Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Ten Months!

Jill is ten months old today! She's in the double digits. :) Below is a family picture of us at a Cincinnati Hurricanes (hockey) game. Jeff's company rented a suite for their yearly work party. I think it is my favorite family picture we've had in a while.


Okay, back to Jill . . .

Hi guys! I'm ten months old now. Here is what I've been up to!

I am very good at going up stairs. Watch out! :)

And the boys really seem to like me. :)

I love to drive my car around the house.
















I'm pretty good at crawling and walking with Mom's help.


And here is my most recent trick!

After the video, of course, she took seven consecutive steps, but isn't that how life always goes?

(The last two are videos, so if you're reading this in an e-mail you'll have to go to my blog to watch the videos. If you're reading this in facebook notes, you can view the videos on my profile.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Experiment

So, sleep.

It's pretty important, right?

Yeah.

Well, as many of you know, pregnant women and new mothers don't get much of it.

So, Jill was a really good sleeper at the beginning. She would sleep for five straight hours frequently even right away. Every now and then, there would be nights around three months where I would get eight hours of sleep with no interruption. Then, things took a turn for worse.

She started staying up later and later, not falling asleep until after 10:00 pm and sometimes staying up even until 1:00 am. She would wake up around three times during the night and then wake up late. This was throwing my schedule off as well, because I couldn't go to bed before her, and then I would sleep in with her.

Things really came to a climax in January. You remember January. The month of fevers, diarrhea, four new teeth, an ear infection, etc. Well, she pretty much forgot how to sleep. She would wake up all the time. It was not unusual for her to wake up five times at night. I thought when she got healthy, this would go away, but it did not.

Then a friend from church lent me her "Sleep Bible": Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.

I read it and gained a lot of new information about the brain while sleeping, sleep cycles, sleep disorders, etc. One of the things that really struck me was how important sleep is to our health and intelligence. When you're sleep deprived, you are more likely to get sick and you have more trouble learning, because your brain can't focus like it should, etc.

I also learned obvious things that I really felt dumb about. Haha. On average, babies that wake up crying were not well rested. Babies that wake up happy, got a good night's sleep. I know, right? Haha. I also learned that what I thought were "tired signs" were actually "overtired signs." I used to see Jill rub her eyes and think, "Oh, she's getting tired." When, usually, that means the baby is overtired, and I missed the tired signs.

(Please note that not all babies are exactly the same, and these are generalities.)

So, armed with my new knowledge of sleep, I was able to create a nap schedule and bedtime schedule for Jill that she was doing very well with—except for in one area. She was still waking up at night. For example, one night last week: She went to bed around 8:00 and woke up at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 5:00, 6:30 and then for good around 8:00 am. (I usually try to start calming her down around 6:30 or 7:00, depending on when dinner ended up being.)

Obviously, waking up that many times is no good for her or me.

I didn't know what to do. She would wake up crying, but even if I held her she would still cry. So, it didn't seem like she was lonely or missing me, because if she were, she would have stopped crying when I held her. (Because for some babies, that is a reason they cry at night.) Her diapers weren't dirty, and she didn't have a fever. I would nurse her to see if she was hungry. Well, she would suck a bit and then pretty much fall asleep immediately. So, she wasn't hungry. She just didn't know how to fall asleep on her own.

We all wake up throughout the night. We roll over. We glance at the clock. We go to the bathroom. We say funny things that our spouse remembers in the morning while we do not.

It happens.

However, we usually fall right back asleep. Jill didn't know how.

So, my usual routine would be to stay awake with her until I could get her to go back to sleep. Like I said, she would usually suck for a few minutes and fall asleep. Occasionally though, that would not work and she wouldn't be able to sleep and she would just keep crying or trying to play. Both were equally bad, because I would be exhausted.

I had some low moments where I would cry along with her or be willing to do anything possible to get her to just GET SOME SLEEP.

That is when I knew I was hitting rock bottom. Month after month after month of not having consistent, uninterrupted sleep was beginning to weigh on me, and I gained a tiny window into understanding why some babies get abused.

Please know that I did not hit or do anything to Jill, but I started to see how it could be possible.

So, two nights ago, Jeff and I decided that I would nurse Jill like normal. If she fell asleep, great. I'd put her in her crib. If she didn't fall asleep eating, then I would still put her in her crib, walk away, and shut the door.

Honestly, and I feel like the world's worst parent for this, I don't know how long she cried the first night. At first I had a pillow over my head, trying to block out her cries, but that was really uncomfortable, so I switched positions and just lay there listening to her cry, thinking that time had never moved as slowly as it was during this ordeal and that I would never sleep. I told myself that it was just like the car seat or the diaper change. Sometimes, she cries the whole time she is in the car seat. Do I tell myself that I am a horrible parent for letting her cry and then take her out of her seat and let her roam the car while I'm driving? No. I let her cry and keep her in her car seat. Also with diaper changes, sometimes she cries the whole time I change her diaper, because she doesn't want to be on her back and she's trying to crawl around. Do I leave her in a dirty diaper, because I don't want her to cry? No. I say, "deal with it; you're getting a clean hiney." I told myself this was the same. Sometimes babies just have to cry. Crying isn't really that bad when she's not hungry, cold, hurt, or dirty.

So, after my rationalization and new comfortable position, I actually fell asleep. I have no idea how long she cried. I would like to think that I was able to drift off to sleep because she stopped crying, but I honestly don't know.

AND THE BEST PART: She did not wake up once. From that moment of crying asleep, she slept until the next morning. I actually got to wake up BEFORE HER and read a bit, talk to Jeff, have a bit of a morning. It was amazing.

So, I was geared up and ready to go for night number two.

(Here's a funny side note: I was talking to Jeff about how hard it was to let her cry, and he just kind of looked at me. "Well, honey, wasn't it hard for you, too?" "Honestly, Mimi, not really. I mean, I either don't wake up, or I hear her crying in there with you, so it's pretty much the same." Harumph. Men. Teehee. Also, these are not direct quotes, but approxomations, because my memory is not that good. Sadly.)

Night two. I didn't get her to bed as early as I had wanted, because Jeff and I had an appointment with the missionaries at 7:00, and then when we got home she was really wound up and not tired. I felt like it would be a little harsh to put her in her crib to cry when she wasn't actually tired, we waited. Around 9:15, she had calmed down again. Jeff sang her some songs. She was put in her pajamas with a clean diaper. I sang her some songs. I nursed her. I hoped against hope she would just fall asleep nursing, but she didn't. So, I cuddled her up in a blanker, kissed her, walked away, and shut the door. I sat on my bed: 9:50. Jeff went to sleep, but I read a book, because I wanted to know how long she cried. 10:04: No more crying. Less than fifteen minutes. That was it!!

A few hours later, she woke up again. She cried for ten minutes and then fell asleep.

A few hours later, she woke up again. She cried for FOUR minutes and then fell asleep.

She woke up an incredibly happy baby.

So, she cried for less than thirty minutes total. That is about the same that she would usually cry even when I would go in to get her, because she would wake up so many more times at night crying and then in the morning she would cry, too, because she was cranky after not sleeping well.

However, this time, for the same amount of her crying, she got better sleep and was really happy in the morning, and I was really happy, too.

It feels so good. I still woke up twice during the night, but I didn't have to leave my bed!! I didn't have to try to figure out why Jill wasn't asleep or battle my dark thoughts about ways to get her to sleep after nursing, singing, rocking, new diapers, and swaddling all failed.

Hallelujah!

I definitely know what to say thanks for in my prayers tonight.

All that said, there is another sleep book that I plan on reading. It's called The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. I have had a few friends and family members read it, and they really liked it. And honestly, to what mother does it not appeal to not have your baby have to cry at all? (Wow. Read that sentence again with its properly placed preposition and its double negative.) I actually already requested it from my library, and it had no other holds, so I should be getting it soon. I am excited to learn even more about sleep and babies. There's so much I don't know!

And, please know that I am not meaning to complain in this post. I would rather be awakened by Jill ten times every night than to not have her. (I know, I know. I went ahead and split the infinitive!) I am so grateful that Jill is my daughter. No amount of lost sleep would ever come close to making me wish I didn't have her here.

And, please also know that I while I did sink low some nights, I never fell into the possible depression that is common with pregnant women or new mothers. (Although, there is no shame if I had. I just didn't happen to.) I just started to understand that a baby who refuses to be comforted is really hard to handle. Mothers of colicky babies—you're amazing.

Oh yes, and if you have any advice as to what worked with your babies or your friends' babies or even what your mom did with you, please share! :) Or other books to recommend. I remember my friend Brittany P. had one, but I don't remember its name. I love hearing stories, and the more you know, the better decisions you can make.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Well, well, well

So, this is possibly the longest time I've gone without a post in recent time, but can you blame me for leaving the post about my exciting new house at the top? :) This post will just be a random combination of what's been going on. I don't have any real thoughts to share.

Okay . . . so first random thought: Jill dances now. So cute! When I sing or music plays, she sways back and forth and smiles really big. She loved watching the Disney Movie "Starstruck" with Grandma and I, because she kept getting to dance over and over again.

Her four top teeth that cut last month are really showing up now, so she keeps surprising people with her mouth "full" of teeth. :) She occasionally surprises her mom, too, in an unpleasant way with her new teeth while eating. Ouch.

We get to close on our house this Wednesday instead of March 3, so that's one week early. Jeff and I are pretty psyched!! We started buying things and trying to decide what colors to start decorating with. It's kind of overwhelming to think of decorating the whole house at once. Luckily, we are limited by budget, so we can't get too overwhelmed.

Jeff and I got to spend a long weekend in Indianapolis with my side of the family. Everyone made it in. We had two tasty family dinners, and another highlight was swimming at the hotel Mom and Dad stayed at. One wall was entirely windows and the snow was really coming down, so it was kind of surreal to watch the snow while wearing a swim suit. :) Jill was a bit hesitant with being in the pool but only cried a tiny bit at the beginning. That was Valentine's Day weekend, so in response to what Jeff and I did for V Day, we went to church—twice. Once to Danny's ward and then again to Pete's ward. :) How romantic!

I am loving watching the Olympics. It's just so inspiring. I mean, even the people who don't place are so incredibly talented. And those that do medal just achieved the goals they have been working toward for years. It's amazing. Some of the sports are kind of scary though. Like luge. And these really fast down hill skiing events. It is though, as always, really cool to see all the different countries being represented.

Let's see . . . what else is going on.

Oh yeah! Tonight I went to band practice for my ward. I can't even believe how talented they are! I haven't chosen a song to sing yet, and honestly I'm a bit intimidated at the idea of singing with a band, but they told me I could sing a song just for fun, so I chose "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha, and the keyboard came in, then the drums, then the two guitars, and they just followed me and picked right up my tempo and the notes, and everything, and I was just so amazed. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be able to do that. Also there was Sara H. who is singing a really fun song that I had never heard before. Hopefully I can pick up on the harmonies and sing some back up for her. I'm getting pretty excited about the ward talent extravaganza at the end of March.

Um . . . I had so many thoughts, and now I can't recall them. I guess that's all for now!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The House

Everything is falling into place. :) The inspection went well. The appraisal came in at $10,000 over the purchase price we got (which was below the listing price). (I have quite the haggling hubby.) The home warranty looks good. We've found our insurance company. The underwriters (or whomever) are almost done with putting the loan through. We just need to save a little bit more money, and it's ours! We are putting down a hefty down payment to be able to get a conventional loan (and avoid the mortgage insurance) rather than go with an FHA loan. (Thank you, Grandma Boling, for your help, and thank you Citywide Maintenance, for the paychecks that make up the rest! And I guess thank you to ourselves for having some money saved.)

I have been avoiding putting up pictures, because haha, I'm a horrible house photographer apparently. I took over 30 pictures, and these two responses pretty much sum them up.

Jeff: "So, you're not very good at taking pictures of empty houses."

Amy (my sister): "Well, you took some good pictures of . . . corners."

It's a sad fact, but yes, most of my pictures ended up being of corners. I don't know what my problem is. I should try again the next time we get into the house. Almost all of the pictures just show corners, so you really get no feel for the house or the rooms.

To satisfy the curiosity of the masses (and I know you're just dying of curiosity), here are a few pictures though.

Here is a picture of the front of the house. It is a tri-level, so it is basically a ranch with two of the bedrooms on top of the family room. As you might notice on the right, the garage has been converted into a third bedroom, the master, with a walk-in closet and full bathroom. So, it will be the coldest room in the house, but I'm a girl who sleeps with the fan on during the winter, so that will work for me. More quilts and more snuggling!
There is some siding in the front, and the sides and back are entirely brick, so it's almost all brick. The roof is brand new, which is fantastic. The previous owner (who flipped it) couldn't do any landscaping, because if you plant bushes right now, they'll die, but he did put down nice mulch, and now I can choose whatever plants I want and not have to feel guilty about removing any existing plants. There are lots of mature trees though, so that's great! I'm hoping my mom and one of my best friends (Emily) can help me out with selecting and planting. I need their brains. ;)

One of my favorite features is the front door. It is original to the house (and by that I mean the previous owner didn't put in a new one when he flipped it). I don't know if the door was actually there back in the 50s when the house was built. I love the front door! It doesn't have a peephole, but I guess I could peep through a window instead . . .
There is ceramic tile in front of all of the doors to the outside. (In this picture it's covered by a leftover carpet piece.) The tile continues in the kitchen and both bathrooms. The rest of the house is carpet, brand new carpet. There is hardwood under at least some of the carpet (in the living room for example), but I don't know if we will ever be able to go back to that, because the living room used to have a sunken floor in half of the room that the flipper took out, so I'm not sure what it will look like under the carpet. I do like the carpet though.

A terrible picture, but it shows some other things I like. I like the brick and the exposed beams. Sadly, both have been painted. I will have to do some research to discover if there is any way to remedy that. I would like to have the beams looking like wood again and the brick looking like brick again. Even painted though, they add a lot of character to the room.
We will have to put up new railing though. Jeff doesn't like the metal, and it is high enough that Jill could crawl under it and wide enough that her head could get stuck in between. (Not that I'm planning on leaving Jill alone long enough to do either, but babies are fast, and you never know.)

This is a picture of one of the bedrooms that is original in the house (the two upstairs ones are). They both have that cool lighting feature. Instead of ceiling lights, they have that like . . . ledge lights. I'm not sure what it's called! Either way, again, I think it adds character, and I like it. That way the room is illuminated, but if you're reading on your bed, the light is not blinding you in the eyes. You can't tell in this picture, but the house has no attic, so all of the ceilings are sloped up, giving it a cathedral/vaulted/tall feel. (And by all ceilings, I mean all but the family room that is under the two bedrooms. It's impossible for that room to have a cathedral ceiling, haha, unless you want bedrooms with sloped floors!!)

All three bedrooms have two windows each.

Here is a shot of the backyard. It is already fenced, and it is quite big, which I love. There is definitely room for Jill to play (Jeff to throw a football haha) and me to plant a garden. I didn't show a picture of it, but the living room and family room both have double glass doors to walk out to the backyard, and there is a patio area in front of the family room door. It is just a cement floor (with a drain) and a rock retaining wall around two sides of it (since it is lower than where the front room walk out is).
I don't know if you can tell, but behind the two trees there is a sort of little ditch with a little creek. Very little. Like only when it rains or snow melts. I do like having a place for the water to go other than my house!

The end of the backyard juts up to some uninhabited property next to the elementary school Jill will go to. Cool, eh?

The shed will be very nice to keep things ordinarily put in a garage (since we don't have one). We have tossed around putting a one-car car port on the side of the house or putting a two-car detached garage in the back, or just leaving it how it is. We'll see what happens.

I very much love our new home! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Would Die for That

I saw this video on a blog of one of my friend's. (If you're on facebook or e-mail, you'll have to actually go to my blog to watch the video.) The singer is Kellie Coffey, and the song is about infertility. It is amazing how completely naive I was about infertility until around when I turned 21. I grew up assuming that people got married and had babies. Period. Life story for everyone.

That is not the life story for everyone, and this song illustrates that.



Kellie Coffey—"I Would Die for That"

Jenny was my best friend.
Went away one summer.
Came back with a secret
She just couldn't keep.
A child inside her,
Was just too much for her
So she cried herself to sleep.

And she made a decision
Some find hard to accept.
Too young to know that one day
She might live to regret.

But I would die for that.
Just to have one chance
To hold in my hands
All that she had.
I would die for that.

I've been given so much,
A husband that I love.
So why do I feel incomplete?
With every test and checkup
We're told not to give up.
He wonders if it's him.
And I wonder if it's me.

All I want is a family,
Like everyone else I see.
And I won't understand it
If it's not meant to be.

Cause I would die for that.
Just to have one chance
To hold in my hands
All that they have.
I would die for that.

And I want to know what it's like
To bring a dream to life.
For that kind of love,
What I'd give up!
I would die for that.

Sometimes it's hard to conceive,
With all that I've got,
And all I've achieved,
What I want most
Before my time is gone,
Is to hear the words
"I love you, Mom."

I would die for that.
Just to have one chance
To hold in my hands
What so many have
I would die for that.

And I want to know what it's like
To bring a dream to life.
How I would love
What some give up.
I would die . . .
I would die for that.


This song brings up various thoughts and memories. The first being that abortion, in so many cases, is tragic. A waste of life. A death. I wish that more focus would be on educating young people as to how an abortion will really affect the rest of their lives.

My next thought is the phrase, "I gave up my baby for adoption." I cannot imagine how hard it must be to give your baby to another couple to raise. I am impressed by the strength and wisdom of those who are able to realize that they cannot offer their baby what another couple can. What an honorable decision. I have friends who are adopted, and I have friends who have adopted, and what a wonderful gift the birth parents gave to them.

Then my thoughts go to her phrase of "I would die for that." I am not Kellie Coffey, nor her friend, (nor the songwriter!) so I don't know what the exact meaning of the expression is, but it is now out there for anyone to interpret, so here I go. My first thought is that it is an expression meaning that she would do anything, give anything, go through anything to be able to have children. The next thought is the sobering fact that pregnancy and childbirth has killed many women. Many women have decided, "I would die for that." While modern advances in health care (at least in some parts of the world) have definitely decreased the number of deaths due to pregnancy and delivery, it still happens. It is a sacrifice.

I know of woman who found out she had cancer after she was pregnant, and she choose to not undergo any treatment, so that her baby could live. Her baby did live, and the mother did die. She said, "I would die for that." And she died for her child.

Would I die for Jill?

Yes. In a heartbeat.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Horrible Aunt

Other huge highlights of January were the birth of my sweet new niece Hanna Rose and the first birthday of another wonderful niece Emily Ruth Boling.

Yay for my awesome nieces!

(Some day I'll have a nephew . . . maybe. Haha.)

I'm a bad aunt! Sorry for not mentioning it in my previous post!!