Thursday, December 27, 2007

Baby's First Christmas

Though Violet thoroughly enjoyed her first Christmas, I think it's safe to say that this year her mama and dad enjoyed it more! We spent Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Stickney's, along with Aunt Kristin and Uncle Mat. Our gift exchange there was Violet's first run at unwrapping and she took to it right away, particularly the plucking of bows from paper (as seen in the first two photos above). After a late night there, Eric and I stayed up even later wrapping Violet's gifts - an event prompted by procrastination that turned out to be yet another sweet, sentimental part of Christmas as parents.

Christmas morning started off with a trip downstairs to see what Santa had left for Violet under the tree: a soft, floppy stuffed horse that - sprawled out - can serve as a playmat, and a wooden activity arch. Both were a big hit. After breakfast, the three of us adjourned to the couch to bask in sunshine and Christmas music, which lulled us into a nice nap. The afternoon included a walk with Atticus, and of course, more presents. And it's not over yet . . . we head to Eden to celebrate Christmas/New Year's with the rest of the Swartz family this weekend.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Decorating the tree was never as much fun as it was this weekend with Violet. After the ceremonial hanging of the first ornament on Violet's first Christmas tree, I popped her in the pouch and we all decorated the tree together. Yes, even Atticus was afoot (although not much help), as he hates to be left out of anything these days. Violet was fascinated with the whole process - from removing the ornaments from their boxes to their placement on the tree, and participated with studious concentration sprinkled with lots of smiles until sleep overtook her. If only she had succumbed so easily at two o'clock this morning . . .

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Many Faces of Violet

Our Christmas card photo shoot went so well we had a hard time deciding which shot to send! Here are a few of our favorites that didn't quite make the cut, but were too good not to share.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All Together Now

As is tradition, Violet spent her first Thanksgiving with family - and lots of it. Much of the extended Swartz family (Grandma and Grandpa Swartz, Aunt Meagan, Uncle Donny, Aunt Amy, Uncle Marco and cousin Giacomo) joined the extended Stickney family (Grandma and Grandpa Stickney, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Mat) in Boise for the feasting. Uncle Kyle and Annett were greatly missed. There was one surprise guest, however, all the way from the North Pole! We're not sure whether Violet whispered any Christmas wishes to Santa while on his lap, but she certainly enjoyed tugging on that long white beard. Grandpa Swartz mysteriously disappeared shortly before the man in the red suit showed up . . . but there was no shortage of photos taken to commemorate Violet and Giacomo's first visit with Santa for anyone who missed it.

Violet's introduction to her first cousin, Giacomo, was equally adorable. As evidenced by the photos above, these two hit it off right away. We're all looking forward to watching them grow up together.

The last shot above was taken out at the Festival of Trees in downtown Boise the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas is coming! We can't wait to watch Violet enjoy the holidays. Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, Christmas shopping - we're looking forward to it all. And with only 26 days until Christmas, we'd better get started!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sweet Pea

Violet celebrated her first Halloween dressed as a pea pod! Initially, she wasn't sure about the whole costume concept, but warmed up to the idea and was happy to 'trick or treat' at the homes of a few close friends and neighbors, despite the fact that no actual treats were obtained this year. We enjoyed perfect fall weather - brisk but not too cold - and wrapped up the evening across the street with our friends Ralph and Arlene, where Violet was mesmorized by the flames from the small fire they had going in their front yard (as well as Ralph's gravelly voice and heavy New York accent). We're looking forward to her next major holiday first - Thanksgiving! The extended Swartz clan (with the exception of Kyle and Annett, who unfortunately can't make it from Germany ;) will be joining us and the Stickney family in Boise for T-day in just a few weeks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stop and Smell the Baby

Violet was twelve weeks old this past Saturday, a milestone which also marked the end of my maternity leave. It's hard to believe how quickly these first months have passed, especially in light of how little of that time we've spent sleeping! Violet has changed so much, and she's not the only one. Parenthood is a truly humbling experience - one that has made me reassess myself, my priorities, and certainly my preconceptions about parenthood. I make an effort every day to absorb as much of it as I can . . . to be present in each moment I spend with her, even if - especially if - that moment happens to be spent swaying in the dark in the wee hours of the morning, my head bent to breathe in the sweet scent of the baby snuggled into my neck. This is not to imply that we have spent the past few months in some sort of enlightened state of bliss. (Hardly!) But I try, with more success on some days than others, to let go of frustration, desparation, and my list of 'things to do', and just be with her. Because it really does all go by so fast.

Monday morning, I lingered at Serenity Infant Care, where Violet will spend her weekdays now, for more than an hour before leaving her in someone else's arms while I went to work. Turns out the transition was much more difficult for her dad and I than it was for her; she was comfortable there from the start. She protests only their periodic attempts to get her to take a bottle - she's never been shy about her opposition to any alternatives to breastfeeding. She doesn't mind waiting for my visit at lunchtime to eat, though, and I look forward to being with her in the middle of my day, and watching her interact with this other environment and the other little people in it.

She continues to amaze us every day. The shots are above are of Violet since our last post (a month ago - where did the time go??) We can't wait to see what the coming months bring!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I maintain that our species has been sustained by babies' smiles. Those first smiles penetrate the fog of the first six weeks of parenting a newborn, and no doubt have saved many infants from being deposited curbside for, my Grandma would say, the gypsies to pick up. Violet has been gracing us with her already irresistible grin for a couple of weeks now. It's a powerful thing, that smile - prevailing over even the most sleepless of nights when she turns it on in the morning.

She's doing so well. We struggled with reflux for several weeks, but seem to have gotten it under control now. She's expected to outgrow it within a year, and in the meantime we'll manage it with meds. The reflux hasn't slowed her down a bit, though; she keeps growing, and growing . . . (check out those chins!) She interacts more with us and with her environment every day, recently starting to 'talk.' Of course her parents find her coos more captivating than any other conversation. Even at three o'clock in the morning.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Room of Her Own

Photos of the nursery are somewhat anticlimactic after the arrival of Violet herself, but here they are! It was essentially completed a week or two after Violet was born. The only things we are still waiting on are the sheer panels for the windows; those should be up later this month. We're very happy with the way it all came together - it's a great representation of our vision for a period-appropriate remodel of the house. While the rest of the remodel is still on hold, Violet's room is our refuge. At least until she's a teenager and decides she wants to paint it black, a la the Stones.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We Welcome with Love . . . Violet Josephine

As more timely announced by her aunt Kristin, our daughter, Violet Josephine, was born on August 4th! Though she didn't make her appearance until 5 days after her estimated due date, once she was on her way she didn't waste any time. Labor began late Saturday morning, and progressed more quickly than we had expected. (No complaints here!) Although it was certainly intense, we felt our Confident Birthing class prepared us well, and labored at home for as long as possible. Violet was born at 4:34 p.m., less than an hour after we arrived at the hospital! She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. She and I were both discharged, healthy and happy, less than 24 hours later.

It's hard to believe Violet is already two weeks old. Although not much of the past two weeks has consisted of sleep, it's been such a wonderful time for us. We're all doing well. Violet was nursing vigorously within an hour of her birth, and keeping that up, grew an inch and surpassed her birth weight by the time she was ten days old. She is beautiful, sweet, and absolutely fascinating. Of course Eric and I are completely enamored with her. Atticus, too, is captivated by Violet. He's very concerned any time she cries, and he's always interested in the state of her diaper. Violet now joins Atticus on his evening constitutional each night, snuggled in her sling . . . where she inevitably falls asleep.

While we certainly didn't intend to deprive our friends and family of a proper introduction to our baby girl, the three of us (and Atticus, of course) have enjoyed spending the days following her birth immersing ourselves in our new family. We appreciate your patience. Now that we are slowly (and somewhat reluctantly) reentering the 'real world,' we hope to be better about keeping in touch, and will do our best to keep the blog updated - particularly with photos of Violet - regularly.

Thanks to you all for your warm wishes. We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fashionably Late

We've arrived at our estimated due date, and the guest of honor appears to have opted not to make her grand entrance just yet! The nursery is done, with the exception of delivery of two chairs which has been delayed for another week or two. We'll post photos of the completed room once those have arrived, but in the meantime here's a sneak peek of the closet/changing area in this 40 week shot. Hopefully our next post announcing her arrival won't be far behind!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Before . . .

With less than three weeks 'til our due date, we're finishing up the nursery and looking forward to meeting its future occupant! The room isn't a big one - just 10 x 13.5, but we love the way it's turning out. No photos of that yet, as there's still much work to be done, but in the meantime here are some 'before' shots for reference. The top photo was taken from the doorway of the room looking southwest; the other was taken from the southwest corner of the room facing the east and north walls.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Still Growing . . .

At thirty weeks, we're into the third trimester (and I'm counting the days until we're out of it!). Our checkup today confirmed that our baby girl is growing right on schedule. I am also growing, although less proportionately than I would prefer. A victim of pregnancy-induced swelling, the lower half of my body has expanded exponentially in recent weeks. Think cankles. Then think bigger. Then have a drink for me.

Of course the important thing is that baby and I are both healthy, which my doctor assures me (in spite of my enlarged lower extremities and the hip pain that keeps me up half the night) that we are. And we're managing the aforementioned afflictions with fun accessories like compression stockings and a recliner I refer to as "Hagrid." Good times, this third trimester.

Don't get me wrong, there's also a lot to enjoy about this stage. She's so active right now, and I'm able to feel so much more of that as she grows. She keeps me company everywhere I go! Eric is able to feel her bumping around too, and now that we can easily see her moving, watching my belly keeps us entertained often. We're also enjoying all of our planning for her arrival: childbirth classes started last week and we hit the antique stores last weekend, scoring a walnut side table and an amazing Aladdin lamp for her room. I'm still reading as much as I can get through on all baby-related subjects; some of my favorites are listed in the Recommended Reading links to the left. The central air conditioning has been installed, so we're all set for summer. Meanwhile, we continue to whittle away at my to-do list . . .

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Graduate

Our soon-to-be brother-in-law, Mat, graduated from Boise State University last weekend with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, emphasis on Archaeology. In addition to his full course load, Mat has worked some crazy hours (imagine 5:00 am on many a Saturday morning) over the past few years. We're proud of him and all his hard work - Congratulations, Mat!

More congratulations are in order as Kristin and Mat have set a date for their wedding: June 21, 2008. Mat's really already part of the family, the ceremony is just a formality. ;)