Thursday, January 16, 2014

3 Months!

Somehow, Bean turned 3 months old today (and yes, it is actually today!  I'm actually on time!)!  It seems like just yesterday we brought her home, but then when I think back all we've done with her so far, 3 months sounds about right!

It seems like yet again she has changed so much in the past month!  In thinking through this past month with her, I realized we were almost gone as much as we were home.  We sure do love travelling and spending time with both of our families, but it is much different with a baby!  Both in a good and bad way - haha.

Bean did great over Christmas with all our travels.  She was an absolute trooper in the car and while being passed around to everyone.  I really got spoiled over the break having so many people to help entertain and hold baby.  But now that we are home, I realized how spoiled I was and have been working to "detox" baby from Christmas.  She had a rough couple of days learning that Momma can't hold and entertain her 24/7.

(For Christmas, Bean got this amazing play mat!  I love the brand SkipHop, and never thought anyone would actually get her this item (as it was expensive, but oh so cute!).  Nanny pulled through and got her this wonderful mat!  Bean loves to lay on it and kicks at the little owl that hangs.  I can get a lot of stuff done while she entertains herself with the toys.  Thanks Nanny!)

While traveling, Bean did great sleeping and stuck to her getting up 1x a night; however, that has changed the past few weeks.  She will have a random night of sleeping through the night, mixed in with nights of getting up 2x!  All the inconsistency drives me crazy!  When she does sleep through the night, I still end up waking up after about 5 or 6 hours of sleep and have trouble falling back to sleep.  When she does get up in the middle of the night, our routine has shortened significantly.  It used to take me almost a full hour to feed, change, and rock her back to sleep.  However, now we have it down to just 30 minutes!  I feed her halfway, change her diaper, then finish feeding her.  Usually, she falls asleep while we finish up the feeding.  The hardest part about nighttime feedings is not stepping on a creaky floorboard as I sneak out of her room!

(When I lay Bean in her crib, she lays perpendicular to how she is laying in this picture.  Her new thing, is to kick her legs which makes her "slide" down the mattress into this position.  Her mattress is tilted a little to help with congestion.  I'm guessing we're going to have to put the mattress back flat now that she is becoming "mobile".  I find her like this most morning now - and she usually has a smile, too - unless she's really hungry!)

Last week, we had one really bad day that was equivalent to the day she got her 2 month shots.  I have no idea why she was so cranky.  At every feeding, she would scream (I do mean scream!), arch her back, and refuse to eat; however, she was acting like she was hungry and it was feeding time.  She kept doing it all day and by night time, I was very frustrated!  I even tried to feed her a bottle to see if it had to do with nursing, but that didn't seem to matter.  Finally, I had to step away and Steve took over.  He ended up just putting her to bed.  And of course, she decided to sleep through the night!  All the screaming and frustrations of the day were not worth that night's sleep! I'll take a calmer baby and getting up a couple times at night any day!

This week, I've made a great effort to not feed Bean before the 2.5 hour mark.  At first she didn't like it, and I had to go to great lengths to entertain her, but now she's accustomed to the new schedule.  My goal is to work towards feedings every 3 hours.  Today, she hit the 3 hour mark a couple of times all on her own!  She still takes several cat naps throughout the day based on her feedings.  I never know how our day is going to look (as far as if she'll take naps in big chunks, or several small ones).  It always seems she is awake when I want her napping and napping when I want her awake.  Oh well.  She still naps best when someone is holding her, with her swing as a close second.  I've been starting to put her down for a morning nap in her crib, just so I can get stuff done around the house, yet hear her on the monitor.

We have a pretty good established routine come night time.  She has a good chunk of awake time in the evening right around our dinner time.  Before Bean, we were really good about eating at the dinner table, now we eat in the living room.  Sometimes, we have to take turns as to who eats and who tends to baby.  We looks forward to when she will sit at the table with us.  We have dreams of being able to hold real conversations during dinner time, but I'm beginning to surmise that is just a dream.

Other notable accomplishments -- Bean has started to grasp and "play" with certain toys.  She has a little bunny blanket that Steve claims I am "pushing" on her.  I'm the Mom, I get to push on her whatever I want!  She likes to grasp/rub at the bunny when she falls asleep, and will even entertain herself by sucking on its ears when she wakes up.  I like that she is starting to be able to entertain herself with things like her tongue and stuffed animals.  I look forward to her playing with more toys as she grows!

(The bunny that Steve claims I'm forcing on Bean.  Does that look like she's being forced?!)

One other accomplishment is that she rolled over!  She went from tummy to back all on her own.  We thought it was a random fluke, but she did it several times in a row (I even videotaped it!).  But she hasn't done it again since that day.  I've been doing better about giving her tummy time (I was very inconsistent in the beginning).  We still don't do it everyday, but definitely do it more than we used to!

My favorite part of this last month is watching her discover laughter! She is a very smiley baby and loves to smile at silly faces, sounds, and anyone.  The other day, I was playing with her by making sounds and tipping her over.  Each time I did it, her smile got bigger and bigger, and she began to laugh.  It was almost a full out hysterical belly laugh, but not quite.  I tried to catch it on video, but she hasn't laughed like that again.  Soon enough, I know our house will be filled with lots more of her coos and laughs (right now, it's mostly filled with crying).

(Lastly, I'll throw in this bonus picture.  Over Christmas, I got to help my mom make a traditional Romanian meal of cabbage rolls and sauerkraut that we call galushta.  We (started with my grandma who was full blooded Romanian) always make this meal around Christmas.  This year's cabbage rolls were pretty big and we joked that they were almost as big as Bean.  I absolutely love galushta, but apparently Bean does not :(. Maybe that will change when she gets to eat it first hands in a few years!) 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Traveling Babe

We are pretty blessed with our little Bean.  She is usually a very happy baby and easy going.  We do have some tummy issues here and there that make her cranky and clingy, but all in all, we can't complain with how easy she is! 

We made the decision to drive to New Jersey with a 2 month old well before she was born.  We knew we didn't want to try to tackle flying with a baby yet, and wanted to see all of Steve's family for Christmas.  Bean rarely cries when in her car seat and generally just sleeps in the car, whether it be a short trip or a a few hours.  So the decision was made, the car was loaded up, and off we went to New Jersey!

We left my parents' house around 8am.  Bean had been fed, changed, and was ready to fall back to sleep.  She was asleep before we even hit the gas station to fill up the car and start our trek.  I started off the jounrey in the front with Steve.  We weren't sure how she was going to do, but thought I'd at least start up in the front, and switch to the back when she needed it.  Typically, she eats around every 2.5 hours.  So at the 2.5 hour mark, I went ahead and pumped and prepped a bottle for Bean, whenever she chose to wake up.  It wasn't until the 4 hour mark that she woke up and immediately started crying!

(My view from behind my shoulder. Steve could see her via her mirror in his rear view mirror.)

Steve pulled over on the shoulder of the highway and I climbed in the back.  Once I was buckled and the coast was clear, he pulled right back on the highway.  I fed Bean a bottle while she was still in her car seat.  About halfway through her bottle, I would try to pat her tummy to make her burp, but that didn't really work.  So I would just end up feeding her the rest without burping and I'd give her gas medicine to try to prevent any meltdowns.  This mostly worked, but she would spit up a lot. I would just be ready with a burp cloth to clean it up!


The child can't resist falling asleep in the car.  Pretty much after the bottle was finished up, she'd fall right back to sleep.  She slept for a couple hours, when we made our first stop.  We had a planned stop at a mall so that I could get my wedding ring cleaned.  I have to get it done every 6 months in order to keep up the warranty.  Since we don't have that jewelry store around us, it worked to do it on our drive.  While Steve headed with my ring to the store, I changed Bean and fed her in the food court.  We then ate our lunch, I cleaned my pump supplies in the bathroom (I was even prepared with a bottle brush and packets of Dawn), and we loaded back up and continued our journey.  I returned to my seat in the front again.

I again prepped a bottle at the 2.5 hour mark, but she slept longer than that.  We did the same routine of pulling onto the shoulder, me climbing in the back, and heading back on our way as Bean took a bottle.  This time, she stayed awake a little bit and we played with her plethora of toys.  Okay, really, I played with her toys and she just watched.  Her current favorite entertainment is silly faces, so I did a bunch of them, until I started getting car sick and couldn't look at her.  She eventually fell back asleep. Around dinner time, we hit a stretch of area where there were no food stops!  It being Christmas Eve, we already knew we'd be hitting slim pickens.  I had to search on my phone to find a McDonald's to stop at.  Timing worked out perfectly.  Just as we started to take our exit, Bean woke up hungry!  We did the same routine at the stop - changing, feeding baby, cleaning bottle and supplies, eating, etc.  Only at this stop, Bean chose to blow out her diaper, so there was a clothing change.  I just had to deal with the excrement on me until our final destination ;-). 

(Really, mom?!  When are we getting out of this car?!)

Bean has more awake time in the evening.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  I started in the front again, but soon had to switch to the back.  I had hopes of her being able to make it til her next feeding at Nanny's house, but that didn't happen.  I ended up having to prep another bottle (while she was awake and crying because she was hungry earlier than the 2.5 hour mark) right as we hit Philadelphia.  This was probably the most stressful part of the trip because she wanted food now and I wasn't ready to give it to her! Finally, a bottle was ready and she was happy again.  We only had about an hour or so left in our journey.  We did the usual entertaining with toys and faces (until I got car sick again).  We pulled into Nanny's just before 10pm.  We made it!  Wooooooo!!

Bean was an absolute trooper!  Not many 2.5 month olds travel so well.  We know we are blessed and hope she continues her love of the carseat and sleeping in the car.  Now we will just have to wait and see how she travels via plane. . . 

Our journey on the way back was pretty much the same just in reverse.  We started around the same time in the morning and had a couple of planned stops again.  We had to eat an earlier lunch (to avoid the span of no food options again) which threw off the timing of bottles/nursing.  But it all worked out.  I had prepped  bottle for her at the beginning of the drive, but she ended up sleeping through til we stopped, so I just held onto that bottle for later.  I also ended up coming up with a better system of cleaning the pump supplies.  I ended up just pouring water through it and drying it with napkins.  Then I fully cleaned/sanitzed when I got home that evening.

Steve had done some research of a little town we had drove through on our way to Jersey and decided we should stop there for dinner on our way back.  We stopped in Wheeling, West Virginia to eat at a local place called Later Alligator.  We parked our car a few blocks away and walked to the little eatery.  Bean's eating time had gotten a little messed up, so she just hung out with us while we ate.  She got fussy towards the end, and I fed her a little, but I think she mostly just wanted cuddle time.  I chose to not put her back in her carseat to carry her to the car.  Instead, I held her bundled under a blanket (with her cute hat from Aunt Ashley!) and we walked back to the car.  I changed her (on the seat of the car) and then put her back in the car seat.  I chose to go ahead and stay in the back with her.  She was still sort of fussing and since the bottles/feedings got messed up, I decided I should stay nearby.  

(At Later Alligator!  Steve got some pulled pork/mac'n'cheese sandwhich and I got a chicken wrap.  Both were pretty tasty!  We especially liked the atmosphere.  The place is known for its crepes, but we weren't hungry enough to get some for dessert.  Maybe next time!)

(The little town was really cute and quaint.  It looks like there is a large market similar to Findlay Market in Cincinnati.  Check out that cute hat! Hahahaha)

Whenever we travel, I try my hardest to stay awake for Steve.  But I just couldn't fight it this time around.  Steve listedned to some audio story about the Khans an it put me right to sleep!  Usually we try to switch drivers, but Steve didn't want to have to worry about Bean.  He left that to me while he did all the driving.  What an awesome man I'm married to!  We got home around 7:30.  Just in time for bath time!  Once Bean was all snuggly and clean, she ate and went to bed!  You would think that all of that sleeping in the car would keep her up, but it had the opposite effect.  All that driving tuckered her out!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jersey Christmas

After spending time for Christmas with my family in Indiana, we loaded up the car and began the second portion of our Christmas with Steve's family.  On Christmas Eve, we woke up early and began our long drive to New Jersey (where Steve's grandparents live).  We weren't sure how Bean would do in the car, but she was an absolute trooper! (More on that in another post!)

We got to Jersey late on Tuesday and spent the evening with just Steve's grandparents.  The next day, the rest of his family showed up and the mayhem began.  There was lots of Bean passing and sharing.  She did great (except for one minor freakout when I gave her to an aunt, but she quickly got over it).  It was good to see all the family and continue Christmas (and Jersey) traditions, like a trip to the boardwalk for pizza & taffee!

(This kid just gets cuter and cuter!  Look at those little antlers!)

(Mommom, Poppop, & Aunt Ashley sharing some cuddle time with Bean)

(Hanging out with Cousin Daniella!  All of Steve's cousins were especially excited this Christmas to be able to play with a baby, let alone a little girl!  They all did great sharing time with and entertaining baby! This was on of my favorite photos with the cousins, Bean was looking straight at the camera, which is quite rare - ha!)

(Merry Christmas!  Bean came out of Jersey Christmas with quite the haul!  She got lots of clothes, some toys, a booster seat, and a really neat play mat.  She's already gotten lots of use out of the mat.)

(Jersey tradition - Manco & Manco's Pizza - formerly Mack & Manco's.  The pizza slice was almost as big as Bean!  She was pretty tired and slept through most of lunch, despite the crowed and noise space inside the pizza place.)

(On the Boardwalk!  Since we knew the pizza place was small and crowded, we didn't take Bean in her carseat.  Instead, we carried her around.  Usually, she is bundled in a blanket in her carrier, so I had to bundle her up in a warm "snow" suit.  Look at that cute pink fuzz ball, haha.)

(Uncle Ian was able to escape Bean time back at Thanksgiving, but he couldn't get away with it at Christmas.  He was forced into holding her by Steve.  He didn't hold her long. she was crying and hungry, but props to Ian for succumbing to sibling pressure!)