Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weekend with Grancy

I am a bit behind in blogging about our weekend, so I am just now getting a photo of Sarah Graves and her Grancy up!  We had such a good time visiting with them.  The time went by all too quick, but I know they enjoyed seeing her and she took to them immediately.  When they arrived on Thursday night she was asleep, but woke up soon after they got here and I wasn't sure what to expect because she has been having a little bit of stranger anxiety.  She knew her Grancy and took to Ger Ger very quickly without any hesitation!  What a sweet girl. 
Grancy brought her some prizes that she and Aunt Ardie picked out.  Sarah Graves now has lots of cute headbands and bows to wear!  I think they are so adorable and she doesn't seem to mind them.  Maybe it's because everyoe oohs and aahs over her and tells her how cute she looks with it! 
We had a really low key weekend mostly hanging around the house and going to a couple of restaurants.  We took them to try Atlanta's icon, the Varsity, and I think everyone agrees there isn't a lot of need to go back!  Putting her in the baby pool was probably the other big excitement that we had.  I could just eat her up in this cute little bikini!  Sarah Graves was a trooper and seemed to enjoy the outings despite the fact that she was much too interested in what was going on to fall asleep.  By Sunday she was exhausted and napped for more than three hours, but she was pretty happy all weekend!

Baby Pool


While Grancy and Ger Ger were visiting we pulled out the baby pool for the first time. We filled it up when we were ready to use it and I totally forgot how cold the water would be.  She wasn't too turned off.  I think she really likes the water and seemed to enjoy moving her little legs all around in it.  Her bikini was a gift made by my mother-in-law's friend, Ms. Margaret Anne.  I think it is just adorable!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Check-Up

Yesterday Sarah Graves had a visit to the pediatrician for shots.  We found out that she weighs 18 pounds and 5 ounces and is 27 inches tall!  She continues to grow by leaps and bounds!  She received the vaccines for pneumococcal and HiB.  Her face got so red and she howled when the nurse gave the vaccines, we had full on bobcat.  Poor love.  She was a little cranky last night and has been unhappy today.  Mom just gave her a bit of Tylenol because she was so fussy and miserable.  Hopefully, it will pass quickly.
While we were there, I talked to the pediatrician about starting solids.  Given her huge interest in everything we eat, I feel bad not giving her anything more than milk.  He said that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends holding off on starting solids until 6 months of age mostly because of the belief that it reduces the chance of food allergies.  Then he mentioned that no research has found proof that waiting until 6 months really does reduce the risk of food allergies.  So, he said it would be fine to start on solids, if we want to.  He suggested about a tablespoon of rice cereal once a day to start. 
Since Aaron and I don't have any food allergies anyway, I think maybe this weekend will be a good time to give cereal a try once she is feeling more like herself.  That will also give me time to do a little research on which kind or brand is considered the best.  I saw something about tests done on jarred baby food and some of them had high concentrations of lead, that's just GREAT.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Me Monday!

Mckmama- Not Me Monday
I would never be in such a hurry to get out the door that I forget to check that my pumping bag has milk storage bags. No, not me. I would never pump a full bottle worth of milk only to realize that I had no bag to store it in. No, not me. I would never leave the milk in the collection bottle using the pump attachment and paper towels as a make do lid until I could get more bags because I couldn't bear to throw away precious milk. No, not me!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Guest Babysitters

That's right!  Aaron's Mom and her husband are visiting this weekend and took care of Sarah Graves for us today.  I think she had a great day with them and was having so much fun that she couldn't miss any of it to take a nap! 
Here she is showing off her new outfit.  She is fascinated by the flip flops!  Check out her hammy lammies here!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reading with Daddy

Aaron reads the bedtime story at night.  Here she is reading Green Eggs and Ham with him for the first time.  I just love those rolls on her arms and tummy! 
You might think from a lot of these pictures that she doesn't have enough clothing.  That is far from true; she just enjoys being as close to naked as possible!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby Shot!

This isn't the close up kind of picture that I usually include for the baby shot, but I just had to put this one up!  Sarah Graves is a little couch potato who will do most anything to watch TV.  She will crane her neck in any direction possible to get it in her view.  When we are out in public and notice how good she is being, there is usually a TV in her line of sight that is capturing her attention.  It's a little scary to me how much she likes it.  Now that she can grab things she is always reaching for the remote.  I guess it's a good thing that there is developmental TV designed for babies and toddlers! 

Feeling Lighter

I have debated whether to post this for a couple of weeks and finally decided that I would.  I post a lot of personal things here, but this feels more personal than most.  I finally decided to write this post because I have a feeling that a lot of new moms feel like I do, but aren't sure what to do about it. 

A couple of days after Sarah Graves was born I started experiencing the baby blues, that weepiness over anything and everything. Other than the urge to cry easily, I felt happy. I talked to my midwife about it at my 2 week appointment and she agreed it was something to watch. It started getting better, so I wasn’t concerned.


Then, as the time for me to return to work drew closer, my feelings of being very emotional returned. I assumed it was simply that I didn’t want to be separated from my baby and that it would get okay once I was back at work. Instead, my return to work seemed to make me feel more overwhelmed and emotional. I have been exhausted by the night feedings and all the effort that goes into getting her ready to leave for the day plus being at work all day. I knew that I didn’t feel like myself, but I also knew that I did not feel clinically depressed. Finally one night Aaron mentioned that he could tell I wasn’t myself and maybe it would be good to look into doing something about it. Aaron is not the person who notices a problem and runs out for a solution; that is usually my role. So I thought about it and felt like maybe talking with a counselor who has experience with postpartum issues would be helpful.
After talking with the counselor that I found, she suggested maybe I consider medication as a way to help me get over this hump and feel better quickly while she and I worked on the heart of the problem. I immediately reached out to my midwife, Anjli, to get her thoughts on medication while breastfeeding. After talking to me for a while, she arrived at my conclusion that I wasn’t clinically depressed and she had ideas of other things that we could try before medications that would be passed through my milk to Sarah Graves. She suggested that I try acupuncture and had an acupuncturist in mind who has treated women for postpartum issues. She also recommended that I consider a homeopathic medication called sepia that is helpful for postpartum issues like feeling very emotional. I explained to her that I felt like a big part of my feeling so emotional was that most nights I didn’t get to sleep for more than a few hours at a stretch. She agreed that this is definitely a problem and recommended that I consider a chiropractor for Sarah Graves. She mentioned that she had seen babies who just couldn’t get comfortable and being adjusted helped their sleep.

This all sounded good to me. Aaron and I rushed over to Whole Foods and picked up a thing of the sepia and I started trying it right away. I like the idea of doing something to address issues that I am experiencing. Have I mentioned what a huge fan I am of Anjli and her partner, Margaret? I really appreciate the level of care they provide.

Two weeks ago I met with Krista, the acupuncturist, and she was awesome. The only other time that I have tried acupuncture was when I wanted to get labor going and I wasn’t really concerned with the whole consultation part of it that day. Krista spent a lot of time talking with me about what I felt, what was different since the birth, and what my lifestyle was like. She determined that the best thing to do would be to work on strengthening my Qi (energy). She did the acupuncture part and also talked with me about how diet can really help with your Qi. Foods that are cooked slow and long are more restorative for Qi and certain foods and spices like sweet potatoes and cinnamon are believed to help build Qi after birth.

Aaron thinks all this is a little bit crazy, but he has admitted that I seem happier. I describe it as feeling lighter, like a weight has been lifted.

At first I thought maybe it was just that my Mom had stayed over two nights in a row and the sleep helped, but I don’t think that is the only thing happening. We have had some rough nights with Sarah Graves; she is tired, but can't seem to stay asleep. Normally this would make me feel awful because she is unhappy and that makes me feel sad that I don't have more time with her during the day.  I usually feel like maybe she wouldn’t be this way if I were with her all day. But the last couple of weeks I have not found myself having these thoughts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Letter Month Five

Dear Sarah Graves,

You are now 5 months old and seem to be enjoying life so much. Your personality has begun to shine through and boy you seem to have a lot of it! You are curious about the world around you and are trying to take it all in, literally. You are so quick at grabbing things now that anything I have in my hands while I am holding you is immediately being aimed at your mouth. The other day I found you with a straw clutched tight in your little fist and sure enough, my cup no longer had a straw in it! You feel very upset when I try to remove these objects from your hands and look at me with your bottom lip curled out as though to say that I just took your best friend. The great thing about this age is that you are easily distracted and we move on to the next activity.

Your world is full of activity. You love your toys and can amuse yourself in them for quite some time. You have your favorite ones, but you are usually willing to give them all a go. Now that you are able to push up on your arms you are able to play while lying on your tummy. You are able to roll yourself with such ease now that you can decide you are tired of being on your tummy and move to your back. I can only imagine how good that bit of independence feels to you. You have discovered that being on your tummy isn’t just good for playing, but also for sleeping. It is by far your preferred sleep position.

Sleep is something that dominates our thoughts right now. We think about when you slept last, how long you slept, and oh yes, will you sleep tonight. Your napping seems to be getting easier. You take a one to two hour nap much more frequently than you did a few weeks ago and you seem to be able to soothe yourself to sleep pretty often. We have quit using your woombie now that you roll to your tummy and you seem to be doing fine without it. That’s a bit of a relief because we weren’t sure what you were going to do when you were invited to your first sleepover and needed someone to put your woombie on you!

Your Daddy and I just marvel at you. We are amazed at all the cute sounds you make, the way you smile at us, and all the silly things that make you giggle. Just tonight I was giving you a bath and you gave a deep laugh when I washed your toes. I guess those little feet are getting ticklish! Sometimes I get in the tub with you and we use our big tub that feels like a swimming pool to you. You love being in all that water and just move your legs all around. I hope that one day you will love to swim as much as I do.

I still can’t believe that I grew you. You are by far the best thing I have done. No Master’s or Ph.D. tops the kind of pride I feel when I look at your beautiful face and see how happy you are. I am so grateful to have you in my life. I hope that you can feel all the love around you.
Love,
Momma

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Big Day Out

Yesterday was a luncheon and shower for my friend Sarah.  This was a big deal for me because it is the first time in a long time that I have left Sarah Graves for something other than work.  It is also the first time that Aaron really kept her all on his own.  When I first got there I felt out of my element and was immediately thinking that maybe this wasn't a good idea and I wanted to be with my baby.  Gradually though I found my way into conversation and remembered that I did know about things other than babies and work.  By the end of the day I enjoyed my time with the other girls and had a good time catching up with my dear friend.  
As a hostess for the event my contribution was the favor. We agreed on cupcakes and I picked these up from a cupcake shop called Sweet Pockets.  I could have made cupcakes, but these come in neat flavors like Happy Monkey, which is a banana bread cupcake with peanut butter frosting. Because you can't just hand someone a cupcake I went out in search of boxes for them.The first set of boxes that I bought were called cake boxes, but when I put the cupcake in, the box was huge for it.  So Friday night after dinner I talked Aaron into going out in search of new boxes.  I was totally shocked to find someone in Michael's who actually had several ideas of different boxes they sell that might be better sized for a cupcake.  He showed me these cute blue and green numbers from Paula Deen's new collection and they seemed to fit the bill.  Since Sarah Graves was born it has felt like I don't have time and will never have time for craft projects and such again, but putting these favors together helped me see that maybe I will have time for some of that. 
The luncheon was at South City Kitchen in Midtown, which has really yummy food.  The restaurant let us have the upstairs all to ourselves, so it felt much more private.  The other bridesmaids decorated the table and it looked so festive!   All week long I had been thinking about what I would order and how good it would taste.  Their fried chicken is super yummy.  I don't usually order fried chicken in nice restaurants, but they do it so nice and take the bone out of the breast for you that it isn't cumbersome or messy to eat.  Their grits are so heavenly and they do an individual pecan pie that as my Dad says is so good it will make you want to slap your mother-in-law!
   After our lunch Sarah opened her presents.  The theme of the shower was something for a date night for the happy couple.  People were really creative!  I put together items for them to make pizza together, someone else did items for cooking Chinese food, things for a day at the beach, and perfect for any girl she got some cute pajamas!
Because the other two bridesmaids live out of town, this was a full day event and the plan was for Sarah and her two other bridesmaids to have a night at a hotel with some bachelorette fun.  I didn't stay the night, but I did go and hang out with them for a while.    It was fun to have some girl talk and get to know my good friend's other friends. 

I was excited to get back to my family and enjoyed a bath with my baby and putting her to bed, but it was also nice to get out and be with some other grownuups and remember a little about life before baby.  All in all it was a fun break from the ordinary.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Year Ago

Tonight was a typical Friday night for us.  We ate dinner at home, made a trip to Target, and hurried back to get Sarah Graves ready for bed.  A boring Friday night by most standards.  For me though it is the kind of life that I always wanted.  This week last year we found out that we were pregnant and that our little dream was beginning to take shape.  I can't help but think how different my life is today than it was a year ago and how much richer it is with a lot more laughter and a lot more joy.  I am grateful for my ho-hum Friday nights with my sweet husband and precious baby girl. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tummy Sleeper

Sarah Graves is now very quick to roll to her tummy and has discovered that she prefers to sleep on her tummy.  It is actually quite cute because she sleeps just like her Daddy (big shocker, I know) and puts her arms up and her face right inside her arm.  I am glad that she is so comfy, but it scares me because all the SIDS prevention information says that they should only sleep on their back.  Unless I am willing to stand at her crib and turn her over, I have no way to really keep her on her back.  I hope that all the SIDS information didn't take into account whether the baby can turn herself or if it is the parent laying them down on their tummy. 
One might expect that this improved sleep position is helping her sleep more at night, but not so much.  We're still up several times a night.  At the birth they should warn you like cold medicines do not to operate heavy machinery due to the extreme exhaustion that will ensue for FOREVER.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Baby Shot!

We broke out the doorway jumper last week and although I think she likes it, I'm not sure she completely understands how to jump.  Right now it's more of a ballerina act as she turns little pirouettes. 
Dancing around wearing Daddy's shoes is really fun as you can see from her grin!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Good Weekend

Funny how my definition of a good weekend has changed. Good weekends don't necessarily mean that we did hugely exciting things, but that our sweet girl was in a good mood and we were able to enjoy her company.  This was one of those weekends; she was in a good mood most of the time and was a joy to be with.  Saturday we ran errands and enjoyed dinner out with my family and she didn't seem to mind the long day and constant barrage of things to see and hear.  She managed to take a few naps, some were on the go in her car seat and some in her crib.  By the time we left dinner she was worn out and quickly went to sleep on the ride home.  It's hard work being as cute as she was.
Sunday was also wonderful.  For the first time we were able to stay in the service the whole time at church.  She was tired, needed a nap, and wouldn't take one during church, but she remained pleasant the whole time.  She fell asleep the moment we got her in the car and slept on for a while in the grocery store. 
I think we were both sad to put her to sleep last night and wished that our good time could go on longer. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Roll Over


I have been trying to get video of her rolling over and so far this is the best that we have. Every time that we think she isn't going to do it and turn the video off, that's when she does it! Babies are crafty that way!
She has been perfecting her skill at it the last couple of weeks and has become very quick with it.

Prayers Needed

When I was pregnant, my good friend Sarah sent me a link for her friend Ashley's blog to read her birth story.  Her birth sounded like exactly what I wanted, so I reached out to her to find out who her doula was.  She used a doula who had been mentioned to me by someone else, so I decided to call.  That led me to my doula and eventually to the midwives who all made Sarah Graves' birth such a positive experience.  So, I have felt some gratitude and connection to this lovely person for helping me connect to all these great things and I have checked her blog periodically to see how she is doing with her little one. 
I noticed that her blog posts pretty much stopped in early February, but I didn't think a lot of it because moms are busy people and blogging can be a luxury.  Well my friend Sarah let me know what has been happening to Ashley and her baby Skylar and directed me to their new blog.  My heart goes out to them because what has been happening is a mother's worst nightmare.  Her baby Skylar was diagnosed with a genetic disorder and she is terminally ill.  Skylar has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1.  Children with this disorder do not live very long because their muscles are very weak making it hard for them to suck, swallow, and breathe.  You can read about Skylar at their website, http://www.skylarmariejones.com/. This family needs a van to help transport Skylar and the many machines that are keeping her alive.  To help raise the money they are having a fundraiser where several photographers will schedule short photo sessions in a park and the fees will go to help this family. 
If you live in the Atlanta area, think about signing up for a photo session (link for the event is on their website).  Please pray for this family as I can't imagine the courage and strength they need right now. 

Thank You Mom!

Monday night Sarah Graves did not sleep well at all despite all my attempts.  She was restless and crying, but she wasn't in pain or hungry.  I think all total she and I slept about 3 or 4 hours.  I told my Mom how exhausted I was and just didn't know what to do different.  She didn't have an answer, but she did come and stay with us for two nights so that she could get up with Sarah Graves and I could get some longer stretches of sleep.  She stayed Tuesday and Wednesday night and oh did it feel good to sleep for 5 or 6 hours in a row.  That combined with some other things that I am doing to help me, has made a huge difference in my outlook. 
Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Giggle


Notice that I am willing to sacrifice my own dignity in order to get this giggle to share! She is so going to love her first ride on a rollercoaster!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Good Book

When I came back to work I felt for several reasons that pumping was an unpleasant chore that I had to do.  I have relaxed quite a bit about the whole supply thing and now know that some days there is not as much milk there, but that if I don't freak out, it will be fine and there is plenty of milk for baby girl.  I have also found a way to make my time pumping something that I almost look forward to rather than dread.  I keep a book with me for those days when my BlackBerry isn't buzzing and I need something to occupy me. 
I just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which was excellent.  I love fiction and this was the first book of fiction that I have read in about a year.  I had almost forgotten how wonderful it is to read a good book and have the characters and their actions continue on in your mind after you put the book down.  Non-fiction just doesn't create that kind of enjoyment for me.  I know I truly enjoyed a book when I get to the end and I wish that I could continue to read about the characters' lives. 
Aaron and I really enjoy reading and I so hope that Sarah Graves will also love to read.  We are still showing her her words for her reading program and she still gets wide eyed looking at them.  If nothing else, it's a fun game for her!  It would be a thrill to one day realize that she sees a word and is able to read it and know what it means. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday
I would never ride in the passenger seat, listen to my baby cry in the carseat, and think that I could nurse her while she rides. No, not me! I would never climb into the backseat and contort myself over the carseat so that she can have access to Mommy while Daddy drives along the interstate! No, not me! After she is contented, I would never wonder if it was the nursing that satisfied her or just the fact that I rode in the back with her. No, not me!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What's Normal?

I feel so grateful to live in a time with internet and all of its information at my fingertips.  I find it incredibly helpful to go online and be able to read experiences that other parents are having. 
I belong to a group on facebook called Circle of Moms, and one of the helpful features is that you connect with other moms who have babies the same age as yours.  I haven't come across anyone who seems to have the magic solution to our sleep issues, but it's nice to know that my baby isn't the only one.  I also get email from Whattoexpect.com with links to featured blog posts that are relevant to where Sarah Graves is in her development.  These blog posts have lots of comments from other moms and so you get many perspectives on the situation.  Sometimes it makes you feel fortunate for how easy of a time you've had it and sometimes you realize that you are having a tougher go of it, but know that you are not alone.
The internet may not have the solution, but it is a helpful reminder that I'm not the only one who has a baby that wears size 9 month clothes, or who still needs a couple of feedings every night. 

Daddy and Sarah Graves

What a cute pair these two are! 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tasting the World

Sarah Graves is at the age where she wants to put everything in her mouth!  She does it in such a cute way!  She will stick her tongue out and lick fabric like she is doing in this photo.  It totally cracks me up!  She really likes to feel the different textures with her tongue and explores all fabrics this way. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cruel and Unusual

Last night it seemed like she kept waking more than she has been other nights.  Maybe this was because of the rain storms we were having.  So today I am sitting here at my desk trying to stay awake and alert.  I think my level of sleep deprivation is such that I don't even realize anymore how much my cognitive ability has been impaired.  I only realize that I am not able to think very quickly. 
As I sit here trying to be productive it occurs to me that if you were to wake a prisoner up during the night every hour and a half or so and sometimes they could go back to sleep immediately and other times you kept them awake for about 20 minutes, it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.  There would be massive complaining about how unjust it was.  Yet, this is just considered normal for parents. 
Keep focusing on the gummy smile and the cute giggle...they're worth it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Shot!

She enjoys the bath and I think she feels good when she's all clean.  The changing table is an enjoyable place for her. She looks at you and tries to talk to you.  Sometimes she does a full body wiggle when her diaper is off!