Good, Good, Good, Good Intentions

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We have all heard the phrase, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

There are some days when I feel like that phrase is talking about me. I have so many ideas…intend to do so many things. And yes, they are all good and all positive things. Fold the laundry. Meal-plan (healthfully, at that). Clean the kitchen floors weekly. Plant things in my yard. Blog (!). Have regular quiet times (guilty). EXERCISE. I even intend and think about how I’d like to be in more regular/constant prayer for my family, friends, and those that are hurting.

But it (oftentimes) doesn’t happen.

I feel like I am my own worst enemy at doing better. Being more—“All things to all people.” Um, something like that.

I am late, forget to send emails and put things in the dryer, seem to always be low on groceries, or realize a week has passed and I still haven’t done ____ that I told so-and-so I would do. And Mommydom? Yipes. I am terrified that when Juliette gets older and starts depending on me for knowledge, I will absolutely blow it. What if I forget to tell her about Michael Jackson? Or the concept of dialing a rotary phone? Will she always be the kid whose mom forgot it was Abraham Lincoln Day or whatever (unfortunately, she has already been the baby at day care whose mom forgot the Lindenwood onesie for the baby class photo. yes, there were tears involved [mine])?

Instead of beating myself up anymore…I want to confess it. I AM INADEQUATE. I cannot do this on my own, in my own way. I am deficient. I need grace. I need Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit to walk with me, and teach me and guide my steps.

If nothing else, feeling this way is a good reminder that this world is not our home. And despite its many beauties and blessings, that makes me glad.

SIX months old (a week-ish late)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

(warning: photo-heavy mommy post)

Baby Jules,

Look at you, my big girl!

"who you callin Baby?"

You are officially no longer considered an "infant" (at least, I don't think so).

This month you really got to feeling much better...back to the [6-month] version of your "old self."

You started sleeping through the night again, all the the end of the month from about 7-7. And you are ASLEEP at 7 p.m. When you're ready to go to sleep, you make it adorably obvious by rubbing the heck out of your little eyes. And you do not want to fall asleep in our arms or couch or any of that. You want to be wrapped up in your own bed. Cutie pie.

We started solid foods this month. I weaned you from that post-hospital middle-of-the-night feeding, but you wouldn't take in any more oz. during the were still waking up a little early ready to eat, so we tried some rice cereal. You didn't love it at first...way more interested in the spoon than the food.

But then you got pretty into it (not the rice cereal necessarily, but eating in general). So far, you've HATED avocado and peas and you LOVE (and I mean LOVE) bananas and sweet potatoes.

You don't realize this now, little missy, but it takes a lot for Mommy to feed you bananas, as they are probably the only food in this world she refuses to eat. Only for you!

We also gave you a sippy cup (with water) this month for the first time. You still haven't quite figured it out, but you are definitely interested in it, as you are in ALL cups around you. Mommy has to watch herself while holding you and trying to take a sip of something.

You also moved up to 8 oz. bottles of milk during the day, and can go 4 hours in between (sort of; see below). You nurse around 7 am, have bottles around 11 and 3; then when Mommy gets home from work, that's when our 1.5 hour "feeding frenzy" starts. You nurse around 5:30, eat solids around 6-6:15, take your bath, and then nurse AGAIN before going to sleep at 7. It's quite impressive.

You've gotten into a better nap routine too, usually about 1-1.5 hrs in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. You love being in your bed! After you are swaddled up (yes, still) and get your paci, you turn your head as far to the left as you can, signaling, "Ok, that's all I needed, you may go now!"  It's pretty funny.

At your 6 month check-up, you weighed in at 17 lb 6 oz (75th percentile), and were 27.5" long (95th-97th percentile). You head circumference was still at 50th (can't remember the inches)...the same % from your 4 month check-up! Still our [miniature] tall drink of water!

(look at those little feet!)

We just cannot get enough of your sweet expressions, your babblings, your INTEREST in everything around's all so fascinating and wonderful to watch.

You wear 6-9/6-12 m clothes, and still size 3 diapers.  No teeth yet, although Dr. Bubba said your bottom gums were "thickening" still love to put everything in your mouth, and will have a finger, hand, shirt, blanket, toy, whatever lodged in there if not a paci. You're still loving your paci at bedtime, and also just when hanging out awake sometimes (but you don't really have to have it when awake).

Your little hair has grown on top so much, and I can even put a tiny little bow in it!

(this is one of our favorite pictures taken of you to date. This beautiful dress was a gift from Mommy's sweet friend Becky, and you looked like such a little lady wearing it. You wore it your first Sunday back to church since being sick.)

The "trick" you've perfected this month is rolling from back to front. Right after turning 5 months, for a week or two, you'd get so so close and not be able to get your other arm up. But now you can do it like a champ, and you love to play under your play mat and roll all over the place.

(sorry, this is my best shot of it)

You love playing on your play mat, and do a great job of playing with toys by yourself (as long as you know where we are).  You're really close to being able to sit up on your own, but you'd really rather stand up (with assistance, of course). You eventually straighten your legs out when we try to practice sitting, in an effort to stand. Ha.

I'm pretty sure you threw your first temper tantrum this month. Ha ha ha! I was trying to feed you some bananas or something, and you wanted to hold the spoon. I let you hold it for a minute and then tried to take it back to get another bite loaded on. You immediately started crying. It was hilarious. As soon as I gave the spoon back, you stopped. You haven't done that since, but it was so interesting to see you exert your little WILL.

You were saying, GIMME. THAT. PHONE!

You're one lucky little girl to have so many fun and wonderful people taking care of you during the week: Nana, Aunt Martha, Aunt Jamie, "Dede," "Aunt" Cindi, "Aunt" Jenny, and even Grammy a few times! You've been still staying home from day care this month...I know your teachers and your friends miss you!

Does your hair even look a little blonde here? What in the world?

Oh little precious, we just can't stand it how much we love you! We are so thankful that you are WELL and healthy and haven't had so much as one sniffle since we've been home!

We love to take you for walks whenever possible (in this mild winter of ours) just chill out, are very quiet, and really enjoy being outside. You also love looking out the big window in our dining room, and are growing more and more interested in our kitty cat by the day.

(sleep-induced sometimes wiggle yourself to the top corner of your crib)

Sprouty, Little Sprout, Cute Baby, Drool-iette, Jewel Jule...we love you so much! 

We love watching you grow!

(aren't you glad Mommy got Diptic? hehe)

As a mommy, this is the first month of Juliette's life when looking back at photos or thinking about her birth and it really doesn't seem like just last week. This new life of ours is growing some legs and becoming the Way Things Are. And I like it.

The End.

Tiny Valentine

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

She's cute, yes?

Today You Get a Pat on the Black

Friday, February 10, 2012

My friend at work was wearing this color the other day--"Pat on the Black"-- and I just loved it. It's dark with the perfect amount of red in it...not too maroon. And thrilled was I to discover it was Sally Hansen, sold at my neighborhood Target.

Just doing my part on the internet. 

You're welcome!

related: You may or may not recall my request for recommendations on navy blue nail polish?  Indirectly but through blogland, I found one that looks promising, Bobbing for Baubles by Essie...but as they do not sell it at my neighborhood Target, I have yet to acquire and try. Butbutbut there's always Amazon. Oui, something perhaps for another week's allowance. Good Friday to you.

Baby Gear: A Top 10

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Since it's been almost HALF A YEAR (#whatintheworld) since this baby of ours has walked the earth (figuratively of course), I thought I'd weigh in on the ever-fun subject of Baby Gear (further solidifying sharpstickintheeye's classification as a mommy blog. sorry).

When registering late last spring, I emailed several friends with young tots for their opinions and was gratefully armed with recommendations galore. It was very generous and welcomed, as I'm not a big reviews-reader. (Well. that's not true. I like to read 'em but I never know which reviewer to believe?). Besides the basic baby items (we have / have loved the Chicco Keyfit carseat, Bob stroller, Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat), here are some other items we've been depending on so far during this sweet baby's life (plus some non-essential sundries we've loved, sprinkled in).

Below you will find a list of what I'd send you if you were to email me with, "What in the heck am I supposed to get for this baby? Do you really need all this crap?" 

At the very least, if you're a non-mama/mama-to-be, consider this a fountain of suggestions for baby shower gifts, should you ever need one.

1. Quick-Zip Crib Sheets plus 3 top sheets. Originally recommended by my dearest Erin in her guest post last year, and she was not lying about their awesomeness. These are my number one item recommendation! It is SO easy to change the crib sheet! More than once has Juliette spit up in her bed (she can really psych a mama out, ok?), and each & every time, I am so relieved that a clean sheet is just a few zips away.

2.  Waterproof Changing Pads, these or these. My friend Courtney told me about these and I absolutely LOVE them. I keep one on top of her changing table pad at all times. In case of accidents, this little beauty catches the mess and doesn't mess up the changing cover. Either I was formerly awful at changing diapers, or Juliette was quick on the draw (probably both of these), but some days when she was itty bitty, we'd go through these things like water. I probably have 8-10 of them and it wasn't too many.

I also keep one underneath her crib sheet so if she spits up in her bed, it doesn't get the mattress pad under the sheet wet (I know, I'm probably a genius).

3. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. Juliette was a summer baby, so these were perfect for keeping her brand-new self wrapped up but not too hot. But even in the colder weather, we've used them a ton. They're nice and large, stretchy and soft. There are so many pretty patterns too! (If I had extra cash money to dispose of, I'd buy these or these. So pretty!) We have 8 total, and it hasn't been too many.

And as we learned from our instructional DVD (forthcoming below), Juliette loves (yes, still) being swaddled...but she could escape from one of these by itself. So this blanket makes the perfect first layer of swaddle. Which brings me to...

4. SwaddleMe Blanket. This over the Aden + Anais is almost inescapable (but I still have to wrap that little escape artist pretty tightly). I've found this one easy to maneuver and washes well. (Also I actually like the organic one better than regular. It really is softer and more stretchy.)  The fleece has been great for winter.

5. What to Expect Baby Tracker iPhone App (free!). HOW MANY TIMES I have seen this screen, I do not know. Juliette's every move was tracked within this app during the first (ahem, 4) months of her life.

I was, admittedly, [more than] a bit obsessive about it...but there was some strange sort of comfort at the beginning, when things were so crazy, in knowing that the information was being recorded somewhere. Like it counted for something. Plus, that first week or two, you actually do need to track how many wet/dirty diapers they have, how much they're eating, sleeping, etc., which side they nursed from last. After the first few weeks, I just liked being able to look back at the patterns she was developing.

6. Any type of Kimono Onesie (for the very tiny bebe). We don't have this particular one, but we did have several of them, and I'd wished we had more. I guess we were skittish new parents or something...but when she was very brand-new, Jonathan & I both were glad when we didn't have to mess with putting anything over her head.

7. Sophie le Giraffe (that's my made-up name for her...everyone knows it's la Girafe...hehe). The 50-year-old French chew toy is a definite Juliette favorite (and Mommy & Daddy favorite too, for some reason). Here she is with her love:

{if you want to do a little more reading about Sophie, here's an article I found about her sort-of recent popularity.} Yes, it seems like a bit silly of a price for a chew toy. But Jules loves her a lotlotlot. I like seeing her little face too. During maternity leave, I was watching Three Men and a Baby from 1990, and Tom Selleck definitely buys Baby Mary a Sophie from a New York street vendor...watching the movie by myself, I definitely shrieked, "Sophie!"

8. I don't know if this really qualifies as "gear" per se, but we're crediting the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD for saving our sleeping lives. I'd read most of the book before Juliette was born, but when we (yes, both of us) FINALLY sat down to watch the DVD when she was 4.5 weeks old, something just clicked. Seeing the wacky Dr. Harvey demonstrate "the 5 S's" was a lot more effective than reading about it. Not only that, but it also afforded Jonathan some expertise and skills at a point when it seemed like this nursing mommy was baby's only soother.

Before watching the DVD, we thought Juliette didn't like to be swaddled, as she would fuss pretty good during the wrapping process. But when we really actually did it, just like Dr. Harvey told us to (after some google searches on my part such as "what if my baby is the only baby in the world who doesn't like to be swaddled"), it worked like magic. I'm not at all saying this would happen for every baby...but when we finally started swaddling Juliette, she started sleeping through the night (classified as 11 pm ish - 5-6 a.m. ish). Don't get me started on trying to break her from her swaddle habit...the jury is still out and I have no clue what we we will do. BUT, hospital stay + aftermath notwithstanding, I do have a baby who has generally slept 10-12 hours/night since she was very very young, and I'm going to go ahead and credit the swaddling (although there is probably a large amount of temperament and luck involved). Sorry if that got soapbox-y!

9.  Bright Starts Lots of Links. Luckily, everyone is smarter than me. I was a weirdo and didn't register for any toys (or any feeding apparatus beyond bottles...dummy, for sure). This didn't deter several sweet people from giving us packages of these links! We received several, and they've been wonderful!

This item is probably obvious to the wiser mamas out there...but I did not know. These are probably the first toy that Juliette could grasp and see. I was so excited when she finally started reaching for them and looking at them. Now of course, she's putting them in her mouth and pulling them apart and waving them around like a bird. They're great in the car seat, on the play mat, or when she's getting her diaper changed.

10. These bibs from Babies R Us. This is a pretty utilitarian addition to the list, but I loved these bibs especially when Jules was spanking new. They were the perfect size for a tiny baby, easy to put on, easy to wash, and there were lots of 'em. (Thanks, Meredith!)

  I hope you had some sort of hot drink and/or fruit snacks while you read that (as I did while writing). I'm glad to say there hasn't really been anything we registered for that I wish I'd chosen differently.

What would YOU add to this list? What have been your favorite few baby gear items? Or, for the non-mamas, what's your go-to shower gift that's an instant success every time (if you don't mind sharing)?

Where's Winter?

Friday, February 03, 2012

So the Groundhog yesterday predicted we'd have six more weeks of winter. Does he mean six more weeks of this faux-spring we've been having? I haven't worn a real coat since I don't know when.

On the one hand, it's been nice to not have to stress over have-I-bundled-up-the-baby-enough...on the other hand, I like winter (well, at least the brand we get in Memphis). I like fires and soup and tea and blankets and scarves and coats and the rare snow. It's been sort of unsettling to see nothing but 50s and 60s in the forecast these last few weeks in JANUARY. Even 68 and sunny this week! What, do we live in San Diego now? I don't get it.

Meanwhile, Juliette has been having some fun with her Daddy (he's had a less-busy week this week, which has been amazingggg).

Look at my girl flapping her arms in excitement, with her handsome Daddy.  Bottom right, I spy an ankle sock and an Elvis bib (thanks, Carrie).

In some of these photos, she is wearing her friend Evangelin's grey skinny jeans. OHEMGEE
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