Thursday, March 8, 2007

Two Days in the Life of Erin Shelby - March 4th & 5th, 2007

The idea for this collection of photos came to me when I was trying to think of how I could share my joyful days with Erin's grandparents in Melbourne, Australia, Karen ("Kanny") and Barry. I'm so aware of how blessed I am to have Erin, Ben, and Jen be part of my daily life, and how Karen and Barry have to sacrifice significant time and financial resources to come half way around the world each time they see their beloved granddaughter. This collection is in honor of Karen and Barry. I hope all of you who live far from us will enjoy getting a glimpse into Erin's life, in this case a Sunday and Monday. All photos were taken on March 4th and 5th, posted in the order in which they occurred. Erin was 6 1/2 months old.

Sunday morning. Erin usually awakens happy.

As she gets up, she always looks at the bright, fun quilt which Kanny made for her.

Erin loves spending Saturdays and Sundays with Ben, while Jen is doing her "clinicals" at Chester County Hospital as part of her Nursing education.

Ben worked hard with Erin, from the time she was about 10 days old, to drink breast milk from a bottle and she takes it like a champ.

Erin notices, and engages with, everything and everyone around her.

She has the cutest ever cloth diaper covers. Even some of the cloth diapers themselves have bright colors and fun designs on them. Ben is a fabulous cloth diaperer, having learned lots of combinations of styles of diapers and covers, and Jen never complains about washing all of them. They are glad they're not piling the landfills with disposable diapers.

Erin loves playing with her feet and they sure seem to taste good!

She loves to be naked, never complains about diaper changes, but isn't fond of getting dressed. Ditching the long-sleeved undershirts and clothes will be nice when the weather gets warm.

Since Oma (Sue) can't even get herself ready for church on time, Ben gets Erin ready every week. He's putting on leather boots which were sent with an outfit from his university friends now working in the Netherlands.

Erin is always comfy, if not always happy, in her wonderful car seat which was a gift from Kanny and Barry. Jen and Ben are grateful to have Erin in the safest car seat on the market (Britax).

Oma, Erin, and Paster Kerry Slinkard after church. Erin enjoys the lights, the music, the stained glass windows, and all the people around her.

As usual, Erin is trying to squirm out of the arms of anyone who tries to hold her too long, especially as she gets tired. Not one to just rest her head on a shoulder and snuggle.

She's doing SO much better in the car the last few weeks. She's much happier, and, as you can guess, so are the other occupants of the car.

Riding home from church is just the right amount of time to fall asleep. Not being a deep sleeper, she can't get carried in to her crib. She gets bundled up to finish her nap in the garage!

Playtime. The seat swivels to eight different stations. Anything that can reach her mouth goes there. It's been many months and millions of germs since any thing's been sterilized.

When Erin's bored with playtime, which can happen very soon, she gets moved to a front pack or a back pack. Then she's back to seeing what's going on around her.

Home from the hospital. Notice the ever-present essentials: student uniform, backpack with study materials, and electric breast pump bag, now carrying four full bottles of milk.

Woohoo! Mama's home!

After a bath. Note the foot!

In her piglet towel, nibbling on her little piggies.

Soooo tired.

Happy to greet Monday morning.

Erin still sleeps much better in her swaddler, which is the blue object on which she is lying, but she loves to stretch and play when she gets unwrapped.

Note the lovely quilts which Karen made for Erin.

See all the Australian animals and cool Aboriginal designs?

Jen chose this pattern and Karen graciously offered to make it for Erin. Erin smiles at it when she gets up in the morning and up from her naps.

Meal time!

Erin is an eager, impatient, efficient breastfeeder, except when there's any activity around her for distraction. She and Jen make a fabulous breastfeeding team, still going strong at nearly seven months, in spite of many challenges.

Playtime in the play yard- for a few minutes anyway!

Fun place to explore.

Happier with the clothes off than on.

Playtime on the floor, when Erin rolls over and over and over. We're never sure quite where she'll be when we return to the room she's in. Getting very close to needing to child-proof everything-- sockets, cords, lamps, table corners, breakables.

Erin sits on Oma's bed, looking out the window and hoping Zita, the cat, will walk by for a gentle pat. So far, Zita's not convinced the latter can really happen! We're not, either, since Erin just grabs fistfuls of whatever is near her hand.

How many babies use echidnas for teething toys? (No sign of teeth yet.)

The long snout is perfect to suck on!

Starting to really get the hang of the pincer grasp.

Once the fists get slobbered on, the Cheerios stick and can get to the mouth faster!

The bib reads: "I love my Papa". Ben worked in Munich for six months and loves speaking to Erin in German. Hopefully, she'll learn a few phrases in lots of languages as she starts talking.

She has great tippy cups with spill-proof valves in the tops, and soft vinyl spoons.

Erin's learning tricks with her spoon. Games at the table start so soon!

Happy, full Erin.

Her cheek is full of spoon.

Playing can take lots of concentration.

Happy to see anyone at the bottom of the stairs looking up at her. Also, she likes to look out that window watching Jen or Ben arriving home. When she gets excited, Erin's smiles with her whole body. Her arms and legs start flying around.

Playtime with Papa is a blast. Getting ready for thrill rides with Oma at Six Flags and Disney World! Oma's already planning the first trip to Orlando to play with Mickey Mouse.

Ben and Erin's second swimming class at the YMCA just 5 minutes from our home. The lens was fogged up for this photo, unfortunately. There are LOTS of swimming photos, probably too many for anyone to enjoy except grandparents. Fortunately, you can scroll down as quickly as you'd like!

Getting the feel of floating on the tummy.

Learning to climb in and out of the pool.

Little water baby. Smiled through nearly all the lesson.

Back floating isn't quite as relaxing.

Babies range from 6 - 14 months old.

Sitting on the ramp, waiting for a family changing room to become available.

Mama waits with a dry towel.

Erin and Oma spent the evening together, while Jen and Ben went to a movie. We read, we sang along to a CD, we played on the floor. Erin is just able to sit for a few moments without propping herself up on her hands, so a little support from the "Boppy" allows free hands for play.

Keeping in mind my goal of photographing all phases of Erin's day, I planned to take photos while she screamed as she realized she was going to bed. Tonight, she only whimpered a little for the very first time. Bad for photos, but great for family. She's had a couple more easy nights since then, so we're very hopeful!

I can't even look at this without my heart almost bursting with love.

That's Erin. I gave up a lot to move to PA to live with Jen and Ben, but the rewards have been overwhelming. Most of all, I'm delighted and very grateful to have the opportunity to be part of Erin's daily life, and her, part of mine. It still breaks my heart to know that my mom didn't get to meet her grandchildren, so when I was given the opportunity to have what she didn't, I grabbed it. I'm also grateful that my dad and wonderful step-mother, Muzzy, had the opportunity to meet his great-granddaughter. God is good.


~*~ amanda ~*~ said...

Erin is so precious and absolutely beautiful. Congratulations, Jen and Ben!! And Jen, I am blown away by how much you resemble Sue!! Take care and keep us posted on the baby-fun! :)

Frogs Mom said...

A day in the life of Erin! So fun to see and also to see Oma's perspective!