Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our first family vacation - Colorado

Not our first trip together as a family but our first real vacation was last week. We went to Vail for 5 days and then Boulder for 4 days. We did go to a friend's wedding in Boulder, but the trip was mostly about family bonding and relaxing.

Vail was nice, although a bit warmer than we expected. We tried to hike one day but it was so hot that after about a mile we had to turn back. Not only were we wiped (I'm sure it was the altitude) but Shafi had Leah strapped to his chest in the Ergo carrier and he and she were sweating quite a bit. She slept for the first half but once she woke up she was a bit fussy. We hung out at the pool a bit and checked out some of the Vail Valley. We went up the gondola in Lionshead Village, where we were staying. And we went to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

We lucked out and got a 2 bedroom condo after reserving a 1 bedroom. It was actually a loft as a 2nd bedroom but had it's own full bath, king size bed, TV, etc. We stayed up in the loft and gave Leah the bedroom with the door that closed. It was great because we could put her to bed and close the door and still be in either the living room or loft. Of course we opened the door at night so we'd hear her when she woke up. It all worked out well.

And in Boulder the room was a bit small, but we all managed just fine. We kept Leah up late while we were there but she adjusted well. She even slept in a couple mornings. She seems to have adjusted pretty well to the Peapod travel bed - it definitely worked out better this time than when we went to LA. We did some fun stuff in Boulder too. We walked around the pedestrian mall and stopped and watched a fun country band there one day. We went to the Butterfly Pavilion, which was lots of fun. And we had a lot of fun at a dinner and a brunch with others from the wedding, and at the rehearsal dinner and wedding itself. We left Leah with a sitter while we went to the wedding. That was nice because we got some time to ourselves and got to dance and drink without worrying about an infant. I guess it was a bit rough for Leah. Apparently she cried for an hour and a half after we left, but eventually she calmed down and she slept fine. She has to get used to babysitters sooner rather than later anyway, and I'm sure we did no permanent damage.

Some pics of our trip:

Leah was not exactly thrilled to be in the pool

Baba and Leah having fun at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
You can't tell from the picture, but both Baba and Leah are soaked with sweat here
OK, we went for the butterflies, but the best picture is of Leah holding Rosie the tarantula
Leah partied it up at the rehearsal dinner for Pete & Julia's wedding

Leah's first solids & first EFF day

For those of you not versed in new mom lingo...EFF is exclusively formula fed (as compared to EBF - exclusively breast fed).

Yes, that's right, I think Leah is weaned. She seems to be preferring bottle to breast lately anyway. I realize that I would like to get my body back, be able to drink again, and be able to leave Leah for more than 2 hours without the stress of pumping or worrying that formula feeding will ruin my milk supply...oh wait, that last one already happened. Leah has been getting about 2 bottles of formula a day for a couple weeks now. That combined with her distractedness (age appropriate - she's just so aware there's a world around her now) and teething pain that seems worse from nursing than a bottle has really weakened my milk supply. So my options are to wean or to work really hard to get my supply back up. I've been wholeheartedly debating this with myself. I wasn't exactly mentally prepared to just abruptly stop nursing like this...I thought it would be a gradual 2 month process. But I hate pumping. And I hate fighting with Leah to make her take the breast when she's so obviously more full and happy after a bottle. And along with the reasons listed above...I think the universe is telling me that it's okay to wean at not quite 6 months.

So I haven't nursed since her 4 a.m. wake-up yesterday...and I'm not engorged. If I do become engorged at some point, then I will need to be in pain...and I'm certainly not getting the pump back out if I can help it. But barring that, we are done. My plan is to try to get Leah on a 4 8-ounce bottle a day schedule. Hopefully I can mimic a friend of mine who does 7, 11, 3, 7. That sounds pretty darn good after nursing approximately every 2 hours by day and once at night.

And yes, on a much more exciting note we started solids yesterday. Solids really means a really liquidy mush called "rice cereal." The cereal itself looks like little granules in a canister, but to begin I mixed a teaspoon of it with 4 teaspoons of formula (prepared from powder/water). It was really liquidy, but still solid enough to feed with a spoon. Since we were a bit rushed to get to music class in the morning I waited to have this meal after Leah's morning nap - so it was around noon.

No surprise...she loved it. She's been showing all the signs...sitting up well, watching us eat, seeming hungry often. When that first spoonful went into her mouth she made a funny curious face and wasn't sure what to do with it. Second spoonful was a bit better. By number three she had her mouth open awaiting the spoon and was doing her best to swallow instead of letting the food dribble out. Shafi worked from home yesterday, which ended up being an added bonus, because he got to both take pictures and partake in the feeding fun.

Turns out he's better at it than I am (which he oh-so-humbly - yes, read sarcasm there - pointed out to me when we went to bed last night). I was taking a spoonful and putting it just a little into her mouth to let it sort of drip off the spoon. He was taking just a little bit on the tip of the spoon and putting it a bit further in so that it was less likely to fall back out of her mouth. Turns out that's what you're supposed to do. Not sure how he knew that and I didn't...instinct I guess. You can see from the pictures below that his version was a lot less messy than mine. Although I would argue that mine was more fun. :)

When we were almost done with the 5 teaspoons of "solid food" (1+4=5), Leah abruptly lost interest, shutting her mouth and refusing the spoon. But she then took about 6.5 ounces of an 8 ounce bottle of formula, so it wasn't that she was full. Not sure how that equation works, but apparently it's normal baby behavior to have had enough before being full and then wanting a bottle. So now I'm supposed to gradually increase the amount of rice cereal and in a month or two she should take 3 to 9 tablespoons of cereal in 2 to 3 feedings - plus adding veggies/fruits, then meat, etc.

And the most exciting thing of all...Leah slept through the night. Not sure whether it was the solids or the formula, but she went to sleep around 7:30 p.m. and it's now 6:30 in the morning and she hasn't been up. She did cry out for about a minute around 11:30 p.m. I ignored it and then went and checked on her a few minutes after she had stopped and she was back asleep. Of course I woke up at 4 and have not been able to fall back to sleep (hence the early morning blogging). I have checked on her several times...she's breathing. I don't want to count my chickens too early or anything, but it's possible that we've made it to sleeping through the night just shy of her 6 month birthday. Wow! I'm so excited by the possibility. Hopefully tonight I can actually benefit from that and get a full night's sleep myself.

The first bite ("Hmm..what's this thing going in my mouth and what am I supposed to do with it?"):

The results ("Tastes okay, but I'm still not quite sure what to do."):

The 2nd spoonful headed to the mouth ("I guess I'm supposed to open up now?"):

A few bites later ("Oh, I'm supposed to eat this stuff. OK, now give me more. In fact, I think I can do it myself - give me that spoon."):

Halfway through ("I sure do like to eat!"):

And an added bonus - a little video of Shafi feeding Leah - this was taken about halfway through - obviously after she'd gotten the hang of it - and of course it shows Shafi's true aptitude for baby feeding:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We love Music Together

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. We were on vacation in Colorado last week and I'm still settling back in. I did laundry and put away suitcases and all sorts of fun things like that yesterday. Next I have to go through the pictures...and then I'll blog about the trip and post some pics.

Meanwhile, I haven't written about the music class I'm taking with Leah. It's called Music Together. It's a 6 week summer session. The teacher, Lee, is great. He's very into letting the kids do what works for them - be it sitting, standing, running, sucking on instruments, etc. You get a book and CD of all the songs we'll do for this session when you sign up so you can also play it at home to learn the words and get the babies more familiar with the music.

Leah loves the class. She loves music in general, but it's great to watch her during the class. She stares at Lee and at the other kids. It's a mixed age class - 5 months to 5 years, so the toddlers are always interesting to stare at and a good example of what comes next - jumping, clapping, trying to sing along.

We missed last week because of vacation so we get to go to 2 classes this week. We're going to go Thursday morning too. I'm actually really excited about it. I love watching how much fun Leah is having when we're there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Leah is a true New Yorker

Yesterday we walked across the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Brooklyn. Many New Yorkers have never done either - she's ahead of the curve. Although maybe it doesn't quite count - she slept for about 3/4 of the time both ways.

We had a nice afternoon hanging out with Jamie and Erica in the Village. In a couple more months Leah and Erica will get to actually play together. Erica is about 10 weeks younger - and at the moment that is a huge difference:

Leah is very interested in imitating what I do now - including typing at the computer. So she's sitting in my lap and trying to reach the keys. I think it's now time for Leah's first blog post:

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Leah is 5 months old!

I probably say this every month, but time sure flies! I keep talking about things that happened when I was still pregnant and I always say, "A few months ago..." and then I realize it was probably at least 6 months ago. Wow!

Leah is continuing to grow taller although seemingly not fatter. Her 3-6 month onesies are starting to get a bit short. But her 3-6 month pants are still too big in the waist. She seems happy and healthy though, so no worries.

Her sleep still seems to be a bit off since getting back from California. Hopefully we can rectify that soon. I can't really let her cry it out in the middle of the night as long as she's sharing a room with my in-laws, but they are leaving on Sunday, so if need be, we can do that next week.

Nothing really new to report at 5 months. She's getting better at sitting but definitely is not yet ready to sit unassisted. She's sleeping on her tummy, so she's also getting better at tummy time, but she still doesn't really like it. She's squealing a lot and occasionally being vocal in other ways. She had a new "hee hee" sort of laugh the other day but she hasn't done it again since. My friend Maggie swears that Leah said "Hi" to her at our 4th of July party, but I'm a bit skeptical.

And of course Leah continues to be incredibly cute:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Leah's first 4th of July

Leah was very patriotic for the day. Of course she was dressed for the occasion. And she stayed up for most of our barbeque - she took a half hour nap around 7. We had 31 adults and quite a few from the under 5 crowd - a 4 year old, a 2 year old, two 1 year olds, and four under 1. A good way to show Leah that we're proud to be Americans - and that we like to show off our deck, our grilling, and our fabulous view of the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks.

Of course we weren't sure how Leah would react to the fireworks, but she seemed to like them. She sat in my lap and chewed on my finger and watched them light up the sky. Occasionally she seemed to lose interest and would stand in my lap and flap her arms and reach for the food on the table - the cupcakes really - but only because they were the closest. But then she'd settle back down either sitting or leaning against me and return to chewing on my finger and watching the fireworks. Whenever there was a particularly loud bang she did jump a little but it didn't seem to really bother her.

Leah ready for the party to start:

Alison with Angelo (who is 2 weeks older than Leah) and Shafi with Leah:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Leah's first cross country trip

We returned last night from Los Angeles. We spent 4 days there and attended Shafi's cousin Mila's wedding. Lots of his family was in from all over the US & Canada, so Leah got to meet lots of aunts and uncles and cousins.

She was pretty good on the flights. There were a couple of screaming incidents of a few minutes each, but considering the flight was about 5 hours each way, that wasn't bad. She slept for over half of each flight and played fairly happily for the rest. And of course she ate twice on each flight, so that took up quite awhile.

We bought a travel bed to use in the hotel. It looks like a little pop-up tent and it folds up into a round bag that's about a foot across and 5 inches thick. We decided something that would fit in the suitcase was a lot easier than dragging the pack n play. She slept pretty decently in it, but the time change and being up late at night for the wedding events definitely messed up her sleep a bit. She was up pretty frequently in the night and each night around 4 or so she wouldn't go back to sleep. I would then put her in between us in bed and let her suck on my finger until she fell asleep. Then she'd sleep until 6 or 6:30 - and of course since we were all in one room - once she was up, we were up.

But since Leah naps about 1.5 to 2 hours after her first wake-up, each morning we ordered room service breakfast and just hung out in the room until nap time. That way we got to nap too.

Friday night was the gaye holud, which is a pre-wedding event. It was at the Mila's parents house - mostly in the backyard. There was dinner and a DJ. Leah behaved pretty well, and when she started to get fussy we were able to get her to nap in the stroller in the house where it was quiet enough but we could easily go check on her periodically.

Saturday we went out to lunch with some of my college friends who live in LA and then we went to Mila's parent's house to hang out with the family a bit. And Sunday was the wedding reception. Leah was pretty good there. She napped a few times in the stroller - even with loud music in the room.

And each day we took Leah to the hotel pool for a bit. Friday I actually took her in the pool, but the water was a bit cold and she cried. Then I took her in the hot tub for a few minutes, and she definitely liked that. But there was no temperature guage and while the water felt okay I didn't want to stay in it too long so that she wouldn't overheat. Saturday we just hung out by the pool and watched the water - Leah definitely likes to watch the water move and the sun and shadows on and around the pool. Sunday I dangled her legs in the pool. She seemed to like that. That way she wasn't too cold but she seemed pretty interested in the water. Hopefully when we go to Colorado in a few weeks we can ease her into the pool a bit better and get her to play in the water a little.

Leah's first bathing suit - she wasn't unhappy about the bathing suit itself - she just didn't like the process of getting it on: Leah napped on the bed some of the time - she looked adorable in the middle of a king size bed:
We didn't get any great pictures of Leah in her dress Friday night, but it was very cute with ice cream cones on it:
Leah definitely woke up happy after sleeping in the bed with us:
Leah's first bikini - doesn't she look like a perfectly tanned swimsuit model:
A family picture at the wedding reception:
Leah's dress at the reception: