Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Three-Fourths of a Year

Yesterday, Emma turned 9 months old.

My sweet baby girl has been out in the world almost as long as she was in my tummy. Crazy, crazy, crazy.


So, how are things going?
  • Vitals: 16lb, 15oz (20th percentile); 26 3/4" long (26th percentile)
  • Nighttime Sleep: We FINALLY dropped the middle of the night feeding. We now, once in a while, get a night with no waking up. Usually daddy still has to get up around 3:00am to soothe Emma back to sleep. She's usually in bed by 6 or 6:15pm and up around 6:30am or 7am
  • Nap: Emma is still not a great napper. In total, she probably gets close to 3 hours of naps a day, divided among 2 naps. Today, it was 2 - 1.5 hour naps. I admit to being very jealous reading about all of you with good napping children out there!
  • Eating: We are down to only three nursing sessions a day - first thing in the morning, after the first nap, and then before bed. We also do three meals of solids a day. She will pretty much eat anything. Today she ate some of my linguine from Noodles and even a few bites of chicken. Favorite food is probably peach Greek yogurt. We are trying to do more table food and less baby food, but that means mommy actually cooking (boo!).
  • Developmental: Crawling, crawling, crawling. She's so quick. And pulling up on everything. Still no teeth. And pretty much just grunting. Still waiting for the first "ma ma" or "da da." Perhaps she's waiting to give it to us as a Christmas present?
I think that covers the basics. Here's one more picture that I love of Emma riding on Daddy's shoulders. She raises her hand in the air and looks like a cowgirl on a bucking bronco!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shame. On. Me

It's been entirely too long since I sat down long enough to focus on a blog post. I still take time to read other people's posts, but that hasn't translated into a new post for me. I'm sure my absence hasn't ruined anyone's day yet, but, since I view this blog as a scrapbook of sorts, I'd like to avoid gaping holes.

So, here's what's been going on.

Baby is crawling like a mad woman. I turn my head for a second and she's halfway across the room. She loves outlets and our computer modem (it sits on the ground), which is a problem. She also loves to pull herself up. Imagine my surprise the first time I looked at her on the video monitor and found her standing up staring right back at me. And then watching her reach out and knock the video camera over!

On the (in)fertility front, hubby and I had a sit-down with our RE this week to chat about what the process will be if we want to try for another baby. We do have ONE embryo frozen so we'd do a FET. And, since I have regular periods, we'd do it as a "natural cycle" which would entail just one shot. Sounds good to me! And the RE assures me that they only freeze very high quality embryos that have a good chance of implanting. Obviously no guarantees, but still good to know.

The RE wants me to do it as soon as possible - once I'm done breastfeeding - because he is fearful that, if it doesn't work, I'll be that much older in attempting full-blown IVF (which I'm not convinced we want to do again regardless). He says that Emma is a "miracle baby" given my ovarian situation. I think we know full well she's a miracle!

I'm thinking maybe next summer at the earliest. We'll see. And even though we'll have moved out of the area by then, it will only entail one trip back up here for the embryo transfer. Everything else will be done remotely (bloodwork, monitoring, etc).

We did change our insurance to another provider offered by hubby's work because we almost exhausted the $15,000 lifetime cap with Aetna. Now we'll let Anthem have some fun. Thankfully they have a separate $15,000 cap. Hopefully they won't require me to do a bunch of the same crud again before they let me move onto the actual procedure.

So, that's probably enough for now. I'll end with one little photo. This is what we used for our Christmas card. I just love it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Very Shutterfly Christmas

I just found out about this unbelievable Shutterfly promotion for bloggers. Bloggers who use Shutterfly, and write a quick post about their experiences with the photo site, get 50 free holiday cards! That's huge. Here are the details.

One reason it makes me so happy to write this post is because I've already started designing this year's Christmas cards on Shutterfly and am just waiting for a chance to snap the perfect picture of Emma to use for the card!

Here's the card that we're using this year.

I had a really hard time deciding, which card to use because they have a TON to choose from...check them out for yourself. I decided to go with this one because it uses a single picture; given my photography skills, capturing just one perfect picture, even given the beautiful subject, will be a challenge! I also picked this one because I love the red - it will go perfectly with the Christmas dress I got her from Gymboree - and because of the sentiment. I feel like this year has been filled with a lot of JOY for us.

Ever since Emma was born, I've uploaded all of our pictures to Shutterfly - it makes it really easy to share photos and to keep them organized. I have each month of her life organized in a separate folder.

When she turns one, I fully intend to do a one year photo book that highlights my favorite pictures from the year (I will MAKE myself do this because I think it will be a terrific keepsake). We have a friend who made a similar photobook for her daughter because babies love to look at themselves and she didn't want her good photobook to get all chewed and torn up. I think I'll do the same.

Shutterfly has loads of options to choose from for photobooks as well. If I was a little more on top of it, I'd make some great photobook gifts for Christmas presents this year. The upside to that is 1) they are inexpensive and 2) I can't imagine a gift a grandma would like better! Sigh, maybe next year.

So there you go. A win win for me! I get to tout a site that I already love AND I get a little Christmas present for doing it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things Going On In My Life

I'm too tired right now to piece together all of these items into one coherent, well written blog post. So I'll resort to my best friend, the bullet point.

  • We are finalizing a contract on a new house (4 hours away from where we currently live)! Our loan application was submitted today, and we are scheduled to close on December 23rd. Our condo is still on the market. Boo! We've had a fair amount of traffic through but people just don't seem in a hurry right now to buy. We have until March to sell - that's when we want to be settled into our new house - praying it all works out in the end.
  • Hubby didn't get home before 9pm from work each night this week. I'll have to reintroduce him to his daughter this weekend!
  • On the infertility front, my husband's work is in the midst of its annual health insurance open enrollment. We've exhausted our lifetime cap on IF benefits with our current insurer so we are switching to one of the other options so that we can reset the cap (that does work, right? Please tell me that I haven't overlooked something!). It's weird to think about doing the whole process over again. But we are having serious discussions about baby spacing (2 years or 3?). I don't think we'll try the frozen egg transfer next year but we want to keep our options open. Yes, we have one wee little embie on ice! Not sure I'm quite ready for redoing the IF treatment process and dealing with that emotional roller coaster, but I also realize that I'm not getting any younger.
  • On a totally different note, my big brother announced this week that he is running for Virginia's House of Delegates! Very exciting! I come from a pretty political family so it was a given that eventually it would happen. He is running to fill the seat of a current Delegate who won his election for the House of Representatives this month. I'm especially loving it because I love campaigns and am getting the opportunity to help out. I'll keep you posted. The special election will be in January.
So, folks, that's about it for now. Tired. Must go to bed!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy, Freeze

Please don't mind the obnoxious lady bouncing up and down and just pay attention to the sweet little girl...


video

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baptism

Just a quick post because I feel like I would be a negligent parent if I didn't at least write something about Emma's baptism, which happened this past Sunday (yep, a Halloween baptism).

The morning of the baptism

After the service with mommy and daddy

Our church is Anglican and they do infant baptism. I'm used to the idea of infant christening or dedications, but I came around to the idea of baptism. Basically the idea is that you, as a parent, are taking the first step, on behalf of your child, and then, later in life, the child must take the next step to accept Christ.

We had tons of family come into town - my mom, my two brothers, their wives and combined 7 children, my husband's mom and stepdad, and husband's dad, stepmom and half-sister. Needless to say we had a very full house. After the service, we had a room reserved at the church and had a little donut and coffee party with family and friends. It was all very nice.

And then we celebrated the pagan holiday of Halloween. Smile!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh, 7 months, where did you go?

I can't believe I'm a mommy to a 7 month old. How can that be?


Here's what Emma's been up to these days.

Size:
  • 15lbs 13oz, not much more than she weighed at her 6 month check-up (15lbs 9oz).
  • Can wear most of her 3-6 month clothes still, but usually wears 6-9 months since it is starting to get colder.
  • Size 3 diapers. Discovered Huggies Overnight Diapers (in size 3), which have made a world of difference in stopping what we call poop-splosions and pee-splosions during the night.
Night: The last few weeks have been rough at night. I wrote last week off to her Fifths Disease and ended up feeding her usually twice during the night. Then this week has not been much better, but I refuse to feed her more than once. That means we've had at least an hour of screaming in the middle of night each night...fun! Today I bought some earplugs!

Naps:
  • Increasingly, the 3rd nap is going away.
  • She is a random napper. Yesterday she took a 2 hour 15 minute morning nap and a one hour 15 minute afternoon nap. Then today her morning nap was only 1 hour 15 minutes. You just never know what you'll get.
  • Can handle 2-2.5 hours of wakefulness between naps.
Milestone:
  • Not much new. No crawling. No teeth. No whole sentences :)
  • She is starting to try to reach for items which frequently takes her onto her stomach, so I think crawling isn't too far in the future for us.
Feeding:
  • Still breastfeeding, usually 5 times a day.
  • Trying to be diligent about giving her 3 meals of solids as well. I thought I'd be good and make all her food but that hasn't happened other than a few batches of sweet potatoes.
  • She's had pears, prunes, applesauce, yogurt, peas, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, carrots, cottage cheese (didn't much like), bread, a few cheerios (hasn't figured out finger food yet).
  • Surprisingly, I discovered that she loves french onion soup. Weird! I had it at Panera one day and gave her a taste and she just couldn't get enough of it.
Toys:
  • We got her a Graco jumper that you hang in the doorway and she loves it! She is so cute and looks like she is doing an Irish jig when she jumps.
  • Still has the exersaucer but since our house is on the market, I got tired of carrying it out to the car each time a potential buyer was coming by. So it's been in the car for the past week or so.
  • Has quite a few little musical instrument toys like a tambourine and maracas that she likes.
  • Really want to get her a play table but it is just too hard with the house on the market.
  • Ordered her a Rockabye Colt Horse as her Christmas present that I can't wait to get.
Website Recommendation: I love Zulily.com. If you sign up, each day you get an email telling you what the bargains are that day. I've found a bunch of great stuff on the site at great prices (including the Rockabye Colt Horse referenced above).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fifths Disease

Sure sounds like a terrible illness and, yes, Emma's got it!


We first noticed small bumps on her face on Friday night. I started feeling guilty because I had given her a bit of strawberry jelly and then found out that you aren't supposed to give babies strawberries until they are at least a year old.

By Saturday, the rash had spread across her face.

By Sunday, she was covered head to toe with the rash (yes, even on the bottoms of her feet).

We took her to the emergency department late Sunday afternoon and were told by the doctor that he was "perplexed..." Not something you want to hear from an ER doctor. He said it was likely a viral infection (no, nothing to do with strawberries) but since he couldn't nail it down exactly, we should see the pediatrician the next day.

And the pediatrician confirmed today that, indeed, it is a viral infection. Either Fifths Disease or something else along those lines. Thankfully she doesn't seem sick - no fever - but last night was horrible. She was up every 3 or so hours and wouldn't go back to sleep each time. And since it is a virus, there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.

My poor baby girl!

Monday, October 11, 2010

House Hunters Salem

Here's the house-related post that I promised so long ago. I feel like I have a million things on my mind these days; with baby, work, and all the decisions related to moving, I've been a bit overwhelmed.

Our condo has been on the market now for going on 3 weeks. We've had a bit of traffic through but no offers yet (other than a ridiculous lowball offer from some investors). I know that things are slow right now in the market but I was (and still am) hoping for a quick sale. It is really a big pain selling a house when you work from home with a baby. Each time a Realtor calls, I have to run through the house shoving toys into closets. And today we even had to wake Emma up from a nap because a Realtor called yesterday and said she'd be here today between 1-2pm. Well, she never showed up. AHHH! Very frustrating.

Well, the exciting part is that we've decided on a house in Salem. It is an old house - 1920 - and is in pretty good shape but we plan to do tons to it, which both excites me and scares me. It is in an awesome, awesome, awesome location, which is the main draw for us. Right off the main street and within a very short walk to most anything that we want. Houses in this area of town rarely come up for sale. In fact, since 2005, only three have sold.

We are finalizing the contract right now and mailing in a deposit tomorrow. If all goes well, and it seems like there are still a ton of hurdles to cross until the finish line, we will close right before Christmas!

Here are a few pictures I took the last time through the house. First , we will redo the floors, paint, take down a few of the gigantic trees in front that really block the house (I know, I feel bad taking down trees but it really has to be done) and try to fix as many of the things found during the home inspection as possible (and we anticipate quite a list). In the long-run, we will also redo the kitchen, redo one of the bathrooms, put in some built-in bookcases, and finish the basement.

The front of the house...yes, some of the trees have to go!

In the dining room, looking down through the foyer into a formal sitting room and a bricked in side porch.

Cool window that I really like in the master bath

View of the backyard patio - a little overgrown but great space. We'll have to get a swingset for Emma!

Porch off the 2nd floor master bedroom. Red indoor/outdoor carpet definitely needs to go!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pictures Galore!

I haven't had much time to write these days so I'll take the easy way out and just post some recent pictures. Hopefully the cuteness factor will make up for the lack of words. (P.S. I do have some news on house hunting but that's for the next post...)





(Yes, those are Christmas pajamas. No, we are not already getting in the holiday spirit. They were a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law and we were in need of some PJs!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1/2 Year Birthday!

Everyone told me that babies grow up so fast. And, I always replied, "yeah, yeah..."

Well, it is absolutely, positively true. I just can't believe that Emma has been with us now for 6 months. A half year. It just can't be true.


But, alas, it is true and yesterday we took Emma in for her 6 month check-up. She is weighing in at 15lb 9oz (30th percentile) and is 25 1/2" long (45th percentile). She handled the shots pretty well, including the first part of the flu vaccine.

Milestones: She loves to roll around on the floor. One minute she is sitting up playing with a toy (and she is able to sit up very steadily) and the next she's rolled 5 feet away. Pretty impressive. She isn't making too many sounds other than squeals, laughing and grunting. Can't wait for the "ma ma" and "da da" to start. She tries to mimmick what you do when you make a sound but really hasn't figured out how to manuever her tongue very well. It's cute watching her try, though. And perhaps the start of separation anxiety is kicking in because she often starts to fuss when I leave the room. I have to sit on the toilet talking to her the whole time..."you're ok Emma, mommy will be right back..." :) She also has started raising her arms up when I come to pick her up. It is so sweet!

Toys: She still loves her exersaucer but I can see that she may already be getting bored with it. She will only stay in it for about 10 minutes before she starts to fuss. What big toy is next?

Feeding: I am still breastfeeding but have started substituting one feeding with solids. She loves sweet potatoes (I made a homemade batch!) and carrots. Not so keen on peas. We've also tried bananas and applesauce.

Sleeping: Right now she is doing well at night. Still doing one feeding around 3am, but is going from about 7pm to 7am. All that can change. It seems to vary week to week. Naps are a whole 'nother story. While she is still taking three a day, with about 2 hours of wakefulness between each nap, the length of the naps have dwindled significantly. I'm really hoping this is just a phase, but her average nap right now is between 30-45 minutes. Yuck! Makes working from home very difficult.

Sizing: We have just started size 3 diapers. And she can fit in all of her 3-6 month clothes, but I've started working in a few pieces of clothing from the next size up.

Cats: We have two cats, Lucy and Layla. For about a month now, Emma has been paying increasing attention to them. Lucy, the oldest, doesn't really want much to do with her. But Layla just can't get enough of Emma. She rubs all over her and allows Emma to do pretty much anything to her. Emma ends up pulling out fist-fulls of hair and Layla hardly reacts. Bet that will change the first time Emma gets her tail.

General: I have to say, 6 months is a lot of fun. I love each passing month more and more, which is good, because if it was the other way around, that would be bad. No doubt I've loved Emma all along but I find myself falling more in love every day as she gets more interactive and personable. Can't imagine how full of love my heart will be another 6 months from now!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Period

So I thought a benefit of breastfeeding was no period. But, almost 6 months to the day of giving birth, my good old friend returned.

In my Google search attempt to reassure myself that I'm not a freak a nature, I came across this and it made me chuckle:

"When menstruation does return, you should consider yourself fertile and take precautions against pregnancy if desired."

Oh, if only it worked that way.

(P.S. Emma is 6 months old today. Wow! I'll wait to do her big 6 month post after we visit the doctor later this week. I know, I'm such a tease!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

House Update

I feel like we have a million things going on at one time right now. Well, at least three...

1) Our house in Northern Virginia goes on the market this Thursday! We finally decided just to do it. That means we are spending the weekend doing all the last minute touches to get it picture perfect. We got a storage unit yesterday and are filling it with as much as we can to make the house look as great, and clutter-free, as possible. Tomorrow I'll plant some mums outside...got to have good curb appeal. The timing is great because we'll be gone next weekend and, therefore, not bothered by the hopefully tons of people who come to see the house. I really hope it sells fast because it is going to be a giant pain having people coming through while I'm 1) working at home and 2) taking care of a 6 month old.

2) We've found a great old house that we'd just love to buy if it works out - it's perfect because it is completely livable right now but will also give us the opportunity to put our own touches on it. It is in the historic part of Salem, Virginia, right off the main street and a short stroll to restaurants and shopping, exactly what we are looking for. The house is for sale by owner and we think/hope they'll have some timing flexibility that will make it work out for us (see #3 on why timing is so tricky right now).

3) Jobs. That is the trickiest part. My job will transfer. Husband's probably will not. And, of course, we can't very well buy a house four hours away from where we currently live unless he has a J-O-B. He has some leads and we are praying that it will sort itself out. If we sell our house in Northern Virginia before the J-O-B part is lined up, we'll have to stay in Northern Virginia and rent for a few months until we can buy the house we want. Not fun.

My brain just swims thinking about all the balls in the air. I think I'll just close my eyes real tight, hold my breath, and pray that the stars align!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Finish Line

I survived the half marathon and had my little cheerleader there to greet me at the finish line.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Race Day!

I love to run. I didn't used to love to run. It seemed pointless to me. I much preferred to get my exercise playing a sport, where running was secondary to bouncing a basketball or hitting a tennis ball. But once my days of organized sports passed, I turned to running.

Pre-Emma, I ran about five days a week for a total of 20-25 miles. Nothing crazy. But I was very dedicated to running. In fact, at one point with work, I was having to get up at 4:30am to run.

When we started IVF, the doctor told me I needed to limit my running to no more than 20 miles a week. Once we actually started the process, I dramatically cut back. But I continued to run. In fact, I continued to run up until 32 weeks pregnant when I found out that my amniotic fluid level was low. And then I stopped.

Once I got the all clear from the OB, I started running again about 6 weeks post-baby. And it was hard! I hurt in places I never knew could hurt. I cried with frustration. This activity that I once loved was no longer enjoyable. But I've tried to stick with it.

And...this weekend brings my first post-baby race. I can't believe it is almost here. When I signed up for the race back in January, I never thought it would be here. And I never thought it would be so difficult getting to this point.

But, on Sunday, I will lace up my running shoes, pin on my race number, and run a cool 13.1 miles in the Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. I've run this race in the past and have tried to get a good time. This time, my goal is to finish!

And I hope that I survive so I can tell you all about it next week!

Happy Labor Day to you all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

100!!!

I saw a few days ago that I had just put up my 99th post since June of last year. That got me all blog-anxious. I knew the next post had to be a doozy!

So here it is...our 100th blog post.

Yet, I have nothing of significance to say!

Oh dear!

I guess I'll keep it short and sweet, and try to be a little profound. When I first posted on June 8, 2009 (click here if you want to relive the memories) I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that infertility was a foreign world to me and I would need lots of support for the journey ahead.

I remember checking my blog every few hours, minutes, seconds, and having my heart fill with joy each time the little comment tracker ticked upward. And, guess what, 100 posts later, I still get so much joy from reading all my blog friends' comments (hint, hint!).

I can't believe how much can change in 15 months.

We faced and conquered IVF.

We faced and conquered pregnancy.

We faced and conquered child birth.

And we faced and...well, working on conquering mommyhood. That's a daily struggle that will last the next 40 years or so.

For the most part, it's been terrific.


But here I was yesterday trying to sneak Emma into Daddy's backpack so he'd take her to work for the day. Unfortunately he noticed.


Sorry that I didn't come up with anything more exciting to write about on this momentous occasion. I'll go ahead and start thinking about my 200th post and I promise I won't disappoint the next time around!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

5 months

I don't feel like much has changed since my 4 months post on where Emma currently is.

Development: The only "new" thing she is doing is starting to sit up. She still tips over but is getting a little steadier each day. I'm assuming one of the next things will be rolling from back to front. At this point, she is rolling to her side and then her arm gets in the way. And, yep, still swaddling. Check back next month to see if we've finally shaken the swaddle.

Solids: We tried some rice cereal two nights this week. Not sure if it was a fluke, but both of those nights she SCREAMED for an hour when we tried to put her to bed. So we've taken a break from solids for a few days and will try again later on.

Baby Sitter: Earlier this week we left Emma with our first non-family member baby sitter so we could go out to dinner with some friends. We left her with our friend's nanny at their house so that made it doubly worrisome since it took Emma out of a familiar surrounding. We got there extra early and tried to replicate her whole bedtime routine - bath, feeding, swaddling, and then down for bed.

She was sound asleep when we left and apparently stayed that way for the next two hours. Unfortunately, we were gone for three and a half hours.

When we got back, the nanny had all the lights out and was walking around bouncing Emma trying to get her back to sleep. She told us that Emma woke up pretty upset and that bouncing and walking was the only way she was keeping her calm. Sigh. Some day she'll cooperate. Some day.

Sleep: And, in regards to nap, Emma is still very inconsistent. She takes three naps a day but they are all over the place both in timing and length. Once in a while I'll get a 2 hour nap out of her but generally they are around an hour. Again, sigh.

Parenting is hard!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sitting up and a realtor

Two random things for this rainy, dreary Wednesday in Virginia.

First, I love this picture from yesterday. One, Emma is smiling and it is very, very hard to capture one of her smiles. Two, she is sitting up like such a big girl. She'll be 5 months on Friday.


Second, here's the house that I am now obsessing about.


It is in Salem, Virginia just a few minutes from my two brothers (which means 7 nieces and nephews), my mom, and hubby's family.

For me, the number one criteria for a new house is walkability. Where we currently live in Northern Virginia, we are within a one mile walk of 3 Starbucks, a Panera, Chipotle, Uno's Pizzeria, Wal-Mart, Kohls, 2 grocery stores, a movie theater...the list goes on and on.

I love to walk. I get so much joy out of loading Emma into the jog stroller and being out and about. I just can't imagine living in a place where I have to drive to get to everywhere I want to go. The house pictured above is right off the Main Street in Salem and within walking distance of loads of places (most importantly, a coffee shop and a fantastic park!). There are definitely areas where we could get more for our money but the trade-off isn't worth it to me if it means feeling stranded in a gigantic neighborhood.

Well, anyways, we met with our first realtor today to discuss selling our condo. It went ok. Home prices peaked about 3 years ago and it is disappointing knowing how much we could have gotten had we sold then. But regardless we'll make a nice little profit that should serve as a decent downpayment.

I'll be disappointed if this house goes off the market before we are ready to buy, but I'm reassuring myself that we'll find something just as fantastic.

Now, we just have to figure out that pesky little issue of jobs. Ahh, to win the lottery!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Solids!

I caved and decided to give solids a try today. Well, the word "solid" is somewhat misleading since it was three-fourths breast milk mixed with a little rice cereal. But it was still fun to try.

I hadn't planned to start this adventure until 6 months, then decided we'd do it at 5 months. But here we are, a few days before the 5 month mark and giving it the good old college try. I'm hoping that it might just help with her night waking, which has become increasingly annoying.

And thanks to my blog friend - Once Upon A Time - for inspiring me!

Here is the proof...

All ready to go in the highchair


The first bites...


"Not bad but Mommy and Daddy's food always looks better than this stuff"


Definitely letting us know that she is D-O-N-E!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why we have no room

Our new exersaucer handed down by a wonderful friend. The retail value is $120+ so we are thrilled to have gotten it for the wonderful price of FREE.


I finally caved and got a highchair. No, we aren't doing solids yet, but I figure they are coming in the next month or so. This is the Graco Blossom 4-in-1. I did tons of research and this chair got great reviews. It can be a highchair, a highchair that goes on a regular dining room chair, a booster seat, and a youth seat. Figured it was worth the extra $. And, for a highchair, I really like the way it looks.


These two items are in addition to the swing, bouncy seat, playmat and basket of toys that already fill our what-used-to-be dining room.

And, folks, that's why we have no room!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Secret House Shopping


We live outside Washington, D.C. The rest of the family - and I mean both my side and hubby's - live about a four hour drive away in beautiful Southwest Virginia.

While I'm glad family doesn't live on the other side of the country or any place that requires air travel, having them four hours away still feels far. Especially when you need something.

This past week I had a project I needed to get finished for work and hubby was expecting a busy week at work. So Emma and I packed up the car and headed to my family's house...4 hours away...so that I could have someone watch Emma while I finished up my project.

Each time that I'm home with family - I have 2 brothers with 7 kids between the two of them, plus my mom and hubby's mom - it makes me want to move closer to them. While I adore Washington, D.C. and all that the area has to offer, it doesn't offer me the convenience of family.

The addition of an exersaucer and highchair to our tiny condo this past weekend also highlights for me the need for MORE SPACE!

So, hence the "Secret House Shopping."

I'm ready to move. Hubby wants to move. But the biggest glitch is figuring out his work situation (I'm able to work from home).

In the meantime, I'm doing some fun online house shopping. In fact, I even found a house and had my brother go through it for me and report back. Thankfully my brother loves house shopping, too, so he is constantly sending me links to houses and telling me what the best areas are to live in.

Here are pictures of a few of the ones I love...




The crazy part is that none of these MASSIVE houses would end up costing us much more each month than our current 2 bedroom condo. On top of our regular mortgage, we currently pay a ridiculous $400 monthly homeowners association fee.

I have no clue what I would do with all this space...but I'd like a chance to find out!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Emma's Eyes

I love my daughter's eyes. They are just so beautiful and expressive. While her emotions don't always show on her lips, they usually show in her eyes. And people are always commenting on how long her eyelashes are and how they curl so perfectly.

They are amazing.

Right now they are that grey-blue that so many infants have. Who knows what color they'll end up being. I have brown eyes. Hubby has blue ones.

A random woman recently said to me, "I think her eyes are going to be brown. What a shame. She would have been so beautiful with dark hair and blue eyes."

Really? Are you kidding me?

Thankfully I had the nerve to say "she'll be beautiful no matter what color her eyes are."


I love Martina McBride's Song "In My Daughter's Eyes." I'll leave you with some lyrics...

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1-2-3-4

Yep, the 4 month mark has come and gone and I'm just getting around to a post about it.

Here are some random details of where we stand 4 months into this journey...
  • Sleep usually goes something like this...Bed by 7pm. Often a wake-up or two early on that requires a pacifier re-insertion. Feeding around 2am. Up around 6:30am. Naps around 8am, 11am, and 3pm. Naps can last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, with the average probably an hour. We are also working hard on putting her down groggy but awake. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
  • Swaddle. Yep, still using it. Dr. couldn't believe that she still lets us swaddle her (well, she does scream the whole time we are doing it) and said it is ok to keep using it. She gets at least one hand out, usually both, at night. But if we don't use it, she just won't calm down to sleep. Hope we can get rid of it soon. We've tried letting her have one hand out, but that generally hasn't worked.
  • Food. Still just doing breastmilk. Plan to start solids at 6 months.
  • Size. 13 lbs (45th percentile) and 24 inches (50th percentile). The old noggin is a little smaller, only 25th percentile. Not bad for a baby who started her life in the 10th percentile all around.
  • Clothes and Diapers. Just starting 3-6 months clothes and Size 2 diapers.
  • Jog Stoller. We just started using our jog stroller last week and love it. I've been running with it 2-3 times a week and so far no complaints about the stroller (Schwinn Freewheeler).
  • Fussy. Emma has developed a grunt and shriek. The grunting precedes the shriek. I wouldn't call her a fussy baby but she's definitely fussier than in months past. I used to say (somewhat smugly) something like "Emma only cries when she's hungry or tired. What a perfect little angel." Blah! While those are the times she cries the most, she can start crying one second after smiling or 10 minutes after waking from a great nap. Thankfully the crying is usually short-lived and she's fairly easy to console. Mommy prays for patience every day! Guess that's the best I can do.
  • Prevacid. Still on it. Doctor said she'll likely need it until at least 6 months.
  • Drano. I wish I had invested in the makers of Drano. We've gone through so many bottles trying to clear the shower drain of the hair that I seem to shed by the handful every day. I hear this is common when breastfeeding. But it isn't very pleasant.
  • Toys. I think 4 months is difficult, in part, because the baby is more aware and wants/needs to be entertained, but really can't do much self-entertaining. We still use the playmat a lot and she likes to sit up in the Bumbo. She has a Sophie the Giraffe toy and a Winkle from Manhattan Toys that she seems to like. We also have a load of stuffed animals...we'll spread a blanket out on the floor and play with those for quite some time. Probably the way both baby and mommy most like to be entertained is by walking. Unfortunately, it was 100+ degrees everyday last week so there wasn't much of that. Wonder when she'll be ready for an exersaucer? Any of you have suggestions of fun ways to entertain a little one (aka something to make the time pass faster until daddy gets home from work)?
  • Talking. Well, no, she isn't talking yet, but in the last week, she has become increasingly chatty. She'll chat with us. She'll chat with her playmat. It's quite cute.
  • Smiles and laughs. Generally she's a pretty serious baby. So we really appreciate the smiles and laughs.
  • Work. Throughout my maternity leave, I've been doing work for my own company (I do research consulting for political campaigns). As far as my actual job, I plan to go back very part-time starting in September. I'll do 20 hours, max, and only one day in the office. I think we are going to use our friends' nanny. They only use her 3 days a week so I'll get her the other days. I think a day out of the house a week will do me some good.
And here are pictures of the little beauty...


Sunday, July 25, 2010

How much is that baby in the mirror?

I love baby laughter. Not much can top it.


video

Blogger help please!

How do I change the font and color of the text in my blog???

Cutest Baby on the Block most have gotten rid of the background I was using for the blog because all of a sudden I just had a white background and an error message that an image had been removed.

So I am trying to pick a new background but am having a hard time finding one on which the current color of font actually shows up (which is kind of important).

I tried Blogger help and it directs me to the "Layout" tab, which I don't seem to have.

Help please!

Update: Thanks to AP and Once Upon a Time for the Blogger help! I don't think the Cutest Blog on the Block has the template I used to use but perhaps it was time for a change anyways.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On a totally different note...

We had a really nice time in Bermuda. Emma did great, both on the plane (it was only a 2 hour flight) and at the hotel (our room had a huge closet and we were able to put the pack-n-play in it). We pretty much threw the schedule out the window and Emma just took her naps on the go, which she did really well (and this is likely a contributing factor to the frustrations we had upon returning. Go figure!)

My thoughts on Bermuda...

1) Very beautiful and clean. The water was the most amazing color of blue.
2) Way too expensive. Twice hubby and I had a lunch consisting of burgers and one adult beverage each with the grand total of the bill between $50-$60!
3) The service on the island, in general, was really, really bad. From the waiters at restaurants to the hotel concierge (and it was a very nice hotel), no one seemed particularly interested in going above and beyond. And pretty much they didn't even try to be adequate. That said, we had several great cab drivers who gave us tours as they drove us around.

One tidbit we found out...the average 3 bedroom house on the island is over $1 million! Can you believe it? Our cab driver said his house was $800,000. He said that all men have at least two jobs and there are no housewives. Just can't afford it. Needless to say, we won't be buying property there any time soon.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.

We spent just a few hours at the beach, and, as you can tell, Emma wasn't particularly thrilled with the water.


Here's the happy family at the wedding. Like a good girl, Emma slept through it all.

Us on the beach. No sunhats seem to fit Emma, hence the covered eyes.

A friend who is a photographer took about 50 pictures of Emma while we were riding in a van one day...I just love the expression.

And, on yet another note, July 17th marked the one year anniversary of our "Two Pink Lines" Day. Can't believe it's already been a year. This time last year, Emma was a beautiful cluster of cells multiplying exponentially every day. Today, she is a beautiful baby girl who brings us joy and laughs, and yes, some tears!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A frustrating month

I actually composed this blog post in my head while I was laying in bed at 4:30 this morning trying to ignore Emma's cries. And trying not to cry myself. Regardless of whether you decide to read it, I need this therapeutic outlet.

I always thought that the first 3 months of having a baby would be the hardest and that it would only get easier from there. I was wrong. This 4th month has definitely been the hardest. I am doubting, on a daily basis, my abilities as a mother. And it really stinks.

I know that I am overly hard on myself. Hubby tells me that daily. Here's an excerpt from an email he sent me this morning when he got to work:

"...you have to trust me when I say that regardless of the doubts that are creeping into your mind, you were definitely made to be a mother…I just wish you could take a step back and not be so hard on yourself… you’re a fabulous mother and I thank God every day that you’re my wife and the mother of my child. Think of where we’ve been in our journey together. We’ve encountered and overcome the couple of most difficult problems that a married couple can have and have come out the other end in this glorious situation, it all leading to Emma joining our lives. I think God carrying us through those problems and delivering us to where are today is proof enough of what He sees in you as a mother..."

Needless to say, that sent me into a flurry of tears first thing this morning. I am used to being able to control every situation in which I'm in - and I really need that control - and with a four month old, you definitely have little control. I can't control when she sleeps. I can't control when she cries. I can try to get her to sleep and I can try to soothe her, but it doesn't always work as I hoped.

I want to experience that joy of motherhood that I probably overly idealized during our infertility struggle. And I think that is what makes me the most upset with myself. We tried for so long for our precious miracle, and now that we have her here with us, I find myself wondering whether it was even a good decision. I can't believe I could ever utter those words, and I am probably making very angry anyone reading this post who is going through their own infertility struggle.

Don't get me wrong, we have moments of joy and fun but I just feel so overwhelmed with frustration and impatience and I feel bad that Emma doesn't have a more compassionate mom.

I know it will get better. I know that I am just trapped right now in a bubble that is clouding my vision of the big picture. I want to enjoy every second of my time with Emma - even the hard seconds - because I know I can't get them back. And then I just read a blog post from a mother who just lost her son and it makes me feel even more guilty.

I have my little angel here with me. And I just need to pull it together and cherish her.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Up, up and away we go...

...on vacation!

Hubby, Emma and I head to Bermuda this week. It's a place I've always wanted to visit, and, lo and behold, friends of ours decided to get married there. I'm so excited!

We had to get Emma a passport. Pretty funny that the picture on it was taken when she was 10 days old and the passport is good for five years. Can't wait to see her try to get by security at age 5. "I swear, sir, this really is me!"

This will be the first plane travel with the little one. Thankfully, it is only about a 2 hour flight. Hopefully we can keep some semblance of a routine while there and still be able to enjoy ourselves.

Since I'll be off for a few days, I'll leave you with a new picture that I love. I think Emma is saying with her eyes, "Really, what do you think I am, Mommy? A doll to dress up?"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

From that to this...

What a difference a year makes.

From that, July 4, 2009...


To this, July 4, 2010...



July 5th marks the one year anniversary of our embryo transfer.

I remember last year watching the July 4th fireworks, scared out of my mind and nervous, knowing what the next day held, yet still hopeful that we would one day hold our little miracle.

And here she is!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frustration

I had my first breakdown as a mommy today.

Emma has become a terror at naptime. She used to be a champion napper - went down with no problems and slept about 1.5 hours several times a day.

Well, that has dramatically changed this week. She has started WAILING at naptime, fighting going down and then fighting the whole time that she is down. Sometimes she is able to cry herself to sleep but not always. And I'm talking maybe 45 minutes later she's cried herself to sleep.

I go in and rock her and try to get her calmed down. The moment I put her back down, it all starts again.

I am beyond frustrated and finally just had to put her down in her crib while wailing because I could feel myself bubbling over.

I catch her "sleepy" signs and put her down right away. I don't allow more than 1.5 hours of wakefulness. I'm still swaddling her but today I tried the sleepsack. I gave her a little Tylenol before this nap just in case there is something going on that I can't see. I tried to put her down on her tummy and she just raised up like it was tummy time.

I just don't know what else to do.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Did she just "cry it out"???

Emma had a meltdown this afternoon at the New Mom's group that I go to. It was quite embarrassing because she interrupted everything.

I could tell that she was exhausted so I left the group, came home and put her right down to bed. That was around 1:30pm. She was initially asleep but awoke about 20 minutes later crying. I tried to soothe her back to sleep with no luck. Finally I fed her even though it was not time to eat. That didn't help either. She continued to wail in her crib. And she wailed. And wailed.

But...according to my video monitor, the little munchkin is asleep. Really? Can it be? We'll see.

Update: Yep, she ended up sleeping for about an hour and 15 minutes! Good girl. Painful to go through but if it helps her learn to self-soothe, probably worth it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

3 Months Old

Here's where we stand 3 months into this wild ride called parenthood (sorry, kind of lengthy, but this is a great way for my own selfish purposes to capture how things are going)...

Miss Emma Grace:

Sleep: Emma is finally in her crib! Hip hip hooray! And she's sleeping pretty well. We elevated the mattress some to help with the reflux. We try to put her down between 7-8pm. She usually goes until 2-3am. Feeds quickly and I put her right back down. She then sleeps until around 7am. I feed her quickly again and put her right back down. Then she sleeps until about 9am. She then can handle about an hour of wakefulness before she goes back down for a nap, which usually lasts at least an hour. Then, throughout the day, I let her have no more than 1 1/2 hours of wakefulness and then try to get her to nap. She has good napping weeks and not so good ones. But all in all, we are pleased with where we stand sleep-wise.

Reflux: Emma takes a 15mg solutab of Prevacid once a day. I think it's helping. She hasn't been nearly as fussy, she's spitting up less and doesn't seem to be in pain.

Developmental: The big milestone recently was rolling from stomach to back. She really has to work hard at it and sometimes won't do it all. But it's fun when she cooperates. She also babbles a lot, has great neck strength, and bears a lot of weight on her legs when you hold her up. She also seems to recognize her daddy and me and usually rewards us with some precious smiles. But she also will give strangers smiles, so no anxiety yet.

I've printed out a list from the American Pregnancy Association that details milestones by month. Yes, I know each baby is different but it is nice seeing around what month she should be doing what. The items listed for the "Fourth Month" that Emma hasn't started doing yet are: tries to reach for objects but overshoots, grasps objects with both hands (she does do this with her blankie), and laughs. I can't wait for the laughs!

Work: My paid maternity leave ended on June 11th. I was very fortunate to get 12 weeks paid. I am now on the remaining 4 weeks of unpaid leave that I get under FMLA (in the D.C. area, you get 16 weeks for some reason). That takes me until about mid-July. I am going into work this afternoon to meet with the head on my account to figure out what kind of part-time options I may have. I know for sure that I'm not going to go back full-time. I would love to figure out something that allows me to do a certain number of hours during the week so I can work at night and over the weekend and not be locked into a set 8 hours workday. And something that limits the amount of time I have to be in an office. We'll see. I have my own research consulting company that I started a few years ago and have been fortunate enough to get some work during my leave. If I can't figure out something with my current employer, I may try to ramp up my own business so I can work from home.

This Summer: In about three weeks, hubby, baby, and I head to BERMUDA for a wedding. I absolutely can't wait. I've always wanted to go there. Of course, I didn't think I'd be toting an infant, but it will be great nonetheless. This will be our first plane travel and hotel staying with Emma. Hopefully it will all go smoothly. It is less than a 2 hours flight so it really shouldn't be bad at all. And we got a crib for our hotel room so hopefully Emma won't know the difference.

Sunscreen: I'm starting to stock up on sunscreen, which I use on Emma every day and will load on in Bermuda. So far, I really like California Baby (though it's WAY too expensive) and Blue Lizard Baby (much cheaper). I read that you should use a non-chemical kind with zinc and/or titanium dioxide that just sits on the surface of the skin. I tried Neutrogena Baby Pure and Free sunscreen and it gave Emma bumps on her skin, which is weird because I don't think she has sensitive skin.

Favorite Toys: Emma really doesn't pay any attention to toys yet. I put rattles and other fun, colored stuff in front of her and she just stares. She does love, love, love her playmat (and it was a free, hand-me-down, so even better!). She will stay on it for 20-30 minutes straight, just staring at the blinking lights and kicking her feet. She also just got some black and white animal flashcards that she seems to like. Again, she just stares but it seem to captivate her and hopefully it's making her into a genius :) It will be so much fun when she plays more, but that brings more toys and we don't have much space in our condo.

The wrap-up: I think that about wraps it up. I find myself frequently saying "I can't wait until Emma does..." such and such. But then I stop and kick myself. I want to enjoy every single day with her and appreciate the stage that she is in that very day. I don't want her to grow up too fast. I want her to be my little baby girl for as long as possible. And I sometimes kiss her chubby cheeks or stroke her back and think that at some point she won't want me to do that anymore. So I try to appreciate every single second. I think I fall more in love with her everyday. Ok, I better stop. Getting a little choked up! Kudos to those of you who read the whole post! Thanks.