Thursday, January 24

Our days

We've been sticking around the house this week as much as possible to try to get a feel for a new nap schedule. Well, it's not working too well! I've come to the conclusion that since she is no longer co-sleeping (which she has done since the day she was born), she is missing out on high-quality mommy "touch" time. And now that we no longer are co-sleeping, she is craving more mommy "touch" time- which would be the reason she refuses to let me (but not her daddy) put her down to sleep for a nap. I have many other theories but this is the only one that sort of makes sense! So this week we've spent a lot of time together- I hold her a lot, sling her in stores (usually she goes in the shopping cart), and spend a lot of time nursing on demand. I've noticed her nursing sessions last a little longer now, too. Today we napped together in my bed (co-sleeping? maybe.) and I let her take her second nap on me while I watched some T.V. I'm just afraid to try to lay her down because she immediately wakes up and refuses to go back down, which makes us both cranky. I've decided my sanity is worth it!

I've also come to realize that my life, from here on out, will be lived in phases. I no longer care for only myself- I care for Beth (and hopefully, God-willing, many more babies!) and children live in phases, right? That's what "the books" say, lol. So right now, she's in a "bad nap" phase. But next month, it'll be a different phase, and after that it'll be something else, and- as Yule Brenner might say- "etcetera etcetera etcetera". Phases-and letting go of planning my life- it's a new concept for me. Everyone knows about my love affair with my day planner. I'm learning to let go of some things, catching myself when I'm feeling too worked up, and giving things that are obviously out of my control to God. It's a good feeling, sort of cleansing. Now I just need to go to confession and make it official!

Here are those re-birthday pictures I promised! I want to post a video of Ryan dancing with Beth, but I don't know if he'll go for it!
Yay! Fire!
Learning to use a spoon...
...Not very well, apparently!
Dancing with Daddy!

Tuesday, January 22


Yesterday was Beth's re-birthday- her 1-year baptism anniversary! We had a mini-celebration by lighting her baptism candle, eating Angel food cake, and reading a bit from Ephesians (my personal favorite book!). She was sort of cranky so we cut the party short. And after she was asleep I was kicking myself because I forgot to bless her with the holy water collected from the font on the day she was baptized. Doh!

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Let us continue to pray for the injustices against the dignity of human life- especially for a change of heart in the doctors, nurses, counselors, "escorts", and the mothers and fathers considering abortion. In talking with some friends, we realized that a wonderful way to be nourish the culture of life(a term coined by John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae) is to always edify our children and speak highly of them to others. We especially should remember to see Christ in our children- they are not a burden but a blessing!

Pics of Beth to come tomorrow! I must go to bed now!

Monday, January 21

Our backyard

Here are our new trees. And by the way, in my post about Arbor day, I meant to say we've planted Red Bud, not Red Oak. I don't know what I was thinking.

Our new compost bin, built by my ever-so-handy hubby
Red Bud
Frozen water in the "Marilyn Mary" birdbath- I didn't realize it had gotten that cold that night!

I've been tagged!

I never do these things in email/myspace or whatever because I think, who really cares? But now I know that Blair cares, so anyone else who wants can read and play along. :-)
1. WERE YOU NAMED FOR ANYONE? My dad- Steven Michael (I'm Stephanie Michelle)
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Yesterday, for a few reasons (same as you, Blair)
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 1 baby girl
6. WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? yes, on a good day!
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Depends on who I'm with, but only in moderation!
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Maybe? I think I could.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? High fiber cereal, lol!
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I have much stronger arms and back than I used to, thanks to a kid that prefers to be held. :-)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Blue Bell... Dutch Chocolate or Cookie Dough
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? If they look me in the eye and recognize me as a person, or if they're wrapped up in themselves.
15. RED OR PINK? Pink
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I wish my family lived near me. :-(
18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Jeans and the "Hobo" shoes
19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Angel food cake for Beth's baptism party
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Silence is oh-so-sweet when you have a 1-yr-old!
22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Freshly-baked bread, coffee shops
24. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Aggie football and Astros baseball! The only sports I watch!
25. HAIR COLOR? Brown with highlights? Strawberry blonde? This is the question of the century...Depends on the season, my mood, what I eat...
26. EYE COLOR? Brown with flecks of green
28. FAVORITE FOOD? Chocolate! And Fajitas!
29. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings, I hate scary movies
30. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? LOL! Anyone who knows me knows I don't really watch movies... All the way through? Uhh... Umm... Eh... I really have no idea! Bella?
33. HUGS OR KISSES? Depends! Usually big hugs!
34. FAVORITE DESSERT? Double chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and maybe chocolate slivers on top.
35. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Parenting with Grace by Greg Popcak
36. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I have a laptop. :-)
37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Nothing last night. Tonight is Prison Break.
38. FAVORITE SOUNDS? A snoozing baby. ;-)I crave silence now, but I also enjoy real (not fabricated) nature sounds.
39. BEATLES OR ROLLING STONES? (dittoing Lillian and Blair) Neither. I wouldn’t know the difference between the two. Seriously, who really cares?
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I could be a professional home organizer. I can vibrate my uvula (yes, that is completely G-rated, I promise)
42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Conroe, Texas

I'll tag Kyla, Caroline, Mandi and anyone else who wants to play!

Baby Signs

Saturday, January 19

Arbor Day

Today there was an Arbor Day festival in our area and we went! They were giving out free tree seedlings, and who can say no to free stuff? Today was pretty chilly outside (finally!) but the sun was shining so we bundled up and had a good time. Really there wasn't too much for a one-year-old to do, but we got our free seedlings, took Beth through the petting zoo (don't worry, there wasn't much petting going on) and walked around through all the "big kid" games- all the big, blow-up jumping things and mazes. I have no idea what any of those things are called, but Beth was definitely waaaay to small to play in any of them! They also had a zillion people in costumes- Spongebob and Patrick, the Chick-Fil-A Cow mascot, Spiderman, Dora, the lion from Madagascar (don't remember his name!), the Hamburgler from McDonalds and some others. Again, Beth wasn't too interested in them but surprisingly not too scared either. Spongebob came up to us to say hi, and it was pretty funny because he actually sounded like Spongebob from the cartoon! That caught me off guard, usually they don't talk. :-)

When we got home we planted some new trees in our backyard. Now if you have ever been to our house, you know we have a pretty big backyard, and we really didn't have enough space for all the seedlings! We planted some Cypress, a Magnolia, several Pecan, and some Red Oak. I really really really hope the Magnolia takes off, and Ryan really wants some Pecan trees! We had lots of Live Oaks, Pine, and more Cypress that we just don't know what to do with now- we think we'll just plant them in the center of our cul-de-sac and see what grows. Unless anyone wants some seedlings? By the time we were done planting everything, it was dark, so I'll snap some pictures of them tomorrow!

Today was also a wonderful day in that Beth took TWO naps- one in the morning for ONE HOUR and the second around 3:00 for ONE AND A HALF HOURS. She was such a happy girl this evening! It's amazing how good, solid sleep really makes for such a happy baby!

What is that thing?!
The one time she reached out- it had to be a goat's rear end.
Happy girl! She likes Thai food!

Thursday, January 17

Trip to the Mall

Today we went to the mall with some friends, to get out of the house and play! We had a good time, Beth loves playing with Mary Clare and Ellie! They're the "big girls" and Beth enjoys watching them move all around her (much quicker than she can move!) and they always act so motherly toward Beth, it's so sweet. :-)

I want to ride the carousel!
Playing in the mall play yard.
I love how long her eyelashes are! (click on the picture to make it bigger!)

If you're a mom, The Children's Place is having an awesome sale right now- I bought a $50 coat reduced to $10 for Beth next year- it will be perfect in the event we take a vacation to a place where there's such a thing as snow! I can't believe how warm it's been around here lately, I remember this time last year I was bundling up my newborn to bring her out- now we barely need a sweatshirt on- but just cold enough that we can't stay out for too long. Her little hands get cold and I haven't tried to put gloves on her- I wonder if she'd wear them?

We're really struggling with our daytime naps right now. Really. She's still sleeping in her bed all night (though she wakes up still- just not coming to bed with us anymore). She's not sleeping till 8:00 anymore either- in fact this morning she was up for good at 6:45, despite my best efforts. And, ALL DAY IN TOTAL, she slept a whopping 30 minutes. This is absolutely no good for several reasons- including my sanity around a cranky baby. So I think next week we're going to stay home all week- as much as possible- and try to figure this out. When she was younger, maybe 6 months?, I stayed home about 2 weeks without bringing her anywhere other than HEB and church, and kept a sleep log of her naps. It really helped me understand what she needed when she was uninterrupted by car trips. I think I need to do this again, because really she's still just a little girl who needs me to help her out a bit. I have to keep reminding myself of this- she's not inherently bad, trying to anger me, or even disobedient. She's just a baby who needs her mommy!

Which brings me to a sad note, please pray for my friend Danielle and her husband tonight. She was due with her third child any day now and she lost her sweet baby today. I cannot even fathom carrying a little life to full term- anticipating meeting this little person any day now- only to tragically not find a heartbeat on a routine checkup. May Jesus and Mary be with them tonight, comforting them in their loss.

Monday, January 14

And life goes on...

...As if not much has changed. She has continued sleeping through the night, praise! As much as I loved, no really, I adored sleeping next to Beth, part of me is very excited to have our bed back. We had a year of cozy nights, and I will not forget how perfect she fit under my arm and tucked in next to my post-partum belly, hehe. So I guess this means she's night weaned also, seeing as I haven't nursed her at night either. This is also the end of an era, and has been slightly more painful... I'm hoping my body will get used to it soon! I love nursing my girl and I hope we can continue breastfeeding during the day for a long time!

In other news, Beth loves to mimic animals now. If we're outside and we hear a dog bark or a bird chirp, she grunts. It's really cute! I love that she's growing up right before my eyes, and that I'm around to see everything she does. I see her as more of a toddler now and less of a baby, and I know it's all in my head because they don't really grow up that fast... Or do they? She's so incredibly interactive now. I can say, "Go get your doll and bring him to Mommy" and she'll do exactly as I asked. No more blank stares or ignoring me (well, there's still some ignoring. :-). We're starting to talk about body parts- eyes, ears, toes, hands... I don't know when she's "supposed" to know where everything is but the girl is smart and she's soaking up everything I say!

Ryan and I are discussing adopting a new pet- a dog. Which breed we're not positive yet, although we have a couple of excellent ideas. Obviously our #1 concern is rescuing (no buying from a breeder!) a child-friendly dog- a breed that's know for being a wonderful family pet. My secondary concerns are shedding and size. I've had a lot of recommendations from people, including some surprising breeds I'd never consider, and Ryan and I are doing our homework. We're taking our time, meeting with people, talking with friends, and really trying to learn everything we possibly can. We've both been heartbroken by having to re-home Vegas, neither of us want to ever have to do that again! So maybe sometime in the next few months we'll be ready to open our home to a pet.

Tomorrow we're driving to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and our friends Emily and daughter Hannah! I'm really excited to get out of the house for a day, and I know Beth will have a wonderful day!

These pictures are from Saturday, when we went to the park. We needed to get out of the house and it was a fabulous day!

Sunday, January 13

Historic night

The past two nights, history has been made in our house! Friday, after much thought and consideration, Ryan and I decided it was time to implement a plan to help Beth sleep. Since I've read just about every sleep book out there (from cry-it-out advocates to never-let-them-cry advocates), and since we've tried almost every option we'd consider, we decided we'd try a modified cry-it-out version to help Beth sleep, I hate the idea of letting her cry, but having honestly given everything else a shot it was time to try this. Friday night we did our regular bedtime routine with Beth, and then after nursing I layed her in her crib, kissed her and told her I loved her, and left her room. She cried for all of *2* minutes before she was silent- and then she slept until 1:15. At 1:15, I went back into her room (usually I'd just get her and bring her to bed with us), I layed her down again with her Nuk, patted her back for a couple of minutes and then left. She cried again for about 2 minutes, that was it! She slept until 4:30, when Ryan went in and patted her back until she went back asleep, then she woke up one more time at 6:15, we did the same thing and she slept until 8:00. A whole night in her crib! She woke up happy as I've ever seen her at 8:00! I can't tell you how refreshed I was- even though I woke up several times throughout the night.

So last night we did it again. Actually, Ryan did her whole bedtime routine since I left to go have my hair cut. He put her down and she fussed for a couple of minutes, at around 8:00. We didn't hear from her again until 7:15 this morning, when Ryan went to check on her! Almost 12 hours, asleep in her own bed! WOHOO!

We're about to go start our nightly routine...Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 10

I'm hooked

This might be the dumbest website ever, but I can't tell you how much time I just wasted looking at these things and laughing.

Some of my favorites:

Tuesday, January 8

Busy day

Today we had a busy day! It wasn't too bad, and Beth had a good day up until the last hour or so. We went to mass this morning before my meeting, and she behaved very well at both considering the circumstances! She fell asleep in the car on the way home, napped, and had lunch with daddy. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon cooking- well, I did. Beth played in a cabinet (see pics below!). I cooked up some things from a baby cookbook a friend gave me- and I thought they were yummy, but guess who wasn't interested? Yup. All afternoon I cooked for her and she's not buying it! I am having the hardest time feeding her now. She ate everything pureed- meat, fruit, veggies- and now she will hardly eat anything. It's pretty much guaranteed she'll eat bananas, apples, eggs, oatmeal with brown sugar, yogurt, spaghetti and meat sauce, okra, Ritz crackers and my Special K granola bars. Most of the time she'll eat bread and ham, but chicken is not so yummy to her. I'm trying to cook it in different ways and cut it up differently... I even pureed it today (yummy!) but she didn't like it. Maybe she was just being cantankerous, that seems to be happening more often lately... I saved all the food I made (of course!) and if she refuses again tomorrow then Ryan will eat it!

New bath toys! Thanks Aunt Julie!
Look, my girl has a curl! Her hair is getting so long!!!
Enjoying an apple and some water. She doesn't like fruit juice, go figure.
"Look at me! I fit in the cabinet!"

Monday, January 7

Saturday, January 5

1 year checkup

Beth went in for her 1-year checkup and we have some good stats for you! She's 21 lbs, 6 oz (up to 50-75% percentile!) and 29 1/4 inches (up to 50-75%)! Our girl's growing! Our pediatrician was a little surprised because this is about the time when babies slow down in growth since they're so active.

She also received her first ever vaccination! She did extremely well, a quick poke, some nursing and then she was all smiles for the rest of the day! We've chosen to selectively choose and delay her vaccinations until 1 year, so she received one vaccine yesterday for Pc- pneumococcal disease. In 3 months she'll receive the HIB, and after than she'll get one more shot of each to complete the series. She only needs 2 shots of each since we're starting her at an older age. We're skipping everything else, for a variety of reasons (age, ingredients of the vaccines, safety). We'll most likely do the Tetanus series at age 5, and do blood tests around 10-11 years to test for natural immunity for some of the other diseases-then re-evaluate her needs then. It was easy to decide that we didn't want to follow the standard CDC recommendations, but it was difficult to decide how we felt was the most appropriate and safest way for us to do it for our child. Luckily we had some great resources (including non-biased The Vaccine Book, which I highly recommended to anyone with children!) and a supportive pediatrician. I would be more than happy to talk to anyone privately about our decisions or share the copious amounts of information I've learned!
New Year's Eve
Cute girl!

Thursday, January 3

The Best Christmas Gift EVER

Oh yeah. My silverware basket!
For those of you who don't know, our house did not come with a silverware basket for the dishwasher, so we've been hand-washing our silverware for 13 months. Until a few weeks ago I got the bright idea to check eBay- the best $5.00 I've spent in months!!!
And Mommy's little helper.
Bundled up for a walk!

Wednesday, January 2

Birthday party photos

Let me just say again how blessed we are to have such wonderful friends. :-)
Beth and her godparents
She was clapping because everyone just stopped singing "happy birthday!"
Chowing down!
My homemade cake. I was surprised at how difficult decorating a cake actually is!
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