Monday, August 18, 2008


Larkin is smiling, laughing, and cooing up a storm right now and I melt nearly every time she does any of them. I am completely smitten with her. How can't you love that smiley face?!

Back in July, the Journal of Pediatrics published the findings from a new study that proves that a baby's smile actually gives the mother a "natural high." Seeing your baby smile actually stimulates the reward centers of the brain by producing a rush of dopamine. A group of first time moms were shown pictures of their babies with a variety of expressions... pictures of their baby frowning or with a neutral expression did not evoke the same brain response as did those of their baby smiling. As the article suggests, mothers do, in a sense, become "addicted" to their babies. Therefore, this research is being used to help understand the maternal-baby bond that forms, how the brain fosters maternal devotion, and why some mothers don't bond with their babies (it is conjectured that other drugs or chemical imbalances may be interfering with the dopamine rush a mother feels with her baby). There's fascinating research going on all the time! If you're interested in reading more about this article, click here or here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Grandpa Bud Visits

Grandpa Bud came to town this past week to visit his favorite granddaughter. You would have expected Larkin to have been excited to see him, but she wasn't. In fact, when Grandpa Bud first arrived, Larkin seemed a bit angry at him for having left her when she was only 2 weeks old... she actually refused to look at him for a day or so! Literally! You could turn her head in his direction, but she'd look the opposite way. Shall we say stubborn? She probably inherited that from him... but Grandpa Bud proved to be even more stubborn, and after a day or two of his attention, Larkin was smitten with him again.

Grandpa Bud is a master at giving babies baths, so Larky Lu was squeaky clean while he was here. After I'd wash her, he'd take her in his arms and let her float in the bath. We tried to get her to kick so she'd splash water, but she didn't quite get the concept. Above are a few pictures from one of our bath events.

It was nice that I was still off work this week so we had the freedom to enjoy the days together. We did a variety of activities from trading options (think puts and calls), checking out daycare providers (since we need a short-term option until her school spot is available), going to the doctor (since Larkin has a rash on her face), and shopping for Larkin (i.e., fun for me). But, the most fun outing of all for Grandpa Bud and Brian was to take Larkin on her first trip to the Apple store (see second to last picture above). With Brian's guidance since he bought one a few months ago, Grandpa Bud bought himself a new Mac book and the two of them were like kids in a candy store. Then, as you can probably imagine, they played on their computers all week! Now, I'm the only one still with a PC! But, I love my Sony Vaio for's actually fairly slick. So there.

The rest of the week consisted of watching A LOT of the Olympics from Beijing. Was that not the most amazing Opening Ceremony... with all of those synchronized routines with 2008 people?! We've been really impressed with the games this year. Way to go Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. And, I actually have seen some sports that I didn't know existed... like the trampoline... who'd a thunk? I have also gotten a kick out of Mary Carillo's daily reports - she is really funny! Larkin's favorite sports appeared to be volleyball and gymnastics. Yes, she actually would turn her head to the TV and watch it. She seemed to really like Bela Karolyi... he's a character! One night after we had watched some gymnastics, I'm not joking when I say that while I was changing Larkin, she stretched out one of her legs and pointed her toes! Who knew gymnasts began at the early age of 3 months!

The week went too fast, as it always does, and I tried to make Grandpa Bud feel really guilty about leaving us again. He promises to hurry back... he doesn't want to let too much time pass or Larkin might not look at him again for a couple of days!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Hat for the Races

British women wear magnificent, large hats to their horse races. Larkin wears them right here at home! Brian likes to have a little play time during changing time. One minute it's an outfit, the next it's a hat! Here are a couple of Brian's artistic creations... maybe he should audition for Project Runway!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Meeting Aunt Jenny & Cousin Sierra

Brian's youngest sister, Jenny, had a baby girl, Sierra, exactly 20 days before we had Larkin. We were so excited to get the two cousins together and finally had the chance to this past week when Jenny and Sierra came into town to visit. We did a lot of hanging out, passing the babies back and forth, and laughing about similar things that we were going through. It was a lot of fun.

As for Larkin and Sierra, they are so cute together. Even though they really didn't notice one another much this time around, we know that they'll be great friends as they grow up. While the girls share the Hittle ear notch, their faces don't look all that much alike. And, as you can see in the pictures, Sierra is longer than Larkin right now. But, the biggest difference is their voices! Larkin has a higher pitched newborn-sounding cry, while Sierra's cry is much lower pitched. There is truth to the saying that a mother can tell her baby's cry out of a crowd... both Jenny and I did double-takes the first time we heard each other's babies cry they were so different!

We really look forward to the next opportunity that the girls can hang out together!