Apr 29, 2010

Houston, We Have a Problem!

For a few months, people have been saying to me that Kate looks ready to start crawling. "Any day," they say. Alas (or thank God?), we have no forward progress in the crawling department. She usually gets from point A to point B by scooting around and turning on her butt. We will put her down in the center of the room and before we know it, she will be five or six feet across the room digging into her toy box.

Kate has made some progress, though, in other mobility-related areas. For the last week, Kate and I have been practicing transitioning from tummy to sitting up. She has taken a few face plants into the carpet but has finally figured out the mechanics.

Here, Kate demonstrates her new skill. You will see she is quite proud of herself, but quickly gets distracted by Willow (who is still HI-LAR-I-OUS!)

This new knowledge has cause a few problems, though. A few days ago, I went in to get Kate out of bed in the morning and I could see her whole head peeking out over her crib rail. Last night, she woke up around 11:00 and managed to get herself upright. This feat, of course, lead to crying; we aren't quite sure that she has figured out how to reverse the movement. This will probably lead to some necessary but annoying trips up the stairs for the next few nights until she figures out how to lie back down.

Kate does have one reverse movement down pat, though. She has figured out how to "crawl" in reverse. I know she will figure out how to reverse gears pretty soon, but it is really funny watching her little face as she moves farther and farther away from her desired destination.

On second thought, though, maybe she is just tricking us. Maybe the toy box was her goal which, I guess, makes her a genius.

More on her status as a genius in a later post entitled "Why Kate is a Genius!"

Apr 26, 2010

First trip to the Flower Fields

J, Kate and I had a very relaxing weekend spending time together as a family. We have been pretty busy lately with trips, newspaper weekends and more trips. Rarely do we get the whole weekend just to relax.

On Saturday, we slept in a little and then went to Stagecoach Park, a nicely shaded, grassy area and playground a few miles from our house, for an impromptu picnic. Kate was kind enough to let us enjoy our lunch which doesn't happen very often; we tend to schedule our meals during her sleeping times. While we ate, she chewed away on a carrot and had a grand time playing with her food.

On Sunday, Grandma K and Auntie L came to visit and we took them to the beautiful Carlsbad Flower Fields. Every year, the Flower Fields grow hillsides of colorful ranuculus. Over the years, J has taken some beautiful pictures at the fields. We hoped to take Kate and get some fun pictures with her in the flowers. The weather wasn't as perfect as promised, overcast instead of beautiful SD blue skies, and Kate wasn't really in the mood to sit on the ground surrounded by flowers, but we still managed to get some great shots.

Kate and Mommy cuddling for a picture. Kate is really starting to learn to hug, cuddle and attempt to give kisses which are usually wet, open mouthed lunges at our faces.

A family picture at the Flower Fields.
We don't get to take many of these as Daddy usually prefers to be behind the camera.

Three generations of Dirksen girls; you can tell by the prominent Dirksen chin.
Sorry about that Kate. Hopefully, your chin will be all Ryan.

One of Kate's happier shots in the flowers.
They come in a variety of colors, but the orange was particularly vibrant this trip.

Our little Daisy. How cute is that? The cutout was a perfect Kate-size.

We love ladybugs, especially when they come in the mushroom variety.
Pay no attention to the mommy behind the toadstool.

All in all, we had a very lovely weekend filled with family and tons of pictures. J was up until the wee hours of the morning uploading a huge batch of pictures into our 6 month album from the last month or so. Featured in the group are: our trip to Phoenix, Kate's first time in the pool, more Flower Field pics, more picnic pics, Easter, a few of Kate's new tricks, and some cute pics from around the house. Hope you enjoy.

Long-awaited new pictures

D's been picking up the slack on my lack of blog entries for a while, and she's done a great job.  Which means that I can just jump in and point you at the latest pictures of Kate, which represent the last month or so of activities....Phoenix, Easter, and various impromptu photo shoots.  I just uploaded 130 new ones....enjoy!


Apr 20, 2010

You CAN teach a baby new tricks

I spent a few days away from home last week in Portland with my journalism students. We had a great time networking and learning wonderful ways to improve our newspaper.

J held down the fort superbly. Yia-Yia, Papou, and Cugina (cousin in Italian) L helped out a bit, too. Of course Kate had to learn a few new tricks while I was gone. I guess it is only fair as J has missed a few of her firsts, too, while he was away on business.

Before I left, Kate had mastered a few fun new skills.

Kate has really gotten the hang of waving hello and goodbye. I will add a video as soon as I have a good one. I showed up at daycare on Monday and she started waving goodbye to Miss A as soon as I picked her up. She loves waving at Willow, Mommy, Daddy. Pretty much anyone who will wave at her.

For Easter, Mr. Terry gave Kate a stuffed dog named Violet who plays songs. Kate loves to sit and dance to the music. Obviously, she isn't dancing the tango, but it is fun to watch her enjoying the music.

When I returned home from Portland, Kate had been practicing her most fun skills yet. We keep all Kate's toys in a box on the floor. Apparently, she has figured out what we hide in the box, because she has started to help herself to her toys. She wiggles her way over to the box, lifts the lid, and digs in.

First, she lifts the lid and takes a peek at all the wonderful toys inside.
By the way, Kate is a bit spoiled in the toy department.

She finally figured out that it would be a lot easier to just throw off the top
for maximum reach-ability.

Success! Looks like she had her eyes set on her ball.

Cugina L from Iowa came to visit this weekend. I am really disappointed that I wasn't home to enjoy her visit, but I heard that everyone had a great time. Cugina L brought Kate some great gifts including a baby cell phone.

Pretty soon she will be as talented as my students who think that I don't see them hiding their phones underneath their desks so that they can text their friends.

When I called in for my nightly report on Saturday, J informed me that Kate had picked up her coolest trick yet. For the past week or two, Kate and I have been playing peek-a-boo. I would put a blanket in front of my face or over my head and she would pull it off.

Apparently, Kate wanted to get in on the fun. J and the family were sitting at dinner. At one point, he looked down and realized that Kate was trying to play peek-a-boo with everyone. She is quite good at it and it is her new favorite game.

Next on the to-do list is crawling. I have been trying to practice with Kate and she seems to be making progress. Maybe we will have her up and mobile in the next few weeks and I'm guessing that I will regret teaching her this new skill shortly after. We definitely have some babyproofing to do before she really gets moving.

J is on location this week, but we have a ton of new pics that he will upload once he gets home. There are some gorgeous pictures of little Miss Kate. She is becoming very photogenic (if I may brag a little).

Apr 11, 2010

Fun times in the pool

Here's a little preview post. J should be uploading a bunch of new photos in the next few days, but I thought I'd post a little sneak peak from our first time in the pool this afternoon. By the way, if you are surprised about the number of posts over the last two days, I am on Spring break and have a whole week with nothing to do other than vacation and take pics of my cute baby to share with all of you. So, enjoy!

We bought a fun little floater. It has a side for me and a side for Kate.
Kate really loved the water and spent a good amount of time splashing it everywhere.

Daddy got in on the water fun, too. And even trusted me with the camera near the pool.

Kate really enjoyed her time in the water and the pool at Auntie K's house is so gorgeous.
I think I could live in their clubhouse.

After pool time, we had a little photo session in the poolside cabana. Kate told me that she could really get used to resort-style living. Oh, wait. Maybe that was me who said that.

Apr 10, 2010

Kate's In Love

This weekend, we finally got out to Phoenix to visit one of my oldest friends Kelly, her husband Chris, and their new, beautiful baby Cole. I had decided the moment that I heard Kelly was having a boy that he was destined to be Kate's husband, because, as everyone knows, the most important thing is that the in-laws get along. For now, at least, I guess he will have to be satisfied with being her first boyfriend as I think it is illegal to marry two infants.

The weekend started on a bad note, though. We left San Diego at 4pm with the expectation that we would pull up at Kelly and Chris' door around 10:45pm. Kate has been battling a cold for a really long time and I was getting a horrible feeling that it was more than just a cold. She cried from the moment we put her in the car until we got on the 8 freeway thirty minutes later. Overall, she was not her smiley self. So, we made a quick stop to get her ears checked out and lo and behold-double ear infection...again! For those of you counting, this will be Kate's second double ear infection since around Christmas. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't gone to the Dr. and had come to Phoenix with a very unhappy and uncomfortable baby. That stop was a lifesaver!!!!

With pink medicine in hand, we headed out for Phoenix. The second bad note was when Kate coughed so hard that she puked all over herself and her car seat. She was drenched. We pulled over on some deserted off ramp and quickly changed her. When we pulled out, we left with hundreds of little bugs in our car.

The third bad note was when I missed a turn and we had to drive way out of the way to make a u-turn. Finally, though, we were back on track and pulled up at chez Kelly at 12:00am- only slightly behind schedule.

Thus far we have had a really nice time. Kelly and Chris live in a beautiful resort community outside of Phoenix. Their house is lovely and the resort has an amazing new clubhouse that we plan to check out fully tomorrow.

Kate seems to be on the mend and is back to her happy self again. Unfortunately, Cole has been under the weather today which has made the poor little guy unhappy. Hopefully, he feels better tomorrow and can join us as Kate tries out the pool for the first time.

Anyway, back to the title of the post. Kate and Cole have hit it off splendidly and Kate already seems smitten. Cole seems to only have eyes for his mommy right now, but I am sure that will change when he realizes how adorable Kate is. So my master matchmaking plan seems to be working. As you will see below, Kate was fascinated with Cole today. Hopefully, he notices her soon so she doesn't get a complex.

Kate looking her cutest hoping Cole will notice her.
Cole only wants to look at his gorgeous mommy.

When all else fails, just reach out and grab the boy's hand.
Still, no attention from the heartthrob.

Kelly took this picture around Easter. You can see why Cole already has little Kate's heart. He is sure to be the sweetest little boy ever. What more could a girl want than a boy with a flower?

For those of you who love pics of Kate, J has uploaded some new pics in the 6 month album.
I'm sure we will have a ton more after our weekend fun is over and J has some time to upload more.

And, hopefully, our drive home will be less eventful than our drive here.

Also, I am headed to Portland, Oregon on Wednesday with four wonderful journalism students for our annual weekend conference. If you hear soft sobbing coming from the San Diego area, it is J who will be staying home alone with Kate for the first extended period ever. Though I have great faith in his ability to hold down the fort, dealing with a baby alone for five days will be a true test of his daddy skills. I'm sure he will do a great job.

Noisy Girl

Kate has always been very advanced in her motor development. She held her head up very early, stood up quicker than we expected, and has, in general, been an incredibly strong baby. She hasn't been the most verbal of babies, though. She started cooing a little later than expected, stopped talking entirely for a few weeks, and was a bit slow on her babbling. But once the girl figures out something, there's no stopping her. Kate picked up her consonants out of nowhere last Thursday. She went from this- all " ahhhhh's"

to this in less than a week. You will also notice her attempts at waving, a new skill that she is mastering very quickly.

Since then, Kate has not stopped "talking." She is nonstop noise. We sometimes wonder what she thinks she is saying and if she gets frustrated that we don't understand.

We are looking forward to her first real words, but for now, we just love hearing her little voice. Even if it is CONSTANTLY going.