Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm Mobile!

While I was on the phone with Alex this afternoon (he's currently out of town) Noelle performed her first front-to-back flip! It's too bad that Dad had to miss it... but he could hear the live commentary. Now, with rolls in both directions mastered, Noelle can get around. Our lives just got a little more complicated, in a good way!

I Can Roll Both Ways!*

*Sorry the clip is a bit long, I don't have video editing software yet =)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Randomness

Weaning - not for the weak: Daytime weaning Noelle has been rough - on both of us. It's my own fault for not insisting on bottles earlier. Once nursing got going it was so much easier that I let the bottle thing go, not realizing how hard it would be on Noelle. All last week we only used bottles during the day and - most of the time - Noelle looked like this:

Why won't you just nurse me?

That face broke my heart! Especially, since, I had exactly what she wanted and she knew it. She still took her solids fine and would finally take a bottle late in the afternoon - but we were both miserable all day. At night she made up for lost time with extra nursing. So, neither one of us was very well rested either.

Today I'm just nursing her like normal and we're both happier. I'm going to keep doing so until she goes to daycare next week. I'll be able to nurse her on the weekends once she starts daycare anyway. So, home will be for nursing and daycare for bottles. Her 'teacher' at daycare said this approach has worked for other babies she had and that the babies catch on pretty quick. It's easier for them to take bottles there 'cause mom isn't around with the preferred option. Sigh, I'll be glad once we're settled into a routine and this mini-drama is passed.

New Car Seat: Little baby girl isn't so little any more. She has already reached the length limit on her infant car seat. She's still a few pounds away from the weight limit, but it was time to upgrade. So, this entered our home over the weekend:

Check out my new seat!

This car seat, the Britax Roundabout 55, is good until she's 55 pounds. It's a convertible seat - rear facing now and front facing once she's a year old. So, it'll be with us a while. 

It seems my two engineering degrees were prerequisites for installing this thing; it was pretty darn complicated. I spent more time then I'd like to admit pouring over the instruction manual and my car's manual to make sure I did it right. Adding to the difficulty was how huge this seat is for my little car. I ordered this seat because it's supposedly one of the smaller convertible car seats. Well, here is how well it fits in my car:

Barely made it in - with my seat moved considerably forward!

Here it is, jammed right up against my seat. There is no way Alex could drive my car with it in there. Now I know why American roads are jam-packed with SUVs. It's not, as commonly believed, our pre-occupation with getting everything bigger and better. It's because SUVs are the only vehicles large enough to accommodate the child seats we're required by law to use! 

I swear, this seat is so extreme Noelle could survive the g-forces of a space ship. Gone are the days of mothers riding home from the hospital with their infants in their arms. We had to sign a car seat release before the hospital let us take her home. At least we know she's safe in there.

New Stroller: Being too big for the car seat means Noelle now needed a new stroller also. Until now, we've just been using a frame that carried the car seat or the jogging stroller (great for jogging - tough to handle on a walk w/ both dogs though). I spent this week trolling, looking for a used stroller with the features I wanted. Finally, I gave up today and we headed to the overpriced baby-boutique (really, I'm a sucker for instant gratification and I ran out of patience). So, while I spent 30% more then I told myself I would, I ended up with exactly what I wanted and absolutely love it.

Check out my new ride!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sleeping Like a Big Girl - kinda

In addition to becoming accustomed to bottles (going slightly better), it occurred to me that Noelle also needs to become used to sleeping in a large crib before starting day care next week. Poor thing, so many changes at once! Anyway, she is getting close to the length/weight limit of our mini co-sleeper and has pretty much gotten the full intended use out of it (thanks, Uncle Billy!) So, today I broke out the Graco Pack 'N Play that a friend graciously donated to us (thanks, Alejandro!).

She used a crib with no problem at my parent's house in December, for three weeks. That was, however, before she could roll over and squirm around so much. The co-sleeper was small enough that she couldn't really roll over or change position. When her morning nap time came around, I did the usual soothing routine and placed her in the Pack 'N Play, hoping for the best.

A few minutes later the crying started. Usually, she falls asleep for naps on her own, with little or no crying. Five minutes later, when the crying elevated to screaming I went in. Sure enough, she had flipped from her back onto her stomach, was stuck, and was furious about it (for whatever reason, she can't go from her stomach to her back yet). So, I calmed her down, put her on her back and left the room.

Again, she started crying a few minutes later. I was about to go in but stopped myself at the door - she really does have to learn to sleep on her own in the bigger space. So, I started some laundry to distract myself and 10 min later, when she was finally quiet, I peeked in and found this:

Finally Asleep*

She had spun herself around 90 deg =) This orientation, of course, defeats the purpose of giving her a larger sleeping area! At least she fell asleep, though. One step at a time!

*** Update for afternoon nap ***

This time, she ended up sideways and on her stomach. A gymnast in the making?

Afternoon Nap

* I forgot to turn off the camera flash. Thankfully, it didn't wake her up!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day of the Wrap

Noelle was a bit fussy today*. So, we spent the day experimenting with our various wraps and cheesy bathroom photography**. Observe:

Moby Wrap

Maya Wrap

The Moby wrap was soooo comfortable in this position. Her face in the picture notwithstanding, Noelle really had a good time in the 'outward' facing position. I had her in there about 40 minutes while I walked around the house and she was smiling and kicking up a storm. The down side was it was terribly complicated to get her in and out of that position =) The Moby wrap is one huge, long (12 ft about), length of fabric. It's fabric origami to get the baby in and out of there! So, I would recommend this if you know the baby will be in there for a while... but not for a quick run into a drug store!

The Maya wrap, while less comfortable with the weight distribution on one shoulder, wins the 'ease' contest hands down. I could get her in and out of that one in two seconds. This is definitely an errand-running wrap.

Not pictured is the Ergo carrier we have. I like that one so much I keep it in the car for whenever I have to do grocery shopping, etc. with Noelle. All-in-all, we have a wonderful array of baby toting devices.

*Noelle is 'fussy' because this is our 4th day of daytime weaning. I'm going back to work on March 4th and little miss has to get used to only using bottles during the day. She is not a fan. Expect another post soon on how this pans out.

** Yes, our mirror is very dirty. I have a 5 month old... such is life =)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Making Baby Food

With Noelle enjoying solids more and more, I decided to give making baby food a try. Bananas & avocado have been easy, since they don't need to be cooked. Also, white potato was convenient since I made baked potatoes one day anyway. Now, though, it's time to expand her menu a bit.

Too lazy to make it to the store this morning, I used what was on hand: potatoes, apples and dried apricots. I have a handy baby cookbook that Grandma Hayes gave Noelle:

Baby Cookbook

The two variations of french fry on the cover notwithstanding, this book has a ton of healthy recipes. Not that I can really use them now; Noelle is still eating single ingredient purees =) The book also, however, includes tips on how to make the best purees, including for my dried apricots!

Cooking Apples Smell Soooo Good!

The book recommends making large batches and freezing portions in ice cube trays. We have an ice maker, though, and no trays. So, I froze single portions in blobs on cookie sheets and then put them in plastic bags, once frozen.

Apricots Ready for the Freezer

Making three batches of food (about 15 servings of each) only took me about 45 min. Not too bad at all. The best part was Noelle got to sample the batch of warm apricot puree right away =)
Apricots are Pretty Good!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Breakfast at IHop

Normally, well pre-baby, Alex and I loved going out to brunch every Sunday; it was tradition. Pasadena is full of cute little places for brunch and there were 3 or so which we rotated between. At these little places, I know I never appreciated the noise of babies. So, we haven't been going since Noelle's arrival. However, there are baby friendly breakfast places out there... even if they don't serve Mimosas. Yesterday we took Noelle with us to IHop!

IHop does have it's advantages; large, noisy, kid-friendly and open 24 hours. (Side note, did you know that their CEO fought for 3 years to get them to switch from plastic to metal silverware?) We brought along Noelle's booster seat and plopped her on the table in front of us. She was a huge hit with the waitstaff. At one point, we had to remind our waitress to stop smiling at the please go get our food, because Noelle wasn't going to be happy forever =)

With Dad

With Mom

Friday, February 11, 2011

A 'Super' Super Bowl Sunday

Noelle, the dogs and I have spent a lot of time hanging out in the grass around campus this week. We also went for a nice run on Tuesday (the only day that hasn't been too hot). Yesterday, we had a wonderful lunch on campus with Alex, too. It's a lot of fun meeting Alex during the day because Noelle always gives him some huge smiles in greeting. They are soooo cute.

Last Sunday was great fun for all also. The day started with my first 'race' since having Noelle; the Redondo Beach 10k. Below are Krista and I chit-chatting our way through this race.

First 'Race' Post-Baby

If you live in the LA area, I highly recommend making it out for this one. You feel like you're at a marathon start line, with all of the energy and crowds that this race musters. Redondo Beach has their act down, too. With probably 10,000 plus participants, we were still able to walk up 30 minutes before the start, casually register, get our chips and shirts and have time for a port-o-potty stop. Talk about easy!

Then, Sunday afternoon was all about the Super Bowl. The faculty in residence here in Avery hosted a Super Bowl Party for the students. Noelle helped us make an awesome cheese & artichoke dip and toasted pita chips. I learned that it's actually really easy to make homemade pita chips, yum!

Noelle also got tons of attention from the students, which she loved. To top it all off, the Packers won. Yay!

Noelle Enjoying the Attention

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Banana Taste

The last few weeks Alex and I have been offering Noelle rice cereal once and, more recently, twice a day. She has been getting the hang of it and, if we catch her in the right mood (not tired and just hungry enough) she'll down however much we offer her.

We've been debating about the best 'next' food to try. Our Dr. warned that if we start w/ fruits we may have a hard time getting her to eat vegetables, since they're not as sweet. Some things I've read, however, recommend starting breastfed babies w/ fruits because breast milk is so sweet (compared to formula) that it increases the chances that they'll accept solid foods without a struggle. We bantered back and forth and finally decided that we'd use avocado has her next food... an easy fruit to offer (it and banana are the only ones that don't need to be cooked early on) and not quite so sweet.

This afternoon, however, I strayed from our plan. At 5pm Noelle was clearly hungry. I had nursed her just 40 min prior (supply is low in the late afternoon, usually). Further, I didn't have any pumped milk to give her or to mix with rice cereal. Finally, I ate the last of our avocado on my salad for lunch. Poor planning all around! What I did have, though, is some frozen banana slices in the freezer. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, I took two banana slices, quickly defrosted them and mashed them with a fork. I didn't even puree them - fussy babies don't wait for fancy appliance action. Not sure how Noelle would like the new lumpy concoction I was offering her, I tentatively gave her a bite. Two minutes later, this is how Noelle looked after gobbling up every little bit:

Yum, I like banana!

She was so pleased that I defrosted another slice and gave her that too. While the rice cereal usually ends up all over the place, she barely wasted a scrap of the banana... it all went down! So, while we may have a harder time getting her to eat veggies, it was certainly worth it for how much she enjoyed herself =)