Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Grumpy Little One

Nieve's disapproving glare, often seen when she is hungry

Nieve is usually sweet but if she's hungry (which, when you have a tiny little stomach, is often) her sprite-like cuteness gives way to a cranky little monster. When this happens Nieve lets out sharp yelp followed by red-faced crying and an agitated scowl; it is a distinct mark of impatience. In contrast, when Ronan was hungry he would simply start smacking his lips loudly until we offered him food.

How Nieve sounds when she's hungry... although the volume of her complaints seems to be increasing since this video was taken

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Friends for Nieve

Here's another update with more photos of friends and family visiting Nieve- she is leaving no set of arms unsnuggled.

Nieve did her best to get nice and cozy on Nana... and I think Nana didn't mind

Auntie M was a hit with both Nieve and Ronan... it was touching to watch just how affectionate the kids are with her

Nieve regarding Uncle T- I think it was his scruff that impressed her

Niki impresses Nieve... our little one was captivated by her smile

Ronan loves hanging out with Janet and Emily- and obviously Nieve does as well

Though Lisa is a natural mom she's also a seasoned pro as evidenced by her wonderful children (Laina and Bennett). Nieve confirms that sentiment.

To Mom and me Nieve is our little "Principessa" but lovely Laina has the grace, beauty, and hardware to rightfully claim that title

An old friend from college- it's always a blast to hang w/Rich. Nieve loved basking in the sun with him.

Nieve is still too young to appreciate Aunt Kathy's wit, but the nuzzles make a great impression

Not-so-bleary-eyed at the moment... Nieve is the perfect blanket for napping.

Thanks to all who have visited!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fun at Escondido School

Ronan and Dad vs. Uncle Todd and Auntie Mel on the teeter-totter... rodeo style wins every time

Assuming we keep our current residence for the foreseeable future, Ronan will most likely end up attending Escondido Elementary School, located just a few blocks from our house.

Nana being a good nana and providing safe navigation on the stairs

We typically visit the school at least one a week so Ronan can get his fix of play structures, ramps (for bicycle riding... or rolling various things down the soap box car track), and sandboxes.

Ronan has long legs... but not long enough to span the chain netting like Uncle Todd

So when Nana, Auntie Melissa, and Uncle Todd came up for a visit, Ronan wanted them to see one of his favorite outdoor play spots. It was fun to watch him show off his skills of climbing, teeter-tottering, sliding, and getting dizzy... and it looked like he succeeded in impressing his gracious visitors. One thing was certain- Ronan loved his time with them.

Tire swings always bring out the laughs

Ronan's interpretation on 'fire drill' stability

Though Nana, Auntie Mel and Uncle Todd have since returned home Ronan still asks after them... it's touching to see how affectionate he is with our family and friends. Thanks for coming up- Ronan misses you guys!

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Wish you were here"

Uncle Todd, Auntie Mel, and Nanna arrived this evening from southern California... earlier this week it was Mel's birthday so we decided to celebrate it when she arrived. By the time we had put Ronan and Nieve to bed, Mel and Todd had to leave for the evening to meet some old friends.

"I can't believe it's not Mel!" and yes, we even toasted to our lovely, absent friend

The problem was that Mom, the maker of Mel's delicious chocolate birthday cake, could not wait until the morning to have a piece. Nanna and I always defer to a breastfeeding Mom; after a bit of discussion we all agreed that we would feel a little bad about eating Mel's cake without her even seeing it. So we improvised, and I guess you could say the hit to our consciences was less than the gain in our bellies. So Mel, happy birthday! Oh, and we did save a pretty big piece for you. It should make for a rich breakfast.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ronan's New Wheels

Balance bikes are the latest toddler gear craze- these two wheeled contraptions have no pedals, no drivetrain, and usually no breaks. They are basically scooters with kiddie bike wheels and a seat. Think of it as the Flinstone version of a bicycle. The idea is your child will learn how to balance on two wheels quickly, making the transition to a real bicycle almost seamless and free from dreaded training wheels.

Choosing the right one, however, can take some effort. The self-professed original, the LIKEaBIKE, is a beautiful, >$300 birch toy that seems best suited for those with lots of disposable funds, a moderately careful child, and a penchant for European styling. Knockoffs such as Skuut and FootCycles are a third to half of the LIKEaBIKE price but not as well built or stylish... and they are a heavy at ~11 lbs. The only (arguable) functional advantage of birch plywood bikes seems to be the limited range of handlebar twist, making sharp turns and backwards handlebars impossible.

The boy and his new set of wheels

For those less concerned about aesthetics there is a range of steel & aluminum bikes that are cheaper and likely far more durable (especially if your child has a tendency to ride through puddles, leave their toys on top of sprinklers/out in the rain, etc). You can also salvage parts off of it when your child grows into a real 12" bike. The New York Times even rated some balance bikes and noted some models worth considering.

Any biker worth his salt knows the importance of proper hydration

Of course, the most economic route is to simply get a starter 12" bike, pull the pedals off, lower the seat, and let your little one have a blast. Unfortunately Ronan has both a propensity to sick his fingers in every threaded hole he finds and his often clumsy mobility may mean that crashes on this set-up could result in moderate injuries if the crank arms were left on.

A nice ride through a wetlands preserve, anyone?

Thus we decided to get Ronan the Raliegh Lil' Push- it's essentially the same as the Specialized Hotwalk with different graphics and no $50 brand premium. Both bikes are great- a well designed aluminum frame, solid wheels & tires, and light (probably just under 8 lbs). We paid $110 for it... more than I would have liked but a reasonable deal when compared to the other options. Most importantly to Ronan the Lil' Push has a decal of a bulldozer with flames shooting out of the exhaust pipes.

More striding near the fountain in front of Hoover Tower

What does Ronan think? He loves it. In fact, he was with me while shopping for balance bikes- I wanted to see which models he was most comfortable on, and which he was immediately drawn to. The Lil' Push was the clear winner- it had a the right seat height and the low slung frame made it easy for Ronan to get on/off. In just a few weeks Ronan seems to have developed some semblance of balance (see video above)- we just need to make sure we keep him riding where there are no lethal hazards (moving cars, mostly). Oh, and speaking from experience, steep hills, at least at first, should be avoided.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Fun Grandma and Grandpa Visit

Grandma seems fond of the new little one

Grandpa was a push-over

A little over a week ago Grandma & Grandpa made a trip up to our house to visit their new granddaughter. Both seemed smitten with Nieve- her sleepy cuddliness seems to do the trick every time.

Birds & bikes by the baylands... a great place for an afternoon walk

Moreover, Ronan had a blast, playing hide-and-go-seek, kickball, reading books, and showing off his biking skills to G&G. He now likes to say, "yooou dirty raaaat" and "fee fi fo fum... I smell the blood of a Ro-nan" (thanks to Grandpa) with a wide-toothed grin. Ronan was also able to show G&G his daycare center and give them a guided tour of the adjacent 'river' (actually it is the Charleston Slough).

Enjoying a nice walk

It was a great visit and we look forward to the warmer weather, when Ronan can take advantage of some beach time at G&G's house in Cambria.

Nieve resting (it's either that, or feeding) in her cute new outfit from G&G

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ronan does Abercrombie & Fitch

Hip clothing retailer Abercrobie & Fitch are pushing into an even younger but booming demographic- the non-potty-trained toddlers. Their most risqué new product is a low-slung, high-cut fitted diaper designed to leave very little to the imagination. It's finished off with a constricting fastening band accented in pale lavender. Ronan was selected for their photo shoot (besides the obvious of being a 'hottie' and a 'nugget' he met all of strict toddler model qualifications- patient, obedient, difficult to distract, and, believe it or not, potty-trained) - have a gander at their first proof of the photo shoot.

"Ya, that's right, check out my abs. I'm still working on my A&F pensive smirk, though"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nieve's Week Two Weigh-in

Then: Sleepy little Nieve at one day of age

Weight, length, and head circumference are all important measurements tracked for newborns; at every doctor visit you are given a plot of your child's progress on a CDC growth chart.

Nieve was born 7 lbs, 8 oz and 20" of length (3.425 kg, 50.8 cm); we just finished her second week checkup and she's now 8 lbs 12 oz and 21.5" (3.983 kg, 54.6 cm). Additionally her head circumference grew from 13.4" to 14.3" (34.0 cm to 36.2 cm). These are reassuring results, meaning that all of her feeding and sleeping is keeping her right where she should be in terms of growth.

Now: Nieve at two weeks of age... snacking on a piece of Mom's hair (the secret 'miracle grow' ingredient... passed down from Grammy)

She continues to be a happy little one, eager to eat and easy to rock to sleep. Of course it still takes quite a bit of effort to keep her needs properly attended to, but Mom and I seem more comfortable and effective meeting Nieve's needs than we did on our first attempt at parenthood. We hope this trend continues!