Monday, January 29, 2007

With or without her socks

At the Manulife Walk for Memories

I have to say - Ada and I have the most generous friends and family! I had set my goal for the Manulife Walk for Memories for $250, and not only did I surpass that goal, but I more than doubled it - $585! I'm really excited about it since it's my first time doing this walk, and it's for such a worthy cause. I'm so glad that I was able to continue to be involved with those affected by Alzhiemer's disease and other related dementias through this event, even while caring for Ada. It only took a few emails and a morning walking through the PATH (something I do regularly, anyway), but it makes a difference for so many people. A huge thank you to those who pledged me! This year the Walk for Memories managed to raise over $369,000!

The above picture is of me and Ada just before starting the walk. Ada was very excited because she had made many new friends while waiting for the walk to begin. One walker had her in fits of giggles, and her legs were kicking pretty much non-stop at the excitement of looking at all the smiling faces all around her. They had set up entertainment along the PATH, including a classical 'cellist, a skipping troupe, a country-western singer, and even Japanese drummers (Ada was already familiar with this). By the time we got to the half-way point of the walk, Ada was worn out. Here is a picture of me and Ada at the end of the walk:

After the Walk for Memories

You will notice that she was wearing a pair of pink socks in the first picture, but her left sock was only half way on. Well, that was the last time seeing that sock, since she managed to kick it off at some point through the walk, so she finished the walk sleeping and sockless. Still, a successful day. :)

Well, Ada and I are heading for London on Wednesday for a couple of days since Jonathan is in Florida for work this week. Yes, we should all be envious as we think of him soaking up the sun as we trudge through the snow. I'll write again next weekend with reports on Wee Hands. Also included will be multiple videos of Ada doing cute things. It's easily done - she's a natural!

Aren't I cute?

Monday, January 22, 2007

City life is never dull

Stylin' Ada

There are so many reasons that I love living in Toronto, and now that I am on maternity leave, I have been able to take advantage of even more great reasons to live in Toronto. Ada and I have had a very cultured couple of weeks. No, we have not been cultivating bacteria or tissue cells (to my knowledge), but we have been exploiting many cultural opportunities available to us.

A couple of Thursdays ago Ada and I met up with some new friends, Grace and Aidan, that we have gotten to know through our Moms & Babies group here in my building. After coffee and a short wait in the cold, we were treated to a free concert at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as part of a world music series. Performing were five talented women from U of T who call themselves OnanoKo Taiko Ensemble. They have studied traditional Japanese drumming techniques, but added some Western influences to create an amazing perfomance. When Grace and I walked in with our babies, we had a few people ask us if we thought it was a good idea bringing them to a drumming concert. We told them we wouldn't know until it started. Here is how Grace and Aidan spent most of the concert:

Aidan and Grace

Aidan, being 11 months old, thought the drumming was fine, but not quite entertaining enough, and so he had his lunch during the performance.

And this is how Ada spent most of the concert:

How Ada enjoys a drum performance

At first, she was awake and happily looking around at all the people arriving, but she started to act sleepy so I put her down, and she fell asleep, during the first song, loud Japanese drums and all. What woke her up? The applause for the second-to-last song. She then happily kicked her legs in my arms during the last song. The answer to those people inquiring about bringing babies to a drum concert? It was a great idea. :)

Later that week, Ada and I met up with Pam and Liam for a trip to the ROM. We stayed on the second floor which was specificially designed for children so that there were plenty of flaps and buttons to push for Liam. We spent most of our time there following Liam from room to room since he was convinced that the next room was so much more exciting than this boring one. And instead of playing in the sandbox digging for dinosaur bones, Liam prefered to use the large broom to sweep the extra sand on the floor. Here is Liam showing off his flap-lifting skills:

Liam at the ROM

Along with these outings, we also attended another Salsa Babies class, Story Time at the library, a visit to Desa and Luka's place (more new friends from Moms & Tots), a trip to the movies (thanks to Stars & Strollers) to see The Pursuit of Happyness (a great movie!), a trip to Aurora with Amber to see Tanya and Chris' new house, and another visit to the ADP to see my seniors. And Jonathan and I got an afternoon out to see a movie thanks to Grandma and Grandpa. A win-win situation there - we went out as just the two of us, and Jonathan's parents got to play with Ada for a few hours!

I want to thank all those that have pledged me and Ada for the Manulife Walk for Memories. I had set a goal for $250, but due to the overwhelming generosity of my wonderful friends and family, not only have a surpassed my goal, but I have almost doubled it! Only 5 more days until the walk!

And onto exciting Ada News: Ada has discovered something that she finds very amusing and fun to play with - her feet! You can't underestimate a good toe-grab. Or a good giraffe-chew, either.

How to play with a giraffe

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

...And wearing ducks on her feet

...and wearing ducks on her feet

I can't believe how much Ada is changing every day - I can barely keep up with her!

For example, she has finally figured out what to do with all of the extra saliva she is producing - make motor boat sounds! I now have a face cloth within reaching distance at all times so that I can wipe up the goobers from her smiling face that her new skill is producing. Either she is imitating a motor boat (which would be very impressive considering she has yet to see one), or she is practicing to be a trumpet player. Either way, it's very cute and messy. She has also found the upper octaves of her vocal chords, and enjoys practicing her range when especially excited and happy. Her turning abilities are getting better every day - my doctor thinks she'll be regularly flipping over any day now. And anything and everything is required to go in her mouth, according to Ada. She is really into reaching out for things she is interested in and then putting them directly in her mouth. Now I have to make sure anything within Ada's reaching distance is putting-in-her-mouth friendly. And she has become increasingly impressed with my singing skills (it's always nice to have a fan, even if she slobbers), and I can almost always get her to smile, regardless of mood, by giving her my rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" or "Daisy, Daisy". Since the majority of my sing-a-long song knowledge is based on my work at the day program, she is going to be the most educated four month old in songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Yesterday was Ada's four month appointment at the doctors. She gets another A+! She is in the 50th percentile for head circumference, 75th percentile for weight (she's 15 pounds now!), and has continued on the line of 95th percentile for length! My doctor used this fancy program on her computer to compare her to her 2 month measurements, and she is right on target. She said she couldn't have been more on track. If you're wondering what the "percentile" stuff means, it basically means that only 5 percent of babies her age are taller than her, 25 percent are heavier, and she's right in the middle for head circumference. Unfortunately, Ada had a rough reaction to the immunizations a number of hours after. She wanted to sleep, but I think she had a slight fever and the injection sites were sore, because she wouldn't stop crying for about 45 minutes. The first three people I tried calling were not home/available (that being Jonathan, my parents, and Jonathan's parents), but my lovely Pamela saved the day by being home and helping me calm down. A trip to the drug store, a dose of Tempra drops, and an early night to bed later, and Ada is back to normal. She woke up at 5am happily cooing and making motor boat sounds wanting to play since she went to bed so early. I happily obliged.

And today Ada and I officially started our Salsa Babies class - great fun! And Jonathan and I are now registered for Wee Hands, starting on January 20th. I'll keep you all posted!

And onto something separate but very important to me: I have signed up to participate in the Manulife Walk for Memories, which is a fundraising event for the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. I hope to raise at least $250, so any help would be greatly appreciated! You can either go to my Personal Page to pledge online, or you can contact me if you prefer to donate in person. For those of you in London, I plan on being there for a few days the week after the event (January 31 - February 2), so I can collect pledges then. I plan to take Ada with me in her Baby Bjorn for the walk!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Good-Bye Christmas Carols, Hello Rocky Theme

It's Saturday morning, and everyone is asleep in the house except me. I would love to join them, but Ada woke me so that she could have a diaper change and some playtime, but now she has played herself back to sleep but I'm too awake now to sleep. Even the cats are sleeping - Calvin in the bathroom sink and Max under a dining room chair (the change table shift isn't until the afternoon). I would consider this peaceful except for the loud drilling going on in the construction site across the street.

We have had a whirlwind of a Christmas season, and it was all wonderful. The most exciting part was being able to see Melissa and Tom again, still smelling of England and excited to finally meet our little Ada. As you can see, Melissa took to being an aunt very easily...

Ada with Aunt Melissa

...and Tom enjoyed the Baby Bjorn. Maybe a little too much...

Trying out the Baby Bjorn

Ada was a little gem throughout the whole Christmas week. It started off with a trip to London on Christmas Eve after picking up Melissa and Tom from the airport. We had Christmas with the Howards on Christmas Day, where Ada had at least half the presents under the tree with her name on them, then Christmas with my family on Boxing Day, then back to Toronto to check on the cats. Back to London on the 28th for Christmas with the Fuerths and a birthday celebration for Jonathan's dad, a day of recovery, then back to Toronto on the 30th. We spent New Year's Eve at Andrew's new condo for an evening of yummy food and lots of Wii playing. Meanwhile, Ada slept in three different beds, stayed out past her bedtime, and was passed from one smiling relative to another for a full week. Considering the changes to her usual schedule, she did very well, but we paid for it this past week. She must have wondered where all the smiling faces and new environments went to, and why should she go back to her normal routine now? It took me a couple of fussy days, but she has finally realized how much she needed her old routine.

The potential for a peaceful Saturday morning is definitely gone now - a large marching band has just started practicing right outside the Skydome... er.. Roger's Centre. The brass is blaring the Rocky theme (there is one trumpet player who should be considering an alternate career), while the percussion and bass section are randomly tooting and thumping to who knows what. Ah, the joys of living downtown. :)

Here is Ada is with her favourite second cousin, Ethan. Ethan couldn't get enough of Ada - he is going to be a real people person. And it was the first time I've seen Ada take interest in another baby.

Ada and Ethan

Ada received an abundance of lovely gifts from everyone, and I want to thank everyone again for everything. Jonathan and I looked at our collection of photos from Christmas last night and were shocked to see how few we took. I guess with all the other cameras flashing (and there were a lot of cameras flashing!), we didn't think to take many of our own. I will try harder at taking more pictures so that I will have more to post! But to finish off, here is a picture of Ada celebrating her four month birthday, this time with a Belgian beer. She has good taste!

Happy Four Month Birthday!

Well, the marching band has come to a climax, and Ada has decided she can't sleep through it, so that means I get to play with Ada some more! Lucky me!