This picture is a little odd, but it might be the best example of Auletta's eye color right now. She was born with blue eyes, but they seem to be turning brown, from the inside out. This is what I would expect according to a nifty online eye color predictor, which gives our spawn a 50% chance of having brown eyes. So it looks like she'll be a brown-eyed girl like her mom--and probably vertically and visually challenged, too. SHA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA-LA TI DA!
But her eyes are very clear in that picture. Usually her eye color is sultry.
Auletta has had an exciting fourth month so far. For one thing, she started laughing regularly--she'd laughed for the first time around the end of December but does it a lot more often now, and EVERYTHING is funny to her. It's pretty cool. She has also just in the last week or so started reaching for and grabbing things with increasing deliberation--usually they're things that are within the range of her flailing arms anyway, but she stopped clenching her hands into fists and then discovered that if they're not clenched they grab onto things, and then discovered that they can grab things she sees.
And TODAY she rolled over from her tummy to her back twice! I think it helps that I've started putting her arms under her chest when she does tummy time, so she is beginning to learn that her arms can do things. Of course the third time I put her on her tummy to see if she'd roll over again she just grunted indignantly.
Oh, and she's drooling like crazy. She's never spit up a lot, so it took me a while to figure out why people kept giving us bibs.
We had lunch at Gomma and Gompa's retirement place--in our own banquet room, so as not to aggrieve aging people who don't want someone else's 12 grandchildren running around. (There are 16 total but four arrived after Christmas.) Roughly speaking, there was a grownup table, a little kid table, and a big kid table. We sat at the big kid table with, let's say, the other grandkids who are old enough to use Facebook.
I am not sure what is happening here:
Zack and Auletta:
The little kids, unsupervised, were playing with knives.
So, pictures. This is the first meeting between Gomma and Auletta:
On a side note: I've had an external flash for my camera for a while but have usually been too lazy to use it. (And it draws attention. Now that most digital cameras are so tiny, when you have a digital SLR, everyone's like, "Oooh, that's a serious camera!" and then if you have a larger zoom lens, everyone's more awed, and then if you have a flash everyone thinks you're paparazzi even if you have no idea what you're doing.) I finally used it to take most of the indoor pictures over Christmas, and I'm so glad I did because it makes a huge difference. I like to use natural light, partly out of laziness and partly because it's nicer, but I'm very pleased with the results I got using the flash. In most of the pictures I took, I bounced it off the ceiling to light everything evenly and avoid shadows, which are one thing I hate about using on-camera flashes.
Now that things are back to normal after the holidays, I should really be posting again. At the very least, I have lots of pictures.
We spent Christmas in Chapel Hill, as we both have every year since 2003, when we were engaged (and Justin has almost every year of his life). The drive down was great. It's a 10-hour drive according to Mapquest; we did it in 11 hours, including two stops to eat/nurse Auletta and traffic most of the way from DC to Fredericksburg. We left early in the morning, and Auletta slept all the way from New Haven to somewhere around Stafford, Virginia, which is north of Fredericksburg. She is awesome in the car. As you can guess, we drove like bats out of hell whenever we had the chance.
Gomma is still hanging in there. She got to meet Auletta and is still well enough to appreciate seeing her first great-grandchild--she said several times how cute she is, and it's not easy for her to get sentences out, period (it is clear she's still capable of forming thoughts, but it takes a lot of effort to express them). And of course the rest of the extended family got to meet Auletta too. Once again, I didn't get to hold her very much because everyone else was bogarting the baby. She is in a wonderful cuddly stage where she's getting more substantial but is still easy to hold and snuggly, so I can't blame them.
On the way back we stopped in Charlottesville for a night, which was long enough for me to see my friend Heidi and her family, Laura, and all the people at Incarnation I haven't seen since May. I love the drive north on 29 when, just past Lynchburg, you get your first glimpse of the Blue Ridge, and then right as we crossed the Albemarle County line, the sun broke through the trees, angels started singing, etc. Even in the bleak midwinter, it's beautiful. I miss Virginia dreadfully, but that's another post in itself. Oh, we stopped at a great barbecue place in North Carolina on the way to Charlottesville--barbecue, sweet tea, hush puppies, the works. I think whatever weight I gained over the holidays happened there. Yum.
The drive the following day from Charlottesville to New Haven took almost as long as the drive from New Haven to Chapel Hill, because of rain and traffic--Auletta was good, but she was eating at least every three hours day and night for the next few days (she's starting to go five or six hours on average at night), so that was trying, but at least we were home. On the drive back I got the call from my family that my grandmother had passed away. It wasn't really a surprise--I went out to Seattle in June on short notice because we thought then her health was declining rapidly, but she started doing better and was all right until she had a stroke on Christmas Eve--but I feel badly that she never got to meet her first great-granddaughter. We had a tough choice this Christmas, with two grandmothers who were probably not going to make it another year, and we've been so occupied with Gomma's cancer that it never really occurred to me my own grandmother would die first, simply of being old. The memorial service will be in March, when we visit Seattle for Justin's Christmas break. I will work on a tribute to her here--she was a quiet but amazing woman, and probably the best role model I'll ever have.
Since we got back we've been hanging out at home. Justin's exams are this month, so he is (supposed to be) studying for them, and we've been following the early primaries, which is more interesting than actually voting in them. (We're not registered in Connecticut yet and primaries aren't open here--one reason Lamont defeated Lieberman in the 2006 primary--which as independents we both find annoying, so we might not vote. But this year the nominees might not be a forgone conclusion by Super Tuesday, so our vote would, like, count and stuff. I am kind of excited that as of this week, it seems possible the nominees on each side will be the ones I would have chosen and will give us a positive choice instead of a decision between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.)
I'll try to post pictures every day this week. All the kids are doing it.