Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A thankfulness for IVF

Hi folks.  I know it's been a while and I haven't updated you on how our trip to Iowa went (great, just so you know).  And that was my intent with a little down time today.  However (and I may still get there), something else sparked my creative side today.

As I cleaned up after Reese had breakfast and she entertained herself for a minute (literally, a minute), I turned the TV on get ready to turn on her Bubble Guppies (favorite show on Nick Jr.) and the channel was on The Today Show.  They were showing a live transfer of eggs out of a woman during an IVF cycle.  I was nearly in tears as I watched this happen and then looked at Reese. 

Without IVF, she may have never been born. 

I guess the first "test-tube baby" was born in 1978, just a year before me.  And at that time, the success rate was 2%. TWO PERCENT SUCCESS RATE!  Holy crap.  That's so little!  We thought we were taking a gamble with a 20% success rate.  Which is now apparently up to 60% - just under 2 years later. 

I began to feel VERY grateful for that first test-tube baby. 

Very grateful for the doctors that had perfected the IVF process and still are working to perfect it. 

Very grateful for our doctor (Dr. H) and his entire staff, especially Holly (his nurse and IVF Coordinator). 

Very grateful for my OB/GYN who put me in touch with Dr. H and then lead me through my almost flawless pregnancy and birthed our baby. 

SUPER grateful for all of our family and friends and bloggites who stuck by us through the whole process and consoled my tears, jumped for joy with me, and did whatever they could to show their support, including my Belly Mama offering her belly if we needed it - which in the end we didn't.  But she offered...as did a few others. 

And IMMENSELY grateful for my husband, J, who was my rock during the entire process.  He wanted to be a Dad just as bad as I wanted to be a Mom.  And we got thru everything together. 

And what do I have to show for it all?

THIS little wonder who is now walking, saying words, "shushing", singing, and laughing.  
And my life is now more joyous than I could ever imagine.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tips to a new Mom - from somewhat of a veteran

Hi folks.  I recently wrote an email to a friend who is pregnant with things I had known before I gave birth or early in Reese's life.  These may not apply to you, but I wanted them out there for anyone to see because I wish I had known them earlier in Reese's life.

I had been writing this to her in my head for a while, and I got to the point that I needed to send it to her because I was shopping at a huge baby store one Sunday and happened upon a cute pregnant woman and her husband.  They both looked bewildered by all the choices...we were in the safety aisle - I was looking at baby gates, they were looking at baby monitors - so I stepped in and helped them figure out some things.  Actually ended up walking around the store with them for a while pointing out "do's and don'ts".  They were very grateful.  

But it brought me back to my friend and I knew I needed to pass some knowledge on to her whether she wanted it or not.  So here's what I said.  (Mind you I prefaced my email with "you don't have to listen to me, but I'm going to talk."

1.) Find a diaper bag that you really like and make it a purse/diaper bag.  I started Reese's life carrying her diaper bag, my purse and her car seat with her in it.  After meeting a friend for lunch with her 1 year old and me taking up the whole side of the booth, I realized something had to change.  So maybe when Reese was 6-8 months old, I changed my purse into a diaper bag and was much happier.  I recently bought a new diaper bag for our trip to Iowa and I already love it.  It is the Skip Hop Grand Central Diaper Bag.  A little bigger than usual, but great pockets for our trip.  http://www.amazon.com/Skip-Hop-Central-Diaper-Cinnamon/dp/B008WNV52E/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1376933406&sr=1-1&keywords=skip+and+hop+grand.  I also have a Petunia Pickle Bottom that I use regularly as a purse and love, and a Bumble Collection purse too.  I love my bags!  Sometimes you can find these for cheaper on babysteals.com.

2. I found a baby app for my phone that I have been using since day 1 and it rocks.  It's free and it is called BabyCare.  It keeps track of all feedings, diapers, naps/night sleep, medicine, etc.  It rocks!  It is so much easier than writing it down.  It also times you when you are nursing which will be important because the nurses at the hospital will ask and your pediatrician may too.  I still use it to track how much Reese eats, diapers, etc.  Helps a lot when she is sick and not eating/having wet diapers/needs meds, etc.

3. We have a Motorola video baby monitor that I adore.  Can see what is happening and not have to go into her room to check on her.  This baby has everything.  You can move the camera from your room instead of having to go into her room when she moves.  You can talk to her thru the camera without going into her room.  You can play music for her.  You can zoom in to make sure she is breathing.  You can see the temp in her room.  Plus it comes with 2 cameras so you can have 2 different rooms covered.  And you can add 2 more cameras if you so choose.  LOVE IT!

4.  You may want to look for a little swing that is easily moved from room -to-room.  We had one in our bathroom for when we were getting ready in the morning when Reese was little.  She adored it!  And it let us be there with her but hands free.  I got it at Target.  http://www.target.com/p/fisher-price-swing-n-seat-forest-fun/-/A-14297074#prodSlot=medium_1_24&term=baby+swing

 5.  Also, and I wish they had this when she was little, they now have a swing that you can just hang the car seat on when you come in from driving around.  So many times Reese would fall asleep in the car, and as soon as I set her car seat on the counter, she would wake up because she wasn't moving anymore.  It is just a frame that you hang the car seat from but will swing.  SOOOOO wish that we had had this. http://www.amazon.com/Graco-SnugGlider-Infant-Swing-Frame/dp/B000M4K4BY
6.  As far as strollers go, don't get the gargantuan stroller that comes with the car seat.  We only used ours a couple times because it was so huge.  I just found a couple months ago a stroller that would take any car seat but was a lot smaller and also would take her after she is out of the carseat.  Here's the link.  http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Years-Indigo-Stroller/dp/B004FN1D5O/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1376935399&sr=1-3&keywords=first+years+stroller.  It rides great and Reese loves that she can face us or out and be reclined after she falls asleep.  The shade is a little small, but adding a blanket or shade you can buy separate fixes that issue.
7. Breastfeeding is challenging.  And a commitment.  But SOOOOOO worth it!  If you struggle for whatever reason, reach out to anyone.  Don't let it get you down.  My milk took 12 days to come in after Reese was born and there were many a tear in those periods for various reasons.  There is a great book out there someone turned me on to called The Nursing Mother's Companion.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Nursing-Mothers-Companion-Edition/dp/1558327207/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1376936223&sr=8-4&keywords=breastfeeding+book.  Helped me a lot.

8. Breast pump - If you want you can buy one now, but you might want to wait until you see how nursing goes.  Some women just can't nurse, so then you have spent your money and are stuck with a pump you can't use.  Many hospitals have pumps you can rent to see if things are working out, then go buy one once you know how it is all working.  I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a pump from a friend for almost a year.  It was awesome.  I could literally pump anywhere, which I did, even the car!  Here's the link.  http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Pump-Style-Advanced-Backpack/dp/B0011E75RK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1376936350&sr=8-3&keywords=medela+breastpump

9. Ask for help.  It is hard.  Was really hard for me.  I got bad at hoping Jason would read my mind and just do things, then would get mad when he wouldn't.  Ask for help.  Hubby doesn't know what is going on in your brain.  Tell him.  If friends offer to bring you dinner or clean your house, say yes.  Don't say you don't need anything.  Ask for help!  This is a huge transition! 

10.  Enjoy this time.  Baby will only be this little once.  Hold her.  Cuddle her.  Get a Sling or some kind of baby carrier.  I love my sling because I could hold her when she was little and can still hold her as a toddler.  She could fall asleep on me and I could still do somethings.  Plus mine has pockets that sometimes I would just put my cell phone and wallet in and go into a store with just that.  Last link (I promise) http://www.rockinbaby.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1006S.  This isn't the exact one I have, but it is the same company and gorgeous. I actually used to put Reese in the sling and go get my nails and toes done.  The ladies thought it was awesome because she would fall asleep on me and I could have down time while cuddling.  Plus my sling is pretty.

So there's my advice.  Take it.  Give it to friends.  Throw it away.  Whatever.  But now I feel better having passed wisdom on to someone! 

Nikus out!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Traveling with a 16-month old

Hello ... that is if anyone is still out there!  I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, I promise.  Just haven't had time to blog forever.  I was shooting for every other month and I have since bypassed that, by a lot.  I'm going to try and wrap things up in the next blog, but for now, what really is on my mind is travel.

We haven't yet really traveled with Reese before August - well, since last August when it was a whole different story!  This month we've already gone to Pinetop, which is about 4 hours from our house by car, and gets us out of the hot Tucson air and into much cooler mountain air.  Truth be told, it was an adventure again.  Last year, Reese was such a little thing that all I recall doing on that trip was nursing, eating, trying to sleep, and nursing.  This year it was mostly corralling a now walking - yes walking - 15 month old (she turned 16 months the day after we came home).

We left on a Tuesday morning - which was an excursion on on it's own.  We literally filled up the back of J's truck.  We needed the pack-n-play, the stroller, clothes for all of us, and then we probably took things we didn't need very much at all, but came in real handy.  Gas mileage might have been better if we learned to pack lite, but we didn't.  We were hoping to leave about 9 am, but we didn't end up leaving til about 10 am.  I needed to pack up the house, so J could pack up the truck and of course someone had to watch R while all of this was happening, so it slowed things down.  Finally got on the road and the first 2 hours weren't too bad.  Reese was okay in her car seat and I had plenty of toys, plus my Kindle (Mother's Day present) with her favorite show on it (Bubble Guppies).  She started to get sleepy as we neared Globe (the halfway point where we stop for lunch) so I kept her awake by feeding her banana and crackers, until we could get real lunch.  We seriously hoped she would fall asleep in the car after lunch for her normal 2-2.5 hour nap (like at home).

Well that truly didn't happen.  She is not used to sleeping in her car seat and she let us know.  Eventually, maybe after 45 minutes of crying, she just wore herself out and fell asleep.  We were thankful...well, for 20 minutes.  Because that is how long she slept.  So now we've got a tired and cranky baby stuck in her seat for at least another hour.  I tried everything - J was driving.  It wasn't the most fun I've ever had.  Once we got to the cabin to see G-ma and Pappy, she was happier - probably more-so because she was out of her seat.  Made it thru the rest of the evening and dinner, but she was very tired - after all, she'd only had 20 minutes of nap when she was used to 2+ hours.

The next couple days were pretty good.  We tried to sleep in, but she likes to wake up early.  I think we did a good job of wearing her out because many nights she was in bed earlier than normal and slept later in the morning.  That's a win in my book.  We went and visited J's parents, who were about 45 minutes away camping at his favorite lake.  That day went off fairly well...at least she got her nap.

But we hit Saturday and she was not a happy camper.  We were coming home Sunday.  She would only let me hold her, which I don't usually mind, except when I have to do something - i.e. go to the bathroom, eat, sleep - you know, important things.  Then she started running a fever - 102 - and wouldn't eat much.  Finally got some meds in her and she succumbed to a nap.  Woke up and was a little better, but still not eating or drinking much and still a fever.  Called the on-call nurse figuring I wanted to know when we needed some medical care before we would be traveling again and got the advice I needed.  But it still wasn't my favorite day of the trip. 

Sunday, it was time to head for home.  Again, we had a great first half of the drive home.  Happy baby playing with toys and watching Bubble Guppies.  Stopped in Globe this time to visit J's Grandparents - they weren't available on Tuesday.  Reese was still a bit feverish and unhappy when we got there, because again she was hungry (but not wanting to eat) and tired (but couldn't sleep).  Of course they wanted to hold her and since she hasn't seen them in over a year, she was having none of that.  I think she hurt his Grandma's feelings a bit, but what can you do?  Finally left and started to head home.  Again, she was crying something awful for a good long while (maybe 30 minutes - felt like hours) and finally fell asleep for - you guessed it - 20 minutes.  To say I was happy to see our house is an understatement.

She was a changed little girl once we got home.  Happy to be out of her car seat and able to run and play in her environment.  That's when I started to finally relax a bit more.  But before I leave this story, here's some cute pics of our little girl.
 On the ride up, looking like a little lady with Mommy's Kindle.

 Playing in the rainwater.

 Playing with Papa and blocks at the lake.

Probably one of my favorites from the trip.  We (Nana and I) found these flowers and she was touching them, then pulling the petals off.  Once the petals fell, Reese tried to pick them up and put the flower back together.  So very sweet!

 Walking hand-in-hand with J and Papa (his Dad).

Sitting on the porch with Daddy.

 When she wouldn't drink, this was the only way to get her to drink.  Put her in her diaper and let her make a mess.

 Cutest dress playing with G-ma (my Mom)!!

 Tuckered out for 20 minutes on the way home.

Sooooooo.....why do I tell you this story?  Because we have another trip coming up.  This week in fact.  On a plane.  For the first time. Ever.  If you thought I was nervous about driving to our destination, imagine where I am thinking about flying.

First, we can't take near the stuff we took to Pinetop, without renting the plane out.  Second, we can't pull over.  And third, there's about 100 other people on the plane that I have to worry about upsetting instead of just J and me.  Hello stressed out Nikus!

We are going to Iowa for my Grandma's 90th birthday celebration.  The whole family (18) will be there.  This is not a trip we could not do, nor would I want to miss it.  But am I nervous?  You betcha.

We used the Pinetop trip as a test.  What did we really need to have?  What could we forgo?  What would cause us trouble?  What was a God-send?  We learned a lot.  There were items I would easily have left at home if we hadn't gone to Pinetop to test it all out.  And I've purchased a couple travel items since Pinetop that I think will be imperative in Iowa.

Why am I nervous?  The plane ride to start.  We didn't buy Reese a seat at our pediatrician's suggestion and because we didn't want to haul the car seat on and off 2 different planes and we didn't think she would spend much time in it, because she would want to be held by 1 of 4 adults flying with her or walking around visiting everyone else.  I'm hopeful that because she isn't strapped into her seat, she'll be able to fall asleep while I hold her in the sling or on someone's lap.  So that COULD be a better side of the plane ride over the car ride.  However, you may recall that J is a nervous flier too.  I'm hoping the fact that he'll be concentrating on Reese will help him forget about his flying worries, but some could say that is wishful thinking. 

Eating on the plane could be difficult as well as we have to bring it all with us - not sure what we'll find at the airport quickly.  I'm also worried about her ears popping...I think that was part of the problem on the way to Pinetop (as we drove up to higher elevations) and she refused to drink anything.  She hasn't sucked on a pacifier since she was probably 4 months old.  I do have lollipops...we'll see if those get us anywhere.

Why else am I nervous?  There's going to be a lot of people around that she has never met.  They all know about her and will probably want to hold her/play with her/etc. and she probably won't be too keen on that.  I know my daughter and it takes her a while to warm up to people.  And by awhile, I mean a week or more.  We'll probably be on our way home when she realizes those people were pretty fun.  

Why else?  Our surroundings and the time change.  She'll be in entirely different surroundings, like Pinetop, which she actually did pretty well in.  Changing up her schedule with the 2 hour time-change could make her a little crabby or it could go seamlessly.

And finally why else?  My Grandma has this wonderful weekend planned to show off the state she loves with the family that doesn't get to see each other very often.  I'm really worried that we might upset her grand plan because our daughter needs a nap or throws a fit because she just wants some down time.  That is the last thing I want.  I want Grandma to enjoy her family altogether and I'm hoping that everything goes well.  But I'm mentally preparing myself if it does not.

So there you have it folks.  In a nutshell, that is where we are.  I'm excited for the upcoming trip but also scared about everything to pack, lug and get when we get there, as well as keeping my little girl and 100 other passengers and 17 other family members happy.  Just talking about it makes me need a glass of wine!

I'll have stories when we come back I am sure!  Catch you on the flip side...and hopefully before then I'll be able to catch you up on Reese in the last 3  months!

Stick with me...I'll be back shortly!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy first birthday and 13 month birthday!

Hello Bleeps!  I know, I know....it's been awhile.  I really wanted to post around Reese's first birthday, but it slipped by with no blog in site.  Ahhh....the life of a Mommy.  Better late than never right?

My dearest Reese,
It is incredibly hard for me (and Daddy) to believe that you are already a year old (as of April 12th)!  I just can't fathom that you have been in my arms for 12 whole months, when I was wishing for you my whole life.  We are so blessed and happy you are in our lives, even though as the days go on you are sometimes challenging us.  But we are learning and you are too. 

Since your 11 month birthday, you have started standing better while holding something.  It used to be a challenge for you to stand on your own, and now, you stand up and sit down with ease.  Sometimes it looks like you sit a little "hard" (letting yourself go a little too soon), but it doesn't seem to bother you at all. 

You officially said your first word on March 20th at daycare when you said "bye-bye" to Mommy as I left.  My ears perked up and everyone in the room heard you.  You continued to say it all day, even when Daddy picked you up, but then it stopped.  You continue to use baby sign language to tell us when you are "all done" eating and want "more." 

At the end of March, you celebrated your first Easter.  While we didn't make it to church unfortunately, that doesn't mean you didn't get all dressed up for dinner with Gma and Pappy and friends.  You weren't dressed up for long, but you were darn cute when you were!

You continue to eat well and for the most part, don't need Mommy or Daddy feeding you much at all, except yogurt or soup.  For the most part, you still take good naps at home, but at daycare there is just too much going on for you to want to shut your eyes for more than 20-45 minutes!  You always come home really tired, but still happy. 

You used to love a little toss in the air by Daddy or Mommy, but I think one day Daddy tossed you a little too high for your liking because now when we go to toss you, you grab Daddy's shirt or Mommy's hair and only want to go so far.  You are still laughing, but you just don't want to go very high.

Fairy Godmother's Mom gave you a beautiful merry-go-round music box that you enjoy watching right before bed and it has become part of our bedtime ritual.  You even go so far as to kiss it good night or blow it a kiss (yes, you now blow kisses). 

We had a bit of a scare in early April when we went to a birthday party outside and almost immediately upon getting outside, your eyes started to water, you started to sniffle and you were very unhappy.  We thought it was an allergy to all the grass.  However, it happened the very next day with no grass in sight.  We discovered that you had a reaction to the sunscreen we were using.  It has since been thrown away, but it was very scary for us and you as we didn't really know what was happening.

 12 month photo
Your birthday party could have been a huge event, but it turned out just perfect.  Despite the fact that you woke up the night before with a fever of 102.9 and gave us quite a little scare.  Mommy and you were a bit tired the next day for the party, but we pressed on.  You weren't sure what to do with the monkey cake Mommy made, and in the end wouldn't even touch it or eat it.  I ate it and it was great.  Maybe you will never like sugar...yea right!  We'll try again next year.  There were a bunch of people that love you there and you got a mountain of presents.  You were the belle of the ball for sure.  Everybody signed a frame for us to keep forever.
 At her birthday party

 The birthday banner we had printed up.

 In her birthday outfit playing with her new blocks from Nana and Papa.

 Monkey birthday cookies made by a friend

The cake I made, that she wouldn't even touch. 

That leads us to what has happened since your 1 year birthday as we approach your 13-month birthday which happens to be on Mother's Day this year.

When we visited Dr. Kids for your one year check up, you weighed in at 20 lbs, 5.5 oz and 29" long.  That's a far cry from the 8 lbs, 1 oz and 19.75" long you came out at.  Dr. Kids was happy with your growth and development, but you were none too pleased with blood draw and 3 shots that followed that assessment.  You recovered, but still managed to make Mommy feel bad.  Although the whole experience must have tired you out greatly because you took nearly a 3 hour nap that day.

You started throwing little fits when you didn't get your way that frustrated us to no end because usually you are such a happy girl.  We talked with Dr. Kids about what to do and she said to put you in a safe place (carpeted floor or pack-n-play) and ignore you.  We tried it a few times the same day and as soon as you realized we weren't paying attention to you, you stopped almost immediately.  Since then, the fits have been fewer and shorter. 

Not long after (April 23) while Daddy was setting up a new tub for you (an inflatable seal), and you and I were watching him (unbeknownst to him) and out of the blue you blurted out "hi!"  Daddy whipped around so fast and my eyes probably got huge.  You wouldn't say it again, but we both heard you the first time.  It was quite exciting for us!

Then, a few days later, when Gma was visiting, she was trying to get you to walk and you were pushing a toy around (kind of like a grocery cart) with help from her.  The very next day, you were doing it by yourself with no help from Mommy.  The video is quite cute and I've shown it many times.  You are very close to walking without help, but it hasn't happened yet.  You do manage to get around the house (including the few stairs) with no trouble.

I know the video is sideways, but you can see her walking by herself with her toy and her personality. (Email folks, click here to go to the page to see the video)

They call you "the queen" at daycare...not because you are demanding or domineering, but because you wave at e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e!  Everyone that comes into daycare gets a wave.  Everyone who leaves daycare.  Everyone at the mall.  Everyone at...well, everywhere.  It's quite cute to see how happy you are to see people!

But by far one of the best things to my ears was the first time you said "Mama" and realized it meant me!  You now say it often and look at or for me easily.  It is music to my ears.  You have said "Dada" a few times too, but "Mama" comes out far more often.  You truly know what "Dada" means, it just doesn't get said as much. 

While you used to adore your baths, you have now become a little un-excited.  I think it started when we got a new shower head and it was out of the norm for you.  You now cry a bit to get in the tub, but once you are there you happily play for as long as we'll let you or until the water gets too cold (at which point you shudder - so cute) and we warm it up.  Washing your hair is a bit trying these days, because you want to lean forward, rather than back and then you get upset with the water getting in your face.  Don't worry, we'll get it figured out one day little one. 

I can already see that you have a sweet heart.  The other day when I took you to daycare in the morning, almost immediately when we walked in, you thrust your arms out to Liz (and you usually go to Jessica first) and she took you.  She then said, "thank you, I needed that."  Turns out a friend of hers had passed away unexpectedly and she was grieving.  You somehow saw that and just knew she needed a cuddle.  That's my sweet girl...can't teach that!

 In her birthday present.  I love this shirt. 

 Playing at home while Mommy works.

 Hamming it up for the camera.  

 She always makes this face when the camera comes out.  So squishy!

 Outside with Mama.  So you guys remember what I look like!

We just had family pictures taken again (don't worry, will post them when we get them back) and the photographer we regularly use was amazed at how you have grown.  He was able to take a photo of the three of us walking hand-in-hand and I cannot wait to see it!  The last time he photographed you, you could barely sit in a chair by yourself and now you are practically running.

When I dropped you off at daycare the Thursday before Mother's Day, the morning ladies (who you and I both love) had a Mother's Day card and present for me.  They called me "one of the greatest mommies they know" which made me cry.  I hope you see me that way.  It's nice to hear that all my effort for you is observed by others.  I couldn't imagine loving anyone else as much as I love you baby!

First standing photo, with Daddy's help, for 13-months

It has truly been an eventful year and 1 month with you in our lives.  And I know it will only get better (and most likely harder) from here. 

We love you baby and that will never change,
Mama (and Dada)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day #2

Hello Bleeps.  It's really hard to believe that I have been a mother for a year now.  A few years back, I thought this day would never come and here I am celebrating my 2nd Mother's Day.  It's amazing.

I would love to say that the first year of being Reese's Mom has been nothing but giggles and glow, but that would be a lie.  We have definitely had our rough moments and there have been tears from both of us (Reese and I that is).  But we survived and it has made us stronger.  I cannot imagine being a single parent.  Even when J is gone and I play the part for a couple days, it exhausts me.  The people who do it constantly have my most sincere praise.  I need J as my back-up.  I can't do this without him.

When I dropped Reese at daycare Thursday morning, the two ladies who are there in the morning (that Reese and I both love), had a Mother's Day card that they had made and a present for me.  They said they don't do this for most Moms but because I bring joy to their lives, they wanted to let me know they apprciated me and thought I was one of the best Moms they had ever seen.  These ladies have seen hundreds of mothers.  For them to say that sincerely warmed my heart and made me cry.  It was very much appreciated.  They even had a card they had made that said on the front "to one of the greatest Moms."  So sweet. 

I've learned many things in this past year as a Mom. 

1. A baby crying is not always a bad thing.
        Our sleep coach has told us that when a baby is tired and cries (especially if they are overtired), they release a hormone in their body that helps them go to sleep.  She is 100% correct.  It was hard to listen to for a long time, and still is, but usually it is short lived and Reese falls asleep soundly for hours on end.  Thankfully she has started to take really good naps at home, daycare is a whole 'nother story.

2. You never know how much sleep you REALLY need until you don't get it over an extended period of time.
         Everyone tells you to get your sleep before the baby comes, and boy do I know why now!  We've had our fair share of sleeping issues, although for the moment, we're doing quite well.  But I have learned that I can live with about 4-5 hours of sleep and do relatively well.  Even if it is over a longer period of time.

3.  Lazy weekends don't have to go away just because there's a baby in the house. 
         When we don't have events planned on the weekends, we have always lazed around in bed until 11 or noon.  Even with Reese when she was still nursing, I fed her in bed with us at 7:30 am, then we take a nap, we feed again at 10:30 am, and we finally get up.  It's a wonderful way to start the weekend. It disappeared all too quickly.  The last time she wanted to nap with me was on Christmas Day.  I have tried since then, but she apparently is like J, and likes her space now.  Unless she is sick, then she'll sleep on me still. 

4. Breastfeeding is SOOOO hard, but more worthwhile that I ever could have imagined.
          Yes, breastfeeding was a huge struggle at the beginning and throughout my nursing days.  And when she bit with her two bitty teeth, then with her 4 teeth, then with her 7 teeth!  But there is no better thing to me.  I gave Reese something that NO ONE ELSE can.  And that was our time.  It was special.  It was hard.  It was worth it.  And it was usually instantly calming for her.  For any woman who doesn't think they will breastfeed, I would say PLEASE at least consider it.  Because it is awesome, for Mom and for baby.  Truly incredible!

5. Watching the world through a child's eyes is amazing.
        Watching Reese's "firsts" has been eye-opening to say the least.  Not only watching her roll over, smile, sit up, laugh, speak, crawl, walk (still with help), but watching with her amaze herself is so fun too!  She gets excited when she achieves something new. 

6. You can never hear "your baby is gorgeous" enough. 
        I think part of what makes Reese so gorgeous is that she is usually happy.  A crying baby can be hard to take (and yes, we have our days), but for the most part, she is joyful and so pleasant to be around.  When she emits how gorgeous her soul is through her smile, it's hard to resist her.

I'm sure there are a million more things, but those are the big ones that I can think of now! 

Birthday letter and pictures to come!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy 10 and 11 month birthdays!

My dearest Reese,
By now you have learned that Mommy really doesn't have as much time to blog anymore with you around.  She still blogs in her head, but it never seems to make it onto the computer.  So here's your 10 and 11 month letters.  I can't believe that in just a few short weeks you will be a year old.  Blows my mind!

Let's see, what happened from when you turned 9 months old to 10 months old?  A LOT!

She squishes up her face when she is "really" smiling!  It's so funny!

You are growing like a weed and maturing too.  You also are learning how to grab Mommy and Daddy's attention and "fake cry." Fairy Godmother came back for a visit and she couldn't believe how much you had changed!  Dad was getting really tired of your "comb-over" getting in your face so you had your first haircut, but just it was done by Dad and just so you wouldn't have hair in your face.  The official first hair cut will come later.

Probably the biggest development was when you started eating more finger foods and less pureed foods.  We went to a funeral of one of Mommy's clients and at the reception afterwards, you couldn't get enough of the cooked carrots.  Great-Grandpa Einck would have been proud!  Other foods you ate this month were cheerios, Ritz crackers and peaches. 

You also got your first ear infection, which was quickly followed by your second ear infection on the other side.  Boo.  You've had a cough for a while and we just can't get it to go away.  We've been to the doc a number of times, and you are always deemed healthy, just with a cough that could be related to allergies, or the weather, or a cold.  It pains us to see you cough, but thankfully you aren't miserable.  Due to all the illnesses thought, Dad actually had to stay home with you one day because Mommy was getting close to missing too much work.  You trained him well and he did fine, but he admitted it was "emotionally exhausting" especially when you didn't want to nap or eat.  Mommy has been telling him this all along!

We also started some baby sign language.  You've got waving down like a pro, but we wanted to add in signs like "Mommy" and "Daddy" and "more."  You realize we're doing something different, but just don't quite get it yet.  However, clapping you have now mastered!!!  And the first time you did it, we were visiting Nana and Papa.  They were so excited about that!  Daddy also taught you to high-five.  And you have mastered that too!

The toughest part of this time period for Mommy was making the determination that it was time to stop nursing.  My milk was lacking more and more and I was beginning not to enjoy it at all.  Plus you decided that chewing (while you were nursing) was a fun activity!  Mommy DID NOT agree!  So after a few days of contemplating, we decided to call it a day and stop nursing.  It was great while it lasted, but it was time to move on. 

 Happy girl in Great-Grandpa's rocker!

So cute!

Now on to what happened from month 10 to month 11...
You were still fighting whatever cold we cannot get rid of.  The humidifier has become a staple in your room and we put Vick's on your chest and feet almost every night.  Thankfully you are still a happy girl, just with the occasional runny nose and cough.

You experienced your first snow, which I also think contributed to the continuing cold you have been fighting.  It doesn't snow in Arizona often, so when it does, it practically shuts down the city!

My favorite part of this time was you LEARNING TO CRAWL!  First it was with Mama pulling a toy away that you lunged after it.  Then it was all by yourself to a toy!  And thankfully I got both on video!  What would we do without smartphones? It was amazing and exciting! (To those who get this via email, click the title of the blog to go to the online version to see the video.)

You also started to pull yourself up to a standing position in your crib, which meant it was time to lower your crib down, which led to re-arranging your room for various reasons.  You would pull yourself up in the crib then let go and flop back down to the mattress.  I was sure you were going to hurt yourself, but you were having a ball.  And now, outside the crib you can stand for multiple seconds on your own.

11 month pics - getting harder and harder to get her to stay still!

 You are eating more and more food, pureed and not.  We added blackberries, cranberries, cherries, pasta and turkey to your menu this month.  Some you liked, some you didn't.  But all you at least tried.

When you are babbling, you have started to adding a melody of sorts to the words.  Daddy and I call it "singing" because that is what it sounds like.  It is so cute to hear.

You still resist naps at daycare, but sleep well at home and at night.  They can only do so much to help you nap, so we just try to make sure you get enough rest at night and when you are home with us. 

We read a couple books every night and sing some songs.  You usually go to sleep without any crying and really quickly.  What a difference a few months and some patience makes!

 Ready for school pictures!

Overall, it's been a crazy few months!  But our love for you has continued to grow.  I look forward to your smile on my way home from work every day!  I love that your Dad makes you laugh so hard.  But most of all, I love you with all my heart and so much more.  You are my angel.  You are my love.  You are my Monkey!

And I really can't believe that in a few short weeks, you will be 1!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy 8 and 9 month birthday my dearest Reese!

Hello dear Bleeps,
Yup, it's that time again.  Time for our 2 month check-in.  Believe it or not, blogging is on my list to do everyday, and somehow I just can't make it happen.  So here is Reese's last 2 months wrapped into one letter, again.  Argh....

My dearest Reese,
As always, your last 2 months of growing have been an adventure and amazing.  You are sprouting like a weed before our very eyes.  So let's start with what happened from your 7th month to your 8th month of life.

On your 7th month birthday, your Great Grandma Vance passed away.  We knew it was going to happen, but what a day to do it.  It also happened to be the day your Great Grandma Rowe passed away 2 years ago.  Such a coincidence.  So on a day when we wanted to celebrate, we were sad (and Mommy was sick too).  A few days later we had the funeral and while everyone came to bid farewell to your Great Grandma Vance, they also came with the hopes of seeing/meeting you.  And you did not disappoint.  A wonderful male singer sang Amazing Grace and you watched and listened to him with such awe, it amazed us all!!  Someone also tried to give you a rose to put on Great Grandma's grave and you very happily reached for it, even though we didn't let you have it after all.  You were very happy girl that day and made the day a bit more bearable for us all who were very upset to say goodbye to such a wonderful lady.

And so many more things happened after your 7 month birthday...

We moved you from a 3.5 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule.  This means you now eat every 4 hours, then are supposed to play, then sleep.  You kind of do the opposite with playing, eating and then sleeping.  But it all works.

You started saying "Ba-ba-ba" or "Bob-bob-bob."  We haven't figured out who Bob is yet, but apparently you really like him.  You watch our lips when we speak and I think the wheels are turning in your head about how to say Mommy and Daddy, but we haven't gotten there yet.

You met your Aunt Melslaw, one of Mommy's best friends, and thought she was just so cool.

Mommy cooked up some more food for you and you tried zucchini, peas, and applesauce, among other things I didn't write down. You also had your first taste of water from Mommy's water bottle and surprised us all when you grabbed for it, then figured out how to sip through the straw and taste water, that compared to your milk wasn't very good.  But since then, you have become quite the water drinker...just like Mommy.

We celebrated your first Thanksgiving where both Nana and Papa (J's parents) and Gma and Grandpa (my parents) were here at the same time.  Of course you were the life of the party and everything worked out just perfect with you going down for a nap just as we wanted to sit down to eat.  It was a really great day and as always, Mommy's favorite holiday because right behind it is my birthday!

Mommy's first birthday as a Mommy was up next and that was fun as well.  We didn't do anything grand, but you were here so that was grand enough!

You also made strides you didn't even know you were making....like getting your 3rd tooth on the bottom, and then eventually your first 3 teeth on top - all at the same time!  Made for some cranky evenings and upsetting nursing days! So for all those counting we went from 2 teeth to 6 quick!

Speaking of yucky things, you had some severe diaper rash that made us all cringe when we changed your diaper and I think you weren't too happy about it either.   It took us a bit, but we got it under control.  (For those Moms or Dads out there, our magic potion was sitting her in a few inches of water after changing her, letting her air dry and then putting A & D Ointment on her bottom when we changed her.  Cleared up in a few days, but not quick enough for me!)

You also learned how to "flirt," mostly with Daddy.  You tilt your head to the side and smile angelically.  It's very cute.

And you met Santa and had your very first picture with him.  To me it is perfect! 

But probably my favorite advancement that you have made is smiling when you see Mommy or Daddy or anybody pop a camera up in your face - which happens quite often with the invention of camera phones!  It's the cutest thing!  You see that camera and a smile spreads across your face like wildfire!  Here's where we discovered that...at Target when you sat in the cart for the very first time with your cushion, which you loved!

And then we had your 8 month birthday photo!

From that point, you again had a busy month of growing and changing.

It started with sitting up unassisted entirely and crawling backwards.  A true advancement for you!

You also attended your first Christmas Party (well, it was at our house with Mommy's work) but you were the highlight of the night I think.  And you got to see all the Christmas decoration come out and discover the Christmas tree.  But I think your favorite decoration was some Hallmark dancing snowmen and penguins because every time we turned it on, you danced right along.  It was something I'll never forget!

You received some blocks from Fairy Godmother for Christmas and I think they are now your favorite toy.  You knock them down every time we build them up and you think it is the best thing out there.  The box got opened a little early, oops!

You attended your first Christmas Eve mass with Daddy, Gma and Grandpa.  And you looked pretty darn stylish doing it, complete with tights and shoes!

And we had your first ever Christmas, complete with opening presents!  You got most of the presents from under the tree and by the end of all of it, you had figured out that unwrapping was just part of the fun!  You also got a lady bug rocking "horse" that sings that you love.  That was the big present from Mommy and Daddy.

You gave your first wave to one of your favorite teachers, Ms. Liz, at daycare the day after Christmas.  And from then on, you have done  many more!

We had more new tastes for you too including blueberries and potatoes, both of which you loved!  The bib is thanks to Fairy Godmother - also known as Aunt Kirsti!

You are so close to sitting up by yourself from laying down, but I've seen you do it twice in your crib!  So I know you can with a little help.  Currently you grab Mommy's fingers and pull yourself up.

You celebrated you first New Year's Eve and like a true party animal, didn't want to go to sleep before midnight, but you succumbed at 8:00 or so...late for you!

Your 7th tooth (4th on top) came in and you had your first poop in the tub!  It was funny but gross!  You also got your new car seat that hopefully will last you many years to come!  We no longer carry you in the car seat, but carry you to the car to go in the car seat!  YAY!

You learned to do what Daddy calls "Indian" and it's so funny when you do it! 

And just before your 9 month birthday you got your first ear infection, really bad cold with cough and fever.  We went to the doc and were a trooper while we were there, you had a blast with the paper while we were there.  You weighed in at 19.7 lbs.  It's no wonder why Mommy and Daddy's arms are so strong!  However, once you had the antibiotics you weren't a happy camper as they messed with your tummy.  You threw up and freaked Mommy out!  But then were on the road to recovery and from then have been great.  You had to miss daycare because you were so sick and they missed you terribly!  Who wouldn't?!

 This is your 9 month photo!  I can't figure out how to make blogger put it upright!

And you with Fairy Grandmother when she came to visit for your 9 month birthday!  You LOVE her!  It was amazing after so long not seeing her you just went right to her.

Whew!  What a bunch has happened in the last few months!  But what hasn't changed (well maybe it has) is how much we love you!  We are amazed by you every day and can't wait to see you after work!  You are growing right before our eyes!  And we love you so very much dearest!