August 31, 2012

Live & Die*

I just really needed to pass this song along to all of you. The Avett Brothers have, over the years, become one of my favorite bands. They are easily up there in the top five. Their  music has definitely evolved over the years into something much more so I was excited when NPR Music had their new album up for streaming before it comes out. My ears have never been happier. And I love this personal, live version of "Live & Die."

I promise that I am getting no gain from posting this -- I just really love their music that much and I completely support you heading over to NPR and taking a listen. The whole album is hauntingly beautiful. Do it. You won't regret it.

August 23, 2012

Five Months Old*

Lucas turned five months old yesterday! And what a month it has been for our household. I wrote last month about how much I thought he was becoming more of a little person and how I was amazed by the growth that happened between three months and four months, but it's nothing compared to what has happened with him these past few weeks. All of a sudden Lucas is rolling over from back to tummy, sitting up all on his own, reaching for things like crazy and I swear, is on the verge of crawling. He has no problem getting his little legs up under his butt and I know it's only a matter of days before he figures out how to flip himself from tummy to back, and not long after that before his attempts at scooting actually take him somewhere.

I am constantly amazed at how quick he changes but I have just been plain blown away this month. As much as I want my little squishy baby to stay small, I am loving how developed he is becoming. One of my biggest fears as a full-time working mama was missing milestones. I have actively prepared myself for the fact that my kid may crawl for the first time with our wonderful sitter, or that his first steps will come chasing her little boy, J. So it warmed my heart that it was a lazy Saturday morning when he decided he wanted to roll over for the first time with us sitting right there. I know I can't be there for everything, so I'm taking it all in while I can.

Aside from the sleep schedule, which we are working on diligently, Lucas continues to be amazing. I mentioned the other day the struggles that we are having with his sleep, but he seems to have worked his way through it and in the past couple of nights has gone back to an almost normal schedule. It's amazing how you can adapt to survive on such little sleep a night, but I am not going to lie, I very much look forward to the day he sleeps longer. I am diving heavier into my Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby book, and am hoping that it will give me some advice on how to get back to the good routine that we had before. I'm also putting our sitter on Operation: Wear Baby Out.

We started some grain cereal this past month, although I haven't been super strict with it. A couple of times a week, Lucas gets some oatmeal cereal (he most definitely was not a fan of the rice. Nor was I. Ick.) and for the most part, does pretty well with it. We do not have a schedule with it, and mostly it's a "when there is time in the evenings," we give him a little. Two to three times a week seems to be where we are at now. We are definitely thinking about what to do when we start a more frequent rotation of solids next month, but I am thinking that Baby Led Weaning will be what works best for us, our lifestyle and our baby. I have a ton of questions for our pediatrician at next month's appointment, and in the coming weeks will do some more research about BLW. But when it comes down to it, we will do whatever little man wants to do.

It can be easy to lose perspective with being a new mama, but I promise you that I am not. If you read my blog, or follow me on twitter, I do an awful lot of complaining. Most of it is due to lack of sleep, or time, or both & bad days definitely do happen. But when it comes down to it, there are so many worse things that we can be dealing with, and have dealt with. A healthy, happy baby who loves life so much that he doesn't want to nap or sleep through the night, who wants to live and learn as much as he can ... well ... I'll take it. Any day. Every single day, I am grateful for what we have as a family. It can always be easier, but it can always be worse. We are blessed to be where we are.

August 17, 2012

Sleep Woes*

I got cocky, everyone.

My baby is awesome. 

We have no sleep problems. 

He only wakes up once a night. 

He goes down wide awake and rarely fusses. 

Yeah. About that.

All the sleep training that we have done since Lucas was about 8 weeks old has pretty much been tossed out the window the past couple of weeks. Almost two weeks ago now (sheesh), Lucas decided that he wanted to roll over. YAY. This was awesome! He had been on the verge for a couple of weeks, and I finally decided to stop swaddling him because I KNEW it was going to happen soon. So one Friday night, I just stopped swaddling. We had done the one arm out thing for a while, but this time I went all in.

And wouldn't you know, that next morning, he rolled. Back to front. Just like a champ.

Waking up at 4am is fun. Or not.
But then the sleep issues started. At first it was rough. I mean, really rough. I think those first three nights, Lucas was up 3-5 times a night. This was going from ONCE a night. Lucas had been only waking up once a night since he was 8 weeks old. So to go from once a night to three, four, five times a night was a rude awakening (literally). There was one night where he was up every two hours, like clockwork. It was like having a newborn all over again. Except I didn't have the day after to lounge around my yoga pants, take naps and recover from the tough night, because, you know, work has to happen and I have to be a contributing member of society!

The problem, initially, was that Lucas would roll himself over and startle himself awake. Then he would get mad, need to be consoled, go back to sleep, and the whole process would start over again. He would sort of wake up, remember that he could roll, startle, scream. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I had so many friends who told me "My baby rolled then didn't do it again for a month or two." NOT MY KID. Damn overachiever. He was proud of his new trick, and wanted to show it off, much to the expense of my sleep.

After a frantic night where I had been trying to get him to go to sleep for well over an hour, I caved and asked the twitter universe for some frantic advice. The advice was simple: If he wants to be on his stomach, put him there, sooth him that way, and walk away.


I know that most of us grew up being put to sleep on our tummy's as babies, and we all turned out fine. The whole "back to sleep" movement is relatively new, but definitely important. We followed it and kept to our pediatrician's advice, so when it came time for him to want to sleep on his stomach, it was a hard pill to swallow. In fact, I am pretty I checked on him more times than I can count through out that night. Even when he was not awake, I was up, running into the nursery to check on him and make sure he was, you know, still breathing. Lucas has EXCELLENT head control, and has since he was still itty bitty (really. It was impressive!) so I really had no reason to worry. And slowly but surely, it got easier putting him to sleep on his stomach every night (well, put him on his back, but he immediately flips to his stomach).

Rock-A-Bye Baby
And, the sleeping has gotten better, but not anywhere near where it was. We are still up at least twice a night (which, I know ... is still not bad at four-ish months old! Again. We were lucky). Sometimes its as simple as giving him the pacifier and he will go right back to sleep. Other times it's not that simple. Naps during the day have also become difficult. Thirty minutes tend to be the norm, no matter how hard our sitter tries to get him down. I have taken to rocking him to sleep the past couple of nights (something we NEVER did before!) because I just don't have it in me right now to listen to him cry for an hour or more every night. I'm not quite ready to cry it out with him. I love that he's moving and that his tummy is where he wants to be, but I just wish he wouldn't get so frustrated about it.

And I have no answers to how to fix it other than to just deal with it. I am hopeful that the day will come when he can roll over tummy to back, and that fix's some of our problems. Until then, I'm trying my best to not make every night a struggle, but at the same time, if he wants to sleep on his stomach, he needs to figure out how to actually go to sleep there on his own while still awake.

How have you dealt with sleep woes with your baby?

August 8, 2012

Baby Elle*

Social media is a wonderful thing. In all honesty, I really do not know what I would do without it. My husband makes fun of me for being on Facebook and Twitter ALL THE TIME, but the fact of the matter is that I have met some really amazing people through both avenues. Women that have helped me through some tough times. Women who turned from virtual friends to real friends. This is strange to some, but I honestly don't know what I would do without these people in my life!

Lauren is one of those women who I met through twitter! It took no time at all to find out that we were pretty close, were seeing the same RE and were both pregnant from the same method. So when Lauren asked me to photograph her sweet baby girl OF COURSE I said yes!

And the results are beautiful! It totally helps that her child is gorgeous and squishy and so very, very cute. Check out this doll!


August 1, 2012

Florida Vacation*

This past weekend, M & I decided to get out of town and get some much needed family time in. Things have been so hectic around here as we have figured out how to live life with two working parents while still getting some quality time in together. It's rough, let me tell you, but I know many of you understand this & can relate. So we decided to take advantage of a family beach house owned by my uncle & we took off to Satellite Beach, Florida, for a nice, long weekend.

Initially, I was worried about making the drive down. Lucas isn't the BIGGEST fan of his car seat. 98.3% of the time he does totally fine in it. But the kid get's antsy. A nine-hour car ride wasn't something that I was sure I could prepare for, but it had to happen so we did what we needed to do and made it work.

And let me tell you, that kid is a CHAMP. I rode up front with M for the first couple of hours until we needed to stop for our first diaper change. After that point, I decided to crawl into the back with him so I could feed him (totally grateful my child is bottle fed! This made SUCH A DIFFERENCE in our driving time!) & I ended up staying there for the remainder of the trip. It was so much easier to be able to talk & play with him then to worry about when he was going to start a melt down because he was hungry while we tried to find a place to pull over. This was a win-win situation for all involved. Baby was happy. Mom & Dad were happy.

The house that we stayed at was GORGEOUS. We were only a few blocks from the beach, and while it wasn't completed, the house has a pool that we completely plan on utilizing next time around (it was being filled as we were leaving town!) I was worried (again with the worrying!) about how Lucas would take to the beach & the ocean water, but again, my kid surprised me in total champ-mode. He loved it! I thought for sure he would erupt in whimpers and screams when he got wet (bath time hasn't always been our friend) but instead he just stood there and took it. I am constantly amazed at how chill our kid is. He is so low key and so easy. It's impressive.

If we weren't at the beach, we were watching the Olympics. It seemed silly to drive 700 miles to watch the Olympics, but I promise it would not have happened if we stayed at home. You know. Laundry. Cleaning. Grocery shopping. Errands. All the mess that gets in the way from truly relaxing. So it really was great to spend a weekend doing absolutely NOTHING and just spend time together as a family. It's something we haven't had a lot of quality time with lately so it was very refreshing to our needs. 

Our last full day we spent with my uncle as well as my AMAZING cousin Jessica and her family. I had not seen her since she was pregnant with her sweet little girl, who is TWO now! Totally unacceptable. She is one of the only people on that side of the family that I communicate with, and so it was so great to spend so much time with her and for our babies to meet and see each other (even though Lucas has no clue what was going on).

All in all it was a fabulous weekend. Neither of us were ready to make the trip back on Monday. The Florida sun was good to all of us (Lucas slept through the night all weekend!) and we enjoyed the time together. I definitely see more trips down there in the future!