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Tales From Julia's First Year

Sunday, April 18, 2004:

HOORAY!!! Our baby girl, Julia Chanelle Vattes, was finally born on Thursday April 15, 2004 at 2:36 a.m!!!  She weighed 8lbs even, was 19 inches long, and had a head circumference of 33.5 cm.  Both Mommy and baby are doing very well, and Daddy is just as proud as can be.  The family arrived home yesterday and are settling in nicely together.  Julia is nursing tremendously well, and is so easy going, fussing only briefly when she has a need for something and settling quickly once that need is met.  And of course, she is just gorgeous.
The birth story will be posted soon, along with some additional pictures of the Little Princess!
Friday, April 23, 2004:
We've been home nearly a week now, and things couldn't be better.  Julia continues to nurse well and sleep well at night.  She is very alert and social when awake, and loves the bouncy chair and her swing.  She definitely has both mom and dad wrapped around her little fingers already!!
A couple of pictures have been added of our little Julia, with many more to follow, so keep checking back!  Her birth story has been added today as well.  Enjoy!!
Julia will be Baptized on 5/23/04 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.  We hope you will keep her in your prayers in a special way that day as she becomes a member of the Church.
Thursday, April 29, 2004:
Julia had her 2 week checkup yesterday.  She is the picture of health.  Her weight is up to 8lbs 10.8oz!  I guess all that nursing she's doing is making a difference, since her discharge weight on 4/17 was 7lbs 7oz :) 
Nina, our doula, came by yesterday to visit with us.  She brought some amazing pictures that she took at the hospital documenting the birth.  Look for some of them on Julia's Birth Story page.  They are really fantastic.  We had some nice conversation, too, about the birth experience and what it's been like since.  We both REALLY enjoyed having a doula at our birth.  Feel free to email Jennifer at if you are interested in learning more about how a doula can enhance a birth experience.  Or, visit, the official website of Doulas of North America.
We've taken a million pictures of our little girl since coming home.  As soon as we get them developed you should see some of them here on her Pictures page.  As always, keep checking back for more updates!!!
Monday, May 10, 2004:
Julia is now 3w 4d old!
Yesterday was my First Mother's Day!  Julia's shopping skills and handwriting abilities are VERY impressive.  I didn't even notice her skipping out of the house to go shopping -- am I a bad mother already?! ;)  We had a nice day together yesterday.  Julia went to Church for the first time and did wonderfully.  After Church we went over to her Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, and cousin Benjamin's house for lunch.  It was low key enough to not be overwhelming for either of us, but eventful enough to be a special celebration too.
Julia has taken to rising early for the day.  She tends not to settle back to sleep too well after her 4-ish a.m. feeding.  She does sleep, but it's a very restless sleep with lots of waking, though thankfully not much fussing.  Still, it's much earlier than we are accustomed to waking for the day and it's taking some adjustment!  We're working together, though, and managing well.
Got some frustrating news from CMC, where Julia was born.  Many of you probably have received your official birth announcements, and may have been puzzled as to why you didn't get a birth picture along with it.  At CMC they take the pictures and then send the film out to an independent company to have them developed and the order filled (I presume they do this because it's more cost effective to them than doing the pictures on site, since they are a smaller birthing center).  Well it seems the film they took Miss Julia's newborn photos with either got lost or was defective, since the company has no film with her photos on it.  The woman at CMC who is in charge of the picture program is working hard to get this resolved, but I fear they will never be found :(  They offered us to come back and have them redone, but she's nearly a month old already and changing so fast!  I'm pretty sad about it... :(
Lastly, I finally called my work today and scheduled my first two weeks back.  I'm already heartbroken about leaving my beautiful girl!  Thankfully, Daddy will be her care provider (no daycare!!) so that makes me feel a little better.  Still, if anyone has any advice as to how I can prepare for and make this transition, I'd love the advice. 
Overall, though, things at the Vattes household are going along just swimmingly.  We are establishing a bit of a routine now and really starting to feel that we're getting the hang of this Mommy and Daddy thing ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2004:

Julia is now 4 weeks old!!

Good news!  We heard back from Hospital Baby Portraits and, after much searching on their part, Julia's newborn photo was found!  They put a *RUSH* on our order, and hopefully we'll receive the pictures soon!  It will be posted here as soon as we get them.

Jennifer was quite ill yesterday with what appears to be a flu bug of some sort.  No nausea or vomiting, thank goodness, but lots of those nasty aches in the joints, chills, and a fairly high fever to boot.  She saw her midwife yesterday afternoon to make sure there wasn't any kind of postpartum infection setting in, and fortunately there was not.  Shane was able to get out of work early (thank you Danny!!) and come home to take care of both Jennifer and Julia, and thank goodness for that.  A fast lesson in "Moms aren't allowed to get sick" for Jennifer!

Since Jennifer was feeling so under the weather, Julia got her first BOTTLE (of breastmilk) last night, fed to her by her Daddy.  It went very well!  We will be continuing to have Shane give her her evening feeding by bottle from this point on since that is how it will be once Jennifer returns to work.  We are hopeful that it will continue to go well, and believe that keeping this consistency in the routine will help Julia adapt as well.

Julia has been spending the early part of her nights in her crib!  We can't bring ourselves to have her in there all night just yet, but are working up to it by putting her down in there after her evening feeding (around 8 p.m.).  All of us are doing very well with it, and who knows... in another week or so we might try putting her in after her early a.m. feeding as well (around 5:30 a.m.) and then we'll just have to work toward cutting out the middle!  Our neice, Holly, is due to arrive in early August, and we are sure that she will want to use the cradle we are using now in our Julia will be fully transitioned by then! ;)


Sunday May 23, 2004:

Julia is now 5 weeks and 3 days old!!
Today was Julia's Baptism.  It was a GREAT day!  Thank you to all who came to help celebrate her initiation into the Catholic Church.  We appreciate your presence in our lives and in hers!  We'll get some pictures up as soon as they are developed :)
In other news, things are going well.  Julia is sleeping about 6 hours at a stretch at night, waking only once for a feeding.  She's improved on her 6 a.m. waking too, and is sleeping in til between 7:30 and 8:30.  Ahhhh! :) 
She is cooing up a STORM and will coo back at you, trying to make the same sounds you are showing her how to make.  She LOVES looking at her reflection in mirrors and spends a lot of time laughing and talking to the baby she sees there.  She's doing pretty well with tummy time, too, but you have to get her when she's in just the right mood for it to be really successful.
Shane took Julia to Daddy Boot Camp on Saturday where both of them got to show off how great it is having and being a new baby!  Elliot Hospital runs a Daddy Boot Camp that expectant fathers can go to and get a sense for what to expect as a new father when the baby arrives.  Then they are invited to come back as Veteran Dads to show the "Rookies" how it's done ;)  It sounds like they had a fantastic time together and taught the new guys quite a bit.  There was even a surprise appearance by Julia's uncle, Stephen Focht whose daughter is due to arrive August 5th.  AND, Julia got to hang out with her buddy Braden Hafeman, whose father Kevin, a very good friend of ours, was there as a Veteran Dad as well.
We went to our first New Mom's Group this past week, as well as our first La Leche League (breastfeeding) group with her living outside of me.  It was so great to connect with other new and nursing moms and I think it will be fantastic for Julia as she gets older to socialize with other babies her age. 
It's been a busy week at our house, but a very enjoyable one.  It's so amazing watching her grow, change, and learn every day!!  We'll try to get some updated pictures up very soon :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2004:

Julia is now 6 weeks and 5 days old!

After a very busy week the week of 5/16, we had a nice quiet restful week last week.  Not much going on in the Vattes household, mostly resting up from the hustle and bustle the week before!  Julia is doing an especially good job of resting.  Twice in the last week she has slept a full 8 hours straight!!! She goes down around 9 and has slept til 5!  And still, after her 5 a.m. feeding, she goes back down for another 3 hours.  Today I even got up before her, and managed to get showered and dressed before she roused.  I'm feeling very refreshed! :)

Julia is getting to be SO interactive and she is clearly learning tons and tons every day.  She spends a lot of time "conversing" with us and will coo back at us when we coo at her!  It is SO much fun.  She is beginning to master her Kick and Play bouncy seat; when she kicks a certain way she can make lights and music play and I SWEAR she knows what she's doing with it.  I only wish you could all see her in action and I'm sure you'd agree.  She is also enjoying sitting upright (with assistance, of course) and looking all around, and is spending quite a lot of time playing with her toys that hang from the arches on her activity mat.  She isn't very fond of Tummy Time, though, and we're lucky to get 10 minutes out of her at a time.  Still, I see her getting stronger and developing nicely all the time so I'm not too concerned about that!

I happened to weigh Julia at Mom's Group last week.  Now granted, she was fully clothed when we did it, but she weighed in at 11 lbs even!  If you account for the clothing, she is probably a good 10.5 lbs now.  Shane measured her (very unofficially) the other night and she seems to be in the 23 inch range now.  Clearly, she has grown a lot from the 8lbs and 19.5 inches she was just 6 1/2 short weeks ago.

I swear I will get some Baptism pictures up this week.  I promise you!  It's amazing how busy she keeps us, even as good and easy as she is! Have a great week, everyone, and check back next week for another update!


Sunday, June 6, 2004:
Julia is now 7 weeks and 3 days old!
I finally managed to add some updated photos to the site, from the baptism and other things too!  Sorry it took so long :)  They are under "More Pictures" in the link above!  Enjoy!
This week Julia seems to have mastered thumb-sucking!  She manages to get her thumb in her mouth on the first try almost every time now.  So good for her to be able to self soothe, not to mention that it's awfully cute too!
Today Julia and I went to my sister Lori's baby shower.  Lori is due to have her daughter, Holly, on 8/5/04.  Our little ones will be exactly 16 weeks apart!  Julia had a great time at the shower (and so did I!) and she just can't wait to meet Holly and start bossing her, I mean, playing nice in the sandbox with her ;)
T-minus 7 days and counting til I go back to work.  I'm so sad about it, but my friends who have gone before me tell me that the anticipation of leaving her is worse than the reality.  I can only hope they are right.  On the flipside, it will be so good for Shane and Julia to have some one-on-one time more regularly.  I think I tend to monopolize Shane's little girl, and in many ways he is looking forward to having her all to himself.  He is SO fantastic with her -- I just new he'd be a wonderful Daddy -- so it will be good knowing she is in such good hands while I'm away.
The only other thing to report this week is that Julia's Papa John and Uncle Mark helped her Daddy start opening the pool today while we were at Lori's shower.  It should be ready for swimming -- if not a bit chilly -- before week's end.  Everyone is welcome over for fun in the sun once it is!
Have a great week, everyone!  And check back again real soon for another update!

Friday June 18, 2004:

Julia is now 9 weeks 1 day old!

So, we survived the first week of my back to work-ness!  I tell ya, though, leaving on that first day was SO hard, just as hard as I imagined it would be.  But, once I was there and busy the night did go by fast.  Shane and Julia are really enjoying their one-on-one time together, and I'm real happy they get to do this too.

We got a call from Elliot Childcare Center last week that a spot has opened up for Miss J.  We are going to hold off on starting her until September 7th, though, as we had planned on Shane taking a little time off from work each week to cover the "overlap" time we need a sitter for.  Come September we will begin to drop her off at the childcare center on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.  And, her little buddy Braden, who was born just 4 days after she was, will ALSO be there, ALSO starting on September 7th, and ALSO going only on Monday and Tuesday afternoons!  How cool is that?!

Julia had her TWO MONTH checkup (*GASP*) on Wednesday this week.  Her doctor said she is looking great, has met all of her developmental milestones and is gearing up to meet a couple more real soon (I swear she is going to roll back to belly any second!).  She weighed 11lbs 6oz (75th percentile) and is now 23.5 inches long (93rd percentile!).  She got 5 immunizations, poor thing, and after a sleepy and fussy afternoon and evening was back to her old self by Thursday.

Her eyes are definitely changing color.  It looks as though they are, in fact, going to be brown!  She has such pretty eyes, and the longest eyelashes.  This girl will never see a tube of mascara in her life -- no need!  She will be the envy of all her girl friends all of her life :)

Shane's first Father's Day is this Sunday!!  We are so excited to celebrate with him!  We'll be joining Shane's family for Sunday Brunch that day, and will then spend some time together as a family in the afternoon.

Happy Father's Day to all of you other Father's out there!!


Wednesday, June 30, 2004:
Julia is now 10 weeks and 6 days old!
Sorry for the delay in an update.  While back to work isn't as bad as I imagined it would be, I'm even busier than before trying to get things done around here, work, and still spend lots of time with my Jules!
Julia continues to do wonderfully.  She is just the most amazing person I've ever known.  Growing by leaps and bounds -- and OUTGROWING some of her first outfits!  She is so much fun and is getting to be more and more interactive all the time.  She is reaching for objects purposefully, and bringing them to her mouth.  She is SO close to rolling over and we just know it will be any day now.  Tummy time is going better as well, and she has begun pushing up on her elbows more regularly when on her tummy.
We celebrated Shane's first Father's Day on 6/20.  Julia was a *tad* bit fussy through breakfast, but otherwise had a fantastic day.  It was gorgeous weather here and Shane's family came over after breakfast to sit in the back yard by the pool for a while.  I got called off from work, which made me doubly happy, because I got to spend the whole day with Shane and Julia on his special day. 
Julia asked me to say a special hello to her cousin Dylan who is at his first ever week of overnight camp this week, and to send hugs, kisses, and get well wishes to her Mimi Vattes!
Tuesday July 13, 2004:

Julia is now just two days shy of being THREE MONTHS OLD!

ACK!  Has it really been two weeks since an update was posted?!  Sorry!!

Julia is doing SO well these days.  She is growing like a weed, having gone through a MAJOR growth spurt in the past week.  Last Monday and Thursday all the child did was eat and sleep!  Well that and fuss ;)  We took her to her Ped just to make sure she didn't have an earache or anything, and sure enough she is healthy as a horse!  With this latest -- and most dramatic -- growth spurt, she is no longer fitting into her 0-3 months clothing any more.  Thank you again to all of you who gifted her with outfits for 3-6 months -- they are fast coming in handy!

She still has yet to roll over from back to belly.  She is so unbelievably close to doing it though that it practically hurts!  But she did, quite unexpectedly, roll belly to back a few times on Sunday 7/11.  I was playing on the floor with her, getting her to do some tummy time, and rolled her from back to belly.  Well, she kept flopping back over and I said, "Jules!  Why do you keep doing that?  Stay on your tummy!"  And then it hit me -- SHE HAD JUST ROLLED OVER!  I was SO impressed.  Of course the minute the camcorder came out she quit doing it, the little rascal!  Her other new trick is making raspberries.  It is just THE CUTEST! 

No matter how much I *thought* I knew how much I would love this baby before she was born, I really had *no* idea just HOW much...  She is bringing us SO much joy and laughter every single day, and we are truly truly blessed.<3

Monday July 25, 2004:
Julia is now 3 months and 10 days old!
This was a HOT week with temperatures near 90 for the first time this summer, and the humidity was way up there too.  To cope with the heat, Julia went swimming a number of times, and is really beginning to love the water!  The first couple of times she went in, she wasn't too sure about it, but now she is enjoying floating around in her tube while I swim her all around.  Sometimes she helps by making motorboat noises (raspberries), and sometimes she just sticks her thumb in her mouth, leans back, and rides around with a "This is the life" look on her face.
She is really laughing a lot now.  She has done it a couple of times here and there in the last few weeks, but has gone from a cute little giggle to a full-blown belly laugh when we play with her.  It is completely infectious and so we laugh right along with her.  She is also playing with her tootsies alot now too and gets a real kick out of bringing them to her mouth.  Shane says she can shake his hand now too...or at least she reaches for his hand when he extends it to her ;)
We moved up last Wednesday from the newborn group to the next level in the Mom's Group we go to.  It's kind of strange being the new kids on the block again, but our buddies from the newborn group will join us soon.  It's neat to watch the older babies and see where Julia will be progressing to in the next few months.  Jules LOVES to watch them play and I can see it in her face that she just wants to join right in.  I have a feeling it won't be long!
Monday August 9, 2004:
Julia is now 3 months and 3 weeks old!
Julia has a new baby cousin!!  Holly Marie Focht was born Thursday 8/5 at 7:57 a.m. weighing 8 lbs.  She is a little dollface, and we are all so happy she is here.  Julia visited her little cousin and her Auntie Lori and Uncle Stephen on Friday night.  It is amazing to see the two of them side by side and remember just how small our growing-like-a-weed little girl once was!
Julia is continuing to do well, growing and learning every day.  She has completely mastered rolling over from belly to back and is doing better at the back to belly roll all the time.  It is fun to see her face when she does it -- she looks so proud of herself!
She has been swimming in her pool a few more times as well.  She seems to really enjoy it, and I think this picture says it all:
Wednesday August 18, 2004:
Julia is now 4 months and 5 days old!
Julia had her four month checkup on Monday.  She is healthy as can be and, as we suspected, growing like a weed!  She is now 13lbs 8oz and 25 1/4 inches tall!  She had three more shots (5 immunizations) and did pretty well, considering. 
She has been more or less refusing naps now for a couple of weeks.  UGH!  It is so frustrating at times, especially since she just gets so over tired and miserable!  We are working on it though, and are hopeful that this is a stage; often when they are becoming more active developmentally they will go on a nap strike.  Who wants to nap when there's so much fun stuff to do?!  But we know how important is to a growing little girl, and so we are persevering.  Hopefully in another week or so you will see an update that says this area has improved!
She is really taking notice now when we are eating.  She watches us intently, and has even reached toward things as they go into our mouths.  This is often one of the first signs that a baby is starting to get ready for solid foods.  We spoke with her pediatrician about it -- or rather she spoke to us, encouraging us to start her on solid foods in the next month or so.  Ideally we'd like to wait until she is six months old, since that is the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics as they have found that starting solids before six months old can contribute to the development of allergies later in life.  She is growing well on breastmilk alone, so why risk it? :)
Check back again with us soon! :)
Tuesday August 24, 2004:

Julia is now 4 months 9 days old!

Julia's newest trick, which she did for the first time this Sunday, is sitting up in the tripod position (ie arms between her legs on the floor) UNASSISTED for a minute or so!  I was so impressed with her when she was able to do it!  We have been practicing it a lot since then; it amazes me how much she has learned and developed in just over 4 months time!

Naptime is improving.  For several days now we have been able to get her to do an hour or more two to three times a day!  We have discovered that if we let her play and then fuss (not scream) for a few minues after putting her down, she will settle and fall asleep within about 5-10 minutes.  She is in a much better mood this past week since she is so much better rested.  She has been a lot of fun again!


Wednesday, September 1, 2004:


Julia is now 4 1/2 months old!

I can't believe it is already September!  Time is flying, and our little lady is growing.  I have had the opportunity to have a little time off from work recently and have gotten to be more like a stay-at-home-mom as a result.  A little tease, but it is definitely a big motivator to get things settled so that I can cut down my hours at work.  I enjoy being with Julia SO much -- she is just such a joy.

Not a whole lot of new stuff to report this week.  Next week's update should be pretty interesting though.  Shane has been taking Mon & Tues afternoons off through the summer to come home when I go to work.  Well, as of next week he won't be doing that any more, and Julia will begin going to daycare two afternoons per week.  The daycare comes highly recommended, and of course we did our homework as all good parents do ;)  We were encouraged to visit over the summer, and did so, in order that the staff can get to know Julia and she can get to know them.  I know they'll take excellent care of her, but of course I am a little anxious about the change too.  Wish us luck as she has her first day of "school" next Tuesday afternoon!!



Friday, September 10, 2004:

Julia is now 4 and 3/4 months old!

I am pleased to report that daycare went well!  Julia did fantastically (though her little lip did quiver a bit when we first handed her off) and Mommy and Daddy managed to get through the three hours fine as well.  We hope that she does as well next week, when I am back at work and UNavailable ;)

We diverted a near disaster with our frozen stash of breastmilk.  Long story short a bunch got defrosted accidentally and so it had to be used within 24 hours.  I was near tears when I first discovered it, and nearly dumped it all down the sink figuring Julia only takes one to three bottles a day at most, never mind 40 ounces (10 bottles!)!  Thankfully Shane was fast at thinking on his feet and so we bottle fed her all the defrosted milk on Monday and I pumped all day Monday to replace what was nearly lost.  It worked out well and we were back where we started!  Thank God for my quick thinking husband!

What we discovered on Monday is just how good Julia has gotten at holding her own bottle!  She can just about feed herself a whole one, until the end when she just can't seem to get the hang of tipping it up high enough.  It is too cute to watch her do this!

Her other new thing is playing Peek-a-Boo!  We have played it with her for some time now, but now she is playing back.  If she has a facecloth or a blanket in her hands and is in a playful mood she will raise it up and hide her face.  As soon as I say, "Where's Julia??!!" she pops it down and grins huge from ear to ear when I say "Peek-a-boo!" or "There she is!"  She is just so much fun!


Monday, September 20, 2004:
Julia is now 5 1/4 months old!
Well, after averting that last breastmilk disaster, we are facing a new struggle.  My supply is dwindling, despite every effort.  It starts out fairly plentiful in the mornings but by evening there's almost nothing left.  We have started supplementing with some formula as of last Thursday.  When she is home with Shane and getting bottles, we have been making them half breastmilk, half formula in hopes of stretching out the freezer stash we have as long as possible.  She has done well with the change; I was so worried about it affecting her little digestive system, but so far so good.
In addition to supplementing, we also started her on cereal once a day.  I really had wanted to wait until the 6 month mark.  But the bigger and more important issue is her health and nutrition.  So we gave it a go on Thursday last week.  The first day she was very unhappy with the idea;  she gagged a lot and fussed after just a few spoons full.  But we have continued to give it to her daily, and by today's serving she is gobbling it right up!  I think she may even like it a little bit ;)
We survived our first family cold.  No, we can't blame this one on daycare; Shane started with it first, last Monday.  By Wednesday Julia wasn't herself and was getting all stuffy.  Thursday night she woke with a fever.  Poor baby was so stuffed up that every time she took her thumb to go to sleep, she couldn't breathe!  Needless to say, we had a few nights of rough sleep.  I thought I was going to escape it, but I started with sneezing on Friday morning, and by Friday night I was fully in the throes of it.  One by one we are all getting better though.  And thankfully, Julia never got as sick as either Shane or I did.
Yesterday Julia and I spent the day with her Mammy and Papa Bill.  It was a great day :)  Mammy and Papa have a new puppy, who is only about 4 months old himself.  He was a little jealous of the baby and kept crying and trying to get attention.  He was also very curious about her.  At one point, he sniffed her and then licked her on the face.  Julia wasn't impressed at all.  No, she didn't cry...she gagged!! LOL.  Reminded me a little of Lucy on the Peanuts, "Dog germs!! Dog germs!!!"  It was one of those moments we wish we had on camera!

Saturday October 9, 2004:

Wow, time is sure flying!  Can you believe it's October already?!  We can't!  Julia is going to be 6 months old by the end of this week!

After we got over our colds in mid-September, Julia developed an ear infection stemming from the congestion from the cold.  She really wasn't significantly more fussy than usual, and we might not have thought about her ears if we hadn't all just been sick.  But she started tossing and turning a lot in her sleep, which is very unusual for her.  She also started to shake her head and cock it to the right while wincing.  Sure enough, she had an infection in both ears!  After a 10 day course of Amoxicillin, she is good as new :)

Yesterday Shane, Julia and I started a tradition and went apple picking at Mack's Apples in Londonderry ( ).  It was a GORGEOUS fall day with bright warm sun and a nice breeze.  We had a blast!  Julia was captivated watching the ducks in the pond and was flapping her arms and legs all around in excitment.  We browsed the farm stand for a while, and took some pictures of our Punkin' in a pumpkin bin.  Afterward, we went to the orchard to pick our apples, which are just delicious!  On our way back to the car we stopped in the pumpkin patch to let Julia explore a little bit.  It was so much fun.  A few of the pictures we took are on this page.

"Adventures in solid food" is going well.  Julia has had, and fully enjoyed, infant oameal, sweet potatoes, pears, and squash.  So far so good, and no allergic reactions that we've seen.  We think her favorite so far is the squash, and while she liked the pears, she certainly was not as "gaga" over them as either the squash or sweet potatoes.  We are going to try increasing her intake a little bit this week to two meals per day.  Our next fruit will probably be bananas.

Julia started dancing today!!  Of course, she is still not standing up, but she did the dancing while seated.  It was the cutest darned thing we've ever seen, and both of us were in stitches over it.  Both Shane and I dance when we have her playtime music on.  Yesterday while I was dancing for her, she was cracking up.  I kept saying, "Dancing... Mama's dancing... Dance".  Well today, don't you know I said "Dance with Mama!" and she starts bobbing her little body up and down!!  It is so funny -- I wish you all could see it!  Maybe we'll see you soon, and Julia can show off for you <3

Sending a special hello and hug to Debbie Burnham who visited us all the way from Texas this weekend.  It was a joy to meet you at long last, and we sure hope we see you again!!


Monday, October 18, 2004:
Julia turned 6 months on Friday!  Can you believe that much time has passed already?
Julia and I went to stay up north at Lake Winnepesaukee at Julia's Mammy and Papa Bill's house this weekend.  I was pretty nervous and wondered if she would do alright sleeping away from home.  But she was, as she is with all things, wonderful.  She was perfectly charming everywhere we went, and she slept just as well there as she does at home.  We had a great time!  We are exhausted today, though... traveling with a baby is much more tiring than going it alone :)
Julia had her six month checkup today.  She is a healthy little girl.  She weighs 16 lbs 1 oz (so she did double her birth weight by 6 months, which is the goal!), and she is 26 inches long.  She is ahead of schedule on many of her developmental milestones, and the brains it takes to do so well must be big because her head is 43 centimeters now!  She got three shots today (five vaccinations) and she took them bravely.  We got the go ahead to add a third serving of solid foods into her repertoire.  And by Thanksgiving it will be okay to give her some mashed potatoes with gravy, and even a small bit of turkey!  She is growing up so fast <3
Monday, November 15, 2004:
Happy 7 months, Miss Julia!! 
In this last month, Julia has sprouted not one, but TWO, teeth!  Her first tooth broke through the surface of her gums on 10/25, and her second one broke through on 11/12.  That second tooth really bothered her coming through, and that coupled with the "fall back" time change really had us in a sleeping conundrum for a little while.  But she's back on track this week, now that that second tooth has popped through.
Thank goodness for that second tooth bothering her a little though ;)  Just kidding -- we do hate to see her uncomfortable.  But, the discomfort woke her up from her sleep in the bottom of the 8th inning of the 2004 World Series, and thanks to that, Julia was wide awake when the Boston Red Sox became World Series Champs for the first time since 1918!  Go Sox!! 
Julia had a FABULOUS time doing trick-or-treat for the first time on Halloween.  Her cousins Dylan and Holly came over to meander through the neighborhood.  Dylan did most of the candy-gathering, but Julia and Holly dressed up for the occasion too.  Pictures will be posted soon (they're still in the camera!).  Julia was totally adorable in her flower costume and really hammed it up all around the neighborhood.  It is so much fun doing "firsts" with her <3
Julia is going to be crawling any second, we can just feel it!  She has begun to get down to her belly from a seated position (though at some times less gracefully than at others!) and she is scooting backward like mad.  It frustrates her, because when she goes backwards it's in an attempt to move FORWARD to get something just out of her reach.  When she realizes he efforts are going poorly it frustrates her.  But she is getting up on all fours and rocking a little bit and we just know that before we can blink she'll be cruising all over this house.  Time for some true baby-proofing!!
She is really enjoying all of the new foods she has been trying.  There isn't anything she hasn't liked, except for plain yogurt.  When we add a bit of fruit to the plain yogurt she gobbles it right up.  Speaking of gobbling, we're looking forward to trying her with some mashed potatoes and gravy on Thanksgiving (can you believe it's that time already?!).  She's also beginning to master the sippy-cup and can drink independently from it when she's really motivated to do so.
We are happy to send CONGRATULATIONS and BEST WISHES to Irene and Chris Nikias who are expecting their first bundle of joy in June!  Julia can't wait to meet her new little friend! :)
Happy Birthday to Papa Bill, Auntie Ann, Auntie Kathy, JoJo, Uncle Kevin and Mammy who all celebrate birthdays this month!
We hope you all are well and that the coming winter months find you warmly surrounded by loving friends and family! 
Wednesday December 15, 2004:
Julia is 8 months old today!!
It has been a very busy month!  On November 22, Julia had her first visit with The Man in Red (a.k.a. Santa Claus).  She LOVED him!  I don't know what she told him she wants for Christmas, but I think he must have promised her he'd come through -- look at the smile on her!
November 25th was Julia's first Thanksgiving.  We had a great day.  I was supposed to work that afternoon, so we had an early dinner with Shane's parents.  But, I was fortunate enough to be called off that afternoon, and so I got to join Shane and Julia on their visit to my mom's house!  It was nice to enjoy the holiday all together, and not feel rushed.  Julia tried mashed potatoes...she has decided she doesn't like them a bit just yet!  Oh well, we'll try again sometime soon.  She DID enjoy the Biter Biscuit she had for dessert.  What a messy snack that is!
Julia also had her first set of Christmas pictures done.  Here they are:
On Dec 11th Julia got her first Christmas Tree!  We decorated it for her, and she loves to look at it.  Her face just lights up when we turn the lights on for her!
On Dec 12th Julia and I joined her cousins Dylan and Holly and her Aunt Lori to bake cookies for Christmas.  It was... quite a day ;)  Everyone did really well, but we just bit off a bit more than we could handle.  I guess we didn't factor in the fact that we'd have to be working around two infants and their individual schedule.  Still we had a fun, if not long, day and the cookies came out deliciously.  Especially thanks to Julia's Aunt Lori who is a much better cook than I!
No new teeth yet this month, but we're sure she's working on at least one.  She's going to gnaw her hand of if she's not careful!  She has made several accomplishments this month though.  On Nov 27th she started making a clear attempt to say "Kitty".  It comes out "Ah-Tah" but she gestures toward our cats and says this each time she sees them!  I guess that counts as her first word.  Sure, she's been saying "mama" and "dada" for some time now, but she doesn't always use them as words as much as sounds.  Julia also learned to do Patty-Cake and is having a blast initiating this game with us now!  Finally, she has figured out how to work the Jolly Jumper and is a jumping fiend now :)  She only gets to play in it for a few minutes each day but she really enjoys herself and is working those leg muscles.
She is working on standing.  She isn't standing independently yet, but stands supported and also when supporting herself on furniture and such.  As for crawling, I'm convinced this girl has decided that rolling is a much faster and much more fun way of getting around and I think she might be one of those kids who just never crawls.  She wants to pull herself up to standing from sitting but we just don't have a lot of places for her to work on that just now.  Some of the things she is getting from Santa will help with that, though, and I'm sure she'll be pulling up on her own very soon.  Guess we've gotta get that crib mattress lowered, huh?
We are sending out Birthday Wishes this month to Richard Borrelli, Gail Robichaud, Benjamin Vattes, Lori Vattes and most especially to Baby Jesus!
Merry Christmas to everyone!  We hope the season finds you all in good health and that your holidays are full of joy, wonder, and love.  Many blessings in 2005!!
Tuesday, January 18, 2005:

Happy New Year everyone!  Julia is now 9 months old!  We just came from her well child check-up and she is doing fabulously.  Head circumference of 45cm is in the 75th percentile, length of 27 1/4 inches in at the 50th, and weight of 19lbs is also in the 50th.  Developmentally she is right on target with all things except for foods; we need to work on getting her to take more textured things in the next month (right now she either gags or out and out refuses) and we also need to try to get her to take more of the sippy cup (which she plays with more than she drinks from).

The past month has been very busy for Julia.  As you know, we celebrated her first Christmas on the 25th of December (see "Past Updates").  On Dec 31 we celebrated her first New Year's Eve at her friend Braden's house.  He couldn't get enough of her!  She, however, only loves him for his toys ;)

Julia got to meet her Great Uncle Kevin and Great Aunt Joanne from California on January 2nd.  She really enjoyed them, and hopes they come back to visit again real soon!
Julia has sprouted two new teeth this month, on on January 3, and the next on January 8.  Two more are about to break through the skin any day now, which will bring her total to 6.
She has started to do all sorts of new things this month too.  She now "sings" with her musical toys ("Do do do do do") while dancing in her seat.  She can give kisses to her baby dolls and to people too.  She babbles while turning the pages of her books and points with her index finger to different parts of the pictures.  She has started to pull up to standing from a seated position, and is starting to get brave about cruising around while standing and holding on to toys and furniture (but just a little bit!).
She misses her Mimi and Papa John who have gone to Florida until April when they will return for Julia's first birthday.  She sees their pictures every day and she hasn't forgotten who they are at all.
Julia started taking Swimming Classes at the YMCA last week.  She LOVED it! She had a ton of fun and took a really good nap later that day too.  We are hoping that by getting her acclimated to the water now she will enoy our own pool much more readily this summer. 
I have set up a special page of just Christmas pictures.  Click here:
December 25, 2004:
Julia celebrated her First Christmas today!  She is nearly 8 1/2 months old!
The celebrating really began on Sunday Dec 19th at Julia's Mammy and Papa Bill's house.  It was Julia's first crack at opening gifts and she was a little confused by the idea at first.  But she did well and opened up many wonderful gifts.  One tremendously generous and quite exciting gift Julia received from her Mammy and Papa is a weeks vacation abord Carnival Cruise line's Carnival Victory on a carribbean cruise!  The whole family received this gift as well, and all 14 of us set sail on April 23.  We can't wait.  We are all VERY appreciative of the generous spirit in which this gift was given.
Christmas Eve was very special for Julia.  Shane, Julia and I went to Church together in the late afternoon and then came home to host some family members in a Christmas Eve gathering.  It was quite nice, and Julia clearly was having a blast of a time.  She was laughing and talking and smiling up a storm.  She even stayed up late and wasn't the least bit fussy!  At bedtime she had a special story read to her, and then drifted off, surely with visions of sugarplums dancing in her head.
She awoke all smiles on Christmas morning and had so much fun opening her gifts that Santa had left for her.  She ate a good breakfast and took a short nap before getting all gussied up to go to Mimi and Papa Johns for the day.  What a day it was!  Again, she had a ton of fun!  She really enjoys her family members and had a lot of fun playing with her cousin Benjamin.  And when it came time to unwrap more presents, she had this gig down at last.  Ripping and tearing -- and quivering!  Not so much over the presents (they were great, to be sure), but more over the wrapping paper.  I wish you could have seen the glee and excitement just pouring out of her as the mound of Christmas paper grew around her and she had more and more with which to play.
All this flurry of activity has worn the poor child out.  As I sit typing, she is fast asleep in her bed, no doubt dreaming of all that this first Christmas has been for her, and dreaming of all the Christmases yet to come.
If your Christmas was even half as joyful and blessed as our own has been, we know you have had a wonderful day too.  May the coming New Year bring more of the same to you and to yours!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005:

Julia is now 10 months old!!

Julia has been very busy this month, growing and learning all kinds of new things.  She has made a LOT of headway in the eating department.  While she was refusing everything with texture as of our last update, she is now eating many many table foods.  She has enjoyed regular oatmeal, regular applesauce, scrambled egg yolk, spaghetti, mac & cheese, toast, bread, gerber fruit & veggie puffs, gerber fruit snacks, nutrigrain bars, grilled cheese, cheez-its, and chopped chicken!  Additionally, she woke up one day agreeable to the idea of drinking her formula from a sippy cup, and she is now taking all fluids from a sippy, except for her bedtime bottle.  We are amazed at how suddenly and how quickly she has gone from purely puree to eating many of the things that we eat.  She has definitely taught us that she will do things in her own time, as she is ready to, and not a moment sooner!

Julia finally figured out crawling just after our last update too.  She is all over the place now, and it is so cute to watch her get from place to place.  Today we put her down on the floor in the living room, and she knew right where she wanted to be and headed right for her playroom and all of her toys, and went to town!  She is pulling up on everything now, and cruising along furniture and such like an old pro.  One of her most favorite things to do is to walk while holding onto our hands.  She will walk and walk and walk just as long as OUR backs hold out!  We won't be surprised if she walks before her first birthday. 

All she's missing is the balance part of it, which she is definitely improving on.  She stood all on her own for the first time last wednesday for about 3 seconds, and improved on that yesterday by standing on her own for 5 seconds.  She's funny though -- as soon as she realizes she's not holding onto anything, she sits herself right down on her bottom!

Two new teeth too this month, for a total of six!  Four on top now and two on bottom.  We think that's all for a while as we don't see any telltale signs that any more are getting ready to crop up.  Her teeth are just SO cute!  And they hurt!!  She has started doing a little biting here and there, and we're doing our best to discourage her from it... it's just so hard to scold her when she gives you those eyes and that grin <3  I suppose we'll have to start to buck up about it sooner or later though ;)

Julia got to spend the evening with her Auntie Wendy this month while both of us were working.  Julia had a GREAT time and keeps asking when she gets to hang out with Auntie Wendy again!  We keep telling her that it might be a little while -- everyone else is demanding a turn too ;)

Thursday April 7, 2005:

Holy Toledo!!  Sorry for the extreme delay in posting an update.  As you can see, our site has been moved from ivillage to tripod.  There was some confusion between the two companies when the transfer occurred, and for a while there I was having a minor heart attack that the site, all the past updates, and photos would all be lost!  It took quite a bit of pestering on my part as a customer, but it looks like we got things finally straightened out and are ready to start updating you all once again!

I'm going to keep this update brief.  A more major milestone update is due in just over a week.  Can you believe our girl is nearly a year old already??!!  Hard to imagine that it was a year ago that we were still waiting to meet this amazing person.  So check back in a few more days for a full one year update!!

We hope everyone is well, and would like to send out a few special greetings:

  • WELCOME HOME MIMI AND PAPA JOHN!!  We're glad you will be here to celebrate Julia's first birthday with us.  It looks like you have brought along some warm Florida sunshine.  Be sure to leave it here when you go back there ;)
  • GET WELL AUNTIE ANN!!  We know you are recovering amazingly well from your surgery.  Keep up the good work.  You'll be out golfing again in (nearly) no time!
  • HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY DYLAN!!  We know your birthday was almost a month ago, and we were happy to celebrate in person.  But we wanted to pass along a special birthday wish from Julia herself!  We can't believe you're 8 !!!
  • BEST WISHES BENJAMIN!!  We know your teeth must be sore, and we hope they feel better real soon.  Hugs and kisses!

That's it for now, folks.  Thanks for being so patient, and once again, keep checking back for updates and news now that we're back on track!