Monday, June 27, 2011

Five Months Old

Today is Clara's five month birthday. I'm sad time is passing so quickly (especially these last two months with me back at work), but it's amazing to behold the sweet and occasionally sassy little girl Clara has become.
Clara, 1 day old. Note stick legs.
Though she arrived a week late, Clara was only 6 pounds at birth. Perhaps her length (21 inches) at that weight should've been an indicator for how she'd grow over the coming months, as she doubled her weight at 2 months, and is now in the 86th percentile for height and the 71st for weight. This child is going to outgrow her tiny momma at five years old!

Clara at 5 months. Note big strong girl legs :-)
(Please don't worry about the power cord - Daddy was right there and it wasn't plugged in)

Mmmm.... baked bananas and pears (recipe from Weelicious)

We took Clara on her first road trip this weekend to her Great-Grandmother's 85th birthday party in the Mississippi Delta, and it went really well:

Clara and Mommy

Clara met her Great Aunt Leigh... and promptly fell asleep on her.

Four generations of pale blondies

Clara with Daddy in party outfit #2

On top of honing her traveling skills, these days Clara is enjoying sitting and standing (supported, of course), trying new foods, and pulling the dog's hair (the cats won't tolerate it!). She still hasn't had any formula, and I keep pushing my nursing goal longer and longer as I see her amazing health and growth on breastmilk. Ideally, I'll nurse her for 9-10 months and have enough milk in the freezer at that time to take her through the end of the first year - then she can just transition to organic 2% cow's milk. Fingers crossed everything works out for that to happen.

Check out my sweet mohawk.
Mommy made me this cool bib. (Flannel backed with micro-terry. Both from

Happy five months, precious baby girl!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clara: 8 PM to 8 AM

Like most newborns (especially breastfed newborns), Clara was awake to eat every 2-3 hours at night for the first couple of months. Miraculously, at 9 weeks, she started sleeping 8 hours straight every night, and soon she was up to 10 hours straight. If you've seen her sausage-like arms and legs and chubby cheeks, you know she was getting plenty to eat; so, we just counted our blessings and let the girl sleep as long as she wanted.

Come 4 months, Clara was still sleeping basically 8 or 9 PM - 6 AM, but all of a sudden it was hard to get her to go to sleep. She'd fall asleep on my shoulder after nursing, but when I put her in the crib, she'd flip out. It was taking an hour or so and numerous attempts to get her to settle down. Before this happened, I would've told you I'd NEVER let her "cry it out," but I started reading up on sleep training, and realized two things: (1) we'd just been lucky from 9 weeks to 4 months -- now she was becoming more aware of our existence, and would naturally freak out if she fell asleep on our shoulders and woke up alone, on her back in the cold, hard crib, (2) "cry it out," or some variation thereof, is pretty much the only thing the mainstream experts say works (other than letting the baby sleep with you, which is something we're not willing to do indefinitely for a variety of reasons).

Sometimes she plays so hard, she falls asleep on her playmat.
   "Ferberizing" is the most common method. You put her in the crib sleepy but awake, let her cry for a few minutes, check on her and tell her everything is OK, then the next time wait a few more minutes before going back in there, etc. etc.   Here's how it worked for us:
Night 1:  Cried for 45 minutes, checked on her twice, picked her up once.  Then nursed her a little more and put her back in the crib. Cried for 10 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 2: Cried for 10 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 3: Cried for 45 minutes before falling asleep. We checked on her twice but never picked her up.
Night 4: Cried for 2-3 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 5: Cried for about 5 second then fell asleep.
Night 6: Cried for about 10 seconds then fell asleep.
Night 7: Cried for about 2 seconds then fell asleep.
Night 8: No crying!

I hated to let her cry AT ALL, but ultimately bought in to the idea that a good night's sleep over a long period of time is better for her than crying for a few minutes a few nights is bad for her. Of course maybe it's just easy to say that because this WORKED for us. Who knows?! 

My baby, asleep tonight in her crib.
 We've also started putting her in the crib for naps, and that's going well. We wanted to wean her off of naps in the swing before she gets too big for it.  (Clara has always slept in her crib at night, but often rejected it during the day.)

In the last few days, she's been going to bed a little earlier (7 PM) and waking up a little earlier (5-5:30 AM). She always nurses as soon as she gets up, then helps me feed the pets, and plays on her playmat while I eat breakfast. Then, we wake up Daddy and they start their day while I get ready for work.

It's very hard for me to leave in the mornings, and many times I can't resist helping feed Clara her morning fruit or just watching her and Scott playing sweetly. This morning, we had mangoes*(WARNING: this video is ridiculously long and boring for anyone other than Clara's parents or grandparents):

 Clara thought it would be fun to feed herself...

What do I do with this?


I got MOST of it in my mouth, Daddy...

I love you, Mango Daddy!
After mangoes, Clara and Scott took turns making funny noises:

Then I nursed her again, put her in the crib for a nap, and headed to work with a smile on my face.

*we had a very juicy mango, and just peeled it and put the cut-up pieces in a mini food processor, squeezed in a bit more juice from the pit, and gave it a whirl to create a delicious puree. you could add a little water or formula/breastmilk if your mango isn't so ripe.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

I've been back at work for two months now, and while I still miss Clara LIKE CRAZY, Scott's being home with her has brought me so much peace and relief. (For those of you who don't know, Clara was in daycare approximately one hour when I flipped out and we made the decision that Scott would stay home with her until she's about 15 months old.)
 So, Scott really deserved a special day for his first Father's Day. One of his gifts was to change zero diapers for the day. (I usually change most of the diapers on nights and weekends anyway, but thought this would be a nice gesture.) Me and the fur-babies also got him this Darth Vader "Who's Your Daddy?" shirt (from here) and a Fat Tire Beer gift box. (Yes, it's illegal to ship beer into Mississippi.... no comment on where I got this!)
Clara made him this photo collage. I cut the letters out of foam board with a utility knife. It took A LOT of photos to get 7 decent shots! I also made "Grandpa" photo collages in the same type of frames (from Michaels). Scott said this was his favorite present :-)
We went out for brunch -- Clara was perfect at brunch and seemed to enjoy the fresh air -- then pretty much lounged around the rest of the day.

Mango Coma
We've been ferberizing Clara (post on that soon) and thankfully, she fell asleep pretty quickly on Father's Day night.  This was followed by us passing out about 10:30 -- VERY early for us, and very nice.

Scott, thank you for taking such good care of my sweet girl. Love you both!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Clara's Big Weekend

Clara's weekend got off to a bang when she received this envelope (see the return address?!):
This is definitely going in her baby book.
 (For more information on the White House Greetings Office, click here.)

This exciting mail was followed up with an exciting meal. Trying bananas for the first time...
 She loved them!
Clara also visited the Jackson Zoo for the first time today. Here we are under a mister, which made me go ahhhhh but Clara wasn't too sure!
Watching the tigers with Daddy:
Because we could get her so close to the animals, Clara's clear favorite was the petting zoo. She especially liked this gross miniature (?!) pot-bellied pig, probably because it resembles our dog Otis (just kidding... on the square).
Here is our girl intently watching the chickens, sheep, goats, pigs and ducks in the petting zoo:
We'll probably just rest tomorrow :) 


It's hot.

It's been around 100 degrees for two weeks straight, with only one day of rain. Hence:
Most of the yard and garden is yellow or brown. Only this one section of natives continues to thrive with beating sun, clay soil and literally zero care:
Purple coneflowers and "orange roadside daylilies" blooming... crazy foliage is asters.

Hope you're all having a great weekend and staying cool!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Clara and the Sweet Potato

With her doctor's blessing, we attempted to start Clara on solids this weekend. Skipping the stripped-and-fortified rice cereal friends have described as "paste-like," we began her culinary adventures with a sweet potato. I cooked it in the microwave, then pulsed the flesh with a couple of ounces of breastmilk (formula would also work) in a mini-food processor. Then I scooped a tiny bit into a tiny cup for the momentous occasion.
 This cup was Scott's grandmother's (she passed away shortly after our wedding in 2007.)

Clara seemed intrigued by the flavor, but had no idea what to do with this non-liquid thing in her mouth.

Daddy, what just happened?

We'll try sweet potatoes again soon. Next, either homemade brown rice cereal or mangoes.

We're going to freeze the remaining sweet potato puree in ice cube trays and pop the frozen cubes into a zip-loc for storage. Then we'll just pull out and reheat them as needed.

Great resources for homemade baby food recipes/advice: (homemade brown rice cereal recipe, plus much more)


Thursday, June 2, 2011


Clara had her 4-month check-up and shots today. She's in the 71st percentile for weight and the 86th for height - where did my teeny 6 pound baby go?
For details on these soft blocks I made for her, see this post on my (soon to be defunct) gardening blog.

She got three cool band-aids on her legs, then came home to play like nothing had happened. Our sweet girl!