Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry. Christmas. Noel, Noel!

Okay, so that post title might look like I have no idea how the phrase "Merry Christmas" is supposed to go.  But I promise it makes sense if you know it's phrased like a Christmas song that I sing this all the time, not just at Christmas.

Our ward's Christmas party had a Polar Express theme.  The kids had "tickets" and "passports" and could go to different countries (rooms) at will to learn about their Christmas traditions and to do a craft or game.   We were asked to portray Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the Bethlehem room, which was the last room.

These photos were taken on T's iPhone by one of our friends.  The photos really don't do it justice.  The room was dark with just the one light in the stable and it was so peaceful and simple.   As you can imagine, there weren't any crafts or games in our room.

We talked a little with some of the kids about who else came to see the Baby Jesus and other things about the Christmas story, but mostly we just sat with them in silence.  It sounds kind of boring, but it was actually beautiful.  Several times kids just sat near the baby in silence for seriously 10 or 15 minutes.  They didn't want to leave.  It was so sweet.

One little three year old was talking to baby and Pippa smiled at him.  The little boy said, "Oh, Jesus loves me.  I love him back!"

Pippa actually fell asleep all by herself in the manger!

 Pippa was so precious.  Having a new baby at Christmas time is so beautiful.

I was actually nervous about Pippa being calm at the Christmas party because she had had A DAY up until that point.  T had to go in to work that Saturday and when he came home and I made him take baby for 45 minutes so I could have a bath to relax before we had to portray the Holy Family because I was so not feeling holy!

We arrived at the church extra early so I could feed Pippa there just before we changed into our costumes in hopes of keeping her happy.  Pippa was seriously an angel for the hour and a half we were in the Bethlehem room.  We loosely wrapped her in a white swaddle blanket and put some of the blanket under her head to keep the scratchy burlap away.  She smiled and cooed and held my finger most of the time.  She fussed once or twice and calmed right down by sucking on my finger.  After about 45 minutes she drifted off!  Right there in the manger!  Without me doing anything!  Now maybe you can expect that from a brand newborn, but not a three month old!  It was a Christmas miracle!  Pippa was also an angel for the 45 minutes we spent at the dinner after the Bethlehem portion was over.  

This was by far the nicest ward Christmas party we have ever been to.  They went all out with the decorations and food.  Here's T and Pippa after changing out of costume in front of one of the bulletin boards.  They covered all of the boards this way to make it look like you were looking out of a window from the Polar Express.  Also, check out the cheeks on Pippa!

A week after the Christmas party, T and I were at a baptism.  A different little three year old boy saw us with Pippa in a dress and said, "Baby Jesus turned into a girl!"

When T's mom visited we went to the DC temple.  These are from the Visitor's Center.

Every year the Visitor's Center has a big display of nativities from around the world.  I really love this one from Germany and want one cut out of wood like this.

This photo of our friend's family made it into a new portion of the Visitor's Center.

One night while T's mom was in town we left her with baby while we went to pick out a Christmas tree.  Baby was fed, but wasn't falling asleep but we left Pippa with Grandma B anyway.  As we were leaving the tree lot we got a text that we needed to come home because Pippa had had enough.  Luckily we already had the tree strapped to the car so we quickly drove home.  Well, as quickly as you can drive with a tree on top of your car.

We got Pippa to sleep while T and his mom situated the tree.  We did lights and decorated the tree the next day after we got back from the temple.  Here are the results:

"Santa, baby" if you will.

And here is Pippa with the tree on Christmas morning.

Christmas was pretty low key; just how we like it.  We opened stockings then put Pippa down for a nap.  While she was napping T and I opened the presents.  We have some really generous families and know we really are so blessed - mostly in ways that can't be wrapped but that are much more valuable than anything money can buy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby Pippa - Two Months

It's a tad (and by a tad, I mean a lot) late, but here is Pippa's two month update.

The Stats:  11 pounds 9 ounces and 22.75 inches tall.  Has anyone else noticed that they way the measure babies is totally arbitrary?  They put a mark at the feet and one at the head and measure that and call it good.  It's so un-scientific and inaccurate.  The babies' legs are rarely straight and they are all wiggly.

This is the same dress that my sister M was blessed in.

Nicknames:  Baby, Blue Eyes, Sweetheart, Gorgeous, Friar Tuck (it's her current hairstyle)

Likes:  looking to the left all the time, looking at the lights, sleeping almost all the way rolled to her left (we thought this was over, but it's back), eating, being jiggled, being carried on her tummy over my arm

Sleeping semi on her side:

Baby's first "I love you."  Okay, really her second - there was one from her first week.  But this photo is much better.  She already had her thumb and pointer finger out and I gently uncurled her pinky to complete the I love you.  So cute!

Dislikes:  having her hair washed, having her clothes changed (you can tell from these first two that bathtime is definitely not part of the bedtime routine around here!)

Favorite Baby Gear:  My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow  We have a Boppy as well and I like the My Breast Friend much better.  The My Breast Friend has a back support and goes all the way around you and attaches with a buckle.  This is great because I can put it on and it stays in place while I pick up baby.  Then I'm ready to feed her and don't have to get anything else adjusted.  Because it goes all the way around me and has an adjustable buckle I can keep it close to me so baby doesn't slide between me and the pillow while I'm feeding her.  It also has little raised parts on both sides for baby's head to rest on while feeding.  It's still short (it doesn't come as high up close to my boobs nearly as much as I would like) and is meant for ladies with short torsos, but I still like it better than the Boppy and the Luna Bosom Baby pillow I have tried.

Summer Infant Swaddleme.  We tried the woombie and it was okay.  It's definitely meant for brand new newborns, and Pippa was getting too big for it.  We bought the Swaddleme in medium and it is great!  It's a swaddle with velcro to keep it secure.  Pippa can still get her hands out sometimes, but it makes swaddling much easier.  If Pippa is swaddled well she sleeps well, so it is in the best interest of everyone to make sure she is swaddled well.

BumGenius 4.0 Cloth Diapers:  We started using cloth diapers October 15th.  I'll do a separate post about this sometime, but suffice it to say, cloth diapering is going well.

This is the same outfit she wore home from the hospital (as seen at the bottom of this post), but now it barely fits!

Baby Feeding Log App for iPhone.  There are so many apps to keep track of when your baby eats and for how long and how many dirty diapers and so on and so on.  Most of them are pretty involved and have charts and a gazillion categories.  I wanted something simple: just when / how long / what side for baby's eating and diapers.  This app is perfectly simple.  It has three categories:  feedings (left, right, or bottle and a timer), diapers (wet, dirty, or both and records the time), and sleep (a timer).   I think if you're tracking much more than what this app has you're over thinking this baby business.  I have never tracked sleep, and I don't track diapers anymore, but I still use the feeding portion every single time Pippa eats.

Biggest Achievements:  First absolute social smile Saturday October 6th to T just as conference ended.  Pippa gave him multiple smiles when he got close and said hello.  We love her big gummy smiles!

At the end of your 4th week you started making spit bubbles.  I've heard that's the first thing that babies do that shows they are aware of their bodies.  It's pretty adorable.

10/05 going into 10/06 and the night before that you slept in two 5 hour stretches.  If only I could do the same!  You actually only woke up because I woke you up to eat.  I still wake up to your grunting and you slept so long that with every grunt I thought "Surely, this is her waking up!"

Biggest Challenges:  Still me sleeping.  My boobs are still super sore and I can't get comfortable.  I'll wake up to feed Pippa then still be awake for another hour or two or three because my boobs just make it impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Being a single parent for a few days while T was out of town.  So glad I don't have to do that full time. I actually had one of my visiting teachers come over and watch Pippa for a few hours while I slept (or tried to sleep - again with the boob problem).

Sleep:  Pippa is a good little sleeper.  We've been trying out dreamfeeds and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.  We haven't decided if it's better to dreamfeed or just let Pippa sleep as long as she can.  (A dreamfeed is after baby has been asleep for a few hours at night you wake them up just enough to feed them in hopes that that will help them sleep a few hours longer.)

We have actually started co-sleeping.  It's something I really thought we would never do, but here we are.  We don't co-sleep anywhere near all night.  Pippa goes to bed around 7:30 but doesn't join us in bed until around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning.  She's just so grunty around then and if you hold her she'll sleep, but the second you put her down she's grunty and waking up.  We still want to sleep, too (instead of holding her and rocking her) so we put her in bed with us until we get up for the day around 6:30.  So we're only co-sleeping for a max of two hours a night.  This is what it looks like:

We try to do it very carefully.  T scoots all the way to the edge of the bed.  I put Pippa in the middle of the bed with her head in the crook of my arm.  I push the blankets way down and we sleep.  The first 10 times we did that I barely slept, and I still just snooze off and on and don't really sleep.  We don't co-sleep every night, but sometimes it's a good way to get in one or two more hours of sleep.

Pippa does pretty well with naps.  She will usually nap for 1.5 hours once or twice and then 45 minutes or an hour once or twice.  She's still in the sleepy newborn phase and I sometimes I still have to wake her up to eat.  Sometimes it doesn't really work:


Watching her stretch out after I wake her up and unswaddle her is SO cute.  She does the   This is her typical waking up / stretching face.  It's hilarious.

Most of the time when Pippa is unswaddled after sleeping, her arms go straight up.  Here's some waking up stretching in action:

The pink thing Pippa is on is the My Breast Friend feeding pillow.  I think this is a hilarious face.

Eating:  Pippa is still a great eater.  It usually takes her about 20 minutes to eat and she usually only eats on one side.  I used to burp her sitting up but towards the end of the month I've started burping her over my shoulder to get in some faux tummy time and make her neck stronger.  I'm lucky because she doesn't spit up very often and when she does it's usually a little dribble out of her mouth.

While she is eating, Pippa keeps her hands totally still.  I think she's thinking, "The milk is flowing.  Don't.  Move."

She gives the best smiles after eating.  Like her mom, she's always much happier when she's fed.

The Superficial:  Pippa had baby acne that peaked around week 5.  She also had flaking skin on her eyebrows / forehead.   However, she never had cradle cap.

When Pippa was born she had about four blond eyelashes per eye.  She's grown a lot more eyelashes since then, and they are dark.  She gets it from T.

Hanging out in her jungle gym.

I love her little sleeping feet in this photo.

She lost most of her newborn hair at the start of the month.  It started with a bald patch above her right eye (I think her head was rubbing on the back of the rocking chair while I was rocking her and it just rubbed right off)  and now it has spread to everywhere except her friar tuck area.  Towards the end of the month had started growing new hair of an uncertain color.  Blonde, maybe?  Sometimes it looks blonde and sometimes it looks dark, but maybe that's just because she needs a shampoo...

Here you can see her friar tuck and the new stuff on top trying to make a mohawk.

For comparison this is what her hair looked like before.

This is her pouty lower lip face.  Sometimes it appears when she is waking up, but it always occurs when she is done eating in the night and I'm trying to get her to eat just a little more.

Pippa's eyes are still gorgeously blue.  This isn't the best photo of her, but this is pretty true to her eye color.

Visitors:  My friend M, who I met out here but just moved to Utah, was in town.   We met up at the mall for some hanging out.  I miss her!

Out and About:  Pippa had her first monument visit!  Actually, she visited Arlington Cemetery in her first month but there wasn't any photo proof.  T and I took Pippa on a mosey around the Lincoln monument and World War II Memorial.  We're teaching her young to be patriotic.

"America for the win!"  (With the reflecting pool and Washington Monument)

At the WWII Memorial

In front of the Lincoln Monument.
(This is how her head used to tilt all the time before my mom put the blanket around the headrest.  Doesn't it just look like she is going to wake up with a giant crik (spelling?) in her neck?  How do babies and toddlers stand that all the time?!)

Other things:
Baby is not a fan of tummy time.  We try to get it in, but mostly we do modified tummy time things like hold her over my shoulder and across my arm.  It's hard to get actual tummy time in because if we do it within an hour or two after she eats (when she is happiest) she spits up most of her meal.   But it doesn't work well to do it after she wakes up from a nap (about 2.5 or 3 hours after the previous feeding) because then she wants to eat.  We'll get there eventually I'm sure, but if you have tips on how to help a baby like tummy time, we are listening.  Pippa tolerates this sort of tummy time best.  I think it's because I'm soft so it doesn't hurt when her head falls down.

Here Pippa is at the start of the month not enjoying tummy time on the boppy.


Pippa has started grabbing things more.  Not grabbing with intent, but she's opening her fist more and likes grabbing onto whatever happens to be right there.

She's busted out of the swaddle here.

You can see she's still kinda newborn scrawny, but that her tummy is definitely bigger.  Good job growing, baby girl!

Here's a video showing off her bigger tummy.  I find it so cute!  But that might just be because I am her mom.

Pippa is doing better at taking a pacifier but still takes a pinky much better.

We tried to give Pippa a bottle.  You took it in your mouth but just like with the pacifier never started sucking.   To be honest, we haven't really tried to give you a bottle since then because it is just so much work to pump, store the milk, re-warm the milk, feed it to baby, then pump when baby is done with the bottle because baby didn't feed at the breast.  Plus once you give baby a bottle, you have to keep giving it to her consistently so she stays used to it.  I'm not going back to work so there's no real pressure to give baby a bottle.  Yes, that means I can't really be away from baby for more than about three hours during the day, but to me that is less of a deal than everything else I mentioned.

Pippa's used to tilt her head to the left every time she was in the carseat.  While I was taking my mom to the airport she did this with a swaddle blanket to keep Pippa's head straight.  Genius!  How did we not think of that!  Now we just leave the blanket there all the time.  This is the day we showed her off at T's work.

Pippa's been smiling in her sleep since the start and I still love it. smiling in your sleep.

Things I want to remember:
  • Beginning to coo this month.
  • When Pippa was exactly 7 weeks her pacifier came out and was resting on her hand while in the carseat.  She moved her hand and coincidentally put the pacifier back in her mouth.  She was a bit surprised.  
  • All the lint in your fingers from the woombie or  being swaddled.  Every time I fed you I would clean out between your fingers.  
  • She is SO long!
  • Gave her first high five on 10/21.  She was stretching and put out her wide open hand like she was begging for a high five.  So I gave her one.  
  • Pippa wore newborn clothes until she was 6 or 7 weeks.  Now she's in 0-3 month clothes. 
  • Pippa doesn't really cry or scream.  Instead she does these little intermittent yelps.  Like a short "Ahh!' pause for 5 or 10 seconds then another short "Ahh!"
  • When I carried her over my arm and also sometimes when we were tummy to tummy while Pippa was eating, I could feel the gas bubbles in her tummy.  It's kinda fun.  
How I'm doing:  Still pretty well.  There have been a few morning where I am just exhausted because I never got back to sleep after feeding Pippa.  And I'm sorry to say that I kind of took it out on T.  I'm trying to do better, but MAN!  it's hard to not be snappy about everything when you're tired.  I do try to nap when Pippa naps, but I still have the same problem with my boobs for sleeping so most of the time I just end up lying there.  Then I feel bad because if I wasn't going to sleep I really should have been doing something like the dishes or laundry.  Basically what I'm getting at is that I have started to accept a much lower standard of cleanliness for the house.  And I think that's okay.

I still kiss Pippa every time I pick her up, every time I put her down, every time I feed her, every time I burp her, every time I change her diaper, basically I kiss her every five minutes all day long because I just can't get enough.

I always knew my parents loved me crazy amounts, but now I am really starting to understand how much they love me.  Also, having Pippa and loving Pippa has made me love T so much more.  It's kind of a really beautiful thing how love multiplies.