Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy 32 weeks to my little lady!

  • She had a doctor's appointment two weeks ago.  There she officially weighed 19.5 pounds (around the 75 percentile) and she measured in at 29 inches (over the 95 percentile).  The doctor said that she didn't believe the length (as the nurse measured her) -- but she said the same thing last appointment as well.  Her length was inputted incorrectly into her chart, but the corrected length matched the curve.  We have a tall lady on our hands!
  • Finn is currently in size 3 diapers.  They fit quite nicely and after buying two big boxes of them on sale, hopefully she will be in that size for at least another couple of weeks.

  • She is currently sporting size 6-9 month clothes.  We moved her over about two weeks ago.  She fits quite nicely in them and I was excited to start putting the "new" clothes on her.  E dresses her every morning and he always has such fun mixing and matching her outfits.  As the cooler weather sets in, we have a lot of fun cardigans and also lots of skirts with attached tights!
  • Breastfeeding is going off without a hitch.  We ran into a little snafu at daycare earlier this week.  Daycare said that she wasn't drinking all of her bottles and when she did, that she was taking an eternity to finish it.  My first reaction was that there was something wrong with the way that I was thawing out her milk.  After doing a little googling, I realized that I was still giving her newborn nipples!  The poor girl was just getting tired of trying to suck the milk out!  We have since switched to 6+ month nipples with a larger hole and things seem to be doing better.  I'm also starting to get sad that we only have four months left of breastfeeding.  :(
  • Lady is a serious eater.  She LOVES food.  She still eats the purees (2 oz of fruit during lunch and an oz of fruit & 1-2 oz of veggies for dinner).  But we are also starting her on "big-people" food.  We have given her chicken, beef, and venison.  I usually pre-chew her meats (as she doesn't have any teeth yet and I am NOT going to be blending up a chicken) -- she really likes meat.  We also started giving her rice puffs.  They make all sorts of different kinds.  Funny part is her favorite are the cheapies (totally not complaining).  We are also starting to set her in a high chair while we are out eating at a restaurant and she eats some food (mostly veggies) with us.
  • Still no teeth.  And although there are small signs of teething (I think she is just going to be a drooler forever!  And the ear pulling only comes out when she is tired.), there are no white bumps on her gums and she is NOT cranky at all.  No teeth in the near future.
  • We are still rolling all over the place. 

  • She is an accomplished sitter.  She doesn't really fall over anymore (although I'm afraid to sit her on our kitchen floor for the rare chance that she is going to crash and burn and really hit her head on the tile).  She really likes sitting up and can reach for toys that are out of her reach. 
  • We are not crawling yet.  When she is placed on her tummy and she really wants to get somewhere, her back legs starting kicking furiously, flicking in and out.  But we aren't scooting anywhere but backwards right now and even then, she doesn't realize that she is moving backwards.  She is starting this new thing when she is sitting up, she will lean off to the side with both of her hands on the ground and start trying to scoot her butt.  All she has to do is put her knees underneath her and she would be on all fours.  We got a couple of weeks before she is moving anywhere though.
  • She is a TALKER.  Her latest is lots of "bababa" and "mamama".  She just started with "aaaa, da" this morning.  She screeches and squeals.  She definitely lets you know that she is there when she is awake.

  • She still isn't sleeping through the night.  I start her in her crib around 9pm and between 2-3am, she wakes up.  I move her into our bed at that point and we sleep together until morning.  It works for us because Eain sleeps later than I do and he then sleeps next to her until he wakes up in the morning.  There are mornings that she doesn't even wake up by 8am when he has to leave for work.  So he has to wake her up those mornings.
  • The big development this month was daycare.  We are a daycare kid now.  And she really enjoys daycare.  The first two days were hard on both her and I.  But she has acclimatized very well and she really likes the ladies that take care of her (especially Miss Rosa who likes to call her Chunky).  She is usually at daycare from 8:30 until 4:00pm each day.  We haven't gotten super sick yet which surprises me.  We got sick the first time she visited and once during her first week, but ever since then, neither her or I have gotten even so much as a cold (of course, she has boogers, but it's not the snots that we had after her first visit).
  • She has started reaching for me when someone else is holding her.  When I put out my hands for her, she will lean and reach for me if she wants me instead of whoever is holding her.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Family Ties

 We had an impromptu visit (if you call two week notice, impromptu) from my parents this past weekend.  It was wonderful!  They just left this morning and I miss them already.  This whole living-604-miles-(or-a-shorter-mileage-but-longer-drive-of-569-miles)-away-from-them really blows.  Of course, it has never been something that I enjoyed, but it was something that I lived through because of E.  While living on the East Coast and living more than 1,000+ miles away was even farther, it was a cooler place to visit -- so I knew that we would have more friends & family stop on through for summer vacations.  Who wants to vacation in Cleveland?  Anyone?  Anyone?  (Didn't think so...)

When E found out that he got a job at the Clinic, I was ecstatic!  The thought of living almost half as close to home was so tantalizing.  With all the interviews that he had went on, Cleveland was the closest to home.  And our yearly Christmas drive was cut from 16 hours to a measly 9.5 hours.  Despite the fact that I had done a couple of the Iowa-Jersey drives by myself with dogs in tow, they were really difficult to do.  And we had gotten pretty lucky on our holiday drives to not have been surprised by dangerous winter driving conditions (save that one drive to Iowa where I had to lay back my seat while E was driving because I was afraid we were going to slide off the road).  Now with only 9.5 hours, I was thinking that this was something that I could do without complaint.  Now that Finn has entered into the equation and the realization of how hard it is to just jump in the car and drive for almost 10 hours with a baby is, it still really difficult to do the drive.  In fact, she is going to be 32 weeks this Thursday and we still haven't did the drive yet.

I was going to drive out near the end of my maternity leave, but she had other ideas when she realized that she was not a fan of the car, AT ALL.  Going the short distance of 4.1 miles to Target was murder.  I can recall one trip where I actually stopped TWICE  in those 4 miles to see if I could get her to quiet without avail.  And now that she might enjoy a car trip, my PTO (paid time off) is very limited due to my maternity leave earlier in the year -- that and the fact that I usually have to use at least 7 days for Christmas alone (being that I have to use my PTO for my holidays (don't even get me started) and with a trip to Iowa and a trip to NYC in those 7 days).  I had thought about flying, but with ticket prices ever increasing and the fact that the airlines that fly out of Cleveland don't fly to Cedar Rapids without a heavy pricetag, those trips haven't happened yet either.

Let me tell you a little bit about my family.  My maternal grandmother and her two sisters married my maternal grandfather and his two brothers.  Did you get that?  Three sisters married three brothers.  The the sisters had other siblings and the brothers had other brothers.  Most of them all lived in the same small Iowa town of less than 1,000 people.  When I was growing up, our town's population was 744 -- according to the 2010 census, it's now up to 810.  In my mom's high school class, I think I remember her saying that she had three cousins in her class alone.  I used to joke with E that I think half of that 750 were my direct/distant relatives and that the reason I chose him was because he was outside of the gene pool.  But to say that my family is small would be a lie.  My mother is one of 9 and my father is one of 12.  Christmas alone on my mom's side consists of over 60 people if everyone can make it and brings significant others and all kids.

Growing up, we used to have cake & ice cream for each birthday.  We would get together for all holidays; Easter, Mother's/Father's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  We saw each other constantly.  One of my cousins is only two months older than me.  When we were little, we would play together all the time.  As we got older, he started liking boy things and I started liking girl things and we grew apart.  Now, it's hard to feel close when you only see each other once (or if you are lucky, twice) a year.  I do try my hardest to keep in touch via social media, but sometimes life is just busy and you miss things.

Social media is a double-edged sword when you live so far away.  I am able to keep abreast of photos and events that are going on.  But I also see what I'm missing and lots of times wish desperately to be there.  Those pangs of longing still cut deep even after moving away 10 years ago.  And now those pangs also come with a worse pain -- knowing that my girl won't be as close to that family as I was growing up.  I want her to play with her cousin Owen who is only 5 months older than her the same way I played with my cousin, Jeremy.  I want her to be friends with her older cousins and know her aunts and uncles the way that I did.  I ride the fine line between living in a dreamland of thoughts of returning to Iowa to raise my kids and realizing that I have to make my own family traditions (even if it's only me, her & the dogs) here.

I cry often, just thinking of things that she isn't going to have that I wish she would.  Then, I realize that though I know what she is missing, she doesn't.  And so I have to continue to try to find positives in being a distance apart.  Everyday, I have to find a new and wonderful thing about living here so that her childhood is peppered with wonderful memories as mine was.  I try hard.  Most days, I think that I succeed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A week in the life (v. 2.4)

 Chilling, drinking a bottle after work (only because she didn't finish it at daycare and Mommy came home early).

Playing after eating...

Lady loves her daddy

Getting excited because she missed her mouth and her food stuck on her face

Going for our nightly walk -- it's getting chillier in the evenings.

Love her Tiny Ducky hat.  

Playing in the blankets...

Grampy and Eain discussing while Finn looks cute.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To my beautiful girl...

Every day you get bigger and older.  Every day you seem a little different than the day before.  Every day I seem to find more love for you, and just when I think that I can't love you more, I surprise myself and I do love you more.

It seems like a lifetime ago when I found out I was pregnant with you.  And let me tell you, being pregnant with you was one of the best, most magical experiences in my lifetime thus far.  I hear songs that remind me of the time I was pregnant.  I am somewhere and suddenly I am reminded when I was there while I was pregnant. I will never be able to live that period again, but if I could, I would drop everything in a heartbeat to be able to carry you everywhere with me, to feel that beautiful again.

It was a cloudy morning at the beginning of June.  The digital readout only took about 10 seconds to blink the word "Pregnant".  I have to say that I was in shock, trying to realize what just happened.  I went to the Westside Market alone.  I walked in those early hours by myself, smiling to no one but myself, knowing that I had a truly beautiful secret that no one at the market knew.  I knew about you.

I felt like I was pretty ambivalent during the first three weeks.  I wasn't really connected to the pregnancy.  I didn't want to enjoy the idea because I didn't want to jinx myself into having something terrible happen.  I felt that if something would happen, I would just think that it wasn't the right time and move on easily.  I didn't want to speak the words out loud for fear that I would grow to love you and then something terrible would happen.  I honestly thought that I didn't care.  The day before my first appointment with our doctor, I started bleeding.  I told Youssef, my work bestie, and he expressed true concern.  I shrugged it off, thinking "I'm not really invested in this yet, so it's okay."  As I went back into the bathroom, I sat down and thought, "This is it."

And I began to sob.  My body physically shaking because I realized that I didn't want to lose you.  That in those three weeks, I did attach myself to the idea of you in some unconscious level.  I wasn't ready to let you go.  Even though my appointment was for the next day, I called my doctor's office.  The triage nurse told me that if I should take it easy, nothing strenuous, lay in bed all night.  And that unless the bleeding got worse, they would see me the next morning.  I laid in bed that night with E by my side and I cried because I was scared.  E said the only thing that came to mind "It's okay."

At the appointment, I went in alone.  We got situated in the room and Dr. Emery started looking for you.  I held my breath the entire time, not wanting to hear the bad news.  Then all of a sudden, he stopped for a moment and said "Congratulations, Mom."  There on the little screen was a single pixel blinking, flashing a little life that was still growing inside of me.  The nurse brought E in and he, too, saw your little heart beating away.  I'm not going to lie and say that it didn't take him a while to come around to the thought of having a little baby.  But I knew that he just needed to come to terms with it in his own time (and he did).

We told my parents on my & my dad's birthday (yep, we share the same birthday).  I gave him a book with a picture of the ultrasound in the front.  My mom cried and cried.  Your aunt, Mandy, also cried.  She was very pregnant with your cousin Owen at the time.  When I told my mom about the terrible morning sickness that I had with you, she instantly knew you were a girl.  There was no doubt in her mind that you were a girl. I, on the other hand, thought you were a boy -- right up until that ultrasound in October.

The first time that I felt you move was a Saturday.  I was watching the Ohio State Buckeyes football game.  Then I felt this movement that I can only describe as a kernel of popcorn popping inside my tummy.  I look down and the string on my sweat pants jumped as another kernel popped.  I whispered for E that I thought you were moving -- I didn't want you to stop before he could see it.  He didn't believe me.  Then another pop and the strings moved again.  I said louder.  He quickly came over to me and you stopped moving (that would be a habit of yours in our pregnancy).  I wasn't going to believe that you had the gall to have your first movement during a Buckeye game -- until it happened again the following day.  I like to think that you were saying that you were going to kick some OSU butt someday (not that you were excited to hear them play).

The morning of our anatomy ultrasound, your dad rolled over and asked if I had had any dreams about the sex of the baby.  I said that I did and asked if he had any dreams.  He said that he did as well.  He dreamed that you were a girl and I had had the same dream (but my dream also contained mice)!  It was the first time that either of us had dreamed about our baby and we both dreamed that you were a girl.  The ultrasound confirmed it.  We were having a girl!!!

My pregnancy with you was almost perfect!  Beyond the severe morning sickness of the first trimester (the only thing that saved me was Zofran), I only had posterior-pelvic pain for a couple of weeks and LOTS of pubic bone pain (which increased in intensity as the due date got closer).  My pubic bone pain started one rainy night in November.  How do I remember exactly when it started, you ask?  I came home in the rain to my neighbor holding a yellow lab.  She asked me if it was my dog -- which obviously it wasn't.  I put the dog in the garage and went inside to get a flashlight, hoping to see a name on the rambunctious dog's collar.  No luck.  In my brilliant pregnancy brain, I figured that I would just put the dog on a leash and tell it to go home -- absolutely expecting it to go home.  So there is a 7 month pregnant lady walking being yanked around by a huge yellow lab that had NOT been leash trained.  After about 20 minutes of pulling, the dog's license tag fell off, the dog took off, but listened to me when I called her back.  I called 9-1-1 and found the owners through the police looking up the old records.  The dog lived across the street from my house!  Not 6 blocks away from home, trouncing through mud puddles...  The next day, I was so sore from my adventure and it never got better.  But I always would remind myself that pubic bone pain simply meant for an easier delivery because it was pubic bone separating -- I was actually correct on that one...

Swelling appeared with 3-4 weeks left.  I gained 5 pounds in one week, which the doctor said was all water.  He said that I was very lucky to have my due date being in February.  Because if it was in July or August, we would have some serious issues with the swelling.  I truly had the text book definition of cankles.  I would wear my socks for less than 10 minutes and be able to pull them down to leave a serious indent from their previous position.  And I only had to take my rings off for the last 2-3 weeks.

I did everything up until the day that you were born.  The only thing that I usually needed help with was carrying a full laundry basket upstairs.  And this was only an issue because my stomach was too big to fit up the stairway sideways.  I was scrubbing the floors on my hands & knees (more like sitting and scooting) a couple of days before you were born.  I was shoveling snow two weeks before you were born.  My best friend in the whole entire world (lovely Miss Tara) flew in two weekends before you were born.  And we went places and ate out and lounged on the couch.  In fact, I remember painting my toes (how I would reach them I don't remember) three days before you were born.

And your delivery was perfect as well!  I had my 40 week doctor's appointment that morning.  I was contracting all day at work, but no one knew.  Your dad and I went out to eat that evening with our neighbors.  The heavy duty contractions only lasted 90 minutes (until I was able to get my epidural).  And after only an hour of heavy contractions, I arrived at the hospital at 9 cm and was fully dilated by the time Dr. Emery came in to check me.  I'll thank you a million times over for being so high up in my uterus.  Because without your high positioning, this Mama would have had to push you out without an epidural.  Then I think that the easy-peasy four pushes of your birth would be completely different.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my pregnancy with you completely fit the same type of baby that you are -- absolutely perfect and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A week in the life (v.2.3)

As fall is approaching and with cooler temps in the evening, we are taking almost daily walks around the neighborhood.  Despite the lack of enthusiasm on her face here, she really does enjoy them.

I think we are still in the bald baby category, but it's coming in slowly...

New thing -- "Bababababa"  I absolutely LOVE the face that she makes when she is trying to say it.

E was away for a conference at the beginning of this week -- that meant sleeping with Mama!

One of my favorite videos to date -- she is seriously taking up singing (& drumming) for her supper.

Finn & Daddy "sharing" a drink at our bar

Wearing Daddy's hat -- she is just the cutest EVAH!

Seriously, what do I have to do to get some service around here?!?!?

Finn's first pair of jeans -- perfect for the Iowa game! (And yes, the puddle that she is laying in is from her head -- she had just woke from a nap -- sister is a serious head-sweater)

We are starting some baby-led-weaning.  We were successful with bananas!  It's funny to watch her.  Bananas are her favorite pureed food.  But she was having some serious issues with the texture of the bananas.  It was almost like she didn't want to get her hands sticky.

Singing along with the "remote control" during the Iowa game.

Napping with Lucy

One of the other of my favorite videos to date -- we are just "bababa"ing up a storm!

She isn't quite sure of the puffs yet.  They don't tend to want to let go of her hand.  See the above mention of  disdain for textures & sticky hands.

You give Stella an inch and she will lay on it!  I put Finn's shirt down on the table and within 5 minutes, Stella found it and had to lay on it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Transitioning -- The Conclusion

I didn't think that I would be writing this post this quickly.  But the bed-to-crib transition was nothing short of a success!  Will there be bumps in the road from here on out?  Absolutely, but I feel like in the last three weeks that I was no longer pussy-footing about the transition and wholeheartedly moving her to her crib, it's all downhill from here.

Her first night was amazing.  She went down at 9pm, fussed for 15 minutes at 2am and I had to wake her up at 5:30am to feed her.  The second and third nights were even better -- down at 9pm and me waking her at 5am to feed her.  The fourth night, she woke up at 4am.  The fifth at 1am.  The sixth she woke up at midnight on her stomach and startled herself with her new position.  And the seventh at 11pm.  I felt like we were slipping backwards.  That maybe she wasn't quite ready for this transitioning thing.

But a week into the transition, when she woke up at 11pm, fussing -- E said that he was going to go in and give her her pacifier.  I watched him from the monitor.  He came back into the room, saying that she wasn't even really awake.  After he gave her the pacifier, she slept soundly until 2am.  A little before 2am, she woke up and started fussing.  Now my rule has been -- "only get her if she is crying".  She fussed for about 20 minutes.  I finally made a decision that maybe I'll regret.  I climbed out of bed and went into her room.  She was laying on her stomach, legs wrapped in her blanket and head on my baby pillow.  It was obvious that she couldn't get comfortable.  So I picked her up and we sat down and rocked for about 10 minutes.  As I picked her up out of her crib, I could tell that she was still really sleepy and not fully awake.  She was dead weight and when I cradled her to my chest, she snuggled in.  So, I sat down with her and rocked her back to a light sleep.  I placed her back in her crib and went to bed.  She didn't wake up until 4:30am.  At which point, I just brought her into bed with us since my alarm would be buzzing in 30 minutes.

That night proved to me without a doubt that she doesn't need us laying next to her to comfort her while she falls back asleep as I had thought previously.  I slept terribly that night, just listening to her fuss.  Finally, I made up my mind that neither she nor I was going to sleep any better just listening to her fuss.  So I got up, kept her in her room, and put her back down in her crib.  I felt like I had compromised with myself.  I waited 20 minutes of fussing before going in.  And I didn't bring her back into bed, but I did go to her when she obviously needed me to help her get comfortable.  She is new to this whole self-sleeping thing, too.  She is going to need to me to help her every once in a while.  That's my job as her mom.

But the part that I have the most trouble with?  She doesn't wake up crying.  She wakes up and whines or fusses.  E says that I need to let her work it out herself.  I've made a new rule of thumb for myself after the successful midnight rocking session -- "let her fuss for 15-20 minutes, if she hasn't fallen asleep at that point, then go in."  There's no need for me to lose precious sleep because I'm trying to be a hard ass.  I've given her ample opportunity to fall back asleep.  Personally, I think that 15-20 minutes is more than enough time.  How am I to know when she actually started fussing and I was sleeping?  And if she hasn't put herself to sleep after 20 minutes, I'm sure she either isn't going to or she isn't comfortable.  Either way -- I need to go figure out which it is.

We tried to lower the volume on her monitor to tune out the whining.  But the monitor is already at the lowest volume setting.  Click one more down tick and it's on mute.  I'm not sure who created the volume control on those monitors.  It's beyond me who would need the monitor as loud as the half volume, let allow full volume.  It would be enough to keep awake our whole neighborhood!  (The same goes for her sound soother.  Now I know that it is also an alarm clock, so I get the loud volume on that one.  But you could at least have a soft/softer/softest volume.  I have it one the lowest possible setting "1", clicking up to "2" and you can hear it two rooms away.  Exasperation.)

So for the last three nights, she has been sleeping with me as E is away at a conference.  I have slept like a log during E's absence, because I have a sweet little girl to snuggle up to.  And snuggle we do.  I put my two king-sized pillows on either side of us and form a "U" shape in the pillows.  The babe has only woken up once during the middle of the night and that was because she scratched herself in her sleep.  The last two mornings, she has woken up at 4:30am and went back to sleep around 6:15am -- so we'll see if that continues once she is sleeping in her own crib again.

I have to say that one of my most favoritest feelings of being a new mom is when I put her to sleep in our bed and have to move her over to her crib.  Picking her up from the bed sound asleep, limp dead weight and then have her snuggle into the crook of my neck and hear her emit a sleepy sigh as she settles on my chest.  Pure bliss.  I stand in her room for a long time, just swaying back and forth, snuggling my sleeping babe.  It's the only time that her 20 pounds doesn't feel like a heavy 20 pounds either.  It feels like the perfect weight in my arms, hugging my chest and shoulders.

Sometimes, it makes me sad that the most precious times in life have to happen when you usually aren't paying a whole lot of attention.  I get sad for those moms and dads who doesn't recognize the beauty of holding a sleeping baby with their chubby arms hanging limply along your sides, sleepy breathes tickling the crook of your neck.  They truly don't know what a beautiful thing they are missing.  My journey in being a mom means that I have to stop A LOT during mundane moments to just see the beauty in things that I normally would have flown through.  She is truly my best creation yet.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A week in the life (v.2.2)

Trying to show her sitting up -- but she looked away.  At least it's a nice shoot of all the hair that is starting to come in up top!

She is infatuated with seeing herself.  She now wants to put the phone in her mouth everytime that she sees herself.  I like to think that she wants to give herself a big fat kiss -- but it's just "That looks nice!  I want to put it in my mouth!"

The shirt says it all. (Busy Bee)

She is starting to scoot!  It looks like she is dancing.  AH-dorable.

Playing with cousins Syd & Lena's learning center.  If I sing "Reeeeedddd, Yellllllooowww, Greeeeennnnn, Bllllluuuuuee" one more time (it sings the color of the keys as you press them).

"L" is for love, not loser.

We have almost outgrown our carseat.  :(

And this is how Finn reacts to getting three shots at the doctor's office.

Mama's favorite time -- rocking before nap time.

Somebody got to try tea biscuits this week.

And who loved them?  It's obvious.

Mommy bought a set of rose clips on Zulilly.  We ALMOST have enough hair to wear them.

Sooommmmee day, my hair will grow (to the tune of "Some day my prince will come")....

We have an early bird on our hands!  Now if only she could go out and bring back coffee along with that worm...

This is what our Sunday morning looked like.  Pajamas, coffee, the news, and the kitchen floor...

They might turn into BFFs yet...

A question in the back?

Having conversations with Cow and Mommy's Baby Pillow

Bath time!