Happy 2nd Birthday to Koren!

I’m working backwards here… but the week before we went to Connecticut, we spent a weekend in Aspen Hill & Gaithersburg.  We drove down to Aspen Hill Friday after work to spend Shabbat with Rabbi Uri & Dahlia.  We were the only company they had for dinner Friday night so we had a lovely and intimate Shabbat dinner with them.  Saturday we spent a lot of time playing at their house and Julia & I had fun at the Tot Shabbat programming that Dahlia organizes at their Shul.

Once Shabbos was over, we drove to Phil & Sabrina’s house in Gaithersburg to spend Saturday night and Sunday with them and to celebrate Koren’s birthday on Sunday!  The weather was beautiful so we got to hang out outside and Julia had a little too much fun eating chocolate cake! 4.22.14(18)

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It was also our first time using our new Umbrella stroller… which Julia seems to enjoy greatly!  4.22.14(16)

Ken is very into reading reviews on Amazon, Babies R Us and Consumer Reports.  After reading countless reviews and mulling over the decision for weeks we finally decided upon the Joovy Umbrella stroller and so far (3 weeks in) we are very happy with the decision.  It folds easily, reclines to a laying down position so Julia can sleep, rolls very smoothly and has a lot of storage room.  The handlebars are also high enough that you don’t have to bend over to push the stroller and it’s fairly attractive as far as strollers go.

Julia’s 15-month Checkup

Yesterday we had Julia’s 15-month checkup with her pediatrician.  First, I just have to say that I love her pediatrician.  She really makes you feel like she’s giving you her full and undivided attention.  She answers all of your questions and she literally spent about 45 minutes with us yesterday.  At no point did I feel like she was rushing me or she was in a hurry to get out of the room.  She always is respectful, even when I ask seemingly silly questions.  It’s so refreshing to have a doctor who you trust so fully with your or your child’s care.  I can’t speak highly enough of her.

So let’s start, from head to toe:

First, her statistics: her head is 47 centimeters (75th percentile), she weighs 25 lbs. 3 oz. and is 32 inches tall.  Her height is in the 90th percentile for girls her age and her weight is in the 80th percentile.  The doctor said she was growing nicely and did not seem at all concerned.  It’s a nice change from those first few doctor’s appointments we had when we were struggling with breastfeeding and were happy if she gained even a few ounces from one visit to the next!

Teeth: The doctor saw that Julia has 5 teeth that have broken the surface and one more that is about to break through.  I asked her when we need to start brushing her teeth and when we need to think about taking her for a visit to the dentist.  She said that provided she’s not eating junk food (which she’s not), we can wait until she’s 3 years old for a visit to the dentist.  Before then she won’t have the patience or even the ability to sit still in a dentist’s chair long enough to have her teeth cleaned or examined.  We do, however, need to start brushing her teeth.  The doctor said at this age we should do whatever she’ll tolerate–if she’ll tolerate the toothbrush with toothpaste we can do that and try to get in there and brush or we can just let her chew on the toothbrush and use a washcloth with our finger to scrub them a little when she’s taking a bath.

This morning, after we had breakfast I decided to give her the toothbrush and see how she would do.  She LOVED brushing her teeth!  I sat down on the floor next to her and showed her how to do it and she just had a grand old time!  She even cried when I took the toothbrush away from her since it was time to go to daycare! Here we were, having our toothbrush party this morning: 1.10.2014(3)

1.10.2014(4)(Side note: those overalls are really cute, aren’t they?!  But they were obviously designed by someone who does NOT have children since they are totally impractical.  They don’t have buttons or snaps at the crotch to allow for easy diaper changing.  You literally have to take the overalls all the way off in order to change the baby’s diaper.  And they’re made for size 18 months.  I’ve never even heard of a baby who’s potty-trained by 18 months.)

Language Development: Ken & I were both getting a little concerned about the fact that Julia still doesn’t call us Mama & Dada.  She frequently says “dadada” and “mamama” but she never directs those specific words at us.  So I asked the doctor about where she should be with language development at this age.  She said by this age she should have 2-3 words that we know she is saying.  (She definitely does–she says “nice,” “cat,” “ball,” “nose,” and a few others here and there.)  And she said that more important than having actual words, is that she babbles with “communicative intent” and changing her intonation.  She DEFINITELY does that.  A lot.  So I’m not worried!

Nutrition: The doctor said that as far as toddler nutrition is concerned, you have to look at their intake of food over the course of a week and make sure they are getting in enough protein, fruits and vegetables, Vitamin D, iron, etc. but that in one day if she eats nothing but yogurt that’s okay as long as she’s making up for it on the other days of the week by eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy.  She should be drinking 16-24 oz. of milk a day and we can also start giving her water more regularly to help with her occasional constipation.  Generally these days, on daycare days she gets 3 sippy cups (so about 15 oz.) of whole milk, and she nurses 3 times in addition to that, and on non daycare days she generally nurses 5 times and gets 2 (so 10 oz. total) cups of milk.

Motor Skills: The doctor saw that Julia was walking, trying to climb up onto chairs, could use two fingers to pick up small objects on the floor, helps with getting herself dressed by extending her arm when you hold her sleeve for her, etc. and she said that over the next 3 months we should start to see more and more independence.  We’ll start to see her successfully climbing up onto the couch and chairs, we’ll start to see her learn to rotate her wrist in such a way that she’ll be able to start using a fork and knife to feed herself, etc. The longer she walks and discovers how her body moves, the more graceful her movements will become, basically.

Sleep: At this age and especially with all the teething going on, it’s normal for her to be woken up in the middle of the night or even to wake up at horrible times (like 5:30 this morning) because her teeth are probably quite painful.  But the doctor was pleased to hear that the average night of sleep for Julia involves her sleeping through the night from about 7:30-6 and that she normally gets a 1-2 hour nap at home or at daycare.   1.10.2014

Overall the doctor was very pleased with how Julia is doing!  She also got 3 shots yesterday: the second part of her flu shot (for babies they divide it into two parts), PCV (pneumococcal), and her first MMR shot.  She screamed for about a minute after the shots but then she quickly calmed down and was back to normal by the time we left the doctor’s office!

It’s hard to believe that the next time we take her to the doctor for a well-visit, it will be for her 18-month checkup!  Where did my baby go?  1.10.2014(2)

 

The search for the perfect diaper bag…

Most people who have babies these days, create a registry and register for a diaper bag.  There are so many options out there.  But then you have your baby and you carry your diaper bag around for a few months and then you start to get diaper bag envy.  You see other new moms with their diaper bags and you become jealous because their diaper bag is better, shinier, has more glitter and pizzazz.  I don’t think I am alone in my quest for the perfect diaper bag…

Here are some of the problems…

1) You don’t want to look like a hot mess carrying around a bunch of different bags so you need a bag that can serve as a diaper bag and a purse and a makeup bag and a lunch bag sometimes.

2) The older your baby gets, the more stuff they need… when you have a newborn, all you really need are some diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a burp cloth or two, maybe a pacifier or two, a bib, some bottles (if you’re not breastfeeding) and a blanket or something to use as a nursing cover.  As they get older, you need to start carrying books, toys, blankets to lay them down on, things to distract them, baby food, spoons, sippy cups, etc. the list just seems to get longer and longer.

3)  It’s best if the diaper bag can clip onto the stroller in some way so you don’t have to carry it… those things can get heavy!

4) Mama wants a bag that’s girly enough that she looks cute carrying it around town but Daddy wants a bag that doesn’t  have big pink flowers all over it!

So in my time paying attention to diaper bags, here are some of my thoughts…

This is the diaper bag we had been using up until a couple of weeks ago:   skip hop diaper bag

It’s a good diaper bag for a little baby.  It has a folding changing pad that comes out, is made of a very durable material, is neutral so Dad can carry it around without it really looking like a diaper bag.  The  side pockets are really nice because they hold water bottles for Mom & Dad or they can hold baby bottles for baby.  There are a couple of inside pockets that are a good size for carrying things like chapstick, hand sanitizer, lotion, etc. and the outside pockets are good for things like pacifiers that you might need to get to in a hurry.  I really like the fact that the bag has special hooks that allow it to hook onto the stroller.  The problem with this bag is that it isn’t really big enough to carry much more than some diapers, wipes, a couple changes of clothes and a nursing cover.

So a few weeks ago, when I was getting ready for my trip to Baltimore with Julia, I switched us over to another diaper bag… this was one we received as a gift for one of my baby showers.  Ours is a different pattern, but this is the basic design of the bag we have.  It also comes with two separate pockets–one is designed to hold a baby bottle, and the other can be used as a wet bag–for dirty diapers, dirty clothes, etc.   Kalencom Diaper Bag

This is a nice diaper bag for a couple of reasons… the material is basically plastic, so it can be very easily wiped off if it gets dirty.  It has a bigger folding changing pad which is nice now that Julia is a little longer and rolls around a little more while we are changing her.  Some of the problems: it’s HUGE.  It’s a little too huge for just every day use.  It was great to use on the plane since I brought a LOT of stuff with us on the plane, but for just an average day out and about with the baby, it’s too big.  It’s too big to fit in the basket of our stroller and it’s too big to hang from the handles of the stroller, so I end up having to carry it around, which is a pain in the butt.

Those are the only two diaper bags we actually have… but here are some other diaper bags I have had my eye on for a while… and if money were no object, these are some of the bags I would consider getting to add into the rotation:

This is one of the diaper bags I have been coveting for a while:Petunia picklebottom diaper bag

And this is another one that I would get if money were no object: kate spade

But alas… we can’t all afford $300 diaper bags, so I’ll learn to live with the ones we have, at least until I win the lottery!

Mother’s Day

I promised a little more detail about our Mother’s Day… so here you go!

Our weekend started on Friday…

When I picked Julia up from daycare, they gave me this little arts and crafts project that they  made (with her help… sort of…).  On the back, it has her name and the year, 2013.photo

Ken had a really rough day in the ICU on Friday, so he made a special request for a “fancy” dinner.  I asked our friend Kathleen for a suggestion and she suggested making risotto.  So Friday night once Ken got home from work (after Julia was already asleep), I made risotto with asparagus and sweet peas for dinner and I made a chocolate mousse for dessert.  Both turned out to be delicious, and thank you to Kathleen for this recipe.

Saturday morning when we first woke up (Julia even let us sleep in until about 7:30!), Ken and I got some packing done while she played.  We put Ken’s beret on Julia and she was just being so funny and giggly and playful, so we snapped this adorable photo of her!image_2

After that, the three of us went to brunch at Cafe Atchafalaya.  I had been there once before, for lunch, with my friend Holly, but Ken had never been there.  It was really nice… we each had a mimosa, they had really good food and they had a live jazz band playing, too!   For the past week or so, now that Julia has gotten really good at sitting up, we have started putting her in high chairs at restaurants.  It’s really nice to be able to do that since it means she can sit in a high chair with a few toys to play with and we don’t have to hold her the whole time that we eat.  We can have our hands free to eat and she feels like a big girl because she feels like she’s sitting at the table with us.  Here she was in her highchair during brunch on Saturday.  The other nice thing about this is that it means we don’t have to bring her carseat in to restaurants with us anymore.  Instead we can just take her out of the carseat and bring her inside while leaving the carseat in the car.  Now that she weighs almost 16 lbs., it’s really hard to lug the carseat around with us so I’ve gotten into the habit of only taking the carseat out of the car when we get home at the end of the day.  If we’re going to be in and out of the car all day, I just take her out and leave the carseat in the car.  image_1

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After brunch, we had some errands to get done around town–we had to go drop off some books to donate to the public library and we had to use up some of our gift cards to stores in New Orleans.

Saturday evening, we went on a nice walk on Magazine Street, where the Magazine Street Merchants’ Association was having a “Champagne Stroll.”  Basically a bunch of the businesses stayed open late, from 5-9 PM, and had champagne they were giving out to customers.  The “green” businesses (i.e. the eco-friendly ones) had “green” champagne (i.e. champagne with some midori and honeydew melon in it).  While we were out, Ken bought me my Mother’s Day presents!  I got a pair of purple lacy Toms that I had been asking for for months, and he also got me one of the Chewbeads necklaces–it’s basically a necklace made out of this rubbery material that is safe for babies to chew on.  It also has a clasp that snaps off easily so that if Julia tugs on it really hard it won’t choke me or hurt.

A children’s author was at our favorite baby store signing books, so we also bought one of her books for our niece and nephew.  It’s called “Today is Monday in New  York.”

Toms: purple toms

Chewbeads: chewbeads

After Julia went to sleep Saturday night, I went next door to read our 3-year old neighbor, Eva, her bedtime stories!  After that, Ken and I had dinner together and then cleaned out my desk.

Sunday morning, our friends Liz and Moussa came over to buy my desk and desk chair (once we get to Baltimore we are going to buy me a little writing desk that won’t be quite so big and bulky).  I just need a little desk I can use to keep my computer, to write letters, and to store stationery and other “school supply” type things.  I don’t need a huge computer desk like the one I had before.

In the afternoon, Julia and I went on a nice walk around the Garden District with the Ergoimage_3

and then we came home and took a nice long nap together.

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For dinner we went to Dat Dog with our Mommy & Baby friends Stephanie & Lily, and then we went to Kathleen’s birthday party for some homemade cake and ice cream!

Overall it was a wonderful weekend, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first Mother’s Day!

A Lovely Family Weekend

Julia and I got back last night from a very lovely family weekend in Baltimore!  Traveling with her was much easier than I had anticipated, thanks in large part to the Ergo Baby Carrier.  I was able to wear her in the Ergo, which left my hands free to fold up the car seat and stroller, and gave me a place to put the diaper bag.  On the flight to Baltimore, the flight was only about 1/3 full so I was able to bring the carseat on the plane with us and Julia took a nice nap in the carseat.  On the flight back, the plane was completely full but there was a big group of 8th graders sitting near us and they kept Julia entertained for much of the flight.  She also took a nice long nap in my arms!

Here she was having tummy time at the airport in New Orleans before we boarded our plane!photo

Julia got some good bonding time with her Grandma and Grandpa, and she got to meet a bunch of new family members she hadn’t met before, including my Uncle Neil & Aunt Karen and cousins Rachel and David.  She already met Aunt Lynda (over New Years) but got to see her again, as well.  As you can see, we got some great photos of everyone hanging out with the Baby!  We had a couple of nice meals all together, and it was nice to have some time with just my parents. image_1

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We also got a chance to check out a baby store in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood called Soft & Cozy Baby.  One thing I’m looking forward to is being in a city that’s a little more politically liberal and that’s hopefully a bit more embracing of breastfeeding!  We did take this funny picture while we were eating lunch at Faidley’s: image_2

Faidley’s is a great (I don’t really want to call it a restaurant) food stand (?) at Lexington Market, where you can find the best crab cakes in Baltimore.  They are literally the size of softballs.  And for Ken (since he keeps kosher), he’s able to get their coddies, which are like crab cakes only they’re made out of Cod.  I hear they’re delicious!

I was a little nervous to see how Julia would sleep last night in her crib after sleeping in bed with me at the hotel for the previous three nights but she didn’t do too badly… I’m sure that within a couple of days she’ll be back into the swing of things with her sleeping schedule.  We’ve just got to be consistent.

Luckily this week Ken is on clinics, so hopefully we’ll have some time to spend together as a family this week before he goes and works in the ICU for a month.  It’s hard to believe that our time in New Orleans is coming to an end in just a few more weeks!  But before then there is much to be done and much fun to be had!

Whirlwind Weekend!

Monday morning, we meet again!  This was another whirlwind weekend and I know that we have yet another whirlwind of a weekend  coming up…

Julia spent Thursday and Friday at home with her Bubbie and Zaydie and they had a great time together!  They took her out on a long walk in the stroller on Thursday, they played with her at home, fed her bottles and solid foods, sang with her, read her stories, and just had a wonderful time!  Thursday, Julia got to try on the new headband that they got her  (it goes with an outfit that should fit her soon but for now it’s a tad too big).  We snapped this adorable photo of her with the headband, though: image_2

Thursday when I got home from work, I got to take Julia out on a walk with the Ergo, which I found to be extremely comfortable!  image

We were walking for about an hour and at one point Julia fell asleep probably for about 30 minutes or so.  I find the Ergo much more comfortable than the Baby Bjorn we have and it’s also more comfortable than the Baby K’Tan now that Julia’s much bigger than she was as a newborn.  It’s a lot cooler than the Baby K’Tan as well since she’s not pressed right up against my skin so there’s room for air to pass between us.   There is a “hood” that folds down into its own pocket that I could have put up over her head to protect her from sun or rain, and there’s also a pocket that I can access, which fits my keys and my phone.  I’m thinking that for taking it in an airport, it will be a perfect place to put my phone, our tickets and my ID.  image_1

I think the main difference between a carrier like the Ergo or the Boba and one like the Baby Bjorn, is that the “Ergonomic carriers” put the weight on your hips rather than on your shoulders.  It’s like the difference between a backpack for school and a camping backpack.  I’m planning to bring the Ergo with us on our trip next weekend so I’ll let you know it works for the airport after that!  I’m a little nervous about the trip, but if I was able to fly with her when she was 2 months old, it should be (theoretically) a little easier now that she’s 6 months old.  I’m just nervous about the amount of stuff I need to bring since I’ll have a big suitcase, the diaper bag (which will also serve as my purse), the stroller, the car seat, and the baby in the Ergo.  My plan is to check my suitcase and then to gate check the stroller and carseat.  If there are any empty seats on the plane, I’ll bring the carseat with me on the plane for Julia to sit in.  If there are not any empty seats, then I’ll just keep her on my lap the whole time, which will probably end up happening anyway!

Thursday night after Julia went to sleep, we ended up ordering pizza and spending the night at home all together.  Friday it was gross and rainy all day so Mona & Robert had to stay in with Julia for the whole day, but they still had a great time.  When I got home, she was happily playing in her “Exersaucer” and continued to do so for another hour or so after I got home!  She was blowing lots of raspberries, laughing a lot, and babbling away.  She was clearly having a lot of fun! image_3

We cooked Shabbat dinner together on Friday night, which consisted of Split Pea Soup (made by Mona), Shepherd’s Pie & Steamed Broccoli (made by me and Ken), and Apple Grapple (made by me).  We also had challah that Robert had picked up at Kosher Cajun earlier in the day, and some Kosher wine of course!  Before and after dinner we were glued to the TV watching as the Boston Marathon Bombing Fiasco unfolded.  Friday was the day that all of Boston was on lock-down, but luckily our family there was all safe and sound.  It was a very emotional week last week for all of our family up there but we are just so happy they are safe and unharmed.

Saturday morning we walked to the Farmer’s Market with Liz, and then spent the afternoon just sort of relaxing at home.  Ken and Robert packed some boxes at home while Mona and I drove to Whole Foods to pick up a birthday cake for Robert and then we went to drop it off at the restaurant where we were having dinner later that night.  Robert is turning 60 next weekend, so this is a very special birthday for him!  Saturday night we had a lovely dinner at Domenica, and then when we came home it was, sadly, time for Mona & Robert to say goodbye to Julia since they had to leave early on Sunday morning.  image_4

Sunday, Julia and I went to Evan & Jade’s baby shower (Ken was on call so he was unable to join us)!  Julia was being kind of fussy, but it was still a lot of fun.  I think she caught her second wind (despite not having had a nap all day) just as we got there, so I was able to enjoy myself for a couple of hours.  Here’s Jade with Julia (her belly acts as a perfect shelf to hold a baby… too bad the shelf disappears as soon as the baby is delivered, and some of the gifts that they received, that will be so cute in Baby Leigha’s nursery! image_5

 

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Since Julia got used to sleeping in our bed while Mona & Robert were here, last night was a rough night.  Getting Julia to sleep initially was a little hard, and getting her back to sleep in the middle of the night was also quite a challenge.  Having talked to people about Sleep Training and how babies are affected when their schedule gets thrown off, I understand that it should take a few days for her to get back into the swing of things when her schedule gets thrown off by something like a visit from grandparents (and therefore sleeping in our bed for a few days) or being sick or a vacation.  The key is to stick, as much as possible, to the routine, and to be as consistent as possible wherever you are.  So these next few nights before we leave, I’m trying to keep things normal.  While we’re away, we’ll try to stick to the schedule as much as we can, and then when we get back, it might take a few nights to get back into the swing of things, but once she remembers that we have a routine and a consistent schedule, she should (hopefully) go back to normal.  I’m hoping we can get her back into the pattern that she had for about a week of sleeping 11+ hours at night without waking up, or even the pattern that she fell into, which was working great, of sleeping 6-7 hours, waking up to eat and then going right back to sleep for another 3-4 hours.  Luckily, now that we’ve done it once, we know what to expect and it (hopefully) won’t be as hard the second, third or fourth time around as it was the first time.

Julia’s a Lucky Girl!

Julia is a very lucky girl… she gets to spend this weekend with one set of grandparents and next weekend with the other.  She is surrounded by love, and that’s a wonderful way to be!  Next weekend she also gets to meet Uncle Neil and Aunt Karen for the first time as well as my cousins, Rachel and David.

Here are some photos from earlier in the week (in the first one it looks like she’s picking bugs out of Ken’s hair, and the second one was taken right after we put Julia in her pajamas, and then Ken had read her a story (“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”) and was playing with her a little bit before bedtime: 4.17.2013.3

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And here are some photos of Julia getting to know her Bubbie and Zaydie (Ken’s parents) yesterday afternoon when they first got to town.  She smiled and laughed for them and it was a great introduction after not having seen them for 5 months.  They last saw her when she was a month old at her baby naming!   4.18.2013.3

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4.18.2013.2I should add that it was a complete coincidence that they were matching… Julia spit up on her dress in the car on the way home from daycare, so as soon as we got home I changed her clothes and put her in this cute pink and orange dress.  When they arrived I thought it was so funny that she matched them perfectly–Mona was wearing the same color pink and Robert was wearing the same color orange!  I couldn’t have planned it any better!

Seeing these photos makes me so happy that we decided to have a baby when we did… Ken’s parents and mine are all young enough that they will (G-d willing) be around for a long time and Julia will have plenty of time to get to know them and to create lots of wonderful memories with them.  I have wonderful memories with my own grandparents, but they passed away when I was seven years old, so I didn’t have them around for very long.  Julia is a lucky girl that she has two sets of grandparents, all of whom adore her and shower her with love every time they see her!

Ok… done being mushy.

On a completely separate note, we ordered a new Ergo Baby Carrier and it arrived yesterday… I’m so excited to wear it with Julia this weekend and then to use it for our trip next weekend!  In case you don’t know, this is what the Ergo looks like: ergo

I’ll try to give a complete review soon and to compare it to our other carriers.

That’s all for now 🙂

Swaddling: A lesson in trusting my instincts!

For the past few weeks, Julia has been resisting the swaddler and has been breaking out of it at night, thus getting her arms free.  The problem is that when her arms are free, then she startles in her sleep and that wakes her up and she hasn’t yet learned how to self-soothe to put herself back to sleep.  (I know that sleep training is designed to make them learn how to self-soothe and that eventually she will need to learn how to put herself back to sleep but right now she hasn’t figured it out… and I’ve watched her on the monitor when she starts to cry if she’s unswaddled–her arms and legs flail around so much that she can’t figure out how to get her thumb in her mouth, she can’t yet pick up the pacifier to put that in her mouth, and she just gets so worked up that there’s no way she’d be able to get back to sleep!)  When Julia was first born, the hospital (and some friends of ours) taught us the importance of swaddling and taught us how to swaddle using basic swaddling blankets.swaddler 2

The problem with swaddling blankets is that there’s no real way to attach them, and they’re very hard to get tight enough that the baby feels secure and cozy. They also become undone very easily.  So, at the beginning, we used Halo Sleep Sack Swaddlers from Pottery Barn Kids.  (A friend of ours gave us one for my Baby Shower and after we used it the first time and realized how amazing it was, we bought 2 more!)PB Swaddlers

These worked great at the beginning because she still wasn’t strong enough to break out of them.  They work kind of like a continual release sleeping pill–they helped her get to sleep and stay asleep!  I remember the first time we put her in one of the swaddlers, it was after her bath… she was all worked up and when we put her in the swaddler she immediately calmed down and was happy just lying on the changing table looking around at everybody.  (This was our first weekend home from the hospital–my mom was staying with us and Ken’s parents were in town to meet the baby.  We got some great pictures of her while she was calm and alert!)  swaddler 1

Eventually she started to grow out of the swaddlers–they do make them in sizes “Newborn” and “3 months” and the ones we had were size “Newborn.”  Now she is too long to fit into them anymore, so Ken ordered a couple in the next size up.  The material is slightly different on the new ones we bought, so it’s hard to get them as tight as the ones we had from Pottery Barn, but they worked pretty similarly. swaddler 4

The problem we’ve been having for the past few weeks, though, is that she breaks out of them–when she gets worked up and gets her arms out, then she can’t get back to sleep.  I know that eventually she needs to learn to put herself back to sleep on her own but my mommy instinct was telling me that she still needs to be swaddled.  So last night, we put her in the Miracle Blanket that a friend of ours let us borrow.  We had used it a few times before with success, but it’s kind of a pain in the butt to put on her.  It basically looks like a straight-jacket!miracle blanket

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Anyway… last night I put her in her Miracle Blanket and put her in her crib to sleep after nursing her… she slept 7 hours, woke up to eat and then slept 3 more hours (at which point we had to wake her up so I could feed her before leaving for work… who knows how long she would have slept if we didn’t wake her up!)

So the moral of the story is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!  I just feel like her startle reflex is still very strong and that she still doesn’t have good control over her arms and legs.  Swaddling helps her get to sleep and stay asleep.  So last night that’s what we did, and it worked!

Mardi Gras Parades!

This past weekend was lots of fun for us and for Julia!  Friday night we went out to see the parades on St. Charles right near where we live–at the corner of St. Andrew.  I put Julia in the Baby K’Tan and she slept right through most of the first parade.  She woke up toward the end of it and started to get fussy so I took her home to put her to sleep while Ken stayed out with his friend Tony. 

Ken had the day off on Saturday–our friend Liz came over with her friend, Erin, and we all went to Juan’s Flying Burrito for lunch.  family at juans

Then Julia put on her sunglasses and we all hung out and enjoyed the day-time parades, which were a lot of fun!  We found that it was easiest to keep Julia in the Baby K’Tan or the Baby Bjorn so that she can see what’s going on but so that whoever is wearing her also has his or her arms free to catch beads and to protect her from flying objects. 

sunglasses

mardi gras parades

in Bjorn with daddy

At one point she fell asleep and probably slept about 30 minutes in the stroller.  I think Mardi Gras parades offer a lot of stimulation for a 3-month old.  There are so many colors to look at, so much music to listen to, so many people to see… no wonder she got tired!asleep at mardi gras

Saturday night Ken and I went out again to watch parades, and Julia actually slept for most of the time!  At one point she did get hungry, but a very nice family let me use one of their chairs so I could sit down and nurse her.  After the parades were over, we walked with our friend Angie to Sucre to get some gelato, and then we went home to go to sleep.   

One of the best things about Mardi Gras is that the whole neighborhood comes out to watch the parades and people become more friendly than they are the rest of the year–people open up their homes to strangers to let them use the bathroom, they offer food and drink to their neighbors.  The same friendly family let us keep our diaper bag in their truck for the evening since we didn’t have a place to put it down somewhere safe.  My other favorite thing about Mardi Gras is that you see people out at the parades who are every age from 0-100 practically!  There were lots of babies out watching the parades, lots of little kids, all the parents, college-aged kids, middle-aged folks and even grandparents!  It really is entertainment for the whole family!

Sunday, Ken was on call so he wasn’t able to join us for parades but I took Julia in the stroller (part of the way) and in the Baby Bjorn (the rest of the way) almost all the way back to our old neighborhood, and watched part of the parade near Napoleon with Gabby.  Julia loved the parade so much and thought it was so exciting that she fell asleep watching the parade in the Baby Bjorn!  sleeping in Bjorn

Ken called at one point with a slight emergency (he wasn’t sure where his wallet was and asked me to go home and see if he had left it there) so Gabby and I walked back to our house and (thank goodness!) we found Ken’s wallet, then we grabbed some chairs and some beers and headed back out to watch the rest of the parades.  Liz also joined us for the second of the two parades that rolled yesterday.  Julia had her first Mardi Gras related injury–a strand of beads hit her in the face while we were watching.  I felt awful at first, but she was okay–she had a moment of shock, then she cried for a minute and then I nursed her and everything was alright.  She might have gotten a little scratch on her cheek from the beads but other than that she was okay.  It’s just one of those things that is bound to happen sometime.  Of course I do my best to protect her from beads that come flying our way, but something like that was going to happen eventually.

These photos of her smiling were taken after the beads incident, so clearly she wasn’t too bothered by the whole thing!mardi gras baby2

mardi gras baby

This year (unlike most years), we have a week-long break before the second weekend of Mardi Gras because the Superbowl is in New Orleans next weekend!  It’s nice to have a little break this year to recover and relax a little before going out for more parades.  Next week there are 7 days in a row of parades… we need our rest!