Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Here we are! The Phelps/Jantzi/Lukawitski family. Clockwise from top left: Terry, Grandpa Conrad, David, Anita, Solana, Lotus, Grandma Irma, Valerie, and me.

Note the serene expressions on the men's faces; the strangely contorted looks on the women, and the dazed/confused expressions on the kids. I have a new-found respect for professional photographers who do family portraits! Getting this shot took planning, strategizing, manipulation, split-second timing, and even a few downright white lies. We learned the hard way, after the Christmas Day fiasco with the adorable matching dresses my mom had sewed for the three girls. You'll just have to imagine how completely adorable they would have looked, lined up like little dolls on the couch in front of the tree. What with non-synchronized naps (all three of them), a fever (Solana), and a screaming hissy fit about the sleeves on the dress (Valerie), it was just not in the cards this year. Maybe when they're all old enough to be bribed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Wow. I have been neglecting the poor blog, eh? Eventually I hope to update this post later with some photos from Christmas Day.

We survived the 8-hour drive to Savannah after postponing our trip for two days due to a massive snowfall (photos of that pending as well...). We tried to leave town the day after 20 or so inches got dumped on us, but it was not to be. Traffic on 81 was at a standstill, and the secondary roads were covered with a thick layer of ice and packed snow. Our friends who left town a little before us reported that they traveled 10 miles in an hour and a half. So we called it quits for the day.

It's been great hanging out with my parents and my sister's family here, Savannah is a beautiful city and the weather is of course much milder here. This is our last time together as a family before my parents head back to Peru next week-ish so that makes it an extra-special time.

Christmas was mainly for the kids this year. Valerie didn't really grasp the whole gift-opening concept, though; in fact, my little introvert wandered off from the wrapping-ripping extravaganza into Solana's room, where she played happily by herself with all the books and toys there (the whole "sharing" thing has also been a challenge for her here). Her favorite gift so far has been the magnetic drawing pad from Aunt Anita that she scribbles on for long stretches at a time.

I hope all my readers had a lovely day yesterday and are enjoying a happy holiday weekend!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeling much better now

Good appointment with chiropractor; massage tomorrow; 2-hour nap today...

Poor Terry, though, has got a man cold. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

19 months

Already??? I feel like I just wrote the 18-month post!

So the big thing that happened for us this past month was that I went to a conference in Philadelphia, and was away from her for two nights and the better part of three days. I was incredibly apprehensive going into it, but we all weathered the separation pretty well and from the vantage point of two weeks, it seems like so not a big deal. I might not have even considered it except that Val's sitter did a weekend trip away from her 16-month-old (at the time) and they survived. It was seeing how happy little E. was when B. came back that sealed the deal for me: nobody was traumatized for life.

So we did it! I left on a Wednesday; Grandma D. pitched in for an all-day Valerie-watching marathon on Thursday while Terry taught classes all day, and on Friday he and V. drove up to Philly to meet me. We all drove back together.

The worst part was actually getting on the train in DC to Philly. It was like going past the point of no return. I actually teared up a bit; it felt wrenching.

The best part, of course, was opening the hotel room door and seeing her face light up in a big smile and hearing her little voice say "Mama!" as we ran to each other with our arms out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bloodied and Bruised

Sunday morning I took a tumble on our front steps, luckily NOT while holding Valerie, as I thought the wet sheen was just rainwater rather than, as it turned out to be, ice. (I was running out to the car to fetch a toy we'd left there the day before.)


My upper left arm and left butt-cheek are both bruised and sore, and my neck feels out of whack. I'm going to see the chiropractor tomorrow.

And then my baby's been beating up on me: she bit me really hard on my left forearm yesterday, to the point where it hurts just having my sweater sleeve brush against it. She was mad because I was taking pictures of my finished socks instead of paying attention to her - but she got a time-out regardless!

Then last night she was thrashing around in bed while I was trying to put her down, and she whomped me on the lip with her head, cutting it against my lower incisor. Not only did I get a mouthful of blood, but I now have a huge swollen and blackened lump on my lip - not very pretty!

I call these the red and blue badges of parenthood!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nearly 19

Although Val is nearly 19 months old, we just had her 18-month check-up today. She is still a skinny minnie, at only 23.8 lbs. (we were surprised, she feels heavier than that!) which puts her in the 25th percentile for weight, and 33 inches long - 75th percentile. So following the same growth curve since she was tiny.

It's funny to me that some of the charming, amazing things she does turn out to be run-of-the-mill developmental milestones to be ticked off the nurse's checklist. To whit, walking backwards. For ages she's been backing up to sit on low surfaces, like the bottom step, or her little chair, or the stomach of an adult lying on the floor. But recently she's been very deliberately and consciously walking backwards. By this I mean, she'll pause in what she's doing, then very deliberately walk forwards about 5-6 steps, in a posture that shouts "Now I'm walking forwards," then stop, and just as deliberately walk backwards in a "Now I'm walking backwards!" kind of way until she bumps into something. Then she'll do it again. It's so incredibly cute! She's not walking to or from anything, she's just walking because she can! And I'm really no less charmed by it, knowing that it's something apparently all toddlers do. I'm just resentful that the entire world isn't as charmed and amazed as I am.