Friday, June 25, 2010

Stress relief, Joshua-style

It's been a busy week, what with work and starting to shift Joshua to a four-hour routine (more on that later, I'm sure).  And it's going to be a super busy weekend -- we're going to TWO weddings tomorrow, and I've also got a bridal shower on Sunday.  We're really looking forward to it all, but it's definitely a lot -- we'll see how our almost 5-month-old handles the busyness of his social calendar!

Luckily for all of us, Joshua has discovered a new form of playtime and stress relief this week:

Mmmm.... Delicious, delicious toes...

And just looking at this photo makes all my stress disappear.  :)

We'll be back next week with photos and stories from our whirlwind weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Evolution of a Father's Day gift

One of the photography boards I participate in tends to have these bandwagon projects that everyone joins in on.  Back in February, it was Valentine's Day photos, with little kids holding giant heart-shaped lollipops and/or surrounded by heart confetti.  In April, it was Easter photos, with little kids in Easter finery and perhaps holding plastic Easter eggs or wearing bunny ears.  Lots of ridiculously adorable photos -- and it's a fun way of practicing getting posed shots with good composition and focus, which is a lot harder than you'd think, especially with little kids!

Until recently, Joshua has been a bit too young for us to join in on these photography projects.  But lately, he's been able to sit up with some support, and he's been showing a lot of interest in grabbing at toys and bringing them to his mouth, so I thought he might be old enough to try our hand at this month's bandwagon -- Father's Day photos, complete with white wooden letters spelling out "DAD."

I had this beautiful vision in my head of my little Joshua, sitting placidly in a lush patch of green grass, playing with and perhaps nomming on the white letters.  These were going to be gorgeous photos with vivid colors and a smiling baby eager to join in on honoring his daddy and creating a memorable gift for David's first Father's Day.  What could go wrong?

I learned three important things in my first attempt to take these photos:
  1. Joshua really dislikes grass.
  2. Joshua really dislikes sunshine in his face.
  3. And I'm pretty sure Joshua really dislikes white wooden letters.
What I hadn't counted on was the fact that Joshua had never actually played outside before.  He had never experienced grass in his young life, and I'm pretty sure he was NOT a fan of the textures (stiff, prickly, damp).  We also try to shield him from too much direct sunlight, given the sensitivity of his baby skin and the conflicting studies on the use of sunscreen on infants, so he definitely wasn't used to having to look up at a bright sky.  Here's what happened the first time I tried to position him for this project:

I'd found such a beautifully lush patch of grass, and his Princeton orange polo shirt provided such a nice contrast.  But wow, was he not happy about lying down in grass, or about having to squint in the brightness (despite the fact that we were in a nice bit of open shade).  And about 30 seconds letter, the meltdown began.

Desperate to try to salvage the situation (the beautiful weather!  the vivid colors!  my vision of a wonderful Father's Day present!), I tried a couple other options outdoors.  But this is the best I could manage:

"I know that evil grass is right under this blanket.  You can't fool me!!"

"The sun!  It burns!!!"

So I had to pack it all up and bring it back inside.  Seeing our IKEA Poang chair in the living room, and remembering how well it had worked for Joshua's 4-month photos, I decided to give it another try indoors.  Sure, I'd lose the beautiful colors of my original vision, but that was clearly a big fat fail, so perhaps I could recapture the smiles and cute facial expressions we'd gotten a few weeks earlier?

"I know I'm back in my happy place, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than my chair to make me forget the evil outdoors."

I'd forgotten that the reason why we'd gotten such great smiles in the 4-month photos was because Joshua was looking up adoringly at his dad, his favorite playmate in the entire world.  With just me there, and with my face blocked by my big black box of a camera (and without a real chance to recover from the traumatic outdoor experience), I had to just give up for the day.

I tried one more time the next day.  While David was at home.  Most of the women on the photography board were doing this project as a sweet surprise present for their husbands.  Me?  I can't keep a secret from David to save my life.  :)  So it's not like I was ruining the surprise by enlisting his help -- but I had hoped to do this all by myself so that the end result would still be a bit of a surprise...

At the end of the day, though, these photos show how much Joshua loves his daddy.  With David there to attract his attention and bring forth the smiles, we got some really wonderful photos.  So even though none of it really worked out the way I had planned, I think the end result is a much sweeter Father's Day gift.

Happy Father's Day to all of you wonderful dads out there!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meeting baby Anna and baby Phil!

Four of our closest friends became parents last week!  :)

Lucy and John were due with their daughter on June 2, and Hilary and Steven were due with their son on June 20.  Lucy went late, and Hilary went early, and they actually overlapped in the hospital a few hours!

Beautiful baby girl Anna Margaret J. was born on Wednesday, June 9 at 8:44am, at 7 lbs., 10 oz. and 20 inches long.  The first photos we saw of her were quite literally breath-taking -- she's a gorgeous little girl, but it also helps that her daddy is a professional photographer.  :)

And sweet baby boy Philip Burbank B. was born on Saturday, June 12 at 6:21pm, at 8 lbs., 8 oz. and 21.5 inches long.  After only 42 hours of labor.  Hilary, I always knew you were an amazing superwoman, but my jaw dropped when I heard about your labor and delivery adventures!

This week, we got to meet both of these adorable little babies.  Joshua is very excited about how many new playmates he has now!

Welcome to the world, dear Anna and Phil!  You are so very loved already -- and we can't wait for future playdates and baby walks around town with you!

Catch-up post: Staff fun night!

The Friday after Reunions and graduation (6/11), we had our annual PEF staff fun night!  This year, we went to Hilltop Park for its playground, basketball court, and soccer field.  It's so much fun watching all the little staff kids play -- and it's fun taking part ourselves.  :)

Joshua is still much too little to do much more than sit in my front carrier and look cute, but oh wow, does he do that well!  In the meantime, though, we all got to play with the S. family kiddos:

And played Knockout, and tried to score goals on John:

PEF staff, we love you guys so much.  :)  Thanks for another wonderful year!

Catch-up post: Joshua vs. The Bottle

Another reason why Joshua and I didn't go to Commencement this year is because my start date back at work was the next day (6/2).  I'm back now on a part-time basis (three days a week), and so far, the transition has gone about as well as I could have hoped.  It's nice that my office is so close to our apartment -- in winter, when there are no leaves on the trees, you can see my office from our living room window!  So I've been coming back home for lunch to feed Joshua and spend just a little more time with my boys...  And since David has a much more relaxed schedule in summer, he's been able to watch Joshua on my days in the office.  So they've been able to get in some great bonding time!

In preparation for my return to work, we started trying to have David feed Joshua from a bottle about two weeks before the end of my maternity leave.  In retrospect, it might have been wiser to have tried making this transition sooner...  Joshua may be little, but he's no fool.  He knows where food comes from, and it's not from not-the-mama!  In his stubborn mind, I'm the cozy and warm food source, and David is the happy fun times playmate.  So when David started trying to give him a bottle, he just wasn't having it.  After all, his entire life experience cried out against this crazy role reversal.

For my first week back, Joshua was basically not eating at all when I was away, which didn't make me feel any better about leaving the house to go to work...  He would scream and arch his back and fling his arm to hit away the bottle when David offered it to him.  Oddly enough, he was (mostly) fine with taking a bottle from me -- so it really seems he had a fixed idea about proper gender roles with regard to feeding!  It's taken a couple weeks, but it looks like a switch has finally flipped in Joshua's mind -- this past Friday, he immediately latched onto the bottle when David first offered it and peacefully chugged down his meal in just 15 minutes.  He even reached out to hold the bottle closer!  So we're hopeful that this is the beginning of a new trend, and that it'll just get easier from here on out.

And what would a Joshua post be without pictures?  :)  These are from the very first time David offered him a bottle -- it looks all peaceful, but that only lasted for the 30 seconds it took me to take these three shots...  You can see the confusion and stubbornness in Joshua's eyebrows.  :)

We'll keep you posted on whether our stubborn little refusnik has indeed come around!

Catch-up post: Congratulations, Class of 2010!

Immediately following Reunions weekend is Princeton's 3-day graduation extravaganza -- Sunday Baccalaureate, Monday Class Day, and Tuesday Commencement.  PEF joins in on the fun with a dinner on the Monday night for the seniors and their families.  One last home-cooked meal provided by the staff, a fun chance to get to meet the students' families, and one last time to hang out with these wonderful seniors as a group...

And this year, David went to Commencement to take some photos and say a final goodbye to this class.  Joshua and I had to stay home -- poor guy had had his routine totally disrupted by Reunions and the senior dinner, so he got to stay home and take a long, well-deserved nap in his own crib.  So I sent the camera with David, and he got some wonderful shots!

Congratulations, class of 2010!!  We'll miss you, dear ones!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tiger Tiger Tiger

Reunions 2010 was a big hit!  You have to love a weekend where 18,000+ alumni, plus their families, descend on campus in garish orange and black outfits to reconnect with friends and relive their glory days...  :)

PEF's Reunions events were, as always, a wonderful time of catching up with old friends and worshiping with the broader alumni community.  This year also marked Bill and Debbie's twenty-fifth year of serving with PEF, so we had a special time of honoring them at our normal Reunions luncheon, and a special reception with former staff and other old friends.

And -- we got to introduce Joshua to so many friends.  Almost all of whom started the conversation with "I've been stalking your baby through your blog/Facebook..."  That's right, our little boy is already famous, and already has a huge number of groupies.  :)  We're glad so many of you were able to meet him in real life!

Reunions Friday Night Fellowship, with Bill speaking

Representatives of the class of '60, back for their 50th!

A sea of orange and black -- some more tasteful than others  :)

Honoring Bill and Debbie

We finally got to meet Hannah, and Jane and Ted finally got to meet Joshua!

Debbie holding court  :)

I just loved this moment between Annie and her son Josiah

Our playful little guy, reaching out to Katie and Lydia for balance

Kelly was there!  Yaaay!

It's always so wonderful to "go back" for Reunions -- we love living in Princeton and having all of you come back to us.  :)