Friday, April 30, 2010

Myles of Smiles

Ella gave us her first smile on March 17th, when she was about 7 weeks old. It melted my heart to see that precious little smile. We've had the hardest time getting a smile on camera. I think the big black thing in front of my face blocking her view of me causes the smiles to disappear. However, lately, her little smiles have turned to these great big toothless grins that just light up her whole face. I love getting her out of bed in the morning because she greets me with the biggest smile and it makes my day! I think a laugh is soon to come :) We get a lot of smiles by talking in a high pitched voice and being silly with Ella. However, the high pitched voice causes our Yorkie Myles to start howling. It's so funny to see and hear! He puts his head back and howls away and Ella just keeps on smiling. She is full of smiles and I love each and every one of them. Just seeing a smile from her makes me feel so special and like the luckiest momma in the world (Daddy finds them to be pretty special too)! The other day, we were able to capture a few of her smiles on camera :)

Myles howling like he does when we try to get Ella to smile

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Great Grandparents

Last weekend, my grandparents came into town for a visit. They have only seen Ella one time before at a family reunion and it was a very quick visit with Ella sleeping for most of it. So, I was excited that they were going to get to spend a little more time with her this trip. Nonee is Ella's Great Grandmother & PawPaw is her Great Grandfather. How special to have great grandparents in our lives. I love that she will get to not only have amazing grandparents around her as she grows up, but she will get to experience great grandparents as well. Growing up, I had the honor of having my great grandparents alive for quite a while as well. Oma & Opa were so precious to me and I look back on all my times with them often. I have so many great memories of holidays spent with them, listening to their amazing life stories, and spending time with them and the rest of the family at the ranch. I look forward to Ella getting to experience this as well. I know Ella will be a better person because she knows her great grandparents and will experience the love they have to give and will having lasting memories of their time together. Opa (my great grandfather) is still with us and doing well, so Ella also has a great, great grandfather! A few weeks ago, Nanny (my grandmother on my mom's side) came to see Ella too. So, she's officially met all her great-grandparents now. Wow; what a special girl to have so many amazing people in her life!

      When God created grandparents
      the world was truly blessed
      with all the special joys
      that make a family happiest...

      For grandparents know how to do
      the things that warm a heart,
      They touch our lives with loving care
      right from the very start...

      They show that they believe in us
      and all we're dreaming of...
      When God created grandparents,
      He blessed our lives with love.

      ~author unknown

A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.
-- Author Unknown
Ella with Nonee, Omi, & Grandpa (haven't decided on a name to call him yet)

Grandparents make the world...a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.
-Author Unknown
Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love.
-Author Unknown

Ella & Nonee

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.
~Author Unknown

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting.
~Author Unknown

      Few can bring the warmth

      We can find in their embrace,

      And little more is needed to bring love.

      Than the smile on their face.

      They've a supply of precious stories,

      Yet they've time to wipe a tear,

      Or give us reasons to make us laugh,

      They grow more precious through the years.

      I believe that God sent us Grandparents

      As our legacy from above,

      To share the moments of our life,

      As extra measures of His love.

    - Author Unknown

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Our Growing Girl

Ella is growing so fast each week. My parents think she looks different each time they get to see her. I don't notice it as much until I look back at pictures. Her little face has gotten so round and her cheeks have filled out. She's officially now an infant, no longer a newborn. It makes me sad to know that we will never have these times back, but I am looking forward to all the new things she will begin doing here soon. Here are her 11 and 12 week pictures.

11 Weeks Old
11 Weeks-all stretched out-she's longer than the chair now
Leaning over (aka: falling over) to love on her bunny :)

12 Weeks Old
12 Weeks-all stretched out
Holding hands with her bunny. Check out the rolls on her legs! It's only taken 12 weeks to get a little meat on that tiny body of hers :)
Umm, wait a sec...I just spit up! Really, more pictures, Mom?
(I love how she's holding up her finger)

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sleep Advice

We are having napping issues...any advice any of you experienced moms out there can share with me would be awesome! Here's what's going on with Ella...

Bed Time:
We usually put her to bed between 7-8pm (after nursing her). She typically goes down fairly easily and doesn't require much help falling asleep other than swaddling her and reading her our bedtime story as we rock her. We typically put her down drowsy but still awake and she falls asleep within a few minutes without crying (or very little).

We feed her a bottle of breastmilk about 10:00 or 10:30pm. She drinks but pretty much stays asleep during this. We change her diaper, swaddle, and put her down. She goes straight to sleep (doesn't even act like we woke her to eat).

Night Feeding:
She usually sleeps between 4-6 hours (on occasion she has slept 7 or 8, but that's rare) and wakes between 2:00 and 5:00am to eat. She's still only 10 pounds, so I think she still needs this feeding and usually eats pretty good. We change her diaper, swaddle her, and put her back down after nursing. She lays there awake for 10-45 minutes, but falls asleep on her own. She usually will only sleep 2-3 hours after this though.

Morning WakeTime:
She usually wakes between 6:00 and 7:30 in the mornings, but it's dependent on the time she nursed in the middle of the night. I nurse her and play with her after she wakes (she is usually pretty happy at this time). I then pump and we go downstairs so I can have breakfast. I usually put her in the bouncer or rocker. Sometimes she falls asleep there. If not, I try to put her in bed as soon as I'm done eating, but this usually involves some crying and not much of a nap. I think she may be staying up too long here but I'm not sure...she will typically only take a 30-45 minute nap at this time.

Morning/Afternoon Routine:
I'm trying to feed her about every 3 hours. Sometimes she acts hungry (if she wakes early) and I feed at 2.5 hours and sometimes she is still asleep and I'll let her go 3.5, but never longer for the most part. ***side note: I try to get her to take naps during the designated nap times below, but that doesn't always happen... Also, we try to do the sleep, eat, activity (wake time) cycle.

So, here's an example of a typical day if she wakes at 7:00am...
7:00am nurse
8:30/9:00am put down for nap (usually naps for 30-45 minutes only)
10:00am nurse
11:00-11:30ish put down for nap
1:00pm nurse
2:00-2:30ish put down for nap
4:00pm nurse
5:00-6:00ish put down for nap
7:00pm nurse
get ready for bed
7:30/8:00pm bed
10:00/10:30pm Dreamfeed/back to sleep
2:00-5:00am Night Feeding/back to sleep
6:00-7:30am morning nursing

The main problem is that she is taking super short naps for the most part. We are trying to let her self-soothe some, so it takes a while to fall asleep. She is usually content in bed when I first put her there and talks to her bears or looks around for up to 30 minutes sometimes. Then she may get fussy, which sometimes turns into intense crying. I try to give her 5-10 minutes before going up to give her a pacifier, which usually calms her. Most of the time, she will drift to sleep at this point, but sometimes, the crying continues. I'm trying to get ok with letting her continue to cry it out on her own, but haven't been too good at it lately. Working on it and getting a little better. When she does drift off on her own, she often wakes after 30 minutes to an hour. She usually has peed and I think that wakes her during her sleep transition. It could be something else that wakes her that I'm not aware of.

So, what should I do at this point???
1. just let her cry for as long as it takes to fall back asleep (if that's possible) or
2. go change her diaper and put her back down to cry herself back to sleep or
3. go change her diaper and rock her back to sleep or
4. change her and keep her up and feed her again if it's close to that time or
5. go try to soothe her (pacifier and/or rock her) to see if she'll go back to sleep or
6. get her up and have some more waketime/playtime together before the next feeding or
7. do something else that I'm not thinking of...

There are times that she will take a good 1-2 hour nap. She usually gets one good nap in a day, but I'd really like her to be getting 2 or 3 good naps and then maybe a shorter one here and there.

We've noticed that when she does get 3-5 hours of good naps in, she sleeps even better at night and is so much happier all around.

I guess I'm just looking for any advice and/or to hear the way any of you did things with regards to sleep. She's 11 weeks old today, so she's still young for intense sleep training, yet we want to start establishing some routine in our days so that she takes good naps again! I know that sleep begets sleep, so I want to help her with that as much as I can!

Moms out there, help!!!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

10 Weeks Old

Ella is already 10 Weeks Old

Falling over onto her bunny...isn't great at sitting up on her own for very long :)

She was just finishing with a smile...missed it again!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easter 2010

We had a wonderful Easter. Ella turned 9 weeks on Easter Sunday! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter and we can't help but get excited about how even more fun she will be next Easter.

We started the special weekend by meeting Mark's parents for brunch at CheeZee. We thought Ella would enjoy looking at the fun lights and things hanging from the ceiling, but she slept through the entire meal. They gave Ella a precious book, Pat the Bunny, which we love! Thanks Granna & Grampa!

On Easter Sunday, we went to a fabulous service at church. Ella should have napped during the service, but instead, she was wide awake. I think she loves the music and there are so many new things to look at. She was great for the entire service! After church, we headed over to my parents for lunch and an Easter Hunt (this is something my mom will never let us outgrow). We had a great time hanging out with everyone. Thanks Mom for all the Easter goodies!

We attempted taking some family pictures since we were all dressed up (that doesn't happen much anymore-it's hard to get me out of sweats or pajamas). Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. He is risen and we are so thankful for his amazing grace, love, and forgiveness!

Ella is ready for her car ride to Easter brunch with Granna & Grampa (aka Mark's parents)

Ella is ready for her car ride to church

Our first attempt at a family Easter picture. Ella was hungry and mad that she was outside in the bright light instead of getting to eat.
Our family Easter picture after she was fed. Much happier little girl.
Happy Easter!
Ella & Mommy smiling together! This is our first smile captured on film even though she's been smiling for over a month now :)
Posing with an Easter bunny
I can go on an egg hunt too (as long as the egg is attached to a string)...
...or attached by suction to my bumbo
Ella is just learning to sit in her bumbo...not completely able to hold her head up for very long yet
More egg holding
Showing off my smile for Aunt Shara
Looking cute in my bow headband. Omi (aka Grandma) thinks it's too big and laughs at me, but Mommy loves how cute I look in them :)
Thanks Omi for the great sunglasses!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

A Bad Case of Thrush

I was downloading pictures earlier today and had to post these because they are too funny. We have been hit by thrush over the last month. Apparently it's a bad case of it because I've been battling it on my breasts & in Ella's mouth for many weeks and nothing is helping it go away. We've tried so many rounds of different treatments and nothing is working. One of the treatments we tried was Gentian Violet. It's a bright purple liquid and turns everything it touches a beautiful shade of purple :) Here's a few shots of Ella and her "purple lipstick".

Hopefully my visit with the dermatologist tomorrow will provide some answers on how to make the yeast go away because breast feeding is no fun when thrush is involved.

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