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Blair Monroe: 7 Months Old

20140904_185910_17 months just sounds so old! I no longer have a “little” baby. (She is in fact still little but you know what I mean) She is closer to being one than she is when I had her. Does that sentence even make sense? No doctor appointment this month so no stats!

Nicknames: These haven’t changed. Still mostly call her Blair, munch, baby girl, monkey, sweetheart ect

Clothing: I just switched her clothes over to her 6-9 month wardrobe mainly because I didn’t want to have to go into the storage room in a few weeks and do it then. I figured I might as well get it done while I was unpacking the house any ways! I realized a few of the outfits were 3-6 months which is sad. I get confused on how carters does their sizing! Luckily she still fits in them so I just kept them with the 6-9 months. I wont lie, she could probably get a full other month out of her 3-6 month clothing but fall is coming so I want her to get use out of her warmer weather 6-9 month clothes before transitioning into the warmer stuff!

Diapers: Our love affair continues with the cloth diapers! We wash them Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays and haven’t had any issues with leaking or blowouts. She goes through 5-6 diapers a day.

Eating: She is nursing every 2-4 hours during the day for about 5-10 minutes on one side. I have to go into her room with the blinds drawn, light off and the white noise on in order for her to eat enough and not get distracted. We are still doing baby led weaning but we haven’t been consistent with it because of the move. She still loves chicken, asparagus, carrots, avocado, and now likes zucchini and tolerates bananas.

Sleeping: One day I will look back on this and it will just be a blur. Seriously a blur. Tuesday night she was awake from 10:00 pm-4:00 am crying. Just completely inconsolable. It was so weird and horrible. She has been everywhere this month. One night she slept 10 hours (I repeat ONE night) and some she doesn’t make it more than 2! I am pretty good about not letting it frustrate me because honestly I was never a great sleeper and she generally goes right back to sleep. She seems to be consistently waking only twice a night now, with the occasional bad night. I don’t think the move helped her routine. She was a little off the moment the boxes came out and she is just now starting to settle down.

Social: The last two weeks she has been a lot less social. She screams if I leave the room and will cry and look for me if someone else holds her. It’s so strange since she has never had these issues before! I have read plenty of things that say it’s normal. It’s just part of growing up and learning people can walk away from you. She will still smile and talk to other people as long as she knows I am there and am not trying to leave her.

Likes: the zippy, Sophie the giraffe (actually she LOVES Sophie), when you sing the abc’s, the tv show Super Why, nursing, water: watching it, bathing, playing, swimming you name it she loves it, the ergo, her stroller, being outside, rolling around on the floor and army crawling, her new big girl car seat, being thrown in the air, her jumper, mommy

Dislikes: bottles, getting overly tired, being hungry, being ignored, when mommy walks out of the room, being held by people she doesn’t know

New this Month: This month has been full of change. She now army crawls every where. It is the weirdest army crawl. She doesn’t use her left arm, she just tucks it under her and uses her right arm and legs to get around. There is nothing wrong with her left arm, she uses it equally when playing and eating she just doesn’t know how to use both arms while crawling! She can sit up unassisted and tries desperately to get from her tummy to a sitting position but she hasn’t figured out that quite yet. She also gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth. You can see she is just trying to figure out how to truly crawl. It’s kind of adorable. We moved into a bigger apartment so she has a much bigger area to learn all these new skills. She has officially said her first word “Dada”. I tried to no avail to get her to say mama. Little stinker! She also got her first hair cut! We only trimmed up these random long pieces she had so that it was all a little more uniform and hopefully grows in somewhat similarly.

Fun Things We Did:

  • Swimming with Lucy
  • Walked the beautiful trail in Manchester
  • Went to the art Museum
  • moved into a new apartment

 

Looking Forward to:

  • we are going to go Blueberry picking
  • a trip into Boston!
  • Nana and Papa coming in NEXT MONTH

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Through a Mother’s Eyes

Last week Garren and I watched The Fault in Our Stars. I had read the book so I thought I was prepared for the emotional plot of the movie. What I didn’t expect was to see it from a whole different perspective. While reading the book, I was Hazel. I felt the things she felt and I connected with how she processed everything that was happening to her and around her. The movie brought on a completely different experience. Instead of connecting with Hazel, I felt myself connect with her mother, watching as my child suffered from cancer, illness and heartbreak. I felt like my heart was being ripped out when Hazel’s mother told her it was ok to let go. I can only imagine the anguish parents must go through while caring for a sick child. I know without a doubt we would do anything to trade places with them. I found myself silently thanking the Lord for my healthy daughter.

I later realized this is not the only way my vision has evolved. I can now walk into a room and spot the tiniest items that may find their way into my daughters hands and later mouth. I will see a baby drooling and instead of wondering why his parents haven’t wiped him off (for probably the 100th time) I wonder if he is teething. I see the woman in the grocery store seemingly oblivious to her toddler’s tantrums and wonder when the last time was, she had a decent night’s sleep. I will watch a child hold the door open for me and wonder how I can teach my daughter to be polite. The world has also become a little more dizzy as I find myself swaying whether or not I am holding Blair. Mostly I look at her in complete awe that I get to be her mother.

When they tell you life will never be the same once you have a child they aren’t lying. The world get’s a whole lot bigger and a whole lot smaller all at once. Suddenly there is danger at every corner. (Who knew sunscreen is dangerous before six months and a teddy bear in the crib is sure to be fatal?) Suddenly I am the world’s greatest comedian and I can do the same stand up routine a hundred times in a row, and my audience will laugh just as hard the last time as she did the first.

I am grateful for the opportunity to understand and empathize on this new level. Being a mother has most certainly turned me into a crazy person, but the payoff is worth it.

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Our Love Story: Part 3: Grand Adventures and Personal Growth

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

After our first year of college Garren was called to serve a 2 year mission for our church. He was called to the London, England South mission. I asked him to write something about his experience: Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was a turning point in my life. Not only was I able to go to a new country and have the blessing of serving so many different people, I grew up and had gained a greater understand of what was important to me. As a missionary I learned that family and relationships are the single greatest thing we have in this life, and the gospel of Jesus Christ enhances those relationships to make them more complete. This was an amazing time in my life.

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While Garren was on his mission I had quite a few adventures of my own. I spent the majority of 2009 in Westchester, New York. I was a nanny to three year old twins. I fell hard for these kids, the state of New York, and the amazing friends I was able to make. We traveled to places like Boston, and Washington DC and explored Manhattan. The kids taught me how to be patient and love freely despite learning and behavior disabilities. Then in May 2010 my two best friends and I traveled to Ghana to teach English, volunteer in a special education school, and live in an orphanage for a little over a month. That month was one of the longest but fastest (and hottest!) months of my life. I learned so much about the world outside my comfort zone and fell in love with these children and their culture. I day dream about going back all of the time.

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Garren came home from his mission in August of 2010. There was a brief moment right before he came home that I let myself wonder what it would be like to date him but I quickly pushed it out of my mind since I knew how much he liked my best friend. The moment I saw him our friendship continued where it had left off. (We did write each other 4 or 5 times while he was on his mission.)

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Blair Monroe: 6 Months Old

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This post is so late. She is closer to 7 months than she is six but her doctor’s appointment was rescheduled to today so I didn’t have her stats. Oh well. Better late than never!

Height: 26.25 inches (58th percentile)

Weight: 14 pounds 8 ounces (14th percentile)

Head Circumference:  16.25 inches (12th percentile)

Dr. Appointment: We saw a different doctor this time and I loved her. She was a thousand times better so we are switching! She seemed to care a lot more and seemed much more knowledgeable. She didn’t give me any grief for Blair’s size so that was nice as well. She said she is always consistent so she is just a small, healthy baby. She said since she is on the taller side her height to weight ration percentile is 6% which is funny. Tall skinny girl. Blair has a lip tie but the doctor said it’s not anything to worry about right now and it looks ok. She could tell she is a very efficient nurser because of her nursing blister on her lip. She got the last round of her shots. She didn’t scream this time, just instantly hyperventilated. I sang her favorite song and she calmed down in less than 5 minutes and is now happily playing. Best round of shots yet! She doesn’t have another appointment until 9 months and wont need any immunizations! (Well she will need a flu shot but whatever)

Nicknames: Garren calls her monkey and monkey butt (what?), we both call her munch, munchkin, munch baby, and I call her babies, love, and Blair. I have been trying to get Garren to use her name more. I am afraid she wont know it!

Clothing: She is still rocking her 3-6 month summer wardrobe! They actually fit perfectly right now so she looks extra cute. She may move into her 6-9 month clothes in the next few weeks because the onesies are starting to get a little tight in lenghth.

Diapers: Cloth diapers through and through. Garren and I were just talking about much we love doing cloth diapers. We are lifers for sure! We wash diapers ever Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and skip the weekend. It’s really the perfect schedule. The sun is magical just so you all know. All of her diapers still look brand new because the sun bleaches out any stains that she might get.

Eating: She nurses ever 3 hours during the day. She could go longer stretches but I try and feed her more frequently throughout the day so she doesn’t wake as much at night. We have started baby lead weaning. She really hated purees (and still does). She gags every time we try and feed her. With baby lead weaning you skip the purees and just give them some food right off your plate. It’s actually awesome! She learns to feed herself and she gets to take it at her speed. There is no risk of chocking because babies have the tongue thrust reflex, and they don’t have the capabilities to move food to the back of their throat before they learn to chew. Plus we are always right there with her. So far she is not a fan of bananas or broccoli, but she loves chicken, asparagus, avocado, and bread!

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Sleeping: She is doing a little better with sleeping at night. She sleeps in 3-4 hour stretches and usually only wakes up twice at night. We have had a few bad nights of her waking every hour and wanting to be held but she also had her first cold and cut two teeth this month so I can’t really blame her! Her naps have been amazing! She takes three naps a day. The first one is usually 45-50 minutes and then the other two are 1-2 hours long. I feel like I suddenly have so much time on my hands to actually get some things done! (You know… like showering)

Social: My little social butterfly continues to love being around people! She is always pretty quite and inquisitive when she first meets people. She basically stares them down and tries to figure out what they are all about and then she quickly warms up and will smile for any one. She is a talker and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. Loudly. She now seems to know exactly who Lucy is and a huge smile always spreads over her face when she sees her! It’s the cutest thing! I love watching them start to interact with each other.

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Likes: the zippy, Sophie the giraffe (actually she LOVES Sophie), when you sing the abc’s, the tv show Super Why, nursing, water: watching it, bathing, playing, swimming you name it she loves it, the ergo, her stroller, being outside, rolling around on the floor and trying to crawl, her new big girl car seat, being thrown in the air, her jumper

Dislikes: bottles, getting overly tired, being hungry, being ignored

New this Month: Blair got sick for the first time this month from the plane ride back from Utah. It was so sad! She had tons of mucus so we were constantly sucking out her nose, and sitting in the bathroom with a hot shower running to help relieve the congestion. She was still super happy but her energy level was much lower. She now has TWO teeth on the bottom and the top two look like they will me making an appearance before too long. We got her a convertible car seat and it has made a world of a difference! She actually likes being in the car so that’s been fun. She has also been sporting ponytails and pigtails as of late.

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TEETH!

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Fun Things We Did:

  • Went to Bass Pro Shop to look at the fish
  • Lots of park trips to play on the swings
  • Went on many walks

 

Looking Forward to:

  • Summer fun! Lots of swimming, swinging, play dates and walks
  • we are going to go Blueberry
  • a trip to the beach
  • a trip into Boston!
  • Moving into a bigger/nicer apartment next weekend
  • Nana and Papa coming in October!
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Why I Decided Against CIO (Cry it Out)

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Cry it Out is one of those topics you will come across, and will end up making a decision on, when you become a parent. When I was pregnant I was the kind of mom-to-be that researched everything. Twice. I quickly realized that you can find anything to support the decisions you make as a mother. If you are pro scheduling there will be tons of articles. If you are against CIO, again plenty of articles to support that frame of mind. I learned I had to make the decisions I felt comfortable with and not base them on what others were doing. What works for me, may not work for others, and vice versa. As I read these articles I could feel myself being pulled towards not allowing my daughter to cry herself to sleep. I have always been a sensitive and “feeling” based person. The second anyone starts to cry (in real life or on the television) I tear up right alongside them. I will over think things but always end up going with my heart. So when it came down to it, I knew a schedule, and in particular Cry it Out (CIO), wouldn’t work for me. The stress of hearing my baby crying herself to sleep would be a much worse fate than losing some sleep myself.

I truly believe my miscarriage started my journey as a mother. It was from then on I vowed to cherish every moment of my sweet children’s lives. I truly believe most, if not all mothers have this goal, and for me it just meant letting my baby lead our schedule. As a stay at home mom, I have the opportunity of doing this and as someone who has dealt with insomnia since the age of 13 I had a lot of practice with sleepless nights!

Early on I read an article on Nursable called, “The WIO (Wait it out) Method”. It had my name written all over it. I knew it was exactly how I would handle the sleep situation with our daughter. Basically I would wait out her rough sleeping times and go to her however many times she cried throughout the night. I have both nursed and rocked her to sleep.  It’s definitely not for everyone. It can be exhausting, and draining, but it has also been very rewarding for me. I am sure CIO moms would say the exact same thing about their technique! Blair was an amazing newborn and at just 6 weeks old started sleeping 7-8 hour stretches at night followed by a shorter 2-3 hour stretch. I thought we had it made at night! During the day she was the queen of power naps. She never napped for longer than 30 minutes but it was something I could deal with. Then when she turned 12 weeks old chaos ensued. She started waking up every one and a half to two hours throughout the night.  I honestly thought I was going to lose my mind. My confidence in myself as a mother and the decisions I had made wavered. I re-read the WIO article and decided then and there to expect my daughter to wake up and to attempt to cherish those moments. A few nights later I was rocking Blair back to sleep around four am and I started to sing one of my favorite hymns. She instantly looked up at me and gave me the sweetest smile. She then snuggled into me and fell asleep. This is such a small moment, but for a baby who normally has no time for cuddling, I drank it all in. Babies will not wake up all night forever and I knew one day I would miss our late night cuddle sessions.

So far this method has paid off in the nap department. My little power napper has now consistently taken all of her short naps and put them into three 1-2 hour naps. She has, in a sense, put herself on a schedule. Even better is the fact that I never had to wean her from the pre nap rocking. She did it on her own. One day I was rocking her and she was getting very fussy so I set her down in her crib. She flipped over on her stomach, talked to herself for a little bit and went to sleep! I was amazed. The time I have on my hands now is incredible! I can put makeup on, clean our house, and cook dinner all while she is napping! There are plenty of times I choose to nap instead, because let’s face it motherhood is exhausting, but I theoretically could do all of those things!

One thing I think is genuinely important is having a supportive husband whether you decide against CIO or you decide you are all for it! There are many nights when I cannot go rock her because if I do she automatically thinks she needs to eat. Regardless of when I last fed her. This has lead to some unfortunate overeating and throwing up episodes. So my husband will go in and put her back to sleep. Luckily for him this only happens in the early part of the evening. She generally only wakes twice to eat now. The fact that he is not only on-board with this decision but also agrees with me makes it so much easier in my times of weakness. He is there to support me when I am tired and remind me of why I have chosen this parenting route. IMG_20140804_163209 I will suggest embracing the beauty in reevaluation. Blair is only six months old. Right now this works for me. At 12 months old if she still isn’t sleeping through the night I may reevaluate my non scheduled lifestyle. (I personally can’t see me deciding to CIO but you never know!) Parenthood is about being flexible and being willing to change when something isn’t working for you and your family!

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Temples

This month our testimony Tuesday topic is on Temples! Here is more information on LDS Temples.

As I was thinking of this subject, the fact that I get to be with my husband and daughter for eternity naturally entered my mind a lot. As I was thinking about this I started to wonder how early in my life do I have memories of the temple? I don’t have many but I can clearly recall two instances as a young child that I really thought about the House of our Lord.

The first was when I was about 6 or 7 my dad had left me in the car to go in somewhere. I was siting in there and started singing the primary song, “I love to see the temple, I’m going there some day. To feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to Pray…” I remember stopping at, “To feel the Holy Spirit” and imagined myself going up to the temple and touching it’s walls. I imagined the wall and my hand glowing as they met. Obviously this isn’t what happens but in my young little mind going to the temple and physically feeling the spirit would be a glowing and huge event.

Fast forward to April 30, 2011 to when I was able to do my own temple work. My hands may not have physically glowed but my testimony did. My eyes were opened to the love and beauty of God’s plan. I had that burning desire to never stray from His loving embrace.

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The other memory I have is from when I was 8 years old. I was looking through a calendar of Temples that my grandma had when I fell upon a picture of the Manti, Utah temple. I instantly fell in love. I ran through the house until I found my grandma and showed her the most beautiful building in the world! She gathered me up on her lap and told that one day I could get married in that building. That was my new goal. May 6, 2011 that goal was accomplished when I married my best friend there.

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These experiences have showed me how important it is to foster a love for temples in young children. To teach them how beautiful and sacred the work is that we do within their walls.

I testify that temple work is one of the greatest things we can do on this earth. It is the earthly house of God. We go there to do work for those who have gone before us, to receive guidance in our lives, and to receive peace and rest from the hustle and bustle of the world.

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Mothers: A Plead for Empathy

I have been writing this post in my head long before Blair was born. It usually turns into a major rant inside my head (or out loud when I am discussing this topic with the husband) but I am going to rein myself in and remain calm.

Becoming a mother is the most beautiful, terrifying, exhausting and humbling experience I have ever gone through. While a lot of moms out there did have encouraging things to say to me, a very large amount also harped on the negative, dismissed concerns and overall made parenthood sound like the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. The thing is most of the time I am sure this is not how they were trying to come off. Unfortunately many people feel the need to “pop the bubble” you’re living in.

My pregnancy was not easy. The last ten weeks the right side of my body had completely given up. I had to use the walls in our apartment (Thank goodness we live in such a small place!) just to get to the bathroom or the couch. I once got stuck on the ground for over two hours waiting for Garren to get home because I could not put ANY weight on my leg. I couldn’t crawl, or stand up. It was actually pretty scary. Trying to sleep was a disaster because just turning over in bed would send searing pain down my leg and through my pelvic region. Plus my restless leg syndrome was at an all time high. I would spend 3-5 hours at night sitting on my yoga ball crying and trying to relieve the pain. I will admit I complained a little bit (ok a lot) about the lack of sleep I was getting and instantly got laughed at with such comments like, “You think you can’t sleep now, just wait until the baby comes! Then you will really never sleep again”, or “Enjoy the sleep you are getting now, there will be even less when baby comes”.

Here’s the thing, most women are well aware of the fact that babies are a 24/7 job. We don’t necessarily need you to tell us that. Also it confuses me how all women suddenly forget the pain and general uncomfortable state of pregnancy once they had their baby. I am six months (tomorrow!) postpartum and still have nightmares of those sleepless and painful nights. In fact I slept about 100 times better when my daughter was a newborn than I did pregnant. Cuddling a sweet baby whom you love more than life is always preferred over searing pain.

So next time one of you friends or relatives complains of sleepless pregnant nights tell them how sorry you are or better yet, tell them it will be worth it! Tell them all the pain will be worth that precious baby, instead of diminishing their pain and telling them they know nothing of sleepless nights.

(Ok maybe this is already turning into a rant. Oops)

The other thing that tended to bug the husband and I was whenever we would tell people what we had done the weekend before they would automatically respond with “Go out now while you can! No more date nights when baby comes”. I personally just don’t understand why we constantly tell people all of the things you wont be able to do once you become a parent. What about all the things you can do? Having a child brings such simple joy to your life. Garren and I can sit and watch Blair take in the world around her for hours at a time and never get bored of it. We have not let having a baby keep us from doing fun things. In fact we  love bringing her with us! It just adds more love to our memories. Tell mommies to be the things you love about being a parent! Yes all moms will have worries so answer their questions honestly, but don’t forget to tell them for every sleepless night comes countless smiles, for every dirty diaper comes the wonder of seeing your child sit up by him/herself for the first time!

Finally with parenting comes a lot of decisions to be made. Where will baby sleep, bottle or breast, cry it out or tear free ect. What works for you may not work for other families and that’s ok! Share your advice when asked, and rejoice with moms when they find something that works for them! A mom choosing to breastfeed is not in any way threatening your decision to bottle feed and just because a mom did the cry it out method of sleep training does not mean you are less of a mom because you didn’t.

I plead with all moms to support and love each other. Bring back love and optimism to motherhood and embrace diversity!

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)