Monday, December 30, 2013

Holidays 2013

Since I haven't really been blogging much aside from monthly updates on Allie, I thought I would back up a little and give the overview of my holidays this year.  Obviously this was an important Christmas, since it was Allie's first!  As per usual, Christmas was celebrated multiple times because of family schedules.  Normally my brother picks a weekend in between Thanksgiving and Christmas to come visit, and this year, we actually picked the weekend before Thanksgiving to do sort of an early Christmas get together (Confused yet?  Yeah, me too).

Our visit was fun as usual, but two little ones in the mix made for a different visit than past years.  Much more planning around naps, and less time out exploring and doing other kinds of activities.  We did a bunch of lunches out, scheduled around naps, and had all our dinners and breakfasts in.

My mom had the idea to have the girls do a cooking class at The Liberty, so we did do that, while the guys watched the babies.  It was pretty awesome to be out enjoying food, wine, and good company.

The theme of the cooking class was Thanksgiving and everything was delicious!

Most of the weekend revolved around Allie and my niece.  They were pretty cute interacting.  At one point they were sharing Puffs!  We all can't wait to see what their relationship is like as they grow up.  They are exactly a year and a half apart in age, so we all think they could be close!

One of the highlights of the weekend was when my friend Lindsay took pictures of us.  She got some great shots of everyone, including the first in this post, plus this one of the girls...

A bunch of good ones of my little family...

Our Christmas card picture!
Also some cute ones of Allie and I...

I love that Lindsay got so many cute shots of everyone!

Next up was Thanksgiving, which I spent in Hilton Head, as usual.  Last year I didn't run the Turkey Trot because I was pregnant, but this year I decided to do it, even though my running could be described as pathetic at best this past year.

I actually surprised myself and pulled out a time of slightly over 28 minutes, which isn't too far off of my PR for a 5K (a little over 27 min).  I think I tend to run 5Ks when I'm really not trained to do any other distance, so my PR is not great.  Anyway, I was glad to keep the tradition alive, but I can't say that it was one of my better races.  I've resigned to the fact that I'm just not in a place where I have time to dedicate to my once beloved hobby.  I hope eventually I'll get back to it.

The rest of the Thanksgiving weekend in Hilton Head was spent doing the usual walks, shopping, and eating.

I thought Allie would be into some of the Thanksgiving foods, but most of them were not a hit.  She did have fun though.

Fast forward to Christmas.  In early December, I met Kelly at the mall for pictures with Santa!

This is a picture of a picture, but Allie did okay.  They took four pictures, and the first three were complete deer in headlights.  This was the fourth shot, which most resembled a smile.  She melted down and started to cry in the fifth shot!

We actually did a second attempt the following weekend with less professional pictures and a smaller setting.  She did much better, but I still kind of like the first picture better.

Greg was off from Saturday, December 21st til Monday, December 23rd.  I took the 23rd and 24th off to watch Allie since daycare was closed, so we ended doing our family of three Christmas on the morning of the 23rd.

This year we set up our tree in our "formal" living room instead of the family room, because it's an area less traveled by Allie and since we have a play yard set up for her in the living room where the tree normally goes.  It worked out pretty well having it there, although I probably did kind of miss seeing the tree from the kitchen and other parts of the house since the family room is more centrally located.

Allie wore a Christmas themed outfit for the occasion.

Then settled in to opening presents.  We didn't time things very well, as she had already been up a couple hours before we started.  She did well during the stocking opening portion though, and really loved the rubber ducks she found in there (she's very into ducks right now).

We ended up taking a break and putting her down for her morning nap and then resuming things later.

Clyde enjoyed his presents too.

That rubber chicken was a hit with both kids.  Allie keeps trying to steal it.

The lamb in this picture of us was a big hit.  It tells nursery rhymes and was sent to Allie by my in-laws.

Allie is pretty fascinated with it...  It was a low-key, but nice Christmas for our little family.  Greg was gone on Christmas Day, but my parents were here and we got to do the whole thing again.

Ok, I think this is officially the longest holiday recap ever.  Anyway, I think Allie enjoyed her first holiday season.  I'm sure every year it'll get more and more exciting as she starts to understand what's going on.  Even so, it was fun to watch her experience it and it definitely made the holidays more special for me and my family having her here with us this year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ten and a Half Months!

Merry Christmas (belated)!  I hope to get a Christmas post up at some point, but since we all know I can't get it together enough to even get a monthly Allie update up on time, we'll see if that actually happens.  Allie is napping right now, so I'm going to try and get this update out.

Allie is ten ten and a half months old!  Wow, I can't believe she's almost a year old, so weird.  I'm really late with this update and I honestly can't remember what's happened before ten months and in the last two weeks, so I'll just update you on where we're at right now.

First off, the ten month photo shoot was a complete disaster, because little-miss-can't-sit-still would not cooperate.

Why yes, the sticker is stuck to my leg in this photo!

Right after I wrote my nine month update, Allie started babbling with her bababa, dadada, and all that, so it was nice to not have to worry about that being an issue, since I was kind of concerned she wasn't doing that yet when I wrote the nine month update.  It seems like with a lot of her developmental milestones, all I have to do is express concern about it and she goes ahead and does it.  I will admit she has said "dada" a lot, but I am not ready to call that her first world since Greg is typically no where in the vicinity when she is saying it, it just seems to be general babble.  Still, Greg likes to give me crap about how he won the "dada" vs. "mama" first word battle.  I actually wouldn't mind if she did look right at him and call him dada.  That would be so cute :)  Allie is very into Clyde now too, so it wouldn't surprise me if her "da" is really directed at Clyde, trying to say "dog" (which was my first word!).  She also really likes rubber ducks, so it could be "duck".

I feel like Allie is getting super close to walking.  She easily stands and can move while holding on to things.  She's also super fast in her walker and is getting good at turning around and moving in multiple directions.  I think she'll be walking by the time she's a year old if not sooner.  She also stands without holding on to things a lot now, so she's definitely testing the waters.  I think she'll be walking by a year if not sooner.

As of nine months Allie still had no teeth!  This surprised me, because she's been pretty much on target with most milestones, and this was definitely late.  About a week and a half ago one of her daycare teachers pointed at her mouth and said "I think she's teething now", because she was doing something funny with her mouth.  Sure enough, I felt around in her mouth and felt a sharp edge poking through on one of her lower middle teeth, so it's finally happening now.  She's doing ok with it.  The other day my parents were watching her while I was at work and she completely lost it for about three hours, and I ended up leaving work early to rescue them.  I stopped at Walgreens on my way home and bought every teething product they had.  I think half of it was that she just wanted me to hold and comfort her and no one else would do.  Poor kiddo.  Tylenol, chilled pacifiers, and teething tablets seem to be the most helpful out of everything we've tried.

Like I said, sleep has been a little bit disrupted lately due to teething.  She was pretty consistently sleeping through the night right before the first tooth poked through, but then got thrown off.  I have had some nights where I've gone in if she seems particularly upset and others where I've let her cry and settle herself back to sleep when it seems like she would.  I feel like I can never really decide what to do.  I want to be consistent, but don't want her to suffer alone if she needs comforting.  We started putting Allie to bed a little earlier, because it seemed like putting her to bed later didn't help much with making her sleep later, so she might as well go to bed earlier and get the sleep on the front end.  Typically she goes down by about 7:15pm, then can be up anywhere from like 5:15-7am.  Most mornings she's up more in the 5:30am range, which kind of sucks.  She usually takes two naps- one in the morning around 10am- that can be 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours, then an afternoon nap around 2ish that is about the same length.  Daycare tells me she's not one of the better nappers, and I agree.

Feeding is going well.  She eats three meals a day.  A typical day of feeding looks like this:
6:30am: Nurse.
8:15am: oatmeal cereal mixed with applesauce or mashed banana, sometimes a handful of sliced blueberries (her favorite food by a landslide)
10am: Bottle or nurse
12pm: A level two baby food or pouch if she's at daycare or out, maybe chunks of sweet potato and banana and/or whole grain cracker with some almond butter if she's home.
1:30pm: Bottle or nurse
Some kind of afternoon snack maybe (cheerios, diced fruit, etc).
4pm: Bottle or nurse
5:45pm: Dinner of rotisserie chicken, butternut squash chunks, coconut milk yogurt.
7pm: Nurse.

She sometimes does have a middle of the night nurse session, and once in a while she'll have a 5:15am and 7:15am nurse session if she wakes up really early and doesn't eat much at the first session and I want to top her off before daycare.  
We met with the allergist and confirmed Allie has a milk and egg allergy.  She can have milk or eggs cooked in stuff like baked goods, but other than that, it's a no go for now.  We have a bottle of Benedryl and an epi pen for her just in case, but I think she'll grow out of it, but it's still less than ideal.  I think we're going to end up doing a combination of different milks- hemp, almond, soy, coconut, when she hits a year.  We'll probably see what she likes and use different ones for home and daycare since she can't have nut milk there.

Allie can now clap, wave, hug, and understands more of what we're saying, as far as we can tell.  Everyone says she has a lot of personality and she constantly cracks us up!

I keep saying every day she's starting to look and act more like a little girl all the time, and less like a baby.  The daycare teachers told me she's been kissing one of the boys!  Whoa, slow down little girl!

Likes: BLUEBERRIES, butternut squash, my phone, bells, Clyde, rubber ducks, me, my mom, waving, clapping, cuddling, practicing walking.

Dislikes:  Being strapped into pretty much anything (stroller, carseat, etc...), being confined in her play yard, crib, or Pack N Play, being changed, not being able to see me if I have to run to the bathroom or upstairs for a minute.

She's usually in 9M clothes now, and still in size 3 diapers.  I don't see that changing anytime soon.  I have no idea about her weight or height.  I probably won't find out til her year check up.  I would guess maybe 17 lbs, but I usually guess wrong.

Anyway, life is pretty good.  It's super hectic, and she's getting more fun, but also more challenging as she grows.  As usual, there's a lot more I would like to say and blog about, but finding the time is nearly impossible.  I'm exhausted, but happy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Baby Things We Love At (Almost) 10 Months

I've been meaning to do one of these posts forever.  There are so many baby things we like and use all the time.  Allie will be 10 months in about a week.  Here are some things we love and have used a lot in the past few months:

We've had the most success with this sippy cup.  We have about 4 different kinds and Allie does best with a soft spout on these Nuk ones.  I feel like these a good transition from her bottles in terms of shape and size too (we use Dr. Browns).

Ever since we transitioned Allie out of the Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit (which we loved from 3-6 months), we've been using these over a sleeper to keep Allie warm at night.  

We got Allie this cube at Target on a whim a couple months ago.  I had been thinking about getting her one, but was originally thinking I'd look for one on consignment.  I actually don't mind that we paid full price though, because this thing is really good quality and Allie plays with it all the time.  As soon as she could pull up to standing, it became one of her go to items to pull up on and play with the beads and critters on top.  She also likes all the different sides- opening and closing the doors, spinning the letters, etc.  I feel like we're still going to get a lot of use out of this when we start teaching her words and letters, etc...  It's a great cube.

We thought our time with the Wubbanub had to come to a close once Allie got into her Advent pacifiers, but after a bunch of bad nights of sleep in which we realized Allie was losing her pacifier in the crib at night and having a hard time finding it so we kept having to go into the nursery to give them to her, I got the idea to put her Wubbanubs in the crib with her so that she could easily find the pacifier attached and it worked great.  She was able to find them so much easier than her regular pacifier, and once she got the Wubbanub in her mouth she'd fall back asleep without us having to go in and find a paci for her.  Win!

Puffs/Mum Mums or Cheerios
We're finally at a place where we're fairly comfortable taking Allie with us out to lunch again (for a while she was pretty fussy and unpredictable so it was tough).  She's getting good at sitting in a high chair, and these are great for keeping her entertained while we wait for food or eat our food.  I also occasionally use them at home if I need a couple minutes to prep food for Allie and she's freaking out waiting for something to get on her tray.

Like I said, Allie is getting pretty good at sitting in a high chair, however, a lot of high chairs are missing straps or seem too big for her, and using this cover helps a lot in keeping her secured.  We've also used it in a shopping cart a bunch of times.

My friend Lindsay recommended this book and it's by far my favorite to read to Allie at bedtime.  It's not too long or too short, it rhymes, and I feel like the rhythm of the words is perfect for bedtime.  Allie also likes reaching out and touching the bunny on each page.  It's hard for a book to hold her attention at bedtime but she can usually make it through this one.

I absolutely LOVE these booties.  Allie isn't officially walking yet (she's getting close though!), so it's a little soon for normal harder soled baby shoes, but now that it's colder she can't go barefoot all the time either and socks don't stay on that well.  These are great.  We have two pairs in gray and pink and they stay on well and go with almost everything.  She wears them to daycare a lot and out and about.  They are also super cute and everyone comments on how cute they are.

I actually don't know if I would recommend this specific walker, but it's the one we have.  I was skeptical that Allie would do well in it and that we would have room for it without her crashing into things, even though we have a fairly good sized kitchen/downstairs.  It's actually exceeded my expectations.  She outgrew the Rock N Play and many other "holding devices" we have for her a couple months ago, and it's a life saver if I just need to pee for a second or need to keep her entertained for a few minutes while I'm cooking or something.  She can go both backwards and forwards in it, so she can back up and move in another direction if she gets into a corner or something.  I also think it's helping her learn to walk. 

This isn't the one we have, I have a Sesame Street version I got at a consignment sale.  Allie really likes it though, and enjoys pushing, turning, and twisting the little knobs to get each guy to come out, then closing the doors.  My two year old niece was just here and enjoyed playing with it too.

If you have a baby Allie's age or older, what's a must have I should think about for the future?  I'm working on ideas for her Christmas and first birthday presents so I'm all ears!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nine Months!?

Allie is now nine months old!

All the sudden my little baby is seeming more and more like a little girl every day.  This month I feel like she exploded with progress, especially on the motor skills and physical front.

Even though at the beginning of the month she was already pulling to standing, there is such a difference now.

She can easily pull to standing and also can get down from standing into a sitting position.  She also likes to stand between two things and do a 360, completely turning around, by holding each thing (like ottomans or laundry baskets).  She can climb ramps or small stairs (yikes), and crawls fast now.

We also got her a walker and she's mastered walking all over the kitchen in her walker, which is pretty hilarious to watch.  She is extremely active.

Allie is definitely showing us that she knows what we are saying a lot now.  If you ask her to hand you something, she will and likes the game of passing it back and forth.  She loves picaboo (has for a long time), loves watching me dance and sing to her, loves being bounced up and down, loves getting raspberries on her cheeks and belly.  It's so so cute to watch her laugh at things.

Allie really had fun doing a lot of fall activities this month.  She went to a pumpkin patch for the first time!

She also had her first Halloween in which she dressed up as a lady bug at both our neighborhood parade and a Halloween party with friends and other babies.

Allie is still exploring food.  We introduced her to several meats this month.  Her favorite is chicken, by a landslide, but she's also tried fish, turkey, and pot roast.  She's tried new stuff like spaghetti with sauce, hummus, kiwi, graham crackers, muffins, and raspberries.  Food is kind of hit or miss for her.  Her favorite foods are butternut squash, puffs, pears, and yogurt (coconut milk yogurt).  Allie is getting more interested in feeding herself, and with that I'm finding it harder to spoon feed her things she used to like, so that can be frustrating.  She's most successful feeding herself butternut squash (cooked, soft chunks), puffs, and Cheerios, but we're trying new things all the time.  We still do purees (I still make a lot) too, and sometimes they go over well, sometimes not.  It just depends on Allie's mood.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but we found out Allie has a mild milk allergy.  We had given her small amounts of yogurt and ice cream and noticed a rash around her mouth, so we took her to the doctor and she recommended Allie have a blood draw to be tested for the milk allergy.  This is bad news to me since I LOVE ice cream.  We are getting referred to an allergist to further explore this, but for now milk products are out.  The good news is we've successfully given Allie coconut and soy yogurt and ice cream.  We are really hoping she grows out of this and can have milk and milk products in the future though.  I guess we'll know more about what to expect once we see the allergist.

Allie is super interactive now.  She shrieks with delight if you call to her and smile from across the room. Every time I pick her up at daycare she loses her mind with delight, but will completely melt down in the two seconds it takes me to collect her things once she sees me from inside the play area.  She laughs and smiles and everyone says she smiles with her eyes.  She is a true joy and watching her get excited, smile, and laugh is the best thing ever.

Sleep is going pretty good.  We had a fairly rough daylight savings week, with a couple wake-ups before 5am, but she usually sleeps through the night and is just up really early most mornings.  I feel like she's still pretty unpredictable.  Some nights she'll sleep all night, sometimes up once a night for a feeding, some nights (like last night), she's up more than once a night if she's really thrown off.  Last night I gave up trying to get her back to sleep in the crib (she'd cry as soon as I put her down) at 4am and let her sleep with me.  It's rare that happens though.

Allie got in visits with both sets of grandparents this month.  Greg's parents were here at the beginning of October for a long weekend, and Allie went to see my parents at the beginning of November.

As for her stats, she is in size three diapers, and wearing 6M, 6-9, and 9M clothes.
At her 9 month check up:
Weight: 15.6 lbs  (5-10th percentile)  TINY!
Length: 27 inches (25-50th percentile)
Head: 44.5 cm (50-75th percentile)

I'll admit, her weight surprised me.  She's always been on the smaller side for weight, but less than 16 lbs at nine months seems so small!  I was guessing she was about 17 lbs now based on her eating solids and breast milk.  I think maybe because she is so mobile now she is burning a lot of calories.  Anyway, her pediatrician is not worried about it at all and showed us that she is totally in the normal range for her growth and for an exclusively breast fed baby.  I'm trying not to worry about it.  It's not like she looks skinny or anything, she looks like she has a normal amount of baby fat.

The only other concern we have at all with Allie is that she's not using consonant sounds much like "ma ma, da da, or ba ba".  We actually think we're partly to blame because we have let her have the pacifier so much, so the pediatrician said to try not letting her use it as much and try repeating those sounds in front of her a lot and hopefully within the next month she will pick them up.  She makes lots of "Eeeeeeee!" and "Arrrhhhhh" noises, but just not a lot of consonant sounds.  I am also hoping it's partially that she's so focused on moving with all the crawling and standing she's doing that she doesn't work on talking as much.

I am feeling good lately.  Still tired and never feeling caught up on things, but I feel good overall.  I feel like I'm getting the hang of work/life/baby/house/marriage more and more each day which makes me happy.   I've even been running some.  Usually only about two mile runs about twice a week (with or without the jogging stroller), but it's something. 

I can't believe we're in the home stretch to a year now.  Crazy...
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