I know I’ll probably start saying this a lot now, but wow, the time goes by so fast! This is the first time I’ve really felt like Anna’s lifetime has gone quickly.
Anna was four months old as of yesterday and we of course took the updated picture next to Max, but first, the one month photo. I love seeing it over and over again, it’s just so cute!
The dress makes Anna look a little small, but it’s still a good comparison. And we caught her smiling! Don’t let her find out.
Today was her four-month check-up at the doctor. She is getting so big! She was a whopping 12 lbs, which means she’s in the 25th percentile – yay! She’s also in the 25th percentile for height (23 inches) and maintaining the 50th percentile for head size (16″ circumference). I think we can officially say we have a proportionate baby girl!
Anna’s head is still flat (she sleeps so much that it’s hard to get her off of it), so we are going to be taking her to a specialist to see what they say. Our doctor said it doesn’t look bad, but at least we can see if they would recommend any treatment.
All else looked great according to our doctor. She encouraged us to start her on some different cereals, so we’ll be doing that much sooner than I had expected. My mother-in-law gave me some great advice before Anna came: choose just one person to take recommendations and advice from, whether your own mom, grandma, friend, or doctor. We chose to stick with what our doctor says. We completely trust her, and she always gives us the full story. Not that I don’t take others’ advice; I just go with what she says whenever there are a lot of differing ideas on a subject. Anyway, as with everything related to baby care, apparently there are about 50 different schools of thought on when to start solid foods. Go figure. So we’ll be going with Dr. Mary’s recommendation: now!
I can’t believe our little girl is 12 pounds, almost ready to wear 3 to 6 month clothes, and starting rice cereal. Time flies when you’re having fun!
Each Advent I marvel at how important Christmas is to our culture. It’s the reason for multiple radio stations changing their play formats, cities putting lights on trees, malls staying open late, grocery stores stocking all sorts of special foods, concert halls hosting seasonal concerts, churches holding important services, and families taking part in ritual gatherings. For one busy month, it feels as though the entire country is taking part in Christmas. Even those who despise this season are playing a role in the holiday tradition, that of Scrooge. It is a time that I consider precious for all sorts of reasons. But this year I’m celebrating in a particular way because of this new title I can claim: father.
There have been times in my life when I have felt very distant from the characters who play a role in Christ’s birth. I’m not a first century Jew and I’ve never been ordered to go “declare myself” at my place of birth, for instance. But now I share a lot of the same experiences that Joseph and Mary had on the night of their son’s birth. I have felt the constant worry that comes with pregnancy, the fear of labor, and the exultation of knowing that my child has been born happy and healthy. And all of these experiences have brought me one step closer to the story of the Incarnation. It’s one of the unexpected joys of being a dad. This whole journey that began the moment we learned we were pregnant and continues on today has deepened my faith. And this Advent, in the midst of tickling tiny toes, changing diapers, and holding my daughter when she’s sad, I’ve come to understand more fully the great risk God took in becoming man, and what a gift it is to be a father.
This was a big baby-making year for our women’s book club. This group includes most of my closest friends, and we gather every other week to discuss a book. Yes, we do read the books, and yes, we discuss them; however it must be admitted that our conversations do stray quite a bit. Some husbands of the group members jokingly call it the “Wine and Chocolate Club.” And it may not be THAT far from the truth…
Of the 10 to 12 book club “regulars,” 7 had babies born in 2010. Lucian Paul was born in January, Augustine John Paul was born in April, and Peter James was the most recent addition in November. The other four were born this summer, including Anna – and yes, she was the only girl. We took a picture of the four summer baby mamas in early May, and were finally able to take an updated picture in early November of the four of us again, this time with our babies in our arms.
I so thankful for this beautiful group of women who have become like family to me over the past four years since the group began. I am lucky to be able to share the bond of motherhood with some of them. And I am blessed to have such a sweet and supportive group of women around me to help me grow in my faith, all while enjoying good books, good wine, and good chocolate!
Last winter when we believed we were in the midst of a miscarriage, a group of our friends did a very sweet thing: they got us a one night stay at the Deutsche Strasse Bed and Breakfast in New Ulm, MN and some spending money so we could have a night away. Well, as we all know, the pregnancy continued so it ended up being more of a celebration gift than a consolation gift. We planned our big weekend in New Ulm in early July of this year, but the day we were scheduled to leave, Sara was ordered on bedrest, so we canceled. We were finally able to get away the weekend before Thanksgiving, leaving Anna at Grandpa and Grandma Rogers’ place. Two things stood in the way of having a good time, but we overcame them both: a really terrible sinus infection affecting yours truly, and a nice ice storm that blanketed the southern MN roads in a thin, clear glaze for our return trip.
We arrived in New Ulm on a clear, blustery Saturday afternoon and immediately scrounged up some grub at a local restaurant. One bite into my liver and onions I knew I was in the right place. Amazingly enough, we were also able to attend a really fun tour of the nearby Schell’s Brewery (yup, they do tours in late November). It ended with required sampling in the tasting room, and although neither of us are huge fans of Schell’s in general, it was still a good time. The New Ulm Cathedral was a wonderful place to ring in the end of the liturgical year, and we celebrated our weekend away that evening at the Rathskeller at Turner Hall. The restaurant features murals drawn over a century ago depicting castles along the Rhine River. Unfortunately, from 1916 until 1996 they were covered up (something about a war or two we fought against “dos Jarmans”). The restaurant also has a huge poster of the Schnitzelbank song. I considered “borrowing” it so it could be used at the next family reunion, but it was a bit too big for our car.
Oh, and perhaps the best discovery of the weekend: reuben balls. Imagine a bit of rye dough, onions, sauerkraut and corned beef dipped in batter, deep fried, and then eaten with Thousand Island Dressing. Uh-maze-ing.
We spent the rest of the evening in our suite, checking out the hot tub, and lounging. This was our first experience at a bed and breakfast, and while it took a little getting used to at first, it was very relaxing. Oh, and our breakfast was great. Three courses of pure joy: homemade peanut butter granola with milk, German candied apple pancakes and sausage, and cranberry cream cake. We also got to know our fellow bed-and-breakfasters. The experience of eating a meal with complete strangers reminds me of stories I’ve read about boarding houses in the 1800s, with everyone gathered around a communal table.
We saw a few more tourist sites on our trip, including the huge statue of Herman the German, the town Glockenspiel, etc. Sara was also quick to remind me that, being we were on vacation, we needed to pick up a children’s book to commemorate our journey. I agreed and we finally decided on a beautifully illustrated picture book of the Nativity for Christmas. After that, I turned our car north and we headed home. All in all, it was a relaxing weekend, and a nice way to clear our minds of all the hustle and bustle in the Twin Cities.
So… this is a little late. Anna turned three months old on November 29th. For some reason the holiday season and a new job have made it nearly impossible to find time to blog recently. We’re going to try to be better, I promise!
Below are her 1 month and 3 month photos with Max (yes, our stuffed dog has a name, thank you very much) for comparison.
Also, for those who are interested in sifting though numerous and repetitive photos of our baby girl (we sure are!), we have updated her Shutterfly site as well (the link is in the sidebar).
Happy Advent, everyone!