Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we've had a VERY busy week. I'm trying to remember what all has occurred since I last posted. We spent most of the last week laying low. Brad worked Monday and Tuesday and has been off since Wednesday. Emma and I are loving having her Daddy home. We've been finishing up some final Christmas shopping and just enjoying lots of time together.

On Friday we had a very special day. Brad's stepfather, Tony, had a big surprise 60th birthday party! The day started with us meeting lots of family at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We were all standing there waiting when Brad's mom and Tony walked in - he was SO surprised! His sisters flew in from around the country (and even Mexico!) to be there. It was very special. We had a great lunch. Emma mostly napped in her sling and took in the sights. She wasn't so sure what she thought of all those people!

That night, after a big afternoon nap, we went to Brad's parents house for the actual party. There were TONS of people! Emma visited for a little while before bedtime. I was a little concerned because it was going to be a late night and I knew we were bringing her pack and play to put her to bed in. However, she has a very rigid schedule of rituals that we do before bed. I KNEW she was going to think it wasn't bedtime. I was right. It took her Daddy and I both rocking her (with no rocking chair!) to get her down. She slept for exactly 1 hour before waking back up. Luckily, that was enough time for her Daddy and I to enjoy a nice dinner and some Italian wine and dessert before she woke up. The best part is that she woke up in a GREAT mood. She was passed around most of the night without making a peep. She DID however, show a touch of "I want my mommy!" I was holding her and someone took her from me. She cried until I held her again and she stopped immediately! This might not seem like much, but usually, if she's very upset, it takes me rocking or nursing her to calm her. It was the very first time that just holding her calmed her. It made me feel like a million bucks.

Like I had predicted, it WAS a very late night. We got home late and got her in bed late, and her mood the next day proved that that was a bad idea. Oh well. Stuff happens!

On Monday we met Brad's family at Discover Mills for a date with Santa. It was Emma's cousin, Luke's first Santa visit and he did great! After he got his picture, we sat them both on Santa's lap. So cute! I'll scan the picture and post it as soon as I get a copy!

I went to a memorial service for a co-worker from Midvale yesterday. Emma's Daddy kept her while I was gone. He did a great job! He hasn't babysat by himself very much, mostly because when I leave and Emma's not with me, Brad is! My mom has kept her a bunch, but it was Daddy's turn. She "helped" him do some vacuuming and was a good girl.

Today she has seemed like she might be coming down with a little cold. Still not sure. She's coughing a little (a dry cough) and has sneezed some, but seems to feel great otherwise. We've been expanding her horizons with baby food. She LOVES pears, sweet potato, and carrots. She tolerates applesauce when it's mixed with something. Bananas are ok when mixed with something too, but when she eats them alone - GAG! She's so funny.

We've had a great day today. We had Joe (Brad's step brother) and his wife Fylicia and baby Luke over for dinner and a play date. Luke is 3 weeks older than Emma and a LOT bigger! He weighs 25 lbs and Emma is somewhere around 15! His little thigh rolls are just the cutest thing I've ever seen. They rolled around in the floor and had a great time. This was really the first time that they noticed each other and it was precious. Pardon the blur. Brad took the pictures and the lighting was bad!

Playing together - Luke's a bit handsy!

Emma decided to get him back! Chomp! (just kidding, there was no actual biting - but it DOES look like it!)

Checkin each other out!

Tomorrow we will be going to Holy Cross for the children's Christmas Eve mass. Last year I was pregnant with Emma and it was so hard to believe that I would have a 6 month old by the same time the next year. Christmas was such an emotional time. It's still hard to believe. I can't wait to dress her up in her Christmas dress and bring her to church. She loves the music, so I'm hoping she'll be a good girl and behave herself. We'll see!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Party

We went to Emma's first Christmas party on Saturday. It was the annual Holiday Party for my mom's job. All of the kids who go to Lekotek or FOCUS for services are invited and it was a BIG turnout. Emma even got to meet 2 of my previous students. Emma was a little out of sorts. When she was a teeny tiny baby she would fall asleep whenever new people were around, sort of her little defense mechanism when she was getting overstimulated. Well, even though she had JUST woken up from a nap, and even though my Mom, Brad, and I were the only ones to hold her, she played possum anyway!

Here she is meeting Jack, one of my students who is now in Middle School. I feel old! Can you tell he wasn't all that thrilled to see his teacher??? I like to think he was being coy......not sure! Miss Susan is one tough cookie in the classroom! I got a sweet reaction from Alex, my other student though - a big smile!

We had a good time and Emma even got to see Santa again! It was GREAT! We still didn't get a smile, but I think what we got was even better....

Emma's sleeping is SOOO much better! It's still not as great as it COULD be, but we'll take it! Last night she woke up twice, and a few nights ago she only woke up once - Brad and I BOTH woke up to check on her! We're keeping our fingers crossed that it continues.

On a sadder note, I'm afraid that another paraprofessional from my school that I've known for 4 years or so is about to pass away. She had a heart attack last week and was unconscious for an unknown length of time. Apparently it took it's toll because test show that she is likely brain dead. The machines were supposed to have been turned off this morning. Please keep her family in your prayers. I can't believe we lost 2 staff members within a matter of months. So sad. I still feel so much like a member of the school family. It's still hard to believe I'm not there this year, but I wouldn't trade being home for anything in the world!

Christmas is just around the corner and we're just about ready! We're leaving the day after Christmas to go to Gatlinburg, TN for a mountain vacation with my parents. It will be Emma's first vacation. I'm praying that the car ride goes well! That's really the only part that terrifies me! We're excited to go though.

Today's been busy already - I've been busy making baby food! So far Emma's tried carrots, sweet potatoes, and banana. She had a little rash that may have been from the banana, so we're taking a few weeks off of that one. Today I made organic carrots and applesauce. Can't wait to see what she thinks of the applesauce! She's a great eater. It's hard to believe that within a matter of weeks she went from spitting out rice cereal that was VERY runny, to now eating an ounce of rice cereal mixed with breast milk, a serving of sweet potatoes, and still wanting more! She's a big girl!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Too soon to call??

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we've been having MAJOR sleep issues around here. Emma would lay down for a nap, only to wake up 10-30 minutes later (and every 10 minute increment after THAT) screaming, and needing to be soothed back to sleep. Nighttime was just as bad - sleeping great until around midnight when she'd start to wake up some nights every hour.

THEN I purchased these books....

Wow. I'm REALLY scared to say that our problems are gone, so I won't. But you get the picture! She has a lot of really great information on "setting the scene" for naps. She points out that, while we often have great routines that are set in stone for bedtime, we don't usually have them for naps. She also has a great chart that details how long babies should go in between naps, and how many hours of sleep they need total.

So here's what I changed....Emma went from taking 3 naps, down to 2. I keep her up a MINIMUM of 1 1/2 hours (trying to make it to 2) between naps, rather than an hour and 15 minutes, which had been her limit without melting down. Before I lay her down for a nap, I swaddle her, turn on the box fan in our room (where I feed her before nap - she has a box fan in her room as well for the white noise). I turn off all the lights, feed her until she's good and relaxed, and put her in her crib while she's still awake, but drowsy.

She has been taking 2-3 hour naps without waking up for about 3 days now!!! She is also sleeping MUCH better at night. She has woken up once or twice a night now for about 4 nights!!!!! Now, if Brad and I can get used to getting to sleep OURSELVES a little earlier, we'll feel like actual people again!!

It's amazing how 2 little books can change so much. The things that she points out in the books are simple, common-sense ideas, that I had never even considered! Just a few simple changes have changed Emma's little life. It's incredible how important sleep, or lack thereof, is to a little baby - and her mommy!

We met my friend Rachel and her little baby Juliette at Chick-Fil-A a few nights ago for a quick dinner. Rachel and I both went to St. Pius, both taught (she still does) kids with severe and profound disabilities, we're both going to send our girls to Catholic school, AND our little baby girls are only 2 weeks apart! What amazed me was that, even though Juliette was around 6lbs at birth, and Emma was 9, they both are almost the exact same height and weight now! It's amazing what a little breast milk can do.

We got the girls together when Emma was around 8 weeks old or so, but they weren't really "into" other people at the time. This time they were so cute - they sat on the table and just STARED at each other! Emma would look at Juli and then back at me like "do you SEE her Mama??" It was precious. We've GOT to get them together for a play date soon - I think I need the company of another young mom just as much as Emma needs a friend! So much fun to look forward to in the years to come!

Once again, I have no pictures. I've been spending my days making homemade baby food, washing clothes, diapers, and trying to keep up with a little housework. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my baby food maker?? SO far I've used it for sweet potatoes and carrots - we're trying the carrots tonight. Last night Emma had a little mashed banana with her cereal - she LOVED it mixed in, but hated the bite without cereal! Love the funny faces that came along with that. She had a little rash on her belly after the banana, so we'll wait a little while and try it again. Hopefully the carrots don't have the same effect! Anyone have any good baby food recipes????

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I honestly don't have too much to report on this week. It's been very laid back. Emma's been having a bit of a rough time again/still with sleeping. She goes down between 7:30-8:00 and does great until around midnight. Then she starts waking up screaming. On a good night, she's up twice to eat. On a bad night, she's up once an hour. It's a nightmare. We're not sure what her exact issue is. Like I've mentioned before, we've tried the "cry it out" method with no avail. I've read a TON on the internet and it seems like the best method so far is the "No-Cry Sleep Method." It's a book that aims to solve sleep issues in babies and toddlers. According to what I speed read last night (got the book yesterday morning), it seems that her issue is the pacifier. The author explains that when you have a baby who wakes up frequently at night, they have sleep associations that are issues. A sleep association is basically something that the baby has been trained to think that it needs in order to sleep. When the paci falls out in the middle of the night, she wakes up because she thinks she needs it. We've done the Almighty Paci dance for about 3 months now. It's no fun.

Anyway, the author explains how to gently teach Emma that she doesn't have to have the paci to sleep. We've just started the removal process (you basically take the paci out of her mouth very gently once she's falling asleep. If she cries, put it back in and try again.) She's pretty good with us removing it after she falls asleep for the first time. Not so great after her first wake up. We'll get there.

I wish that I could say that her naps are better. She has actually had some pretty good naps lately, but it's not consistent. Another thing the book says is that for a nap to serve it's purpose, it needs to be a minimum of 90 minutes. Any shorter doesn't count. It also says that Emma needs to be taking 2 naps rather than the 3 that she currently takes. That's what we worked on today. She did pretty well. No big meltdowns - she frequently has huge screaming fits before bed when she's overtired, usually starting around 6:30. Tonight she did great missing that nap, up until time to put jammies on, but it was short-lived. She was EXHAUSTED when we put her down, so we'll see if she sleeps any better tonight. Keeping my fingers crossed. We've got a lot of activities coming up because of the holidays and I'm praying that we get Emma back to being her sweet, happy little self before then! Could make for lots of cancelled plans!

Like I said, we haven't done much this week. I've been trying to catch up on some much needed sleep, which hasn't worked out too well! I got our Christmas cards mailed out much earlier than I usually do. Proud of that!

A lot of people have mentioned lately how much Emma is starting to look like me. I've noticed it too. I'll be the first to tell you that up until now, she's been a little baby Brad. She's had moments of looking like me, but just barely. She has my fingers, feet, nose, and mouth. Lately her eyes have looked like mine as a baby as well. I'll let you be the judge. Here's a picture of Brad as a baby, then one of me at 6 months, then Emma. I've been remiss in taking Emma pictures this week, so here's one from fairly recently. I'll take some soon and post them so you can see how much she's grown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Brad and I decided to take Emma to Discover Mills on Sunday to get a little Christmas shopping done. For years we've gotten a special ornament each year to go on the tree that's somehow symbolic of the year. Brad got me our first ornament on our first Christmas together in 2000. Each year we add to the tree and it's neat to look back and remember each ornament. This was last year's ornament, when I was pregnant.

This was 2006's ornament.

This year we had to get a special "Family" ornament!

I can't wait to keep this tradition alive with Emma as we watch her grow.

Anyway, we went to Discover Mills because that's where we typically get the ornaments. While we were there we did some Christmas shopping and decided to get Greek take-out to bring home for dinner. While we were waiting for it to get ready, I realized there was no line for Santa! We hadn't really planned to see him that day, but the stars aligned and we decided to go ahead. It was really important to Brad that he be there, so rather than take her during the week when there are fewer people, we decided to go ahead.

She LOVED Santa! This picture was the first one they took - the first expression that she had the FIRST time she saw Santa! So sweet. She sat there happily while they took several pictures, but would never smile for us! We thought this picture was even more precious than a smiley one. She sat there and rubbed her face on the fur on his coat, stared up at him, snuggled. He was in no hurry to give her back! He kept saying "no, we can get her to smile!" So cute! Judging by some of the other babies we saw, I'm pretty sure next year's picture will be a "crying" one! I hope not, but we'll see.

Here's the tree this year. We've had the angel ever since we started dating and had our first Christmas tree in our apartment in Carrollton. We just can't retire her. We also have some holiday houses around the tree skirt.

Here are some of our Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer houses. Rudolph is hands-down my FAVORITE Christmas movie and I love these houses. Emma does too!

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like.....

Christmas! We're decorating as I type! Well, not AS I type. I took a break. Let me play catch up.

Yesterday was Emma's first Thanksgiving. It was the best day we could have possibly asked for. Emma did GREAT on the car trip to my Aunt Claire's house in Thomson, GA. She slept for quite a while and was happy the rest of the trip. We ate great food, visited with family, and Emma got to meet her Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim for the first time, in addition to her Great-Great Aunt Jean and Great-Great Uncle J.J. (my grandfather's brother and his wife). It was wonderful. Emma was an angel and even took a 2.5 hour nap! We brought her pack and play (which she's never actually slept in) and her miracle blanket. Let me tell you, it really IS a miracle! She was such an angel - I can't get over it.

Barbara, Mom, Grandpa, Claire, and Nancy

Brad and I - Emma was asleep!

Getting some sugar from Aunt Claire

Watching the game with the boys.

Sitting like a big girl!

She had a great trip back home and we had turkey sandwiches at Mom and Dads for dinner before heading home.

It's always been a family tradition to put up the Christmas tree and decorate on the day after Thanksgiving. As a child we always went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree, a tradition that we plan to start with Emma next year when she's old enough to enjoy running around the tree farm. This year we are planning to get one more use out of the fake tree. Brad's putting it up as I speak.

I can't wait to see what Emma thinks of it once it's decorated. She loves things that light up, so I'm sure she will be fascinated. It's so amazing how differently you look at everyday things once she sees them for the first time. She's so amazing.

Nothing too exciting has gone on around here other than decorating. We're just enjoying some time with Brad home as a family.

We've got so much to be thankful for this year. As my Uncle Jim said the blessing yesterday he thanked God for the blessing of Emma. It brought me back to last Thanksgiving. I had just decided to tell the family that I was pregnant with Emma. I had my miscarriage 3 months before. I stood there last year, cautiously excited. I was thrilled to be pregnant, and terrified that I would lose her, as I did my first baby. You just never know, as I have painfully found out in the past. It's amazing to see how things can come full circle. This year has truly been a YEAR of Thanksgiving - so much more than just a day. There is no greater blessing than the blessing of a child.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quick Update

Emma's had a great week this week! She turned 5 months old happened so fast! She started off the week with a bang by deciding to FINALLY master flipping over! She's doing it very intentionally now. She's so funny. There's no more "putting her down on her tummy" anymore - she THROWS herself over onto her back - with a little dramatic effect. She's so smart.

We also started rice cereal a few days ago. I'm not sure that she likes it, but she's getting there. Most of it ended up on her chin, but there were lots of smiles in between bites, so I think she was excited at how big she's getting!

NOT quite sure what she thinks about this cereal stuff....

Today we braved the cold, rainy, Atlanta weather to go meet MckMama! If anyone's not sure who I'm talking about, her blog link is to the right of the page. She is a mom of 4 gorgeous kids. The youngest, Stellan, had a heart defect in utero. He wasn't expected to live. He was born and it appeared that he was completely cured. 5 months later, he showed signs of the defect (SVT) again. He's been hospitalized more times than I can count, has had countless procedures, surgeries, and even flat-lined on the table 2 weeks ago during surgery. Thankfully, the surgery also completely cured him - only a 1% chance that he'll ever have another heart issue. Anyway, his mom, Jennifer, is just an awesome woman and blogger. She's the one that turned us on to the miracle blanket and to babywearing (the baby sling that I carry Emma in). It was so nice to be able to give her a hug in real life! The pictures turned out terrible because it was rainy and there was almost no light out. Oh well, we have the memories!

Stellan and his Daddy

Mom talking to Stellan - SO cute!

MckMama, Emma, and I

We also had a delicious pre-Thanksgiving meal with Brad's family. Some of the best turkey that I've ever had!! We'll be spending Emma's first Thanksgiving in Thomson, GA with my family, so we decided to celebrate a little early with Brad's. It was fun, but Miss Emma sure did miss a nap and decided to tell us ALL about it in the end. She was a trooper though. Can't wait for Thanksgiving to introduce her to some of her family that she's never met. We're also excited to have Emma's Daddy home with us for longer than a weekend! Happy Thanksgiving all!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

It really feels like we've been running and running this week, but when I really look back at it, we haven't! Emma's pretty much over her cold. Luckily it was just a runny nose and some congestion. We've been very lucky on that front.

We spent most of last week at home so that she could recover and feel better. It worked! We went to Helen, GA on Saturday to spend a little time away from home. We had a blast as a little family! We got up and got ready leisurely. After Emma's morning nap we headed to Helen. We put her in the stroller and walked around for a long time. There was some sort of biker parade, complete with police escorts. We stopped to cross the street and had to wait for them. It was SO loud that I was sure Emma was freaked out. But, as you can see by the picture, she was too sleepy to care! Something about the stroller just really relaxes her.

After we were done shopping we walked back to the car to drop off the stroller and exchange it for the sling so that a sleepy Miss Em could take a nap while we had lunch. We had our hearts set on the Troll Tavern for some good German food, but the wait was 1/2 an hour and we knew that Emma wouldn't nap long. We decided on a Mexican restaurant with a cool patio and a guy playing the guitar and singing. BAD choice. The music was terrible and the food was worse. Oh well.

We've had better luck on the sleeping front. I gave in and decided that I'd let her "cry it out." Bad idea. She cried nonstop for an hour and a half. She never let up. I finally decided that enough was enough and gave in. She slept better after that, most likely because she was worn out. The following night she only woke up twice! Brad had me go check on her because he wasn't sure she was still breathing! The following night she woke up three times, and three last night as well. We're getting there!

She's doing SOOO much better in the car as well. We set her up with her Baby Einstein da Vinci video and she's good to go. She's great on short trips, and even did well on the hour and 15 minute trip to Helen. Only a little crying on the way back, mostly because she was so sleepy.

Tonight we had a first. Brad had parent-teacher conferences and isn't even home yet as I write this. I have had Emma all day, and even bathed her and put her down by myself! I'm so proud. It wasn't easy, but we made it! I'm sad for him that he won't get to see her, but he DID get lots of good snuggles in this morning.

Walking in Helen with Daddy

Watching the motorcycles - SLEEPY girl! (the marks on her cheek are from her fingers which are CONSTANTLY in her mouth!)

Ready for a stroll with mama.

WHY are you keeping me from my nap?? - LOVE this picture!

Walking near the river in Helen.
Walking in her umbrella stroller tonight - my littlest pumpkin!

Happy girl!

Bouncing in our bouncy thingy (does it have a name?) right before bed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

20 Weeks

I THINK Emma's 20 weeks this week, but don't hold me to it. I'm losing track! I get emailed newsletters for every week of her life that details what her developmental milestones should be and tips and such, and I THINK that this last week was week 20! This week's been pretty uneventful, but not the best one in the record books.

Emma's sleep is still crappy. There's no better word for it without using ugly words that I'd rather not use. I'm gradually trying to make her bedtime a little earlier. I've learned a lot about her over the last couple of weeks. Each night around 6:30 starts what I call the "witching hour." She is SO tired and starts to get fussy. There's just no pleasing her with anything except for bath and bedtime. I'm starting to think that she may need to be down by 6:30, but it's really going to mess with OUR schedule if we do that. Right now she's down somewhere between 7:30-8:30. She's been sleeping until about midnight and then is up about once an hour. Most of those times I put the passy back in and we go back to sleep, but we're up again in an hour. It really takes a lot out of you when you go to bed around 10:30 or 11:00 and then are up in an hour. There's something to be said for long stretches of sleep!

I've done a lot of internet research over the last few days about what could possibly be going on with my little princess. There's something that I had never heard of before called the "4 month wakeful period." Basically, because babies are developing so much cognitively around their 4 month birthday, they are more frequent wakers at night. I'm not sure whether or not it's true, but it seems to be. She doesn't really "wake up" when she fusses at night. Her eyes stay closed but she cries. If you get her up, she screams hysterically because she wasn't actually awake. This afternoon I posted a message about our sleep mess on one of my mothering message boards. A mom wrote right back and said that her son did the EXACT same thing - down to the waking times, for 2 weeks straight. I'm hoping that that's what this is and that she'll snap out of it soon. It's taking a toll on mama!

We've tried a few things to get over this sleep hurdle, but nothing has worked so far. We are letting her try to soothe herself back to sleep when she fusses. We've stopped getting her out of the crib when she does it. We just talk to her or put her passy back in. Tonight I'm going to try something different. A doctor wrote on a website about the "4 month wakeful period." Her theory is that it's a growth spurt and that the baby is actually hungry when they wake up in the night. Emma's never turned down her "boops" so I'm going to try feeding her tonight. I usually feed her once or twice when she wakes during the night, but I'm going to try to feed her whenever she cries and see if she at least sleeps longer. We'll see. Something's gotta give!

Emma also has a cold that is making her a little miserable. So far it's just a sneezy, runny nose, kind of cold. Her Daddy also came down with a cold 2 days ago. Not sure where she got it - we haven't been anywhere! It's amazing how little you want to get out and do when you haven't gotten any sleep in 2 or 3 weeks :) We're praying that it isn't a bad cold and that she's not down for long. Keep your fingers crossed!

How Emma likes to sleep - COMPLETELY smooshed into the matress! She CAN breathe under there though.

I asked Brad to watch Emma while he put away his laundry and I took a shower. This is what I came back to. I think they were watching The Family Guy. How can I complain though?? :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wild Week

Wow. I'm glad that last week was over, but we're showing no signs of calming down! Emma had a tough time with the after effects of her shots last week. She ran a low-grade fever on and off for 2 days. She has also been VERY crabby. Today is the first day that that seems to have gone away. In addition, her great sleeping habits have gone out the window.

The night after her shots she was up at least once an hour all....night....long. Since then, she hasn't had longer than a 2 hour stretch at night. I'm not sure what the heck the issue is, but it's got to stop - and fast. Sometimes she wakes up and seems to want to eat. Others she just needs her passy put back in. It was tough over the weekend when Brad was here to help, but last night I had double duty so that he could sleep. It was a nightmare. We're going to go back to the sleep training that worked initially. Something HAS to work! She's still falling asleep on her own in her crib, but wakes up off and on all night. No fun for either of us!

Needless to say, Halloween was a wash. We had plans to get together with friends so that Brad could dress up and terrify the kids with this old man mask that scares the "you know what" out of nearly everyone, including me. Unfortunately, the only one who got to see the mask was Emma. She was fussing on Halloween night so I put the mask on, not sure of what her reaction would be. She looked me right in the face and busted out in a huge gummy smile. I swear, it's not a natural reaction! I'll have to get a picture of Brad in this mask to give you the full impression. Scary. To top it off, we only had one lonely trick or treater.

Here are some Halloween pictures of Emma. Actually, they were taken last night (the night after Halloween) and this morning. You can see how happy she was about the situation!

Before bed - not feeling good, and letting us know about it!

In the morning - much happier!

We've had some fun times too. We decided that she was finally ready for her exersaucer, so my Mom and I put it together for her. As you can see, she LOVES it! Particularly the star toy on it - she LOVES things with faces! She's so stinkin cute!

Wish us luck on this sleep thing. I don't think I can physically take another night of less than 3 hours of sleep total.

Playing with Mr. Star - her best new buddy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We went in for Emma's 4 month check-up today. She weighs 14lbs 6oz (50th-75th percentile) and is 24 5/8 in. long (50th-75th percentile). She had a great check-up. The doctor said that everything looks on target and she was perfect. She was amazed at her weight gain and asked if I was supplementing with formula! NOPE! I told her that mommy makes milkshakes for Miss Em.

The doctor ALSO said that we can try some rice cereal as soon as she starts to act interested in eating. So far she's watching us eat, but not trying to open her mouth to eat when we bring food to her mouth. She said to wait a little while until she really signals that she's ready for it. She also said to wait on other fruits and veggies until 6 months. However, the paperwork the doctor's office gave me says that after the baby really gets the hang of rice cereal, you can try veggies. We'll play it by ear.

I asked her about swaddling. I was able to get Emma to sleep yesterday without her sleep positioner, so we took a step in the right direction. She still refuses to sleep unless she's swaddled though. The doctor recommended loosening the swaddle so that she gets used to sleeping without it. Any moms have tips?? Carolyn, I know you just went through this - help!

The shots were not too bad. I got so nervous that I got hives on my chest, but Emma did great! She cried pretty loud, but there were no tears this time. It also helped that I had my boob in her mouth before the nurse left the room ;) I have no shame! So, all is well! Emma's been dosed with baby Tylenol and is taking a well-deserved nap. Lunchtime for Mama!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

4 Months

It's been a pretty laid-back sort of week around here. I've been trying to recover from my surgery, sans pain medication. Apparently Emma does not like percocet. Or chocolate. The combination of the 2 was enough to keep her up all night for a few nights just after surgery. That was the LAST thing we needed around here, but it's looking like we're on the uphill swing.

Emma has made the transition to the big girl bed! I was really trying to hold off on that until she was out of the swaddle during the night and no longer using her sleep positioner, but it wasn't meant to be. She INSISTS on being swaddled at night and absolutely screams without the sleep positioner. However, she also scoots a ton at night and she was scooting until she touched the end of the co-sleeper which would wake her up. Not good. I finally decided that last night was THE night. She did great. She only woke up twice to eat. I will say, it's a lot tougher to get out of bed and go into her room to feed her, but it was doable. I will also admit that I got up to check on her a TON, but that's all part of the business of being a Mama.

She turned 4 months old on the 22nd. She's getting too big for her britches these days! She's developed quite a bit of an attitude. She wants what she wants, when she wants it. When I stop between sides of nursing her to burp her, all hell breaks loose. She pitches the biggest temper tantrum you've ever seen. Something's gotta give! Don't worry, I'll break her....just as soon as she's old enough to understand what "no" means! It's first on my to-do list. I also hate to say it, but it's pretty cute to see her personality traits come out. I'm afraid that she got that one from me.... :(

We have her 4 month check-up tomorrow. Complete with shots. I may end up with my head in between my knees during that portion of the appointment. I just can't take the sound of the screams. The sound of your child in pain is something I may never get out of my head. It's awful.

As far as I go, my recovery has gone really well. I finally felt back to myself yesterday (day 6). I'm feeling great today. Still having to wear pants with elastic waistbands because of the incisions though. :( Maybe tomorrow.

I'd better run - she's waking up from her nap and talking to herself! We're off to the bank and to Sonic for a cherry-limeade!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Well, it's finally over. Mr. Fred and I have parted ways. My OB named the cyst "Fred" and told me that he would be the cause of our "divorce." He's hysterical. Here's the long and short of it.

The adventure actually started on Friday, the day of my pre-op appointment. I assumed it would be a quick one - signing consent forms, maybe bloodwork. I was wrong. After well over an hour in the doctor's office because of a long wait and lots of paperwork to sign, he told me that I had to go downstairs to Northside's outpatient surgery registration to fill out MORE paperwork and have blood work done there. Mind you, Emma's at my parents' house and I'm on a ticking clock (she's needing to nurse every 2-3 hours or so during the day). I FINALLY get called back and do my paperwork. However, the VERY lovely (can you sense my sarcasm?) woman behind the desk informs me that they are very backed up and I'll have to go to the HOSPITAL to have the blood drawn! I told her there was no way. I didn't have that much time. She had no sympathy for me, but told me I could come back on Monday for the blood work, which I did. Not the most convenient thing in the world - it's a good 30 minute trip from our house.

Anyway, that happened. Yesterday morning we had to wake up at 6:00 to get ourselves and Emma ready. Mom got to our house at 7:00 and we ran through the basics of her schedule. Emma had her first bottle with Brad the night before, just to make sure she would take it. A lot of babies won't once they've gotten very well established with breast feeding. Luckily, she was a champ. So the bottles are defrosted and made, we're packed up and ready and out the house at 7:15.

We got to the hospital just after 8:00 and checked in. We were sent to the surgery floor and I was hooked up to the IV. To be honest, it was the only part I was dreading. It was my second (first was when I had Emma - I was stuck a few times and the floor supervising nurse had to be called to do it!). Luckily, the nurse was nice and only had to stick me once. This was after she told me about a diabetic patient who was currently being knocked out so that they could try to get an IV started - IN HER NECK! Scary. The IV wasn't bad at all and they also gave me a shot of versed and something by mouth to make me really relaxed. We waited for quite some time. Naturally, after over an hour of laying down hooked up to IV fluids, I had to pee. Great timing! Brad had to go with me, which was great. He felt special carrying my IV bag! As soon as we got back in the bed, my doctor came in. Apparently, the surgery before me was in overtime and they were trying to find another operating room. My versed wore off, so they gave me more. That made the waiting a little more fun. :)

They finally came back to take me to the OR around 11:45. Brad headed down to have lunch with his handy dandy hospital pager while I was in surgery. I remember the OR being VERY cold and I remember my doctor rubbing my arm while he leaned up against me in the bed talking to me. I was really calm about the whole thing, which really surprised me. They gave me some gas through a mask and something in my IV and I was out.

The next thing I remember was asking my doctor whether or not I had to lose my ovary. He said yes. I didn't see him because I wasn't NEARLY awake, but I remember that conversation. I was in recovery for about 3 hours. It was hard to wake up - the nurse kept telling me to take deep breaths, which was hard to remember to do! My eyes eventually cleared up and I woke up enough to move to another room with a chair. That's right, a chair. I had to go straight from the bed to a chair, which was hard without my sea legs under me. After awhile Brad showed up. We sat for a few minutes, I had some percocet to top off the 2 doses of morphine I had already had. The pain wasn't bad at all....yet. Brad got me dressed and we were able to leave. We were home by 4:30.

I was able to sit up in bed to pump breastmilk which had to be thrown out because of the anesthesia. That's when Brad handed me the pictures that the doctor gave him of my ovary. Wow. All this time, through countless ultrasounds, we had all been under the impression that the cyst was ON my ovary, which was why we couldn't see the ovary itself. Check out the picture - the cyst was IN the ovary. Looking at the picture, it's obvious why I had to have it removed. The doctor told Brad it was approximately 11 cm in diameter. Had I not gotten pregnant with Emma, we would never have known I had it because I've had no symptoms whatsoever.

As soon as I was able, I got mom to hand Emma to me. I had missed my girl! She looked in my eyes for a couple of seconds and started to cry. It was SO sad. I'm guessing that she could tell that things just weren't right. So naturally, mom and I both started crying with her. I think we all needed the emotional release. She did great with mom. Mom left after we ate dinner and Brad was on call all night. She had another bottle just before bed, which I gave her. Because Emma sleeps next to me, I was able to hear her waking up (turning over to look at her was too painful) and wake Brad up to come get her. The anesthesia was out of my system and I was able to breastfeed her at 1:00 AM. He would wake up and give her to me to nurse, I'd nurse her, and hand her back for him to put back in the bed. It worked well.

Unfortunately, it was overnight that my pain really started to get bad. I'm pretty sore. I have 3 incisions - one in my belly button (the largest) and one on either side. I'm taking my pain pills, which are also the ones that I took when I had Emma, so they're safe for her. Unfortunately, this hurts a lot worse than the pain I had then. The pills take the edge off, but that's all. I'm hoping that this is as bad as it will get. It's manageable. I'm walking a little doubled over. Mom came over today and spent the day with us to take care of Emma. It was so nice. I feel rested. Sore, but rested. We're on our own tomorrow, but we'll be fine. I can feed her and burp her, but it's still painful to walk with her, much less to walk without her! Having her has really made the whole experience a lot more pleasant than it could've been. I have her to hold and snuggle and kiss on. It keeps me from focusing on the pain too much, which is really great.

I'm SO glad to have this all over with. It's out of my life. Fred has left the building. On the plus side, it's not supposed to affect my chances for getting pregnant again at all. The other ovary works overtime to ovulate each month. AND, the one that's left is the one that I ovulated from when I got pregnant with Emma, so we know it works.

Sorry that was such a long and detailed story. I write these blog posts mostly as a journal for Emma when she grows up. I plan to have them made into a book for her eventually and want to have as much detail as possible. Hope you are entertained as well! Be glad you didn't have to live it - just read about it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

16 Weeks

Well, she may be 16 weeks old, but she's not 4 months until 10/22! I keep telling myself that so that I can try to slow down time. It's not working. She's thinking she's a big girl these days. She's grabbing toys with her hands and trying to get everything in her mouth - her hands are there most of the time! She's talking up a storm and is as cute as ever.

Not a lot has happened this week, which is sort of how I like it. It's nice to have our days relaxed and slow. We've been working on sleep a lot lately. Like I think I mentioned earlier, she's been waking up after just a few minutes of sleep and cycling like that off and on for a few hours. I'm VERY happy to say that we broke that bad habit. I'm not a believer of "cry it out," so I did my own method based on my behavior modification training. I knew it would come in handy sometime! :) When she cried we would wait a minute to see if she was actually awake or just crying in her sleep. If she was really awake we would go in and put her passy back in her mouth and walk out. We would ONLY pick her up if she was really hysterical, which only happened a few times. Within a few days she was over it. Naps have been another story. Some days she still thinks she only needs to sleep for 30 minutes, when I KNOW she needs a good 2 hours or more. In fact, right now she's in the middle of a 2 1/2 hour nap and going strong. We're getting there! She's also learned to wake up and "summon" us by talking - the cutest thing in the world!!

I always have great and happy things to say about Emma. It's not because I'm sugar coating her, it's because she really is great and happy....most of the time. We have had one struggle that has been ongoing since she was born. She HATES the car seat. She has hated it since day 2 (day 1 she slept through - the car ride home from the hospital). She screams almost everytime we go anywhere. When I say she screams, I mean she screams until she has to stop to catch her breath, turns red, chokes, and occasionally falls asleep (though those days are nearly over). She has screamed for over 30 minutes at times. The bad thing is that there is NOTHING I can do. It's taken me 4 months to really accept that. You see, when she was tiny I would pull over, nurse her in the back seat, change her diaper, do whatever I could think of that could possibly be wrong. It never helped. As soon as she got back in the car seat, she was screaming again. I've tried putting her in there asleep - she wakes up. Putting her in there when it's nap time - she screams even more uncontrollably. I've tried toys (she's not quite to the point of holding a toy to entertain herself), the pacifier, 3 car seats now, and Baby Einstein videos on Brad's portable DVD player. None of it is the cure all. Music helps some, but only when it's what she wants to listen to (she's PICKY with her music, just like her mommy) and when she's calm enough to hear it. The DVDs help some, but not for long. We can typically make it 10 minutes or so if she's very well rested, well fed, and all is right with the stars and their alignment. It doesn't even help if one of us sits in the back seat to entertain her. Heck, my mom, the living interactive toy, sat in the back seat with her on the way to the park the other day and she screamed as loud as ever. I honestly don't know what else I can do. It has weighed on my heart heavily for 4 months, and it seems to have gotten worse lately. In my mind I know that there's nothing that I can do, it doesn't hurt her to cry, and that I need to focus completely on driving.'s SO hard with the love of your life screaming hysterically in the backseat.

I went so far as to take her to the pediatrician this week. Her check-up is in 2 weeks. She was just not quite herself with her sleep stuff going on, all the yelling in the car. My guess was an ear infection. The culprit?? Her attitude. I'm in for it when she hits 2!! The doctor checked her over and she was perfect. She weighs 13 lbs. 14 oz. 75th percentile. Nothing wrong with her. So I have a gorgeous little girl who is sweet as pie 99% of the time and a demon child that 1% of time that she's in the car. What do you do?? Anyone have suggestions?? I'm all ears.

Please don't think that I'm complaining or that I don't love my little girl with everything that I have. I wouldn't trade her, or my time with her, for anything in the world. I just am at a loss when it comes to the car situation. Help!

Please keep us in your prayers next week. I have the surgery to remove my ovarian cyst on next Tuesday. I'm a little nervous, especially because it's the longest I will have been away from Emma, not to mention it's "technically" my first surgery. No pictures to update with, but I figure the videos from a few days ago make up for it ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I know that although there are a lot of people who read this blog that have actually MET Emma by now, there are also a lot that haven't. I thought I'd post a couple of videos from my camera so that you can see her "in action." It's hard to see her personality very well in pictures. Here she is getting a bath. I almost didn't post it, for her own privacy, but how long will I actually be able to get away with showing her little dimply butt?? So, if you have a problem with nekkid baby butts, don't click "play." You'll hear me telling her "you're NOT a big girl, you're Mama's baby" in the video. Whenever she does something new or "big" like wanting to stand up all the time, I tell her that, while she may THINK that she's a big girl, she's still my little baby. Wonder how long that will last?? I'm sure it won't be nearly long enough.

Emma's Bath from Susan Gilchrist on Vimeo.

This video is the cutest ever. When Emma gets out of the bath, her Daddy lotions her up with a little baby massage. He uses a different accent every night and she just beams at him. She loves her Daddy! I just treasure this video - the sweetest thing to watch. Hope you enjoy them!

Lotion from Susan Gilchrist on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

15 Weeks Old

Emma has had quite an exciting week, both in a good way and a bad one. Most of you already know that this week I had a car wreck with Emma in the car. A woman pulled out of a McDonald's less than a mile from our house and decided to cut across 3 lanes of traffic. I didn't see her and she didn't bother to look good enough for other cars before pulling out in front of me. We hit head on. Luckily, I had just gotten into a turn lane and was going no faster than 20 miles an hour. It really wasn't too bad. Not too much body damage to either car. She was ticketed and found to be at fault. Unfortunately, my car wouldn't start so the police officer had to push my car with his front bumper to get me out of the street! Scary. The car was towed and is now at a body shop and will hopefully be fixed soon. Emma and I were just fine. She cried for a minute or 2 and then fell fast asleep. She was a trooper. I can honestly tell you though, I've never been so scared in my entire life. I SCREAMED at the other driver "CALL 911 - I HAVE A BABY IN THE CAR!" I have never gotten her out of that carseat faster in my life. It could have been SO much worse and I thank God that it wasn't. Now we're cruising around in a Chevy Cobalt from the rental company. It' Did you know that they still make cars that don't have power windows, locks, or even cruise control?? Well, let me tell you - they do. I haven't rolled down the windows in a car since the 80s. Wow.

I was determined not to let the wreck spoil our entire weekend so we loaded up on Saturday and drove to Berry Patch Farms for a trip to the pumpkin patch with my mom's company. We had a blast. It was Emma's nap time so I put her in the sling to nap and she slept HARD. We tried to wake her up for a photo op with the pumpkins, but as you can see, she was much more interested in her beauty sleep. She even slept through the hay ride. She's a girl after her mother's own heart!

Speaking of sleep, we've had a tough time lately. For the last few weeks she has gone from sleeping soundly all night (waking up once to eat) to waking up screaming within 30 minutes of being put down. She doesn't just wake up once, she wakes up every 15-30 minutes for the first few hours of being put down. It's miserable. She's learned to put herself to sleep after we put her in the bed, but only stays asleep for 30 minutes before the screaming starts. After she finally goes to bed, she's out all night. Naps haven't been great either - she's had several days of 1 hour naps, instead of 2-3 hours at a time. It's been rough on Emma, and even more rough on her Mama.

I finally determined that she was overtired when we were putting her down. Since then, we've moved her schedule up 2 hours. Instead of starting her bath at 9:00, we start at 7:00 and she's in bed by 8:00. She's been gradually getting better. Last night, we put her in bed still awake with her soother turned on, she put herself to sleep, and didn't wake back up! She stirred around 3:00 and I decided to go ahead and feed her because her 2 best friends were beckoning her, if you know what I mean! ;) She slept until 8:00 this morning! Unfortunately, she only took a 45 minute nap this morning and I paid for it in the car on the way to and from the grocery store - she was an angel and slept in the sling while I shopped. She's back down now and I'm determined that she will have a GOOD afternoon nap!

The cloth diapering is still going great. In fact, I just got a package of new diaper service quality prefolds that I ordered last week. I'm excited to use them! Is that sad? It's fun! We're even using them at night now with no leaks. You can probably spot her little cloth diapered butt in these pictures. Her little pants barely fit over it! She's wearing 3-6 month clothes for the most part, but pants have to be 6 months at least! It's so cute, and extra padded so she can take me smacking on it a little ;)

Emma's 1st tractor ride!

Ready for nap time!

Family Photo - Emma was fast asleep.

1st Hayride - still napping...

At the pumpkin patch picking out our pumpkin. See the cloth diaper??

Still half asleep...

Watching Baby Crack....I mean Einstein!