Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas to Christmas


I love side-by-side comparisons. Last Christmas I was almost 32 weeks pregnant. This Christmas I was chasing a ten-month-old. Next Christmas I'll be painting and cutting snowflakes with a toddler. So much changes in just a year's time!

This Christmas wasn't what I had hoped it would be. The idea of becoming a parent filled me with ideas of crafts and seeing the holiday through a child's eyes. I failed to remember that the glitter and excitement of Christmas are completely lost on a ten-month-old. The tree was interesting for only a few days. Scrunching wrapping paper brought her more holiday cheer than the anticipation of opening a gift. She doesn't have the attention span to watch Frosty the Snowman. Also, I was in a rotten mood in the morning. I regret it, and I'd take it back if I could. I was up with her in the wee hours of the morning, and sleep deprivation is torture in my book. I napped while she napped and was a much better human being afterward. If I'm being honest, I was really sad to not be with my family too. My sister and brother have never held Presley. (Editor's Note: I can barely type that without crying.) My relatives have never met her. Holidays alone are already hard, but throw in a baby, and I'm the bawling emoji face. But! ... Yes, there is a "but" ... It was still a sweet Christmas! I've been really busy with work, so I was very thankful to have time off to just relax at home with my peeps. ;)

We agreed that Christmas will be different next year, because Presley will have a better understanding of it all and will want to join in the fun.

Where ever you are, whatever you celebrate, who ever you spent time with -- I hope it was wonderful.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sweet P: 10 Months






15 Things About Presley
  1. Her 10-Month photo is sooooo Presley: missing her right sock, grinning ear to ear, rocking herself in the chair, bed head, and sticker on the chair because she kept pulling it off her shirt to eat.
  2. We are all about applause and high fives these days!
  3. She can point out everyone's noses, including Mr. Bear's. It's fun to play the "Where is ____'s nose?" game.
  4. She shakes her head when she doesn't want to do what we ask her to do. It is so funny, though I know that will wear off as she gets older. ;)
  5. She stretched out of her size 9 months clothes as quickly as she grew into them.
  6. Her balance is on point! She'll let go to clap her hands and inspect whatever toy she is holding at the time. On Christmas Day, she was standing on her own for 20 seconds at a time!
  7. Amelie and Boone are letting her closer and closer to them. She smiles so brightly when they are near.
  8. She received a little pink couch as a Christmas gift, and she loves it! She looks so pleased with herself whenever she sits her cute little tush down.
  9. My latest phrase for her is "No feet in the seat, please." She is always pushing things together to climb on top of them. The pink couch is the newest addition.
  10. We had about three weeks of sleep regression, but she handled it pretty well. Mommy and Daddy did too.
  11. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. She has a fully committed smile! Smile big, or don't smile at all.
  12. She likes the "Clean Up" song -- probably because she watches Mommy and Daddy clean up while she doesn't lift a finger. (She's playing us like a fiddle.)
  13. We go back and forth mimicking each other's sounds and gestures. 
  14. She zooms around the house with her walker. Let's hope she doesn't make road kill of the cats!
  15. The most notable observation of the last month is how much deeper her thought process has become. She takes time to figure out how to re-position her walker just the way she wants it. She watches me hold up her toy phone to my ear and then tries to do the same. She taps different objects together to hear the different sounds each of them make. She watches our lips when we make silly sounds. It is exciting to watch her think, analyze, and tinker.





How quickly you are growing. We can hardly keep up with you, sweet girl! You are like one million sun beams captured in a jar. We love you!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Everything


Many great things happened for us in 2015, but of course, the greatest gift was the arrival of Presley Noel on February 22nd. We hope your year was as wonderful and magical as ours! Merry Christmas! Cheers to 2016!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Deck the Halls (Which Are Messy)

We hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend!





A comparison of the first and last photos shows how deceiving pictures can be! As if decorating for Christmas didn't already get a bit messy, we had a lot of baby stuff to contend with in the family room this year. Along with that sweet 18-pound love bug came another piece of furniture (the changing table), a jumper, a walker, and a lot of toys.

We decorated a bit early this year (two weeks ago!), so we could take some photos for our Christmas cards which I am so excited to mail out, thanks to my husband's wit. The record player spun with Christmas music while a football game was playing on mute, and we wore our Sunday best... pajamas. Pres is such a sponge these days that I thought she'd be more interested in the decorations. Hello! There's a tree with lights in the house! But no. She barely noticed it. Little Miss Sticky Fingers hasn't pulled down a single ornament. Thankfully, that made decorating really easy. She entertained herself with some boxes while we did our thing.

So this is where I say what every other first-time mom says: I'm not sure how we got here so quickly. When Presley was born in February, the thought of her first Christmas seemed so far away. I know she doesn't really get it yet, but it still feels a little bit more fun and special. I hope December doesn't fly by. May the rest of our month be merry and bright... and tidy and slow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sweet P: 9 Months

Hey! Remember me? Yeah, me either.

Radio silence on the blog means that the last month has been filled with exhaustion, work projects, a few falls down the rabbit hole of YouTube late at night, the longing to have friends in town who can babysit, ordering our Christmas cards, and what I have self-diagnosed as tendinitis in my right wrist.

But we're all still here and happy! And Presley is a-growin'!

It's really difficult to get a clear picture of her for these monthly photos now, because she can rock the glider by herself!


Measurements:
  • She weighs 18 lbs., 2 oz. (50th percentile)
  • She is 28 inches long. (75th percentile)
  • Her head circumference is 17.5 inches. (75th percentile)
  • She solidly fills out size 9 month clothes and is moving into 12 month clothes now.
  • She wears size 3 diapers.  


Firsts:
  • She celebrated her first Halloween as a mummy and a glow-in-the-dark skeleton.
  • She took her first bath in the big tub on 11/6.
  • She had her first taste of meat on 11/12 when she got into the cat food.
  • She started clapping intentionally on 11/21. We say "Yaaaaaay!"
  • She learned how to Eskimo kiss on 11/21.


Sleep:
  • She usually sleeps from 7:30 PM to 6:30 AM.
  • She sleeps through the night most nights. There have only been a handful of nights that she woke up and needed help going back to sleep. Two of those nights were because of teething.
  • On the weekends, I have to "disappear" in the morning. Otherwise, she won't go down for her first nap. Because I'm so much fun, obviously! ;)
  • She is a morning person. She'll stay in her crib for about 45 minutes in the morning to babble and play with her toys and books before she gives me the "OK, come get my now" whine.

Other Things of Note:
  • Her top two teeth broke through on 10/31. That toothy grin is electric!
  • The tune of the film intros on the TCM channel grabs her attention.
  • She is frequently found analyzing her hands. She finds every single little piece of lint... and wants to eat it, of course.
  • If a football game is on TV, she can't stop watching.
  • We have a little thing we do every day. When we are at the bottom of the staircase, she puts her hand on the handrail ball. In a high-pitched cartoon voice, I say, "Hang on! Never let go, Jack! Never let go!" (Name that movie!) She laughs as I pull her away and spin around the room.
  • She knows when she is doing something she shouldn't.  She does one of two things: She sits up straight and looks in our direction when she hears us say her name, or she locks eye contact but continues to move slowly (as if her eye contact will distract us).
  • We play a game we call "Domino" after bath time. Once she is dressed, we sit her on our bed. We slam each hand down and chant "DOM... MIN..." and then we poke her chest and say "nooooo!" and she falls backward. Sometimes, we only pretend to poke her, and she still falls backward.
  • She now does what I like to call "storyyelling." She babbles and then yells -- with much enthusiasm! Not out of frustration but joy. She yells when she is excited or just wants to vary the sounds she's making. She also knows that the kitchen and dining room have the best acoustics. ;) (Unfortunately for the cats, she gets really excited when they're near.)
  • I love when she gets so excited that she smiles so big that her eyes squint, her shoulders raise up, and she hunches forward. So much joy and personality! 
  • We are betting that she'll be walking by Christmas. We'll see!

We love you deeper than our souls knew was possible, Pres. You are magic.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sweet P: 8 Months


Personality:
Observant
Persistent 
Communicates her frustration before she has a meltdown
Animal lover
Curious
Suuuper sweet (Not sassy like I thought she'd be)
Easy-going

Growth:
She is probably about 18 pounds.
She wears 17-inch headbands.
She wears size 9 month clothes.
She wears size 3 diapers.


Dislikes:
Her mouth being wiped after she eats
Getting dressed
Wearing shoes

Likes: 
Petting Amelie and Boone
Doorstops
Watching football
Being slowly raised above our heads
Me singing "Bright" by Echosmith
"Brushing" her teeth with her training toothbrush
Seeing the world up-side-down
The sound of coughing (She's thinks it is hilarious!)


Mobility:
Crawling like a speed demon. (Remember's last Friday's post? Ha!)
Pulls herself up to standing using anything and everything.
"Crawls" on her hands and feet (not knees) and does a mean downward-facing dog.
Can now climb which takes "watchful parenting" to a new level. The stairs are her rock wall.


Food: Her favorites are...
Milk (Nursing and bottle-feeding make her happy.)
Black beans
Pinto beans
Avocado
Pear
Applesauce
Water out of her sippy cup


Sleep: 
She is a tummy sleeper.
She has slept through the night all but three nights since October 6. HALLELUJAH!
She takes two naps during the day. (Never really at the same time or for the same length of time.)

Sign Language We Use:
Milk
Bath
Water
Eat
More
Bye
Thank you
I love you
Cat (which we also use for Amelie and Boone)


Quirks:
She is usually missing her right sock.
She kicks her right leg a lot, even when she's nursing.
She pats things (see photo above) -- an ottoman, my chest, Daddy's arm, her walker.
She still whispers ahhhhhs back and forth with us.
She uses her thumb to push the top of her shirt into her mouth to soothe herself.
She loves to feel material and textures under her feet. #shoelessflowerchild


Fun Moments for Mom & Dad:
Taking her to her first big event (an Alzheimer's Association event with Mommy's co-workers)
Pushing her in a cart at the grocery store
Taking her to the Kids Harvest Festival
Seating her in a high chair when we dine out
Seeing her stand up without assistance
Seeing her in headbands (that I made!)


So much joy and wonder is packed into your being, Presley! 
We love you so much!


Past updates:  
1 Month, 2 Months, 3 Months, 4 Months, 5 Months, 6 Months, 7 Months

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kids Harvest Festival






This is Presley's first autumn and Halloween season earth-side. We wanted to celebrate by taking her out to see some pumpkins and enjoy the cool weather sweeping through Memphis, so we hit up the Kids Harvest Festival at the Agricenter. I wanted to get a great photo for our Christmas cards, but Baby Girl wasn't having it. There was far too much to look at, and it was approaching nap time. Watching her take in everything around her was so sweet. She is a people watcher. She studied a single piece of straw in her hand. She kept her Daddy close but wanted to look everywhere but at him. Seeing young kids decorating pumpkins and boarding the hay ride made me wish she was older to enjoy the fun, but I loved our short time there anyway. The simple act of observing was her fun.

Presley in pink arygle is a new fave. Also, fatherhood looks reeeeeeeally good on this guy. Ow ow!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Presley Noel's Great Escape



Presley: Hi, Amelie! (waves hello)

Amelie: Hey.

Presley: I'm coming over!

Amelie: It's cool. You can stay over there. We can chat like this.

Presley: Just give me a minute.

Amelie: No, really. It's cool.

Presley: I've just... gotta... Come on, legs!

Amelie: I think Mommy and Daddy built that wall of things for a reason, little girl.

Presley: I'm... almost...

Amelie: Crap. (exits stage right)

Presley: Hey! Buddy! Where are you going?

Amelie: . . .

Presley: It's all good. I'm right behind ya, man!

Happy Friday, friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Our Sleep Training = The Internet + Gut Feeling

Let's talk about sleep training.


Really, who has all the answers to sleep training? I've been banging my head against a wall since, basically, day 1 of Presley's life trying to figure out how this whole sleep training thing is supposed to go down. How old should she be? How will we know she's ready? How the heck do you do it? If I love snuggling her so much, will I ever be ready? To be honest, I haven't laid a finger on a book about sleep training, because...
  • looking at the Google search results alone was already overwhelming, 
  • I secretly bargained with God that she'd be a "good sleeper" without any issues whatsoever,
  • it seemed time-consuming, and I'm already exhausted from work and home life, and
  • friends had so many different answers, because... "every baby is different"... which made me wonder why I was even trying to decode sleep training in the first place.

Excuses, excuses.

Until last week, dear husband and I have only loosely talked about Presley's sleeping. He would ask me questions since I've had more experience with babies, but I had little more than tidbits of information that I read online. Having a lot of family and friends with babies isn't the same as raising a baby. In true millennial fashion, I crowdsourced on Facebook to get some first-hand advice. As expected, everyone offered different approaches.

Some raved about The Sleepeasy Solution.
Some talked about some level of crying it out.
Some cited all the ways crying it out may ruin a child.
Some mentioned diffusing essential oils.
Some proudly stated that they are happy to co-sleep until further notice.
Some shared that their baby was in the crib from the beginning and didn't need sleep training.

WHAT THE HECK. I was left feeling more informed but more confused.

After a few solid weeks of climbing Mount Frustration and nearly drowning in Lake Is This Real Life, something had to give. It seemed like Presley's sleep was getting worse each night. She was waking more often and for up to two hours at a time. As I tried to soothe her back to sleep, she screamed inconsolably. We attributed it to teething and her rapid development from sitting up independently to crawling and standing. I pleaded with her.

Then, we made a decision. We had talked so much about how much she'd grown and changed. Maybe she was ready to try sleeping on her own. We felt ready to dip our toe in the water and committed to doing whatever it took to help her stay in her crib for a full night. I warned that they (baby sleep experts) say we might be up all night, but "we have to start somewhere."

We have had eight consecutive nights of Presley sleeping in her crib and almost sleeping completely through the night from 7:45 PM to 6:30 AM -- a far cry from the last two months! We learned that she wasn't sleeping through the night, because we never gave her the chance to try. The second we heard her whine on the monitor, we rushed to her room. The middle-of-the-night transfers to our bed only left her rolling into one of us. Whenever we changed positions in bed, we disturbed her sleep. Whenever she woke up, I popped a boob in her mouth. Now when I hear her on the monitor, I look at the clock. I give her five minutes to put herself back to sleep, but her whimpers usually trail off into silence within 1 to 3 minutes!

I know this isn't the end. I know there will be rough nights in the future with teething, illness, or crummy moods from missing nap time. But right now, all of us are enjoying better sleep at night and happier moods during the day. It took the internet and some gut feeling.

Presley, we apologize for ruining your sleep all this time!


** I do not claim to have all the answers about baby sleep training. If anything, this post proves that I support whatever feels right for any given family.

Friday, October 2, 2015

MySpace Throwback


Happy Friday! Happy October! Are you jealous of the popcorn machine that now lives at my house? (Priorities.)

We're throwing it back to the MySpace days of surveys. Be glad that I'm not bringing back some of my old MySpace profile pictures. Too bad for you. They were so artsy and emo and "look at how carefree I am at 19." (Selfies before there were "selfies" and edited with a heavy hand.) Ahhh, those were the days. Anyway, here's a little A to Z Blog Survey.

A – Age: 31.

B – Biggest Fear:  Snakes!

C – Current Time: 9:32 PM

D – Drink You Had Last: H2O

E – Easiest Person To Talk To:  My dad. We have an easy time talking, and admittedly, we have an easy time getting on each other's nerves if there's a full moon and our moods are just right. ;) But that's what makes it so easy, I guess. We always know we can move past it.

F – Favorite Song: For months, it's been "Bright" by Echosmith, because Presley gets really quiet and looks up at me while I sing it. Her gaze makes me feel all the mama feels. She smiles when I sing "You make me sing oooooh, la la la, You make a girl go oooooh, I'm in love, love." It melts me heart every time. We showed my parents on FaceTime, and it was simply precious!

G – Grossest Memory: My first reaction was to type "Stepping on a snail," and then I thought, "Nope! CHILDBIRTH. And all the fun that happens afterward." TMI?

H – Hometown: Chula Vista, California

I – In Love With:  S and Press, of course!

J – Jealous Of: My former self who got more sleep and fit in all of her clothes.

K – Kindest Person You Know: Man, I've got some really kind friends, but if I have to narrow it down, I'll say Summer, Caitlin, and Annie.

L – Longest Relationship: 9 years (and counting)!

M – Middle Name: Legally, I have two. Marie and my maiden name.

N – Number of Siblings: 2.

O – One Wish: I chuckled as I thought about typing "I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good. I would call her." (1995 called. They want their lyrics back.) I'm so easily amused these days. I wish I had a million dollars, because... need I explain?

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: My co-worker talked about a training we're leading next week.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: What are you? (As in "What is your ethnic background?")

R – Reason To Smile: I have this little girl named Presley and this tall man called S in my life. You may have seen them around this blog a time or two before? ;)

S – Song You Last Sang: See letter F above!

T – Time You Woke Up: 12:55 AM, 3:30 AM, 5:30 AM, and 7:05 AM. Yay, motherhood!

U – Underwear Color: Turquoise.

V – Vacation Destination: I want to go to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Paris, London, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Farm Sanctuary.

W – Worst Habit: Saving things. Great for when I need a receipt. Bad for when we have to move.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Dental and chest.
 
Y – Your Favorite Food: Husband's zucchini cakes.

Z – Zodiac Sign: Libra.


Did you learn anything new about me? If you've been dropping by here for awhile, maybe not. But maybe. Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

31




My peeps gave me the sweetest birthday surprise when I came home last night. As you can tell from my grin, it is altogether impossible to contain the giddiness that comes from birthday candles in a pizza, a baby in a party hat, and a husband who signs a card on behalf of the whole family, cats included. When I showed a friend these photos this morning, she said, "He is so sweet! We got good husbands. They're not all made like that. You know that, right?" I sure do, and I count my lucky stars.

I was bombed with love all day by phone. Presley and I FaceTimed with dear friends so they could get our live reactions to their baby gender reveal video. I opened presents from my family while the Packer game played in the background. When you're surrounded by so much joy and humor, it is easy to love a birthday on a Monday.

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes!


REMINDER: Get your entries in for the giveaway before it closes tomorrow night!