Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Month Old

Today Kaia celebrated the completion of her first month of life.  I had forgotten how fast that first month goes. She's growing bigger, a lot bigger.  We haven't had her one month checkup yet and don't have a scale in the house so we'll have to wait until next week to announce how much she weighs, but it's clear from her double (triple?) chin and the way her cheeks rest on her shoulders that she's prospering just fine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two Cool

Turning two years old is a pretty big deal. In honor of McKenzie's second birthday, celebrated last week, I thought I would take a little time to brag about how awesome she is.  There are lots of things that make her awesome so this list is by no means comprehensive, but it's a start.

McKenzie rocks because:
She is a great communicator. She talks in 3-5 word sentences and says new words practically every day.  
She can count to nine.  That is, "one, two, three, nine."  She may be missing some of the numbers in the middle.
She knows nine letters of the alphabet.
       A for Adam
       B for baby, ball, binkie
       D for daddy
       G for grandpa and gramma
       J for Joshy
       K for Kona, Kaia, Kenzie
       M for mommy, McKenzie, Matt, and Monica (Munka)
       L for Lily, Leigh and Loren
       N for Nana 

She makes an incredible play-by-play announcer for everyday activities.  If you are ever wondering what Kaia is doing, just tune in to Kenzie's running monologue: "Kaia laying there, Kaia laying there, Kaia crying, baby crying, Kaia diapy time, Kaia daipy time" etc, etc. (Yes, everything is repeated at least twice)
She offers sound medical advice.  One morning about a month ago I told her that Mommy had a headache.  She insisted, "Mommy drink water, drink water Mommy." She also provides me with daily reminders to take my vitamins.

She loves helping her daddy work in the yard.  He has been planting grass seed, moving piles of dirt, preparing a spot in the yard for a vegetable garden and planting tons of vegetable seeds.  Kenzie is there every step of the way and isn't afraid to get a little dirty.
She makes people feel special.  She runs to hug her aunties and uncles when they come over, and she adores all of her grammies and grampas.  
She is ferociously independent.  The "me do it" stage has moved to another level.  She wants to do everything herself.  For example, last night we were looking for her sippy cup of water.  When I found it in the living room and brought it to her she screamed, "no me find it."  She then brought it back to the living room and put it on the floor.  Then she picked it up and proudly announced, "me find it, me find it!"
She remembers everything.  We are constantly amazed by the things McKenzie knows.  If she hears or sees something once she seems to remember it forever.
She's adorable.  Her latest thing is that she wants to go to bed wearing one of my shirts over her pjs.  How cute is that?

She is an amazingly kind, caring and helpful big sister.  She truly loves Kaia and wants to know what she is doing at all times.  She always helps me when I ask her to get a diaper or burp cloth, even if it is in the other room.  She seems to have replaced her common refrain, "eat sumpin'?, eat sumpin'?" with "baby Kaia?"  (Those of you who know Kenzie well know that this is a very big deal.  All the girl ever wants to do is eat something!)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Story of a Name

Note: This rambling is more for my own records than anything, but I know some of you are truly interested in how we arrived at the name Kaia.  If you are, read on, if not, skip this one. 

McKenzie was easy.  Dustin and I had picked out her name long before we were even married.  Lake McKenzie is the most beautiful lake we've ever seen.  A crystal clear, fresh water lake on a white sand island off the coast of Australia. Amazing.  For years we talked about possible middle names and decided long before I was ever pregnant that our first girl would be McKenzie Elizabeth, after my mom.
Lake McKenzie
Skip ahead to pregnancy number two.  We have no other meaningful names in our arsenal.  While there are tons of names that we like, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come up with a name that also had a story.  We didn't want the girls to hit those tween years, ask us how we picked their names and have to explain to baby number two that her name was on page 80 of the baby name book while her sister's name was the result of her parents' worldly travels.

We decided to wait to discuss names until we knew the sex of the baby and in December we began the search for the perfect name.  We started with family names.  While we love all of our grandmothers dearly, Alma, Joyce, Delores and Elise just didn't seem a good fit.  Then we looked at our grandmas' middle names:Virginia, Carol, Jean and Peatrya.  This wasn't going to be easy.

Next we took the same route that allowed us to arrive at McKenzie's name.  We thought of meaningful places we've been.  We got engaged at Gunsight Lake in Montana, married in Jaffrey, NH, met in Keene, first lived together in Putney (we actually considered this as a name).  We didn't want our girl to be Gunner so we went to the next logical place, Hawaii.

Our time in Hawaii is the most special time Dustin and I have spent together as a couple.  Not only did we get to meet and become friends with some of the nicest, most caring people on this planet, we also saw some of the most beautiful landscapes we'll probably ever see.  Unfortunately, picking a name that represented our time in Hawaii was not easy.  We didn't want the name to be too Hawaiian for a New Englander.  We tossed around Malia, Maile, and Leilani.  Hawaiian flowers? Hibiscus, Plumeria? Hmm, Meria?  Is that a name?  

Somehow through all this discussion we landed on the name Mia and quickly fell in love with it. Come to find out, so have millions of other people because it is in the top ten baby names in the U.S. for 2009.  We didn't want our daughter to be known as Mia R. for her entire childhood and eventually we shifted to the name Maya.  We really liked the name, but it still lacked any true meaning for us.  There are no less than five different ways to spell Maya.  If spelled "Maia" it means Goddess of Spring.  We were only about week away from my due date and felt that this might be as close as we would get to having a meaningful name.  It wasn't a real deep meaning, or one that we really connected to all that much, but we had spent a lot of time thinking on it and that would have to be enough.  

Then, we had the aha moment.  Talking about Hawaii again one night one of us mentioned the Hawaiian word for ocean, kai.  Kai is a male word and not one that seemed fitting for a little girl.  I said, "Maia? Kaia?  Kaia!"  We both loved it.  Next we wanted to check to see if this was, in fact, a real name or if we had just invented it.  The Social Security Administration's website (which is amazing, check it out, confirmed that, while not very popular, Kaia is a real name.  

Now, we realize that both of our daughters are named after bodies of water, but it really isn't about the water at all.  The ocean in Hawaii is where Dustin and I created lots of memories.  Dustin found a new love, spearfishing, and when relaxing at the beach we found peace.  The ocean in Hawaii is amazing and beautiful.  We think that makes a pretty great story for a name.

Kaia's middle name, Marie, honors my best friend.  If Kaia grows up to be a kind, caring, funny, helpful, thoughtful person like Mindy we will be truly blessed.
Sunset at Waimea Beach, Oahu

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Get your swaddle on

Kaia loves being swaddled, which is a blessing because McKenzie hated it and putting her to bed was always a challenge.  So far Kaia has been a great sleeper. Swaddling is all the rage around here now and everyone is getting in on the action.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Yesterday McKenzie met her baby sister for the first time.  We've been preparing her for this day for months and she was very excited to finally see the baby.  She told me that the first time she met Kaia she would say, "Happy birthday baby Kaia."  I think she was a little too stunned to get it all out.  She did say, "hi," though, and couldn't wait to give her a kiss.

The very first meeting.

Today McKenzie was comfortable getting a little closer and continues to be fascinated by her little sister.  I think that in the coming days Kenzie will be very helpful and hands-on big sister.