Archive | November, 2013

Monday Randomness

25 Nov

1. I finally finished watching all the seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. Now it’s on to CBS.com to watch Season 9!

2. We are making progress on our house renovations. Two weekends ago, we repainted our kitchen cabinets (the same color, just to make them look better). This past weekend, we repainted our main bathroom. Our realtor didn’t like the color we chose when we redid it back in February. So the bathroom is finally finished and decorated! Only took us 9 months.

before_after

20131125_18130320131125_1813173. I’ve been doing my prenatal Pilates video for strength training – because I’m so out of shape, it’s about all I can handle without getting ridiculously sore the next day (as it is, I can still feel it the next day), or without my knees hurting. I feel a little ridiculous still doing a pregnancy workout, but it’s better than nothing, and I gotta start somewhere.

4. Emma takes 2 naps of approx. 2.5 hours each at daycare, but at home, her naps hardly ever last longer than an hour. So she usually needs 3 a day. But on Friday, Emma woke up from her second nap around 2, and we decided to see what would happen if we just kept her up until an earlier bedtime at 6. It worked! She went down really easily, woke up once to nurse around 1:30, went right back to sleep, and woke up for the day around 5:30. A little earlier than normal, but I call it a success! Anyone else’s baby sleep better at daycare than home?

5. We watched our friends’ little girl on Saturday night so that they could go on a date night. It went really well! Their daughter is just 3 weeks younger than Emma and it was fun seeing the ways they were similar, and yet so different. I think Emma is going to be a very outgoing, social little girl! She loved having Rebecca there – she’d smile and giggle at her, and reach out and try to touch her. It was very cute. Rebecca is already crawling, so she had an advantage on Emma. If she wanted a toy that Emma had, she  just crawled over and grabbed it. I didn’t stop her because Emma should learn how to share, but I told Emma, “You got to learn how to crawl, girl!”

20131123_1843326. Travis and I get to go on a date night this coming Saturday and I am so excited. It’s his birthday on Dec 2, so I have the whole night planned out. But it’s a surprise, so I’ll have to write about it next week! 

7. I got a Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks Thursday night after my run and realized that I prefer the Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate creamer. It’s just so good! I am totally addicted.

8. I took Emma to the library for the first time the other day. It was pretty anti-climatic since Emma doesn’t really like reading books (she prefers to eat them) but I did check out King’s Cross by Tim Keller for me to read. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big Tim Keller fan. I hope to visit his church in NYC someday.

9. I’m working from home this week. Nobody from my team is going to be working in the office and since things are pretty slow, I thought it might be nice to be at home (getting stuff done…) than at work poking my eyes out with boredom. The holidays always slow things down at my job. I’m still taking Emma to daycare though, since if she’s home, I really won’t get any work done!

10. I bought these reindeer from Target as Travis’ Christmas gift (sort of). We had seen them while shopping one night and he mentioned that he really liked them. I figured it was one of the very few deer-related decorations that we could ever agree on, so I went back a few days later and bought them. I think they’re neutral enough that I could leave them out year-round, especially in Minnesota! Seriously, I think just about every house in northern Minnesota is decorated in pine trees/cones, deer, loons, or bears somewhere. So we’ll fit right in.

20131124_07232711. I took Emma on a walk on Saturday and she fell asleep, so I just pushed her stroller into her room and let her sleep. It worked!

20131123_160945

A Snowy Run

24 Nov

In honor of winter finally arriving in Denver, I went on a run after work on Thursday. It was a balmy 16 degrees.

But I was determined to go on a run (while Emma was still at daycare no less!) so I put on my winter running clothes and sucked it up. The park where I had planned to run was closed, so I drove to the closest greenway trail and ran there instead.

Luckily, the majority of it was gravel, or else my run would not have happened. The cement was really slippery! But the gravel was fine.

20131121_162227I brought my headphones and phone along so I could listen to music, but I didn’t end up using them (though I did use my phone to track my run). I really enjoy being outside for runs, even when it’s cold, lost in my thoughts. I like hearing the crunch of the snow under my shoes, the (scary) German Shepherd barking at me as I run past his yard, the geese honking overhead, my breathing white in the air. I like how everything feels still and quiet when it snows. 

I also like being able to just enjoy running and not feel like I have to rush back to Emma. Which is why I’m going to try to run after work more often.

While I didn’t cover the 2.5 miles at the fastest pace (11:53/mile), I felt great the whole time, giving me confidence that I can run a 5K on Thanksgiving morning.

I couldn’t help but think when I was out there, “Working out at the gym just can’t compete with this. Who would choose a stationary machine over exploring the outdoors?”

I know it’s different strokes for different folks. But I got to say, running is pretty awesome.

The Life of a Working Parent

21 Nov

WorkingParentsChart{source}

The question Travis and I have been asking lately is:

How do other parents do it?

How do other parents find time for everything? Specifically for working dads*, how do they find time to work full-time; take care of the yard, house and cars; exercise; spend time with their kids; help around the house; hang out with friends; and make their marriage a priority?

As a former full-time worker, I know it’s easy to feel that it’s all you do. And I don’t want Travis to feel like he doesn’t have time for anything else.

I also know that it’s a blessing that I get 2 days off that Travis spends working. I can exercise, run errands, do chores, get together with friends and spend quality time with Emma those days. Travis still has to fit all those things in after work and on the weekends.

The problem we run into is that when Travis gets off work, I’m ready for him to spend time either with us as a family or watch Emma so that I can have a break. And I end up feeling frustrated when he spends time on the weekend raking our yard or cleaning our cars, because I view those things as non-essential (though I do understand why Travis thinks they are important). I’ve had to re-prioritize since having Emma and accept that some things just won’t get done at all or as often anymore. So in my mind, anything ‘non-essential’ should not be getting done.

There’s a How I Met Your Mother episode after Lily and Marshall have a baby where they talk about how when they keep score of who’s done what and how much, nobody wins. And I agree that “keeping score” per se, as in “I’ve done more than you!”, isn’t helpful. But there should be a balance. I think one of the secrets of making a marriage work – with or without kids  – is encouraging your spouse to continue doing the things that they enjoy. For me, that’s running, reading and writing. For Travis, it’s hunting, fishing and hockey.

So how do you make that happen? Enter the #1 thing Travis and I have learned since having Emma: the importance of communication. We were married for almost 6 years before Emma came. Yes, we learned about communication during those 6 years, but we also kind of did our own thing most of the time (perhaps a bit too much). A baby has taken communication to a whole new level.

I feel a little like the overbearing wife when I ask Travis to ask me if it’s ok before he goes and does something, leaving me to take care of Emma. But it helps me. Because even if nothing is different than it would be if he just went and did whatever, I feel noticed, cared for and appreciated. Instead of feeling like he has the freedom to do whatever while I’m “stuck” taking care of Emma (which is what it feels like sometimes, not gonna lie!), we decide together that I’ll take care of Emma so that he can get x and y done.

I guess this is especially top of mind for us right now because we are working on getting our house ready to sell, and a lot of the projects that need to be done are Travis’ area of expertise (like drywall, gutter/soffit/fascia repair, caulking, etc.) It’s not that I couldn’t learn to do those things, but someone has to take care of Emma anyway, so it might as well be me.

Honestly, I think it will get better (for me) when I’m no longer breastfeeding. Often, I don’t leave to go do something because Emma will wake up while I’m gone and she’ll want to eat, and it’s just easier to nurse her or take her along than have Travis give her a bottle and I pump later. Regardless, Travis and I are trying to balance the ‘Emma load’ a bit more evenly. We also found a couple at church who we’re going to trade date nights with, so that we can get some time just the two of us. But then, those are just more things to add to an already overflowing plate and it brings me back to the initial question:

How do other parents do it?

So I’d like to hear from all of you parents reading this, whether it’s you who works or your spouse. How do you both balance it all? 

……………………..

* I say working dad because that’s the situation we’re dealing with, but I realize that moms who work full-time deal with this conundrum also, in equal –  if not greater – amount.

Re-evaluating.

20 Nov

As much as I’d really like to do a half marathon in January or February, I have decided against it. Training for a half is challenging. Add in a baby and it’s even more so. Then add in Thanksgiving, Christmas, house projects and moving to a different state. In short, I’m choosing to not kill myself in order to run a half.

But I do want to race. I like racing. So I came up with a loose Plan B. There’s the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon in January here in Denver. It’s not your typical duathlon either – you run 1.5 miles, bike 3.5, run 2.5, bike 7, then run 50 meters. So total 4 miles of running and 10 miles of biking. I think I could do that with a few runs and bike rides a week (aka no formal training plan). So I’m keeping that in the back of my mind.

Then there’s the Hot Chocolate 15K in Minneapolis on April 19. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be living in Minnesota by then. And a 15K seems a lot more doable than a half marathon. (Why? I don’t know.) I think I could work up to running 9.4 miles by then.

So that’s my plan. I’d like to workout more than I am now (1-2 times a week), but I have a few other things going on at the moment. So I’m cutting myself a break and being realistic.

Besides, running isn’t going anywhere.

A Day in the Life {At Work}

18 Nov

Before I went back to work, I looked online for examples of what working mothers’  schedules looked like. How did they handle dinner? When was bedtime? How did they get stuff ready for the next day? After scouring the interwebs, I didn’t really find any examples of workday schedules. So I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully helpful to some, to write a “Day in the Life” post about a typical day in the life of a working mom (and a 7-month old). 

I also wanted to mention that at first, going back to work and figuring out what to do when and how was very overwhelming (I seriously made about 15 different schedules trying to ‘nail it down’). But after a week or 2, we fell into our own rhythm and it works pretty well. Mornings when Travis isn’t home are definitely more hectic but we manage. Anyway… here was our day last Thursday.

3:00 am – Emma’s crying. She sounds pretty upset. I find her on her belly in her crib. Since she usually wakes up to nurse about this time, I nurse her and put her back down after bouncing her a little.

5:50 – Emma’s crying again. Usually when she wakes up for the day, she’s happy and just coos in her crib for a while. Not today. I find her on her belly again! Silly girl. It’s like she forgets that she knows how to roll over. I change her diaper, clean out her stuffy nose with saline drops and a bulb syringe, and nurse her.

6:15 – Emma plays on her playmat while I let the dogs out, feed them and brew a cup of coffee. I turn on the news and play with Emma while I drink my coffee. Ahh…

6:35 – I give Travis his 10-minute warning (he was up late playing hockey) and feed Emma mango for breakfast.

6:45 – I put Emma in bed with Travis while I jump in the shower. Then I do my hair, makeup and get dressed while Emma jumps in her jumperoo.

7:10 – While Travis dresses Emma, I make my lunch, get the bottles and diaper bag ready, make another cup of coffee and 2 pieces of peanut butter toast, and load my car with the following: purse, breast pump, pumping cooler, Emma’s bottle cooler, diaper bag, lunch bag, water bottle, peanut butter toast and coffee mug. So much stuff!

20131114_174059Travis was going to pair magenta pants with this shirt… I will never understand what goes through his mind regarding color combinations. 

7:30 – We’re out of the door on time! I eat my toast in the car as we drive to daycare.

7:53 – Arrive at Charlotte’s house. We chat for a bit and then I drive to work.

8:28 – Arrive at work.

9:50 – First pumping session. I get 5 oz!

10:30 – Back at my desk for snack time!

20131114_10322311:30 – I’m still hungry so I eat lunch.

20131114_11285812:45 – Second pumping session. Only 3 oz this time.

1:10 – Back at my desk.

1:50 – Snack time again! I am a bottomless pit today.

20131114_1352042:40 – I’m yawning so I go get a peppermint mocha from our on-campus coffee shop with a co-worker.

3:30 – Third (and final) pumping session. I get 3 oz.

4:30 – Leave work to go pick up Emma. I’m done for the week! (Usually I leave at 5, but today I need to pick Emma up early.) On the way to my car, I run into a co-worker who had a baby 3 weeks after me but then moved to our Seattle office. We catch up for 10 minutes.

5:05 – Pick Emma up from Charlotte’s. She had a good day at daycare, with one fussy period, and has been awake since 4:00.

5:30 – Get home. Emma has a poopy diaper, so I change it and feed her pureed spinach/banana for dinner. It’s the first time she’s tried it and she really likes it! Then while Travis watches Emma, I make dinner for us – homemade macaroni and cheese with mixed veggies. It’s the best I could do – I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow. (Often, Travis makes dinner while I feed Emma.)

20131114_1824396:30 – Bath time! We read Emma some of Little House in the Big Woods while she splashes. Then we put on her diaper, lotion and jammies, sing a song and pray.

6:50 – I nurse Emma.

7:15 – Emma’s asleep! I’m glad that she went down easy instead of being wide awake for another 30 minutes. I drink a couple glasses of wine while Travis and I watch Breaking Bad and hang out.

9:20 – Bedtime!

11:30 – Emma’s awake. Ugh. Apparently she traded going down easy with being awake for 2.5 hours in the middle of the night. After nursing, letting her play in her crib, bouncing, rocking and everything else, I’m at the end of my rope. We let her cry for a bit until she gets really upset and then Travis goes in to get her back to sleep. It takes him about 30 minutes.

And that’s a wrap!

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If you missed A Day in the Life {At Home}, click here.

Monday Randomness

11 Nov

Here’s some randomness for you on this Monday morning:

1) This is over now, but this past summer/fall, Travis traveled so much for work that his boss kindly gave us a $50 stipend to go out to eat every weekend. And we took full advantage of it! At first, we just ordered food or got takeout, so that we didn’t have to deal with Emma freaking out in a restaurant. But the last month and a half or so, we went out to Red Lobster, Macaroni Grill, Texas Roadhouse, and local restaurants Colorado Plus Brewpub, A Taste of Home Cooking, and Trattoria Stella. Some outings were too late and Emma was fussy but usually she did really well. And now that she can sit up in a high chair, eating out is even easier.

2) I finally spent a couple hours Saturday and yesterday making baby food for Emma. I made butternut squash, green beans (which she didn’t like!), carrots, spinach (pureed with a banana to make it a bit thicker), and sweet potatoes. I think we’re set for a while!

3) I wasn’t sure how I would like cloth diapers once we started getting into solid foods, since Emma’s poo would also be more solid. But it actually hasn’t been bad at all. Her business comes off really easily, either all by itself or with a little spray from our shower hose, and it really doesn’t gross me out at all. So I think we’ll keep going with the cloth!

4) Our church’s single and young married group had our annual Chili Cook-off yesterday. Travis and I have won twice with our elk chili, but we did not take home the trophy this year. No matter. There were some really good chili recipes this year! And the chili that won was the one that I voted for. It was called ‘For the Faint of Heart’ and had no heat and no meat. Unconventional, but delicious!

5) We’ve started packing up our house in preparation for moving/showing. We also went to Home Depot and got a new exterior light, a wireless doorbell (since ours was broken), and some paint samples. Moving at this time of year definitely presents some challenges, especially when there are things outside that need to be painted and stained. We weren’t really planning to move this quickly, but with the condition of my mom’s health, we’d like to move as soon as possible. So we’re trying to figure it all out quickly and try to get this stuff done while the weather is still nice.

6) Emma has been sleeping better since last Friday but still doesn’t seem to quite be herself. At church yesterday, she lasted 5 minutes in the nursery before having an inconsolable meltdown. She was fine sitting and playing with me though. I might take her into the doctor today to see if it’s an ear infection.

7) Travis’ birthday is coming up at the beginning of December and I’ve actually taken the time and effort to plan something fun. He’ll be traveling for work on his actual birthday but we are going on a date night the Saturday before his birthday (for the first time since… a long time!) and I am so excited! God has really put it on my heart to make our marriage more of a priority, so I’m doing that.

8) We’re volunteering for Operation Christmas Child again this year, the day before Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to that too. I didn’t go last year because I was pregnant and didn’t think I could handle standing for 4 hours straight, but I’m ready this year!

9) We’ve decided that we’re going back to Minnesota for Christmas and will stay 2 weeks – the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s. While it won’t be as relaxing as Christmas past, it’ll be Emma’s first Christmas, which I’m really looking forward to! She is too, though she doesn’t know it yet. And it’s always great to see our families.

10) We’re staying here for Thanksgiving though. I’d like to do a Turkey Trot but Travis might go play in our church’s Turkey Bowl. Maybe Emma and I will do it ourselves… Or maybe I’ll try to find a friend who’d be interested. For dinner, we’re getting together with friends from church who also won’t be with family. Can’t wait! I love the holiday season! I might just start putting Christmas decorations out now…

A Day in the Life {At Home}

10 Nov

This day turned out to be rather atypical for Emma in terms of naps/sleep, and Travis was gone on a work trip, but otherwise, it was a pretty typical Friday for us.

4:30 am – I hear Emma on the monitor. I give her a chance to fall back asleep on her own.

4:45 – Emma’s still awake, so I get up and nurse her.

5:10 – I put Emma back down after a little bouncing, crossing my fingers she stays asleep (at that hour, it’s always a crapshoot.)

5:15 – Emma’s awake. Darn. She’s still tired though, so I hold her until she really wakes up.

6:10 – She’s awake for the day. I change her diaper and put her on her playmat, while I let the dogs out, feed them and brew myself a cup of coffee. I drink my coffee and watch the news while Emma plays. I also put a stack of cloth diapers away.

20131108_0629286:50 – Attempt to nurse Emma but she’s not really interested. So I feed her some peach yogurt instead, while I eat oatmeal with peanut butter and brown sugar (my favorite way to eat oatmeal right now). After breakfast, Emma bounces in her jumperoo while I do dishes.

7:35 – Tummy time on Mommy! And Super Baby time – where I hold her like Superman. It’s a way to strength her core muscles that she actually likes, for a few minutes. Then we just play sitting up until it’s time for her next nap.

8:20 – Emma’s starting to fuss, so I put her in her sleepsack and down in her crib for a nap. She whimpers a little bit, but goes to sleep on her own. I brew my second cup of coffee and drink it while I spend some time praying. I spend 15 minutes on downloading pictures to add to Emma’s 12-month picture frame  (similar to this one).

9:45 – Emma’s awake. I change her diaper and nurse her.

10:00 – I change into running clothes, load Emma, the dogs and the stroller into the car, and drive to a park for a 2-mile run.

20131108_10421710:45 – We’re done! 2 miles in 22:50. When we get home, I change Emma’s clothes and take her 7-month pictures. Then I change her into a practical outfit and make a turkey sandwich before calling my friend, Amy, who lives in Hawaii to chat.

11:45 – Emma’s down for a nap, but not happy about it.

12:00 pm – I end my call with Amy because Emma’s still screaming. I go in to bounce/rock her but she keeps crying, so I decide to try nursing her. Her last nursing session was pretty quick. I change out of my sports bras and nurse her. It helps calm her down.

12:15 – Emma’s asleep. I take a shower and dry my hair most of the way. I also spend about 30 seconds doing my makeup. I work on Emma’s 7-month blog update a bit.

12:45 – Emma’s awake. I try to get her back to sleep but she’s wide awake so I change her diaper and feed her lunch. I try to give her avocado thinned with formula but she makes a face and refuses to eat it (she really does not like things combined with formula!), so I break out some food I got from a co-worker. I guessed it was sweet potato puree but after a few bites, I notice printing on the side that says “Mac cheese”. Interesting… Emma eats about half. I take a little bite and it’s not too bad, but not great either.

1:10 – Emma plays with toys while I eat a yogurt and banana, and make a grocery list.

1:30 – We head to Target.

20131108_135417I am in love with this wreath, and plan to try making it myself for cheaper.

2:15 – Emma bounces in her jumperoo while I put groceries away. She’s so happy that I sit next to her and look at photo albums. Then we play on the floor some more.

2:45 – Put Emma down for a nap. Again, she cries so I go in and nurse her. Something definitely seems to be off with her. Usually I can calm her down by just holding her, but today, she seems out of sorts. I give her some Tylenol just in case she’s in pain.

3:15 – Emma’s asleep.

3:30 – Emma’s awake. I try to get her back to sleep again so I could just hold her for her nap, but she’s awake. So I make an egg sandwich, grab an apple and we go for a drive up Clear Creek Canyon (beautiful!) to get Emma to sleep. It works! I also listen to Tim Keller’s sermon ‘Blessed Self-Forgetfulness‘, which gets better every time I listen to it.

5:15 – After sitting in the driveway for 15 minutes finishing Emma’s 7-month update, I take Emma inside. She stays sleeping and I put her in the nursery while I make dinner. I knew letting her sleep could either be a good idea or could backfire but I decided to risk it.

5:45 – Emma’s awake. I feed her pureed blueberries for dinner. They are messy!

6:15 – Bathtime! Followed by Emma’s nighttime routine.

7:15 – Emma is still wide awake. I think we can say the long nap before bed backfired. I sit next to Emma playing in her crib while I read blogs on my phone in the dark.

7:45 – Emma has a poopy diaper, so I change it and then try to bounce her a bit. She still seems uncomfortable/in pain, so I give her some more Tylenol.

8:00 – Emma’s finally asleep, albeit lightly, so I rock her while watching How I Met Your Mother on my phone.

8:30 – Emma wakes up crying and wriggling while I’m holding her, and I’m at a loss for what’s wrong, so I put some Orajel on her top and bottom gums. Maybe she’s getting more teeth? It seems to calm her down at any rate. I hold her for another episode.

8:50 – I finally put Emma down. Travis should be home in the next 30 minutes, but I’m exhausted so I eat a bowl of cereal, wash my face, brush my teeth and go to bed. I watch another episode of HIMYM (I’m obsessed!) before turning the lights out. Travis gets home right as I’m done watching, so I talk to him for a few minutes before going to sleep.

9:30 – Sleep!

Emma woke up 3 times that night, at around 12:30, 2:45 and 4:45, and didn’t go back to sleep after that last wakening (at least, according to how my sleep-deprived brain remembers it!). I fed her each time, because when she’s so uncomfortable, it’s the only thing that settles her down enough to fall back asleep. During the second nursing, I spaced out and when I opened my eyes again, I panicked because I thought Emma was upside down (with her butt above her head). It took me a good 20 seconds to realize that I was looking at the wrong end. Oy. I really hope this passes quickly!

Emma Grace: 7 Months

8 Nov

For some reason, 7 months sounds so old! It’s kind of hard to believe that 7 months have already passed since Emma was born. I’ve been saying this is Emma’s mini golden birthday, because she’s 7 months on the 7th. 😉

Emma7Month 037 (Large)Here’s what Emma is up to:

SIZE

Emma doesn’t have another pediatrician appointment until 9 months, so I’m not sure what her weight and height are now. But she keeps growing! She has almost grown out of all her 6 month sleepers – the 9 month ones are still pretty big on her though, so she’s stuck between sizes. She got a few new Oshgosh B’Gosh dresses this past month and they run small so they’re 12 month size. And she’s still wearing size 3 diapers. But she did go up a snap on her cloth diapers!

Her feet are finally big enough for her 3-6 month shoes, but she loves to kick her heels against whatever she’s sitting in or laying on, so the shoes (and socks) last about a minute before they’re off.

SLEEP

Emma has officially dropped her 4th nap, and sometimes only takes 2 longer naps a day. Most days though, she takes 3. She’s up for the day around 6:00, takes naps around 8:00, 11:00, and 3:00, and goes to bed around 6:30/7:00. For me at least, she is not consistent with how long her naps are, but they are usually between 45 and 90 minutes.

Emma’s sleep got disrupted quite a bit when we went up to elk camp, and then she got two teeth! 

Emma7Month 032 (Large)She was up a lot during the night then too, poor baby. We could tell that she was in pain. But thankfully, we all got through that with some Baby Orajel and baby acetaminophen, and now Emma is sleeping 8-10 hours straight again, as long as she gets a full belly before going to bed. (If she doesn’t, she wakes up after about 6 hours to eat.)

EATING

I’m still mostly breastfeeding, though I do supplement with formula for a feeding here and there if Emma wants a bottle before bed, or if I didn’t pump enough during the previous workday. I fed Emma a lot during the night when she was teething and that helped my supply out a ton! But now that she’s sleeping better at night, my supply has gone back to normal.

Emma’s eating routine is a bit different on the days I work than the days I’m home. But generally speaking, she nurses 4-5 times a day (she drinks 2 bottles of 6 oz each at daycare, sometimes 3), and then eats 2-3 meals of solid foods. For breakfast, she eats fruit or oatmeal cereal. Dinner is usually a vegetable. And lunch is whatever she didn’t have at another meal, like yogurt. I try to give her 1 fruit, 1 vegetable and 1 grain or protein a day. Seems like a good balance. If only I ate that healthy!

20131027_072836I haven’t made much of her baby food lately, mostly because I have been busy with other stuff on the days I don’t work. But pre-made baby food is expensive and not as healthy as real food, so I’m planning to take a few hours this coming weekend and made a lot of food at once to freeze.

I can tell that Emma prefers to eat solid foods over nursing – she has to be coaxed to nurse most of the time (she’d rather just look around at what’s going on, even when we’re alone in a dark room with no noise!). But when I put her in her high chair, she gets all excited, kicks her little legs around and eagerly awaits her first bite.

At first she only ate about half a yogurt, or a couple ounces of vegetables, for a feeding but now she eats the whole thing! When eating, she loves to kick her legs against the chair pad and crumple up her bib into her mouth between bites. She also loves it when we ‘airplane’ the bites to her but then she’s smiling so much that it’s hard for her to keep the food in her mouth. Silly girl. Here’s a video of it.

Other foods she’s tried since her 6-month update: Broccoli, lentils, yogurt (peach & strawberry), eggs, mandarin oranges, red pepper hummus and several flavors of store-bought baby food, like banana + mango, green beans, and sweet potato + carrot (that one was completely disgusting, but Emma ate it up!). Emma was not a fan of the broccoli, eggs or hummus. The hummus definitely got the best ‘ewww’ face from her so far. (I got the idea for trying that from this BabyCenter article.)

{Sidenote: We ended up buying the Chicco Polly SE high chair after looking at the BabyTrend Standard high chair and the Graco DuoDiner high chair at Target. We liked the vinyl material of the chair cushion, the big tray that latches on both sides so that babies can’t remove it themselves, the height and recline settings, the easy but effective 5-point harness, and the wheels on each leg. Emma is still pretty small for it, and can’t feed herself yet, so we just use it without the tray right now.}

20131031_070407Her shirt said ‘Don’t scare me. I poop easily.’

DEVELOPMENT

Emma has been a pro at rolling over from her belly to her back for several months now, and can totally roll over from her back to belly (we’ve found her like that in her crib 3 mornings) but overall, she still doesn’t have any interest in being on her belly. She might be one of those babies that never crawls, who knows? So needless to say, she’s not really mobile in any sense yet. Though she has accidentally made her playmat collapse on her by pushing against the supports!

Emma loves sitting up playing with toys and does a great job until she tries to reach for something a little too far away, and then over she goes. And she goes down fast! So we set up pillows around her, even though we’re sitting there watching her, so that she doesn’t bump her head on the ground. (But sadly, she has still done that several times.)

20131101_094152She also loves standing, and can stand up briefly on her own by holding onto furniture. She can’t get herself up to standing, but she can stay there for a bit! I always get a kick out of her standing – she looks so small, and so big, all at the same time!

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Emma continues to like the dogs – and now when she sees them, she’ll smile and squeal a little. They still don’t really like to be petted by her, but little do they know what’s coming…

A few funny things that Emma does: She likes to rake things with her fingernails – the chair, high chair, blankets, my stomach (ow!). Maybe she’s reminding me that I need to cut her nails more often? She also plays with my hair a lot while nursing. She’ll grab a fistful and stretch her arm back, pulling on my hair (which hurts a bit sometimes). Then she’ll let it go, wait a bit, grab another fistful and repeat. I let her do it because I think it’s funny, but I’ve drawn the line at her grabbing handfuls of my face.

One day this past month, Emma was playing with a small plastic hanger and when I took it away, she cried. I thought to myself, “And so it begins!” I can’t believe we’re getting to the point of having to discipline and teach Emma about limits, manners and all that stuff! It definitely adds another dimension to being a parent.

Emma has been to the church nursery every Sunday since she turned 6 months, but I always get called back early, since she usually naps at 11 – which is right in the middle of the service – and when she gets tired, she wants Mommy. Still, I’ve been able to hear most of the sermons so it’s been nice.

She’s also been to the gym daycare once. That also went well. I nursed her before taking her and worked out for an hour. I was called back early there too, because she had a poopy diaper (and the daycare doesn’t do diaper changes or feedings, which is understandable). But I got a great run in around the track! I felt AWESOME both physically and mentally and the first 1.3 miles, I just ran as fast as I could while listening to Mumford & Sons, Passion Pit, and The Temper Trap. Turns out ‘as fast as I can’ is a 10:00 mile! My 2nd mile was quite a bit slower… 12:00. But hey, I finished with a huge runner’s high. It’s times like that remind me, exercise makes me happy. I need to make that kind of time for myself. It makes me a better wife and mom.

20131107_071853Anyway, each month that passes, I feel more and more  like I’m getting the hang of this motherhood thing. Most importantly, my love for Emma grows. No matter what time she wakes up, when I go in and she’s smiling and cooing at me, I can’t help but love her. I can’t wait to pick her up from daycare, and spend several minutes just hugging and kissing her. She is so precious, and such a blessing. I am so thankful to God for her being in our lives, and for me being able to really, truly enjoy her. 

Emma7Month 047 (Large)Emma makes that face often.

Emma7Month 054 (Large)I don’t think I blogged about this yet, but we took Emma to a corn maze a few weeks back – it was a pretty sad corn maze compared to the ones in Minnesota. The corn was all dead and only about 3 feet tall, so you could see everyone and all the different paths. It was fun anyway though. Oh and we ate a funnel cake while we were there. So. delicious. (Unfortunately, Emma did not partake.)

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Free Day Fun.

5 Nov

This past weekend, we took advantage of the ‘free days’ at both the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo.

Travis, Emma and I went to the Art Museum on Saturday with some friends from church. It was a lot of fun and Emma did really well. I found some sock puppets in one of the exhibits and put crazy eyes on one for Emma. She thought it was pretty funny.

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We gave her a bottle around her usual eating time and she fell asleep while drinking it. Soon after, we were also hungry so we left and had lunch at Cafe Rio. Mmmm… pulled pork salad.

On Monday, Travis had to work so just Emma and I went to the Denver Zoo with some friends.

736178_10151974635723540_382117657_oStroller Brigade!

1417707_10151974632598540_169358723_oWe saw elephants, giraffes, polar bears, brown bear, monkeys, lions, leopards, cheetahs, you name it!

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Emma did really well there too – I had her in the Baby Bjorn for the first hour or so, and when she started to fall asleep, I transferred her to the stroller. She slept for about 40 minutes before waking up and then it was time to eat! I nursed her in the car and then we went home.

What a fun weekend!

Elk Camp 2013

3 Nov

Every year, Travis’ parents come out in October for elk hunting. We go up to the same area, stay in the same wall tent and hunt the same mountains (well, the hunters do. I don’t hunt!). Last year, we got nothing. This year, we got 2 elk on the first day!

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Shooting an elk on the first day, let alone 2 elk on the first day, has benefits and drawbacks. It takes the pressure off for the rest of the week, but it also enables the hunters to be a bit more lazy. You get to pack the animal out when you’re fresh, but you’re sore and tired the rest of the week. But nevertheless, it’s always nice to get one so there’s no complaining!

This year, Travis’ parents, nephew and his brother all came out. Along with one of Travis’ friends from Denver, it was quite a group. Emma and I stayed behind after everyone went up Friday morning. We picked up Travis’ brother from the airport Saturday afternoon and headed up then. We arrived at elk camp just as everyone else was getting back from packing out the 2 elk they had shot.

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Packing an elk out is hard work. We estimate that 1 hind quarter alone weighs 75-80 pounds. Times that by 4, add 4 front quarters, 2 backstraps and a bull head/rack and you have a LOT of meat.

Anyway, we ate dinner and then Beth (my mother-in-law), Emma and I headed back to Frisco, where we were staying in a hotel. We were planning to go straight to bed but Emma had another idea. She had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the hotel but by the time we reached our room, she was wide awake. It took her over an hour to settle down and then she had a horrible night. She woke up every 1-1.5 hours. She’d fall back asleep right after I picked her up and I could put her down after 10 minutes or so, but she’d be up again in 60 minutes. I thought maybe she was teething but once we got back home, she was back on track so it must’ve just been the new surroundings that were throwing her off.

The next morning, I was definitely tired but didn’t feel horrible.

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We went out to breakfast at Butterhorn Bakery, which has become my tradition whenever I’m in/near Frisco. (Seriously, they have THE BEST FOOD!) I had a waffle with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and syrup. Mmmm… Emma had sweet potatoes for breakfast – it was easier than bringing her oatmeal cereal along to mix up. Beth had an egg scramble that also looked delicious.

Stuffed to the gills, we went back to the hotel for Emma’s nap. I held her while watching How I Met Your Mother via Netflix on my phone. After her nap, I fed her and we went shopping at the outlet mall. I bought a few plain long-sleeved shirts from Ann Taylor Loft, Beth bought a cardigan from and a sweatshirt from Nike, and then we shopped for a couple dresses for Emma. We got a couple of cute ones from Oshgosh B’gosh but their sizes run really small, so we bought one 9-month and one 12-month sized dress (but I ended up exchanging the 9-month size for another 12-month one).

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Shopping complete, we headed back up to elk camp. We hung out in the tent for a while, playing. I had brought Emma’s playmat and bouncy seat, but she didn’t really want anything to do with either one.

1375674_641425979221061_1029597573_nThat’s her ‘Are you serious Mom?!?!’ face.

So we just played on Daddy’s cot.

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Around dusk, the guys came back from hunting and we ate dinner. Since the previous night had been so rough with Emma, and Travis had already tagged an elk so he was ‘done’ hunting (he couldn’t carry a gun anymore), I convinced him to come with me to the hotel so that we could trade off with Emma. That was a huge help!

We left for the hotel around 7 pm. Emma fell asleep again and got back to sleep fairly easily after I took her out of her carseat and nursed her in our room. She was up about every 1.5 hours again, but it was really nice to not have to get up every time!

The next morning (Monday), we packed our room up and checked out. We grabbed breakfast (and a pumpkin spice latte for me!) at Starbucks and then headed back up to elk camp. Emma took a nap in the car. We got up there around 9:30/10 and hung around camp. I fed Emma, we played a little more, walked around outside, I held her for a nap (while I struggled to stay awake myself!).

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After lunch, Emma started getting fussy because it was time for her next nap. So we packed the car up and took off for Denver, since I was going to work on Tuesday.

I was worried about staying awake on the drive home all by myself, but I put on some good singalong tunes and sang the whole 2 hours home. No problem!

The rest of the clan stayed up in the mountains until Wednesday, when they packed up and headed home. Our tradition is to go to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday night after elk hunting and this year was no different. But unfortunately, this year it also coincided with an elementary school fundraiser so the place was really busy and packed with lots of kids. It took forever to get our food! (But they nicely comped 50% of our bill.) One good thing was that Emma sat in a highchair for the first time!

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I took work off on Thursday to hang out with everyone while they worked on butchering the elk. I helped vacuum seal for about 30 minutes before Emma woke up from her nap, and went to the store for some supplies. But otherwise, I just took care of Emma. Which is fine, because I could not cut up elk meat anyway! Eeeww.

And that was Elk Hunting 2013!