Archive for the ‘juniper brontë’ Category

12 months and 12 days

one year, one candle, one chocolate cake, one crepe shop, one fun day!

Pepper, a year has gone by.  A year has flown by.  Baby girl, you’re one.  This is so hard to believe!  Happy first birthday, lovely daughter.  Your father and I continue to be delighted by your presence, surprised by your creativity, engrossed in your babble, blessed by your sometimes kisses and always giggles.  We just love you to pieces and pieces.

Here is a sample of some very sweet and very Juniper things you are currently doing:

  • last night you walked across your room, from your bed to your bookshelf, backwards.
  • you have a special voice, higher and quieter than normal, that you’ve reserved for Yoda Puppet when you have him babble and move.
  • on the last week of October, you stopped crawling.  We’ve enjoyed the soft pitter-patter of your little feet ever since.
  • you have eight lovely pearly whites, of which the bottom center two slant slightly inward on themselves.  Precious.
  • we are surprised by all the words you recognize and remember!  You know the signs for “more,” “all done,” “milk,” “yes,” “no,” you can blow kisses and of course give dramatic hello and good-bye waves.  You know where your nose is, can find your ears, head, teeth, mouth, hands, feet and sometimes even your eyes.
  • you have an affinity for belly buttons and love to honk our noses.
  • when the mood strikes you just right, you blow raspberries on my stomach.  And won’t stop.
  • your favorite toys include the harmonica, the kazoo, the pitch-pipe, the piano, the keyboard, and Papa’s guitar.  Also, you let me read and sing nursery rhymes to you, which makes me happy.
  • and can you dance!
  • “Yoda” (which you pronounce “Doda”) and “shoe” are tying for third place for words you  say.  Your first two were “Mama” (*sniff*) and “uh-huh.”
  • you are such a grown-up eater.  You use your spoon most efficiently and have just in the past three days started drinking milk and water out of a small glass by yourself.  I knew you were ready for this when you drank the bath water out of a plastic play cup in the bath the other day.

here we go...

one last little sip.

cow's milk. yum.

a sweet girl with her Monet tray, tortilla plate, blue green glass & chippy chair.

  • when you’re done with a meal, you ask for a rag to wipe your hands on (by yourself, of course), then proceed to scrub the table with it.
  • when we’re outside, you somehow manage to hear and respond to each neighborhood dog you hear, even ones so far away that we hardly notice their bark.  The Clifford book taught you how to bark months ago, and now you apply the doggie sound to real life whenever you can, including barking in the pauses of the song “How much is that doggie in the window?”
  • when you hear the words “breakfast, lunch, dinner, food or quieres comida,” you make a “munch-munch” noise with your mouth.
  • the other day I was rocking you and started singing “Are you sleeping, Brother John?,” at which point you sat up, smiled brightly, and wiggled your pointer fingers.  You were recognizing the tune for “Where is Thumpkin?,” a song Grandma loves to sing with you.
  • you have a special sound reserved for fire, which is kind of a soft, reverent “foosh-foosh,” and use it when you see a candle burning or when the wood stove is lit.
  • your best friend is Little Panda, whom you love to squeeze tightly and pat.
  • when you nurse, you’ll take frequent breaks to reach up and give my neck the dearest hugs.  I also get a pat on the shoulder with these squeezes, just like Little Panda does.

pretty pretty dress courtesy of christina c.


We think you’re pretty amazing, Juniper, and are happy to keep learning and growing right along with you.  Thank you for being you.  You are smart, silly, beautiful, kind, and good.  I’m such a proud mama; we love you, love you dearly.

a pumpkin amongst pumpkins.


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nine months and nine days

pitter-patter-skip-pitter-patter goes my heart.

can somebody tell me where she got those eyes?

Juniper, today we celebrate with you as you turn nine months and nine days old.

You’ve grown indescribably in just the three months we’ve been here in Michigan.  Your personality is becoming clearly sweet and silly, nutty and fun, mixed with a good amount of determination and spunk; you are more dynamic each day.

We love you so.  You fill the house with laughter and sunshine, just as a daughter should.  We constantly smile at the funny things you do.  Here are a few of the many examples:

  • Just two days ago you picked up a kazoo, figured out how it works, and now play it for us zealously.
  • Laurie the cat is your best friend, second to Grandma; you burst into peals of energetic love whenever you see him.  He’s not yet sure how he feels about you.
  • The 360 spin: you sit on your bum and kick your heels in just such a way that you slowly spin 360 degrees, checking out all your options and everything around you (sometimes twice) before deciding which direction would be the very best to explore.
  • Your current crawls: when you need to get somewhere fast, you speed around on your hands and toes.  Other times you crawl with two hands and one foot, while dragging the other knee behind you.  The pirate crawl, we call it.  Arrrg.
  • When it’s bedtime or when you’re over tired, you bounce off the walls, rapidly crawling from one piece of furniture to another, pulling yourself up, cruising about, plopping down, ungracefully moving from here to there and back again.  When you’re in this mood, we call you our drunken sailor.  Inevitably you hit the wall, both literally and figuratively, not long after.
  • We nod our heads “yes.”  You shake yours “no” in response.  Humm.  You answer a few yes/no question and nod when you hear “yes” or “yeah” and shake your little noggin at “no” “don’t” and “can’t.”  My favorite is when you nod your head “yes” as you crawl across the room.
  • You have the wave hello/good-bye down beautifully.  You’ll wave “good-bye” to toys you’re done playing with and people you’re ready to leave.
  • I’m trying to teach you the signs for tinkle and caca.  No progress yet, although you use the little potty like a champ for almost all of your leaving solids and just about half of your leaving liquids.  Elimination Communication is working well so far; it’s not voo-doo, though we do still call you our magic baby.
  • Sometimes you’ll grace us with lovely little kisses, but only when least expected and never when we request one from you.
  • We anxiously await the four tiny teeth that are swelling your upper gums.  You’ve had your two front bottom teeth for a few months now.  Oh, your toothy grins melt me away.
  • You’ve mastered both climbing a flight of stairs and carefully descending one step.  All by yourself, but well supervised.  You’d climb the roof if we let you.  Right now you think the dishwasher is a jungle gym.
  • You would live outside perpetually, too.  You love it outdoors, sometimes even whimper or cry when we come back inside.
  • In fact, one of your favorite past-times is looking out the window; you’re just tall enough to see out if you stand on your tip-toes.
  • Now that the weather has cooled, we’ve introduced to you the novelty of shoe-wearing.  You haven’t taken to this very well yet.  You’d rather eat them than wear them.  And you would be happy, oh so happy, eating leaves, sand, rocks and flowers all day long.  You’re not so keen on apple sauce and mashed sweet potato, however.  Tomato basil soup?  Getting closer!
  • Cuddly to the max: you when you are wearing pajamas.
  • You live for the moment Grandma and Grandpa come home from work, a moment they look forward to, too.  You attach yourself to Oma and Opa whenever you get to see them, and they love you right back.  Juniper, you bring joy to those who love you and smiles to people who don’t generally like babies.

I certainly generally like babies, especially sweet little you.

In less than three months, you’ll be a year.  Oh dear.

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During the last scene of that old movie “Splendor in the Grass” (starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty), the main character visits her first love at a farmhouse at the end of a dusty, dirty road.  His wife is barefoot, working in the kitchen and a little roly-poly baby is playing in the corner with a wooden spoon and a chicken.  I love that.  When we vacationed last week at Ryan’s parents’ house, Ryan found Juniper playing on the kitchen floor.  With an old spoon.  And while my in-law’s dog Reggie doesn’t look much like a chicken, he sure makes a good playmate.

best friends forever

playing what game, I don't know.

she really loves old spoons, which happen to double as magic wands. seriously.

For those who are wondering what’s new in the world of Juniper besides making a true and fast friend in Reggie the dog, you must know that she’s cut her two first teeth.  And she started crawling, really crawling, this past Monday.  She’s everywhere!  And now she pulls herself up to all available furniture, empties bookshelves of their books, and tries just so hard to climb stairs.  Ryan and I are certainly on our toes.  She’s so very close to waving “good-bye;” Grandma is teaching her.  I caught her laughing in her sleep last night.  How many times will she break our hearts with her adorable, silly self?  She’s got personality spilling over, everywhere, onto everything, and making all innocent bystanders fall in love.  What a girl.

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something green from papa's garden

looks to be just so delicious

yummy pea. a perfect teething toy.

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baby’s bangerang bibs

juniper in a yellow bib

and a flower/dot bib

and a green bib with a very hungry caterpillar

My sister-in-law sews.  She even has an Etsy shop where she sells her wares.  Guess what?  She’s sewn most of Juniper’s bibs!  Her fabric choices are beautiful, her handiwork is stellar.  And her bibs are absorbent (which is something very important for a bib to be, if it can).  Juniper and I just think Christine’s Little Miss Fat Bottom bibs are great.  My sister-in-law creates more than bibs, though, friends.  She makes burp cloths and embellished onesies, too.  I’ve heard rumors that she’ll be sewing and selling skirts and am very much looking forward to that day (when Juniper isn’t naked, in pajamas or overalls, she’s in skirts).  But it’s the bibs we adore, because as you may recall, our Juniper-girl drools like a leaky faucet.  Thank you Aunt Teen-Teen!  You’re the very best and most generous bib-sewer ever.

grouch face in a pink bib

then a brown dotty bib

followed by a pinwheel bib

ending sweetly in a pink/red bib

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juniper & her knitted duck-like footwear

Out in the big world there exists so many baby bootie knitting patterns; what is a knitter to do?  What is a baby to do?  I certainly haven’t knitted each pattern, nor has Juniper tested out each bootie design (she’s only four months old, you know), but we do have experience enough, I think, to form an opinion.

Our most favorite baby booties ever were actually the first project I attempted to knit, way back in 2008.  The first project in First Knits (the book by which I learned to knit) are these lovely duck-feet booties.  Alternatively, one could call them baby clogs.  Either way, they are stinking cute and very easy to knit.  Basically two different sized squares and one I-cord are strategically sewn together to make one infant shoe.  And the best part?  They stay on baby’s feet, even on one very kicky baby’s feet.

Juniper is a kicky baby.  So much so that her nicknames is “Kicky McGee.”  She has also been called “Shrieky McGeeky,” but that’s a different nickname with a different, rather louder, story.

a favorite pink bootie and a plump baby leg

baby duck feet, see? covering ten stinking sweet tootsies.

For Juniper’s pair of pink booties (those pictured) I used Phildar’s Partner 6, which looks and feels like cotton but is actually 50% polyamid, 25% wool and 25% acrylic (making it very machine washable; a handy trait for a baby yarn).  I knitted the body of the booties using US size six needles and finished by knitting the I-cord on US size six dnps.

Besides knitting with a higher weight yarn and larger needles than the pattern originally called for, my alternations are as follows:

  • the tie (a 3 st I-cord) is knitted about twice as long as specified, so it can be half-bow tied.
  • the tie is sewn on to the heel of the bootie off-center, such that said half-bow can be tied at the ankle instead of the front of the foot.
  • the body of the foot (the larger square) is knitted in k1 p1 ribbing, allowing for stretch as the wearer’s feet grow and for a perfect fit every time.
  • the toe of the foot (the smaller square) is knitted in a seed stitch pattern because I really like ultra textured look of the seed stitch.

These alterations make for a more functional bootie that can be worn by the wee little person for a longer period of time.  Form!  Function!  Duck-foot cuteness!  My alterations came with practice, real experience and feedback from actual mothers.  You see, I’ve knitted this bootie many times over:

  • My someday baby (back in 2008), cream
  • Risha’s Hannah, purple/brown
  • Marianna’s Oliver, purple/brown with vintage buttons
  • Emily’s Braeden, green
  • Christine’s baby C, purple/brown
  • My own baby Juniper, charcoal gray
  • Jill’s Christian, tan
  • My own baby Juniper with a bigger foot, pink

I’m the mother that usually does not dress her baby girl in pink.  My Grandma said, before she met Juniper, that I probably have her in green and brown perpetually.  She was right.  I even buy blue teething toys just to break gender stereotypes.  This really drives strangers crazy.  Evidentially I have a responsibility as a new mother to make it obvious to the general public whether this baby is a girl baby or a boy baby.  Even after knitting her a pair of pink booties, you’d be surprised how people still ask if she’s a little boy.  Only very observant strangers pick up on this subtle nod to Juniper’s girlishness.

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in the jacket/cape from Oma and Opa, she melts my heart into a million sappy pieces.

The seven little wrinkles on her middle knuckles have turned into sweet and divine dimples.

When Juniper wakes in the morning, she’s bright-eyed and smiling.  With both eyes and one adorable, toothless mouth she gives these smiles freely and gleefully.

Baby girl sleeps like a champ, would rather stand on my lap to read a book than sit, and talks and sings a wonderful idyllic babble right along with any talking and singing she hears.  She’s discovered toys just this week and made a fast and deep friendship with a stuffed giraffe from Great-grandma Blakemore, who has a knack for finding just the right stuffed animals for her grandchildren.

Juniper has brought out in me a talent for making up motions to songs I never knew I possessed.  She’s uncovered in Ryan an art for storytelling that delights and surprises us both.  We never fail to find joy and vivacity in her face and her laughter.  Every day she melts our hearts in countless new ways and, thank everything above, this is only the precious beginning.

Juniper-girl, we love you.  Life would be so very pale without you.

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