Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 27: Sniffles and Snow

Week 27: 02/17/13 - 02/23/13

This past week was probably the best I've had since you were born.
Well, besides your first week in the world.
That was a good one too.

And even though you and Dad were sick,
last week still ranks up there.

It started off rough.

I was so excited to have Monday off as a conference credit day.
Because anytime I have a day off work, I have really high expectations.
I make big plans to spend every single second playing with and loving on my Bean.

But your case of the sniffles/coughs/stuffy nose had other plans.
So Mom improvised.
I spent the day trying to soothe a pretty fussy baby.

And then I went to work Tuesday.
And sad I had to be at work while my baby and husband were home sick.
I kept thinking about how I should be home making chicken noodle soup and being a little stay-at-home-nurse.
Giving you and Dad lots of extra snuggles to rid the sick away.

But this mama has absolutely no days to take off.
Even to take care of her sick babe(s).

Needless to say,
I was in a pretty foul mood.
Chewing on that pungent taste of bitterness.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening.
Mama got herself the first snow day in her teaching career.
(Besides student teaching when we used all 10 snow days.)

And I've spent every second with you and your flushed little cheeks since.
Because we are currently on snow day number 4 at the moment.
*And sniffle day number 7.*

An added bonus?
Being sick has left you begging me for extra cuddles.
You've even fallen asleep in my arms just about every day.
Little piece of heaven.
Right in my arms.
Haven't felt such mama-joy since you were a newborn.

In a nutshell.
It's been a pretty amazing week.
An unexpected snow break.
With spring break just around the corner.

And I've even been spending *a small fraction* of it gaining some fresh teaching ideas.
Hoping to revive my teaching spirit.

But I've mostly been spending my time off catching up on housework.
And marveling in your sweetness.
And laughing at just about everything you do.

This week will go down in history.
As the best unexpected surprise stay-cation.

If we can only get those sniffles to shoo.

...but not the extra cuddles.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Hero: The Blizzard of Oz

Anticipating snow days as an adult is about 5 times more exciting as it is for a kid.
Especially when you're a teacher.

Last Wednesday is when it all went down.
I think I refreshed my weather channel app at least 467 times in the span of 10 minutes.
Trying not to hope too hard for a snow day.
For fear I would jinx it.

And when my phone rang, I knew.
It was the call.
That let me know, NO SCHOOL THURSDAY.
I squealed with delight.

And then Thursday night, I got another call.
I was sitting on the floor with Lyla.
I realized I missed a call.
When I checked my message,
I cried.
But I couldn't believe I would get another day with my babe.

And now.
Here we are.
Snow day number 3.
With a possible snow day number 4 tomorrow.

While many are complaining on Facebook of cabin fever and being cooped up with their kids, I am rejoicing.

Thank you, Blizzard of Oz.
Blizzard Number Two.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why you are my hero.

We made history. With over 14 inches of snow, the first storm went down in history as the second worst blizzard Kansas has seen since snowstorms started being recorded in 1888. Wow. And it was dubbed as the Blizzard of Oz for obvious reasons. We experienced our first ever "thundersnow", where it pours snow instead of rain. And now we're currently looking at blizzard number two. History repeating itself, we shall see.

I got to pee more than twice a day. Oh my goodness. This is a biggie. You see, I drink a lot fluid in a day. A lot. So, it gets a little tricky when I get two breaks in the day to pee. (Try that when you're pregnant. Sheesh). So, it's been quite the luxury to pee when I have the urge. No holding it til' I feel I might explode.

I have not been a Mom-Bot. I've been able to break free of my role as Mom-Bot. Since I've gone back to work, I've unfortunately been on autopilot. Doing what I have to do to survive. To get it all done. Because there aren't nearly enough hours in the day. Or weeks, for that matter. So. I walk around like a Mom-Bot. Not this week. I've been fun. Spontaneous even. And I actually had the time to enjoy my life! Including but not limited to: taking care of a sick husband and babe, drink coffee everyday, read, catch up on blogs, drink real hot cocoa.

You can call me a homemaker. On a normal week, forget a home cooked meal on the table. And cleaning? Just ask the 6 month collection of dust on top of our refrigerator or the 8 mounds of laundry still needing to be put away. But thanks to the Blizzard of Oz, I've been a cleaning machine. I have sanitized and even bleached the majority of this house. And guess what? I wasn't even mad about it. You can usually find me griping and *sometimes cursing under my breath* while I'm dusting and vacuuming. Who wants to do those things when you have a Chunkin you rarely see? But thanks to the blizzard, I happily cleaned. And *gasp* cooked AND baked.

Got myself a good night's sleep. This one's a doozie. I normally have my sleep issues. And typically wake up an hour to two hours before my alarm goes off. And I just lie there. Stressing over things I forgot to do the day before. But not with this blizzard. I've slept like a baby. And I have the kinks in my neck to prove it.

Try out my dream job. This reason alone makes me want to all out open-mouth-kiss the blizzard. I have thoroughly enjoyed and done a fine good job if-I-do-say-so-myself of playing the part of stay-at-home-mom. I mean, I was made for this stuff. In all seriousness, I don't think I've ever had a better week in my life. I have savored every single sweet moment with my babe. (Babe #1 AND Babe #2).

I think I've found my calling.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Real 6 Month Post

6 Months Old: 02/19/13

Someone's pretty thrilled about her outfit.

Since I've had an unexpected few days off because of the Thundersnow, I figured I should probably drum up an actual 6 month post. 

Because six months is a big one. 
And I want to remember all the things you've accomplished.

You were scheduled for your 6 month appointment last Thursday. 
But everywhere in Wichita shut down due to the snow.
So, I don't know your height and weight. 

Mom Fail.

But here are some other funsies from the past month.

Milestones. You may not be a roller, but you sure are a sitter. You told me you pretty much want to be a professional sitter when you grow up. You're that good. And you love to show off your standing skills (with Mom and Dad's help, of course). Still not sure how you hold yourself up with those chunky monkey thunder thighs...
Oh. And you are mighty awesome at reaching for things and picking them up. In fact, this is what first motivated you to sit so well. You especially like to reach out and pull Samson's fur. You think it's quite hilarious. He does not.

Firsts. We had some major firsts this month. You caught your first cold. This has been the worst sick season our family has ever experienced. Mom has been sick 4 times, and Dad's been sick twice. It's a miracle you've only been sick once. Mama's antibodies must be working overtime!

We gave you your first solids. Who knew food could be so fun? I seriously find such joy in making your baby food and watching you try new things. So far, you've loved everything we've given you. Your current palette includes: oatmeal, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and peas. I think squash has been your favorite, but you truly love it all. I'm really happy we decided to wait until 5 1/2 months to start solids. You were completely ready. And you've lived up to your nickname.

You sprouted your first tooth! It took Mommy by surprise as she just so happened to feel something sharp in your little mouth. You haven't stopped playing with it ever since. Oh. And don't think I forgot to mention your little biting incident. I was nursing you before bed one night. And you all-of-a-sudden chomped down. Hard. I squealed in pain. You detached, looked up at me, and I sternly said, "No Lyla. Don't bite Mommy."
And you started cracking up.
I kid you not.
I was befuddled.
You started nursing again.
And you BIT again.
I swear this time was on purpose.
I said "NO".
And you laughed again.

I looked it up on Baby Center, and apparently babies can have one of two reactions when they bite and Mom yells. 1). They get so scared, they go on a nursing strike. 2). They think it's hilarious and do it again to get the same reaction.

You little stinker.

So. I finally got smart and if you bit, I immediately stopped nursing.

You haven't bitten since.

Big Moments. We had some big moments this month. You finally got over your tummy issues. No reflux medicine for over a month now, and you are a different baby. You don't seem uncomfortable anymore, you spit up significantly less, and you rarely fuss. Because of this, you've also gotten so much better about being our little Baby-On-The-Go. You love being out and about. You've even gotten good about napping in places other than your bed - the car, noisy restaurants, friends' houses...and your favorite is Target. You experienced your first Valentine's Day (which was pretty anti-climatic, thanks to the whole fam being sick) and your first snow. Oh. And you found out you can yell.

Clothes.  You are still rocking all your 3-6 month clothes. Well, onesies, shirts, and jammies. Your pants are anywhere from 6-9 months. You've got some thighs. Sorry about those genetics. But, you're mostly in 6 month outfits. I'm sure that won't last too much longer...

Eating. You're consistently taking two 4.5 ounce bottles at GiGi's. And I'm nursing you in the morning when you wake up, once after school, and right before bed. And you typically have one solid "meal" per day.

Sleep. You are such a good little sleeper. 12-13 hours every single night. When you got sick, you had two nights where you woke up quite upset and needed rocked back to sleep. Haven't done that since you were a newborn. But, you got right back on the sleep train. However, your naps have been a little iffy. We're still dealing with some congestion, and it's making you a not-so-happy-little-camper.

Your songs.  This is Daddy's department. I tear up every time I catch him singing and/or playing your songs. You have a daddy-daughter song that he's played for you since you were born: "You and I, We're the Same" by the Avett Brothers. You.light.up. every time you hear it. And Dad coined a song for you that's all yours: "This Girl is Fire" by Alicia Keys. I tear up every time I hear it. Because you ARE on fire, and there are no limits to what you can do.

Loves. When Mom sings to you. You particularly love "Mmm-Bop" right now. Yep. Mom pulled out some Hanson in a moment of desperation. You are also pretty obsessed with your Dad. Especially when he plays with you - like when he tilts you back and brings you back up. You enter a pure state of joy.
Some other loves: peek-a-boo, when mom chomps your limbs, the dogs, TV, when Mom and Dad clap and praise you, food,  your thumb.

Dislikes. We went through a little Stranger-Danger phase. You would start tearing up and pouting out your lip every time someone you didn't know got close. Especially if they tried to hold you. It was incredibly sad. Especially when you wouldn't even let Grams and Gramps hold you. After about 10 minutes, you would get comfortable...as long as you could still see Mom or Dad.
But, I think we're past it now.

Personality. You are definitely your father's daughter. Overall, a very laid back baby. Doesn't take a whole lot to keep you entertained. In fact, we can plop you down, and you quietly and happily play with one toy for an hour...or two. You're incredibly gentle, sweet, and even thoughtful. Like when you reach out for things, you think about it for a second and slowly touch or grab - like my face. Adorable. You're also fairly quiet and even shy.
Pretty perfect in every way if you ask me.

Favorite Playthings. Still love Sophie the Giraffe,  your bouncy ball, anything that makes noise, and your latest obsession is anything cloth.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Mommy Files: The Sleep Post

I may not be an expert at parenting.
Heck, I'm new at this.

But I would consider myself a sleep expert.

I have had sleep issues since I was a child.
And I have blogged about these sleep issues countless times.
Herehere and here, for example.

I can remember being in first grade.
Tossing and turning all night.
Trying different sleep positions.
Covering up any sliver of light peeking through with blankets.
Moving to the couch.

These problems only worsened as I got older.

I have read just about every article and book on sleep.
And I'm convinced these issues started as a baby.

My mom has always said that I refused to sleep as a baby.
And lucky for her, I was an all-the-time happy baby.
Even without much sleep.

Just about every baby refuses to sleep at times.
They just need a little encouragement.
And I believe, like everything else, they need to be taught how to sleep.

When I became pregnant, I knew right away what my number one priority would be:

Instilling healthy sleep habits.

I began talking to numerous mommy friends.
And pin-pointed those whom had babes who consistently slept through the night.
And I began to notice a recurring theme.
Over and over again.

The book, On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo.
Moms swore by this book.

Of course I had to see what the big deal was.
So Gabe and I read this together when I was pregnant.
And my plan was to follow it religiously.

Then Lyla was born.

And reality slapped me in the face.
I realized that you can't just follow some book.

You can use it as a guide.
But not as the holy word.

Because all babies have very different needs.
And you have to relinquish all control with a newborn.
And learn to be flexible.

After a few weeks of motherhood,
And after picking up another highly recommended read (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby by Marc Weissbluth),
I made a plan.
I soaked in all the knowledge from my sleep books.
And combined it with with some good old fashioned mommy intuition (a.k.a. common sense).

After a somewhat torturous road, we finally reached what every parent desperately wants.
Sleeping through the night.
We're talking 12-13 hours every single night for over 3 months now.

There is no silver bullet.
And no plan is foolproof.
But here is a breakdown of how we successfully got where we are.

My Sleep Goals. Ultimately, what did we want?

Sleeping through the night. The holy grail of parenting. You hear this term over and over. And it means different things to different people. To me, it meant sleeping the entire night, without waking, from the moment we put baby down until wake up time in the morning. I didn't realize how badly I wanted needed this. Until I went back to work. Not only does mama need a good night's sleep, but baby needs it more. Sleeping through the night = The mecca of sleep.

An Independent Sleeper. I wanted a baby who wasn't dependent on anything to fall asleep. This meant I didn't want baby to have to rely on swinging, rocking, riding in a car, or nursing to fall asleep. Don't get me wrong. We did all of those things. Especially when Lyla was a newborn. And especially when she needed extra comforting when she had tummy flare-ups. But we made sure to switch it up. And we never relied on any one thing as a "sleep aid". We made sure to always try to put her down while sleepy, not asleep.

A Schedule. I am the epitome of a planner. I practically break out in hives when life deviates from "the plan". But, as mentioned earlier, a newborn turned this control freak's world upside down.
However, babies (and children, in general) thrive on and need routine. So, it was very important for us to try to incorporate something that at least resembled a schedule and routine.

Tricks of the Trade
I guess you could say that the following were the guidelines we lived by throughout the sleep training process. Things got really tough for awhile, but we stuck it out. The key was to NOT GIVE UP.

What We Learned from Becoming BabyWise by Gary Ezzo.
*I will say there is major controversy over the BabyWise method. Although we used it as a guide, it was by no means the end-all, be-all. Common sense trumps anything you read!

Feed/Wake/Sleep Pattern. This is the one thing we followed pretty religiously from the moment we brought baby girl home. Every time she woke up, it looked exactly the same: change diaper (to fully wake up), nurse, awake time, and then down to sleep again.
The idea here is to get into a routine early-on so baby can learn to know what to expect. *This is where the controversial part comes in.* This pattern encourages parent-directed feeding (as opposed to on-demand). This gets them in the habit of nursing for a full feeding, not just snacking throughout the day. Then they have a full belly after each feeding, which will make them less likely to wake because they're starvin marvin.
Now don't get me wrong. I fed on-demand at times. Especially when she was extra needy, or if I just thought she needed it (common sense alert). And we totally deviated from the routine at times. But the key was to always get back on track.

Crying It Out. Insert more controversy. To be honest, this is the one that I had (and still have) trouble with. Crying it out is not for the faint of heart. And, well, I guess my heart is faint.
This is the idea that once the baby begins to take in more with each feeding, they are able to sleep longer periods of time. And baby should sleep when mom or dad says it's time to sleep. In other words, let them cry it out if they can't fall asleep or if they wake early (be it from nighttime sleep or a nap). After doing this multiple times, baby is supposed to learn to self-sooth.
For me, I think the longest I ever let her cry was 15 minutes. And that was only after I nursed, changed, rocked, and knew she wasn't in pain of any kind. We would let her cry for 1 minute. Go in, pat her, give a kiss, and tell her we loved her. Then, 5 minutes. Then 10. Then 15. After 15 minutes, we would rock her. And she would fall asleep right away after that.
*Side note. Once we knew she was having tummy troubles, we stopped letting her cry it out.

Routine. At around 6 weeks old, I became a routine nazi. Specifically with bedtime and wake time. I put her in bed *around* the same time every night (which at the time was between 9 and 10) and woke her up every morning around 7. We still followed the feed/wake/sleep pattern, and we were on a three hour schedule by that point. She started sleeping a little bit longer once we established bed and morning time, but still only about 6 hours at a time. **See very end of this post for sample schedules**.

Put Baby Down When Sleepy, Not Asleep. This goes back to the whole not depending on a sleep aid thing. When we did soothe Lyla to go to sleep, whether it be by rocking or a swing, we tried to put her down when she was drowsy, not already sound asleep. According to both books, if you consistently pull out all your tricks to get a baby to sleep, and then put them down, they will eventually become dependent. Then, if they wake up in the night, it is much more difficult for them to fall back asleep on their own. So although we used all the comfort tricks (and still use rocking when she's sick or needs comfort), she's not dependent on those things.

What We Learned from Healthy Sleep Habits by Marc Weissbluth.
*The moment we started implementing the following is the exact moment Ly began sleeping through the night. She hasn't woken since.

Two Hour Window of Wakefulness. Wow. This changed our world. Dr. Weissbluth says that babies really should't be awake for longer than 2 hours at a time. Thus, the two-hour window of wakefulness. Anything beyond these two hours creates an overtired baby - one who is wired, overstimulated, and ultimately has trouble sleeping. Just like adults, when a baby is overtired, they can't fall and/or stay asleep. You ever notice when you are extra tired and you get a sudden burst of energy and can't fall asleep? Babes are the same way.
So. We started putting Ly down pretty much at the two hour mark. Even if she wasn't giving any tired signals. She fought it at first. And we had to do some crying it out. But after a couple of weeks, she was practically begging us for naps.

Early Bedtime. **If you don't read anything in this post, at least read this**. This is the theory that I battled with most.  I had multiple friends who kept telling me to just try it. But I kept refusing. I even stopped reading the book because I didn't want to admit it.
Healthy Sleep Habits encourages an early bedtime over everything else. We're talking 6:00-6:30 p.m. I know. It seemed like an oxymoron to me too. I thought that surely if I kept her up later, she would sleep later. Plus the thought of putting my babe to bed that early was unbearable. I already only had 2 hours with her in the evenings when I got home from work.
But I finally reached my wit's end. Ly was so close. Sleeping from 7:30 p.m. - 4:00 a.m. We just couldn't get over that hump. And I came to terms with the fact that her sleep needs come first.
So I tried it.
We started putting her down 20 minutes earlier at night. And then the next night, 20 minutes earlier than the night before. And so on.
Until we got to the point where bedtime routine started at 6:00 p.m., and she was sound asleep by 6:30 p.m.
After a few nights of resistance, she finally started sleeping through the night. We're talking, asleep by 6:30 p.m. and doesn't make one single peep until I go in and wake her at 6:30 a.m.

And we're going on over 3 months of this.

Bottom line. Sleep begets sleep. The more they sleep at night = equals the better naps they'll take = the more they sleep at night.

Most Important Things I Learned. 

Early bedtime. See above.

Don't rush in at first whimper. This one is super important. If they weren't fully awake before, they're fully awake the moment you barge in there. Much like adults, babies have various cycles of sleep. Sometimes they stir and make noise...even if they're not fully awake. If she ever does start to make noise, we do not go in her room (unless she's really crying hard). And she eventually just puts herself back to sleep.

Schedule. Now that Ly is 6 months old, we are on a pretty solid schedule. But again, this (somewhat) started from day one. She knows what to expect. We know what to expect. Everybody wins.

*So what are the results of all this?

A Sleeping Baby. I mean, sure. Sometimes we get sad that we can't bring her out at 8:00 p.m. because girlfriend needs her sleep. But, the tradeoff of sleeping through the night completely trumps those sad feelings. She sleeps 12-13 hours every single night and takes 2 solid naps every day.

Back on Track. If we do get off schedule, or if we do have a bad night, it's so much easier to get back on track. And honestly, we had our first bad couple of nights for the first time in three months because Ly has been sick. But it only took 2 nights, and then she was back to sleeping through the night again.

Falls Asleep and Stays Asleep. As long as there is a bed, we can take Lyla anywhere, anytime. We take her to friends' all the time and put her to sleep. When it's time to go home, we put her in the carseat, get home, put her in her crib, and she sleeps until morning. And she's getting much better about napping if we're out and about!

Puts Herself to Sleep. She does not depend on anything but herself to fall asleep. Even if she wakes up early from a nap or in the middle of the night, she babbles for a bit and then puts herself back to sleep. Although I get a little teary about this at times (because sometimes I desperately want to rock her), she is our little independent sleeper. And that was a goal...remember?

Predictability. Everyone knows what to expect. Some would say that we aren't so flexible because we stay home during nap time or bed time, but it actually makes life easier. We know what and when to expect it!

Happy Baby. Lyla is happy. I mean, incredibly happy. Except when she's ready for a nap. Girlfriend let's you know it. She practically begs us to sleep when she needs it. And we give it to her. And then she wakes up happy again. And then mom and dad are happy. Win-Win.

The key is doing what works best for YOUR baby. What worked for us now may not work with another baby. But we have at least introduced healthy sleep habits. Which will hopefully carry over into toddlerhood  adulthood.

And believe me, I get a lot of ridicule for putting Lyla to bed so early and for being so protective of her sleep. And I do get sad when she can't stay up late to hang. But the tradeoff is so completely worth it. A happy, sleeping baby.
I'll take it.

**After submitting this post, I had multiple mamas e-mail me asking for examples of a daily schedule. I remember looking for the same thing when Ly was a newborn. So, I've included three example schedules that will hopefully help.

However, please remember (this note is also is to my future self when we have baby number 2), use any of this info with flexibility. I got to a point where I got obsessed with sticking to the schedule, and I do not recommend that. I began to relax a bit and realized Lyla would sleep through the night when she was ready (and with my commitment to encourage healthy sleep habits). I know that many die-hard BabyWise followers do strictly follow a three-hour schedule, and I did that for awhile. But, it just didn't work with Miss Beans all the time. I had to remind myself that she's a baby for Pete's sake. And honestly, there were times when I just felt like nursing on-demand was necessary, rather than sticking exactly to our schedule. (Sidenote: BabyWise does warn mamas to be aware of growth spurts, and how things go haywire and schedules get all-kinds-of chaotic during those times.)

I say all that to say, when I post these sample schedules, just remember,  mother instinct > guidelines in a book.

And just a few side notes. Sorry. I'm a talker.

*The first couple of weeks were spent getting to know our newborn. Although we had her sleeping in her crib the day we brought her home, we didn't follow any sort of schedule. I did however, stick to the routine of feed/wake/sleep. Every time she woke from a nap, I changed her diaper, nursed her, "played", and put her back down. And I nursed on demand at that point.

*I didn't really follow an exact schedule until about 6 weeks - this is when newborns begin to form sleep patterns on their own. Until 6 weeks, I really let her decide when she wanted to wake in the morning (and let's be honest, I was exhausted), and then our day followed a three hour schedule from there.

*When we started following a three hour schedule, there were times when Lyla refused to nap. So, I just reinforced "quiet time". This mean that even if she refused to sleep, it was still "nap time". And for awhile, I had her napping in the pack-n-play in the living room so she could be near me, or on the couch next to me, or in our bed. I wanted her to get used to napping anywhere.

Newborn Schedule (Before going back to work): 6 Weeks - 12 Weeks

7:00 a.m. - Wake, change diaper, nurse, awake time

8:30 - Nap
10:00 - Wake, change diaper, nurse, awake time
11:30 - Nap
1:00 - Wake, change diaper, nurse, awake time
2:30 - Nap
4:00 - Wake, change diaper, nurse, awake time
5:30 - Nap
7:00 - Wake, change diaper, nurse
7:30 - Play time - Found this to be the most important time to try to keep her awake. If we kept her awake, she could usually make it by only waking once (sometimes twice) to nurse in the middle of the night.
9:00 - Start bedtime routine: bath (every other night), lotion, massage, bedtime story, prayers
10:00 - Bedtime

Newborn Schedule (After going back to work): 13 Weeks - 4 1/2 months

6:30 a.m. - Wake up, change diaper/nurse.
7:00 a.m. - Put Lyla in bouncy seat while I pump with a hands-free nursing bra. (I found this pumping session was crucial as it helped keep up my milk supply).
7:30 - Sleep in carseat on the way to GiGi's and nap in carseat
9:30 - wake up/change diaper/bottle/play

11:00 - down for nap
12:30 - wakeup/change diaper/bottle/play
1:30 (ish) - down for nap
3:30 - wakeup/change diaper/bottle/play
4:30 - pick Ly up/nurse/head home
5:00 - short cat nap
5:30 - play
6:15 - start bedtime routine
7:00-8:00 ish - Bedtime

After a few weeks of being back at work, Lyla was sleeping (almost) through the night. She was waking at 4:00 a.m.  But I was desperate for that extra hour and a half of sleep...as was she. So, I referred back to my Healthy Sleep Habits book and talked to several mom friends. 

In my "research", I found that it is actually better to put baby down earlier rather than let them catnap at night (which Ly usually had a short cat nap every night around 5:00 because she couldn't stay awake until bedtime). And that's when I started putting her to bed earlier. Then, voila! She started sleeping through the night. Every.single.night.
Also, she was taking in more during her feedings and able to stay awake longer to play. So a four hour schedule just naturally evolved.

Big Girl Schedule (4 1/2 months - now) *In terms of naps, sometimes she gets a really good morning nap and a not-so-good afternoon nap or vice versa. So, this is just an example or pie-in-the-sky schedule. However, we are usually right on the money with wake-for-the-day time and bedtime. I let her sort of control that at this point. Some nights, she goes down at 6:00, while some nights it's 6:45.  

6:30 a.m. - Wake up, change diaper/nurse
8:30-9:00 ish - Nap
11:00 - Wake/bottle/play
1:00 - Nap
3:00 - Wake/bottle/play
4:30 - Nurse
5:30 - Start bedtime routine
6:00 - Nurse
6:30 - Bedtime

Then my personal schedule kicks in.
6:45 - Dinner for mom and dad
7:30 - Lesson plan and get some work done
9:00 - Hang with Gabe, blog, read...the possibilities are endless
9:30 - Mama's bedtime

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6 Months: A Birthday Post of Sorts

Six months.

As in, half a year.

Happy half-birthday to my sweet Beans.

I have to admit.
I hadn't even really thought of the significance of today.
Until this exact moment.
As I sat down to type a typical "monthly post".
And was honestly dreading it.
Because I simply don't have the energy.

I'm sleep-deprived.
And still fighting off a sinus infection.
And feeling quite mopey.
Because you and your daddy are sick.
And I wanted nothing more than to be with my sick family today.
But I had to work.

So, I rushed home.
And tried to get in a little 6 month photo session.
Because it's a BIG DAY.
And because I tried all weekend to snap some photos.
But you were too sick.
And tonight didn't go much better.

Runny nose.
Flushed cheeks.
Chapped skin.
Dog photo bombs.
Terrible lighting.

But this is reality.
And I want to remember all the moments.

Instead of a normal monthly post.
I'm going a bit off the cuff here.
And talking straight from the heart.

It is impossible to believe that just 6 short months ago, you entered the world.
Like every other Saturday morning, I woke up to go to my swim class.
Which turned into 20 hour labor.
Which resulted in the most precious gift we've ever received.

I've never felt such joy.
Happiness that brings me to tears to think about.
Overwhelming bliss that sends me to my knees with thankfulness.

I didn't know I could love someone so much.
And I didn't know I could love your dad even more than I already did.
My heart might just burst.

August 19, 2012 changed our world as we knew it.
For the better.
The best.

You've done some pretty crazy things to my heart.

There are so many things I love about you.
It's the little, ordinary moments I want to remember most.

Your little breaths.
Your cheesy grins.
How you resemble a dinosaur when you're teething.
When you reach up to study my face.
The way you gently reach out for things.
And carefully study everything.
Your random bursts of laughter.
How you stop to listen when we sing to you.
The way you sink into me to cuddle when you're sick.
Your rambunctious kicking on the changing table.
Saturday morning cuddles in mom and dad's bed.
Your newfound trick of "yelling".
The way you lean forward and put out your lips when you want more food.
How you imitate the things we do - Most recently shaking your head "no".
How you crack up when I chomp your cheeks. Or thighs. Or any body part, really.
Your high-pitched "oooh-oooh-oooh"s.
Talking and laughing in your bed when you wake from naps.
The way you light up when we praise you.
The serious bond we have. Mother-Daughter style.

I could go on.
But it's safe to say I love everything about you.

And I love being a mom.
To you.

Happy Biiiirthday, dear Chunkin. Happy Birthday to you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weeks 25 & 26: A Combo

Weeks 25 & 26 - 02/03/13 - 02/16/13

Well. Mom's having to do a combo post.

And it's not due to slacking.
Quite the opposite, really.

This past week was a doozie.
I'm fighting off a sinus infection.
I swear I've completely lost any kind of immune system I've ever had. 
Fourth time in 3 months to be sick. 
I'm about to lose my mind.

And you, my darling, are fighting a tooth.
It is so sad.
You're quite miserable.
Praying you're able to sleep tonight.
Because Lord knows we both need it.

And anytime I sit down to blog,
something else comes up.
Like lesson planning.
Or washing bottles.
I loathe how the have-to's always come before the want-to's.

But aside from an overproduction of mucus and a stubborn tooth,
the fun really has begun with our little *almost* 6 month old.

You have this new move.
It seriously puts me in stitches every time you do it.
You give us this little look.
Then you start to shake your head from side to side.
Like you're saying "no".
Then you stop. And wait.
Dad and I crack up.
So you crack up.
And then you do it over and over.

You love making us laugh.
(And we don't mind it either).

Like the other day, Dad and I took you to Old Navy.
I mean, you would have thought we took to New York City's F.A.O. Schwarz.
You had the best time.
Talking. Smiling. Laughing.
Dad picked up a ball and started bouncing it, and you seriously laughed for 10 minutes.
I mean, cracking up.
At a ball.
So of course we bought it.
And of course you haven't laughed at it since.

And you've got two new loves.
Sweet potatoes.
And Pops.
Not sure where the newfound love for Pops came in.
But he sure enjoys it.
And you sure enjoy him.

*Milestone alert*
You are officially able to sit by yourself with no assistance.
(Including GiGi's feet to support you).
Yeah, Chunkin!
It catches me off guard every time I put you down on the floor.
You just sit there.
Playing with your toys.
Like it's no big deal.
But, I'm your mom.
So, I still put a pillow off to the side...just in case you wobble over.

And it was your very first Valentine's Day last week!
I wanted to make a super cute mother-daughter craft to give to Daddy.
But my sinus infection had other plans.

You were extra forgiving though.
And told me you'd still be mine. 

We're sure having fun with you these days.
My smile lines get deeper and deeper by the day.

And I'm not even mad about it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Week 24: Personality Peeping

Week 24: 01/27/13 - 02/02/13

I love getting little glimpses into the future.
It's like getting a sneak peak of what's to come when you're older.

Your personality, of course, made its debut months ago.
But lately, I just feel like you have really come into your own.

You are officially you now.
You are Lyla-Beans.

There's one very simple word to describe you lately.


I mean everything you do.

The way you wake up from naps and quietly talk in your bed.
Your after-breakfast snuggles on my shoulder.
How you gingerly reach out for things.
The way you slowly reach up and grab faces.
How you carefully study everything around you.
Your soft little "ooohh-ooohh-ooohh's".
And of course that ear-to-ear grin that never leaves your face.

Even your little laughs.
Not hardy-har-har, like Mom's laugh.
More like sweet little giggles.

Just all-around sweet, Chunkin.
Feminine, even.

You better believe I soak up every ounce of the hour I get with you in the evenings.
And I've been waking you up 15 minutes earlier in the mornings.
Just for a little extra mother-daughter time.

These moments are so incredibly precious to me.
I sing with you.
We read together.
We play together.
And I pray for you.

And then of course there's Daddy.
Oh my how you love your Daddy.
I melt into a puddle of mush every time I see the way you look at him.

And we love celebrating your little accomplishments.
Like how well you've been sitting up.
We clap and say, "Yeah Chunkin".

Or like this past weekend.

You ate your first solids.
At five and a half months.
Mom finally thought you were ready.

And I was right.

We fed you oatmeal for the first time.
And you loved it.
At first, you weren't quite sure what to do.
Then, after one swallow, you opened your mouth for more.

I mean, Dad and I shouldn't have been surprised.
You're Chunkin for a reason.

I can't wait to make more baby food.
What an adventure.

And we also went on a little road trip with friends.
You got to hang out with Baby Henry and Baby Maddie.

We were gone the whole day.
And you did so well.
Had a blast with the other babes.
And even got a couple of good naps in.

Sidenote: *You know you're old when you rave for days how much fun you had in Hutchison, Kansas with two other mommy friends and their husbands and babies. Chili, napping babies, and conversation. I seriously felt like we went on vacation.

And then Sunday, Mom got out of her comfort zone.
Made a change of plans.
Got spontaneous, even.
I was planning to work all day.
But we got a phone call.
And last-minute decided to go on an impromptu trip to the zoo with the Lee's.
A fabulous time, yet again.

I just hope the fun never ends.
Because this.is.fun.