's been challenging to grab more than a few free minutes at a time the last few days. S hasn't been in peak form recently - she's battling some rashy skin and digestive issues (possibly reflux) so she's been needing more than the regular allotment of TLC. I'll likely post on this in more detail shortly - again if/when I can find some time!

S did have quite the eventful holiday season. We spent Christmas Eve at Papa Charlie and Nana Linda's place in Cambridge, then Christmas Day was broken into three parts - morning at Gramma and Grampa Campbell's (where cousins Hailey and Avery tore through their gifts in record time!), afternoon at our place with Grandma Mary (or "Granda Mary", as she wrote on S's card :), Empa Norm (or "Ewpa Norm", if we go by the typo committed by his antique printing press), GG Catherine, Aunt Becky, Paul and the boys and evening back at the Campbell's for dinner and S's gifts. Kel, Ange, Rick, Leena and Sam came over for a visit on Boxing Day and we went back over to Pape Charlie and Aunt Linda's on the 29th for our smaller Christmas celebration (with just the immediate family). Much food was consumed (indirectly by S and directly by the rest of us!) and many gifts were exchanged. S received a multitude of toys, clothes and blankets, some of which we've already introduced her to and have been well received! She appears to be past the "black and white only" stage, and loves to look at bright & colorful objects - especially when accompanied by Daddy's funny sounds and voices!

Due to all the excitement over the holidays, S's health challenges and a bug I've been battling myself leaving me tired and snot-filled, we opted to stay in on New Year's Eve. Dad & Linda popped in for a quick game of Settlers, but then left at about 10:30 leaving the three of us to ring in the New Year over a couple glasses of bubbly and an episode of Ally McBeal.

A buncha holiday pics can be found in my Facebook album. To cap things off here, though, a few of the best!

Baby's First Christmas:

Group shot - Geffros ladies! S models her festive red dress from Great Aunt Cora & Uncle Mick!

Matching Elmo PJs - best gift ever from Aunt Tracey!