Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy 7-month birthday, Madeleine!

Dear Madeleine,

This month was just the BEST yet. Our lives aren't perfect, but we are content in our roles as parents and are enjoying every moment of this journey. I feel like we are really getting ourselves on the same wavelength (you and us, as your parents)as far as how everything goes with us day-to-day. I feel like you are less of a little baby and more my little buddy or sidekick! Month seven brought a lot of changes for us.

This picture was at the beginning of one of our best days together, the first week of your seventh month, and I just knew this month was going to be a good one. We'd cuddled and had (your) breakfast in bed, and then we went out to the backyard to watch the sprinkler. You are still in your PJs. We've only done it once or twice, but this particular morning it was so cool and lovely outside. The day went on to include fun playtimes and solid naps, so I tried to just savor every minute.
We've already established that your seventh month was a big one, going to Cleburne to say goodbye to Pop, a visit to the splash pad, your first overnight away from Mom and Dad, celebrating Mother's Day and AJ's graduation...the list goes on.

As far as our day-to-day though, you continue to grow so fast! Here are some "M" adjectives to describe your life right now.

Maturing - We went down to four feedings/day the weekend you turned six months. I should say four milk feedings and three baby food feedings. I still breastfeed you in the morning, that is such a special, relaxing time for us, but the other three feedings are pumped bottles. I started doing this just to make sure you were getting enough milk when we dropped a feeding, but now it is just easier! This has really allowed us to maximize our days and get your down to two naps as well (sometimes you still take a little catnap in the evening, but you really just have a solid morning nap and solid afternoon nap.) Your naps are now drama-free! Praise God! No more screaming all the way through. I don't know if it was your reflux, teeth, just fighting sleep or what, but once you began your seventh month, you got it! Your naps aren't really consistent in length; your AM nap is anywhere from 45 min-2 hours, and your PM nap is anywhere from 1 hour to over 3 hours! One thing about feeding you do not like is your bib, and this has birthed yet another song in our house. "The Bib Stays On" to the tune of the 1985 Glenn Frey classic "The Heat is On."

"The bib stays on. The bib stays o-on. The bib stays on. When we eat."

I think God blesses parents with the sudden ability to be songwriters.
This is what happens when you take your bib off. You also looooove that sippy cup.

Multiloquent - You are such a talker. Sometimes you will talk for up to an hour as you are falling asleep, so sweetly in your bed. You also talk when you wake up. That allows Daddy and I some time to get up (on the weekends, if we haven't already) or finish up whatever we were doing during your nap. I wish we knew what you were saying! Soon enough.

Mobile - Almost! You are so close to crawling! I am not in any hurry for you to be crawling, but I think our days of having a stationary baby are numbered. You definitely can move around - you scoot on your tummy or roll to get wherever you want to go. You are currently getting on your hands and knees to rock back and forth.

We also have to give you a toy to distract you and keep you on your back during diaper changes or else you will flip right to your tummy.
You are starting to prefer your tummy, period, and you sleep on your tummy or your side like your Mommy.

Side note - no you still aren't taking pacis, I just put these in your crib for you to play with/suck on if you were interested. No such luck.

Merry - I think my favorite part of this month (besides you not screaming through your naps) has been watching your sense of humor develop. You are starting to notice the little incongruities of life and they make you laugh, like:

- when we chew on your toes
- when we sneak up on you
- when you knock over your tower-stacked cups
- when we blow in your face
- when you see mommy through your crib slats
- when I sing and dance for you
- when one of the cats runs through the room
- when you get tickled

In general, you are a really happy baby and we are blessed by that. Here's a video of me getting you out of bed in the morning.

Mimicking - For the first time last week, you did what another baby did. Ashton stayed here while Miss Tiffany ran an errand. He was sad to see her go, so he started bawling. You watched him for a minute, figured there must be something terribly wrong, so you bawled too. Y'all just sat there, crying, for about ten minutes. I tried to capture it, but the second the camera came out, you both just looked at me like "why on earth would she be taking a picture?" You also wanted your cup when Ashton had his cup. Hilarious.

Meticulous - You are really starting to explore and pay close attention to the world around you. You will play with hair, mouths, jewelry and noses while we hold you, and you will finger every ribbon on your taggy book as you are falling asleep.
You also have a consistent sleeptime ritual in your crib. You love to cover your face with your lambie love and kick those legs.

Massive - You are growing, girl. You were 17 lbs. 11 oz. at your six-month check up, but I think you are at 20 lbs. now, based on weighing you at home. You are no longer content to lay in your baby car seat while it's in the stroller. Many times you prop yourself up, like you did here, at the zoo. This picture of you and your dad from the back just makes me laugh. You were so anxious to see what he was looking at...and here are just a couple other fun pictures from our visit.

You may notice you are wearing your onesies your Aunt Liz made for you for Christmas in a lot of the pics. She made you one with a sun, one with a panda, one with some hedgehogs (or porcupines?) and one with some dinosaurs. You wear these out (cause they are comfy and I know you will grow out of them soon!) Oftentimes I don't really put you in an outfit when we are out and about. Sorry, love. You are comfy in a onesie, and I am fine with that!

Here's what I predict for month eight: crawling, your top teeth (you were quite fussy today - the teething fussy kind!) and unfortunately, separation anxiety. You are still such a good independent player, but you have started noticing more and more when Mommy and Daddy are around or not around (especially at naptime!)

Time will tell - we love you sweet girl.


Monday, May 16, 2011

A smattering of random, recent things

We've had a few other things going on in the past couple of weeks that I wanted to document - some very random and disconnected, but they go along with day-to-day vignettes of and celebrations in our lives at this time!

We had our first ladies' night out at Tasti-D-Lite for our new Sunday Bible Study class, Inside Out. It was bittersweet because of course we missed our old Veritas friends, but it was fun to have everyone around one table and really have a small enough group to talk to everyone. I look forward to many more in the future!

We had Madeleine's six-month appointment and six-month pictures. My how time flies! She was 82% in weight at 17lbs. 11 oz., 96% in height at 27 1/2 inches and 52% for head circumference. Dr. Koush was thrilled with her development - that sweet girl "talked" to her the entire time!

We went to the MD Anderson Benefit at Minute Maid Park. It was so much fun, and it was such a treat to enjoy a gourmet dinner in centerfield! The funniest thing happened though, our sweet and conscientious babysitter locked herself (and Madeleine!) out of the house! Our front door can be very tricky, and we are the crazies who didn't have a spare anywhere! Poor Cason had to come home and let them in. They were at our next door neighbor's house and sweet Madeleine was just ready for her bedtime bottle, a diaper change and her bedtime! We all had a good laugh about it, and Cason didn't miss out on one course of the yummy food! Linnet's friends Eduardo and Cecilia were at the dinner having just flown in from Mexico. They brought Madeleine a pair of maracas, so at least she got some toys out of the deal. :)

Madeleine had her first trip to a splash pad! She loved playing in the water with the big kids, and she wasn't scared at all. I am so excited for us to enjoy the water together during this hot, Houston summer.

Have you ever dealt with fruit flies? Ugh they are relentless. At least they aren't harmful like mosquitos, but they are just there...hovering around. I don't know how we got them, but thankfully they are gone. I had to look online for how to make traps. I made two with this basic design - a little apple cider vinegar for bait then a tricky top so they can't figure out how to escape. Blech.

On another homeowner note, we got new insulation blown in our attic. We just had the original stuff from oh...1963 and it was down to about three inches - regulation is ten! Anyway, we'd been putting it off because during other Houston summers, we both worked all day so we just let the thermostat get up to 82 or so. The trees have also done a decent job for us. Now that I'm home and we figured we'd probably have to do it before we ever sell our house, we thought now was as good of a time as any. Along the way, we discovered a roll of crazy 60s carpet in the attic - maybe the original to our house? Also, I thought I lost Winston while the guys were blowing in the insulation and the front door was open for an hour. The cats usually hide when new people come, so I don't worry about putting them away somewhere. Well, I found Theodore in his hiding spot, but I could not find Winston. All our bedrooms were closed, as well as closets. Y'all, our house is not big. I was convinced he'd run off. After the guys left, I just knew that if he was in the house, he would come out, especially if I shook his treat bag. No Winston. Madeleine and I went up and down the street, I called for him, she cooed and we shook his treat bag - looking so silly. Well eventually I called my dad (who was in Mexico) to ask him what to do. As we were talking, Winston just walked in the kitchen. I am still baffled as to where that crazy cat was. Sheesh.
It rained!! Madeleine has not seen much rain in her little lifetime. Who would've thought that Houston would be in a drought? (Um, not us since we picked this spring to re-sod the front yard. Worst rainfall since 1915. Perfect.)

This past weekend Julianne graduated from Baylor!! We were so proud to go and celebrate this milestone with her. She majored in marketing and minored in graphic design. She's come back to Houston to work for Waste Management again (she had an internship last summer) and we are thrilled she is back! Madeleine provided the pre-ceremony entertainment, but her dad pushed her in the hallway of the Ferrell Center during most of the ceremony. That's what they get for scheduling graduation during naptime. Also her Nana came to the house for a quick visit on the way back from Beaumont - her Aunt Heather graduated with her master's from Lamar University on the same day!

And...what a difference 5 years makes!

Metrodash and Giving the Baby Away for Mothers' Day

Okay, well I had Madeleine on technical Mother's Day, but during the beginning part of the weekend, she had her first overnight away from her parents!

Friday night we dropped her off at the Galleria/my dad's office - put her in the back of his car and said "have fun in Cypress!" We just knew she would! We went to see Water for Elephants (I had just finished the book - my favorite time to see a movie!) and then we had wine and cheese and crackers on our patio under the Christmas lights.

Saturday we woke up for METRODASH! My friend Erin got us all organized - there was one girls' team, a team of our husbands and one more team of guys. Oh boy, was this hard! It was such an amazing accomplishment to finish this as a team, and the girls did all the same obstacles as the guys! The only difference was that we had to flip tractor tires a shorter distance, but only about the diameter of one tire. All the heights were the same and all the weights were the same. We had lots of friends and kiddos cheering us on, and we sure needed it! I think it was 1.2 miles of obstacles, and we finished in about 19 minutes. Our whole goal was to complete each obstacle - if you try it twice and cannot do it your whole team has to do burpees! No burpees for our team - hooray!

It was so much fun! We then drove out to Cypress to get our sweet baby girl - she seemed to have had such a terrible time, as you can see in this picture - it's a rough life napping in the hammock. We missed her like crazy.

I was so blessed to be celebrated on Mother's Day - it sure was surreal. I mean, I very much identify myself with the role of being Madeleine's mommy and the all-encompassing job that it is, but it was still weird to get Mother's Day cards, flowers from Cason, etc. It truly is the best job in the world, and I love my little girl so much!