January 28, 2012

10 Months (and an allergist visit)

Anna is 10 months today. I really can't believe how old that sounds... so close to 12 months which means goodbye babyhood, hello toddlerhood. I am definitley not ready for that. Yet it's coming nonetheless!

The big happening this month was our first visit to the pediatric allergist. After Anna's pretty intense reactions when we gave her yogurt and peas, our pediatrician thought it would be good for us to see the allergist. We went in at 7:30 and didn't make it out until 10:30. They did a skin prick test on Anna's back, testing for 12 different types of food reactions. The process involves writing numbers on the back and sticking the numbers with separate pointy sticks. Anna handled the sticking very well. I was so proud of her! The child life specialist distracted her with bubbles and while she jumped at every prick, she didn't cry until the final one. The hard part was carrying her around for 30 minutes while the skin had time to react. She had a couple of large welts right away and they were bothering her so much but she wasn't allowed to touch them. Nurses and doctors would walk by and comment on how large her reactions were. My eyes welled up with tears but I tried to remain positive.

Here she is with a bitty tear after the testing was done. And here is her back:

As you can see, there were three major welts (apart from the top two controls). Any guesses?

Milk, eggs, and peanuts. Each one fit the largest measurement they had. Yay.

So there we have it. What did I do first? Come home and praise God. Because he is good. And he is way bigger than all of this. He loves Anna and this isn't his best for her. Allergies are often changing, so we are believing him for better things. But for now, she will be transitioned to soy milk and I will not be bringing anything with nuts into the house. Cross-contamination is too easy, she's known for picking crumbs up off the floor. We eat dairy in almost all of our meals, so I'm not sure how we are going to go about that once she's off of soy formula completely. I'm a little discouraged but trying not to get too down about it. I'm glad she didn't show any reaction to wheat, oat, or soy which are high on the list.

On a happier note, back to the other monthly stuff.

Anna wears mostly 6-9 month clothes right now, but still some 3-6 and one or two 9-12 items. She wears a size 3 diaper. I've noticed lately that she gets bored more easily (particularly with items she is familiar with) so I've been challenged to think of new opportunities for her to explore. Our place is completely baby proofed except our bedroom, so for the most part I let her toddle around wherever she wants to go. There are a couple of cords that I keep an eye on and give her some practice with "no touching" :)

We've been on lots of play dates lately thanks to some new friends and different opportunities to be around other babies her age. It's been cute to observe her unique personality in these settings. She's very slow and methodical and likes to sit back and observe what's going on. She usually does minimal crawling and simply watches the other babies.

She is still taking two naps but they have gotten shorter. Her morning nap is now only an hour long, sometimes 45 minutes, and her afternoon nap is 1-2 hours. She still goes down easily for the most part and it's a rare day that there is any fussing before nap time. All those days of gently teaching her how to fall asleep really paid off- she was a terrible sleeper in the beginning! Eek!

Anna is officially crawling this month! She went from army crawl to big-girl crawl. Sooo cute.

She's eating 3-4 bottles a day plus one in the early morning. She's cut back on her fluid intake the last month while adding more solids- she now eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We do a combination of pureed food and finger food as she likes them both ways. She drinks water with all her meals from a straw sippy cup, though I haven't been able to convince her that water is a good thing!

This is more or less what her days looks like:

7:30 Wake up and bottle (then she plays around the house)
8:30 Breakfast
9:30 or 10 Nap
11:00 Bottle (this is typically when we go out on an errand or playdate)
12:30 Lunch
2:00 Nap
3:00 Bottle (usually we go for a walk or play outside if it's warm enough)
5:30 Dinner
6:30 Bottle
7:00 Bedtime (waking up between 4-7 to fill her tiny tummy once again :).

Anna caught her first illness apart from two mild colds: Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. What a nasty little illness. It was sad to see her skin covered in blistery sores, but she remained rather calm and pleasant considering. The hardest part was when she wanted to suck her two fingers which is her usual self-soothing mechanism. Those bitty fingers were covered in sores and it was really rough on her not having them as an aide.

She finally hit a "milestone" I wasn't sure she would ever get the hang of! She can officially do this:
Daddy made a fun little tunnel out of a cardboard box and she's had a grand time going back and forth a million times, thinking she's hot stuff.

She's pulling up, standing, and climbing very comfortably now.

She loves playing outside!

Bed times with Daddy.

January 25, 2012

Mary had a Little Lamb

We received this sentimental hand-me-down from a dear family member, and it piqued my interest.

Mostly I wondered what made these Mother Goose rhymes "Christian." What I found made me smile and laugh heartily. This old-fashioned book had taken traditional nursery rhymes and added to them themes about Jesus, salvation, life, and the basic fundamentals of serving, forgiving, loving, and kindness.

I enjoyed reading through them- creative and amusing. Check out these two takes on "Mary had a little lamb" and "Jack and Jill."

And this one is pretty funny:

Maybe I should take a shot at creating my own themed nursery rhyme? :)

I really liked the old-timey pictures and thought they would go perfect in the nursery, so I decided to take a few rhymes and frame them up. First I scanned them and then resized easily by opening the picture in my viewfinder and "printing" it while choosing "4x6" size. I love how it turned out!

January 18, 2012

Finishing Projects

During the holidays Ben had off almost a month from his rotations and it was a lovely break, but it's also been good to get back in some sort of routine. After a month of having valuable family-time but accomplishing very little, I've finally gotten around to completing a few things.

As I've said before, I am not a photographer and still haven't figured out the art of taking-good-pictures-when-you-live-with-the-curse-of-fluorescent-lighting.

1. Blacking out the curtains in the nursery: finished.
You can see light in this picture because they are open, but upon closure all light is blocked out- sweet!

2. Rearranging the nursery by moving the crib away from the window to make it safer now that Anna is climbing: finished.

3. Framing wedding pictures: finished.

Our wonderful wedding photographer contacted me months ago to inform us that we had a $500 credit left from our wedding-that-was-over-three-years-ago because I hadn't ordered an album. Instead I'd chosen to design my own via Blurb because I'm a control freak, and it cost like 1/100 the price (great decision by the way). The only thing left to use the credit for was prints. Since we didn't have any wedding pictures framed, I ordered a few. Most of them I just tucked away for who knows what (anyone want a wedding picture? :) but I did put up a few with some frames I already had.

(This one is 16x20 but I wish I had gotten it larger. I love this picture because it shows the whole wedding scene and the beauty of the wooden chapel set in the middle of a garden with swaying trees. *Sigh*)

(I liked the idea of using a picture from our wedding locale as an art print. Every time I see it in the bathroom I remember our wedding). 

4. Creating and framing a verse from my favorite motherhood poem, and hanging in the nursery: finished.

5. After finally scrounging enough bread ties, labeling my electrical strip so I don't have to spend eons under the desk pulling on cords to figure out what's what: finished.

6. Getting back into a cleaning schedule: finished.

I pretty much shunned all cleaning in the name of family time and I still feel good about that decision. I used to hate to clean, but I realized that I actually missed my cleaning schedule. I started to somewhat enjoy cleaning once I made a schedule of one thing to do each day, rotating easily by the week of the month depending on how often it tended to get dirty. Instead of noticing the dust on the TV and thinking, "Ugh what a gross place I live in, when am I ever going to fix that?" I would think, "It's getting dusty in here. Good thing I'm going to be dusting on Thursday" and wouldn't be bothered by it. In a strange way, having a plan lifts the burden to clean all the time. And since we have a 950 square foot place, I rarely spend more than 30 minutes on any one thing.

(No I don't clean the bathroom every week. Don't judge).

Well, I am feeling accomplished!

January 16, 2012

Anna + Anna

This weekend was a really special one. Background: we are part of a facebook group for parents of kids with fibular hemimelia, and we have met so many amazing people and their kids through it. It has been a big source of support for us thus far. Who would have known there are so many cool kids running around with FH?

I have stayed in touch via email and phone with a few parents (Hi Katie and Tara) but haven't been able to meet anyone in person because of distance. We did see that there were a few couples who live in our geographic area, however- Sara and Jay have a little girl who is also named Anna, and she is the same age!

Let's count the similaries- Name: Anna. Age: 9.5 months. Place of residence: within 1.5 hours. Birth Order: First and only child. Other: Has Fibular Hemimelia in one leg, sees the same doctor at Shr*ners hospital, and will be receiving the same surgery within 3 weeks of each other. Additional similarites: Parents think Jesus is pretty cool, both babies have an tendency to leave rogue socks in their trail, both enjoy Hide N Squeak eggs, both are adorably cute...

What is the statistical probability of all these commonalities? We anticipate along the lines of 1 in a billion :)

We finally had the privilege of meeting this special couple this weekend! They came to our place and we hung out for the morning and let the Annas size each other up. I would say they were well-matched, and their personalitites were amenable to baby play-dating.

We talked about everything from being a first time parent, to finding out for the first time, to people's common reactions, to dealing with socks that refuse to stay put, to the uncertainties of surgery.

"ANNA look at the camera!"

January 8, 2012

Baby proofing

This is what we've had on our hands lately:

Yes, we have ourselves a climber. We have spent the last week babyproofing the place (ok Ben has spent the last week babyproofing the place). It's taken quite a long time, even without things like fireplaces and stairs. While I am proud to say we lasted 9 months living off of savings alone including replacing a car (yay!), we have now entered the dreaded no-savings zone and will be living off of Ben's student loan until he graduates. Scary, I know. Especially considering I've spent my whole life committed to being debt-free, (including putting myself all the way through graduate school without any debt). But we weighed the costs and benefits greatly and know it's worth the temporary sacrifice of material, temporal things for something eternal- me being able to stay at home and raise our daughter (side note: we're praying for a rural medicine loan repayment site to alleviate the future burden). All that to say, we didn't go with anything fancy for this babyproofing stuff!

This is what it has consisted of (ignore the terrible pictures; poor lighting!):

Bookcases and dressers anchored to walls.

TV secured.

Sharp edges covered.

Toilet lid locked.

Cabinet and drawers locked.

Outlets protected.

Anything I'm forgetting?

Hangin out in her tights... 

January 3, 2012

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

I've read a lot of yearly book reviews lately so thought I would jump on board. Here's some of the highlights of what I've read this year- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Denver Moore and Ron Hall. One of the best books I read this year. A true story about a woman who reached out and changed the life of a homeless man. Inspirational. I couldn't put it down and still think about it. Pushes the envelope of racism and stereotyping within the church, and shows the life changing power of the love of Jesus.

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin. Great novel- very touching! At first it was diffiult to get through some of the medical descriptions because I'm not into science whatsoever, but once the story got going I couldn't put it down. Wonderful!

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I really wanted to like this book. I expected to. It it very popular right now. I waited for it for two months from the library. Lo and behold, I did not like it! While I appreciated her general attitude of thankfulness, I had trouble getting past her shaky theology (usually that kind of stuff doesn't keep me from enjoying a book but it was hard to overlook in this one). I didn't like her style of writing and felt like it was a chore to finish a chapter. I never finished it. Oh well!

The Baby Book/Christian Parenting by Dr. William and Martha Sears- I'm not too big on following parenting methods- I really believe that each child is unique and has unique needs that don't fit a one-size-fits-all method. But I did want to read a parenting book or two anyway. I was pretty wary of some of the stuff out there but Dr. Sears stood out to me- his reputation in his medical career, family life, and church had an excellent history. I'm not an "attachment parenter" or anyting, and I don't believe his advice is the end-all-be-all, but some of it works for us. I like how he emphasizes finding your own parenting style based on each child and being flexible. For example, he is for co-sleeping only if it works for you and your family (and it is certainly is not for us). Most importantly he emphasizes learning and responding to your baby's cues and needs, not a set of rules to be followed like "do A and C and your child will be sleeping through the night by week X." His medical advice has also been very helpful.

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan- our small group read this book together and I loved it. Such a good read for people contemplating a touchy subject, and very convicting. The first few chapters were a little heavy on the theology, but the rest 2/3 of the book were outstanding. I applaud Francis Chan for not going along with what's popular but saying what is sometimes hard to say.

Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson- Decided to read this after Sarah's review and recommendation. Really enjoyed it. It's not a light read, that's for sure, but it's full of great information on raising girls with values in today's culture.