Thursday, July 17, 2014

8 Month Update

It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was doing Stella's 7 month update.  Oh wait, it's because I was.  Trying harder to get them done on time from now on!  Off to a good start already, TODAY is Stella's "8 Month Birthday".  This has been a crazy and busy month!  It started off with a trip to the ER for me (allergic reaction to who knows what leaving my face unrecognizable and my body covered in hives.  so fun.); and also terrible storms and flooding in our area which managed to find its' way into our basement (we had about an inch of standing water, cleaning that over the 4th of July was a blast).  Glad those fiascoes are behind us!  Stella and I also started baby-sitting my nephew Ryder every other Monday.  He is such a character (2 1/2 years old) and it's nice for Stella to get some regular interaction with a little kid.  They get along so well and I really enjoy the trip to town to watch him.  I laugh all day, he is such a ham.  Stella also went swimming twice this month (33 weeks).  At first she was sticking her tongue in the water and splashing, but after a few minutes she cried very hard both times and I had to take her out.  She enjoyed people watching from the side in her bouncy chair, but didn't last long in the water.  I plan to try again in a few weeks, she loves baths so I'm thinking she'll adjust to the pool yet this summer.  We also made our first trip to the zoo this week with Mark's entire family and my sister & Ryder.  It was so much fun, Stella was very good and all the kids had a great time.  The weather has been in the 70's this week, the perfect day for the zoo!  It's also been so nice to turn the AC off and open the windows.  Fresh air is so good for the soul!
1st swim at great grandma & grandpa's!

where she spent most of her pool time :-)

hanging with Ryder while he colors

The Routine:
 Recently I made the switch to feeding Stella food twice a day (34 weeks).  She takes a 6oz bottle when she wakes up, 3 oz of formula and multi grain cereal with a fruit a few hours later, another 6oz bottle a few hours after that, and 3 more oz of formula with rice cereal and a vegetable around 4pm.  Before bed she gets another 6 oz bottle.  We still just mix one homemade food into the cereal.  I'm just not real big on going all out at first.  I introduce new foods often and am just enjoying getting her into good eating habits and slowly building on them.  So far Stella is a great eater and rarely fusses lately, even through the teething.  If it's not broken don't fix it :-)  This month we got rid of Stella's rocky bed (returned it to my friend, 30 weeks).  She now sleeps from 7pm-7/7:30ish am.  She takes a nap from 11-1 each day in her crib, and usually dozes off in her bouncy chair around 5:00 for about 20 minutes.  I don't do an afternoon nap because I want her to sleep at night and I like her early bedtime!  Right now this is working, but she does get a tad fidgety around 5:30 so this is when I take her outside for about an hour and she loves it out there!  I might try to adjust her schedule to allow for 2 shorter naps a day, but we'll see. 

A crazier-than-normal hair day today!

A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:   At 32 weeks Stella started looking for dropped toys.  At 33 weeks she finally rolled over from her tummy to her back, but she doesn't do it often.  She's strong, just not motivated!  Her top 2 front teeth also poked through this month and the one right next to them is on its' way!  I didn't notice many teething signs this month; however she is taking teethers now!
  • Still loves bouncing herself in her chair!  This month Stella mastered bouncing herself with one leg AND she even figured out how to bounce herself by thrusting her chest/tummy up and down.  One smart cookie!
  • Playing "peek-a-boo" with blankets.  I love seeing that little smile when I move the blanket!
  • Sitting in her Bumbo.  She's been doing this for a while, but now I pile pillows around her so when she drops toys she can still reach them.  She can sit in that thing for hours!  Although I do rotate her often so she gets practice in different positions/toys and doesn't get bored.
  • Little sweetie figured out how to dance (34 weeks)!  I was playing the see-n-say for her (she just adores musical toys) and she started dancing every time "Old McDonald" played.  I have so many cute videos of her!   She's just so much fun.
    trying to teach her to sit on her own...

    ...but she managed to rip out the boppy and lay down for a nap!

    loving her new jumper!
Around the house:
  • I am happy to say that the second half of our summer is a lot less hectic than the first half.  As much as I love taking Stella places and going out, there is just something to be said for productive days and relaxing weekends at home.  We do have a few more fun summer events to look forward to, but in the meantime you'll find us working on the dog kennel, tending to the chickens, and enjoying the beautiful weather from the back deck! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

7 Month Update

Since Stella will be 8 months old next week, I figured I better get a move on with this 7 month post!  We have had one busy summer!  To keep this update from being an entire novel, I did a separate post this morning about our summer festivities thus far.  Check that out here if you'd like to see what we've been up to.  We've had lots of adventures and summer is only half over!  Mark has been able to spend more time at home, so that has been nice for all of us!  We took Stella to her first Annawan Fun Days the first weekend in June.  I wondered how she'd handle the parade...she loved it!  Didn't even fuss at the loud firetrucks and tractors!  She is so much more alert and observant.  I can't wait to share all her new "firsts"...I just love being a mom!

The Routine:
Most of Stella's nutrition was still from formula this month.  She takes 6-7 oz five times a day.  She has never left any formula behind and sucks the bottle down in about 4 minutes!  Her Roley Poley legs are proof of this!  I also fed her cereal with a (homemade) fruit or veggie mixed in once a day.  This month we introduced sweet potatoes, green beans, and bananas.  The bananas are her favorite!  When we put her in her high chair her fists start to shake because she's so excited to eat!  She slaps her hand on the tray between bites...just can't feed her fast enough!  She is eating quicker now, a high chair feeding no longer takes half an hour.  Stella is still sleeping from 7pm until 7am.  I did start getting her out of bed around 7 rather than letting her play in her crib.  She is still taking a morning and afternoon nap, but they are decreasing in length.  Morning went from one hour to half an hour, and afternoon naps are about an hour and a half.  At 28 weeks we finally moved Stella to her crib in the nursery.  I don't think I would have ever been totally ready, but she was getting too big for the bassinet.  She loved her crib so much!  The first night she laughed, rolled over, and played for an hour in there before finally drifting off to sleep.  However, she still napped in the rocky bed.  I tried the crib for naps but she cried.  Oh well, one change at a time :-)  At 28 weeks Stella also upgraded to size 3 diapers!  Cloth are still going well, my disposables are almost gone and I'm not buying more so I will have to use cloth on the go!  (but won't give up her nighttime disposables!)  During my spring (summer I guess...I'm always behind!) cleaning I switched out Stella's toys and clothes as well.  She's still right on track, sporting the 6-9 month clothes now!

Last night in her bassinet!

All sprawled out during the first night in her crib.  Loving it!
Starting to be more curious...figured out how to take down her play mat!
Time to bring out some new toys!  Trying out Ryder's Winnie the Pooh walker!
A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestone mania this month!  At 27 weeks Stella got her bottom 2 teeth!  She was kinda fussy and had a runny nose the week before, I now think it was due to teething.  She looks adorable with those little teeth!  Gotta get a picture.  She also began turning towards mommy and daddy's voices at 27 weeks.  She now works to get out of reach toys and gets mad if she can't reach them.
  • Laughing all the time!  She thinks it's really funny when we (and even Kaiser!) yawn, kiss her tummy, or shake her puppy toy.
  • Being outside!  Every evening we spend some time outside to wear her out before bed.  No matter how crabby she is, going outside always cures it.  Takes after daddy there!
  • Bouncing her chair on her own!  Stella always loved being bounced in her pink chair since she was a newborn.  Now she has figured out by moving her legs up and down she can bounce herself!  It's amazing and dramatically cut down on her fussiness!
  • Making ridiculous noises.  She loves to make fart noises with her mouth and babble constantly.  It is starting to resemble words a little more...much to Mark's excitement she says "dadadadada" over and over!
    Still sucking her thumb when she's tired or upset.  That's my baby!!
Around the house:
  • Things are really looking up around here!  Mark has been home more, which is nice for all of us!  I did finally get on a medication for postpartum depression.  It's been a struggle because while I love being a mom and absolutely adore my baby girl, the changes have overwhelmed me.  Giving up a career I used to be so passionate about was really tough, but it was the right choice for our family.  I am very Type A, so trying to create a "structured, unstructured" day has been hard.  I like to keep busy yet relax with my baby.  Finding a balance was taking a toll on me.  Mark wanted me to get on medication after Stella was born, I cried every day for a few months.  I really wanted to work it out on my own, but finally realized it's OK to accept help.  Since being on the medication I feel relaxed yet in control, and my baby weight finally started peeling off!  Wishing I'd have listened to Mark 7 months ago...
  • Hi, I'm adorable.

2014 Summer So Far

Since Memorial Day we have been BUSY!  This summer we have 7 weddings, a family vacation, and lots of holiday get-togethers.  This is the first weekend Mark and I have both been home with no plans, and it is glorious!  Getting caught up on my blog and pictures along with some chores around the house.  I don't know where the time goes, but I can say we have been having lots of fun this summer!  Here's a look at what we've been doing so far...

Memorial Day
Saturday we hung around the house getting some stuff done.  Sunday morning my friend came over and took Stella's 6 month pictures.  I will be sharing those soon!  After that my parents came over to spend the day with us and we had a cookout that night.  Monday morning we visited our loved ones at the cemeteries and spent some time with Baby Sam.  When we got home Stella was SUPER fussy, her bottom 2 teeth were coming through and she was miserable!  We rented a movie from Amazon and lounged on the couch through the rain storm with Kaiser and Stella.  It was a nice, relaxing weekend!

Vacation/Father's Day


My family has been going to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio forever.  We went when I was just a few years old...every summer until I was in high school!  I haven't been since (although the rest of my family continued the tradition) so I was really excited to go this year and share my wonderful childhood memories with Mark and Stella.  I figured it would either go well or Stella would be a bear...thankfully she did amazing! 

We opted to drive over ourselves rather than go with the caravan of my family.  That way if Stella was sleeping we could just keep driving!  We left Saturday morning (June 14th) around 9:00.  I was up at the crack of dawn finishing packing, showering, and getting Stella ready.  Mark took Kaiser to the Lucky Dog Lodge and then came home and loaded the car.  9:00 wasn't too bad after a busy morning!  We stopped in Princeton for breakfast, coffee and gas and then just kept on driving until 1:00ish.  We stopped again for Subway and gas and I fed and changed Stella in the back of our car.  Then we kept driving with only a quick restroom stop until we arrived around 4:00.  After checking into our room we had an early dinner at TGI Fridays in the hotel.  Stella was really crabby, I think it was from the car ride because she was fine after dinner.  We walked around after dinner and Mark and my cousins bungee jumped.  None of that for me!  Then Mark and I got some ice cream and headed up to our room for an early bedtime.

The next morning was Mark's first Father's Day!  I had a few gifts planned for him when we returned home, and it was nice to celebrate on vacation!  We went into the park at 9:00.  Hotel guests can enter the park an hour early to get in line for the big roller coasters.  Mark rode a few and Stella and I walked around with my family members who also opt out of the coasters :-)  We went to kiddie land and watched Ryder & Parker ride some rides and took Stella on the merry-go-round.  After lunch in the park we went back to our room for a nap.  Late afternoon we explored the park a little more and rode the train.  My mom treated us to dinner at Perkins in the hotel.  It felt good to get a healthy meal in after lots of (delicious) junk food in the park.  Then we gave Stella a bath and changed her into her jammies before heading back to the park.  Mark hopped on a few more rides and we enjoyed the laser show.  Stella loved it!  She stayed awake until 10:00!  She fell asleep on our way back to the hotel and we put her right in her pack n play, where she slept all night.  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful sleeper!

While the weather was absolutely perfect on Sunday, Monday was very very hot.  We went into the park early and Mark rode some more coasters, but by noon Stella was too hot and pretty fussy.  We spent the afternoon in the room while the rest of my family went to the water park.  It was too hot for her even in the shade.  I really just enjoyed hanging out in the room with Mark and Stella.  It's not often we just relax!  After a long nap and some more ice cream (hey, it was vacation!) we met my grandparents, aunts and uncles at TGI Fridays for dinner (my mom, Abby and Ryder headed back home after the waterpark).  Stella was very good and even napped at this dinner!  Then we went back into the park to a different kiddie land.  Parker rode lots of rides and we got to spend some time with my grandparents.  Despite being deathly afraid of heights and roller coasters since I was a child, I let them talk me into hoping onto one of the smaller coasters.  I knew Mark wanted to me ride one really bad, so I decided to be brave!  We went with Michael & Emily and I had a BLAST!  I screamed like a kid!  Look out next year, I didn't know what I was missing!  After enjoying the laser show again (same show but it was just awesome, Stella was entranced by it!) we headed back to the room.  We were so tired, we all fell asleep without a shower/bath.  That's a good day!

We again chose to head back on our own Tuesday (but ended up randomly seeing my grandparents at a gas station and passing my aunt & uncle on the highway!).  We got up, showered, gave Stella another sink bath, and packed up.  We got breakfast in town and headed out, only stopping twice on the way home.  We traveled from 9-4, about the same times as the way there!  We were happy we got home early, so Mark was able to pick Kaiser up that night.  He got an A+ on his report card and really enjoyed himself!  I was so proud I had to show everyone the doggie report card.  AND...after our honeymoon we came home to a dead skunk in our basement (when we lived in Amboy), well this time we came home to a live bird in one of our pipes!  Unreal!  Luckily he flew out on his own.  Crazy ending to a wonderful trip. 

Father's Day

The Sunday after we got back we celebrated Father's Day.  I gave Mark his gifts.  I made the footprint art myself.  I had seen it on Etsy for over $30, and decided I could DIY for cheaper.  I made one for less than $5 (including the frame)!  I just bought burlap paper at Wal Mart (laminated so I could run it through my printer) and copied the poem into Word.  I printed it off and added Stella's footprints.  For those I used non-toxic washable paint.  I put it on her feet with my finger while she sat in her bouncy seat and then held the paper up to her foot.  The burlap paper was bendable, so it worked perfectly!  After letting it dry I inserted it into a document frame and...voila!  Finished!  I also got Mark a picture frame with one of Stella's 6 month pictures in it for his desk at work.  We ate La Gondola for dinner, his favorite!

Our 3rd Anniversary
3 years of wedded bliss :-)

The day after our vacation was our 3rd Wedding Anniversary.  Mark tried to take the day off, but things were crazy in the fields so he ended up going into work for the day.  After helping Stella re-adjust to her routine, doing laundry and unpacking, I was exhausted by the time Mark got home from work.  He was also tired, the first day back to work is always crazy.  We decided to do nothing that evening.  Usually we get some cake from Hy Vee (like our wedding cake), open a bottle of champagne, and watch our wedding DVDs and flip through pictures.  This year even that was too much.  Mark made pancakes for supper and we went to bed early.  Hopefully we will go out to celebrate it sometime soon now that our schedule has calmed down!

4th of July

Thursday July 3rd we attended a cookout at a friend's house.  I brought my favorite red, white and blue dessert.  We watched the fireworks from their backyard.  Stella was awake the entire time and couldn't take her eyes off the fireworks!  We had her in her jammies so when we got home we could just put her right to bed.  On the actual 4th we spent the day cleaning the water out of our flooded basement.  Would have much rather gone to our friend's pool party, but the water (from storms that week) was starting to smell.  Can't have mold going on!  Saturday we attended a baby shower for a friend.  Stella was very good during the shower.  She is such a good baby.  As long as we pack her bouncy chair and stuffed puppy she will happily bounce herself all afternoon.  Easy peasy baby!  On Sunday my dad came over to help Mark work on the dog kennel.  We grilled steaks for dinner.  Wonderful 4th weekend with fun, friends, food, family, freedom and fantastic weather!

So, those are the highlights of our summer so far.  The rest of July is much calmer with only a few events planned, so I look forward to getting more work done around the house and some downtime with the family.  Happy summer!