Bittersweet

Last night, after 2 years, 9 months and 3 days, I nursed Julia for the last time.  I have so many emotions surrounding this important milestone but most of all I’m feeling lots of love… love for Julia, love from so many other moms who have supported me along the way (including my own and Ken’s), love from Ken, and love for our family.  In the beginning, breastfeeding was not easy and I remember thinking, “If I can just get through this next week of breastfeeding, I’ll be happy.” Well one week turned into two, turned into a month, then a year, then two years and then Julia and I were both enjoying nursing so much that we just kept going.

Some kids wean on their own, naturally… around 18 months or 2 years they’ll just decide they don’t need breastmilk anymore and they’ll stop asking for it. The last nursing session comes and goes without really realizing what’s happening. Well Julia is almost 3 and as far as I could tell, there was no slowing down, no end in sight and I’ve been feeling like it was time to give her a little push towards weaning.  We’ve been talking about trying to have another baby (sometime in the not-too-distant future) and I would like to have my body back for a little bit before I become pregnant again and start nursing another baby.  Some mothers feel totally comfortable nursing through a subsequent pregnancy and even enjoy tandem nursing (nursing an older toddler while also nursing a newborn), and while I give so many props to those moms, I did not feel that was something I wanted to do.

Over the past couple of months we cut out the morning nursing session (except for a few exceptions here and there), then we cut out the naptime nursing session (again, except for a few exceptions here and there) and we just continued with the bedtime nursing session.  Well for the past couple of weeks we warned Julia that there would be a day when she would have her last mommy milk.  As much as I loved our nursing/cuddle sessions, it’s time for her to take another step towards independence.  My mom has always told me that our job as parents is to help Julia become independent–to give her the tools and the decision-making capacity to make her own decisions about right and wrong, about safety, etc. and this is one small step towards becoming independent, towards becoming a big girl.  So for the last week we talked about how on Sunday, she was going to have her last mommy milk and that after Sunday there would be no more mommy milk. I think she understood it for the most part because this morning when I asked her about bedtime, I asked what we’re going to do… I said, “we can cuddle and read stories and sing songs, but there’s no more what, Julia?” And she responded, “no more mommy milk.”  We’ll see how she actually does with bedtime tonight.  I’m sure that if she asks for mommy milk I’ll cry my eyes out but I’ll remind her that it’s okay for us to both be sad together but that we can always snuggle, there’s just no more mommy milk. It’s very bittersweet… I’m sad that she’s not my baby anymore, that she’s growing up, that she won’t fall asleep nursing in my arms ever again, that we won’t have any more nursing/naps together, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want her to grow up, I want her to learn, develop, become independent, and learn to do all the things big kids can do on their own. With time, we’ll develop new routines–for bedtime and for naptime–and with time she’ll learn to appreciate our cuddle time, even when she can’t nurse, and hopefully she’ll still want to take naps with me!

Last night as we sat down to nurse for the last time, I asked Ken to take a picture of us.  I love this picture! 7.13.2015I think it shows all the emotions I was feeling at once… joy, love,  happiness and sadness… She was giggling, being silly as she often is before bedtime, and was playing little games with my hands.  Ken and Julia did their bedtime routine… “Goodnight, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning.  Sleep well, sleep tight.  Feel daddy’s scratchy beard? Hug, kiss, squeeze! And now it’s time for Mommy Milk! and night night!” and then she nursed.  She was so exhausted after a busy day at the Orioles game so she nursed on one side, asked for the other side and then fell asleep nursing.  I stayed in our chair, holding my sleeping baby for a few extra minutes as tears rolled down my cheeks and then I put her down in her crib and said, “Goodnight, I love you and I’ll see you in the morning!”

And now we move on to the next stage and the next big milestones… potty training and transitioning to a toddler bed and then a big girl bed!

Snow snow and more snow!

I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy dealing with snow.  Lots of snow.  I am so sick of snow.  Last week, on Wednesday, the whole state was preparing for anywhere from 6-15 inches of snow.  I didn’t want to get stuck at home with nothing to do for several days, so on my way home from work on Wednesday, I stopped at the Dollar Store to pick up some important supplies.  Some people stopped to get bread, milk and butter but I stopped to get crayons, glue and pompoms.  A friend of mine had suggested getting a “snow day bin” together to pull out on days when you’re stuck inside and need fun things to do with your toddler.  I was determined to have fun and to not get cabin fever.  Well it seemed to work!

Luckily, Ken was also off on Thursday because of the snow.  He did have to get a lot of studying done too, but he had time to play with us a bit, which was nice!  Julia is a big fan of the snow.  2.18.2014(26)She loved playing in the snow so much that she cried when we had to bring her back inside.  Surprisingly the cold didn’t even bother her.  She was actually happy to have her gloves come off and to touch the snow with her bare hands.  She especially liked eating the snow!  2.18.2014(25)

2.18.2014(24)Julia did have her first snow-related injury Thursday morning: she was so excited to be playing in the snow that she ran a little too fast and slipped on the slippery sidewalk.  She face-planted right on our sidewalk.  She paused for a moment (which made me panic) but she quickly got up and started running around again!  Her nose was all scraped and bleeding though, so I put some snow on it and she was completely unfazed.  After we were done playing in the snow, we came back inside to take off our boots and have lunch!2.18.2014(22)  Julia was clearly worn out from so much fun (either that or eating lunch is very hard work) cause she fell asleep in her high chair!  2.18.2014(20)She started yawning and then just conked out right there in her high chair!  I was able to bring her upstairs to change her diaper and then I put her in her crib and she was out like a light. 2.18.2014(21)At home her naps have been horrible… ranging from about 45 minutes to an hour and a half at the most.  I keep hearing about these babies Julia’s age who take 2-3 hour naps every day and I wonder  how that happens.  But then I remind myself that Julia sleeps very well at night (usually) and I’d rather have a baby who sleeps at night and doesn’t take good naps than the other way around so I won’t complain (too much).

After her nap, we worked on some of our art projects!!  We did some finger painting: 2.18.2014(18)

and we also made Valentine’s Day cards for all our family!  In addition to arts and crafts supplies, I also got some letter and number magnets that we played with on a cookie sheet (thanks, Pinterest!) 2.18.2014(19)

and we played with shaving cream in the bath (thanks for the suggestion, Holly!) 2.18.2014(17)

Friday, Ken had to go back to work but daycare was still closed because of all the snow–the main roads were mostly plowed and clear for cars to drive but most of the side roads were still covered in snow.  We hung out at home for a bit in the morning: 2.18.2014(16)

but then we didn’t want to let the snow stop us, so we got ready (in Julia’s Valentine’s Day dress–a hand-me-down from Marlee) to head out for the day!  2.18.2014(15)

2.18.2014(14)

 

We ran a few errands in the morning before going to get lunch with Miss Steffi.  Then we came home and took a nice nap in the afternoon.  2.18.2014(12)

I made this fun comparison photo showing Julia on Valentine’s Day last year (on the left) and this year (on the right).  2.18.2014(13)

It’s amazing what a difference a year can make!  She’s gone from a little baby to a toddler with a mind of her own in the past year.

Saturday and Sunday, Ken had mandatory study sessions he had to go to, so Julia and I were on our own to make mischief.  We got a lot done both days and of course we had a lot of fun while we were at it!  On Saturday morning, we took some silly selfie pictures (one of Julia’s favorite activities!)2.18.2014(10)

and then we got all bundled up in the Ergo to walk through the snow to the Hopkins bookstore.  Julia likes the Ergo because she can nurse while we’re walking.  It leaves my hands free to do what I need to do, which is nice, and she’ll (sometimes) even fall asleep while we’re walking around!  Here, you can’t even tell that she is nursing! 2.18.2014(8)At the bookstore on Saturday mornings, they have story time for kids.  Julia was the youngest kid there but it didn’t stop her from enjoying herself!  The theme this week was Maisy, from the Maisy book series.  They even had a life-size Maisy.  I wasn’t sure how Julia would react, given her reaction to the Oriole bird the other week… but she was actually much more comfortable with Maisy.  She waved and said hi, and even walked up to Maisy to tickle her feet!  2.18.2014(9)

Luckily the snow stopped falling right after story time was over so we headed home for lunch and a nap.  2.18.2014(6)

2.18.2014(7)Saturday night a babysitter from Julia’s classroom at daycare came over to babysit so that Ken and I could enjoy ourselves for a Valentine’s Day date night!  We went to dinner in Little Italy, got dessert at Vaccarro’s and then went out to see Dr. Corey’s band play a show in Dundalk. 2.18.2014(5)

By the end of the night we were exhausted and we knew that our human alarm clock would be waking us up around 6:30 the next morning so we went home and went to sleep but we did have a lovely night out!  (Our next date night will be next week for Ken’s 30th Birthday!)

Sunday morning I went to brunch with my Uncle Neil, Aunt Karen and cousins Rachel and David.  Neil & Karen decided at the last minute to make a quick visit to Baltimore.  (This is one thing I love about being on the East Coast… we are close enough to family that we can see them for a quick visit like that if we want to.  We’re close enough to Ken’s older brother and our niece and nephew that if we wanted to we could go visit them for a weekend by driving up Friday after work or Saturday morning and driving back Sunday night.)  We went to a great little bistro in Bolton Hill.  Neil & Karen are thinking of possibly moving to Baltimore which would be really nice cause it would mean seeing them more often.  It would be fun for Julia to grow up and really get to know them!2.18.2014(4)

2.18.2014(3)

 

The only problem with going to brunch in the late morning (as opposed to an early morning breakfast) is that it wears Julia out so much that she often falls asleep in the car on our way home from brunch.  She then gets this idea in her mind that if she’s had 5 minutes of sleep in the car, that’s enough of a nap for her and she will NOT go back to sleep when we get home.  I tried… I tried nursing her back to sleep, I tried putting her down in the crib and rubbing her back, I tried lying down with her in my bed but she would NOT go back to sleep.  So instead, I gave up and we went to Corey & Steffi’s Engagement Party.  We did have a good time but Julia would have been in a much happier place if she had had a nap.  Oh well…

After the party we came home to play a bit, had dinner and then Julia went to sleep.

Yesterday was Presidents Day and since daycare was closed it was yet another Mommy & Julia day!  It was Day #5 of our 5-day snowy weekend!  In the morning we went to breakfast with a new mommy friend and her son and then we went to a local song/play group that happens in the neighborhood next to ours.  Julia had fun singing, dancing and playing with lots of different musical instruments.  We came home to let the house-cleaners in, and then got some errands done in the afternoon.2.18.2014(2)

2.18.2014Julia was in a horrendous mood yesterday evening during dinner (and this morning during breakfast, for that matter!)… she does have a little cold which could be affecting her mood and I think she may have a few more teeth on their way.  She did not want to eat anything… she was throwing food on the floor, putting food in her hair, dropping food on the seat of her high chair.  It was not a pretty sight.  I even tried spoon-feeding her a pouch but she batted my hand out of the way and wanted nothing to do with that.

Everyone has a different opinion about how to deal with toddlers and picky eating/annoying eating behaviors and I don’t know which strategy to use… I know she won’t starve but I don’t feel comfortable sending her to bed without dinner since I fear she will wake up a few hours later hungry, and 11 PM is not time to eat dinner.  (This did happen last night… she went to sleep at 7:30 but was then up at 10:30 wanting to nurse.)  I try to offer her food options I know she likes, but at the same time I don’t want to be a “short order cook” and make her a separate meal from what we’re eating as a family.  It’s one thing to tell an older child, “you don’t have to eat but you just have to sit with the family during dinner time” but you can’t exactly tell a toddler to be patient and sit with the family.  The food throwing is really annoying and we’re figuring out ways to get that to stop… sometimes it helps to give her just one piece of food at a time but sometimes even then she’ll just throw it as us.  I’ve tried giving her 3 warnings that I will take her food away but I need to start taking her out of her high chair and ending the meal time if that happens.  Toddlers are frustrating little creatures but then they give you a big hug or a cute little smile and it just about makes up for it.

This morning our conversation went like this: I put some pieces of clementine and some cheerios on Julia’s high chair tray and she started throwing them, so I took them away and put them on the table, out of her reach.  I then gave her a sippy cup of milk.  She drank some of that and then threw it at me, so I put it on the table.  She looked at me longingly and said, “more.”  I offered her one piece of orange and said, “do you want some orange?”  “NO!”  I offered her one cheerio and asked, “do you want some cheerios?”  “NO!”  I then went to the kitchen to get a pouch and a spoon.  I showed her the spoon and asked her, “do you want some bananas and pumpkin?”  “NO!” Then she said it again: “more!” (I should add that “more” and “milk” sound a lot alike).  So I offered her the sippy cup again and she pushed my hand out of the way, yelling “NO!”  At that point I gave up, put on her jacket and we went to daycare.  I know she won’t starve since they feed her snacks and lunch at daycare but this behavior makes me wonder how more toddlers don’t get thrown away with the trash.

Thank you, Mommy, for not throwing me away!

 

Oh, what a wonderful weekend!

We just had the most wonderful weekend!  Friday night after work, we decided to go to One World for dinner as a family for a second week in a row.  We had a wonderful time because the restaurant is so accommodating and baby friendly.  Julia did amazingly well at dinner–she enjoyed a quesadilla with beans and cheese, had fun flirting with some friendly people at the table next to us, and was in a wonderful mood.  When we got home from dinner we put her to sleep and then we watched The Dictator… not quite as funny as Borat, but it still got quite a few chuckles (though I did fall asleep before we were done watching).

Saturday morning we went out for pancakes at our favorite pancake place down the street from our house, and then we got dressed in Orioles gear to head downtown for Orioles Fanfest.  This was our first time going to Fanfest and while it was fun, it was definitely a hard thing to do with a baby.  It was very crowded and there were not a lot of baby-friendly activities.  I imagine that it might be easier with an older child but with a baby Julia’s age, it was very hard to keep her happy.2.3.2014If/when we go next year, I think we should take two cars so that I can stay with Julia until she is ready to go home but Ken can stay to hear the players and coaches/managers talk about the season ahead of them and to get autographs.  We did get to hear a special forum for season ticket holders but I know that there were more Q&A sessions that would have been of interest to Ken.

There were a lot of lines for everything so it involved a lot of standing around and waiting–something babies are not very good at.  The two things we did get to do were go to the give-away area, where we got free Orioles glasses, and we went to take pictures with the Oriole bird.  Julia had met the Oriole bird once before, and had been somewhat indifferent toward him but this time Julia had a very strong and negative reaction to meeting the Bird.2.3.2014(8)  He was good with her though–pretended to hide because he was scared of her–and the crowd around us got a kick out of Julia’s reaction.  As we were leaving, she was willing to give him a high five, despite sobbing the whole time!   2.3.2014(9)

By the time we got our picture with the Bird, Julia was getting hungry for lunch and tired and ready for a nap so we went home to do both of those things.  When she got up from her nap, it was time for her and I to get ready for Miss Steffi’s Surprise Engagement Tea Party!  2.3.2014(10)

We got all fancy since this was Julia’s first time going to tea… she wore a very cute little smocked dress with matching pants (that my mom and I had picked out at a children’s clothing store in New Orleans) and I wore a black dress with my striped blazer from my first Stitch Fix box!  The tea party was at this very elegant tea room in Ellicott City.  It was NOT a good place to take a baby since they didn’t have high chairs or a bathroom big enough to change a diaper, but it would have been a lovely place to go without Julia!  The food was delicious, they had a wide variety of tea flavors to choose from and the service and atmosphere were lovely and relaxed.  It was exhausting for me to keep Julia occupied the whole time without having a place to have her sit safely and comfortably but we managed and had a good time anyway!  It was also nice to meet Miss Steffi’s mom and some of her best friends who I had not met before.  It was a lovely group of ladies! 2.3.2014(2)

2.3.2014(3)

2.3.2014(4)

2.3.2014(7)After tea it was time to head home for dinner and bedtime.  Ken & I ordered some Thai food to be delivered!  Yum yum!

Sunday morning we woke up and had some much-needed family cuddle time!2.3.2014(5)

After cuddle time, we got ready to go to brunch at the home of some new friends we met through the Facebook group, Mobtown Mommies!  (Sadly I don’t have any photographic evidence of our wonderful morning with them–must be because we were having too much fun chatting and playing to take pictures!)  Kim and I connected through Facebook after realizing that we had a lot in common and we chatted a bit through Facebook before deciding to plan a family get-together.  Ken & I got along very well with Kim and her husband, Zev, and they have an adorable 18-month old daughter, Amelia, with whom Julia had fun playing.  (To read more about Kim and her little family, check out her blog, Amelia Bubblepop.  Caution: It is very funny!  You may just start laughing  uncontrollably!)

One funny story to share (and you’ll have to imagine the photo that would go along with this story): when we were planning this playdate, Kim and I had joked that picking the girls’ outfits mattered more than picking our own outfits and that we felt like we were getting ready for a blind date.  The funny part is that Kim and I chose almost identical outfits for Julia and Amelia.  Julia was wearing long pant overalls over a pink onesie, and Amelia had on an overall skirt with a pink shirt.  It was too funny that we chose almost the same exact thing for them to wear!  We had a wonderful time getting to know their family and we definitely look forward to future play dates with them!

After brunch, we came home for Julia’s nap and for some downtime at home.  Julia had great fun playing with her tunnel from Uncle Adam, and Ken got several solid hours of studying in.2.3.2014(12)

2.3.2014(11)

Yesterday was also Superbowl Sunday, so after burning lots of energy at home we headed over to the home of some other new friends of ours who we also met through Mobtown Mommies.  I had met Lara and her daughter Jane before for several playdates but this was my first time meeting Lara’s husband, Jason.  He is a surgery resident so Lara and I had talked a lot about wanting to get our husbands together.  We’re glad we finally did since they got along really well!  I predict future family get-togethers for our two families, as well!  Here were Ken, Jason and Pete watching the Football game.2.3.2014(6)

Personally, I was not too interested in the game but I had a lot of fun chatting with Lara and Sarah, and then once Julia went to sleep I enjoyed a relaxing evening with our new friends.

Today is going by very very very very slowly but I am so excited to head home at the end of the day since my Stitch Fix box should be waiting for me when I get home!  I can’t wait to see what I got this month!  I am also looking forward to Friday this week since I will be taking a much-needed personal day.  I have already scheduled myself appointments to get my haircut and my eyebrows waxed.  I might throw in a mid-day nap in there as well.  I can’t wait!

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)

 

More Photos From Mendy!

Here are some more photos from our photo shoot with Mendy.  Enjoy! littlelady10

littlelady6

littlelady12

littlelady7

littlelady3

littlelady9

littlelady8

littlelady2

littlelady11

littlelady

littlelady4

littlelady5

 

Again, I just feel like Mendy really captured Julia’s amazing personality in these photos!  You see her rubbing the rug on the ground since she’s always been interested in feeling different textures, you see her curiosity about the world around her, her happy-go-lucky side and her very mad side!  (She was crying because we put her lying down on the floor when she wanted to be up and walking around–she was not happy that we stopped her in her tracks!)

Florida photo shoot with Mendy!

Mendy sent us some of the photos she took on our walk to the park last week and I wanted to share them because they are absolutely gorgeous!  I feel like they really show off Julia’s amazing personality.  Every day lately, we are amazed by how quickly she seems to be blossoming into a little girl.  She really isn’t a baby anymore and it’s amazing to see her transformation.  Now that she’s walking and has teeth she doesn’t even look like a baby anymore.  It’s incredible.

florida20

florida17

 

florida13

florida10

florida9

florida8

florida7

florida5

florida19

florida16

florida15

florida12

florida18

florida11

florida6

florida4

florida

florida3

florida2I hope we always remember some of the cute little things she does… like making fishy faces, or giving big slobbery open-mouth kisses to us, trying to make a popping sound by sticking her finger in her mouth and pulling her cheek, blowing on food, and trying to whistle.  She loves to say “hi” and has learned a few words now including hot, ball, and more.  She sometimes points to her nose when you ask her where it is, and she has started bringing us bags of toys that she wants us to open.  She’ll go over to the shelves to get the bag of blocks and bring it to one of us to open.  Then she loves to take the blocks out one by one and hand them to us.  Apparently her favorite activity at daycare is to take the books off of the shelves one by one, and she has a favorite octopus bath toy that she loves when she’s at daycare.  One of her favorite books these days seems to be “The Very Busy Spider,” and she loves listening to us make the animal sounds of each of the animals in the story.  Her favorite stuffed animal is the stuffed sheep puppet that Sheila gave her.  She also loves Boudreaux (our cat) and gets very excited to see him!  He’s not her biggest fan but he does a good job of tolerating her and I’ve never seen him act maliciously toward her.  She likes to chase him around and when she sees him she sometimes screeches, “Dat! dat! dat!” and it even sometimes sounds like she’s saying “kitty cat!”  Some of Julia’s favorite foods these days include asparagus, strawberries, veggie burgers, deli meat, and yogurt but with teething sometimes feeding her can be hit or miss.  At 15 months tomorrow, she has 5 teeth that have popped through the surface and there appears to be one more on its way.  She’s generally good about not doing something if we tell her to stop and sometimes she’ll even look at you and shake her head “no” when you tell her “no.”  She’ll usually give us high fives if we ask and she sometimes will tickle herself while saying “tickle tickle tickle!”  I think this is such a fun age as she is discovering and learning so much and she changes on a daily basis.

Of course, this age has its struggles (like last night when she was awake from about 12:30-2:30, just crying on and off and eventually she ended up in bed with us from about 2-6) but for the most part she is a very happy and easy-going baby!

Fully Transitioned

This week will be my last week pumping breast milk for Julia.  For the past few weeks she has been getting a combination of breast milk and whole milk in sippy cups but I have seen that she will take whole milk by itself without a problem.  I’m feeling somewhat bittersweet about completing this transition.  I’m sad that this stage of our breastfeeding relationship is over, but I also am feeling very liberated from the breast pump.  I am feeling relieved that I will no longer have the pressure on me to provide a certain number of ounces of milk each day.  After this week I am going to slowly use up the frozen breast milk that we have saved in the freezer and then Julia will drink only whole milk when she’s at daycare while I will continue to breastfeed her when we are together.  The plan is to continue breastfeeding when we are together either until she self-weans or until I decide that I have had enough.  Another reason this is bittersweet is that it means I may (in fact probably will) get my period back in the somewhat near future.  As it is, I have not had a period since January of 2012–it’s been almost 2 years since I have had  a period!

I have known for months now that I needed Julia to be fully transitioned by this past weekend, or if not fully transitioned, at least willing to drink whole milk by itself.  The reason this past weekend was a cutoff for me was because Saturday I spent the whole day in DC for the Mandatory Course on Professionalism required by the DC Bar.  11.4.2013While I was in DC, Ken stayed home with Julia for the whole day.  This was his first time spending a whole day by himself with Julia and, from what he said, it went very well!  They played at home all morning, which wore Julia out since she started falling asleep eating her snack in her high chair.  Ken then put her in her crib and she took a nap for 2 and-a-half hours!  In the afternoon, he gave her lunch and then they walked over to the Hopkins campus and watched the end of the Hopkins football game.  When I got home, she was in a very happy mood!  I’m just glad that the day went so well since it means that now I’ll be able to leave Julia with Ken much more easily.  Next step: Ken putting her to sleep at bedtime so I can go out before 7 PM!

Saturday night, once I put Julia to sleep, our friends Praem & Shannon came over to hang out for a bit.  While they were over, I baked 3.5 dozen pumpkin muffins for a party we were invited to on Sunday.  The pumpkin muffin recipe came from my friend, Kathleen!  They are delicious and are very similar in taste and texture to the pumpkin muffins from Panera.  Thanks, Kathleen!  11.4.2013(2)

Sunday morning, I took Julia out to go grocery shopping so that Ken could get some work done.  When we got home from the grocery store, Julia ate lunch (in her adorable new bumble bee hat!) and then we got ready to go!11.4.2013(3)

Like I mentioned, we were invited to a party on Sunday–it was a “Holiday Cookie Exchange” party hosted by our new friends Sam & Mark, who have a little boy, Lincoln.  The idea was that everyone brought 2-3 dozen of their favorite holiday treat and then everyone got a little plastic baggie to fill up with treats.  People also had printed out the recipe of their treat so that you could ultimately go home and recreate the delicious holiday treats!

They also invited people to stick around after the party to watch the Ravens game.  So of course we were wearing our Sunday best (i.e. football jerseys!)  Here’s Julia & Daddy in their Patriots football jerseys:11.4.2013(4)

And I snapped this (rather adorable) photo of Julia playing with a football at Sam & Mark’s house.  When we first got there, their son was napping so Julia had the living room full of toys all to herself for a while.  She loved this football, in particular!  11.4.2013(5)

Sadly, my New Orleans saints lost their game (as did the Ravens) but the Patriots won by a landslide so Ken was a happy boy at the end of the day!

By the time we got home, we were exhausted–Julia had some turkey and broccoli for dinner and then Ken & I watched “A Mighty Wind” before going to bed.  I was probably asleep by 9:30 last night, but then our happy little alarm clock woke us up at 5:22 this morning!

Fun Fall Festivities!

I forgot to mention our trip to a Farm last weekend!  I love fall activities–hayrides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple picking, etc. and really wanted to start a family tradition of going to do those activities together.  Last weekend we met up with some friends and their little boys at a farm outside of Baltimore.  We went to their petting farm, where Julia had a fantastic time seeing the goats (and grabbing at their faces!), the sheep, the cows, the bunnies, and the chickens.  We then did a hayride, and decided to skip the pumpkin patch since the pumpkins they had were not particularly impressive.  We did have a great time, though, and I definitely want to make this a yearly family tradition!

Here was Julia checking out the goats: 10.31.2013(8)

10.31.2013(9)(notice the look of pure joy on her face while she was watching the goats?!)

And here was Julia on Daddy’s shoulders in the petting farm area: 10.31.2013(6)

They had a little playground area that had a fairytale theme, so each play structure was from a different fairytale.  They had one of the little scenes of Cinderella getting the glass slipper put on her foot, so here’s Julia as Cinderella:10.31.2013(7)

And Mommy & Julia on the hayride:10.31.2013(10)

And finally, a picture of their pumpkin patch (with their not-so-impressive pumpkins): 10.31.2013(2)

 

Happy Halloween from our Little Skeleton!

Happy Halloween from our Little Skeleton!  Here she was last year and this year.  What a difference!10.31.2013

I showed this picture to Julia’s Daycare teacher and she said we should make this a yearly tradition.  I love that idea!  From now on, even if she dresses as something else for Halloween, we should at least get her a pair of skeleton pajamas that she can wear for a picture.  Such a cute idea!

BOO!