Sunday, March 30, 2008

Where to begin?

Let's start with my favorite: Saturday morning, the moms and grandmom went garage sale-ing, leaving Emily, Allison, and Lyla home with the dads, uncles, and grandpa. What started out with laying the two youngest (Allison and Lyla) on the floor next to each other to allow them to interact. What it evolved into was all three cousins lying on the floor, uncle Kevin/daddy tickling/zerbering them, and Uncle Dave/daddy filming it complete with squirming, laughing, and drooling.

Here are the pictures and videos of the session:
Ally: I've got your hand!!
Ally: Lyla, look! I've got your hand!!
Lyla: What are you doing with my hand?
Lyla: Dad, she has my hand.

Where to begin? (continued)

More pictures and videos:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quick mid-trip picture!!!

Trip is going great! We're loving seeing family. Work conference is going really well. Tune in later this weekend for more stories and pictures. Here's an Easter family portrait to satisfy your cravings:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Milestones (Lyla's first trip)

Tomorrow kicks off a long series of firsts for Lyla:
  • Her first trip to Detroit
  • Her first long car ride (>1 hr)
  • Her first time spending the night away from home
  • Her first time in an airport
  • Her first time on an airplane
  • Her first time out of state
  • Her first time in Texas
  • Her first time riding in a car other than our Subaru
  • Her first time meeting Grandpa Jeff
  • Her first Easter!!! (she has a very pretty dress all picked out)
  • Her first time meeting Uncle Stephen (is the best!)
  • Her first time meeting Uncle Dave
  • Her first time meeting Aunt Faith
  • Her first time meeting cousins Emily and Allison
  • Her first time meeting Fei
  • Her first time meeting Uncle Matthew and Aunt Anna
  • Her first second time on an airplane
I'm sure there are going to be a ton more but those are the ones that come to mind. (BTW, the picture is of another recent first: Lyla's first time holding a banana.)

We leave tomorrow, spend the night with my cousin before flying out of Detroit Saturday. We'll spend the next 9 days in Dallas, hanging out with family and seeing friends (I'll have to do some work things in there somewhere), and then return a week from Monday.

Katherine and I are both really excited for the trip. This is our substitute Christmas with the Weir clan (since Lyla was born so close to Christmas, we chose not to try and go down to Texas then). We haven't seen my dad since January, Katherine's mom since December, Katherine's dad and brother Stephen since November, David/Faith/Emily/Allison/Fei/Matthew/Anna since September. And we're really excited for them all to get to spend time with Lyla (especially now that she's so alert and has developed a personality). I'm excited about the work conference. Needless to say, we've been looking forward to this for a long time and are grateful to all the family who is making the effort to come into town to see us.

We're also a little apprehensive. We've never loved traveling and have never traveled with a baby before. So if you don't mind, please pray that the trip goes well.

I think Lyla's excited but a little cautious at the same time. That list of firsts covers a lot of new territory. She's always been willing to try new things and I think she'll do great. I was able to take some pictures of her "getting ready" for the trip (I'm not sure what she's expecting Texas to be like... but somehow the bowl and spoon seem appropriate):

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!

Well, y'all, it finally happened. I turned 30. It feels exactly like 29 just a little bit tired-er. That's probably because Katherine threw me a birthday party and we ended up staying up until midnight!!! Yep, I'm 30.
Here's a list of the awesome presents I got: Tim Keller's The Reason For God; a book of Will Shortz NYT crossword puzzles; Nintendo Wii points; hot sauce; Men's Pocky; and (of course) cute Lyla!

This picture series was taken right as she woke up from her nap.

Friday, March 14, 2008

One year ago today

I asked Katherine this morning (during a very early and sleepy conversation) what she was doing one year ago today. Her answer: planning my birthday party. It was an interesting parallel between our lives then and our lives now, and the only parallel. One year ago today Lyla existed, we just didn't know it. Katherine suspected she might be pregnant, Kevin was ignorant. It wasn't until about a week later that we found out for sure. One year ago today, our life was bristling in anticipation of tearing out of the starting block, and we were ignorantly sitting around, getting ready to dress in green and drink beer with our friends.

If you had asked me one year ago where I'd be in a year I honestly would have said, "I don't know." Ask me today where I'll be in a year and the answer is "I don't know." But in reflecting on all of the ways that my life has changed in the past 365 days I cannot help but marvel that God not only knew every single thing that would happen but had determined it before time even existed. The one big difference between asking me that question last year and asking me that question today is that today (by the grace of God) I am able to answer "where ever God takes me." And I can rest in that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Lyla knows how to laugh!!!

So a few posts ago we informed you all that Lyla laughed for the very first time. She's only laughed once since then and only Katherine was there to witness it. Well, I just got home from work and was talking to my BIL Stephen (Stephen is the best!!!), I traded my phone for Lyla so Katherine could talk to her brother. I was walking around holding Lyla and asking her how her day was. I asked her if she played with mommy, if she had a fashion show and if she had taken a nap. For some reason I decided to try and create associations with each of the things I asked her to help her to learn what they are. To illustrate "nap" I made a fake snoring sound "honk pshew." When I said the "pshew," Lyla laughed. So I said it again and she laughed again. Said it again, laughed again. It went on like that for a good seven minutes. Fortunately Katherine got it on video. So here it is: (man this girl is awesome!!!!!)

Snow bunny

With Spring so teasingly close, Katherine and I have been getting more and more excited about being able to take Lyla outside. For Lyla's entire life, whenever we've taken her outside, it's been with her in her car seat, under a blanket, under a kind of fleece sleeping bag. Recently, if Lyla's awake when we're going out, she'll try and push the outer cover off of her face. And Katherine and I (being the bad guys) put it back over her head (after all, I'm no expert, but I think sub-20 degree temperatures aren't good for a baby). So warm weather means introducing Lyla to outside, blue skies, green grass, colorful flowers, tall trees... a whole new world.

For Christmas, Lyla received a cute little pink snow outfit, complete with ears and flaps that (when folded up to cover the ands and feet) look like paws. So cute!!! The problem, Lyla was way too tiny for it. The picture below was taken around Christmas, with Lyla sleeping peacefully inside the body of the suit, arms and legs flapping empty at the sides.

Fast forward to the beginning of March and you'll see that Lyla has grown quite a bit. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it isn't enough to fill out the suit yet to be practical. So tune in next winter for some serious one year old cuteness.

One other byproduct of Spring's imminent arrival is that all winter gear is on serious sale. For example, a full on winter coat that I considered buying in November for $60 at Target was on clearance this past week for $7. Now I'm no math wizard, but that's like 7/60th of the original cost. Taking full advantage of fractions, Katherine picked up a snow suit (sized for a one year old) at the local Meijer for some extremely reasonable price.

Lyla got super excited when she saw it, put it on and immediately hit the slopes. Here she is after a long day of snowboarding.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Safe baby handling lessons

These have been very helpful and improved the level of care we're providing for Lyla.

The pictures are from the book Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And for something completely different.

So, I know the main reason you're reading this right now is to discover what new and exciting levels of cuteness that Lyla is pioneering. And I can't disagree with your motivation, she really is something else and never ceases in blowing Katherine and me away. For example, last night after bath time, I was drying her off and going through the routine of getting her dressed and she kept talking to me about the different things we were doing (me [in my high-pitched daddy voice]: "are you ready for your diaper?", Lyla: "aaahgguhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr eeeeehhhhhhhhgggggooooooo" [followed by smiles and looking right at me]).

Given how high the joy-bar has been set by the pictures and videos, I am conflicted as I post about something other than Lyla's cuteness. Fortunately, I think I've chosen something that is comparable in terms of cuteness. As many of you know, Katherine and my nieces (Emily and Allison) are awesome (I could not ask for better cousins for Lyla). I am really really really really looking forward to spending time with them in about three weeks in Dallas (my company is hosting its Global CEO conference there March 26th through the 28th).

I'm not ashamed to admit that Emily holds a special place in my heart, I've been huge fan from the beginning. My SIL Faith also has a blog which I check about every 7 minutes. Yesterday she posted a video of Emily and David (my BIL) which is fun, cute, exciting and endearing. I'll try and embed it here; but if it doesn't work here's the link (this way you can check out all the other Da/Fa/Em/Al cuteness).

Sunday, March 2, 2008


March 1, 2008 9:55 pm - Lyla laughed for the first time.

Katherine and I were sitting on the couch talking to her and I asked her if she could say "eeee aaaah goo," which we've established means "I love mommy." So I said, "Lyla, can you say: eeee aaaah goo?" and she looked at me and let out a single laugh. Katherine and I were both kind of stunned but both recognized it as a distinct laugh. Man, it made us so happy, I mean pure joy. I quickly grabbed the camera to see if she'd do it again but she didn't. She did smile a lot and talk a lot and I captured it on this video. We can't wait to hear her laugh again.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Award-winning cuteness

Last night our church hosted a Hawaiian party. The idea was to combat this horrible winter by pretending we're in a place like Hawaii. The party was a lot of fun and very well executed, but the fluorescent lights and cold tile floor of the church basement were no substitute for the sun and sand of Hawaii. Having to fake a warm climate is something Katherine and I never had to do in San Diego. But like I said, the party was a lot of fun and it was great to see Michiganders' interpretation of beach apparel.

Katherine was part of the planning sub-committee responsible for food and so for the past three nights has been pretty busy shopping, cooking, setting up and serving. The food was awesome. We had pulled pork, BBBQ sandwiches ("the extra B stands for BYOBB. What's THAT extra 'B' for? That's a typo." Twenty points if you can guess the reference.), teriyaki meatballs, mixed fruit skewers, chips, salsa, fruity (non-alcohol) drinks and a dessert spread that would make your mouth water (and pancreas explode).

Everyone got dressed up in their island garb. All Katherine and I had to do was go into our closet where we're keeping our summer clothes and pull out some of the things we used to wear in San Diego. Other people interpreted the mandate to dress up and wore outlandish Hawaiian-themed costumes. The primary interpretation was nerdy tourist, pretty much summed up by a loud shirt tucked into shorts and complimented by dark socks and sandals.

We weren't really planning anything for Lyla but Thursday night we were over a friends house (where Katherine and her co-committee members had prepped the food) and I mentioned that if I had had time and motivation I would have fashioned a tiny coconut-bikini for Lyla to wear. Our host says, "Hold on." and disappears into her house for a few minutes. She came back with a tiny coconut bikini and grass skirt which she loaned to Lyla. Um, awesome. Although it did make me face issues regarding Lyla wearing skimpy outfits far sooner than I was prepared for.

For entertainment, the organizers had a costume contest with a kids division and an adults division. To the right you can see the two winners:

For the adults - Pastor Tim, dressed as a nerdy, Japanese tourist (complete with a fanny pack, ridiculous glasses and a giant map stuck in his shirt pocket)

and for the kids - Lyla Ring!!!!! Dressed as an island native. Woo woo!! From the moment we arrived, everyone kept looking at her and saying she was a shoe-in for the contest. I felt kind of bad because there were a ton of other kids who had also dressed up in fun and festive garb and would have at least been aware that they won (not that Lyla's three-month old cognitive skills aren't developing, I just don't think she yet comprehends competition and the concept of winning). But someone reassured me that it's probably better that Lyla won because no one can argue about a cute baby winning, whereas if one seven year old one, the other ones might have questioned why they won their friend won the prize and they didn't. Speaking of prizes, the award for winning was a lovely cake decorated with an island theme. Being a family that's dominated by a diabetic and a (non-solid food eating) baby, we gave the cake to the family that loaned us the outfit in the first place. I'm sure their three kids and two cousins who were spending the night with them enjoyed it more than we would have.

Other events included a limbo contest and coconut bowling (we did not limbo and I did participate in the coconut bowling event). They also had a photography station with props for taking pictures. So I'll leave you with two pictures of Lyla-cakes water skiing. Enjoy!!

Last Last week wrap-up: Fun times with Jeremie!!!

*The events of this post occurred last Saturday*So last Saturday, I took my cousins Jake and Jeremie to the motorcycle show in Grand Rapids. We had a fun day seeing custom motorcycles and getting as much free stuff as we could from the vendors. Afterward, Jake and Jeremie were invited to go to the GR minor league hockey game with their other cousins Matt and Jenn. I guess Jeremie was tired and doesn't like hockey that much because he said he didn't want to go to the game. So Katherine and I invited him to spend the evening with us.

We had a yummy dinner, Katherine made a new recipe: Mexican eggplant. Then we watched our The Incredibles DVD. It was a lot of fun. The great thing about the evening was that it was the first time that Jeremie really was comfortable and interested in Lyla. At previous family gatherings he hadn't really engaged the baby, but Saturday he was looking at her, talking to her, holding her hand, reciting lines from the movie to her, smiling at her... it was great.

The next day we went over to my aunt and uncle's for lunch and Jeremie again was super excited to see the baby. It was awesome!

For those of you who know Jeremie, you know what a great kid he is. His enjoyment of life is such a joy to be around. Seeing him light up when he's around Lyla just made my heart explode. Tell me after looking at this pictures and videos that yours doesn't do the same.