Saturday, April 30, 2011

Changing things up a bit

If you're trying to please everyone, then you're not going to make anything that is honestly yours, I don't think, in the long run.


I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.

I've written here before about feeling like I'm writing for several different audiences, and I tried to be all, "Rah rah I'm gonna write whatever I want because it's MY blog!" but it's just not working. I find myself censoring more and more, and I dislike the tone it's been taking lately. It's just not turning into something easily sustainable for me and it's not doing what I need it to do for me, and since it has to be easy for me to keep up or I won't keep it up at all, I've gotta change things up.

So, this blog is going to be to share photos, videos, and text about Julia. Perhaps the occasional home improvement project or vacation photos or something along those lines will make it in here too, but the goal of this blog is to share updates, particularly about the baby, with family and interested friends. (For all the very nice strangers who have been following and commenting: I'm totally not offended if you de-follow. Really. :)) It remains to be seen whether I'll take my rantings to another blog or offline altogether.

Yeah that's right. It's all about me!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Umm... Yeah.

This is my six month old.


See the lack of parental hands holding her up?

I think R and I are in trouble.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Odds and Ends

Throwing some of the randos out of my head and into the interwebz:

1. The baby is driving me bonkers. I think it's because my lower back has really been hurting for the past week or so, so my (not especially great to begin with) patience is especially thin, but I think she's either teething or in the midst of growing pains or having digestive issues because she's been relatively crabby lately. I say relatively because she's still a good lil baby, but I'm getting really sick of her really looking forward to the weekend.

2. Baby food has just. not. been. working. She dislikes being propped in her high chair and having mashed up goop fed to her on a spoon. I dislike burning an ounce of breastmilk to mix into said mashed up goop (which, btw, I made organically from scratch of course obvs), coaxing her through each bite and pretending like it's really awesome and fun, to have her only end up ingesting half a teaspoonful. R dislikes being handed a cranky, goopy baby and told, "Go give her a bath."

So I'm changing our approach. I remember one of our friends with two older children said to us awhile ago, "Oh we did all that baby food stuff with our first, in the 'right order' and all that, but we just gave our second regular table food from the start." And then I stumbled across an article today about feeding babies solid foods that reaffirmed what I was thinking.

So, from now on, Julia gets appropriate table food - whatever we're eating. She's old enough and developmentally far along enough to learn to feed herself finger food and chew and swallow without being force-fed purees.

We tried it tonight and it was great. She gummed a few pieces of chicken, seemed engaged and interested in sitting at the dinner table with us both, and I actually saw her chew for the first time. And I wasn't stressed out, trying to force coax more food into her or pissed that I spent ten minutes preparing something that she was just going to smear all over her high chair.

Of course I've only done reading and research into this issue from sources that agree with me, so I need to try to learn what the other side says, but if our pediatrician okays this approach (we see her Monday for the 6-month appt), then we're going full steam ahead with table food. I'm finally not dreading the transition to solid foods. :)

3. Yeah remember how I was going to go to the gym and stuff and post about it on here? Well I certainly haven't been going to the gym and NOT bragging posting about it on here. So this is my attempt to shame myself into getting off my freaking couch.

4. I think our bathroom remodel starts on Monday. Finally. I've been dreading it but it's like a final exam or something - at some point you just want to stop dreading it and get it started already. I need to take "before" pictures for you guys. (Like how I say "you guys" like I have this cadre of regular readers who are all excited and interested in the mundane details of the life of a stay-at-home-mom in suburbia? lol)

5. Our ant problem seems to be largely resolved, thank goodness. We were finding more and more of them in our kitchen, especially in our dishwasher, and so I freaked out and got obsessive about tracking them down and finding their entry point and had R run to Home Depot at 7:30 in the morning to buy three different types of ant poison. But, three different types of ant poison and a near electrocution (pulling out the dishwasher) later, they seem to be almost completely gone, and the ones we do see are dead or dying. Of course now I feel terrible for killing an entire giant ant family. And especially terrible for the ones that didn't get some of the poison so they go back to their home and find their friends and family all dead around them. So sad. :(

6. I'm never talking about Julia's sleep habits on this blog again because as soon as I make some stupid statement like, "Oh she sleeps 12 hours at night and takes three great naps," she decides to show me what she thinks of my pretense of being in charge.

7. No new photos today but here are a few bath pics from a few days ago:

I challenge you to look at this photo and not smile back.

Happy in the tub. 

Not quite so happy out of the tub but the hoodie towel kills me every time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Six months!

Oh how I wish this one were in better focus.

I have lots and lots and lots of photos like this.

She looks so big here, it makes my heart break.

I interrupted the toe-nomming party. (And look at those thighs!)

Always manage to get a pink fuzzy blanket-chewing shot.


Six months old already?! Wow.

The big thing lately has been sitting up. Julia will still topple over - and be shocked by it every time it happens - but she can generally sit up on her own for a few minutes. She likes being upright and will only be content laying down if she's tired. She does do this thing now where she'll very deliberately leeeaaaan over forward or to the sides. When we're holding her, it's really cute, but it's kind of embarassing when she does it in public and I put her in the grocery cart and then look over and she's awkwardly sideways in that little seat. She LOVES her jumper; we put her in it and she bounces like it's her job. Her hand coordination has gotten so much better now too. She can deliberately grab whatever she wants, bang things together with both hands, and manipulate objects really well.

No teeth yet; although I can feel the bottom two, they seem to be in no rush to move on in. She's still being nursed almost exclusively. We've been doing a small meal every few days, but I know it's time to make it a daily thing. We're not far enough into it to tell what she likes and dislikes, but I feel like she dislikes squash and likes avocado and peas. She just started sleeping entirely through the night; I'm not declaring "success" yet but I think we've largely dropped the 4:30 AM feed and now she goes 7-7. Her napping has also gotten much better: she has a morning nap and a midday nap that are both at least an hour long, and an early evening catnap. She can't stay awake for longer than about two and a half hours, but we're gradually moving to a more predictable schedule with longer awake stretches, and not a moment too soon.

Julia loves looking at new things, when I sing silly songs to her, being held up high and "flying," watching hockey on tv, and sitting on Daddy's shoulders for horsey rides. She's still a serious little girl, but by no means grumpy. She cries less than a minute a day, and only then when something's actually wrong (usually either she's tired or sleepy or spit up on herself). She does squawk in protest when I pull her diaper tight or pull her seatbelt tight, which cracks me up. She also does these squeals or screams when she's a little uncomfortable or when she's trying to engage us in conversation; she sounds like a little pterodactyl. She's not especially fond of books yet; right now they're just complicated chew toys. She does like the bath a lot more than she used to, and R says her splashing has crossed over from cute and adorable to kind of annoying, so she's totally got the hang of it.

She's really a lot more fun than she used to be. As she's gotten lower maintenance, physically, she's definitely ramped up mentally. It's tougher to keep her occupied and happy all day now that she has opinions and isn't shy about voicing them, but once in awhile I'll pick her up and she'll put her arms around my neck and everything in me just melts.  <3

I can't believe we're halfway to a year!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter!

That's a bunny ice sculpture behind me. Not a giant ice bow or a giant ice hat, as festive as that would be.

Friday, April 22, 2011

So... Bugs in the kitchen is like, a thing?

Where I grew up, there was no coexistence with ants in our house. Maybe because all ants were fire ants, but ants in our house or yard were eradicated, end of story. Of course I thought my father was cruel for poisoning them - I was totally a circle of life kind of kid - but all that changed when I got my own place. (Sidebar - last time I was home, I mentioned to my mom that the cereal she gave me was full of bugs, and her response? "Sorry! Oh well, John the Baptist ate bugs.") But anyways, bugs in my house - dead. No more saving crickets in cups or leaving spiders alone "because they eat the bad bugs." You a bug, in my space - uh uh.

So the ant invasion in my kitchen is giving me conniptions! I'm befuddled - where are they coming from? Why are they here? Why aren't they biting me? Why isn't Robert concerned??? You know what he says?

"My parents get ants all the time in their kitchen when it gets really wet outside. They're just trying to get out of the rain."

Wait. So this is a thing here? Ants invade when it rains?! It's just something to live with?

Look how sneaky they are. He ran for the edge as soon as he saw me. Freaky.

I am not a fan.

Is my baby really better off?

The last few months I've been totally content staying home with Julia (see: lack of blog posts describing my thought process in agonizing detail), but now I'm starting to swing the other way. I had a few conversations with friends of mine, who do not have children yet but are planning to start trying in the next few years, and all of them plan to continue working. Setting aside my shame/guilt/embarrassment at having a pathetic career trajectory, it also made me question whether Julia is really better off at home with me versus in a quality day care.

I have this picture of day care as a happy, colorful place where the children sing songs, learn Spanish, play with blocks, have storyhour, and are generally stimulated and mentally active all day long (with perfectly-timed restorative naps, of course). I was never in day care myself, so I'm basically just making this up based on my early experience with preschool. But it's a far cry from what happens to Julia here at home. She wakes up, we cuddle and maybe read a book or two, she spends time in her jumper, we play on the floor with the same set of toys we did yesterday, she spends time in her exersaucer, she has a few naps, we go somewhere just to get out of the house and look at different things, and then Daddy comes home and takes over. I feel like I spend way too much time vegging out - pleading exhaustion - and not near enough time reading, singing, talking, playing, etc., with my child. If I sit her somewhere to play by herself to get housework done, I feel guilty for not being with her, and if I neglect the house, R comes home to shambles and I'm still exhausted and feel like I didn't do enough anyways.

Would Julia be better if she went somewhere where professional child-care people took care of her during the day? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just making this up as I go along, and I'm afraid she's suffering for it. I mean, I know she's not suffering, but am I stunting her intellectual growth? I struggle to remember the names of things (spatula = big spoon flipper thingie) (I blame hormones, btw) so how awful is her vocabulary going to be? How much can I really read to her when all she wants to do is chew on the book? Do you know how freaking tiring it gets narrating your whole day to an unresponsive listener? "Oh look Mommy's going to go empty the dishwasher! Oh here comes the doggie! The doggie's drinking out of her water dish - splash splash splash!" I hate to admit how often I just trail off because I can't keep it up any more. Or I sit there reading the newspaper (silently, to myself) while I eat as she plays. Do I have a totally warped conception of neglect?

Oh crap I don't know.

Here's some photos of the doll to make up for the boring depressing words:

Not so sure about this outdoors thing.

These two crack me up.


Seriously, why are we here Mom?

Still reading. Still on that first page.

The inevitable end to reading.

And then Daddy comes home and we get the first smiles of the session!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I've been out of sorts lately, although I'm not sure why. Part of it probably has to do with a cumulative lack of sleep. I don't know how other mothers with more poorly-sleeping babies than mine do it, but I'm running ragged right now. Even as Julia is sleeping more through the nights, I'm sleeping less. Sounds stupid, I know, but just trust me - that's how things are working out right now. I'm hoping this short-term discomfort turns into long-term sleep and happiness, although I'm not sure I see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

And of course, when sleep sucks, everything else is exponentially harder too, so just doing laundry and putting dinner on the tables is daunting. Which is also stupid because it's just laundry and dinner - how hard can that be, seriously? I don't think I'm sick, I know I'm not pregnant (lol), so maybe it's just hormones or something that's been getting me down. But regardless, I'm hoping to get my act together sooner rather than later. I have all these things I want to blog about but the end of the day comes and I go, "blaaaaaaaah" and go to bed instead.

But I am slowly starting to work out again, and posting here keeps me motivated, so I'm resurrecting that. Yesterday, arms and abs at the gym and 30 minutes of 3 walking, 2 (slow!) running. My foot doesn't feel 100% but it seems to be holding up so I'm going to ease back into running. And since cardio gets me to the gym, hopefully I'll get back on the strength-training wagon too.

And now the good stuff - a scattering of photos I've taken over the last few days:

Is this not the most adorable dress in the world?!

Thanks so much Sara!

Except she's not a fan of the bow.

Or maybe she just wants to go outside and play.

Investigating a new toy.

Goodness gracious what is this thing?


"Help me - I don't know what emotion this is!"

But Daddy always makes her smile.

This morning - she doesn't need me any more! What a big girl! (Which of course makes me cry.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sleep = Everything

I haven't been posting lately because I've been too exhausted to take photos, upload photos, and/or write about the photos or anything else. Julia's night sleep has been steadily improving but it's been messing me all up, so ironically I've been sleeping worse this past week. But last night the nugget went 11 1/2 hours without needing to eat (!!!) and I managed to sleep for most of that time too. Whew. I heard her at 4:30 (when I was up pumping) making noise, but just a little bit and I didn't even go into her room - she worked it out on her own and fell back asleep until 7:00 this morning.

We're still working out a schedule, but the night sleep is starting to fall into place, so I'm hoping eating and naps will soon too. And of course, there's a 6-month growth spurt that could kick in any day now, so maybe I'm just pounding sand until that messes everything up. But for now, I'm going to take this good day and enjoy it. :)

I put her down with her head facing the opposite direction, on the bottom left of the crib in this photo. Under that blanket she's grabbing on to. And a few nights later she was actually sleeping on top of one of the ornaments from that mobile. Time to take the mobile down and get some baby crib straps to keep her in one place.

"I like Mommy and Daddy's bed the best!"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Don't want to jinx myself, but I'm gonna go ahead and call "success"!

Little Julia slept from 7:30 last night until 6:30 this morning, then after a quick meal, again from 6:45 to 8:30! Woohoo!

It's atypical of her to get more than twelve hours of night sleep, so I don't expect a repeat of this on a regular basis, but I could really get used to a long stretch overnight without a feed. Now, the only problem is, I tried a bunch of different things and I'm not sure what was the key to the eleven-hour stretch. The last few nights I had been feeding her from the "bad" side, and she seemed like she was starting to get used to not taking in a big meal in the middle of the night. I also tried to tank her up as much as possible during the day, plus I added in two (very small) meals of solids yesterday. She stayed up a little later than normal last night, and the house got colder than normal overnight because we are getting a cold front. So, what was it? My efforts to nightwean her, the solid foods, the bedtime, or the temperature? Who knows. I don't care - I'll just keep doing all of them. I got a seven hour stretch of sleep myself last night and feel a billion times better than yesterday.

R comes home this evening, and I'm excited about that too. He won't get in early enough to help with any of the daily stuff (he'll probably roll in after the baby's down and just as I'm finishing up the daily dishes - convenient, huh?) but it'll be nice to have another adult in the house again. It's draining to be "on" all the time. I know I'm lucky that he's rarely away, and I know so many other women who are effectively single moms because their husbands travel so much, so I'm certainly not complaining, but that doesn't mean I won't be happy to have him back. I've already called Sunday morning sleep-in. :)

Hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A few random photos

My big girl examining her bouncer.

What the heck, Mom.

Little Ms. Attitude today!

I mean, look at this!

Fortunately, toes make everything better.

Sleeping and eating frustration

Julia's almost six months now, and we're done with traveling and other disruptions for awhile, so I've been trying to tweak her eating and sleeping schedule to something a little more manageable for me long-term. At four months, she was snacking about every two hours and I was struggling to keep her focused on nursing for long enough to get a full meal. She was sleeping from about 7-7 overnight, with a wake-up for eating around 4:30, and napping for half an hour exactly about every two hours.

Her naps have naturally matured into longer ones, which is the good news. Now in the morning, she always sleeps for an hour, and sometimes I even get 90 minutes. She can stay awake for about 2.5 or 3 hours at a time now versus 1.75 or 2, and I usually get a long nap in the afternoon too. All nice developments, although her night sleep changes are the bad news. She now goes to bed around 7:30, and gets up around 6:30. She's moved her nighttime wake-up to 3:00, and is starting to occasionally wake up other times too (11 pm, 5:30 am, midnight, who knows anymore). And what I initially thought was a nursing strike seems to actually be her shifting her preferred eating times to something much more inconvenient.

She has been getting harder to nurse in the mornings (and heck, the evenings too), and now it looks like she's getting more and more of her nutrition during her relatively peaceful, efficient night feeds. I'm obviously not a fan. One of my books says it's normal for babies to have one night waking up to nine months, while another says that a six month baby should be able to go twelve hours overnight without a feeding. I tend to agree with the latter, since she used to go ten or eleven hours overnight, and I'm afraid I've trained her to be hungry in the middle of the night. Especially when I realized that she's going four and five hours between feedings in the morning - I think we've shifted her eating timetable, so she's hungry in the middle of the night and not hungry in the mornings. Ugh.

But I don't know what to do. Obviously I could just not feed her when she wakes up and let her cry herself back to sleep, but I just don't think I could stand that (yet - if this keeps up I might not care in a few weeks). I've been trying to limit the amount she's eating during those middle of the night feedings, but that makes her pretty angry and she ends up crying herself back to sleep anyways. I had some success last night only offering her my "bad side" (Yes, most nursing women have a good side and a bad side - I get 2-3x more milk from one side than the other - how strange is that, huh?). She protested a little but eventually sucked herself back to sleep and ate relatively well this morning.

We're also introducing some solids (a little rice cereal, and we're going to try peas today!) so I'm wondering how that's going to play into this.

Julia and Scraps and I are on our own for a few days since R is away on business, so I guess now is my time to experiment. Although I have a feeling I might be so beat that I'll just end up doing whatever's easiest in the middle of the night. We'll see. I know this is super-boring for everyone reading but it's good for me to sort things out in writing.

Photos to come later today so R can keep up. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


So, we were in Tucson for a few days. While I missed the baby terribly, there was also something delicious about being alone for awhile. I'm definitely one of those people who needs some quiet, alone time to recharge, so it was really nice to reboot my batteries. I didn't take a ton of photos, but the scenery was beautiful so I got a few.

But first, the hotel. zomg.

When I post the "Before" pics for our master bathroom remodel, you'll see why this was so amazing.

View from our patio.

Wait. A cardinal? I thought we weren't in StL anymore!

Cloudy day photos.

I grew up in the land of Flat, so this view is just amazing to me.

Ah, some sun! That's what we came here for!

That's more like it.

It's so amazing what can grow in the middle of all these rocks.

Obligatory "I can use the focus button to get a close-up of a flower and now I can call myself a real photographer" shot.

I could totally live there.