Month 8

I'm crawling so nothing can stop me now!

Wow what a month! Hands down the biggest milestone this month was her discovery of forward motion with crawling. We really saw the connection of sustained forward momentum the weekend of July 3rd when she was about 7.5 months old. Although her crawl isn’t the typical hands and knees crawl of most infants, she gets around just fine using her hands and feet…and looks mighty silly in the process! I’m assuming she does this to spare her knees which I’m not into covering up in this 100+ degree heat we have been experiencing. She is quick when she wants to be, and can also crawl decent distances. In the morning after I feed her I will set her on the floor in her room and she will crawl her way out to the kitchen where she will find me preparing for our day. She is completely infatuated with crawling over to the dog dish and splashing around. So much so that Charlie’s dishes have been moved to the stairwell landing that is nicely gated off with our baby-gate!

We still do not have any teeth yet, but I do believe she has been working on some in there as this month we saw in increase in generalized non-descript fussiness accompanied by the desire to chew on cold objects. I’m sure one will pop through any day now but I’ll relish the teeth free days that I have since we are still breastfeeding.

Her solid food eating is getting more peculiar. She is rather picky which is sort of driving me nuts and she doesn’t eat well at dinner so introducing new things to her can be difficult during the weekdays. Her best meal is breakfast (oatmeal with peaches, apples or mangoes) and she will typically eat some part of her lunch I send with her to daycare (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocados, or carrots). She did not take well to summer squash which is a disappointment because our CSA gives us so much zucchini each week. And she can’t stand peas which is weird because I think they taste really good puréed. She also won’t eat banana which is highly annoying because it’s something we almost always have on hand, and it’s easy to mash!

I can feed myself; sort of. Mom's camera phone is crappy btw...

We introduced cheerios, puffs and crackers this month too to help her work on her pincher grasp and self-feeding. Most of the time at dinner this is all she is interested in which provides good entertainment for us (she isn’t the most subtle of self-feeders). I can sometimes get her to take a few spoonfuls of something at dinner but mostly she isn’t interested. I’m hoping this trend soon fades as we start more finger foods for her soon.

I like to pull up on Mama

Lastly, the last week or so she has been really keen on pulling up on things. First she started climbing and pulling up on us when we would lay on the floor. Now though she will use baskets, shelves, or furniture to pull up to a standing position. She isn’t ‘cruising’ quite yet but I’m sure that will be something I will report in her 9-month update!

Soon I won't fall down and bash my head into things so Dad won't have to 'hold' me all the time.

Oh and she is quite fond of saying “da” which just sends Royce over the moon. She isn’t necessarily saying “da-da” in suggestion of him as her Da-da, but he probably wouldn’t admit to that.

For those of you who haven’t been following, the 6-8 month photo set is up on Flickr.

photo shoot

When we were in KC we had the photographer who photographed our wedding take Syd’s 6-month portraits.  During the first year I really want to make sure the newborn, 6-month and 1-year stages were professionally captured.  And it just worked out that we were home right around the 6-month.

You can view the photos here.   Copyright restrictions keep me from linking a photo to this blog as a ‘teaser’…but click the link they are super cute.

There are a few photos I’m regret I didn’t get though.  I really wanted more cute baby-bum pictures (cause hers is just oh so cute) and I only really got 1 and it’s not in my favorite bum capturing position (I prefer the angle from when she is on  her belly).  And again, another photo-shoot goes by with very little images of all 3 of us together looking at the camera.  This time around we only got 1 image, at least Royce and I look OK, but Syd was spent by then.  The posed family shot typically isn’t what I want hanging on my wall, but for grandparents that’s pretty much all they desire and photographers need to learn to work in at least a few of these into their sessions.

I’m also really peeved I forgot to take off my glasses cause they can date photos so terribly…not to mention that white shirt I have on during most of the photos was the shirt I slept in and Syd spit up on prior to our arrival.  I thought I figured I would be warned before photos of me were snapped and I would have the chance to change…with baby photography I just you just get while the gettin is good.  My bad for not being prepared.  And all photographers doing baby photos should just tell people to take watches off the minute they come in the door.  I’m pissed Royce has his on in a couple of those shots…totally ruins the perspective with that clunky thing there.

It is hard when it comes to professional photographers.  Most are just so expensive it’s impossible to even fathom affording them.   Then you go and take the leap but the dread of images not caught (or ones with clunky watches) sorta overshadow the good ones.  And although I love her wedding images, senior images and family images her studio really isn’t semi-mobile infant friendly.  She wasn’t prepared for a baby that can tipsy over from a sitting position as the studio floor was solid concrete.  A Boppy would have been nice to help prop sitting baby or even a funky chair/couch would have been a good stand in.  A little carpet or rug pad slid under the white backdrop would have at least made Syd’s falling over occur with a few less tears (the shoot sorta came to a screeching halt when Syd banged her head on that concrete floor).

By the time her 1-year photos come around (I’m using the same photographer who did her newborn photos) I’ll for sure be more assertive in some of the images I want to have captured!  I guess with everything there has to be a learning curve.  I just wish this learning curve wasn’t so expensive!

Month 4

Syd’s forth month marked a abrupt demarcation in photo-taking and blog updating.  Hmmm…I wonder if that had anything to do with Mom going back to work?

We had our 4-month appointment today at the pediatricians.  Happy to report our little squirt is growing healthy and strong.  Her stats are similar to what we saw at her 2-month visit.  We have a long (24.5 inches; 45%), skinny (12lbs 1oz; 10%) baby with an average head (41.5 cm; 54%).

Developmentally, it is fun to report that Sunday morning, while Royce was reading the paper (and I was downstairs paying bills) our little one managed to roll herself from her belly to her back.  I’m hopeful of a repeat performance sometime soon, but also am aware this could be a total fluke.  Saturday night we were over at a friends house and while we were eating dinner I swear she was… just-about-oh-so-close-it-was-suspense-inspiring…going to roll over from back to belly.   We all stopped mid bite to cheer her on…only for her to just plop back onto her back (with a sigh of disappointment from the fans).

These past few weeks she has added ‘buh’ to her vocabulary of the typical ‘ah’, ‘oo’, ‘guh’ and ‘kuh’ she has been using since January.  Other mouth-related developments; buzzing her lips and making fart noises with her hands.  It’s all rather hilarious; especially when this is the background music to dinner or driving.

She has also become rather fond of ‘standing’. So fond actually that she puts up quite the protest when we make her sit.  Her tummy time is still going well.  She is getting really good at holding that big old head up and she can even manage some babbles and smiles while doing it now too (in contrast to the pained terror on her face she had when she was younger).

It’s also refreshing to report that the weather has finally taken a turn for the better.  These past few weeks I have enjoyed coming home and going for nice walks with the family.  Sometimes if I’m tired we will just lay out a blanket on the front lawn and have some outdoor ‘touch and feel’ sessions (with the crinkly leaves and soft grass) while the clean fresh air fills our lungs.  I’m not sure I have ever appreciated spring so much as I do this year!

Sadly I took only a few photos of Syd this month.  Not much time (or good light when I got home from work) to click away.  With this month of transition behind me I’m hopeful that month-5 can sprout a more comfortable routine.

Month 3

The letter “S” sponsored Syd’s 3rd month.  Sleep – Snow – Sickness – Smiles- Snuggles

Of course you all know the snow story.  And her 3rd month solidified her rock-star nightly sleep patterns.

Unfortunately Syd had her first sickness this month.  Thankfully, her 102.8 fever spike was when she was 12-weeks + 1 day old versus 4 or 6 weeks where a hospital stay would have been in our agenda.  The high fever was still scary and depending on which book you read it is a concern for children <12 weeks old.  Since Syd was so close to 12 weeks I decided to call the doctor just to make sure and because our pediatrician rocks she told us to come in on a Sunday morning so she could reassure that nothing was amiss (anything that can give me more confidence when I’m home alone all night with a sick infant is something I’ll take advantage of!) Sick babies are just so sad!  For a couple of days she got a bit horse, so when she cried or cooed it was this soft little scratchy sound.  It just broke your heart.  Poor little thing!  Thankfully it only took about a week for her to return to her normal smiley self.

Which brings me to the next “S”.  She has done a good job perfecting her smile this month.  She responds to us smiling and in general just smiles away when you talk with her.  It’s all very cute and cozy. I think my favorite smiles are the ones when she first sees us peek over the crib in the mornings.  She just smiles and squirms and looks so excited to start her day!

This month she has also perfected the snuggle.  She will take blankets or other soft items and clutch them in her hands and bring them up to her face (typically into the mouth).  It’s fun to see her smash her face into things and get so much pleasure and comfort.

Of course she is growing and growing.  We did a quick weigh-in at the doctor’s so we could calculate her Tylenol dose and she was just shy of 12 lbs.  I had to break out the 3-month clothes earlier in the month and store away the newborn stuff.  I’m afraid she is going to outgrow the 3-month items here soon which sucks because it is still cold here and I don’t have any long-sleeved 6 month items to put her in and the baby stores only have summer stuff out.  She better stop growing or she is going to be one cold baby!

Photos from her 3-month adventure are up on Flickr…click the duck below.

Sewing update – first dress by MOM

I finally finished Sydney’s first home-made dress last week.  I had spied the fabric a while back and loved the vintage print.  I used the same pattern Grandma did. 

This is a super fussy dress to make.  I’m not sure if it is just because sewing things this small is so tedious, or if it’s Simplicity’s whacked way for finishing necklines and armholes, but this dress took me way longer than I had bargained for.  

The finished product is OK.  If you look closely you can see the arms and neck are not finished impeccably but I just got tired of fussing with them!  I ended up using the technique from a similar Butterick pattern (#3505) since it did not involve bias tape and had a different method of attacking the armholes.  Luckily Syd moves around a lot so no one should be able to notice the shoddy sewing.  The little red panties sure are adorable on her!  I will have to make some more of these for summer.

My next project for Syd is a romper for the summer…again another Simplicity pattern (#3509)…I hope it’s easier than that dress.  If it turns out nicely, I’ll have her wear it for her 6-month photos we are going to have taken by the photographer who did our wedding when we are back in KC this May.

A while back I also finished another bag.  This is a bigger ‘purse’ for me that allows me to stuff a compact changing pad in it when I don’t feel like carrying around the big-diaper bag.  The bag fabric is from Ikea and the contrast band and handles are a decorator remnant I picked up at Hancock. 

I used the pattern (Simplicity #2685) I had on-hand.  If I make this bag again I’ll use the same method I did for the smaller bag I’ve made in the past because I think it went together easier, and the finished product looks nicer.  I did add a magnetic snap on this one to keep it closed which I think is a nice addition that should have been there in the first place!

Digging out

The snow stopped falling Saturday night around 6 PM.  Our friends Boris and Kelly were without power all day with little hope of restoration til morning, so they stayed with us on Saturday night.  Was a full house with 4 adults and 3 kids but it was fun and I was glad we could help keep everyone safe and warm.  That’s the thing I love about this neighborhood…we all sorta look out for each other.

Sunday everyone was digging out.  And I, being cooped up for longer than I desired needed to get-out.  We got all bundled up and headed out for a snowy walk.

Cars were buried, kids were sledding, men were shoveling…it was quite a day!  The final photos of the blizzard madness and digging-out are on flickr.  We are supposed to get another 4-10 inches on Wednesday, let’s hope it’s more towards the 4 inches than the 10 inches because I’m not sure where we are going to put all this snow!

Snow, and more snow

Is winter over yet?  I’ll admit it has been nice to at least be on leave during this snowy season.  I hate having to go to work in snow or even sleeping with the anticipation of the government possibly shutting down.  This is our second blizzard. First was in December when Syd was a few weeks old and I never got the camera out.  This AM I ventured as far as I could (deck and porch) for some shots.  Will continue to add some more photos as the day goes on so check back if you like.  Seems like we have over a foot right now and it’s still snowing…

12:00 update — Dad is home!   ERs never close and Royce’s group isn’t smart enough to keep doctors in a safe place and would rather have them travel back and forth in a storm.  He left for work last night around 9PM, arrived at the hospital at 10 PM.  And around noon today he walked up the path.  The hospital does have a 4×4 service but even with this much snow it is hard to travel so he had to walk a few blocks home.  At least he doesn’t have to go back until Monday afternoon!  In the spirit of the snow day Syd dawned her Alpine Swiss onesie.  All together now:  AWWWWWW!

First dress!

Was a hard week…not sure why…just mentally I had a hard time being a mommy and Sydney was sort of cranky all week.  Royce seems to work every day.  And his schedule, as usual, is haphazard.  No pattern to the madness and I’m a creature of habit and routine and it’s hard to get into one when some days Dad is home during the day, sometimes at night, and sometimes part of the day and none of the night.  And some days are even worse… he gets home early AM leaves in the afternoon and between him eating, running, napping and getting ready to go to back to work there are times when I seem to go 48+ hours without someone to watch baby while I do basic things like take a decent shower (not a speed shower) or eat without getting serenaded by crying or even get computer time to do boring things like pay bills.  Ugh.  It’s been a rough go at it.  After a particularly hard day it’s very hard to send him off at night that is for sure.   I’ll figure it out eventually.  Or maybe I’ll just go insane.

Some exciting things did happen this week.  First up was the arrival of her first dress from Grandma!

Grandma sent me the same pattern (Simplicity #4243) and I was waiting to see the fit of the dress before I started one of my own.  Like adult patterns, these things can sometimes be pretty off on sizing.  Because we are wearing onesies underneath them right now, I think I’ll make the XS which will take her through the winter and still fit her in the spring and maybe even summer.  I got some sweet vintage print fabric from the fabric store last week that I’m dying to use.  Also ordered a fun floral from fabric.com which was on-sale.  It’s a bit light-weight so I’m thinking a summer romper will be perfect for her since she may be crawling by then, and I’m thinking crawling in a dress would be logistically difficult.  However, it’s hard to get decent sewing time in…even with the bells she can only last about an hour (sometimes she will fall asleep though).  I can’t wait til the attention span or her naps get a bit longer!

Syd has also embraced the love of her crib piano.  We had to actually take it out of the crib because at night and at nap time all she would do is stare at the piano…you could just see her longing to kick it.  I ended up tying it to the bottom of the crib which is where we have her play mat anyways.  Now the crib is for sleeping only…no play!

She has also discovered the joy of sucking on her hand.  Can’t quite get the entire thing in her mouth but she sure tries to shove it in.

She has also been managing to do complete 180 turns in her crib at night.  I’ll put her down with her head facing one side of the crib and when she wakes her head is on the opposite side.  I have no idea how she does it considering she is in this straight-jacket swaddle like blanket secured with Velcro.  I’m also amazed it doesn’t wake me up because I’m sure there has to be a decent amount of effort and grunting going on during the process that my monitor should be picking up.

That’s all for now.  I uploaded a bunch of photos to flickr so be sure to check them out.

Month 2

Goodness time flies.  I can barely remember those hazy first days…they seem so long ago, yet also sometimes seem like it was just yesterday.  It is odd really.

First to report, she is eating very well.  We had a chat; mom-to-daughter; and we agreed that she had to figure out breastfeeding by her 1-month birthday or we were going to go straight to pump n’ bottle feed while I was on maternity leave.  Lucky her (me?) she figured it out a few days before her ultimatum and we have been happily feeding ever since.  We still haven’t figured out how to peacefully breastfeed in public, but that I’m not too worried about.  As long as I don’t have to miss more than 1 feeding I’m comfortable enough to give her a bottle of milk instead of wrestling her underneath my hooterhider (which by the way has to be way easier to wear/use/maneuver when you are not wearing winter clothing for it to cling to and make you stuffy).

She is quite the squirmer.  Loves to just kick kick kick those little legs.  Great for me, I can plop her on the floor and tie bells to her ankles for a good hour of entertainment (while I do something else…like sew).

Which brings me to the next thing.  I finally got back on my sewing machine!  What’s a Hawkeye fan to do living here in MD with an important bowl game and nothing for her babe to wear (except for a super cool hawkeye hat — thanks Al and Katie!)?  She makes her own Hawkeye gear of course!

Amazingly Hancock Fabrics had an Iowa print, and I took some felt and stitched a black “I” onto a white onesie.  It came out pretty sweet if you ask me.  According to Royce…the lace “made the pants”, and I would have to agree!  And check out that big belly on her!  Hilarious!

I also completed our diaper bag (I promise a picture soon!).  I started when I was about 38 weeks pregnant and it just never got finished.  I fashioned it from a couple of patterns and my own inspiration.  The fabric was a steal of a deal from Ikea and I let Royce pick it out so that he would feel cool carrying it.  All and all, it’s pretty functional, however I wish it would stand up on its own.  Although the fabric is sturdy, the overall feeling is floppy.

OK, back to Sydney.  She is the cutest, smartest baby around (we are biased of course).  She is doing all the things she should be doing so far.   Probably ahead of the curve on holding up her big ol’ head…she is a curious little bean always looking around.  I’m sure her list of things to do and discover will get even longer in the months to come.

This past week she got to go down to the big city.  We wanted to check out the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Collection at the National Portrait Gallery and the weather finally warmed up enough for us to attempt a venture downtown.  She had a grand old time (and so did Mom and Dad).  We even caught a few more of the other exhibitions, one of which was a fantastic segment of the “Portraiture Now: Communities” that portrayed 180 people from Maquoketa, Iowa.  We also ran into a large mural by the Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton.  I remember learning about his art and seeing it at galleries growing up.  Dare I say we have another artist to plan our next nursery around?

This month we also embraced the big-girl bath.  No more sponge baths for this girl!  I pulled out this tub a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t turned back. She LOVES bath time.  Just sits there in awe…not a peep out of her (except a few seconds when you put her in and take her out).  So much nicer on Mom than the sponge baths which she screamed through.  Sometimes I actually use bath time as a way to calm her down during the o’ so lovely ‘witching hours’ of 4-9PM.

I’ve got 4-weeks left of maternity leave and I never thought I would say it… but I could totally see myself staying at home and being with this kid 24/7.  Alas bills need to get paid and I didn’t go to school to get a doctorate for nothing so I need to work a few more years (or move back to the Midwest) to make it all feel more worthwhile.  I’ll enjoy every ounce of these last 4-weeks though!  Check out more pictures from month #2 here, and be sure to read the captions!

Capturing moments

Nothing is more valuable than awesome photos in my opinion.  Three years later I still can capture that feeling of awe and light from looking at my wedding album which was photographed by the talented Jessica Roark.   Although I dabble in photography, I knew that I wanted someone to come out and take photos of Sydney during her first sweet weeks of life as I alone am not talented enough (not to mention it’s hard for me to take photos of me and my girl together).  Picking a photographer was hard.  If I had the money I would have just propositioned Jessica to fly out from Kansas City.  However, knowing we will be out here in MD for a bit longer I felt it necessary to find a local photographer to admire and have the ability to capture our family as it grows.   Linda fit the bill with her fresh documentary style.  It also didn’t hurt that she had done a great job photographing my friend Olivia’s sweet girls on multiple occasions as well.

Sydney was a bit more active than I had desired which kept us from getting those curled up sleepy shots that are so popular with newborns, but none-the-less Linda captured a true glimpse of our home, life, and best of all Sydney.  Enjoy!

And don’t get me started on how Linda left her life as a corporate accountant at the tender age of 30 to raise her children and pursue photography…I keep trying to forget her story best I try to re-create it myself.

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