Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Three Months, Sophia!

I'm going to be brutally honest with you.

Sophia is not an easy baby.

Or a fun baby.

Nor is she smiley,
or relaxed baby.

She doesn't have colic but she is basically a highly fussy/never sleeps/extremely gassy baby. Some would call that colic, but we don't because she is able to be soothed. Or, rather, she often just cries herself to sleep.

She doesn't like being in our arms.
She loves being swaddled.
She won't take a bottle. Or a pacifier (we will persevere though...)

She does best when we stay home and don't go out and keep a very strict schedule. But "best," isn't really very good.

After saying all of that, know that I love our sweet girl very much. Her dimpled smile makes it ALL worth it whenever she deems it time to flash it at us. And I am well aware of the fact that this is only a season (PLEASE let it be only a season!) and I remind myself of that every night when we collapse into bed, exhausted.


What's that?


The idea is that Sophia sleeps from 7pm until 6 am with one middle of the night feeding. She is also supposed to nap for 2 out of every 3 hours.

Well, that's the idea anyways. Most nights, Sophia goes down at 7 after 10 minutes of crying. She usually will wake up, and have to settle herself back to sleep a couple of times. She may need a midnight and a 3 am feeding, but she usually falls right back asleep.

Her nap times are ruled by the 45 minute intruder right now. She eats and plays for an hour, goes down and sleeps for 45 minutes and then wakes right up. She sometimes is comforted back to sleep, but sometimes she is just angry and awake.

We're not really sure how to help her get better at naps so we are just trying to be consistent with her routine and insisting it is nap time, not play time.


I really need to move her back to a 2 and a half hour schedule, but it is just SO hard to do that with a toddler underfoot. She feeds every 3 hours from 7 am until 7 pm and once in the middle of the night, around 3 am. She usually nurses for 15-25 minutes and she burps pretty easily now (yay! small victory.)

She is also COMPLETELY off of her gas medicine, which might be causing alot of the issues right now, but it was causing some serious digestive issues so we stopped it when we ran out of the last bottle.

We tried giving her a bottle of pumped milk but she wants nothing to do with it. We tried when she was full and we tried when she was hungry, but both times she wouldn't even latch onto it, just chewed it and gummed it around. She does the same thing with any type of pacifier too.


She has really stretched her awake time now, going almost 50-60 minutes from wake up time until nap time begins. She sits in her bumbo (Christmas gift,) or lays on her boppy, but she doesn't get more than a couple minutes of a time of tummy time. We're working on it.

She's loving chewing on her fists. And by chewing, I totally mean she sticks her whole fist in her mouth, oopens her fingers up, gags herself, trows up, and screams.


And she's scratched the roof of her mouth too.

She does have a great smile though, and for the first 5 minutes after a feeding you can make eye contact with her and get these awesome grins with a dimple showing and a squeak of delight. So fun!


*I dropped my baby. I'm a terrible mom, I know. I was unswaddling her and when I backed away to get settled to nurse her, I didn't know the blanket was wrapped around my leg and...oops! There she went, right onto the floor. I felt horrible (I cried) but she nursed and hasn't seemed worse for the wear.
*She went camping for the first time and did pretty good!
*Sophia stayed with a babysitter for the first time while we went and saw The Hobbit! Sophia was asleep the whole time, but still, now we know we can escape for some "us" time!
*She is in size 2 diapers and wears 0-3 month clothing

Friday, December 28, 2012

{9, 10, 11, 12}

The weeks are flying by and I am loving seeing the growth and change in Sophia this month:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Books in 2012

One of my goals for 2012 was to read 20 books in the year. In 2009 my goal was to read 50 and I made it, but 2010 and 2011 were filled with alot of moving around and learning a foreign language, so my reading dropped off significantly.

I casually read during the first half of the year, because I was still in full time language school and was left feeling mentally drained by the time class was over each day. When school was out, we moved and Sophia arrived just two months later, followed closely by the busy holiday season. I thought for sure that I wasn't going to make my goal, but when I sat down and compiled my list of books, I was pleasantly surprised at how many I had read just naturally throughout the year!

Considering this is my only goal from the year that truly got met, I am proud of it!

1. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins
4. I've Got Your Number- Sophie Kinsella
5. The Sunday Philosophy Club- Alexander McCall Smith
6. Ender's Game- Orson Scott Card
7. Bringing up Girls- Dr. James Dobson
9. The Three Musketeers- Alexander Dumas
10. Love and Respect- Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
11. Her Mother's Hope- Francine Rivers
12. Her Daughter's Dream- Francine Rivers
13. Without a Trace- Colleen Coble
14. Beyond a Doubt- Colleen Coble
15. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
16. Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess- Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker
17. The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien
18. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
19. Humility: True Greatness- C.J. Mahaney
20. I Will Carry You:The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy -Angie Smith

I also reread:
- MiniShopaholic- Sophie Kinsella
-The Duggars: 20 and Counting- Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar
-The Negotiator- Dee Henderson

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Crazy, Beautiful Christmas

I hate to say it, but each Christmas I have approached the holiday season with a bit of fear and trepidation. Being so far away from family means you are on your own for holidays. Friends are wonderful but they don't quite fill in the holes like family does.

This year though, completely made up for it. And I really am surprised by that. Ian and I didn't even do gifts for each other. For me, whose love language is gift giving, I thought this would only end in me feeling depressed and unholiday like. Instead, we had a wonderful three days of celebration as a family.

On Christmas Eve day, Grace played happily underfoot while I made sugar cookies and icing. Then, when she went down for her first nap, Ian and I spread out in front of the tv, rented Jingle All the Way, and decorated cookies.

Because, apparently, you need some Arnold in order to man up cookie decorating.

Naps and showers followed and then I made our own Christmas Eve feast, with a roasted chicken and vegetables, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

We loaded up the car and headed to a nearby hotel where our church hosted a Christmas Eve service. I didn't get to hear a word of the actual service because I was chasing our very active one year old down the hallway, but it was nice to refocus on the reason for Christmas with friends.

In all of this, I was not able to take many pictures, because some sand had gotten into my lens. Ian had the brilliant idea of just switching lenses and then we were back in to the picture taking business.

The girls got dressed up into their Christmas pajamas that my mom had sent and we attempted a picture (fail) then they went to bed. Ian and I played yahtzee and watched Christmas Vacation (his family's tradition- I don't really get the humor.) I fell asleep on the couch about three quarters of the way through the movie and then we called it a night.

Christmas morning came early, as we had a 7 am skype time set up with my parents. They had sent a package full of gifts and we were able to open in front of them and see them open the gifts from us. Grace really got into the presents this time. I was a little embarrassed as she tore through one and jumped for the next.

The excitement must have wore Grace out, because she was yawning and asking for "night-night," just an hour after she got up. While she napped, we enjoyed coffee and cinnamon rolls, got cleaned up, and made twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs, and sweet potato casserole. Then we all headed out to our friend's house for Christmas lunch.

Grace played with her little friends outside in the "garden" while the adults chatted inside. Both of our girls took naps at some point during the day at their house.

We were back home by 6 pm for a skype with Ian's parents. Grace was in fine form and danced in front of the camera for nearly an hour. We skyped with my sister and her husband after that, then tucked our girls into bed, and snuggled on the couch as Ian played a new video game. I was battling a migraine that turned into the flu, but it was such a wonderful day.

I'm so blessed with my family and my friends that have been given to me! I hope you all had a very, Merry Christmas too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Deck the Halls

We put up our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. It was a day full of unpacking and troubleshooting, as we don't have very many places to display all of the decorations and ornaments that we have collected.

Also, we had no way to keep our tree upright.

But that was remedied by a quick (read, 4 hours later) trip to the hardware store and the purchase of an umbrella stand to hold up our tree.

Our stockings hang on our entertainment center- the two middle ones are for the girls, but I will be getting the classic red and white ones from Pottery Barn as soon as the sales begin... Oddly enough, Grace hasn't even touched these- I wonder if she's even noticed them!

I completely forgot to get a picture of a tree, so this is as good as it will get, a picture looking from our family room into our dining room. Our tree is GORGEOUS and if anyone is in the market for an artificial tree on a budget, I would suggest going to Target on Christmas Eve or the day after and seeing if you can purchase a display tree- like we did. It was a steal!

Our dining room table- my tablescape needs some work, but this year, I just worked with what I had on hand. It's a little too wide, as we are constantly shifting everything around to sit and eat at the table.

Our nativity set, from my parents, sits displayed in our entryway. Grace hasn't tried to touch it either, but it might be just out of her line of sight also.

 We had a ton of leftover Christmas knick-knacks, which I was able to display on a ledge in my kitchen over the sink. It makes for some festive viewing while I scrub the dishes!

 This smaller tree was our tree in our old house, and it has found its way into our front room. It was decorated in a wintery theme, snowflakes, silver and blue. It was so beautiful! We found out that some friends of ours were without a tree though, so we loaded it up and surprised them with a tree, lights and ornaments and all! It blessed me so much to see their five year old daughter surprised with a "real, green tree!" and even more so to hear that she had just prayed, out loud with her Mom for a tree this Christmas. It might be my favorite memory from this Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Abu Dhabi Christmas Story

Christmas is just eleven days away and we are enjoying the holiday season in the Middle East. I especially am loving seeing Christmas through the eyes of Grace. She sings "Silent Night," moos at the cows in her nativity set, and jingles her way around our house.

So, I thought the Christmas story, seen through her eyes, would be the most fitting way to share this precious story this year.

Luke 2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Matthew 2- The Visit of the Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Two Months, Sophia!

It's hard to believe that Sophia turned two months old almost two weeks ago!

She is SO big and her little personality is starting to show as she shirks off her "newborn" stage and rolls peacefully (mostly,) into infancy.

Height: 21.7 inches (she's grown two inches since birth!!)
Weight: 10.8 pounds
Head: I think 19 inches- but I lost the paper I wrote it down on, so if that is abnormally large or small, ignore me please.

I moved her up to 0-3 months clothes, she is just so long! She wears footie pajamas most every day/all day and I don't tend to change her clothes every day if they are clean. #secondchildproblems

I had to buy size 2 diapers because the store was all out of size 1, so she was wearing size 2 for two weeks, but then when I went back to the store, I accidentally bought size 1 again. She can still fit in them, so it's no problem!

She still nurses every 3 hours from 7 am until 7 pm, but we finally dropped her "whisper feed," and she sleeps from 7 pm until 2 am, nurses, then goes back to sleep until wake up time.

I'd like to start weaning her off of her gas medicine soon, but an unfortunate mishap, where we forgot to give it to her for nearly a day, showed me she's not quite ready to be free of it.

Her sleep schedule seems to change on a daily basis. I think it has a lot to do with how she's handling gas or if she is in a growth spurt. She sleeps the most solid from 7 pm until 2 am. Her eat/wake/sleep cycle isn't as firm as  Grace's was at this point, but I am getting better at reading her cues at when she needs to go down. She does need to cry herself asleep most of the time though. You can rock her until your arm is asleep but she wakes up the moment you lay her down. Sometimes it only takes 5 minutes of crying, but other times it can take longer than that. We are totally okay with letting her learn to self soothe.

Girl loves to smile at us! As soon as she is done nursing she just grins right back at you with her adorable dimple shining through. She started smiling at 6 weeks. She also "laughs," (a high pitch shriek,) and coos in response to eye contact.

She's not a fan of tummy time but we can get 3-5 minutes out of her at a time.

She will follow you with her head as you come in and out of a room, sometimes leaving her head twisted in odd angles.

We can't leave her on the ottoman any more, as she may be close to flipping over. It could be in a couple days or in a couple of weeks.

Loves to make us smile already. Loves being talked to and cuddled. Hates the wind against her face or the sun in her eyes.

*She is really starting to look like Grace! I thought Sophia would be the baby that takes after me, but no, she really looks like Grace and, in turn, their dad!
*Doesn't take a paci yet. Every once and a while she'll suck on one, but must of the time she just chews on it and then spits it out.
* She sleeps without music or a sound machine, which makes me laugh, because we have been so religious with turning Grace's nap time and bedtime music on for every, single sleep time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Carols in the Desert

This past Friday, we loaded up the car just before sunset and drove out into the desert.

Along with 1,000 other people, we picnicked on sand dunes,

Watching the sun set below the horizon,

Sunk our toes deep into the cold, fine sand,

Snuggled together in camping chairs,

Marveled as the stars appeared overhead,

and sung out Christmas carols.

It was a truly magical evening, one that makes me glad I live in a place that is so different from my home, but so exotic in so many ways.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I realized we had not taken a picture together, as a family of four, since Sophia was born. I asked Tami if she was up to the challenge and she agreed to take our family pictures at a nearby park.

It was a casual affair, with us dressing in our "Thanksgiving clothes," and arriving just before sunset. Grace really just wanted to play with Emerson (or eat all of her snacks, as she is prone to do,) so Tami had to be quick with capturing the moment.

I love how they turned out! They really show how Grace is always on the move and Ian was as comfortable as he was going to get (he hates getting portraits done.)

And, as uncomfortable as I am in my post baby body (just being real here,) I was really happy with how they turned out and wasn't as overly critical of myself as I usually am.

Thanks, Tami, for taking an afternoon to do this! We will cherish these pictures forever!