Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's Official!

Crawl Watch 2012 has officially come to a close today :). Ayden is on the move!

I finally made it to BuyBuy Baby to use our gift card for the toys I discussed in this post.

He actually enjoyed taking the pieces out! And here I thought he'd just chew on them for now...
As I was walking to checkout the ball in the video above caught my eye. It was only $3.99 and Ayden loves the mini version we play with in the pool so I grabbed it. Every little boy needs a ball collection :).

Along with that and his new love for door stoppers, his life is now complete.

I usually enjoy living in the moment but sometimes I think it is a good idea to take a step back and assess/reflect upon your life. Self reflection is the only route to self improvement and I feel this also applies to other areas of ones life. When I step back and take a moment to remember how things were a couple of weeks ago, then compare it with how things are now I am amazed. Just two weeks ago I hadn't yet had my epiphany and Ayden was teething as well as frustrated because his readiness to be on the move and his physical ability to do so were not jiving. Now, Ayden has a cute little toothy grin, is [slowly] on the move and is overall a happy and content baby again.

While living in the moment two weeks ago, I felt exhausted and frustrated a lot of the time and had to actively remind myself that I am in control of how I react to situations and of my own happiness. Now, living in the current moment, the happiness is just effortlessly here. I suppose the point that I am trying to make is that with parenting, the ease vs. struggle relationship is a constant roller coaster and we just have to go along for the ride.

Thanks to this time I've taken to reflect, hopefully during our next "rough" patch I can remember:
1) "this too shall pass" (it is a popular quote for a reason)
2) Ayden's cries and fussy moments have nothing to do with us or our parenting. When babies cry they are simply communicating and it is important that we, as parents, remember to believe in the language value of our babies cries and be there for them. Teething is rough, and working to achieve new milestones can be too, and babies just need us to be there to comfort and guide them. It seemed like a lot in the moment, to put life on hold to just focus on Ayden and let him be clingy but in retrospect it was such a short amount of time. I truly hope I can remember this next time, though I know it will still be tough...

All I can say is that Ayden's next couple of teeth and next milestones can take their time because we want to enjoy this little break we are getting for as long as possible.  :)


Monday, July 30, 2012

Hunting For Treasures

Ayden has officially become a creeper! If you put him down in the middle of a room he will eventually make his way around. It may take a while, but he gets there! He has now realized that his tummy probably should not be involved in the process and keeps his knees, or feet, under him most of the time. He is also pulling up on things a lot. He is not sturdy at all so I'm a bit of a helicopter mom when he gets around something that he could potentially pull up on. He's had a couple of little spills but he's a tough boy and honestly, he'll learn limitations a little faster if he falls every now and then.

Due to the new freedom he's gained because of his improved mobility he has had some fun discovering some treasures around the house.

Treasure #1: Door stoppers!!

We have the awesome spring kind. He sat and played with it for a good 10 or 15 minutes.

Haha! :)

Treasure #2: Books!

He discovered his book shelf today and now enjoys pulling the books off. He pats on their covers and even opens them up. We have read books almost everyday since he was born so it's fun seeing him actually choose them as an activity for himself. Brown Bear Brown Bear is still his favorite and he always stops on pictures of cats. I am convinced he sees the similarities between the cats in the pictures and Polly. It does help that they always seem to choose white cats for the books.
"Is that you, Polly?"
 Treasure #3: Laundry Baskets and Hangers!!

He sat and played contentedly hitting and scraping the laundry basket with a hanger while I folded and put away his laundry today. He also kept trying to use the basket to pull up on and just about bit the dust when it fell towards him. Luckily mommy was there to catch him and hopefully he learned a thing or two about the stability of laundry baskets.

Treasure #4: Any kind of string or wire!!

Ayden can spot a string or wire from across the room. I mentioned in his Favorites: 6 Month Edition post that he loves strings and I wasn't kidding! One of the funniest moments of today was when he was playing with a string I had given him and got mad because he couldn't get it to his mouth because he was sitting on it.

It has been so enjoyable as a parent to watch Ayden grow and work so hard on new developments. While David and I were giving him his bath last night, we were talking about how we have this little person in our lives now who has no idea about his place in this world or how big the world is. Right now, we are his world and he just lives by what he's feeling in the moment.  So fun to get to see this big world all over again through his eyes. :)


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keeping Things Basic

When it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery, I am of the school of thought that believes that we haven't evolved much in these areas. It is true that we now have the wonderful world of medicine to guide us through a very mysterious and precious time in our lives, if we so choose, but I truly believe that we have a very strong, innate ability/instinct for getting through all of it naturally.  If you know about Ayden's birth story, you know that we did end up needing to use medicine to get the outcome that we wanted but I am so glad I gave my body the chance to try and will do so again for our next baby.

As David and I were on our jog, training for our upcoming 5k today, I was reflecting on this and why it only makes sense, then, that I would feel that way about mothering as well.  How are we unlike any other mammal mother in knowing how to care for our young? I tried to use various "manuals"and it just put strain and uncertainty on something that should (and does!) come so naturally to me.  Ever since I decided to ditch the books and follow my instincts and heart, things have been exponentially better.  As I was telling David all of this, he divulged that I have been like this in many areas of my life.  If he has ever tried to change something about me or steer me in a direction that takes me away from what is natural or comfortable to me it always adds strain and I always end up back where I feel most comfortable.

If I could go back would I change my efforts?  Probably not because I am a researcher and I would have always felt compelled to read about and at least try these methods to see if they work.  I did spend my college years on the behaviorist side of things which is a bit hard to let go of.  As I am saying this, please keep in mind I am referring to the first year.  I do still believe that older children need guidance, discipline, and behavior modification at times.  Everything all of these books I've read offer sounds great in theory.  What I do know is that I probably won't pick up another book any time soon on how to mother my baby.  I will still read up on development and what to expect during toddler years, etc. but will limit myself to "why" books, rather than "how."  I'm going to do myself a favor and trust my basic instincts and do what my mother and her mother and even her mother did. 

We had a great weekend and Ayden is working so hard on eating and crawling.  I was eating a banana while I was holding him this morning and when I held it up to his mouth he took a little bite like he's always known that's how you eat a banana.

I'm telling you, Baby Led Weaning is truly remarkable!  Today his new foods were peaches, tomato and orange.  Oranges are, hands down, his favorite food EVER!  He scraped the peel completely clean and was jabbering away the whole time, as happy as could be.  It was completely adorable! 

 We mainly hung around the house all weekend knocking out various projects.  David and I have really been feeling how lucky we really are today and are going to bed with warm fuzzies all around. It is such a great way to end a weekend and hopefully the week will be great since we'll be going into it so happy and content. Here are a few clips from our day:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Swing High

Teeth!! :)
 It is amazing how quickly Ayden is learning about food! Here is the damage his two little teeth did on an apple slice today:

He also was actually getting bites off during dinner, even though most of them worked their way back out...

While we were watching him eat tonight, David and I marveled at how he has taken to solids so quickly and easily. There's no doubt that he was ready and that Baby Led Weaning is definitely a very natural route to take!

Ayden and I left David at home to edit the 6 month photos while we went to the grocery. The weather was so wonderful that when we got home, we abandoned our to do lists and headed to the park for some quality family time.

 It was wonderful! Ayden also got to swing for the first time and LOVED it!

As for crawl watch 2012, Ayden is definitely getting better at moving from A to B, though it still takes him a while. He gets up to the crawling position, takes a "step" or two, then slides his hands forward ending on his belly. I suppose he could be compared to an inch worm :). He has mastered getting to sitting on his own from any position. So at today's end, he is not officially crawling but makes progress everyday. It is truly amazing how quickly things are happening now!

After dinner we got him ready for bed but instead of settling in and falling asleep he engaged in activities such as this:

#1 on tomorrow's to do list? Lower his crib mattress...

Life is getting more crazy and more fun all at once and all of it is wonderful!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Crawl Watch 2012

Today was an interesting day... It wasn't a bad day per say but somehow the whole day slipped away without me getting anything productive done.

I did manage to take a shower. Ayden was being fussy and I was in the mood for a nice, long, enjoyable shower. Those two things never go hand in hand so my solution?

I busted out his bath seat for the first time. I would offer a link but you actually cannot purchase this particular bath seat new anymore. I got ours for $6 at a consignment store when I was pregnant and have seen them around at various "gently used" stores since. They are still out there if you are willing to treasure hunt! They stopped making and recalled them because people were trying to use them with claw foot, jacuzzi, etc tubs and babies kept tipping over. They are only made for your standard bath/shower combo. Just like anything else, if you read/follow the product instructions, things will usually work out for you. Anyway, this was an amazing solution! I pointed the shower nozzle away from him, and I got to enjoy my shower while he happily played with his ducks. Win/win!! :)

We bed-shared while we were in Nashville and actually enjoyed it. We all woke feeling rested and my body didn't hurt at all in the morning so we've been doing a little bed sharing this week. We wanted to see if that 7th B of attachment parenting might work for us now that Ayden is a little older and I'm not at all concerned that he'd let one of us suffocate him without putting up a fight. We still go through Ayden's typical bed time routine and put him to bed in his crib initially, usually at around 7:30 or 8:00. Then I'll bring him in when he wakes for a feeding between 10 and 11. The verdict? It's been hit or miss. We've had a couple of good nights where we all slept better and a couple of rough nights where David did not get enough sleep. Last night was one of the rough ones where Ayden woke every hour and a half or so and actually cried when he woke (on the good nights I wake and get him latched on right when he stirs and we're both back to sleep before he even realizes he was waking up). I suppose he made up for lost time because he took a whopper of a two hour nap today.


I got to nap with him for the first hour so we'll call that another success for today :). I suppose his sleep is hit or miss no mater where he rests his little head. I know the more consistent we are, the better it will be for Ayden so hopefully we'll find what works for all of us soon.

On the Baby Led Weaning front:

"Ummm, Mom... Will you take this?"
Ayden enjoyed banana a little more than the last time he tried it this morning and he really hit the jackpot at dinner! He had a strip of steak, some of the usual avocado and a couple of spinach leaves. The winner was the steak, hands down!

Our little carnivore :)
 This was his first time with meat and he mainly sucked on it the whole time. We had company for dinner and Ayden just sat so quietly working on his strip of steak. The spinach came in second followed by the avocado. I've been seeing a slight change in the deposits made in his diapers so he's definitely getting some stuff down. It looks as though most of it passes straight through, though. I suppose that will change as he begins to chew more. So far we are loving BLW! It was definitely the right fit for our little family. It's so awesome that we all eat together at the same time and that he's already eating whatever we are. The best part is that he is in charge of what, how much and how quickly he eats. It all just feels so natural!

We have a busy weekend on tap. Even so, we are looking forward to spending it together! Now I shall leave you with a little clip of Ayden's crawling progress. He's been working so hard and is almost there! We are so proud :).


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Big Boy Toys

Ayden practically put himself down for his nap this morning and it was glorious. He woke after a half hour, as usual, but fell back to sleep while he nursed afterwards. I just snuggled into the glider and browsed Pinterest while he finished his nap. It brought me back to his newborn days when it would take a good 45 minutes to feed him and he always drifted off to sleep at the breast back then (ha, waaaay back! 6 whole months ago...). I would read on my Kindle, or Facebook, or the like. Though I didn't feel quite as productive then, since I felt like all I did was sit and nurse him all day, I honestly enjoyed every second of it. I'm glad Ayden is on the EASY routine because he always gets full feedings in and is typically in a great mood during his awake time. I will admit, though, on the rare chance that he does fall asleep while nursing these days, I SOAK it up. I never feel more like a mommy than when his warm little body is snuggled up against mine during those fleeting moments. It forces time to slow down. Instead of stuffing diapers while I play with him or even going about the day with him in a wrap or the Ergo, I get to just sit and admire him. His ever growing lashes, his wispy baby hair, his tiny hands and fingernails, all of the little rolls that he's getting. Every inch of him is wonderful.

Since the summer program at the dance studio has started up, Thursdays are pretty busy for us.  We have story time at 11 which gives me enough time to get through my morning routine and him his morning nap before hand. 

Story time fun!
Afterwards, I usually walk over to Whole Foods to pick up the odd bunch of bananas or bag of pecans that we have run out of.  I have to be at the studio by 1:30 to teach so depending on how I feel I either come home and try to catch Ayden's 2nd nap with him or I go straight to my parents house for a little visit before teaching.  Today was a nap day.  Ayden usually falls asleep on the way home from story time and it's hit or miss on whether or not he'll transition from his car seat well enough to continue his nap.  The odds were in my favor today and we snuggled together for a good 30-40 minutes before I had to gather everything I needed to take with us and head out. 

Ayden has come to love the studio!  He likes the music, the mirrors, playing on the hard wood floor (his toys make such wonderful banging sounds there) and watching the girls dance.  He was in a stellar mood the whole time.  My mom has been coming at 3 to hang out with Ayden during my last two classes.  They are hour-long aerobic/flexibility classes and I prefer to do the exercises wth the girls so I can gauge the intensity properly.  I don't want to push them too hard because I'm sitting on my bum so it's nice for her to take care of Ayden so I can focus on my classes.  She got him to sleep for his late afternoon nap and then took over the class for me while I fed him once he woke up.  Mom's are so helpful :).

Playing at the studio :)
When we got home and had our little family reunion, David took Ayden for a bit and this is how I found them:

Ayden has definitely adopted a love of music and I hope that it is always something that will bring him and David together. 

At dinner, Ayden had his usual avocado and also tried a spinach leaf and a couple of chunks of butternut squash.  So far, he has liked broccoli and spinach the best.  I'm not sure what it is about fruit, the squash and even the avocado that makes him make hilarious facial expressions and even cough-type noises as he tries to push it out of his mouth.  Perhaps the flavor is too intense for now?  I think he has liked everything he has tried, because he puts them into his mouth again and again, but the broccoli and spinach stay in his mouth while he happily sucks on them.  We have really enjoyed having him participate in dinner with us!
We've made taking a bath a regular part of Ayden's bedtime routine now.  Its about time since he loves it so much!  He is still having some issues with cradle cap so we weren't fully bathing him too often as that can make it worse.  I've been using coconut oil twice a day lately and it really seems to be helping.  I put a soft lamp in the bathroom and we play relaxing music so it's all part of the wind down ritual as opposed to an exciting bright and playful time.  He still plays but it's a bit more chill than our morning baths used to be.  

My plans for tomorrow are to prep the house for the weekend, meal plan and make our grocery list.  I also have a couple of gift cards so I plan on  getting out into civilization again tomorrow!  One of the gift cards is for $25 to BuyBuyBaby; so I plan on purchasing a new "big boy" toy for Ayden.  I was thinking about getting these wooden Melissa and Doug toys:

For now he'll just enjoy touching and gumming on them but it's never too early to start talking about shapes and colors!  I also just love wooden toys and surprisingly, we don't have very many. 

What was your baby's favorite toy at 6 months old?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas In July?

We had The Grinch at our house tonight!

Oh wait... That's just a green-faced Ayden! :)
Ayden actually swallowed a little bit of his avocado at dinner tonight. He also enjoyed squishing it through his fingers and smearing it all over his tray.

Needless to say, we've been taking a lot more baths since starting Baby Led Weaning :).


I finally took his monthly pictures today. I'll go back and edit them into the 6 month post for my own future reference but will also go ahead and put them in this post as well.

Click to see: 1 Month, 2 Months, 3 Months, 4 Months, 5 Months
 I take the actual pictures with our DSLR and just snap a few on my phone to guarantee that they make it on here. Mama's (especially ones who write daily blog posts) need things to be quick and easy. Hooking the nice camera up to the computer, accessing the external hard drive, importing the pictures, deleting them from the camera, choosing the best ones and then uploading them to the blog is a process that does not fall into the "quick and easy" category. Because of this, I snap a couple of pictures on my phone as well to guarantee that they actually make it onto the blog. So the ones you see on here are not the "keepers" but hey, whatever works!!

These little photo shoots are getting pretty interesting! It's definitely getting more difficult to get a great shot, but it's also more fun all at the same time. I enjoy going back through the pictures like a flip book. The not-so-great pictures are the ones that capture him the best.


While I had the camera out, I took the opportunity to take some extra snapshots as well.

Mr. Owl Eyes
Oh  man, there's just something about this one! Be still, my heart...
You just can't go wrong with natural lighting!!

Little Miss was still under the weather so she did not grace us with her presence again today. Hopefully she'll be feeling better by Monday. Since she didn't come, Ayden and I had a chill day at home. I made our weekly usuals (kale chips, paleo crunch cereal and a dessert, which were paleo fudge pops this week - YUM!) Though I enjoy our home and getting to move leisurely throughout my day, I am looking forward to getting out of the house for story time and teaching dance tomorrow.

Now that Ayden's teeth are through, and he can take a break from wearing his fussy pants, he fills his days with naps and crawling practice. He is so determined and persistent! I hope those are qualities that he continues to carry with him as he grows.

I have learned a valuable lesson this week about how it could be quite possible to be too intentional with your parenting. In my efforts to avoid accidental parenting, I was interfering too much and disrupting the natural harmony that lies beneath. This is not to say you shouldn't think about possible outcomes when you go to make decisions, but maybe it is a good idea to only try to "fix" things that are broken to begin with? All I can say is that ever since I stopped worrying so much, our days have been happier and more enjoyable. I am soaking up every minute!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ayden's Favorite Things: 6 Month Edition


We had another amazing day today. I think following my heart and instincts was the answer to all of our problems. Ayden got in an hour long nap (half after nursing on my lap and the rest in his crib) and a couple of shorter ones in the Ergo. Funny that when I stopped following someone else's agenda we ended up with the very outcome I had been working so hard to achieve. I also accomplished my goal of getting the upstairs back in order which mainly consisted of unpacking and doing laundry. Fun, fun...

Ayden was in an awesome mood yet again today. I think it's a combination of having a break from teething and me just letting him be. I still guided him through his routine but I didn't attempt to push or mold any outcomes and we moved through the day in sync and at ease.

So far so good still with Baby-Led Weaning. We're pretty sure he ingested a chunk of avocado at lunch and a tiny bit of broccoli at dinner. For the most part he just gums and sucks on the food. That is the beauty of BLW, there's no hurry. He'll still rely on breast milk for nutrients until he gets the hang of it on his own time. His breastfeeding intake hasn't changed at all. I actually feed him right before his food exploration adventures so that they are just that.

When Ayden was 1 month old, I wrote a post about his favorite things. These included diaper changes, sleeping vertically and bath time. Here we are at 6 months and though he still loves diaper changes and baths, and any chance to be naked for that matter, things have definitely changed around here! Now Ayden is completely aware of and involved with the world. Here are some of his new and improved favorite things:

1)Like I mentioned above, he still loves baths and now swimming!

He is a water baby for sure. He likes to splash, have water poured onto him and also enjoys capturing floating toys like his little yellow ball and rubber duck. So far he has no fear in the water and we hope to keep it that way!

2) Since I mentioned how he liked to sleep in his 1 month post, I'll mention it here too. He is a belly sleeper all the way! He sleeps on his belly all night only moving his head from side to side. He takes after his mommy :)

3) PETS! He is completely fascinated by both Maverick and Polly. He is content to just watch them but if they get close enough to touch I'm pretty sure it makes his day. I'm pretty sure Maverick is part of the reason Ayden has come to like walks in the stroller.

4) Touch. Ayden loves to be worn, tickled, kissed, hugged, "tossed" into the air. You name it, if it involves being touched, he's a fan!

5) Strings! He will sit and play with the shoe strings on my sneakers FOREVER! They never get old. He also loves to get his hands on cords, wires and anything else string-like.

6) Clapping. It all started with story time and the Peas Porriage Hot song. Now if you clap he smiles so big! He's a huge fan and I bet he'll be clapping on his own soon.

7) Music. I can get him to smile for pictures on command just by singing "You Are My Sunshine." He also loves "Bushel and A Peck," "Row Row Row Your Boat," "Baby Mine," Our Song and anything else we can make up to any given melody. If it's a song, chances are he'll love it! Throw clapping in with it (hence his love for Peas Porriage and Patty Cake) and you've made his day.

8) Crawling. He is not crawling yet but oh he wants to! He spends practically all day practicing these days. He's even pulled up to standing a couple of times. Once was on his Zany Zoo (also a current favorite) and called out for me (as well as a 6 month old can) because he didn't know what to do once he got up there. Here is a clip of some of his efforts today:

There are probably things I am leaving out but this paints a pretty good picture of how far we've come in the past 5 months since I wrote his last favorite things post. It was fun to go back and read, not only because he was so tiny in the pictures which gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies, but also because I said things like, "He has really come to life!" Haha, I had no idea :).


Monday, July 23, 2012

Beware Of Baby Trainers

Big boy!  No blanket booster :)
Ayden's second tooth came through today!  Our little man sure has a lot going on all at once!  Overall today was an amazing day.  Little Miss has a cough so her mom kept her home.  The house was a wreck from the weekend and ever since last night I was at peace with the fact that it would take a while, maybe even days, to get it fully back in order.  I woke up today with one house goal: Put the downstairs back together and save the upstairs for tomorrow.  Since I didn't start out with crazy high standards for myself today, I met my goal and felt accomplished.  I also had time to take an nice, long nap with Ayden (he slept for almost 2 hours!)...

Signing, "I love you" and doing "the sprinkler" in his sleep!
...and met a friend at the mall.  She is pregnant and needed some maternity jeans.  Their baby will be born right around Ayden's birthday!  They will either be best friends or boyfriend/girlfriend immediately.  David and I are two years apart so one's nothing! Haha, hopefully the kids are down with our  plans :).

When David got home, I had dinner prepped and ready to cook.  We stuck it in the fridge and went to a nearby park for a run.  We plan on running another 5k in a couple of weeks so we need to start training.  The best part?  I actually wanted to work out.  I think I am slowly coming back to life! 

We couldn't have timed it more perfectly.  Ayden was getting sleepy as we were getting ready.  I lathered him up with sunscreen and grabbed his sun hat and we were off.  We drove to the park and he fell asleep in the stroller just a few minutes into our run.  It was so peaceful!  It was a little hot, but the wind was blowing.  I'd be lying if I said it felt good, because I am very out of shape, but I pushed myself and made it the whole way without stopping.  Go me!  

Since Ayden is 6 months old now, it's time for solids!  We are choosing Baby Led Weaning so Ayden got a stick of avocado and a stick of mango for his first meal.

 Ayden has actually been "ready" to start eating solids for a few weeks now.  He's been sitting up on his own, has great hand/mouth coordination, etc. but I still felt the need to wait until the 6 month mark.  He went to work on his food like he'd been eating solids for his whole little life.  I will write a whole post dedicated to Baby Led Weaning (BLW) at a future date (you can read about another blogger's take on it here and here) but I will go ahead and mention just a couple of things about BLW today.  If you don't have a history of food allergies, you do not have to be quite as careful about introducing just one food at a time.  Obviously still watch for any reactions but the reality is that food allergies typically run in families.  We will hold off on things like nuts and honey, but for fruits and vegetables there won't be too much of a concern.  Also, while doing BLW, you must realize the difference between gagging and choking.  Gagging is a natural and necessary reflex that prevents food from going too far.  If your child is gagging, their body is doing it's job.  Typically a baby will only trigger the gag reflex a few times before they learn how far is too far and just don't do it anymore.  There is so much more to BLW but as I said before, that is for another day.  If you are interested in reading the book on it, you can purchase it here.  It is so fun to witness this new chapter of Ayden's life!  David and I truely enjoy wholesome, delicious food and can't wait to share that love with Ayden.

On another note, I have been doing some soul searching today.  If you've been readng this blog, you may know that we've experienced our fair share of sleep "problems" over the past 6 months.  Night time sleep has actually become pretty consistent now with 3-4 hour stretches (after which he eats a full feeding so I don't feel bad waking that often).  Our current issue lies with naps being too short, typically only 30 minutes at a time (except for today's but I was sleeping with him).  I have been reading The Baby Whisperer's books and trying out some of her techniques but to be honest, everything is much easier said than done.  Ayden usually wakes from his naps in a great mood and ready to play so it is next to impossible to get him to go back to sleep in order to lengthen his naps.  I would waste half my day attempting to get him to go back to sleep which would inevitably result in my feeling frustrated with poor Ayden and disapointed in myself.  While I was pregnant, I read Attachment Parenting  by Dr Sears and our parenting style definitlely leans toward the attachment parenting (AP) end of the spectrum.  Of the "7 B's" of AP:
  1. Birth Bonding
  2. Breastfeeding
  3. Babywearing
  4. Bedding close by
  5. Belief of the language value of your baby's cry
  6. Beware of baby trainiers
  7. Balance
 we do 5.  All of them except for bedding close by and beware of baby trainers.  Balance comes and goes, but that's pretty natural.  We do strive for it though, and that's what's important.  So what I've been soul searching about is why we haven't adopted all 7 since it is obvious that AP seems to be what works for us and the way our "comtemporary cruncy" selves naturally tend to lean. 

As for bedding close by, Dr. Sears says that the best sleeping arrangment is the one that gets everyone the most sleep.  I actually do not sleep very comfortably with Ayden in the bed with me.  He likes to pacify on me which wakes me often and I don't move much, which results in my waking up stiff and with sore hips.  We could keep him in a co-sleeper or side car his crib but that doesn't work for us because then David's sleep would be inturrupted.  David has to go to work everyday and doesn't have the opportunity to nap like I do so he needs to be well rested.  It is a big responsibility to be the sole breadwinner of a family and he needs to be able to perform the best he can while at work.  That is why having Ayden in his own room is the best option for our family. I have a video monitor and have it set low enough to where it wakes me but not David and that is the sleeping arrangement that works best for us. 

The other of the B's that we haven't been following, beware of baby trainers, is the one I've been reflecting about.  If you were to choose a baby trainer, The Baby Whisperer is the most... "humane" (for lack of a better word) of them all, in my opinion.  I think that her methods are sound and do not leave a baby to "cry it out" which would never be something I could do.  When I read her books, everything she says seems to make sense and it motivates me to get to work.  On the other hand, on the days that I do read her books and actually try to impliment her methods, we have what I would call a "bad day" by the end of it.  The kind of days that leave me exhausted and frustrated by the time David gets home. Ayden does a lot of fussing/crying, I feel defeated and like a failure of a mother.  These are not good thoughts or feelings to have, especially when being a mommy has been my dream and this is IT.  It is happening right now and I want to love every second of it, not feel like I'm a complete failure.  I have read a couple of things recently that made me second guess my "need" to ignore this B.  First, I read this article by Dr. Sears on "8 Infant Sleep Facts Everyone Should Know."  The second I read it, tension left my body and it just felt good to "hear" a professional say things like:
Babies need to be parented to sleep, not just put to sleep. Some babies can be put down while drowsy yet still awake and drift, others need parental help by being rocked or nursed to sleep. -source
 Some babies need help getting back to sleep. Some "resettlers" or "self-soothers" can go through this vulnerable period without completely awakening, and if they do wake up, they can ease themselves back into a deep sleep. Other babies need a helping hand, voice, or breast to resettle back into deep sleep. From these unique differences in sleep cycle design, we learn that one of the goals of nighttime parenting is to create a sleeping environment that helps baby go through this vulnerable period of nightwaking and reenter deep sleep without waking up. - source
These things make me feel better because this is what has been working for us.  I have tried and tried to get Ayden to sleep independently, and maybe what we did early on set us on this path, but reading this makes me feel accopmlished and right and wonderful.  I'm pretty sure that 5 or even 1 year from now I will not be looking back at Ayden's first year or two and wishing I had held him or rocked him less.  There are times every now and then where having to help him get to sleep is "inconvinient" but that is just when life is getting in the way of what truely matters. 

After all of this soul searching and talking it all out with David, we have decided to keep doing exactly what we are currently doing.  We like having Ayden on a routine because we feel all people thrive on predictability and we still want to work toward having him nap on his own in his own bed but we are okay with letting that be on his time.  Once we talked this out and I said all of my thoughts out loud it felt wonderful and right. 

It also seemed interesting to read this today on my Baby Center App:

My favorite part was where it said, "keep in mind that your baby's temperment and natural bodily rhythms will help determine how and when he or she naps..."  Thank you, baby center, for reminding/reassuring me that my baby is still "normal" even if he doesn't take long naps.

I suppose the lesson to be learned here is that there are tons of professionals, methods, and opinons out there and you have to take in what you can, apply what you want, and do what you need to do to feel great at the end of the day.  I'm pretty sure I've said something along these lines before, but I aparantly need to be reminded every now and then.  Follow your heart and enjoy every second because it really does go by too fast. I followed my heart today instead of a baby trainer.  Ayden hardly fussed and was either happy or sleeping; and I felt wonderful about myself, Ayden and even our messy house from start to finish.  There can't be anything wrong with that.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Night and Day


We ended our Nashville visit today. We had so much fun and are so glad the parties were arranged the way they were (guys during the day and girls at night) so that we could both attend. On our way out of their neighborhood (we stopped by for a last goodbye before hitting the road), we wished we had one more day for us all to hang out together.

To be honest, our trip down there left a bit of a bad feeling about the drive home. Lucky for us, though, Ayden was on our side today!!

The trips were like night and day. He slept for the first half (an hour and a half!) and then was awake, happy and playful for the rest! I also thought ahead and used my manual pump to get a bottle ready for an on-the-go feed while he slept. When he woke I was able to feed him right away so he never had the opportunity to get fussy in the first place. I'm learning and taking notes as I go!
During the car ride David helped me meal plan, I made our grocery list, took a half hour nap and read Catching Fire out loud after Ayden's feeding. I'd call that an enjoyable and productive car ride.

When we got home we unloaded the car and went to the grocery. David dropped Ayden and me off and while he went to pick up the pets I fed Ayden again, imported some videos and pictures from the trip and started dinner.

Ayden started rubbing his face at about 7:30 so I handed dinner prep over to David and brought Ayden up for bed. It is now 8:00, we have completed our bedtime routine and Ayden is in his crib practicing his crawling instead of falling asleep. Milestones are not the best helpers when it comes to baby sleep.  One drawback of traveling and being away from familiar triggers and routines is that it always takes a few days to get back to normal.

Speaking of crawling, I shall end this post with a video of Ayden's current progress on this huge milestone. He is almost there!

Wish us luck with getting him to bed and eating our dinner before it's cold!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

6 Months Old!

I can't believe our baby is 6 months old today!  We are amazed at how much he has changed.

He has come to life and is an active member of our family.  It's hard to remember what it was like before his arrival and we both fall in love with him more everyday.  We both still stop and look at him and say, "We have a SON!" or "He is ours, can you believe it?!?"  He is just amazing.

As I do every month, I take a look at a milestone list just to see where he is and where he is headed in comparison.  We realize that every baby is unique and achieves every milestone at his/her own pace, but it's still fun see where he lies in general. 

As for physical development, he's actually sitting up on his own.  He began doing this the day after he turned 5 months old and now he rarely falls over.  He has learned how far is too far and usually corrects himself, quickly regaining balance.  When he does occasionally fall he closes his eyes and flinches on the way down.  It's cute and he usually smiles once he's down there.  He's a tough little guy!  He does not get to sitting on his own yet but he can get to the crawling position (hands and knees) from his belly and from sitting.  Once on his hands and knees he rocks back and forth and will occasionally reach one hand out for a toy.  He is also doing everything else on the list above.

In the area of intellectual development, he is doing everything on the list above except for imitating sounds and looking for named objects.  He makes a lot of sounds, and is very interested when we imitate his sounds but we haven't heard him make a specific sound just because we made it.  We say dog, cat, fan, mommy, daddy, etc. whenever his attention is drawn to that object/person but he is yet to look to an object or person if we say it randomly.

He is incredibly social.  He LOVES to be tickled, and is super playful.  He smiles at people and even stares at someone across the room and "talks" to them until he gets their attention.  He still has some anxiety about being passed around in a crowd and also doesn't seem to be a fan of men with beards (which my dad unfortunately has...) but he'll get used to them!

Overall we are so proud of how far he has come! and can't wait to see what the next 6 months have in store.

As for his 6 month photos being ready in time for this post, David's unexpected work trip delayed their completion.  Such is life!  No biggie.  We'll post them as soon as they are done for sure! Here is his monthly owl shot:

5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month
David has spent the day on a boat for a bachelor party having tons of fun, no doubt.  Ayden and I went with him when he met up with the guys and stayed at our friends house for the morning.  Ayden was a good boy.  The bride for this bachelor/bachelorette weekend, Jessica, is a long time friend of mine.  We grew up dancing together and went to school together from middle school on.  Ayden's due date was January 17th and Jessica's birthday is January 21st.  She always said, "Maybe you'll go late and have him on my birthday!"  Ayden must have heard her request because after 42 hours of labor, they became birthday buddies!  She gave him a half birthday present.  He loved everything about it, including the paper and the box.

 Ayden has been a trooper at the hotel.  Once we got him back to sleep last night he slept well.  David got him down for his morning nap while I got ready.

He looks so tiny in the king size bed!
Now we are back at the hotel.

There is a lingerie shower at 5 but I thought a baby's attendance would probably change the mood of things ;).  We are going to chill here until David's return then I'll meet back up with the girls for dinner at 7 and honkey tonkin' after that!   I've pumped after every feeding since last night and have enough for two feedings while I'm gone.  I'll also empty out before I leave so David should have more than enough, just in case.  Now I'm going to try and catch Ayden's next nap with him so I can have some energy for this evenings festivities.  Should be a fun night!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Chomp Chomp


We are traveling to Nashville this weekend to partake in the bachelor/bachelorette festivities for some great friends of ours.

Ayden and I spent the day prepping for the trip...

"Helping" me do laundry :)
...and I have to say I wasn't as on top of things as I was a couple of weeks ago for the family reunion. It was also a floating head kind of day (when I'm so tired that I feel like a floating head and seem to walk in circles all day) so if David hadn't come home early from work to help out, who knows when we would have gotten on the road.

After my usual morning routine, plus a couple of extra loads of laundry, I took the pets to their boarding destinations (Mav to the kennel and Polly to my parents' house). On my way home, I stopped at the bank to get us some cash and by that time David was home and ready to come with us on a grocery run.

Our strict eating regimen hardly phases us during our everyday lives anymore but during social occasions and traveling it can definitely be inconvenient. That is not to say it isn't worth it, but it adds to the chaos of trip prep just the same. When we got home, David got to work on making a batch of paleo crunch cereal and rounding up the rest of the food and I started packing. We left the house at about 5:00 which was 2 hours later than we had anticipated.

We had a couple of stops to make and Ayden had fallen asleep in the Ergo right before we left and transitioned to his carseat very well so David hung with him in the car while I took care of an errand at the mall. While I was in line, David texted me and said that Ayden had woken up screaming and that he had cut a tooth! One day shy of his half birthday. No wonder Little Man has been so fussy lately. Hopefully now that it's through he'll get a little break before the next one comes. Not sure if it would be better to get them all over with at once or to have them come one at a time with breaks in between...  Lose, lose situation for the poor little guy if you ask me!

Can barely see it but it's the little white line right under his tongue!
The rest of the car ride was pretty brutal to be honest. I continued to feel like a floating head and added a terrible headache to that awesomeness. Ayden stayed awake the whole way which was fine for the first half of the trip but for the second half he was tired and eventually hungry and got the screams, which only made my headache worse! Then, to top it off I started getting car sick from sitting in the back, attempting to keep him as happy as I could.  It is so hard to pretend to have energy when you feel like poo.  As for feeding Ayden, since we were so close and I just wanted to get to the hotel ASAP, I got out my manual pump and started pumping.  The trouble was I waited a bit too long and when he saw me lift my shirt and unsnap my bra, he was ready to be nursed.  So I was feeding him an ounce at a time with one hand while I pumped with the other.  When he'd finish the ounce he was working on, and I'd take the bottle to refill it, he'd start crying.  I'm pretty sure he would have nursed (the bottle) to sleep if it had a full feeding in it.  We ended up pulling over and then he was just so excited to get out of his car seat that he didn't want to nurse anymore.  Silly boy...  He was definitely less than excited to get back into his car seat for the remainder of the ride but he finally gave in to sleep about 15 minutes before we arrived at the hotel, though not without a fight.  We were all SO OVER the car ride by the time we got to our hotel.

David made a ton of trips carrying all of our stuff in from the car but we finally got everything in to our room and are settled in for the night.  Ayden woke up on the way in and was so excited to see the new surroundings of the hotel room that it'll probably take a while to get him settled back in.  David's working on that as I type.

Tomorrow the festivities begin so we're hoping to get at least some sleep...  David is going to the bachelor party during the day.  They are getting a boat and spending the day on a lake.  The girls are meeting up later for a lingerie shower, dinner and a night of honkey tonkin'. The plan is for David and I to trade off with Ayden. I am pumping now and will after every feeding tomorrow.  I'm hoping to get two feedings worth to leave David with while I'm out with the girls.  It should be an interesting and hopefully fun weekend!

Ayden turns 6 months old tomorrow.  Can't believe it!