Monday, December 3, 2012

Louise at 13 months

Louise is practically running everywhere.  We love it.  Lately she's really into making faces.  She'll pout and really jut her bottom lip out there one second and grin as big as she can the next.  And she's such a little ham.  She LOVES strangers and other people and has no compunctions against going up to anyone and asking them to pick her up or sit on their lap.  We had our first visit with her new doctor here and she was a little surprised by how not-shy Louise was.  She toddled right up to her, reached for her lap, and started playing with her stethoscope and earrings and face.  We also found out she's now in the 90th percentile for height and 77th for weight (a big jump from the 15th and 5th percentiles she was in a few months ago).

Life as we know it is racing onward.  We can't believe how quickly time is going by.  It feels like we just barely had a baby, and here we are with a 1 year-old living halfway across the country.  She's not a little baby anymore.  She's a toddler, through and through.  Justin says he can see a lot of my personality in her.  The "I want to do it my way, by myself, and no one can stop me" part of my personality. ;)  But that's ok.  I'm kind of excited for when she's a teenager.

She is extremely independent already.  It's adorable.  If I want to put a headband on her, it has to be her idea first, otherwise it gets torn off in seconds.  I'll show it to her and let her play with it, let her try to put it on herself, then when she can't she'll hand it to me.  Then, and only then, I can help her put it on and she'll leave it.  Same with the rest of her clothes.  

Louise is really into wearing things on her neck lately.  It doesn't matter what it is, if she can get it to stay across her shoulders she'll walk very gingerly "wearing" it until if falls off or she finds something new.  This morning it was a pair of pants draped very carefully across her shoulders, yesterday it was a lens cleaning cloth.  She also loves wearing rings on her wrists.  We have a Magic Bullet knock-off that has a bunch of rings that snap onto the top of the cups and she almost always has a few of them on both arms, or her colored rings that stack on the yellow cone things.  She's way into carrying around my shoes, too.  Usually sparkly flats, high heels, or boots.  Total girl. :)   

These days, when she's getting into something she knows she shouldn't, she looks at us and shakes her head while purposefully doing whatever she shouldn't.  *Sigh*  We're working on it.  Maybe in a few years she'll get it. ;)

Louise talks non-stop.  I'll have to record some of it.  She's very deliberate and articulate in her gibberish.  She loves the L and D sounds and is constantly throwing around sounds that involve them.  She likes to "read" us stories.  She's a very clear communicator and is great at letting us know what she needs.  She has a very expressive face, like her daddy.

She's still an unbelievable eater and sleeper.  She eats everything we eat.  We have our big meal for lunch instead of dinner since Justin has night classes, so we get to eat as a family almost every day.  Louise would eat fruit all day if I'd let her.  She goes to bed by 7 every night and wakes up between 7 and 8 (depending on how noisy Justin is when he gets ready for work).

We can't believe how in love with little Lulu we are, and we can't wait to see what the next 13 months hold for us. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Let's get this baby off the ground"

Anybody seen that "FarSide" cartoon where the pilots are sitting on the back of a giant baby on the airport runway?  Yeah, it was weird.  But, for some reason, this was the phrase that came to me when I thought about what was most significant and different in our lives right now.  My daughter is walking!

A Sunday afternoon walk in the rain (Adorable, right?)

Does this kid not just melt your heart right out of your chest?  Maybe it's me; maybe I'm biased.  Okay, so I'm biased.  But still...  

So, she's walking.  It adds a whole lot of excitement to our household.  Now, we hear a bump in the other room where she's playing, and it's a mad dash, because you just know she either fell and hit her head, or has reached something breakable and/or valuable that she didn't used to be able to.  Either way, we come running.  Man, oh man, but we enjoy it.  There's nothing better in our lives right now than watching her take off from holding our hands, and have that adorable little face turn back toward us and flash all eight pearly whites in our general direction with a gleam in her eye.  How can we help but love that?  

Claire is amazing.  She's working full time right now: she's probably into overtime now that Louise is walking.  She keeps house like no one I know, loves our baby girl and takes care of her better than I could ever hope for, and somehow still finds time to squeeze me in (seriously, she gives great hugs).  I am a very lucky man.  She's just a great person to both have and be around.  I think she could have a great deal of very close friends here, with all the people she's met and left on friendly terms with at the park across the street from us.  However, since she also has yet to see the same person twice at the park, it hasn't worked out as well as it could.  It's so odd; even though we live in closer proximity to more people than either of us has ever experienced in our lives, it's so easy to feel like you live on your own. Even in our own apartment building (we share an entrance with two other apartments; one above and one below us), I've personally only run into the people above us coming or going maybe two or three times total, and the people below us a whopping one time each.  It's crazy.  Fortunately, Claire is much better at instigating social happenings than I am.  

Which is why, for L's first birthday party, it was more than just the three of us sharing ice cream and cake.  See for yourself:

L with our upstairs neighbors' little boy

Me, L, and Claire immediately following L's first taste of cake

The party-goers sans Claire

Ditto, sans me

We had a great birthday celebration for L.  We had the upstairs neighbors, a family from church, and a lady we've gotten to know via the more than a few times we've met her out walking her awesome dog, Quince, who was kind enough and friendly enough to accept our invitation to celebrate L's birth with us (She's smitten with L.  Really, who wouldn't be?)  It was a great party, and we had a lot of fun.  We made homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream accompanied by a french vanilla cake with homemade frosting.  Pretty great.  

Claire is heading up a pretty ambitious project right now.  She's gotten together a bunch of moms via Facebook groups and they're going to contribute a different page each to make a whole bunch of fabric "quiet books" for their children.  She's pretty excited about it, and the moms seem to share a lot of her energy, from what I've gleaned from a few over-the-shoulder glimpses of the Facebook page (Isn't technology crazy?).  

I'm working five days a week right now in the mornings, and have class three times a week in the evening.  Between those two things, I don't get nearly as much time to spend with my girls as I'd like.  However, since I would ideally spend every waking minute with them, this isn't difficult to bring about.    It is made a little bit easier in that I so very much enjoy all of my readings that I do for my classes.  Such a plus about grad school.  If you've chosen your program well, it's a whole lot easier to get things done, because you genuinely enjoy it.  

For L, I have just a few fun things to share.  First off, she loves to get into things that she really shouldn't.  That alone isn't funny or unique.  Her reaction, however, is; it's hilarious.  When we realize she's into something, say her name, and start walking toward her, she does this comical little "freak out" movement where she waves her arms really fast, shakes her head even faster, then returns to doing whatever she was doing at double speed.  It's adorable to watch.  Our favorite instance of this happened one morning when Claire was putting some clothes away, and L was in our bedroom, exploring.  Claire heard a clatter and peeked in just in time to see L looking down into the now open container of Vaseline.  Being the fantastic mother she is, Claire said L's name and started into the room.  L performed her little freak out, then proceeded to insert her fingers speedily into the Vaseline and fluttering them quickly and carefully about, all the while looking right at Claire and smiling sweetly.  Like I said, this girl's hilarious.  Also, her favorite pastime while walking outside is leaf-collecting.  She'll walk along holding a hand, and carefully pick up whatever leaves seem to fulfill her undisclosed criteria for pickup.  She's very specific in her selection.  This is no haphazard swipe along the ground; she very carefully picks up individual specimens and holds them in her hand until she can't hold any more, or drops a few in going after one, and the process begins again.  We could watch her all day.  She's so fun; we love it.

That seems to be just about everything new and/or exciting for us, so I'll leave you with just this one last video.  It's long, and I promise it's the same thing throughout.  If you're bored with it, feel free to skip it.  We, on the other hand, can't get enough of this little hooligan.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I don't really have anything to say

I've been thinking lately that it's been an awfully long time since I've felt like I had anything clever to write.  This blog has kind of suffered in the last couple of years.  I used to think I was a clever writer, but then I married Justin, who is an exquisite writer, so I don't write very much anymore because I'd much rather he wrote about things.  It's much more entertaining to read from his perspective, as I'm sure you'll all agree.  However, since he's so busy and I want to keep this blog relatively updated, I'm afraid you're stuck reading my thoughts for the time being.

Winter is fast approaching here in Illinois.  I'm actually getting fairly nervous about it.  Probably because everyone keeps warning us about it and because Justin is so worried that I don't really have any warm winter coats and he knows I hate the cold.  No, dislike.  Hate is a very strong word (I'm fully intending to learn to embrace the cold while we're here).  I have a ton of beautiful jackets, but none of them are very warm.  I'm waiting to see what everyone else wears and talk to people about what keeps them the most warm, then I'll go to some thrift shop (of which there are many) and find something.  It's only September and we're already wearing socks and sweaters around the house all day.  We turned the heater on in Louise's room, but we've resisted everywhere else (although I'll admit to preheating the oven a couple of times a day to warm my hands..shh!).

Louise is absolutely delightful.  She is getting to be such a character.  She's got a quirky little sense of humor already and laughs at funny (as in peculiar) things.  When we read Goodnight, Gorilla (her current favorite), she giggles every time we get to the page when they're all in bed, like she knows what's going on.  Maybe she does. :)  I love it.  She is such a great eater.  Not at all like her mother.  I'm so relieved.  She eats almost everything we eat.  We eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, then we have a sit down lunch as a family after Justin gets home from work since he has class in the evenings.  A couple of weeks ago we had spaghetti and a big salad and she ate everything we put in front of her.  The salad had romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, boiled eggs, weird mayonnaise/vinegar dressing, and celery.  She is getting so close to walking.  We're just a crutch for her now.  She can totally walk on her own, she just doesn't want to.  She's done it a few times when she is distracted and doesn't realize what she was doing, but as soon as she notices she sits down and pouts.  She sleeps 12 to 14 hours straight every night, and has since we got here and she had her own room.  It's wonderful.  She's so beautiful.  She still hates being in her carseat, and now hates being in the stroller after about 20 minutes.  I don't know what to try next.  

Justin and I got a family membership to the YMCA.  We've been going every day and we've developed a love-hate relationship with it.  We love going to work out and feeling so great afterward, but for the past week we've both been walking very gingerly and moaning every time we have to bend or sit.  We're both really excited about the prospect of getting back into shape.  Justin created a whole workout routine that he's been doing and I go to different classes every day.  Pilates, Zumba, Body Shaping, Zumba again, then Body Shaping again.  Then we just swim with Louise on Saturdays.  The family membership includes 2 hours of free babysitting each day while the parents work out, so we've been doing that with Louise.  She loves it.  She loves all of the new toys and especially playing with the other kids.  She is such a social little girl, I feel bad that we don't do more with friends.  Louise picked up her first cold this week, and I'm sure she got it from the Y.  I've got it now, too.  We've been eating so healthy and going to bed really early since being here.  We feel great (besides this cold).  I'm really excited because some of my old ECCOCI clothes are finally starting to fit again.  Now that I'm not nursing anymore it's a lot easier to lose weight.  I can't wait. :)

I'm really trying to work on making friends.  I guess I've gotten out of practice since college.  I'm not really the pushy type, and I feel really uncomfortable inviting myself into groups and to things.  I'm also not very good with big groups of people (this is one result of being the youngest of the family), I'd much rather talk to people one-on-one so I can connect, but I guess I'll just have to figure out how to be.  I really need friends here if I want this to be successful.  Does anyone have any tips for me on how to get out there and make friends in a new place where everyone already has friends?  Any ideas would be welcome. :)

We unpacked the last box yesterday.  It was a great feeling. :)

I just looked back at the blog and realized we haven't posted any pictures since we moved, so I'm gonna quit writing and just do pictures.  Goodnight!  

             My friend Stephanie came to see me before we left.  
Our whole lives fit into 5 feet.
 My mom with Louise the day before we left.
 Louise on the trip.  As you can see, we were packed in there like sardines.
 The view from the end of our street.

Justin was spitting out a frozen grape and she LOVED it.  Enjoy. :)

 Louise after eating her crazy salad.  Now THAT is a satisfied baby. :)
 Louise and I at Lake Michigan.  
 A funky-fied leaf we found on a walk.
 L with our neighbor's baby.
 Playing in the sand.
 A crazy sand castle at the beach.  This person builds a different one every day.  They're amazing.
Louise's new cupboard.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hello again, blogging world

We did it!  We totally live in Illinois!

We had quite the eventful move, but now that we're here and all moved in we couldn't be happier.

Well, unless all of our family and friends lived here, too...hint, hint...

Our little family left on a Monday and arrived in Chicago (the suburb of Evanston is actually where we live) on Thursday evening.  We were told that our belongings in the moving truck would be here Thursday, Friday at the latest.  When I called them on Thursday, however, they said that the soonest they could deliver it was Tuesday, if they could deliver it to Evanston at all.  Perfect.  So there we were in a huge apartment with nothing.  Well, we had a nice, big oriental rug that we picked up on the way into town from a craigslist find (random fact: it turns out that there are like 5 oriental rug stores on every block.  No joke!).  No bed, no crib, no pots and pans, no dishes, no nothing.  Luckily I had been in touch with the relief society president while we were looking for an apartment, so I had her number programmed in my phone.  I called, but got no answer, so I left a message and we settled in on our rug with some beef jerky, string cheese, and wheat thins for dinner (we didn't have the internet or a phone book to look up any restaurants or stores and Louise was done).  The RSP called back a little while later and put us in touch with a couple that lived close by who let us borrow a portable crib, an air mattress and sheets, some towels, and a pot, which is the only reason we made it through the weekend.  We went shopping the next morning for some food that we could make in the pot (no microwave), and went to IKEA to get a bed.  We were so ready to get a good nights' rest because we hadn't had one since Sunday night.  That was my first experience with IKEA and it is truly a magical place.

Our bed was delivered on Saturday, so we spent the day putting it together and deep cleaning the apartment, which hadn't really been cleaned when the previous occupants left.  The moving company decided they could deliver our stuff on Monday after much convincing and finagling.  When it arrived and we figured out parking (another nightmare) they finally threw open the doors and...our stuff was everywhere.  The bulk head and somehow (I suspect foul play!) come loose and fallen down, allowing our things to tumble and fly around in the back of the semi.  The driver said he had never seen that happen before.  Right.  Anyway, with the help of a couple of guys from the ward we got it inspected for damage and all moved in just in time for it to really start raining.  I think that out of the first 6 days that we had been here it had rained for 4 of them.

The next few days were a flurry of unpacking and unloading boxes mixed with grocery shopping and walks around town and to the lake (3 or 4 minute walk away), and playing at the park next to our house.  Justin had to go to Napa on Thursday, so we wanted to hurry and get as much unpacked as we could before he left.

We absolutely LOVE it here.  It is so beautiful.  Everywhere.  And there are people out walking and riding bikes and roller- blading and walking dogs and strolling with families at all times of the day.  Everywhere.  The everywhere thing is taking a little getting used to.  It's so weird to drive and drive and not leave city, just change cities.  The neighborhood we live in is wonderful, too.  There are so many young families and so many LDS families doing the same thing we are that we feel right at home.

We're going to bed now, so I'll post more later, with pictures!  We've been going to bed so early since we've been here, it's ridiculous!

We LOVE Chicago!


Friday, July 27, 2012


We're moving on August 6th and 7th.  We found an apartment in Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago.  We're going to load the truck on the 6th, then drive to Cheyenne on the 7th, Omaha on the 8th, and Evanston on the 9th.  Our belongings will arrive on probably the 11th of 12th.  Justin will leave for Napa on the 16th, return on the 20th, and has orientation on the 24th.  School starts officially on the 30th.  Somewhere in that time we'll move in. :)
We're ecstatic.  And doing our best to think about going, not leaving.  I've been trying to go through 1 room per day (difficult with a 9 month-old).  When I got married I never really moved out, so I have stuff in every room.  It's finally starting to feel like we're really moving.  Justin is in Napa without us right now.  I'm very sad about it since this time was going to be my last time to go.  We just felt like it was a better idea for us to stay since Louise will be going on a 27 hour drive next week.  We felt like that on top of a Napa trip would just plain be too much.  Justin will be flying in the future.
I can't wait to start decorating.  And exploring Chicago.  And meeting new people.  I'm just excited. :)    

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicago, here we come!!!

Justin has been accepted to the Erikson Institute in Chicago, IL!  Yippee!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Turn 180 degrees and step forward"

In 1968, Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face, and Yvon Chouinard, a fellow outdoor enthusiast, attempted a climb of Patagonia's Corcovado Volcano.  In 2010, fellow enthusiast Jeff Johnson attempted a recreation of the journey.  When, at the end of his journey across continents, he had to stop and turn around with only 200 feet between him and the summit due to the unsafe condition of the rock face, some might think that he failed.  However, a quote from Tompkins might more aptly describe his predicament and subsequent decision.  Tompkins is quoted as saying, "People say you can't go back, but what happens if you get to the cliff and you take one step forward.  Or you [can] turn 180 degrees and take one step forward.  ...Which is progress?"

Claire and I have decided to take a step forward while at the same time turning 180 degrees.  The semester before I became involved with the Certificate program in Napa, and now, throughout this program, I've had the thought, "Man, there need to be more pediatricians and psychiatrists that are developmentally informed on kids."  Strange thought, I know.  Welcome to the inner workings of my brain.  Many of these times, I also thought how neat it would be to be one of these informed people myself.  The thought never traveled far, however, due to the fact that I'd already completed 3 1/2 years of a Psychology Baccalaureate degree, which includes few, if any, of the prerequisites for medical school.  Due to this fact, I never really considered either of these possibilities seriously.  I've thought, though, that these are really the people on the front lines of child health, both physical and mental.  I mean, nobody, when they're having problems with their child, takes them directly to an Occupational Therapist for sensory processing issues, or a developmental therapist to work on their relationship with the child.  They set an appointment with Doc, or, if things are serious enough and behaviorally based, a psychiatrist.

When I heard the quote mentioned above, I seriously reconsidered my career decisions via the degree options open to me.  I hadn't seriously considered anything medical, because I didn't want to go back and start over on a 4-year degree.  I realized that, yes, I had gotten my BS degree (no jokes, please) in 4 years, but what did that matter, if, as a result of holding myself to that, I couldn't do all that I wanted to in terms of helping children and families?  That's the position I found myself in.

So, as it stands now, here's the plan:  provided that I get accepted for the Fall, Claire, Louise and I will be heading to Chicago for a two year Master's program in Child Development.  Immediately after that, I'll need to jump back into undergrad classes, taking the chemistry, physics, and biology classes that I never took in college.  As soon as I finish those prerequisites, we'll be applying to med school, goodness-only-knows where.  For my residency, I'm looking into something referred to as "Triple-Boarding".  It's a residency that takes place at only a few locations around the US, taking place over the course of five years, that culminates in the resident being qualified to sit for the board exams in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry, all three.  This prospect fills me with so much excitement and enthusiasm, I think I scare people with it.  The idea of being trained and qualified to take into consideration the physical, mental, and relational state of children in prescribing treatment is absolutely astounding.

So, although this tacks about 10 years onto the totality of my schooling and training, I'm totally looking forward to it.  Claire, like the incredible, supportive, indulgent, and loving woman that she is, is in it for the long haul with me.

That being said, here's to being able to turn 180 degrees and take a step forward.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our life as of late

     Life is pretty busy as parents.  Who knew.  ;)  But it's a wonderful busy.
     I figured it was time for an update on Justin and I's (mine and Justin's?) lives.
     We're currently (and for the past several months) playing the waiting game concerning our future.  It's been maddening to not be able to make any plans.  That will all blessedly come to an end in the next 6 days, one way or another.  We'll find out if Justin has been accepted to the Erikson Institute of Child Development in Chicago or not.  If so, we'll most likely be moving to Chicago in the next 6 weeks.  If not, we'll likely be moving to Napa, California.  The reason for the 'most likely' is because we have yet to decide if we'll go this year, or defer it for a year in order for Justin to finish up the Napa Fellowship.  In the next 9 months he has 2 major projects that he has to complete for the Fellowship.  He has 200 practicum hours and 200 hours of an applied project.  If he goes to Erikson this fall, he'd have an incredibly rigorous (in the words of one of the professor) work load on top of the Fellowship.  Although Justin has been known to take on seemingly insurmountable tasks, even he admitted that...that's kind of a lot.  If he does that I'm gonna have to dust off the ole friend-making skills, because I don't think he'll surface from his books much.
     Regardless of where we end up, I'm so excited to move.  My parents have been so generous and selfless to let us stay with them for the past year, and we are infinitely grateful, but we are so ready to have our own space.  I'm so excited to be able to use our own dishes and appliances again, decorate, have a messy house without feeling guilty, have Louise in her own room, get all of our stuff out of their house so we're not feeling guilty about taking up an entire room with boxes, not be afraid of waking anyone up if the baby cries at night, not feel guilty every time Louise spits up somewhere, put Louise down for naps without worrying about something waking her up, not feel guilty about taking over their house with our stuff, the list goes on (anyone that knows me knows I have an overactive guilt hormone releaser ;) ).  As nice as it will be, I will miss living here immensely.  I love having someone to talk to all the time or seek advice from, or someone to watch Louise while I run to the store.  I love being so close to our families, and I regret that Louise and any future children we will have will grow up without being close to their cousins.  At least for a while; we've both agreed that we want to come back here as soon as we can.  We could be there as long as 8 or 9 years.
     The thing I'm the most sad about is that my grandparents, who have lived next door or down the street my whole live, will very likely pass away while we're gone.  My grandpa is 92 and finally slowing down and grandma is 87.  I think they take partial credit for raising us since we live so close and my brother and I spent half of our childhood at their house anyway.  I've been taking Louise over there almost every day for the past several months and it has been such a joy watching them get to know her and vice versa.  She gets the silliest grin on her face the minute she sees either of them, I love it.  I'm sure she won't remember the visits, but I've been taking lots of pictures of them so she'll at least have those.
     The other day I reconnected with a college roommate whom I haven't spoken to in over 2 years (doesn't seem like a very long time, but it is).  We both got married and moved out and didn't really communicate, but we were very close previous to that, so when we got together on Monday and again on Wednesday it was like we had never been apart.  Justin and her husband had no trouble becoming fast friends, either.  Justin and I haven't really spent time with friends for the last year or so since most of our friends either weren't married or weren't parents (that is quickly changing. :) ), and we've both been thinking lately that we need to.  It was so refreshing to talk to a couple with so many of the same ideas.  We'll be the first to admit that our parenting is a bit...unorthodox, and we were overjoyed to find that their parenting style is the same!  Their little boy just turned a year, and Heather has another baby due in August.  Louise and Paul had a wonderful time together, as well.  They were so cute to watch; Paul would take her binky, look at it, and put it back in, and she would just watch him.  She's at the creeping stage before actual crawling and he's just about to walk, so she was a little frustrated that she couldn't keep up with him, but I think it'll just give her motivation to 'get a move on.' :)  We had dinner and talked until far too late, but both Justin and I felt so...refreshed is the only word I can think of...when we left.  It was an excellent reminder for us of the need for friendship.  No being hermits.  Especially when we move.

     Well, that's all I can think of that's been going on.  Oh, the motorcycle doesn't work.  We've given up on it.  Anyone want to buy a fixer-uper?  We'll only sell it to you if there's no chance that we'll ever see you again.  I'll do Louise's 8 month post soon, with pictures.  Good night, all.                           

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

7 Months

Louise has 3 bottom teeth!  This is such a fun stage and we're loving every minute of it.  We lost our camera for several weeks, so there's not many pictures.
Louise is:
-getting so close to crawling!
-saying bob bob bob bob, which I'm sure means mom mom mom mom... ;)
-loving solid food.  I don't even know how much we go through...12 jars of baby food a day?  Something like that.  I have to make an entire batch of apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, peaches, apricots, and whatever else I can get my hands on at least twice per week.  She downs it!
-still in the 6th percentile for weight and 15th for height.  That's ok.  She's happy and healthy, just petite. :)
-loving going to Babylon Mills to go swimming with Mom and Dad.  We've never heard her laugh so hard as when Justin goes under water and comes back up in front of her.  Cutest thing ever.
-getting pretty clingy to Mom, but when it comes to play, nobody can compete with Daddy.
-very excited about going for walks.
-trying harder every day to talk with us.  When we're talking to her she stares intently and "talks" to us in sweet little exclamations of joy.
-a very serious eater.  Do not get between her and her food.  Do not talk to her while she's eating.  Do not hesitate with the spoon while she's eating.  Do not try to distract her, unless you're Daddy dancing around the kitchen, in which case you're exempt from this rule.  It's so funny, coming from such a tiny person.
-Mommy and Daddy's pride and joy.

We love her so much it hurts!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sleep at last!

Justin and I decided to make our own baby food, so we got a Baby Bullet, and we LOVE it.  We gave Louise sweet potatoes a couple of weeks ago and she thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was a little worried that she would refuse rice cereal after realizing that there are more flavors out there, but she still ate it.  Then when we got home from Napa on Monday we gave her apples!  She was SO excited.  She ate 2 whole jars and started on a third.  We decided to keep feeding her until she refused so that she would experience the sensation of being full (or stuffed, in this case) and learn to know when to stop.  The first time I think she was afraid she'd never get apples again, so she ate, and ate, and ate.  When we finally stopped we could tell she was in discomfort, because she would cry, but still open her mouth and reach for the spoon.  Poor dear. :)  Now she's getting better at communicating when she's done.  She gets so excited when we put her into the high chair because she knows what's coming.  I just love her so much!

I made up a schedule for us to help with naps and feeding times (because I'm a little OCD and love schedules and lists).  I combined The Sleep Lady's ideal 6  to 8 month-old sleep schedule and T. Berry Brazelton's ideal 6 to 8 month-old feeding schedule into one, along with a list of foods to introduce at this age.  I've been trying to follow it since we got home from Napa and Louise has been doing so well!  She's been taking longer naps, sleeping 12 hours at night (from 7 pm to 8 am) with only one awakening at 4:30 to eat, and is just so, so happy!  I'm so, so happy, as well! ;)  One of my favorite things is to go get her after her naps.  She is absolutely overjoyed to see us.  It's adorable.

Louise had her 6 month check-up yesterday, and is doing well.  She's super tiny, though.  She's in the 6% for weight, and 15% for height.  But Danny wasn't concerned, so we're not either.  Like Justin says, she's happy, healthy, and energetic and doesn't look skinny.  She's just very petite.  She got her mom's height and dad's build.  Lucky girl!

It seems that everyone is pregnant or having babies these days!  I'm so excited for them all.  I just love babies and being a parent is the very best job ever.  It's what humans were made for, it's the greatest joy known to man (and woman).  I just wish that everyone could be learning what I'm learning from Justin through his classes and the fellowship!  It's just so exciting!  There are so many amazing things about infants and children being discovered (moms have known most of it for centuries, the men and scientists are slowly coming around to it ;)  ).  You all should read Justin's daddy blog, Diary of a Domestic Superman, and I'll get him to post more after school ends next week.  He's certified to do NBO's (newborn behavioral observation) now, so if you have, or are having, a new baby and want to learn about their little personality and preferences, he'd love to assist you.  They're incredible.  He has to do a certain number by September, I think, so you'll be helping him out as well.

Life is amazing.  :)    

Friday, April 13, 2012

Almost 6 Months

The last week has been really rough.  Louise has always slept like a champ, but last Saturday she suddenly decided she wanted nothing to do with it.  We used to just put her in her crib at 7 when she was awake and she'd adjust and be asleep in a matter of minutes.  Her naps were the same way.  Saturday night she just screamed and screamed.  I was afraid it was her teeth, so I put Orajel on her gums and it didn't do anything.  I fed her, changed her, wrapped her in a blanket, unwrapped her, I tried EVERYTHING.  She finally fell asleep at 10, then was awake and crying from 2 to 4.  Sunday, Easter, her naps were the same.  The longest she slept was 25 minutes.  Normally, she gets around 16 hours of sleep per day and from Saturday to Monday she got 10 or 11.  I felt SO bad for her!  She was exhausted and grumpy.  On Monday Justin and I decided that it wasn't her teeth or anything, so it was time so do something about it.  I had heard about The Sleep Lady from Rachel's blog and bought the book in preparation for this day, so we started The Shuffle on Monday night.  Monday was pretty rough on all three of us.  Justin and I had NEVER let her cry like that.  It was so hard to sit right by her and not pick her up while she was crying.  The first night was 45 minutes, the second was 30, the third 15, and last night and tonight there was NO crying.  We're so proud of Louise.  She is such a champ.  You can tell she's relieved to be able to put herself to sleep, too.  And she wakes up so happy.  She still wakes up in the night, where she didn't before, but we're working on that, and getting better everyday.  I'm so thankful for The Sleep Lady.  I also made her a little mobile to hang over her crib to help her get to sleep.  She has always slept on her stomach, but now she rolls over (another reason for her sleep troubles last week) and wakes up.  The mobile has helped a ton.

We started her on rice cereal a couple of weeks ago (which also could have added to her troubles).  She quite likes it.  From the very first time we gave it to her she has been so good at swallowing.  We should have known she was ready because she's been reaching and trying to eat everything.  And whenever I hold her and drink from my canteen she needs to try it, too.  :)

 Louise is getting so close to both sitting up and crawling (another sleep interruption).  She can sit up on her own for almost a minute before falling over. 

 She kind of has the same expression in every picture, doesn't she?  This is a very typical look for her.

 Louise and Grandpa at Babylon Mills.
 Louise was very excited about seeing her cousin Stockton.

She is such a happy girl and we are cherishing every minute with her.  We love her SO stinkin much.    

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our little growler

Louise is 5 1/2 months.  This month has brought a few new challenges.  At 4 months I could see that she was starting to put herself on a bit of a schedule, whereas before it had always been really scattered and all over, so I decided to take it and run with it.  Bad idea.  As soon as I started putting her down for her naps at a regular time each day she stopped sleeping through the night (I figure it wasn't really putting her on a schedule that threw her off, it just happened to coincide with another development, for instance, she started teething).  After about a week of this I tried stopping putting her down at a regular time, but she still didn't sleep through the night.  We're getting better at it, though.  She goes down for 3 naps around the same time each day, most of them an hour and a half or longer (before she'd only take a couple of little 20 minute naps at random times).  I put her down for the night at 7 and she wakes up around midnight to eat, then USUALLY sleeps until 7 am.  Sometimes she wakes up a few times during the night, but I've been using the Sleep Lady method to get her back to sleep, which USUALLY works well (thanks, Rachel).  I also used to struggle with finding a routine since I don't bathe her at night, but we've got our own now.  I put her in pajamas, maybe do a little infant massage, feed her, read On the Night You Were Born (such a sweet book, thanks Margaret!), sing You Are My Sunshine and rock (Justin gave me a glider for my birthday), then put her in her crib while humming.  We also have a bedtime classical playlist playing during this to relax her.

Louise is making all sorts of developments.  She rolls over all the time now (another thing making bedtime more difficult), reaches and leans toward everything, and is really experimenting with her voice.  Last month she was squealing and screeching up a storm, but this month she's all about the growl.  It's so fun.  Tonight I was over at my grandma's around bedtime, and Louise let me know in her own little way that she was ready for bed.  She would rub her eyes, grab my face with both hands and growl, then yawn.  It was pretty adorable.  When she is on her stomach she can...push (?) herself around pretty well.  It's nowhere near a crawl, but she somehow manages to be in one spot, then another when we look away and back.  Her spitting up has lessened considerably.  We're down to one outfit per day, although it gets pretty soggy at times.  She loves giving kisses, and we love it, too!  She grabs either side of your face or your hair and ear, and rubs her open mouth around on your face.  Whenever I'm holding her she has a firm grip on the back of my hair - it's her little handle.

 My MIL Margaret made her this precious outfit.  

 Kevin Nugent, author of Your Baby Is Speaking To You.

 T. Berry Brazelton, author of Touchpoints.

 She got her toys on her arm all by herself.

 "Parents everywhere are going to freak." -- Justin

Cousin Scott, 7 months older

We have so thoroughly enjoyed every stage, but this one is very exciting.  She's always learning something new.  We are loving parenthood!

I guess I should give a quick update on how Justin and I are'm sure something is going on...  ;)  Justin's motorcycle is finally maybe going to work!  He's been doing a ton of work on it, taking it apart, making a mess and getting all dirty, then putting it back together again (it may have been a bit more technical than that...), and he finally finished and took it to the motorcycle guy to give it a physical before Justin jumps on to see if it works.  We're so excited.  Justin, because he gets his motorcycle back and actually working, me, because I've never gotten to ride on it.  Every time Justin was going to give me a ride it would break.
Justin is somehow managing to juggle work, school, church, and family, while spending most of his time with us and still excelling in the other aspects.  He's just amazing like that.  I'm so grateful for him and how wonderful and helpful he is.  Louise is getting the best daddy ever (next to mine, of course).  We found out he did not get accepted to the U of U (stupid heads).  So now we wait to hear from the University of Washington, then plan the rest of our lives from there. :)
Justin commented recently on how every mormon woman has a mommy blog, so he decided to start a daddy blog to have an output for all of the valuable parenting information he is learning in the Napa program.  Check it out to read about a special moment we had as parents.
I've become creative!  Ok, not really.  I've just discovered iScrapbook and it's made making cards and stuff really easy.  I recently threw a bridal shower for my friend Whitney, and thoroughly loved it, although it was a lot of work.  I somehow always choose the hard way to do things.

Our last Napa trip deserves a post all on its own.  I'm too tired tonight to post any more, goodnight. :)