Monday, November 30, 2009

So grown up!

Ella had her 2 month appointment today and is 12 lb 2.5 oz (75th percentile) and 23 3/4 inches long (90th percentile) She showed off her tummy skills for the doctor- who I think didn't believe me when I told her what Ella was doing. Ella was a champ with her shots- I guess for her 1 shot or 3 doesn't matter too much- once she was screaming her head off with the first one, I don't know if she felt the other 2.

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Erin's birthday was Friday-- sorry I was a bit neglectful in setting up a post ahead of time! We spent some of the day with Erin's family, helping her brother move. Meanwhile, Ella was at Grammy and Papa Harris's house, working on a new trick to show her mommy as a birthday present-- rolling over! Check out the video below. Though it may be hard to tell from this video (taken last night), she is definitely doing it intentionally as opposed to just losing her balance. Every roll is different. Sometimes she rocks, grunts, kicks her legs, and finally rolls. Other times, she lifts her head way up, visualizes what she is about to do, and suddenly rolls over in one quick move. This is an example of a roll where she gets halfway over onto her side, pauses for dramatic effect, and then completes the move. My favorite part is the crazy celebratory kicking at the end.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I'm not really one to publicly take stock of my life as it has taken shape over a previous year. For example, for each of the last five years I've been asleep at midnight on New Year's Eve. I find any holiday premised on the idea that you have to buy a new calendar to be asinine-- but I digress. This year I feel I would be sorely remiss if I let Thanksgiving pass without acknowledging what a year for the books this has been.

The year got off to a somewhat wild start when, on Tuesday, January 13, at 6:13pm, I got a text message from Erin as I rode home on the Red Line from my second day of an externship at a law firm:

I took a test and I think it's positive.
I knew immediately what she was talking about, but, in what I think is a testament to my legal reasoning skills, I was not worried. I figured that "I think" could mean anything. When I got home and found out that "I think" means "I took two tests and I know," reality set in pretty quickly for both of us, especially the then-unemployed law student with mounting student debt one of us. Though the idea took about a day or two for us to really wrap our heads around, the excitement grew quickly as we shared the unexpected but joyful news with our families and friends. I also got to share the news with the Catholic priest who would be marrying us, which was also exciting in a different, intensely awkward way. More on that (the baby, not the priest) later.

In March, despite the fact that we seemed to be entering a second Great Depression, I somehow fell into a great job at a great law firm. Maybe it's not as rare a thing as I think it is, but I feel truly lucky to be excited about going to work every morning.

In May, I married the funniest, most beautiful woman I've ever met. Though I hate to say Erin is the "most understanding" because it makes me sound like a perpetual screw-up, she understands me better than anyone, and just sighs when I laugh at or make jokes about horribly inappropriate things. Calling your spouse your best friend may be a cliche, so I'll just leave it at this: if I had to go on a car ride lasting eternity with anyone, it would be her-- as long as I could drive, because, as I tell her all the time, she follows too closely. Our wedding was perfect, and I gained a great new family: two new brothers who I can never thank enough for breaking Erin in, early and often, to the harsh realities of what men are really like up close and personal; a mother-in-law who laughs at my jokes; and a father-in-law who shares my love of lying about going to the used bookstore in favor of hitting the local pub. At the time, I didn't fully realize what it meant for him to give Erin away to me at the wedding (excuse the property implications). Now that I have a perfect daughter of my own, for whom no one will ever truly be suitable, I realize what a truly humbling, awesome honor it is.

In May, I also graduated from law school and began studying for the bar exam. After two months of flash cards and writing until my hand cramped, I took the exam and somehow passed.

In September, our first child, a daughter, was born. It would take a much better writer than me to make sense of that in some way that would do it justice, so I will just say that it has been the best few months of my life. I'll never forget that little frowning, wrinkled face right as it looked the second it entered the world. I'll never forget positioning myself like a home plate umpire to get the best view of the play so that, as the baby slipped out, I was the first person in the room to see and yell out "it's a girl!" And I'll never forget calling our assembled parents to tell them that they were all first-time grandparents of a little princess named Ella Grace Harris. I feel like I will always remember every word my mom and I said to each other during that brief telephone conversation.

I realize this post might make me sound like a real jackass who loves boasting about himself. But I'm not naive enough to think I made these things happen on my own. I feel that I've worked reasonably hard, but for every single great thing that has happened to me this year-- the job, the marriage, the bar exam, the baby-- I know people much more qualified and deserving than me, people who are smarter and nicer and better people than me, who for one reason or another have not enjoyed the same blessings. I live a charmed life. Since it would be ridiculous of me not to do so, I have to thank God, my family, and my friends who have made possible this year unlike any I've ever had or undoubtedly ever will have again.

Still, I'm going to be asleep again on New Year's at midnight, so don't call me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where's Ella?

Ella has volunteered to go hunting for the Thanksgiving turkey this year. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ella give new meaning to the phrase "shop till you drop."

Monday, November 23, 2009

We have liftoff!!!

Ella is getting much better at lifting her head now when she is on her belly!

Doing 2 things at once though is a little challenging.... that whole lifting of the head while focusing the eyes could still use a little work!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For Weymouth Family, Modeling Runs In The Family

First off, let me apologize for the title of the post. I wanted it to seem like this was a newspaper article about our family, who are all models.

As some people say, though, in every lie there is a grain of truth. Yesterday we brought Ella to an open casting call for child/baby models. Go ahead, I'll give you a second to judge us.

Does this make us bad parents? I'll leave that for you to decide. I don't think so. When Erin mentioned to me earlier in the week that she had seen something about baby modeling, my first thought was that we should do it. If she could make some money now to put away for college, what's the downside? We decided that we would do it, if only to laugh about it later, and that it was nothing to be embarrassed about. In somewhat of a contradiction to that last point, we also each independently neglected to tell anyone that we were planning on taking Ella to a baby model tryout.

Anyway, we showed up about 5 minutes early at the dance studio where the call was held. There were already about 10 kids in front of us in line, and right away I spotted trouble: a ginger-curled kid who had reserved a spot right near the front of the line. "That damned curly red hair is money in the bank," I told Erin. It's a shameful part of American life that red-headed kids are disproportionately represented in our nation's advertising. I was starting to sweat, but, as you can see, Ella was not worried in the least (there's the redhead, apparently getting her ears boxed):

I was curious what kind of parents bring their kids to these things, and I soon found to my horror that I was that kind. I literally could not help myself from scrutinizing the other children. For some of them I found flaws right away; others, as I told Erin, just didn't "seem right." Mercifully for them, the baby group was soon called in to the room/dance studio where our babies would be evaluated.

At almost 9 weeks, Ella was easily the youngest by at least four months. The guy was actually really nice and didn't seem sleazy, and he leveled with the group of assembled hopefuls about the harsh reality of the child modeling industry ("if you're Asian and we've got enough Asians in [the] 6 to 9 [month range], you may not get a call and it's nothing personal.").

After a few introductory remarks, he started having the babies come forward to hand in the three headshots we were all instructed to bring. Though the website said that any candid shots taken at home were fine, anyone who knows anything about baby modeling knows that you bring your "A" game. So we brought the celebrated "Ella Smiling" picture, and rounded it out with a couple from the professional shoot we did with Debbie a few weeks ago.

We decided to hold back and let other babies go first so we could hear the feedback they were getting. The guy was pretty non-committal, saying that they would be called if they were needed. Finally, when only one other baby was left, we went up for our date with destiny.

The guy was asking us about Ella's demeanor, and we told him how well-behaved she is. I was so distracted, though, by trying to get Ella to smile and look her best, that I didn't hear much of what he was saying. I was totally aware of how ridiculous I was acting, but it was like I was watching a movie about some crazy stage dad and had no power to stop myself. The agent guy did say that Ella was adorable, and then we got the news: "You'll probably get a call."

So it will be interesting to see what happens. While I do think it would be fun to see Ella in ads, I have no strong feelings about it either way-- as soon as we left the dance studio, my mania passed. Maybe I should do everyone a favor and not go next time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winding down

It took a little more effort than usual to get her settled for the night. Here is the party girl in jammies resting before bedtime!

Friday, November 20, 2009


We learned at the pre-baptism meeting that the baptism is the actual ceremony and the christening is the party or celebration. Ella was very lucky to have so many people come and celebrate with her!

The three wise men were there, oh wait- thats just the three bearded Neilan's.

4 great grandparents made the trip from CT!

Just like her mom, Ella hates to miss out on any fun. This is probably the only time all day she wasn't being held, and we were trying to get her to nap. She did take a couple cat caps, but nothing substantial.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Am I at the spa?

Ella reacted to all events of the day as she always does- smiling and going with the flow. I think she really enjoyed the ceremony as it must have seemed to her like going to the spa.

First she had her hair "washed". The priest was trying to barely touch her with the water, but I think she would have preferred to have gotten a little more wet.

Then Julie put a "robe" on her and the priest rubbed oil on her head (she loved this part!)

Here are all the babies. Ella was the youngest, and of course cutest and more well behaved!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I think I'm ready to go get baptized!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nate's Craft

While we were at crafting weekend, Nate and the rest of The Screwdrivers went to Hurricane Farm to have a reunion of sorts. It sounds and looks like they had a great time. Next year Ella will have to go there since she will no longer qualify for craft weekend :o) She better start learning to play an instrument.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I did get to do some crafting too. I made Ella her Christmas stocking. I had a vision in my head of her fitting into the stocking, but she is just too big. For a second I was going to make her stocking bigger, but then that would require years of putting more gifts in the stocking to fill it, so I kept it the same size as mine and Nate's.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

on the cake we have...

Brooke Erin
Lauren Sarah Julie
and little Ella

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crafts Galore

We had quite a variety of projects going on this year!

Julie was making a quilt for Ellas big girl bed

Brooke started a cross stitch

Sarah was the most dedicated to her craft this weekend. She was just practicing her skills of cake decorating, and thus providing snacks for everyone!

Ella's craft was being cute of course!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Crafting Weekend

There is an annual crafting weekend held on the cape where all crafters and non-mobile babies are welcome. The beauty of the weekend is that you can really spread out your mess and just leave it there until you are finished or until Sunday when we pack up to go home. We can really trash a place. This picture is after about 10 minutes, but nothing was even unpacked at that point. By the end of an hour- the whole floor was covered with fabric, pins and all sorts of crafting supplies.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Congratulations Nate!

Hip Hip hooray! Nate passed the Massachusetts bar exam! They had a champagne toast for him at the office, so Ella got all dressed up in her pink finery and went to the big city to raise a glass (bottle) to her old man.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

He's so cute!

I am learning quickly how ridiculous people are. Unless Ella is dressed head to toe in pink, people all assume she is a boy! She has several cute non-pink outfits complete with bows and ruffles, and still people look at her and say "Isn't he cute?!" Now even more interesting was today she was wearing a dress which has been clue enough in the past that she is a girl. She wore it to meet Grandma Fran. So she is wearing this DRESS (which does have a pink stripe) with tights at the grocery store and the cashier asked how old the baby was to which I replied "she is 7 weeks." The woman looks intently at her and her dress and tights and says "a girl?! I thought it was a boy." What can you do?!?!

In addition to my annoyance with the general public was an incident last week. I had a doctors appointment in Boston, and brought Ella with me. She was all bundled up in her stroller and had a winter ear flap hat on. You couldn't even see her face. I was walking down the street on a somewhat brisk 45 degree morning and I heard a woman with a Jamaican accent yelling with words "can't believe' "baby" "freezing" "inside" "crazy" . I couldn't even see this woman and I don't know for sure but I can only assume that she was yelling at me. I have one word for her ESKIMOS!

OK I'm all done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Photo Favorites

We are all going away for the weekend so here are some favorites from our photo session with Debbie

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Say Cheese!!!!

The first smile finally caught on camera!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smile Sandwich

As you may have seen from some of the recent pictures, Ella has recently been experimenting with smiling. If you've enjoyed those pictures, i think you'll be very pleased with tomorrow's picture. I stood for what felt like hours, my muscles tensed, waiting to snap that picture. I was like a crew member for Planet Earth. I think the result is worth it. I also think I'm being melodramatic and exaggerating to the point of dishonesty.

The thing I have wondered is whether Ella is smiling because she is happy, or because she sees other people do it. The jury is still out. Tonight Ella was fussing and really starting to get crying because she was hungry, and while Erin was preparing her a bottle I started making funny faces at Ella and sticking my tongue out. In the middle of a red-faced crying jag, she stuck her tongue out, cracked the broadest grin I've seen to date for about a second, and then immediately resumed screaming.

Though she may have just been copying me, I'm hoping that I actually tricked her into not being mad for a few seconds. That skill will undoubtedly come in handy later on, when I become the embarassing father of an adolescent girl.

I want to be a big girl!

Even though she can't hold her head up by herself yet (almost though) she is very nosy and wants to see what's going on.

Copy Cat

Ella has been trying and finally mastered the art of sticking out her tongue. This is her favorite game to play. Initially she would just try to copy us when we would stick our tongue out at her, but now she initiates the game by sticking out her tongue until we copy her!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A day at the beach!

Ella and I have been getting pretty creative during home showings! We are really taking advantage of the last of the warm fall weather.