Monday, October 24, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Back where it started

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

My sister had her baby this weekend. Chris, Olivia and I went to go visit and meet my nephew, Olivia's first cousin on my side. 

I hadn't stepped foot inside the Mother Baby Center in 11 months, when we took Olivia home from there last November. 

It's funny how a place can bring back good and bad memories simultaneously. I'm still working through my emotions on that hospital stay, because there were events that bring tears to my eyes out of sheer happiness and there are traumatic things that happened that I wish I could forget. 

Holding my tiny nephew against my chest in that familiar room brought a rush of of nostalgia from those early days almost a year ago, holding Olivia skin to skin against me for hours under her blanket, smelling her, kissing her head, nursing her. It was the place I met my daughter. And now she's almost one and I'm planning her birthday and I can still remember how it felt last November. Exhausted. Exhilarating. That primal instinct to protect my baby, hold her, keep her close. Those feelings of love so powerful, it was frightening at times. 

I didn't get the birth story I wanted. Like trying to get pregnant and stay pregnant, my body failed me during her delivery. But then again, it's still my story. Her birth is as much as part of me as all the fertility treatments were. I think those events drove me closer to her. It strengthened my bond with her because she was the tether holding me together through those six days. She was the one that kept me from completely losing it. She's the reason I can walk back on the floor and smile instead of frown. She kind of has a way of doing that. 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

11 months: Olivia is getting sick of these monthly photos

Happy 11 months to this little sweetheart! (Don't get too excited. This was literally the only smile I got out of her.)

It would seem the only way I could get her to pay attention and not rip off her 11 month sticker was to give her her little book to chew on. Otherwise this happened:

Yes, these monthly photo shoots are a bit more of a challenge than they used to be. I mean, she used to just sit there and now it's all I can do to get a decent picture.

It was a sunny, cool fall day, but still... the smiles never came.

Oh well. You can't win them all, I guess.

Still. She is adorable. Even if she never wanted to smile. Or really look at the camera.

I finally got a picture of her standing though. She'll do this for like 10 seconds now. She's getting so close to walking.

I can't believe I have just one more monthly update post. I can't believe she will be a year in just one month. How did that happen? This is the month that I've noticed her looking more like a toddler than a baby.

Anyway, let me tell you what we've been up to this month before I dissolve in a puddle of tears.

We celebrated my 31st birthday earlier in the month.

Chris made me a fall spice cake from scratch, which was amazing, and we celebrated at my sister's house with tacos. Because I love tacos.

And we made it out to the apple orchard which was so much fun!
Olivia started back in ECFE again, her last free class we can take there.

This one is "Your Moving Baby" and it's nice because all the babies are around her same development so it's fun to see her interact with all of them. 

And Story Time has started up again too! She loves it. 

We also went with one of my friends and her daughter to a new indoor playground about a half hour from me. I've never been to one, but the baby area was like a giant living room with toys that we didn't have to pick up afterwards. Olivia had a great time. It will be on our rotation for this winter when we can't be outside.

Nicknames: Ollie, Monkey, Livvie, Olive
Weight: 20 lbs 12 oz according to home scale
29 inches
Head Circumference: 48 cm 
Diaper size: 3 
Clothing size: Mostly 12 month clothes due to the fact that it's cold out and her 9 months are mostly summer outfits. She can still fit in them though if it's nice out. 

Eating: New foods tried: Spaghetti and meatballs, tomatoes, spicy tortellini alfredo, Asian glazed drumsticks, cinnamon. Still eating breakfast and dinner and snacks. Olivia has decided she doesn't want to wear bibs and rips them off. This is quite annoying. Her sleeve bib is the only thing that stays on so I may be buying more of these. She still nurses once overnight and about every 3-4 hours during the day.

Sleeping: She went through a little week long regression of waking up between midnight and 1am and then again at her usual time between 4-6am. But then she went back to her normal wake-up anywhere between 4 and 6:30. She will then go back to sleep until 8:30-9. Still napping about two hours in the morning, and an hour to hour and a half in the afternoon... or not at all. Seriously. There have been SEVERAL days when she won't take an afternoon nap.

Naps are for babies, Mama.
Milestones: She's been cruising furniture, and wanting to push her activity table while she walks, but isn't really showing an interest in walking. She stands on her own for a few seconds, carefully letting go of whatever she's holding onto and balancing there until she daintily sits. She seems to really understand a lot of what we say now and will look Very Seriously at you when you talk, trying to process what you're saying. She is climbing stairs (kind of) and clapping her hands, and even dancing a little now. She finally caught on to putting the balls down the chute in her giraffe toy. She's waving again to people. Definitely has her stranger danger, but it's more like she pretends to act shy and bury her head in my shoulder, but then whip her head back around at the person and wave to them. Being that this does the same thing to me... I think it's that she likes the attention from it.

Speech: She is babbling like crazy! At the beginning of the month, she went through this screamy stage for a few days and I tried to be patient through it because I knew this was going to lead into a new development thing for her and sure enough, her screaming stopped and she became happy again and the babbling started. Like she is really talking, but.. the words don't make a lick of sense. Last night at the park she excitedly blurted out, "Geeg kiki nam!" Obsessed with saying, "Nnnnnnn!" and "dada!" She's also been imitating us when we say "ah!" And we'll go back and forth with that.

Health: Well earlier this month she felt warm a few nights, whether it was a cold or teething pain. I've been using the gum-o-mile we have and that seemed to help. We also had to use Motrin and Tylenol at night to help her sleep. The weird thing is, she had a slight runny nose too, so who knows what was really going on. Then a week later, Chris and I both got some weird stomach bug the day before my birthday. I never threw up, but I spent the whole night sitting up on the couch sipping water and trying not to. I get sick like this, like, every five years, and I'm glad I wasn't hurling all night, but ugh. I hate feeling like that. And I was so worried Olivia would wake up, because how would I manage to nurse her feeling so nauseous? That day, we slept during her two naps and then lay on the couch the rest of the time and dear Olivia was so good at entertaining herself out in the living room with us. I swear, I've been sick more since I had her than I have in the last 5 years.

Teeth: Still just the two teeth. I thought she would be getting more with all this teething, but nope. We have started brushing them and that's something for her to get used to. :)

Likes: Turning pages of her board books when you read to her, looking at her books, rolling around on our pillow top bed. Eating apples. Really, eating in general. Swinging, being outside, watching Daniel Tiger. Watching other babies and kids. I can also safely say she likes her Ergo. She's been in it quite a bit this fall, including when we took the bus downtown to have lunch with Chris.

Dislikes: Getting her hands and face wiped after dinner. Having things taken away from her.

Undecided about: Getting ready for bed. Sometimes we can catch her on a good night now where she isn't wailing and flailing her arms. Wearing socks and shoes. Walks in her stroller. I think she gets bored unless she has something to chew on or eat.

Looking forward to: Halloween! I can't wait to put her in her costume and carve pumpkins. Also, I'm looking forward to getting more things checked off on the birthday party to-do list. So. Much. To. Do. And I can't WAIT to see her one year photos we took with our favorite photographers. She was a few days shy of 11 months, but November doesn't exactly scream beautiful weather and scenery, so October it was.

Overall, it was a great month. Fall is my favorite season and it's been so beautiful out. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take my stoic baby out on a walk.

44 weeks
45 weeks
46 weeks
47 weeks

Monday, October 17, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Overwhelmed

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

You want to hear something funny? I'm more busy now than I ever was when I worked full time. I spent four months at home before I got pregnant and that wasn't bad. I still wrote for and still worked casual at my job. But now it's like I have this ever-growing to-do list, which I like (sort of) because there is always something to do to keep me from getting bored. But now I am juggling too much and it's getting overwhelming. I am writing for, and I'm freelancing for a donor egg site and now just took on freelance work for an up and coming fertility site (squee!) and being that I can only write while Olivia sleeps, it doesn't leave a lot of time. I'm planning her first birthday party with 90 people invited, and I (try in vain) to keep up with this blog (which I feel like I'm failing at) and am also needing to put in hours for the new site coming in January. Plus, commenting and reading blogs because that's still so important to me. (They seriously need to figure out this issue of being unable to comment from your phone.)

It's a lot. Because I also have a perpetually messy house that I need to keep putting effort into cleaning. Not to mention the daily care that goes into nurturing and keeping alive an almost 11 month old.

I've been meaning to buy this download from PaperScribblesCo because I think it will help me get more organized. But... clearly I haven't done that yet. 

I know I am a little unique being that I'm technically a stay-at-home-mom, but also working from home. Without child care. If we could afford it, I would totally have her in daycare a few hours a day or have a nanny in our house, but it's just not in the cards for us. 

So. Here I sit, writing about all the things I need to do instead of actually... doing them.

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Apple orchards are for babies

We went to the apple orchard this weekend. We go every year. The only difference this year was the fact that my baby, finally, was able to be in attendance.

There are a ton of apple orchards/pumpkin patches around the cities, but for some reason we've never been anywhere else. I grew up going to this particular orchard. Every year. First as a child, then as a teenager where I was able to bring my best friend (because my mom probably thought I wouldn't go otherwise), and then finally with Chris, both while we were dating and well into the married years.

I think I always felt the absence of her more fully here than anywhere else.

I mean, sure, Christmas was always difficult while in the throes of infertility. Mother's Day made me want to hide. There are a lot of holidays centered around children. There are a lot of outdoor events centered around children.

For myself, the apple orchard was The Place I wanted to be with my baby. I wanted her to experience the tractor ride, the corn maze. I wanted to pick out a pumpkin for her.

For six years I rode the tractor with my family, and walked the maze holding Chris's hand.

October 2010
We cruised the pumpkin patch and ate apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. All with my heart breaking into a million pieces. Next year, I'd think to myself, next year hopefully I'll be pregnant or have a baby with me. Maybe the next IUI will be it. Maybe this next IVF will be successful.

Last year was good. Last year I was pregnant and my heart.. didn't feel like breaking.

October 2015
But this year. This year was better. Olivia will have no recollection of this day. Her only memory of her first trip to the apple orchard will be the pictures she sees of herself as she grows up.

But I will always keep this day close to my heart. 

She had a blast. She loved the tractor ride. Actually, she liked watching the tractor wheel more.

She got plenty of love and kisses from her Grandma and Grandpa and two aunties. The weather was beautiful.

We won apples from the word-scramble inside the maze and Olivia thought eating one was pretty much the greatest thing ever.

The best part was finding a pumpkin for her. Not that she really seemed to care because Apple. She did at least humor us by giving it a three second curious peek before returning to her snack.

I bought her a costume off a local FB garage sale site, which was great because it will literally be worn for two hours. I'm so ready for Halloween.

It's fall, y'all.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Eggs

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I haven't written on here in two weeks. Blogging is hard, you guys. Last Monday Chris and I caught some sort of stomach bug and were down for the count. And taking care of a baby in all that... not fun. Not fun at all.

I wanted to talk about what was going on with Olivia's suspected egg allergy. Basically she reacted once from scrambled eggs, about a tablespoon amount, and after a visit to a family practice doc, we were told no eggs or egg products until we could talk with the pediatrician.

Well I met with her doctor three weeks ago and I brought up my concerns again with this possibly being some weird fluke. I mean, I know I have my gut instincts and it's usually right and my gut was telling me this was not a traditional egg allergy. So he told me they could do an egg white blood test that day along with her hemoglobin and lead that they normally test at her one year check and that I could schedule with a pediatric allergist.

We did the blood draw after her visit, which Olivia handled remarkably well considering she screams at her immunizations like you are methodically ripping her toe nails off. After that, we scheduled her allergist visit (unfortunately not until November 1st).

Her pediatrician called me himself a few days later and told me the egg white test came back at 0 which he was surprised at. So he told me to try to give her a small bite of egg here and there and see how she reacts. I was so relieved. I know it can be so much worse than having an egg allergy. But.. I mean, no one wants this for their child.

So I've been giving her things with eggs in them. Pancakes, egg noodles. With the pancakes, she got a spotty red rash on one of her cheeks that went away within an hour. Subsequent pancakes never got a reaction. Then last week she tried egg noodles for the first time and I saw a red dotted rash over her chest, like a silver-dollar sized area during her bath... and then went away.

When I gave her the smallest bite of egg she didn't have a reaction at all. It's weird. And I mean, she has no other symptoms other than these small rashes. I'm going to keep doing this and then maybe call the allergist in a few weeks and ask them if we should still keep the appointment with them.

In the meantime, we have Benadryl on hand just in case and I try to not do these egg products on the weekends or in evenings. We'll see what comes of this.

But.. kind of weird huh?

 You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: I will be good for an apple

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I used to be kind of sort of judgemental of the moms of screaming babies. Especially in restaurants and grocery stores. It's not like I'd be thinking Geez, aren't you capable of shutting that kid up? but rather, Omg seriously. That's so annoying.

I swore to myself I was not going to raise an asshole baby who did high-pitched screams in the middle of the store and gave everyone whiplash from turning to see who the mother of The Baby That Screamed was.

Until I became that mother. And it was my asshole baby that does the high-pitched screams in the middle of the store. 


Our grocery store has a mini apple stand by the fruit section with cheerful signage to have your kids try a free apple while in the store. 

We were shopping one afternoon and were perusing the produce section grabbing all sorts of healthy things like kale and carrots when suddenly, out of nowhere (ok, maybe I forgot to bring her toy in with us) Olivia opens her mouth wide, takes an audible deep breath

and screams.

The 20-something girl with the messy bun turns around with her shopping basket like she has never heard a baby scream and is wondering why the hell that mom can't shut that kid up. 

And I think, sonofabitch. I have a Screamer. I am That Mom with a Screamer and I kind of hate myself right then and realize that girl is me, ten years ago. 

So I grabbed one of those free apples from the little stand, take two giant bites out of it and thrust it at my daughter who's eyes light up and she takes it like it's the greatest thing she's ever seen. 

Now we've done this once before a few weeks back but after the fourth time of flinging the apple on the floor while I scrambled to finish the shopping, and the screaming tantrum that ensued, I had to give it up. 

This time, she held it. The entire time. 

I must have passed three sets of grandparents who cooed over her and two women who said she was the most well-behaved baby they've seen. And through it all, she held her little apple with two hands and munched and sucked until we paid and I started bagging. 

It. Was. Glorious.

 You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: The very heart of the home

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I'm currently read a book right now called Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore (thanks, Mom!) (My mom and I share books). Ellen, the main character is describing her aunt Peg's home and comparing it to hers back in London. I came across these sentences that made me pause: "Ellen sat back in her chair and let the room absorb her. Peg's kitchen was the very heart of the home, and Ellen soaked up the love appreciatively. "

Maybe it was overthinking on my part, because I was trying to come up with something for today's Microblog post, but it made me reflect on my own home. Where is the heart of my own home?

Every room in this house hold love and memories. The downstairs family room is where all the great TV shows are watched, where Chris and I hang out in the evenings. My spare room down that hall holds the Elvis collection my grandma passed on to me. The laundry room is where I washed the tiny baby clothes last fall, and cried because I actually had baby clothes to wash. Our kitchen is where I practice the fine art of cooking. Olivia's room: well, that used to be storage and now it's filled with baby books, a crib, diapers. Our bedroom is the place I opened the package Chris bought and found out we were having a baby girl.

So there is heart in all these rooms. But where would it show the most?

I remember last year, when Chris and I were drinking our coffee together on a Saturday morning and I rubbed my hand across my belly. "In just a few months, we'll be drinking coffee together and there will be a baby here, probably sleeping across one of our chests."

Our living room. It's where our family gathers when they come over to visit. It's where birthday and Christmas presents are opened and weekend coffee is drunk. It's where Chris and I talk. We're downstairs a lot, but we aren't talking much. Upstairs, the TV up on the wall is rarely on when we are all home together, so it's a place we gather to Be. To interact with each other. To play with Olivia.

It used to be clean. It's not so much anymore. But Saturday morning, Chris and I always manage to shove aside the laundry or baby toys and sit across from each other on the couches with our coffee and talk. Sometimes we are interrupted by screeches from the baby or when she wants to electrocute herself with the lamp cord, but many times, she is down for a nap and we sit facing each other and we talk. About our marriage, about our jobs, about the things going on in our world.

If you had to think, where is the heart of your own home?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

10 Months: The baby is becoming a toddler

Well hey there, 10 months!

Double digits!

Say it isn't so!

This month brought us two teeth, crawling and sickness. It's been a wild ride. I've been making a conscious effort to blog more, and when I look back at this past year, I'm a bit disappointed, because I wish I would have posted more. I mean, this blog is better than any baby book could ever be and I wish I would have been documenting more and not just these monthly updates and holidays. But here we go, onto month 10!

Practicing some new yoga poses.
We celebrated Chris's birthday. And we took Olivia on her first hike. (Another reason to post more. It makes these monthly updates so much shorter :))

Our trip to Texas to visit our friends was cancelled due to crappy unforeseen health circumstances. We ended up losing hundreds of dollars with the cancelled flight and beach house, but the worst part is we can't afford to go back there until we do our FET in well over a year from now. So that sucks. Chris ended up taking the time off anyway and we filled it with fun family stuff and household projects, like cleaning up the backyard and painting our bedroom. Necessary, but utterly boring to blog about.

Nicknames: Ollie (Ironically, that's the nickname of the month.) Miss Ollie, Miss Olivia (when she's doing something she isn't suppose to do), Livvie, Monkey, Monks.
Weight: 20.6 lbs
Length: 29 inches 
Head circumference: 46 cm
Diaper size: 3
Clothing size:
6-9 and 9 months

Eating: New foods tried: waffles, kiwi, chili, summer squash, baked beans, fettuccine alfredo, Mexican rice, refried beans, green beans, zucchini, cottage cheese, sloppy joe's, honeydew and chicken enchiladas. You guys, I'm so much better now at giving her two meals a day. Breakfast is usually toast with peanut butter or avocado, waffles, fruit.

I'm getting better on giving her what we have for dinner, as long as it's not too salty. One night we had this chili, (which is one of my favorites!) and I did relent and give her a spoonful, but I'm still worried about her choking on the beans and lately have been letting go of my fears of her choking on things. She is doing wonderful with BLW and hardly ever gags anymore. I think it's good for her to have spices, but I always have to be mindful of salt. She does like taco meat which I give her because I omit the salt when I make my own seasoning.  She is nursing still about every 3-4 hours (or less) and once overnight.

Sleeping: She's done some weird nights of waking at 11:30 or 2:30am. Overall, it's been good, but recently, she's been having a regression and I'm not sure if it's teething or a growth spurt. She wakes up between 3:30 and 5:30 for nursing and then will usually sleep until 8:00, though some days it's as early as 7 and as late as 9am. She's been good about staying asleep or putting herself back to bed.
She naps around 10:00 usually for 2 hours and then again around 3:00 for another 1.5 hours.We had to buy the fabric crib protectors because she's taken to biting her crib up. Like a beaver. Or a small puppy. It's like having a small puppy in the house.

Milestones: She's pulling herself up to stand now. In fact, anything that she has to sit on the floor with is pretty much a waste of time.

She's clapping. Getting better at crawling faster. Plays peekaboo.

Speech: Says "dada" much to Chris's delight. (I wonder if it's easier now that she has teeth?) Still saying, "Mama" and "Baba." "Geeee! and "Iiiiiieeee!" "Mom-mom." Basically, she's been frantically babbling and using her vowels this month.

Health: We were doing so well. But then she went to her 9 month check up and I swear she picked something up there. Three days later, I got a sore throat and she got a fever and runny nose. So of course I'm clueless and incessantly texted my friends on what to do for her. I doubled up on my Juice Plus and used Thieves EO on both our feet. I gave her Motrin and lukewarm baths and she gradually was left with just a runny nose. It was kind of a 24-hour thing for both of us. But I've had to use the Nose Frieda pretty much every night to clear her nose out.

We also had an incident (for lack of a better term) with her having a reaction to eggs. I gave her some of my scrambled eggs one morning (this was probably her 4th time eating them) and was really excited because she was actually eating them verses rubbing them on her arms and throwing them on the floor. We finished eating and I stuck her in the pack and play so I could clean up. About ten minutes after she ate, I went to her and she had a red blistery looking rash around her mouth.

I spoke with a triage nurse and made an appointment with a family practice doctor that afternoon. She told me no eggs until I speak with her pediatrician. That this time it was a local reaction, and next time could be a more severe one involving her whole face or an anaphylactic one. "You may need an epi pen," she warned. I don't know. I'm not 100% convinced, especially since I got a lot of feedback on my Facebook page saying otherwise. Right now, I'm staying away from it, but I will talk to her doctor and possibly an allergist because I feel like completely abstaining from eggs could actually make it worse. And I get that a reaction usually comes after an exposure already, but I mean, she's had eggs several times before this, just not in the same quantity. Regardless, it sucks. I was so good at trying to expose her to allergens early and both Chris and I don't have food allergies. So we'll see what comes of this.

Teeth: Her two lower teeth are coming in beautifully. For awhile, she refused to let me take a picture of them, but then I got one: (shhh, don't tell her). Recently, she's been showing more signs of teething and crawls around with the saddest red cheeks you've ever seen. That, combined with the screaming again and worsening sleep, leaves me wondering if more teeth are coming.

This was taken at the beginning of the month when her teeth were barely coming through. They are much bigger now!
Likes: Her glow worm. I used to put this in her crib while she lay in there to distract her when she was itty bitty, but it was lost in her stuffed animal basket for a long time. When I found it again, she LOVED it.

Standing. Always standing. Eating. Chasing her little plastic balls around the kitchen. Climbing kitchen chairs. Climbing the person nearest to her. She doesn't discriminate.

Swinging. Splashing in the tub. Her light up and talking toys. Toby. Participating in FaceTime with Auntie Ceena. Pulling out ALL her books in her bookshelf. In fact, books are probably her favorite thing right now, to my delight. Whether it's Grandpa reading her a book, or looking through them herself, she can spend 15 minutes doing this (which in Baby World is like three hours.)

Dislikes: When you put her books back in her bookshelf. We also discovered she HATES her nose being wiped. And the Nose Frieda? Forget it. It actually breaks my heart because all she had to do was look at it when I brought it out and it would send her into a wail. Having her hands and face wiped after eating. Putting her wearable blanket on when it's bedtime (maybe it's the anticipation of going to bed she hates). Taking things away from her.

Undecided about: Strangers. She isn't sure if she wants to be shy and look away or break into a huge smile and offer them a toy. So she kind of does a little of both.

Looking forward to: All of the fall stuff. Seriously. I'm so excited. We'll be making a visit to the apple orchard in a few weeks and I can't wait. I've talked for years about wanting to take my baby there and now I finally get the chance. And I can't wait to play with her in the leaves and take her on walks in the cooler weather.

She's just growing up so fast. She's acting more like a toddler than a baby now. She knows when she isn't supposed to be doing something and looks around discreetly before shoving things like clumps of dog fur in her mouth as fast as she can before I notice. Or smiling purposefully at me when I say something funny to her. (She thinks her mom is hilarious.)

We have two months before her first birthday. I STILL haven't done a thing for it and we were just discussing this weekend that we HAVE to get going on this.

40 weeks
41 weeks
42 weeks
43 weeks
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