Saturday, August 30, 2014

Letters to my Baby: Month Five

Hey little one,

We keep reflecting on a popular quote this month. It's one that sums up parenting perfectly, that we relate to so well now that we have you in our lives.

The days are long, but the years (or months) are short.

Some of the days are almost never ending. You occasionally skip your naps, or the weather is too wet for us to leave the house. Mama loves getting to spend so much time with you, and feels so very lucky to be a stay at home mom. But it is sometimes a lonely job, when the only adult contact during the day is a quick interaction with the cashier at the grocery store. But each day is still so good, and filled with so many sweet moments. The months are flying by, and your mama and daddy are trying to savor every sweet cuddle and toothless smile. We know all too soon you'll be running off to play, starting school, and not needing us nearly as much.

This month has been such a fun one! We've had multiple visitors come to town, and took you on your first real vacation. We're trying hard to balance naps and bedtime with getting out of the house. We took you to a few restaurants, walked around the neighborhood almost daily, and savored the warm days at the end of summer. You got to see three of your grandparents this month, and you even got to meet your great grandpa when we were in California! 

In terms of milestones, you're really working hard on holding up your sweet head. It's bigger than most, and a bit of a challenge, but we're so proud of how hard you're working. After your doctor mentioned your muscles were a little tight (it's 'high tone' in medical terms), we have requested an evaluation from an Early Intervention team. We hope you qualify for some physical therapy, so that we can help you to move easier. I have a feeling by the end of your sixth month you're going to have made some major progress! Mama is trying so hard to be patient, but is also already showing that she's not afraid to push and make some noise to help you get the best care possible. We would do anything for you, baby girl!

You're still eating only breastmilk, but we've played around with letting you taste a couple simple foods. You've sucked on some watermelon and cucumber, and seem quite intrigued. We're so excited to start feeding you some purees, but want to wait until after your six month appointment, since you're doing so well with eating only breastmilk right now. You are really interested in watching us eat, and I have a feeling you're going to love "real" food when the time comes! We're taking a little break from cloth diapers for now, because you seem to move a lot easier in the disposable ones. But hopefully once we get some PT going, we'll get back into the cloth. You're still spending lots of time on the floor with your play mat and toys, but we're also experimenting with sitting you in the Bumbo and your frog chair. And tummy time is a lot more exciting when we put a Boppy under you. We love watching you develop, and can't wait to get the PT going so that you can continue to grow stronger. 

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the last month. An excessive number of them, of course!

You don't always love tummy time, but you're getting better!

Baby exercises... laying on your side while smiling for Daddy.

Look at you! You're getting really good at holding your head up!

We are so happy that you love reading books.
We promise to read to you every single day,
and to fill your bedroom with more books than you can handle!

Baby's first airplane ride!

Silly selfies at our hotel in California :)

You're not entirely sold on the beach at this point...

You loved spending time with Great Aunt Anne.

Meeting Great Grandpa

You loved meeting mom's friends from college-- Chris and Elena came up from Texas, and Danielle and Daniel came down from Toronto. You did not suffer for lack of attention when they were visiting! We also went out to dinner without you for the first time while they visited. We knew you were in good hands, since you had FOUR capable adults babysitting! And you ended up sleeping the whole time :) We're lucky to have so many good friends, both in Chicago and around the country!

It's been another great month, little angel. We love you so much, and are so thankful to have you in our lives. Keep those sweet smiles coming, ok?

Mom and Dad

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Road Tripping... STL or Bust!

When I was a junior in high school, I visited the state of Missouri for the first time. I was on a college visiting road trip with my parents, and we decided to visit the University of Missouri on our way back to Colorado. It was completely spur of the moment. I knew nothing about the school or the state of Missouri, but thought why not! That trip ended with me only applying to one school, and knowing by October of my senior year that I was headed to Columbia in August. Mizzou was the perfect fit for me, and over the next four years, Missouri became my second home. Especially when my parents left Colorado, choosing their next adventure in Europe!

After college, I wasn't quite ready to quit on Missouri. I moved to Kansas City, where the cute guy I was dating was also going to be living. Obviously, things went well for us, and we spent the first two years after college in KC. At that point, the bright lights of Chicago were calling our name, so we said goodbye to Missouri and headed up north!

In the last few years, things have come full circle. My parents ended up moving to St Louis (twice!), and as of March of this year they're living there hopefully for good. It turns out it's a pretty fun city to live in, and I love that it's an easy drive down from Chicago! Joe has brothers in Kansas City and St Louis as well, making Missouri a part of both of our families. I have a fond spot in my heart for the place where I discovered myself, made some of the best friends of my life, and married my soulmate. And now that my parents are back there, I see a lot of Missouri visits in our future!

Pit stop at Panera

This was my first time visiting St Louis since my parents moved back, and also my first solo road trip with the baby. We did great overall! There was one crying breakdown from her on each part of the drive, but for the most part she slept or hung out happily in her car seat. I've got a good one here! After this trip, I officially declared Elise my sidekick. I see lots more adventures in our future!

We made it in time to wish my sister Colleen a happy birthday!

Sometimes traveling means baby gets to nap on her mommy.
It also means mommy gets a white wine spritzer brought to her in bed!

First grandchild syndrome ;)

Elise adores her grandpa!

In addition to quality time with my family, I also got to catch up with Michelle, my good friend from college. We made last minute plans for her to come see us, which was such a treat! Her daughter Penelope is beyond cute. We had so much fun hanging out and playing with the girls, and I can't wait to catch up more on future trips!

Thanks for hosting us, Mom and Dad! We had such a good trip, and can't wait to get back down there in September. Love you guys loads!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Letters to my Baby: Month Four

Hey Princess,
Another month has come and gone! We're almost 1/3 of the way through your first year of life. You continue to bring joy to our lives every day, and your dad and I laugh at how often we marvel at your cuteness. You're very obviously not a newborn anymore, and it's so fun to interact with you these days. You smile all the time, and have started sprinkling sweet squeals and baby laughs into the mix. We act like complete fools trying to get your to laugh even more!

At your four month appointment, the doctor was quite impressed with your growth. You're more than 26 inches long, which puts you in the 99th percentile. You're continuing to be one long little baby! You're staying right on track with your weight gain, and weighed 14.5 pounds. And your sweet little noggin is still huge! You're getting better at lifting it, though, which makes us really excited. You're continuing to improve on tummy time, too. You'd lay there all day with your head down, but you're acting more happy when we prop you up, too. Before we know it you'll be holding your head up like a champ! The doctor did say that it's harder with such a big head, so we know you're working hard to get there!

You're still only eating breast milk, and you do a great job switching between breast and bottle. It's so exciting that we've made it through four months of exclusively breastfeeding! After some research and talking with the doctor, we've decided we'll wait until you're six months old to start giving you 'real' food. Mom went to a baby food class last week, and got tons of ideas and advice. We know it's best to wait a couple more months, but are also really excited for that time to come. Your parents love eating good food, and can't wait to share foods with you!

You are such a joy little lady. We love every day with you, and celebrate the love you've brought to our family. We couldn't be luckier!

Mom and Dad

Classic "fluffy butt" thanks to the cloth diapers!

Picnic at the Park!

Morning Playtime

Elise almost always sleeps in her crib...
but this little snooze on the couch was pretty damn cute!

Go 'Murca!

More playtime at the park

Current feelings about tummy time.
At least we're making progress!

We're working on transitioning out of the swaddle.
Elise loves to sleep in, and this was a particularly lazy morning.
I think it was about 9:00 am when I took this picture!

Joe's parents came in to hang out one weekend, and we
went down to the Square Roots festival. It's a great
Lincoln Square festival each summer!

Bedtime snuggles with Daddy.

We successfully drove to St Louis, just the two of us!
I'll share more of that in another post, but I was so
proud of both of us for surviving the drive.

Dinner out at Fork

We've taken the 'El a few times now, and it tends to lull
Elise into a sleepy state.

Babies first Green City Market visit.
She's thrilled, obviously ;)