News and Updates

Callie's Pictures

Peter's Site

Taryl's Site

Lilah's Site


As with Lilah's site, I must apologize on the lack of updates here. Life has been busy, time on computers has been short.

Callie is such an AMAZING little person, and really growing in leaps and bounds. She has a huge vocabulary now - can name almost all major body parts, from eyebrows to back to armpits and toes, as well as count fairly well up to 20-30, and visually recognize most letters and numbers. She is making intelligible long sentences and gives the BEST hugs and kisses around. In short, she's a total joy.

Okay, not a *total* joy, but tantrums are few and far between. She's also become a pickier eater, but what toddler isn't? 98% of the time she's great.

One new skill she picked up just last weekend was peddling - she can now ride her tricycle at Grandma and Grandpa's, and with impressive speed. Climbing, swinging, and sliding are also very popular pasttimes. Her favorite food is cheesy lentils, and her favorite color seems to be purple most days, and blue sometimes.

We're also almost positive that Callie is right-handed, and her eyes are still entirely blue. She's a very observant little girl, preferring to scope out a situation rather than jump right in. Animals are a good example of that - she likes looking at petting zoo animals, but isn't too fond of the actual petting. Once she figures something out, though, she is almost fearless.

Callie regularly uses 'please' and 'thank you' when asking for things, and always tells us if sister Lilah is upset. She's very good at watching out for Lilah and treating her kindly, only rarely stealing toys.

So yeah, that is Callie in a nutshell, these days. She is regarded by our friends at church to be a very happy, mellow kid, and she and Lilah are still two of the easiest babies in the nursery. Speaking of nursery - Callie will sit quietly and color through almost 50 minutes of church service now, and is well on her way to graduating from Nursery. They boot them out of there on their third birthdays so we wanted to have her trained to sit quietly and patiently by then, and she is doing remarkably well for only being 2 and some change.

Hopefully new pictures and DVDs are on their way, we'll try to keep this a little more updated. Until then!

taryl | General | 15 September, 10:03pm | Comment on this

Lack of updates in the picture department continue to be entirely Peter's fault, or rather, Peter's-boss's-fault. So sad, but there's just been no time.

On Callie updates: she's learned how to jump and hop successfully, her vocabulary has exploded to include pretty much every body part from eyebrows to elbows to thighs, in addition to all the major stuff like 'TOES!' and 'TUMMY!'.

She can also count out loud to about 15, which not-so-coincidentally also happens to be approximately the number of steps it takes to get up our stairs. I started counting them as she'd walk up, and now she can fairly reliably count them herself. She definitely have 1-6 down cold, but she's doing well with higher numbers too.

Except for occasional confusion on interim hues like lavender and teal, Callie also has her basic colors down. Her favorites seem to be blue, green, and pink if her drawings are any indication, but yellow and red seem to be more fun to say.

Her only verb is 'go' right now, and she uses this to string together all manner of words. "Baby go nap", "Daddy go work go car", "Mommy go....WUNCH! (lunch)", "Wiwah (Lilah) go play go ball", etc etc. She understands others, but just doesn't use them in sentences. Despite her difficulty pronouncing L's and R's the pediatrician isn't worried, and in fact thinks she's very verbally advanced for her age, which is great considering she was at or a bit lagging behind the average skillset at 18 months.

I take the kids on walks around our block (up a HUGE hill) and down to the park almost every day, and especially on the trip out it is nonstop chattering about cars, dogs barking ("doggie go WOOF!"), school buses and trucks, boys, girls, and anything else she sees. Not all of it is intelligible, but a good deal.

And on 'so cute it breaks your heart' news, Callie is now consistently saying "Hi!" and "Goodbye" or "Bye Bye!" with enthusiastic waves to almost everyone now. She also FINALLY said "I love you" when I said it to her before she went to bed. It was very gratifying to hear it, especially given the tantrum levels of late.

Callie's just chugging along and doing very well. She's healthy, friendly, and still tantrums less than most kids her age. YAY!

taryl | General | 21 May, 10:13pm | Comment on this

Callie had a rough birthday. Apparently she decided that entering the toybox in nursery face first was a good idea, and that resulted in a lip rupture due to impact with a tooth. Then we got home, and she bolted for the slide with her shoes still on before I could even get in the door with Lilah. It appeared that her right shoe got traction and pulled her right foot under her and put her in a position such that she was partially ejected from the slide. When I got over there, her left foot was on the floor, her right foot was on the slide and her right leg was at what appeared to be a rather uncomfortable angle under her. Nothing appears broken, but she is limping around a bit.

peter | General | 6 April, 8:06pm | Comment on this

... would all be on the list of things Callie has gotten into, without permission, and made righteous messes of lately.

She loves to color now that she's getting older, but she also loves expanding her horizons to... surfaces other than paper. Yes, this includes her teeth, too. Best invention ever? Washable crayons.

I should have gotten pictures of The Sharpie Incident. Truly. It was epic. I leave the room for ten minutes and BAM! A purple, scrawly explosion on every.single.surface of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Cue mommy freakout.

She walked up to me, purple from head to toe, so proud of herself and her art. I was in such shock and she was so cute I couldn't even be properly mad. I think the only thoughts that crossed my mind were "Uh oh, the counters are officially open for business" and "man, she must have RUN around the room to hit that many surfaces to fast!".

Fortunately for me a lot of elbow grease, rubbing alcohol, and a sense of humor can go an awfully long way to covering up the damage wrought by a toddler and a purple permanent pen. The surfaces I thought it would be the worst to get off and the worst if they stained cleaned up the EASIEST, and the ones that were harder to clean are ones we can easily fix with a bit of sanding or paint touchup. With the exception of a spot or two on the exersaucer and some faint lines left on our cabinet you'd NEVER know the entire room was covered in it, Callie included.

So no harm no foul. The sharpies were moved up to a high cabinet, the little girl was put down for a nap and given a thorough scrubbing later on, and the paint help up remarkably well to cotton pads, solvent, and a teensy bit of swearing.

Now, the Bag Balm incident was earlier today, and yes I do have photographic evidence of it. Callie managed to grab Peter's hand balm off the counter and decided to not only dip her fingers in it, but slather her clothes, the couch, my jacket, her hair, and yes, even her tongue, in the lanolin/vaseline-y goodness. It took two separate baths and dish soap to even moderately cut through the slick in her hair, but she seems fine even for the little ingesting she did (it doesn't taste very good, I would hazard that was what limited it).

We do have literally dozens of photos of Callie and Lilah to upload to their sites, but things have been ridiculously busy around hereewith all manner of car, computer, and furnace trouble, work deadlines, the holidays, and just plain forgetfulness when it comes to these blogs. But we're not dead (not for Callie's lack of trying) and the girls are growing well. Callie can name most of her body parts, which we will video tape and post here one of these days. Lilah has learned to roll around (though she still can't sit unsupported for more than a few seconds without toppling) and started solids almost at six months on the dot. She's a great, enthusiastic eater, too. Peter and I are surviving, just barely, but have been very blessed in our circumstances and the Lord providing exactly what we need right when we need it.

Either way, the blog silence isn't for lack of trying, we're just ridiculously busy :) Hopefully pictures will be coming in the next week, but for now I leave you with these:

Callie and her baby mesmerized by Blues Clues

Callie: The homeless can stacker (who puts on her own pants and hat, thank you very much!)

Lilah says "I am OBVIOUSLY a girl. DUH!"

Yummy Yummy Solids!

taryl | General | 28 January, 10:33am | Comment on this

Wow, we didn't update at all in November. There was so much fun stuff too. Like the day that Callie pooped during her nap, removed her clothes, removed her diaper and started playing with the poo.... Mr. Hankie the Thanksgiving poo, we love him and he loves you, even if he is a poo....

Anyway, yesterday once we got home, Taryl decided to drink the coolaid. Grape coolaid to be precise. She gave Callie a sip and Callie's sippy cup full of water went over her shoulder and she started begging for more of that grape stuff. I took Callie's sippy cup and filled it with the grape drink and tried to give it to her. She thought it was still full of water, so she got all mad, wouldn't drink it, kept pushing it away, etc. I stuck it in her mouth and she finally accidentally took a sip. It was hilarious. She went to recoil away and kept trying to push it away for a second, then she realized what she had just tasted, and greedily grabbed hold of the cup.

peter | General | 8 December, 9:21pm | Comment on this

Callie gave Lilah her first sloppy sister kiss. It was very cute.

Coincidentally she also is finally realizing sitting in poop is no fun. Yesterday she came up to me very deliberately patted the front of her diaper, and low and behold she has just gone poop. The first step to potty training is realizing you need to go, so we're making progress!

taryl | General | 28 October, 10:17pm | 1 comments

I'm still surprised I did it, but it had to be done.

I cut Callie's hair, pictures forthcoming as soon as Daddy posts them. I was just going to let it grow and grow (since I favor longer hair on girls) but she can't stand hair clips or headbands and it kept getting in her eyes. In addition to being super long in the front it was SHORT in the back because she still rubs it like crazy. It was split and matted back there, the hairs just looked like a completely different texture thanks to her friction on it.

We aren't big fans of paying for haircuts, especially for babies (and rarely do they do a decent job from what I have seen!). So I did it myself. I decided it would be better to just even it up now and make it short so that when it would continue to grow out the back wouldn't be damaged and could get some length on it. So I aimed for bangs that weren't cut too far into her hair (which I think I achieved pretty well, actually) and evening up the back and sides (which, truth be told, also wasn't all that bad except she has a crazy cowlick over her ear that makes it look hacky even though it's completely even with the other side!).

I was afraid she'd look like a little boy, I really was, especially since I can cut hair quite well but I had no idea how well she'd sit still. But cartoons, a few Hershey's kisses and strategically doing the bangs FIRST, when she'd have more patience? It worked very well. My friends online have seen the pictures already and everyone thought it looked quite cute and feminine (and I trust they weren't just blowing smoke en masse, but I can't be sure!). The high chair made it extremely hard to cut the back but I did the best I could, hopefully next time the urge to cut her hair strikes me Daddy will be home to help so I can put her on a stool or booster instead.

It really does look fine, but it's SUCH a change! I miss my baby's curls :( She looks like a toddler now, not a baby, but it was surprisingly more emotional to give her the cut than I thought it would be. I hadn't realized how attached I was to everything about her until a little piece of it was gone. But after a few hours I got more used to it and now I like it. It needed to happen, I was just resisting. But when Grandma commented on it I decided I just needed to suck it up and stop procrastinating.

All part of growing up! *sniffles*

Other Callie news, let's see... She's in a big 'getting dressed' stage right now, and likes putting her clothes on and pulling them off around the house, which is fine by me (except it means more laundry!). If I ask her for her arms she puts them in the sleeves and she understand what "give me your leg" means and reacts accordingly. She's also learning to label body parts and has a particularly good time with (n)ooshe (nose) that sometimes does or doesn't have the 'n' on the word. It delights her to no end to poke our faces and label. She also likes grabbing eyelashes and making our eyes open and close - we don't let her demonstrate this new ability on sissy, needless to say!

Books are her new favorite thing. She actually want to READ them instead of just turn pages, rip pages, and generally destroy them. Thing is, she wants to read the same one OVER AND OVER. So we have been rotating the downstairs 'toy' books so mommy doesn't go insane. A good two dozen times per days she'll grab a book, whack us in the leg with it and ask to be read to (kook, koh, khk are all the 'book' word) and it's quite nice as its the only real cuddle time she'll allow anymore, as a toddler who never stops! She'll also sit around and 'read' to herself, making silly noises and sounds and turning the pages and pointing at the pictures. It's very cute.

She's also wielding a fork and spoon better and better. She's learned to spear food and things she WON'T eat any more of she'll often take a few more bites of provided we skewer them on a fork and hand it to her. Spoons are rather amusing, she doesn't *quite* get that you shouldn't tip the spoon upside down before delivery into the mouth. But she's definitely getting the idea and especially with the fork can now manage to 'feed' herself for a few minutes with reasonable proficiency and dexterity before ditching it in favor of hands or face-in-the-bowl.

She was 26 pounds at her appointment and if I recall right around three feet tall, 75th percentile for both weight and height (which is WAY up from when she was little and definitely on the small side!). She's very, very healthy and hardly ever gets sick, she eats from all the food groups very well and won't drink juice - just water most of the time and milk with breakfast and dinner. Her coordination is good and she's right on target with all her milestones. She did get her shots, which as I mentioned on Lilah's blog were followed by ANGRY cries more than hurt. She got over it though the site of the shots on one of her legs puffed up and then scabbed over and she keeps picking at it. Then she gets mad when it hurts and cries but picks at it more. Bandaids make her pay more attention to the bump than she would if it was naked, but it is slowly healing on its own no thanks to her fingers!

Oh! What we didn't mention is that for cost purposes we switched both girls to cloth diapers. Diapering two at once was ridiculously expensive and we decided cloth would just be less fuss. I tried it initially with Callie when she was a newborn but between our novice, nervous parenting and my real inability to do much of anything after the c-section we promptly gave up. Prefolds and covers were not a system we could make work readily enough.

Now we're using Pocket diapers, which are contoured with fleece and have inserts that go into them and vary the absorbancy. They're also one-sized diapers, so Callie and Lilah can wear the same diapers and we essentially get to cloth diaper two for the price of one, and if one girl runs out she can use her sister's. It's a lot of washing each day and each change does take a bit more time but it is worth it and very workable. We're using two brands, Fuzzibunz for Callie and BumGenius for Lilah. They're both one-sized, but one style fits Callie's shape slightly better than Lilah. Initially I thought I liked both equally but now I am finding the BG's seem slightly more durable and hold up better. So when we need to buy more for both of them I will likely only buy more of that brand.

We stick the girls in disposables for other people and church but truthfully these are only one step more complicated than disposables, and that is stuffing them. They work remarkably well and I'd estimate in the month we've been using them that we've probably recouped half their cost already in what we haven't spent on disposables. The single size means that it's essentially like diapering only one child financially, which is an extra savings. Each diaper just has extra adjustable velcro/aplix tabs and several rows of snaps on the front so the rise of the diaper can be adjusted - Lilah on the smallest setting (though she is almost into the next setting, wow!) and Callie on the largest. There is PLENTY of room for Callie to grow and I am hoping that this will make it easier to potty train her. I have heard that to be the case from multiple cloth-diapering moms as the kids feel wetness much better than in a disposable and they function more like big-girl underwear.

Anyway, that's a new development. I feel crunchier already ;)

She's also in 2T (toddler) sized clothing now! Another big step towards growing up, and MAN is she growing fast. I still can hardly believe she's not even two yet, some days she feels like she was just a baby and other days I swear she's all grown up already and have to remind myself she's still very, very young. Time flies when you're tearing around the house like a maniac!

Okay - to be nice, I will include a preview of Callie's new hair since I am not sure WHEN Peter will update pictures - it's a bit "Mia Farrow", thank goodness, and not "bowlcut"! Ignore the chocolate dribble, remnants of the bribe!

taryl | General | 14 October, 10:36am | 1 comments

Here is some video of Callie swinging from the grandparents. Its a short 4 MB avi file.

Posting new pictures tonight too.

peter | General | 29 September, 5:29am | Comment on this

Toothbrush. It sounds more like "goosebush", but the general idea is there.

Oh, and all four eye teeth are erupting sat the same time, there's varying levels of white points showing. This leads to... you guessed it - teething poops! Diaper rash and crabbiness abounds. Good times.

taryl | General | 5 September, 7:55pm | Comment on this

It's like a new word a day.

Callie's version of "banana" is "manamas". :)

taryl | General | 21 August, 9:09pm | Comment on this

Callie is using her words (a bit). She babbles like crazy and there have been words in the babble for months, but barely discernible to anyone but her. Now she's starting to use words, specifically and alone, for the items or people they apply to. She will walk up to Lilah and try to say her name or call her the baby (and when Lilah's screaming Callie will actually find a pacifier and try to put it in her mouth!), and she'll ask for her pacifier specifically too. The other night we noticed, very obviously, that she said 'nana' and was looking at (and reaching for) her nani. She's done it multiple times so it's not a spoof. She will also say 'brush' for her hairbrush, though her 'r' kind of comes out a little funny still. And when she's in her high chair she'll ask for "chee" or actually say "cheese", or grab for the bag and say it as well.

She's said 'excuse me' and several other words too, and there's many things she says that I know she's trying to convey meaning in but they're still too garbled for me to understand.

She's not all that intelligible, sure, but she definitely responds back and forth to commands and understands what we say, and is FINALLY starting to say a few things back or proactively on her own.

Callie is also very interested in her sister, and she wants to play with her and touch her as much as I'll let her. She definitely is aware of Lilah but no jealousy... unless Callie's SUPER tired she doesn't seem very bothered by Lilah's screaming jags either, except that she occasionally joins in to 'get Lilah's point across' a little louder. Yeah, those are ear-ringing days.

Both galleries are updated a bit, more images to come.

taryl | General | 21 August, 7:08am | Comment on this

... the evening after we head to the pediatrician her fever breaks on its own. It turns out it was something viral that was causing her throat to be quite sore among other things. It looked, visually, like strep but after a (rather traumatizing) swab it turned up negative for that. I do think we may have terrified her out of liking her doctor, though! She continued to be mildly feverish for an additional day or two but NOTHING like it had been - she was so hot her HANDS felt feverish, not just her head!

Unfortunately she continues to not eat well, residual from her sore throat, we think. Last night was the first time she ate a decent dinner in 5 days or so, and this morning she was eating even better but still not 100%. Either way it wasn't an ear infection or something worse and as miserable as she's been it's over now with only time and IBuprofen to help. She's been sleeping better too, with medication last night she slept from 9:00 or so to almost noon, and she only woke up because I went in there to wake her, she'd have probably slept longer otherwise.

I just wanted to update everyone who was concerned for her - she's not completely better but we're out of the woods. Her sister is doing quite well too, so overall we're a happy household. Good night!

taryl | General | 3 August, 9:11am | 1 comments

As noted in her sister's blog, it has not been a good time for the girls.

Callie has been fussy for several days, and it was hard to tell if it was because of Lilah, teething, or something else. Yesterday she refused to eat pretty much anything but smoothies and bottles, and would bat our hands away with ANY food. She wouldn't even mooch off our plates. She felt quite hot so I brought out the thermometer and she was running a high fever right around 103. She was also drooling a ton, so we still don't know if it's teething related or she's teething AND fighting an infection. We've been fortunate that she hasn't been ill with a high fever yet in her life, just a cold or two and a stomach bug. The fever reducers got her temperature temporarily down to 101, and we administered as we could. But even with those and a bottle she fussed, tossed, turned, and cried ALL NIGHT. She never fell into any deep sleep as far as we could tell, she was just miserable. By the middle of the night she was crying in her sleep, she wouldn't even wake up all the way to fuss.

This morning her temperature was still fairly high and fluctuating so we've been keeping up on alternating Tylenol and Motrin, but that's all we can do. Today she ate a *little*, but nothing we tried to feed her. She wouldn't eat ANYTHING even remotely resembling a puree or even the casserole Peter and I were eating, but for lunch she ate peas and cheese easily. At dinner all she'd touch was rice and she wasn't showing much interest in large amounts of food. So I am perplexed. It could be her teeth, especially since she keeps pawing at them, but her appetite is just not there.

Either way, hopefully she'll feel better soon.

taryl | General | 31 July, 3:41am | 2 comments

For updates on Giessel Baby 2, see

peter | General | 22 July, 8:47pm | Comment on this

... we don't dress her in these outfits. She will hunt down any discarded clothing, hers or someone else's, and wear it around for an hour or two. She LOVES playing dress up already, which does not bode well for daddy's wallet.

Also for the record, it only LOOKS like all we feed her is chocolate and chocolate pudding. While we may be in the running for the Bad Parents of the Year award, it wouldn't be in the food category. But it does make a photogenically impressive mess, right up there with spaghetti (which we also don't feed her with as much frequency as this site would suggest).

We've had something like four molars in two weeks and she's STILL teething. Nothing major, but definitely pickier eating and general fussing, along with poor sleep. But popping that many big teeth that fast, I am actually impressed with how little she's whined. I didn't even realize the first two broke through until Peter pointed it out to me.

She's definitely getting bigger! Her time to surmount the stairs has been reduced to about two second. I will see her disappear around the corner and by the time I get my (very rotund) self over there she's laughing like a hyena at the top. While I am sure SHE enjoys the climb, I am not exactly in top StairMaster form of late!

Obviously new pictures are up, complete with cheeser smile and a toga.

taryl | General | 18 June, 7:48am | 1 comments

Hey everyone! New pictures of me are up, and as always they don't do me justice.

I pulled mommy's computer on the floor. A bunch. And I kind of chewed on it and kicked it too.

It died. Like, dead.

So mommy is unable to update or answer emails about me and stuff. For the record, it was TOTALLY not my fault the cord was so tasty. I blame Steve.

taryl | General | 14 June, 11:02pm | 1 comments

Well, we had mentioned previously that Callie likes climbing, but can't always get down. I am pleased to announce she can officially climb up ON to the fireplace and get her cute little diaper butt right back down whenever she wants. She's done it several times today, she finally connected the 'on your belly, one leg down, then the other leg down' method of getting off of EVERYTHING ELSE and applied it to the mysterious beast that is the fireplace ledge.

Now if only she would TALK!

taryl | General | 10 June, 9:42pm | Comment on this

Yesterday we stopped by my office on the way back from a fundraiser for our state representative (so it was long after hours and the parking lot was empty), and we let Callie walk around. I didn't have my nice video camera, but here is the cell phone video of her walking:
Callie walks in the Reid Middleton parking lot (Quicktime, 636kb)

peter | General | 4 June, 6:44am | 1 comments

So, the little stomper was toddling around the downstairs and we turned our back for a moment, and she was gone. A search of the downstairs did not reveal her whereabouts, so after a bit of confusion we found her upstairs. She just shot up the stairs apparently. The next time she disappeared we checked upstairs again, and there she was again, so apparently she can climb stairs really well now.

peter | General | 28 May, 4:39pm | Comment on this

As Taryl apparently won't write on the subject, Callie has started walking. Taryl says I should be more verbose, so what Callie does is she stands on her feet, then moves one foot at a time, and therefore propels herself without her hands touching any stabilizing items (such as a chair or the floor). Indeed, she often carries things in her hands. She can't seem to walk with confidence and often plops down after about 5 steps, but she is definitely walking.

This weekend I was using the Shop Vac to clean up some items, and Callie was very interested in that, so she watched intently. I moved the hose over to her, and she stuck her finger in the end, felt the suction and quickly withdrew her finger and scooted away. Taryl claims that she will be forever afraid of the vacuum now. I find this unlikely as it didn't do anything bad or painful to her.

New pictures are randomly posted from time to time, usually a couple of times a week (unlike some friend's sites which haven't been updated in months).

peter | General | 19 May, 8:16pm | Comment on this

So yesterday afternoon Callie was playing with her toys in the living room, as usual,and got her hands on her favorite baby doll. She proceeded to strangle/kiss it to death and practiced her standing and squatting in the middle of the floor while holding her toy. She's gotten extremely proficient at bending down, standing up with no help, all that good stuff but hadn't yet walked, and we've been anticipating it for weeks.

I don't think she realized she was doing it, but in the midst of vigorously assaulting her babydoll and gobbing all over its face she took three waddle steps forward, presumably to get better leverage. Then she bent over, set the baby down, and sat back down to play with it more on the floor. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, there was no shakiness, no fall at the end, she just *step* *step* *stepped* and very purposefully sat back down, like she's been doing it for months.

But would she do it again that day? Of COURSE not! Would she do it for her daddy? Nope. This confirms my suspicions that she can indeed walk perfectly well and just hasn't gotten brave enough to do it. Just like she can climb onto the fireplace mantle and the first day got herself back down several times, but then she clunked her head and hasn't gotten back down since. She'll climb back up there and sit for an HOUR playing with my spinning wheel, whining, but not sliding back down. She's perfectly capable but just not brave enough to try again yet. I am sure she'll get over it fairly soon, but it amuses me that she CHOOSES what she's going to do and not necessarily based on her abilities.

Silly girl.

taryl | General | 8 May, 6:56pm | 3 comments

Of course this would happen when Peter went out of town, but I had been suspicious she might have been ready for this.

Callie loves faucets, and flicking everything that comes out of them. Recently she began sticking her hand under the sink and sucking the water off her fingers.

So with some trepidation I tried something I had put off for a few months. I gave Callie her cup with a straw. And wouldn't you know it, she figured it out within a few minutes. Of course she tends to suck too hard, and because this one doesn't have a valve on it she ends up sputtering a little, but she's got it and likes it!

Yay for the big girl!

New pictures from Grandma Naeners and some adventure pictures posted. Callie likes her sunglasses too, that is, when she's not throwing them across the room.

taryl | General | 21 April, 4:30am | Comment on this

Callie's not much of a drinker. She won't drink juice, couldn't drink milk for quite awhile without a reaction, and would only take water in her sippy cup and wanted regular bottles (not that the lack of juice or excess water is a bad thing!)

She's taken a sip of whole milk in her sippy here and there, and drinks it off my spoon when I give her cereal, but today I filled her cup all the way full with milk and gave her some animal crackers, and wouldn't you know my big girl drank ALMOST the whole cup! IT had to have been at least8 oz. She had a bottle last night around 1:00,and nothing since then, so I know she was thirsty but that was GREAT! It was cold from the fridge and everything, and she just puttered around the living room sipping at it like a toddler.

It's SUCH a great step because milk is far less expensive than formula, and around 1 year old most pediatricians like to see the babies weaned off formula. We switched back to milk-based formula from soy a few weeks ago and she hasn't had any diaper rashes or extra spitting up, but her moving to real cow's milk is more than I could hope for this soon.

She's had a TON of developmental strides lately, several since Grandma and Grandpa Davidson came up from California on Saturday night. The most notable change has been her mastery of not only tearing UP the stacking rings, but now she has figured out how to put them back on and enjoys doing so. We're not talking the big, fat plastic ones. This is a 1 inch rubber dowel with snug wood discs, they are MUCH harder to pull off and take precision to put back on,especially since she bent the dowel somewhat in the middle and the rings catch a bit. Callie sat for around 20 MINUTES last night taking them off and on repeatedly and rearranging the patterns. This morning she proved it was a fluke and did so again for about 10 minutes, and with a lot of success and dexterity.

She's gotten much better with object permanence as well. Not just peekaboo, but realizing things in bags can be taken out, even days later locking something away means it's still there, and remembering where she puts toys a good ten minutes later. She has a flip up book from Great Grandma Giessel and Aunt Cathy that she recently figured out how to operate, and was quite excited every time the object she *knew* was behind the flaps popped up. She definitely was making the logical connection, and it was very cute to watch.

She's SO close to walking and just hasn't made that step away, though she can free-stand for a good five or ten seconds and bend down to get a toy.

Unfortunately all she wants to do is go, go, go all day long, which is making diaper changes and donning clothing increasingly difficult. She's also having a hard time settling down to sleep because her little brain doesn't want to turn off, but overall she is doing VERY well and is extremely healthy.

She was 21 pounds almost on the dot and 30 inches at her 1 year appointment, which puts her right around the 50% percentile for both measurements at her age. The doctor was pleased with her development and she is ahead in several areas, though not much of a talker yet (she babbles all day, especially when she's playing alone, and she understands pointing, commands with hand movements, and a lot of everyday words... she just won't repeat them!). She's mastered clapping and waving in the past few weeks, as well as climbing on everything she can get her short legs up.

She had a LOT of shots done at that appointment and was quite the sick, unhappy baby for a few days afterward. I really will look into getting a delayed schedule for the next baby, I think it was a lot at once for her. 4 shots with a good 9 vaccines in them, she had raised welts on both legs and we woke up last sunday to spaghetti vomit up and down the entire crib. She was looking pretty pale and had a fever the night before, though the puke, itself, didn't seem to bother her.... but she was definitely not her normal self. Fortunately after Sunday she was looking and acting much happier and she's been fine since. Somehow she picked up a croupy, gunky cough in the past few days and woke up this morning with green snot plastered to her nose and hand, but such is the life of a baby.

New pictures will be forthcoming, I think that's all the updates we have today!

taryl | General | 18 April, 6:31pm | 2 comments

Callie turned one year old last Saturday. It snowed. We threw a party complete with Birthday cupcakes. Grandpa Giessel was able to come and have fun with Callie. Pictures of her "opening" her presents and eating her cupcake are posted. We've also posted some pictures of Callie eating spaghetti. Good times.

peter | General | 9 April, 5:47am | 1 comments

Callie discovered the little silver button on the front of the TV...

This does NOT bode well.

taryl | General | 28 March, 9:06pm | Comment on this

... Favorite foods, that is.

So, Callie wakes up and I change her (ten pound) diaper, I take her downstairs to play and head back up to grab some laundry. Stick on a load and come back to sit down, *sniff sniff*....

*sniff sniff sniiiiiif*

I walk over to the piggies to ascertain if the foul smell is coming from them. Nope. I'm tempted to check the garage because it smells like week-old meat trash, but there's nothing that's been thrown away that would cause that smell.

Callie stomp-crawls over to me and makes the 'up' gesture, and sure enough... probably the foulest waft I have smelled on her in weeks. Not two minutes after I changed her.

I *may* let her newfound love of eggs go unsatisfied. The whole downstairs smells now!

taryl | General | 27 March, 10:40pm | Comment on this

Well, Callie was good for both babysitters last week. Callie had babysitters both Friday and Saturday while mommie and daddy were at Alaska Republican Party State Convention. Both of them said that she was a really easy baby and that she was a good little girl, so that is good.

A few new pictures have been posted.

peter | General | 22 March, 11:34pm | Comment on this

Callie is 11 months old as of a few days ago, so she has a new gallery up and some images of her foray into the toybox (and new - back out to freedom!). She's popped her two top teeth as well bringing the count up to four. She CAN crawl, but does not, for some reason, unless she find it convenient. She will walk using furniture, pant legs, you name it. She'll even swivel away and only stabilize on something with one hand. She can move to sitting from on her back and a crawl, as WELL as lowering herself into it. The changes in stability she's made in the past week are quite amazing.

The only words she uses consistent are "mama....MAAAA!" when she's mad or wants food, and "baaa!" for bottle, or when she is talking to her baby dolls. Less developments there, but she is definitely understanding more. Oh, and now she is in the tantrum-y stage a bit. Put something out of her reach or say "no" and she lets out a WAIL and turns on the crocodile tears. But fortunately sticking another toy in front of her makes her forget her original plight. I am not looking forward to the implementing of actual discipline and cause/effect in the next year but it is definitely upon us!

She's growing in leaps and bounds - down to three bottles a day, tops, mooching off EVERYONE's plates, nearly walking and 'talking' to everyone. She has even learned how to wave AND shake her head 'no'. Where's the time going?!

taryl | General | 8 March, 9:28am | 1 comments

My cousins visited in September of last year. Which, if I'm doing the math correctly was Callie's Sixth month of life. They finally sent the pictures, which I've posted I'm pretty sure that it makes them Callie's First Cousin Once Removed

peter | General | 7 March, 4:07am | Comment on this

So, the pictures of the great spaghetti slaughter are posted. What was not capture on film, but should be documented is an incident that cracked me up. Callie was scooting across the floor as quickly as she could (as usual), panting the whole way, and sort of forgot to stop as she approached the wall. She smacked right into the wall head first. I wasn't worried about her because she didn't start crying until she had already stood up (which granted took about a second, but still) she was clearly just startled and annoyed that the wall jumped out and bit her more than actually hurt. Besides, how much damage can you really do to yourself by belly crawling into a wall? She was quite offended that the wall moved.

peter | General | 25 February, 7:36am | Comment on this

Well, we had a good doctor's appointment Friday with a new pediatrician, MUCH preferred to the old one. Callie got some shots, which she was NOT happy about, but she grew, which we ARE happy about. She is now 28 inches long and 19 lbs, almost on the dot, which puts her smack dab in the middle of the growth curve for her age, as opposed to being on the small side.

She's pulling up on everything, and getting some bumps along the way, but she is getting VERY mobile which means lots of running around for mommy and daddy. Teething like crazy but no new teeth to report yet, and sadly she still has a little cough from California.

Pictures have been updated, we'll report in with more updates as they come!

taryl | General | 10 February, 6:43am | 3 comments

New pictures have been added. Highlights include time in California, and riding in the pulk. Sorry about the slow updates, but its been busy getting back into the swing of things, and Mommy and Daddy are trying not to cough up our lung at the moment...

peter | General | 21 January, 12:00am | 1 comments

Pictures of Callie sledding have been added to the picture gallery. Also if you want to compare baby Callie to baby Peter, Grandma sent pictures of baby Peter, which are posted here:

peter | General | 7 January, 4:18am | 2 comments

Or so we tell ourselves.

Callie went from no teeth to three in the space of a week. Which might explain her severe bout of unexplained diaper rash and general fussiness.

Except that she's still fussy.

It seems a lot of babies I know around her age are going through unusual sleep problems, but it's getting old VERY fast. She's exhausted, and we're laying her down to bed like we always do (plus some Tylenol if her teeth are REALLY bothering her) but now she is fussing in various levels for upwards of two hours. Tonight alone she is near three and shows no signs of abating.

She will *almost* doze off and then BAM! Wide awake and mad again. I don't know what else to attribute it to.

Granted, her mobility has improved quite a lot in recent weeks and so being fussy AND being able to crawl around her crib isn't helping things much either. One way or the other though we NEED her to sleep. It is getting ridiculous.

And of course going down to California in a week isn't going to help the sleeping matter much. *sigh* We'll just do what we can. Having a plane ride that STARTS at 1:00 a.m. is not going to be an auspicious beginning to the 'vacation', but Lord willing it won't be too traumatizing for us poor parents.

All fussiness aside, she is as cute as ever and very healthy. New pictures are posted (reluctantly) showing her teeth, and all in all things are going quite well for us. It just stinks that she slept well for SO LONG and now is having problems again. Hopefully it truly is just a stage and we will get our cute (relatively non-monster) baby back soon. Ha.

taryl | General | 31 December, 7:55am | 3 comments

...Our Christmas letter really did say we were expecting baby #2! We're VERY excited, and Callie is probably mortified at having to share her toys, but sometime in late July we will be welcoming the newest pooper to the Giessel clan.

And before ANYONE asks, names and sex are a SURPRISE! But bets are welcome, provided we get some of the pot :)

I haven't decided if we will do a separate site for the next kid or turn Callie's site into a family site. Any suggestions or opinions on that would be welcome. Either way, it will be as easy to find/navigate as this one currently is.

Also, any requests for specific Callie pictures are also welcome. If someone has a burning desire to watch her eat spaghetti or see one of her many out-pooped diapers we will try to oblige. And due to mommy's super pregnancy nose, daddy will be on cleanup. Sounds like a good deal to me!

taryl | General | 21 December, 8:22am | 1 comments

Observe: new Callie pictures, ritz cracker, shredded wrapping paper and some old Gerber peaches not included.

taryl | General | 19 December, 8:43am | 3 comments

So Callie has officially not breastfed in a week. We are weaned, and pretty well too! She's eating a ton, looking good, the soy formula agrees with her MUCH more than the cow's milk formula, reinforcing our thoughts right after birth that she was mild to moderately lactose intolerant.

She's guzzling about 8 ounces per sitting, 4 times per day (averaged out, that is!)

Now, for the problem. Breastfed diapers have a smell, but it isn't offensive. Cow's milk diapers have a mildly offensive smell, but it's doable.

Soy formula diapers? I haven't dry-heaved so much in WEEKS! Seriously, these are the nastiest, smelliest, most offensive and cruel punishment I have endured since prodromal labor. Oh my GOD it is awful! I literally have to breathe through my mouth or pass out and I have NEVER been like that before with bad smells.

This is... the smell to end all sense of smell. I could sell these to China for a very literal 'dirty bomb'.

Even CALLIE is afraid to sit in them too long, because the scent wafts up her onesie. And her entire life she's never really noticed if she is sitting in poop unless she has diaper rash (like from Cow's milk formula).

I am honestly afraid I might just die trying to change one of her diapers. Or at least pass out in a pool of vomit. Appetizing, I know. I am sure you will all enjoy them *just* as much as we do when we travel down to California. Assuming the radiant fragrance doesn't do us in first!

taryl | General | 4 December, 9:27pm | 2 comments

So, Callie is now Typhoid Mary... Taryl and I got sick on Wednesday and were sick most of Thursday. Callie showed no signs of sickness, so we thought it was food poisoning or something. Callie went over to the Grandparents, and now they are sick, so we have to conclude that we have a Typhoid Callie on our hands spreading a very nasty stomach bug... So, who wants to visit the grandchild? :)

peter | General | 24 November, 8:01pm | 2 comments

The pictures will soon be updated, but Callie has discovered something fun - the mirror! Oh sure, she'd look at herself when she was on the changing table and laugh, but her little walker has a mirror on it and today she kept getting *really* close to it, with her nose against it, chuckling like mad. Something was obviously very funny about the other baby's face staring back at her.

She has also, for the first time, started bouncing. Like, really bouncing. I'll hold her arms and she'll bob, or she will make little hops in her chair. It's very cute :)

As I said, baby images will be updated shortly (with my terrible camera skills).

taryl | General | 15 November, 9:38pm | Comment on this

Well after some feeding problems, lots of stress, and major diet changes Callie is now up to 17 pounds! She is still very much petite for her age (which is amusing, considering that she was abnormally LARGE when she was born) but is no longer on the cusp of being worrisome.

Sadly, I noticed a new trend last week - she's weaning :( I mean, I am actually quite glad about it because she thinks biting me is the funniest thing ever and has never been a good nurser, but the problem comes in that she won't really take the sippy cup as much as she should, yet. She only gets maybe two ounces at a given time right now and she needs WAY more liquids in her diet if she only breastfeeds twice a day as it currently stands. I was planning on gradually weaning her anyway over the next few months, but now that it is happening I am a little sad. She's growing up SO fast. She is eating her solids quite well still, and is even trying some finger food and table food now, but I am hesitant to do too much of that just yet in case she develops some sensitivities or even outright allergies to certain items.

She is sitting up (well, tripoding) much better now, and until she purposely topples over to grab another toy she can support herself for a few minutes at a time with no chair, and pretty consistently in her high chair. STILL not crawling, but she is REALLY trying, and starting to crawl on her elbows, army-style.

Daddy has been out of town a lot recently (including tonight) and we miss him very much. It is snowing now too, we've got five inches on the ground and will soon be adding more. Anchorage clocked a record 138 accidents in one day after the snow fell, nearly double the previous year's total. Needless to say the baby and I are NOT going out of the house much, except to church which is quite close by.

Thanks to daddy's hard work the dining room will be operational, complete with a real table and chairs, later this week. The kid's bedrooms only need new light fixtures and some baseboard, so that can be crossed off the list soon as well.

We pulled my old camera out of storage so once daddy brings it back from Valdez, we will clock some new Callie images. She is doing so much now it drives me crazy to not have a way to capture them, and the video camera has it in for me. I know if I touch it again it will probably explode (just to spite me).

We have NOT forgotten baby pictures! I PROMISE!

taryl | General | 13 November, 7:51am | 1 comments

Well we have been bad about updates, my apologies on that. The camera is still out of commission which is a shame, but we're making do.

No big news, lots of little news. Callie is eating two solid meals a day and can drink quite well from a sippy cup if she is laying down (she hasn't gotten the 'tip' motion down very well yet!) Her favorite foods seem to vary week by week, but right now the consistent favorite seems to be yogurt. She doesn't get it often, but she always inhales it when she does.

No actual crawling yet, but she is trying to rock and definitely pivots on her chest. She also barrel-rolls wherever she wants to go. No real talking, but the noises are getting more varied. Her new favorite is "Abuuuu". She basically blows a raspberry on the buuuu part, and it is very cute. We think she is trying to claim we abuse her, since she usually starts doing this when she is whining.

She is really liking the nursery at church and apparently is a total angel when there, even after a few hours. She likes watching the other older babies play and enjoys all the noise, I think. Everyone loves her (especially the pastor, now that he won't be having anymore little ones).

The DOWNSIDE of the nursery, obviously, is illness. I was helping last Sunday and noticed three babies with various levels of sniffling and green snot bubbles. And sure enough, Callie now has a stuffy nose that is keeping her from sleeping and is dribbling down her lip. She's pretty miserable, and since the FDA doesn't trust us to properly dose our own kids and is trying to ban kid's cold and cough medicine, we just have to wait it out.

We're making headway on the home renovations, finally. Thanks to some babysitting by Grandma and Grandpa Giessel we now have the tile and plumbing in the laundry room, and all the tile is sealed as of last night. So tonight we will get a LEAST the washer and dryer hooked back up (THANK YOU LORD!) and possibly the sink in as well if daddy gets the right Y threads. Slowly, but surely, things are getting put together. Now that the tile is done the rest of the wood can go in, we can tear up the carpet on the stairs, actually get a dining room table in here. It's working out very well, and daddy is doing a VERY good job.

With the exception of illness she is sleeping very well most nights, in her own room. She has also gained a LOT of weight because of the solids. We will know for sure in a few weeks but I believe she has gone up some percentiles for her size which is a good thing. All in all, things are going well for all of us.

With any luck we will get the camera fixed soon. Mommy has a cruddy old HP that will work in the meantime, so we will try to get SOME images up, but no promises!

taryl | General | 31 October, 10:06pm | Comment on this

One other thing, my Camera broke. Minolta is out of the camera business now, and Sony (who Minolta sold their camera division to) wants $211 to fix it. So, long story short, it may be a little while before pictures reappear on this site.

peter | General | 23 September, 12:52am | Comment on this

So, yesterday I was trying to feed Callie. She was having avocado, which she likes. She ate it all and started crying because she was still hungry, so we can't defrost avocado very quickly, so we mixed up some prune juice and rice cereal. We gave her a bite of it.

Now let me paint the picture for you. When Callie wants food, she opens her mouth. When she doesn't get food, she starts screaming. She had her bowl of food on the tray, along with her nonnie (passifier).

After the first bite of prune juice and rice cereal, I offered her another spoonful, but she kept her mouth shut. I said, "come on Callie, don't you want more food?" She looked at me, looked at the bowl, looked around a bit at the tray until she very clearly spotted her nonnie, she very clearly and deliberately reached out, grabbed the nonnie, and stuck it in her mouth. There was no klutzing aroudn with the nonnie, there was no fumbling, it was one very clean, very deliberate motion to grab that and stick it in her mouth. Taryl and I both just started cracking up and she started looking at us like, "what is so funny?" I said, "she's done". Taryl suggested pulling out the nonnie and trying another bite of food. I asked her how Callie could possibly be more clear that she wasn't having any more of that and that she was done.

peter | General | 23 September, 12:50am | Comment on this

So, under pediatrician-induced duress, we started Callie on solids.



She likes them, now. She hated them at first. Her FAVORITE is... gag me... prune juice with rice cereal. Yeah. And she likes slighted salted avocados, watered down with aforementioned rice cereal added. Mmm mm good?

Um, sure kiddo, if you say so.

And the one thing she SHOULD like, bananas, she hates. Like, sad face, grimace, spit out, cry and scream until she gets her prunes.


And alas, my little one is growing up SO fast. She is five months old with some change. And she's *almost* crawling, and babbling away, tossing toys to watch us go fetch, drooling all down her front, back, top of her head... she can basically stand, with much wiggling, and is getting stronger everyday. We have weaned her off her swaddling with good results, so with the exception of a crib she is even sleeping like a big girl.

I am VERY happy to see how she has progressed and grown, and am amazed I haven't irrevocably screwed her up for life yet. 5 months down, 211 months to go.

taryl | General | 16 September, 9:10am | Comment on this

So apparently someone deleted my last post here. And since there are only two people with update permission, I have to conclude that I did it while sleeping, since Taryl would never delete my posts.

Anyway, new Callie pictures are posted. Think of it as a treasure hunt to find them.

And to be fair to the Grandparents, since Grandma Ross got her picture posted on the homepage (however briefly), here is a picture of Grandma Davidson:

peter | General | 11 September, 8:15pm | Comment on this

Well we have survived the last wave of guests with flying colors. Grandma and Grandpa Davidson (teehee!) came up for a very brief visit from the sweltering heat of California. Callie was excited to get new interactive spitup rags and Mommy and Daddy were excited to not have to be completely on hand 24/7 for the first time in ages. All around, a fun weekend.

Callie took her new toys up though Hatcher's Pass and Independence Mine, which was beautiful but windy. She even off-roaded with them on a trail that was about 1/2 a mile of vertical hiking, which SHE thought was fun and her chariots may have been less thrilled about. Callie was not a happy baby toward the end of the trek, due to missing naps, but all and all it worked out very well.

The next day Callie led the group out to Girdwood and McHugh creek to hike, but the wind once again felled all progress. So we headed up t FlatTop for the best views of Anchorage around and then had a barbecue with Grandma and Grandpa Giessel. They cooked us all yummy salmon and steak, and we had a very nice time of the evening, with mommy only marginally nervous and Callie making a fashionably late debut in the last hour, after having her well-deserved nap.

As with the last grandparent visit it was over way too soon, and Callie is looking forward to visiting everyone at Christmas *cough*presents*cough*.

Pictures taken (liberally and often) by Grandma Naeners will be posted shortly.

taryl | General | 7 September, 12:01am | Comment on this

Okay, it's late so I'll be brief (I know, ever-so-rare!)

New Callie pictures up, at last. We've got a few more to upload in the next few days as well and our apologies for the huge time gap, we've been more than busy!

More to come soon!

taryl | General | 14 August, 11:27am | Comment on this

Yay! Callie rolled over about two months ago, but it was a fluke and she never tried again. Then two days ago I looked down and noticed my tummy-time baby was on her back. Set her down again, and she was on her back again. I missed the actual rolling, but it obviously occurred. Then today, I set her down on her tummy and slowly but surely, she raised one arm, lowered another, and rolled. She didn't even cheat by throwing her head to the side.

Yay for my big girl!

taryl | General | 3 August, 1:12am | Comment on this

Sorry about the lack of updates, we've been pretty busy and not had much time to grab the camera or blog.

Callie has started babbling and giggling CONSTANTLY (especially when she is avoiding naps) and just learned how to blow raspberries and spit bubbles proficiently. It's cute until you realize that she drools like a Saint Bernard anyway and all her shirts (plus ours) end up drenched.

If we let her hold our hands she can stay standing (with some wobbling) for a good few minutes. If we can get her to stay on her tummy for more than one minute without screaming, she can hold her head up and lift her chest completely for several minutes before getting tired.

AAAAND yesterday we finally got her to roll over again, from her belly to her back. She did it twice with me and once with Peter home. We can't leave her on ANY surface at all now, because the minute she hits her back she is arching and squirming every which way, and rolling onto her sides with regularity. It is overcoming her arm that stops her from rolling all the way.

Let's see, no other real developments. We're still finishing the house and rather behind on that as Peter has been working long hours to keep up with project deadlines. And we still haven't found a suitable church though the one we went to last week shows promise. So, as always, life goes on and Callie keeps growing. We will try to be better about updates :)

taryl | General | 1 August, 1:29am | 1 comments

OK, so we have the coolest kid in the world. I have to admit, at first, I was like.... hmm, ok, so she poops and eats... yeah... and? But now she has gotten a lot more fun. She's giggling and laughing and well, playing. The first time I was tossing her and she laughed, I was like, "Oh no! What was that noise? What did I do?" I then took a look at her face and she had the biggest smile and I realized that she was laughing. I tried it again, yep, sure enough... That was a laugh. I discovered that I don't even really need to toss her, just make big sweeping bouncing motions and she will start smiling really big and start laughing.

peter | General | 26 June, 4:14pm | Comment on this

So things have been CRAZY this past week and a half or so. We closed on our new house, which is great! Thing is, flooring and painting plus a million little details need to be worked out before we can truly settle, so we're still mostly in boxes until we at least get the family room livable this next weekend. Callie has been quite a busy baby indeed, while her parents got to loaf around and sleep ;)

Callie has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two weeks. She went from kind of a spud that needed a lot of rocking and carrying to much more self-sufficient. She will play in her bouncer or on her playmat alone for a good half hour, longer if I keep a running dialogue going (which everyone who knows me understands isn't hard, I specialize in one-sided conversing!) I think she thinks her toys are talking back, so she doesn't get mad and scream at their unresponsiveness as quickly as she used to!

She's started kicking and grabbing at things a lot more, like toys, mommy's hair and daddy's goatee, the phone, etc etc. Consequently, when she is hungry and I'm just not fast enough she has learned how to punch at the milk bar rather impatiently. It beats pinching, I suppose.

She seems to undergo her biggest developmental leaps when we're barely looking. For example, we were hauling nearly everything we could shove into a U-Haul from the storage unit and she was fussing the entire time. When I finally went over to her to deal with her, she fussed, then look up at me, smiled, and then broke out into her first real laugh. I have absolutely no idea what was so amusing, probably that she has two normally (insane) autonomous adults at her beck and call, but she really let one out. It was SOOOO cute! Peter was able to get a repeat performance by tossing her up in the air. Not the safest activity, but as with all kids when it gets a danger label the fun increases exponentially.

Though she hates it passionately and screams her head off, we finally reverted back to swaddling. She *likes* having her limbs free, but isn't all that good at them yet and thus wakes herself up, knocks out her pacifier every three seconds, jabs herself in the eye etc etc. So Peter finally got fed up and straightjacketed her with her blanket, and wouldn't you know, after ten minutes of HOWLING she fell asleep.

And stayed asleep.

For EIGHT hours!!!! WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!

Making sure it was not a fluke, we did it again the next night, and I made sure to not just let her fall asleep when she was sleepy but pick her up out of her toys, swaddle and lay her down in a dark room, and make naptime very official (I know, I know, I should have done it all along but until about a month ago parenting was more preventative than proactive). And she slept, and slept, and slept. She is nor regularly going 7-10 hours at night without a feed or one very brief one around 5:00 am when daddy wakes up. And she naps every two hours or so for about an hour or two..... IT'S GREAT! She seems happier (probably because now we finally have a good routine down, being settled in our own home again) and Peter and I hadn't realized how unrested we were until we actually got uninterrupted rest. It's just not the same in three hour increments.

So now we have a player, a giggler, (a pooper and spitter) and a sleeper! This isn't so bad afterall :)

.... Or perhaps I just jinxed us terribly :(

PS: Forgive me anyone who I owe letters (Grandma, I'm looking at you), phonecalls, or any other such updates and correspondence. We now finally have phone and internet hooked up but we're so busy around here time is sparse at best. I have NOT forgotten you and neither has Peter, life has just intervened. Look forward to hearing from us shortly but in the meantime we will attempt to keep this website as updated as possible.

taryl | General | 25 June, 9:32pm | 1 comments

We have no inter-web at home at the moment, so this site will get updated probably next week once we get inter-web again.

peter | General | 21 June, 3:59pm | 1 comments

So Callie endured 20 hours of travel on thursday, as we all packed up and headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan for Peter's old roommates' wedding. We all got up at 3:30 am and headed to Anchorage International Airport for our 6:00 flight out. Callie did very well and slept or dozed on and off the entire flight to Seattle. She woke up and fussed a little once we got there, but was definitely manageable as we shuffled through the port.

However we then received bad news - Chicago was experiencing horrible windstorms, thumderstorms, and had a tornado warning enacted, so our plane was delayed nearly three hours! It was not, suffice to say, the best news we could have gotten. Still, we waited and walked the Princess around to keep her calm, got a few good pictures of her doing various things around the airport, and finally got boarded to Chicago around 3:00 pacific time.

The flight to Chicago was around 4 hours and Callie slept THE ENTIRE TIME! The lady in front of us was shocked to see we had a baby, she had no idea until we landed and Callie started cooing at the seat in front of us. By the way, O'hare is the worst layout of any airport we've ever been in. It is HORRID!

We left the airport at 10:30 central time and headed to the car rental place, grabbed a vehicle and were on the road to Grand Rapids by 11:30 or so. It was a LOOONG night, and by 4:30 we were checked into our (very lovely) hotel here in Michigan. Callie held up very well and allowed us to go to sleep when we were ready, rather than fussing for an hour, and we all got up at 2:30 this afternoon to continue our day.

Peter took Callie and me to Calvin College, his alma mater, to see the campus and say hi to a professor or two, we went shopping, had dinner, and settled in for a relaxing evening which daddy fully deserves. Tomorrow is lunch with Adam Glon (Pete's old roommate) and Ted's wedding (Pete's other old roommate) plus a drive out to see Great Grandma Giessel to conclude the day. Pictures and updates, as always, will be forthcoming!

taryl | General | 9 June, 4:33am | Comment on this

So, I come here to visit, and AAK! Someone flowered the site. I blame Taryl.

Anyway, Callie is starting to talk a lot more, and by talk, I don't mean English, I mean she speaks in Callie, which is currently indecipherable to anyone but Callie. Its cute though. We really need to get a camcorder (and a house, but thats another story). Anyway, its really cute and she is working very hard on developing language skills.

peter | General | 2 June, 4:39am | Comment on this

Pictures have once again been updated, as Callie is finishing her second month of life. There's some particularly good ones of her smiling that should please grandparents and other sundry visitors.

Today mommy got a new(ish) car to tide her over for a year or so and for the first time Callie and mommy went out alone. Let me say it was a frazzling experience. I don't think my brain is so used to multitasking trips like that ("Do I have the diaper bag, is the car locked, where is her pacifier, oh no she's giving me the hungry-face!"). While mommy floundered a bit Callie took it like a champ. We were out for around five hours and she fussed maybe a total of three minutes, two of which were in the car. These errands included Toys 'r Us to buy a new (wonderful, lightweight, and cheap) stroller, Costco (which is a zoo at any given time) and THE DMV!!!! The last stop was arguably the most taxing - a hundred people mulling around loudly, long waits, and annoying automated voices. And yet, with some carefully executed stroller-rolling Callie barely stirred. And she was cooed over by a good three dozen people, from scary homeless men to other moms. Apparently we have a beautiful, quiet baby (I could have told them that!)

She was great, and didn't even ask to be fed while we were out (due to some judicious timing on my part, I think!) Overall Callie is a very portable baby. We can camp with her, take her across international borders, househunt all day, and go to the absolute mess that is any DMV. She sometimes fusses a little later on because of overstimulation but overall she's a piece of cake.

Now, the only thing this trip out really got be thinking was "How in the heck can I manage outings with MULTIPLE children??? ONE who stayed PUT was tough enough!"

Siblings, it seems, may take a little more organizational skills than I currently have. But today Callie met another baby who was nearly her age (a few days difference) and she was all smiles and coos. Way to tug mommy's heartstrings! Makes me want to give her a playmate just to see that goofy toothless smile again. Who knows what will happen come Christmas time!

taryl | General | 31 May, 5:45am | 1 comments

We went camping this last weekend, and Callie did quite well. New pictures of it are posted in the pictures section.

peter | General | 28 May, 5:31am | Comment on this

We made the first part of the big move with only a few hiccups along the road. Callie slept most of the trip, though she got a little lonely in the back seat, and 2 days of driving later we made it to Anchorage.

Sadly, between the long move and the busy days of house hunting, trailer unloading, and general busyness around town Callie's schedule has gotten all thrown off, as we feared it might. She's now only sleeping in two to three hour stretches at night and fusses nearly all morning long, for reasons we can't quite pin down. She's a champ in the car and has been very patient as we pack her and unload her every half hour when on the road, but she's definitely making us pay for it in terms of sleep hours. Not helping the situation is the daylight hours of Anchorage this time of year. It never goes completely dark and at around midnight the sun is JUST setting enough that it seems like evening. It is nice to have so much light when one wants to DO things, but not the best for getting the biological clock set for bedtimes.

Peter began his new job at Reid-Middleton and within a day they sent him all the way out to Bethel to check out the rust on a structure out there. Coincidently that was also the day the inspection for the house we're looking at was set for, and miraculously he made it him several hours early on an earlier flight and got to go to the inspection.

The house our offer was accepted on is quite a nice property on the outskirts of the municipality of Anchorage, in an area called Eagle River. It's around 1700 sq. feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with .25 acres of land to it. Not bad for under $300,000! It's in great shape and the inspection, which was extremely thorough (you know it's good when two civil/structural engineers are impressed with the guy), yielded no red flags of any sort. There's little fixes here and there, like servicing the furnace and caulking better around the windows, replacing some flooring and such... but nothing we won't be able to handle. All in all this is looking like our place! Now if only the house in Juneau would close...

I apologize for the lack of pictures from the move and of Callie in the past few weeks but things have been crazy and extremely stressful. We will do our best and if all else fails you'll get to see pictures of her helping us touch up the new house. And HOPEFULLY she'll remember that she does indeed know how to sleep through the night!

taryl | General | 24 May, 10:11pm | Comment on this

New pictures updated today.

Callie also had her checkup today. She's up to 21 inches long (53 cm) and 10 pounds 4 ounces (4649 grams).

So she's continuing to grow. Not sleep (at least not last night), but she's growing.

peter | General | 11 May, 2:30am | Comment on this

Callie weighed in this week at nine pounds fourteen ounces, and is looking very healthy and right on track. She has started babbling a lot more and crying less (with the exception of a long fussy period before bedtime). She's sleeping through the night, most nights, from around 11pm to 5am. Needless to say we're rather excited about that development.

And Callie can kiss this place goodbye because we sold! It's almost time for her first big trip and I think she'll do great.

- - -

Mommy feels like her c-section never even happened, it is healing extremely well, and the entire family is looking forward to the long summer ahead.

- - -

Today the DOT Bridge section threw Callie another baby shower (basically an excuse for a party) and gave her some lovely toys and clothes. A special thank you to Pooh Bear and Wilma for the beautiful handmade quilt that we received. It is the PERFECT color scheme and matches what I wanted to do for Callie's nursery almost exactly. She is one lucky little girl, and we're lucky to have her.

Thanks DOT! It was a very nice afternoon and we appreciate all your thoughts and support.

taryl | General | 5 May, 1:30am | 1 comments

This past Sunday Callie and I got the star treatment by our wonderful friends at church with a lovely baby shower. It was hosted by Jenny McElwain, at her (amazingly) clean home. I swear, for having a toddler and a 6 month old that woman is sickeningly organized :)

Katie and April provided the games and organization for which I am extremely grateful, and though she was sick and couldn't stay BethAnna still managed to drop off a delicious carrot cake.

Callie got lots of cute clothes and toys, and was an absolute angel for the three hours we were there. Everyone passed her around and all she did was sleep and look around the room. She has this amazing capacity to scream her cute little head off at home and remain completely silent in public. The baby shower was right after church and she made it through BOTH events perfectly behaved! Just a feed and change in between.

It was very nice to see all the girls one more time before we left town - I wanted them all to meet Callie before we whisked her away, as a good half of the attendees knew Peter from WAY back in his single bachelor days, pre-mommy and baby. They commented how glad they were to see him find exactly what he needed - and EVERYONE thinks it's cute how he fawns over his daughter. She's got daddy wrapped already.

She won't remember everyone if we drop back into Juneau for a visit, but we felt it was important that they met her. I really appreciate the time and effort everyone put into that afternoon, and we will miss them all.

taryl | General | 5 May, 1:20am | 1 comments

For archival purposes, here is my best (late) recollection of the events leading up to Callie's birth:

After having three weeks of prodromal labor, on and off, I was feeling fairly exhausted and unhealthy. However, I was still confident that Callie would come on her own.

Friday, March 30: I was finally able to have my membranes swept by my midwife, and my contractions kicked back up. Despite fears about Callie's size, the obstetricians I had to see that day decided I would be better served by going into labor on my own, if possible, than by being induced or c-sectioned the next day.

Saturday, March 31: After much walking and contractions, I lost my plug in full bloody show rather than in little spots here and there. I was so excited! My strength felt like it was flagging a little, however, with all the continued contractions. But the show convinced me that the end would soon be near.

Sunday, April 1: Still having contractions, but not feeling any progress. The swelling in my legs and hands was getting painful and I was feeling exceptionally run down, like I had the flu.

Monday, April 2: The symptoms of Sunday continued, and the flu feeling increased as well as feeling faint. I called my midwife and she did a blood pressure check, which yielded 150/100 or so. She called the obstetrician right away to set up a consultation and discern a course of action. My body was no longer tolerating all this prolonged labor and it looked like Callie had run out of time to come on her own, with the midwives. We met with Dr. Welling right after that appt, at around 5:00 Monday night, and he scheduled me to begin inductions at the hospital that evening. I was exhausted from the weekend as well as my hips hurting too badly to sleep, but I pushed th induction back a few hours to grab a quick nap at home. We checked into Bartlett Regional Hospital at around 8:30 that night.

Beginning at 9:00, my vitals were taken and the nurses started Pitocin. I was on that until 2:00 am, with horrid results. My midwives had estimated my cervix at 3 cm and 80% effacement, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to have the membrane sweep. But the nurses and Dr. Welling insisted that was maybe 3 cm on the outside and funneled closed on the inside, with maybe 20% effacement. They couldn't get a finger in. Consequently, they couldn't see HOW Kaye could have swept me. I am familiar with the phenomenon of a woman dilating for one attendant and clamping closed for another, and I am sure that the tension of the day and the unfamiliar hands caused me to lose progress, despite the fact that the nurses say it isn't possible.

My blood pressure was still high but they had decided the Pitocin wasn't working, so they planned to let me rest that evening and start trying Cervadil, for a slower but more complete induction, at 7:00 in the morning. I was so tense, tired, and stressed from the day's events that I got no rest between the Pitocin and Cervadil. Contractions as always continued throughout the night.

Tuesday, April 3: Cervadil began at 7:00 am and by noon my contractions strong and around 3 minutes apart. I was encouraged. However a check at 4:00 by a nurse showed I had made NO PROGRESS, despite the 9 hours of Cervadil and 4 hours of Pitocin. They left me on the Cervadil for another 10 hours but still, no progress. In addition, Callie was moving so much that the external monitors they had me on kept constantly losing her, so I couldn't get up and move for fear that we'd have to yet again reposition the stupid EFM. It was probably more stressful than the labor, itself, having to move that sucker every five minutes. The nurses hovering constantly for vitals didn't help either, and the IV lines were driving me nuts. I was absolutely exhausted, moreso emotionally than physically, and the complete lack of any progress was so demoralizing it wasn't even funny. I got 3 cm ON MY OWN and yet with all the chemicals they had in their bags I somehow DIGRESSED?!

To make matters worse, they were aiming for the contractions to get strong enough to drop her head and apply cervical pressure, or at least get her engaged enough for a fetal scalp electrode, which would cause my water to break AND make Callie easier to track. When the doctor checked me he said her head was indeed lower, but they could wiggle it back and forth which made no sense to any of them, but made them too nervous to do the amniotomy for fear of a cord prolapse. So after all that crap my very last option was one they were too scared to try. I was so fed up by midnight that I just sat in the bed cussing, crying, and generally cursing the medical profession.

Wednesday, April 4: More Pitocin, over 16 hours of 1-2 minutes apart contractions of around 1 minute long per piece, and still no progress besides some slight additional effacement. I told Dr. Schneider, the attending physician, in no uncertain terms that the chance of a prolapse was so minimal it was laughable, and if my water broke on its own the same risk would apply, and that if they couldn't do the amniotomy I would end up with a c-section anyway, so what was the difference? A possible emergency c-section and my last chance at vaginal birth, or straight to a section without exhausting every single option? He claimed he wasn't comfortable trying to amniotomy without consulting some other doctors, so Peter and I waited out the night, still contracting like crazy, for the doctor to give us his answer at 8:00 the next morning. I got maybe 3 hours of sleep in little bits, and at this point was feeling so weak and exhausted I could hardly see straight, but I knew one way or the other it would end the next day.

Thursday, April 5: Dr. Schneider got the go-ahead from the surgeon to do the amniotomy, and the theater was set up for the c-section just in case. Dr. Schneider expected me to gush fluid horribly, as my abdomen was SO distended and my fluid volume was unusually high. But when the electrode was fixed there was hardly a trickle. When I contracted more did gush out, but no much-feared prolapse, and no instant dropping of baby. I told Dr. Schneider that I would give the labor a solid go until noon and then, if I had still made little to no progress, I would have a c-section that afternoon.

Breaking my water definitely intensified my labor, and my contractions, sped up by Pitocin, were around 1 minutes apart and a minute and a half in length. It was the most awful experience of my life. The breaks were shorter than the labor itself, and I was having ALL BACK LABOR! It was burning, shooting pain down my back and thighs, hardly any sensation in my cervix. The pain was actually much worse of my right side, for reasons we didn't find out until later in the day. I had no pain relief through the four days of induced labor thus far and none for this, but man was I tempted! Finally, at noon I knew in my heart I had no progress. I wouldn't even let the nurses check me because I was terrified of having one of those brutal contractions while on my back. I breathed and moaned through them with all my might but still I felt like I was barely hanging on. And in between them I was in a half-conscious daze, exhausted and out of my head. It was what I had thought laborland to be, but with a tinge of despair I hadn't anticipated. By then, I had fully surrendered myself to the c-section. I really had tried my best.

The doctor agreed to it, but scheduled it for 3:00 pm. I was in so much pain I only partly heard him. I had asked for an epidural for those three hours in between so I could rest before the surgery, but apparently he and the anesthesiologist had decided I would just have a spinal right before the operation. Then the anesthesiologist was called away to an emergency and I was stranded with no pain relief and no reason left to endure the horrid contractions. To my horror, I finally started to panic. I had reached far beyond the limits of my mental and physical strength, and each contraction felt like I was dying. My legs were too weak to move, the flu-like symptoms I had made my throat close up and dry out and my head feel like lead. The nurses kept coming in and breaking my concentration for vital signs when Callie would move away from the monitors, and I was seriously contemplating murdering the nurses and doctors there. Through it all Peter was pushing on my back and whispering encouragements to me, and that really sustained me. Lorna, one of the midwives, was there too, but she kind of faded into the background.

Finally I asked the nurses for some Stadol to take the edge off, which it did, but barely. Each hour they gave me more, which was horrid in and of itself because the effects would wear off around 15 minutes before the new dose would come. To make matters worse the nurses forbid me from any food from Midnight the night before and no water from 9:00 that morning, which made me even weaker and my throat was so raw all I could do was whisper. At this point I was just crying like crazy, barely coherent and hardly able to breathe. It was the worst experience of my life.

The nurses finally came in for pre-surgery prep with the anesthesiologist, and about time too! It was 2:30, and they wheeled me into the theater. The spinal anesthesia, which I had dreaded for so many years, was the EASIEST anesthesia I ever had. No pain going in, good and solid short term effects, and no lingering catheter like an epidural, so less chance of infection. Soon my legs wouldn't lift, I couldn't feel my abs, and since the anesthesiologist applied the shot a little high my arms were partially numbed as well. The catheter went in and I felt so weird abdominal sensations. I asked them to pinch my skin to make sure I could feel nothing and my husband then informed me that the point was a little moot as her head was coming out!

They went about the whole thing so fast I didn't even know they were doing it!

At 4:18 she was out, and I heard one shrill cry. The rest was kind of a blur. After ten minutes my husband told them to let me see her... I think they forgot about me! They popped her around the drapes for a moment and then whisked her back. She was perfectly healthy despite the HOURS and DAYS of labor, weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. Dr. Schneider checked me while I was numb and announced that I was only 5 cm or so and no more effaced than I was over a day before, after being in what was equivalent to transition for HALF A DAY! He further concluded that only a small portion of the right side of her head was molded, she had been coming down at an angle (hence the unusually strong pain on only one side -she was trying to come out my hip!). And that if they hadn't done the c-section then I would have gone through 20 hours or so of more labor only to end in a section anyway, there was no WAY she was coming down on her own.

As for the high weight estimates, the could only conclude her weird position and high fluid volume skewed the measurements.

Callie was perfect, I was exhausted, couldn't talk, and had been sliced open. But I have NO regrets about the c-section, I can truly say I did my very best and fought as hard as I could for every centimeter. And despite some hiccups along the way and some bumps in the postpartum, things have been fabulous ever since and get better every day!

taryl | General | 2 May, 6:25am | Comment on this

Callie didn't just out poop her diaper today... She sent it all the way down her leg into the footie. I was very impressed. We've decided that she doesn't produce large acts of congress because they aren't as fast or as cohesive as large acts of congress. Its more like a heavily debated Senate Bill. She has been pretty good all week. Last weigh in (Thursday) she was up to nine pounds seven ounces, or in real units, roughly 4280 grams. A few more pictures have been posted. You can look for them.

peter | General | 29 April, 4:12am | Comment on this

Callie is doing pretty good about sleeping 3 hours at a time most nights, so if we get two of her sleeps in, its 6 hours of sleep... Just not continuous sleep... Some sleep is good, and all things considered, she's actually letting us sleep quite a bit.

peter | General | 21 April, 10:48pm | Comment on this

Nothing new to report, some new pictures have been added to the gallery.

Callie and I went shopping today while Mom stayed home and cooked. It was fun.... Only one onion escaped the cart somehow, and Callie slept most of the time.

peter | General | 20 April, 5:44am | Comment on this

Well, at the checkup today they said Callie is up to 9 pounds 2 ounces. So that is good because she is back up above her original birth weight. More pictures coming soon.

peter | General | 19 April, 6:08am | Comment on this

Well, Callie is here and the site is finally up. She came into the world the 5th of April, kicking and screaming and trying to stay in her nice warm swimming pool, but she is finally here. Quite a few pictures have been put up in the "Callie's Pictures" section on the left.

Another milestone today, Callie finally out-pooped her diapers, so that was fun.

peter | General | 17 April, 6:55am | Comment on this

Well, Callie's not here yet, but we'll post here when she's here.

peter | General | 25 March, 9:22pm | Comment on this