Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Months Old!

My little tater tot is officially 3 months old as of this past Saturday.  Which means that I have officially been in charge of a living and breathing human being [outside of the womb] for 3 months.  With most jobs there is a 90 day trial period where the employee's performance is evaluated and usually receives a pay raise.  If I had to evaluate myself [and my husband] I think we're doing a pretty good job!  I know I won't be getting any raises, but I'm ok with getting paid in giggles, big smiles, and sloppy open mouth kisses.

I don't have any stats on her growth, but I am guessing she's probably gained around a pound in the last month.  She's fitting quite nicely into 3 month clothes because of her cloth diapers.  Yesterday I had her in a disposable and it was fun to see how tiny she still is. 

She is still sleeping pretty well, but sometimes she likes to avoid napping during the day or wake up a couple times at night for a quick feeding---just to mix things up.  On Saturday we finally ripped the band-aid off and moved her from the bassinet to just the flat part of her pack-and-play.  She slept the whole night, much to our surprise!  Unfortunately, she has been waking up a couple of times each night after but that may just be because she's having a growth spurt or something. 

Our little girl is still quite a happy and social baby!  She smiles ALL THE TIME!  She doesn't mind if other people hold her, but she definitely doesn't like it when she can't see me.  When we're out and about I keep her in the Moby wrap and she is content there.  She is definitely a mama's girl.  I'll take it because I know it won't be very long before I'm not #1 anymore.  I got to hear her laugh for the first time last week!  It was one of the sweetest little sounds I've ever heard.  She did it for her daddy on Sunday night, but she isn't doing it all the time yet.

Kathryn has always had great head control and loves to sit up and watch everyone.  She can't sit up on her own, but she likes to be propped up or sit in her Bumbo seat.  She loves to look in mirrors and is still trying her hardest to roll over.  She loves things above her that move.  I have got to make her a mobile this week! 

She has entered the stage of discovering everything with her mouth.  I think she gave up on sucking her thumb; she uses two fingers or just stuffs her whole fist in.  Anything that she can get hold of goes right in her mouth.  Her vision has improved greatly and she loves to watch us from across the room.

Yesterday was a big day.  She became a cousin!  Annabelle Lucia was born to my brother and his wife.  They live in NH but hopefully they'll get to meet soon.  Congratulations!

What I want to remember most about this stage is how excited she is about everything.  I think she will be that way for a long time to come, but it is just so precious.  Sometimes she puts her little hands up by her mouth with that big ol' smile and she looks like a little squirrel.  She has really settled into her environment.  We love to play, read stories, and have family Bible time most nights.  She loves bath time and talking to us from her changing table.  She is, I believe, naturally kind of shy.  When I'm holding her and people come up she kind of smiles and then buries her head in my neck.  I secretly love that.  I can't wait to see what her 4th month brings!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I won't tell...

You have to admit...
she's pretty cute.

I won't tell on you.  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I did something terrible

This is a really long post.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  :)

First, a little background.  I'm not a loyalist to any one style of parenting, but if I had to choose I would have to say that we fit underneath the "attachment parenting" umbrella.  I nurse on demand, wear her in a Moby wrap, and pretty much keep her close at all times.  She's almost 12 weeks old and still sleeps in our room.  We don't co-sleep, but she sleeps right next to us in her pack and play. 

A typical day for us is waking up between 7am-8am, feeding, play time, and a nap.  Her morning naps range from 1-3 hours.  During the day we read stories, sing songs, and play with a variety of toys [mostly educational, I suppose].  She has a good amount of "independent play" on her activity mat and other baby apparatus'.  She has a bouncy seat that she sits in next to the fridge while I unload the dishes, make supper, etc.  I can usually get about 20 minutes out of her "independent play" so I am quick to get done what needs doing. 

We don't run on any kind of schedule.  Well, I guess we do: Kathryn's.  I stay home and we only have one car so except for one outing during the week and church on Sunday mornings, we don't have anything to do.  My sole job is to take care of her.  I still have plenty of time to do most of what I want to do, and whatever doesn't get done during the day gets done in the evenings when Justin comes home.

Lately, I've felt a lot of pressure to establish a schedule, at least for naps/bed time.  For a couple weeks she did run like clockwork on her naps.  She was having 2 three hour naps a day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.  I have friends whose babies can only stay awake 2 or 3 hours before they need another nap.  My child is not like that.  One day last week she was awake for 22 hours except for an hour nap.  Yes, you read that correctly, TWENTY-TWO HOURS!  She wasn't fussy or anything, just not tired.

You may think that babies don't know what they like or don't like, but I beg to differ.  Kathryn does not like skin-on-skin, she doesn't like to be swaddled, she hates riding in the car or anything to do with her car seat, and she does. not. like. naps.  Period.  Even in her first few days at home, she would go 12+ hours without sleeping.  So, after realizing this week that she is getting too long for her bassinet [attached to the pack-and-play] and consequently, her swing [nap time solution,] I decided that this week we'd work on sleeping on the flat part of the pack-and-play.  In fact, I thought, while I'm at it why don't I try laying her down before she's completely asleep?  I mean, that's what all the experts say I should do.  No big deal, I thought.  It will be just like that time I had to house-break the dog by keeping her in her cage for 2 days. 

It wasn't a complete disaster.  I know the signs when Kathryn is about to go to sleep, and we did have some successful, though short, naps by putting her down before she was completely asleep.  She even had a couple naps on the flat part of the pack-and-play.  But I got a little cocky and decided to let her "cry it out" a little.  Everyone says they'll just cry themselves to sleep, right?

Here's where the terrible part comes in.  The first time I did it, I was crying about 3 minutes in.   A couple of other times, Justin had to almost sit on me to keep me from going to get her.  But then he'd feel bad after another minute or two and let me go get her.  Today I let her cry for 10 minutes.  It didn't get better and she didn't get sleepier.  When I went in to get her, she was inconsolable.  She didn't even want to nurse.  It took me way longer to calm her down after the crying than it would have to rock/pat/nurse her to sleep.  Maybe it's because I know too much about orphans and how they eventually stop crying altogether because they know no one's going to come get them, ever.  Maybe I'm too sensitive.  But I really feel like "crying it out" just breaks her heart.  She doesn't know that I'm 5 feet away in the other room.  To her, I'm just not there. 

I will continue to do what we always do.  And if she doesn't want to take a nap at all, I'm not going to make her.  She will go to sleep when she's tired.  Eventually she is going to be so big for her swing and bassinet that she absolutely cannot sleep in them anymore, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.  I think that change will be a lot easier than trying to make her sleep when she just isn't tired.  I'm going to keep working on the transition and hopefully have her in her crib in a few weeks.  We are blessed because she sleeps between 7-8 hours a night and I know babies that are very scheduled who never do that.  She's done that since about 4 weeks.

If you're like me and feel pressured to do things a certain way, don't cave in.  We have instincts for a reason.  My instincts have been telling me to rock, sway, nurse, etc., since I first held her in my arms.  I'm going to keep trusting them.  It's what works for us.  I'm going to stop reading about other peoples' wonderfully scheduled lives and feel like I'm a failure because we don't schedule anything.  I'm not going to feel inadequate because I have to nurse my baby in public when she's hungry because I can't seem to pump enough milk.  I will shamelessly nurse her to sleep at night because it comforts her and helps her sleep longer because her belly is full.  I'm not going to apologize if I haven't done the dishes or vacuumed up the dog hair off my couch.  I'm a mama first, and no one else can take care of my little angel like I can.  God has given all mommies everything they need to care for their little ones.  It's not easy, but why make it harder by giving ourselves unrealistic expectations?

I have several sweet friends who have just become mamas and I'm so glad we're on this journey together.  It's nice to be in the club, right?  I hope that you feel encouraged to embrace your gut feelings and know that you are doing a great job!  I won't judge you, whether you are of the "cry it out" group, the "co-sleep" group, or the "every day is different and we just go with the flow" group. This is the hardest thing we'll ever do as women, but it's definitely the best part of our lives!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Something new: Maple Pork Loin

Ok friends, I've got something new for you to try.  Who doesn't love a nice slow cooked piece of meat?  I'm talking, cooked so long that it is literally falling apart.  Even better than that, you just throw it in the crockpot and forget about it til supper!  In this season of life, literally and figuratively, I can think of nothing better than a slow-cooked meal.  I don't have any pictures, but I hope you can "see" how good this is and be inspired for a different way to make pork.

1 pork loin [well, 2 since that's what comes in a pack---mine was a toal of 3lbs]
3/4 c maple syrup
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c orange juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each of: ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, ginger
1 tsp paprika

Salt and pepper each side of the loins and place in your slow cooker.  In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup and butter until it's melted.  Then add in the orange juice and spices and stir until combined.  Finally, just pour it in the slow cooker, pop the lid on, and cook on high for 4 hours.  When you open the lid you will be greeted with tender and juicy, sweet [but not too sweet] and slightly spicy pork. 

I served it with sweet potatoes and spinach, and we're having it as tacos tonight.  I based this recipe off of a few different ones I'd seen online.  It seems I always make either BBQ or herb crusted pork and I just wanted to try something different.  You can play around with the spices depending on what you have on hand.  The addition of a sliced onion would be grand, but we forgot to get those at the store this week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kathryn Grace at 2 months

My little angel is 2 months and a couple weeks old.  I just cannot believe it.  Something happens to the time/space continuum when you have a baby and all of a sudden entire weeks will go by in the time it used to take for a day to pass. 

-She weighs 9lbs and 8oz.  This is up almost a pound since her 1 month visit, and just about 3lbs since her birth.

-She is 22 inches long [2 3/4" since birth] and her head circumference is 15 inches.

-This makes her in the 10th percentile for growth, but it's right on track for her. 

-She can hold her head up well and turn it from side to side.  When she hears me or Justin talking to her she will turn her head quickly toward the sound of our voice.  She still hates tummy time though.

-She smiles like a champ!  I mean this little girl loves to smile.  We saw her first smiles at 2 1/2 weeks and if you don't believe me, ask our pediatrician; she smiled at him with direct eye contact when he picked her up at her 3 week visit. 

-She is also quite the talker.  She started cooing at us at 5 weeks and now tries to have conversations when she isn't busy smiling.  She is trying to laugh.  She'll get so tickled at something and almost giggle, but we aren't quite there yet.

-She can reach out and grab objects, especially the toys that hang from her carseat or bouncer.  She loves the crinkly toys and tries to put them in her mouth. 

-Our little girl is determined to suck her thumb.  She can't hold a pacifier in her mouth so she has decided that her thumb is better.  If her thumb doesn't work, she just uses her fist.  I even heard her wake up the other night and suck on her hand until she went back to sleep.  Self-soothing is awesome!

-Speaking of sleep, she usually takes a morning and afternoon nap [each lasting 2 or 3 hours] and sleeps about 7 hours at night.  I'll take it!

-What I want to remember most about this age is her sweet smile and the new things she is discovering every day.  Yesterday she saw herself in a mirror and that brought great joy!  I also love the way she looks at me, with such trust and dependence. 

Slow down sweetie!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts on a New Year

I've had this post marinating for the past couple of weeks and since I've already spent the last 2 hours uploading Christmas photos to my facebook, I decided I might as well stay online and write.  Yesterday was a rough day of motherhood as KG had her first round of shots and I had NO IDEA what that does to a precious babe.  But I'll talk about that in another post. 

Did you make resolutions?  Mine is to not get pregnant.  But seriously........

Each new year rather than making resolutions for some sort of drastic change that I know won't happen, I like to meditate on words that I would like to be a major theme in the new year.  This year I want to focus on gracious living, completion, and intentional listening.  Overall, I want to absorb all of our blessings [even that which does not seem to be] and be thankful.  I want to be gracious with what we have been given as a family as we show hospitality toward others.  I also want to more freely extend grace toward others, even when it has not been shown to me.  I aspire to complete projects.  I have several crafting/sewing ideas, many of which I've already purchased supplies, that I just haven't started.  Maybe I should start them and focus on finishing next year?  Just kidding.  I want to be a more intentional listener.  There's a lot to learn from just listening and not talking.  I long for quietness so that I can minister better by keeping my mouth shut.  Just because I know things or think things doesn't mean I need to advertise it.

This year I set realistic goals for myself that I hope to achieve. 
*Read more.  Having a little one doesn't allow much "me" time, but I have time to read a few chapters as I nurse.  I'd like to do a book a month, but maybe I can do more.  So far on my list?

 The Money Saving Mom's book that will be released next week.  I really enjoy learning about budgeting, etc and cannot wait to get my hands on this. 
Girl Hunter.  I don't think I could ever actually kill an animal but I do love learning more about where my food comes from and want to take a bigger role in it as a consumer.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I feel this will be a great help on my quest for a more gracious [and grateful] life.

*Get back on the fitness high road.  Kathryn is now almost 10 weeks old, and I've only lost half of the 52 lbs gained during pregnancy.  Considering that I already had a few extra pounds before I got pregnant, I've got about 30-40lbs that need to go.  I believe all things in moderation and as long as I'm exercising I should see great results.  I'm cleared now for regular workouts.  I plan to ease into it but hope to partake in a step aerobics class at church and maybe even do one of those Couch to 5K programs [although I loathe running].
*Eat more fruits and veggies.  The #1 way I hope to do this is by integrating the green smoothie into my life.  It's a great way to get 2+ servings of fruit and 2 cups of leafy greens without even trying.  Brown Eyed Baker has a great recipe that I'm going to start with.  Do you have one that you'd like to share?
*Stick to a Bible reading plan.  It's so easy using the YouVersion app on my phone. 
*Pray more for my husband.  I've seen some calendars/charts floating around online [example].  This will be a great visual reminder for me that I could keep in the kitchen for specific ways to pray [and a great visual for him to know that I'm praying].
*Have Bible study with Justin.  We haven't really ever done this well as a married couple but we hope to begin anew.  There's a great marriage devotional on my YouVersion app that we plan to begin.  It's only 15 days or so, but it's a great place to start.
*Become a prayer warrior for my child.  Here is an example of a prayer calendar for moms.  It's easy to pray that she takes a nap but I want to do more.
*Treat Justin like he's my husband not my child.  Yes, I know men can sometimes turn into a second [and even bigger] baby that your actual baby.  BUT I don't want to have the kind of relationship with my husband that is akin to parenting.  I do dumb things all the time and he doesn't talk down to me like sometimes I do to him [double ouch].  He's human just like me, and even though Kathryn has sort of changed the dynamic in our family, I want us to continue to be in love and seek after the same things together that we did when we first got married.
*Complete our household notebook.  This is a book that will have our family mission statement, daily calendar, meal plans, shopping lists, etc.  Call me a nerd if you want but I am excited about having this!

*I want to serve with Justin as much as possible, but I do know that I've had to step back now that Kathryn is here.  I will continue to help in any way that I can from home.
*Invite each staff family from our church over to our house between now and June [if their schedules allow].  We have been here for a year and a half and never had anyone over that Justin works with.  Shame on us! So, if you're on staff at our church and reading this, watch out--I'll be coming your way with an invite soon!
*Pour into the college students we minister to.  I think we do a pretty good job at this, but there are several students who are kind of on the outside, so to speak, that I want to make sure are included.  Now that we are settled with KG I hope to get back on track to inviting a couple of them over every Sunday for lunch.
*Justin wants us to get involved with a local ministry.  There are a lot of hurting people in this community.  I'm not sure what that will look like, but I'll follow his lead.
*Continue to pay down debt [student loans, hospital bills, etc].
*This is the year that we cancel our TV.  Seriously, $92 a month to contribute to my laziness?  There are less expensive ways to find entertainment, and I'll  be excited to share with you just how that comes together.
*Give above and beyond our tithe.  I feel that more and more we need to recognize that none of what we have is really ours.  We are so, so blessed and we need to take more opportunities to bless others locally and globally [especially now that we won't be paying Direct TV].  I so want to sponsor a child through Compassion and look forward to doing that soon.

What are your goals/hopes for 2012?  I plan to get started on mine right away...just as soon as I take down the Christmas tree.  Happy New Year!