With the lack of updates in the past month, I can only suppose that those who will read this post are those who know us well enough that most of what I have to report here will not be news. I want to have some record of what has occupied our time and thought in recent weeks, and now that some of our projects are over and the new year has arrived, I want to return to the habit of writing.
We’ve kept ourselves very busy jumping from one project to the next and juggling more than one thing at a time. After the success of the Thanksgiving basket project, Jenny again answered the call to serve by coordinating a “Sub for Santa” activity. As a smaller project, it didn’t require quite the same level of dedication on her part, but I suspect she spent more time on it than I realize.
Jenny also put in long hours working on the first stage of our annual Christmas package project. Earlier in the year we surreptitiously collected all the old home movies we could find in our parents’ homes. She started the process of digitizing the VHS tapes, breaking the footage up into coherent pieces and trying to figure out correct dates for all of the events. After she did that, I copied everything back to DVD and burned copies for all of our family members. We even added LightScribe capability so the discs would look better. In all, we did about 20 hours of video from each side of the family. As usually happens with these packages, I underestimated the amount of work that would be required, and was still burning and printing DVDs two days before Christmas. I think it was worth it–the gifts have been well received, and I hope that Elena, Roman, and all our nieces and nephews will eventually appreciate having these records. (The packages also included some taffy along with the DVDs.)
Somewhere along the way (perhaps because our eBay adventure was winding down, giving her just a little breathing room) Jenny decided we should make Christmas cookies and treats for delivery to some of our local friends. She made cake balls, butterscotch brownies, chocolate chip cookies (both pumpkin and regular), chocolate bark, fudge, and peanut butter blossoms with Reese’s mini peanut butter cups. Elena carried the goody plates from our car up to the front doors for delivery, then say “Merry Christmas!” when the door was opened. The first plate got pretty jumbled up, but on subsequent deliveries Jenny helped her hold the plates steady.
In the midst of all this, we still had to attend to our normal parenting duties and holiday activities, like decorating, buying gifts, and spending time with family and friends. Elena and I went on a trip to the mall two weeks before Christmas to look for presents for Jenny and Roman. Elena didn’t last long in the toy store; she wasn’t bad, it just didn’t hold her interest long enough to find something for Roman. We searched all over the mall for things that Jenny might like, and settled on a new sweater (Elena sort of picked the color) and some bath scrubs.
In our wanderings, we saw several fun things that Elena wanted to do, but I asked her to choose one of two options: taking a ride on the choo-choo train that goes up and down through part of the mall, or having a frozen yogurt treat in the food court. She was determined to ride on the train, but when we got to it the operator was taking a break and there was no sign indicating when it would start up again. I suggested that we should go finish our shopping, then come back, but she didn’t want to. After thinking about it for several minutes, she decided to switch her preference and we got some yogurt instead.
As we were about to head home, I noticed a new barbershop that was running a grand opening sale. Jenny had talked about getting Elena’s hair cut for some time now, so I asked Elena if she wanted to go in and get it done and she agreed. The stylist was very gentle with Elena’s somewhat knotty hair, and tired Elena stayed calm and still the whole time. The only problem was that I didn’t get a lock of her hair to preserve as a first-haircut keepsake.
Roman is developing by leaps and bounds. After several days of trying and almost making it, he rolled over from back to front for the first time on Christmas Eve–it was his present to us. The next day, when we visited my parents’ home, he put on a show and did a couple full rotations, back to front to back again. He likes to grab at anything he can get his hands on, including the ball and tag blanket he received as Christmas presents. Often he’s ticklish all over and full of giggles, especially when ‘wrestling’ with toys. He also likes to test out his legs by standing up whenever he can, using as little support as possible.
We do have some concerns about Roman, mainly that he isn’t gaining weight at the rate that we would like–at his four-month trip to the doctor, he tipped the scales at only thirteen and a half pounds, which put him only in the tenth percentile, which was lower than his previous measurements. We’d like the downward trend in percentile to reverse itself or at least stabilize, but for now the doctor isn’t too worried. We’re trying to work out some feeding issues which are almost certainly a contributing factor to the weight gain concerns. Along with a different approach to reflux treatment, Jenny is researching different theories about effectively nursing an easily-distracted baby.
I was going to write more about Christmas shopping, but this post has gone on long enough. I have just one question: why is it that the only non-My Little Pony options for toy horses at Target cost either one dollar or more than thirty dollars? Even though I wasn’t thrilled with it, Elena has been happy with the one dollar option.