Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ellie's Baptism, pt. 2

There are so many things that have made Charlottesville our home (and not just a place we live) for the past five years. One we discovered only in the past year has been our church, Westminster Presbyterian. Steve and Rachel joined this church just before she died, and some of Rachel's ashes are buried in the Memorial Garden of the church. Phil and I wanted Ellie to be baptized in this church as a part of this greater community, and in a place with so much personal significance. The pastor, Jim, honored our request for a small family prayer in the Memorial Garden before the actual service and baptism. I can't quite describe the empty places in my heart that wish Rachel was here with us to meet Ellie. I know Rachel is Ellie's guardian angel, watching and singing to Ellie in her dreams, but I can't help but miss Rachel even more on days like this.

The day was beautiful, and our family and friends gathered before the service in the garden. Ellie is incredibly blessed to have Steve as her godfather (or her padrino as she'll call him) and our dear friend Julie as her godmother. Ellie was surrounded with nothing but love on this very special day.

During the service, Ellie was an all-star! She slept soundly amidst the thunderous organ and the choir's singing. We were a bit nervous when it came time for the actual baptism ceremony. Despite Jim dousing her with enough water to cover her head, though, which startled her awake for a moment, Ellie promptly snuggled back into my arms and went back to sleep. Not a peep! She was too funny and apparently very sleepy that Sunday morning. She wore a Waldron family christening gown bought in Ireland by my maternal grandmother for her first of 14 grandchildren. Six of us wore it at our baptisms, including me and my brother. I was thrilled it was still in beautiful condition and that Ellie could continue the tradition by wearing it.

Our friends and family that joined us made this day a special one, not just for Ellie, but for us.

My sleepy girl:
Check out the baby booties! They were part of the christening outfit and looked like ballet slippers;):

Our pastor, Jim:

Yay for genetic counselors! Shawn, D, Ellie, and Julie:
Shout out for the History department;) Jason and Holly and Bob and Danielle:

Katherine, Jonathan, and Ellie
Mike, Shawn, and baby Sophia
Ellie sends hugs to everyone!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ellie's Baptism Weekend, pt. 1

With our impending move to Princeton looming in just a few short weeks, Phil and I felt strongly about baptizing Ellie in our beloved Charlottesville. So this weekend, we had a wonderful few days with family and friends to celebrate this important life event. Grandma Connie arrived on Thursday, and the Dong family arrived on Friday. On Saturday, Ellie went for her first stroll on Grounds. (Mr. Jefferson's university does not call it campus.) The lawn at UVA is just beautiful and was perfect for a few family photos to commemorate Ellie's visit to Grounds.

Ellie really is in this photo, but you can't see her as she is tucked away in the BOB stroller!

We were thrilled to have my brother's girlfriend, Katherine, visiting Charlottesville for the first time, too.
Ellie tried to stay awake with all the excitement, but just couldn't keep her eyes open for a picture with Dad and Grandma.

Steve brought his labs, Dawkins and Rugby, along for the walk. No family photos would be complete without the boys!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Smiles and Sleep

A few photos of Ellie's newly acquired ability to smile (purposefully)...

And our favorite Ellie pose: falling asleep with her arms under her chin when she is laying on top of me. It is such an incredibly sweet pose that we just love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

VIPs from DC

Since Cville is a short two hour drive from DC, some of our favorite people from our nation's capital came to visit. Balkees, my college roommate, was visiting DC from Montreal, and Emily, another friend from Chapel Hill, lives in DC. They drove down to spend the day with us and brought homemade muffins, fruit from a local farm, and champagne for a brunch extravaganza! Along with Steve, Dawkins, and Rugby, we enjoyed a wonderful Sunday afternoon together. Balkees had just returned from a few months in Cambodia and brought Ellie gorgeous silk booties. I can't wait to put them on her. Balkees decided that the word for Aunt in Arabic is difficult to pronounce, but is close to the Latin word for Aunt, Amita. So Ellie will just have to call her Amita Balkees. Here she is with Amita:

Emily loves babies and spent lots of the afternoon holding Ellie. Emily is a fellow knitter and knit Ellie the sweetest gray-blue sweater, which she'll need for those cold Jersey winters! Emily was convinced that Ellie was going to be a boy when I was pregnant, but added three pale pink buttons to complete the sweater for Ellie;) Ellie is going to be the best dressed child. Thank you for coming, guys! We love you!

A few days later, Marcela, another VIP from DC, came to meet Ellie. Marcela and JC are good friends whose daughter, Ema, is Ellie's "godsister". (Steve is also Ema's padrino!) JC and Ema couldn't make the trip, but were SO happy to have Marcela visiting for the afternoon. She brought a delicious lunch for us and Steve. Ellie knew right away Marcela was an all-star mama and fell fast asleep in her arms. Marcela is an extrodinary knitter (I have such talented friends) who knit Ellie her first kimono. It is a gorgeous dark brown with a green belt. Thank goodness we're moving north where Ellie can wear her fabulous knitted creations. We love you, Marcela, it was wonderful to see you!

So far, Ellie has been a pretty good sleeper. But after a few busy days, we try to get some extra sleep when we can. Here is Phil sneaking in a nap with Ellie!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Vino Veritas

Phil, Steve, and I took Ellie to Veritas Vineyard in Afton, VA for an evening picnic. The grounds of this winery are just beautiful and they have live music once a month in the summer. With a delicious assortment of bread, cheese, cured meats, and cookies for dessert, we packed up Ellie in the BOB stroller and wheeled her out onto the grounds of the vineyard. On a gorgeous Virginia evening, with a Beatles cover band playing music, we enjoyed dinner al fresco with a few hundred other revelers. Ellie got to wear her first bracelet when Uncle Steve put his "over 21" bracelet on his goddaughter, proving that yes, she was at least 21 (ummm, days?). We couldn't decide: is Ellie bigger than the wine bottle or vice versa?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Funny girl

A friend told me that one of the things she didn't expect about becoming a parent was how funny babies can be. That's not to say hilarity ensues 24/7...i.e. Phil did not find it humorous when she had her first episode of projectile vomiting on him. I disagree, it was sort of funny, but I digress. Even in the first few weeks, Ellie amuses us often with her expressions and faces. We can't capture all of them in photos (not for lack of trying) but here are a few from this week:

Kisses from Daddy

Is she worried about something or just surprised?
The many faces of Ellie
Not really a funny face, but just a cute pose on the blanket that Nannie knit for her. We love Ellie's first tie-dyed outfit, direct from Ashville, NC. Thanks Bob and Marcia! I think orange might be a good color for her!

"People, seriously, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: No photos before 7 a.m. Please."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th weekend: a brewery, bathtime, and a visit from Uncle Jonathan

My brother, Jonathan, came to visit over July 4th weekend. Let's be honest, he didn't come to see Phil and me. He flew down to Cville to meet Ellie. It isn't exaggerating to say that it was love at first sight. Ellie did greet him at the airport with a few screams (i.e. Mom and Dad were negligent and didn't change my diaper immediately!) She quickly calmed down on the car ride home from the airport sitting next to her uncle, the guy who looks a lot like Mom:) The four of us spent most of Friday at our house, letting Jonathan get to know Ellie. She seemed pretty interested in what he had to say...

On Saturday the 4th, we decided to celebrate the holiday by taking Ellie to her first brewery. How very American of us! We went to the Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA with our friends Mur and Katie. It was a gorgeous day in the Virginia countryside. Ellie did very well and slept for most of the afternoon. It was her longest outing yet! Great food, friends, and family.

Ellie also had her first real bath over the weekend. It was quite an event. I'm sure in the future, it will be less of a production, but today it took the following to give our little girl a bath: two towels, two washcloths, two kinds of baby shampoo, two concerned parents with four hands, and one uncle with two cameras. (We'll get better at this with more practice, I'm sure.) Most importantly, she really liked bathtime. No major meltdowns, who-hoo!

On Sunday afternoon before Jonathan left, Ellie had some very awake time. We took a few family photos with Ellie wearing her new cherry shirt. (Thanks, Uncle Jonathan!) It was a wonderful July 4th weekend with much to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Does this onesie make my butt look big?

Ellie had her two week appointment at the pediatrician today. She weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs. 4 oz. She has been eating very well (obviously her mother's daughter). Solid work, little girl!

We've also been taking lots of walks outside, enjoying Ellie's first Charlottesville summer. Here she is in her new hat before we went out. She is usually awake when we start our walks, but quickly falls asleep in her stroller. It's wonderful that she likes the movement of being in the stroller. I am thrilled that the weather has been nice enough to spend time outside almost everyday!