March 31, 2011

embrace the camera

So... we are definitely to the stage where you need to watch exactly what you say around Ryann.  For the longest time she has held on to the front of my shirt, or stuck her hand part way down the front of my shirt, as some sort of comfort thing.  She used to get frustrated when I was wearing a regular t-shirt because she had a harder time getting a hold of it when she was snuggling with me or having a bottle.  It is kind of cute, but her little hands are always cold. 

One day a few weeks ago she stuck her hand pretty far down my shirt, and I said something like "Oh I don't want your cold little hand on my boob!"  And then she grabbed on to my shirt, pulled it out, looked down, looked up and me and said "buhb?"  Wonderful.  Great.  My child is trying to say boob.  Way to go me.  Now randomly throughout the day she will pull at my shirt and say "buhb."  Excellent Ryann, you're learning :o).

I toyed with not posting this picture because you can see my bra, but it is too funny and something I want to remember.  So this was the other day while we were taking her twelve month pictures.


Oh my silly little girl.  I love you so much.


Go embrace the camera.  You'll like it, I promise.

March 30, 2011

twelve months

Oh my gawd.  My baby is twelve months old.  One whole year.  Seriously?  Seriously?  Really, I knew it was coming, but I still can't believe it.


We had our one year well check today.  Ryann is weighing in at 20 pounds 14 ounces, and is standing 29 inches tall (obviously when we measure at home we aren't completely accurate).  She has dropped from around the 60th percentile in both, to the 48th, but she is still growing so nobody is concerned.  Especially considering she started out in the 9th percentile when she was born.  I put away all of her 6-12 month pants, even though a lot of the 12-18 months ones look a little silly on her.  The other ones were definitely turning in to high waters.  Only a handful of the 12-18 month tops fit her, and the dresses are all pretty much too big.  But her 6-12 month dresses definitely can't be classified as dresses anymore, they are long tops or tunics :o).  She is still in a size four diaper, and is wearing a size 4 shoe most of the time.


She is still hanging on to the two nap a day schedule.  Sometimes it is a bit rough, and she will skip the afternoon nap, but she really needs a little rest both in the morning and afternoon.  Her latest trick is to poop to try and get out of taking a nap.  Seriously, I swear she knows what she is doing.  This past week she has been going to bed around 8 and waking up at 5:37am on the dot.  Apparently I spoke to soon about her regularly sleeping past 6:30.  Come on girlie!  Cut your mommy some slack!  She goes down for her first nap around 9:15, and her second about 2:30.  Both of them are usually between an hour and just under two hours.  I wanted to mention that she hasn't woken up and called for us in the middle of the night since day three of sleep training (except for one night this past week when she was sick AND her teeth were driving her nuts).  Hello two and a half months of consecutive hours of sleep!

she was not feeling this photo shoot, AT ALL

We apparently have two food groups that are acceptable in our house.  Carbs, and blueberries.  I'm pretty sure Ryann is going to turn in to a blueberry, she loves those things so much!  Sometimes she will eat a chicken sandwich, or some of a Gerber Graduates bowl meal, but we only get guaranteed approval for carbs and blueberries.  I'm looking for suggestions on hiding veggies in food.  I've heard a lot of people going on the green smoothie kick, but I'm not sure that is the route we want to take.  Anyone have any great recipes that have veggies hidden in them?


This has been quite the teething month.  Our total right now is seven, but these last two that have come in made Ryann miserable.  Ry has always been a happy, crazy little girl around us, and it has been really hard to see her so cranky.  It can be frustrating for us, because she melts down quickly, but at the same time you know how uncomfortable she must be.  After the sixth tooth popped through, we had about a two day window where Ry seemed back to her old self, before the next tooth started giving her trouble.  Don't get me wrong, she is still fun to love on and be around, but I can tell a little bit of my girl is missing right now.


Right now Ryann is getting a bottle when she wakes in the morning, after her first nap, and before bed.  We traded the afternoon bottle for a sippy cup of milk and a snack (usually a nutrigrain bar or some applesauce).  We are also offering the sippy cup with milk at breakfast and dinner, for lunch she gets a sippy with water.  So far she will only takes a few sips of anything in the cup, but I'm hoping that when we drop another bottle she might become a bit more interested.  We recently started mixing some whole milk in her bottles, so she is getting half formula half milk.  However the pedi said if she doesn't start actually drinking a little more from the sippy, we might need to go the toddler formula route once we take her off bottles completely.  Oh, and if you ask Ryann what she wants for breakfast, I'm guessing she will say aw-fle (waffle).  She almost always does :o).

she got a leftover cupcake from her party on her actual birthday

Chris and Ryann's favorite thing to do lately, is sit on the bench on our porch.  Please warm weather, hurry up and get here because my child LOVES to be outside.  This morning she was cruising around the living room, went by the front door and tried to pick the blanket they had been taking outside with them.  She then started babble yelling something at me.  I took it as a "mom, outside, now, let's go!"  Hands down the quickest way to get her to calm down or be happy.  (Tied closely of course, with offering her goldfish.  Either will usually do the trick.)

she may not look at you, but goldfish will keep her in one place!

In the past few days Ryann is really started showing a preference for walking.  She will grab your hand and lead you all over the house.  Today she walked probably a good six feet from where she was standing over to me.  It all happened pretty quick.  I felt like she would never want to walk because she was such a good speedy little crawler, and she was always doing the diving walk (step step dive and hope someone catches me!).  But I'm thinking I will have a real walker here pretty soon.  Honestly I think she could do pretty well already, but she is too scared.  If you act like you're holding her hand she will pretty much walk.


Her favorite books this month have been How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight (she is so freaking cute when we read this one), The Tickle Monster, Dr. Seuss's ABC, The Very Hungry Catepillar, and Babies.  Unfortunately in the last week or so, she is having hard time sitting still for books and actually letting us read.  She still gets books out of her basket or off her shelf to bring to us, but she will only let us get about three or four pages in before she is trying to jump up and go get a different one or do something else.


A little over a week ago we went to visit my old assistant, Kenzie, and the preschool I used to work at.  Ryann giggled half the time we were there.  I'm pretty sure she would absolutely love going to preschool, or something of that sort.  After she got over the separation anxiety of course.  I'm sure it will get a little bit better as the weather gets warmer and we can do more things outside, but she cries and whines when I carry her in to our family room to play with her toys.  She is bored.  That of course makes me feel terrible.  So I think towards the end of the summer I am going to enroll her somewhere for at least a half day, at least two days a week.  It would be great for her to socialize and get to experience some other things, and I'm sure I'd benefit from a little mommy time (or at least a little time to clean!).

I'm pretty sure this is the face she made when we brought out the cupcake.  :o)

Baby girl I'm so proud to be your mommy.  You are most definitely going to keep me on my toes, you have quite the personality.  Happy twelve months little miss, I love you to the moon and back.

March 29, 2011

the past year

I thought a look at the past year in photos would be fun.  The first is my last belly shot at 38 weeks, and the second is the morning I was induced at 38 weeks 2 days.

 The day the little miss was born...

And her monthly photos...


Yes we had to bribe her with goldfish today.  She absolutely did not want to be even remotely still.  Oh well.  It is so fun to look back at all of these.

As a side note, as fun as these are, I am definitely going to find a different solution for monthly photos whenever we have another baby.  I could never keep Ryann in the same spot at about seven months on, and she was always trying to pull the sticker off.  Sometime (hopefully in the near future) I'll round up some of my favorite ideas I've seen throughout the web.  If you have a great photo project from baby's first year that you would like to share, please do so in the comment section!

letter to ryann

Oh Miss Ryann.  It has been exactly one year since I saw your precious little face.  Has all that time really passed?

I won't lie.  This year has been incredibly difficult.  I lost a lot of sleep, a little bit of personal hygiene :o), and maybe a tiny bit of myself.  There are some things that happened that I wish would have gone a little differently.  But if the only way to get you was to do it all over again, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  You changed my life and my world forever.  Most definitely for the better. 

You amaze me daily.  The things you do, the things you try to say… when I watch your little mind work I am in awe.  Words honestly can not explain how much I love your little soul.  You are spunky, you are timid, you are eager, you are stubborn.  You are so many wonderful things.  I have a feeling you are going to keep me and your daddy on our toes!

Watching you grow, day by day, is such a gift.  To this day I still can't believe I helped create such an amazing little life.  I hope you always know how much I love you.

Happy birthday my sweet, sweet baby.

forever and always,
your mommy

How do I love you? It's impossible to say.
For if I had a million days and time enough for all the praise,
I couldn't tell you all the ways... I love you.
P. K. Hallinan

March 28, 2011

healthy food is lame

Ok that is totally not true.  But in my experience healthy food is more expensive, takes longer to prepare, and lets face it, doesn't give me that 'so full my stomach hurts but it's ok because that was so good' feeling.  Well that is probably a good thing, but whatever.

Chris did make us some pretty tasty fish for dinner twice this past week (yes my husband does most of the cooking, he ROCKS).  But seriously, I want some more carbs in my life.  They take up all of my freaking calories though.  Boo.

Eating better IS getting easier, but all of those people who say eventually you won't crave the salty snacks, the sweets, all that other stuff that isn't good for you... I think they're lying.  I so want pizza and pasta and a giant bag of chips all the time.

And right now?  Right now we have SO MUCH food left over from Ryann's birthday party.  My mom is Norwegian, we always make too much food.  When I say too much, I'm not kidding at all.  There are two dozen cupcakes, three dozen cookies, a bag of cocktail shrimp and a big bowl of pasta salad in my kitchen right now.  Do you know how much of my will power it is taking for me to not go eat three or four delicious chocolate crackle cookies right now?  So much.  Oy.  Don't worry, I'm working on ways to get all of this food out of my house.

But let's get to the not so debbie downer section of my post.  This morning I stepped on the scale.  7.8 pounds.  That is how much I've lost so far.  I actually lost an average of almost two pounds a week over the last four weeks.  Are you kidding me?  I can't honestly remember the last time I successfully lost any weight.  (That is a total lie.  It was between my freshman and sophomore year of college.  It felt great).  I am so happy about that.  I'm trying to bottle up that happiness and use it to encourage me to continue on this journey.  I kicked my first goal's butt!  Which makes me pretty confident that I can lose another 2.2 pounds by the 16th.  That should be no problem right?

Also, yesterday I completed week five day one of the C25K.  And I didn't die.  I might die tomorrow.  I have to do two eight minute runs.  But I'll keep my fingers crossed that I survive.  And don't even get me started on day three this week.  Seriously, I supposed to run 20 minutes in a row?  Are you people nuts?  I'll do my best though!

The toughest thing for me over the next four weeks, is going to be finding time to run.  Chris started back in clinic today, so I don't get my hour in the mornings.  I have to keep it up though.  I refuse to be a quitter.

I'm linking up to McFatty Mondays over at Heir to Blair.  Jump on over and join in the fun.  You know you want to.

March 27, 2011

birthday party? check.

I feel like this past week has been a never ending to-do list.  But we survived the birthday party.  Was it perfect?  Um, not so much.  But did our friends and family come out to celebrate Ryann's first year?  Absolutely.  That is what matters.

For starters, the wee one woke up sick this morning.  :o(  Runny nose, cough, sleepy but couldn't sleep, yep that is what my poor baby got for her birthday party.  Chris had to drive her around for about an hour for the party started, just so she could get a little nap in.

Oh, and she threw up on her party outfit, less than halfway through the party.  So she flaunted her birthday suit for the rest of the gig.  Luckily I got a really cute diaper cover.

Honestly?  I didn't pick up my camera once today.  That feels kind of strange.  Luckily I hired my good friend Annie to come over and take pictures of this special event.  I can't wait to see what she got.  Until then, here is a really poor excuse for a sneak peak.  I took some pictures on my iphone before climbing in to bed with my laptop :o).


By the way?  Ryann hated the feeling of frosting on her fingers.  Don't worry, I came to the rescue and spoon fed her a few bites of cake.  She definitely seemed to like it.  Oh, and she is really really close to walking.  She is taking four to five steps at a time now.  Crazy!

Whew.  That is all I have the energy for right now.  Goodnight!

March 24, 2011

embrace the camera

this is going to be quick.  i need to go to bed.

ry loves to hang out with her daddy.  lately the only guaranteed way to make her happy is to go sit out on our porch bench.


we decided ry was in need of some smooching action.



...was quickly followed by this.


apparently she was done with the smooches.

go embrace the camera.

March 23, 2011

a day in the life - annie

You know one of the things I love about this series?  I get to see pictures of so many adorable little babes.  Millie is no exception, she is a cutie!  I hope you enjoy a day in the life of Annie!!


Hey all! My name is Annie and I post random bits and pieces about my life and my little lady Amelia over at clementines and monkeys. My husband, Bradley, and I live in Chicago where we met over five years ago (on the el (train) because WHY NOT) and Amelia just turned one a few weeks ago. After Millie was born I decided not to go back to work full-time and instead have been working on various part-time grant-funded projects since then. Recently I have started to look at job postings again, just to see what's out there, so who knows! Here's a little peak into a day in our life.
7ish: I hear Millie stirring or crying or calling out for us. If Brad hasn't left for work yet, he likes to get her (and I like that I can stay in bed). They usually hang out for a few minutes before he brings her into bed with me. She's really been getting into sign language and requests her "milk." I nurse her and we hang out in bed until she gets antsy so we go out into the living room and I put some toys out for her.

7:30: I start to make my coffee (I'm officially addicted) and get her breakfast started--usually oatmeal and banana, fruit, or some of our green smoothie. She's still a bit finnicky with the eating thing and likes to keep me guessing. One day she LOVES blueberries and melon and the next day she's all "awhellsno." I try to have a couple of different options to suit her ever-changing taste buds. Millie's usually digging around in the tupperware drawer at my feet while I'm in the kitchen and/or dancing to whatever Pandora station I have on. The girl loves to dance.

8:00: She's in her high chair eating slash throwing food on the floor. She signs "more" again and again and I think she's just messing with me. Eventually, I ask if she's all done and she waves her little hands around and rips off her bib. Guess so!

8:30: She learned to walk a couple weeks ago so she is still mastering it and doing the "mummy walk." She walks all around chatting (or yelling) and she loves to get into my purse (and WALLET) or any other cupboard that has yet to be child-proofed. I usually let her explore since I know she can't really do too much damage or get hurt. She also loves to carry around a purse with a few toys inside and some socks. She likes socks. I mean, not to wear them but to carry them around (in her mouth) or chew on them. Naturally.

9:15ish: Since she's been waking up a little later since daylight savings time, her nap schedule has gotten a bit screwy. I'm not sure if it's because she's getting ready to drop a nap or what, but the naps are not always successful like they used to be. I bring her into her room and we play a bit before getting ready for her nap. I change her, close the curtains, put on her sleep music (basically white noise), and get her into her sleep sack. She starts waving
"night night." I nurse her and rock her and put her in her crib, but she's clearly not into it. I rub her back a little and tell her it's time for her nap. I leave the room and turn on the monitor and see she's already sitting up playing with her animals.

9:45: I check my email and some blogs and get changed into my workout clothes. I check the monitor and she's still playing (but quietly). I check again 10 minutes later and she's out. Success! I do my workout DVD since we have playgroup today and we won't be able to make it to the gym. (Most days we go to the gym around 11:30ish and she goes to the gym daycare while I workout. She LOVES it. It's such a relief since I really need to work out to stay sane (ish).)

11:00: I take a quick shower since I assume she'll be up any minute. I bring the monitor in with me and sure enough, she's up before I'm dressed. I hurry but luckily she settles in her crib and plays until I get her. When I get her out of bed she points to tell me to turn off the music and then points to the curtains, so I open them. Bossy much? JK. She just knows the drill! She plays around in her room for a while, pulling everything off the shelves. Good times.

11:30: I give her a snack of whole wheat graham crackers and grapes. We're starting to offer her milk and she usually only takes a few sips before she's over it. Shocker. I throw a load in the wash. It's always laundry day around these parts.
12:00: We head out to playgroup and it's a beautiful day. Spring is almost here! While playgroup is often a bit chaotic, I believe it's valuable for her to spend time with other kids her age and learn from them (and get to play with all of their cool noisemaker toys that she doesn't have at home). Plus, I can chat with other moms who are going through similar things. (She would usually be eating lunch around now so I brought some leftover oatmeal and banana from this morning and some avocado.)

1:30: We make a quick stop at the grocery store for some dinner supplies. She insists on wearing her headband, bracelet, and purse. I don't know how I got such a girly-girl but I love it.

2:00 We're back home and it's time for another nap attempt. This time it's the same deal. I nurse her for a while, lay her down, and she decides she would prefer to play. Fine by me, as long as she's quiet and will eventually go to sleep. I throw in a load of cloth diapers and fold another load that just got out of the dryer.

2:30 And she's out. I get my sewing machine out and get to work on a few projects. I'm making a baby blanket and some bunting for a friend's baby shower that I'm co-hosting this weekend. I'm kind of (slash totally) obsessed with crafting right now. I love being productive and ever since having a baby, I need to find that fulfillment wherever I can get it. Brad texts that he's coming home early--woohoo!

3:30: Millie's up and Brad gets home just in time to get her. We decide to go out for a walk and enjoy this rare mild March day. We stop off at one of our favorite corner pubs. Apparently we are the first people to sit out on their patio in 2011 so they make a big funny fuss and buy our first round. Can't complain about that! I of course have to share that one year ago (to the day) we brought our then two-week-old baby here as our first family outing. (Uh, thanks for sharing lady!)
5:00: Decide we should head home so Mills can eat more than pretzels for dinner. I suggest stopping by the park for a quick swing. Millie is not pleased so we head home after 2.2.

5:30: Back at home...she mows down on her appetizer of frozen veggies. We heat up some frozen purees (squash/potato/pea and homemade applesauce) that I made a while back. We've got to use them up, right?! I spice it up with some cinnamon and it's a hit. She also has some edamame, which has become a new (temporary) favorite. And water. The lady loves her water.

6:00: Brad and Millie play on the floor. She is obsessed with "DA." I do a little dinner prep, throw the diapers in the dryer, and then start getting her bath ready.
6:20: Bath time. There's a lot of splashing going on these days. And bath water drinking. Can't forget about all of the bath-water-drinking. Brad thinks it's gross but I don't mind so much. What I DO mind is when she poops in the tub. POOP. In the TUB. Now that's sick. I take tubs in there dude! Thankfully, this is only her second time doing it since birth. I would call those pretty good odds. Anyway, I pull her out of the tub immediately and Brad jumps in the shower with her. I scoop out the poop. (TMI?) We recover and move on.

6:40ish: We get her in her jammies (as quickly as humanly possible--she doesn't love diaper changes and dressing sessions these days) and play on the floor a bit and then read some stories. She then makes it very clear that she's ready for bed. I nurse her for a while until she practically wriggles out of my arms. OKAY THEN. I put her in her crib, rub her back, and say goodnight. I can hear her whimper a bit as I close the door but she quiets down quickly. Sometimes she cries for a minute or two, but settles herself before long.

7:00: Brad's been making dinner (he's the best) and it's almost ready. I turn the monitor on and Amelia is up and at it. She's walking around her crib. Awesome. She doesn't make a peep though, so whatever.

7:30: We eat dinner and decide to watch a show online. (We recently got rid of cable...SOB-WHINE-BOO except really it's fine. I guess.) We were out of town for almost a month, so we've got a lot of catching up to do. I also finish wrapping the fleur de sel caramels that I made as favors for the shower this weekend (Brad salts for me).

9:30: And we're ready for bed. Literally. I love going to bed early. It's lame but it's my life. I put my special sleep oils on and I'm out until Miss Mills wakes in the morning. (Sometimes I hear her cry out in the night. But it's literally one cry, so we don't go in unless she's really upset.)

SO there's that--our life! Exciting times. Hope you enjoyed it! And thanks for having me, Ashley!

1. What's the most surprising thing about being a mom?

For me, the most surprising thing about being a mom is how borderline obsessed I am with my child. I mean, it's understandable, but also ridiculous. In the beginning (and even sometimes now FINE), I would spend hours just talking about how cute and adorable and funny Millie was/is. When she was awake (and possibly being a fussface), I couldn't wait for her to go to sleep and to have some alone time. But as soon as 10 minutes went by I'd be like, I miss her. It's weird. It still blows my mind that I helped to create a human. A real live person. Who is seriously the most darling thing I've ever seen. I guess they have to make them cute to make up for the exceptionally frustrating times. BUT I can talk about other things. For real.

2. What are some tips you would give to new moms, or soon-to-be moms?
People always used to tell me to sleep when she sleeps, which I'm sure you've all heard before. Yeah, well, that didn't really work for me. I tried, but I can't just go to sleep on command. Instead, my mom suggested that I put my feet up. Literally, just put your feet up. I would still get things done while she napped, but I would also try to make some time to just put my feet up. It really works. Do it!

3. What are your top three baby products?
  • White noise: In the beginning we used the ever-popular sleep sheep. But then it seemed like Millie was waking ever 45 minutes which ODDLY ENOUGH coincides with this guys soothing cycle. So Bradley downloaded a natural rainfall track and we set up an iPod dock in her room. GENIUS. And now, wherever we travel, we bring her sleep music and she still sleeps great.
  • Carrier/sling: I got a little ahead of myself with the whole carrier thing while I was pregnant and bought or registered for a bunch and now we've got plenty. In the beginning I used the sling most (and she napped there) and now we use the Phil&Ted's carrier ALL THE TIME. Still. Yes, she's a lightweight, but I think we'd use it regardless. We bring it with us everywhere and I highly recommend. I found it to be easier on my back than the bjorn.
  • Swaddle/Sleep sack: At first we swaddled her for every nap and at night. Then she turned three months and decided to start rolling over. I almost had a breakdown when I learned we couldn't use the swaddle anymore. But then I was introduced to the sleep sack. And it saved my life. We still use it, although, I'm guessing she's getting kind of old for it. But it keeps her warm. And we have a lightweight one for the summer. I believe that it helps to signal "bedtime" for her. But who knows.

Thank you so much Annie, for sharing your day with us!