It was a slow Monday close to Halloween when we finally made it to the pumpkin patch this year. We did manage to get some cute photos which is, really, the point. You can get pumpkins all over the place. You go to the pumpkin patch to get cute photos of your kids having a good time.
This year marks Penny and Bea’s fourth visit to this particular pumpkin patch; once in utero and three in cute outfits. This also marks Cheeks’ second visit; again, once in utero and once in a cute outfit. It’s become a bit of a family tradition, I suppose.
You’ve seen a bunch of these on Instagram already, but if you wanted to see the full pictures in a place that’s not your tiny phone then have I got a treat for you! The full gallery is after the jump.
A few weeks ago, there was a short opportunity while the two older girls were napping to take some quick photos of Sarah and The-Baby-We’ve-Come-To-Call-Cheeks. I’m sharing them now because I spaced on posting them and there are some good ones in here. I mean, just look at that baby’s cheeks.
The girls love an adventure. Who doesn’t, really? Sometimes “adventure” means a 2 hour long car drive to go to a doctor appointment, which is really stretching the idea of what you think about when you hear “adventure”. But sometimes it also means taking a ferry to New Jersey and going to a zoo.
Sunday was that second type of adventure. We loaded Penny and Bea into the van, left the baby home with a sitter, and got on the Lewes-Cape May ferry. After a boat ride and snacks, we loaded back into the car and took the girls to the Cape May County Zoo. They got to see lions, bears, monkeys, camels, goats, cows, pigs, alpacas, wallabies, kangaroos, and, coolest for dad, a bald eagle.
A bald eagle! Neat!
Of course, as one would expect with toddlers, the most interesting part of the zoo was the acorns and fallen leaves covering the ground. They behaved well, no one melted down, and Penny didn’t get motion sick a single time. Overall pretty successful adventure.
The 20th of the month was the girls’ half birthday and Sarah thought it would be fun to have a half birthday party. She was right. It was fun!
She made them a cake and put them in cute outfits. They got a couple of communal gifts (all gifts are communal at this age for a couple of kids who share a birthday) and had a grand time running around being two and a half. Also, Beatrice is really working on her stink eye.
I took some photos because that’s what I do. Enjoy a pretty big gallery after the jump.
A couple weeks ago I took some photos of Wilbee sitting in a chair outside because she’s a baby and you take photos of babies. That’s pretty much it.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite smiling yet and she definitely couldn’t yet hold her herself up. Our shoot was pretty short because of that. We still got some cute ones, though.
Apologies for sleeping on these for a couple weeks. It feels like I took these photos yesterday, but the dates in the EXIF reveal that I live in a timewarp where minutes, hours, and days have no meaning whatsoever.
The girls had so much fun Memorial Day weekend and Beatrice asked to ring the bell on the boats so many times that we decided to take them back on a Wednesday that wasn’t a holiday.
Unsurprisingly, they had a great time again. Because there were no crowds, dad’s anxiety was much better managed. Nice. And we left Wilbee at home, so we didn’t also have to focus on the infant and could engage with the toddlers.
It was a good day. Bea had so much fun that when we suggested we walk down the boardwalk for ice cream, she started crying and said “No like ice cream! No like it!” Which is not true. Once we actually got ice cream, she’d forgotten her protests. Rides are fun, but ice cream is also fun.
I am not festive and Easter has never been a big holiday in my life. Considering the interplay of those two traits, it should be no surprise that we did not put a ton of effort into the girls’ first Easter. I mean, what do a couple of 15 month olds—only one of whom was walking at that point—have to do with the normal Easter festivities?
Nothing, that’s what.
This year is different. It’s not that I have found the joy of holidays or that Easter has suddenly become important to me. Instead, we’re living at Sarah’s mom’s house to be close to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for Wilbur’s birth. And grandma IS big on Easter. When grandma is big on something, she likes to go for it. Easter egg hunts, cute springtime outfits, baskets of candy, the whole thing.
It all means very little to me, but the girls had a blast and looked great doing it. Enjoy this gallery of their first* Easter.
Apologies for lack of Wilbur shots. She was still in the hospital and had to sit this one out. Have no worry. There will be photos of her.
On Thursday March 30, we welcomed Wilhelmina Shields Dillingham to the family. Some quick nickname options for those who find four syllables to be too many syllables: Willie, Billie, Mina, and (if you’re dad) Wilbur.
Her birth was reasonably quick and, for her, uneventful. She emerged at 34 weeks and 4 days at a healthy 5 pounds, 15.2 ounces. Quite a big baby for that developmental age.
She was whisked off to the NICU for monitoring, as we expected with a premature baby. Her stay in Hotel Neonatal Intensive Care was similarly uneventful. She just had to learn to eat through her mouth. That’s something you don’t expect one needs to learn, but it is. For the first few days her nutrition was supplemented through an NG tube. What she didn’t take through her mouth was forced into her stomach through her nose. Calories are more important than style, sometimes. A few nights later she pulled the tube from her nose in a grand declaration that she would only be eating through her mouth from then on, thank you very much. And she did!
She was strong enough and big enough that some of the scary things that happen with premature babies—and happened with her older sisters—didn’t happen. No oxygen saturation issues. No heart rate issues. No digestion issues. She’s what the doctors referred to as a “feeder and grower”: an easy, boring baby that just needs a little bit more time to cook under medical supervision. It’s really all you could hope for in the circumstances. Miraculously boring.
The NICU and the related PCICU at Johns Hopkins are hard places for Sarah and me. We experienced some of our very worst days there. And it would be disingenuous to claim we didn’t go into this with that trauma hanging over our heads and clouding our expectations. So to have Wilbur’s stay be so profoundly boring? That was the greatest relief.
On the thirteenth day, she was released to come home. Her sisters, who until this point only had a vague notion that there was another baby on the way and were convinced that mommy and daddy had new babies in their bellies, greeted her warmly and proceeded to try to kill her with a toddler’s kindness.
In the days since, the accidental homicide attempts have continued but so has the love. Fortunately, Wilbur is growing more robust by the day and will soon be able to withstanding her sisters’ clumsy expressions of adoration.