Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Dress for My Baby Doll!

So, I found this fabric and just had to make something out of it!! I ended up deciding to try my hand at making a dress!



I had never done buttonholes before - they were hard and turned out functional but ugly!! Otherwise, I think it turned out pretty cute, but a bit large for my little Peanut!! She was happy to model it anyways...

Farewell to Nursing

**WARNING - This is a long (I'm talking l....o.....n....g) entry and there is a lot of 'nipple talk' in this passage, so if you can't handle it - skip this one!! This one's really more for me - like therapy! ;) **

Well, we've had a long, hard road when it comes to nursing...

My nearest and dearest know that I have struggled with it since before Mira was even born! I had flat/inverted nipples and had to wear shells for about 6 weeks prior to her due date. This was supposed to help break the adhesions and allow the nipple to come out, so Mira could latch on properly.

I remember being so thrilled the day I first started leaking (before Mira was born) - I was so relieved to know "they work!" I texted my bf, Erika, with something along the lines of "yea! i'm leaking!" She thought I meant my water had broke and was so excited that I was going into labor! But I think that was like 4 or 5 weeks early, so it wouldn't have been that great afterall!

Anyways, I was so excited and nervous about nursing. I was simply afraid I wouldn't be able to do it, or that Mira wouldn't want to or be able to.

Our very first nursing session in the hospital after she was born was pretty rocky. I was on the brink of blacking out/throwing up anytime they elevated me enough to nurse (apparently, I lost a lot of blood during labor). I was too out of it and weak to hold her by myself, and my nipples were still not cooperating! Mira was such a tropper from day one! She was very persistent and tried to latch on over and over again. I'm so glad she didn't give up!!

I didn't want to use a shield, but the nurse pleaded with me to try it since we were having no luck without it, and I was getting pretty frustrated. I agreed because I felt the alternative was to give her a bottle, so I thought I'd try all the tricks before going to formula.

So, the second time, I tried the shield, and it worked like a charm. Mira latched on and ate really well for a few minutes before I had to practically throw her at Kenny because I felt like I was going to pass out and I was afraid I was going to drop her!

The nurse took her back to the nursery, and I fell into a deep sleep. I remember waking up and looking at the clock, groggily wondering how long it had been since she had eaten. I finally got my head together enough to do the math - it had been about 6 hours! I called for the nurse, furiuos that they had let me sleep while my baby went hungry!! Obviously, I wasn't quite "with it" yet...

Of course, they had not let her go hungry. They had used a gavage and fed her formula while I slept. I wanted to be upset with them for taking this liberty, but it just made too much sense. I was too tired and weak to nurse more than a couple of minutes, so it was better that I get some rest and be ready to really sit up and hold her and nurse. I did feel much better after having a few hours of sleep, and since they used a gavage instead of a bottle/nipple, I didn't have to worry about "nipple confusion" (this term cracks Kenny up which annoys the mess out of me!).

Well, as it turns out, Kenny was listening when I ranted and lectured about the hysterical "nipple confusion" because he fought the nurse over giving Mira a bottle that night. He was our Knight in Shining Armor, putting his foot down and refused to let the nurse give her that nipple! I only just found this out now after all these months!! He says, "I thought I told you..." =)

So, from there we were off and running! At home, I would get all set up in the big chair in our bedroom. I would get the Boppy situated, have the nipple shield ready, foot stool in place, get her in the perfect position, and off we went!

Wow. Was that a pain in the rear! What a fuss!

And, in the begining, I was often nursing every hour on the hour! And she would easily nurse for 45 minutes to an hour...you do the math!!! She would fall asleep instantly and I would fight with her to try and wake her up - this was impossible! I stroked her lips, gently pinched her ear lobes, tickled her feet, and even undressed her - nothing. If she was asleep, she was asleep.

Throughout our time nursing, I went through every troublespot there is - starting with the inverted/flat nipples, then on to engoregment, mastitis, blocked ducts, infected ducts, cracked nipples, and, best of all, bleeding nipples. That was a scary moment when I looked down at her after un-latching and saw blood all over her mouth! I was so relieved to figure out that it was coming from me and not her! It was the first of many occassions.

I've had the embarassing experience of leaking puddles of milk in public - soaked straight through pad, bra, and shirt! It would literally be dripping down my stomach at times! No worries of low milk supply!!

I remember the frustration of trying to find a decent place to nurse when in public...the frustrations of always having to be the one to feed her whether I was in the middle of a meal, a tour, or trying on clothes at the mall.

The fact that she refused to be on any kind of schedule made it so hard to plan anything, plus she continued to nurse every couple of hours up until at least 5 months - that didn't leave a lot of time to get things done before I'd have to "whip it out" again.

But, now for the brighter side...

We did eventually get much more relaxed about the whole thing - no Boppy, no foot stool. Instead, I found that sitting Indian-style was a much easier position for us. I learned the best spots for nursing while out and about, and Mira started to get a little more focused. She would eat and be done rather than falling asleep everytime, and we did get to where she would go a little longer between feedings.

I am so glad that we were able to nurse. I say "we" because if Mira had been passive about it in the begining, I probably would have ended up going to formula from the start. And, if Kenny hadn't been so supportive and encouraging, I probably could have convinced myself that it wasn't worth the trouble, pain, or inconvenience. Sheila and Coco were both endless sources of praise and encouragement as well. Our lactation consultant was a fountain of information and helpful advice. So, it sort of took a team to make it work!

I did have a moment of great pride one day when I realized how beautifully and healthily she was growing on nothing but what I was giving her from my own body! It makes you respect your body a little more.

And, I did have moments of intense closeness with her. So many hours that I spent nursing, I was able to just sit and stare at her while she was perfectly serene. I loved getting to soak her all in!

She usually had her eyes closed while nursing. She often made Kenny & I laugh with her grunts and moans (of total bliss, I assumed)! She would frequently slurp and smack (I say she gets this from her Daddy). And her hands....ahhh, her hands! She would melt my heart and make me laugh until I cried with the way she would move her hands. Often, she would put one hand to her forehead as if she had great troubles to sort out. Sometimes, she would grab hold to whatever she could get her hands on (bra, blouse, breast!), or pinch the fire out of me! Other times, she would ever so gently brush her tiny little fingertips over my skin in a fluttery caress or put her whole arm around my breast as if to hug it as close as possible to her.

She loved to nurse. She would nurse all day if I let her, and she nursed to sleep every night. So, naturally, I cringed at the thought of having to wean her, especially the night feeding. I figured it would involve a lot of tears - maybe more from me than her! I let her taste formula when she was 4 months old - right before she was starting solids -, and she hated it! This made me even more anxious...

So, imagine my surprise when it was the easiest milestone yet (for her)! I decided to try formula again around 7 months (after she had been eating solids and trying lots of new flavors/textures for a few months), and she drank it down like she'd been drinking it all her life!

I started with one bottle here or there...then went to every other feeding being a bottle (at this point, she started losing interest in nursing - she was too distracted)...then giving her formula all day but nursing her before bed, first thing in the morning and during the night if she woke up hungry...to only nursing during the night...and FINALLY (right about 8 months) no nursing at all!

July 20, 2009 (8 days ago) was the last time I nursed - it was in the wee hours of a Monday morning. I nursed her while we slept in our bed. I was a little sad when I realized it would be the last time - even though it hurt like crazy, and I was ready to be done with the pain!


I know for a fact that it has been harder on me than her. I don't think it has fazed her even a tiny, tiny amount. But, me....well, I guess, to my surprise, I'm a teensy bit sad.


I don't miss the actual nursing so much, but I am sad about closing a chapter (but looking forward to opening so many new ones). I'm sad (and so, so excited) about her growing more and more independent every day. I'm sad (and happy, too) that she no longer fits across my lap.


So, farewell to sore breasts & bleeding nipples. Au revoir breast pump & nipple shields. So long milk-soaked blouses. Adios nursing bras and pads! And, good-bye to my newborn baby girl who, no matter what, all it took to sooth her was me.... =(


Now, I guess I get to re-introduce myself to "real" bras and dresses (most are impossible to nurse in!). Howdy to washing a million bottles and nipples every day! Aloha to breasts that don't make me wince just by looking at them! And hello to a more independent, smarter, more giggly, more active, and stronger, baby girl who will always be able to find comfort in her Mommy's arms.


I look forward to the chapters we are opening now - she's crawling and cruising. Being so mobile allows her to get where she wants to be, and it is nice and reassuring when it is you that she wants to be close to. She is so full of joy - she loves to laugh and play games. It won't be long before she is saying her first words - this will be more like opening a collection of books as opposed to a chapter!


This is why parenting is always so bitter-sweet; chapters open and close all the time. It's a good thing that there's not too much time to sit and pout about the things you'll miss, because life with a growing child is full of so many new exciting things everyday!


To Mira: I love you so much, and I hope you know that no matter how much I complain or joke about nursing, I'm so glad things worked out, and I was able to do that for you. My only regret is that my pain and your waning interest kept us from lasting the whole year. But, I would do it again in a heartbeat because you are so worth it! You are always worth it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crawling!!!

So, Mira is officially crawling now! She's been taking a "step" or two here and there for the past week or so, but on Sunday, she finally went the distance!

I didn't have the best of luck catching her in action. Her longest runs weren't caught on video. But, here is a little montage of some sweet crawling action to tide you all over until we can get her on film going a good length.

video

As usual, she's polished her skills quite a bit in the past 24 hours, so she is already much smoother and stops less often. I'll keep the camcorder on the tripod at all times tomorrow... ;)

We may or may not go to Gymboree tomorrow. We won't be in town on Friday for our regular class, but I'm not sure if I want to go tomorrow. I have a lot to do around the house and need to get things ready for our trip. On the other hand, it would be a great chance for Mira to hone her new skill!!

Another Action-Packed Weekend!

We started off the weekend with a fun-filled Friday. Kenny got to attend Chesapeake's Grand Opening ceremonies for their new Shreveport office. He was very excited to meet not only Aubrey McLendon (CEO of CHK), but also Governor Bobby Jindal. (I couldn't have even told you who the governor was!)

After all the CNG festivities, Kenny took the rest of the day off and joined us at Gymboree. Afterwards, the three of us went to Gators and Friends!

The Gators...


A new baby zebra!!! He ran and jumped, frollicking all over the place!

He came over to check us out, but wasn't interested in our cups of food. I suppose he gets a lot from all the visitors being so adorable and all! He did let us pet him; he was so very soft!


What a pretty llama. And she (IDK, just looks like a girl) didn't even try to spit on me!!


Sleepy?! What a big yawn!

Mira liked the mini goats.


It was SO hot outside, so we took a break inside where Mira got to try a little taste of my black cherry sno-cone! She definitely liked it!!!


Big girl Mira - using the 'snack tray' on her stroller! She LOVES graham crackers!!



Our favorite part - holding the baby alligator! Mira was very gentle while petting it (unlike how she pets Jeter & Shatzie)!


Until she noticed the head...then she sort of lunged at the poor thing! It only squirmed a little bit - must be a pro. Mira was very interested!

Mira and her new stuffed alligator on the way home. She smiled at it, talked to it, and loved on it all the way home!


Saturday morning, we went to a birthday pool party for Ben! Mira had fun wading in the kiddie pool with Daddy and getting splashed by Mason! She didn't scream or cry about the splashing this time - phew!


Mmmmmm....Capri Sun! (sorry Mira, not for baby girls!) She enjoyed slurping on the cold packaging anyhow!

After the pool party, Mira and I went and hung out with Casey and Mason at their house. It was great to have a chance to chat while the kids played so nicely together! Mason only tried to hit Mira in the head with his play hammer once, and she only tried to bite him once - pretty good for these two!!

Meanwhile, Kenny was playing golf with the guys. He doesn't really play golf, so mostly he was in charge of driving the cart and drinking beer...sounds better than actually playing!


Mira got to sit on the tractor with Jeff - she really seemed to enjoy this!


She liked it even better when she noticed the steering wheel and realized she could "drive"!!


We finished up the farm party with a hayride over to the pond where everyone was going to fish. It was well past Mira's (and our) bedtime, so we didn't stay at the pond too long. Mira did get to play with some lures (brand new, I was assured) and see a live fish (unfortuantely, it was on a hook...) before we left.

We spent Sunday doing some stuff around the house and running a few errands. Also, Sunday is when Mira decided to really start crawling!! I'll do a seperate post for the video of that! =)

Wow! What a weekend!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Us Your Life

It's Show Us Your Wedding Dress on Kelly's Korner!

Kenny and I are about to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary next week, so this is very timely!

I absolutely loved (still love) my wedding dress!

Ironically though, I didn't have that moment in which I put it on and gasped, "This is the one!" like you're supposed to. I had my heart set on this halter-top style dress which I had tried on one day when I went shopping by myself.

But, then the day came when we had the official wedding dress shopping with all my gal pals, nieces, sisters-in-law, and mom. I just knew everyone was going to love this dress that I had my heart set on - I had saved it for last to show them! But, to my surprise (and irritation), they all had that "ah ha!" moment when I put this one on. I ignored their excitement thinking to myself, "Just wait until you see the one!"

I was pretty upset when no one really cared for the dress I had fallen in love with and my pig-headedness made it impossible for me to consider this "new" dress! Nicole, my sis-in-law, in usual fashion, was the most straightforward and insistent that this was the one and not the other. This, of course, ticked me off at the time... (love you Coco!)

I decided to sleep on it and ended up going back the very next day to get this dress - the one they all loved... It wasn't peer pressure - I just decided to stop being so stubborn and take a look at the snapshots of myself that we had taken in each dress. It was so obvious that the one I thought I was in love with just didn't do it for me, and this one was beautiful!

I'm so glad they were there to tell me the cold, hard truth!!! I felt beautiful on my wedding day, and I still adore this dress today!

My dress was a champagne-colored, strapless number with a beaded bodice and side-swept waist (very flattering for the fuller-figured ladies!).

This is right after we said our I Do's and were about to head back up the aisle! We were so happy and excited! This is the best shot of the actual dress that I could come up with.


Here is a close-up, so you can see the details on the dress and a little bit of the veil. The veil was short and simple with a beaded headband to compliment the dress.
Well, this is fun sharing! I love seeing how very different everyone's dresses were!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Cruisin' Fun!!!

Mira loves to make laps around and around her music table. I finally caught her on video! It's about 6 minutes long, but that's with her stopping to jam on the drums, sing the alphabet, etc. as she made her way around. =)

I think it's hilarious how she starts and finishes the lap with what I like to call her "cowgirl salute" - she looks like she is riding a bucking bronco or something!

It's too big/long to add here, but you can watch it on youtube.

Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Craft Time!!

I've been itching to do a project for a while, and I guess having the girls here and doing some crafty stuff with them really got me hankerin' for it!!!

So, here's what I came up with - a growth chart for Mira!


And a close-up...


I totally ripped off the design idea from one I found online, but I handpainted it all myself.
Of course, I know she can't use it just yet (not until she's at least 30 inches tall), but it won't be long (she's 26 1/4 now)!!!!

I'm already thinking of my next project!!! I usually get crafty in spurts - making a few things back-to-back, then not doing anything for a while. This was a lot of fun to make, and I think it will be cute in her room with all the other animals!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tooth #2!


They've both already grown so much since I took this photo!!! She's really learning how to work those pearly whites, too!! She scrapes them on everything, bites with them (ouch!), and is experimenting with lots of new sounds!
We've heard b, d, h, j, l, m, & w!! "Mumma" is getting clearer, and she sometimes seems to say it when she wants to be picked up or held or needs help...so, maybe I should count it?? I just want to be sure!
Her new favorite snacks are graham crackers - not that she really uses her teeth for this, but I just thought of it, so figured I would share... =) We're going to get some Cheerios at the store today and try those next!
I tried to get some canned, diced carrots, but they all have salt added - even the Gerber Graduates!!! Glad I read the label! So, I'll make some myself and see how she likes those!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mira's Cruisin'!!!

Here is a very short clip of Mira taking a couple of steps along the coffee table - she was going slow and getting very distracted by the camera, toys, and all the cheering, but you can sort of see that she has the hang of the whole "step, step-together, step" pattern.


video

Since this video was taken, she has gotten a little faster and has had moments of intense focus where she has gone nearly a full lap around the coffee table all by herself without falling down!!!

Now, rather than wanting to go around the table, she prefers experimenting with letting go of the coffee table and moving to the sofa or someone who is nearby. She's been very successful with this manuever, sometimes turning a full 180 degrees to go from one object/person to another! Other times, her feet stay planted while her torso and arms twist; she ends up looking like a mini pretzel! =)

Trying to get more impressive video, but our little diva is always so distracted by the camera!!! =)

Friday, July 10, 2009

6 Months of Gymboree!

Here's a little Gymboree montage - it's a great way to see how much Mira has grown and all the new things she has learned!
First Day!
Learning to sit!
Graduating from Level 1!
First Day in Level 2!
Learning to stand!
Dance Party is our FAVORITE!!
Look how BIG I am!

A week with the girls...

My nieces, Olivia & Avi, came and stayed a week with us, and we had tons of fun! They were a big help with Mirabelle - changing diapers, feeding her, and entertaining her!

Avi and Mira playing in her room

We tried to go places and see things on most days, but in our "down time," the girls worked diligently on a week-long project. They each designed a boardgame complete with little clay playing pieces! Avi's was "Crazy Jungle" with lots of palm trees, monkeys, and elephants. Olivia's was a Fairy Tale theme - the playing pieces included a princess, prince, princess warrior, and a fairy. The object was to collect all the potions (I made 16 tiny potion bottles out of clay!) and get to the castle first. At the end of the week, we had a couple of Game Nights and played their homemade games along with a couple that we bought (Twilight & ISpy). Ironically, Kenny won Twilight the game although he was the one with absolutely no knowledge of the book or game!!! This thoroughly peeved me and Olivia; we're both big Twilight fans and felt sure one of us would win!!!

My very own sweat shop! Olivia & Avi working long and hard on their game pieces (they liked it!)

At the begining of the week, Kenny's sister Kara was in town for a day or so and joined in all the fun. We went to the mall just to get out of the house before Mira drove me crazy. Her second tooth finally came through Thursday, so the week before was killer!

Wednesday, after watching Mulan, the three girls and I went to check out the R.W. Norton Art Gallery down in Shreveport. We took a stroll (okay, it was more like a hike!) around the grounds, and, after working up a good sweat, we went inside to study the artwork. I was very impressed with the collection. I honestly didn't have very high expectations at all, but was pleasantly surprised. Olivia, especially, enjoyed looking at the works - recognizing many of the artists from her UIL Art studies. I think Avi's favorite part was seeing the new honey bees set up outside a big window in "Fairyland" (the more kid-friendly portion of the gallery).



My girls!

Mira & Mommy

My beautiful Mira

Avi pushes Mira in the stroller while Olivia acts as our tour guide



Trying my hand at the artistic photography

Thursday, after watching Mulan for the second time, we loaded up and went to Sci-Port. Sci-Port was nationally ranked by Parents magazine, so I have been itching to go!! It was great!! We were there for about 4 hours and could have stayed longer! There was so much to see and do - Olivia & Avi both really enjoyed it. Mira even enjoyed some of the displays - her favorite was the demonstration of Bernoulli's Principle in which a beach ball floats up and down in a column of low pressure air. Okay, I don't think she cared about the principle - just the crazy floating ball - but, one day... =)

Olivia and Avi really enjoyed all the opportunities to learn about everything from identifying fingerprint patterns, to planets, creating circuits, using pulley systems, to making their very own batch of slime!! As soon as we were headed for the exit, Avi was asking if we could come back the next day! So, I guess that means it was a success! =)


Olivia & Avi play on the big floor piano - Mira was pretty amused


Avi goes to town on this wheel trying to create horsepower - by the look of her "mane" I'd say she did a fine job! ha ha ha!

Making slime (or "Dragon Snot" as the instructor called it)

Friday morning the girls painted tons of beautiful pictures since their games were finished by this point. Later, we had lunch at Jason's Deli and then took Mira to Gymboree. Avi took part in the class, playing with Mira during the activities while Olivia took advantage of some quiet reading time. After Mira's class, the gym is open for "free play," and Avi had fun running, climbing, balancing, sliding, and jumping with a couple of other kids her age.

Avi gives the balance beam a try


Saturday, Kenny and I took all the girls to the Boardwalk. We started things off right with lunch at The Cheesecake Bistro! Afterwards, we headed to the Funny Bone for a game of bowling - where yours truly won by quite a margin (I'm "REA" on the scoreboard)!!! This was our first time to these lanes, and I was very, very impressed. It's small, comfy (three leather sofas and a coffee table at each lane) and super-clean (no smoking allowed ever)!

We had a lot of laughs as Avi used "Crazy Arms" to encourage her ball down the lane, and Olivia learned to actually throw the ball rather than roll it slowly toward the pins. Olivia eventually decided to try the "Crazy Arms" tactic since she wasn't having much luck.


Avi's crazy arms - "Go Ball, Go!"

Olivia's CRAZY arms - she adds a bounce for extra emphasis!

Anyone up for Baby Bowling? Mira loved it!!! (no worries, I didn't actually let go of the baby!)

Reasie is a superstar bowler!! (three strikes in one game is pretty awesome for me)

After bowling, we headed to the arcade where we played an air hockey tournament (Kenny got the Gold), scored some tickets on Ski Ball, and Olivia and I faced off on Dance Dance Revolution. It's been a while since I DDR'd, but I was still pretty decent! The girls cooperated nicely while cashing in their tickets for cool prizes!

Kenny looks like some slacker dad that snuck off to the arcade with his baby in tow...don't worry she's not being neglected - she's napping, and we were keeping an eye on her! ;)

We finished up the Boardwalk trip with a quick visit to Bass Pro, so Kenny could drool over the boats, and I could change Mira's diaper. We looked at the ugly fish for just a little bit before heading out and heading home. Avi was so worn out, I had to carry her back to the car! I just thought Mira was getting heavy!!

Once back at the house, Olivia managed to convince Avi to watch Singing in the Rain rather than Mulan for a third time while waiting for their parents to arrive.

I think the week was a total success! We had a lot of fun with all the girls in the house despite the increase in noise level and decrease in hot water!! =)