Sunday, December 30, 2012

3rd Annual Cookie Party!

So, every year, for the past three, my girlfriends, some of our moms and I have gotten together to make holiday cookies.  This year, we did it again.  For a glimpse into the past here are cookie parties one and two.

This year, as opposed to the other two, I was not pregnant and got to bring Lemon with me!  It was so much fun finally being able to bring my muffin and to have a tangelo mimosa while baking!  My mom came too and our friend from Oregon, Cheryl, and fun was had by all.  I made gluten free gingerbread men, recipe on last year's post, and Ian and I ate them all in about a week - so good.  This day starts the holidays around our house and I look forward to it every year, so fortunate to have my besties around to do things like this with.  My friends, in these photos, I have known for almost 20 years.  I have written about them many times on this blog and am so thankful to have them in my life  I am so very lucky.

(Jenny found Lemon a fair isle sweater at an antic shop - it fit her PERFECTLY!)

Being an only child means that my friends are like my family.  Only children get to pick the family they surround themselves with and I have picked a number of wonderful people to have in mine, and Lemon's life.  A member of my family needs your prayers and happy thoughts right now, she is going through a rough time again.  Please think of my friend from time to time if you are the praying type.  Depression is a very serious illness and and she has battled with it for years, and we have been there too, fighting to keep her here with us.  Depression, as you know, not only affects those who are depressed, but everyone who loves those people - and that is definitely us.  I am afraid that if she doesn't get the help she needs she won't be here to celebrate another holiday with us.  We love you, friend, and are always here for you, always.  We hope you get better soon so you will be here for years to come.  xoxo

Friday, December 28, 2012

5 Months (3 weeks late!)

This post is technically only 2 weeks late (written) and 3 weeks late (in pictures because we took them yesterday).  I suck at doing these on time but really wanted to keep my previous post up as long as I could so that we could get more donations.  I still need to blog my nap nanny post, my Babes of Winter Cookie Making post and my Christmas post - so get ready for a lot of blogging!  Now, on to 5 Months (but not really) . . .


(pouting on command - again!)

Agh, where has the time gone?!  I was going to save this post until school was out but then realized that would be the 21st of December and I would be WAY late on it, considering our little lady actually turned 5 months on December 2nd!  I also am going to write this post in real time instead of saving some of it for her 6 month post (since we are kind of in the middle now) because I just don't have the energy to separate what happened when in my head lately!

School is in full swing around here and we actually just started our last week before winter break.  My students are taking their finals and I am trying to remember everything that happened over this past month.  My brain is fried due to lack of sleep and because I have my teacher pants on until Thursday, but I will try to write what I can remember!

The biggest achievement that our little girl has had this past month is that since Friday she has slept in her crib, like a big girl (and without her nap nanny) and since Saturday she has slept without her arms being swaddled.  How is it going?  Well, that is a separate post my friends, I am TOO TIRED, to include that here!  (That should tell you how it's going!)

Some other things that our big girl has accomplished?  She rolls over like crazy now, every time she's on her back, and prefers to roll to the right instead of the left, from back to belly, and has a tough time rolling back over (does this mean she's right handed?).  My mom got her a saucer to stand in and when she brought it over a couple of weeks ago, Lemon couldn't even touch the bottom and we had to prop it with a pillow.  Now, her feet touch - for reals.  She sits up like a big girl too, for minutes at a time, but we are always close by in case she falls to the side.  If she falls forward she can catch herself and actually does it on purpose sometimes, I think, to eat her feet.  She is bending those feet up to her mouth any chance she gets and always has a finger in her mouth too, not so much a whole hand anymore.  And, no teeth yet but we are still using Hyland's tablets and this finger toothbrush that came with her baby orajel that she likes.  She also loves this Zo-lie teething sticks (thanks Caitlin!) and shoves them in her mouth whenever we give her one.

Everything goes in this girl's mouth now-a-days.  She grabs at everything, including mommy and daddy's hair (and beard!) and it's hard to hold anything next to her without it being grabbed and pulled - making for lots of fun for her parents.  It's hard to eat and hold her, because she grabs our plate, or even open mail, so she spends a lot of time in her saucer and in her high chair, he second favorite place to be.  While daddy was home he put her in it and gave her tupperware and plastic spoons to play with and now she LOVES eating them and then throwing them off, scaring all the dogs in the process.  We retired her play mat, since she just rolled off of it, and attached all of her toys to her saucer instead, making it her first favorite thing to do.

I am so thankful for my mommy friends on IG this month because of them we are now testing the Breeze Play Yard by 4Moms!  This is something we never would have been able to buy ourselves and I kind of wasn't a big believer, before, about containing your child in a playpen, but now that we have it we love it!  It is playpen, like a Pack n Play, but bigger I think (we never had one so I don't know) but instead it is a "breeze" to open and close, unlike a Pack n Play (which I heard are tough).  You literally just pull a ribbon to collapse it and then push down to open it, it kind of folds up like one of those portable chairs, from the middle.  It is super easy to open and close and Lemon likes to sit in in (with the help of a boppy pillow, which I only used for nursing for a like a week but now use it to support her) and play with water bottles (more cheap toys!) and this monkey attached to a ball that my mom got her (that I think rolls around the house but we have hard wood floors and she isn't crawling yet so we haven't tried it).  The play yard is cool just for this reason, we have no carpet in our house, so it's great that she can sit in it, play and then fall over on her stomach and she's safe, it's cushiony on the bottom.  It also comes with an infant insert, for the top (also easy to attach and take off) and a changing pad.  Seriously, this thing is awesome and I highly recommend it.  It also looks modern and not so baby-y (a word?) like a Pack n Play, and that's what I like about it for our house.

Daddy is back at work today with me and this is the first time we've been at school together since May 23rd!  It was weird driving together, without the babe, today and I am hoping he's having a good day with his students (he is a Special Education teacher).  He was bummed about having to go back to work but we have 2 days and 2 half days this week and then are off for 2 weeks so you can't be that upset about it, really.  And, we were both brainstorming for weeks to see if he could stay home for good this year but then came to the realization that if he took off the rest of the year, he'd have to work over the summer and we are SO looking forward to spending 2.5 months with our one year old Lemon that we decided it was best for him to come back.  He loved being at home but we have had to use a chunk of our savings to allow me my time off and he his, so it will be nice to have two paychecks again (also something we haven't had since May 23rd!).  Lemon will be so happy when we get to spend all summer as a family too, so it's just January through May that we have to worry about for now.  Then maybe next year we will figure something out, or she may be more used to staying with someone since she is going to do it this year.  We'll see . . .

I love being back at work and feel like it makes my time at home with the baby after school and on the weekends so much more meaningful.  I look forward to seeing her and spending time with her and fill our moments with everything I wish I was home for during the day.  I found that when I was home with her, all day long, I was trying to figure out what to do with her, how to entertain her and she wasn't getting my full attention or time.  Now, all the time I spend with her, since it is not as much, she gets all of me and I love it.  It will be lovely having 2 weeks off with her too, you really can't beat being a teacher! 

Leaving Ian at home with Lemon was a lot of letting go, but I'm glad I did it for him, for her and for me.  I wanted to do a separate post about "letting go" (but of course haven't had the time) but I will include it (a shorter version) here instead.  Babies are so dependent on just their mothers for the first few months, especially if you are nursing.  It is a lot of giving up for us as moms - we leave behind almost everything about our old lives to attend to this baby for months and months and it happens all at once, there's no easing into it.  But, when you learn to let go a bit, you get parts of you back and I think it makes you a BETTER mother.  Once Lemon took a bottle (I mean really learned to take one and nurse), I could go to yoga and leave her and she'd be fine, also something I used to love to do, something that made me, me.  Then, once Ian stayed home and I went back to work, I got another piece of me back, the teacher piece.  I was so afraid to leave her, so afraid no one could do it like I could do it, but it was SO good for me.  I had faith in my husband, know he's a good dad, all of that - but as a mom you just feel you know best, all the time, and it's hard to let others take the reigns.  But, giving that up was so great for all of us; Lemon got 6 weeks with her daddy, Ian got to experience life with Lemon 24/7 (like mommy!), I got a bit of my old self back and it made our relationship stronger too.  Letting go was good for me, something I am definitely not good at, but something that I needed to learn.  And in January, when we leave Lemon with others and both come back to work, it will be more letting go, this time for both of us.  Of course we do it best, we know her best, we are her parents - but it's good for her to be with others and good for us too.  It will allow us more freedom to leave her overnight or with babysitters and actually let them put our non-sleeper to bed - it will give us back more pieces of ourselves.  It's good to be yourself and have a baby, you don't have to be a mom 24/7 (I learned this from Christine who always did it with such ease).  But, letting go is also a bit sad because it means our little girl is growing up - something I'm really not prepared for.

Oh and one more thing - guess who fit in her pre-pregnancy pants and shorts this month - ME!  Every pair I put on I slide right into, it's awesome!  I have about 3 more pounds (I know, piddly) of weight to lose until I'm back at my normal weight and it feels great - another reason I feel more and more like myself every day.  It sounds really silly to be concerned with weight when we have this lovely little muffin that lives with us, but I told myself that if (when) I made it back to my original weight I would celebrate it.  I was basically pregnant for 2 years of my life so it feels good to have my body back.  :)

I have had some struggles with this mommy thing (the letting go part being only one of many as you probably already know!), and now I am struggling with the fact that our little lady is getting bigger and is learning to do things on her own.  I wish I would have kept carrying her in the ergo, now she cries every time I try to put her in it, like she has learned independence and doesn't need me carrying her around anymore.  She loves being in her stroller and cruising around, looking at everything and eating Sophie (the most expensive rubber giraffe on the planet).  She has slept in her crib the last three nights and moves around in there, rolling and scooting (even hikes her butt up like she is getting ready to crawl!), like a big girl and I dread the day we have to lower her mattress, but know it will come sooner than we think.  She is at home today with my mom, and it is the first time someone has watched her all day since she was only 6 weeks old.  Like I said, she grabs everything, pulls everything, is interested in everything (and stretches my nipple to look around while she's eating) - she's just so INTO everything right now, it's crazy, and it seems like it just happened over night.

Just last week we learned that she was ticklish, or maybe she was always ticklish but just now has figured out how to really belly laugh because of it.  Under her neck, under her arms, all up her sides and when you pinch her thighs - it all tickles.  She "powers down" when you tickle her neck and laughs out loud when you tickle the other spots, it is the cutest thing and the sweetest sound, something I can't remember not hearing - it seems like her laugh has always been in our lives.  She has SUCH a personality and it has really come out the last few nights when she's been so overly tired and upset that she isn't swaddled - she really knows how to get us.  She makes a mmmm mamamamama sound when she's tired or upset, and usually a dadadadada sound when she's excited (think she knows what she's saying?).  She has started screaming really loudly and talking A LOT just the past week too, sometimes I have no idea if she's happy or sad about something because she just yells and then I wait for a "faux cry" to follow or a laugh, or another scream!  When she cries she sounds like a jazz singer (Ian's words) and that's the cry that tells us she has had enough and is just really tired or hungry.  She can still be sad on command with a "poor lemon" or a sad song but mostly is just upset when she's tired, which is a lot lately.  We had this sleeping thing down, (see my previous post!) before we decided she was getting to big for being in the nap nanny in her crib, and now we've messed with her sleep and it is getting to her.  Yesterday we fought her for hours for an afternoon nap (not to mention the fight to get her in bed the night before) and we are all just really worn out today.  I hope she doesn't give my mom too much trouble at home . . .

Since I can't remember specifics (and so this post isn't SUPER long) I will tell the rest of what has happened this past month in pictures.  First the good camera pics:

And my iPhone pics (oldest to newest):

(The very first time she laughed out loud at me was when I kissed her and made a funny noise right here, on the kitchen floor!)

(Is there anything cuter?) 

(A bath with daddy every night and then I come in to find this.  Crazy daddy!) 

(One of daddy's favorite activities to do with the babe while he was home - swimming lessons!  Hubbard Swim School in AZ offers free lessons to infants up to 6 months, check it out, so fun!)

(How to turn a boy onesie into a girlie outfit!)

(Every Friday Ian brought Lemon to school to have a "mommy lunch" with me.  It ended up being my favorite day and I am so gateful that he did that.  Keep in mind our school is about 15 miles from our house so it's kind of far, but it just made my day!  This is our second one I think.) 

(Not the best picture but my sister-in-law had her baby in early November!  Little Selma Lee and Lemon!)


(We have tried SO MANY different swaddles to get this girl to sleep better, I will do a post on our "must haves" soon.  This one is a woombie!)

(How cute is she in white with polka dots?  This is one of those gowns but I wish it was a shirt, I love it!)

(Went to Sir Greg's, my dad's, for the first time, it wore her out!)

(It has finally started to cool off in AZ so it's feety pajama season!)

(I was off for Veteren's Day so I got to join Daddy and baby at yoga!)

(A nightly walk has become part of our bedtime routine, I love it.)

(Getting ready to roll . . .)

(Always to the right . . .)


(Another "mommy lunch!")

(A baby cardigan, I die!)

(A lovely gift made for Lemon by a friend.)

(Mega Yard Sale at Fort McDowell Casino)

(We went out for Melissa's birthday and I got to have a BIG margerita!)

(The moms - with lights on my face.)

(My mom found Lemon this bouncer at a yard sale, so cool.  Her feet didn't used to touch, see pic, but now they do!)

(Zipper loving the Baby Bjorn!  These are not good carriers, by the way, google it.) 

 (Since Thanksgiving week was a short one, I got to take the baby to swimming!)

 (Thanksgiving morning, so much to be thankful for!)

(Seriously Sophie and Zoli teething sticks are a MUST HAVE!) 

(I went to hot yoga Thanksgiving morrning, it was awesome!)

(Getting ready to eat sweet potatoes for the first time on Thanskgiving, she looks thrilled.)

(My dad came over to celebrate with us and we had such a great, relaxing day.  We even ordered some gluten free food from a local restaurant so didn't have to cook very much!)

(Baby massage!)

 (Worn out after pictures.)

 (Riding in the stroller now means biting the stroller.  We have to strap her in so she doesn't hit her mouth on bumps now!)

 (Ian's band played a show at Rula Bula a couple of weeks ago and my mom watched the babe while I went.  So fun!)

(And my girls, Ann and Rochelle, came too!)

(An Italian family tradition - fig cookie making, Lemon's first!)

(Lazy Thanskgiving weekend.)

 (I came home from school one day to find them like this!)

(She holds her own bottle now, I had no idea!  Ugly flash pic but it was dark.)

 (Yep, she is getting so much hair even though it's light, I can almost clip a bow in it!)
(We got a new recliner at Wal-Mart a couple of weekends ago, we were so excited to go pick it up!)

 (My mom watched the babe so these two lovers could go to hot yoga together, we hadn't been to yoga together in just under two years!)

 (Morning recording with Lemon.)

(We realized she was facinated with the fish tank so we moved her high chair so she could see it.  Now it's her favorite spot because she gets to look at Spike, the fish, Einstein, the parrot, and throw tupperware off of her chair!)

(Sometimes daddy puts baby in the craziest outfits!)

 (Here the the play yard we get to test from 4 Moms - the Breeze!  Lemon loves it!)

 (Our beloved nap nanny was recalled 2 weeks ago so we were worried about using it in Lemon's crib.  Ian rigged this set up and that bought us an extra week using it!)

 (Went out to dinner with the gals last week, had another margerita!)

 (Kids love Ikea - finishing some Christmas shopping!)

(Our old next door neighbors from Oregon, Bruce and Cheryl, came to visit.  Lemon loved Bruce, but then again everyone does!)

(It finally got cold last week!)

 (My last "mommy lunch" last Friday.)

 (Daddy leaving his baby and going back to work Monday.)

(We haven't been at school together since May 23rd, it was fun to be riding together again!)