Friday, July 31, 2009

Lydia Tries to Feed Herself

Lydia Meets Her Teddy Bear

We received a very exciting package today from Great Grandma Gloria and Great Aunt Judy! Here is Lydia meeting the teddy bear given to her by Grandma Gloria. Thank you so much for the blanket, children's bible, and teddy bear! If the screen is cut off, go to

Thursday, July 30, 2009

He's Back... Almost!!

I haven't written much this week because Robin has been out of town. For a week. That's right, kids. He is working on a project in Galveston, and they held a charrette there, a charrette being an intense workshop that generates designs quickly. He left Friday evening and will be returning tonight. I didn't say anything about, because I wasn't so keen on advertising that Lydia and I were alone in the house on the internet, ya know?

I have to say, this week went better than I thought it would, much due to the help and company of several friends who were willing to come entertain me, meet me for lunch, and take care of Lydia while I had some things to take care of at work. Special props go out to Elizabeth, who came over and took care of Lydia while also taking care of her baby, Oliver. She said it wasn't hard; I'm not sure I believe her.

This whole week, I kept wondering how single parents manage. With Robin coming home this evening, I have pretty much used up all of my stamina. It was really hard figuring out how to get sleep, rest, and down time, while not letting the house fall to total pieces, take care of Stanley, and keep Lydia fed, clean, and on her sleep schedule. I can't imagine doing all of this while working, too. Single parents must be superpeople.

Other exciting things that happened this week: Lydia and I met our goal of reading 25 books before the end of July, so today we will head over to the library to drop off her reading log and pick up the board book she gets as a reward! I also began the written exercises to be certified to teach Building the Base, a professional development series for WestEd's Quality Teaching for English Learners, the professional development I have been participating in through Lanier for the past two years. This involves 3 written prompts, and I had one hour to complete each prompt. I typed 6 pages for the first and 4 1/2 for the second. I had to leave at that point because I needed to get home to Lydia (more for me than for Lydia; I underestimated the time it would take and didn't come equipped to pump--ahhhh, life as a breastfeeding mother.) I haven't had to think in that way that quickly since college, and I was pleased that I was able to get back on my game. I am hoping to complete the third prompt tomorrow when Robin is here to take care of Lydia. Finally, Lydia participated in the Lanier High School English Teacher's Book Club on Tuesday. She contributed to the conversation with several shrieks; she was upset we hadn't read Goodnight Moon instead of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Now, I am counting the hours until Robin returns. I can't wait to have him back!! I could be romantic and pretend that it's because I missed him so much, but I haven't had the time or energy to miss him for those reasons. Really, I am excited to have someone else to pass the baby to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Shortly after Lydia was born, our friend Jessica was visiting with her little boy, Aidan, when she discovered he had cut his first tooth. Until then, I hadn't realized that you can usually feel a baby's tooth before you can see it. In the past week or so, I've taken to occasionally feeling Lydia's gums to see if there is a tooth there. I haven't really expected one to show up for awhile, but it's always fun to check.

Today, I found something. I think. I am not sure. This is when first-time parenting makes me feel like an idiot. I am not even sure if what I found is the beginning of a tooth. It is on her gum where her top front left tooth will be, but it is not on the ridge of the gum like pictures show. (Yes, I googled for images of "cutting teeth.") But it feels differently than any other part of her gums. Lydia will be accompanying me to book club with my Lanier English colleagues this afternoon, so I am going to have one of the more seasoned parents check it out. I know all of these babies with adorable front teeth; what if Lydia's first tooth is a snaggle?!?!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 19

Lydia got a surprise package this week from Great-Grandma Gloria and Great Aunt Judy. They were very concerned that her lack of hair has caused people to guess that she is a boy, so they bought her some outfits that would insure people knowing that she is indeed a girl. While pink and ruffles are very cute, remember kids, bald is beautiful!! Thanks Grandma and Judy!

Sitting up, gorilla style, all on her own!

Getting to Know Lydia I

In post shortly after Lydia was born, Robin wrote that we would get to know her better than anyone else. Here are some things that we know about Lydia that you may not!

1.) Lydia sneezes in the sun. She gets this from the Hahn side. She usually sneezes twice and only when the sun shines right on her face.

2.) Lydia likes to be held upright, usually facing out.

3.) Lydia's best friend is Stanley. She loves watching him fetch the ball, and whenever he comes near her, she just stares. Yesterday, I was laying with her on the bed and Stanley was laying next to her. I thought Lydia was joyously chewing on her hand, but I looked and realized she was chewing on his tail. He didn't seem to mind.

4.) Lydia loves the TV. If it is on while she is in the room, she will crane her neck to get a peek. I asked her pediatrician at what point television would start rotting Lydia's brain, she said, "Now. Turn it off." She said it was "artificial stimulation." So much for sneaking a little BravoTV during the day! Thank goodness for DVR!

5.) Lydia has taken to shoving her fingers in her mouth while we feed her rice cereal. I put a spoonful in, and she follows it with her fingers. This has made it difficult to get her to actually eat the cereal. We found a solution when we realized if we leave the spoon in her mouth, she grabs the handle of the spoon and holds it instead. It makes her look like she is very carefully feeding herself!

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Readers are Leaders!

This week, I faced my library demons and walked Lydia to our local branch of the Austin Public Library. I thought I had a million dollars in late fees, but I had significantly overestimated my debts. While we were there, I discovered the Adult Summer Reading Program, as well as the Children's Summer Reading Program. The competitive, goal-setting part of me is loving this, and Lydia now has a leaf on the wall at the library (though I was disappointed to find she was not the youngest participant), and our goal is to read 25 books by the end of July. When we return our completed log, Lydia gets a free book. We can do it!

Austinites, head to your library and participate! Friends in other places, head to your local library to see what they have going on. Libraries are hurting, and they are valuable community resources. Documented participation in programs is always helpful in terms of maintaining funding. If you need book suggestions, check out the City of Austin's Good Reads list!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Foot in Mouth

I am exhausted. This weekend, I went over to tell our realtor (who I actually really like), who was holding an open house in the for-sale unit of the duplex that I was putting Lydia down for a nap, and she might cry. I explained that we're doing self-soothing/cry-it-out, and naps don't always go well. She responded, "Oh, is that why you look so tired?" I laughed and said that actually, Lydia is sleeping at night better than she ever has before, so no. I haven't been feeling super well, so that might be it. I keep forgetting that Lydia has decided her wake-up time is 6 AM and going to bed too late, so that might be it. It might be the stress of dwindling work in Robin's field, lower cash flow, not selling the duplex yet. I guess I just look tired. Thanks for the reminder!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


are Lydia's newest favorite thing. Most experts say not to let babies sleep with a blanket until they are at least one year old, but I give them to Lydia to play with when we are hanging out. She rubs them on her face, chews on them, and generally loves them. Yesterday I had some fun with the camera, and these are some of my favorite photos of Lydia to date. (I just might say that every time... )

Starting Her Early...

Markus gave Lydia this U of M cheerleader outfit when she was still hanging out in the womb, and it finally fits perfectly. The colors suit her, don't you think?

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 18

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Big Baby...

I have been relishing my newfound freetime while Lydia naps, so I apologize for not posting. I have some great photos coming, and I will try to post them soon. Today was not an awesome day, napwise, but other than that, she is doing really well. She has slept 10+ hrs. a night for one solid week, and usually gets in two good naps a day in her crib, which is better than ever before.

I think sleeping is a positive side-effect of having a big baby. I'm sure there are other side-effects, but mostly right now big baby = big expenses. Like clothes. And a big-girl carseat. And a plus-size bumbo chair, because her thighs are getting too big for the bumbo she is using now. (I have heard the Prince Lionheart chair is a little more forgiving, and Lydia still loves the bumbo.)

I have gotten over feeling strangely guilty when people are shocked at how big Lydia is or how much she weighs. (For awhile, there was this part of me that longed for the "She's so tiny!" comments that so many babies get.) It's now more a point of pride. Recently, I've noticed a different trend. A friend told me shortly after Lydia was born that people tend to have higher expectations of bigger babies in terms of meeting milestones, and it seems to be true. As far as motor skills, Lydia has been hitting them a bit earlier than the books say, but yesterday, two people asked me if she was crawling. Crawling!!! She is four months old!! I'm pretty excited that she is close to sitting up and can bear weight on her legs. Even in the What to Expect in the First Year "Your baby may even be able to..." section, crawling is not mentioned in month four, and it's only a slight possibility in month five. Seriously, people. The girl is four months old. Let's lay off the pressure!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Immunizations - We managed to keep ahead of it this time by giving her Tylenol on the way to the pediatrician's , and Lydia never even had a temperature. No throwing up or anything else, either.

Diapers - We are trying to stick with chlorine-free diapers, so we tried Earth's Best on the recommendation from Jenny, and they are working much better. It must just be a baby-to-baby thing, because we know lots of people that have been very happy with Seventh Generation.

Sleeping - Self-soothing is going very well! Lydia slept last night from 7:30-7:10 this morning. It took about ten minutes to fall asleep (Robin went in and patted and shhhhh-ed her once) and woke up for about 10 minutes in the middle of the night with the same drill. Napping is falling into place also, but a little more slowly.

Solids - Lydia is doing great with the rice cereal, and it is so cute to watch her open her mouth in anticipation of the spoon! We are going to go to AM and PM "meals" next week, and then introduce a vegetable the following week. We have American Academy of Pediatric's Guide to Your Child's Nutrition on the way to figure out what veggie to try, how much, etc.

Life is good!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sitting Up

Where is she trying to go?


For those that don't know, Dr. Richard Ferber authored a book called Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems that advocates allowing your baby learn to soothe itself to sleep, commonly known as the Cry-It-Out method. Just last week, I told a coworker that I was not ready for this, but then...

As I mentioned in previous posts, Lydia's sleeping pattern started changing pretty drastically last week. Our happy, champion sleeper of a baby started resisting falling asleep and then waking up two, three, even four times to nurse. By Tuesday, she woke up 4 times, and when we would pick her up, she would smile and coo, and when I would try to nurse her back to sleep, she would smile and play, clearly not interested in nursing at all. We initially tried to solve this by giving her the pacifier, which would soothe her back to sleep. When that stopped working, I felt like all of the things we had done to get her to sleep so well were backfiring: the swaddle, nursing her to sleep, the pacifier.

After one week of this, I decided, in my exhausted, sleep-deprived stupor (at 2:30 AM, mind you), that the problem must be her swaddle. It was already loose because our pediatrician had suggested transitioning her out of it, and she kept getting her arms out in weird ways and pulling the fabric up by her face. I took her arms out, rewrapped the swaddle around her body, and laid down on the futon in the nursery, hoping she would mellow out. No such luck. To make a long story short, we had a very long night that ended with a very unhappy Lydia completely out of her swaddle and in a pair of PJs that were WAY too small for her and an incoherent, exhausted mother and father. At one point Robin and I let her cry in her crib while we tried to figure out what to do. (Side note: If anybody knows how to have these middle-of-the-night conversations in a calm, collected manner, please let me know. Ours are always frantic and frustrated. Not exactly the most effective communication.) In the midst of this, we decided to wait 5 minutes and see if she would calm down and... she did! She started crying again about 15 minutes later and we waited again, and the little stinker calmed herself down again. Hence, the decision that it was time to try letting her "cry it out."

Yesterday when nap time came, I took her upstairs, rocked her, and put her in her crib, relaxed but awake. I patted her for about 1 1/2 min. and left the room. She cried for about 15 minutes total, with me going in the room once to calm her down. She then slept, unswaddled in her crib for 90 minutes, which is a first. Her afternoon nap did not go quite as smoothly, but the longest she cried was 15 minutes, again with me going in once to pat her and shush her and calm her down.

Robin and I braced ourselves for a long night and figured out how to split the time so we would both get at least some sleep. At her usual bedtime, I nursed her, rocked her for a few minutes, and then put her in the crib. I patted her for a minute and a half, and left a smiling baby in the crib. Here's the miracle: she went to sleep with no tears, and woke up ten hours later. No swaddle. No pacifier. I woke up happy and well-rested and found a happy and well-rested little girl waiting for me.

Today's naps have been a little better, and we'll see how tonight goes. Everything I've read has said to expect the process to take 3-7 days, so I doubt we're done. I will also say that there is nothing easy about sitting and listen to your baby cry. Yesterday during her nap, I sat with the baby monitor, obsessing over the little lights flashing that indicated she was crying. I called Robin at one point nearly in tears, convinced that I was destroying my relationship with Lydia and she would never trust me again. Now in my less sleep-deprived state, I have realized that I am a much more loving, patient parent when I am well-rested, which will probably do more for our relationship long-term than rocking her to sleep now. It also has been incredibly helpful to see Lydia today, cuddly, rested, and happy.

I would never, ever say that this method is right for every parent or every baby, not because it's too hard, but because for some it probably just doesn't work. But for us, I think it's going to be a good thing. My fingers are crossed!

Monday, July 13, 2009

4 Month Wellness Check

18 lb. 5 oz; Off the Charts
26 in; 95%
17" head; 95%

We had a great visit to Dr. Bell today. Lydia is growing and thriving, which is always good to hear! She also received her four-month shots  and is doing well so far. We talked to Dr. Bell because Lydia got so sick after her two-month shots, but Dr. Bell thought that her symptoms sounded more like the flu, especially since Robin and I were sick, also. Because of this, she felt comfortable going ahead with the recommended shot schedule instead of spacing them out, and we really trust her. (I also hated the idea of going in for shots more often than necessary. Lydia always looks so sweet, and I hate watching her face switch from a smile to a scream when they give her the injection.) 

Here's the lowdown from our visit. We had lots of questions, and Dr. Bell gave us lots of answers!

--Lydia is only 3.5 lbs. away from needing to transition to a "big girl" car seat. We will need to buy one that can face both forward and backward, since she won't be able to face forward until she is 1 year at the earliest.

--Dr. Bell felt comfortable with us jogging with Lydia in the BOB without her infant seat when she turns five months, since her head control is so good. I am really excited about this, because the infant seat makes the stroller a lot heavier and harder to maneuver!

--We are going to begin transitioning Lydia out of her swaddle, so that when she turns five months, we can begin "sleep training," or teaching her how to self-sooth when she goes to sleep. (Until then, we will continue with our current pattern of bedtime routine and then rocking her to sleep before we place her in the crib.) 

And the best news yet...

--Dr. Bell felt that Lydia is reading for solids!!! Yes, it is early, but because she is wanting to eat so often (whenever I will offer it to her) and has hit most of the markers that indicate she is ready (she has doubled her birth weight, is interested in our food when we eat, and has good head control), we are going to try rice cereal later this week. (Because she got sick from the shots last time, we don't want to risk her getting sick tonight and not knowing whether or not the shots or the rice cereal caused it.) We bought her cereal and baby spoons today!  
A totally unsuspecting Lydia right before the nurse came in to give her her 4-month immunizations.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lydia - July 2009 and June 2009

4 Months Old + Thursdays with Lydia - Week 17

I will admit we cheated a bit this week. Instead of taking the pictures on Thursday, we took them today, on Lydia's 4 month birthday. This way, we could feature her brand new outfit! We have nearly run out of the clothes that so many people very generously gave to us at showers and when Lydia was born, so this weekend, we hit up Gap Baby and Babies R Us for sales and bought her some new clothes. I have been looking forward to purchasing baby denim for a loooong time! Thanks to Cousin Rhanda for the great Converse shoes... they go well, don't they?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Quick Fix

I would like to thank everyone who was sent advice and encouragement following my post regarding Lydia's sleep issues. Thanks to many of you, here are the conclusions we have reached:

1.) The sleep change is normal. Whether it's a four-month thing, a teething thing, or just a baby thing, these things happen.

2.) The frustration that accompanies it is normal. As I was reminded, lack of sleep makes everything seem 50 times worse. It really does.

3.) There is no quick fix. I wish there was a single thing we could buy or do to get Lydia back on her regular sleep schedule and completely erase her teething pain. There seem to be things that help, but as so many moms (and one helpful dad) have said (and I have now realized), patience is really about it. Lydia is napping beautifully, she is eating well, she is staying super alert and happy for longer periods of time during the day (other than when she has random teething meltdowns that include pulling at her cheeks and chewing on her fingers), and we are keeping her active. Babies just do this, and if there was a magic cure, we would know what it was, and the problem wouldn't exist anymore. I keep thinking about the advice my doula gave me when I was getting impatient towards the end of my pregnancy, that babies will be born on their birthdays, and there is nothing you can do to just make them come. I think one of the reasons pregnancy is so long and filled with challenges is to prepare us for the challenges that come with childrearing, one of them being the complete loss of control. Just like Lydia was born on her birthday, she will return to her sleep pattern when she does. Now I am just trying to summon patience...

Congratulations, Coral and Andy!

One of my college roommates is getting married today! Congratulations to Coral and Andy! We wish you the best!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Playdate with Angela and Dax!

My friend and mentor Angela came over with her son, Dax, who was born a little over a month before Lydia. Lydia decided it would be the perfect time to have a meltdown, but isn't this picture so cute?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sharing the Wealth OR Control Freak?

So far, Robin and I have done a pretty good job of splitting parenting duties, and we each have our little areas of expertise. This week however, the tables have turned and I think I can safely say it has all of us thrown off.

I have been tutoring at Lanier every morning, helping kids who still need to pass their Exit-Level TAKS English tests to graduate. This means I have been leaving around 8:30 and returning at 12:30, and Robin has been taking care of Lydia. Up until this point, I had Lydia all day, and we had just finally established something resembling a nap schedule and a routine. I was really happy about this and excited because she seemed to be back on track with her night-sleeping after our trip.

So much for all of that. Something about the past week has totally thrown her off. She has woken up 2 or 3 times the past two nights, leaving both Robin and I feeling frustrated and exhausted. (**I know I shouldn't complain about this because some of our faithful blog readers have been dealing with this for months, but I've found that I get easily spoiled by advances in Lydia's sleeping, and then really frustrated when she takes a step back. This is normal, right?) She hasn't kept to the same napping routine during the morning, meaning that she is all cranky with Robin, and then I get all cranky with Robin because I come home to a crabby, tired baby, and I'm already crabby and tired, and she wasn't that way with me.

I have tried very consciously to not be a control freak when it comes to Lydia. I don't want to be the only one that can comfort her or get her to nap or go to sleep, but it's nearly impossible to not become a little controlling when your entire days have been spent, well, controlling and manipulating her schedule. All of this makes me realize that a piece of the challenge when I return to school will be relinquishing this to Robin and then not getting angry at him when things don't go well. I've certainly had my share of "chalk-it-up-as-a-loss" days with Lydia, especially when I was alone with her at the beginning, so he gets to have them, too.

On an unrelated note, does anyone have suggestions for diapers to use? Lydia's Seventh Generation diapers are not cutting it. She is having major leaking multiple times a day, and (since I am refraining from losing my temper about the sleep thing), THE LEAKING IS REALLY MAKING ME ANGRY!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Little Pooper

I have tried to avoid the poop topic, but seriously, if only pooping made everyone this happy.
-- Post From My iPhone

Well Said

I know that my grandmothers who check this blog religiously and other friends and family were hoping for a Lydia post (and there will be one shortly), but my friend Carly posted a really well articulated entry on her blog about Michael Jackson that I wanted to share.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lydia's New Best Friend...


-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, July 3, 2009

Our New Project - Sitting Up

Lydia is pretty comfortable in the Bumbo chair, so we have added working on sitting her up and having her support herself with her hands. She can hold herself in a "sitting" position for about 10 seconds, and then she slowly tips over. (This is why we are sitting on the soft mattress!) Doesn't she look grown up? Here are some of my favorite photos! (Taken post tip-over.)Here she is all tired out after sitting!

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 16

We left the dog in MN. :( It will return. For now, Stanley will have to suffice.

Lydia Meets Cousin Ella!

Here is Lydia with my cousin's daughter Ella!

Congratulations to Anna and Steve!

My college roommate Anna married her longtime boyfriend Steve while we were home! Congratulations to the newlyweds!! Here's to many more fantastic adventures! Here's the blushing bride with Elise, our other roommate, and me! And here we are with Steve, her new husband and Robin,

And here is Steve, having a grand ol' time!

And the obligatory self-portraits, (My tongue is blue from the icing on the delicious cake pops Anna had in lieu of cake)

And Robin and me on a rare night out!


Lydia met ALL of her great-grandparents while we were in Minnesota and Wisconsin! Here she is with my maternal grandmother, Lovella! (Lovella's mother was my great-grandmother Lydia Ulgenes, Lydia's namesake!)

And with my paternal grandmother, Gloria!

And with my maternal grandfather, Francis!

And with Robin's paternal grandmother, Georgiann!

And with Robin's paternal grandfather, Hugh! (And Dale, Robin's Dad.)