Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wordfilled Wednesday

Since I have just recently posted a bunch of pics, I decided to give you a Maggie update in words instead.

*Almost every time we go in to get her from her nap, she totally grins at us and makes noises. It just makes our day. We LOVE her smiles.
*She usually wakes up 20-30 minutes before I go in to get her in the morning and just "talks" to herself in the crib. She makes all sorts of noises, swallows, burbles, and well, just funny sounds and it's neat just to lie in bed and listen to her. This is the only time of day or night that she will do this. Interesting, huh? Then, she starts to make little cries that signal "I'm ready to get up" so I go in and get her.
*She sleeps from 11pm to 7am, give or take. How great is that?!
*Getting rid of swaddling was tough the first 3 days; we decided just to tuck (loosely) the blanket in around her waist and this has helped. She has done splendid!
*She likes to hold my hair in one fist when I carry her around; this just started about a week ago.
*She LOVES to listen to Aron play guitar. She totally stares at him the entire time.
*She is getting stronger and stronger each week. With a little support from us around her middle, she will sit up by herself our our laps.
*She converses with us. She makes a noise, we ask a question, and she responds with a noise.
*She laughed for the first time yesterday!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

New family shots (courtesy of Tina, photographer-extraordinare)

Mel and Tina visit

Candid shot of Tina, Melisa, and me
Eating Chicago's famous stuffed-crust pizza

If one comes to Chicago, one must eat Oberweis

Eating toast at Toast

Rachel, me, Tina, Megan, and Melisa

Outside Toast in the snow

Winter settles on Navy Pier

Candid shot overlooking a frozen Lake Michigan

Boats at Navy Pier

My good friends whom I met 10 years ago in Bible college came for a short visit last weekend. They arrived at 12am Friday morning and left late Sunday morning and even though it was quick, we thoroughly enjoyed our time together! They met Mags for the first time and as I've mentioned before, it's always so fun for me to watch my friends meet my daughter. Mel and Tina are also moms, so we had some good conversations and they were very helpful with her. Plus, they've been great resources for me whenever I have mom questions. We mostly vegged at our place, but we did get out for a few good jaunts around Chicago, including breakfast at Toast on Saturday morning where we met up with two other girls who also went to Bible college with us, Megan and Rachel (Rach, Mel, and I were all roomates). They live here in Chicago. We enjoyed good eats and good conversations, catching up after all these years. Later, Rachel and Meg gave us a grand tour of downtown, where we stopped at Navy Pier so Tines could take some shots. During the rest of their visit, we hit up a few local stores, ate Oberweiss ice-cream and stuffed-crust pizza, and of course, played with Mags. Aron was super fantastic as he took care of her for a big chunk of the weekend so I could get out with the girls; he is an incredible servant! Girls, thanks for the visit; it was just what I needed! I love my friends.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Away with the swaddle

We elminated swaddling Maggie on Wednesday. For the past week, she breaks out of it during most naps and early in the mornings and wakes herself up with all her free movement. Therefore, we decided that it was best to stop swaddling her so that she can learn to sleep on her own. A mom friend of mine likened it to re-learning to sleep without a pillow. Thus, it's been a rough go for the past 3 days. We are also coupling her sans-swaddle sleeping with allowing her to cry it out; we felt like she was ready. Overall, I think the past few days have been good, though hard to hear her cry for 20 mintues, give or take. She usually goes down well, with a few minutes of good crying, then goes to sleep. Then, about 30-45 minutes into her nap, she starts to cry and it lasts awhile (15-30 minutes). I think this is when the most intense crying happens, but it goes in waves. It's hard to judge when to go in and when not to. She hasn't found her hands yet to soothe her (because she inevitably spits out her bink when I first put it in), so she just lays there and cries. We want to help her develop good sleeping skills and learn to self-soothe. For about 2 weeks prior to this Wednesday, we started a gradual cry it out, going into her room in increments of time if she was crying. Now, we have decided not to go in, unless she is hysterically crying for x-amount of time. I don't think I anticipated how emotionally draining it would be. I haven't cried, but I just feel tired by day's end. I also have felt sad for her at times, but overall, I know that we are creating healthy sleep habits for her.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Several firsts

These last 3 weeks have proved to be a major turning point in my further embrace of motherhood. Once Maggie hit 6 weeks her fussies peaked (which is what the experts say happen to most babies), so now her cries are more predicatable and this makes for more peace in our home. Not that we don't have off times every few days or so, we do, but overall, Maggie has become more and more 'readable,' if that makes sense. She is growing more and more alert with each passing day and we love when we come to get her and she greets us with that huge grin of hers.

Here are several firsts for us in the past 3 weeks:
*Maggie has been sleeping through the night for about 3 weeks now and is seemingly prolonging it every week. Aron feeds her at 11/11:30pm each night and we don't hear from her until about 6am. She starts to make some noises, so I go in and put back in her bink (our word for pacifier) and she drifts back into sleep for another hour or so. So most nights, she sleeps between 6-8 hours. Last night she actually got 8. Imagine that!

*We had dinner with our friends Shel and Randall last Friday night and we took Maggie with us (usually, people are coming to us). Maggie slept on their bed and did fantastic. This was a big moment for me as I realized that we can now tote her around with us for longer stretches of time.

*On Sunday, after the Chocolate Festival that I blogged about earlier, we went to our favorite local coffee shop and fed Mags there. It was a breeze and so nice not to feel like we "had" to get home to feed her. She took her bottle with ease, played with us for awhile, even gave smiles and coos to 2 other occupants sitting in chairs across from us. When she started to get fussy and was headed back down for her nap, we just put her in the carseat and left.

*I ran errands yesterday, digging my car out of 5-8 inches of snow (not sure which). This was big because I had Maggie, of course, and well, it seems cumbersome to get out in the cold and snowy weather. But, I did, and felt even more empowered in my new role as a mom.

*I hung out with a neighbor on Monday morning. Angie and her 2-year-old daughter, Tagan, came over and had coffee. Tagan is facinated with babies and immediately went looking for M. It was very cute! Our landlord gave Angie my name and number back in January and we have just now been able to hang out and you know what? I really like her and feel like we could be friends! We are going to have dinner with them on Monday night, so the hubbies can meet. A new mom friend who lives within walking distance--how great is that?!

*Lastly, at the grocery store today, Maggie ended up waking up while I was in the store, so I just talked with her as I shopped and she was wide-eyed and smiling the entire time in the store. Usually, she sleeps whenever I am out and about. I feel like she is getting so big.

Two weeks ago, when Lindsey visited, I was all but ready to leave Chicago and move back to OC. Of course, that is still an option for us, but I don't feel such an urgent need to do it at this moment and I am feeling like I'd like to stick it out here for a little while longer. I think with the aforementioned moments for me, it's helped me to realize that I can do motherhood here and do it well.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Maggie Stats

Just returned home from Maggie's 2 month well-baby visit (although, technically she is 9 weeks old today, as the 11th fell on a Monday back in December). We had to wake her early from her nap, so by the time the nurse rounded to give her her shots, she was exhausted and had been crying hysterically for several minutes. Nevertheless, she came through her shots like a champ and zonked out once we put her back in the stroller.

*M is in the 90th percentile for weight and 50th percentile for height.
*She currently weighs 12 lbs., 9 oz. and is 22 1/2 inches tall.

Healthy, happy baby! Momma and daddy are so pleased.

8th Annual Garfield Park Chocolate Festival

Yesterday we headed out to experience a first for us in Chicago--a chocolate festival! Who knew such things existed? Garfield Park is about 5 minutes from our flat, so we loaded Mags up in the car and headed out. Upon arrival, we lined up, paid our $1 donation entry fee, were handed samples of Fannie Mae chocolate, and knew that we were in for a treat. The lines snaked through the botanical gardens and we stopped at "educational stations" to learn about chocolate. We learned about the cacoa tree, pictured above with a large Valentine in front. Well-wisherse could post their thoughts here since the tree was recently transplanted from another section of the garden and wasn't faring too well; it was hilarious to see children't handwritten notes that said things such as, "Get well chocolate tree" or "I love you chocolate tree." We learned about fair trade chocolate and of course, sampled lots of goodies from dark chocolate to milk chocolate pieces, chocolate covered espresso beans, and some truffles. Delish! Above are several pics, including some chocolate factoid signs which were posted throughout our walk. The last shot displays how our wee one spent the hour.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Random Product Info

New recs:

Fage yogurt (pronounced Fa-yeh)--a hearty Greek yogurt that comes plain and can be topped with a little honey to sweeten the taste. It is low in sugar (6g) and high in protein (14g).
Fresh roasted peanut butter from Whole Foods (or other health food store)--contains no trans fats and has absolutely the best flavor because it is ground right in front of you. I can't imagine going back to PB in a jar.
Cascadian Farms granola bars--come in a variety of flavors, have no trans fat, and are absolutely delcious! Worth the extra money. Aron doesn't eat granola bars, but loves these!

Sephora lip gloss: I'm a lip gloss nut; I seem to have too many tubes if that is possible (Aron assures me that it is). I really do love MACs line of Lip Glace, but it's pricey. I have various other brands that seem to work OK, but nothing that I love. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when Linds gave me a tube of "Sephora pink sheer" when she came out to visit--it's amzing; long lasting and brilliant shine! Not sure of the price tag, but the tube is more than double MAC's size.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

*Baby Legs are in honor of Patti's son, Grayson. :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lindsey visits

Lindsey and I have been friends for over 12 years. I actually met her the day I moved to California in August 1995. It's hard to believe that we've been such close friends for so many years. Our life experience spans activities from the mundane to the life changing: high school, Senior year road trip up the California coast, backpacking in the Calfornia mountains, attending camp in Colorado, church activities, long talks, running, attending each other weddings, and now to the birth of Maggie. I was absolutely estatic as we neared Linds' arrival because I couldn't wait for them to meet. I must have been so stoked that I didn't realize the dates of her arrival--I thought she was flying in on the 4th, but she arrived on the 1st! She called me from the airport that morning to tell me they were boarding and I was shocked as I thought I had 3 more days to prepare for her arrival. I hurried around the house and got a few things ready, but overall, the house was a disaster as we were in process of moving Maggie's room to the guest room and vice versa. Thankfully, Linds does not mind a bit of disarray.

What a wonderful, wonderful time we had together! We had great talks, enjoyed a few outings around the city, including a few local shops, but mostly just lounged around the house with Maggie. It was incredible to watch Linds and Maggie--they seemed to bond instantly (perhaps because she looks a little like me, with the glasses and all?) and Maggie gave her plenty of smiles and coos over the last few days. I really can't describe how fun it was to watch them together. Linds did it all--fed Mags, washed bottles, changed diapers, swaddled, put her down, played with her, took out the trash, cleaned dishes, helped cook meals, and even helped me design our baby announcemen (which will be mailed by week's end). We also took some awesome new shots of Mags (see above)--how big she is getting! And she now will greet us with a HUGE grin when we wake her up to eat. It's thrilling! Her crying seems to be more understandable, for which we are thankful, and her routine more predictable (though, of course, it is always changing to some degree). As a side note, I feel like I'm slowly starting to come into motherhood and making it my own--it's a daily walk, but one that I am embracing more and more. Now, we shall wait to see when Lindsey and her wonderfuly hubby, Jason, (you can check out their blogsite via the sidebar) will have kids--possibly sometime this year?
Today, we are just staying in and watching the snow--expected snowfall is 1-3 inches.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Super Tonio

Have you heard about the 14.5 pound baby that was delivered in Cancun?! You must watch the video! After just giving birth myself, I was astounded by the size of this little guy, who is being hailed "Super Tonio" (yes, he was delieverd via C-section).