Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Family Photo 2012

- Posted from my iPhone using BlogPress

Dancers Mobile

After I made the Munari-inspired mobile and saw how much Lydia enjoys it, I decided to make her another Montessori mobile. I thought the Dancers mobile was really interesting and it looked fairly simple to make.

From Bella's Casa on Etsy
I found a pattern on a blog called Texas Health Moms, so I printed it out and got started. I just happened to have some gift bags made from pink, green, and blue holographic paper, so I used those for the dancers' heads, arms, and legs.

 - Pattern
 - Holographic gift bags in coordinating colors
 - cardboard - black thread
 - yarn
 - tape - glue
 - metal ring for hanging

I cut out the patterns then traced each one onto the back of the gift bags to make the front of a dancer. Then, because each dancer is two-sided, I flipped the pattern over and traced another to make the back of a dancer. I cut out each dancer from the holographic bag and assembled the heads, arms, and legs. I taped black thread to the back side of the dancers, then taped on the fronts. After I had four dancers dangling from black thread, I assembled the cardboard hanger.

To make the hanger, I drew a triangle on a piece of cardboard and rounded out the points so it wouldn't be a hazard if it fell. I cut out the triangle, traced its pattern onto the back of some of the holographic paper, then glued the paper to each side of the triangle. I punched holes in each of the points and tied on the dancers. For the center dancer I threaded a needle with the black thread the dancer was hanging from and pushed it through the cardboard. I held it in place with glue.

To hang the mobile I used the same yarn I used for the Munari mobile. I just tied one end of a strand of yarn through the holes in each of the three points, then tied the other end of the strand of yarn to the metal ring for hanging.

I love that I have two mobiles that I can move around the house with her. I hang this one off of some of Chip's drum equipment (a drum mic stand maybe?) and put it beside her bouncer.

She does like this mobile, but I don't think she likes it as much as the Munari one. And lastly, I have a video of Lydia listening to Christmas music and kicking the dancers to make them move. She loves this game! Sorry for the sideways video.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From A Shower Fresh Garden...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lydia at Four Months

Time is flying. Lydia turned four months old on Sunday, December 16. Her adjusted age is about two and a half months.

At her weight check-up on Tuesday, December 11 she was 8 lbs 3 oz. My goal was always to get her to eight pounds before I went back to work five days in the office, so I'm happy to say that she made it. My first day back part time from home was November 7th, full time with some days from home was December 2nd, and full time in the office was Monday, December 17th. My transition back to work has been really good. I'm definitely not cut out to stay at home full time, and I realized that right around the time I started going back into the office. Our babysitter seems to be a great fit for our family. I do miss out on moments and time with my sweet baby, and I don't love that. But I do feel more balanced and more like myself now that I am back at work. I feel like I appreciate Lydia so much more. I even enjoy her fussy times!

Speaking of fussy, Lydia is rarely fussy, especially recently. Right around the time her nanny started (November 26th) she had a stormy patch for a few days, but since then she's been the happiest baby. On November 27th, I got the first "social" smile from her. She smiled back at me when I was making silly faces and noises. She is very serious about her play time, and really doesn't smile and giggle much yet. You really have to impress her to get a smile.

Lydia has outgrown all of her preemie-sized clothes and is on the verge of outgrowing the newborn size, too. A few of her Christmas jammies are three month size, and those are slightly big on her. Lydia is now wearing size 1 diapers. We are still getting Pampers Swaddlers diapers as gifts from folks, so I am alternating among those, the diapers I ordered from The Honest Company, and the Seventh Generation diapers I get at Kroger. So far I think the Seventh Generation diapers are my favorite. They handle poop and pee just as well as the Pampers, and it seems like they are better against her skin. I see less redness and rash on her bum with the Seventh Generation diapers. I still like Pampers Sensitive wipes best, and we use Burt's Bees diaper cream, A+D, and Desitin on her bum.

Things Lydia likes:
Her bouncer seat. The monkey and frog that move up and down entertain her for a good half hour. Then she usually falls asleep in it.
The pigtail doll that Leah gave us. I call her Polly with the Pigtails. When I move Polly's arms around, Lydia grabs her hands. It's the cutest thing.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we worked hard to get Lydia on a schedule to wake up only once at night. It worked! We started loading her up with milk every 2 hours between 6 pm and 10 pm. Very rarely does she want a bottle before 2 am, then she'll sleep until almost 6.

Our schedule for a typical day looks something like this:
6 am - Chip gets up and feeds Lydia. I get up, pump.
6:30 - 7:30 am - Lydia goes back to sleep. I get ready for work.
7:30 am - Our sitter arrives.
8:30 am - I leave for work
9 am, noon, 4:30 pm - I pump at work.
5:30 pm - We come home. Our sitter leaves.
6 - 6:45 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I cook dinner.
7pm - We eat dinner. I pump.
7:30 pm - 8 pm - Bath, pajamas, story, or lullabies
8 pm - Lydia eats.
9 -10 pm - Lydia sleeps. Sometimes we put her in her crib, sometimes she naps in mommy or daddy's arms, sometimes she hangs out in her swing in the living room.
10 pm - I feed Lydia in her nursery with the lights off. A dreamfeed.
10:45 pm - I pump then go to bed.
3 am - Another bottle. We alternate this one.

Lydia eats 3.5 to 3.75 ounces of breast milk by bottle every three hours between 6am and 6pm. Then we feed her 3 to 3.25 ounces at 8pm and 10pm. When she wakes up to eat between 2 am and 4 am, and we give her 3.75 ounces or so. Lydia's nurse really wanted me try to get Lydia to eat 4 ounces. We tried for a few days and had a lot of spit up and wasted milk. So, we aren't going to go back to 4 until she is consistently finishing 3.75. Most of the time there is still leftover milk at 3.75 ounces.

Our little girl is such a wiggle worm, too. You really have to hold on tight when she's I your lap because she'll get a wild hair and just decide to squirm. I remember her being a wiggle worm from day one in the NICU. She does let us kiss her a lot, and I tell you what, I steal a lot of kisses! There is nothing like smooching those sweet chubby cheeks

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Christmas Movie Reviews

I'm not usually a big television watcher, but lately I've turned on the boob tube a good bit more than normal because my arms are often occupied by a eating, burping, or sleeping baby. There's just really not much you can do while feeding a little munchkin other than listen to music or watch a little TV. Since Thanksgiving my programming of choice has been Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. Oh yes. Ain't nothing like a good made for TV Christmas movie!

Since starting this holiday hobby of mine, I've discovered that most of these Christmas movies are pretty bad. Predictable plots, over the top characters, and poor acting abound. Pick one of these inspiring movie themes, and folks, you've got yourself the beginning of a made for TV Christmas movie: Santa, Mrs. Claus, magic (my personal favorite!), a widow or widower, traveling home, a kid with divorced/separated parents, New York City.

I was searching for blogs that rate the Christmas movies, and I couldn't really find one with a decent rating system. So, as a service to all my wonderful readers, I came up with a rating system and will be rating movies straight into the new year!

5 stars: on my favorites list... acting is good and plot is good... must remember for next year
4 stars: acting is ok and plot is ok... might watch it again next year
3 stars: acting is fair and plot is fair... wouldn't watch it again
2 stars: acting is bad and the plot is cheesy, but I watched the whole thing anyway... then regretted wasting my time with it
1 star: so bad I couldn't finish it

Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas: An author finishing a book trades his city apartment for a house in the country with a woman who wants to surprise her daughter in the city with a visit. Not bad. 3 stars.

A Family Thanksgiving: Ok, not a Christmas movie. Daphne Zeniga is in this one and Faye Dunaway plays a magical lady who makes her see what her life could be like if she chose family over her career. 3 stars.

Silver Bells: starring Anne Heche and that guy that played Marissa's dad on The OC. This one made the favorites list! A boy who works on a Christmas tree farm escapes to NYC to pursue his dream of being a photographer. 5 stars.

A Smoky Mountain Christmas: You can't get much better than Dolly Parton, Lee Majors, and a bunch of orphans in the Smokies... that look just a little too much like the Rockies. Throw in a witch named Jezebel, and you got yourself a darn good Christmas movie. Major kitsch factor. 4 stars.

Mistletoe Over Manhattan: I couldn't get past the Manhattan police officer who lives in a McMansion with a three car garage that looks suspiciously like Orange County. Turned it off. 1 star.

Holiday Engagement: Shelley Long stars in this movie as an overbearing mom who pressures her daughter so much about getting married that her daughter hires a fake fiancée to bring home for Thanksgiving. 2 stars.

If you've watched a Christmas movie this season, please, leave your review in the comments. Stay tuned for more reviews!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


And leftover turkey. One of the best reasons to roast a turkey is for the leftovers. And the best thing to make with turkey leftovers is gumbo. I use Emeril's recipe, and it never disappoints.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lydia at Three Months

Lydia's three-month milestone came and went (last Thursday, November 16th). Her adjusted age is now six weeks.
Our happy little duck

At her weight check-up on Monday, November 12 she was 6 lbs 13 oz. That's a weight gain of 1 pound 10 ounces since last month. I feel like she's gained it all in her head. Every day either I say or Chip says, "Hey, does her head look bigger to you today?" Well, because it always does look bigger.

Bath time!

Lydia has outgrown almost all of her preemie-sized clothes. Only a couple of preemie outfits still fit her.We are trying a few different types of diapers now. She is still wearing newborn-sized diapers, but it won't be long before she is in size 1s. We still really like the Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers. I've also tried diapers from The Honest Company and Seventh Generation, and I really like both of them.

Things Lydia likes:
  • The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, especially songs that he plays harmonica on.
  • The play mat Sage gave us. Chip plays rhythms with the toys, and she excitedly kicks in time. It is very entertaining!
  • Chewing her fist and sucking her fingers. She's discovered that her fingers fit in her mouth really well, and that she can suck on them to her heart's desire. As cute as it is, I try to redirect her to the pacifier when I catch her doing it. The only problem is that the pacifier has a tendency to fall out of her mouth. The fingers, however, do not. 
  • Napping on momma in the Moby wrap. I'm working from home now, and putting her in the Moby is sometimes the only way I get any work done. 
  • Napping on daddy's chest.

Lydia still eats every three hours and still wakes up twice each night around 12 am and 3 am to eat. She eats 3 ounces of breast milk by bottle six times a day and 2.5 ounces when she gets her poly-vi-sol vitamins at 6 am and 3 pm. I think I've given up on nursing her. Every time we try it she eats pretty good for about ten minutes, then falls asleep. She just doesn't equate breastfeeding with eating. It is more like snuggle time to her. I think I am finally OK with it, and I'm going to stick to what works: exclusively pumping and feeding Lydia bottles. The important thing is that she is getting mommy's milk!

Our schedule for a typical day looks something like this:
6 am - Chip gets up and feeds Lydia. I get up around 6:30, pump.
6:30 - 8:30 am - Lydia goes back to sleep. I get ready for the day and start working at 8.
8:45 - 9:45 am - I get Lydia dressed for the day, feed her, pump.
9:45 am - noon - Lydia has some awake time in her bouncer/swing/nap nanny, or she naps.
Noon - 1 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
1 - 3 pm - Lydia has some awake time in her bouncer/swing/nap nanny, or she naps.
3 - 4 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
4 - 5 pm - Lydia can be a little fussy around this time, so I usually put her in the Moby, and she quiets down immediately in that thing. 
5 - 6 pm - Chip comes home. I start dinner or go pick something up for dinner.
6 - 7 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I pump.
7 - 8:30 pm - We eat dinner then play with Lydia on the play mat if she's awake.
8:30 pm - 9 pm - bath, pajamas, story or lullabies
9 -10 pm - I feed Lydia, pump. Chip goes to bed at 9 since he has the 3 am feeding shift.
10 pm - Bed time for me.
10 pm - 12 am - Lydia used to be really fussy during this time. Lately she's been sleeping like a perfect angel. I think it might have something to do with mommy putting her to bed instead of daddy. 
12 - 1:15 am - I feed Lydia. I pump. Sometimes Lydia will sleep a longer stretch here until 12:30 or so. 
1:15 am - I get to sleep until 6:30 am!
3 - 3:30 am - Chip feeds Lydia.

We are still waiting for the day when Lydia gets up only once at night. It would be great if she could sleep from 9:30 pm to 1 am, then from 1:30 am to 5 am. Hasn't happened yet. I'm not gonna push for it to come though. We aren't getting much sleep, but the schedule we've got going does work, and most nights I do love snuggling with my little dumpling.

This age is such a precious age. When Chip and I were deciding whether to have a child, I had tons of reservations about it because all I thought about was how much work it would be -- diapering, laundry, the evening routine of bath and story time. I never considered the possibility that I might enjoy those things. But, I do.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Play Time

Chip dressed Lydia in the cutest outfit on Friday. We picked out this outfit together at Belk right after we found out I was having a girl.

Lydia was really getting into play time on her mat. Kicks and coos. Smiles and gurgles. I just love watching her!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Munari-Inspired Mobile

This Munari-inspired mobile is a big hit with Lydia! I used this template after researching many different types of black-and-white mobiles.
Most of the time this mobile is hanging from the ceiling above Lydia's changing table just over her head and out of her reach. It has definitely helped calm her down during diaper changes to give her something of interest to concentrate on and interact with while mommy or daddy changes her diaper. I've noticed that she's a lot happier during diaper changes now that this mobile is in place.

The mobile is hung on a carabiner so that we can move it around the house with her. I've hung it from the lantern light above our breakfast table and from the ceiling fan in our bedroom while she's in her Nap Nanny.
Photos taken on October 10. Lydia looks so small!

We also put together a make-shift mobile hanger using one of Chip's drum mic stands so that we can hang mobiles above Lydia's awake mat. She really loves this. Notice how she is concentrating on the images, working on her ability to focus and to track object with her eyes.

Photos taken on November 2. Lydia's got chubby cheeks!

Lydia following one of the images to her left.

I didn't follow the directions from the website exactly. Here's how I made the mobile. I chose six different patterns and printed out copies of each one. I cut them out and glued them onto the back a front of card stock (mirror-image style) that I had cut to fit each image. I just used old cereal boxes and Elmer's glue. After the glue dried, I hot glued one image perpendicular to the other. A couple of hole punches and some string later, and tada! We have a mobile. I would say the whole thing took about three hours to complete.

Since I've made this I've already tackled and made another mobile in the Montessori series - The Dancer. It looks a little more "homemade" but Lydia likes it, too. Another post on that later if I ever find the time. I return to work on Wednesday, so I have no idea when I'll be able to post next. Hopefully before her 3-month birthday on November 16.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Revival

Our Sunday afternoon ritual has been revived: wine, cheese, and porch sitting.

But before the revival we took Lydia on her first stroller ride. At Monday's weigh in, once I found out that Lydia had hit 5 pounds, I asked nurse Lauren if we could take Lydia on stroller trips around the neighborhood. The nurse didn't seem too optimistic but said she would ask Dr. Singletary. I was beside myself when Lauren called back to say the stroller trips were approved as long as it was in the 70s and sunny out.

After Lydia's 3pm bottle she was awake and happy. We loaded her up and took off down the road. I guess the motion was soothing to her because she was asleep before we even left the driveway. We walked for about thirty minutes. She slept the whole time.

I plan to take her out every day this week because the weather is supposed to be beautiful. I need the exercise, too. The thirty minute walk wore me out, so I really need to work on my stamina.

When we got back from our stroll Chip got out a bottle of Clicquot, and I made a cheese plate. We took Lydia out on the deck with us, and we sat, relaxed, chatted, and watched the wildlife in the backyard. Good times. I'm so glad our Sunday afternoon sessions are back. This time: as a family!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lydia at Two Months

Oh how time flies! Lydia was two months old on Tuesday! Her adjusted age is just two weeks.

At her weight check-up on Monday she was 5 lbs 3 oz.

Things she likes:

  • Staring at, smiling at, and cooing at her monkey toy, usually while she is in the swing.
  • Playing by her floor mirror. She kicks and kicks and watches her legs while she kicks, looks at her black and white images or her mobile, and coos. 
  • Napping on momma in the Moby wrap. 
  • Napping on daddy's chest.
  • Grabbing daddy's nose or chin. 
Just in the past few days she has started tracking toys from left to right with her head and eyes and reaching out for toys or the mobile. 

We are using Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers, and she is still wearing the newborn size. She is in preemie size clothes. Most newborn clothes are still big on her. She's outgrown two preemie footie pajamas, and is close to outgrowing a few others. 

I give her a sponge bath every day to wash the really dirty parts - face, neck, hands, and bum. Twice a week she gets a real bath. As long as she is in a good mood to begin with, she really likes her baths! She likes putting her hands in the water, then her hands in her mouth to taste the water. She coos and kicks like a little frog in the bathtub.

She is eating 2.5 ounces of breast milk by bottle every three hours. We don't feed her on a set schedule. We wait until she acts hungry, and she gets hungry every three hours give or take 20 minutes either way. Chip calls her hunger cue "sandwich hands" because she does her hands around her mouth like she is eating a big hamburger. Or, she just touches her mouth while making short cries - pretty basic.

Our schedule for a typical day looks something like this:
8 - 10 am - Lydia usually wakes up between 7:45 and 8:15 am but doesn't act hungry until about 9 am. I get up, get my coffee, and feed her. She generally takes a bottle in 20 - 30 minutes, including the time it takes me to burp her. I pump after she eats and wash pump parts.
10 am - noon - Lydia has some awake time in her bouncer/swing/nap nanny while I eat breakfast and get dressed. Yes, this takes two hours because she usually interrupts me multiple times by whining or crying or screaming. Maybe her stuffed monkey pissed her off, or the swing stopped swinging, or her paci fell out, or she's just bored with laying around and wants momma to hold her. 
Noon - 1:30 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
1:30 - 3 pm - Lydia naps. I eat lunch and get some household chores done. 
3 - 4:30 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
4 - 5 pm - Sometimes Lydia naps during this time. Sometimes she is awake and is a little fussy. If she naps, then I sometimes catch a nap, too.
5 - 6 pm - Chip comes home. I start dinner or go pick something up for dinner.
6 - 7 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I pump.
7 - 9 pm - We eat dinner then play with Lydia if she's awake, and more and more she is awake during this time. I get a shower - yay!
9 -10 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I pump.
10 pm - Bed time for everyone!
10 pm - 12 am - I sleep if I am lucky. Lydia has a tendency to be very fussy during this time. If she's fussy, I don't generally sleep much if at all. 
12 - 1:30 am - I feed Lydia. I pump.
1:30 - 3 am - I sleep. Again, if I'm lucky she goes back down easily, and I am back in bed an hour and a half after she wakes up to eat and get to sleep another hour and a half. 
3 - 4:30 am - I feed Lydia. I pump. 
4:30 - 8 am - I sleep a "long" stretch, three and a half hours!
5:30 - 6:30 am - Chip gets up and feeds Lydia. I am still sleeping.

And people ask me what I am doing with all this free time on maternity leave. Ha!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Good News!

I took Lydia to weigh in at the doctor yesterday, and I couldn't be happier or more surprised by her weight gain. Lydia is 4 pounds 13 ounces! She gained 10 ounces in five days and has gained a pound since she came home from the NICU. Truly wonderful news and progress. The pumping and bottle feeding regimen is obviously working. We'll take her for another weigh in on Monday, October 15. She might be over five pounds!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Lydia's Awake Time

A few days ago I noticed that Lydia was really looking at me. Funny thing to say, I know, but up until that point her eyes just seemed to wander randomly or in reaction to a noise. This time she was focusing on my face and really looking. I started researching ways to stimulate and encourage her developing vision. I found that newborns are visually attracted to areas of high contrast - like my eyes when she is staring at my face or black-and-white images.

After reading a couple of blog posts from some Montessori moms, I thought I'd make a movement/awake area for Lydia. I got my inspiration from how we montessori and Feeding the Soil. I'm not really a gung-ho Montessori follower or anything, but I do like some of the ideas presented on those blogs. 

I already had a mirror I wasn't using. I printed some black-and-white images, and voila! Instant movement/awake spot for baby Lydia.

Yesterday during Lydia's awake time I snapped some photos of her.

Wow - she is really loving this spot! After her afternoon bottle she is usually awake for about an hour. I've put her down here for the past few days, and she's been entertained for about half an hour. She stares at the photos and watches herself move in the mirror.

I made a mobile from some of the black-and-white images to hang over Lydia's changing table. I'm trying to hang it today. I'll post some photos of it once I get it hung. I hope it helps her calm down during diaper changes. Right now she get fired up and really upset throughout the whole ordeal.