Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finish This! (week 16)


Since having Cora back in October, I've had trouble getting back into a routine of blogging. When I first started out a couple of years ago, link ups were a fun way to encourage myself to blog so I thought I'd try that again. I've enjoyed reading others Finish This! posts so here it goes...

My favorite makeup item is ... Mascarea! I don't wear make up daily, but I put on mascarea more than anything else. I feel like it really gives my eyes a pop since I have light eyelashes and they aren't terribly thick. It also really helps make me look a bit less like a zombie after a long night of little sleep.

The best book I’ve ever read was ____ because … The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I really enjoyed the story but also loved studying it English class. It's just chalk full of symbolism and I love reading it and looking for the hidden meanings and context!

My favorite TV show is … Greys Anatomy! I haven't been on the bandwagon since it first came out, but a few years ago as I was struggling with some changes in life, something about watching the show just made me happy! I've probably watched every season four times, many thanks to Netflix!

The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is … I'm really not very spontaneous. Like at all. The only thing that comes to mind would be our last minute trip to Galveston a few years ago. We were in Houston for John's cousins' graduation and we decided last minute to go down to Galveston for the night.

I prefer DOGS/CATS because … I like them both, but I generally like Cats better. That being said, I hate litter boxes and hair everywhere. I've also decided, as much as I love animals... they're worse than children! At some level they max out their capacity for learning and you're left with a furry creature that can't clean up after its self and lacks opposable thumbs. 

I met my significant other … in Lubbock at a game night a mutual friend was hosting!

Linking up with Nicole (Three 31) Lisa (The Costal Chicster), Jen (The Arizona Russums) and Becky (The Java Mama) for this weekly series, Finish This!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April...

For about a year we have been looking forward to/dreading April. Starting with the last weekend in March, I hosted a brunch and a bachelorette party for my friend Kim. Then the first weekend in April, prepared the food for her Rehearsal Dinner and served as her Matron of Honor in the wedding. Last weekend we took a road trip to Austin to visit John's Grandparents for an early Easter get-together. This weekend I hosted a going-away party for my baby brother Josh as he prepares to leave for the Marines this week and Next weekend John is in a wedding in Houston. See, it's been a busy month! I'm just now coming up from air!

Here's a bit of a photo dump from the month so far and I can't wait to share specifics of some of the parties and all I've been hosting!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Coralie - 5 months Old!

Every single month I think that it is more fun than the last - I have really enjoyed Cora's 5th month of life! By the time I got around to publishing her 4 month update she had already drastically changed! She's almost nothing like the little baby girl I brought home! She doesn't even look the same! She's fully mastered the pacifier going in and out of her mouth, no more sideways chewing unless she wants to!  She mastered rolling from her front to back just in time to brag to her Pediatrician for her 5 month appointment! She doesn't use rolling as a source of much transportation, but she can certainly get from one area of the rug to another! We're in the beginning stages of child proofing, mostly just paying close attention to what is in her area that she could get into (like my Dad's sandles she attempted to chew on the other day!). Still no crawling, but she's closer every day! 

But MOM I don't want to roll for the camera!
Lunch after Baby Dedication
Sleeping has it's ups and downs. Like everything with babies, there isn't much of a "normal" and everything throws off the little normalcy we do have. She was mostly sleeping through the night then her shots made her feel puny and that messed up sleeping for a while, then we were almost back on schedule and stupid daylight savings came around and blew that out of the water. Since then our busy life has kept us out past her bed time a few too many times making life difficult. I never would have imagined that it would be so important to me to be home by 7:30 every night so she can be in bed by 8:00! It's also really difficult to manage that on a regular basis! Part of the sleep complications have been we have taken her sound machine away. I always assumed that we would love her having a sound machine. John has to have noise to sleep so hearing noise over the monitor doesn't bother us at all. I want her to sleep through my loud rowdy family, so a sound machine seemed like a natural step. When my brother Jacob and his girlfriend Stephanie were in town for Spring Break, Jacob heard the sound machine one night and mentioned that he had read an article about how it delays speech development. After a little bit of research, yup - he was right! So now we shut off the sound machine after an hour so she is having to learn to put herself back to sleep as she comes in and out of deep sleep in her sleeping patterns. 

Nursing is still going well, we've almost kicked the guard habit!! She is really close to holding her own bottle when she is eating with Grandpa (my Dad) or her Daddy! She can manage it for a few seconds, but tires easily.

She has sort of gotten her first solids; every time we eat she is so interested in what we're having. She reaches out for it and wants to hold it so I've started letting her try a little of whatever I'm having that's age appropriate. She never actually eats any of it, she generally holds it or plays with it. The other night we were out for dinner with John's parents and she was of course paying close attention to my food so I offered her some guacamole (very mild, I promise - basically just smooched avocados!) and she actually ate it (and played in it!)! I was very surprised and a little embarrassed at the fact that my childs first food is less than ideal! She hasn't taken any food since, and that's fine! We'll keep breast feeding and offering solids here and there. I'm in no rush to make the transition. 

Her favorite toys are the same; "Mr. Foot" (sock monkey), "Stewart" (the lion), her tambourine, walker and jumparoo. We've also added in a couple of new favorites - a purse with a mirror and rice paper lining so it crunches when she plays with it and "Charming" her stuffed frog! She is quite the Daddy's Girl! Each night they dance and sing together before bed to special Daddy Daughter songs. I love watching them bond like that! When we're out and about they've created their own game of "mask", Cora will hold his thumb and little finger and pull his hand down onto her face then push it off, this goes on for 5 or so minutes at a time and she just loves it! It entertains her when nothing else will.

                                                                                       In her 5th month:
Juliet giving Cora a kiss!
She rolled from back to front, had her first food, We dedicated her in church vowing to raise her up to know Christ as her Father, She met her Great Uncle BD (the last of the "immediate" family to meet!),  and attended her first birthday party for our friend Juliet! We had play dates and lunch dates with her Great Grandparents, Angela and Elenor, Susan (my Doula) and Finn, and Frances.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tea Cup Exchange

I recently participated in a teacup exchange on Stephanie's Blog, The Enchanting Rose

This is the second time I've done a teacup exchange with her, and both times have been such a blessing! I found Stephanie through Lauren and we use these exchanges as an opportunity to go out together and pick out tea cups for our recipients. We were discussing all the wonderful people we have the opportunity to meet through this exchange and both agreed that it really says something about Stephanie and her beautiful spirit that she has such wonderful, friendly and generous readers! So thank you Stephanie, I know it must be a lot of work to get this exchange together but what a joy it is to participate!!

Speaking of those beautiful people we get the opportunity to meet... I received my teacup from Olivia. First of all, not only is my tea cup beautiful!! She wrapped the box beautifully, I loved how special I felt opening such a gorgeous package! Inside the beautiful box she sent many goodies with the great tea cup!

I've learned that Olivia is quite the crafty person - look at this awesome banner she sent me! I just LOVE it! It's still hanging in my kitchen and I smile every time I see it! Thank you Olivia!!

I sent a teacup to Beth. My Mommy brain was in full swing so I don't have a picture of the tea cup I sent her, but I loved how simple and classic it was! It reminded me of having tea parties with my Granny as a little girl! Hop over to her blog to see it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Texas Tuesday: Coyote Drive-In Theater


For our Babymoon Staycation this past summer we went The Coyote Drive-in Theater in Fort Worth. To say we loved it is an understatement. The theater has such a fun atmosphere! 

The theater is just a stones throw from downtown and the skyline is beautiful after dark!

We've been back several times since then. It makes taking a baby/child to the movies a breeze!

The food is pretty good for concession stand food and there's a playground for the kiddos to use!

For several weeks this past winter they had an ice rink for skating, we didn't take advantage as John swears he can't skate and it was brrrr cold, but cool for those who dressed appropriately (ahem, not me!) I'm sure it was fun!

It is one of our go-to favorite date night outtings! We love taking our minivan, popping up the hatchback and laying in the back on blankets and pillows to watch the movie! I can't wait for the weather to get a bit warmer so we can do this again!

If you're in Fort Worth, I highly recommend adding this to your list!

I'm linking up with Amanda & Crystal for Texas Tuesday!

Masons Mama

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cora 4 months old

We did a Valentines Photo shoot for Daddys gift!
This last month has been so much fun. Cora is very aware of her surroundings and is beginning to play and like adventures. The drool, oh goodness there is drool everywhere! I would think she's teething, but I don't see any signs of it in her mouth. She loves to suck and slobber all over her fist or any toy. She'll take her passifier out of her mouth, and sometimes tries to put it back but hasn't mastered turning it the right direction. This doesn't seem to really phase her, she'll just suck on the side or back of her passifier until someone turns it right for her.

Tummy time isn't nearly as much of a fight, if she doesn't want to be on her tummy now she just rolls over to her back. She hasn't mastered rolling from her back to her front yet but I can tell she is capable of it. She rolls on to both of her sides very well. I'm waiting for the day that she figures out how to move herself from place to place by rolling.

Crawling hasn't happened yet but I'm very encouraged to see that she wants to. In the evenings she and her daddy will sit on the living room rug and play. She churns her legs like crazy and pushes up on her arms but the coordination just isn't there to move forward. She does a pretty good job of spinning herself around with a lot of effort.

This month Cora moved out of our room and into her own. She spent about 4 nights in her bassinet in her own room before we went ahead with the transition to her crib. Her crib doesn't seem to affect her any, that transition was very easy! One night we just put her in her crib rather than bassinet. I'm thrilled that the bed transition went well but sleeping isn't so much. We've lightly tried some sleep training techniques but haven't had much luck. She is capable of sleeping through the night and will do it sometimes but not consistently. Starting at 2 or 3 am if she wakes up I just bring her back to bed with us rather than repeating more trips through the entire house to get to her room. 

Oh! and that poor crib sheet has to be changed at least once a week. Not because of the usual baby messes (spit up has drastically dropped this month!!! I've taken her off her reflux medicine entirely!). She's loosing her hair! She looks bald in pictures because the dark hair is falling out and being replaced by blonde hair.
Each night we start getting ready for bed at about 7:15. She gets a bath every other day unless she's gotten especially gross on a particular day. After bath time John diapers her and gives her a leg massage with lavender lotion; then pajamas. I read her a story and John kisses her goodnight then she gets one last feeding for the day (hopefully, unless she wakes up again later...). I'm trying very hard to keep her awake during this feeding and putting her down in her crib drowsy but still somewhat awake. So far this isn't terribly successful, this girl really likes to fall asleep eating!

Speaking of eating... she eats a ton! She hasn't really increased her feedings; on days that I work she nurses with me then goes to Grandpas for the day where she drinks 5 bottles. We nurse almost immediately when I get home, then she cluster feeds most nights and has another really good feeding right before bed. I'm not sure what she is weighing these days (her 4 month check up and vaccination appointment is coming up in a few weeks) but she's clearly growing! She's out of all NB clothes and very close to being out of all of 0-3, there's just a few onsies and shirts she's still squeezing into. 

We're still holding out on not giving her solids yet. She observes us eating but that seems to be strictly a matter of curiosity. On a whim the other day I gave her a veggie straw as I was snacking on them. She enjoyed holding it but didn't even attempt to take it to her mouth. Unless something major changes, we're planning to skip the cereal in the bottle and puree stage completely and follow a baby led weaning plan and offer real food after she's 6 months old and meets some milestones showing us she is ready for solids. I'm still loving to nurse her but I also know that she likely won't sleep through the night regularly without eating solids. Breast milk is perfect for her now because it's easy to digest... precisely why she doesn't stay full for 8 or more hours. 

Little Miss Cora is learning to self entertain. She has a longer attention span for these things in the mornings - she still loves her jumparoo and will spend up to an hour in it on the mornings I'm home with her. She has an exersaucer at her Grandpa's house that she enjoys but isn't willing to spend much more than 10 minutes in. Her favorite self entertaining toy is her walker (This momma is proud to say she found it on sale for $7! Yay for Target!)! I don't know what it is about her walker but she loves being in it! She still loves her Mr. Foot stuffed sock monkey but her love is split between him and her tambourine. Poor Mr. Foot has a disadvantage because he doesn't sing to her and she adores music. "Shake shake the tambourine, music is such fun! Feel the beat and keep on shaking, listen everyone!" She shakes the tambourine, it sings that delightful repetitive tune and John and I both join in singing its incessant jingle. This new self entertaining is great in the evenings - she'll play in her high chair while I cook dinner.

She's still wearing cloth diapers every day that I'm with her. Both John and I love them. She's never had a cloth diaper blow out but regularly does when she's in disposables. I'll be adding to the CD collection as soon as it's in the budget with prefolds and covers, old school! 

This warm weather has been great! I'm so excited to share all the outdoor activities that spring and summer bring with Cora! So far she has enjoyed her first trip to the park where Daddy & I took turns taking baby girl down the slide and she had a nice time swinging.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Having a baby changes things...

Before Cora came I wondered how having a baby in our lives would change things. I didn't really dwell on it, but knew that a major change was coming.  I remember in the first couple of weeks really craving some normalcy from our childless lives but that soon passed. Now that we're almost four months into being parents, I'd say that "normal" is back. It isn't exactly the same normal as before, but I love this normal more because I have my daughter in it. (Honestly, if the holidays hadn't been thrown into the mix in these 4 months, I'd say that we probably could have made it to 'normal' a month ago but let's be honest, there's nothing normal around the holidays).

Since Cora was born many things have changed but much of the changes better me as a person and make me a better mom. I don't sleep in anymore. Once upon a time in the not very distant past it was not unheard of for me to sleep until noon when my schedule allowed it. With my new job and added commute, 3 days a week I'm awake at 5 am. On weekends and my days at home with Cora, I rarely sleep past 8 and that's after having been awake at 5 to feed. I'm pleasently surprised to find that while I'm tired pretty much all the time, I'm not fall over in the floor exhausted...

...Likely thanks to my new found appreciation of a respectable bed time! I'm a night owl at heart but late nights are for the birds! I really feel it when I don't get to bed on time (usually no later than 10), because it isn't just needing to hit the snooze button in the mornings - it's a grinning little girl that wants to nurse, I can't ignore that and sleep in. 

In some ways our house is messier than before, but in others it's cleaner! On a cleanliness level, I'd say we're keeping the house cleaner than before we had a kiddo. We've just got a good routine going and we're home more often so we do a better job picking up after ourselves. Tidiness however, not so much. Toys are generally everywhere, cast off passifiers, burp rags, dollies and such lay scattered everywhere. It's really somewhat overwhelming but such is the life. Each night I make a pass through the living room and kitchen and tidy up a bit, at least tossing all the baby related stuff into her pack n' play in the corner of the room. Sundays we do a more thorough picking up and cleaning in an attempt to start the week fresh. 

Towards the end of pregnancy I really worried about how having a baby would affect my relationship with John. I knew that we would still love each other but I was concerned that stress and a lack of sleep would put an extra strain on our relationship. My worries were for naught, John and I are doing great! He is such an amazing Daddy to Cora and seeing him in that role with our daughter makes my heart swell with love and pride. Yes, we're more tired over all but we appreciate our time together just the two of us more and have really learned to appreciate all that each other does for the family. 

At almost four months as a family of three, we have enough of a normal routine going that I'm finally finishing some long ignored projects! I started working this past week on unpacking the office; aka the room with stacks of boxes we didn't get around to unpacking from our move in July. I am also (finally) finishing up the thank you cards from all the thoughtful gifts we received for Cora. I'm going to return to my volunteer work with Abused Children next week (I've been out since September). It feels so great to have a handle on my life and immediate family enough to manage more than the bare essentials for daily life.

We've left the survival mode that is a side effect of life altering adjustments and have again started looking towards what our future will look like. Like any other major change in life, it just takes time to establish what the new normal will be. I'm just so happy that it isn't as hard as I once imagined it could be!