Friday, May 4, 2012

News + Baby Post-Vacation Sleep Help?

Yesterday, we had our big anatomy ultrasound.  Baby cooperated nicely (despite being super wiggly) and let us know that it's a GIRL!

I'm still a little in shock - I can't quite believe it.  I think Dan and I both expected it to be another boy, but we're super excited for her and for those two little ones to teach and love one another.  Yay!

On another subject, I need help.  We got back from a 2.5-week trip to New Zealand and Australia late Monday night, and Nat's sleep has been, frankly, miserable since.  Well, it's not even really the sleep.  It's the refusal to be by himself.

You see, we were spoiled.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that he was sleeping 8 hours at night by a month old, and 12+ by 2 months.  Ever since dropping his morning nap around 13 months, he's slept, with just a couple of little hiccups, 11-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day.  For his naps, I would turn on his sound machine, hold him for a minute or two while singing one song, and put him down in his crib completely awake.  He'd drift off to sleep all on his own.  In the rare instance when he really wasn't tired (or after he awoke from his nap), he'd play happily in his crib, chatting or singing to himself.  In addition to this, he'd regularly play for upwards of an hour by himself, just reading books or playing with toys or doing whatever.

I fully acknowledge that we got totally lucky and that this was through NO amazing parenting feat.  I'm even more convinced of that now as all of that has gone down the tubes the last few days.  Now, when we're with him, he's still perfectly happy and giggly and playful.  But during the day, he insists on being held for much of the time.  He falls asleep fine when we're with him, but wakes up when we leave the room, or freaks out and screams bloody murder if we leave him awake in his crib.  I put him down about 45 minutes ago (when he was clearly really tired) and he's been crying since (I went in once to comfort him and explain that I would be in the living room and he could come out after he'd had his nap).

I'm fairly certain this has to do with some sort of post-vacation separation anxiety.  He was with both of us pretty much 24/7 for nearly 3 weeks, and slept in the same room as us.  If he woke up at night, we immediately picked him up and brought him to bed with us for fear of waking up any hosts or neighbors.  And now, he's clearly used to that and is terrified of being by himself in his room.

So, HELP!  All you experienced moms, please tell me what to do!  Do I just let him cry for forever and hope he figures it out?  Do I rock him to sleep for a few more days to let him adjust?  Do I just pray like crazy that he remembers his good sleeping habits (I think that one's a definite)?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I've been doing another outfit challenge (check it out on the style blog over here!) so Dan's been graciously taking pictures for me. And someone else often likes to pop in, too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Crockpot Help?

I want to love the crockpot. I NEED to love the crockpot, now that we have afternoon church this year (blah) and Dan typically has meetings after and I'm exhausted after wrangling kids for the past 2 hours (nursery).

This is where I need your help.

You see, I used to have the (erroneous) impression that the crockpot was only made for meat/weird & unidentifiable ingredients (e.g., cream of anything soup), but I now recognize that neither of those has to be the case. But I haven't really found even ONE recipe that I can count on to be amazing. We tried this soup last night, and meh...I wasn't blown away. Dan really liked it, but I feel like the whole point of a slow cooker meal is that the flavors meld beautifully and the flavor deepens and this was a little bland, I thought. (Granted, I only used half the amount of butter, but still.)

So...anyone have any phenomenal, veggie-friendly crockpot recipes?


Thursday, January 19, 2012

15 Months

(Editorial note: Shockingly, I actually wrote this post on Nat's actual 15-month birthday. I kept meaning to upload pictures - which I still haven't done - but decided to go ahead and post this anyway. Maybe pictures will come soon.)

Dearest Meine Tiny,
Happy 1.25 years!

This month was your first Christmas in which you could actually participate. And boy, let me tell you, it was such a joy for all of us. I had no idea how much fun it would be to wake up with you on Christmas morning and watch you open presents. Your dad and I thought you'd be fascinated by all the bags and wrapping paper. And don't get me wrong, you liked them. But it wasn't until you realized there was STUFF INSIDE that you really got excited. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever to watch you stick your little arm all the way to the bottom of your stocking and pull out a little bowtie and suspenders.

This month has also been filled with travel. We went up to New York to spend time with family in between Christmas and New Year's, and then traveled out to Utah for a wedding. It was so fun watching you bond with your dad's side of the family, who you don't get to see quite as often. I love watching you light up when you see them on Skype now, and it was adorable seeing how attached you got to all of them.

It's been fun teaching you more about yourself and your world this month. You now point to your nose and occasionally your mouth when asked, and have learned a few animal/vehicle sounds. Your first and my very favorite is "hoo" for what the owl says. You make this adorable little "O" with your mouth and pause for a second and then blow out a little "hoo." It is pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.

You've also started distinguishing between different animals (previously, everything was "dog"). The main one you've started liking to name is "duck," which has the unfortunate characteristic of sounding quite similar to "dog," but we're learning to tell them apart along with you. Speaking of dogs, you still adore them. You met your cousins' dog in Utah, and you could not stop saying "DA!!" and pointing frantically for about 15 minutes straight.

You also finally decided to join the world of the walking this month. You had been practicing with a couple of steps here and there. Finally, one day, you just decided to start walking. You hadn't taken more than 4-5 steps in a row before that, but in a matter of about 24 hours, you were exclusively walking. You've clearly been ready for a while, so I'm glad you finally decided to go for it.

Something else magical has happened in the last month or so. You've started to cuddle. Trust me, no one was more surprised than I was the first time it happened. I was holding you and you put your head down on my shoulder for a minute and gave me a little snuggle. I almost died, it was so wonderful. You see, from day one, you've been busy and independent and not at all into cuddling. From the time you could hold your head up until about a month ago, I don't think you had once put your head down on me - you were always too busy looking around. So you can imagine my shock and delight when you continued to do this. You now frequently crawl up to me and give me a hug and rest your head down on me. Let's just say that it is the best. thing. ever.

Along with the hugs, you've learned to pat our backs. I think you like when we pat your back when we hold you, so you started doing it back. Your dad commented on how you run a lot deeper than we usually realize - you have this very sweet and understanding empathy about you, and you realized that it feels good and wanted to share it back.

You finally got a (real) haircut this month. The situation was starting to get dire, so when we were in Salt Lake, we went to the barber shop where your dad started going when he was tiny, and you got a nice trim. You HATED the experience until you got a lollipop and I held you and then all was well with the world.

Your personality just keeps getting sweeter and funnier. You love to sneak behind furniture and play peek-a-boo with anyone who sees you, and you love pulling up our shirts when we're sitting down and giggling like mad.

In all of it, you continue to be so cheerful and happy - it really does amaze us. You are a constant sweetheart, rarely getting upset, never throwing tantrums, and always lifting those around you. You are a joy and a light, my Nat, and I'm ever grateful for you.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

All Hail the Baby Carrier

We got to go to Utah this past week for a friend's wedding. We had two flights each way, and we debated whether to take the whole carseat/stroller contraption. Grandma and Grandpa already have a carseat out there, so we didn't need it on the other end. The major consideration was Nat napping in the carseat - he basically never falls asleep in our arms (too much going on), so we thought it might be helpful for the plane ride. But then we decided that he's still small enough that maybe we could just have him nap on the floor.

And that's exactly what he did.

I stuck him in the Moby wrap and we went on our merry way. On the way out, we got him all cozy in his swaddle with his paci, laid the Moby on the floor of the empty middle seat (thank goodness) and he snoozed away on both flights. The way back was another story with the napping, but wasn't anything the carseat would've fixed.

It's been a while since I've used the Moby consistently - I feel like we drive or stroll most places nowadays. But I used it all through Africa and LOVED it (made nursing while touring so so much easier) and I renewed my love of it this week. It was so nice to not have a ton of stuff even though we had a baby, and to not have to look for elevators, etc.

The only thing is I feel like Nat's getting a little tall for the Moby - the back part doesn't come up quite as high as I'd like or fit as tightly near the top. Any suggestions? I'm seriously considering an Ergo or something of the sort but they're a little pricey. Actually, I really want a Boba 3G, so if anyone from Boba is reading this and wants to send me one, that would be swell. :)

End ode to baby carriers. Trip pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

(Belated) 14 Months

Dear little Nat,
This month has been so full of travel that I haven't even had a chance to post about it until the next one is halfway through. Just know that it's because you're having fun that you didn't have a timely post, not in spite of it.The first trip of the month was to Philadelphia for our half-marathon. It was so much fun to visit our city and you loved getting to hang out with both sets of grandparents. The next weekend, you got to enjoy your very first Thanksgiving dinner this year! Last year, you were a little small to try anything, but this year, you had your pick of all kinds of deliciousness. Let's just say that you like food almost as much as your dad and I do.(Despite all the fat we keep trying to pile on you, you remain skinny as ever. This aids you greatly in removing certain articles of clothing, much to my chagrin.)Thanksgiving also afforded you the opportunity to spend lots of time with your paternal relatives. You loved having your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousin around, and developed an absolute adoration for your grandpa. Every time you saw him, you would crawl right over and want to be held. It was the sweetest thing.
The next trip was when we went on a cruise in the Caribbean with your maternal grandparents. We all had a blast! The weather was perfect and warm and dry and the ports were beautiful. You absolutely LOVED playing in the water and sand and on the fun playgrounds. You kept crawling around in the sand (and not eating it!) and just running it through your little fingers. It was so fun to watch you discover new things. (I, of course, praised the warm weather for letting me see your little bare baby legs again.)
You continue to chatter up a storm. You are seriously the most talkative baby I've ever met. People are constantly commenting on how you are being really chatty, and I inform them that that is perfectly normal for you - you are always blabbing. In the midst of your jibber jabber, you have a repertoire of about 10 words that you use fairly consistently. This is incredibly helpful for helping us to know what you want ("baba" means you want your sippy). You love pointing out things you recognize in real like and in books (especially dogs and balls). The funniest part of your chatter is that you use a huge variety of sounds and inflections that you string together and put into "phrases." It totally sounds like you are having a full conversation in some other language!All of this chatter must be what you've been focusing on instead of walking, which you are STILL not doing. Early in December, you started standing on your own fairly regularly, and then just last week, you took a few steps on your own. But You've been cruising for literally over 6 months and yet you show zero interest in really wanting to walk on your own. I guess crawling is just faster for now...

Your nursing has gone down significantly this month. A few weeks after you turned a year old, I decided to try to just do 4 times a day (morning, before each nap, and at night) and see how you reacted. I really did not want to force you to wean, and was hoping you would let us know when you were ready. Despite never taking a bottle, you had transitioned to a sippy really easily, so I decided to give it a shot, and you were totally fine with it. A few weeks later, I decided to try to put you down for your naps without nursing. I was prepared for some fussing, but you drifted right off to sleep as usual. This made me SO happy that you were just ready and had started communicating that to me, and that it didn't need to be a big ordeal. Success!You got to meet Santa at our church Christmas party early in December and you...were displeased. Let's just say that you had some beef to raise with Santa. It was very sad. And also very very funny.

Oh, my tiny. You just keep getting more and more fun each day. I absolutely LOVE the stage you are in right now. I had so much fun traveling with you - you are the perfect little travel buddy. You adjust easily, sleep well, and smile like crazy at new people. You have this way of lighting up those around you, especially me.

I've told you before how consistently happy and cheerful you've been, and that's still the case - a friend of mine recently commented how it seems you are always just waiting to be entertained and looking for any excuse to smile. I love how that personality has gotten even more salient, and how our personalities, together, work so well. You help others make friends, you bring peace, and you just help me be better. Lately, you've become not just my angel son, but also my little friend, and I love you all the more for it.