Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Back at 2008

2008. Wow, what a year. When I look back at it the word that comes to mind is "change". The year started with an IUI on January 5th and then my 30th birthday two weeks later. Two weeks later I finally saw those long awaited double lines. I had what may have been the happiest and easiest pregnancy ever, and then in October little Miss Jillian arrived. And obviously have things been different since then.

She is definitely the center of my and Jeramy's lives. It amazes me how much she has changed in just a few short months. She started as a floppy, helpless, inconsolably screaming (albeit adorable) little baby who spent her days eating, sleeping, pooping and fussing. Now she holds her head up. She plays with toys. She grabs and shakes the toys hanging in front of her in her activity chair, bouncy seat and carseat. If you put a rattle in her hand she likes to shake it. She sits in her bumbo chair or in my lap with a little help. As you saw yesterday she even stands with a little help. She has found her voice. She babbles, squeals, screams and giggles. And oh how she smiles. Sometimes even when she is grumpy you can reason with her enough to get a smile or a laugh out of her. She enjoys her baths, and I have to avoid filling them too full or she'll splash all over the walls and counter. She loves our faces and our voices. I put Jeramy on speaker phone yesterday and she definitely recognized his voice as she looked around in confusion trying to figure out where on earth he was. She is quieter around strangers than she is with us. She still sleeps swaddled although she is starting to show signs that she is ready to be weaned from that. She is finally sleeping in her crib although I'll occasionally put her in the swing if she is being difficult in going to sleep after her middle of the night feeding (a girl has gotta sleep). She can soothe herself to sleep but only with motion. She hates tummy time so it may be a while before she learns to roll over. She loves TV...a little too much. If the TV is on when I'm feeding her she'll crane her neck to try and watch it rather than drink her bottle. I've had to turn it off sometimes to get her to concentrate on eating or playing with other toys. She is good about riding in the car...provided that we do not stop for too long. I find myself taking the routes with the fewest stops as opposed to the shortest routes. She is around 12 pounds now and moving from her 0-3 month clothes to her 3-6 month outfits. Often it is her huge head that outgrows an outfit too, because while they still fit I can no longer get them on her without causing pain. She has developed such a fun personality, and I suspect that she'll turn into quite the outgoing little girl.

And I have changed too. I remember the fear I brought home from the hospital. I had hardly slept in days and that did not change when I got home. Even then my mind was racing far too quickly to sleep. Over time the worry has subsided as I have come to realize that I am capable of being a parent. When she sleeps a little longer than usual, I don't run into her room in a panic wondering if she is still breathing. I have learned to deal with some of the things that did not meet with my expectations like formula feeding rather than breastfeeding. I have learned how emotionally taxing a baby's inconsolable cries can be, and thankfully her gassiness and fussiness have for the most part subsided. I wish I could say that I have learned to be a much more patient and calm person due to all of this, but as my husband could attest that would be a lie. I'm admittedly snappy and irritable these days, and I take every innocent statement personally. (If he says that something is missing, I immediately assume that he is accusing me of losing it). I also am not good at asking for help and instead get frustrated because Jeramy doesn't automatically know when I want him to pitch in. I do not deal well with sleep deprivation, and while I get sufficient sleep now (usually 8 hours but rarely 8 straight hours) this will all change when I start working again next week. I need to work on all of this, but for now I'm just happy to have made it through the past 12 weeks with my sanity in tact.

Of course there have been sad times during the past year too. Cancer has struck our family twice this year with the deaths of my grandmother and Jeramy's grandfather. I remember how excited Momo was when I told her I was pregnant, and I think that my updates were one of the highlights during her last weeks. I was so disappointed that she did not get to live long enough to get to meet Jillian, but I suspect that she and my mom are out there somewhere watching this little girl grow up. One of my greatest wishes my my daughter is that she could inherit just a little bit of Momo's unfailing optimism and cheerfulness. Jeramy's Grandpa was dignosed with late stage pancreatic cancer during my last trimester of pregnancy and luckily lived for a few weeks after Jillian was born. We took her to see him when she wasn't even a week old. Her birth was the highlight of his last days and he would tell everybody who came to see him about his new great granddaughter. It amazes me how much happiness one little baby can bring.

After enjoying 10 quiet years with just the two of us, change has become a reality in 2008 and it appears that the fun is just beginning.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year. If know that for many of you, 2008 was not the happy year that it was for me. I hope that 2009 is the year that brings the changes that you so much desire.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Daddy's Girl

Jillian sure is a Daddy's girl. We enjoyed having him home last week for the holidays, but now it is back to those 10 hour days six days a week. Jillian has enjoyed jamming out with him to Guitar Hero, and she got her first fishing pole for Christmas.

Maybe it is my inexperience with babies talking, but Jillian has really strong legs. She's been working on standing since birth, and she can stand for quite a while with support from just one hand now. This just seems crazy to me for a baby that isn't even 3 months old. The doctor commented on it at her appointment earlier this month, and he put odds on her walking early. Oh dear.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What $25 at Babies R Us Buys You

One sleep positioner...$10

One wedge to keep baby sleeping slightly upright...$15

One baby who sleeps all night in her crib rather than her swing...priceless

(Sorry for the poor picture quality. There was no way I was going to turn on the flash)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What does your baby watch on TV?

Mine watches Jerry Springer.

And she seems to enjoy it too.

Let's just hope she isn't on the show someday.

Update: I just looked at the picture close enough to notice it was the "That Baby Better not be Yours" show. (No, I wasn't actually just happened to come on TV while I was doing other things). I wonder if those women know that if you don't want a baby with a particular man that there are some pretty easy ways to avoid that. Hell, for me (and many of you) it was hard enough to have a baby with the guy I wanted to be the father!

Friday, December 26, 2008

We're in Christmas Rehab

We are fortunate enough to have almost all of our family living near us, but I admit that at Christmas that can be overwhelming sometimes. It is not that we don't love our family, but running the gauntlet of Christmas festivities can be a challenge. You know that movie that came out last month...Four Christmases with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn? That describes our holiday completely except maybe it should be five, six or seven Christmases. We even have the baby spit-up scene only the baby is mine and she is vomiting half a bottle on me.

First I'll start with Tuesday since we stopped by our friends house for a visit where Jillian got to see her BFF Becky. They are only 9 days apart but with about a 2 lbs difference in weight and that gigantic head Jillian looks like a giant in comparison. Their daddies tried to get the girls to play, but Jillian seems to find this idea a shocking concept.

The next day we went to Jeramy's dad's house and my uncle's house. We brought Cujo to the earlier outing. He was dismayed to find that there is now a car seat in the back of the truck when he used to be able to stretch out back there. After trying out a wide variety of sleep positions in frustration, he and Jillian finally found a way to make it work.
Before venturing out on Christmas morning, Jillian and Cujo tried out their new toys:

Then it was off to Jeramy's grandma's, Jeramy's mom's and Jeramy's cousin's houses. 10 hours later we were exhausted but back home. Jeramy's mom took advantage of Jillian's hunger to get a picture of her and her cousin Julia in reindeer antlers. It turns out that 2 year olds are less cooperative than 2 month olds.

This morning, it looked like Christmas exploded in my living room.

Thank goodness we have a few days to rest up and clean up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I love the snow. We get it so rarely in Seattle, and when we do it usually only sticks around for a day or so. This time around we have had snow on the ground since Thursday, and it may be here for awhile longer. I've never driven in snow, so I'm pretty much house bound. However Jeramy is taking the week off for Christmas so that doesn't really matter. To him driving in the snow is almost like a sport. We went several places at the height of the snow storm yesterday and had great fun laughing at all the stupid people doing stupid things.

Snow also makes my house look better. It covers all of the trailers, weeds, and other crap we having lying around the yard. We got about 8 inches in total.

In Jillian news, she really holds her head up well now. I tried her out in the walker, but she is too little to reach the toys. Jeramy picked up a bumbo chair for her yesterday and it is just her size. She has really discovered her voice and now enjoys screaming and screeching. Unfortunately she has also decided that it is a really good idea to wake up at 1am for a bottle. And I would be fine with this, but she still wants to wake up at 4:30am for another bottle. She is drinking 6 to 7 oz at each feeding and she is eating the same amount as always during the day too. I'm hoping that this is just a growth spurt as I go back to work in two and half weeks, and these midnight feedings will be much less amusing when I have a vanpool to catch at 5:45am every morning.

As I've always said, it's a damn good thing she's cute!

Friday, December 19, 2008


If I see one more Chia Pet commercial I'm going ballistic. I swear there is one every commercial break. And if not the pet then the Chia Herb Garden or Chia Cat Grass. Personally I love how they show the cat so innocently sniffing the Chia Cat Grass. The cats I used to own would have knocked it over and destroyed the plant in their attempts to get a good sniff of that grass. I just don't see how they can possibly sell enough Chia crap to afford all of these mind numbing commercials. I mean do people really buy these for themselves or others as the manufacturer's so boldly claim? Or has the economic crisis deflated the cost of advertising time so much that we now get to listen to "" twenty times a day? For God's sake it's a clay animal that you plan seeds on!

I'd rather watch no-name colleges advertise their opportunities to become certified in TV/VCR repair. It almost makes me miss political campaign commercials. Almost.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How Routine is a Routine?

I'm always hearing about this whole getting your baby on a routine concept. This seems to be the holy grail of many a new parent, myself included. But I've come to ask myself how routine must a routine be to be considered a routine? Still following me on this?

Jillian tends to fall asleep around the same time each night (give or take an hour). She tends to wake up around the same time each night (although occasionally will move that time back an hour or two). She tends to operate in 3 hour cycles during the day that consist of a feeding, awake time and nap time. So does this constitute a routine? And honestly will these trends even last long enough to be considered a routine? And why on earth do I feel the compulsive need to obsess about a routine when none if it really matters as long as I'm following her queues, she is happy and my sanity is in tact?

So to all of you out routine is a routine and how old were your babies when they really got on a routine?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Winter Wonderland

You find me here in Seattle where we are in winter panic mode. The weather forecasters are throwing out words like "Deep Freeze" and "Arctic Plunge". They are pronouncing with shock that it finally feels like winter, which only makes sense given that the first day of winter is now just days away. All of this for a couple of inches of snow and temperatures in the 20's.

Those of you in much colder regions with your several feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures can stop laughing now.

Part of being a Seattleite is freaking out about snow. We have precious few snow plows. We do not routinely purchase snow tires for our vehicles. Most of us (myself included) are clueless about how to drive in snow and ice. Oh and we have hills. Lots of them.

Despite such threatening winter conditions, I ventured out to meet C and Danny and my friend Jenny and her baby Rebecca at the mall yesterday. The nice, fancy, newly-remodeled mall! My main mission was to get Jillian's picture taken with Santa. It seems a bit strange to me that I was so eager to hand off my infant to a complete stranger and pay an unreasonable sum for pictures taken with that man. But I did and here is the proof:

She did not cry, but not surprisingly she did spit-up. She missed Santa but got her dress. Of course it is the one thing in her wardrobe that is not easily washed.

Speaking of spitting up, it is certainly one of her favorite activities. One evening Jeramy went to kiss her and she spit up in his mouth. (I wanted to take a picture to show you all but he wouldn't let me). Then this morning she must have spit up while on her activity mat, because when I went to pick her up I found a large puddle next to her. She missed her clothes, but now the back of her hair is encrusted in spit-up. And since she was ready for a nap, I didn't dare clean it off her right away for fear of bringing her out of her near-sleep state. The need for a good nap certainly the need for crusty, formula-free hair don't you think?

Oh and speaking of naps (because I feel like rambling today), I am experimenting in hopes of moving her from the swing to the crib soon. Right now the only place she she sleeps day or night is in the swing. And while this has afforded me excellent sleep, my husband fears that she'll be sleeping in that swing until she is 5 years old. I think the issue is that Jillian falls asleep and stays asleep best while in motion whether it be in the swing, the car or the stroller. You can only stop the motion for a couple minutes before she wakes up. In fact she has become so used to the swing that she often falls asleep the second I place her in it. At this moment I am only brave enough to try to crib out with naps. I can handle a angry, fussy sleep-deprived baby in the evenings but I live in fear of returning to those sleepless nights of the first couple weeks of her life. So far, her record was a 25 minute stretch of sleep she got in the crib on Monday. For the sake of my sanity, I hope we top that soon.

She'll probably wake up any second now, so I'd better tie things up with the latest pictures.
She has taken to cramming things in her mouth. Her hands certainly are a favorite for this activity, but if you hand her a rattle this is the result. And like most kids you can buy her all the expensive toys in the world, but her favorite rattle is the cheap one from her first aid kit.

Her Christmas dress. Do you know how hard it is to find a Christmas dress in very small baby sizes?

This outfit was an early Christmas present from Great Grandma Funk. Very snuggly!

Evidence that we do indeed have snow...although certainly not enough tat we fear losing Jillian in the snow drifts.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm Really not a Baby Person

Perhaps one of the most interesting things to me in this whole motherhood experience is that I am not a baby person. It seems that many women possess this inherent love of babies, especially newborns. They coo at them, speak in high pitched voices, and love to cuddle them. They are the ones clamoring the babysit just as soon as the new parent is willing to leave the house. I was never one of those women.

I always found babies, especially newborn babies, intimidating with their out of control movements and large, floppy alien-like heads. They are seemingly impossible to interpret, and I never quite had the knack for calming their cries. The littlest ones even seemed a bit boring as they could not do much besides look around with confused or sleepy looks on their face. Oh and there was always that threat of spit-up as my sister, the baby vomit magnet, can attest to. (Have you seen the commercial for Four Christmases with Reese Witherspoon and the baby vomit...hilarious!). Granted I have always admired people's babies and usually thought them cute. I just usually preferred to do so at a distance.

Despite this, I never doubted that I wanted to have a child of my own, and I have come to find out that I do love babies...or at least I am very much in love with my baby. I've been enamored with this baby from the very beginning despite her floppy head and screaming fits. I'm not sure what it is exactly that made this particular baby different from all the rest. Perhaps I warmed up to her during the many months she occupied my uterus. Or maybe it is looking into her eyes and seeing a little bit of me and a whole lot of Jeramy in them. Or maybe it is that we are figuring this whole thing out together and that after all these weeks I am the one who knows how to soothe her tears the quickest. It is the strangest thing but all the sudden I find this helpless little being to be the most fascinating creature ever. It seems like every day she achieves a new milestone, and ironically while I would have previously thought this to be mundane (e.g. reaching for a toy) it now fascinates me so much that I could just watch her do it over and over again for hours.

I also find that I take pictures of it all so that I can bore you with every mundane detail also. Or perhaps if you are baby people you find all of this fascinating!

Just last weekend she started reaching towards the hanging toys in her activity gym. Now she can even grab them. Like I said, even the must mundane accomplishments impress me these days!

She seems to like the Mary Jane booties I knitted better than the matching hat.

Here is the close-up. I like these so much that I am knitting a black pair to go with her Christmas outfit.

I never get tired of her smiles. Oh and she does have gorgeous eyelashes...everybody comments on them. She can thank her daddy for that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Unexpected

I knew going into this whole mom gig that I could never fully prepare for what it would be like. Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on just what aspects have been the most unexpected.
  • I knew that I would be sleep deprived in the beginning. And boy was I. By the end of that first week, I think that I had only gotten 15 hours of sleep total. However what I did not expect was that when I got the opportunity to sleep, I couldn't. Mind mind was racing. Being a new mom was stressful, and I had difficulty wrapping my mind around the enormity of it all. There was this new little life that I was entirely responsible for, and I feared failure. I was exhausted, but I couldn't get myself to unwind enough to rest.
  • Then once I was able to settle down enough to sleep, I found that my baby made lots of noises that kept me up. Loud noises too as I wasn't even co-sleeping. These were the noises I heard from across the hall without a monitor. I could never have forseen sleeping with earplugs every night. I can still hear her cries, but it takes the edge off enough for me to sleep.
  • I am sore. My arm is sore. My shoulder is sore. My neck is sore. My knees are sore. My difficult to burp baby requires lots of bouncing. She also takes a long time to feed so I'm actually sore from holding her in the feeding position. I'm loving both my hot tub and Ben-Gay these days. If only I didn't reek of wintergreen.
  • Babies (or at least my baby) doesn't nap anytime or any place. I figured that when she would fall asleep that we'd stick her in the crib for a few hours. Ummmm...not so much. For the first couple of weeks I don't think she slept any where but on me or Jeramy. Finally I learned she would sleep in her swing, which is where she is napping right now. This has turned out to be the magic solution to both nighttime and daytime sleep for us. I just wish that I had purchased a swing that could be plugged into the wall. D batteries are spendy.
  • I always heard that babies easily fall asleep in cars. That is true for Jillian provided the vehicle is moving. I have come to despise red lights. I'll even take a longer route to go places now if it means going on freeways rather than surface streets.
Jeramy went back to work on Monday. He is working six ten-hour days, and is not getting home until after 6pm at night. We're both pretty sad about that as he does not get to spend much time with Jillian. So far it seems like he's either had a crazy work schedule or been laid-off during the course of her life. Anyhow, the money is very nice as we know he'll likely be home again by late January or early February.

Okay, here are the latest pics. Is it me or does this girl have the craziest expressions?

A big smile. Provided she is in a good mood, it is pretty easy to coax a smile out of here these days.

Apparently she isn't too keen on the bonnet I knitted for her.

First thing after waking up and being released from the swaddle she loves to stretch and stretch and stretch. I think it is hilarious, and every time I stretch now I remind myself of her.

She's not a big fan of tummy time.

She was so tired after the shots that she even slept in the bassinet for like 30 whole minutes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

2 Months

Jillian reached the 2 months mark yesterday, and boy has she turned into a little fatty. At her appointment today, she weighed in at 11 lbs 9 oz, which is the 90th percentile. For height she measures 22.5 inches, which is at the 50th percentile. She most definitely takes after her father when it comes to head size with a circumference measure of 16.25 inches. That is the 95th percentile! Dr. M said he wasn't worried about her being to chunky as her muscle tone is good. Besides, that head of hers must weigh a ton. It is amazing that she holds it up so well.

Today's appointment included three shots today plus one oral vaccine. She really did not take the whole shot thing too well and cried most of the way home. I tried to tell her not to be such a baby about the whole thing, but she really did not respond to that. I rewarded her with a bottle, and she appears to be repaying me with a long nap. Considering that we ran errands before going to the doctor, it was a long morning.

At two months, Jillian is really starting to become fun, and I'm really looking forward to this last month home with her. During the first several weeks, it seemed that she was either eating, sleeping, pooping or crying. However, now smiling and playing have been added into the mix. She loves staring at the toys hanging in her activity gym and the ones I just added to the car seat. Over the weekend, we noticed that she has gained enough muscle control to purposefully hit toys albeit a bit clumsily. She also has a small rattle that we can place in her hand, and she loves to shake it (and hit herself in the head). She does still have some gas issues, but we have become very vigorous and diligent burpers to compensate. She currently sleeps about 11 hours at night with one wake-up for a bottle during that time. During the day she sleeps about 3 to 5 hours between 2 to 3 naps. We now have a pretty good daily routine down, which is making things much easier for both of us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Just Wait Until She's a Teenager

Apparently Jillian has decided to rebel in the only ways that she knows how. First it started with sleep. For two weeks straight she slept from 8pm until anywhere between 5am and 7am. Now, she has decided that the 3 o'clock hour is an ideal time for a bottle. I know, I know. You probably still hate me as she is still sleeping 7 hours straight, which is impressive for an 8 weeker. I was just completely spoiled for the past couple of weeks, and now I am paying the price.

However, this is not the only act of Jillian's rebellion. The other one is pooping, which seems to be my new favorite topic for blogging. She used to go once...maybe twice...each day. While this occasionally led to crazy bad blow-outs, I was changing fewer diapers. However, now she has started going several times a day. This would be fine, if I could at least predict when pooping would happen. For example, I used to change diapers when she woke up but moved that until after the bottle, since she seemed to prefer combining her #2 with food. Just as soon as I made that change, she began going 30 minutes after the bottle and shortly after getting a fresh diaper. Other times she'll decide to poo, get a fresh diaper, and then poo again one hour later. It has gotten to the point where it seems that she poos every time she gets a fresh diaper on. I have tried glaring and lecturing her whenever she begins that tell tale grunting, but she never listens to me as usual.

I had my post partum appointment today. Yes it has been 8 weeks, but apparently Dr. C is a very busy lady. She was very impressed that I am within 3 pounds of my starting weight there, which was 9 weeks pregnant. She was disappointed that I didn't bring Jillian with me, but at least I had pictures for her. I just wasn't up for bringing an infant to a doctor's appointment that involved much waiting and a pelvic exam, when Jeramy is home to take care of her.

Speaking of Jeramy, he has a job starting on Monday so it seems that our continual weekend is indeed coming to an end. The downside is that the job will only last six to eight weeks. But there are many upsides because he'll be getting tons of overtime and will be working in Maple Valley which is relatively close by. Plus he'll probably get laid off shortly after my return to work, so he'll get to be a stay at home dad again. Really this couldn't come at a better time because in the last week the water pump in my car and our stove both took a sh*t. Not exactly the kinds of expenses you want when you're down an income!

Jillian turns two months on Sunday and has her doctor's appointment on Monday. (So look for an update then. I can't wait to see how much this little fatty weighs! In the meantime, here is a picture of her with her Baby Einstein Crack Star. We found that we could move it to her bouncy seat, which is where we put her after feedings sometimes as we try to keep her upright for a little while.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

8 Weeks

Welcome to the house where the weekend never ends. It is so bizarre to have both Jeramy and I home all day, every day. The last time we spent two weeks straight together at home was right after I had my second jaw surgery. I'm finding that the days move quicker when your jaw isn't tightly rubber banded shut and you are restricted to an all liquid diet. Of course now my days seem to revolve in approximately three hour cycles of feeding, diaper changing and calming a fussy baby to a short nap. However, Jillian somehow manages to make that all feel worthwhile.

Speaking of Jillian, she is growing so fast it is unbelievable. I mean she is so accomplished that I'm pretty sure she's going to be a genius, and I had better start looking into gifted programs and ivy league colleges immediately. For example, she has become quite skilled with her hand. Her favorite activity is to attempt to cram it into her mouth. When we try to give her a bottle, she usually likes to block it with both hands and then proceed to scream and shake her head from side to side because she is so crazy hungry. As I pry her hands aside, I've tried explaining how such refluxes are counterproductive to her demands for food. But it seems that she has already taken to ignoring her mother.

Jillian has also become quite smiley. Despite BabyCenter's claim that babies smile the most at their parents, I find that my daughter saves her biggest smiles along with her coos and what almost sounds like a giggle for the music-playing, light-flashing star attached to her Baby Einstein play mat. What parent can compete with that really. If she is in the right mood (usually first thing in the morning before we've screwed too many things up for her), I can coax a few big smiles out of her, which really make the hours of crying worthwhile.

I've got to run to a doctor's appointment. Somehow I managed to avoid a UTI my entire pregnancy only to get one now. Go figure. Anyhow, I'll leave you with the latest pics of little Miss Jillian.