Wednesday, August 27, 2014

25 Weeks

Poor Audra came down with another cold this week :( I'm not even sure what number this is, but it seems like a lot, especially for such a young baby. So she's congested again, and the last few nights she has been up coughing for an hour or more before it eased up enough for her to fall back asleep. I've been running a cool mist humidifier (and diligently doing her baby massage in hopes of avoiding another ear infection), but it's so hard to not be able to do anything else for her beyond that.

Audra was also more fussy than normal this past week - crying whenever I'd put her down and/or go in the other room, screaming and crying hard with Ryan while I was out with Josie one afternoon and only stopping to inspect a knot in the wood floor of the porch (and for Josie, once we returned). I suspect it's a combination of being tired (she had only napped for an hour total before I had left with Josie) and another development leap. My trusty "Wonder Weeks" book says this is to be expected around this age, as babies start to understand distances more and it becomes more alarming to them to see how little they are in this big world, and that their caretakers are further away than they'd prefer. But then Audra took a 3.5-hour nap one afternoon (after a half-hour nap in the morning too) and was simply delightful for the rest of the day, so maybe it is just more tiredness than anything.

But even when she's fussier at home, she's able to calm down and bring out some smiles and giggles so long as Josie is around :) Josie usually just needs to look at Audra to make her laugh, but Audra makes Ryan and me work for it a bit more. Our go-to methods of getting her to laugh are for Ryan to rub her belly with his head, or for me to blow raspberries on her belly or kiss/nom on her ears or neck.
Audra also seems to do quite well entertaining herself in the pack n play, which is good, since I have a feeling she'll be spending more quality time there soon enough - Ryan has been taking her on his morning walk when she's up before our 6:10am alarm (which is just about every morning) so that I can get ready for work in peace, but pretty soon she's going to be too heavy for him to schlep around for that far comfortably. She's able to maneuver herself around quite well on the floor, and while she hasn't tried lifting her whole torso up and crawling too much yet, she does scoot around on her back on the floor, and can also push herself forward with just her toes. She is remarkably persistent and deliberate in getting around too - she'll roll and twist and scoot herself all over the floor in pursuit of toys (including lots of pounding on the floor), and seems to have a pretty high tolerance before she gets frustrated.
And then after all that motion, Audra has also done the opposite, and had some moments of complete stillness and contemplation. This may not sound that noteworthy, but when her normal is constant movement, it stands out when she's suddenly very still. She also is very into sucking her toes, but only on her right foot, and usually only when she's in the middle of a diaper change (conveniently!). She is normally super quick about grabbing my hair (and yet I haven't learned, and still wear it down around her 99% of the time), but last weekend she seemed more enthralled with it rather than using it more for functional purposes (i.e., holding on for stability), and was stroking it and cooing happily as I swung it over her. One night she also grabbed my hair as I set her down on the bed to get her into her sleeper - she was so delighted with it that instead of trying to get her to let go of my hair right away, I just let her be and nuzzled her neck to make her giggle. When I next looked at her, she had closed her eyes with blissful glee as she laughed and held onto my hair, and although I had been thinking of cutting my hair (which I haven't done since before she was born), I rather suddenly decided that I will most likely not be cutting my hair for quite a while after all :)

We continued with no swaddle this week, and while Audra usually wakes every half hour before I go to bed now, there were a few nights where she went an hour or an hour and a half before waking the first time. She also has started stretching out her night-time wakeups after I go to bed again, going from every 1-2 hours all night, to a few nights of every 2.5-4 hours. The 4-hour stretch of sleep has only happened once (in recent memory, at least), and it was amazing, except for the fact that I must have been laying funny - not that big of a deal when I'm just going to be awake in an hour anyway, but it's a bigger problem when it's that long of a stretch, and now I still can't move my neck. Ah well, it was still worth it ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
IMG_2224 IMG_2216  IMG_2213  IMG_2205 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

24 Weeks

So, I'm not sure if it comes through in my posts when I'm going on about Audra's sleep (or lack thereof), but seriously. This baby is just a joy. Yes, she wakes up a lot overnight (we're holding steady at "many" wakeups still), strongly dislikes the car, and has a very loud (and instantly stress-inducing) cry that she's not afraid to use, but she is usually just so happy, sweet, and funny. I mean, this was her expression most of the weekend:
So while Ryan and Josie were both sick with a nasty cold and had a pretty rough weekend, I had a lot of fun with Miss Audra, who was just thrilled with life. One of the worries I have about not getting enough sleep is that I'm afraid it will impact my feelings towards Audra, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I think she's just the best, even (or maybe especially) when she's attempting to latch onto my chin with a big grin on her face instead of going to sleep :)

Audra continues to be a super squirmy baby, and I felt like I was trying to nurse a wildcat this weekend as she flailed around (kicking and punching) when I was trying to put her down for a nap - I even sustained wounds on my collarbone from when she used it to pull herself up (ouch). On a related note, her nails seem to grow inhumanly fast. I cut them every Saturday (obviously the collarbone injury preceded it this week), and usually end up filing them every day starting on Wednesday to try to make it to the weekend before I have to pin her down and try to cut her nails with any precision. Diaper changes have also become a bit more difficult, between her lifting her butt in the air as soon as I get the diaper under her (which immediately shifts her off it again) and her undoing the velcro as soon as I can fasten them :)

She still loooves tummy time. We can just leave her in the middle of the floor and she's perfectly content to slap the floor or spin herself around in circles. Or, apparently, push herself up on hands and knees. She isn't starting to rock back and forth yet, but we still thought this was an exciting development :)
We also got a baby swing for her and hung it up on the swingset this weekend. Josie quickly claimed pushing rights for Audra, and actually pushed her the whole time she was in the swing. Audra was quite delighted with the swing, especially once Josie moved around to push her from the front instead and Audra could see her again. Her happiness was apparent given that she immediately stuck her tongue out ;)
Sleepwise, Audra seems to be doing better with her naps than she had been. She was apparently passed out for hours at daycare one day last week (although this followed a day when she only slept for an hour total, and that was with waking every five minutes), and while she still only takes about a half hour nap in the morning and in the late afternoon, her mid-afternoon nap this weekend was 2-3 hours. I'm still napping with her on the weekends though, so I'm not sure how much that helps or hinders her. But until I'm able to sleep more at night, it seems to be working for us for now, since I just fall asleep while nursing her down and it helps me catch up on my sleep a bit.

Her night-time sleep is...evolving. I was thinking of going cold turkey with cutting out the swaddling tonight, but instead Audra beat me to the punch and pretty clearly insisted on it last night - she wasn't nursing well and wasn't falling asleep, so I unswaddled her to try putting her in the swing, and instead she promptly fell asleep as soon as her arms were free. So there you go. She's been waking up very upset many times at the beginning of the night again, so I've just been leaving her in bed in hopes that not disturbing her by moving her to the crib will avoid one wakeup, at least.

I also had a glorious few days of being able to sleep through most of the overnight nursings, finally achieving the level of ignorance of how long or frequently Audra was nursing that I've heard about as being a benefit to bedsharing, where mom/baby can even get more sleep (despite frequent nursings) than non-bedsharing mom/baby dyads. I've always woken up when she does (although I can normally fall back asleep once she's latched), but last week I was able to sleep through a lot more and actually felt quite well-rested. And then one night I suddenly couldn't fall asleep at all while she was still nursing (which, again, is usually not an issue for me), so I gave her half an hour and then pulled away... and she fussed for a minute or two and then fell asleep on her own. The same thing happened twice more that night, and a couple times the next night, so although I'm a bit torn on bedsharing the whole night again, it does seem promising that she's able to fall asleep with a minimum of fuss like that. Bedsharing doesn't seem like it gets us any closer to her sleeping through the night on her own (although I realize the path there can be circuitous), but I also miss her tremendously when she's not snuggled up next to me and I imagine she feels the same, so we'll keep going with the flow for now.

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Helping Ryan with his computing]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

23 Weeks

Unfortunately, this week was another low point with sleeping, although we seem to be on an upswing now. Audra finally seemed to be healthy again, so she got the remainder of her 4-month shots last Wednesday. She is up to 20lbs 10.5oz now, and while her ears looked good, she was pretty unhappy with the whole experience and was pretty fussy the rest of the day. That night, she had a lot of troubles sleeping, and woke about every hour overnight, three times just between 2-3am. And then...Audra came down with a cold again. We normally wouldn't give her any vaccines while she was sick to avoid overloading her immune system and increasing any misery for her (and us, by extension). So while we didn't do it intentionally, that's still what happened this time.

So the next few nights, Audra was very congested and coughing a lot overnight, and not only waking up frequently, but waking up UPSET. She was waking repeatedly at the beginning of the night too (when she normally sleeps the most solidly), so I finally just gave up on trying to put her in her crib, and Ryan ended up keeping her in the carrier for several hours each night to at least keep her upright. So he walked with her, bounced her, and tried to catch a little bit of sleep with her in bed several times, bringing her back to me midway through the night for my shift (I also had gotten quite sick, of course, so I wasn't doing too well either), and then taking her back when she couldn't get back to sleep at 4am because she was coughing so much.

We were afraid she was getting another ear infection, but on Sunday she seemed to be doing better, and even took her longest nap in several weeks (over 2 hours!). She continued to cough a lot at night, but whatever was hurting her before didn't seem to be a factor anymore so she at least was able to sleep through most of her coughing. She's even back in her crib for the first part of the night now, and although she hasn't been waking at the very beginning of the night as she had been, she's still been struggling a bit each night around 10pm so I've just been pulling her into bed then. I've been having some luck helping her resettle in bed without having to nurse and then getting another couple of hours of sleep in before she wakes to eat the first time, which seems like a better deal to me than her eventually resettling in her crib and just waking up to eat within the hour anyway. She has continued to nurse most of the rest of the night after she wakes the first time, but at least we're both able to sleep through it, so it really could be worse. Speaking of which, we should get back on trying to wean her from being swaddled ;)

In non-sleep-related news, it's been really fun to see Audra's personality developing. That's one of the hardest parts of this stage for me - being so excited to see the little person she's going to become and hear all the things she's going to share with us that it's hard to live in the moment, knowing a lot of really fun stuff is just on the horizon. Then again, I've been enjoying some moments that will hopefully stay in my mind forever of things that will only happen when she's a little baby... like the unexpected nap I took with her before her doctor's appointment last week, when she nursed to sleep and then snuggled up with me, with her cute little bare baby feet resting on my legs. Or when she was rooting so badly at a restaurant this weekend (despite just nursing before we left) that I actually had to nurse her in public, despite my nervousness that she wouldn't keep the cover on. She sort of tolerated the cover, but only nursed a few minutes, popping on and off the whole time to smile at me, and then was just so SUPER EXCITED about life in general afterward that it was pretty comical :)
[Baby feet!]

Audra seems much more aware of things now, and is starting to help get herself out of her car seat, and was slapping Ryan's arm the other night, possibly for attention? I walked down to the river with her in the carrier, and thought she was going to get whiplash from whipping her head back and forth the whole time, trying to take everything in... at least until we got to the river, and then she seemed fascinated by the water. Audra also discovered her feet, and seems quite pleased with them :) She seems to have started babbling now, and also loves to screech super loudly.
[Some hand slapping and screeching]

Audra started blowing raspberries with her tongue out this week, which is quite cute but also quite a bit messier. And then her tongue apparently just needs to stay out at all times now, possibly because it gets so much attention (from me, at least - I always poke at it) when she does that.
Audra has decided that she is just delighted with her big sister. Josie got her laughing the other day just by repeatedly yelling "what?!" at Audra, and then Audra started initiating their interactions by bouncing in Josie's general direction and laughing. While Audra has also been doing better with not hysterically crying in the car on the way to and from daycare lately, she does still tend to cry when Ryan first sets her down at home, but has been immediately stopping as soon as Josie comes over and then starts to flail and laugh at Josie instead :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
IMG_2115 IMG_2113   IMG_2139   IMG_2146

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Last month was a birthday month - Josie turned 3 and I turned 34 :)
We kicked off Josie's birthday festivities with cake at her school on her birthday proper. She was so thrilled to see us - and her cake - and seemed so happy that everyone was finally singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Then, true to form, she ate her cake incredibly slowly and was the last one sitting at the table ;) She finally wrapped things up and we brought her home early to watch "Frozen". She loved the cards and presents she got, and wanted to read the cards over and over (and over) again.
The next day, she woke up and told me she was "a little bit bigger" (with thumb and forefinger held slightly apart accordingly), and that she was still 3. This was an improvement from when she woke up on her birthday. We had been telling her when her birthday was, and when I told her happy birthday as I was waking her up that day, she responded that it wasn't her birthday and that it was too far away. I told her, no, this is your birthday! It's happening RIGHT NOW!! But she didn't seem convinced at the time :)

Josie also got to go to the doctor for her three-year well child visit, which she was super thrilled about... until we got there. Then she got a bit more apprehensive during the exam, but still did very well doing whatever the doctor asked of her. She now measures 39 1/2" tall (90th percentile) and weighs 37.2lbs (75-90th percentile). She appears to still be hitting her milestones just fine, and is perhaps a bit ahead of the curve with some things (like knowing her shapes, numbers, and letters, doing some simple math).

After going to one of the community rec centers for the birthday party of one of Josie's friends several months ago, we liked it so much we thought we'd do the same for her birthday :) So we rented out a room at the rec center and got a couple of hours in at the indoor pool there. We'll see if we feel more up to doing something at our house next year (which is more likely to be the norm), but it was still nice to not have to worry too much about planning - and there was a big water slide there that I found quite fun. We don't have that at home ;)
[The toddler area]
Ryan's sister Alyson came over that weekend to help with her present to Josie and me: two pear trees. Trees seem to be a good present for us at the moment, as we start to fill in the garden. So we now have the pear trees and a peach tree in the garden (all courtesy of Alyson!), and Ryan also got me the weeping willow I had been hoping for. So hopefully in a few more years we'll have a picturesque weeping willow over our pond :)
IMG_2060 IMG_2058
So Alyson came over to help plant the trees, and when Ryan was getting Josie up from her nap, he mentioned that Aunt Alyson was over and that she had found Josie's pink gloves (that she had gotten for her birthday and we had already momentarily displaced), and Josie immediately sat straight up and said "And my big shovel too?!" despite being mostly asleep still. Yes, Josie got gardening gloves and a (not that big) shovel for her birthday, and she loved them. 
[Josie's gardening outfit of choice - pink gloves, her "crinkley" pants, and winter boots]

We also had some success with craigslist, and picked up a used playground (that Ryan is still working on putting together/making more sturdy), and a Gator. And with that, we are pretty much done with getting stuff for Josie. This kid has more than enough (i.e., too much) stuff already, and we're seriously having to hold ourselves back from purging all the stuff she's outgrown or just doesn't use that much... seeing as how we're not sure what Audra will want to play with yet :) But I'm glad it was a tractor that came up for the right price on craiglist rather than, say, a Barbie convertible, because it's nice that it's at least functional as well as fun for her. She loves it (and the passenger seat is appropriately called "Audra's seat" - Josie has big plans for her!) and she does really well driving it now, but she can also haul stuff with it. So she and Ryan spend quite a bit of quality time together moving mulch with their respective tractors ;)

Speaking of Audra, Josie has really been getting into Audra more now. She asks pretty frequently now if Audra is awake since she wants to play with her, and was all excited the other day when I told her Audra was awake and asked Josie if she wanted to go see her - Josie ran over to the bedroom, climbed right up on the bed with her and kissed Audra a bunch of times and rubbed her belly :) And after noticing Audra staring with obvious intent at her food one night, Josie told Audra "You're too little to eat sweet potato, I'm sorry," and then patted her head and held her hand. Too cute. 

Since Audra still hates the car and it's the season of barbecues (most of which are not within our self-imposed, sanity-saving 15-minute limit from our house), Josie became my barbecue buddy this summer :) We went to a few different barbecues, and I realized it has been a while since we've really gone a ways from home, as she was almost more excited about the trip to and from our friends' houses than the parties themselves. There were so many "bridges" (i.e., overpasses) to go under or over, dump trucks, limos, orange cars - you name it, and Josie was super impressed by it and kept saying a reverent "oh wow!" about everything :) She also was excited about seeing all the dogs at the barbecue we went to on July 4th, but it turns out she likes dogs in theory more than reality at the moment, since she got pretty intimidated by them once we arrived and then wouldn't even go through the gate... at least until she saw the toddler pool they had set up, which she made a beeline for and then spent pretty much the rest of the time we were there in :)
Then she sang "Happy Birthday" to herself almost the whole way home, interrupted only when I suddenly had a suspicion that we had had a language misunderstanding. She had gotten out of the water (briefly) to eat dinner, and since we needed to leave soon, I gave her the option of having dessert or going back in the water for a few minutes. She quickly chose the water, which was fine, but then on the way home I asked her if she knew what dessert was. She said "yes", then "I don't know" when questioned further, and once I explained, she very forlornly said "Oh." I'm thinking now she would have given a different answer had she known what "desserts" entailed ;) We didn't feel up to going out to fireworks that night (with dealing with traffic and her being up past her bedtime), so Ryan set up their own private fireworks show upstairs - blocking out all the light, bringing over a fan for a cool breeze, and watching fireworks from DC and Nashville on the tv :)

Ryan and I came to the realization that I need to get out of the house more... I've been so focused on Audra and keeping the house running that my focus has perhaps gotten unnecessarily narrow, and I've been only rarely leaving the house except for work and school (e.g., the aforementioned barbecues). So we instituted Mommy/Josie outings every other week, and we had the first one in July, going to a local water park. We had a good time, although Josie was definitely not into the big bucket of water (or really any water) dumping on her head, and she spent a good portion of our time there just bouncing around in the deeper water and singing to herself. She was cold afterward, so we cuddled up on a chair and just sat... which was nice to just be able to be still together and enjoy each other's company, and not be rushed or running around like normal. On the way home, I could have sworn I heard her say "I love you, Mommy", which was so heart-warming, but when I asked her to repeat herself, she told me she loved Chick-Fil-A instead, and so did all her friends. Ah well ;)

In terms of developmental stuff, Josie has been getting a bit better about using her words to say what's wrong when she starts crying... it sometimes takes a bit to get her to tell us, but I think she's starting to realize that we can help her (or at least address what's upsetting her) more quickly once she actually tells us why she's so upset. She also has been really into noting what things are different or the same, and really likes the new routine of picking out a book or two to read before bed. She's getting the first inklings of understanding sharing now, usually concerning food. She has tried to get our food ("you can share with me!") but has also been offering us her food... perhaps not coincidentally, mainly things I don't like (e.g., tomatoes, cheese). She then tries to cajole me to eat it, telling me to try it, I'll like it! And then after I finally do, she asks, "How was it? Good?!" I'm starting to get an understanding of what it's like to be a toddler, now that it's being directed at me ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Cuddling with daddy]
[At the pool for my birthday]
[Another Josie-picked outfit :)]
[Stomping some water]
[Lots of twirling of flags with her cousins]
[The soundtrack of our lives lately - "Let it Go" (on repeat) from Frozen]

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

22 Weeks

Audra seems to have bounced back well from her ear infection. In fact, she liked her medicine for it so much that I suspect she'll be a little disappointed tonight since she just finished her last dose this morning :) I would just give her a little taste at first so she could be prepared, and then she would grab onto the syringe and try to jam it in her mouth herself, and then would cry when it was all done. It was less than useful to have all her baby fingers in the way of the plunger too, but I'll take this over having to fight to get her to take her medicine!

Audra seemed much more playful this week - I'm pretty sure she was intentionally lifting her legs up so I could pat her bum the other day, and she has also been playing a little game when I'm trying to nurse her where she latches on and then immediately pops off to look up at me. She did this a bunch of times over the weekend, and it was just the cutest thing to see her little face expectantly looking up at me until I looked back at her, then her breaking into a huge smile. Less cute is her insistence on trying to nurse with her thumb in her mouth too. Ok,  it is super cute, but it also did some damage to me, and reminded me again that pumping during the week probably helps a lot with nursing since it gives me time to recover from any damage Audra does when I'm nursing full-time over the weekends.

Besides that, Audra and Josie seem to be enjoying each other more and making each other laugh more. Audra tends to cry when Ryan first sets down her car seat after coming home in the evenings, and we were a little startled to see her cut off mid-cry - and even start to smile - when Josie ran up and grabbed her foot.
We've been rather impressed with Audra's determination to get at her toys. She still really likes tummy time, and she very deliberately - and painstakingly - maneuvers herself all over the place now in pursuit of her toys. She is also super thrilled with Mirror Baby, Mirror Mommy, and Book Babies, as she kicks and flails for all of them :) We also started to hear Audra do some belly laughs this week, and one of the times was at Josie, who (as far as I could tell) was just talking gibberish. But Audra liked it :)
And although Audra's eyes started out blue-ish before getting more murky, they've been clearing up more lately and looking decidedly more brown!
[3 weeks]
[21 weeks]

Audra's sleep continues to be all over the place, ranging from two wakeups a night (although I guess technically it was just one, since she didn't go back to sleep after the second one) to ... many. We'll put it that way. We had a rather disastrous first attempt at weaning her from her swaddler too. This is something we probably should have done a month ago once she started rolling over, but I was hoping she'd figure out her thumb soon to have that to help resettle her once she had her arms free at night. But I wasn't sure how much longer to wait since she hasn't worked out thumb-sucking yet (and hasn't accepted a pacifier lately), so I decided to just go ahead and try anyway, and put the front back on her crib (it had been sidecarred up to that point, with her mattress flush with ours - so much more convenient, but not as good at containing rolling babies!). I left one arm unswaddled at first, but after she woke up twice within minutes of each time I moved her to her crib and just seemed uncomfortable, I tried taking the swaddle off entirely, and she actually slept... for an hour. As she was moving into her next sleep cycle, she woke up fully and was none too pleased about it, so I ended up just moving her back to bed for the rest of the night and haven't felt up to trying again since. She has actually been a bit more interested in her thumb since then, so fingers crossed that she figures that out soon, and I imagine we'll just keep trying over the coming weeks until hopefully she's able to sleep at least tolerably well unswaddled.

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Bound and determined to eat the countertop]