Monday, March 21, 2011


I was dressing Julia this morning and decided to put her in a top that my mother bought her. Then, I also put her in booties, as well as this adorable bonnet, that my mother-in-law knitted for her. As I was doing this, I couldn't help but reflect on how lucky Julia is to have such unconditionally loving grandparents in her life.

It is ironic that I can only show things to represent love; from the beginning of Julia's life, when she was a fetus, we did not want her to conflate material possessions with affection. Some things, though, represent devotion, like knitted booties and a bonnet, or the sweet little dog pillow my mom embroidered for her. Even more special, though, are everyday actions: the little things that define our love for others. My mother, for instance, was there when we received Julia's diagnosis, and she's never stopped just loving this little girl for who she is. One of the things we look forward to is mom singing to Julia again; I forgot how much she loves to sing, and what a beautiful voice she has. Julia really grew to love the singing and had started giving mom smiles. This, and speaking Hungarian, are such gifts that mom has shared, and will continue to share, with Julia.

I know my father would also have adored this child. Often, when I have to rock her little butt to get her to sleep, I think about how my dad used to do the same for me. I just hope--and believe--that he's looking down from heaven, and that he's justifiably proud of his little namesake (his name was Julius, and Julia is named after him).

And last week, my mother-in-law came to spend some time here and shower Julia with love. This woman, who I admire so much for her ability to multi-task and keep up communication with some many people on her cell phone, actually put the phone down and, even more surprisingly, just let it ring...because she was spending time with her granddaughter. It's such a little thing, but we were touched by her desire to devote her entire day to being with this little person. She would also give her little tours of our yard, which Julia really enjoyed. She actually arches her little face up toward the sun, sort-of like a cat, to catch the warmth. I know that when Julia gets older, Patty will teach her the names of all of those flowers, and I can just see the two of them doing yardwork together.

Julia hasn't seen her grandpa as often, but I'm counting on the special relationship they will also have. In fact, he told me he had a "secret nickname" that only Julia could call him! Ben tells me about growing up, playing with his dad; they would take cardboard boxes and pretend they were cars, or play with homemade swords and shields. As I get older, I realize that the gift of time is the most precious gift of all.

I can't end this post without mentioning Julia great-grandparents: she has two of them, which is two more than I had! Her great-grandfather has already visited her once, and he held her, literally, the entire time he was here. She's already received a beautiful necklace that was his wife's and has her initials (the same as Julia's) engraved in it...and she's received multiple letters, all of which are in her baby book, and even a Valentine's card. My grandmother is farther away, in Hungary, but she also asks after Julia all of the time and had a necklace made for her out of my grandfather's wedding ring. My grandfather unfortunately died just last June, too early to meet Julia, but this way, I feel his presence also in her life.

As the Psalm says, "My cup overfloweth." Julia has the best grandparents in the world, each with her/his own unique gift to give to her. And these gifts are, to be cliched, worth more than anything money can buy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day from me and Julia!!!
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Friends like family

Our really close friends, soon-to-be Julia's Godparents (!), came to visit last weekend. In all the craziness of having Julia, taking her out places, and introducing her to family, I'd forgotten how wonderful it was to see really close friends: friends who have been through everything with us, friends who love us (and who we love) unequivocally. We were so excited to see them, and I even kept Julia up until 11 p.m. so that they could see her in her sweet little swaddle. Lucky for me and my fashion preferences (remember I'm really into matching), her godmother and her were wearing similar shades of green, so I got to take this sweet picture:
One of the most pleasant parts of the weekend was seeing my little Goddaughter, who is now 3 years old (I can't believe it!). I love watching her and her mother interact; there is so much warmth, so much love there. I only hope I can have this type of relationship with Julia when she grows a little older. So apologies to all who didn't want their pajama pictures on the interweb, but I just love this shot:
I always wondered how a 3-year-old would relate to a baby, and now I have my answer: with intense curiosity! She asked me so many questions: "Why is baby Julia crying?" "Why is she holding her head like that?" "What is she eating?" And far and away my favorite: "where is she eating the milk from?" Now how exactly do I answer that?? Luckily, the answer seemed to appropriately confound her and stopped this uncomfortable line of questioning. She decided that she is Julia's big sister, which, in some ways, she is. We only plan to have one child, and it comforts us that Julia will have so many friends and relatives she can call family. Here's a some sweet shot of the two of them:

We also had another first this weekend. We had taken Julia to a restaurant and for walks in a stroller, but this was our first time at the local playground. At first, the adults played on the swings:

...and Julia was very sad not to join in the festivities.

What, we wondered, could we do with a 7-week-old? Thankfully, there was a little slide, and Ben, much more brave in such matters than I, suggested taking Julia down. Of course, I had all sorts of premonitions of her wobbly head and the wobbly slide, but I finally caved in, and she loved it!

 By the time I went down with her, she was sticking out her tongue to get the full effect, which reminded me of a doggie in the car, which of course prompted our thought that Puck should not miss out on all of this fun.

See that look? That is the look of sheer and utter fear. But we like to think that he enjoyed being included, and that the slide was somewhat fun for him. Unfortunately, our good friends had to leave, but we will see them soon when we go up to Chapel Hill for Julia's big party! It's just really great to know that, no matter how far apart we are, no matter how busy we get, our good friends have our backs.  Truly, they are the family we choose for ourselves.

Friday, March 11, 2011


This is an older picture, but I gave Julia a bath this morning, and I can't take a picture and give a bath at the same time! She loves it and is just amazed by the water and the splashing she can do (albeit in a small space--she has this thing called a puj tub that fits in the sink). Today, she realized that there is a mirror above the sink, and--I think--that the person she sees is herself. She was amazed and kept making "o" shapes with her little mouth.

I'm just grateful that one of my "children" likes taking a bath. Or dog, Puck, just dreads it, so much so that I take him to the store where I can leash him while the bath is in progress. At first, he sits paralyzed, wide eyes looking up at me in disbelief. Then, he gets angry, and the shaking of water begins, accompanied by frenzied attempts to jump out of the tub. Afterwards, drying him off is quite a challege as he attempts to squirm away from me and escape...and then he leaves wet paw prints all over the store. Even though I pay them $10 for the privilege of bathing my dog--or, rather, the privilege of having his fur clog up their drains, not mine--I end up apologizing profusely for the mess he has made. So far, Julia has neither tried to jump out nor made a mess, and it's much quicker and more pleasant. So bathtime has been redeemed in the Rogers household.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blanketed By Love

15 minutes to post, and I have so much to say!  One of the gifts we received lots of was blankets, but each one is so unique to the person who sent it and his/her relationship to Julia.  We also received some stuffed animals, which I'm including in this photographic montage.  The first one I wanted to show you all is this lovely blanket knitted (or is it crocheted?) by Dianne Lynch, Ben's great-aunt:
OK, no time to play with the diameters, and I'm not sure you can see the colors, but these are my absolute favorite colors:  light green, with a hint of yellow.  Beautiful.  
Julia also received a beautiful crocheted blanket from my sister-in-law's mother, Malory Presley:

 This goes along so beautifully with her crib's "under the sea" theme and is generally a beautiful color (sorry about the bad lighting on the photo, photographer friends!).  Malory lives in Asheville, a wonderful crafting community, and this blanket is so representative of all the talent found there.
Our good friend Sabrina Powell (and her family Brad, Jefferson, and Oliver) sent this magnificent quilt that Sabrina made.  The stars are amazing, as are the colors, which Sabrina rightly guessed that Ben and I would love.  And I don't know if you can tell, but there's also a musical theme throughout, which is so apt.  Julia loves music.  I've actually made a little playlist for her, and her favorites are "If I Only Had a Brain" from Wizard of Oz, "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid, and any of the Hungarian songs that my mom sang to her, especially the "Domotor" song!  (Mom, you know which one).  So here is the quilt:

OK, so she doesn't look super-happy here, but she's actually looking at the bright colors!  Here's a better shot:

While we're on the subject of quilts, Julia received a very different, but no less precious, quilt from my mother-in-law Patty's friend, Anne Colavita.  The colors are more traditional, the workmanship (or womanship?) is exquisite, and the pastel goes so well with Julia's skin:
You can see here just how much our little girl has grown!  She is getting long and lean, like her Daddy.  
And here she is admiring all of the bright colors!  Thank you so much, Anne.  I myself embroider, and I know how much work is involved in these things.  We will keep them and treasure them forever.
Ben's colleagues also gave us some blankets--please let me know on "comments" who they are from, because I have sleep-deprived post-partum brain!  

These are so wonderful, namely because they are Carter's (our favorite!) and match all of her clothes, as you can see.  And anyone who knows me knows that I'm into matching, almost to a fault.  If I had been thinking about it, I would have put her in her ladybug pj's for the "cute as a bug" picture.  I'll do that next time!  This next one isn't a blanket, but it's definitely a symbol of love given to Julia by her uncle Lee.  She snuggles right up to it and loves the bright colors.  And it makes me think of that children's book that she'll soon have memorized:  but NOT the hippopotamus!

On the theme of cuddly animals, my good friend Cara gave us this little bunny, which has been super-useful for feeding as well as cuddling purposes.  I don't know what we'd do without it:

And more bunnies, this time an Easter bunny that rattles, given to Julia by her grandma Patty!

So we have bunnies and a hippo, but how many newborns get a panda bear?  Yet this makes perfect sense, as babies love contrast.  Julia loves the black and white:

I especially like the pic on the right side!!
And last but not least, I have a sweet story to tell.  When Julia was a newborn and had just come home, I was taking a nap when I heard the doorbell ring.  It was the girls from next door, 8-year-old Ryann and 11 (?)-year-old Addie, and they had a gift for Julia, who they had been very excited to meet.  They had gone through their toy chests and picked out their cuddliest, softest teddy bears, and they were gifting them to my little girl!  It still brings tears to my eyes, and I know Julia will appreciate these two teddy bears when she gets older.  Even now, she looks so comfortable sleeping with them:
See how she has a hand on each bear?  That wasn't me posing her!  Here are some more closeups for good measure:

That last one is one of my favorites, too.  This girl is just photogenic!  Thank you again, Ryann and Addie, and parents David and Shannon.
I still have one more blanket to post, but the girl is fast asleep, so later.  Thank you all for blanketing our precious jewel with so much love.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I's been a long time coming, but Julia finally got to go to church last Sunday! She (and we) attend the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in downtown Charleston. Because Julia was in the NICU, then on oxygen at home, and because it took us so long to get her the vaccine for RSV--thank you, Coastal Pediatrics!--Julia was about 5 weeks old before she graced the doors of this venerable institution. I finally talked to our pediatrician, who convinced me that Julia (and we) needed the support of our church family as she grows up, and I too would love to see her finding friends and becoming an integral part of this environment.

Also, we wanted to take her to church before my mother left to go back to Hungary. It was, as always, a multi-tiered process. Julia eats very slowly, like a little lady, and so it takes her 40 minutes to breastfeed, and about as long to supplement that food with high-calorie formula...would that I were on such a diet!
Then, there was the matter of what she would wear. We wanted her to wear a little smock made by the mother of one of my students, but it was so big on her that it literally fell off. Then there was the velvet newborn dress, but the tights were huge, bunching around her legs. So we (meaning I, the only one anal about these things) finally decided on a respectable pair of pants and a nice top. Of course, all of this deliberation on my part made us run late, and so you have this harried picture of us in the church parking lot:

We finally settled down, took our traditional seat by the side door (I used to have to sit there to run out and pee when pregnant!), and let the service begin. Julia was really well-behaved and slept through most of it, although I'm convinced that she loved the music:

And after the service, everyone ooh'd and aah'd over this beautiful baby of ours! It was really precious, and it meant so much to us. Here's a picture of us with our rector and Dean, Peet Dickinson, who will baptize Julia:

What a beautiful, blessed Sunday! Since then, mom has gone back to Hungary, and we all miss her, but Julia is thriving!! In fact, this hat, which was HUGE on her head when she was born, fits perfectly now, so one could say she's growing a big head:

The hat was given to her by her other grandma, Patty Rogers, whose website I would link to if she ever made one!! For now, I gotta go feed the child, but I'll keep posting!