Learning to Speak Gwen


Gwen is a bubbling seven weeks old. She is brilliantly coohing up a storm and smiling to make everyones heart melt. I’m convinced one of her coohs is actually her saying “hi” because after all she is brilliant.

Gwen started to really “play” this week. My dear friend Mikaela bought a wonderful learning toy piano that Gwen kicks to engage the music and lights. Mikaela of course bought this to be the first to lend to Gwen’s future profession in the music industry. I think she might already be a piano savant and will soon have her own recording album.

Along with her kicking, coohing, smiling Gwen’s personality is coming out more and more. All in all Gwen is a happy baby with lots of personality. She loves to look out the window when on her changing table and will let you know when she is hungry. She sleeps in hilarious positions usually with her arms above her head and head tilted back dramatically.

As new parents Cody and I are learning to speak Gwen. We are starting to get the hang of her distinct language and learn that some coohs are actually mini conversations Gwen wants to have with us while others are simple toots of gas.

We had another baby buddy outing with Brooke and August this week. August is getting cuter by the minute and stayed awake most of our visit. Gwen showed her displeasure in our venue location cried the first few moments while we sat at The Good Egg.

Two men in ties were having a meeting in the booth next to us as she fussed. Instead of being annoyed, glaring or making rude remarks one of the business dudes actually turned to interact with Gwen and distracted her from her anger for a moment before we quickly got her a bottle.

After a nice delicious bottle Gwen calmed into a lovely slumber in her buggy. One big learning curve I am happy to announce is that I have learned to NOT leave Gwen in her car seat when out and about. Gwen HATES her car seat. If the car is moving she will remain calm in her locked down seat, because of course she understands safety comes first. If in her stroller or placed in a stationary position in her car seat she will have nothing to do with it and wants out…fast. I guess she just prefers her lovely ‘carry cot’ feature of her bumble ride. I mean really that is why I wanted the damn thing so I should be happy!

Since Gwen was finally calmed down and napping and August as a good little man that he is was happy and content we decided to change our outing plans. Again learning to speak a little Gwen. Instead of pushing our luck and taking the babies to the Phoenix Art Museum (one of my favorite places in Phoenix) Brooke and I strolled to a near by Starbucks and hung out with the babies in the shade. The kids didn’t get their dose of culture we had hoped but Gwen got a great nap, I got to hold August and bond with him and Brooke and I enjoyed one of the last warm but not smoldering hot days in Phoenix.

Ohh I think Gwen also turned the charm on with August and is starting to have her first crush. More August and Gwen pics below! August Gunner on the left and Gwen Ryan on the right! Adorable!


Check out the Daily Cub page for new Gwen photos 😉

Ode to Poppa Bears

Yesterday Brooke and I were sitting at America’s Taco Shop on 7th Ave this AM enjoying our weekly mommy outing and time with our little ones. Per usual Gwen was being squirmy and wormy and little August was minding his own business being adorable and sleepy. Needless to say Gwen had a big time incident that was less than lovely…click here for image just prior to incident…But I won’t make my third blog post about poop…because I’m sure there will be many more poop stories to come. HA….
Today is my Dad – Russ Doucett’s birthday. Being a parent myself now has made me see my parents in an entirely new light. My Dad was the Dad always “up to something” as my Mom would put it. He is a handy dude, able to work on anything with an engine, not to mention electrical work, wood work, just about anything you ask him to figure out, he was my go to helper with anything related to history homework, was our coach (from t-ball to hockey to sideline tips) and an all around supportive poppa bear.

I have so many fond memories I have shared with my Dad. He was always willing to the the time to explain situations to us, buy me ice cream when I was sad, give me sidelines tips, take the time to laugh and play with us and I could always smile my way into getting him to buy yet another giant stuffed bear that I had to have. He never raised his voice and is supportive of you in all your endeavours. My friends (from elementary school up to college) all loved being around my Dad. He would cook their steaks they way they liked them (well done for Megan) and he was the life of the party during Dad’s weekends at U of A (infamous bar tabs at Dirtbags and Gentle Bens).

Now that we have Gwen he gets to be “Poppi” and show off his softer side. Every night I sit in an antique rocking chair feeding Gwen and rocking her to sleep. My Dad bought this chair at  an auction years ago in near our home town (upstate, NY). I love this chair. The wooden arms are the prefect length, the wood is broken in and it has just enough creaking noise as it rocks. I think of my Dad with every perfect creak the chair makes.

I wish my Dad the happiest of all birthdays. I know he is going to be the best grandfather ever. He was the best Dad a girl could ask for. He was our advocate, our coach, our history tutor and was always available for whatever we needed. He taught me to be strong, to trust my gut, to love my family, work hard, play hard and to question authority.
He has already been a great grandfather and I know Gwen already adores him. 
Cody and I are both lucky to come from families with strong father figures. From these amazing men I know Gwen is lucky to have a great Dad and two wonderful grandfathers (and grandmothers). Cody is an amazing father already and I can’t wait to see how his relationship with Gwen grows. I already recognize the same ease, laughter, dedication and gentleness that he has with Gwen that my Dad has with me. I’m a Daddy’s girl and lucky enough to have my Dad live close to me again (just a few houses away) and to have married a great man who not only my best friend but is our daughters hero just like my Dad is mine.
Happy birthday, Daddy. XO Jennabee

Adult Alternative

Gwen is five weeks old and 10.4 pounds. She is a wiggle worm full of new expressions and noises this week (new photos in the daily cub section). She also has super baby strength when holding her head up as she arches back to catch a glimpse of something moving around her, usually Max sniffing her head. With this new found strength and awareness has also arrived fussiness AKA gas.
The other day was a fussier than normal day. In the later afternoon I made a call to Cody with Gwen wailing in the background I said calmly “when you get home from work I’m going to leave for a little while and run an errand.” Being Cody he agreed and gave me a supportive “no problem” a “you okay” and a”ohh my Gwen” to hear squeals in the background. So my “errand” was running to Total Wine. Where I purchased a new friend called Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja a lovely tempranillo blend from Spain. My new friend is delish.

Back to the point. As any good Mom I ran my “errand” gathering my new red blended friend and stopped at Chipotle for din-din. When I got home Cody looked excited. The baby was asleep in her bassinet. Good work, Dad and I gave him a high five. Cody then started to tell me his secret. Cody says in disbelief “if you sing to her she calms down.” My Mom (YaYa) had watched Gwen over the weekend and informed us that she liked to be sang to. But like any good parent we had to find this on our own.
The genius that Cody is he had turned on the radio TV stations on Cox and said he found a station he could sing along to. For Cody this station was “90’s.” Over dinner this got me thinking and remembering music growing up. Cody and I both grew up in households where our parents and older siblings loved music.
Every weekend in the summer I spent Saturday nights at Fords Marina where we docked our boat on Cayuga Lake with my family enjoying bonfires and listening to Super Gold on the radio. Super Gold (with Mike Harvey, you know the one – listen here) would play requests that I loved like The Platters “Who Put The Bop in the Bop Shoo Bop” and Lesley Gore singing “It’s My Party” (and I’ll cry if I want too). Anyway, I digress. These memories came over me and I said to Cody, “will Gwen think of 90’s Alternative music like the way we think of oldies?.”  Yep, I guess she will was the table discussion consensus. But that isn’t a bad thing. My parents generation music is amazing, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Carol King, Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel, Janis Joplin. I mean amazing music. So hopefully Gwen will enjoy our favorites they way we enjoyed listening to our parents favorites over the years.
Today while trying to ease Gwen’s fussy afternoon spell I turned to the radio TV stations. Searching for a song I knew. The first station I landed on was surprisingly Oldies. I knew the words to the first three songs:

  1. Rolling Stones “Off of My Cloud”
  2. Elvis Presley “You Look Like an Angle”
  3. The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me”
Well this was working out to my benefit. Then the Oldies station went downhill and Gwen was pissed again. So I kept searching for a new station. I landed on the station for me. No not 90’s. The 90’s station was playing “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Love which yes I know the words too but it just wasn’t working. I landed on Adult Alternative. Adult Alternative was right up my alley pushing out hits from The Smiths, The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Patti Smith, No Doubt, The Cure… I was in hog heaven I knew the words and Gwen was asleep in my arms in no time.
Then I got to thinking. Adult Alternative. Is that like Adult Contemporary just renamed for people who grew up in the 90’s liking grunge, ska, indie and alternative rock. Ohh my.
Just the other day we said, “Has HGTV really improved their programming or have we just aged into their target demographic?” It really is the most watched station in our house (second only to Cody watching endless hours of Fuel TV). HGTV and Adult Alternative over here. I should wear a sign that says “Hi I’m 30, married with child.” But I would have it no other way. I mean hey, the young lady carded me yesterday and did say 2/17/1981…so you just turned 30?! …..You don’t look 30!” Yipee for me!
So I hope Gwen grows up loving the tunes her parents love. I’ll have to keep the playlist I have developed of music she listens to in the day with me. Including Bob Marley, No Doubt, Foo Fighters, Band of Skulls, The Avett Brothers, The Beatles, Blind Pilot, Foster the People, Frightened Rabbit, Iron & Wine and Freelance Whales. Hopefully she will think that we are cool parents into music the way Cody and I thought our parents were.

Steady as she goes…Well as WE go…

While gently gliding down the slopes snowboarding I always hum the tune “Steady As She Goes” by The Raconteurs because I’m no pro like Cody who bombs the hill. The song helps me keep my focus and frankly not fall on my ass.

As a new Mom I’m essentially doing the same thing. I like to think of myself as a professional multi-tasking guru but when trying to get out of the house with a new little one it takes a lot of patience, planning, determination and stuff (stroller, car seat, diaper bag, diapers, extra clothing, on and on).

Yesterday after getting out the house (steady as we go…) I was actually running a few minutes early. So I stopped by Hava Java for a house brewed half-caf jumbo iced tea. While exiting the cafe, free of any incidents, the jumbo iced tea exploded on the floor around me. As the old timers and the Camelback Corridor real estate professionals who frequent Hava Java smirked at my accident, I felt self consciously like a clumsy mom with a huge trendy stroller and unneeded beverage around my shoes. The gal behind the counter felt very strongly that the cup had a crack in it and swiftly made me a new tea. But I think she felt bad for me, likely because I always tip her. Thankfully I believe in Karma and tipping always is good Karma and WILL help you one day. After claiming my fresh iced tea I hurried to the Yukon.

I finally made it to the destination of where my mommy friend Brooke and I were meeting.  Brooke’s son August Gunner is one week younger than Gwen. So we not only were preggo buddies, we are momma pals too.

While pulling into the parking garage the sign indicating the size of car allowed in made a horrific noise on top of our Yukon. Opps. I have been in this very garage hundred times with this same car but for some reason the sign is lowered and on this particular day hit the top of the car. I swear. The Yukon is THANKFULLY fine. So a few moments later laughing about my “accidents” Brooke and August arrived and our play date started. On the agenda: a long walk in Old Town Scottsdale with the tourists, lunch @ Orange Table, and hanging out in the park at Scottsdale Mall by AZ88.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch. We had some needed new mommy talk, some sunshine, an out of the house high with a little exercise and window shopping to boot. Late in the day we found a nice shady park bench and had a little down time with our babes. Gwen is officially the “wiggle worm” of the outing as you can see in the photo. August was content on his little matt not making a peep where as Gwen is moving and grooving for her pooty (binky) squirming and worming around.

Moral of this post. I love Jack White of The Raconteurs for penning my anthem that gets me down the slopes and out of the house  in one piece and am so thankful to have a mommy pal Brooke to laugh off our new mom blunders together. Stay tuned for more August and Gwen updates.