Posts Tagged ‘Alexis’

September 5, 2016


I enjoyed sharing some fun stories of Nicole, which I dubbed Nicolies. Now that Alexis is stringing words together in simple sentences and phrases, we can share some Alexies as well.

“No, Fries!”

At meal time we give the girls a little of everything. They have to eat the request amount of everything before they can recieve more of their favorites. This works, even for Alexis, although she does sometimes try to barter. We’ll point to the vegetable and say “first!” and she’ll stuff a piece of fish in her mouth instead before repeating her request for her favorite foods.

The other day we were trying to get Alexis to eat more green beans before she could have a sip of water from the big girl cup. (She can have as much as she wants from the sippy.) Domingo said “first!” point to her green beans. Alexis glanced down at the plate, looked up and said “No, Fries!” holding up her last french fry offering to eat it instead.

“Daddy, Down!”

Little siblings tend to learn quite early to blame their older siblings on owies. Alexis will run up to us, point somewhere on her body and say “Owie, Nicole!” to indicate big sister did it. She’ll do it even when big sister isn’t around and could not possibly be the culprit.

This weekend I was coming downstairs and I noticed Domingo scolding Alexis for being on the landing. She came running up to me with all the same urgency that she says “Owie Nicole!” only this time it was “Daddy, Down!”.

“Did Daddy take you down from the step?” I ask.
“Yeah!” she says emphatically.
“Because we aren’t allowed on the step?”

She gave me that look she gives when she doesn’t want to answer the question. Despite knowing she wasn’t allowed on the stair, she seemed genuinely perplexed Daddy wasn’t scolded. I guess she views me as the one in charge around here.

“Owie, Owie, Get Down!”

Most of our little monkey’s sayings these days revolve around owies (real, phantom, and pending) and getting down.

Last weekend we took the girls to the circus. The opening act was the acrobats. When the lights turned on and Alexis saw them up on the apparatus she pointed and shouted “Owie, Owie, Get Down!”

“Fwee, Four, Ive!”

The thing that amazes me the most is that Alexis can count! If you start her by saying “One, Two” she’ll reliably go to five, and occasionally six. I’m sure at this point it’s just like singing the alphabet song, all rote memorization with no real understanding, but it’s still adorable to watch. I need to get it on video.

June 11, 2016

Alexis’ Baby Book

I’m very delighted with how Alexis’ baby book turned out. The additional two and a half years of camera experience made an incrible difference, and the concept was easier to execute this time. Like last time we decided to go with a 24 page book and 12 images, one for each month. Rather than spell her age in the baby blocks, which proved challenging, I wrote her age on the blank left page.













Second Time Leasons Learned

  1. Solid color onesies are the way to go if you’re going to shoot against a white background. I was worried about colored onesies clashing against the blocks, but the white onesies fadded into the background a bit too much. I liked doing a different colored onesie much better. A tan colored bear would have probably been better too.
  2. The bear is easier than the blocks, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. I’m sure any style of photos gets difficult beyond a certain age. I figured going into this project that I’d be able to at least get cute photos of Alexis interacting with her bear even if she wasn’t doing quite what I was hoping for. It turns out if your under one knocking the bear off set is hilarious, especially right after mommy just put it back.

Now all that’s left to do is wait for a coupon from MyPublisher. I have no idea what we’ll do if we decide to have a third child. I feel compelled to keep changing it up.


Material Costs:
Bear – $20.

March 27, 2016

Sixth Anniversary

My happy, crazy, amazing family

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the anniversary of our wedding vows. In those six years we’ve had three homes (three cities and three different daycares), two amazing girls, and one incredible do-it-yourself career adventure.

I am constantly amazed at the compassion and considerate my not-yet-four-year-old shows. She is so loving with her little sister, offering her hugs and toys when she cries. Her teachers tell me she is the first to start cleaning up, and the first to the table at activity time. A few months ago Ms. T, her favorite teacher, was cutting with scissors and somehow managed to cut herself. Concerned, Nicole fetched her a wet paper towel, all on her on.

Alexis is our vampire kisses and tackle hug champion. She is incredibly clever, just like big sister. Before she found words she was amazingly good at inventing gestures to indicate what she wanted, whether it be the way she tapped on the trey to indicate the type of food she wanted, or the way she’d throw her head down to indicate she wanted to be picked up upside down. She’s our happy little ball of energy

And Domingo. Boy, did I hit the jackpot with him. He’s amazingly supportive of my desire to start my own company, even though it’s taking longer to get it off the ground than I would like.

We’re loving our new home, and our new community. The change of pace from silicon valley (and the reduction in commute time) has done us a world of good.

March 7, 2016

Practically Synonyms

When I awoke this morning I checked the baby monitor to find Alexis standing in her crib. She often awakes around six and waits thirty minutes or so for us to go fetch her before becoming inpatient. When I entered her room she extended her arms to be picked up and called out “Owie!” Odd, I thought. She wasn’t hurt. She hadn’t been crying, or even calling out before I went into her room. She was just standing in her crib, waiting. She probably said “Mommy” and I just misheard.

We were in a bit of a rush this morning. Well, every morning lately seems a bit rushed these days. Domingo was downstairs with the girls getting their shoes on while I was upstairs gathering more spare clothes for the girls’ cubbies at schools. When I came down stairs she saw me and again called out with her arms extended, “Owie! Owie!” This time Domingo noticed it too, and could attest both to the spoken word and the lack of injury.

Actually, we’re pretty sure this isn’t the first time she called me owie now that we think about, but with “owie” being phonetically close to “mommy” we kept doubting ourselves. As always with kids and first words there’s a lot of guessing what was actually said. It takes a few iterations before words become clear.

When you think about it “owie” is a pretty good substitute word for “mommy.” It’s nearly guaranteed to get Mommy’s attention, more so than “mommy” ironically, since it indicates a level of distress. We think she picked it up from Nicole. Three year olds are pretty excellent at detecting owies as well as inventing them. She probably noticed Nicole using it to get attention and is mimicking her favorite big sister.

So now we’re up to “ball”, “here”, “more”, “bucket”, “shoe”, “daddy”, “mommy”, “hi”, “bye” & “owie” in total words, with “mommy”, “daddy” and “owie” all being used to referencing me. (In her mind “daddy” seems to mean “Generic Parent” as she uses it to refer to both Domingo and I. No Idea where it came from.)

January 15, 2016

We Have Words


I’m so used to thinking of Alexis as a baby that it only recently dawned on me that we haven’t had much in the way of words from our 13 month old. Oh sure, we had the “mama” (occasionally) and “dada” (all the time) but ‘da’ is such a key part of her jabbering vocabulary that “dada” refers to just about anything these days. “Da” can mean “give me”, “down”, or “I want mama.” “Da!” is her favorite response to yes/no questions, sometimes accompanied with a nod, but more often with a head shake.

Then, out of the blue, Alexis picked up one of the sponge balls and said “ball” clear as day. When Domingo came down stairs I told him about it, and, as if on cue, she did it again for him.

Check it, first word.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

When I told Domingo we had a first word, he corrected me. She’s been saying “here” when handing things to him, much like Nicole did. Well, shucks. When I told Daycare the story of Alexis’ pseudo first word, Alexis’ teacher told me she says “more more more!” all the time when she wants more food. Don’t I feel observant now.

So it turns out our little miss has a few words up her sleeve.

Then, while in the midst of her evening bath she picked up one of the toy buckets, held it up to me and said “bucket.” Well, really it was more like “bah-kit”, but I understood. Just to be sure, she waved the bucket above her head and recited “bah-kit!” Color me impressed.

There’s no denying it, we have a talker!

November 30, 2015

Alexis at Twelve Months

Dear Alexis

I can’t believe it’s here, or how fast this first year has gone. This weekend we celebrated your first birthday. Impossible. The universe is playing a practicle joke on me. Surely it’s only been a few months.

Look Ma, one hand!

When ever we put you in the crib, we line the binkis up on the crib railing. It’s a habit Mommy and Daddy got into to facility middle-of-the-night binki requests. Well, you picked up a fairly ingenious way of letting us know you’re awake from your nap. You see, mommy usually does her work on her laptop in the den, just below your room. When you wake up from your nap, you stand up in the crib, get your binkies off the railing and drop them on the floor, just above my head. We like to refer to the sound you make as the pitter patter of binkis.

It hasn’t been uncommon for us to find you with multiple binkis in the morning. (Sleepy parents find it easier to give you new binkis than hunt down the one that’s been misplaced, hence building up a supply on the railing in the first place.) Lately we’ve noticed you’ve been requesting them less often, but still seem to have multiple ones in the morning. Yesterday Daddy checked on you and confirmed what we suspected. You woke up and decided to fetch your own binki off the crib railing! Mommy & Daddy much appreciate your self sufficiency more than you know!


You love butting heads and giving big, open mouth nibbling kisses. You love to take our hands to walk. You’ve developed your own sign for walking. When you want up, you throw your arms up in the air while looking at us. When you want help walking, you turn your torso away from us with your hands up in the air. It’s a subtle distinction I’m so impressed you’re making.


This past year has been such a delight to see you learn and grow. You have been an incredibly happy, patient baby and an excellent addition to our family. You adore your sister, and I’m happy to say the feeling is mutual on her part as well. She likes to give you toys (including ones you’re not supposed to have!) and loves to fetch binkis for you (also something you’re not supposed to have when not sleeping!). I can tell that you two are going to be quite the partners in crime.

Love Always,
Mommy & Daddy

While planning Alexis’ second birthday party I decided to keep all the elements from Nicole’s first birthday party that were kid favorites (the balloon forest!) and ditch the ones they didn’t care about that just added more stress (decorations.) I even “outsourced” the baking to our local grocery store.


Both the girls birthday’s fall around major holidays – July 4th for Nicole, Thanksgiving for Alexis. A birthday around a major family oriented holiday, and with another one around the corner!, can create a few minor kinks I didn’t anticipate.

The obvious benefit of having a birthday around Thanksgiving is that family is usually still in town that weekend. I suspect that we’ll always celebrate Alexis’ birthday the Saturday after Thanksgiving for this reason. The draw back is that everyone else’s family is also still in town. We figured we’d get a couple food platters at the grocery store while picking up Alexis’ cakes for the adults to snack on. When we arrived at the grocery store they were completely out all prepared food platters, and a long line had already formed waiting for the next batch. We briefly considered waiting, but when they announced the next batch consisted of only nine platters and the gentlemen at the front of the line requested 3 we decided against it. It’s a good thing I had pre ordered the cakes, or we would have really been in a pickle!

The other issue was the party supplies. I went to Party City first, but the per-unit price of Helium tanks had increased $20! Since I needed three that meant an additional $60! They were also nearly completely out of the pearlized balloons that I liked so much. Thankfully I bought too many balloons last time around and still had some on hand. I shopped around locally for a deal for those tanks.

Not to self, plan ahead next time.


I unintentionally made the balloon forest a little higher this time around. I think I also had more trees, but each tree had fewer balloons. It ended up being the perfect height for Nicole to run through, and for Alexis to crawl under. Both kids had a blast. You can’t really go wrong when it comes to kids and a ton of helium balloons.



November 19, 2015

Light Photo Month(s)

It started in the beginning of October. The first two weeks I decided to focus on formal photos which naturally meant fewer my more typical photojournalism style that I use for Alexis’ first year scrapbook. Then my hard drive crashed, and in the ensuing chaos I wasn’t much in the mood, nor had the time to pick up my camera. At the start of November, Alexis and I were trading colds. Sick babies generally don’t enjoy photo time. Nor do sick mommies. The camera stayed safely tucked away. The past two months I’ve taken half the number of photos I normally do, and those I have taken I’m not particularly excited about.

Tonight is the first of family arrivals for Thanksgiving and Alexis’ birthday. I doubt there will be much opportunity for Alexis’ monthly photos.

I’m feeling surprisingly zen about it. Most of the time. I can’t help what I can’t help, right? But sometimes I think about all the photos that are not to be. It doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling rather frustrated with my abilities lately. The image on the screen just never seems to match the one in my mind. Last time I felt a little down about not having “enough” “good” photos I made a list of my five favorite never before seen photos. I think it’s time I do it again for Alexis.

1) Binky Love


This one was posted to facebook, but deserves an extra shout out by virtue of how difficult the shot was. This photo was taken in the evening, in a dark room to not disturb the sleeping baby, and the only edit has been a resizing. Shutter speed: 1/20s. Aperture: f/1.8. A steady hand and perfect focal spot keeps the eyelashes sharp and the rest of the shot dreamy smooth.

2) Those Eyes


I normally only show photos of the girls smiling – I’m a sucker for a good smile – but those eyes? Love! A close up, both eyes perfectly in focus with an aperture of f/2? Double Love! Another resized-as-the-only-edit photo.

3) Gym Love


Was she ever this small? Time goes by way, way, way to fast. I love the lighting on this one. Both cropped and resized.

4) With Pearls


The cost of this photo: $18.50. Two $8 strains of pearl necklaces, and one $2.50 hair bow. This one is much closer, both in style and editing, to the original inspiration than my last attempt. Of course I love those photos too.

5) Lashes


This kid had some serious lashes

October 29, 2015

Alexis at 11 Months

Dear Alexis,

Pretty much as soon as I hit “post” on your last month letter you completely lost interest in crawling. Standing and walking was where it was at. You wanted to stand all.the.time. It didn’t matter that your little legs weren’t quite strong enough, you wanted to be vertical and you wanted to be moving.


That weekend we got your first pair of shoes. We were sure you would need a bigger size than your sister. We were sure you had gotten Mommy & Daddy’s latent tall genes. Your feet seemed so long at birth. I used to put them in the palm of my hand, heal to edge. Your toes would dangle off the other side. I remember Nicki’s weren’t quite as long to reach the other edge. You were in the 60th percentile for height, a full 20 percentiles above your sister. You’re first shoe size? Another petite two. And just like for your sister, they seem too big!


You weren’t quite sure what to think of your shoes the first time. You’d tug and kick and get one off as soon as I’d get the other on. But once you understood what the shoes were for, you were hooked. The second time I got out your shoes you did your happy baby dance and couldn’t wait to go outside. You will be walking on your own soon, I’m sure.

But then, just as suddenly as you fell out of love with crawling, you began to pick it up again. This week you are all over the place. You love a good game of chase, both as the chasee and the chaser. I can tell we’re going to have a hard time keeping up with you!


Daddy and I have not been very good at teaching you signs. Instead, you’ve been making up your own and teaching them to us! You use the pincher grasp and tap your fingers on your trey went you want finger foods (and it is most definitely the finger foods you want!) You remove your bib to signal your done.

Daddy and I like to joke that you are our little carnivore. In reality your an omnivore. It’s rare to find a food you won’t eat these days. We also started giving you a sippy cup. Until now you’ve been thinking of them as toys, now they’re toys with yummy drinks inside. Because you’ve been playing with them for so long already, you’re pretty good at handling them. I suspect we won’t have much issues weaning you from your bottles. You seem so ready to leave the last remnants of babyhood behind you. If only mommy was ready!

Love Always,
Mommy & Daddy

October 2, 2015

Focusing on the Formalities

It was bound to happen eventually. I’ve been picking up my camera so often that I felt my interest began to wane a little. I was beginning to feel like I was taking the same photos over, and over, and over again. I love the photo journalistic style, but after awhile of filming the same sets of subjects, in the same settings, it starts to feel very repetitive. I needed a new challenge.

Alexis in the spotlight, only this time achieved with an open window and not a desk lamp.

As luck would have it, I’m also shy of formal photos of Alexis. Turns out when you no longer have the two to one parent photographer to child subject ratio, the two man strategy of baby photography doesn’t work so well. It’s much easier to take photos of Alexis doing normal baby things (crawling, playing, cruising) than to worry about any kind of posing.

Challenge accepted.

I ended up using nap time to gather backdrops & props. I like to set Alexis down on the crib mattress instead of the rug directly, as the mattress helps keep the backdrop smoother than the rug does. There is a potential rolling hazard, so I mostly like to keep Alexis in a sitting position for formal photos. If she drops to her belly, I drop the camera. Once on my foot. Apparently that’s hilarious if you haven’t reached your first birthday yet.

The trade-off in pursuing formal photos is there’s less time for the photo journalistic slice of life photos I tend to take. That’s less photos to choose from for her baby book, and milestone posts. I think I am okay with that as long as ‘less’ doesn’t translate to ‘none’, and I capture the emerging skills like crawling and walking. I know I’m very happy with the above photo.

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