Thursday, May 30, 2013

What We've Been Up To

Tomorrow we embark on our two week road trip up to the Midwest, visiting lots of family & friends along the way. We are SO excited, and keeping our fingers crossed that Iyla gets in the groove with the longer car rides. We don't plan on more than a 6 hour stretch on any given day, and will space out that 6 hours with plenty of nursing & stretching breaks.

Iyla is officially a tummy sleeper now! Ever since that first roll last week she has been finding her tummy quite comfy for naps and bedtime. She'll alternate between her side and her tummy, both excellent positions to help her small flat spot start to fill in again.

Iyla's other new move this week is to push up in her bouncer seat and try to grab the dangling birds. She is now getting officially strapped into that thing every time and watched like a hawk!

This is just the first step- she will then push up straight on her legs to almost stand in the chair!

We've been having lots of play time with Sam, who continues to want to be right next to us all.the.time. He is mostly good about keeping an arms length away from Iyla as she works hard to grab handfuls of his fur. Today she got REALLY close to getting nipped by him... I have to watch those two like a hawk, too!

I've created a new play space for Iyla on our covered back porch so we can have some outdoor play time. I lay down two padded blankets, turn on the ceiling fan, bring out a basket of toys, and she, Sam, & I enjoy a little fresh air in the mornings. She LOVES it!

We have two feral outdoor kitties who have taken up residence in our backyard. One looks to have had his ears clipped, the other her tail (so sad). We call them Dolly & Diesel, and put out food for them a couple times a day. They are sweet but keep about 5 feet away from us at any given time. Sam isn't too keen on them, but Iyla and I enjoy saying hello to them daily.

Iyla is constantly practicing her sitting now. One of her favorite things to do is to hold onto the side of  her toy basket & tilt it toward her over and over and over again. She practices her balance while checking out the toy contents- it's pretty cute!

Her Zo-li teething sticks are still her absolute FAVORITE thing to play with and nosh on:

We discovered her cute bear hat finally fits her! Just in time for a trip to cooler weather:

We've had a couple morning naps at my favorite breakfast spot together:

Had lots of naked time playing after her baths (the bib is still a necessity even with naked time!)

Practiced sitting & playing in her high chair, which she continues to love:

Given Mama & Papa lots of smiles & cuddles:

She's admired herself in mirrors (a favorite activity):

And just overall been a delight! Here's to a fun, healthy, & safe road trip ahead.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekend Road Trip & Other Updates

Summer has officially arrived in Austin, and with it comes extreme heat. Right now we are in the mid 90's most days, and that temperature will keep creeping higher and higher until we reach our peak in August/September, where days can get up to 110+. With the impending heat, Iyla and I have had to adjust our daily walks. I usually take her in the afternoon, but lately we've been rocking the early morning walks, often corresponding with her first nap of the day.

 Iyla and her Sophie. I resisted buying this super popular baby toy for a long arrived last week and has quickly become an absolute favorite for this little lady.

 Sweet naps in the park

In the distance you can see Lady Bird Lake. I continually feel SO grateful that we live just blocks from this gorgeous scene!

Iyla is now offically on a predictable nap schedule! It is wonderful & restricting at the same time. Wonderful because we can plan around it, restricting because now just running out on adventures or errands is a challenge, as I have to be super strategic so she doesn't doze off in the car & throw off the schedule. She will go down 1.5 hours after waking for the day for a 40 minute snooze (usually around 8am). Then around 11:30-12 she'll take a 1-2 hour nap. By 4pm she is ready for a short 30 minute refresher. Bedtime is still 7-7:30, though ever since her shots last week she's been waking more than 1x/night, so I am starting some light sleep training again.

Iyla has been working really hard at sitting, and doing AWESOME at it! She can now balance herself in a tripod position, and hold herself up for small amounts of time. Sometimes she'll grab hold of her toy basket and practice her balance with that- shifting ever so slightly side to side. I wish I had a photo of this- but I can't leave her side long enough to take one, lest she topple over!

Iyla took her very first road trip last weekend to Houston to visit her Mimi and Grampy and celebrate my cousin Heather's upcoming wedding. My aunt Sheri and cousin Heather rode in the car with me for this ladies' weekend, while BC held down the fort in Austin (and had some much needed boy time with his friends). We timed our 2.5 hour drive to leave at Iyla's longer afternoon nap, and overall she did great! She slept about 1.5 hours each way, with my aunt entertaining her the remainder of the way.

Iyla LOVED being in a new house and getting lots of love from all of her family. She was eating it up, and even making a brand new exclamation noise that sounded like a very short 'Ha!' laugh. We also discovered that she LOVES dogs. Or at least my brothers' little dog Paco. She was hooting and hollering and just delighted to watch that pup run around her- it was really fun to see.

I had brought along her bathing suit in the event that an opportunity to try out Mimi & Grampy's pool was in order. She looked SO cute in her little suit!

She knows she is adorable!

Iyla loved the water... for her typical 5 minutes. She was kicking her legs all around & mesmerized by the patterns on the side of the pool. I was glad she didn't show any fear of getting in the water... as water play is a huge necessity for our Austin summers.

She went right to sleep that night in her Pack n Play, which is a GREAT omen toward our upcoming 2 week road trip. And the most amazing thing? The next morning when she woke, I took her in the bathroom to change her. I hadn't brought along her baby potty, but had the thought to sit her on the big toilet and see what happened. She peed AND pooed on it! I couldn't believe it. This kid never ceases to amaze me.

In closing, two more hilarious pictures of Iyla from the past week. In the first you can see her studying her dancing form intently... I swear she stands in ballet positions all.the.time. Future ballerina? And check out her ballerina bunny below her- they are doing the EXACT same pose. Crazy.

Here, her signature eyebrow raise caught on camera as she admires a picture of BC on my desk. We get comments all the time about how expressive her face is. Iyla Grace is not hurting for charisma, that's for sure!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In Which Iyla Makes the News

Babycakes and I attended a City Planning meeting this week to hear more about all the improvements coming in along the hike and bike trail near our house. The local news was there, and while I chatted with a client, BC & Iyla were interviewed!

Below is the clip with Iyla's 5 seconds of fame (she is at the 1.12 mark). I think she looks absolutely adorable on camera, if I do say so myself:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tummy Time Revisited

It's no secret that Iyla has NEVER liked Tummy Time. One of the first moves she mastered was flipping from stomach to back, in order to quickly get off her belly.

At her last myofascial therapy appointment, the therapist did some releases toward hopefully helping Iyla be more comfortable on her belly. Amazingly enough, ever since that visit she seems much more at ease in that position- though still isn't preferring to stay there very long to play. When we hold her in a standing position, she has started to lean forward and have us help her down to her belly, at which point she kicks out her legs behind her in a preliminary crawl position. I wouldn't be surprised if the next month brings us a more mobile baby!

Last night after I put Iyla to bed I was watching her on our video monitor (which we affectionately call "Boo-Boo TV"). That little lady did a couple complete barrel rolls in her crib! I couldn't believe my eyes. I have NEVER seen Iyla roll from back to tummy before. She was just chatting away and rolling all over the place. After about 15 minutes of this, she totally passed out on her side without so much as a whimper.

When I checked the monitor an hour later, this is what I saw:

She had rolled onto her belly again and was sound asleep in that position! I freaked out a little bit, since she has never slept like that before. A quick post to my November Mamas online board resulted in about 15 ladies reassuring me that she'd be just fine, and that many babies end up preferring to sleep on their tummies.

Iyla did a lot of flipping around throughout the night, alternating between her side and her belly to sleep. I was checking in on the monitor many, many times to make SURE I could see her breathing. I am super tired today, but my baby is ALIVE and FINE.

Just another chapter in the "just when you think you know your kid..." book!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Recap & Iyla's 6 Month Appointment

I had a wonderful first Mother's Day Weekend. It surprised me how important this day was to me, and I truly appreciated everyone who acknowledged & rejoiced in it with me.

On Sunday morning, BC took the morning shift with Iyla (who lately has been thinking 6am is an awesome wake-up time) while I slept in... to 6:45. Darn that internal clock! I had a luxuriously long shower before heading out to my fav coffee shop for breakfast. Then I set off for a MUCH needed pedicure- pure bliss!

The most unexpected surprise of the day? My pedicure guy (yes- it is almost all guys at the place I go to! They are all fantastic) chased me down after I left, saying he had something for me. He disappeared into a back room outside the salon and came out with a beautiful orchid plant. So, so sweet.

My lovely unexpected flowers.

When I got home Iyla proceeded to quickly go down for a 2.5 hour nap! Sam decided to join and snuggle in, and while it was SO cute, I had to shoo him away when Iyla started rubbing her eyes uncomfortably (I think she may have a very slight allergy to him).

Sam and my Marshmallow babe. Sweet while it lasted!

BC and I headed to one of our favorite local wine bars- Uncorked- for dinner, luxuriating on the outdoor deck in the gorgeous spring weather. Our good friends Andy & Julie met us there, and Iyla was hamming it up and charming everyone!

After dinner I asked BC to take a couple photos of Iyla and I for Mother's Day. That little lady was SO tired and ready for bed that the only way we could get any decent shots was for me to play the 'toss the baby in the air' game. Here are a few from our little session:

In other news, I was able to procure a high chair for Iyla over the weekend! I've been intrigued by the Stokke high chair from its reviews, but had never seen one in person and also didn't know that I could rationalize the cost. On Saturday I stopped by a local baby store to peruse their high chair selection, and lo and behold- they had a Stokke complete SET in stock for an amazing deal that included the infant insert, seat cushion, AND food tray. Plus I had a 20% off coupon, so i grabbed it. It goes perfectly with our home's decor and isn't too Disneyland-ish or ostentatious. It is also a piece that will transition and grow with Iyla throughout the years.

Happily Iyla seems to love it as well! For now we are getting her used to it as a new play space. We've decided to hold off on starting solids until AFTER our big road trip, so she'll start that adventure mid-June upon our return.

Big girl in her new high chair.

Iyla had her official 6 month doctor appointment today. She was a bit hesitant & fearful at first- I think because she was remembering her last traumatic appointment to the doctor over Easter weekend. She got her groove on quickly, however, and by the time her regular pediatrician came in she was in full CHARM mode, showing off her "stand UP, sit DOWN" game skills... smiling, giggling, and just being overall darling.

She is still a teeny little thing- 12 pounds, 3 oz and 25 1/4 inches tall. She's in the 25-50% for height, and now in the 2-5% for weight. Her lady parts are no longer trying to fuse together (yay!) and the best news of all was that her neck & flat spot were looking MUCH better since our last appointment, so it looks like we may just avoid a helmet! Praise the Heavens.

Iyla was super brave for her FOUR shots. She initially cried (how could she NOT?), but stopped quickly after they were done and has been a trooper ever since. She did feel a bit warm and has been fussier than usual this evening, so we gave her a little Tylenol & put her to bed early.

My little rosy cheeked post-shot babe! 
She saw herself in my camera & was quite delighted.

Who's that cute baby?

She also loves seeing herself in the mirror! 

All in all it's been a great weekend & start to our week. Iyla and I are pretty much over our colds, the weather is divine, and maybe, just maybe, BC and I will yet get our long awaited date night!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

6 Months Old- Happy Mother's Day!

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are 6 months old! And on Mother's Day proper to boot. How wonderfully auspicious indeed. I had many, many Mothers' Days where I dreamed of celebrating and having a child of my own... and now, after years of struggle and heartache, you are here. We are so blessed! Here are your 6 month updates...

How old? 6 months today!

How big? We'll find out your official measurements at tomorrow's 6 month doctor appointment. For now we'll compare you to your buddy Sam:


*You got your first cold (boo!) You were extra fussy last weekend, and when I took your temperature you had a very low grade fever of 99.8. You've had a cough & runny nose but since that one fussy day have been such a trooper, rolling with this whole sick thing as you do with any challenge. I got sick too, and it has definitely proved challenging keeping up with you physically & energetically when not feeling 100%! Good thing you are so generous with your smiles & kisses, because those always cheer me up.

*You've been noticing the DETAILS in things. You just discovered that your play mat (the one you've had since December!) has patterns & pictures on the bottom of it. You are examining toys in a whole new way- turning & twisting them, really taking it all in.

*You are SO interested in our kitty Sam. You smile at him and are always aware of his whereabouts. He is pretty tolerant with you- I took one for the team last week when you pulled his hair and he turned and bit ME hard- I was grateful it wasn't you, but alas- I am sure that day will come!

Here's Sam laying claim to this play mat toy! 
He still thinks the play mat is HIS special bed and gets a little annoyed when you join him on it.

*You have started crouching. Your favorite thing is having us hold you up in a standing position. Usually you hinge forward at the waist to grab for toys from there, but this week you started crouching down first, then reaching. You also love to play the "stand UP, sit DOWN" game.

*You have gotten more social! When we are out you scan the room to see who might be willing to admire you, then flash them the hugest smile to catch their attention. Last weekend I took you to a small gathering and you were happy to have others hold & play with you.

How could anyone resist that smile?

*You have started giving "kisses!" You definitely know what these are & when I hold you up while you play you'll twist your body around, turn your head, and plant a big drooley open mouthed smacker on me. It is adorable!

It looks like you are blowing kisses here! 
We were watching the rain from the back porch.

*I can tell by your face that you are understanding a few words we use every day in your routine- 'walk,' 'milk,' 'kisses,' 'play,' 'kitty,' 'potty,' and 'bath.' I'm sure you understand a lot more than that but those are the ones where I can see your face shift knowingly. We are going to start using more sign language with you this coming month to help you be able to communicate just what YOU like & want!

*Not sure this is a milestone, but it is something I am always amazed at. You let me cut your fingernails! Meaning, when I pull out the clippers (usually while you are on your changing table) you hold absolutely still and watch as I clip each nail. It's as if you know moving might be dangerous. You are a smart one, sweet girl... and I suspect you will enjoy many manicures in your future.

Love those beautiful blue eyes!


*You are doing SO well at night! You go to bed between 7:15-7:45- usually with very minimal crying- and only wake up ONE time/night to nurse. That one time totally varies- anywhere from 11:30pm-4:30am- but then you sleep straight until about 6:30-7, waking up all smiles.

*Your naps have just started to take some semblance of a routine... pretty much like clockwork 1.5 hours after you wake in the morning you are ready for a 40 minute nap. Right now that is still in my arms, and we'll work on that in the upcoming month. Then around 12pm at the first signs of your being tired (you show me by rubbing your eyes!) I put on your sound machine & zip you into that sumo-esque sleep suit. You'll usually sleep 1-1.5 hours during this time. There is usually one more brief later afternoon/early nap that varies in its timing, and your Papa and I always appreciate when it coincides with our going out to eat. : )

Current Likes:

*Variety! You get fussy with any one activity after about 3-5 minutes. You definitely keep us on our toes finding new ways to entertain you.

*You still LOVE going on walks. Always your happy place.

*Playing the "stand UP sit DOWN" game. Also playing the "drop/pick up" game.

*My whispering in your ear- you think it is hilarious.

*The silly songs I make up and sing to you (I'm sure some day these will embarrass you!)

*You still love playing with your tutu! Other favorite toys are your Lamb Lovey, your Jellycat books, & your mini Sophie teether.

Here are a few photos of you IN your tutu during our 6 month photo shoot- no crying with it on this time!

Current Dislikes:

*Staying in your car seat when we go out to eat.

*You no longer let me use the 'snot sucker' on you- which is unfortunate given your cold this week! You actively turn your head away & put your arms up in protest. So I end up picking your nose. ; )

*You still HATE being on your tummy and have mastered flipping over from tummy to back extremely well (and fast!)

*Being patient while we prep to nurse. It is pretty hilarious actually- when I get you for your middle of the night feeding or your first morning feeding, the second I pick you up out of your crib you arch your back and grab my face while grunting & whining in a really desperate, impatient way. I hustle as fast as I can to get you settled & satisfied!

Postpartum body?

*The big news there is that my cycle started again last week (May 6th)! It wasn't as bad as I expected the first one might be... no cramps! I will praise the Lord if being pregnant with you somehow helped eradicate the monthly cramps I always used to get.

*This morning I was down 3 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, though it fluctuates daily.

*I still have some extra padding on the front of my belly, but holding you coupled with our daily walks continues to be a good exercise routine.

*My upper back has been really tight and sore this month likely from helping you stand up ALL.THE.TIME.

What do I miss?

*Date nights with your Papa! Your Aunt Sheri was going to come last week to watch you so we could go out, but then you and I got sick. Hopefully next week we'll be recovered so she can come play with you.

*I still miss movies. I don't even have the time to watch movies on TV- by the time you are asleep by 7:45-8pm, I usually crash about 30-60 minutes behind you.

Most looking forward to? 

*Your getting more and more alert, interactive, & mobile! We are entering into such a super fun growth period, and I am loving it so much.

*Our 2 week road trip at the end of the month! I am so glad you are showing new signs of being social, because there are going to be a lot of people wanting to love on you during this adventure.

Here are the rest of the pictures from our 6 month photo shoot. We love you so much Iyla Grace! Happy 6 months, sweet baby girl.