Friday, May 30, 2014

four months old!

Since our 4 month appointment won't be until Charlotte is almost 5 months, I've taken matters into my own hands. Joel stood on the scale with her and she weighed about 14 pounds. She is at least 26 inches long; she barely fits into her sleep sack, which is for babies up to 26 inches (!!)

Charlotte wears mostly 6 month clothing. She can still fit in a couple of 3 month onesies, but they are starting to get a bit tight. Pants, dresses, etc. are all at least 6 months size. She doesn't wear footie pjs anymore; even the 6 month size stopped fitting her when she was just 3 months old. On cool nights she wears a onesie and pants; when it's warm she just wears a onesie in her sleep sack.

Charlotte eats 5-6 times a day. For many weeks she was sleeping through the night, but the last week has been tricky and she's wanted to eat at least once during the night.

The trend lately is for Charlotte to wake up when we go in to get her a little before 6am. She is awake for an hour or so before taking a long nap (1.5 to 3 hours). While I'm at work she takes 3-4 naps and drinks 3 bottles. I nurse her before I go to work, then as soon as I come home. Her bedtime feeding starts right around 7pm. She gets 2-3 ounces in a bottle, then nurses for however long she seems hungry.

Bedtime has been rocky this month. Some nights she is happy to lay in her crib for a few minutes before falling asleep peacefully. Other nights she screams bloody murder, even if we go in to comfort her, until she falls asleep on her own. I think she's adjusted to not having her arms swaddled tightly; she often rolls onto her side at night and snoozes peacefully like that. Sometimes she fusses at nap time because she's hyped up from playing and her room is bright, but she usually only fusses and rolls around until she falls asleep.

Awake time is full of fun lately! Charlotte lays on her back. She rolls to her tummy and looks all around her. Then she gets stuck there and once she's tired of tummy time starts to fuss for help! She smiles and coos and makes singing noises. She enjoys sitting in her swing (for short periods of time), being carried around outside, and snuggling with Momma and Dad. She also is interested in books now and looks at the pictures intently. Her spastic little hands can accidentally "turn" the pages as we read.... so fun!

Though it seems way too early, Charlotte is showing a few teething symptoms. We have her wearing an amber teething necklace now, because she started drooling, chewing non-stop on her hands, and being fussy during the day. We'll see how things progress with that. Apparently babies' salivary glands open at 4 months of age, which is why she has been drooling and chewing on things.We aren't sure that teething is on the horizon, but she's wearing the necklace just in case. There's no harm in it, so why not? :)

Due to scheduling issues, Charlotte's four-month checkup won't be until June 18th. She'll turn 4 months old on May 31st, so her appointment is almost 3 weeks late. At that appointment she'll get her next round of immunizations.
Awesome stuff!

Often when we wake her up, or when I check on her at night, Charlotte will be sleeping on her left side with her arms all up around her face. She seems so snooze peacefully in this position and it's so darling.

However, sometimes she rolls too far in her sleep and wakes up fussing on her tummy. She can't roll back, so she needs one of us to come "rescue" her. It's happened a few times in the middle of the night; if we hear her fussing quickly enough, we can sneak in and turn her back over, then "sush" quietly while holding her arms down, then she'll fall back asleep. If we're too slow, or it's close enough to wake up time, then she just decides it's time to get up and eat!
Charlotte blows bubbles and makes little squeaking noises. We laugh at her silly antics and she does them even more. Another hilarious thing she does is smile at her reflection. Often when I'm done nursing I stand up next to the mirror in our room while I burp her. She gets this huge grin on her face when she looks at herself in the mirror. Ha!

Charlotte turns her head to look at the TV and she looks toward wherever there is music playing. Last week I caught her watching the Detroit Tigers' game!
She also recently discovered her toes! She was kicking and all of a sudden seemed to notice her feet. She immediately began reaching for them and trying to hold them tightly in her little hands!
Does every parent think every new stage is the greatest, or is it just me?! :)
Love this little lady so so much!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

cloth diapering: how it's going

Since I last wrote about our cloth diapering journey, we've gotten a few more supplies.

We now have 12 BumGenius pocket diapers with snaps, 2 Thirsties duo covers, and about 12 oso cozy prefold diapers. We also have two hemp doubler inserts, but one is currently MIA.

We use flannel cloth wipes which we squirt with a little water/tea tree oil mixture from a peri-bottle (left over from my early postpartum days...). We have been using one big planet wise pail liner in a metal trash can with a foot-pedal. Yesterday I bought one more pail liner so we won't have to wait for one to wash/dry before we use more cloth wipes or diapers.

Since Charlotte fit into the diapers around one month old, we've been using cloth regularly, with some days and weeks where we just use disposable. Here are some current pros and cons of our cloth diapering situation.

- Very infrequent poop blowouts. The elastic does a good job keeping the messes inside.
- Not a single bit of diaper rash.
- In over 4 months we have only bought one small package of disposable diapers, which we purchased right before Charlotte started using cloth and didn't fit into the size one dipes people had given us.
- fun fun fun colors
- less waste put into the garbage can
- we can use these if we have another child someday, which is our hope

- the kind of diapers we use are on the expensive side; $16 bucks each
- the washing and drying takes some time
- stuffing the inserts into our pocket diapers takes some time

Here's our wash routine:
1. Dump everything,including the pail liner and our small wet bag, into the washer with a tiny bit of "hard rockin green" cloth diaper "detergent" and about a quarter scoop of tide HE powder. Run through light cycle with warm water
2. Add Tide HE powder to the 2 line, then turn the water to HOT, normal load with extra rinse and heavy duty agitation. I also add an old bath towel to make the load heavier so our HE washer will include more water.
3. Dry diaper covers and wet bags/pail liners on the drying rack
4. On medium heat, dry the inserts, prefolds, and cloth wipes in the dryer.

Anyone else using cloth? Good, bad experiences?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

summer bucket list

Inspired by this list, here's mine for summer 2014...

  • Take Charlotte for a walk on the Wissahickon Trail
  • Play on the grass in our backyard
  • Make drinks using the mint in our backyard
  • Make meals using the basil in our backyard
  • Have friends over for campfires
  • Catch up on Parenthood (via Netflix; I hope I hope I hope!)
  • Go swimming! Charlotte has two tiny bathing suits calling her name!
  • Introduce Charlotte to lots of Joel's college friends and extended family in Michigan
  • Have date nights
  • Give Charlotte solid food (not until she's 6 months old, but that will be soon!)
  • Utilize our Philadelphia Zoo membership even more
  • Ride bikes (this will have to be a date-- Charlotte's still too little & we don't have a seat for her!)
  • Transition Charlotte from her car seat base to actually sitting in the stroller w/o the car seat

It'll be hard to beat last summer, when I grew a baby, visited Granada, and took a road trip to Charleston. But I bet summer of 2014 will still be pretty rad.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Long weekend!

I took this past Friday off to spend time with Charlotte. It also happens to be Memorial Day weekend, so we have Monday off, too! Hooray!

We are spending our days taking walks, playing on our new living room rug, eating delicious meals, and taking naps. In a rare show of snuggliness, Charlotte fell asleep on my shoulder and when I passed her off to Joel, she kept sleeping! Pretty sure he was lovin' it :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

my stylish child

I showed this photo to my students during lunch today. Most of the kids oooh-ed and ahhh-ed over Charlotte's sweetness.
One boy asked, "Why is she always wearing clothes?"

I responded by saying, "Because it's too chilly to be naked!"

He replied, "No, I mean why is she always wearing regular clothes. Not pajamas?"

I told the class that my tall baby doesn't fit in footie pajamas anymore.

His response: "She goes to sleep in style!"

15 week old darling!

Would you just look at this little face?!
Charlotte is 15 weeks old now and she is a little butterball of joy! She laughs and kicks and wiggles and grins. She sings songs and looks around attentively. And I finally witnessed a full roll today!
Charlotte loves to chew on her hands and play with a few toys. She listens carefully when we read her books. So darling!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 19th

One year ago yesterday we found out about Charlotte. We didn't know she was going to be Charlotte, but we were so, so excited to know a baby was on the way. Here's what I wrote that day, in all its raw emotion. 

After three minutes of waiting, and 11 months of trying, this morning we saw our first “pregnant” test result. I said, “Oh my gosh!!”and Joel came quickly across the hall, to the bathroom from the office, saying,“You’re pregnant?!”

We’ve done this drill before. He distracts himself while I pee on the stick. Then I putz around for three minutes, only to see the “not pregnant” result. Every single time. This time was different.

My hands shook as we hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed. 
“Congratulations, Mama” he whispered. 
I kept saying, “I can’t believe it. Can you believe it?” 
“No,” he would say.

I am seriously shocked. I cannot fathom that my good, miracle-working, forgiving God has chosen to give us this gift. Despite my ugly, nasty selfishness. Despite my doubt and fear and anger at his timing. Despite my despair and frustration every month.

The timing is seriously perfect. Halfway through my fast from blogs and social media. At a time when I am most in tune with God’s love for me and what it means to obey him at all costs. I am in utter disbelief and gratitude for this miracle of life. The life that has been made of our love, our marriage, simply because God chose to bring us together.

When I reflect on the painful eleven months we were hopingand praying for a baby, the timing really does make perfect sense. 

God wanted this to be His “Yes,” and my “THANK YOU.” 
Not my “All the things I tried finally worked.”
(One year later, I'm still filled with gratitude and awe that God has given us this beautiful gift)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The sleep situation

Right now we are doing this:

... And I am in heaven. All snuggled up. Deep baby breaths in my ear. Warm and cozy rolls on her arms and legs, tucked into me.

Because Charlotte has started rolling over (!!!!!), we no longer swaddle her up for naps or bedtime. She has had a VERY hard time adjusting and the going-to-sleep process has been rocky this past week.

She is sleeping through the night fully, from about 8pm to 5:45 or 6am (awesome!). However, she isn't as sleepy during the day and cannot settle down easily when it's time for bed. Most of her naps on Thursday and Friday were in the car seat because she cried and screamed when put in her crib awake and her caregivers wanted to make sure she got some rest!

I was feeling a little sheepish, because I'd started to get cocky that my baby could put herself to sleep. In her crib! Without being nursed or rocked! With just a tiny bit of fussing! So this whole adjustment made me feel embarrassed and a bit annoyed. I'm confident that this is just another phase, another stage of development, another parenting milestone.

Interestingly enough, today, when she hasn't had any bottles, and all her meals are directly from the source, Charlotte is feeling extra relaxed. So much so that she fell completely asleep while nursing and slept on my chest for 35 minutes...
But then tonight at bedtime, she screamed and fussed and spit up and coughed and cried. Until I nursed her to sleep. Which is not a habit I want to encourage. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

the stuff dreams are made of// Mother's Day 2014

On two different occasions lately, the weather has been perfect and Charlotte's mood right on par. I brought her outside with a blanket and set her down on her back, after finding a soft-ish spot in our yard.

As she kicked her legs and waved her arms busily around, I lay down next to her and whispered quietly. Stuff like, "Look at the clouds, little worm, they're so fluffy," or, "Do you hear those birds chirping, Charlotte?," and "Baby girl, this is what I hoped for when I began dreaming of your life."

She responded with sweet little smiles and an occasional squeal of delight.

We lounged around together, looking at the bushes and the sky and watching planes fly overhead. I caught her eye and she grinned. I sighed contentedly.

For as long as I can remember, my daydreams of motherhood included hours spent outside with my baby.
 This life, these warm, quiet days, this is the stuff dreams are made of.

The photos above are a few winners from Mother's Day this past Sunday. Of course, Charlotte had worn about three different cute outfits, and I finally put a onesie on her for the last hour before bed. And then I remembered I really wanted photographic evidence of here day. But she looked precious just the same. My two loves treated me so, so well in honor of my first Mother's Day. I am beyond blessed to be this little girl's momma.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear Charlotte, 2

Dear baby girl,

You are snoozing in your crib right now. With your fan on, while wearing your swaddle sleep sack. One arm (your right) has broken free and you have it stretched up over your little head. You are breathing deeply and your long legs are out in front of you. My heart aches because you are so cute.
Darling, I can't believe how much I love you!

Sure, I make you do tummy time and you don't always enjoy it, but you are getting better and better with each passing day. I listen to you fuss because I want you to be healthy and strong. Because I love you.

And yes, I let you whimper a little when you are trying to fall asleep but that's because I want you to grow up independent and confident and sure of yourself. Because I love you so very much.

And would you believe how much I panicked upon coming into your room at 2am today and finding you perpendicular in your crib and stuck on.your.side.?! Oh, my heart! It leaped into my throat I was so startled. I probably should have had your dad come in to snuggle you back to sleep, since you weren't necessarily hungry until I picked you up and my smell made you decide it was time to eat. But Charlotte, I couldn't help myself. I was afraid that you were hurt and the fear of you getting stuck on your side made me so, so upset. I scooped you up and held you close. And than spent the next 35 minutes making sure you were fed and changed before settling you back to sleep.

I'm tired, little worm. Working long days and driving to and from the city is draining me. It's very hard to be a teacher and a wife and a friend and a daughter, and your mama.

But it's such an honor, too. This new job, the one where I snuggle and feed and comfort you and make you smile... Where I bathe you and change your dipes... Where I kiss your round cheeks and hold you in my ring sling while slicing veggies for dinner... This job is amazing.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Baby favorites: three months in

We're still big fans of all the things I raved about when Charlotte was two weeks old. But we have a few other items that are really making life grand at the Alberts house, so I want to let you know about them.

1. Bum Genius 4.0 diapers with snaps. These fit Charlotte's skinny legs at one month old and they are awesome! SO easy to put on! Nicely fitting, without too much bulk. Fun colors. So yeah, highly recommend these diapers.

2. Miracle blanket. Charlotte sleeps in this for naps. It's lighter weight than her sleep sack. Sadly, her legs are getting too long for it, so I often tuck a regular receiving blanket tightly around the bottom half of her body so she doesn't kick herself awake! (Edit: We do love the Miracle Blanket, but since I started typing this post, over a month ago, we have switched it out for a cotton Halo swaddle sleep sack in size small. It's slightly too wide for Charlotte, but the length is necessary. She sleeps in it for naps and at night.)

3. BOB Revolution stroller with adapter bar for Chicco car seats. WE LOVE OUR BOB! Holy smokes, this stroller is a beast. It's super flexible and sturdy and moves really easily-- even over snow! We haven't tried an actual run with Charlotte in the stroller yet, but we have taken many many walks and we love it so much.

4. This cheap foam bathtub pad. We bathe Charlotte in the tub... just put about 2 inches of water in there with this foam pad and she's good to go. She can rest on top of it and be wet/warm without getting covered in water. Bonus: when it's dry we use it on our bathroom counter to make the diaper changing area a bit softer.

5. ThinkBaby bottles. I don't know whether it's this specific bottle, the fact that we introduced it at 3 weeks old, or our kid is just awesome, but Charlotte takes these bottles very well. Lately I have been giving her a few ounces before nursing at night to help her get enough calories in before bedtime. She takes them from me no problem, then immediately latches on to nurse a minute later. Absolutely no nipple confusion has ever happened. We are thrilled!

6. IKEA play gym. This thing is rad! It's wooden, so looks nice in the living room, which is important to me. Charlotte just recently began liking it, so it sat idle for a little while, but she really loves it now! She can lay on her back underneath her play gym and be happy for a long time. So fun!
7. Our two carriers: the Ergo and the Sakura Bloom ring sling. Oh, these carriers are amazing! We use one or the other almost every day. Every Sunday we take the Ergo to church and Charlotte falls asleep while one of us is wearing her. I use the sling most often in the evening when Charlotte is a little fussy and wants to be held while I need to make dinner. I can wash dishes, cut veggies for salad, and prepare our entire meal with her snuggled up on me. Earlier this week I walked across the street to visit my neighbor with Charlotte in the sling. She fell asleep while we chatted and took a little cat nap before dinner.

I'm obviously not a veteran parent yet but I will happily sing the praises of all these products after three months of mommy hood. :)