Wednesday, December 24, 2008

first Christmas, first goose egg

We went to Dan's family Christmas today. Olivia was the life of the party once she warmed up to everyone -- I'm constantly amazed by what a social girl she is.

During the chaos of gift opening, one of the kids tripped while carrying her new (very large and heavy) toy keyboard and fell, first bashing me in the head and then hitting Olivia. She screamed for a few minutes, but then settled down. My head stung for at least half an hour, so I can only imagine how her poor little noggin felt. She's got a goose egg on her head, too. :( She liked all her gifts, but seems to prefer the wrapping and tissue paper to the actual gifts. I'm not really surprised!

Her favorite word is still "hi," though she's slowly adding words to her list:

You'll notice there are a lot of B words on the list--I know it sounds strange, but she has a different pronunciation for each one. She's also started giving hugs when you say, "Where's my hug?" or asking her to hug someone. She gave Dan's niece a big hug tonight, and multiple hugs to the girl who hit her with the keyboard. It's incredibly cute. Christmas Day stories and pictures to follow tomorrow!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Olivia and Santa

We didn't get any of the traditional hilarious crying photos because daddy ran over to her the second the tears began, blocking the photographer's view. There's always next year. ;)
She wasn't waving here -- she kept her hand raised like this nearly the entire time. We were all cracking up, and Santa got into the act.
Inspecting the beard:

Friday, December 19, 2008

deviating from the regularly scheduled programming

I've been following this blog since around the time Olivia was born, maybe before that. The author, Emilie, is a lovely, intelligent, caring woman and mom of two young boys. She found out she had cancer when pregnant with her youngest, and despite surgery, chemo and radiation, has had to bring in home hospice care this week.

If you could take a minute to comment on her blog to let her know you're thinking of her, or to just send a quick thought or prayer (whatever your preference) her way, I'd appreciate it.

In general, I can't imagine being 40 and faced with dying; more specifically, the thought of dying and leaving behind two small children and a husband -- around Christmas, no less -- is just more than I can wrap my brain around.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas card, take 2

We ran out of Christmas cards before I was finished with my list. Oops! Rather than spend $80 on another set of 20 from our photographer, I decided to stage an impromptu photo shoot this morning when Olivia got up from her nap. She was in pretty good spirits and even let me put a bow in her hair. About one hour of uploading, choosing from the 45+ photos I took, and picking a card design later, voila! Thanks to the fabulousness of the web, I can pick them up now at the Walgreens down the street. What did people do before the internet? Olivia will never have to know.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10 months!

If you look closely, you can see her three little teeth on the bottom!

I haven't had a chance to post for a while -- I've been sick all week and had some freelance work to do, so free time has been scarce.

We went to have Olivia's picture taken with Santa today, thus the holiday outfit in her 10-month photo. We weren't sure if she'd freak out or be fascinated by him. She was a little of both. When we put her in his lap, she did the pouty lip and started crying a bit, but we worked hard to distract her. The photographer got a couple of good shots, and I can go pick up the prints on Saturday.

That's it for now -- bed calls!

Monday, November 24, 2008

these stairs are made for climbing

She figured out how to climb up the stairs. Oh my. Time to shop for baby gates. She's also learned that mommy's wallet contains fun items like debit cards and cash.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

noting for the baby book

Because I still have yet to fill out any of the adorable "Life With Baby" book that I bought, I wanted to capture this somewhere. Olivia has another little tooth coming in -- it's on the bottom left, next to the teeny lower teeth that popped through when she was 4 months old (is that right? I'll have to search the archives!).

The lower teeth don't throw me like her upper ones did. Every time I get a glimpse of them, I get a little twinge of sadness that she's growing up so fast.

Pictures to come if she'll ever let us touch her mouth!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New movie: "When Teething Babies Attack"

Other names I'm tossing around for my new horror movie screenplay:

"Cujo vs. Crib: Ultimate Fighting Cage Match"
"What Not To Feed Your Baby"
"The Baby Who Had Ginsu Knives For Teeth"

It almost looks like the tick marks a prisoner makes on the wall as they await their release, doesn't it? Poor, poor Olivia's belly filled with wood and varnish. :( Poor, poor pretty crib.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

lots of new things

It's crazy -- in the past week or so, Olivia has started doing a bunch of new things. She can wave (though mostly for hello than goodbye so far), she says hi to us when we walk in a room, to people at restaurants, etc. Such a social girl! Given how introverted her father is and how shy I was for most of my childhood, I'm not sure where she gets it.

She'll clap her hands when I say "good job!" or "yaaaaaaay!" -- I do a lot of that while she's eating -- and she'll also clap if we ask her to. She likes to give us five as well, but it's more of a down-low five than a high five. When you ask her if she sees any birds, she looks out the window, and if you say, "where is _______?" [insert "Nugget/Antoy," or any of her toys], she'll look around until she finds it. She loves to untie shoelaces, and she figured out really quickly that you always have to pull the non-bow pieces to get them untied. It's so strange and so cool that she's turning into such a little person. It seems to have happened overnight. I swear, the last 9 months have been a total blur.

Last week we had the pleasure of all having colds while Olivia was also getting her top teeth all the way in. That wasn't the most fun ever. *sarcasm* She is VERY opinionated lately, and especially hates having her nose wiped. She shows her displeasure with flailing, sobbing, and even some choice kicks to the face. Wow.

She went to town chewing on her crib while her teeth were coming in. Despite buying a gummy cover for the crib rail, she's still working on chomping it down to bits. She's figured out how to unstick and lift the gummy piece, and the rail looks like it was attacked by angry beavers. Siiiiiigh. The thought of her ingesting varnish and wood shards makes me positively twitchy. I should have saved my money on all that organic baby food! :p My mom is working on some sort of a padded rail cover that will hopefully keep her from further gnawing.

Solid foods are starting to go a little better. She hasn't had a major gag or vomit incident recently, and she's starting to be able to handle whole Cheerios and zwieback toast. Hopefully that was just a short-lived phase that she's growing out of, because god knows I can't handle much in the way of barf.
Since I know you're not here for my babble, but for photos ... ;)
Reading the paper:
Showing off her newfound standing/balancing skills:

Monday, November 10, 2008

9-month appointment

Olivia had her 9-month well-baby checkup today, and her pediatrician seemed really happy with her weight gain, etc. Her stats:

weight: 19 pounds 4 ounces (60th percentile)
length: 30 inches (98th percentile)
head circumference: 45 centimeters (80th percentile)

So in summary, she's a long, lean baby with a pretty big noggin. :)

He encouraged me to keep plugging away with solid foods despite all the gagging, so today I got brave and gave her some mashed up black beans and shredded cheese (we had burritos for lunch). She seemed happy to eat both, and didn't gag once. Maybe next I'll start giving her whole Cheerios instead of breaking them into tiny pieces. Yeah, I know how to live on the wild side!

I was also advised that I need to start breaking her of the habit of her 3- or 4-a.m. feeding. I would like nothing more than to sleep through the night, but I'm wimpy and don't want to deal with her crying, either. Hopefully once she learns to sit down from a standing position, she'll have an easier time just going back to sleep. Of course, add teething to the mix and that changes everything.

I'm already starting to plan her first birthday party -- I even bought her party dress last week!

Friday, November 7, 2008

9 months!

Happy 9-month birthday to our little lumpkin the pumpkin!

Her favorite thing to do today:
Enough photos -- she's out of here!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Belated happy Halloween

from our little ladybug!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

first word?

Yesterday Olivia and I went on a little excursion to the mall. I had a shirt to return at Macy's and a few things to take back from my overzealous spree at Baby Gap a few weeks ago, but I mainly wanted an excuse to get out of the house.

Instead of taking the BOB stroller, I got the Peg Perego Venezia out of the basement and we used it. With Olivia in the actual seat instead of in the infant carrier, I didn't hate the stroller quite as much as I did last time. The stroller basket is a lot more accessible than it is when the seat is flat, but the wheels were still sort of wobbly and I kept kicking them as I walked. Oh, and one wheel squeaked. Annoying! But I digress ...

Olivia had the best time while we were at the mall. She kept raising her hand to wave to people passing by, and occasionally she'd do her little wave and shout, "Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Which I'm pretty sure is Olivia-speak for "hi." A few people stopped and said hello to her, and she just grinned and giggled and drooled, happy as a clam to get so much attention.

Today my parents came over in the afternoon, and when I told her to say hi to Grandma and Grandpa, Olivia raised her hand to wave and said hi. Another new thing that started today is her saying, "Haaaaa, cuh!" when she sees the cats. Cuh = the hard k sound, for kitty. She's not even 9 months yet, so I doubt she's trying to say cat just yet, but it seems like she's trying.

I was on the phone a while ago talking to a friend, and as part of the conversation I said, "You know, blah blah blah." Olivia looked at me and said bah-bah-bah. She also does a little "mmmmmm!" and num-num-num sound when she eats. This kid makes me laugh every day.

One new thing that I'm not super thrilled about, though, is her new favorite pasttime of taking a spoonful of food and then blowing raspberries. She coats her high chair tray, me, and the cabinets when she does it. Ugh! Hopefully this, too, will pass ... soon. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween festivities, part 1

We went on a very brief trip to the pumpkin patch today. The weather forecast said it was supposed to be 60 but cooler and even colder tomorrow through the rest of the week, so we bundled up and headed out. When we got there, the sun was covered by clouds and there was a pretty strong breeze. After about 5 minutes there, we realized we were probably not going to be able to stay very long. The line for the hayride wasn't bad, but when we contemplated the logistics of hayride + baby + hauling pumpkins and baby back on hayride, then walking to the car, we opted out. She won't remember this year anyway. ;) She did at least enjoy looking at some chickens and goats and touching a pumpkin, though.
From earlier in the week. Let me out, she says!
From today at the pumpkin patch ...
Her favorite part of the pumpkin is apparently the stem.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Status quo

I haven't had a whole lot to write about lately. Olivia's sleeping is still ok -- she wakes up once or twice during the night -- so I can't complain there. She's of course exceptionally cute ;) and never fails to make us laugh every day. Some of her new skills:

speed crawling -- she crawls with one hand flat and the other balled in a fist; she puts her right leg out in front of her and then sort of drags the back leg. But she's speedy!

semi-standing -- without holding on to anything, she tries to stand up. It terrifies me to watch, but she looks very proud of herself.

playing telephone -- I have video of her talking through a wrapping paper tube to daddy. She's a riot.

I should also add gagging and vomiting to the list! She's not loving the finger foods thing (other than puffs -- she shrieks when she sees the container). I tried giving her a few pieces of very small green beans and potatoes the other night, and *urp* they came back up. We had our photos taken outside this weekend, and she stuck a leaf in her mouth before we could stop her. See where this is going? Yep, barf city. Thankfully I was able to clean her up with wipes so we could go on with the shoot. I have vomit issues, so I'm not really fond of this phase.
I'll get some video uploaded this week and post pictures from our shoot this weekend when we get the proofs back. In the meantime ...
Boxes are fun!

Gnawing on a hunk of bread at the Cheesecake Factory:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

8 months old

I realized I forgot to post her 8-month photos the other day. We took pictures in the yard, which was kind of a disaster. Olivia had the blanket bunched up and had pulled up handfuls of grass before I could even blink. She's quick, that one. :)

Paper is delicious!
Or maybe not ...

Monday, October 6, 2008

It probably doesn't count ...

... but the last two nights, Olivia has looked at me and distinctly said "ma-ma." Last night, Dan carried her into the kitchen where I was washing dishes. I had my back to them while I stood at the sink, and she said it. I turned around and gaped at her, and Dan said, "Did you hear that?"

Then tonight, we had her in the pack n' play while we were having dinner. She pressed her face against the PNP, looked over at me, and said it again.

I'm pretty certain that she doesn't know what it means at this age and that it doesn't really count, but it was still cute to hear her say. She only babbles ba-ba-ba and ga-ga-ga, so to hear her say the m sound was new (and so cute).

Friday, October 3, 2008

I think this calls for a parade.

She slept through the night. Wait, this is cause for shouting: SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!

She's just a week shy of 8 months (note to all you moms of babies who started sleeping through the night at 2 months: shhhhhhhh. You can just keep that bit of trivia to yourselves.). She stayed in her crib from when I went to bed around until 8 a.m. We put her down for the night around 8:30, but she woke up at 9:30 crying. Daddy went up with a bottle, rocked her, and she was back out within minutes. Then around midnight, she was awake and sort of talking/doing her little singing thing: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. UHHHHHHHHHHH. Uhhhhhhhh. Uh! I decided (more out of sheer exhaustion than sleep training) to not get up and get her unless her singing escalated to crying, and drifted off to sleep. She miraculously got herself back to sleep on her own, which very very rarely happens.

Of course, I didn't get to enjoy a night of solid sleep. I woke up practically every hour, thinking I'd heard her. At 4 a.m., I even got up, made a bottle, tiptoed into her room, realized she was still out cold (ok, I admit that I made a little noise to make sure she moved) and went back to bed. I didn't put the bottle in the fridge, thinking that surely she'd be up before the 2-hour bottle freshness window ended. Nope. So a bottle goes to waste, but I don't really care. She slept!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

our musical genius

She performed a piano solo -- complete with "singing" -- this afternoon. She seemed so serious while banging away at the keys that I couldn't help but laugh a little.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

sleep, glorious sleep!

Olivia went to bed at 11pm last night (which was way too late, but we had an overstimulating day of attending her cousin's birthday party and lots of attention from the in-laws, plus a too-late-in-the-day nap in the car on the way home) and didn't wake up until 6:15 a.m. SEVEN HOURS! I woke Dan up when I heard her, saying, "Do you see what time it is?!" He just grunted and went back to sleep. ;)

I was thinking she'd be up for the day, but when I picked her up she put her head on my shoulder -- which my active girl never does unless she's zonked -- then sucked down her bottle and conked back out again until 8:45 a.m. I know I need to get her on a better/earlier waking schedule so that she'll go to bed earlier, but it was a cool morning and my warm bed was calling. I'm a bad/lazy mom, what can I say? Ha! Anyway, I can only hope that an earlier bedtime and true sleeping through the night is just around the corner. At nearly 8 months old, I think it's about time ... but I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.

We're going to take her to a pumpkin patch in the next couple of weeks to get our pumpkins, see some farm animals, and maybe go on a hayride. I think she'll really enjoy all of it. I love how aware she is of everything. This morning she pointed to a chipmunk on the porch and did her little "what's that?" noise: "Uh? Uh?" So funny.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And away she goes ...

I have a feeling my days are about to become a lot more interesting. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Olivia has been doing a couple of crawling "steps" at a time all week, but she's really ramped things up yesterday and today. This morning she ventured off her playmat and managed to go under the dining room table, and then tried to scoot her way into the kitchen. I'll try to catch it on video, of course.

This has been a somewhat rough week, because Wednesday morning I pinched a nerve/pulled a muscle/did something ouchy to my back and have been in relative agony since. I had to call Dan Thursday a.m. to come home because I couldn't get Olivia out of her high chair without serious pain. Things are just now starting to feel a tiny bit better (thanks to a ton of ibuprofen and trying to have other people carry her for me -- thanks, sis!), but I still can't stand up totally straight and it hurts no matter what position I'm in. I guess a doctor visit is in order on Monday if things haven't resolved by then.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

scary things

Overall, she's a pretty curious, happy baby, but there are a few things that reduce Olivia to a quivering, pouty ball o' crying baby:

  • Swiffer sweep n' vac
  • Dustbuster Kone vacuum (sense a theme here?)
  • the green and blue puppets on Baby Einstein
  • and probably most strangely, the sound packing tape makes when you pull and tear off a piece.

She's learned to get on her knees this week. When I go up to get her from her crib she's kneeling there, chewing on the crib bar and trying to pull herself to standing. Needless to say, we've already put the mattress on the lowest setting.

EDITED to add that she pulled herself to standing the day I posted this.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

new things every day

Today Olivia seemed to figure out how to control her hands a little more. In previous days, she'd try to pick up little pieces of puffs that I put on her high chair try, but she couldn't do much but scoot them around the tray and knock them on the floor. Today she not only grabbed the pieces, but she put them in her mouth -- hungrily and greedily, even. It was hysterical to see her sucking on her fingers to try to remove the puff pieces. The bad part of this is the gagging. She's still not sure what to make of the texture or something, because every few puff pieces she'll gag dramatically and her eyes will water (and embarrassingly, I back up a bit in case she spews. I really need to get over my vomit phobia.). Thankfully so far, she hasn't puked from them. Maybe this weekend I'll give her some small pieces of steamed veggies or fruits and see what she does.

She also seemed to imitate me clapping today. She's been studying my hands quite seriously for the last couple of weeks when I clap for her. Today I clapped while singing, and she followed along. Her form of clapping is more like one hand staying still while the other moves toward it, but she's getting it. And it's so cute! It just amazes me every day that she's learning so many new things and turning into such a little person.
She's also having what I think might be mini temper tantrums (at 7 months old? God help me!) after her bath. She loves the water and protests mightily when we take her out and try to dry her off. It takes both of us to get a diaper and PJs on her because she's flailing/crying/screaming so much. Oh my. This is why I only give her a bath every couple of days right now!
As promised, her 7-month pictures:
It was hard to get her to stay still - and as you can see, she crinkled the paper right away ...
Must ... eat ... paper!
This is what we call her "thinking mouth" - she purses her lips and makes that face when she's checking out something interesting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

so many new things, so little time to write

I had a friend in town all weekend, and now I've got a bunch of freelance projects I'm working on. I wanted to make sure to quickly jot down a few things so that one of these days when I go back and fill in the baby book, I'll have at least a ballpark date to put with everything.

  • She's added "ga-ga-ga" to her repertoire. She still does ba-ba-ba, but occasionally she'll mix it up. She looks so proud of herself when she does it.
  • She's a pro at going from lying down to sitting up. Unfortunately, a lot of times she does this half in her sleep and then can't figure out how to get back to sleep. :p
  • She's started going from a sitting position to getting on her hands and knees. Usually she does this to grab a toy or something, though from time to time it's because a cat is walking by and she wants to get a closer look.
  • She's been scooching for a while, but last night she took a few crawling "steps" -- very, very shaky ones, and she frequently sits down to rest before continuing, but I think crawling is really almost upon us. Time to hit Babies R Us and figure out all this childproofing stuff! It's funny -- about a month ago I was convinced she'd crawl any day. :p
Coming soon: her 6-month pro photos and some pictures from her 7-month (!) photo shoot. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

sitting up

She's been doing a funny little pose lately:

I really wanted to put her in her little tankini on a beach towel for this, but as soon as I thought of it, she stopped doing it. Too slow, I guess!

Last night, I put her down in her crib asleep around 8 p.m. My feet hadn't even hit the final step when I heard her already awake. I sighed, turned on the video monitor, and kicked back to wait a bit to see if she'd fall asleep on her own. Within a few minutes, I couldn't see her on the monitor and went upstairs to investigate. I found her sitting up in her crib, happily playing with her blanket. Apparently she learned a new skill and felt the need to practice it immediately. This cycle of bottle/rocking to sleep/put in crib/spring awake/sit up continued off and on for three exhausting hours and then she was finally out for the night. Phew.

And I of course have video evidence:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

avocado video

This was after a few bites ... can you tell she's not a huge fan?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm knocking on the nearest wood, but ...

Olivia's sleeping habits have been so great lately! I hope I'm not cursing myself, but it's been happening for about a week now, so I feel sort of safe saying something here. She goes to bed early-ish, usually between 7:30 (rare) and 9:30 (more typical), and she's only getting up a couple of times in the night. Prior to this new schedule, she was resisting going to bed until 11:30 or later and would be up every hour or two and guzzle down five or six bottles. I feel almost ... dare I say rested? now. She's also started stretching out her naps a little bit and getting away from the nap-90-minutes-after-getting-up/5 naps a day thing. On one banner day last week, she took two 1.5 hour naps and a 45-minute nap. I can deal with this sort of schedule. ;) Tonight she went down at 8 p.m. and I actually got to sit and watch an ENTIRE movie with my husband!

I still haven't picked her Halloween costume, mainly because it seems so wrong to fork over $45 for something she'll wear for an hour if that. I might hit one of those resale shops this week and see if they have anything good there.

She's starting to finally get into the solid foods thing. She opens her mouth and pulls the spoon toward her now, and she squawks if I don't feed her fast enough. I fear she might have inherited my love of carbs, though -- she can't get enough oatmeal, but gags and winces her way through stuff like sweet potatoes, green beans, and peas. I'll keep trying.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thinking about Halloween costumes already.

It's not even September, but of course all the Halloween displays are out in the stores, and we've already purchased (and quickly consumed) a bag of Brach's mellowcreme pumpkins. Yum.

Halloween this year is absolutely more for me than it is for her. Ok, it's totally for me. She won't know what the holiday is, and definitely won't be able to eat any candy. We'll probably only take her over to my parents' house for trick or treating. But how can I pass up an opportunity for a cute photo shoot?

I've got a poll going to the left -- vote for your favorite, or feel free to suggest a different costume in the comments section here.



Princess Leia (I'm not a big Star Wars person, but something about this costume cracks me up):

Monday, August 25, 2008

from ba ba ba to blah blah blah

Olivia continues to babble away. This weekend she started sticking her tongue out while doing so, which turned her "ba ba ba" into more of a "blah blah blah" sound. I need to get it on video, because it's pretty hysterical. She's really exercising her voice a lot, taking every opportunity to yell, "AaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" over and over and over at top volume. Last week while lunching at the Nordstrom cafe with a friend, the hostess came over and mentioned that she could hear Olivia all the way across the restaurant. I think she does it to get people to look at her, because she'll just grin when someone looks her way after she does her fake cough or the loud yell. Tonight she was yelling as we took a walk through the neighborhood -- it was like she was trying to get people to come out of their houses or something. What a riot.

I think I'm going to refrain from writing anything about her sleeping habits, because every time we make a little progress and I say something about it, things end up going downhill fast. For now, I'll just say that things could be worse, but they've also been a little better. ;)

We're having her 6-month pro photos taken tomorrow at the same place that did the 3-month pics. Depending on whether I can pull myself together enough to be presentable, I might try to overlook my hatred of being photographed and duck into a few shots. I have almost no photos of me with Olivia because Dan never takes pictures, and it bums me out. I guess I can at least let the photog take some pictures of us, and then just not order them if I look too hideous. I'm like Chandler on that episode of Friends when he goes for his engagement pictures: he looks normal until the photo is taken, and then he ends up with this forced, fakey smile or bizarre expression every time. See: my driver's license, my Costco membership card, my YMCA membership card ...

Here she is playing with one of her favorite things, a swim diaper with Dora the Explorer on it. Who needs toys?!

And modeling her new tutu:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Olivia said ba ba ba today! This probably isn't big news, but I was excited to hear it. My "What to Expect: The First Year" (subtitle: a million expert ways to worry about your baby) book said that she should be doing that last month. She's very verbal, shrieking and yelling and talking most of the day, but she hadn't strung together any consonants yet.

The new skill must have worn her out, because she's in the middle of a 1.5-hour (so far) nap. It's a good day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First good night in a long time

She went to bed at 9 p.m., woke up around 10 and had a small bottle, woke up again at 10:30 and was able to go back to sleep without being picked up ... and then slept in her crib until 3 a.m.! I'm kicking myself now for not going to bed at 10:30, but I was convinced she'd be awake at any time. She had a bottle at 3 a.m. and then slept in her pack n' play until 6, had another bottle and snoozed with me in bed until 8. I feel somewhat human and well rested right now, which is an odd feeling. Out of the five bottles I took upstairs in the cooler, we had three left this morning. I think that's a new record. If this keeps up, I'll be a really happy woman. Knock on wood. ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Olivia really makes us work for laughs. It usually takes us acting our silliest, or accidentally stumbling across something random that she finds amusing (such as me saying "baby! baby! baby!" while bouncing her up and down) to get her to laugh. I think she's a happy baby in general, though she seems to lean more toward being studious/observant rather than happy go lucky.

So today, while wandering around Babies R Us just to get out of the house for a bit, it was amazing to me to hear her laugh in practically every aisle. A picture of a baby on a sign on the endcap? So funny! A Cookie Monster stuffed animal? Uproarious! A three-eyed plush trick-or-treating bucket for Halloween? Total hilarity! It took all the restraint I could muster not to buy everything that she found funny (though I could always go back tomorrow). ;)

She really likes oatmeal these days, and swallows most of what we put in her mouth. Please note that she's managed to get some onto her eyelashes here. She's quite talented at making fabulous messes!

Friday, August 15, 2008

5:39 a.m. Feels like the old days again.

I don't know what's going on, but she's wide awake. I tried the usual feeding her back to sleep trick that has worked every time for months, but she was having none of it: craning her neck to look at daddy, cooing, trying to flip over in my arms, and squirming so much that I finally just gave up and got out of bed. The annoying thing is that at some point in the night I lost my glasses (I sleep with them on most of the time because she wakes up so much - a poor girl's form of LASIK, I guess), so I had to get up and put in my contacts to be able to see.

She's playing on her playmat right now, happy as can be. I'm hoping she gets sleepy soon, because I know at least one person in this house who would like a little more shut-eye.

UPDATE: she went back to sleep at 6:30 and slept in her pack n' play until 8:00. We got up, I ingested a large amount of diet coke, and she was back asleep by 9:30. Woke up at 10:00, I gave her some oatmeal and bananas, and then she got fussy at 11:30. Put her down, and she's been sleeping ever since -- it's almost 1:30 p.m. Unreal. I'm hoping this is just an uncharacteristically long nap and that she's not getting sick.

UPDATE #2: I found my glasses later in her pack n' play. Apparently when I bent over to pick her up, they fell off my face and I didn't even notice. Now that is exhaustion!

Monday, August 11, 2008

6-month ped appointment today

The pediatrician said she had a really good growth spurt between her 4- and 6-month appointments. She weighs 15 pounds, 10 ounces (approx. 45th percentile for weight) and is 28 inches long (98th percentile for height). An online calculator also informed me that her noggin, at 43 cm, is in the 95th percentile. Big girl! He didn't give me a hard time about her sleeping habits or lack thereof, and suggested I try to stretch her feedings out to every 3 hours so that her stomach is really empty and she'll eat more at a time. He'd like to see her eat 6 ounces per feeding at this age, so we'll work on that. Thankfully, he didn't tell me I needed to make her cry it out (not that I would) -- he said she's probably waking up so much because she's hungry.

She demonstrated her feisty side for Dr. Jim, going into total freakout mode when he dared try to look into her ears and nose. She also did her trademark crocodile flip when he attempted to get her on her back so he could listen to her heart and check her diaper area. Good times were had by all! :p She got three shots and her last rotavirus oral vaccine, none of which she enjoyed. Dr. Jim said he predicts she'll be an early crawler based on how well she's sitting up and getting around. It wouldn't surprise me -- she's really trying hard to crawl. Time to start thinking about childproofing, and fast!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

six months old today!

I can't believe she's a half year old. By far, it's been the fastest six months of my life. And probably also the most fun, hardest, exhausting, and rewarding. What a whirlwind!

She's a happy girl ...

sometimes serious ...

very inquisitive ...
and very mischievous!

Happy half birthday to Miss Olivia, a.k.a. baby bundles/bundler/bungles/livvie lumpkin/livvie loo-bear. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

won't be giving her peas again any time soon ...

Oh my. Tonight she gobbled down some oatmeal, a little rice cereal (she seems to like it now; I think the trick is to mix it with water instead of formula), and pears. She still seemed hungry, so I thought it would be a fine time to give her a taste of peas. WRONG-O. She gagged at the first bite but then opened her mouth when I held the spoon up, so I gave her another blob. Big mistake. She gagged again, then yet again, and I knew she was going to blow. Chunks, that is. She promptly barfed all over herself and her high chair, though sort of unceremoniously, and she didn't cry or even act like she knew what happened. If you know me at all, you probably know how emetophobic I am. I was proud that I didn't freak out or get sick myself. I must confess that I did stand up and back away a bit while watching the second gag, though.

The incident sort of reminded me of the time I "helped" my parents by force feeding my sister a bunch of lima beans, which she subsequently spewed all over the coffee table in a technicolor rainbow of foods in various states of digestion (if I'm remembering correctly). Sal? ;)

feeling incompetent today

Sleep, sleep, sleep. I feel like it's all I talk about lately. It probably is! My brain feels mushy from lack of it, and lately I seem to have the uncanny ability to repeat myself without remembering that I've already had that particular discussion with that particular person. Pre-kids, I used to wonder why my mom friends and coworkers talked about their kids' sleeping habits so much. Now I know.

Tonight I picked up
The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program again. My mom bought it for me a few months ago and I barely was able to skim it then. After reading a bit in more detail, I feel like a really incompetent mom and like all of Olivia's sleep issues are all my fault. Apparently you shouldn't feed a drowsy baby because they'll associate food with sleep. There was a study done in Pediatrics where one group of moms was told to feed their babies every time they woke in the middle of the night; the other group could feed the babies once between 10 and midnight, but then tried to stretch out the feeding intervals by alternate soothing techniques (rocking, swinging, etc.). At 8 weeks, all of the babies in the alternate soothing group were sleeping at least 5-hour stretches. The group whose babies were fed every time? Fewer than 25% of those babies had accomplished the same thing. Oh, this sounds so familiar. Gah. Can you guess which group we'd fall into? The other night she was up at least every 2 hours, if not more frequently.

The chapter in the book dedicated to 6 months to 1 year recommends letting a child self-soothe to sleep, i.e., crying it out/CIO. *sigh* I just don't think I have the mental/emotional fortitude to do it. Plus I was just reading on the Dr. Sears website last night, and he says that CIO is damaging to babies because they lose trust that their caregiver will come to them when they're upset. I don't know -- it's all so hard.

So, here are some things I've already screwed up:

* babies 3+ months should be going to bed between 6-8 p.m. [She won't even entertain the idea of sleep until 10 p.m.-midnight.]

* babies her age should be taking 2 or 3 long (2-3 hour) naps per day. [She does 30-min. catnaps every 90 minutes from when she wakes up.]

* She's not on any sort of schedule. [I really need to start making her get up at around the same time every day. Some days she wakes up at 7 a.m.; other days, like today, it's 9:30 a.m.]

* See above re: feeding her during her night wakings. She shouldn't be eating more frequently than about every 4 hours at this age, and I shouldn't be feeding her to help her fall asleep.

At least I keep her fed and bathed and diapered and somewhat happy, right?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hatred slowly changing to acceptance

Olivia seems to be ok with oatmeal now -- she ate the entire portion I made for her this morning (which wasn't more than a tablespoon, but still! This is big news.). I think the trick was mixing it with water instead of formula. The formula made it smell not so appealing and not at all like oatmeal, but with water it smells like something I might eat in a pinch. Sweet potatoes? I think she sort of likes them just a tad. Avocado is making her shudder less, so that's also progress. Tomorrow we start peas. I thought maybe I should try giving her a non-sweet-type veggie and see how that goes. I predict lots of shuddering and gagging, and you know there will be video.

Her second bottom tooth is poking through the surface, and I think she's pretty miserable. She was up every 2 hours the other night, just like a newborn. Last night she wouldn't go to bed until 12:45 a.m. Tonight she cried and fought me and finally fell asleep in my arms, but as soon as I put her in her crib or PNP she'd start wailing. Dan was finally able to get her into her PNP after I gave up. Poor girl. I gave her some Tylenol tonight, so hopefully she'll sleep better.

This weekend, with inspiration/advice from some friends and the Wholesome Baby Food website, I made a few things: avocado, sweet potatoes, peaches, and plums. I steamed or baked or mashed everything, then pureed using my handy stick blender, then froze it all in single portions in ice cube trays. I made a mess of the kitchen, but it was fun! I may have to leave making plums to the baby food experts in the future, though. The juice is super staining and got everywhere, and I got splattered when pureeing.

Off to bed -- I think she'll probably be waking up any minute.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

another tooth on the way; solids update

I think her second bottom tooth is peeking through today. She hasn't seemed overly fussy or anything, just drooly and chewing on everything like usual. As soon as they're out enough that they can be caught on film, I'll get a picture posted.

So, solid food. I thought it would be so much fun feeding her and that she'd gobble everything down with unabandoned glee. Yeah, not so much. In a nutshell:

rice cereal? hated.
sweet potatoes? hated, though between gags she seems a bit more accepting lately.
oatmeal? hated.
avocado? reeeeeeally hated.

And oof, the mess. Cleaning sticky, stinky, gooey sweet potatoes from every possible crevice in her body is less than appealing. I need to plan to just feed her at night and then hose her down later. As my mom said, does any get in her mouth?

I call this picture "sweet potato mugshot":

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Better start the braces fund now ...

She has a tooth coming in! She was chewing on my finger earlier today and I felt something sharp in her bottom gums. This new development makes me a little sad -- I realize how quickly she's growing up and how fleeting her babyhood is. I'll miss her adorable gummy grins when they're gone, but I bet she'll look just as cute with a mouth filled with teeny teeth.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A new mom friend

Today I had coffee with a woman from our childbirth class. I've had her business card in my wallet for months and just recently realized we'd never connected post-baby. When I saw her last, it was at the OB's office the week we were both induced. We made plans to call each other after we had our babies so we could socialize in the hospital. Ha! We both laughed about how silly that seems now, because of course we weren't in any mood for visiting with near strangers that soon after giving birth.

Thankfully, she didn't think I was a crazy stalker lady when I emailed her 5 months later. It was really nice talking to a mom who has a baby Olivia's age. We have a lot of new mom experiences in common, too -- she also struggled with breastfeeding, though she got better advice from her LC in the hospital and was at least able to pump full time. And she wasn't at all competitive about her child, which is so refreshing. The people I've met so far have all been sort of braggy or aggressive about their child's weight, height, genius status, whatever. It really annoys me, and I've decided that "mom-petition" is highly irritating. I hope I don't ever pull something like that.

Anyway, I think we're all going to get together again soon for dinner. Yay for friends!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rice cereal? Not so much.

It was a couple weeks shy of her official 6-month birthday on 8/7, but because she was technically 6 months old yesterday if you count weeks, we thought we'd take the plunge with some rice cereal. She's been watching us eat intently for a while now, sometimes trying to grab our food, and she can sit up mostly unsupported these days. So we loaded her into her high chair, grabbed the camera, and mixed up the cereal.

She seemed not to notice the cereal at first; she was very interested in trying to chomp down on the rubber-covered spoon. Then it hit her and some shuddering/gagging ensued. Please pardon the assorted clutter on the countertops. And that beer bottle is for the recycling bin -- we weren't drinking and feeding. ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We survived!

We drove straight through from North Carolina to Indianapolis on Sunday -- we just wanted to get home rather than lug all of our stuff from the car to a hotel room and then have to repack the car the next morning. Thankfully, it wasn't a bad trip and Olivia did really well. We stopped every 2 hours to change her diaper and let her stretch her legs a little, and one of us sat in the back with her the entire time to feed her/hand her toys/entertain her. The things that worked to entertain her were as follows: as I mentioned before, the singing of "Old MacDonald" over and over -- but the animal generally has to be "cow" to be best received; burping/pretending to burp/saying the word "burp"; saying "ack-a-lacka-lacka-loo" (don't ask me how I came up with that, because I have no idea!); playing peek-a-boo. We left at 6:30 a.m. and arrived home at 9:30 p.m. The cats were thrilled to see us, and we were obviously really happy to be out of the car. It took me over an hour of lying in bed before it didn't feel like I was racing down the highway when I shut my eyes.

She's up from another one of her illustrious 30-minute naps, so I need to run. More vacation details later.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

tropical storm cristobal

Nothing says, "Vacation's over" quite like the formation of a tropical storm. It's been raining/pouring for most of the day, so we were really glad to have gone swimming and for beach walks yesterday. Many of the vacation homes had new families move in today, and it's sad watching the kids under the covered porches staring longingly at the beach while clutching their water wings and boogie boards. I think we're all ready to get home. It's been a great vacation, but being back in a routine will be nice. I'm not sure how Olivia will react next week with only me around to entertain her all day. She's been such a ham with such a large audience.

Tropical Storm Cristobal forms off Southeast coast

By BRUCE SMITH – 52 minutes ago

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Tropical Storm Cristobal churned off the Southeast seaboard after it formed Saturday, the first storm to threaten the U.S. this hurricane season, forecasters said.
The storm strengthened from a tropical depression, generating maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph as it promised to bring much-needed rains to the parched eastern Carolinas.
At 5 p.m. EDT, the center of the storm was about 125 miles east of Charleston and about 205 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The National Hurricane Center said Cristobal was moving northeast at about 7 mph.

Although the center of the storm was forecast to remain off the coast through the weekend, tropical storm warnings were in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia state line, including Pamlico Sound.

Flood advisories were posted for coastal counties and Wilmington, N.C., received 2 1/2 inches of rain Saturday, said Stephen Keebler, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service there. Cristobal's winds were not expected to be a problem, Keebler said. "It's some rain and a little bit of relief for the coastal areas and a lot of excitement, but that's about it," he said. The rain bands were weakening as they spun farther inland, providing little relief for parched areas near Interstate 95 in North Carolina, he said.

Forecasters predicted up to 5 inches of rain along the North Carolina coast, with heavier amounts in some areas.

Eastern North Carolina is under a moderate drought while areas along South Carolina's northern coast are considered abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Officials have blamed the persistent drought for a massive wildfire that has burned more than 40,000 acres in eastern North Carolina since it began June 1 with a lightning strike.

As Cristobal lurked offshore, the storm was keeping many boaters off the waters — and surfers in the waves. "There's not a lot of boat traffic on the water," said Gray Wilson, working at the Wrightsville Beach Marina in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Although he added most boaters did not appear overly concerned about Cristobal, "people have been staying in."

On North Carolina's Outer Banks, surfers reveled in the waves as the storm churned offshore well to the south.

Bradley Rose, a surf instructor at SandBarz in Carolina Beach, N.C., said the waves were a bit choppy. "It looks pretty fun out there," Rose said.

At the By The Sea Motel in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., out-of-state vacationers took to the beach trying to photograph the outer rainbands of Cristobal, said hotel manager Charlie Peterson. Intermittent light rain showers during the afternoon were not enough to chase them away and there were even brief moments of sunshine. "They've got their cameras set and they think there is going to be lightning over the water and all," he said. "They have never seen this."

Elsewhere Saturday, Hurricane Fausto strengthened far off Mexico's Pacific coast, while Hurricane Bertha raced rapidly to the northeast over the North Atlantic, hundreds of miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Neither of those storms currently threaten land. Bertha had blustered across Bermuda earlier this week, knocking out electricity to thousands there.
Associated Press Writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

Friday, July 18, 2008

beach baby

Hello from sunny North Carolina! Despite dreading the 13-hour drive here with a 5-month-old, it wasn't too bad. Miss Olivia did fairly well in the car except for the last 30 minutes of the trip, where we had to sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" on a constant loop to keep her from crying (we were getting desperate for new animals and were including beavers and other creatures whose noises we had to invent on the fly). We stopped in Spartanburg, SC on the way there and spent the night in a hotel for a little break. She went in a pool for the first time ever, which she was unsure about at first but grew to love. (Sidenote: I'm not sure what the deal is with swim diapers, but I'll just say they don't seem to work. So sorry, Holiday Inn Express.)

Olivia LOVES the ocean. We take her for walks at night in the Baby Bjorn and she coos and cackles and is otherwise gleeful. She also enjoys her admiring public. I'm not sure how this child has ended up such a social butterfly, but she is such a ham. She laughs and smiles and makes lots of noise whenever we pass anyone on the beach and keeps it up until they pay attention to her. The 18 or so relatives of ours who are here in different beach houses are more than happy to give her the attention she needs, so she's having a blast.

Her so-regular-you-could-bake-cookies-to-them 30-minute naps have extended a bit while we've been here, which has been nice. And she threw us for a loop two nights in a row by going to bed at 10 p.m. and sleeping until 4:30, having one bottle, and then sleeping again until 7:30. Sadly, the last two nights have been more her normal style: up until 11 p.m. or midnight, then up at 2 a.m., 3:30 a.m., 5:00 a.m., and so on. I was really hoping she'd turned a corner, but I realized this morning at 3:50 a.m. as I paced around the kitchen trying to get a wide-awake baby back to sleep, that I was very wrong.

Vacation is winding down -- most of the family is heading home tomorrow. It's strange to not be dreading going home and back to work ... because there is no work to go back to. We're talking about driving straight through instead of stopping, but that may be sheer madness. I'll keep you posted.

Fascinated by the ocean:
First dip:Hanging out on the porch with daddy, looking super cool:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

another milestone

Olivia sat up by herself today! She didn't get into that position on her own -- I think that comes later -- but instead of tipping over after we let her go, she stayed sitting and played with a toy for a few minutes. Next stop: solid foods at 6 months.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

5 months yesterday

This kid is dying to crawl, but she can't seem to figure out the mechanics just yet.

Monday, July 7, 2008

more stupid people encounters

We were at the grocery store and an old-ish man -- maybe 70 or so? -- walked by our cart. He looks at Olivia, bends down and gets in her face, and says, "Awwww! Did mommy hit you in the head because you were naughty?" I just sighed and gave my standard, "It's a birthmark." in my I-really-shouldn't-have-to-be-explaining-this-to-you exasperated tone and started to walk away. He said something about how Olivia was flirty (which can be true, but she wouldn't even look at this guy) and how she should watch out, because look where being flirty got me (pointing to baby and waggling his eyebrows). Uh, ok. Yuck. Of course, this is the same grocery store where the man yelled, "I know what you been doin'! You been screwin'!" at me when I was still pregnant, so I guess I shouldn't expect much.

We had a busy day -- went to Target in search of swimsuits for us both. I found one that will pass, though I'm still dreading having to get on the beach in my ghost-white and flabby state. They didn't have any suits for her, because they only sell them starting in 12-month sizes. I guess The Great Bullseye thinks younger babies shouldn't swim? After that we went to the grocery store, then stopped home before driving across town for my first chiropractor appointment. She was really well behaved all day despite being dragged around town for hours, though I decided that the next time I go to the chiro, I'll leave her home with my mom so I can enjoy the 10 minutes of relaxing with a heating pad on my back. ;)

I just realized that today is her 5-month birthday! I'll post again once I get some pictures taken and uploaded.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Our little firecracker -- who no doubt would love to stay up all night to partake of the festivities -- wishes you a happy fourth of july!

We had a little intruder into our photo session. You can see here just how ... uh, reubenesque ... our cat Antoy is! Olivia is fascinated with the cats and squeals whenever she sees them. Normally they avoid close encounters of the baby kind.