Saturday, September 25, 2010

Half-Year Milestones

Ansley is now six months old! Yes, the last time I posted she was only 4 months old. It has been a while since I've had a break!

We started back to school at the beginning of August, and Ansley started staying with Ms. Shelly, a wonderful babysitter who also watches her cousin Caroline. Ansley loves it at Ms. Shelly's house, which is good for both of us! I cried the first few days I had to leave her there, but I know she is in good hands and has fun interacting with other babies. It's really the best situation we could ask for right now.

In the weeks since I've posted, Ansley has been busy! She can log roll now (all the way over), and can sit by herself for short periods of time. When Kevin took her to her six month appointment (while I worked! :( ), the pediatrician said that because of her size, she will probably sit, pull up, and walk later than some other babies. What?! I have two friends whose babies are crawling and pulling up now, and they are little tanks! Maybe Ansley will prove them wrong. Speaking of her size, Ansley is now 18 1/2 lbs and 27 in. long. That's 90th percentile for both! Even though she's on the larger end, she still fits in to the clothing for her size. She can still wear a lot of 3-6 month things, but is also wearing 6-9 month clothes, too.

First taste of peas!

Ansley also reaches for things easily, and grabs whatever is in her reach. Then she will wave it up and down and bang it on the floor or table, wherever she happens to be! She has successfully grabbed papers I was grading, lettuce leaves from my salad plate, napkins, advertisements- you name it, she's grabbed (and probably taken a bite of!) it. She has shown such an interest in real food in the last two months. When you are eating or drinking something she will watch you like a hawk. She's tried to steal Chick-fil-A waffle fries right out of my hand, so be warned!

Ansley has also shown signs of teething for about three months now, but no teeth yet. She is constantly drooling and chewing, but there is no sign of a little white tooth about to poke through. She is on her way to eating real food, though! Rice cereal was started at 4 months, and at about 5 1/2 months, due to some tummy issues, we got the go-ahead to begin some vegetables. Her first baby food was sweet peas, and she loved them! Sure, the first bite threw her off a little bit, but after she got the hang of it she all but licked the bowl clean! Since then she has tried carrots, green beans, squash, bananas, pears, peaches, and sweet potatoes. She even tried prunes for a short while to help her tummy. It definitely helped, perhaps a little too much! So no more prunes unless absolutely necessary!

Ansley also caught her first cold, not surprising with her being around other kids and me TEACHING kids all day. But it has seemed to last for weeks, something I'm not too excited about! We've had to suction her nose daily, which will send her into a rage. Poor thing screams almost every time!

Our sweet girl smiles and laughs all the time now, especially when you razz on her tummy. Ansley loves to razz, too, and will make all kinds of silly noises when she's in the mood. When she "talks", she is as loud as can be, and seems to enjoy the sounds she makes. She sounds like she is saying "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" a lot of the time, but others it is all mixed-up babble. She has been "kissing" us for about two months now, offering her sweet kisses when she is feeling lovey. Of course, her kisses are more like big licks and slobbers on your cheek, nose, or mouth, but she is being so sweet that who could care?! In the last six weeks, she has been known to grab my or Kevin's face when she feels the need, and deliberately kiss away! It is the absolute sweetest, and it melts my heart.
At her cousin Caroline's first birthday party

We are so in love with our little girl and our little family, and are constantly remarking "Isn't she at such a fun age?!" Of course, I think we will continue to be amazed with her progress and personality as the months go on, and be even more in love with her down the road. Doesn't quite seem possible, does it? Love you, little girl.

Six Month Stats
Bedtime: 9:00pm
Wake Up Time: Between 6:00 and 6:30am
Naps: A short morning nap (never more than 1 hour), and a longer afternoon nap (usually around 1 1/2 - 3 hours)
Bottles: 6 oz bottles 5x/day (when she wakes up in the morning, around noon, around 3, again around 6, and one before bedtime)
Meals/Solids: Eats breakfast at 9 am and dinner at 7 pm
New Foods: (Since began solids at 5 1/2 months) Peas, Carrots, Green Beans, Squash, Bananas, Pears, Apples, Peaches, Sweet Potatoes, Prunes, and Oatmeal
Developmental Milestones & "Firsts": Rolling over from back-tummy-back, sitting up
Favorite Toys: My Pal Violet, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some Favorites

We had professional photos taken for Ansley at three months. We LOVED how they turned out! Take a look at a few of my favorites:

Ansley Growing Up

To Ansley,

You are now four months old! I can't believe it has been that long since they handed you to me in the hospital and I kissed your warm little cheek.

It has gone by in the blink of an eye, but so much has happened and you fill your daddy's and my life with so much joy.

You are a girl of many nicknames: I call you Sweet Pea, Darlin', and Sweetheart. To Daddy you are Love Bug or Punkin'. Grandpa Terry calls you "Ans". But to all of us, you are a sweet, precious girl that overflow our hearts with love and pride.

Right now you are fascinated with your feet and toes, and grab them at every opportunity. You have been rolling over from your back to your tummy, always to the right. Once you've rolled over, though, you don't have much patience. You want to get going, but don't know how to move just yet! You love to talk and grin, especially in the mornings! One of Daddy's and my favorite things to do is scoop you up in the mornings and put you between us in the bed. You giggle and smile and give us a great start to the day.

We sing and read to you all the time. Your favorite songs seem to be "Bananaphone", "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain", "If You're Happy and You Know It", and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider". Daddy also made up a special song about you standing up, and I will have to videotape it soon! You always smile when we sing it.

You also have learned to give "kisses". When someone asks for a kiss or "some sugar" (and you are in the mood!), you open your mouth wide and give a sweet, sloppy kiss. Sometimes you lick us, too! Violet is your buddy and you are fascinated by her.

Your four month check-up was last Friday, July 9th, and you were measured and checked over. Dr. Becknell says you are a very healthy, happy baby! You measured 26 inches (90th percentile for height), and 15 lb. 2 oz. (75th percentile for weight). You definitely are getting the height from daddy! You are so long, but still fit into some 0-3 month clothes and most of your 3-6 month clothes. Some are even a little big on you! You also started cereal (7/9), and although you were a little skeptical at first, you seem to like it now.

Above all, Mommy and Daddy love you with whole hearts, and are very excited to see you grow and learn new things. Your smile melts us, and when you talk to us, we feel blessed to hear what you have to say. You are a precious gift from the Lord, and I am so proud to be your Mommy.

All My Love

How I've Grown

Ansley, this is how you've grown over the past year!

12 Weeks - August 2009

20 Weeks - October 2009
27 Weeks - December 2009
39 Weeks - March 9, 2010
The Day Before You Arrived!
Newborn Ansley
March 18, 2009
One Month Old
April 2010
Two Months Old
May 2010
Three Months Old
June 2010
Four Months Old
July 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Road Trip!

On July 1, Ansley began her first road trip. My extended family live in Indiana and hadn't been able to get down to meet her yet, so I planned to drive up and spend some time with them. Kevin had to stay and take care of his mom who had a biopsy. So Ansley spent her first time on the road with Mommy and Grandma. We make this trip every Christmas, and draw it out for two days to make it a little more enjoyable. But because we only had a few days, our plan was to drive all the way through in one day. Sounds good, but neither of us really believed it would happen.

Ansley did AWESOME! We left at about 7:30, stopped for lunch at Chick-fil-A, and then once more for a stretch break at a rest stop. Other than about an hour and a half period in the car, she slept the ENTIRE TIME. Mom and I couldn't believe our luck! We arrived at my mom's parents at about 4:30 and started our family fun. Here are some pictures from our adventures:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ansley & The Indiana Crusade

Well folks. Ansley is on her first road trip. After a whirlwind summer, we finally got to go see my relatives in Indy. Mom and I are the only ones who were able to go, and Ansley got to meet my family for the first time. Stories of our adventures coming soon!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome Back, Mama!

It's been quite a while since I posted. I've been busy loving on my daughter, and time has just flown by since I went back to work. Of course, I was only there for four weeks, and then school let out for summer. And now summer vacation is halfway over. I'm trying to make the most of the time I have with Ansley during these days, and it's going by so fast!

Meanwhile, while I've been AWOL, she's been doing a lot of new things. She reached three months, and rolled for the first time on that day, back to tummy! Of course, it took her a while to start rolling consistently, and her special Father's Day gift to Kevin was to start rolling up a storm. Now we can't lay her down without her rolling over in a matter of seconds! She also began staring at her hands and feet, figuring them out. This began probably at 10 weeks or so, but she does it much more often now. Ansley is also talking ALL the time and sharing her cute little laugh with us. She smiles and laughs when we sing to her, and her favorite song is "If You're Happy and You Know It". Kevin can't finish the song without her cooing and grinning! A few weeks ago, she also started wearing a few 3-6 month outfits, although she's still in most of her 0-3 months and size 1 diapers. Another Ansley favorite is taking a daily nap with Daddy. And it's no secret that Daddy likes it, too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Super Mom Goes Down

Today was Ansley's 2 month checkup. I took a quarter of a day at school, after much begging and pleading of the husband, and met my mom at home. We were to ride there together, get her shots, and then head home. Nothing too traumatic.

I cried the first time she got a shot, so I thought maybe I'd be exempt this time. Nope. It still hurts. Ansley hardly ever cries, and it's usually very mild as crying goes. So when she cries out loud and in pain, it is awful! Heart-wrenchingly awful. I didn't try to fight the tears because I figured they are normal and just part of the whole mommy package. So when we left a few minutes later and Ansley was happily asleep, I thought it was over.

On our way home, we stopped by Target to get her prescription, because it was also announced that she has thrush. Yay! I felt for sure I would have known if she had had thrush or not, based on my vast newborn experience (not!) and the descriptions in my baby books. That makes you an expert, right? Well, it didn't appear anything like what I thought it would, and I felt totally dumb and totally guilty. She has had this white stuff on her tongue for over a month! But it wasn't curdy like I'd pictured, and no one said anything about it at the last checkup, so I figured it was just a normal, milk-loving baby tongue. How could she have had this yeast infection the whole time and me not know it? Getting over my annoyance with my own ignorance didn't take too long, and a Frappuccino made it pretty much disappear. On the way home with her prescription and a bottle of generic Tylenol, I felt pretty darn good about this whole parent thing. How hard can it be? I've been wiping her butt and taking names for a whole 8 weeks now. A few hours later, however, I was frantic. Ansley started fussing, and the fussing grew to whining. The whining turned to wailing and then to full-out screams that set me in a panic. Ignorance, welcome back! I was helpless when faced with this- you always think there is SOMETHING you can do to stop the crying, and when there is no magic answer, it is bewildering, humbling, and downright terrible. My baby was hurt and in pain and I couldn't do anything to soothe her. I couldn't believe how powerless and small it made me feel.

Kevin off at sports, I called him hysterically crying and told him how upset she was. Except MY upset caused him to hear nothing but crying and unintelligible garble. I was mad that he wasn't with me when I needed him. I needed someone to help, and he was coaching a lacrosse game. He was frustrated with my crying, telling me that I needed to calm down or I would only upset her more. Which doesn't calm me down, by the way. But, he is coaching to help supplement our income, so I can't blame him for not being there. Either way, his scolding just upset me more, and I had so many tears flowing down my cheeks it was hard to see straight. Finally, I pulled myself together long enough to give her the infant tylenol, and just hugged her little body. Even if she was going to cry until the medicine began to work, she needed to be held close and feel loved by mommy. And I needed the closeness to my baby, with the knowledge that I was trying everything I could to make her feel loved and safe. It seemed like a long time until the crying began to wane, but Ansley finally settled down. The next few hours brought little episodes of sharp cries and screams every few minutes, but sleep won over and I laid her in her lambie swing so her little chub legs wouldn't be jostled. Some of the longest moments of my life, for sure. The title of Super Mom is a long way off...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Workin' Mama

I went back to work yesterday. I began dreading it almost as soon as we brought Ansley home. Three days old and I was already worried about having to leave my baby. Talk about neurotic! And also totally normal. No mom wants to leave their child. But some moms can do it more easily than others: maybe they're ready to go back to work, maybe they're ready for adult interaction. I was neither. Definitely didn't want to do the 9 to 5 (or 7 to 4) instead of cuddling with my little girl. And good luck with adult interaction- I teach third graders all day! Sunday night, I was a total blubbering wreck and spent the better part of an hour sobbing in my husband's lap. Ansley was going to his aunt's house (who is closer to our age than our parents), and is completely loving and fun. Of course she would be taken care of. But not by me, her mom who knows how to do everything "just right". As much "just right" as eight weeks will teach you anyway! But I'm not fooling anyone. The real reason is that I just wanted to be with Ansley every minute. I was so upset that I would miss almost all of her day, and the little moments would be lost during the minutes I wasn't spending with her. I couldn't help but think of the missed smiles, coos, warm hugs, sweet eyes. They would be given to someone else besides mommy. It was killing me!

But Monday morning came, and even though I teared up a few times at the beginning, I had to muster my strength and get through the day. Kevin volunteered to drop Ansley off for me to make it easier, even though Melissa's house is past my work and he doesn't have to go anywhere near that side of the county. I'm convinced the day would have been much harder if I had taken her, so I'm so thankful he did that for me. Armed with my Caramel Macchiato, I stepped into my classroom for the first time in almost 8 weeks. And you know what? It wasn't as horrible as I was anticipating. There were some kids that got on my nerves (as always), and I definitely missed my girl, but I got back into the flow and the day went by quickly. And the very best part of going back to work was the excitement I felt when I left to pick her up. I grinned and laughed and sang happy songs to myself all the way there. It was ridiculous how happy I was to go and get my baby girl! When I scooped her up into my arms and gave her a warm, loving hug, everything felt alright. And it was.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

How did we get from this:

to this?:

In a panic, that's how. One minute, Ansley is chillin' in her Rock & Play, cooing at mommy. The next, she has a small explosion in her diaper region and is making a face like, "Where'd that come from?" Having dealt with this before, I thought it best to give her a few minutes to finish. You know, baby privacy. And when I pick her up to carry her to the Pack 'n Play to change her diaper, I am greeted with yellow poop smeared all over my arm. Hooray for "Mommy Knows Best"! The top photo was taken after her diaper bomb. Looks pretty happy, huh? Her cute cupcake onesie had been on maybe an hour, and then had to be retired to the washing machine. My little cupcake wasn't quite so sweet at that moment!

On the upside, girlfriend has more clothes than she may be able to wear before she grows out of them, so at least we're getting some wardrobe changes in! Or practice for her teen years. On the downside, after I picked out this outfit, I realized it was 3-6 months! She's only just gotten into 0-3 months, so I hope it just runs small. Or else I may cry- Ansley's growing up too fast!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Mommy Survival Kit

I think there should be some sort of goodie bag handed out to new moms with all the essentials you'll need to survive the first few weeks. You go to the hospital, push out a baby, and are sent home a few days later with a little person you probably have no idea how to care for. You think they'll give you some tips in the hospital, right? Well, think again. You're emotionally psychotic, you're going on NO sleep, and nurses, techs, meal delivery workers, photographers, doctors, and pediatricians are in and out every 15 minutes. And then people want to come SEE you and the baby! The NERVE! So when the nurses are trying to give you helpful hints, do you think you'll remember anything? I sure didn't. And when I got home, I thought, "What the heck just happened? I have no clue what they told me!"

Of course, there are all kinds of checklists you can find, but here is what I would put on one if some baby expert asked me. They won't, but here it is anyway. This is what has helped me survive the first few weeks of New Mommy Boot Camp:

Fisher Price Rock & Play- Ansley was having a hard time sleeping on her back without an incline, and she was spitting up A LOT. I heard about this on the Bump and Kevin & I decided to try it out. The best money we spent on baby stuff by far! Our number one baby item, hands down.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste- Our daughter's little tush got red after a week or so, and we started using different creams. Of all the ones we tried, we liked Boudreaux's the best because it's thicker, has staying power, and really helped the redness to vanish.

The Baby Whisperer- I heard about this book from my message board, the Bump. I grabbed a copy a month or so before I gave birth, and read a little about the different dispositions a baby might have, how to start a schedule, and how to help your child go to sleep. It's been great so far- even though Ansley doesn't sleep through the night yet!- because there's lots of great advice a new mom needs to hear.

What To Expect the First Year- My number 1 buy! Just like "What to Expect" was my pregnancy Bible, this has answered all my questions since Ansley has been born. I only wish I had gotten it before so I could have read a little bit ahead of time. You WON'T have time to sit and read for very long!

Pacimals- These have been A-MA-ZING! Ansley is used to having a pacifier some of the time, and when she gets drowsy, she likes to wave her arms around. Well, that usually ends up in her flinging the thing from her mouth. Pacimals help prevent that, because she can hold onto its soft little body without losing the pacifier. She has two, and yes, they have names! Here she is with Dr. Quackers... (Admittedly, the names are goofy!)

Best Ever Play Mat- Ansley has an activity mat for play and tummy time, but this is the first mat we got out, and it is perfect for her to lay on on top of the ottoman. The plush is so soft, and can even be used for a nap time area, supervised of course. If I could lay on one and take a nap, I would!

Graco Travel System- Ok, most moms have one. But the travel system has gone with me everywhere, and I don't know how moms of yesteryear survived without one! We go on walks, we shop, we travel wherever the heck we feel like it. And Ansley has even napped in her carseat to keep her upright after a meal. Oh yeah, the cupholders are perfect for Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiatos.

Pampers Swaddlers- We choose to use disposable diapers and have become diaper snobs in the few weeks since Ansley joined us. Kevin had a diaper shower at his work, which was awesome! We shouldn't need to buy diapers for a LONG time. But some of the diapers we got weren't Pampers, and we weren't impressed. Pampers Swaddlers are soft, absorbent, and have a wetness indicator line, which my husband NEEDS (or at least he acts like it's the greatest invention he's ever seen).

Gumdrop Pacifiers- The pacifiers they gave us in the hospital are awesome. They're soft and "gummy", and are easy to clean. We snagged as many as we could to take home. Ansley loves the way they feel in her mouth. Only complaint- her little wiggle worm ways make them hard to keep in sometimes!

Bright Starts Tug Tunes - This little ladybug has been good for changing time. I hung the clip over the edge of a basket on a shelf above her changing pad, and pull it to amuse her while I'm changing her diaper. It plays three different songs, and sends her into a little trance! I've since moved it to her carseat handle.

Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n Swing- The first item I put on our registry. Not only is it darn adorable, it's got multiple modes for a different experience each time: several songs and sounds to choose from, a mobile, "flying" sheep and clouds, a mirror, and 3 ways to swing. This usually calms Ansley down when she's being Ms. Fussypants.

Summer Velboa Snuzzler- Ansley was so little when we first put her in her carseat! I can't imagine how much her little head would have flopped around without this support. It's two-sided: a fuzzy side to keep things a little warmer, and a woven cotton side for when you need a cooler fabric against baby's skin. This thing looks so cozy!

Those are the items I used all the time and felt like I would definitely recommend to other moms. There are plenty of other things I used but they weren't "must-haves", at least not for us in the first few weeks. Notice I didn't mention clothes? That's because my baby is a clothes horse and her fashion choices must be saved for their own special post. That's right. Ansley is a baby fashion queen!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Uh-Oh! The Moments You Realize You Screwed Up

Unfortunately, I can tell endless stories of my goofy mistakes- I am the single most klutzy person you probably have had the pleasure of meeting. Tripping over my own feet, spilling drinks like nobody's business, And did I mention forgetful? Kevin can tell me what time he will be getting home and what our dinner plans are, and an hour later it's like we never had a conversation. So I really can't blame pregnancy or the hectic schedule of taking care of Ansley for my brain freezes.

On our first real outing, we went to the mall. Stroller? Check. Diaper bag? Check. Baby? Check. We are ready to go! After a quick lunch, Ansley was ready to eat herself, so I fed her in the middle of the crowded food court. First meal on first outing? Success! Until she spit up. All over. Me and her. And I realized what I forgot- a change of clothes for her. Or a new shirt for me. I tried to clean us up as best I could and covered my milk-stained shirt with my black cardigan. But it was so darn hot, I finally said the heck with it and wore my mommy shirt as a badge of honor. Yes, I have a child and yes, I'm still new at this. I dare you to call me on it!

Since then I have forgotten diaper bags altogether (no Pampers Swaddlers can be a scary thing! The whole meal was an adrenaline rush while we secretly hoped we could eat without a poop blow-out or a screaming infant.) I've left the house without a backup bottle (not smart, but I'm slowly figuring this one out!) I've used everything BUT a burp cloth as a burp cloth in a pinch. Blanket. Shirt sleeve. Baby clothes. Kitchen towel. And I guess these are all normal new-mom moments that most of us experience. At least I hope so, because otherwise I'm a little on the slow side! But the moment when you realize that something has been left behind/not cleaned/dropped on the floor/pooped on, there's still that panicked feeling. Uh-oh!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Best. Thing. Ever!

Ansley smiled at my husband before me. I wish she had smiled at me first, but I wasn't as upset as I thought I might be. I knew she would smile at me soon. But what "magic touch" does Kevin have that I didn't? Does she like his deeper voice? Did he say some particular words she wanted to hear, or tickle her feet just right? I tried to copy what he did, hoping it would work. It didn't. Still no smile for mommy. Just a confused, "what-are-you-doing?!" look.

Yesterday, Kevin went to work and I spent all day at home with my little girl. And she smiled at me! It was one of the best moments of my life. Really and truly. I can those moments on one hand: Kevin asking me to marry him, us saying our wedding vows, the moments right after Ansley was born. Of those euphoric, rush-of-emotion, happiest-I've-ever-been moments, those are about it. And now I can add my daughter smiling at me to the list. It melted my heart when I saw it. And I will carry the memory with me forever.

Of course, I didn't have a camera when the big moment happened, but here is a picture taken today of the best "smile" we have so far. I love it!