Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

After a couple of particularly rough parenting days (mainly involving sleep, but also separation anxiety), I'm having a blissful one! I thought I'd check in and put a few words together since I'm sitting here in my clean living room, cat pans clean, laundry in the dryer, while my baby naps by herself. I love, love, love napping with her, but I do enjoy the occasions where I can slip away and she stays asleep for a while (currently an hour!). It's her first Halloween, and first holidays always make me a bit sentimental since it's her last first of said holiday. Yes, it's her first Halloween but it's also her last first Halloween! Feliciy is wearing a precious outfit given to her by her Gammy that says my first halloween and has a little tutu on the pants. Then, this evening when we give out candy, she has a little outfit with a big cat face on it that she'll wear. It's regular clothes, but as close to a costume as I wanted to deal with when she's too little to want to put up with the real thing. Depending on how chilly it gets, I'd like to sit outside as a family tonight and hand out candy. Steven and I carved our pumpkin last night after Felicity went to bed. We almost skipped this year; time just got away from us! But around 9pm (which is usually when we do an hour of "together time" anyway), I got emotional that how could we have carved pumpkins the last 3 years and not on Felicity's first Halloween!? So to the table we went for, as tradition holds, me to scrape/de-seed and Steven to carve. We didn't end up roasting pumpkin seeds this year because there was some green and water inside of our pumpkin (blech) so I wasn't sure if they were ok to eat. And Steven skipped his traditional (and impressive) Marvel carvings and did an old fashioned jackolantern face. It was fun! 

Back to my day. It's been a simple day, and so nice. In fact, both yesterday and today were great! Yesterday we went on a 2 hour play date with about 5 other moms at the play area of a local mall. It's made for crawlers/walkers, so it was perfect. The company was nice, Felicity napped on the way there and way home, and she had a blast. When we got home, she slept a bit more (!), and then we went on a walk with our neighbor. We walk probably 4-5 days a week, and I love it because it's exercise + company + time outside for my outdoor loving girl. When we got back, we ran and got traditional Halloween Krispy Kreme. Then the same neighbor dropped her 2 boys off (almost 3 and almost 1) so her and her hubby could go to dinner. You'd think going from 1 to 3 kids would be hard, and sometimes it is, but yesterday for about 45 minutes they all 3 played happily and I SAT ON THE COUCH. Since Felicity has been so clingy lately, I'm either on the floor with her, or on the couch with her whining/crying at my feet. So to just do my own thing while they all 3 played was amazing! And Felicity slept great because her friends wore her out. 

Today we started the day with our neighbor walk, then leisurely got ready, Felicity had a nap and I had coffee, and then ran to Target after lunch. We played a bit when we got back and now she's napping again. Technically this is her 3rd nap, as she was up at 5:30 am (cries) and we napped together in the best cuddle ever from 7:30-8:30 before our walk. I've gotten a lot done around the house, which is really not that easy for me most days, and the breeze of the windows open is glorious. 

Tomorrow may be rough, she may cry a lot, I may get nothing done.... but today... today I am living up the simple life :). 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Felicity Marian: 8 Months

Wow, month 7 went WAY faster than month 6! And I'm a day late because we were out of town visiting my family :). 

Weight: Up 2 lbs from last month, which is funny since I thought the other day that she didn't look as pudgy! She's right at 19 lbs.

Height: Not even trying to measure her lol. We'll find out at her 9 month check.

Medical issues: Felicity keeps getting diaper rashes :(. We just can't kick them for good. I also can't figure out if it's cloth related, like a sensitivity to synthetics or something. We keep going back and forth between cloth and sposies and trying various creams. Her hemanigoma is probably 40% skin colored now! Oh, she also threw up for the first time :(. She was sick on 9/21 and seemed to just have a 24 hour bug. When she fell asleep on me at church, just laying on my shoulder, I knew we were in trouble. She developed a fever and then later puked in the high chair (thankfully over the kitchen floor!). But luckily Felicity woke up totally normal the next day. 

Sleep: Pretty much the same as last month. Up a few times between her bed time and ours, and then nurses on and off for a big portion of the night. She usually takes one bottle in the middle of the night, and every once in a while she wakes up wanting to play, so we have Steven watch her while he's getting ready for work and then Felicity will get back in bed with me until 7/7:30. Honestly, it's all less stressful than it was last month because it's our new norm. Ironically, she napped on her own in the crib on 9/22 but that was the end of that lol. We don't mind her being in our room, but the cosleeper is quickly being outgrown, and I don't find the pack and play comfy enough that I want her in it every night. But I also don't want to disassemble the crib to set it up in our room (sidecar or otherwise) so.... we're still figuring out what we want to do! So far she's fine in the cosleeper and bed with us, still. 

Clothes/Diaper Size: Felicity is in 9 month clothing, with not a lot of room to grow! This is so weird for me because shes's always spent quite a few months in each size of clothing. I think she's going to grow out of the 9 month stuff the quickest! 

Likes: Baby rice cakes, cheeseburger rice casserole, Little People, a whisk, a wooden animal puzzle, playing clapping games, watching babies, being outside.

Dislikes: diaper changes, when I walk away from her if she's feeling needy... that's about it! She has strong feelings, but is generally pretty happy. 

Nicknames: Tickle, Stinka, Baby Girl....various others 

Milestones: Felicity crawled the first time (one "step") on 9/20 but then didn't repeat it going forward until this past weekend. She has been crawling/scooting backward this past month and gets herself backed into corners, and becomes very angry! On the week of 9/22 she started giving me hugs, and on 9/27 she danced to music for the first time on her own. On 10/2 she initiated a game of "pea-pie" (peekaboo) which was the CUTEST THING EVER and we have video of. She also signed "nursie" a few times that day, although she hasn't done it since. The week of 10/6 we noticed at meal time that she had developed the pincer grasp. Felicity has started holding her own bottle if she's laying kind of propped on a pillow. I don't like it... I want to hold my baby!, but she has other plans and will eat way less if I try to hold and feed her. On 10/19 she SAID HER FIRST WORD while we were GONE! My parents were watching her and she started saying "Dada". Now she says it constantly and it's more cute than 2 people can handle. 

I don't want to forget this: 
We've done a lot of blanket time outside as a family, and it's so sweet! We put a big duvet out, bring out books for us, and toys for Felicity. We've spent as much as an hour and a half just enjoying time together in the beautiful fall weather. Felicity tries to eat weeds, grass, and leaves, but it's so much fun :). 

We went consignment sale shopping (aren't we always?), and we found Felicity a little grow with me kitchen. It is so cute to see her play with! It's the perfect height for her to stand up (with our help) and play at, and then it grows another level for when she gets taller. 
I took Felicity to see Steven at work for the first time. His store is 30 minutes away so it just generally doesn't make sense to go to, but we were dropping something off for a friend nearby so I drove over to do our shopping. Felicity looked very confused as to why she was seeing Daddy at this place! Cute girl. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sacrifice in Motherhood

All through my pregnancy, Steven and I prayed a weekly rosary for couples dealing with subfertility and infertility, keeping a (sadly) ever-growing list of names, but also joyfully marking them off when they would become pregnant. I had a romantic notion of praying the rosary during my labor for these couples, so that I could unite my sufferings with something bigger than me. It's one of my favorite parts of Catholicism- redemptive suffering; the idea that suffering is never pointless and always fruitful, whether we can see the fruits now, or ever, or not. I have a group of women who set beautiful examples of this for me by often mentioning something they're going through and then asking what they can offer it up for. To give suffering, pain, and struggles a purpose and to be able to focus on something outside of yourself can be so fulfilling, and a blessing to both you and the person/situation you're praying for. So I thought what better time to do that than during labor, in the throes of contractions? A little birdie (or a big Birdie?) put the idea in my head the night before Felicity's birth, while I was laying in the hospital bed attempting to sleep and Steven was sawing z's beside me, that maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be able to pray the rosary during labor. So I decided to do it then. I didn't want to wake Steven to get the rosary out of our bag, and I didn't want to call the nurse to disconnect me from the fetal monitor, so I just used my fingers and prayed the rosary for the couples on our list. It's a good thing, too, because my labor was insanely fast and I never did pray the rosary during it. Anyway, I thought later about how my sufferings brought me closer to Christ, how praying the rosary as I laid there helped me to do something besides just focus on me. What I didn't know, and didn't realize for a few months later, is that the coming months of motherhood would unite me to Christ way more than a rosary I prayed laying in a hospital bed. 

Now that I've been a parent of an ex-utero baby for 7 months now, I say to Steven very often how much I feel like parenthood has brought me closer to Christ. I have never in my life experienced sacrifice to this degree. I spent the first 25 years of my life (before I met Steven) largely doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted... you get the idea. When I met him and we got serious, I had to sacrifice in order to involve another person in that. That was hard in a way, but I would say generally I fell into it pretty easily. Well, it's not been that easy with motherhood. The late nights, early mornings, never ending middle of the night nursing sessions, whining, crying, poopsplosions, messes, more crying, all the things my fellow mom friends experience day in and day out with their babies, too. As much as I love that little bundle of pudge, there are days, many days, where I feel like I've sacrificed just about everything I have. By the time Steven gets home, there is nothing left. I'm spent and need a good 15 or 20 minutes to myself to put myself back together again. My story is not unique or unusual; I know many moms feel this and the experience is somewhat universal. But it's given me a chance to think about how much was sacrificed for me because I am loved so much. And what better way to reflect on that than by sacrificing myself for another person, a person who, at this point, is nothing without me? Jesus literally gave His life for me, and I'm asked, not in words, to give mine for this sweet baby (and of course any others that may follow!)... to give up my sleep, what I want to do, my days of lounging on the couch watching tv, when I want to eat, time with my husband... to give that life I once knew up for my sweet girl. 

Felicity has brought me many experiences and emotions in her short (and fast!) 7 months, but I will always be grateful- as tired as I am, as worn out as I get :)- for her teaching me to put myself aside for the good of another. I recognize my selfishness every single day and I have countless opportunities to improve upon it, and to revamp who I am to who I want to be, who I wish I was, and who God wants me to be. And to realize the beauty, even a midst the struggle, that comes when you put another person and their needs completely above your own. Thank you, baby girl. I'm a different person because of you. 

Those knees. I die!