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Friday, July 29, 2011

Norah Grows: 3 Months!

My little girl, you are already 3 months old! I knew that this time with you over the summer was going to pass quickly, but I couldn't have imagined just how much you have grown and changed in what seems like the blink of an eye.  I know parents the world over will tell any new mother and father to enjoy all the moments, even the sleep deprived madness moments, because "they grow so fast" and "before you know it she'll be getting her driver's license" and  "mine used to look like she's in college".  I know, I know, I'm getting ahead of myself, but really, I am amazed at the ways you have changed before my eyes.
3 Months Old! 

At 3 months, you are able to fully hold your head up and look around any chance you get...practically unless you are sleeping, you are scoping out the scenery and taking in the world in giant gulps.  You are able to sit upright in the "Bumbo" all by yourself, which is a fabulous new discovery because I think it makes you feel much more a part of what's going on than lying flat on your back somewhere.

First time in the Bumbo, checking it out.  Love your chubby arms!

You have discovered that your hands can actually hold toys that you are interested in, and you spend long stretches examining new and exciting toys, bringing them to your mouth, turning them over, shaking them and most likely, eventually whacking yourself in the face with them!

Hey Mama, just reading my book! 

Surprised yourself with the crinkly noises

Flipping pages
I think you have entered into some degree of teething territory.  You are a drool factory, and your pudgy little hands are constantly in your mouth lately.  A few times a day, it seems like you get little shooting pains that make you cry out in a different way than your usual "I'm hungry" or "I'm tired" cries.  It's so hard to always know what is going on, but we have tried the frozen teethers and they seem to help sometimes, and other times, just snuggling or nursing helps a little.  Every now and then though, we've resorted to the Tylenol when it seems like you are just out of sorts and nothing else will do.  Hopefully you aren't in too much discomfort, but I know this pre-teething stage can last for months before we see any actual choppers.  It's hard for me to imagine what your sweet smile will look like with teeth, because we've gotten so used to it without any! I have no doubt we will continue to think it's the sweetest smile around though :)

Bright eyes! I love your crazy Alfafa Sprout hair, too :)  

Chewing on those fingers! 
Your hair seems to be changing shades a little bit, too.  What was initially a thick cap of dark brown hair when you were born has thinned and lightened, and the hair coming in underneath it all is golden blonde! Your eyebrows have a light reddish brown tint to them, and we are so interested to see what color your hair and eyes will eventually become.  Your Daddy was blonde as a little boy, but his hair grew darker over time.  Your mama has had dark brown hair just like you since the day she was born, too.  Your eyes are still true blue, but every now and then depending on the light, they seem like they might be changing and getting lighter, too.   

In your exer-saucer, reaching for toys with intent

Tummy time - a typical expression

You are getting better and better at rolling over, too.  You are now pretty adept at the back-to-belly roll, but still aren't doing it on auto-pilot just yet.  Don't think you aren't mobile, though! You are a master of scooching, and can shimmy and wiggle yourself around the floor/bed/changing table in a matter of seconds.  Gone are the days of leaving you somewhere unattended! This is your new move, today:

Downward facing dog?

Whatchoo lookin' at, Willis?
Our daily routine is getting somewhat more predictable these days, as well.  You go to bed between 9:30-11:00 at night, and sleep until around 2:00-3:00 AM for your first feeding.  Usually, you wake up again around 5:00 AM to eat, and go back to sleep until 8 or 8:30.  Then we start the day and boy are you happy when you wake up fully!! Mornings are the best time of the day for you, and you just giggle and smile and enjoy playing wherever you are.  You will usually take a 30-40 minute nap around 10:00 or so, and another around noon.  Then, it's hard to tell when your longer afternoon nap will be depending on what we've done that day. Often, it's around 2:30 or 3, and sometimes if you sleep in the car while we're driving around doing errands or sleep on my chest in your carrier, you will sleep for up to 2 hours.  Other days, though, it's hit or miss and just another 30 minutes.  Basically, you still sleep sort of whenever you want, and sometimes only for a short little snooze after nursing and you're ready to play again.  I'd like to get you onto a bit more scheduled sleeping routine in the next month before I go back to work, but we'll see if you are as into that plan as I am :).

Mama has a few nicknames for you, and as is the case with most nicknames, who knows how they evolved, but some don't really make any sense! Most often, if I don't call you Norah, it's Toots or Tooties.  We call you Sister, Girlfriend, Boo, Scooby.  Norabel, Bella, and Norah-boo are frequently used, too.  I hope you learn your true name before any of these! 

I have one more month home with you, and we are taking a vacation with Grandpa Smith and Tryn and Liam to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in a week.   I am really looking forward to this trip, and I hope that you do well in the car all the way up there and over the bridge! (You'll do better with the bridge than mama, no doubt.)  After we get back, I will have 2 weeks to mentally and physically prepare for returning to work after 5 whole months off...I'm sure I will never really feel ready to go back and leave you 5 days a week, but such is life.  I have truly cherished this time home with you, and I know that working full time is something I have to do in order to continue to provide you with the things in life I want you to have.  I hope that you always know how much I love you, and how special every minute I spend with you is to me.  That will never change, even when I'm working 40 hours each week.  At least I know that when I'm away, you will be with Daddy, Grandma or Grandpa, and those days will be special for you, too.  

Mama loves you more every day, my little Tooties :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wee Buns, an obsession (AKA my experience with cloth diapers thus far)

Ok, that title probably sounds a bit sketchy, but seriously before motherhood I never thought I'd spend so much of my waking time thinking about someone else's buns!  As I have mentioned on here before, we cloth diaper Norah, much of the time.  Lately, cloth diapers have been on my mind a ton, and I find my free time dwindling away looking at them online, pricing them out at The Little Seedling, and ogling over other blogging mama's stashes and cutie tushies in fluffy cloth!  We were given a bunch of disposables for when she was just a tiny (ha!) newborn, and were using them primarily at night time and when going out and cloth was not convenient.  That has worked great and now that we've used those up, I've been pricing out disposables and man, at .25 or more per diaper, it adds up quickly!! Financially, if no other reason were compelling enough, cloth really is the way for us to go.

Here she is in her Thirsties Duo Wraps with Cotton Babies Newborn prefolds under - these covers are both size 1, snapped all the way down to the smallest setting.  These were taken when she was about 2 weeks old, and was 9.2 lbs at birth, so probably around 10 lbs here.

Purple is snap closure:

Floral is aplix closure: 

So far, with cloth we've exclusively used these Thirsties Duo Wraps covers with their Stay-Dry inserts and Cotton Babies unbleached prefolds, but now that Norah's getting a bit bigger and eventually more mobile, I've been thinking about other options to add to our stash.  Initially I thought I would just want to do covers and prefolds all the way until potty training, but now I see the perks of pocket diapers for certain occasions.  The inner liners don't shift around with a mobile child, and the ease of changes for any other caregiver than myself are a few. So,  I took the plunge (ha! again) and decided to try a Bum Genius 4.0 a few weeks ago, and it's worked out great at night - no leaks yet! We got the palest lavender color, called "Bubble" :) I like that the tabs have some stretch to them, which helps get a better fit around Norah's belly.  It's not an especially trim fit through the crotch, though, and she fills out her PJs pretty well with this sucker stuffed up for bedtime with the large microfiber insert and one HempBabies hemp liner.  Which, love the hemp! Seriously ups the ante when it comes to absorbency! Score!

I also had a Groupon for about half off of an Itti Bitti Tutto minky diaper, and it's seriously the softest thing I could imagine a tushie sitting on! This is the one we got (color called Spectra):

However, the first night with the Tutto ended in leaks about 3 am...getting up to change a soggy Norah and going back to a slightly damp spot on my side of the bed was not what I wanted to do during what should be some very important part of my REM cycle, I'm sure.  Norah was less than pleased with the state of things as well, seeing as how lately we haven't been changing diapers overnight and she too was bothered by the interruption in beauty sleep.  The instructions do say that maximum absorbency is not reached until 4-5 washes in, and I'd only done one prep wash, so I guess I'll give it a few more before declaring it unfit for night time - it was on her about 5 hours in all fairness before leaking, so it will at least be a good day time diaper.  I totally LOVE the trim fit on her though, and I don't understand why all diapers aren't tailored through the crotch like this one - it just seems more comfy to have less bulk in there, but I guess Norah's not complained so far.  

Today, I more or less impulsively decided to further jump in and bought a 6-pack of a diaper I've never tried before, because of a tantalizing deal on - $79.99 for 6 dipes and 12 inserts, plus shipping has them come out about $14.50 per dipe.  The colors were too cute to pass up, and my only hesitation was that I had planned to buy only diapers that were "one size" - those with adjustable snap rise so they will fit her from now until she's out of diapers.  But this deal only had sized diapers, so I decided to go with the medium, which is said to fit from 15-30 pounds, so they should work for Norah for a while.  I got the pack called "Tutti Frutti", and I just love the bright colors and can't wait to give these a try!  They should at least be a great option for Grandma and Grandpa days, if not overnight.  

I've been waiting to try out the Bamboo Minky diapers by Kawaii diapers, but their shop is closed until the end of this month for inventory.  For the price they seem like a great option, and I am a sucker for the silky softness of minky any time! I plan to try one or two and will review them when I get the chance :) 

Anyway, who knew I would be so excited about someone else's tushie?  I mean, baby booties are pretty sweet and all, but seriously, I think this cloth diapering thing could become a problem!  I have to remind myself that the reason for doing it is primarily financial, and so I have to be careful not to get carried away buying more than we need/can afford at once, and overriding the cost benefit.  I'll have to get some pics of Norah wearing all of them, and will get those posted when I can.  

Happy diapering :)  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

I'm not sure why it got the nickname "Dog Days", but the mid-summer days have heated up and the highs are anywhere between 80s and 90s lately...which means we've mostly been camped out in the AC over here.  We went to the pool one day, but I think there was just too much going on and girlfriend was not a fan of the swimming, take one.  One might think that would mean I'd have had plenty of time to sit down and write up a blog post or two, but somehow it always ends up being the end of the day before I know it and there's dinner to make/eat, bathtime to do, stories to read, and then we all crash.  Not that any of us have been up to anything spectacular lately, either, but I know this blog is really all for the photos for some of you anyway ;) So, here's how Norah celebrated the 4th of July:

Norah is now 11 weeks old, and she (accidentally, I believe) rolled over from belly to back twice last weekend.  We haven't had an encore performance of that yet, but she is getting stronger and more determined to move every day.  She now rocks tummy time with fewer tears, at least for a little bit longer than she had been, and she's able to push up on her elbows.   See?

She has also started to do this back arch thing on the floor, and she can wiggle herself quite a distance by arching, then scooting with her feet to catch up to her head, then doing it again.  She is thisclose to rolling from back to front, but her bottom arm is in the way of completing the task, and she hasn't figured out how to conquer it just yet.  It does tire her out, though, and this is what I came in to find after laying her down for a minute so I could get dressed today:

But one thing is for sure, sister loves to dance and music with a definite beat is her thang! A few times lately, the only thing that will calm her down is to throw an impromptu dance party, and so today I decided to put her in the swing and try giving a little Zumba a worked!  She calmed down and then fell asleep.  Girlfriend liked watching mama dance, mama got a workout, and everyone was refreshed and energized when we were done! She does have one particular song that seems to be the magic trick, though, and that is "Hey Mama" by Mat Kearney - it can quiet even the strongest of temper tantrums within just the first few beats of starting the song.  At least it's a catchy one, since we hear it many, many times a day!

Even though it's been miserably hot, Norah and I are enjoying our summer together, and the time is flying past.  I have a few things to work out regarding benefits etc., but I am planning to return to work the week before  Labor Day or so.  I am doing my best to soak it all up and enjoy these moments, even the crazy ones, because too soon I will be somewhere else while my baby is growing and that just makes me sad to think about.  At least I will have plenty of pictures like this to look at while I'm there :) 

Happy Dog Days, all!


Edited to Add: Breaking News!!
Just after posting, Norah made a little liar out of me and did this: