Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

We here at the Zschunke house are celebrating New Years by doing nothing special - well, unless you count family time as special...which we do!  Cecelia and Jeff took their first (of many I'm sure) outing yesterday by themselves.  Jeff was very excited to take his daughter out and show her off.  They went to a bookstore, the bank, the library and a coffee shop.  It can be tricky heading out with an infant during the cold weather months.  Do you take the carseat in, or carry her, or put her in a carrier like a sling or the Baby Bjorn?  Once inside, do you keep her in her snow suit, or take her out to cool her down?  And if she's sleeping...well, these days we definitely don't mess with that!  She's getting bigger now and her eating is spaced out to a slightly more predictable routine so that we can trust her to "last" in between feedings without me.  Not that she couldn't before, it was just one more thing to plan for then, just in case.  At the same time, I got a much needed rest.  Since we've been trying an earlier bed time, Cecelia's fired back with a (very) early morning wake up - approximately between 3 and 4 AM, so I've been trying to catch up on some rest with some day time naps for me too.  And since this increase in wake ups, I'm scrapping the very early bed time for a slightly later one to see what happens.  Hopefully the new year will bring some more sleep.  Not what most people are probably thinking this evening as they toast each other and watch fireworks, but we're not most people.  Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Age: 24 Weeks


This week I am 24 weeks old and what a week it's been.  Let me tell you about Christmas.  First I celebrated with my daddy's family the Sunday before Christmas.  Then we went to my mom's aunt and uncle's house on Christmas even, church, and then another aunt and uncle's house after church.  On Christmas day, I had lots of visitors to watch me open presents and eat breakfast at our house and then we went to my dad's uncle's house.  Then, there were even more parties and people to visit after Christmas.  I am tired!  But I still don't show it when it's time to sleep...but that's another story.  On Monday, I started really sitting up by myself.  I still topple sometimes, but I can hold my balance for a bit.  Mom will have to get some video of that excitement.  Have a Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Experts: Part I

In honor of the approaching new year, I'll be posting about one "expert" each day and what I do/do not like about what they have to say.  It is my resolution to follow my gut - actually, in the course of my half year of motherhood I've already resolved this a few times...but then I second guess myself.  All part of the package.  Coming soon: Dr. Karp (The Happiest Baby on the Block), Dr. Sears (all three of them), Elizabeth Pantley (No Cry Sleep Solution), Lu Hannessian (my bff), and more.  Of course tomorrow will be our weekly update, but from there I'll try to tackle one of these at a time.  Trust your gut...it gets really big when you're pregnant for a reason.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Professional Pics

So, when you have a baby you are also gifted coupons to get "free" portraits at every imaginable place.  Three of these coupons were set to expire December 31st, and I'm not one to pass up anything that's being offered for free.  So, first we went to JCPenney.  I packed a TON of outfits as it said to bring multiple outfits.  When I asked the photographer, she indicated that we could do three outfits...so not quite as many as I may have imagined.  We started off with her Christening outfit, since on that day we never ended up with any pictures of her in her cap.  The photographer took a bunch of pictures.  Then, when she went to the computer, she realized that the cord had come out and only three of the photos she'd taken had been sent to the computer.  Awesome.  Cece was already out of her Christening gown and the photographer asked if I'd like to do those over again.  I wouldn't.  So, next we did traditional first photos with a towel over her head, with a stuffed animal, etc.  When I saw the final results, I wasn't over the top excited about any particular one, so I chose one with the hooded towel for my free 8 x 10 and stopped at that.  When we got back out of the room a family had been waiting the whole time we were having photos taken.  Their appointment was 20 minutes before ours but they had arrived late.  I felt horrible that they had been waiting that whole time.  There were others waiting to pick up their photos.  You could feel frustration in the air.

On next to Picture People.  I nursed the baby in between to try and curb any frustration.  During our first photo shoot, she was happy, smiling, making eye contact.  The whole 9 yards.  At Picture People, she'd had enough of all that smiley, happy business.  I felt like there was no way they had gotten a good shot out of that.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  And Picture People really know how to give the hard sell.  You wait a bit, but then they come out with a framed set of blown up photos of your little darling and walk you through the digital shots.  For this coupon, I was able to get two free 8 x 10's...and so I did.  You can see their shots here: Picture People Photos 

And finally, the following week we went to Target for a family photo.  There we found a deserted studio.  The photographer let us know it was our lucky day because no one else was scheduled until 7:30 at night and she was bored, so we were now her entertainment.  She was great with the baby and got some great shots too.  We got our free 8 x 10 and also 2 5x7's for some lucky grandparents.  When we came out, there were people waiting to pick up venting their frustrations again.  I guess that's all part of the experience though, but it's good to hear from some (dissatisfied) customers.  You can see these shots here: Target Photos
When you click on the above link, my name is now Ellen Zschurike (note the even funnier spelling) and the access code is: LTTT0940102833TAR


And, upon picking up our JCPenney portrait, I was told that my daughter's picture was selected by the photographer to showcase as a sample of work for others planning to get pictures taken.  So begins her modeling career and my role as a stage mom.  PS - I am TOTALLY joking.  We did get another free portrait sheet out of it though.  I won't quit my day job.  Wait...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Babies Movie Trailer

I referred to this trailer in an earlier post and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the full feature in theaters.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Houdini

Cecelia's always had a knack for getting out of things, and conversely, getting into things too.  In the hospital, she successfully wiggled her foot out of her super security Lo Jack ankle bracelet...twice.  She was also an excellent de-swaddler.  There would be one possible flap to get your leg shimmied through and she'd manage.  She'd flail and thrash until her arms were free and by the end it just looked pretty comical.  We decided perhaps swaddling wasn't her bag.  I'm sure we'll likewise find socks all about the house shortly and once she can undress herself - look out.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow Days

This past weekend, PA experienced one of its biggest snowstorms...ever.  So, Cecelia did too.  Now, as a teacher, I relish in snow days.  A surprise day off - who doesn't love that?!?  So, over the past weeks/month, when every snow fall occurred on the weekend and was easily cleaned, I mourned for those that I knew were frustrated that that snow could be easily cleaned by Monday morning.  Please, don't get me wrong.  I don't want there to be unsafe driving conditions for anyone, ever, especially those that still have to brave the roads regardless.  But, isn't it helpful to not have school buses on the roads in addition to the rest of the traffic on mornings like that?  All part of the package.  This past Monday, even though it snowed on Saturday, the clean up was enough to warrant a two hour delay (a close second...but still nice) in the district where I work.  My cousin's district got the full day - yay!  Long story short, next fall I'll return to the classroom and I know that I'll be an even more avid promoter of snow days.  Not only will it be a surprise day off.  But a surprise day off with my baby girl and my hubby - bliss.  Top that off with hot cocoa.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Age: 23 Weeks



Christmas, Christmas...and more...Christmas!  And in the middle of all that madness, my mom and dad are trying to establish a bed-time routine.  Hah - as if that's going to work this time of year.  But, I'm getting older and mom wanted to try to establish this between 5 and 6 months old and, here we are!  I'm sure she'll tell you more about that soon.  My evening spa treatments (bath and massage) are just lovely.  I'll write next week to tell you all about....PRESENTS!  And tissue paper of course.  Don't forget the tissue paper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Watched Pot

You know how a watched pot never boils...well, a watched baby doesn't sleep.  And I've been doing a lot of watching :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pivot

Similar to the "Friends" couch going up the stairs, Cecelia's new favorite movement is the "pivot".  She seems to move in a circle at times.  Often, we'll step into the kitchen for just a moment and return to find her in an entirely different spot/position/direction from where she began.  The other night, I actually set up the video camera on a tripod to try and catch some masterpiece of movement since it always seems to happen when we're not looking.


S

Saturday, December 19, 2009

She don't wanna miss a thing

Cecelia's a champion fighter of sleep.  She doesn't want to miss anything that's going on - she's a very curious baby.  This past week, she's started rubbing her eyes when she's tired.  Which is good in a way, because it's a clear cut sign to me that she is tired, but keep in mind those nails and eye rubbing and ...bad.  But I digress.  She feels sleepy and she'd rather not.  She used to enjoy being cradled in arms and rocked, but now if you cradle her body she arches her back and resists that too.  As if she's saying, "I know your tricks, lady."  She still likes to be bounced, but don't dare lay her down in your arms - she'd prefer to sit up where she can see what's happening in the house and keep her eye on things.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nooks and Crannies

When Cecelia was first born, baths were a relatively delicate process and a baby's neck is a tricky area to begin with.  Even when you think you're being quite thorough, sometimes you miss a spot.  Cecelia's first crevice that was collecting dust was the front of her neck under her chin.  You remember the spit up.  That was collecting, getting gunky and getting gross.  When discovered it was promptly cleaned and lotioned and healed.  Next up - the hip crease.  Since Cecelia pulls her legs up, this area got sore, but found, cleaned and lotioned.  Yesterday, Jeff pulls Cece's ear back and comments on how dirty it is behind her ears and I say, noooo, I clean behind her ears.  But...yet again, I missed a spot.  Not the behind the ears I was thinking of, but behind the lower part of the ear.  Again, dust collected, was cleaned, and lotioned.  There should be a checklist.  For the record, our daughter is quite clean - she's just found every imaginable hiding space on a baby's body.  Good news is that now that she's not spitting up, there's less stuff to collect under her neck, but I'm sure when solids are introduced we'll get some new crusty stuff to find.  I hope no one was eating just now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mini Mani/Pedi

Cecelia's nails seem to need trimming quite often and one day I'm sure she'll appreciate her long lovely nails, but right now she just seems to attack herself (and us!) with them.  So keeping them in check is a bit of a chore.  When she was first born, a nail file was the most effective tool, but now her nails are ready for the clippers, but since she's strong and rather unpredictable in her erratic movement, I try to clip her nails when she's sleeping.  Getting her to that point and then remembering to do so is another story all together.  And when her nails are trimmed, they still seem sharp.  Any tips from the trade?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Giggly Girl

Our new favorite thing to do - giggle. Here is Cecelia at 19 weeks and then 20 weeks and her developing laugh. I'm sure there will be lots of this happening in our household in the future. Enjoy!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Eco-Holiday Greeting Card

We've been trying to do more of our holiday greetings via online sources such as Scrapblog or Hallmark's Smilebox and here's what we came up with for the Winter Holiday season.  Besides using less paper, both to print our greetings, and utilize an envelope, we also save on postage.  This greeting was...free and sent through email, facebook and this very blog.  So, enjoy your holiday greetings from our family to yours!

Age: 22 Weeks


This week - nothing is immune to getting chewed on...including Fred.  Poor Fred.  Mommy put him slightly behind me in order to get a picture where I wasn't trying to eat the monkey.




So, as you can see from above I'm developing a taste for chewing.  Two reasons - one a tooth is coming...well, it has been coming for quite some time, so who knows when it will actually cut through.  And teeth come two at a time, and mom doesn't see any others, so this could be quite the process.  Also, I am now 5 months old!  And I'm still exclusively breastfed.  Mom is waiting until I'm 6 months to test my taste buds with food...but I may be showing her I'm ready by putting everything in my mouth.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tissue Paper - Coming Soon Under a Tree Near You

Since we're headed to the doctor's today for Cece's 5 month shots (she's 5 months TODAY!!) I thought I would post some video of one of our trips to CHOP and her fascination with tissue paper in general. So, enjoy.





Sunday, December 13, 2009

The End of an Era

The spit up era...one that I will not miss one bit! Cecelia's been a spitter since very early on. In the hospital she had exactly no regurgitation. I know this because we had to mark it on a sheet. When she got home, she gradually decided that giving a little (or a lot) of each meal back to us would be her MO. We tried lots of things, keeping her upright, different feeding amounts...all to no avail. I thought it was something I was doing/eating (so egocentric). She was not so much fussing and spitting up as she was happily and go-luckily spitting up. I remember in the first three weeks or so, telling my sister about the spit up...she reported to my mom who promptly called me and told me not to worry (I wasn't THAT worried, but I digress). My mom told me I would eat and spit up everything and then eat again and it would help increase milk supply. The next day my mom was over and witnessed the projectile spit up and said, "Oh...you should talk to the pediatrician about that." Then I got upset with her and told her that she couldn't tell me not to worry and then tell me to worry - that simply was not allowed and I was not going to worry. It all turned out ok, obviously, we're all here and she gained her weight...somehow. Cece would projectile on the carpets, couches, shoulders...not picky. Jeff was holding her once with a burp cloth in one spot...she turned her head to get it all on his shoulder and down his back instead. Girl makes a statement when she does things like that. It got to a point where I was holding her over the sink after each feeding to avoid the mess. So we've acquired lots of bibs and burp cloths and they got some excellent use. Sometime last week, I realized that I was having to change her bib less often and most of the time I was changing it because of teething drooly mess instead of curdled milk. I'm also washing far fewer, if any, burp cloths. It's funny how things can change so quickly with very little fanfare. It's not as if she turned to me and said, I'm not going to spit up anymore. Now, this is not to say that Cecelia NEVER spits up, because that's just a statement I'm not ready to make yet. She still does on occasion - that occasion seems to happen most often right after I tell someone who's holding her that she really doesn't spit up anymore...and then she does. Murphy's law should really be re-named Ellen's law. That's just my opinion...maybe it'll catch on.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Video Catch Up

This is a video from when Cecelia was 16 weeks old playing on her play mat. I uploaded a bunch to You Tube yesterday so I'll get them on here one day at a time (or so). I'll try to get at least one activity on video a week from now forward.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Epi-Curious

Cecelia's a very interesting eater. Most babies, when fed at the breast, get very content and happy, and drift off to sleep and smile up at their mother with a little milk spilling out the side of their mouth. But not our angel - she is there to get the job done and move on with life. No time for that. A lot of babies will also take comfort there, even if they're not necessarily hungry. But Cecelia will only go "there" to eat. In fact, if I think she might be hungry and try that, she has a fit that I haven't understood what she was clearly trying to communicate. And when she is hungry, look out! If there is a pause between sides, which there inevitably is, she often screams at me as if to say, could you hurry it up please, I've got people to see and places to go. Sometimes she'll screech after she's eaten until she burps, at which time she becomes just as pleasant as can be. I was on the phone the other day when she ripped off (yes, ripped) and started crying (at which point, I always think...well, you came off...) and I explained to my friend on the phone that this is what a well fed baby sounds like in our house. As with all my posts, I may make it sound like this is her behavior ALL the time and it certainly is not, but when it is like this, it's all the more memorable. I sometimes wonder if she'll grow up to be a 6 year old girl who screams and cries and stamps her feet when she's finished one carrot when there's a plate-ful in front of her. We'll look at her and sigh, and say, well...pick up another one and eat it. I realize that this will, most likely (fingers crossed), not be the case, but it's amusing in those moments to wonder what the future will bring.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CHOP

We went for our second trip to CHOP today for Cecelia's ultrasound and both of our appointments. Good news - she does not have hip dysplasia...and neither do I! Dr. S checked her U/S results and explained that her hip bones are ossifying from the outside in making it appear at first click that the femur and the hip socket were pretty far from each other but upon closer inspection, they'll be just fine. So, long story short, she's fine and will not necessitate a harness or brace. And now we can resume jostling her about in a rough manner without fear of permanent damage. (we're not really rough...or jostle-y)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Age: 21 Weeks


This week, I am 21 weeks old and as it is December, mom felt it was time to break out any and all Christmas wear. I'm wearing my elf in training shirt and my reindeer rattle socks. Santa, I've been very nice. Daddy told me all about this naughty/nice business and I'm working on it. I'll be visiting with multiple Santas this weekend to try and catch a good lap shot and I'll be at multiple holiday parties. This is a busy season!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weight Watching

I've never been someone who was thoroughly obsessed with weight. As long as I feel healthy, I'm happy with whatever the number may be. But, I am happy to report that I am currently tipping the scales back around pre-baby numbers. I'm actually at the number I always reported, which was just slightly less than the truth. For example - the number that's listed on my driver's license and forms and what-not. During pregnancy, I gained approximately 40 pounds, so getting back down to size in the time frame that I did was somewhat surprising to me. Though I'm not quite finished. With the advent of Wii Fit came a better understanding of my healthiest BMI. I was aware before, but am now more or less constantly updated by a hopping, talking balance board. Regardless of my conscience's form, I was working toward the "ideal" BMI for my weight prior to getting pregnant the first time around as it is reported that it is best to be that size for the healthiest pregnancy and I was very blessed with a healthy and relatively uneventful pregnancy the first time around. Now on to how... after my life changing college credit course, I was pretty diligent about getting in some form of exercise each morning, usually in the form of a yoga or pilates video. I continued this when I was pregnant (except during those extremely tiring first few weeks when I could barely lift my head from a pillow) right up until I delivered. And afterward, you're supposed to wait 6 weeks to exercise, but I tried to get some walking in and low impact wii fit activities until my a-ok from the doctor. After 6 weeks I tried to make time to exercise (mostly through wii-fit and post-natal videos) but with a baby that can be a bit tricky. Fortunately, I was able to work out with Jeff different times that would be set for him to keep an eye on the baby so that I could exercise almost every morning.

When I came home from the hospital, I still looked VERY pregnant. The key to weight loss as a new mom is...breastfeeding! You knew I'd work that in somehow, didn't you? Breastfeeding releases a horomone called oxytocin and in addition to other things, it stimulates contractions which get your uterus back down to it's original, much smaller size. Until you do that, it continues to take on a balloon like shape as if still holding a fetus. Once the milk came in and Cecelia was actually eating, I could literally see a difference in the size of my belly after each feeding. It was shrinking before my eyes. Women who choose not to breastfeed (which is, of course, a personal decision) need to get that stimulation through artifical, and less efficient means. Breastfeeding actually burns 500 calories a day. While you're supposed to add 300 calories a day when you're pregnant, if you choose to breastfeed, you are more literally eating for two and burning the calories to prove it. Now, some women's bodies, while breastfeeding, actually hold on to a few extra pounds until their baby weans. It's believed to be a natural instinct of the body to preserve a layer of fat in order to keep providing for the baby in the case that the mom can't get food (i.e. out in the wild..our bodies haven't really caught up to current technology in that way). I am fortunate that my body did not seem to hold on to any extra pounds and breastfeeding has definitely helped me to shed a good bit of weight.

What breastfeeding can't do, however, is tone what's left. And for that, healthy eating and exercise are still a good choice. I was fortunate to attend an information session on a program called "One Fit Mama." While I was there, I answered a question and voila - I was give a week free pass to try it out. Anyone gets one free class as well, so I did my initial class and the following week did an unlimited week and...I loved it! It was really nice to get out of the house and have a program of exercise that involved the baby too. I thought that Cece wouldn't tolerate being in the stroller for that long, but she's starting to get better and if she fusses, I take her out, strap her on and continue on my way. I wasn't originally (i.e. before I tried it) planning to continue, but now I am. I actually asked family members for gift certificates for the program instead of other gifts for Christmas. I'm planning to wait on that and start after the holidays. They also start another program that time of year with a team challenge, similar to the Biggest Loser, only it's not just about weight loss. And I think that will be very fun too. When I first decided to do it, I was planning to do a small package and go once a week. When I priced out all the different programs for the time frame I'm looking at (before I go back to school in the fall) it ended up being least expensive to do an unlimited year. I also have a 10% off coupon that I plan to use, but it was interesting to look at all those options. I hope to continue with post-natal videos and wii fit at home too, but doing a class like that will give me the incentive through the winter months to get out of the house. When I first tried the post-natal videos, many involve the baby and during those first few months, Cecelia was not having it, but as she gets more active and mobile, I think she'll enjoy that more too and I'm looking forward to that.

Another key to keeping moving, in my case, is having a daughter that frowns upon sitting down. When she's fussing and wants to be held, she doesn't JUST want to be held. She wants you to get up and move around, walk, bounce, sway, jiggle, etc...and all that motion does a little something for you too. Though at times, I felt like all I wanted to do was sit/lay down, it certainly didn't hurt my figure to be holding a growing baby and moving with the incentive of a soothed baby - that is quite gratifying on many fronts.

While I'm still not someone who's obsessed with weight or body image, I think it's important to stay active. When I'm teaching, I'm constantly moving around the classroom, crouching down next to students, and getting up and down from the floor (it is first grade after all). But at home, it can be easy to slip into a much more sedentary lifestyle, especially as it gets colder outside. I'm hoping to instill in my daughter the importance of activity and be a good role model for her in that way, as well as others. A good rule of thumb for new mothers is 9 months on, 9 months off, so don't take my situation as the norm - everyone is different and weight loss is certainly not the most important aspect of being a new parent. Loving every moment you get with your baby is.

P.S. I know that I shouldn't end a sentence with the word is...but I did. Get over it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Scream

Unfortunately I'm not referring to the Salvador Dali painting. Cecelia's discovered a new vocal talent. On Thursday we went out to lunch with a friend and Cecelia decided to start screaming very shrilly. She wasn't unhappy. She didn't need to be held or calmed. She was perfectly happy to flex her vocal muscles. And now she continues to do so...often.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baltic Amber

So, the necklace Cecelia's wearing in this week's picture is made of Baltic Amber and according to quite a few people, it helps babies while they are teething. Let me start at the beginning. I was at a La Leche League meeting and there is a mom there with a daughter about two weeks younger than Cece. She was wearing a necklace, and I said, "Is your baby wearing a necklace?" And she said, "Yes." She told me it was for teething and I assumed that she must be supposed to chew on it, but no. She continued to tell me about Baltic Amber and how she used a similar necklace with her older son when he was teething and he would cut teeth without experiencing the typical symptoms of teething. i.e. pain, drooling, and general unpleasantness. I thought that sounded good, but to be honest - these days many things are in and out of my brain faster than you'd believe. That weekend, I went to the La Leche League Eastern PA conference and, I kid you not, there were about 40 babies with these necklaces on and that stuck in my mind! I asked their parents if they felt it made a difference, how much they cost, and where they got them and later that weekend, our necklace was on its way! Now, this is not a case where I believe the necklace to have "healing properties." I'm not that naive...though it may seem that way sometimes. The principles behind the beads makes sense. They release oils on the skin that act as a natural analgesic. Worst case scenario...it can't hurt. Though some may disagree. "Babies aren't supposed to wear necklaces. That's a choking hazard. Etc." One of the dads at the conference commented on how he thought his daughter would grab at her necklace but he noted that she doesn't and never has. He thought it might be a bit of an "out of sight, out of mind" deal. Also, on the website "Inspired by Finn" it notes that the necklaces are made to break if there is pressure put on them in that type of way. And finally, I went to the movies and saw a trailer for a movie/documentary that follows four different babies from around the world for one year. I'll have to look into that further and put a link because the preview/trailer was ADORABLE! But I digress...what was the African baby wearing but...a decorative necklace. And she didn't choke. So, back to - it can't hurt. And it might help. If you've heard this child scream and thought...teeth, it might be teeth coming...you'd want to do something to help too. My parents used whisky and while that may have been very effective that's not the route we're planning to go. Not judging...just saying. And finally, this morning we went to the Campout for Hunger at the PM Metroplex and Jeff was trying to stay back from the crowd towards the end to keep Cece away from all the germs when lo and behold someone approached him to take a closer look at and touch the baby and what did this nutty lady say..."Oh, a baltic amber necklace for teething." So, here's to being a crazy lady. Let the good times roll.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Age: 20 Weeks



Today (well, yesterday if you want to get technical about it) I am 20 weeks old. So, this is approximately half the time I spent growing inside my mommy's belly - wrap your brain around that one! Check out my bling - mommy will be posting about that sometime this week. If she gets to it. If you just can't wait, go to www.inspiredbyfinn.com to learn more. This past week was Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for in our house. Let me tell you about what I'm thankful for at the ripe old age of 4 months. Milk, the sling, the busy box, my mom and dad, my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and...milk. Peace.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ten Year Reunion

Saturday night was my ten year high school reunion, so for anyone who wasn't sure before you can probably guesstimate my age. It was odd to think we'd been out of high school for ten years, but looking back a lot has happened and we have a lot to be thankful for. So, here's to ten more years.

1999: Start College at Shippensburg University. Start working at the GAP - Holiday.
2000: 1st Coaching Job - Summer. Kept working at the GAP. Change from DA (desk assistant) to RA (resident assistant) halfway through 2000-2001.
2001: Still going to college and working at the GAP and coaching in the summer and RA'ing.
2002: Ditto plus Pro-Sem and Student Teaching.
2003: Graduate from Ship (in four years!). Start working as an assistant at Simmons. Continue working at the GAP.
2004: Spring - start working as interim director at Goddard. Fall - Start teaching kindergarten at Lower Moreland. Kept working at the GAP.
2005: Start teaching 1st grade (contracted) at Lower Moreland. Move into condo. Got engaged!
2006: Get married. Jeff got GBS. Jeff got better.
2007: Got Masters +
2008: Went to Africa. Got pregnant. Not because I went to Africa...
2009: Have a baby!

A lot can happen in ten years.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Her Hips Don't Lie

Well, they might lie. Let me explain. Cecelia had an appointment at CHOP last Wednesday to follow up from her hip X-Ray two Fridays ago. According to our pediatricians, her left hip was subjugated (Jeff's interpretation of the word) which we found out was probably really subluxated (he was really tired when he answered the phone). Regardless, we took our appointment at CHOP being that they're the best and we were able to get an appointment before Thanksgiving. So, we waited...and waited. Our appointment was at 2:00, but we were in the waiting room for about an hour and a half and then in the exam room for another half hour to an hour. But we were not disappointed. The doctor we met with was very knowledgeable and kind. As it turns out, he heard the click in her right hip and x-rays aren't normally done on infants so young because their hips are still mostly cartilage, so you can guess at what you're seeing in an x-ray, but the hips themselves are mostly blurry. Normally, an ultrasound would be done to determine if a baby has hip dysplasia. Also, due to Cecelia's abnormal strength and determination, Dr. S. advised me that a pavlik harness probably wouldn't be in her best interests at this point. He told us that we had two option - 1: wait 3 months and get an x-ray when her hip bones have solidified or 2: in 1-2 weeks get an ultrasound and have a follow up appointment. Dr. S. felt confident that her click was/is a minor one and probably won't necessitate further interventions (great news) and that we could wait for the x-ray. However, after my internet reading (always dangerous) I felt that IF there is something to find, I'd rather find it sooner rather than later and intervene as best we can (probably a plastic night time leg brace if the ultrasound warrants that). So, we'll be back at CHOP in two weeks for an ultrasound and an appointment, and an appointment for mommy too...just in case. But it's probably fine - which is great news!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving! Yesterday, Cece, Jeff, Nana, and I all participated in the Gobble Wobble in Abington - Baby's First 5K. We went for Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bob's house and ate far too much good food. Something didn't sit quite right with me and I paid for that all night long. Good news is that I'm feeling better already, but I'm a little scared to put any new food in my stomach - time to bite the bullet. While I wasn't planning to go shopping, that wasn't in the cards for me anyhow with this bug, but I hope everyone who did partake in Black Friday had a fabulous (and safe) time. I can't believe that all of these firsts (as far as Holidays) are happening so quickly. Before you know it, Baby's 1st Christmas will be here!

picture coming soon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Age: 19 Weeks


Well, today I am 19 weeks old! I've had a bit of excitement this week with my first x-ray and tomorrow will be my first trip to the city for an appointment with an orthopedist at CHOP. I'll keep you posted as to any news on that front. Check out this link to learn more about what we think we'll be hearing tomorrow : http://www.pediatric-orthopedics.com/Topics/DDH___Hip_Dysp/ddh___hip_dysp.html Enjoy! And...Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Intense

Ask 95% of people who have met Cecelia and they will tell you about the calmest, mellowest, sweetest baby they've ever met. That select few in the minority may tell of a slightly different story. For example, anyone who's had the pleasure to babysit her while I'm at diving practice, rode in the car with her, spent time with us at the beach, x-rayed her leg on Friday, or was in the LLLI conference this past weekend will tell you of a baby who's happy most of the time (and that certainly counts for something, don't get me wrong) but has an intense cry when it rears its ugly head. Jeff's grandmother said it best when she said, when Cecelia cries she doesn't sound sad, she sounds mad. Early on, some people remarked that she had a temper. I decided that this would be a self-fulfilling prophecy and that no one should tell her of these moments when she was older. I decided "spirited" and "full of personality" were better descriptors. Now I know it just is a part of her personality and I love my feisty little girl. She knows what she wants (or doesn't it sometimes seems) and she's going to get it. It's funny too to think of what she wants - what does she want? Early on, any inexplicable crying was blamed on gas. Now that she's a little older any inexplicable crying gets blamed on teething. And we still don't know that that's really to blame - just seems like a likely culprit. I've referred to Cecelia's car cry before and early days she would get herself worked up into such a frenzy that her eyes looked a little posessed, like she was looking past you and couldn't see you and her face turned four shades of red and her mouth was as wide as could be - scary! The good thing about screaming is that it's the only time we can really see those gums to check for budding teeth. So, there are a few things that work for us to calm the rage. One is called the elevator and a lactation consultant at a La Leche League meeting taught this to me when I was at the end of my rope. I fed her, crying, burped her, crying, still crying, and I said - what now? She showed me this move and it's been our go-to move much to the chagrin of some with aching thighs. You hold the baby facing out in a pretzel legged position with her butt sagging down, squat, then go up and pat her butt twice. It was amazing, like flipping an off switch on the crying. And it's quite a work out. The sling will often calm her and the newest in our bag of tricks - running water. Not the Frank Lloyd Wright House. Turn on the water and she stops and stares. Turn it off and she cries. So, she's not quite the conservationist that her mom is, but it works for now. As I stated initially, only a select few people have ever seen this side of my daughter and I'd prefer that everyone think that she's angelic all the time, so...she is...all the time. Except for when she's intense. Which she is. Sometimes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

X Ray Vision

So, Cecelia did NOT like being held still for the first pictures of her bones. But, she got through it and so did we. We got a message from one of our doctors the very same day (5 minutes before closing time, but I digress) to call the following day, even on Saturday. This threw me for a loop, because customarily if there is nothing to report, that's what they'll say - "everything looked great on that x-ray, no need to worry" but...that's not what they said. So, we called in the morning and played a little more phone tag. But, the gist of the matter is that Cecelia's hip is 'subjugated' and out of socket. Often this goes undiagnosed and presents when a person is in their 30s as severe arthritis of the hip. So, good news is we caught it early and it's easily treated with an orthopedic harness. Now, don't go thinking "Forrest Gump." Evidently, this harness is a soft fabric piece with velcro that goes across the hips that would be worn all the time except during bath time. Since this is hereditary, it was NOT caused by her sling, or being held over the potty for EC, or anything that we've done. So, we have calls in to three orthopedists and whoever gets back to us first gets our appointment! Now, on to me - as this is hereditary and she got it from somewhere and every now and then, my hip seems to go "out" and I have to knock it back into place...I too will be going to see an orthopedist. Especially since I'm much closer to 30...but I don't think they have a harness for 28 years of wear and tear. So, all that gymnastic movement may have its effects...soon. And...BOTH my parents have decided that they too have hip problems. Let's trace this back a few more generations. We'll keep you posted after we see the orthopedist.

Friday, November 20, 2009

4 Month Doctor's Visit

Yesterday (Thursday) was Cecelia's 4 month well check up. She was a champ! She weighs 13 lb. 9 oz.. she's 24 1/2 inches tall and her head is 16 1/4 in. around. She is all around average - 50th percentile in all areas. We heard the P word again (perfect) and you just can't hear that too often. She got one vaccine drink for Rotavirus and one shot for DTaP and she didn't cry at ALL! One thing to check in on, the doctor heard a click in her hips and noted how bendy she was. She doesn't get her flexibility from anywhere strange though. He recommended a hip x-ray just to be safe so we're headed to CHOP's Chalfont Radiology center this morning. We'll keep you posted on baby's first x-ray.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Age: 18 Weeks and Two Days...because the internet wouldn't let me post...



I am starting to scooch backwards, but don't expect to see it any time soon. A time lapse camera would probably catch this action best. You know - the kind that document clouds moving across the sky or flowers opening. Mom or dad will put me down at Point A and when they look again, I'm at Point B. And, not that I've ever been shy, but lots of people have been commenting on my expressive eyebrows. Maybe one of these days, you'll get a hubba hubba eyebrow double raise, but a lot of the time I look very concerned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Cecelia has taken to trying to jam her pacifier...and both thumbs into her mouth. You can't have it all, kid.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cat Naps

I have to write this and a few other blog posts that have been brewing in my mind quickly over the next few days before Cecelia changes the rules and ...changes. So, long story short she's a bit of a cat-napper. After 20 minutes or so, she's all refreshed and ready to go. Yesterday another mom told me that her son takes short naps - an hour or so. I chuckled to myself. Cecelia naps mostly in the sling and mostly for brief periods of time. If put down, instant alarm clock. At a family function in August, a family member let me know that I could put the baby down upstairs to nap after she fell asleep in the sling. I looked askance and thought, uh huh. Sure. But, they wanted to try it. Down she went, and awake she was. She generally stays asleep for as long as she's in the sling, so if I need (want) her to sleep longer than 20 minutes, I can continue to cart her around in the sling.

The reason I stated that I need to get these things down in writing now is that Cecelia's changing so quickly and changing these habits as well. I never know what's fleeting and what's here to stay, but yesterday she napped for a substantial period of time. She fell asleep in the car on the way home in the morning, stayed asleep as I brought her inside, got showered and ready...and since she was still asleep, I decided now (then) was as good a time as any to hit the road again to meet up with Nana to shop for fabric. And she stayed asleep that whole time until I was back home again! Now, last night she also decided it was time to play until close to midnight so these extended naps are not without implications, mind you. But then she did it again today...not exactly the same, but she snoozed right through the diving meet, while my stomach knotted the whole time thinking that she was going to burst out crying while a diver was on the board. Good news - I was the official referee, so if that had happened, I could have excused the disturbance and allowed him/her to dive again. But it was such a non-issue that we made it back home and into the house before she woke up again.

I could get used to this (but I won't expect to...and I'm knocking on all things wooden).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Generalizations

All babies fall asleep in the car. All babies love their swings. All babies love vibration. The problem is, we don't have all babies, we have ours - and we love her and her quirky preferences. Cecelia's a big fan of the real deal. She does not enjoy spending time in her carseat. She's getting better, but for the most part being strapped down in a safe manner to ride in a moving vehicle is not on her top ten list. If she's already asleep, then she'll generally stay asleep. Same goes for the swing, or swing frame to be more accurate. Up until very recently, Cecelia's car cry was enough to ALWAYS get me to pull over (safely and in a safe location) go to the backseat, unstrap her and hold her and make it all better. I've gotten better (or worse depending on your perspective) about coping with her car cry and calming her without having to fully un-restrain her. One of the 5 S's from Dr. Karp was shushing. Very loud shushing, directly into baby's ear reminds them of the same sound they heard when they were in the womb. This seems to work pretty well to calm Cecelia. Please note that I have no illusions that this will work on ALL babies. What works for us may not work for you, and I won't pretend that it will. Back to the main stream of consciousness. So, shushing is pretty good, but you still have to stop the vehicle and sit next to her to accomplish this, or at least to do so effectively. Or, if there are two people in the car, one can sit in the back. Her pacifier is sometimes helpful in calming her down, but not always. Recently a mom referred to the "car cheat." When I asked her what exactly she meant (I had an inkling, but wanted to hear it for myself), she explained that in order to get her child to sleep, she straps them in their carseat and drive around for a while. I explained that this would NOT work with our little darling. Others assume that swinging will help to calm her and on that note, I'm glad that we didn't purchase a full sized swing. We got a swing frame that the carseat (remember she doesn't love it) fits into. It has a vibrating function. These items are also not in Cecelia's top ten. If she's already asleep in her carseat, she may be put in her swing frame to help lengthen her nap. And the stroller...no thank you. Again, if she's already asleep, we can continue on our way like this. As in all things, Cecelia is growing up (tear) and humoring us and tolerating these things for a short while. Above I stated that Cecelia likes the real deal. All of these devices, useful as they may seem, are designed to help imitate being held and rocked, and jiggled, and moved. And Cecelia knows the difference. And that's the way I like it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Age: 17 Weeks

Hello Everybody! Can you believe it's already November!! Well, now that I'm "really" half rolling from back to front, not just leaning to one side and falling over, I'll be moving and shaking pretty soon. Look out world, here I come! I can't be put down anywhere on my back without automatically flipping, or trying to. Changing table, crib, floor, I'm on my tummy in no time. I've even woken myself up doing so. Phew, all this activity is hard work!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Justification

I'm a big fan of babywearing. Babywearing is the one piece of attachment parenting where you're actually attached physically. I have carriers and slings and a baby that doesn't much like the carseat or stroller. At least not yet. Now, to justify the 5 carriers/slings that I now own. The Jelly Bean sling, found at Target and other retailers is easy, compact, and beloved by my child. I now have two because I found that for a while she was spitting up in puddles within the sling and it needed to be washed, but she still wanted to be in it. So, I have a brown and pink one and a black and white one. They're also reversible! You've gotta love just about anything that's reversible, right? Next up is the Balboa Baby Ring Sling. My mom wanted to wear the baby in a sling when she was watching her but felt the baby was too squishy in the Jelly Bean sling for her, the Ring Sling is adjustable and has a little more give. I originally got it in my quest to find the sling I would nurse in (that quest is done...I now prefer to sit to nurse anyway. When I was nursing twelve or more times a day, it felt like I'd never get up again. That is no longer the case and so, taking the time to sit down and relax while Cecelia eats is much more enjoyable. So, three down, two to go. We have two pretty similar carriers - the Baby Bjorn and the Ergo Baby Carrier. At first, we got both because Jeff didn't plan to use the Ergo, and thought the guy on the Bjorn box looked "cool." While these are good reasons, I still had guilt that we had two things that did the same job. However, I more recently realized the importance of having both. The Bjorn is a front carrier only, but baby can face in or out. The Ergo is a front carrier and a back carrier and...a hip carrier, but baby always faces in, not out. So - justification.

And on to Babywearing. For such an ancient art, lots of people look at you kind of funny when you're walking around with a little baby's head peeking out of a papoose. Once most people realize there's a baby in there and it's not a purse, or a dog, or a bag of ropes (only when you're married to a climber and hiking in New Paltz, NY), they get awfully excited and want to see and ask if it's comfortable, and comment on how comfortable she looks (or squished) and how it's just like being back inside and close to mom. People wonder if her back is hurt or her neck...thousands of years. I don't question things that I do that people have done for thousands of years. I also hear from moms whose babies didn't like being in a sling and for the most part, I'm glad that Cecelia does and that we found something that works for us. I can get SO much done while she's in the sling and she stays close to my heart. She can nap (and actually seems to only nap/fall asleep) in there. When she's awake and alert in there, she's happy and she can see things at my eye level, so she's learning how things work. She's learning about balance as her equilibrium adjusts to being upright in the sling. And, most importantly - she's happy. And, if that changes, we'll find something else that works for her and us, but I don't see that happening.

A lot of people worry about holding their baby too much. Put her down, let her cry - nonsense! Why would you want to do that? When you've unlocked the keys to what makes your baby happy, trust it. It might be a different shaped key for everyone, but trust that instinct.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Intervals

Cecelia has been, for a week now, eating at full (consistent!) four hour intervals. This indicates that she's getting better and eating much more efficiently too. It's funny looking back on these last three to four months. When she was first born, she ate every hour and a half or so and each feeding took as much as 45 minutes. So, it certainly felt like I was glued to the couch and would never get to go anywhere outside the house again. Then we made it to two hours in between (and when I say in between, that's from start to start, not finish to start) and that was exciting! There was a point when I felt like her latch was inefficient, but didn't care anymore as long as she was getting the nourishment she needed to grow. For a while, there seemed to be a routine, then that went out the window and even as recently as two weeks ago, she was going two hours, three hours, or four hours in between eating with no rhyme or reason that I could discern. Then, seemingly overnight, she became both efficient (I could see those flanged lips I've heard so much about) and predictable. Again, I know this will change and that she'll go through a growth spurt where I'll be glued to the couch and that's ok. For one day, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Why do I try to do this? I don't know. I decided that if she could make it four hours, I should try every three hours and then she'll never have to cry to eat, and maybe she'll "tank up" during the day and be less hungry at night. This hypothesis lasted one day where she spit up more and didn't seem sleepy at night at all. I remembered that she knows better than I when she's hungry and to be happy for the predictability even if it may be short lived. So, that's where we are now - four hours! She's getting so big!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Cecelia now can roll from back to front, pause and then continue from front to back again. Once she's pirouetting up a storm, I'll take another video of her progress. Right now it's a bit hit or miss. Last night was the first time I saw a complete, albeit hesitant 360, but Jeff said she did this last week already. Sheesh, I take one shower and I miss all the good stuff! (I've taken more than one shower, you get my point, right?)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Game 6

Tonight the Phillies return to NY to play an unprecedented game 6. Now, it'll be really unprecedented if they go to 7 games and actually win! What an exciting series it's been!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Age: 16 Weeks


Today I had my first Library Storytime class. I loved seeing all the other kids and I can't wait until I'm cruising like them. The Phillies are still my phavorites and I hope they win the World Series, but I'm proud of them for making it this year. I've rolled from my front to back and back to front now. So...I just have to put them both together. Saturday was my first Halloween and I actually vomited from all the excitement. Not spit up, no no - much more than that. And I didn't even have any candy. Just wait for next year!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Keep the Phaith


The Phillies have one more chance to hold on for dear life. We'll see how the game plays out tonight. We'll be phaithful phans no matter what. Plus, we definitely have the cutest team in Major League Baseball.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blinded by the Light

We've decided that the umps are having a little trouble seeing things straight. Perhaps, they should adjust their caps, like Cecelia. Good luck tonight Phillies! We'll still be phans no matter what.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Phillies 1 Yankees 1


Well, now it's an even playing field...except that tonight, they're playing in Philadelphia! Welcome NY.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let's Go Phillies!

Phillies win game 1 of the World Series! We'll post a picture for each game.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poker Face

Don't give it away with your eyes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sleep PS

To clarify from my sleep post, when I say everyone...I don't mean everyone. It's more interesting to me the complete strangers who ask if she's sleeping through the night. It's reminiscent (sp?) of all the lovely people guessing at how pregnant I was in my liquified state. All friends and family are welcome to ask anything you want without fear of retribution via a blog post. No one was harmed in the making of this post. I love you all!

Age: 15 Weeks



I am 15 weeks old today and the Phillies are going to play the Yankees in the World Series tomorrow! Sorry Uncle Chris...I'm rooting for the Phillies. Put me in coach - I'm ready to play today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sleep

Why is everyone's first (or second) question, "So, is she sleeping through the night?". Does it keep you up at night wondering? My new all-purpose reply is that I'm happy with Cecelia's sleeping. Whether she does or not. Early on I got hung up on helping her establish a routine. I would try to get up with her at about the same time each morning to start our day. Now, when she's willing to sleep in a little, so am I. I figure that while I have time off of work, I should take advantage of this opportunity to sleep in and watch my baby sleep and listen to her breathe and love having her so close. I know that when we're blessed with a second child, Cecelia the toddler/preschooler/whenever we're blessed with said second child probably won't be quite so content to lay down and take a break from play in the early mornings. Some nights, Cecelia will start out in her room, but for the most part, now she goes to sleep when we go to sleep. Or she sleeps in the sling. Put her down and it's a gamble. She might stay asleep...and she might not. And again, we're ok with that. There will be plenty of time for structure. Jeff said something last night that really resonated with me. He told me not to do things because other people think we should. And quite frankly, I don't. But it was really nice to hear him say that and be reminded that we're in this together. And that we're flying by the seat of our pants. Jeff remarks about things like cloth diapers and sleep routines and tells people that it's easy for him to do it this way because he doesn't know any different. I love him for that. For trusting my instincts and going along with me for this wonderful ride called parenthood.

Back to sleep though. One day she'll sleep through the night. And one day it will be on her own. And I know that I'll miss having her closer. So, I'm not rushing to get to that some day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Video Update

I added videos below to the post Ambi Turner.

Grabby


Cecelia's started to grasp onto objects and hold on for a bit. She'd been grabbing at fun things before, like... my hair, and my shirt, but this is the start of grasping onto toys. So, we'll break out that basket and play the days away. The other night, she was laying on her activity gym mat and grabbing at the hanging toys. I made the exciting discovery that her monkey is one of the kinds that pulls down and vibrates back up. I think I was way more excited than she about this. Picture coming soon :)


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thumbs Up

Cecelia has taken to sucking her thumb ...and other fingers - she does not discriminate. While we still use the pacifier, I'm hoping that she'll be able to consistently find those fingers soon and get the same satisfaction from them. Because, well... they're always there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lock It Up

So...I learned my lesson. Finally. Unfortunately. I'll begin at the beginning. Late last week, Friday, Thursday, we got a mailing from our homeowner's association to notify us that there had been car thefts in the surrounding area and to be extra vigilant and make sure to lock your car. Do you see where I'm going with this yet? So, all my life I've been a very trusting person, maybe too trusting. But I liked being that way and believing that people were good. I (used to) leave my car unlocked frequently. Not all the time, but (obviously) more than I should have. So, on Monday morning when I got in my car I noticed that my GPS wasn't in the center console and since Jeff and I share one between our two cars I assumed (and you know what they say about assuming) that he had needed it in his car over the weekend. I had gone in my car to get my sunglasses since it was the first sunny day in what seemed like FOREVER! So, I was terribly annoyed when they weren't where I thought they had been. Hmmm, so I searched through my bag, searched through the house, etc, assuming (again) that I had misplaced them. Baby brain and all. The next morning, Tuesday, I went in my car and some granola bar wrappers that had been in a compartment were strewn about the floor of the passenger side seat and I thought huh - I didn't do that! Then it clicked. My sunglasses, GPS, and as I quickly realized, Ipod were all gone. For good. Because I was dumb. And didn't lock my car. I did a frantic inventory of other items in the car and was relieved that nothing else was missing. Of all the things that were taken, I was still most annoyed about the sunglasses. So, I learned my lesson. Finally. I promise.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Age: 14 Weeks


Can you believe it? I'm 14 weeks old today and Halloween is just around the corner! Too bad I'm not quite ready for candy yet. The weather got really cold last week, but today is actually getting warm and tomorrow is supposed to be really nice. I'm cheering for the Phillies too - I hope they make it into the World Series!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ambi Turner

Cecelia can roll from her belly to her back in both directions. Unless her arm/shoulder is in the way. What a talented little lady we have!









Saturday, October 17, 2009

Groupies

In the area, there are many mom's groups. I am already involved in two such groups with specific goals in mind. LaLeche League for breastfeeding support and a local DFB group for support with elimination communication. There are also more general groups for area moms to gather together so kids can play and moms can talk. Some are free and some incur a fee for materials, organizational needs, and room rentals fees. I went to a "trial" meeting of one such pay-group yesterday. Before I continue, please understand that I see nothing wrong with these groups, I'm just not sure they're right for me and i wish to elaborate on why I feel that way. At the meeting yesterday, I met a lot of really nice people and I'm glad that I did. In fact, I'm planning to walk on occasion with one of the other moms who also lives off the trail, so am I cheating? Picking up friends for free? I hope not. I think it's important for Stay At Home Moms (SAHM) to build a network of others in the same situation and seek support. I also think it's tough to do that when you're new to an area and these groups offer a great service for just that. I will be a SAHM, but only for this first year and then it's back to work for me. My husband, Jeff, will then be a SAHD, but he'll still work around my work. It kind of bothers me that there are all these "mom's groups," but no "parent's groups," or even groups for stay at home dads. Or, I should say - none that I have been made aware of. Parenting is a tricky business and there are a lot of different theories on the "right" way to do it. Being able to meet with people that I know share some of my ideas makes it a little more comfortable to ask questions pertinent to our situation, whereas meeting in a general group, I felt a little guarded. I didn't want to make waves or talk about something that might upset someone else. Silly, since I'll write about it all here - but if you're reading this, I hope you understand that everyone makes their own decisions about what's right for their families and I know that I don't have it all figured out and probably never will, but first impressions...they can be tricky. So, of the three groups I looked into, there is one that is free (which makes the decision all that much easier in my opinion!): BuxMont Mommies. On this site, there are localized groups within the Bucks and Montgomery County areas and discussions on all different topics. There is a calendar with different events that members can add more events to invite others. I haven't actually done any of these events yet, so I guess I shouldn't proclaim its greatness just yet, but...it's free, so you can't really go wrong there. It's still a "mommies" group, but I know the world will catch up soon to be more inclusive of the daddies out there who want their kids to play too :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shotty

Yesterday, Cecelia went to the doctors office for her 3 month shots. What 3 month shots, you say? Well, the way we've chosen to deal with shots is to space them out in an alternative schedule. After researching and reading both popular vaccine books - one by Dr. Bob Sears and one by Dr. Paul Offitt, this was the determination we came to. Cecelia is receiving all of the AAP recommended shots, but just a little more spread out. So instead of getting 4 shots at a time, she gets 2. This increases the number of times we go to the doctors, but since I'm home from work for the time being, this is perfectly feasible for us. Now, while it's all fine and well for some people to choose not to get certain vaccinations, you still need to prove you got them or have a medical reasoning in order to register for school. Some people avoid this by home schooling or choosing a private school where this is not a requirement, but that's not the route we plan to go. Many people assume that the reason we're spacing out the vaccinations has to do with autism. Now so, well not exactly anyway. Thimerasol, a preservative which is believed to have *possibly* played a role in autism diagnoses is no longer an ingredient in any of the childhood vaccines. It is still (somewhat shockingly) present in the flu vaccine. Go figure. For us, GBS is the side effect we'd like to avoid. And it's a side effect listed in black and white on the product inserts for most of the childhood vaccines. With all of the swine flu vaccine debates, it's interesting to hear GBS being downplayed so much having witnessed its effects firsthand. But I digress. By spreading out the vaccines, are we eliminating the worry of a GBS side effect? Not exactly, but it can't hurt. And if there is a reaction, we should be able to pinpoint more easily which vaccine was responsible. Hopefully, that will never be a question. Aluminum is another cause for concern. It is an ingredient in many of the vaccines as well. I now avoid it in deodorant, so why would we inject it in our daughter? Because there aren't many other choices. But, by spacing out the shots, the amount of aluminum in one day is lessened. Are we doing the right thing? I don't know. I do know that we're trying...to do the right thing. Only time will tell. I have a chart outlining information from Dr. Sears' "The Vaccine Book" including which vaccines have a GBS side effect listed, how much aluminum is in each shot, the alternative schedule, and some tips to boost your kid's immunity in the days preceding a shot day. If you are interested in this information, contact me and I will send it to you. On a side note, after having read both Dr. Sears and Dr. Offitt, the difference was amazing to me. It seemed like Dr. Offitt was trying to dumb the information down and reassure the public. Isn't it interesting that he is also the creator of one of the vaccines? What does he stand to gain? Quite a lot in fact. He mentioned GBS on one page as the rare side effect after the 1976 Swine Flu vaccination and he doesn't say what it does - you'd need to look for more information on your own and how many people do that when presented with something they've never heard before? He doesn't mention it once as a possible side effect for today's vaccinations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends

Cecelia's friend, Dorian, has been in the hospital for close to a month now. He's only a few weeks older than Cecelia and I simply cannot imagine being in the same position that my friend, Janina, is in right now. While we have, unfortunately, had a similar experience when my husband, Jeff, was in the ICU and Moss Rehab for Guillan-Barre Syndrome three years ago, there was a diagnosis and an end in sight. My hope for Dorian, Janina, and her family is for just that - a diagnosis and a course of treatment that will bring about positive results. I was able to visit with Janina on Monday and am amazed by her strength and perspective during this difficult time. She sees that this is part of Dorian's story and I know that it will only be one part of Dorian's story. Colleagues have come together to brainstorm and enact ways to help Dorian and his family during this trying time. If you are interested in learning more about Dorian's story, please visit Janina's Carepage. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, please email me and I'll send ideas that may be pertinent to your situation and/or information on upcoming fundraising events.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Age: 13 Weeks


Today I am 13 weeks old. Like mommy and daddy, I may have had a smidge of my first cold this week and I did NOT like that bulb aspirator coming at my nose, no sirree. The weather's getting a lot colder here in PA. When I was born in July, no one mentioned seasons. The leaves are pretty and all, but I could really do without the cold. Such is life. See you all next week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bum-Bo


I had originally thought you were only supposed to use the bumbo seat once baby is able to sit up, but upon closer inspection of the box, it's once baby can hold his/her head up and Cece's got that down pat. So, today we tried out the Bumbo seat and she LOVES it! And so do I...now she can digest her meals in a seated position without always going right in the sling. Pictures coming soon :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Complete 180

This morning, a little earlier than I would have liked, Cecelia rolled from her stomach onto her back. Twice. Time to get a gate. I'll try to catch this phenomenon on video and post it. Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rocking and (Almost) Rolling

Cecelia's started rocking onto her side from her back to the point that it looks like she's almost ready to roll over. We'll keep you posted of course. On the physical front, Cecelia holds her body erect very well, and when laying on her belly, can pick her head up and look around for a period of time. She also bears weight on her legs, standing up. She loves her daddy so much and thinks he is awesome. (Jeff just added that while I was taking a shower...) So, to sum it all up...she'll be running any day now. Just kidding...sort of.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Age: 12 Weeks


I am getting big. Soon I'll be changing out my ENTIRE wardrobe. Aren't all you ladies jealous? This past weekend, Father Olson made it official - I'm Catholic. My baptism was very interesting. First they rubbed oil on my head, then water, then more oil, but I'm clean now and that's good :) A big, huge thanks to everyone who came to my party. I got to visit with lots of friends and family and was so thankful to be surrounded by so much love. My godmother, Aunt Sheila, pointed out to my mom that she MUST get on the ball and post more often and she's working on it, so stay tuned for more adventures from our house. See you all next week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Age: 11 Weeks


Today I am 11 Weeks old and yesterday I took my first trip to the zoo. I snoozed through most of it but woke up to see the bears and giraffes. I can't wait until I can zoom around the children's zoo like my cousins Nick and Nate and brush the goats. Thank you Nana and Pop-Pop for our zoo membership. Hopefully we'll get back again soon!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adventures in Breastfeeding

I've been thinking about this post for a while now because there is a lot that I would like to include in it. Prior to Cecelia's arrival, I was very committed to breastfeeding (and still am) and wanted to learn as much as I could to ensure a smooth start for she and I. I'd heard many stories of people who couldn't nurse their baby due to latch problems, supply problems, etc. I'd also heard from others that all of these reasons were invalid...that baby can be taught proper latch and that your supply will always meet the demand. Unfortunately for all involved, even with pediatricians and lactation specialists, it seems that there's a lot of conflicting information out there and since you can't see in there, it's still a bit of a mystery as to how much baby needs and how much he/she is getting. With all that in mind, I reassured myself that women have been feeding their children this way for millions of years and I would too. I went to La Leche League meetings prior to baby's arrival and asked questions and listened to and participated in conversation and discussion. I learned about many of the benefits of breastfeeding. Among them: much less expensive (free!), no cleaning of bottles (except for those that you need to pump), no getting up in the middle of the night to warm a bottle (it's the right temperature all the time), better bm's (sorry for those of you that don't want to know about the contents of Cecelia's diapers, but breastfeeding bm's don't smell bad - and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom), not to mention all the developmental benefits attributed to mother's milk. A few more that have come up since my pre-mommy days: breastmilk spit-up doesn't stain, and when baby does spit up (not all do with breastfeeding but mine definitely does) you're not getting aggravated that you spent money on that puddle, and you can do it anywhere, anytime without having to bring anything with you except for yourself. So, back to the meetings. I was informed that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. It will be natural. Babies instinctively crawl towards their mother's breast when born and latch on instantly. I recently read a book "Unbuttoned" and its short stories paint a much more honest picture. I feel that in an effort to convince women to breastfeed, they're told that it won't hurt. But then when it does in the beginning (as it will), they feel (as I did) that they must be doing something wrong. Because it's not supposed to hurt. Or is it? As my body acclimated, it hurt. For about the first 2-3 weeks, it hurt. And my body did get used to it and now it does not hurt. That wasn't me saying that now my body is used to hurting, I'm saying that after approximately that period of time, it doesn't hurt anymore. At all. Is it surprising that most women start out with good intentions and stop within that time frame? In the hospital, I kept pulling the lactation consultant, and anyone else who would watch and give an opinion, into the room to watch my baby and reassure me that her latch was good. I knew all about the flanged lips and the amount of area that should be covered. However, when you're the one attached to the newborn, you can't really see the bottom lip. I should have set up some mirrors. Just kidding. I should back up. When Cecelia arrived, she had to be suctioned because there was a possibility that she had aspirated meconium. After she was suctioned, then she was handed to me and put in place. She took a look around, but wasn't all that interested in chowing down. I wasn't worried. It's nature. She'll get it. Back in the room, she was still rather un-interested in eating. Keep in mind that baby's stomach is the size of a pea, and they really don't need to eat for the first three days or so. I had read this and had to keep reassuring my mother and husband of this - that she was fine, that I was fine, that we would get it. In the back of my mind, however, I knew that I had these lactation consultations as long as I was in the hospital and I wanted them to teach me and Cecelia, hands on. It's one thing for me to do reading and research ahead of time, but nobody told the baby that she had to learn a new skill in order to survive...or else. When I asked the lactation consultants about the pain, she told me to count to 30 and if it was still painful to remove baby and re-latch her. This was helpful. To know that it will hurt when she first starts and then it will feel better. Once I got home, the visiting nurse watched her latch and asked if her jaw was moving just so...I don't know! She asked if I felt a tingling sensation. I didn't. She had lost weight, I was doubting myself. Later that day, I got shaky, chills and a fever. Something else that was never mentioned to me before. After researching in one of my many books under fever, I found out that this was a sign my milk was coming in. And did it ever! Another ouch. Cabbage leaves. That's all - use cabbage leaves. It will feel much better. This is all still part of those first 2-3 weeks. I was also told in advance that there should be no cracking or bleeding. Well, sometimes your body has to scab to toughen up and that's natural. It shouldn't continue that way, but it happened to me on one side, so I started to pump on that side and feed on the other since my daughter was mutilating me, I thought that would be the best way to heal. And it worked. It also probably increased my supply unnecessarily but what did I know. So, word to the wise - if you pump in addition to nursing a living baby, you'll continue to produce extra. Be careful. I like to plan ahead, so my thought was that I would pump and store now for later. Another stellar idea. Pumping so early on showed me just how little was coming out. Now, pumping is easy, but since Cecelia's "schedule" is still erratic, I always worry that I'm going to pump, and then she'll want to eat shortly after and my gas gauge will be on E. It's not an exact science. It's also (still) not an exact science to know how much she'll need to eat. I try to leave pumped bottles with the amount a formula fed baby would eat around the same age. Each time I've left her with a bottle, she sucks it down in no time flat with a frighteningly fast guzzle, leaving me wondering if she needs more. Who knows. I know that each time she's been left with a bottle, she ate it, and seemed satisfied. On the topic of how much...as I've mentioned in previous posts and even earlier in this one, Cecelia's a spitter. And sometimes it sure seems like A LOT! Which leads me to wonder, did she get anything? I'm reassured that babies spit up, and they'll get what they need. Which leads me to wonder, did I feed her too long? It's all a big mommy blame game. And that's probably the most natural thing of all - to blame yourself and question yourself. Fun. I tried lots of things to establish how much baby needed. Ahead of time, I knew to follow baby's lead, feed on demand, ignore the clock. So what did I do? Use a timer...religiously. To see how long she was eating on each side, how often she was eating, when her diaper was changed, when she was sleeping, how long since she burped. Talk about driving yourself nuts. I've more recently tried to relax. The fact that I have to try to relax is very telling, isn't it? Also, in the hospital and in much of my reading, I was instructed to "burp and switch". Which means, start on one side until baby stops, burp, and switch to the other side. In an effort to curb the spit up, I've started to feed on one side, burp, and at the next feeding, feed on the other side. Cecelia takes all these experiments in stride. She eats. She's growing. She's doing great. And onto logistics. Breastfeeding can seem like a logistical nightmare. Prior to d day, I became obsessed with finding good nursing clothes. In other words, clothing that could be positioned just so to get out what we needed and leave the rest covered up. Old Navy has some nursing tops, but I also would search out clothing with necklines that could just be tugged to one side. Another tip that was mentioned at a LLLI meeting - ribbed tanks (more commonly known as wife beaters). Get some, cut out the key area, and wear them under any old shirt. Then, you can pull up your "over" shirt, and you're still covered by the "under" shirt. I also have a nursing cover which is really more like an apron. While this helps in keeping modest, it can be tricky to attach baby and stay modest. I've also heard from moms of older babies that baby will often not cooperate with this and yank it to the side, defeating the purpose. Fortunately though, I'm not shy. I'll nurse just about anywhere. I've already nursed in stores, parks, restaurants, parties, etc. When I mentioned to a friend about being comfortable, she thought I mean emotionally comfortable, but I meant physically comfortable. I like to have somewhere to sit down and relax. If possible. Though before, my goal was to find a sling that I could nurse in comfortably, allowing me to walk, and use my hands. I couldn't. I tried slings that I should be able to nurse in, but it just didn't line up right. I used my Ergo Carrier for that purpose, but I still had to support everything to keep the flow going to its destination. I haven't given up, but I've relaxed about that too.

So, to sum it all up - it's not easy or joyous at first, but it will be. And it will be worth it. You'll never know how much your baby is getting. But they're getting enough. And...life will never be the same again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Age: 10 Weeks


On Tuesday, I was 10 weeks old. I spent this past extended weekend down the shore...again! This weekend's weather was, surprisingly, much improved. I got to the beach three days and I didn't blow away once!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Windy Weather


For our first trip to Sea Isle City, I had high hopes for getting Cecelia on the beach. On our first full day, it was very sunny and, as we soon found out, very windy. Jeff went down to the beach to set up the umbrella and chairs. I brought Cecelia down and we set up the Pea Pod, a mini tent which would, in theory, keep the sand and sun off of our baby girl. As I set it up, the "door" was facing the wind so when we put Cece inside, the sand came in too. Then, we tried to move the tent while on the blanket under the umbrella's full shade. As we slid everything over, it lifted off the ground, and we decided maybe not today. The rest of the week, it was not only windy, but also cold and rainy. This vacation was relaxing, but not beach-worthy. We're headed back for take two this weekend. Hopefully we'll have better luck. We did discover that when exposed to windy weather, Cecelia gasps audibly as if trying to swallow it all. It was very cute, so we kept taking her into the wind to hear it. Is that cruel?