Saturday, August 23, 2008

obama!!!

yay!

i get to go to the obama acceptance speech at mile high stadium on thursday!

i've been checking the website three times a day for the last several weeks, waiting for news about how i can sign up for tickets. but i never got one. the obama campaign wanted to give a lot of the tickets to people who have volunteered for them. and since i've been busy all summer travelling and taking care of a baby, i haven't had an opportunity to help out. so i didn't get a ticket. sad!

but rae has been fired up about obama for the better part of a year now, so when the chance came for her to do something to help him get elected, she was right on board! and when the obama office in colorado springs got a bunch of "community credentials" to hand out, rae was one of the lucky recipients!

now, adam and bob are both obama fans too, but neither one was as fired up as i was about going to obama's speech. (i had been talking for weeks about "tailgating" at mile high, and listening from outside the stadium -- no one else was very excited about that idea, but i was determined to be there one way or another!) so anyway, rae got two tickets, and since bob and adam weren't as excited as i was, they both graciously stepped aside and let me take the second ticket.

oh!

so on thursday, rae and i are heading up to denver, and we're going to be sitting waaaaay up high in the nosebleeds, but it soooo doesn't matter! we're going to head up there as soon as we can -- doors open at 1:00 pm -- and enjoy the "entertainment" that is going to be there. (who will they have? bruce springsteen? sheryl crow? oprah? maybe she'll leave us something fun under our seats -- like the keys to a new prius or a pair of crocs or something else equally hippy dippy liberal. niiice.)

so look for us on tv -- we'll be the overly excitable girls sitting way up top, sunburned and tired, and a part of history!




also, i was thinking that obama and biden need a hollywood nickname, like "brangelina," "bennifer," and "tomkat." so which one do you like better: "obiden" or "jobama"?

Monday, August 18, 2008

playdates!

gracie has had a VERY full summer! ever since we got to the united states in june, she has been meeting and greeting babies all across the country!

her first playdate ever was with her friend, james. james' grandma and gracie's grandma are best friends, and they have decided already that gracie and james are going to grow up and marry each other. so that's taken care of, at least, so we can move on to other important things like which solid food to try next, and when to start potty training.

gracie first met james on the day of bob and rae's surprise party, but because we were all busy trying to get the house in order before they came back home, they didn't have much of a chance to play together.

fortunately, james (who is from texas) was going to be in town for a while longer, so gracie and he got another chance to play with each other. james' mom and dad came over too, and we all grilled out. (ps, james' dad, tim, is deploying to iraq in september. he will miss his son's first steps, first words, first christmas, and first birthday. it breaks my heart! please pray for a safe and speedy return so that this precious family can be reunited.)

then on the fourth of july, gracie met a little girl who was born on the very same day that she was born on! nevada was born about 5 weeks early, and gracie was born about 2 weeks late. so there was quite a difference in size when they met! in fact, there was a man at 4th of july party with us, who couldn't believe they were the exact same age! when he first found out they shared a birthday, he took one look at gracie and said, "but she's a year older?" now, granted, he doesn't know much about babies -- but it just kinda proves my point that mg is like three times the size of nevada! anyway, even though gracie and neve look very different, their abilities are very much the same. i was kinda afraid at first to see neve, because gracie is just SO big, and SO strong, and SO active, and i wasn't sure what sorts of things a preemie baby would be able to do. i didn't want neve's parents to be worried about their child and her abilities based on the abilities of another baby who was gestationally 7 weeks older. but really, nevada and gracie were doing the very same things! they both had recently discovered their toes, they both really liked to stand up straight, they both MUST be sitting up and looking around all the time, etc. it was really neat to see!

shortly after gracie and nevada's playdate, she and i went up to boulder for a few days. (adam was at a conference in winter park, CO, so mg and i hung out in boulder to eat sushi and splash in the creek without him.) at first i wasn't quite sure how we would spend our days, because adam had the car and most of our friends that we knew from years ago have moved away (because like adam they have graduated from grad school). well, gracie and i took the bus everywhere in boulder (super easy to do in that town), and as it turned out we were CRAZYBUSY the whole time! we spent a whole afternoon at her new friend lucca's house. lucca's mom was friends with adam from grad school, and her due date was only 5 days before mine, so that was fun for the two of us to compare notes about fluttering bellies and cravings during our pregnancies. lucca was born about 2 weeks early, and as i've said already, gracie was 2 weeks late. so they were about a month apart.

anyway, lucca and gracie have a LOT in common. their facial expressions and their interests were so similar it was incredible! the way he held his mouth half open when he was laughing, and the way his eyes lit up when his mommy entered into his view, just reminded me so much of mary grace. it was really cool!

during that same trip to boulder, gracie and i spent a day in adam's and my old neighborhood. we used to live in family housing on the CU campus, and we LOVED all four years of it! we always said how much fun it would be to have kids in that neighborhood, because there were so many children and babies around! and these kids were from all over the world, because their parents were all students at this major university. it was a veritable united nations there -- kids from africa, asia, europe, the united states, and south america all playing together, teaching each other their languages and favorite games. it was so beautiful! anyway, gracie and i walked along the boulder creek path all the way back to our old apartment, and met up with my former neighbors, who were all playing outside with their babies! apparently every tuesday in the summer is "water days" at my old place, and they had all these little kiddie pools and a slip-n-slide set up, and kids running around in their swim diapers eating goldfish crackers. gracie got to meet a little baby named hank, who was born 2 weeks after she was -- hank's mom and i were good friends when i lived next door to her, and she gave birth at home just like me! unfortunately, hank and gracie's nap schedules just never matched up that day, so i wasn't able to get any pics of the two of them playing together. but here's a nice photo of gracie and me playing in the pool!


gracie's last playdate happened in minnesota, when we all went out there to visit my mom and her side of the family recently. one of my cousins had a baby girl, isabella jo, who is about 3 months younger than gracie. they drove all the way from moorhead, MN so that we could do lunch together and so that our daughters could meet. it was SOOOO precious to hold on to bella, who curled up all small in my arms, her head resting right over my heart the way gracie used to (before she got SO BIG!). it made me miss those days when gracie was just an itty bitty, but i really am enjoying now so much more, because she can actually play with us now, and reacts to us now. and that's SO FUN!


i'm looking forward to our return to holland in a few short weeks, because i know five people there who are having babies (august, september, october, twins in december, and another in january!), and it's going to be fun for gracie to have more playdates on the other side of the pond. and now that she's bigger and more interactive, she'll actually enjoy these dates more and more. (up until very recently, these playdates have been kinda more fun for the parents than for the babies! ha!)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

firsts

it's been a week of firsts for miss mary grace briggle!


a day before she turned 6 months old, she finally cut her first tooth! the front tooth on her bottom left popped through -- it was just a sharp little corner on the first day, but then the next day it cut through all the way and was a sharp ridge all the way across the top of the tooth. our little girl is so big already!


the other big news is that she has been eating solid foods for about a week now. initially we wanted to wait to introduce solids, because our pediatrician said that breast-fed babies should wait longer than formula-fed babies. this is because apparently once a baby starts on solids, she starts to lose some of the bacteria and enzymes in her digestive tract that helps her efficiently digest breastmilk. and since breastmilk is best for babies, she said it's best to wait until baby is about 8 months old or so before introducing solids, just to make sure she's getting the most breastmilk possible before she loses this "bacteria household" as she calls it.




our pediatric nurse, on the other hand, said that between 5 and 7 months is a good time to introduce solids. so we also had that recommendation in the backs of our minds.



anyway, mg has been waking up in the middle of the night for about a month now. initially we thought it was from teething (and sometimes we really think that's what was bothering her). but after a while, we started to notice that just giving her a binky to suck on at night wasn't satisfying her, and she could only go back to sleep if she was nursing. so we put two and two together and realized that maybe she was getting HUNGRY in the night!






additionally, gracie was getting SO FRUSTRATED with us when we'd all sit down to eat, and she could only watch. she REALLLLLY wanted to eat with us, and she'd fuss if we ate in front of her and she couldn't have any. she'd study us intently as we brought glasses of water to our mouths, and would reach for our spoons as we ate our lunches. in fact, i sat down next to her recently one morning, intending on keeping her company while i ate my breakfast. and seriously, the moment i sat down in front of her, and put a spoonful of flakes into my mouth, she looked at me and went "eh eh eh waaah!" ha! so i had to go eat outside where i wouldn't be teasing her with my delicious food.


(look at her concentrate on this cracker! -- that's not her "icky" look, that's her concentration look. i do the same thing, in fact, when i am focusing on something -- the furrowed brow. anyway, we went out to eat with my gramma and gracie was so pissed off that we all had food and she could only sit there and watch. before i knew what was happening, my mom had given her a cracker to gum on. i was all, "oh no! there's wheat in that! she's going to die of an allergic reaction!" but sure enough, she was just fine, and sat quietly the rest of our brunch, cuz she was so involved in chewing up this cracker! she's so big she doesn't need me anymore! waaah! that's when we knew it was time to get some rice cereal for her and make solid foods a regular part of her day.)



anyway, she's basically been telling us that she's ready. so we accepted the fact that gracie is growing up and went out to the store and bought some rice cereal and bananas. and she gobbled up every first bite we gave her. like a pro! she didn't gum it up and spit it out -- she swallowed every bit of food! what a big girl!


yesterday i ordered this cool food grinder so i can make homemade baby food. my mom had this very same model when i was a baby, and used it also for my two younger brothers. (and if it's still on the market after thirty years it must be a good device.) basically the baby eats whatever it is you are eating for dinner that night -- chicken and dumplings, rice and green beans, sweet potatoes, whatever... you just put it in this grinder, which is hand-powered and about the size of a large drinking glass, and turn the crank, and out of the bottom comes hand-pureed baby food! no jars, no extra expense, and wholesome, fresh, preservative-free food! hooray! i'm so excited to get it in the mail cuz gracie is already starting to get bored with her cereal. it's time to introduce some more foods and get her interested in fresh veggies!

Friday, August 08, 2008

briggle family reunion

ohmygoodness, i have sooo much to blog about! i have had simply no time whatsoever this summer, with all the visiting we've been doing with our families in colorado, minnesota, nebraska, and wisconsin!

so it was seriously over a month ago -- maybe even 6 weeks ago -- that this event that i'm blogging about now happened. i can hardly believe how time has flown by this summer!

anyway, what i wanted to write about today was our briggle family reunion that occurred along with bob and rae's surprise party. the last time a whole big group of us briggles had gotten together was waaaay back in 2001 when adam and i got married. so it was especially wonderful that so many people could come out for a gathering once again!


all of this was prompted by adam's parents' surprise anniversary party, but of course bob and rae had no idea what was going on (cuz we're sly like that!). when we got off the plane in denver in june, home for our visit, the folks told us that pete and judy (bob's sister and brother in law), and ed and kim (bob's brother and sister in law) were all "coincidentally" coming to town at the same time. "well isn't that the strangest thing?" i jokingly asked, knowing full well why everyone was converging at the same time.


the thursday before the party, everyone arrived at the house, and of course they all oohed and aahed over mary grace. the next couple of days were busy and full, dining out and catching up.




then the big day of the party arrived, and everyone was sooooo helpful when it came to distracting bob and rae so we could get everything set up. and it was such a success! it was so amazing to see everyone all in one place at the same time -- ken and mary meyer drove all the way from nebraska, just for the party! and don and mari mcdavid, along with great-aunt alice who is 94 years old, made the trek down the mountain to be in attendance as well! what wonderful family we have!
fortunately, everyone was able to stay one more night in town before flying out the next day, so we had yet another opportunity to spend some time with each other before we all scattered ourselves across the country again. if i remember correctly, everyone was staying at the same hotel, so we met up with the whole gang the next morning for breakfast (ooooh, i love american breakfast!).



afterwards, some people had to leave, but the rest of us all hung out for the early afternoon since their flights weren't leaving until later in the day. so we went to old colorado city and walked through the pretty tree-lined streets, popping into boutiques every now and then to look for souvenirs and pretty baby items. i walked out of one boutique wearing this beautiful green and gold silk dress, that aunts kim and judy were kind enough to buy for me. (at first i told them that i couldn't try on the dress, cuz i couldn't afford it, and i knew that if i tried it on i would never take it off again because it was so beautiful. and sure enough, kim pressured me into getting my butt into that dressing room and trying on that beautiful dress, and when i walked out, she and judy got out their wallets to pay for the dress! cuz i said i wasn't taking it off, and they believed me! i wore it right out of the store it was so beautiful! thanks, judy and kim! i love my new pretty dress!)




oh, and we went to the rocky mountain chocolate factory and tried a chocolate-covered jalapeno. i wasn't so sure about it, but adam really enjoyed it.



it's so wonderful to have such a loving and generous family like the briggles. i feel incredibly blessed to have married into a family such as this! i hope it's not another seven years before we all get together again!