Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Latest

Ok.  Realistically, trying to keep a blog chronicling Emerson's first year might have been a little overly ambitious.  She will be 10 months old in about two weeks and I swear I'm just now getting to the point where I can brush my teeth and take a shower every day (I swear that's not a statement on my overall approach to personal hygiene)  Everyone tells you how quickly the time passes... all the time.  When you tell them you have a baby, the first thing they say is "careful, you blink and they're grown".  As tired as I am of hearing that exact statement, it is in fact, very true.

So, what is new with Emerson?  Where to begin.  The short answer is, EVERYTHING is new with Emerson, every single day.  Let's see, she's working on her vocabulary.  Her first word, much to Hunter's eternal elation was "dah-dee".  That was quickly followed by essentially everything but "Mama".  She says "kitty kitty", "Nana", "Granddaddy" and "grass".  She did finally say 'Mama', but she usually reserves it for when she's really really upset.  Most of the time she just walks around the house saying 'Da da da da da DAH DEE!!!"  Don't worry, I'm not taking it personally.  I'm sure it I'll forget all about it and it will never come up again.  Hmpfh.

She's completely obsessed with walking but she's also on the slight side, so her little legs aren't quite ready for what she's trying to make them do.  However, when I say obsessed, I mean it.  If you've ever seen Hunter put his mind to passing an exam or learning a new song on his guitar, then you know her exact expression.  She refuses to sit, kneel, lay down, or assume any position other than standing.  She just wants to stand up.  All the time.  Standing.  This week, she mastered stepping (with a little help) and bouncing.  Crawling, on the other hand, not only is she not interested, I would go as far as to say she's disdainful of the entire concept.

In terms of personality, I'm trying to find the right word to describe it.  She's incredibly independent and insists on doing everything herself but she wants to make absolutely certain that she has a captive audience at all times.  She's also got a very coy, mischevious sense of humor.  She's on a big "call and response" kick right now where she'll look at us and shout "GAHHHH!!!!" at the top of her lungs, we respond in kind and go back and forth for a few minutes until she tires of this game and moves on to something else.  She waits until you've turned your attention elsewhere, cuts her eyes at you, smiles and then screams out of the blue "GAHHHH!!!!!" hoping to catch you off guard and start the thing over again.

Food is still pretty much her favorite thing on earth and there's really nothing she won't eat.  Pumpkin oatmeal is still her absolute favorite although we introduced Cheerio's last week and that's been a big hit.  She's a very vocal eater and groans of delight and an unending chorus of "Mmmmm" extends the entire duration of every single meal.  

She has FINALLY started sleeping through the night most nights, thanks to my once again, starving myself of my primary food group (that would be caffeine).  It's amazing what the love of a child can make you do, although it has dawned on me that whether she's waking up every three hours or I'm ordering quad decaf latte's I end up being exhausted either way, so I'm struggling with the futility of this endeavor.

Let's see, what else?  She's a love!  She's sweet and gentle and she has the most beautiful 6 toothed smile I have ever seen in my life.  Her hair is coming in (still red) and partially curly.  I love imagining what it will look like when she's older.  She loves baths as much as she ever did, especially now that she has discovered the joy of completely soaking Hunter.   She loves being outdoors and feeling the wind (or lately snow) on her face in a way that can only be described as tangible grace.  She is the light of our lives and I can't wait for you to see her again.

This is a rather two dimensional blog, but I felt the need to catch you up on the big things.  I hope (HOPE) to provide a few more anecdotal entries about shenanigans and motherhood before her first birthday (which is in something like 9 weeks!!!!!!!)

In the meantime, we have posted many videos and some more pictures since my last post.  Please feel free to check them out!  We love you!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Update: Transcontinental Travel, Teething and Everything In Between

I can't believe how long its been since my last post.  It seems like a life time ago!  Hunter and I (God bless him) have worked out a system where I have a few hours of uninterrupted 'me time' on Sundays where I can do things like leisurely update Emerson's Blog, ready my Sunday NYT or someday even  revisit my own blog, Shades of Gray.  The original plan was for me to hit up a coffee shop for a few hours for uninterrupted quiet time.  However, its such a lazy Sunday and its going to be such a crazy week, all I could really bring myself to do was climb the stairs and hole up in my office on the couch.  Baby steps.

So since my last update SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!!!! (Really since last Sunday SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!!!!)  Our most significant adventure has been Emerson's first transcontinental vacation.  She and I decided to visit North Carolina for a quick long weekend about a month ago.  I can not tell you how nervous I was about lugging a baby through 4 airports in the middle of the night across the United States.  I just knew she was going to be exhausted and over stimulated, I was afraid she wouldn't eat, blah blah blah.  To be honest, it was undoubtedly one of the best weekends of her young little life.  It was truly a GRAND ADVENTURE for Miss Emerson.  She relished every single moment.  From the people watching in the airport to snoring through the late night flights to being introduced to her magnificent new nursery at Nana and Granddaddy's house.  We also introduced her to the beach, the porch swing, her great-grandmothers and her aunts and uncles.  You will see there are a gracious plenty of pictures to tell the story that have been uploaded onto her photo album and even some video of her first taste of the ocean.  Turns out a diaper full of sand and salt water is not a super good time.  Who knew?

Last weekend, Hunter and I took Emerson up to the town of  Sundance to spend some time at a slightly higher elevation, see the first glimmer of autumn and ride the ski lift at the resort there.  The. Child. Was. In. Heaven.  This little girl loves to be outdoors like nothing I've ever seen.  The second you get her out the door its like a wave of instant bliss washes over her so you can imagine what it was like for her soaring above the mountain tops looking out over the valleys of Utah for as far as her eyes could see.  Whenever the wind would blow over her or the ski lift would take a steep decline, she would throw her arms out to the sides, tilt her head back, and close her eyes like she was flying.  Its moments like this, when you get to sit back quietly and watch your child discover the beauty of world around her that you experience a quiet and astounding awe the likes of which you have never known.  Its like watching the divine light upon your life like a butterfly visiting a flower.  A moment of subtle stillness and perfection.

Of course,in addition to these periods of grace...  you also have teething.  HA HA HA!  Oh teething.  Yes, In my last post, I mentioned it had begun.  Well, as of YESTERDAY (what, two months later??) we officially have teeth.  TEETH (as in more than one)!  This week she FINALLY cut her two bottom center teeth.  What a horrible and exhausting rite of passage (for all of us).  We have how many more of these to go?  And then they start falling out????? Surely there's a better system.  I'm going to go ahead and call this a design flaw.  I mean, why go through the excruciating process of cutting one tooth at a time when you're too young to drink yourself through it... only to hang onto the teeth for a short few years before someone has to start YANKING THEM OUT so you can go through it AGAIN only to have that lovely experience followed by braces and then cavities and then wisdom teeth (serious design flaw) and then dentures.  I'm sorry but the tooth fairy and her bag of quarters is seriously not nearly enough compensation for this life-long melodrama.  How exhausting!  Anyway, moving on...  Our other grand development this week, in addition to two new razor sharp tools of torture, is that Emerson is now sitting up all by herself, which is pretty exciting.

So... these are the highlights of the past several weeks and I apologize for the delay in updates.  I'm looking forward to this new Sunday ritual and am excited about keeping you up to date on everything new and exciting here in SLC.  Until next week, check out all of the new pictures and VIDEO off to the right hand side.

We love you all so very much!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mother Daughter Bonding Time - (or "Oh lord, help me... when does your father get back!?!?!?")

So, Hunter and I have spent the past four months positively desperate to get Em into a routine and now that we're there, we both looked at each other last night, exasperated and agreed that having every single moment of your day budgeted just completely sucks.  Now, I will admit we do have about 4 or 6 moments that are not scheduled or consumed.  We use these moments to close our eyes and catch our breath or lean up against a wall and take a 30 second nap.  We occasionally splurge and try to get through 15 minutes of The History Channel's Pawn Stars (the only TV show we have the mental capacity for these days) and I do try to get in a few pages of reading before losing consciousness at the end of the day.  Just in case you're wondering - I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series.  Yep, that's right.  I'm pretty sure this is the 4th  time I will be reading the entire series.  Harry Potter is comfort food in the Best household.  Pure-T Comfort Food  (Though I will say, Ghost Written by David Mitchell may have to intercede between The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  This has been the most amazing and magical four months of my life.  Every single day this beautiful little girl does something new that just takes my breath away.  She makes a new connection, she gets her hand eye coordination controlled enough to reach out and pet Bodhi, her giggle gets a little more defined, she wraps her little arms around my neck and squeezes with a soft little 'coo' in my ear.... and I will tell you, each of these tiny little milestones leaves me just completely breathless and fighting the urge to go out and buy a celebratory red velvet cake (we celebrate with red velvet in this house - we cope with chocolate in any form).

Last week, Hunter took a much deserved mini-vacation; (Don't worry - my turn is coming... oh yes... one day) a road trip with his friend Jon with the ultimate destination of Telluride, CO for a two day Phish concert.  I was kind of excited about kicking back and just relaxing with Emerson.  I scoped out all of the parks I wanted to visit, I got a good bottle of wine before he left, I went to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for a few recipes that I've been wanting to try.  I figured I could knock the recipes out during her 3:00 nap, take a stroll to the park before bed time and then spend my evenings after putting her down kicking back on the patio with a glass of wine, catching up on long over due phone calls.  It'll be fun!

(Every time that overly enthusiastic, excessively perky voice in my head exclaims "It'll be fun!" I really should just go get in bed and hide under the covers.  Why haven't I learned this?  It's my inner voice for crying out loud?!?!)

Let me just break it down for you like this.  The minute Hunter walked out the door - the child started teething.  At least I think she's teething?  She's producing about 2.5 gallons of drool a day and gnawing on her fist like a fried drumstick from Mama Dip's Country Restaurant.  (Has anyone else noticed how food oriented this blog is?)  Maybe its not teething and is some sort of new personality quirk.  If so... we'll love her anyway.  So as soon as Hunt walks out the door Em begins to teethe which made her usually sunny disposition a little ... shall we say... cloudy?  Stormy? Torrential? Gale Force? Category Five-God Save us All-Hurricane?  Okay, she wasn't THAT bad but she was less than beaming.  She also decided that she was completely done with the 3:00 nap that she has taken every single day of her life.  (That blessed nap that allows me 45 minutes to transition from work to mama with just enough grace to pass muster.  Good bye grace!  There goes those recipes I wanted to try.... fortunately I had enough bread to get me through these tenuous four days with sandwiches.  *Glances sideways at spoiling tomatoes*)

Around this time, the dishwasher also quit.  Well, it didn't so much quit as it flooded the kitchen.  At first I thought it might have just been Emerson's drool, but after further inspection, it was definitely coming from the dishwasher.  I know this because you can turn the dishwasher off and the encroaching river of water would stop.  You can't, however, turn Emerson off and make her encroaching river of drool stop.  We would later find that we somehow burned a hole completely through the base of the dishwasher's tub.  How did that happen?  You've got me.... I'm mystified.  (By the way there goes my evenings with a glass of wine and a phone call - its hard to talk on the phone and wash dishes at the same time and that's about all I had the energy for at this point.)

So - screaming, teething, sleepless child... CHECK!  General need for a snorkel... CHECK!! Broken coffee maker... CHECK!!!

"WAIT!?!?  WHAT'S THIS??? BROKEN COFFEE MAKER!??!?! NO!," you exclaim.  "Surely you jest!," you cry out.  "Not the coffee maker!!!!!!!  Anything but the coffee maker!!!!," you wail. (You don't mind if I dictate your end of this conversation do you?)

Yes, the coffee maker just added insult to injury.  It didn't just break, it would take two agonizing hours to brew 4 of the 12 cups of water I put in the hopper.  Like a slow, cruel, torturous taunt of coffee that came out the consistency of what I can only imagine would be equivalent to these tar balls we hear so much about.

Woe. Is. Me.

PS:  As a post script, I should let you know... I survived and Emerson won't remember it.  Hunter returned home to an exhausted but functional family, a new dishwasher should be installed by the end of this week (meanwhile we've switched to disposable EVERYTHING because WE'RE THAT LAZY) and my savior of all things caffeinated walked me through a do-it-yourself emergency maintenance on the coffee maker that, all told, was truly the crux of my survival...  live to fight another day my friends!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Emerson's First Road Trip and the Ensuing Aftermath

So, Emerson is approaching her 3 month "birthday" and I am just now getting around to writing in her blog... oh the pressure... sigh...  forgive me.  Not surprisingly, its a combination of lack of time, lack of sleep, lack of energy, and not really knowing how to verbalize this whole 'parenthood thing'.  You know me, I like to process before I open my mouth and... well... I've decided that I'm probably going to be processing for the rest of my life so I might as well just get on with it.

As you all know, Em got off to a bit of a rocky start in the hospital and it took us a few weeks to get her bulked up to acceptable chubby baby standards but once we caught up from all of that, the three of us started to stabilize a bit.

In fact, we were SO stable at 2 months..... that we decided it was time for a road trip.... YES!  SIXTEEN TWENTY hours in the car with our sweet, low-maintenance, precious little bundle of sunshine!  Why??  Because we CAN!  Because we're going to be laid back parents, who travel freely... who introduce our daughter to as much of the world she is tasked to conquer as we can -  at every single opportunity that we have!!!!! ... Because we desperately need a change of scenery... and because Nashville's Jim 'N Nick's BBQ has a location in Denver and damn if we didn't seriously need some sweet tea and biscuits.

So.... the night before our EIGHT TEN hour trek to Denver, we've broken down the pack-n-play, we have the first aid kit, we have rattles and strollers and wipes and ridiculous amounts of diapers.  I have been to target and purchased a $40.00 mirror to hang in the back seat that flashes lights and speaks 3 languages to entertain Emerson.  Yes, I know that Emerson doesn't even speak one language... she has no concept of so much as a consonant... but whatever - we're ready.  Hunter and I agree that we want to hit the road early.  As I'm thinking to myself 'Yeah! 8:00 should be no problem!'... he says, so I'm thinking if we're out of here no later than 6:00 we'll be good okay...

Um.... panic on the inside:

"6 o'clock in the a.m.?!?!  IS HE INSANE???... Wait...   You know what? I can do that ... you know why?  We're stable.  We're (wait for it ) 'laid back parents, who travel freely... who introduce our daughter to as much of the world she is tasked to conquer as we can - at every single opportunity that we have!!!!!'...  6:00 in the a.m.?? - No problem."

You know what.... by 6:15 we had picked up my travel coffee from Java Joe's and were on the way out of town.  We rock...

... Wait....
.... What is that god awful smell...
... Was that you???
... EMERSON!!!!!!!!

Long and painful story short (yeah right, you know I can't do that)... we would later discover that the day of our road trip was the day that Emerson would come down with the never ending demon stomach virus.  By the time we crossed into Colorado she had been through 3 wardrobe changes due to extreme gastrointestinal blowouts and I had been through two (wardrobe changes, not blowouts).  This was also about the time the child stopped eating... Again.  Despite her digestive distress and disappearing appetite she was truly a peach to journey with.  She loved her flashing tri-lingual mirror (Even though Hunter is convinced that it is some sort of baby brainwashing machine with subliminal messages in the flashing lights and foreign languages programed to indoctrinate infants into some sort of conspiratorial underground army).  She slept well and often and when she was awake she was generally in good spirits.... until we got home ... at which time the demonic possession was complete. The love of our lives, our sweet baby girl, was replaced by this hysterical miniature banshee whose vocal prowess only grew throughout the week.   By Sunday, Hunter and I actually took 20 minutes of our precious, precious, quiet time to sit down to watch the "Purple Baby," a DVD on colic that the hospital gave us upon departure that is essentially a tutorial on how to keep from killing your screaming child.

One of the things they tell you to do is to "Put the baby in a safe place, such as her crib and walk away to gather yourself."  We did just this on one particularly excruciating afternoon.  About 5 minutes later I decided to go check on the still shrieking creature that had replaced my little girl only to find that in her fury, she had received a surge of hulk-like strength and flipped herself from her back to her stomach and was screaming into her mattress, likely on her way to suffocating and just ending it all.  As if we weren't stressed enough, we now have full on maternal horror and panic. She was fine.  I was less than fine.

All that said, we worked our way through two weeks of pungent diarrhea, vile geysers of poo that seemed to erupt faithfully every time the child was diaperless and pointing in our direction, etc, et. al.  As far as the hearing loss... you know, I guess we'll just have to live with that.  As far as the emotional turmoil....  I've been meaning to find a good therapist here in SLC anyway.  Two visits/3 phone calls to the Pediatrician and a few doses of Tylenol later, all is well and sweet baby Emerson has returned.  However.... I do not see a road trip in our immediate future.  I think maybe we can be 'laid back parents, who travel freely... who introduce our daughter to as much of the world she is tasked to conquer as we can - at every single opportunity that we have!!!!!' when she's... like.... SIXTEEN TWENTY.

PS:  Did I mention I started back to work this week too?  No?  That's because I can't even bring myself to talk about it yet.  WHEW!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome! (about this site)

Hey there everyone!  Welcome to Emerson's webpage!  Hunter and I created this page as a way for you to keep up with all of Emerson's (and our) adventures as we travel this exhilarating, exhausting, most times joyous, sometimes painful, always magical journey.  We also thought it would be a great way for us to chronicle these precious, precious days.  Eight days into this, we're realizing that time, it does fly.

Just a few housekeeping notes....

Sharing:  Please feel free to share this link with family and friends.  You can use the direct web link by just typing: www.emersongraybest.blogspot.com or you can subscribe.  The more the merrier!

Pictures:  To the right side of the blog is a picture of Emerson (not the slideshow, but the static one of her in the green sweater).  If you click that image it will take you directly to her photo album.  By clicking on a photo you would like to view, it will enlarge the image and allow you to flip through all of the pictures in order.  We're going to try this method of sharing and see how it works and if its user friendly.  Please let us know how you like it.

Comments: Finally, at the end of each post you will see a link that says 0 Comments.  Feel free to click there and leave comments.... we love hearing from you; it seems to make the miles a little less daunting.

We hope you enjoy the updates and appreciate you stopping by.  With friends and family spanning from next door to 2,000 miles away we hope this can bring everyone to the same little corner of the world.... Emerson's world.  We love you!

Julie, Hunter, and Emerson