February 13, 2011

Heart-Shaped Footprints for Daddy

Happy Valentine's Day!

Once upon a time I painted or sketched Valentine's Day gifts for my husband. I prepped for our second Valentine's Day, back in 2000, in the library. I scoured the Chinese dictionary looking for the perfect character to paint that symbolized how I felt about Rob. I planned to paint a character that meant "love" but the Chinese calligraphy proved much more complex. There was no single image for "love". Instead, they were much more philosophical and more complete descriptions of what different types of love meant. I chose to draw a character that stood for "the desires, feelings, affections of love". Some watercolors and sharpie markers later, Rob had his first handmade Valentine.

It's been many years since my last handmade Valentine. This year it was Savannah's turn to make daddy some love art. Her very first arts and crafts experience. Here's how we did it.

Step 1
Get your supplies ready. This included our new Sugarbooger splat mat, baby-safe ink pads (pink and black), a skeptical and mostly naked baby, leftover card stock from wedding signage, a camera, blanket in case baby gets cold (because who knows how long this will take), and a cardboard box or other hard surface for smooshing hand and footprints. Like so:

Step 2
Take a deep breath and cover baby's feet in ink. Start with feet because they are way easier to do than hands especially if your baby is a crazy grabby bean.

To create footprint hearts, press one foot at a time so that the print has heels together, toes apart. Sorta like 1st position ballerina pliƩs. Make more than you think you need in order to get the perfect one. Try not to hurt your baby's tiny toes when smashing them into the paper. Can you see the hearts? (Look closely and pay no attention to the hands. We sucked at creating handprints. Maybe you'll have better luck.)

Step 3
When you fail at getting a normal looking handprint because your baby just wants to clench her fists or grab and eat the paper, pause and be thankful that your baby takes after your husband's ridiculous cleanliness. Once her hands were covered in ink, she never touched anything besides the paper; not her face or mouth or me or her tummy. Nothing. She made no additional mess. YAY.

Step 4
Let your baby create art. Give her a piece of paper to slap and eat and grab, and keep smooshing more ink on her palms and fingers until she gets bored. If your baby is like Savvy, she will love every minute of this entire ordeal and even pose for pictures for longer than you expect. Here she is working and then posing with her masterpiece, her very first painting. It's mixed media: non-toxic ink and saliva.

Step 5
Snap as many photos as you can, so as to ensure you get some good ones. It's helpful to wait until your baby can sit up on her own. Yay for sitting up unassisted while covered in florescent pink dye!

Step 6
Scrub the heck out of your baby. Don't believe the false advertising. The ink is not easy to get off. Give your baby an impromptu bathroom sink bath. Be careful not to let her grab the hot water handle or throw your toothbrushes into the toilet all while trying not to drop your slippery baby.

Step 7
Think "How the hell am I going to turn all this into a Valentine's Day gift???" Run out to the store and buy a frame, construction paper and doilies.

Step 8
Wait until baby is napping, then get crafty!

Here is her final product.

Happy Valentine's Day Daddy!


February 12, 2011

Savannah is 278 Years Old

Savannah is 278 Years Old today! No, not my Savvy Pea. The city of Savannah, Georgia turned 278 years old today, I learned, thanks to the friendly people behind the Visit Savannah twitter feed.

Yes, my daughter is named after Savannah, the lovely city where we spent part of our honeymoon. We named our fictional honeymoon baby Savannah before we even bought our plane tickets.

Because I planned my entire wedding down to the very last detail, the last thing I wanted to do was plan a complicated honeymoon. I tried to pawn the honeymoon planning onto my husband but he said we could do whatever I wanted to do. Gee, thanks!

We couldn't really do anything I wanted to do, because my husband is allergic to the sun, which ruled out Greece and every typical honeymoon location. My lack of time to plan a complicated dream vacation to Argentina or Eastern Europe or back to Italy, left me thinking domestic.

We were to be married in November, and by God if I couldn't have a beachy vacation somewhere, I certainly didn't want a cold vacation. So I narrowed down our options to west coast wine country or Savannah and Charleston.

Airfare down south was obviously cheaper and it was a much easier trip to mentally prepare for than figuring out how to navigate Napa Valley. Much easier to plop ourselves in two small cities and just figure things out on the fly.

When I started leaning towards Savannah and Charleston, Rob said, "If you get pregnant on our honeymoon and we have a girl, we can name her Savannah, and if it's a boy, we can name him Charles." He said this as a joke! Like, a knee-slapping, wouldn't-that-be-funny kind of joke.

While we were in Savannah, we fell in love. We fell in love with each other all over again. We loved the city. We loved Broughton Street and the fabulous loft we rented. We loved the food and the moss covered trees. We loved the fact that it rained almost the entire time we were there, giving us an excuse to stay in, *wink wink*.

So when we found out I was pregnant a month after the wedding, we were shocked to learn that we were actually going to have our fictional honeymoon baby!!! Oh wow, did we jinx ourselves! It was definitely fate!

We considered other names, but Savannah won our hearts before she was even conceived. Our sweet Savvy. I can't wait to take her to her city. I hope she likes it there!

Until our next trip, we will have to settle for creating a little bit of Savannah in New York by lighting Nourish Savannah candles, eating Savannah Bee Honey, smoking our stale Savannah Cigars, and singing to our sweet Savvy Pea.

Newlyweds escaping the rain and enjoying frozen hot chocolate at The Paris Market.

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