Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Cleo, this is technically your second Christmas, but to some degree, it is your first. At least as far as you're aware. So far, you are loving it. Later today we're packing up and heading over the mountains so you can see your grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

RIP Randy

Randy, though you were only with us a short time (probably due to cheap manufacturing processes) you were well loved and will be missed.
Thanks for playing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Sweet lady baby,

Today you are one year old. Here's a note from your great grandma Gwen that I thought we should save for posterity:

"Sorry I have not responded to the invitation for Cleo's birthday. I am trying to recover from some severe rib injury I received when I rolled my snowmobile, and believe me it's not going away very fast. It threw me back onto a berm of ice and knocked the wind out of me. I was gasping like a guppy out of water. Anyway, it's a good story for Cleo that her great grandmother couldn't attend her birthday party because of sledding injuries."

Cleo, this is a good story for you to know!

Tonight your daddy and I put you to sleep listening to the Devandra Banhart album that we listened to on your first night in this world. While in the hospital, it played on loop all night long. I barely slept because I was nervous I would roll on you and was constantly checking to confirm you were still alive. You were (and are!) so perfect and beautiful.

So much has changed in just this one year: your obvious growth and development, and subtler changes in myself and your dad. You've changed us so much in the sweetest of ways.

The last few days have been very nostalgic for me, remembering the days leading up to your birth. I loved being pregnant. I was relatively comfortable and I felt beautiful. I loved feeling you move inside me, and watching my stomach grow along with you over those months was so exciting.

When your due date came and went, I still felt confident in us. When the doctors said that the amniotic fluid was low and they'd have to induce, I was scared, but still knew we could do it together. As is chronicled on this blog, a few methods were tried for induction. They ultimately gave us pitocin to kick-start labor. I was frightened of the pitocin, worried that the contractions would be too much for you, and worried if I could handle the pain. Cleo, it was an absolute miracle that the pitocin was turned off. A nurse came in and read your stats from the monitor and was concerned about your vitals. She turned off the pitocin and went to find Maggie the midwife to discuss the readings. During that time, my contractions actually kicked in. When Maggie reviewed everything, she thought you were totally fine. And, since we were progressing, she didn't restart the pitocin. I asked her if this is normal, and she told me that essentially, once pitocin is started it is NOT turned off.

This was thrilling, as we were allowed to continue labor and delivery exactly as I had prayed it would happen - no meds! Just you and me kid. And your dad - he was amazing.

When you finally joined us on the outside, it was such a crazy feeling. To some degree I felt dazed - tired from the exertion of labor - and almost shocked at finally meeting you. When you came, I remember looking down and seeing you were a girl. Even though you'd been inside me all those months, it really was like meeting you for the first time. You were so beautiful and fascinating. Your daddy cried and I think he was surprised at how emotional of a reaction he had. We loved you immediately.

When we came home from the hospital we had a bit of a rocky start. You had lost weight, which is normal, but you weren't regaining it fast enough and the doctors were concerned about you. The first few weeks were very stressful as we had to take you to the doctor over and over and over. That stress, coupled with the natural tiredness that comes from having a newborn was a lot to deal with.

The doctors had us supplement your breastmilk feedings with formula, which broke my heart a bit because I felt like I was letting you down by not making enough milk for you. Your pediatrician prescribed a medicine to boost my milk supply that ended up causing pretty severe post-partum depression. My first two weeks with you before I took that medicine were amazing. Even with worries about your weight, I sensed that you were just fine and I was ridiculously happy! I specifically recall one morning while your grandma Chris was with us. I took a shower and broke down crying because I was so happy. It is a beautiful memory for me, poignant and tender, oozing with love for you.

Due to the medicine, the next four weeks were a struggle. On top of making me sad, the medicine made me really tired. I cried when your daddy left the house to go to work. I loved you and was thrilled by your presence the whole time, but your naps were particularly hard. Those were the times when I had no distraction from my depression and things felt the most overwhelming. When we finally realized it was the medicine making me feel that way, it was such a relief! Coming off of that medicine was like sun breaking through storm clouds. My happiness returned, and again my tears were for joy.

I feel like we've spent this last year on an ocean together. The waves come and some you ride out and some knock you off your feet for a bit. At each stage, just when I think I have you figured out, you move on to something new. Each new thing is refreshing and exciting. I want this voyage to last forever.

Cleo, you inspire me. I'm constantly thrilled to be a part of your life. I don't know what kind of woman you will know me as in the future, but today as a new mother, I'm incredibly blessed and happy. I love you more than I can express in words.

Happy birthday, my precious girl.

I love you,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Hat

We got you a new hat and boots this weekend. So cute! Plus you can't get the boots off and the hat ties under your chin - so we can keep you warm whether you like it or not.


Babs - we went to the zoo for the first time today. Your favorite animals were the penguins.

Friday, November 27, 2009

First Thanksgiving

Cleo - you ate so much dinner you looked like you were going to explode. When you were finally done eating, you slumped to the side in your chair and your mouth sagged open to reveal a partially chewed piece of dinner roll. It was very funny.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Walking with Randy

Riding Dan

Did you know that you can order these online now?

She got her hairs did: Cleo's first pony tail.

First time dancing on daddy's feet.

Cleo phone home.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Surfin' Bird

Cleo teaching herself how to surf using the tray from her high chair.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cleo sent her first email today!

I'm the luckiest mom ever! Notice how she practically spelled "hi Mom" in the subject line. She's totally a genius.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One month away. Otherwise known as: 11 Months!

Cleo -

You're 11 months old, and as always, I'm floored at how quickly this time has passed. I recall days when you were first born where I wondered if I'd have the strength to get through your babyhood, and yearned for the future when you would be three years old, and in my mind, something I could handle. Now I live on the other end of the spectrum, wanting to slow down each day, each minute, to stretch it as long as possible with you. You change so much, so quickly. Each day bringing a new skill or expression.

For all intents and purposes, you are walking. Well, I shouldn't go that far. You are stepping. You stand up on everything and take several steps before falling down. Your current record is seven steps in a row. You have really amazing balance and you fall very well. By that, I mean that you fall gracefully, and have the muscle control to stop yourself from falling in a way that might hurt you.

You are also hysterically funny. You continue to make the scrunched nose face, which makes me think that if you looked up mischievous in the dictionary that your sassy smile would be there. You always seem to be having a great time. You're extremely outgoing and haven't exhibited any shyness of strangers or fear of anything really. You seem to be more interactive than most of your friends, but I say that with the caveat that I'm extremely biased, and it's possible that I just recognize your subtleties.

You're starting to say a few words. Distinctly and consistently you've been saying hi and often wave along with it. I also hear you say Daddy and we think you've said Dan. We've heard you say Mom, but I still am not sure that it's in relation to me instead of just making a noise. You continue to sign for milk, more and all done. I've been lazy about teaching you other words because these seem to be working well for us. The cutest thing is that you've learned to say moo when we ask you what the cow says. Seriously, it's really cute.

I have more to say, but at this point am holding out in anticipation of your Birthday post. Suffice it to say that the party planning has begun.

Sweet lady baby - I love you so much! As your Daddy often says, you are such a cool person!

I love you,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Correction: A Guide to Pretentious Parenting - Volume 1, Issue 11

Cleo, technically Annie Hall was not your first costume party. You went to a party last October dressed as a fetus.

A Guide to Pretentious Parenting - Volume 1, Issue 11

Cleo and Eli went to their first costume party yesterday. Enjoy!

The inspiration photo:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Ledbetter

Last weekend Cleo's Grandma and Grandpa Ledbetter came for a visit. Cleo had an amazing time, in case you can't tell by the picture.

In other news, Cleo got her first balloon, thanks to a very nice checker at Trader Joe's. She LOVES it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rama Lama Ding Dong - Ten Months!

Babs -

Well, I'm a bit late on the ten month post, but it was worth the wait. Yesterday, you took your first step! You stood up, holding on to the coffee table, turned toward me, let go of the table and took a step. You stopped, steadied yourself and then sat down. Congrats my love! I'm so proud of you! You are incredibly nimble and daring. You could be a stunt baby.

You are learning so rapidly it is overwhelming. We've been showing you a bit of sign language to help you communicate. You now know and use three signs: milk, more and all done. I'm planning on adding sleepy and/or nap to your repertoire, in the hopes you can cue me in when you're ready to rest. We'll see how it goes. You also clap and have blown kisses a few times. A lovely mom friend swears she heard you say "no" and "hi" last week. This morning I thought you said "more" while you were signing it. Baby, you are incredible.

Speaking of kisses, giving me and your daddy kisses is one of your favorite activities. When you first wake up in the morning we bring you in bed with us for milk and a cuddle. Once that's done, you're ready to play. You go back and forth between us bestowing kisses and giving me zerberts. Your kisses are "fresh" as your daddy says, as you haven't yet learned how to pucker, so they are open mouthed and involve drool. That being said, they are the sweetest kisses in the world! Making them even sweeter, is the fact that you've just started sleeping all the way through the night! It took just a few nights of sleep training and you had it down.

You investigate everything thoroughly and especially love cords. We have to keep a close eye on you all the time. Due to your slender frame, you can squeeze into small areas, giving you access to things we thought were protected by strategic furniture arrangement. I can only hope that your interest level in off-limits items will wane with age. Probably not, but I can certainly hope.

Babs, you rock. You are the highlight of all my days. You are funny, smart and incredibly cute. I love watching you learn and grow.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleo's First Show: Cleo Rocks Out, Right Outta Heah!

Posted by: Cal

On Friday Cleo went to her first live show: Visqueen performing live at Easy Street Records on Queen Anne.
Cleo threw on her best "Johnny Cash Folsom Prison" onesie and black corduroy leggings to get ready to rock out for the evening.
It was running dangerously close to her bedtime (7pm) and the band hadn't gone on yet, but Cleo powered through because she's that big of a Visqueen fan.
Finally the band comes onstage, and Cleo's clapping her hands in that almost-clapping-more-like-finger-crunching baby-clap kinda way. Visqueen goes into their first song, and, um, it's pretty loud. Stacia's holding her hands over Cleo's ears. But Cleo wants none of this. She wants to ROCK! R. O. C. K. Exclamation point. She's shoving Stacia's hands away, but me, knowing that she needs to have the sound muffled, and, slightly nervous that she'll leave this show with permanent hearing damage, am adamant about covering her ears. She's still pushing our hands away. So we give her a few seconds of pure Visqueen bliss, until we cover her head-holes again. And then she pushes our hands away, and so on and so forth for the course of the next three songs.
As we figure out that she's less likely to throw fists if we just plug her ears with our fingers instead of cupped hands, a nice couple, who's also brought their kid to the show, brings over their chopper phones for Cleo to use. We feel like since it was such a nice gesture, we need to try. And we know what's going to happen, and, yep, the phones get yanked right off. And now it's 7:30, Cleo hates us and her ear distractions, and she wants to go to bed. So, we go.
She'll have plenty of other chances to see the band

Monday, September 28, 2009


Cleo -

Singing to your baby is a natural part of parenting. Over the months we've developed our own lullaby. In case you're curious when you're older, and in case I've forgotten by that time, I thought I'd write down the lyrics for posterity. The verses vary according to guests and who we've seen each day, but these are the most consistent ones.

Sweet lady baby don't you cry, you're in mommy's arms.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, it is time for bed.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, all you need to know is that mommy loves you so.

Sweet lady baby don't you cry, daddy's arms are strong.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, daddy loves to hug.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, all you need to know is that daddy loves you so.

Sweet lady baby don't you cry, Dan is standing guard.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, he'll eat up your mess.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, all you need to know is that Dan loves you so.

Sweet lady baby don't you cry, Eli is your friend.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, he loves to play.
Sweet lady baby don't you cry, all you need to know is that Eli loves you so.

I love you Babs!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seattle Baby

A few weekends ago Cal and I decided to take Cleo for a nice afternoon walk to get some coffee. Half way to the coffee shop it started raining heavily. The kind of rain that Seattlites rarely see. For the record, we tried to put Cal's hat on Cleo, but she's not into hats these days.

Now that we're officially into fall, Cleo may need to reconsider the hat issue.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eli Attacks!

Cleo and Eli spend a lot of playtime together, especially now that they are neighbors. We figure they need to learn to play together, so eye gouging is generally the only prohibited activity. One day, there was an accidental tackle combined with some teething discomfort that led to Eli crying and attempting to suckle Cleo's face. She seemed to find it amusing, despite the trail of drool on her cheek.
Ahh, the things kids do!