Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Break...

This will probably be my last post for awhile, since we'll be off doing the holiday thing with the family. I'm guardedly looking forward to it: I'm looking forward to having R around full-time for a few days, seeing family, going to a house that's actually decorated for Christmas, and enjoying the season with my daughter. I think all my presents are wrapped and my Christmas cards sent, but.... we have a plane to catch and a house to clean and a dog to deal with and 37183102 other little things that need to get done in the next few days. (Yeah, me and everyone else, I know I know...)

I'm definitely looking forward to having R around for this upcoming flight. I fly all the time with Julia by myself, and it's generally fairly smooth going but it's exponentially easier with another person to help out a little. I'm flying back by myself since R is coming back earlier to work, but at least we finally decided to spring for another seat for J so that shouldn't be too miserable either. I was really hesitant to buy another seat since it was way more expensive than they make it sound ("substantially reduced fares for infants!") but as my lap shrunk these past few weeks, I changed my mind. No way I can do an energy-filled 14-month-old on my lap with a 23-weeks-pregnant belly.


We had an extraordinarily slow morning today - crummy weather and obviously wanted to avoid all shopping areas, so we stayed in all morning. Booooorrrrrinnnnnng. So J and I went to the Magic House this afternoon. It's really a local gem - a children's museum that has a whole huge section for younger children, although J likes to go wandering around with the big kids too. We spent almost three hours there. J was whipped by the end, but she had an absolute blast. She started jumping and squirming in my arms as soon as she realized where we were.

It's cool to go someplace like the Magic House, which has safe indoor play areas, on a periodic basis because I can really see how much she changes by what she's able to do each time. This time she walked in, walked right up a flight of stairs and slid down a slide, totally by herself. Me being pregnant is going to be great for her gross motor skills, because I'm all about sitting down on something nearby and letting her do her thing. (I was actually right next to her the one time she bit it on some stairs - thankfully, age-appropriate shallow soft stairs.) I'm trying to be really conscious of letting her explore her physical limits - I keep asking myself if I'd jump up to help or intervene if she were a boy, and frequently the answer is no, so I let her be.

Anyways. She had a blast, and she burnt off a lot of energy. She also did some adorable things, like hug all the dolls in the play dollhouse before flinging them to the ground, that kept me amused too. Now that she's on her new one-nap schedule and the great outdoors is crummy, I foresee a lot more afternoons at that place.

In other news, today was the first day off all formula and totally on milk! We've been putting off the transition because we were worried it was contributing to her diaper rash, but finally concluded it wasn't and we've slowly made the switch. She was NOT happy about milk at first, so this is a victory for me. :) Still have the bottles but I'm not going to mess with that until after the holidays.

And speaking of diaper rash - we went to the pediatrician yesterday morning. Of course she made me eat my bragging words of earlier - she thought the rash Julia had was no longer a yeast rash and was just a regular ol' diaper rash. So, she instructed us to stop all the yeast medication, since we had run through a full course, and to switch back to Desitin. So far, fingers crossed, her tush still looks good. I'm not even going to speculate on whether or not we've beat this thing - I'm bringing all the extra yeast medication with us over the holidays and we'll see what happens over the next week or so.

Okay, all that on Julia and nothing on New Baby? She's good. :) She kicks, mostly at night, and the Braxton-Hicks have slowed down to about 3/day since I quit doing any dog-walking. And I have gotten huge. My back hurts and I'm definitely slowing down ("ugh do I really have to stand up AGAIN?! I just sat down!") but I still feel pretty good overall. New Baby doesn't have a name yet but we might be down to two top choices.

Okay, enough chit-chat. Here's the adorable photo I have of J today. What happens when you're bored with Mama in the house all morning? You put diapers on your head, of course.

This is the most fun I've had all day so far!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Naps and rashes.... the totally unglamorous part of motherhood (wait - there's a glamorous part?)

Despite a weekend, I'm still desperately behind on life. My plan was to take two hours to myself on Saturday, go get a massage, then go to Starbucks and catch up on a whole bunch of things. I ended up upgrading the massage to 90 minutes (not sorry) and then throwing a fit in holiday mall traffic ("I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO THE MALL MY HOUSE IS JUST THAT WAY IHATEYOUALLLLL") and coming home instead. With the best of intentions to catch up later, of course, but then we got to working on our garage and basement and suddenly it was Monday morning.

And of course this isn't helped by the fact that Julia's sleep is still in major flux. She's definitely down to one nap only, but I'm struggling to work out a schedule that works for both of us. She wants to nap earlier in the day, which leads to a too-long stretch of awake time before bed. But my efforts to stretch her out seem to just leave her overtired, meaning she's sleeping poorly overall and not getting enough hours of sleep in a day. Which means I'm on edge too because I need to sleep at night, and I really need her to give me a little more time off during the day.

And - the part that makes me cry - her diaper rash is back. I'm at my wit's end. It was better, almost great, and then Saturday morning it was back. I don't know if this means it's been misdiagnosed this whole time (but why would it have gotten better so clearly in response to the anti-fungals?). Maybe this is normal; these types of rashes are notoriously hard to clear - but going on five months of this? Not normal. Maybe she's managed to breed a super-resistant strain of yeast down there. But - she's a BABY. We can't just hit her with crazy-strong anti-fungals, nor can we keep trying different medicines ad infinitum. I'm so desperate that I'm honestly considering trying to potty train a 14-month-old because I don't know what else could fix this (I know - crazy, but I'm about there).

Anyways, I have an appointment with our pediatrician tomorrow morning. I'm not even going to hope for a resolution, but maybe we'll come up with another approach to try. Fortunately, my crazy-mom tendencies mean I have a photo slideshow of her rash, day-by-day since before we started the latest treatment, on my cell phone, and you'd better believe I'm going to make the pediatrician watch it.

In happier news - we did Christmas with R's family this past weekend. Julia didn't really get the concept but she was adorably excited about her new sled and her new stuffed animals, in particular. Now I actually maybe want it to snow so we can go sledding! She got a horned frog pillow stuffed animal, which she loves, and a giant stuffed lion. She walked into the room with the lion this morning and immediately went, "Raaaar!" Of course the lion has scared the bajeepers out of me several times so far but it's a cool addition to our menagerie.

I also scored a soft and beautiful camera/tablet bag - I'm sure I'll brag about it soon - and R and I got a new tv for our living room. Which is awesome. It's 3D. We are watching 3D television in our home. Let that sink in. Whoa. Awesome. Yes.

And... the whole reason I bothered to post anything at all - photos of the babe:

We had a relatively warm day this past week so we ventured out to the park. She still loves the swings.

She still loves steering wheels and going "brrm brrm."

And turns out she hates mittens.

Last Friday night. Kicking back with Julietta (the doll) after a long week, and not in the mood for a photo.

But she'd rather have her daddy in the chair with her. (Awwww)

(And isn't R's hair so shiny?! It's like long eyelashes on guys - totally wasted. He actually got a haircut today because he didn't want his hair to be shiny for Christmas.)

And her latest thing this past week/weekend - sitting in baskets. I have a bunch of phone photos that I'll have to gather together for a comprehensive post on the subject. Here's a teaser.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lazy Thursday

R's mom took Julia for several hours today, so I was able to knock off some of my to-do list. And spend some QT with my couch, eating salt & vinegar chips in front of some RHOOC.

I got Christmas presents for R's family all wrapped (still need to finish up a few things for my side but I have another week for that). I got the vast majority of our Christmas cards done (now all I have to do is get over my weirdo performance anxiety and drop that big beautiful stack of finished cards in the mail). I did a decent amount of laundry, culled the too-small clothes out of Julia's closet (all those adorable summer dresses... *sniff*), and busted out the rest of my maternity clothes from storage (eehhhh). And I made two phone calls I had been putting off. I know this is even more boring to read than it was to do, but at the end of these days, I never feel like I actually accomplished anything, so it helps me to write it out. (I'm still way behind on correspondence so if I owe you an email or a message or a thank-you note, it's coming, I promise. Just didn't happen today.)

The amazing news is that Julia's rash is looking WAY better. I'm so happy and relieved that this might be behind us. I told Robert tonight - in the four months she's had this yeast rash, she never once got normal diaper rash on top of it. I'm pretty proud of that. No regular diaper rash - not a speck - in four months. Boo-yah. I talked to the dr's office today and they recommended extending the oral Nystatin another week, because it does seem to be working, just to make sure everything is gone. No problemo - it's way easier to give her medicine four times a day than to do diaper-free time for hours on end.

Julia herself has been pretty adorable lately. Despite some super-weird napping today (I second-guessed myself on the one-nap-only thing and, shockingly, turned out I was wrong), she's been learning like crazy and acting completely delightful. She's turning into a cuddler, even if it's only for a few seconds at a time, but it's the highlight of my day when she comes over to me or asks to be picked up, and then collapses her little body against mine and goes, "Ahhhhh." I melt. We also spent half an hour this morning avoiding the tv and reading on the couch with a blanket instead. Someday I'll be able to read my own book instead of "Baby's First Day!" but it was still lovely. I cannot wait until the weather gets better and we can go to the park and do outdoorsy things. She's so interactive now (I know I keep saying that but it just gets more and more true!) that it's getting much more fun to do things with her.

And, speaking of interaction, here she is, showing us she knows perfectly well how to use an iPhone. So easy, a 13-month-old can use it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where have I been?

Spending QT with Julia - that's where!

She decided to drop one of her naps. About two weeks ago, she refused one nap. Last week, she refused two. And this week, she suddenly decided she had had enough of this two-nap-a-day thing and would only take one. After a few days of me trying to force the issue, resulting in a morning nap only and a VERY cranky baby by bedtime, I capitulated.

It's only been a few days but she's adjusting well already. Today she slept from about 12:30-2:45, which is absolutely fabulous according to me. Her bedtime has moved up an hour (to 7:00) but she gets up at about the same time (6:30-ish) for an extra hour of nighttime sleep. Eventually I'd love to move everything back an hour - where's DST when you need it? - but for now I'm just working on getting her settled back into a routine and making sure she gets all the sleep she needs in a day.

For anyone wondering, she's 13.5 months, which is early to be dropping a nap but not developmentally inappropriate. She was never a great napper so I'm not shocked, but I am a little surprised because she's usually right in the middle of the pack on these types of things. Maybe we'll end up switching back for a little bit, but she adjusted so quickly to the schedule change that I'm not holding my breath.

Now, the key for me is dealing with less total naptime per day and the total upheaval in my daily routine. No longer can I count on getting a shower in during her morning nap, nor do I get a chance to check my email or blog until afternoon or evening. I also need to be more proactive in planning morning outings ahead of time. I used to regroup during her morning nap and plan our day during that time. Now I need to be on top of things so we can get out of the house and take advantage of her long awake stretch - we can do big things like go to the zoo, which we had never before been able to really squeeze in between her two naps. The schedule change can be a big plus for us if I play my cards right. I just need to make sure I have the energy and planning to do that.

And I need to consider myself lucky in the long run that she made this switch so quickly. I hear some kiddos take weeks to make this transition. It's been relatively painless, even with those crummy few days before I caught on. Sorry Julia, I guess Mama's slow.

I'm also trying to implement a "no tv around the baby" policy, at least when I'm home. Today was Day One. She wasn't watching more than a half-hour tv show a day, ever, but I found myself resorting to ten minutes of Curious George here and there when I was trying to kill a few minutes or distract her, mostly out of sheer laziness on my part. I'm trying to force both of us to come up with more creative things to do, because I don't want to convey to her that mindless, passive entertainment is a viable solution to boredom. So far so good, but like I said, today was only Day One.

So, without tv and without half of Julia's nap-time, I've been busy. And tired. And still spending a lot of my day eyeing my Christmas card pile warily...

Can you believe Christmas is next weekend?!?!?!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not too much is new.

It's been busy here, but with nothing special, really. I've just got a few things to report:

1. Julia's rash continues to get better. It's looking very different down there, meaning the old rash is clearing up and it looks like a new one is coming in. I'm hoping it's just irritation from all the anti-fungals but I'm not ready to call "success!" on the rash just yet. However, she's a lot more comfortable, that's for sure, and we still have six more days of the oral medicine to go.

2. I'm twenty weeks today - halfway through this pregnancy - woohoo! It feels good to hit a nice solid milestone, which balances out the fact that I feel really pregnant now. Sometime last week, maybe the baby shifted positions or had a growth spurt or something, but just one day it felt like I gained twenty pounds and got huge overnight.

I'm also feeling Braxton-Hicks on a fairly regular basis, which is weird for me since I never noticed them with Julia. My OB's office says to not do anything that causes more than four in an hour, which means I may not be able to walk the dog the rest of this pregnancy. Not that I'm too torn up about missing those walks in the freezing winter, but I'm a little worried about not having the chance to get any exercise. I know rotting in my own baby fat for the next 20 weeks is just going to mean a rougher pregnancy and delivery and recovery.

But, I'm healthy and baby is healthy, so I have no real complaints.

3. Julia got her photo taken with Santa today. It did not go well, but we got a really hilarious picture. I feel like an awful mom when I do, but I just keep looking at her photo and laughing.

I think that's all I've got. Time for me to buckle down and try to get through some more Christmas cards. Despite my best efforts, they're making no moves to send themselves.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick update

J's bloodwork came back normal this time. Whew.

And, I'm hesitant to say it, but for the moment, her diaper rash is looking a little better.

So we're skipping the diabetes test for now, but I have the option of testing her next week if the rash doesn't resolve. It should resolve within a week, otherwise it's back to the dermatologist again.

Keeping those fingers crossed and counting my blessings that she is otherwise healthy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The diaper saga continues...

I know everyone is just dying to hear what's going on with Julia's diaper rash, so here's the update.

I talked to a pediatrician friend of mine about the whole situation, who asked me if we'd tried oral anti-fungals because that's the next thing to try after the topicals fail (or so says the "Red Book" - he says that means something to those in the know). Anyways, no, we hadn't. Is it really that simple? He seemed to think so, so I called my pediatrician this morning. The nurse hadn't ever heard of this approach and so a few hours later the doctor calls me back on her day off.

She says Julia's bloodwork from last week came back and it's weird. (She doesn't appear to have the thalassemia trait that I do, but something like a certain white blood cell count was low? I was literally walking out the door and she was vague so I'm not sure exactly.) Maybe it's related to the persistent diaper rash. Maybe it's from the fever she had the day before we drew the blood. Maybe it's a fluke and nothing at all. Bottom line, we need to redo the labs (ahhhh!). I didn't even ask what was funny about them, because my objective was to get a prescription for the oral anti-fungal meds. Now I kind of wish I had, so I could spend my evening googling (which means it's probably a blessing in disguise that I hadn't).

So, back we went to the hospital for another traumatic blood draw. Again, the phlebotomist failed on the first try and I asked for a pediatric nurse (next time - go straight to the nurse) (there won't be a next time, right?) who got it on the first try using a vein in her ankle. Poor Julia started crying as soon as her sleeve got pushed up. She knew exactly what was happening and it just broke my heart that we had to go through it again. Fortunately, we had dinner plans immediately afterwards and it obviously took her mind off of the whole experience because she was all smiles for the rest of the evening. (She apparently rebounds better than her mother because I just get more upset about it the more I think about it.)

The other long shot we're looking in to is diabetes, which can also cause a persistent yeast rash. My gut isn't telling me she has this, but it's not outside the realm of possibility so tomorrow I might try to catch some pee and bring it in to the doctor's office. Depends how successful I am on the pee-catch front.

We did end up with oral nystatin in the end, though, so we started that tonight.

I'm a little bit relieved that maybe the oral nystatin will finally clear things up, or at the least that we have a plan. I'm a larger bit pessimistic about it because it's hard to believe that anything will work at this point. And there is a part of me that's growing the more I mull it over, that's absolutely terrified that the bloodwork will come back funny again and something awful will be wrong with my baby.

We should have blood results tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for JJ.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And some photos...

Since I'm sure my family is thoroughly grossed out by my breastfeeding post, here are a few photos of Julia for an apology:

Julia hanging out in Robert's new "study" in the basement. She's a big fan.

"It's kind of hard to get anything done when you're taking photos of me, Mom."

"Oh wait! I'm a baby! I don't work!"

"I show you how big I am!"

"OMG hands!"

"And now I must get back to work."

Breastfeeding: where we've been, where we are, where we're going (plus some nitty gritty)

Since I need something to do to feel productive while I sit here and eat salt & vinegar chips on our brand new couch avoid the stack of Christmas cards in the dining room relax for a few minutes in front of the tv, I figured I'd write the breastfeeding post I keep writing in my head lately.

Where we've been:

I exclusively breastfed Julia until we introduced solids about a week shy of six months. She had about two ounces of formula the first night home from the hospital when she was starving and my milk hadn't come in yet, but otherwise, it was all me. She did not nurse exclusively, though. Around week two or three, we introduced a bottle, which she took just fine. We ended up doing about a bottle a day and she never had any trouble switching back and forth.

We had two trips away from the baby during those six months, so I pumped like a crazy person and went to these extreme measures to make sure she still had breastmilk while we were apart. In retrospect, it would have been better to have just given her formula, but I was hell-bent on exclusively breastfeeding, and didn't really understand how to incorporate an alternative, so that's what I did.

Everything went smoothly, for the most part. I got mastitis once, which ended up drastically reducing my supply on one side, but I was still able to produce enough for the babe. After awhile, we got into the habit of giving Julia a bottle before bedtime, then I would pump later in the evening for the next night's bottle. That ever so slowly decreased my evening supply to the point where I wasn't pumping enough for the next night's bottle. After my freezer stash was used up - built up for and during those trips - we ended up adding in formula around eight months. I agonized over this, but despite being attached to the pump for hours in the evenings I was coming up shy, and the sanest choice was clearly to supplement with formula.

Then, we went on vacation and I decided to stop pumping in the evenings altogether. This was AWESOME for my personal life but bad for my supply. I was going from about 3:00 in the afternoon to the next morning without feeding or pumping, and my body couldn't seem to balance that with the rigorous feeding Julia was doing from morning to afternoon. In retrospect, it would have been better to have spaced out the nursing sessions more evenly throughout the day - maybe give a formula bottle in the afternoon and nurse again at night.

Right about this time, my supply started to really tank. I remember worrying to Robert the week I stopped pumping about whether I was making the right choice, since it looked like it was a slippery slope for me - a little drop in demand seemed to be rapidly snowballing.

Turns out, I was also newly pregnant...

Breastfeeding while pregnant (nitty gritty):

My supply started to decline right away. Some women don't seem to notice a change until much later, but I definitely noticed - even before I knew I was pregnant. In all the reading I've done on breastfeeding while pregnant, the one conclusion I can draw is that it's totally different for everyone. Some people are affected more than others, but the range of normal is huge and varied.

For me, I noticed the initial supply dip, then another much stronger dip around 14 weeks. After the initial dip, Julia mostly lost interest in all the nursing sessions except the morning one. She would usually just get up and leave after only a minute or two. I'd give her a cracker or something and she'd happily munch on that instead. So, we weaned down to just the morning session painlessly and fairly quickly (over two weeks or so). I did supplement with formula (she was only 10 months at this point) in bottles. I know some women choose to power through it but for the life of me I don't know how - I was so exhausted with first-trimester fatigue that I felt all my life force draining out of me when she nursed. I just couldn't imagine keeping my body running and sustaining three people. Plus, it's not like formula is evil - she's done just fine and she's doing just fine and it's so much nicer to have a well-nourished baby.

I also called the lactation consultants at the hospital at which I gave birth. Their opinion was that there wasn't much I could do to increase supply while pregnant because the pregnancy hormones supersede pretty much anything you can try. The usual galactagogues aren't safe to take during pregnancy so my only potential option was to pump more to increase the demand on my body, which may or may not work for a little while. Um, no.

(Dad, if you're still reading this, skip this paragraph:) It sounds like many women (i.e. those that post on online message boards) experience nipple soreness in the first trimester that gets better around week 14. I had the opposite - almost none the first trimester, then weeks 14-16 it really peaked. It was toe-curling when Julia latched on. No worse than the toe-curling of the initial week or two of breastfeeding, but kind of a shock nonetheless. It's eased off a bit by now but it still makes me flinch for a second or two when she latches.

Where we are:

So, now I'm at 19 weeks pregnant and she's still nursing once in the morning. I think she's getting very little actual nutrition, though: if we give her a bottle or a cup of milk right after the session, she pounds it away, so I think it's mainly for comfort and just-waking-up cuddles. I can still hand-express a very little amount so I know I'm still making something, but I just can't believe it's very much. (And I'm not digging out the pump to see how much is in there.) I feel no let-down at all and even right before nursing, I don't feel full at all like I used to either. They say colostrum production starts anytime between now and the end of pregnancy, so I'm curious whether either Julia or I will be able to tell when that happens.

It feels like uncharted territory now. Like I said, there's not a whole lot of information out there on what's normal in similar situations. I'm so used to researching the heck out of every single parenting step I take (can I blame law school for this?), so it feels really weird to be truly winging it. It's also kind of nice and freeing - whatever happens, it'll be the right choice for our family and that's really all that's important.

It IS clear, however, that breastfeeding while pregnant is perfectly fine as long as the pregnancy is normal and healthy, and there are no indicators of premature labor. So far so good. My OB knew I was breastfeeding at the beginning of the pregnancy and didn't seem incredibly supportive, but she's apparently forgotten by now and I haven't seen any reason to bring it up again so far. My body will make milk tailored primarily for the new baby - hence the imminent colostrum production - so New Baby won't be missing out on anything, and anything Julia gets is just bonus good nutrition for her.

Where we're going:

I don't know.

I certainly never imagined I'd be in this position. It feels like such a hippie thing to do - be pregnant and breastfeed, but it's truly been a very natural progression for us. I've cut back here and there for my sanity but we both overall enjoy breastfeeding and there just hasn't been a compelling reason to stop. Julia is 13 months and she is still such a baby to me. That morning session clearly brings her comfort (and I die every morning for the chance to just lay in bed with my eyes shut for another 20 minutes) so it's really working for us now.

Maybe she'll lose interest down the line as it becomes clear there's a cup full of chocolate milk available immediately afterwards. Maybe she'll dislike the taste of colostrum when that change happens, and decide to stop then.

Maybe she'll keep at it for the whole pregnancy and I'll end up nursing both my newborn and my toddler. I have no desire to nurse my toddler the same amount as my newborn, but if Julia wants to pick up an extra session or two during the day, I can understand. I have no idea how she's going to react when she sees another baby partaking of "her" buffet, so if tandem nursing minimizes conflict during the tough transition, I'm okay with it.

Basically, I'm going to wing it. And not be afraid to set boundaries with Julia if I start to feel completely overwhelmed or too much like a milk factory for sanity. My goal is to nurse the newborn for six months, and then re-evaluate and see what I feel like doing. But if I don't hit that, I'm okay with it. (Well, not 100% okay, but mostly okay. It is my goal, after all, and I prefer to achieve them.)

And I kind of like that we're doing something unique. Not in a "I'm a better hippie momma than you" or "GOGOGOGOBREASTFEEDING!" way (you moms know exactly what I mean), but I've enjoyed navigating these (fairly) uncharted waters - and the uncharacteristic chilling I've been doing exactly because they're uncharted. And I like knowing I'm doing what works best for my family right now even if it's a little unconventional.

Which is why I'm blogging about it in such detail. I'll update as it becomes relevant but for now, we're going to just keep on keeping on. The human body can be such an amazing thing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Update

What we were up to today:

1. It got cold! I have the cutest little fleecy poncho for Julia, which is perfect for getting her in and out of the car since I can get her buckled in underneath it. I still don't have a good cold-weather car system down yet but we definitely got our practice today!

2. We tried to go to the Magic House but it's closed on Mondays during the school year. Of course I didn't realize this so we found out when we were actually standing in the empty lobby. Poor Julia was so upset that we had to leave. I salvaged the afternoon somewhat by going to a nearby library instead, but then all she wanted to do was play on their computers instead of look at books or toys or a puppet show. Girlfriend is drawn to technology like a moth to a flame.

3. Chocolate milk seems to be a success around here lately. J drank about 4-5 ounces of chocolate milk out of a straw cup today. It might be the key to both formula- and bottle-weaning for us. Am I lazy and a bad mom for taking this shortcut? Probably, but I don't care. She gets virtually no other sweets in her diet so a little bit of chocolate syrup is okay with me. (I probably will switch to Carnation Instant Breakfast or something a little healthier if this continues to be a hit.)

4. Julia decided to start eating with a fork today. She would occasionally use a spoon if I pre-loaded it with food, but she showed almost no interest in utensils until today. And she's been watching us, because she picked it up almost immediately. She needs a little help stabbing the food with her fork but otherwise totally gets it. A lot of my baby books talk about introducing utensils earlier than this, and I'm sure we could have pushed the issue, but today was definitely a score for Laid-Back Mom Letting Her Daughter Develop At Her Own Pace!

Here are a few fork photos (cell-phone pics from lunch today):

And here's a pic of her wearing her pink sparkly Toms that my friend S got her for her birthday, just because she's adorable.

Also, I feel like a total mom having my grocery list written in crayon. Hilarious.

5. We were inspired by my dad and his dog to get a reindeer headband:

The Long-Awaited Book Review Post

Because I know you all have been checking this blog hourly, waiting for my book reviews....

1. Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) by Gavin de Becker

This is the book I was trying to finish before typing up this review, and it goes first because I want all three of you readers to see this. If you have children, buy this, read it, keep it. It's geared a little more towards parents of older children but I didn't really find any of it irrelevant.

The gist is that true random acts of violence against children are extremely rare, and in almost every single other act there are indicators and red flags. And parents, particularly women, have been trained to reason their way out of those red flags ("Oh come on, it's just a guy in an elevator, you take elevators all the time." "That man looks perfectly nice, he's probably just trying to help me." etc.). But, when it comes to your kids, you can't ignore your gut, and if someone skeeves you out, it's for good reason. I know that sounds like common sense, and much of the book is "trust your gut!" But he also details indicators of child predators, signs of abuse, signs of bad friendships, signs of vigilant parents, signs of children with emotional problems, etc. Nothing too earth-shattering but it's all laid out there, with questions to ask your children's school administrators, babysitters, day care workers, friends' parents, and anyone else you trust to take care of your child.

There are also sections on teenage girls and sexual abuse, and teenage boys and violence, but my favorite parts were discussions of what to convey to your children so they are assertive, confident, and able to handle themselves in difficult situations so they aren't easy targets or victims. For example - don't tell you children to never talk to strangers and to find a policeman if they get lost. They are going to talk to strangers - they see you do it all the time - and if they're lost, the chance of them finding a policeman is so remote as to be ridiculous. Instead, teach them how to avoid people acting strangely, teach them to never be alone with a stranger, and tell them to find a woman when they're lost, who is statistically much more likely to help them than a man. Definitely food for thought.

And now I remember how annoying I thought it was that my mom would call up the parents of my friends and talk to them before I slept over or went to a party, and I'm totally going to do the same thing with my kiddos. Good job, Mom!

Seriously, if you have kids and you read one book these next few months, make it this one. I'm not doing it justice in this review.

2. Night by Elie Wesiel

Reread this classic, but this time I picked the version translated by the author's wife, which he notes in a forward is more true to his original language. I didn't find that too much changed from how I remembered it, but it was still a powerful little book. I probably read it in two hours, tops.

Depressing, yes, but oddly I found myself wishing for more detail and more information. It's really just a few snapshots of life as a devout young Jewish boy during the Holocaust, but it is a powerful reminder of how base humanity can really be. And how lucky we all are to live like we do, how we do, when we do. Made me hug Julia tight.

3. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Cute, and another quick read. As a biography, it fails, because it doesn't truly get down to any significant emotional level. Tina Fey kept it light and funny, and touches on what it feels like to be a mom torn between her child and her career, and what it felt like to be an outcast type growing up, but doesn't really get deep enough to be especially relatable. But, there were some pretty funny parts when she describes her SNL career, especially once it started to take off, with the Sarah Palin bits and 30 Rock.

A nice airplane or beach read. I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't buy it myself.

4. Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

My dad lent me this book, not having read it himself, I think hoping I'd read it and tell him the gist. It was a little dry but overall I enjoyed it.

The author goes through several different realms of technology, discussing the current state of research and where things are likely to go over the next century. I found the book to be surprisingly realistic and believable. It wasn't just some guy speculating about flying cars and space elevators. It was some guy talking about automobile automation technology and, based on the past trajectory, how things would likely change over the next several decades.

It was well-organized, and easy to pick up and put back down, which was an advantage because there's only so much science you can take in at 10:30 on a weeknight. He was a little full of himself as an author; I think he was trying to be relatable, but talking about how you built some particle accelerator in your parents' garage when you were in grade school doesn't come off as charming but instead as pretentious and a little weird. Despite the little anecdotes that made me roll my eyes, I'd recommend this to anyone who is interested in technology and is looking for a few interesting tidbits for a cocktail party (I forget the exact comparison, but it's something like the computing power of your cell phone was greater than all of NASA's when they put a man on the moon for the first time. Crazy to think about, isn't it?).

5. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

A fictional story based on the real leper colony on the island of Moloka'i, following a young Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy and is sent there as a six year old in the 1890's, then lives there until a cure is available in her middle age.

The plot itself is a little predictable, but still well done. I didn't realize that leprosy isn't fatal in itself, so anyone who got the disease was sent away, but not necessarily to die. Leper colonies were places where people lived, sometimes for decades, carving out lives for themselves - marrying, working, having children, forming families. Some of the book is just heartbreaking; he describes many instances of families being torn apart by the disease - the six year old protagonist leaving her family, when she eventually marries and must give up her own healthy baby girl for adoption, etc. The work of missionaries was highlighted and investigated, which was interesting. What would compel someone to essentially banish themselves to help these people? And the development of a cure came as a relief to me as a reader, but as a source of confusion and anguish for the people living in this colony. Do they leave behind their lives to re-integrate into society with their visible scars and associated stigmas?

All in all, it made me think about something I had never given much thought to. And while, like I said, the plot and the characters were a little predictable and flat, it moved along nicely and the characters were generally likeable, so it was a pleasant read. A good beach read if you're looking for something a little weightier, but not so heavy as to put it in the realm of "serious classic."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Five Things Friday

1. We saw the pediatric dermatologist today. It wasn't near as helpful as I'd hoped it'd be, but honestly I wasn't too surprised. To recap: Julia has had an off-and-on yeast diaper rash for about the past four months. We've tried all sorts of OTC anti-fungal creams, tea tree oil, vinegar in the bathtub, different types of disposable diapers, wool cloth diaper covers, daily baths, tea tree oil, nystatin (prescription anti-fungal), and lots of diaper-free time, and nothing has eliminated it. The ped derm had a few main points, for those interested:

  • Don't use commercial wipes; use water and paper towels instead. We haven't and don't use commercial wipes, so this was pretty moot.
  • Disposable diapers are better for keeping a baby rash-free than cloth. I think I disagree with her here. She backed up this assertion by talking about a study she helped design for Proctor & Gamble twenty years ago. I respectfully submit that both cloth and disposable diapers have changed a lot since then. Regardless, Julia's been in disposables (with the exception of the cloth/wool diaper covers experiment) since this rash started, since the anti-fungals are bad for the cloth diapers. 
  • Our game plan now is: Put 1% hydrocortisone on the diaper area on top of the anti-fungal medicine. Do this for every diaper change when the rash is bad, about three times a day when it's there but not bad, and once a day when it's pretty much all cleared up. This doctor prefers miconazole, sold as Micatin. I'll probably use up the nystatin that we already have first. 
  • The doctor also believes that all the other stuff we've been trying is probably unnecessary. I concur with the exception of the diaper-free time. I've noticed a definite improvement in Julia's bum when she gets more diaper-free time, so as much as I'd like to believe the doctor that I don't really need to do that anymore, I'm going to keep it up. Right now, her rash isn't too bad so I feel like I have half a shot at eliminating it soon.
  • This rash will be a fact of life until Julia potty trains. I know rashes are part of diapered babies, but the doctor didn't give me a lot of hope that it'll ever clear up. I said, "So you're telling me this is chronic?" She responded, "Oh no! It'll clear up. But it won't go away completely until she's potty trained." Okaaaaay.... Thaaaanks. Is she right? Do I resign myself? I don't know.
Anyways, I'm glad we went just so I know there's not anything else I should be doing, but I'm frustrated that I was basically told to learn to live with this. I also want to get back to our cloth diapers so I'm frustrated by our conversation about those versus disposables. I'm going to have to do some experimenting and sleeping on it to figure out what we're going to do long-term.

And, again, I'm so eternally grateful that Julia is so healthy. We went to Children's (hospital) for this appointment, and I saw SO many babies hooked up to IV's and tubes. There is just nothing sadder than a tiny bald child being pushed around in a brightly-colored wagon with attached IV poles.

2. I am beat. I barely got through today without biting someone's head off and I'm going to bed as soon as this posts. Julia's sleep has been slowly but surely deteriorating this week and I haven't had a good night's rest in awhile (not helped by needing to get up and go to the bathroom 78613409 times a night). I suspect we're at the very beginnings of a "dropping the morning nap" transition and it's affecting her night sleep and her daily schedule. Just have to wait it out and see how this plays out.

3. I saw two people I used to work with today. It made me question (again) what the heck I'm doing with myself. Everyone I graduated with - from both college and law school - is moving along nicely in their careers and learning and getting more experience and getting better and better at what they do. I've just learned to be a really good babysitter.

4. It looks like we're not doing much (well, nothing so far) in the way of Christmas decorating this year. We just have too much other house stuff that's a higher priority; we can't spend 2+ weekends putting up/down Christmas decorations because there's just so much other stuff to do.... and that stuff is kind of on a tight timeline because we need to make a nursery for this new baby by the end of April. It makes me sad, though. I love colored lights and pine things and candy canes and sparkly useless pretty things on my table tops and mantel. And of course it makes the cold weather festive instead of just dreary, and come end of February I'm going to really be wishing I had taken advantage of the festivities.

5. Maybe I ought to rename this "Four Things Friday" because I just can't think of anything else. This post has kind of turned into a pity-party anyways so maybe it's best I wrap it up. Here are a few cute pics of Julia to redeem things a bit:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick - Three Things Thursday

Just a quick update tonight because I need to get to sleep. I was busy with life today instead of with the internet, which is a good thing, but I'm also dying to get a book reviews post up. Problem is, I'm about halfway through a book I'm absolutely loving so I want to review that too but of course I can't until I finish it. I'll try tomorrow.

Anyways. Three good things today:

1. Got new family room furniture! Yay! It's pretty cheap, since we couldn't bring ourselves to buy anything nice. With two kiddos and lots of juice boxes in our future, it seemed like it wasn't worth the stress to keep something nice and clean. So, I don't lovelovelove it. But it's new, and it smells new, and it looks really different and it's pretty cool.

2. I got Julia's blood drawn! Whew. I didn't realize how much I had been dreading this. I had been putting it off, for one semi-legitimate reason or another, for over a week and it was time to face the music. We went to a hospital, where the phlebotomist stuck her once and missed. I informed her that she only had one try, so then off we trekked to peds, where not one, not two, but three peds nurses got it on the first try. The buildup was way traumatic, the actual stick wasn't too bad, Julia screamed for a really long time while we held her down and they looked for a vein, and I cried a little. But, they got it, and it's over, and God willing, we'll never be back.

Also, being in a place like that really makes you feel overwhelmingly grateful for a healthy child. I felt so lucky that we were there for something routine, and that IV's and blood draws and nurses and hospitals are not part of our daily lives. *empathy/terror/horror/sadness/gratitude*

3. I got jeans in the mail today! They fit! They feel awesome! I gambled on the size and won, and when I put them on they stayed up and looked alright - pretty much the only two requirements I have of maternity jeans right now. So that was pretty thrilling.

I took some pics today but the babe either walked off with my camera or forced me to hide it somewhere when my mind was on something else so I don't have any idea where it is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The announcement everyone already knows about

I assume that pretty much everyone who reads this blog is either a facebook friend or knows me in real life. So, everyone already knows this but I'm still feeling a need to make it "official" on my blog.

We are expecting our second little nugget in late April of next year. :)

I am 18 weeks pregnant and while this time around has been fairly similar to my first pregnancy, physically, it's been quite different for me mentally and emotionally.

I am much more acutely aware of all the positive and negative emotions (particularly negative) that someone else's pregnancy can evoke in people around me. I speak specifically to those with losses or trouble conceiving. Before Julia, I was happy with our lives, thought getting pregnant was just the next step for R and I, and never really comprehended the emotional enormity that a baby-sized hole can be in a life or a marriage. I still don't, having been fortunate enough to have never experienced this, but I certainly now understand the emotional heft of a child. It's not a next step or a new job or a new house or a pet. Obviously. Of course. But I know this now like I didn't before.

And consequently, I was very public with our news about Julia. I couldn't wait until week twelve to tell the world. I was browsing maternity clothing and baby clothing and strollers and bedding WAY before remotely necessary. I kept a daily calendar by my bed and marked off of that pregnancy before I went to sleep at night. I thought every little thing was new and magical and of course no one had ever experienced it before like I was. I put belly photos up on facebook and probably annoyed everyone around me with constant baby talk.

This time around, I've enjoyed keeping it quiet. I even waited a few days to tell Robert. We're thinking this is the last time I'll be pregnant, so I've really treasured the private knowing and the quiet moments when I think, "We're all here!" with my little family. I'm a little disappointed that I've started to show (although it's nice to get out of the "Is she fat or is she pregnant?" phase) because I like not sharing the news with every stranger I meet on the street.

I also spent the first couple weeks freaking out about having two children eighteen months apart. I know people have siblings close in age, and our plan all along was to have our children close together, but... that was quick. Quicker than I expected. A blessing, of course, but... am I going to be able to handle that? I've hit my stride with Julia, but adding an infant to the mix feels overwhelming already.

So, anyways, all that adds up to this pregnancy being almost halfway through before I felt comfortable blogging about it. We do know it's a little girl, and we're excited about the prospect of sisters. I feel good and so far it's shaping up to be another easy pregnancy (knock on wood). I actually have a lot to say about it, now that the floodgates are open, but... a little at a time. I have time. Twenty-two more weeks. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finally feeling better

Well, today was full of taking care of Julia.

We have an appointment with the pediatric dermatologist on Friday afternoon, and a double-refill of Nystatin to last us until then. I also discovered our local hospital will do the blood draws that she needs (and I've been putting off), finding a pediatric nurse to do the stick if necessary, so we can avoid Quest, which is awesome.

And her fever finally broke this evening around dinnertime. She's still running a low-grade temp - around 100.0-100.5 - but that's downright cool compared to the 102-103 she was running all day, even with Tylenol. Consequently, we spent most of today hanging out in the house. She was pretty lethargic and we actually spent a solid half hour on the couch cuddling and watching Curious George, which is very uncharacteristic of her. She was never to the point where I couldn't get her to laugh, but she just wasn't her usual perky self. Fever 7-10 days after the MMR vaccine hits about one in ten kids, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't get the 1-in-20 reaction and break out in a rash.

(As an aside - Today was one of those days that made me super-glad I'm still nursing. I pulled her into bed this morning to nurse when she woke up like I usually do, and stripped her down so we could do skin-to-skin, which in theory helps babies regulate their body temperature better. She nursed and slept right next to me for an hour and a half. An hour and a half! I kept trying to get her up - as much as I love the cuddle time, that's kind of boring a long time to just lay there - but she wasn't feeling up to it and would just re-settle and shut her eyes again. I know bottle-fed babies are comforted in other ways, but I don't know what else I could have done for Julia and her poor hot little burning-up body this morning that would have given her what she needed to get a little more rest.  I was just so relieved to be capable of giving her the comfort that she needed this morning.)

And with that, I don't have much else to report. I've discovered the magic that is Costco and despite my newfound obsession with Etsy, I haven't made much of a dent in my Christmas shopping. My mother-in-law is going to spend some QT with Julia tomorrow, so I'll have a chance to get some stuff done. Fingers crossed I don't end up in a Costco-sponsored cookie coma in front of the tv.

And here's the babe, after the fever came down a bit, demonstrating her two new favorite skills:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday already?

Our Thanksgiving weekend was awesome, in the "now we're lame because we have a baby" way. Four days off of work for R meant that we made a LOT of progress on our basement, and R and J got to spend a lot of quality time together.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with R's family, which was lovely as always. They do such a nice job that I kind of forget that I'm not spending the holiday with my family. One of these years I'm going to make it back to P-town for a Thanksgiving. (Of course I'm envisioning what it used to be like - sleeping in, the parade and dog show on tv, shelling chestnuts all day for stuffing, and pulling out all the good china to eat in the dining room. I think any new reality would be significantly different.)

The basement is really coming along, which is super-exciting. R finished the ceiling last week so this past weekend we mopped the floors, rolled out the rugs and rug pads, put together five different pieces of furniture and storage, did some touch-up painting, and generally cleaned up and started to organize J's toys down there. We also bought new furniture for our family room, since the family room furniture is moving to the basement. This was our only in-person foray into the post-Thanksgiving shopping, and it wasn't too bad - I guess people aren't busting down the doors to buy furniture on Black Friday, but I think we still got a decent deal. On the to-do list this week is: move furniture (we HAVE to do this because new stuff is coming on Thursday), finish touch-up painting, and do another round of cleaning and organizing. And, the biggie - moving stuff back OUT of the garage and into the storage cabinets we put up. The temperatures are really starting to drop here, so I know Robert will be pretty thrilled to get his garage space back. I'm just excited to have another functional room. Progress pics are boring so I'll just take some "after" pics this week or next and do a final basement wrap-up.

Julia is doing well too. I think it was really nice for her and R to get to hang out as much as they did. She laughs and plays with him in a way that she doesn't for me, and it's really cute to watch. I've been her favorite person for so long that it kind of makes me sad to see her getting so attached to someone else, but I'm more happy for R that he finally gets to see that he has a special place in her life too. Plus, she's getting MUCH better about me leaving her to go run an errand or something, so that's kind of a relief too.

The bad news on the Julia front is twofold, though. First, I think she's having a reaction to the one-year immunizations that she got last week. Poor dear was warm all day and this evening she had a temp of 103. She's largely acting fine - a little cranky but not bad - but sleeping and eating poorly. She's never had that high of a fever before so it really freaked me out when I saw the thermometer reading. (Also, I've never done a rectal temp before either, which I felt compelled to do tonight to make sure I was getting an accurate reading. That also freaked me out a little.) Fortunately I put two and two together and figured it was a vac reaction. So we'll call the ped in the morning to let them know, but it's likely we're going to get through this just fine with some Tylenol.

Her diaper rash is also persisting, to the point where the ped is sending us to a dermatologist sometime this week. It's been almost four months of off-and-on rash, mostly on. The ped gave us nystatin last Monday and said to call if it doesn't clear up in a week, and it hasn't. I feel like I must be doing something wrong for her to have this rash for as long as she has, but I'm clueless. It's not bad, really, just persistent, so a derm seems a little like overkill. But, I'm desperate to get it cleared up once and freaking for all. Not to mention, I'm sick of doing diaper-free time in our house. Babies wear diapers for a reason.

Some non-diaper-free time this past weekend:

My mom recently mentioned to me that I ought to start pouring my sodas into a cup
instead of drinking them out of a can so Julia doesn't start to covet them....

I didn't disagree with Mom at all.

But did I *actually* do anything?

Obviously not.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Doctor Day

We survived another doctor's visit!

Vital stats are:

  • Height - 29 inches, 44%
  • Weight - 19 lbs, 8 oz, 16%
  • Head - 17.9 inches, 52%
We think her weight is low because she's coming off of three weeks of illness, but the doctor did point out that neither Robert nor I is "stocky," so maybe the poor thing is destined to be slender. She did well with the general check-up and her milestones are good. Her gross motor skills are great, although her verbal skills are a little behind, I think. (Although maybe I'm not giving her enough credit - I did answer the phone tonight and before I could say anything, Julia goes, "Hi Da!" Awesome and heart-melting.) I do need to probably talk to her a little more throughout the day. (I try, but you know how hard it is to talk to someone unresponsive all day? Seriously it's mind-numbing tougher than you think.)

She got four shots today, poor babe. She also needs a blood draw. The tech at the office didn't feel comfortable trying on Julia so she's sending us off to Quest. Neither Robert nor I has ever had a good experience there so I'm pretty apprehensive but I don't know what choice we have. I'm debating letting Robert handle that appointment but I don't think I can live with myself if I chicken out like that. (Update - R won't take Julia by himself because he "doesn't like Quest." (The last time he went they were running late and rude.) So it looks like it's up to Mom.)

We got a prescription cream for her diaper rash (the doctor seemed skeptical that it was a yeast rash when I mentioned it to her but when she saw it she immediately agreed - score one for Mom!). And we got the green light to start her back on milk again whenever we like, although she mentioned that some GI illnesses can cause transient lactose intolerance so it would be wisest to wait about a week first. We were told to wean her from the bottle soon, which we were working on before she got sick. I'm not too stressed about this part but I would like to do it sometime in the next few months. The pedi also said we can wait on bringing her to the dentist; it just needs to be done sometime between one and three years. We also need to do another hearing test sometime in the next few months; we're not concerned but it's something worth doing just in case. I'm all for painless medical procedures.

She was a trooper, especially since the appointment went long and late and it was well past her bottle and nap time by the time we got out of there. No recent pics but here's an older one that makes me smile.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend wrap-up

Things are looking good here, in the Julia department - no serious GI issues since last Thursday! We still have poop in our fridge but I feel good enough about this whole thing that I'm going to hesitantly say that I think she's over it. Her diaper rash is still raging full force despite my diaper-free-time attempts (sans wooly cover - it needed to get washed and takes awhile to dry) but we'll get there.

Now I'm dreading her doctor's appointment tomorrow. I normally love going to the doctor's, but when I think about the shots and blood draw she'll need tomorrow, I get all queasy in my stomach.

We had a nice weekend. It was our first in awhile during which we were both in town without major commitments. R finished up the basement ceiling (hooray!), which looks amazing, and I spent most of the weekend catching up on sleep and working on Christmas lists. I don't know how much holiday decorating we're going to get done this year. R put up the tree for me last year, but I just don't know if it's high enough on our priority list to get it done this year. That's kind of sad, isn't it?

But I think we need to at least get rid of the pumpkins sometime soon...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Adventures in cloth diapering and a sick baby update

A diaper rash pretty much comes with the territory when a baby's been having as many GI issues as Julia has been. She's had a yeast diaper rash for awhile now. Like, two months awhile, not two weeks awhile. And I've been doing a pretty good job keeping up with it, but I just can't get ahead of it.

Having diaper-free time seems to be the #1 way to make her tush get better, but now that the weather isn't so great for it outside, and it's even pretty chilly inside the house, it's tough to let her run around half-naked. Plus there's the obvious "well what if she goes to the bathroom on something?!" 

So... enter cloth prefolds and wool diaper covers. I already had a bunch of prefolds since I was using them as burpcloths, and I already had some diaper pins because I was using them for decorations other things in the nursery. And after much research, the internet convinced me that wool diaper covers are completely magical and the absolute best in breathability. After I got over my initial disappointment in our local store's selection (the selection was fine, I just wanted a prettier color) (I promised myself that if we do this regularly I'll go get something adorable off of Etsy), I forked over the $30 for a wool diaper cover. 

We tried them out today. They are much softer than I expected wool would be and I'm even coming around and thinking they're kind of cute. The major disadvantage is that you need to change them more frequently than even regular cloth pocket diapers. As soon as baby pees once, it's time for a change, which can get annoying when you have a super-water-drinker like J. Another disadvantage is that the cotton prefolds underneath them are hard to get right, although that's hopefully user error and something that'll improve over time as I get better with them. 

Her tush doesn't really look any better tonight, but I'm going to try to spend some time each day with these, around the house, and see if that doesn't help out with the rash. I hear some people use them for overnight, and I can see how using a more breathable fabric for 10 hours a day could really help with keeping rash to a minimum. If this goes well, I'm going to look into wool longies (basically a diaper cover in the shape of pants so I can use them as pajama bottoms) (also super-duper cute) (also super-duper expensive).

I mean, you can't tell me that's not kind of cute.

On the GI issues front, Julia has been doing much better today. She's been eating much better, her body temp is better, and things are looking better overall. Her sleep is worse - and she's consequently still been a little cranky - since we've been back home but we'll keep working on that. If she's physically feeling better, the rest will fall into place much more easily.

I know! That's how I feel too, JJ!

I'm not sure if it was the milk, or maybe just two viruses back-to-back, but either way, I'm trying to resist going back to her normal schedule and diet RIGHT AWAY RIGHT NOW, which is freaking me out because I'm worried she's going to be taking formula from a bottle for most of her nutrition from now until when she starts first grade at this rate. But, I'm resisting my urge to freak out and planning to wait a week or two and then slowly reintroduce the foods we cut out (mostly dairy, for those interested). We'll also see what the pedi has to say on Monday about this whole thing. I'm assuming she's not going to tell me anything I don't already know but that's probably a little unfair of me.

Anyways, we're having a nice, low-key weekend. R and I got out for a solo dinner for the first time in a long long time, and it was really nice. We need to do that more often. We're starting to make our holiday plans and it's kind of exciting - Julia obviously will be way more into the holidays this year than last year, and I'm also calmer because I feel a lot more secure about handling a baby and holiday shopping, cards, etc. We're going to blink and it's going to be spring! Until then, I have many much things to do.

Hope everyone else is having a nice weekend too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

November in Texas (We're back!)

Julia and I have been in Dallas the past week. It was a mini family reunion on my mom's side. It was lovely to see family I haven't seen in awhile (my cousins have gotten so old! when/how did that happen?!) and I'm really happy that Julia got to meet several family members whom she had never met before.

And of course, since it's Texas, we swim in November.

"Yeah I love Texas."

"I'm the queen of Texas."

"You requested an audience?"

"Finally. My subjects got me a hat for my delicate eyes."

The babe has not been feeling well. We're on day 17 of some major GI disturbances (I'll leave it at that for your imagination), plus some vomiting, a low-grade fever, and a side of uncharacteristic crankiness. At first I thought it was the transition to whole milk that preceded it, but she's been on the world's blandest diet sans milk for awhile now and no improvement. I've been holding out taking her to the doctor - she seemed to be getting better when we headed to TX for a week, and we just got back last night and are headed there on Monday anyways for her 12-month check-up. But, that's pending our next dirty diaper, so we'll see.

The awesome thing is, the dr's did say we should bring in a poop sample when we go in on Monday, but to please refrigerate it before the appointment. Gross! The things you do for your sick baby...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Petting Zoo?

So, I had two friends from high school come visit me this weekend, which was awesome! It was very cool to sit around and catch up. I love how we were able to go seamlessly from topic to topic - how ridiculous we were in middle school when we all met, what's going on in our lives now, and what we hope will happen far into the future.

I took everyone to Suson Park on Saturday, with promises of a petting zoo. Unfortunately, while there were rows of animals in stalls with "CAREFUL - WE BITE!" signs, there was no petting zoo. So we looked at some cows and horses and ducks, and we watched Julia play on the playground a little. (Fortunately, I think I salvaged the day for my friends with massages and tapas for dinner.)

I'm really thankful my friends made the trip out here, and I'm exhausted today, which I think is a sign of a weekend well-spent. :) (Well, that and maybe having a baby for the end of DST.) I also had book club today, which means I'm working on another book reviews post (working on = a list of titles on a post-it and thinking about it a little in my head). I also owe the internet some photos of our basement, which is coming along. I'm hoping if I put it up here, I'll follow through sometime this week.

The good thing about the "petting zoo" - lots of pics of Julia:

(K/ND: These are all mine - I'm saving yours for the next post. My family gets antsy if I have too many blog posts without baby photos so I'm going to dole them out slowly.)

Yes, that's a pink baseball cap with a "J" on it.

Not impressed by animals in stalls.

You wouldn't know it by her expression but she loved the swing.


She spent a lot of the outing pretty unsure of things.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


What happened today:

We got carpet installed on our basement stairs, and the basement rugs delivered. Haven't set up the rugs yet but the stairs look really nice. Ironically, when they pulled up the icky old carpet that was there, they exposed these really lovely dark wood steps. We have a baby so I think we need carpet on our stairs regardless, but they would have looked just beautiful if we repainted them. Anyways, the stairs are now new and soft and fluffy and smell like new carpet which is kind of nice.

The carpet installer guys left our back gate open (the one that I always always always keep shut so I never even thought about it being open after they left) and Scrappy took a little walk today by herself. Thank goodness we have lovely neighbors with whom we're on great terms (and whose dogs fascinate Scrappy), because she went right over to their house. Our neighbor saw her and brought her back in the rain. Whew. Also made me glad that we have a "collar ALWAYS on except when she's in her crate" policy with Scrappy. At least she had her tags with our phone numbers. No one's going to approach a German Shepherd-looking dog without a collar on but a kind soul might scoop up one with tags. Put tags on your dogs, people! You never expect them to get loose!

We had put Julia to bed tonight, and about 45 minutes later she starts wailing. We're listening to the monitor to see if she calms down, and I'm heading out of the room to go re-settle her when R hears her go, "Ahhhhh" and get quiet. I guess she lost her blanket or her bunny, and all was well once she found them. It was cute.

Update on prepping for my friends this weekend: I did about 1/3 of my To-Do list so I have quite a bit more to do. But, I made plans and reservations for Saturday, so at least we'll have something to do. And I can get them out of the house so they're not appalled at how messy everything is all the time. I swear, every time Julia goes down for a nap, the place looks like a tornado hit it, and I do damage control and maybe one other thing and she's up again.

Here are some pics from this past weekend, of her on our deck playing with this big purple ball we have.They're all I've got at the moment.

"Can't. Quite. Get. A. Grip. On. This. Thing."

Yes, that's her dad throwing the ball at her/me. Yes, it hit both of us.

She knows that on the back of my camera there are buttons you can push and a screen to look at.

So now I get fewer backwards shots and more shots like this.