Friday, January 31, 2014

Hello Again, Here to Stay

I get overwhelmed when I think about how much I have to catch up. So, instead of trying to wrap my head around it, I am just going to start with recently and work my way back and forward and all around. It'll be a roller coaster till I get caught up and in a habit! But, I have always loved journaling. It is very therapeutic. It is needed for family history. And, hopefully faith promoting now and in the future. I've always loved President Henry B. Eyring's invitation to find a way to find a way to remember and record our dealings with God. He promises the act will increase your own faith and be faith promoting for family. I actually have had this happen to me!
My mother's grandfather, her mother's father, was Taylor Nelson. I have never met him. He was dead long before I came along. Before I left on my mission, I lived in Ammon, Idaho. A mere month before I left, I found out that I had family 25 minutes away from where I lived! What?! I've been in Idaho all this time and I never knew that. It was my grandmother's sister, Carmen. I went to visit her. She had Alzheimer's so we had the same conversation, over and over. But she did remember me! I even wrote her and she wrote back! I was so impressed that she had remembered who I was! Anyway, the one thing she loved for us to do together was to read history.
I probably spent a good 5+ hours reading to her with all my visits together. Which is quite a lot of time. We ended up reading her father's journal, Taylor Nelson. It was like gold to me, better then gold! He had such a faithful, strong, valiant testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I was most fond of his journal entries from his mission. Wow. Did he see the neatest miracles including protection, dreams, guidance on what to say, etc. I was so buoyed up by his faith and the stories he recorded! Carmen had copies made for me and put them in a nice binder. It is worth the world to me. I made more copies and sent them to more family. I hope they have treasured them as I have! I took them on my mission and referred to them often when I felt I needed to be reminded of his convictions. So, I'll write the day to day stuff. But, I hope in the long run, someday, my children or their children or so forth will find some hope in these entries. I love and adore this man, I have never met him, but I've gotten to know him through his journals.

Now on to other stuff! Well, little Miss Tess's world is changing all the time. We have a more steady routine now! Now that we are not on the go constantly with school trying to survive, or celebrating the holidays with family, I am starting to pick up on what it is to have a steady schedule while being at home with her. I make to do lists, reminders, and goals of things I'd like to accomplish that week or day. I make good use of the time when she is sleeping, cleaning the house, organizing, cooking, etc. I am learning what it is like to "create" my own day. Before, I showed up at work when I was told. Or I showed up at class or clinicals. Now, I still have lots to do and things I want to accomplish but I get to make my own schedule. I am getting used to that! I used to feel guilty about taking some breaks and just laying down for a rest while she naps. Greg would tell me, take a nap today! I just couldn't. I felt like such a bum. Now, I'll do that but not normally, only if I am extra tired.

I have also gotten used to playing mom detective! Tess's world is expanding in many ways. It's no longer only about eat, sleep, play, poop. She is starting solids. Her sleep has been a disaster! And with her growing interest, I have had a need to figure out how to entertain and let this little wiggle worm explore and learn about this world!

First, solids. I have said. This didn't start out so well. She really didn't take to it well. I was told at her 4 month appointment that she could start trying solids anytime she showed interest. My mom also said that she would cluster feed at night, signaling a need for more nutrition during the day. A good way to help way solids! Well, she started to do both! She watched us ate like she hadn't eaten in years! She was waking up every two hours when she used to only wake up once, maybe twice a night! So, we started. I thought, she'll probably love it. And, I had a wrong idea about what INTRODUCING solids was! Maybe for some babies it is really as easy as just starting. Not for Tess. I thought, start one day with one meal, then add a meal every week or so. We'll have her eating three meals a day in no time! Funny...not how it goes. After much thought, LOTS of experimenting. And boy did I experiment.  Mostly with timing, the way I mixed it, temperature, etc. I offered it to her lots! Sometimes 4 times a day just trying to figure out when she would be happy to eat. Since she was waking up often at night, I was VERY motivated to make this work. Although she used to sleep through the night, I would wake up to pump so she had enough milk for the next day. It was impossible for me to pump enough during school hours and clinicals. So, I haven't had a full nights rest since the day she was born. Not to mention pregnancy! Motivated...YES I WAS!

And in addition to experimenting, I started asking, and praying for help frankly. I thought. I need to make her food! It probably tastes disgusting! Fresh, homemade food would taste better. That didn't help. THEN I would season the food! It seemed she liked it more. I backed off on the amount I offered and made it part of her bedtime routine (new thing with more explanation to come!) ONLY! Not at any other time of the day. I also realized one night when she wasn't excited about eating. That the food would go to waste anyways...I might as well let her play in it! So, from the pictures you get the idea. It went GREAT! She loooovvveeeed it! Absolutely loved it. At that moment, I thought, I am really not sure what to do now. Stop trying and start up again later? I texted Neisha, who has a little girl about 4 months older then Tess. She is such a great mom and I have confided in her before to get her take on child birth. She was a big help and it was insightful. I asked her about her experience introducing Roxy to solids. She gave me a great idea. Let her feed herself. She said, it was more messy but really made Roxy more interested and more accepting. Genius! Tess was always trying to grab the spoon and seem frustrated that I was divert her from it. I took her advice….beautiful success!!! Tess loved being part of the process. She didn’t want to sit there and let me feed her! Miss Independent! She also likes drinking out of our cups, so we do that too and let her drink out of her sippy cup as well. She loves both.
If you look closely you can see her two bottom teeth. So far, none others have made their appearance but these do quite often, when she smiles...cries....babbles! So adorable! I think she loves her sippy because it is rubbery, feels good with the cool water while chewing on it. 

She recognizes it and lunges for it if it is in sight! 

Before all the "ah ha" moments and advice! How do I know? Her clothes are on!  Right now we strip her while she eats so she can make all the mess she wants! 
Not so sure...but will give it a try for a bit. 

Not so sure about this....

Now she is happy, give me that spoon. I'll clean it off! 

Tooth Shot!!!! :) 

Still loving and checking out that spoon. At this point, it was when we gave up and let her play with the spoon. Now, we just keep feeding her and let her feed herself too. 

Hello spoon...I really like you. 

The night I gave up, stripped her to her diaper and put her food on her tray! You can see the process turn to a mess, a very good mess! 

I'm fine with the spoon for now...

....until I realize the fun right before me!!! 

Feels good when I touch it...

Feels even better when I smash my hand in it...

And squish it ALL around! Oh yeah! 

Could I have a little more? 

That's perfect. 

What do I think? 

I like it! 

I do! 


Tastes pretty good too...


Won't you please give me more. 

I demand more!!! 

 To top the discoveries off, when I went to her 6 month check up, the pediatrician said introducing solids right now is all about fun and exploring. She said that infants associate feeding with being held and being close. Solids is so out of the norm for them! Cold, separate from caregiver, different taste, spoons, etc!  She encouraged me to just keep doing it like I was and let Tess guide her appetite and any increase in servings during the day. She also offered encouragement that some babies don’t take to it very quickly but it’s no concern. Solids aren’t supposed to be a main source of nutrition right now. Breast milk is, she gets everything she needs from me. Slowly but surely, that will change but doesn’t need to happen so quickly like I thought! Whew! Mystery solved! Now, she loves our meals at night. She plays with her spoon and helps feed herself while I feed her too. We have nights were I put some food on her tray that she can go crazy with and other times she is content to just let me feed her. It’s going great! It’s been going so well for a while now, just this morning I decided to add a serving in the morning because she has not only been eating well but she has wanted larger helpings! She loved the yogurt I fed her this morning and ate about a ½ a cup! So, we are adding that to our mornings!

Now, the other big mystery for me to solve! Her sleep patterns at night! Poor girl! Poor mom! Poor dad…he doesn’t get up but I am sure he wakes up enough that his sleep isn’t as good as it could be! There were some nights she was waking up more frequently then two hours. She’d need her binky, I’d try and feed her. She’d suck but fall asleep really quickly. I was getting so TIRED and frustrated. This just wasn’t going to work! Neither of us was getting the sleep we both needed to feel good during the day. This had been going on since the first time I started her on solids. Before thanksgiving! OVER TWO MONTHS. It was like newborn sleeping status again! AHHH! She had been sleeping 6-7 hours at a time for the two months prior! I started to brainstorm. I played with room temperature, noise in the room to help keep her asleep,  keeping her up during the day so she’d sleep at night, more feedings during the day (milk) so she’d be more full, snuggling with her and letting her sleep with me for a bit, etc. Nothing helped! It started to dawn on me. She is just waking up and needing to fall back asleep. I started to toy with the idea that I had heard of called, sleep training. Or letting them cry it out. I had up to this point, never would have considered it. I just didn’t think I could let her cry. If she cried, she NEEDED me. Well….I started to back track and think about our evening get togethers. She really didn’t need me, most of the time. She just wanted to go back to sleep. I would hop up at first peep every time I heard her. I asked my sister in laws who happen to be terrific and caring moms. What did they think? They both mentioned a book and crying it out. While also saying, each baby is different and neither of them were strict like the book said. I didn’t actually read the book but I read all about the training it suggests. I still hope to read it! I just didn’t want to go another night without having a new and improve plan.

I read TONS. I looked at research and what effect letting a little baby cry for bit might have. What the American Academy of Pediatrics had to say on the issue and so forth. Well, everything and everybody agreed with my original thought. She didn’t always need me to hop up and help her every time she woke up and let us know she had. She needed to learn for herself how to calm down and fall back asleep. Not only for my good, but most importantly for her own good! She needed to be able to get a good nights rest. We decided to try it. Although at first squawk, Greg was not excited about it and hopped up. We got in a little fight. I was mad that he wouldn’t try. And although I am sure he hates to hear her cry, he is also grumpy when he is sleeping. I know he just wanted to go back to sleep. So, I told him he was now in charge of taking care of her at night! Ha! Well, after she started to cry 15 minutes after he had put her down he asked for my help. I obliged and we decided to stick to our plan. She improved immediately and she never cried for long. As of now, the most she has cried is 20 minutes. With somewhat lengthy pauses during that time. She has had a 7 hour span of sleep since then, although that is not the norm, she mostly sleeps 5-6 hours the first part of the night and then up to eat every 2-3 hours after that. I figured we will go one step at a time. With an increase in solids during the day, a schedule for naps (sort of, it’s hard to do this!), a bedtime routine that rocks, and putting her down a majority of the time while she is awake so she can fall asleep on her own. Helping her associate falling asleep with her crib and not in my arms eating! Or with her binky placed in her mouth every time it drops out! She is a champ and does great. It’s just what she needed and she sleeps much better! Sleep mystery solved!

Now for play! She is very interested in the world, she really chatters A LOT. Almost constantly! But, at this point even though she is interested in stuff…she is not interested enough to MOVE to the stuff she finds interesting! I am just waiting on pins and needles, so excited for her to start being “mobile.” This girl has her own schedule, I need to stop messing with it!

She has started rolling over again! From front to back and has a very interesting way of going about it! She rolls on top of her arm, which is then pinned under her back after she rolls, then she wiggles it out. She has gotten good at it and it doesn’t take her long now. It looks so uncomfortable! She pushes herself up really well and can wiggle around to face different directions. No scooting at all. We put our hands on her feet and she loves to push off and “scoot” that way with out help. It’s hilarious to watch too! She pushes her arms back like she is flying when she does it! This girl knows her physics! The least resistance the better. We have also gotten her a bouncer which she enjoys as long as she isn’t in it too much…it starts to bore her. So, I put her in it once a day for a bit. She bounces like crazy and loves all of the toys. She takes her socks off whenever she gets the chance and likes the clap her feet! And she likes to try and grab things with her toes and feet…a little monkey! She loves to copy and mimic and be copied. The thing I think she loves the most is to be sung to. I sing to her A LOT! A close second would be reading. She will always reach for a book or paper with writing on it before any fancy or exciting toy. We just started reading the Book of Mormon together and saying prayers together. I figure, she definitely doesn’t understand yet but I am hoping the habit with catch and we will always do it until she can do it on her own! With all this….I felt like I was boring her a little bit and myself frankly. I had no idea how to change it up. Walks are here and there because of weather, but other then that I had nothing! I turned to google this time! I got TONS of ideas. So far, we have tried bubble baths at night in addition to toys. She loved that and we did the first one on 1/30/14. We set up a snuggle spot in the bathroom and turn off the lights. It’s really dark with no windows! WE play with flashlights! We also have a little device that makes stars show up on the walls and we can make it change colors and such. Ob boy! Was that a hit. She would’ve done that all day. I build towers with blocks and she likes knocking them down. We play with cups that stack and hid toys under them for her to find. We play with bubbles outside of the bathtub! She is too slow yet to pop them in the air but she likes to look at them. Those are some of the things we have been doing and we’ve had some fun days! It’s been great to change things up. Play mystery soloved….how to not bore the little baby with my same ideas! It's amazing to me how I've talked to just the right people, found the right article, and had "ah ha" moments that have helped in my detective work. This is sleep, food, and play!! What is the big deal! Well, it is a big deal. To me and the world that is so important to me. It has been incredible to feel that God does love and care about my concerns and petitions as a mother. Truly the quote by Boyd K. Packer, "There are few things more powerful then the prayer of a righteous mother" is true! 

Some of the things I’ve written down that I wanted to be sure and remember:
Rolling over again on 1/26/14. She did it while we were at my parent’s house. I was chatting with my mom about this and that.  She did it in the technique I’ve described already. Now, she does it almost every time she is ever on her stomach.  As of today, 1/31, after showing her several times how to put her arm prior to rolling so she doesn’t pin it down, she now does it on her own! She still pins here and there…but she has the idea on how to avoid it! Go Tess!
1/17/14 & 1/18/14- NEW SOUNDS!! “Ba ba ba ba!” Like crazy and a growling sound that is funny. She hums and has too! Awe! I love to hear her make noises! She is quite the laugher too! She laughs daily and sometimes more!
1/9/14-Sitting up on her own without any support for lengthy periods of time!!
She has tired and likes as of today: sweet potatoes, prunes, pears, bananas, avocados, pees, peaches, and my morning oatmeal. (Just a little!) She mostly likes the avocados and peas with a fruit. Which is 100% okay with me. Research suggests that if she eats and likes fruit first doesn’t mean she will dislike vegetables. I am hoping they are right!!! I really want her to be an all around good eater!
12/21/13-This is when she started to push her chest off the ground with her hands. She gets stronger and stronger! I am waiting for her to figure out how to get her knees underneath her! I have tried to show her but she firms up those legs and I can’t get her to bend them! I guess I should stick to her schedule and not my own!
12/25/13-When her mimicking really started to be apparent.

 The bouncer! Sometimes she goes crazy and loves it and sometimes she is like...hooo hum! Somebody entertain me! 

REACHHHH for the camera that keeps flashing in your eyes! 

A favorite! I put fresh fruit like bananas and let her suck and chomp away. She really enjoys this. 

As in she will chomp away all day long on that thing! Mmmmm M! 

 Happy Half Birthday! 6 months old! 

I love these two pictures together, looks like she's shoving this stuffed toy out of her sight! She was actually going to grab it and I distracted her. 



Me...TRYING to get her attention. Which is getting harder and HARDER to do! 

Showing off her battle wounds from her shots! She was so good. She did  cry at the surprise of the poke. But calmed down shortly after. She was great. 

My Favorite! The smile, the pose, and that you can see her little 6 month sticker. I wish the "lighting" were better. But, I guess you can't win them all. I am not to that part in my class yet! 

The baby push up! 

The ninja pose! 

I'm done with pics! Just leave me to play!!! 

 The BOUNCER again! Another day, another picture! 

Get me out of over this! 

Doing my photography "exercises." I am supposed to take the same picture in all the "modes" on the camera. 

Hoooo boring. Let's play. 

This last Sunday, Natalie, Landon, and Issac came over! We had dinner and watched some random shows on the food channel. I am sure we could have come up with something more fun to do, but we didn't. I always love to see them and to chat. 

Hanging with Grandpa Bluemel, they are buddies! 

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