Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Post softly and embed a big video (or two)

There's not much story behind these videos, Katherine put Lyla in the Pack'n'Play for a bit while we wolfed down our dinners. The videos are of Lyla talking to the bears on the mobile and hitting Aslan (the lion car seat toy that's hanging from the side of the changing table). The videos are both over a minute long and have sound (so crank it up!).

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Look who's talking (and smiling)

Lyla made the transition from newborn to infant about 1.5 weeks ago, just in time for her visitors. She's no longer small and not in control of her body, she's bigger now and is interacting with everything around her. In fact, the first time she smiled directly at me was the day my dad and sister arrived. Anyone who reads books about babies' development knows that babies start to interact more with their environment between six and eight weeks. They start to focus on faces and smiling in response to your smile. They even start making consonant noises to go along with the aa's, ee's and o's they've been making. Lyla, being a textbook baby, is starting to do these things right on time. To encourage development, experts encourage you to talk to your baby, asking them questions and giving them time to respond (even if they don't).

Here's a video of Lyla talking to me (and smiling because she likes it when daddy makes silly noises). She's the best.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cousins 2: This time it's personal!! (I don't know what that means)

So the past couple weeks have been busy with visitors and I completely forgot to share this picture we took two weeks ago. Katherine and I were talking on the phone with David and Faith (Lyla's Aunt and Uncle) and in the background Allison and Lyla were trying to talk to each other. I (being rather childish and sometimes doing things for humor's sake at the expense of societal graces) thought it would be funny to take a picture of Lyla holding the phone and pretend like she's actually talking to Allison. For some reason, whenever I do something like this (use Lyla as a prop), Lyla (being awesome) strikes a perfect pose right as I snap a picture, even though she really isn't doing (or enjoying) what I'm trying to get her to do (for another example is the Happy Birthday, Uncle Jeff!!!! post where Lyla was crying and squirming to get away from my finger mustache. The pictures look like she's playing along.).

Here's what Lyla ignoring my efforts to manipulate her.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Grand Rapids experience

As y'all know, my dad and sister were in town visiting this past weekend. Since it has been a couple years since my cousins have seen "Uncle Mike" (I always get a kick when they talk about my dad as Uncle Mike), both Jenn and Laura made an effort to get together so Dad could meet their husbands (Matt and Andy, respectively). On Monday, Andy, Laura, and Matt (unfortunately, Jenn had to work) came over to hang out with Julie and to see Lyla. Well, ever since we moved to the GR, Laura has been talking up this restaurant called Yesterdog. It's a local hot dog restaurant that is popular among a small subculture here in the GR and even got a cameo in the movie American Pie. Apparently it was started in 1976 when Bill Lewis decided he wanted to build a better hot dog. I'm not sure what hot dogs he was trying to top but they must have been awful because Yesterdog's dogs are not anything to write home about (though they are getting plenty of press in this entry, I should get back on track).

Laura's been hyping Yesterdog for quite some time but Katherine has been pregnant so we haven't gone, until Monday. We braved snowy roads and bitter cold to venture out to this Easttown staple. I could see how the place would be awesome if it was 2 am (when GR bars close) and you were drunk, but at 4 pm on a Mondayit seemed like a dive. I got a Yesterdog and Cheddardog (Yesterdog........... $1.60 chili, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard... Cheddardog.......$1.90 chili, cheese). Toppings are generously dumped on top of the hot dogs so there really is no way to keep your hands clean while eating them (what do you expect for $3.50?).

Anyway, we had a good time hanging out and I'm glad we finally experienced Yesterdog (though I don't know if we'll be going back soon, especially because there are like three other hot dog restaurants that are supposedly worth checking out). Here's some pictures:



Post hot dog conversation:


Requisite Lyla picture (btw even though her head doesn't quite fit into that hat, I think she looks sooooo cute in it):

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hi Grandpa and Aunt Julie!!

Lyla got to meet new family today; Kevin's dad and sister are in town: Lyla's Grandpa Mike (or Grandpa Ring as is the tradition in the Ring line to call the paternal grandfather) and Aunt Julie arrived for a weekend visit. Grandpa lives in San Antonio, Texas and Julie lives in Sparta, Wisconsin. We don't have much planned for the weekend, just spending time catching up and marveling at how quickly snow can accumulate. Here's pictures of Lyla meeting Grandpa and Aunt Julie for the first time:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aunt Jess is here!!

Lyla (and Katherine and I) have another visitor this week, Katherine's BFF from high school and beyond: Jess. Jess has figured prominently in Katherine's life since high school and was a mainstay of our time in San Diego; so of course she's out here to visit and get to know the newest addition to Team Ring. She arrived via automobile on Saturday (San Diego to Chicago via plane; Chicago to Grand Rapids via automobile) and has enjoyed seeing our apartment, exploring East Grand Rapids, holding Lyla, watching Citizen Kane, getting sick, and eating good dinners.

Well, she hasn't enjoyed getting sick. Unfortunately, the combination of climate change and exposure to germs (both from me and from her fellow fliers) has rendered Jess under the weather. Boo. Hopefully, rest and medications will allow her to recover enough to enjoy the rest of her trip.

Here are the requisite pictures taken with Lyla:

Lyla looking skeptical upon meeting Jess for the first time (though appreciating that Jess's scarf matches her pacifier).
Lyla (still skeptical) sporting her pink, velour suit (baby hoodies!!! I love it!).
J, K, and L hanging on the couch (I think Jess is trying to teach gang signs to Lyla).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Legs

Of all of Lyla's awesome attributes, one of my favorites has to be her legs. We we visited the doctor back in December, they measured her and she was in the 50th percentile for weight and 99th percentile for length. Since then she's probably moved up in weight and definitely is leading the pack in length.

Most of the time you can't tell how tall/long she is because she's folded up nicely and hidden under cute outfits. But every once in a while she sill really stretch out and I'm constantly surprised at how long and strong her legs are. She's always pushing her legs out, whether it be during a diaper change (see picture), standing around (see picture), when digesting her lunch, or while sleeping (see picture), and it's quite amusing to see.

Just in the past week or so, Katherine and I both feel like she's doubled in size again and already looks too big for the swing that she sleeps in (we decided to transition her to her crib this weekend, wish us luck). Anyway, the kicks against my stomach (along with the headbutts and punches to the face) are cute and slightly uncomfortable (just like when Chuck Norris does it, except cuter) and just another attribute of this sweet little girl that I love.

C-ya!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tummy time 2008!!!

Lyla's liking tummy time more and more. Our friends the Gabas gave us this awesome tummy time mat/pillow/toys that is ergonomically designed for fun (and neck development). Here's Lyla in her latest installment of tummy time.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Lyla is fun.

Katherine, Lyla and I are having a lot of fun growing together as a family. Well, we assume Lyla's having fun because she doesn't cry a whole lot. Here's a glimpse of the Ring Family Players rehearsing for an upcoming public service announcement Lyla's been asked to film. (sorry the video is sideways)

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After rehearsal, Lyla went up for bath time (and mom and dad remembered to bring the camera). Here she is getting ready to undress (the green dino buddy is named Drew and the orange dino buddy is named Lyla):


And here she is in her tub. Yeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh Lyla! Woo woo! (yes, she's making her Chuck Norris face)


Good work baby.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And ACTION!!

When I lived in Alpharetta, Georgia as a teenager our neighbors had three small kids: Colin, Devon and Hailey. Colin was 7, Devon was 4, and Hailey was 1. Devon and I were good friends; she and I would hang out a lot and do things together like check the mail. One Valentine's Day she gave me a Show White and the Seven Dwarfs valentine which read, "Dear Kevin, you make me vomit. Love, Devon." Ever since, "you make me vomit" has been a term of endearment in my lexicon. Hailey was an adorable baby and one of the cute things she would do is whenever you would say, "Hailey, show me your scared face." she'd kind of pull her jaw down and shift her eyes to one side like something had startled her. Totally cute.

Well, I'd like to lead you to believe that Lyla is responding to cues when striking each of these poses, but she's not. She's just being her awesome self.

Show me you sleeping face:
Show me your non-plussed face:

Show me your I'm excited to see you face:

Show me your skeptical face:
Show me your Chuck Norris face:
Good work baby.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bath times are fun times... almost

The avid readers among you will remember that bath time did not start out as an enjoyable experience. After more practice and some adjustments to the bath time ritual, i think we're all figuring it out. Last night was the first time that Lyla took an entire bath without crying. I wouldn't go so far as to say that she enjoys it yet, but I think that day is not too far off. Probably the biggest change we've made (Katherine's suggestion... a mother's instinct is a force to be respected) is filling the tub with warm water high enough that Lyla is a little submerged in the sling that she sits in. I figure that the warmth of the water is far more soothing than the cold air in the bathroom on her naked little bottom. Katherine and I are getting quite good at cleaning her too: wipe the eyes, wipe the face, scrub the hands, then arms, then front, then legs, then wash the hair, then clean her bottom, rinse, lift her and wash her back and we're done. It's becoming quite a fluid process. The other boon we received last night was that Lyla slept 6 hours (from 11:30 pm to 5:30 am). We think that the bath helps and so we may make it a permanent part of the nightly routine.

I'm not going to post any pictures of bath time to go with the story (1. neither Katherine or I have had any free time during the bath to stop and take pictures; 2. Future Lyla probably wouldn't appreciate pictures of her in her birthday suit being posted, regardless of how cute she is). So instead, here's a recent video:

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chillin' with dad

The Rings had a quiet Jan. 1, spending most the day at home (Katherine ventured out for some early morning grocery shopping) cleaning, tackling various projects, and taking care of the baby (shocking! yes, babies require constant attention meaning that Katherine and I had to trade off most the day between watching the baby and getting things done).

Here's some of our major accomplishments:
-Grocery shopping (plus restocking diapers... and not a moment too soon... if you know what I mean... what I mean is that Lyla went to the bathroom a lot yesterday)
-Three loads of laundry
-Hair cut for Kevin
-Made/decorated/sampled gingerbread cookies (I valiantly volunteered for quality control)
-Rearranged Lyla's furniture to make more room for walking around with her late late at night (movement above a certain threshold puts baby to sleep)
-Rearranged furniture in the "green" room (our guest room/office that is neither green nor a room... well, it is a room, but it definitely isn't green)
-Filled out forms
-Watched movies (Stick It - a coming of age story about a young woman's struggles with her family and how she finds peace through gymnastics; The Rock - a coming of age story about a young FBI chemical weapons specialist who must infiltrate Alcatraz and disarm rockets)
-Other things I can't remember right now

By far, the highlight of my day was sitting with Lyla on my lap. Here's a video (isn't she an angel?)

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Happy New Year!!!

Here's a special message to all her friends and family:

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