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!)