Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our Baby Is One!

This past Sunday we celebrated our baby girl's FIRST birthday!

I would love to be able to write about how much this past year has meant to me.  I would love to be able to articulate what being a mother has done for my heart.  I wish I could let Lydia know how I love her and how much joy I feel by watching her simply play with her toys or read her books even upside down.  I wish I could bottle up the giggles, the excited squeals and even her cute little cry.  I wish I could always see that little face snuggled into me as I rock her to sleep each night.  But no words or amount of pictures would do any of it justice.

I treasure the moments we have been given this past year and I pray that the stay plastered to my memory forever.  Needless to say, our Lydia Jean has been a true gift.

So we must celebrate!!!

We had her birthday party a month before her birthday so that we could celebrate with family before our move.  We had it at my parents house, 3 hours away from ours, because that's where our family is.  It was a little difficult planning everything while also packing and planning for the move but it was wonderful to see so many people before our move (which was 4 days after her party) and to have everyone love on Lydia.

Because of the craziness of the timing and having to plan so far away, I was not able to do the "go all out" "Pinterest fabulous" birthday party for her I had envisioned.  But I have to remind myself that a good mom is not measured by how creative and beautiful her child's first birthday party is.  The important part was we celebrated this little one's first year!

Lydia's cousin Sydney (7 yo) hung balloons and streamers!

Cupcakes made my mommy

Lydia's favorite part of the whole party:

Of course on Lydia's actual birthday we needed to celebrate too!  Chris' parents were in town visiting over her birthday weekend so it was nice to have some more family here to help us celebrate!

We planned on going to the zoo (we are already members) on her birthday, but went a couple days before after looking at the weather forecast.

We also spent some time this weekend doing one of Lydia's favorite things...playing outside!

Her actual birthday consisted of church, napping, gifts, and cupcakes.  She had a blast playing with her new toys!

Reading birthday cards

Notice the magnet clips- the girl LOVES them

I fell more in love with my husband when I saw him proudly wear, without question of hesitation, Minnie Mouse ears for his daughters birthday.

We took a picture at 8:41, the time she was born and I loved comparing this picture:
3/16/13 8:41 AM

To this picture:

3/16/14 8:41 AM
Who knew one year could be filled with so much?!  I cherish every. single. moment.  Oh Lydia Jean, you will never know what an incredible answer to prayer you are for your daddy and me!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lesson From Walkin' In Memphis

This weekend marks 1 month since we have lived in Tennessee and about one month since I posted this picture:

That would be Lydia needing the slightest tip of a finger to walk.  This went on for about a month- her needing the reassurance.  She honestly never ventured to take steps on her own no matter how much verbal encouragement we would give her and no matter how steady we could tell she was on her own even while holding on to us.  We would slide our finger out from her grasp and to the ground she would collapse.  I could not wait to see those first steps!  But so far her personality is much like her daddy's, curious and interested in everything but careful and thoughtful.  She studies a situation and when comfortable, dives in!  She just wasn't ready to take any kind of step unassisted.  

I felt as though this was an early lesson in motherhood that God was teaching me as my baby was coming upon a pretty major milestone.  There are dreams I have for Lydia, as any mother does.  First and foremost I pray everyday she comes to know and accept Christ as her savior.  After that, I hope she grows healthy and strong, has many positive and encouraging friends, does well in school, participates and succeeds in many activities, marries a godly man and gives us grand babies.  I hope and pray in all of this Christ shines through her so others can see his love and grace and come to know Him as well.

As wonderful and well intentioned my hopes may be for her, God's are even more so.  And as hard to believe as it is, He loves her even more than I do.  As she grows she may fulfill the dreams I have for her.  She may not.  My role as her mother is to not force my desires onto her, but to desire for her to grow to be who God created her to be.  

Lydia took her first unassisted steps while we were having dinner with our new neighbors on February 21st.  It was totally unexpected.  She was holding on to their coffee table and 1step...2 step...3 step...4 step...down.  She did it!  From then on, it was as if she had been walking all along.  

God knew her time to start walking would be 2/21/14.  Telling her "okay...time to walk" when I thought she should be would not have worked.   Instead, it was my job as a mommy to give her my pinkie finger while she learned the balance, coordination and motor planning needed to walk independently.  I have thought a lot lately about how important it will be for me to die to myself and my desires as a momma.  Instead, I pray for God to guide me as I support my daughter in finding who she is in Christ and what that means for her life.  In God's time, she will continually meet the milestones laid out for her by the one who made her- fearfully and wonderfully.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Baby Led Weaning

When I was pregnant I remember hoping and praying that I would be able to nurse without issue and God most certainly answered this prayer with a yes.  I was blessed that nursing really did come very easily for Lydia and me.  She nursed 15 minutes after she was born, latched like a pro, and I have always had a great supply for her.  On top of that, nursing was never painful for me.

Now before you start throwing things at me, please know I completely understand I was and am lucky to have had a great nursing experience from the start.  So when I started Lydia on solid foods, I was completely sure it would go great.


It didn't go so well.

Lydia was just over 5 months old when she was given her first spoon full of oatmeal.  Chris sat nearby, camera in hand ready to catch the smiles.  But what we got instead was coughing and gagging.  She did not like it.  As an occupational therapist, I knew well enough to not force this on her.  But to instead give her a break, take a step back and try again soon.  We gave it a couple days but got the same reaction.

I backed completely off of solids and instead put her in her high chair with pureed foods and simply let her play with it.  Within a matter of time she began bringing the pureed food slopped on her hands to her mouth.  And then I would put purees on a celery stick and let her suck on it on her own time.  However, she still wasn't keen on taking food off of a spoon.  The OT in me is assuming there was too much texture that she was unable to control having the utensil come from someone else.

After doing some research, I came across "baby led weaning" and saw a picture of a baby gnawing on a pork chop (http://www.babyledweaning.com/).  The idea behind it is giving your baby table food (within reason) and letting her decide how much to eat.  Additionally, this allows your baby to have control over nursing and solid food porrtions which is something they have very little control over when being spoon fed purees (easy to be over fed).

It made total sense to me.  On top of this, it meant Lydia would be exposed to a wide array of textures.  More OT approval!

I started Lydia off with soft food that was either cut up so small it would not pose a chocking hazard (steamed peas, black beans, mandarin oranges, bananas) or food so large she would would only be able to suck on it (broccoli stems, large apple slices, even large pieces of steak).  I would just put the food in front her and let her go to town.  She loved it!

On top of learning to love so many textures and tastes, she developed a pincer grasp within 3 days of feeding herself.  I was pretty proud.

One question I have been asked is if I was worried she would continue nursing until she was 4.  Ha!  It crossed by mind but she reacted so well to feeding herself table food, I knew she would grow tired of breast milk eventually and this has held true.  I still nurse Lydia about 3 times a day and have not myself pulled back but completely followed her cues.  She has over the past month, however, shown less and less interest in nursing so I think we are within a few months of weaning.  Also, at this point, I am convinced it is less about the sustenance and more about the comfort (still needs to nurse to fall asleep much of the time).  As she has gotten older, she has simply demanded less breast milk and has become a wonderful eater.  I have actually had several people comment how impressed they are with her appetite for different foods.

A concern I had was making sure she still learned to eat from a utensil.  When she was about 8 months old, she started taking food off of spoons and forks just fine.  I was slightly worried about this because eating from utensils is important for her oral motor skills as well as self care skills.

I am happy with the approach of baby led weaning.  It has made food and meal time much less stressful for both Lydia and me (she usually eats just what Chris and I are having), she has been exposed to more food and textures, her fine motor and oral motor skills have benefited and she has been able to control how much solid food she is supplementing with nursing.

For more information on baby led weaning (because I am not an expert, just sharing my experience) visit:

Warning: It can be messy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Made it to Memphis- A New Chapter

We have been in Memphis for about 2 1/2 weeks now, although it seems much longer!  Not in a negative way, just in a "so much has gone down" kind of way.

The night we left Des Moines we headed to my parents house to stay the night there, rest up the next day, and then drive through the night.  Lydia is not a fan of her car seat for too long and driving through the night while she slept was definitely going to be our best bet.  We also gave Samson, our 115 lb yellow lab, some sedatives and they worked well- thank goodness!

With a full gas tank, a sleeping baby and drugged up dog, we were on our way with Starbucks by our side!

We bought a book on tape and listened to some sermons which helped to pass the time.  I slept on and off but not well and Chris drove the whole way.  We were pulling our Mazda on a tow dolly with our Explorer so we had to drive slower.  Combine that with a little detour caused by a wreck and 9 hours later (will usually hopefully normally take less than 8) we were in Memphis!

Move in day is a blur.  The movers unloaded everything and we tried to get to work.  I am not sure how we managed to get most of our house unpacked in less than a week with an 11 month old, but we did!  It felt great to start getting settled in.  Although we are living in a rental home and there are things we have to laugh and roll our eyes about (dish washer barely works, etc) it didn't take long for us to feel at home.

After only a week, I couldn't help but reflect back on how much God had taught me that past week.  I had learned more than ever that my home is where my little family is.  The reason we felt at home so soon, it's because we are.

That first week we took full advantage of the time with had left with Chris before he started work- and the weather!

We started by buying some new bikes!  This is a favorite past time of ours anyway but both of our bikes were stolen when we lived in Chicago...booo!

Enjoyed lots of wagon walks!

A trip to the zoo.  We became members fully knowing it would be well worth our money!  Chris and I go to the zoo of every city we visit.

And of course lots of bike rides!

We also tried out a couple of churches and are continuing to pray to get plugged into the right one- the one the Lord was us to be a part of!

We have also enjoyed getting to know our neighbors, including a cook out with them and their 3 month old baby boy.  I was invited to a mom's bible study which was extremely encouraging.  And we were able to spend some time at the botanical center with some of Chris' coworkers for their little guy's first birthday.  Lydia and Blake were so cute together.

May I just say...hubba hubba

Overall, we have been staying busy!  Chris is truly liking his new job and as his wife it was been so wonderful to see him excited about his future at SCO (Southern College of Optometry) since day 1.  Lydia and I have been keeping busy at home, getting back into a schedule and putting the house together even more.  I am looking forward to getting more plugged into our community, finding a house and just seeing what God has planned.  He is so good and I am continually thankful for His presence.