April 2011

Monthly Archive

family + fairies in the forest

Posted by lynn on 29 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: family, friends, melina, nalani



Late last month we took the girls on a road trip up the coast to visit friends in Mendocino. Melina had only met Julia (almost 6) as an infant, and had never met Miranda (3). She met Cassandra, the fancifully dressed “purple princess” at Uncle Brian’s wedding last summer.



Before our trip I told her, “We’re going to hang out with the purple princess and her little fairy girls!” Melina, who has become quite logical and literal, told me, “She’s not a real princess. And little girls aren’t really fairies.” It didn’t matter. With all the dress-up clothes, the pink, and the dolls (especially of the Barbie variety), Melina was in heaven.



She and the Young girls played together fabulously, which gave Joey and me the chance to catch up with Milo and Cassandra and enjoy their new Fort Bragg house and its two gorgeous acres of land. Nalani, for her part, made do re-arranging their kitchen with tumbling Tupperware towers on the floor.



We also spent some time wandering through the village, contemplating Glass Beach (decided it was too windy and cold), walking along the bluffs, and eating brunch at a Wizard of Oz themed Fort Bragg diner. I even got a chance to meet up with my Mendocino-based cousin Michelle, who I haven’t seen in at least five years.

fairy wings

fairy wings 2

Since our trip was within a week of Nalani’s first birthday, I asked Cassandra – whose photography business is booming – if she could take some photographs of our littlest girl and the family. (I also asked if she could get photos of just the two girls. They’re ever-moving and in Nalani’s case not fully independent targets, so that one proved difficult.)

mina_small flower

with JM

We are thrilled with the results (see the full set here), and Melina was thrilled to be able to flit barefoot in the woods with her borrowed wings and sparkly pink wand. Who says little girls can’t be fairies?

nalani celebrates one – again!

Posted by lynn on 20 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: nalani



Our little girl ended up with nearly a full week of birthday celebrations. Since her real birthday fell on a Thursday, we treated her to a yummy salmon dinner (one of her favorites!) followed by mini cupcakes for her, Kai, and Melina. Nalani had chocolate with dark pink sprinkles, and as you can see by the photo, she devoured it.



Thursday was also Mommy and Daddy’s wedding anniversary, so we decided to get a head start on the weekend and spend Friday off work, hangin’ with Nalani and each other. We brunched at Sunnyside Cafe, went on a long walk, then were lucky enough to have our one-year-old snooze in her infant carrier (yes, she’s still in it) as we enjoyed late afternoon wine-and-nosh at Wood Tavern. That night we all put on our aprons to frost cupcakes for the big celebration.



On Saturday all sorts of people came to help celebrate Nalani turning one. The biggest feat was my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Ray driving three hours from Clovis – and then back again – just to see our little girl. We were very touched! Grandma and Grandpa and the Roseville cousins also came out, plus the Hindmarshes and some longtime friends of ours.



After we set up the party time a month ago, Nalani started napping at daycare pretty consistently from 11-1. As luck would have it, this was party time. So she was a little dazed for the big event, probably also because of all the people and excitement surrounding her. Melina was also a little off her game due to all the attention for baby sis, but she also reaped plenty of rewards. Just about every one of Nalani’s gifts – the stroller, the shopping cart, even the musical toddler bear – has also become a treasured new toy for Melina to play with. She tells us she’s teaching Nalani how to share.

nalani’s 12 month moves

Posted by lynn on 17 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: nalani



Move. Despite crawling and cruising on the early side, Nalani has taken her time with hands-free walking. But today, three days after her first birthday, she took her first teeny tiny steps! (And when I say teeny tiny, I mean it. We’re talking two toe-steps and then a stumble into a crawl. But probably it won’t be long now.) For over a month she’s been cruising with ease and recently started walking while holding onto a grown-up’s finger, sometimes pretty lightly. She also stands hands-free for up to 30 seconds, often while playing with a toy or reading a book, clapping, or best yet, patting her naked belly like daddy taught her.



Play. The world and all its manipulative things are Nalani’s playground. Especially things that live on shelves begging to be taken off or thrown down. Amazingly, she sometimes loves to put them back. She also gets a kick out of taking things (blocks, toys, the remote control) out of a bucket and putting them back in. Right now she prefers shakers, bells, and drums to stuffed animals and dolls. She also loves anything she can push while walking.



Eat. Nalani likes cow’s milk! Exclamation point because when I tried to give Melina milk at 12 months she flat-out rejected it – and all variations (everything from cow’s to goat’s to even chocolate) – for months. With Nalani I wised up and slowly started mixing it with breastmilk in her bottles at 11 1/2 months. By the the time she turned one the ratio tipped towards cow’s milk, and today I gave her a baby bottle full of it, cold. She hesitated (probably because it was cold) then slurped it down.



Food-wise, our baby girl – like our bigger girl – loves all fruit and meat we send her way. Unlike her big sis, Nalani likes a number of veggies, her latest favorite being broccoli.

Nalani’s third tooth (top left) finally popped through about a week before her first birthday, and a fourth (top right) isn’t far behind. (Incidentally, Nalani’s first four teeth have popped at almost the exact same ages as Melina’s first four teeth.)



Act. Nalani’s little personality is starting to shine. She’s always been a super chill little girl. Except when she hits a tired or hungry wall and is not. She’s still happy, playful, and mellow the majority of the time, but will turn on a dime more than ever. She’s already had a her first few throw-the-head-on-the-floor mini tantrums, including one at her party when I wouldn’t let her eat my piece of pizza. (In the end I caved. It was her party, after all.)



Nalani is a great night-sleeper overall but our girl refuses to nap in her crib. Correction: She naps in a crib at daycare, but not at home. With us, she’ll scream for over 45 minutes, working herself into such a state that it would be hard for her to calm down on her own. Until recently we just let her nap on one of us in the Ergo or on car rides running errands around town. But she’s getting too big for it to stay practical.

I’ve started calling Nalani “Little Joey” not only in looks but also in temperament. (Joey is one of the most easy-going people I know most of the time. But if you hit a nerve you’ll regret it. He’s also incredibly stubborn.) But then my mom mentioned that I was the same way as a toddler. We may be in for a “fun” couple of years ahead!

happy first birthday, baby!

Posted by lynn on 14 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: friends, nalani



Happy birthday, Nalani! You may not understand the significance of this day, but your sister and brother are very excited to celebrate tonight with your favorite salmon dinner and cupcakes, and Melina was thrilled to pick out your birthday dress and tights. You clapped in your crib this morning when Kai and I walked in to take you out, and Daddy fed you your first taste of linguica for breakfast. True to your Portuguese roots, you loved it!



We also had fun celebrating your and Maya’s first birthdays with cupcakes and a round of happy birthday at play group on Monday. On Saturday we’ll have grandparents and cousins and a few family friends over for a pizza party! We’ll take plenty of pictures so you can look at them and pretend to remember when you’re older.

Not to be forgotten: Happy fifth anniversary, Joey! I adore you as much as the day we met.

meet cousin ella!

Posted by lynn on 11 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: family



At Nalani’s birth one year ago my sister and her husband were still debating whether to add a third child to their family. The good ole’ fashioned way still didn’t seem to be an option for them. My sister’s body simply isn’t meant to carry children (though her five-year-old surrogate-born boys prove her eggs are just fine!) By last fall they had decided to adopt a correctable special needs girl from China. They anticipated a wait of up to a year, and expected that the child would be around one, close to cousin Nalani’s age. Amazingly, they received a referral for an 18-month-old almost immediately after submitting their paperwork. Six months later, baby (er, toddler) Ella Wei is home in Roseville with her new, permanent family!



While I know in my sister’s mind it didn’t go “fast,” we on the outside are amazed at how (relatively) quickly and smoothly everything came together. Our own family ventured up to Roseville yesterday to meet toddler Ella, celebrate her second birthday, and welcome her to the family. After just one week in the US, she seems incredibly well adapted, and even ran to give Joey and me big hugs when we said good-bye after a few short hours. She also cried as we left, which is no surprise given the momentous change our little niece has experienced in just a few short weeks.

Welcome home, Ella! When we can’t see you in person, we’ll be following you and your brothers on the Ham family blog.

play group babes

Posted by lynn on 07 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: friends, melina


partial circle

When Melina was four months old, our play group ventured over to Sears to have photos taken of all the baby buddies. The result was our “babes in a circle” shot that most of us now have hanging on our children’s walls, and that leaves the kids themselves guessing who’s who as an infant.



Every year since then we’ve tried to get another group shot, with varying degrees of success. This year, at nearly four years, we thought the kiddos might be able to re-create the original circle shot, and that we might somehow be able to capture it with a ladder and our everyday (albeit nice) cameras. We even added baby siblings to the mix. Enjoy!

what melina’s saying these days

Posted by lynn on 02 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: melina



It may sound cliche, but three-year-olds say the funniest things. They’re fully verbal yet have a tenuous grasp on reality, time, and the the world beyond what’s in front of them at any given moment. I love watching Melina’s sense of logic unfold as she tries to make sense of her environment.

Not long after she turned three, I started posting some of her funny sayings on Facebook. And then I realized Facebook posts are ephemeral, and I should probably keep these somewhere a little more permanent.


So here we go, Melina at her most Melina for the past seven months, all copied directly from my Facebook status updates.

Melina caught bragging to her classmates: “My baby stands up all by herself!”

Winter 2011
Melina counts to 20 and beyond with ease. But she has a conscious aversion to the number 13, and instead deliberately counts “11, 12, 14, 14, 15…”



Dinnertime lesson in logic and humanity from my preschooler…
Kai: My mom’s neighbor is crazy. She doesn’t know what year it is and knocks and the wrong people’s doors.
Melina: What’s her name?
Kai: (thoughtful pause) I have no idea.
Melina: Why don’t you ask her?



Our latest existential conversation…
M: Where was I [when you were a kid]?
Me: You weren’t born yet.
M: But where are babies before they’re born?
Me: They don’t exist yet.
M: But where *are* they?
Me: Ummmm….

Melina on starting kid-only swim lessons tomorrow: “Who’s going to hold me up? I don’t want to be a mermaid under the sea.”



M: Mama, when can I take Nalani for show and tell?
Me: How about on Monday?
M: Ok. But she’s gonna cry when I put her in my cubby.

We decked our house out with Christmas over the weekend. Now the first thing Melina asks each morning: “Is it Christmas yet?”

(I then explained the difference between Christmas and Christmas time. When Daddy said it was Christmas she promptly corrected him: NO, Daddy, it’s Christmas TIME)



Kai (7): I’m thankful for the earth and two families.
Melina (3): I’m thankful for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and turkey.

Melina two days ago: “Who made me? Who made my fingers, my toes?”
Me: “Mommy and Daddy made you.”
Melina last night: “Why are you my mommy and daddy?”
Can’t wait to see where this leads and when.

Melina, our little fairy princess, had decided to be a pig for Halloween “because piggies are pink and I like pink.”



Joey: Oh shit.
Melina (3): Daddy, don’t say shit.

Melina is learning to write her name one letter at a time. Appropriately, she’s now at “ME”

All three kids are asleep in their single shared room for the first time. I wonder how long it’ll last.
(And ironically we made an offer on our new bigger house less than a week later! Offer accepted 8.23.10.)