Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Isabelle, March 2009

Dear Isabelle,

This month you journeyed to Colombo, Sri Lanka with mama to see the sights and visit a friend while daddy was away for your uncle Toby's bachelor party. I was a little nervous at first taking you so far away, worried how I would manage your active little self in the plane and in a new country by myself, but you were great and together we did just fine. We saw Buddist Temples, Victoria Park, the Old and New Parliments in Colombo, the crazy street markets and the even crazier driving. You experienced shopping at Odels & lunch at Bay Leaf (which used to be called Paradise Road when daddy lived there).

You should know that when the soldiers, with big guns and stern faces, stopped our car at each of the check points throughout Colombo, their tough exterier melted away when they saw your beautiful face smiling at them from the car seat. You drew so much attention! Anytime we arrived at the house, the people who work for Nik would vie to be the first to the car so they could get the coveted position to carry you inside. You brought them so much pleasure with your generous smiles. You even gave Marla one of your bear hugs and it brought a tear to her eye.

You still love your karaoke machine. It's the one toy that has captured your attention for more than five minutes. And today was a first; you held the microphone to me so I could sing into it as well! You would hold the microphone to my mouth, then back to yours for a note or two, then back to mine and so forth. Only you love my tone deaf voice. (Or were you were laughing at how bad I sing?) Speaking of singing, your favorite song right now is "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Any time I sing this, you join in singing with me. As soon as you recognize the tune you join in with brrrrrrrrrrrs, eeeeeeeeehhhs, aaaaaaaaaahhs, blaaaaaaahs and daaaaaaaaaas. Could it be that you have uncle Jay's musical gene?

You love bathtime every night, greeting the tub and flowing water with swinging arms and legs, and eager eyes. And you like to lead peek-a-boo by pulling your blanket over your face and then pulling it back down again to hear us say "peek-a-boo" while you giggle. You prefer to eat your food straight from the bowl rather than the spoon. Daddy taught you this when he discovered how much more efficient it is than using the spoon, which you would rather just play with. When you get frustrated, you communicate this loud and clear. You make little fists, purse your lips together, open your eyes wide and let out a grunt that turns your face red!

You are very active and curious, and getting more so by day. I can hardly keep up! I had put you in the middle of the big bed after getting you ready for your bath one day last week, and I looked away for a second only to look back and see you rolling over the edge of the bed! I can't believe it, but I caught you before you reached the ground...just by a hair though. Still, it gave both you and me quite the scare. I find myself laying awake worrying about what kind of trouble you'll get into now that you are all over the place. You definitely prefer cell phones, silverware, electrical cords and TV remotes over any cool toy (even your karaoke machine!).

Every now and then you like to squint your eyes, when you want to see the world just a little differently. In years to come you will learn that you don't need to squint your eyes to see the world differently, instead the more you open your eyes the more you see the world differently.

Your daddy and I love you very much.


Monday, March 30, 2009

This is how it happens

Isabelle: (Grabbing at my cell phone to put in her mouth)

Me: No baby, that's not very clean, here try your new teething toy (taking mobile and putting it in my pocket)

Isabelle: (Not interested in toy. Moving onto the shiny spoon on the table)

Me: No, no honey (moving spoon out of reach)

Isabelle: (Squirming like crazy and before I know it, has the fork in her hand)

Me: (Taking fork from her) No honey, here look at this other toy for you that squeaks, crinkles & honks! See look!

Isabelle: (Lunging with huge, eager eyes to the knife, totally ignoring her toy).

Meanwhile I get a call from Richard on my mobile. Talking with the phone squeezed between my shoulder and ear while trying to contain a very active, squirmy baby I say, "Okay babe, let me call you back."

Me: (Defeated, I hand Isabelle my cell phone as it seems like the lesser of all evils)

Isabelle: (Truly delighted and chewing on it with glee...and, most importantly, somewhat still - at least for approximately a minute and a half)

Oh no! I've got to get control before I start feeding her ice cream for dinner! As Aunt Kate says, "It's a slippery slope people!"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

These days...

Our new home

It is a beautiful night here in Doha, warm and cool at the same time. Depending on one’s natural comfort, that person could be seen in a t-shirt and shorts or in a sweater and pants. Either way, I'm pretty sure he or she would be in flip flops, if wearing shoes at all. I myself have Richard’s sweater on over a tank top with an old skirt and barefoot. I’m sitting on one of our eight garden chairs and enjoying the fact we finally have internet.

Since I last posted, we moved into our villa in the West Bay Lagoon. We are currently camping indoors as our furniture is still on the ocean somewhere - hopefully closer to Doha than New York. We hear we should have it next week, which would rule. In the meantime, we bought a garden table, which is being used for everything from Isabelle’s changing station to desk to dining to storage. Basically, it's a platform for mess. Richard and I are sharing a friend's air mattress on the floor and living out of our suitcases. We have the garden chairs spread throughout the house and bought one of those big alphabet playmats for Isabelle in the den. The kitchen is fairly functional since I picked up outdoor place settings and cutlery for the garden, which we’re using, and a toaster oven that we didn’t have. How did we survive so long without a toaster oven? Oh and non-stick pans since we were due for new ones anyway. And toilet paper. So the basics are covered and we're making due. However, it will be like Christmas when our container arrives. I can't wait to have our creature comforts back!

I hardly know where to begin with Isabelle - she has accomplished so much these past few weeks. First year development is amazing. Little Miss Isabelle...
- has her first (bottom) tooth!
- is military crawling all over kingdom come like a soldier moving through the brush. She started with a clever upright crawl a few weeks ago, which was impressively speedy considering she made every attempt to avoid moving from her comfortable sitting position!
- loves singing into her baby karaoke toy accompanied by her music
- is up to three meals of food a day and enjoys most food, and will choke those things which she likes less if they are warm, pureed enough & cut with baby cereal
- is able to go from sitting to standing by crawling up any object still enough for her to grab onto
- can walk with mommy & daddy's help, though doesn't particularly enjoy long journeys yet
- loves discovering new things about herself, like sticking out her tongue, squinting her eyes, flipping her fingers
- is still the happiest 8 month old flirt I've ever seen

Isabelle and I will be headed to Sri Lanka tomorrow. We are taking a little girl's trip while daddy goes to Budapest. Plus, we have to leave the country for visa reasons and we don't want to become outlaws here twice in two months. (Long story, but we were illegal aliens for a few days by accident, which wasn't as much of a problem as much as it was expensive. Our Resident Permits (RPs) should be processed soon so hopefully we don't have to leave the country every month. Wait, that could be kind of fun!) Isabelle and I are looking forward to seeing our friend Nik whose family lives there, relax, and discover a bit of the beautiful country where daddy used to live. Here's what Lonely Planet says about Sri Lanka...

"Long before Marco Polo declared Sri Lanka the finest island of its size, this beautiful country found its way into Greek, Egyptian and Indian literature, where it was known as Taprobane, Serendib or Lanka. The Sri Lanka mystique perseveres, unfurling before the senses as soon you arrive: the heavy warm air, the rich green foliage, the luxuriant swirls of the Sinhalese alphabet, the multicoloured Buddhist flags, and the kaleidoscope of saris, fruits, jewellery and spices on display in the markets."

{Home Sweet Home - Doha Style}

the back of our villa

our back gate, leading to park and beach

{Playing at the pool}

Girls Gone Wild

You can't really tell from this photo, but her bottom right tooth has arrived!

{An afternoon at the Pearl}

{More photos of Isabelle with strangers}

{A friend's first birthday party}
I couldn't resist this cutie's face

These are her new squinty eyes that she likes to try on now and again :)

{Dhow Trip at night}
Nighttime views of Doha from the water

{Sri Lanka}

Who we're dancing to this week: Dixie Chicks, Silent House

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sweet baby love

Our gorgeous baby girl

{Party animal!}
Bring on the springtime weddings!

Friday brunch at the Ritz with friends}

{Our favorite nighttime program}

Who we're dancing to this week: Barenaked Ladies, Rock Spectacle