Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our First Easter as Three

Easter morning came early around our house...we had to be fed, dressed and out the door by 8:20, which meant a 7 am wake up call for mommy...earlier than usual. I actually didn't drag myself from the warm comfort of flannel sheets until 7:25, so I rocked wet hair in a ponytail, and had no time to make my legs presentable enough for a skirt, so wound up wearing the only clean jeans I had handy (grey flares) with a blousy blue and white silk button down tank and an extra long black cardigan with silver ballet flats. Not exactly up to Easter par, but what can you do? It was only a little embarrassing to stand next to Tim in his khaki's, button down green gingham shirt and navy tie, holding Charlie in her plaid pink/orange/red Old Navy dress (new from the consignment store, $4) with her big flower headband in lieu of a bonnet (impossible to find!) Only Charlie got fed, and we didn't make it out the door until 8:35 (for the 8:30 service), but thankfully it's right down the street.

Once to church, Charlie started off standing on my lap, treating me as a jumperoo. Bounce, bounce bounce. To put a stop to this, I sat her on my lap, when Charlie decided it would be a good time to growl. A lot. After several attempts to quiet her with various pacifiers, all of which she plucked out a threw on the ground, Tim ended up in the foyer with her for the majority of the service, keeping her growling to himself.

After the service we came home for a few hours, and Charlie received her first Easter basket. If you know me, you know I LOVE holidays, and holiday traditions. Normally I make Easter baskets for at least Tim, my nephew Mitsuki, and myself (cause I say it's from the Easter Bunny, so it's not really like I'm giving myself presents, right?) Last year, Tim's brother and his family were here from Ohio, so I made 9 baskets. But, this year I'm not working, so I had to tame my Easter basket frenzy. Charlie was the only recipient of a basket, Tim got white chocolate Lindor eggs, and I got mini Cadbury's.

Here's Charlie, ready to rip into her basket:

Her basket consisted of: felt chick basket, two Sesame Street bath books (all from the Target dollar bin), a touch and feel baby animal book (Costco, $5.99) and a little lamb (Fred Meyer, $3.99)

She checked periodically to make sure Daddy's attention was where it should be...on her.

Eating her basket. This continued throughout the day.

Overall, her first Easter basket seemed to be a success.
We spent the rest of the day at Papa's, where she enjoyed playing in her jumperoo, and eating her Auntie Chie's face. It was delightful.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Arose!

He arose, hallelujah, Christ arose!

Happy Easter, friends. Today we rejoice in our Resurrected Lord, without whom, eternal life would not be possible.

Praise the Lord that Jesus conquered death, living and reigning eternally, making it possible for us to have salvation.

"Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?" I Corinthians 15:55

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thankful for Good Friday

without which, we could not receive the gift of salvation.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross

The emblem of suff'ring and shame

And I love that old cross,

Where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross

Till my trophies at last I'll lay down

I will cling to the old rugged cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Why we're on hold

It seemed to be going so well. There was less crying, more sleeping. But there we other changes too...ones I really wanted to ignore, or at least pretend they were caused by teething or something. Then it all came to a head.

Let's backtrack a bit. Charlie started rolling months ago, but only recently has she been consistently rolling as a means to get from here to there. But, she only rolls one direction at a time. She'll roll, for example, from her tummy to her back, going right. Then, still going right, to her tummy again. Then (right) to her back. Until she encounters an obstacle. If she's on her back when she gets stuck, she deals, wiggles and finds her way out. But if she's on her tummy, she just keeps trying to roll to the right, desperate to get onto her back, resulting in her hitting her head on said obstacle over and over again as she tries to get to her back.

It's not a huge deal if she's in the living room with me, I can roll her to the left and get her started on the rolling path to safety. But, when I've put her in her crib (drowsy but awake) the last seven or eight times, it's been a different story. I didn't know why she was suddenly crying for an hour again, until I came in the first time and found her on her belly, terrified. She didn't have room to roll back over, and seemed to think she was stuck forever. It took some time to calm her down, and then she fell asleep in my arms. The next day, her screaming got more intense after 10 minutes, and I heard banging against the wall. She was, again, stuck on her stomach, and attempting to roll despite continually hitting her head against the crib slats (we don't use bumpers, per the SIDS recommendation.) The next day, determined to keep closer watch, I found her almost immediately on her tummy, backed into the bottom corner with her foot stuck through the slats.

Tim and I talked about it, and decided that until she had figured out rolling either direction, we'd back off on the CIO business. The risk of her hurting herself seems to outweigh any benefit offered.

There have been other issues too. I don't know if baby's can be paranoid, but it seems like Charlie is. She started crying and twisting any time we go into her room now. If I lay her down on the changing table (previously one of her favorite places) she starts screaming immediately. I've heard of CIO babies loving their cribs, but Charlie has learned to fear hers. I'm at a loss. The last few days of letting her fall asleep next to me on the couch, but not touching me, seems to have gone well. I am (usually) able to transfer her to her crib without commotion. She's been happier during the day, and more inclined to play by herself, or with her dad or grandparents then she was the last week or so. She still cries when I put her on the changing table, but only until she figures out she's getting changed, then she calms down and starts smiling.

In some ways I feel like a failure, because CIO is so successful for so many, but on the other hand, I know my stubborn little girl, and it's clear that this isn't the right path for her. At least for now.

So, I'm a bit discouraged, but glad to have my happy girl back. Even if bedtime still doesn't come easy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Charlie Wearing Wednesday

This girl is getting trickier to photograph. She is ever more distracted by the world around her, so keeping her attention for the three seconds my camera takes to capture a shot is no laughing matter.
In the first picture, she's attempting to lick her hood.
In the second picture, she's letting me know it's too close to nap time for this business.
And in the third picture, she's had a nap, and a meal, and is more than happy to smile for me, so long as she can still play with her feet.

Anyway, today she's wearing another Carters outfit, which makes it simple for a sleepy mama. I really love how everything Carters matches. For example, the blue of the socks, which were not part of the outfit, is exactly the same as the blue of the vest. Takes a lot of the thinking out of the picture, which I am increasingly appreciating. The headband was made by me.

Here she is giving up on sitting pretty and sprawling along the full width of the rocking chair seat.
Time to play!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Seven

Charlie was bright and cheery most of the day yesterday, even "napping" in her crib without protest a few times. I say "napping" because most of the time was spent staring at the wall or playing with her feet, not actually sleeping. But, baby steps, right? She seems to have figured out that screaming isn't getting her what she wants. When I laid her down last night at 7:30, she cried until I left the room, then only fussed for about a minute every 5 minutes or so. At one point she'd been so quiet I was sure she was asleep, so I tip toed in to peek and found her staring at the wall (we're on the other side of it, and she could hear Tim talking with our friend Ryan through it) so intently that she didn't notice I was there. It made me sad to see her staring to where she knows we are. I feel like she thinks she's being punished. But, I know these are just reflections of how I would feel in her situation, because she doesn't even know the concept of punishment yet. The only time she hears the word "no" is when she's ripping hair from my scalp (granted, that is about 20 times a day). Anyway, minutes after that, I checked on her again, driven by my guilt, and found her asleep. All in all, it took less than a half hour with virtually no crying - a huge change from a week ago, when she would fall asleep on a sheet soaked with tears. She woke up around 11, and when I went in to get her she was pressed up against the crib slats. I untangled her from them and fed her while I read and laid her back down. She was asleep again quickly without protest. We didn't repeat our sleeping through the night bliss, she woke up at three to eat, but went back down in her crib with barely a peep. It took her awhile to fall back asleep though, I could hear her tiny dagger sharp nails scratching the sheet for about a half hour. I half expected her to have dug through the mattress by morning. She woke up again at 6:15 and ate again, then we snoozed together for a few more hours. Today has been touch and go, she was happy while I changed her until she scratched her face with her toenail (seriously, how often does that happen?), then she was happy again while we watched American Idol until she couldn't share my coffee. Fixed with her own sippy cup of juice/water. Then she started getting sleep and fussy, and no amount of snuggling her was fixing the fuss, so I decided if she's crying anyway, to her crib! And that's where she's been the whole time I've been writing this. Fussing on an off, (fussing right now actually), but I'm hoping it's short lived. So, since the cry it out part is pretty much over, and I can't imagine you all just want to hear how often she eats in the night, barring some sort of extreme regression, I think this will be my last post on the subject. Thanks for going through this journey with me, and I really appreciate all the encouragement. I couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Six

Finally. Finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For bedtime at least. Naps are a different story. Last night my dad came over to watch Survivor - a long standing tradition, and Charlie went down at 8:15. I kissed her, prayed over her and told her "Night night" and walked out. She screamed for the entire duration of 25 minutes, which my dad didn't like at all. But then, she was out. That's a little more than half the time it's been taking! I couldn't believe it. Just under an hour later, however, she was fussing again. But just fussing, on and off, for about 15 minutes, then asleep. By the time Tim got home (around 10ish), he went to kiss her goodnight and found her staring at him with wide open, very awake eyes. He kissed her on the forehead and walked out, afraid he'd ruined everything. Again, she fussed for about 10 minutes and then was out. Weird. At 11:30, I was getting ready for bed, and heard her fussing. I decided to feed her, assuming hunger was the reason for all these wakings, so I fed her while I read a bit, then put her back in her crib. She fussed for about 5 minutes, then I didn't hear a peep from her until 6:30am! Is it possible that this horrible cycle we've been in for two months now is finally coming to an end? Hoping and praying that it is, and normal sleep will return to all. So far today, Charlie has been cheery and energetic, and desperately wanting to type, so here is a message to you with love from Charlie: ccccccccccccccccccccccccccc nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn c jrx zzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's Charlie Wearing Wednesday/Made By Me Monday Combo

And sillier every day. So, I skipped Made By Me Monday this week, so to make up for it, here's a Made By Me What's Charlie Wearing. This dress was the first project I tackled after hats:
It's supposed to it an 18 month old, and it's got glaring mistakes, but it's so so soft, and considering my rookie status...pretty cute.
The onesie is, as usual, Carters from a vest/pants set.
The tights came from a consignment shop.

So, she's sweet and snugly and cute as a button.

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Five

My chipper little baby is happily playing on the floor as I write this, grinning at me between grabbing at toys or chewing on feet. She's been happy all day (or what she's been awake for) so far. Yesterday she was pretty happy too, playing and rolling over on the floor, bouncing with gusto in her jumperoo, and snuggling the daylights out of me. She napped briefly in the morning, then as we cruised through Costco in the afternoon, and then she took a late nap again (6-7ish), so she didn't start getting visibly sleepy until about 8:00. I put her down at 8:07, and the monitor and I went to do some dishes. She cried for about 15 minutes before it turned to muttering, then back to crying, lather rinse repeat. She fell silent after about 35 minutes, so I peeked in the door and found her focused on flipping onto her belly. She gave up on that soon after, flopped onto her back and started snoring softly. All told - 40 minutes. She woke again about 1 am, not fully crying, but fussing a little every few minutes, and definitely keeping me awake. I figured I could feed her and get it over with, so I hauled myself out of bed. Boy did I underestimate how exhausted I was. I had been planning to feed her in her rocker, but as soon as I started walking toward her room I knew I didn't have the energy to sit up with her (I've been fighting a cold all week). So, for my own well being I took her to bed and fed her there. We both fell asleep in the process, and when I woke it was 2. I carried her back to her crib and laid her down, her eyes flying open the second she touched the mattress. I put my hand on her belly and "shhh"ed until she started rubbing her eyes, and I made for the door. Between two and four, Charlie stayed quietly in her crib, playing with her toes. Since I knew she was awake, I woke up every 15 or 20 minutes to check on her, and every time she was happily and silently playing. Finally an hour or so into this game her eyelids were starting to droop, and I readied myself to really sleep. Well, then she lost her binky. She fussed a little, and I tried to ignore it, hoping she'd get her ever-more-coordinated fingers around the thing and back in her mouth. Eventually, around 4, I heard the soft thud of the binky being kicked out of the crib and onto the floor, followed by a more consistent sad sob. Well, at this point I was so tired that I acted in the only way that my sleep deprived mind could, and went and got her. I considered "plugging" her with the binky and leaving, but when she saw me, my oh-so-awake child actually squealed in delight. Well, melt my heart, how is one supposed to resist that? So, to bed with me she came. Once there she gazed at me grinning for about 10 minutes, rolled over to be closer to me (I always try to keep her at least a foot away) and just seemed to bask in the togetherness of it all. Soon enough she fell asleep, and I fell asleep, and we both slept until Tim woke us before he left for work. Charlie was still in a very good mood, grinning at him and snuggling with him until he had to go. I fed her again, and we talked back and forth for awhile, then we took a "nap" until 9:30, when she woke up cooing and grinning. So, while we're still not totally making it through the night, Charlie has been so happy and interactive today (albeit sleepy...she did have quite the play time when she should have been sleeping.) Maybe the benefits of this process are starting to show...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Four

Sigh. This girl. For all her sweetness and adorable-ness, she is giving me a run for my money. Yesterday, she was cheery and sweet, and would have nothing to do with her crib. And, as a result, nothing to do with naps. She would drift off while eating, but otherwise she was nap free until about 5:00 when I gave up and let her sleep next to me on the couch while I watched TV. She slept till 6:30, and then ate dinner (milk and prunes), and played until she started getting sleepy, about 8:15. I fed her one more time for good measure, and she drifted off while eating. I was worried that would give her extra energy to fight at bedtime, and in a way I think it did. But, nonetheless, I gave her some gas drops, kissed and snuggled her and left her in her crib. The crying started before I got to the door. This was harder than normal. In an attempt (I assume) to soothe herself, once she lost her binky, she crammed her hand in her mouth. Her whole hand (I was peeking periodically). When she's not crying she gags herself when she does this, so it was intensified by hysterical sobs+hand. Lots of gagging. Hence, my frequent army crawl through the doorway to check on her. But, the pattern was more consistent. Cry for a minute, quiet/catch breath for a minute. After about 20 minutes she moved on to angry talking. She was more physically active though. At one point I heard a bang on the wall that her room shares with our living room, where I was folding laundry and watching House. I went to investigate, and found her turned 45 degrees from her starting point, kicking the wall. By the time she actually fell asleep, 40 minutes after I put her down, she was upside down, if you will, feet where her head normally is, head where her feet normally are. And snoring her tiny little head off. She also had a finger stuck in her mouth, again, I assume, to self-soothe. Success! Self soothed, asleep in under an hour...great! Until one am arrived. Woke up fussing, and I resisted responding until the fuss became a scream. I fed her in her rocking chair, and laid her down, but she woke immediately and started flailing her arms and legs. I scooped her back up (probably a mistake, but it was the middle of the night), got her back to sleep, laid her back down and ran for the door. There was no noise from the crib. Holding my breath, I visited the restroom, then peeked back in. Oops. I had been spotted by bright eyes staring at the door. Enter wails. I waited for them to get softer, but to no avail. She was so worked up, so I walked over and stroked her cheek. Well, apparently she didn't notice me coming, because I was the cause of my baby's first scream of terror. She went from a low pitched cry to a high pitched peal of horror in a heartbeat, her face changing from frustration to fear. It was awful. I felt so badly, I scooped her up right there and took her to my room to comfort her, which took some doing. Probably ten minutes later she was calm again. She slept by my side until quarter to seven when she woke up screaming in a way I interpreted to be pain. I jumped up and took her to change her diaper, thinking she was experiencing the same problem she'd experienced on Sunday, but that wasn't it. She screamed until I fed her, and then she calmed and slept more. All in all, it was a rough night, and I felt like we took several steps backward. This is rough, people. I just tried to put her down in her crib after she'd fallen asleep in my arms, and that backfired. Moms who've done this, did you wait till night time was established to put them down awake for naps, or did you do CIO for naps too?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Six Month Photo Shoot

Buckle up - there are a lot of pictures below :) My sweet friend Laura of E&O Supplies has a vast amount of talents, not the least of which is photography. I asked if she would be willing to take pictures of Charlie and she really delivered. We had brunch with Meghan of Zimbags, and used her beautiful neutral home as a backdrop. The pictures turned out amazing, and here are some of my favorites (it was really hard to narrow down, be glad I didn't upload all 56)

Seriously great pictures, right? Big thanks to Auntie Laura for making this possible!

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Three

This brings us to last night. Charlie had been in so much pain during the day that we were worried about putting her down, but we knew that if we weren't consistant, the last two nights would be for naught. So, we put her down when her eyes started getting droopy, and the crying started immediately. We hunkered down on the couch and listened carefully to her cries, worried that she was in pain. There were a lot of breaks in her cries, and we didn't know if that was because she was so sleepy, or if she was just catching her breath, but it worried us. So, 20 minutes into it, Tim went in to give her more gas drops. We knew this would work her up, but we were so concerned that she was in pain. Sure enough, this made her furious, that he would have the audacity to come in and leave again without her. So, her cries amped up for a few minutes, but subsided again pretty quickly. Even with the interruption, she cried less than 45 minutes before falling asleep. Progress! She woke at midnight, and I fed her and put her back down. She fussed a little, so I gave her her pacifier and she calmed down. At two she was up again. I fed her, rocked her and put her back down (asleep), but she woke up screaming a few minutes later. I didn't know what to do, if I should let her cry herself to sleep, or just go get her. It didn't seem fair for Tim to be woken up by crying in the middle of the night, since he's working a 12 hour day today, so I went and got her, and she spent the rest of the night next to me. Her pain seems to have subsided, and she was pretty chipper this morning. She's now napping in her crib. We'll see what happens tonight. I'm hoping for twenty minutes of fussing...I'll let you know.

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day Two

I'd read that the first night, on average, takes an hour. The second night, 45 minutes. The third night, 30 minutes, etc. Lies. Cry it out is very stressful for all involved, and on this night I had to handle it on my own. So, I put me sleepy but awake baby in her crib. kissed her and said all the mushy mom things, and resolutely walked out of the room. To silence. The silence lasted about two minutes, and as I curled up on the couch hugging the monitor as a surrogate Charlie, I listened to the angry, angry screams coming from my tiny girl. After a few minutes, these gave way to furious mumblings. She was grumbling all her emotions out in baby talk, which was actually pretty hilarious to listen too. This continued for several minutes, then turned back into angry screaming. Then to sobbing. Then to screaming, then to grumbling, and one last burst of screaming. The peaceful, blissful slumber. The whole process took an hour and ten minutes, and again, it sucked. Tim came home at the tail end of it, and feeling sympathetic, he treated me to two cheeseburgers and french fries from McDonalds, which helped melt the tension a bit. She slept until 4 am, when I fed her and put her back down. Then she woke up at 5 am, ready to start the day. I couldn't convince her to go back to sleep with any amount of feeding or rocking, so eventually she and I laid down on the couch and napped together until 9:30 when I woke up. Not ideal, but I couldn't handle a five'o'clock wake up time. The rest of the day was rough. She was a gem at church, letting Daddy hold her the whole time, napping on his shoulder (she's been pretty mean to Tim lately, making it clear that she'd prefer I hold her, breaking both of our hearts.) When we got home, I fed her and we played for a bit before we all took super long naps. (Hers in her crib, lasting almost two hours - she averages 15-45 minutes usually.) Then the pain came in to play. We've started Charlie on solids, and they've been unkind to her little digestive tract. It all came to a head after her nap, and she was experiencing a LOT of pain as she tried to get things moving. Eventually I called a nurses consulting line and was told to give her baby pear juice and prunes. She liked the juice a lot, but hardly touched the pureed prunes, I think more so because she didn't want to eat when she was in pain, less because...well, they're prunes. We also gave her liberal amounts of gas drops, which she loves. She sucks on that little dropper as long as we'll let her, getting every little drop of strawberry flavored goodness. But still, the rest of the day was punctuated with her tiny scrunched up face and pathetic cries, and lots of belly rubs, a warm bath, and diaper changes...anything we could think of to help her discomfort. So with this rough day, we were geared up for a rough night.

Chronicles of Cry It Out - Day 1

Well, we did it. We bit the bullet. We had attempted CIO in the past, but it seemed like pointless torture for all three of us, because, really, we had quite a good little sleeper on our hands. She'd drift off to sleep while we snuggled her, transition smoothly into her crib, and sleep the night away. It was wonderful, it was easy, and who cares if she can't soothe herself? Then everything changed. She started waking up anywhere from one to FIVE times a night. As this progressed and my exhaustion worsened, I'd give up and bring her into bed with me. At least this way I could feed her without having to totally wake up. Well...she got pretty used to the comfort of having me so close. She stopped napping in her crib, demanding to be snuggled, or at least laying next to me for the duration of the nap. If I had to use the restroom, do laundry or get some food, the nap was over. When we put her down at night (asleep), she would wake up within the hour, refusing to go down again in her crib. But, if I just set her next to me, she'd fall asleep in minutes, without a fuss or whine. Slippery slope. Two weeks went by with baby in our bed. Tim was kicked out, cause there's just not room for all three of us. I would wake up, paranoid that she'd accidentally been covered by loose bedding and was in danger (never happened, but paranoia runs deep for new moms). This had to stop. So, Friday night, Tim and I had a plan. Charlie would be put in her crib and the first sign of drowsiness, and we'd listen over the monitor, set as low as possible, while playing Monopoly with a friend. It took an hour and ten minutes for our girl to stop screaming, and if it hadn't been for that game, I wouldn't have made it. Distractions help oh-so-much. When she finally stopped crying, I immediately went in to check on her (I had been peeking periodically from the door, but standing over her provides much more reassurance.) She was sleeping so peacefully, breathing slowly and deeply. She woke up two hours later, and I fed her and put her back down. She cried for fifteen minutes and was out until morning. The next day, she greeted me with a grin, didn't panic if I left the room, played on her own more than usual, and took longer naps in her crib. The process sucked, but it looked to be promising.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's Charlie Wearing Wednesday

Before Charlie was born, her Papa went to Vegas. There he was able to enjoy In'N'Out, making me insanely jealous, but he did bring us back a onesie. here she is, sporting a delicious #1. But, since it's still acting like winter round these parts, this was not sufficient for her to wear alone, so I put this sweater over it:

This was found on the Old Navy clearance rack for 1/2 off of it's clearance price of $5.00 - yeah, $2.50 for a knit cowl neck sweater...awesome. She's wearing it with her H&M jeans from Alison and Jason, and some Carters socks.

We have not had the smiley-est morning around here (someone has been opting to go to bed between 11:30 and 1:00 the last several nights, and is all the grumpier for it-we're working on it.) so, the pictures are not quite as cheery as usual, but cute none the less.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Made By Me Monday

Tim and I have these amazing knit stockings we got at Cost Plus the first year we were married. I really wanted to find a similar one for Charlie, but the only one they had with the same color scheme was about a foot longer than ours. So, rather than buy one we didn't completely love, I made a temporary stocking to give us some time to find a great one. At three months old she didn't really care anyway :) I had bought Christmas fabric the year before to make pillow covers, so I pulled out the remnants from one of them as well as remnants of a pink minky fabric from a baby blanket I made and used our existing stockings to make a template. Foolishly, I cut the stocking shapes incorrectly, so the better image is on the back side of it...oops. Oh well. I really doubt this could hold much, since I hand stitched the whole thing, and the minky stuff is almost like batting. I think a lot of weight might rip the whole thing apart, so it's purely decorative. But, for Charlie's first Christmas, I think it worked. Plus, it was free!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Heart Faces: Best Face - March

This weeks challenge is a people's choice. Submit your favorite picture from March and then vote for your favorites. I picked Charlotte's St. Patty's picture, because it's very March-y, and I spent far too long making that mask to only post it once :)