Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heading to Texas...

Julia and I are heading to Dallas tomorrow. We're excited to be going, but stressed out today getting everything ready. I'm especially stressed about transporting breastmilk, the pump, and pumping accessories. I have five days' worth of frozen milk for Julia that needs to make it from my freezer to my parents' freezer - still frozen. I'll post when I get there to report on how successful I was. It better be pretty successful because I don't really have a Plan B.

We're looking forward to the weather (the weather here still hasn't sorted out that it's freaking springtime already). I'm packing a bathing suit for Julia just in case! We're also looking forward to going to Ikea. :) We're not looking forward to the plane ride but thankfully Julia seems to be in a pretty good mood lately and she tends to be content looking at new things. So I'm crossing my fingers that everything goes okay. Her naps are going to be all off but I don't think there's much I can do about it.

Robert and I will be flying off to Tucson for a few days in the middle of the Dallas trip. I'm nervous and sad about leaving Julia. She's with her grandparents, so obviously she's in good hands, but I hate being away from her (especially when she's cheery like she has been lately!) and it's harder than you might think to deal with pumping and breastmilk and all that when we're apart. I definitely prefer to just have her with me to nurse. This is an annual business trip of R's, but I don't see myself going next time we have a nursing baby. The plus side is that I have a massage and a pedicure scheduled for the trip and I'm looking forward to that like you'd not believe. I'm even thinking I might get a haircut to celebrate.

Anyways, a few pics before I close up the computer for awhile:

I'm gonna miss this little bug!

Yes Scrappy, I'm going to miss you too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Five months!

My baby girl turned five months yesterday, so here's an update!

The little stuff:

Julia's mood has gone back to normal. For reasons I don't need to go into on the internet, I think either she had a GI bug or something I was eating really didn't agree with her. And either my bland diet is helping or she's gotten over the bug, but both her GI symptoms and her mood have returned to normal. It's great; she's all smiley again. :) She also hit a milestone (well, a milestone in my eyes!) today - she had three textbook naps! A long morning nap, a long midday nap, and a short evening nap. It was heaven. I don't have high hopes for it happening again tomorrow but I could totally get used to it.

The big stuff:

Julia goes to bed at 7 PM and sleeps until about 7:30 AM. She has an early morning wake-up to eat but goes right back into her crib again until morning. She's sleeping all night and all naps in her crib. I put the bumpers on it a few weeks ago because she kept rolling into the side and screaming, and she absolutely loves them. She literally cuddles up with them. She's definitely going to be a stuffed-animal girl when she gets a little bit bigger. Her naps are finally getting longer; I usually get at least an hour in the morning and afternoon, but she's still partial to the 25-minute catnap (and actually she wakes up at that interval during those long naps but has learned to put herself back to sleep). She's still breastfeeding exclusively, although I think she's ready for solids; the only reason we haven't started is our out-of-town schedule and our desire to keep disruptions to a minimum. (And it's SO much easier to do cloth diapers with an EBF baby - that's selfish on my part.) It's still a struggle to get her to settle down and pay attention to eating, but I'm finding a few things that work (dark room, laying down, using the nursing cover to cut down on visible distractions).

She can roll from back to front, both ways, although she definitely prefers to the right. She is getting better at tummy time every day and is moving from the Superbaby thing to pushing up on her hands. She's very responsive to sounds and loves to watch our mouths as we talk to her, although she's not giving us much back yet. We're really only getting pterodactyl-like squeals and moaning when she's upset with us. She's getting much better at reaching and grabbing for things and I think her eye-hand coordination is her forte right now. She's also pretty darn good at putting weight on her legs and she can stand fairly well as long as we keep her balanced. She's getting better at sitting up, too, but I can tell she's itching to start moving more. She loves shoving everything and anything into her mouth but her favorite is any type of cloth. (The other day I left her mid-diaper change and came back to find her chewing on her (clean) diaper.) She's totally starting to get interested in Scrappy; she watches the dog and tries to reach out and touch her whenever she gets close. She LOVES her Jumparoo. She also loves being held tight while I spin around fast in a circle, and I've promised her we'll go to Six Flags just as soon as she's big enough. But her favorite thing is probably running errands with me. Whether she's in her stroller, the Baby Bjorn, or the sling, she just stares and stares wherever we are. It's the one way to guarantee she's quiet and calm.

We made her first mark on the little growth chart in her bedroom - she's a little more than two feet tall!

And she's obviously very intelligent.

Snowy Saturday

It's the end of March. The END OF MARCH. But the weather never got the memo, so this is what we got this weekend:

I was so pissed.

But this morning, it looked like this and even this Texas girl had to admit that it was beautiful:

And, check out our house!

How cute is that? And how nice a way to start your Sunday morning by getting the paper and turning around and seeing that? *grin* (Also helps that the baby slept 'til 8!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Closet remodel

So I was looking for these photos, and realized they were in my February folder, and here it is - the end of March! It's not the world's greatest remodel but we're pretty happy with it so I thought I'd do a blog post.

The closet "shelving" we inherited with the house looked like this:

Icky, huh? Here's our master closet, before, sans clothes. (Why on earth didn't I snap a shot with all the clothes jammed in there before? Just trust me - it looked terrible and it was so hard to find anything in the mess.) Robert has the left side of the closet; I have the right; and we both only have five feet of room. It's not a ton of closet space (on the Must Have list for our next house: a walk-in master closet) so it was really vital that we use the space efficiently.

We pulled all that gross shelving down, filled the 86,000 holes in the wall, and painted. Then we hung Elfa shelving we bought from the Container Store. We snapped this up in January during their annual sale - a little Christmas gift to each other. (Robert was not near as thrilled as I was.) We had tried the shelving in the guest room/study and Julia's room, and found it really simple to install and pretty darn nice-looking. The master closet shelving was no exception. We splurged and bought drawers, and I'm in love with them - totally worth it to keep those piles of jeans and sweatshirts from spilling over everywhere.

Here's the after:

Robert's side.

My side.

Whole shebang.

And then with clothes:
Robert's side + clothes.
My side + clothes.

With a classy hugely overflowing trash can in the middle. Ignore that, k?

Like I said, I'm thrilled. I think Robert could take it or leave it, but I think it was pretty awesome.

This is the first of several projects we plan to do over the next few years. Up next is the bathroom (construction will start in the next month or so!), and I'll actually take some real "before" photos with that one!

When Dad plays with the baby...

So, in an effort to make Julia feel more like a "big kid" to hopefully combat what I'm perceiving as her boredom and frustration with her lack of mobility right now, we ate dinner last night with a Baby Bumbo centerpiece on the table.

And these are the photos I ended up with...

Yes, I'm the enabler here, taking this photo.

But this photo just showed up on my camera. Yes that's Dad's foot. And a giant spit-up splotch on her shirt.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still salty

She looks like a cheery little angel, doesn't she?

Well Julia's still pretty salty. A little less so than yesterday, but since she has a whole constellation of subtle symptoms - none of which would worry me in isolation - I took her to the doctor's today. Of course they said she's fine, but at least someone else looked at her, checked her out, and pronounced her okay. I'm reverting back to a bland diet just in case it was something I was eating that was bothering her. (That means no caffeine for me either - boooo.)

And I'm just trying to be patient, but she's wearing on me. I'm so thankful she wasn't a colicky baby, because I'm having trouble keeping my composure as it is, and I know she's not really that bad compared to many. Today I yelled back at her when she was yelling at me during a few diaper changes (the good news is, it startled her and then she calmed down and we yelled back and forth at each other for awhile which seemed to put her in a better mood). And I did the thing where the baby is moaning and crying in the backseat and I just turned up the volume on the radio until I couldn't hear her any more.

And right now she's sleeping since she wiped out on the way home from our afternoon Starbucks run. Unfortunately, she's sleeping in a giantly dirty diaper that I thought I would just change as soon as we got home, but I'm not going to wake her up to do that. I'm just picturing the bacteria eating away at her bum and it's killing me.

Definitely not feeling like I'm doing a good job keeping things together right now.

(I don't need reassurances or anything. I know I'm doing the best job I can and I know it's all fine and she's fine and it'll all be fine. I'm just complaining. Bitch moan bitch moan.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cause she sure as heck isn't loving Mommy right now...

My little saltbag

Wow, Julia has been a bear lately. She hasn't been so ornery that I think she's sick or anything, but she has just been downright unpleasant for the last 24 hours or so. I've checked for teeth, bug bites, rashes, changed her clothes, nursed her, not nursed her, changed her diaper type, put diaper rash cream on her, pretty much everything I can think of, and she is still pissed off about something.

She's not a SUPER CHEERY baby, but she's always been pleasant as long as her needs were met. Now she's quite the opposite and I have no idea why. We also had another 3:30 AM wakeup last night, so I'm back to second-guessing myself again about everything. (Good news though - I went to bed at 8:30 (hah!) so I'm feeling well-rested again today. Thanks to Netflix for acting up!) We've nursed every morning as soon as she wakes up, every day for as long as I can remember. And today she wanted nothing to do with it. So, something's up. I just wish I knew what it was.

That's pretty much it for today. And it sounds like she's up from her nap so I'll sign out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One step back, two steps forward.

Well, after another night of a 3 AM wake-up and more second-guessing myself regarding Julia's needs and sleep patterns, it's now 6:30 and she's still sleeping! I closed my eyes last night at 10:30 and I don't think I moved for a full seven and a half hours (I love me some wine but I sure sleep better without it)! Her night sleep was never that bad, but I don't think I've gotten this long of a completely uninterrupted sleep stretch in six months. I feel like a new person. *sighs happily*

I've also been meaning to update on this whole SAHM bit. I'm feeling much more content with my decision now. I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that I've actually been relatively successful in getting housework done and dinner at least started by the time Robert comes home. If the house is kind of clean, the baby is fed, clean, and happy, the dog is walked, and dinner is marinating at 5:00, it goes a LONG way towards making me feel like I'm holding things together and being a relatively important part of the household.

I'm also more used to things now. When I had been working more recently, I kept feeling like it was just a brief hiatus and I should be planning to go back ASAP. I feel now like this is going to be several years of a break for me - which was always the plan anyways - but I'm getting a better perspective on how much time that really is. I don't need to come up with a plan for the rest of my life RIGHTNOW. Seriously guys, I have years to figure this out. I guess the last several weeks of me telling myself that over and over have helped it sink in.

I think the bathroom remodel is also giving me a purpose. A lame purpose, yes, but it's a project at which I can focus my free time and kind of feel like I'm accomplishing something, albeit very very slowly. I've picked out tile and I'm negotiating pricing on that right now. I've made a decision on the vanity and I need to go ahead and buy it. We've been up in our attic (despite our fear of the zombie that lives up there) and explored the venting and lighting systems. Our contractor is coming on Thursday to take measurements and discuss things a little more. And I'm much closer to choosing a paint color for our bedroom and bathroom. I never thought I'd say the word "greige" as much as I have lately. I think we're going to try to start all that around the beginning of May, which feels like it's really far off, but with two week lead times and Julia and I being out of town for two weeks, is going to be here before we know it!

And I just can't wrap up a post without a photo of the babe. Look at those eyes! They're this totally perfect starburst of blue and green (thank you R!).

Pondering the ceiling fan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Julia Photoshoot!

Had some sun and warmer weather so I decided to do a quick photoshoot this morning. How cute is this girl?!



Aaaand, we're pooped.

Those toes kill me.

Can't sit still for too long without a toy to chew on.

Or without resting that heavy head.

This might be my favorite photo of all time.

Resting while Mommy tries her hand at close-ups.

This photo makes me want to just lock her up in a china closet.

More chewing.

I just love her enthusiasm. When was the last time you were this into chewing on a dress?

And a toesies shot to wrap things up. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slacker Sunday

Well I've really been slacking on this blog lately. I keep this blog for several different audiences (family, friends, random googlers, myself), and I like that it has several different purposes (share photos of Julia, chat about life, be informative, and let me vent and work things out like a journal). Whenever I think about what I want to post, though, I seem to always think something like, "Oh, my family won't find that interesting at all - only friends," or "That's going to be really boring for everyone else." That - plus Season 5 of Nip/Tuck that we just discovered on Netflix - has led to me pretty much posting nothing lately. It's turning into an all or nothing thing ("If I can't come up with a post that's interesting for everyone, I'll just skip it tonight.") and that's the whole anti-point of this blog. I'm trying to make my life about doing something, even if it's not everything, and especially even if it's not perfect. Light one candle at a time, instead of feeling like I have to light them all and end up sitting there cursing the dark.

So, I'm sorry if something is boring, or if you're really sick of looking at 86,000 photos of my baby. But we'll just have to take the bad with the good, won't we? I mean, that's life, and it's ridiculous for me to try to make my blog anything but. I was kind of thinking of subtitling the blog, "Keeping it real, with a healthy dose of gratitude." I know I'm so blessed, but that doesn't mean everything's great all the time, and conversely, even when things suck, there's still a lot that I'm thankful for.

Anyways. Knock on wood, but Julia might be at the end of her sleep regression. Two nights ago she slept until 4:30, and last night she slept until 6:30. I'm not ready to declare victory yet, but I'm optimistic. Napping is still all over the place, and almost a little more frustrating than before; at least with her half-hour naps, she was predictable and I could plan around her. Now it's just a total crapshoot every day. She can still only stay awake for about two hours max, but I have no idea how long any of her naps are going to be, so it's really hard to schedule anything outside the house. Plus, I'm really second-guessing myself on what she needs, sleep- and schedule-wise, which makes things a little more stressful for both of us. But, if we're past the transition phase of these sleep issues, I can start working on getting her more on a schedule. We'll see how the next few days nights go.

I'm also itching to start her on some rice cereal. She's gotten pretty good at "drinking" breastmilk off of a spoon, and I think she's ready for a challenge. But, we're going to visit my parents in about a week, so she'll be away from home for about ten days (and from me for five - sob!), and it just doesn't make sense to try to start something new until we're back. And then at that point, we'll be about two weeks away from six months (holy crap - six months already?!), and I might just try to keep her exclusively on breastmilk until that mark. Probably not, because what difference will those two weeks really make? But I'm considering it. At that point, we're planning to transition to a little bit of formula and we'll start solids in earnest.

We like giving her a bottle at night right before bed. My milk supply is pretty low at that point, and I like knowing she gets a full feeding before bedtime, and I think R likes having the chance to feed her on a daily basis. The problem is, I'm really struggling to pump enough for that bottle each day. I was trying to pump at night, but usually getting 2-3 oz versus the 4+ that she takes in that last bottle. I tried pumping twice at night, but was still barely breaking even, plus that just sucks to be sitting there glued to the pump practically all evening when that's my only true free time of the day. So I'm back to pumping during the day; my supply is so much better in the mornings that it's no problem to get 4+ oz earlier in the day. I'm pumping a little here and there - whenever I can find a free 10 minutes - to make up her nightly bottle, and then once again at night to get an extra few ounces for cushion and to empty things out before bed. Again, though, this sucks. I don't have many 10 minute breaks during the day, and it sucks to spend them pumping. I can keep it up until we get back from our trip, then I think I'm done with the daily pumping. I'll dip into the freezer stash for those extra couple ounces until Julia's six months, then we'll just use formula to make up any deficiency. I still feel kind of failure-like for not being able to adequately feed my baby, but if we can hit that six-month mark, I'll also feel like objectively I did a pretty decent job. I'm still planning to nurse but we'll probably start gradually weaning her onto formula and solids.

In non-baby news, the weather has finally started to get better here, and my foot is also finally feeling better, so we're heading out to the park today! R and I used to go hiking all the time with Scrappy last year, and I really miss that. I'm hoping we can start taking Julia and Scraps out for walks in the park again, and when things finally dry up a bit (our backyard is seriously like a bog right now) maybe get back into easy hiking. Fingers crossed!

And, for anyone who's bothered to read this far:

Enjoying the new chair and Freddie the Firefly.

Checkin' out the view from way up there.

This photo totally cracks me up. I guess this is her "Okay now I'm freaked out get me out of here!" face.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Paddy's Day sort of

Well, I saw the cute St Patrick's Day t-shirts at the store, and thought, "Oh that's stupid, to buy a $12 shirt just for one day," and passed them by. Of course this morning I looked at every single item of Julia's clothing, wishing I just had something adorable and Irish-y to put on her. Fortunately, my grandmother had made sure she had green socks, so at least we had something.

See the green socks? Don't exactly go with the outfit but you gotta do what you gotta do.

We're still struggling with naps, night sleep, and eating during the day but I'm still trying to just ride it out. Like now, she'll only eat if she's laying down - whether she's nursing or taking a bottle. I don't know what the deal is but she seems to have an inordinate amount of quirks like that right now. I have to do a lot of managing for her, but I guess that's the definition of being a mom. She currently loves her Jumparoo, rolled over onto her stomach from her left side today, and I think she's enjoying the warmer weather.

Look at that springtime outfit! And that springtime giraffe!

We're also continuing the spoon-feeding. She's still just getting breastmilk, but we're having increasing success at getting it in her mouth and not on her bib. I'm trying to get all of us used to actual dinner at the dinner table so she'll start to get interested in solid foods at some point. Plus, dinner at the dinner table seems like it's just a good, wholesome thing, right? Right now though, Robert eats and watches me try to feed Julia. We still have a little ways to go.

"Yeah well this is how I do it!"

But how can you argue with that face?
Especially when she's working this hard?!
But hey, if baby's happy, we're all happy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Videos for the family

So I was hoping to get one AWESOME video with Julia responding to her name, smiling, making noises, and doing a trick. But, funnily enough, she doesn't perform on command, so instead, I have three videos to cover those four things.

Responding to her name and some smiles:

Makin' noises:

And rolling over:

Monday, March 14, 2011

At Starbucks this weekend. A girl after my own heart!
Nom nom nom.
Smiley in the exersaucer.
Hooray for pandas!

And, the really good stuff (in the Jumperoo today)...