Thursday, December 23, 2010

3 Months Old!

Our sweet baby girl is 3 months old today, just in time for Christmas! It's amazing how much she's grown and changed since she was born- every week brings new adventures, personality, and "favorites". She can roll over during tummy time pretty consistently when she tries, and she still loves her play mat more than anything. Anna will also smile whenever her mommy or daddy are smiling at her, and she surprised us today by doing her funny little inhale giggle while we were laughing in the kitchen. She wanted to be in on the joke too!

We're still working on sleeping (anyone who read my long rambling post the other day- I abandoned my initial plan and we're trying a new tactic. And she went right back to her 3 hour increments last night, thank God. I appreciate everyone's advice on that!), but I'm optimistic that we'll get there eventually and as long as she's happy and healthy in the meantime, then I'm happy.

In the last couple of weeks, Anna discovered her hands and that it's fun to gnaw on them. She rarely takes her pacifier anymore, preferring to suck on her fingers or fists. She also loves gripping our fingers and getting pulled up to a sitting position when she's lying on my knees. And just in the last week, she's started holding on to the dangling toys on her play mat. She's not quite to the point where she reaches for them on purpose, but she will hold on if it hits her hand. I figure reaching isn't too far away!

 We don't have a doctor appointment this month so I don't really know how much she weighs, but my approximations based on our bathroom scale put her somewhere around 14 lbs, give or take. All of her newborn clothes are packed away, and she's most comfortable now in the 3-6 month size clothes.
We've also 100% made the transition to Anna sleeping flat in her crib. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she would still sleep in her nursery, but in her bouncer. Her poor momma was traumatized from Anna choking in the hospital so she had been terrified to lay her flat, but we eased into it and Anna wasn't even fazed by it. Of course she would prefer to sleep in her mommy's arms but she still sleeps in her crib like a champ! We've also set up her Pack N Play in the living room where sometimes she'll nap, but she still likes napping in her swing. It will be a sad day when she outgrows that swing!!

Anna also started smiling a LOT bigger than she used to in the past. I absolutely adore it, especially when she scrunches up her nose at the same time. Indulge me in a photo collection of this new smile!!

Happy 3 month "birthday", Baby Girl! We love you!

Positive Pregnancy Vibes with a side order of Eggrolls

I was cleaning off my fridge this morning to make room for Christmas cards and I was amused to find my collection of fortune cookie fortunes that foretold our positive pregnancy test. I stuck them in Anna's keepsake box but thought they'd be fun to share here too.

I think we collected these between the months of November and December, and then we got our positive test in January. Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If it ain't broke, don't fix it....right? Right????

One of the things I've learned as a new mom is that old classic, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I feel like I convinced myself that things were going to be a lot more complicated, or maybe I did too much research so I knew about way too many options, or maybe I am just always thinking there is something better out there? Who the heck knows. As an example, Anna liked the very first pacifier that we tried. But instead of just being happy with our luck, I kept trying new pacifiers "just in case" she liked a different one better. Luckily pacifiers are cheap so it's not like I wasted a whole lot of money there, but regardless, I have had to teach myself to chill out and relax...if the baby's happy, I win! I don't have to keep searching for a new solution!

This past week though I have broken my self-enforced chillness, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm being epically stupid. As you readers know, Anna will be 3 months old tomorrow (yay baby girl!) and she is still waking up pretty much every 3 hours on the dot. I have to say though that it worked really well for us. We would put her down around 10:30 or 11:00 at night, and she'd wake up twice during the night to eat, and then we'd be up for the day together around 8:00 or 9:00. And we were both perfectly happy...I was able to function well (no brain static at all, hooray), and she slept like a rock in between her feedings. I honestly didn't even think about her sleeping longer...I figured when she was ready, she would start sleeping more.

But...when other moms(especially the older ones) hear that, they say OMGZ!!!! WHY ISN'T SHE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT YET??!??!!? And it also seemed like, among my limited pool of other new or recent moms, that their babies started sleeping longer stretches way earlier too. So even though my internet and baby book research claims over and over again that it's perfectly normal for babies to keep waking up, especially breastfed ones, I have to admit that I've started to be concerned that maybe I'm doing something wrong. Was something about our schedule sabotaging her sleep efforts? Was I the reason she wasn't sleeping longer?

The only advice I've gotten so far (beyond what we are already doing) is to add rice cereal to her bedtime bottle (which, kind of makes sense, but based on my research, it seems like it could create more problems, including allergies. and she doesn't take a bottle anyways) or to let her cry it out (hell no). So I bought my very first Nook Book the other night - The No-Cry Sleep Solution. I bought it on the recommendation of a friend who had read it for her newborn, and I really enjoyed it. What surprised me about it was that I actually felt better about everything after I read it. We were doing a surprising amount of things right, according to that book, and we didn't even know it. So, high-five to us. The book also stressed that if momma's happy, and baby's happy, and the house is happy...then maybe nothing needs to change. But I was still concerned about her bedtime. The book said (and pretty much all my other mommy friends agreed) that babies like to go to bed in the early the latest by 8:30. I decided that maybe it was worth a try to bump Anna's bedtime back from 10:30 or 11:00 just to see if that made a difference.

Well, it made a difference all right and I am pretty sure it's not a good one. This past week, we've been watching her really closely for signs of her getting tired, and when we notice them, we start her bedtime routine and put her down. She will fall asleep fine around 8:00, but that's pretty much the only thing going right with this. She's now waking up every 2 hours, sometimes less. Her normally consistent nap schedule during the day has gone to hell. I'm sleeping like absolute crap (if at all) and it's starting to show. I'm having massive guilt about being out in the evenings now because it means I'm missing Anna's new bedtime and leaving Steve to handle it. While I have to admit that it's pretty nice to have some time to myself after she goes to bed, I'm really not sure that this is all worth it.

I'm really starting to contemplate abandoning this new bedtime. Is this just an adjustment period and if I keep going a few more days, it will work itself out? Was it stupid to start this in the first place, since 11:00 seemed like part of her natural sleep cycle and we were all happy, even though it was a late bedtime? And I don't even know what the point of this post was beyond getting my thoughts down and maybe some of my mommy readers have some advice or opinions? Kudos to you for still reading this long, rambling post...but now, give me your thoughts :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa's Special Letter

Our sweet baby must have been a good girl this year because she got her very own video letter from Santa!

Click below to see the video!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Something guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Tis the season to be jolly!

(thanks for the cute outfit, Pam!)

A DIY Project- Indoor Drying Lines

Since staying at home all day, I've found a lot of ways to make the house run smoother and stay more organized. And I've discovered that although I have a great talent for thinking up said solutions (if I may say so myself), I don't have any of the skills to actually carry out the projects. Lucky for me, I have a handy husband who is generally willing to listen to my ideas and figure out how to make them happen with minimal cost, headache, or damage to our house.

This project came about when I expanded my cloth diaper collection just in time for the weather here to freeze. While I still plan to put a retractable clothes line up outside (the sun is great for the diapers), I really wanted a way to be able to hang up all my cloth diapers inside too...without having drying racks scattered all over my house. Handy Husband returned all the wrong stuff that I bought at Home Depot, bought the right stuff, and installed my new drying lines just in time for the Wednesday dirty diaper laundry!

Of course I forgot to take pictures before I had already pulled a few off the line, but you get the drift.
This project ended up costing less than $10 and less than 30 minutes to complete, and will greatly help the life and appearance of our diapers. And my lace undies, and Stevo's button-down shirts, and whatever else I can throw up there!
I also can now easily shut the laundry door if people come over and stuff is hanging up. And even better- I don't have to store anything, set anything up, or take anything down when I need to hang anything! I also love that these lines take up very little room in my galley-style laundry room...making it very easy on this busy momma to get in there and to keep that washing machine going!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Motherly Musings

 Discovering spit-up on my clothes doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. I do maintain some sense of dignity in at least being embarrassed to discover it after I've already left the house.

You know that joke of the husband doing the dishes being the best aphrodisiac for a mom? Yeah, not a joke.

I'm more hormonal and emotional now than when I was pregnant. Glee makes me cry. Fun times!

The fastest way to get on my good side is to compliment my baby. I'm easy that way.

My bedtime is about 9:00. My brain stops working around 6:00.

I really need to put Anna's personal shoppers on a shopping freeze. I wish they didn't find such cute stuff. But I ran out of room at least 3 weeks ago and I doubt Stevo will let me trade rooms with the baby.

I've caught myself swaying...without Anna in my arms...on multiple occasions. Muscle memory perhaps? I'll stick with that theory and not the obvious possibility that I'm going a little nuts.

I forget to eat lunch at least 3 times a week. When I do eat lunch, it's usually soup. In a drinking glass.

Picture Post!

Banana has had her best night of sleep yet, but I think I'm starting to push my productivity luck so I wanted to throw some quick pictures up here before she starts stirring!

 One of our creative attempts to make tummy time more fun for her. I can't really say it was a success.
 She does, however, LOVE her play mat. She easily spends at least an hour a day in this thing, as long as her momma is sitting next to her wiggling the bars and keeping the musical bee going!! I get bored with it long before she does, that's for sure.
 First Snow!! She looks a little skeptical.

More play mat pictures! I've noticed she likes looking at the red toys, not the indication of future college preferences, perhaps?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Captain Kingsley!

Our little boy is 5 years old today- Happy Birthday Captain Kingsley!! 

A Must-Have Toy for any Little One!

Think you're done with your kiddo Christmas shopping? Well, if you didn't buy THIS toy, you're not done yet! I'm sure every little kid wants to unwrap this on Christmas!! How else are they supposed to learn about the birthing and breastfeeding process??

Make sure to check out the fan photos too!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Note

I promise I don't spend my entire day on this thing, but Anna's asleep in her swing and I finally had time to finish this. I never could get the search bar to work for the blog and so whenever someone needed something or I wanted to find an old post, I had to try to remember when it was that I wrote it. As Karrie said, the baby is eating my brainz so that system was getting old rather quickly. I went back through the blog and labeled posts with the most popular topics that I get asked about, and now all those labels are located in a box on the side of the blog. If you click a label, it will take you to all the posts that I've stuck that label on, so it's a much quicker way to find all the posts related to that topic.

I have a feeling that this was probably a waste of my time but maybe it will be helpful to somebody, haha.

Anna's Very First Christmas List

One of the most common questions I'm getting these days is what we're getting Anna for Christmas! Honestly we're really not getting her much, given that she will have zero recollection of this holiday, haha. And we're on a tight budget so we're going easy this Christmas!

That being said, we do have a couple of things lined up in the "to purchase" queue...not sure all of this stuff is going to be bought before Christmas but I've found it helpful to map stuff out like this ahead of time so we're not constantly going to the store for her. And it's not like she's going to be able to unwrap presents so I'm not stressing about getting stuff under our nonexistent tree.

Anna's still a few weeks out from outgrowing her prefold diapers and although I really do like the prefolds, I have been wanting to add a few of these pocket diapers to our stash. They are more portable for the diaper bag and more self-contained than the prefolds, but definitely more expensive...each one of these run about $17 a pop. They are designed though to be adjustable up until potty-training age so I know that we'll get our money's worth. I've started slowly buying these as I see good deals on them and intend to use them in conjunction with the next size up of prefolds. This particular brand is the BumGenius, and I'm also interested in the FuzziBunz and the Blueberry brands. I've got a couple of BumGenius and the FuzziBunz on the way and I'm excited to try them.

Okay, I fully acknowledge that this is probably the most ridiculous thing on the list, haha. I've just heard so many good things about this teether that it's hard for me to cross it off the list, although I think it's ridiculous to spend $20 on a teether. I love that it's a classic (originally made in 1961), BPA free, and lots of little parts for a teething baby to gnaw on. And Sophie the Giraffe is originally from France, so obviously my Francophile self already likes it!

My wonderful mother-in-law has already claimed this for her gift to Anna, but I'm super excited about it. Since Anna already has exceptional head control and loves to sit up, I figure she's getting pretty close to being able to use a jumperoo. And it will help free up my hands if she can entertain herself for a little while every day, haha. This one had good reviews online and I have a few friends that had the previous model, the rainforest one, so I hope Anna likes this one! Luckily we have the floor space to have it set up permanently, although I do laugh that my living room is slowly turning into one of "those" rooms full of kid stuff.

I already have a ton of these down in the basement, but I love these ornament storage boxes. They keep all the ornaments safe and well-organized, and they are very easy to carry up and down the basement stairs. I am carrying on my mom's tradition of buying each kid their very own ornament every year, so that when they are ready to move out on their own they will have their own collection to take. It was also fun every year to trim the tree and to see our "own" ornaments. I'm taking it one step further though and giving each kid their own storage box, so that we can always remember whose ornament was whose, and so that they can easily see their collection grow! We are going to resist the temptation to fill it up quickly though...the point is to only add one ornament a year :-). I had already purchased Anna's ornament for this year, but Kingsley got his teeth into it (stupid Mommy left it on the table while she was wrapping up her ornaments for the girls' ornament exchange) so we will be making another shopping trip, haha.

That's just about it...she really doesn't need much so this Christmas will be a piece of cake. We know we've only got a few more years before she starts handing us a list full of toys and gadgets and whatever else little girls have their hearts set on (including a pony, of course)!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

I was standing in line at the store the other day and happened to overhear the conversation of the two women ahead of me. It seemed to be a mom and her daughter, and the mom was giving the daughter advice on hosting Christmas. It was a cute conversation and I'm shameless, so I happily eavesdropped. I'm always interested to hear how other people handle the holidays. Her advice seemed random but pretty mainstream (clean your house, get a good candle, and don't burn the pie) but it did get me thinking about what kind of little tricks that I've used to help keep the holidays running smoothly. Even though I never really sat down and actually thought these out (well, until now, haha), it's fun to think about passing these down to Anna and the other future kiddos. It was a reminder of how much kids can learn from their parents, even if it's not a conscious lesson.

I'd love to hear your holiday tips and tricks too- anything fun or different that you do?

1) Avoid CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). Holidays are probably the only time of year that we get drop-in visitors, so it's extra motivation for me to keep the house picked up so I wouldn't be embarrassed if friends or neighbors stopped by. Make an extra effort to keep dishes out of the sink, the powder room stocked, and the magazine stacks cleared out. And if you have a dog anything like Captain K, the Swiffer can be your best friend!!!

2) Food and drinks are one of the biggest parts of the holiday season. I always make sure to have coffee, hot chocolate, and some seasonal teas in my pantry cabinets for those chilly days. I also usually keep a cup of candy canes near the front door to hand out to carolers- the kids love it and it's a nice "thank you" for their cheerful songs. Last year I crushed up the leftover candy canes to make peppermint bark to take to Christmas dinner.

3) Do some good. It's SO easy to get caught up in the stress and commercialism of the holidays, and to only focus on making the perfect Christmas for you and your family. Take a break throughout the season to do a good deed or something for others. Bake an extra batch of cookies for your neighbor. Every time you run to the store, buy a few extra cans of food to seems like every store around here has donation boxes. Put a dollar in the Salvation Army buckets whenever you walk by one. Adopt a kid to give them a better Christmas. Don't know any kids? Check out this. Go volunteer at a community kitchen or the humane society, or pack up goody boxes for soldiers overseas. Donate blood to help with holiday accidents. There are SO many volunteer opportunities at this time of year, and I look forward to getting the kids out to volunteer during the holidays to teach them that it's not all about the toys.

4) Make a good music playlist. I adore Christmas music and have a lot of fun every year making a 3 or 4 hour playlist with my favorite songs, and finding some new ones! I also like the XM Christmas stations if I'm out driving around but I prefer being able to control the list myself, especially if people are over and I have it playing in the background.

5) Keep a running list throughout the year of gift ideas. I know a lot of people more organized than myself actually buy their presents throughout the year and that's probably a good way of doing it, but I've had success just keeping an email draft of gift ideas. That way I can still check with my recipients as to what they actually want, and I still have gift ideas as a backup if they don't have anything specific that they want. I can also usually find everything on sale this time of year, and I don't run into the problem of forgetting that I've already bought something and buy twice!!

Anna's first Santa picture...she was a lot more interested in Mrs. Claus than she was in looking at the camera, but she's only 2.5 months old...I guess I can't complain! I'm just glad she wasn't crying, haha. I absolutely adore the fact that she's holding on to Santa's finger!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You've had a Birthday, shout Hooray!

Yesterday was my 27th birthday (gah!) and we kept it pretty low-key but it was still a wonderful day. I had my beautiful baby girl with me (and awake!) the whole day and that's all I really cared about. Last year, whenever Steve asked me what I wanted for x gift giving occasion, I would say that all I wanted was a baby. Well, now I have one and Steve could probably milk this for a few more years of gifts (but don't tell him that!).

Steve and I also finally went out together for the very first time besides a 30 minute Walmart run over Thanksgiving. It turns out that there are very few things that I'm willing to leave Anna for, if her Daddy isn't staying back to watch her (much to my mom's dismay, haha). Dinner? meh. Shopping? meh. All expenses paid Caribbean cruise? meh...well, maybe. If that one ever comes around we'll see how I feel!!

Well, finally something came up and although I resisted for weeks, I called my mom and asked if she'd watch Anna. Those who know me well probably can guess what it was....yup, the 7th Harry Potter movie. We chose to go to a matinee since Anna's usually asleep, and Mom and Auntie Ally came over to babysit. I was nervous because Anna wasn't too interested in eating before I left, and given that it's a 3 hour movie, I was anticipating disaster. I thawed out a bottle for her just in case, but given that Anna's only had one or two other bottles in her entire lifetime, I wasn't sure how that would go either.

Regardless, we got out the door on time and I only texted Allyson once to make sure everything was okay. Anna took the bottle just fine once they warmed it up, and drank almost half of the 5 ounces I put in there. Auntie Ally changed her very first diaper (and she didn't even use the disposables I had put out for them! High five, guys!). Anna discovered a new favorite toy (jingle bells) and Allyson finally got to experience the joy of holding a baby that's not screaming. The movie was long though, and Steve was laughing at how I obviously couldn't wait to get out of the car when we got home. I gave Anna a bunch of kisses and snuggles and promised not to leave her again....well, until next year, for the final Harry Potter movie!

Here are some pictures, stolen from the happy babysitters:

 It makes me laugh that they documented Allyson's first diaper change, haha. Isn't her cloth diaper cute?

Happy mama!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Songs

My friend Kathryn posted about her favorite Christmas carols today and I wanted to play too! I'm a Christmas song fanatic (my current playlist this year is up to about 4 hours, haha) so I'll do my top 10. I'd love to hear your favorites too!

1. "Oh Holy Night"...hands down my favorite Christmas song. My favorite versions are by Jewel, Josh Groban, and surprisingly, a duet version with Avril Lavigne and Chantal Kreviazuk. Normally I am not a fan of Avril Lavigne but it's a fun, younger version of the song.

2. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. Showcased in one of my favorite movies, Love Actually and one of the few "new" Christmas songs that I like.

3. "Holiday Road". Originally written by Fleetwood Mac's guitarist, my favorite version is by Matt Pond PA. Beautiful song! If you like it a little livelier, the original Lindsey Buckingham version is quicker. I don't believe it was originally written to be a Christmas song but especially the Matt Pond version fits in perfectly with the rest of my holiday music!!

4. "Sanctus" by the choir Libera. Based on Pachelbel's Canon in D, it is seriously one of the prettiest songs I have ever heard. Auntie Ally and GrandMaree are very familiar with this song because it's been on every Christmas playlist for the past...what, 6 years? A long time!

5. "I'll be Home for Christmas"...I'm not totally sure why I like this song so much beyond the inherent nostalgia in it. My fav versions are by Bing Crosby and Perry Como. This song originally became popular in the early 1940's because it lined up with so many soldiers being overseas in WWII. It always serves as a reminder that even though it's not as publicly paraded as it was with WWII, there are still thousands of soldiers and armed forces serving their country away from their families over the holidays, and we should keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

6. "Christmas Is Going to the Dogs" by the Eels. A tongue-in-cheek nod to the happy pups at Christmas, this one was added to my list last year in honor of the Captain.

7. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Gloria" by Mariah Carey. I love both of these songs on their own but Mariah did a mash-up and it added just enough variety to the classics without making them too modern and losing their charm. Christina Aguilera should learn how to do that because her Christmas songs are awful.

8. "Sleigh Ride"...not really picky about who does this song. I love how the song emphasizes how social the holidays are, and of course the cold weather! It also dorkily reminds me of orchestra/band days, because I think it was on the list for any and all holiday concerts!!

9. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" again, not too picky on the artist but Josh Groban's is a good one. It's a pretty song but I like it because it's a fun song for a soprano to sing, haha. "Deck the Halls" can be 9a for the same reason.

10. "Frosty the Snowman". Up until this year, this song would have NEVER made my top 10 list. But apparently it's one of Anna's absolute favorites, so it's sung pretty frequently around our house while Anna dances/bounces. And the lyrics have been updated to "thumpity thump thump thumpity thump thump look at Anna go!" Almost always guaranteed to get a baby grin or giggle, and that alone wins it a spot on the list!