Monday, August 29, 2011

10 months for Lila-pie!

Lila is now in the double digits for months -- our little girl turned 10 months on August 26th! This past month was the first time I realized that, in many ways, she's more like a toddler than a baby now (the biggest reason -- she's scooting on her belly now!). Of course she still is very much a baby, but she looks and acts so much older than she did just a month ago! It's like she's a whole new person.

Physical stats:

I haven't weighed Lila since she was weighed at the doctor's office on August 2nd. That day she weighed 17 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 28.75 inches long. I can definitely tell she has gained weight since then -- she just feels heavier when I pick her up and carry her around. I would guess she's maybe 18 pounds now. And her 6-12 month onesies fit her like a glove, so she's gotten longer, too, by at least another quarter-inch, since that size is supposed to fit babies 27-29 inches long.

Last week, I brought out Lila's warm-weather 12-18 month clothes. She doesn't have very many, so I went and bought a few outfits from BabyGap for her that she can wear until it gets cold. One of the outfits is this periwinkle blue shirt and a matching pair of capri pants, and they are literally the same color as her eyes. She looks gorgeous in that color. I'll have to post a photo of her in it.

Lila's hair has gotten so long that she's starting to look like her brother did at that age. She's got the old Kate Gosselin look now -- a bunch of short hair sticks up on the top of her head while the front portion lies flat. Putting a bow in doesn't really help, since the bow holds down the long hair in front but not the short hair in back. You can kind of see this in this picture from her photo shoot:


I hate to say it, but nursing Lila has become quite a chore. She is so unbelievably restless while she's nursing that it takes forever, and sometimes she won't even sit still long enough to nurse from the second side. If I give her her blanket while she's nursing, she'll stay content a little longer. But there are just too many things she wants to do! It's especially hard to nurse her if she happens to spy one of her toys beforehand (or anything else she thinks looks fun to play with, like a colorful magazine or an empty box).

If it gets worse (and I pray that it doesn't), I may need to start pumping so I can give her the breastmilk in a cup. She has been practicing a little with water in a straw cup, but she just likes to chew on it. Today I bought her a beginner's sippy cup (I left all of John's old sippy cups in Illinois), and she thinks that's a chew toy too. We'll keep practicing with it at mealtime.

Thankfully, Lila is still a great solid food eater. She has only turned her nose up once to a jar of baby food, and that was the Earth's Best vegetable turkey dinner. (It's funny, though, because she used to eat that one all the time with no problems.) About a week or two after her 9-month birthday, we started giving her yogurt and cheese. She didn't really care for the cheese the one time we gave it to her, but I think I need to try a different type. I just tore a piece of Colby Jack cheese into little pieces for her. Cheese crumbles would probably be better. The yogurt was a hit, though (YoBaby blueberry yogurt).

Her new favorite food is puffs -- she just can't get enough of them! She tried them for the first time on August 11th, and it only took her a day or two to get really good at eating them. I couldn't believe how fast she figured out how to pick them up and put them in her mouth. Now she eats them so fast that I hardly have enough time to pour more onto her tray before she gets impatient! She eats the Happy Bellies organic puffs in the banana and greens flavors. Here's a video from August 12th of her eating puffs at dinner:


Lila's schedule is starting to change. Now that's she's older, she can be awake for longer stretches between naps (3-3.5 hours). This is wonderful in the mornings, since it allows us to get out of the house for a while longer before we have to come back to lay her down. She always falls asleep right away for her morning nap if she's in her crib. But lately it's gotten tricky in the afternoons. She usually wakes up from her first nap just before John goes down for his nap, and the past few weeks she doesn't want to go down for her afternoon nap until at least 2.5-3 hours have passed, even if she's tired and rubbing her eyes. (If I try putting her down before then, she'll roll around in her crib for awhile, babbling and squealing, until she starts getting mad that no one is coming to get her.) But this means that she wants to take her afternoon nap just as John is waking up from his nap and we can't get out of the house a second time!

So today I tried to go back to her earlier morning naptime of about 2.5-3 hours after she wakes up (between 9:30 and 10 a.m.), and it worked perfectly. I laid her down at 9:45, and she fell asleep a litle after 10. She was awake at 11:45, which was early enough for her to need her afternoon nap earlier. She was tired again at 2:30, so I laid her down then and she fell right asleep. It worked out great because she woke up from that nap around 3:45 -- shortly after John woke up from his nap -- and we were able to take an afternoon outing to the park.

Lila has also been a little more resistant to going to bed at her usual time of 7:00 p.m., which is at least in part a result of her napping later in the day. It doesn't help that she gets riled up when she's playing with John in the bathtub and/or in his room during the nightly bedtime routine. The hardest part is getting her to settle down to nurse. Once she has nursed, she's usually calm enough to go down for the night.

Unfortunately, Lila is still waking up at least once at night. I really have no idea what wakes her up. I give her about 10 minutes to try to calm herself down before I go to her. I pick her up, sing her a song or two, rewrap her in her blanket, and lay her back down. She usually quiets right down and goes back to bed. If she doesn't go right back to bed, or if she keeps waking up again every 5-10 minutes, I assume she's hungry and nurse her. I have dropped the nighttime feeding she used to have around 10 p.m., though, and only nurse her when she genuinely seems hungry.


One of the teeth on the top next to her front teeth came in maybe a week ago, and the one on the other side of her front teeth should be breaking through any day. So technically she has five teeth now, with the sixth almost here! All of the teeth on top make her look so much older. You can see her top front teeth really well in this photo:


Lila's new favorite thing to do is to play with this suitcase John has that we put all his Mega Bloks in. She gets so excited when she sees the suitcase that she starts making this high-pitched grunting noise that sounds like she's trying to communicate with it (I can't imitate it, but it's hilarious). She also starts breathing in and out like she's in the middle of running a race. We always do the bedtime routine in John's room (because it's much bigger than Lila's room), and she will amuse herself for a good long while with climbing in and out of the suitcase and moving around the blocks.

The playroom is almost finished now (we just have to buy one more bookshelf from Land of Nod, I think -- I will post a photo soon), and Lila really likes pulling up on the shelves and taking books and toys off of them. It's a good workout for her! She also still enjoys tipping over her Pottery Barn toy buckets and rummaging around inside. Generally, anytime she can make a mess of something, she's going to enjoy it. Another example is the Leapfrog alphabet magnet set on our fridge -- if we pass by it while I'm holding her, she'll literally throw herself at it to grab at the magnets and drop them on the floor.

Overall, though, like most babies, her favorite toys really aren't toys at all. She will go crazy over a piece of paper or a magazine but not take a second glance at a toy I've given her. The other day, my new contacts came in the mail, and Lila played with the boxes of contacts and the bigger box that they came in for at least 20 minutes.


Much to my delight, Lila added to her repertoire of sounds this month -- as of August 19th, she now says "ma" and will string the syllable together to say "" (with separation in between) and "mama" (no separation)! Of course she probably isn't referring to me, but it's really nice to hear!

As I mentioned earlier, she also started making the high-pitched grunting sounds and the out-of-breath running sounds when she sees something she really wants to play with. In the last post, I forgot to mention the first real "word" Lila ever said -- it sounds something like "goom" or "boom." I can't make out whether it's a g or b at the beginning. She's been saying that for at least 2-3 months, maybe longer. I never wrote down when it started.

Lila is a very avid gesticulator (yes, it's a word). Grandma Kay Ellen has noticed that Lila holds her hands up and daintily moves her fingers as if she's playing piano. She LOVES to wave and will wave to us and other people all the time. When she's excited, Lila flaps her arms up and down like a penguin.

I started signing to Lila this past month, mostly at mealtime, in the hopes that she'll soon learn the signs for "eat," "more," and "all done." I think she understands what I mean when I sign "more" to her now. She doesn't sign it back to me, but she does start saying "" Maybe she's trying to say "more?"

Other milestones:

The biggest milestone Lila met this past month was becoming mobile! She started trying to scoot around on her belly in mid-August, and she had gotten good enough at it by the week of August 22nd that I had to baby-proof her play areas. It's so different having a mobile baby -- much, much harder. I knew it was coming soon, but nothing prepares you for it.

Lila can also now.....
.....sit up in her crib (as of the end of July/early August)
.....pull herself up to standing on her activity table without assistance (as of last week)
.....pull herself up to standing in John's crib (as of last week)
.....bend down from her activity table to pick up a toy (as of August 25th)

Here are a few more photos of Lila from August. Enjoy!

Nibbling on a teething biscuit.....

Nibbling on her fingers.....
Cooking up a storm in the kitchen.....

Getting a little upset with Daddy after he spiked her hair.....

Staring down Mr. Penguin.....

Pushing up on all fours.....

Pretty in purple.....

Smiling in the playroom.....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lila's 8- and 9-month posts (very belatedly!)

This is a long post -- I'm playing catch-up!

8-9 months old

Lila turned 8 months old on June 26th. This was her first birthday in our new house in Wisconsin (we officially moved in June 21st), and Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff were visiting from North Dakota to help us get settled in.

They hadn't seen Lila for almost six weeks, and they couldn't believe how much bigger she was and how much her hair and grown in that short time! They were also impressed by how much easier it was to feed her solids. (She had finally mastered swallowing towards the end of May.) Here's the little girl during mealtime in our dining room:

But what really won Grandma and Grandpa over was her new trick -- putting her arms up in the air to say "so big!" Luckily, I was able to get a series of photos showing how she did it (she doesn't do it very often anymore now that she's older -- she has other tricks in her repertoire). Here's the "before" moment. Lila's just playing with one of her favorite toys from that month, the Fisher-Price turtle that was a gift from Great Aunt BJ and Great Uncle Noel.....

Now she's listening intently to Mommy as Mommy starts saying it.....

And now, she's showing Mommy she can do it, too! "So big, Mommy!"

"Boy, that sure was fun, Mommy!"

One of the great things about unpacking all the boxes at our new house was the fact that we unearthed a whole bunch of baby toys that had been in storage in Texas, including the table top to the Fisher-Price activity table that John had so enjoyed as a baby (we had only brought the legs with us to Illinois). The table quickly became another favorite toy of Lila's, especially the section with the laptop that opens and closes.

The rest of June and the first weeks of July were really busy for Miss Lila-pie. After her grandparents' visit, she had a visit from her boyfriend, Kael Boenitz. Kael and his parents, Eric and Chiara, flew into Chicago from North Carolina for the 4th of July weekend. They stayed with us at Grandma Kay Ellen's house while Grandma was in Oregon with Aunt Katharine and Uncle Jarey.

Baby Kael.....

Lila with her Aunt Chiara/future mother-in-law.....

Baby Kael with Uncle Ross/future father-in-law.....

Baby Kael and Lila-pie getting reacquainted after a six-month separation.....

Less than a week after the Boenitzes' visit, Lila had her very first plane ride! Daddy, Mommy and Lila flew to Texas July 7th to attend a few events with Daddy's old unit, Task Force Gambler. There was a Hail and Farewell at Mel's Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown the evening we arrived and a marriage retreat at Horseshoe Bay the 8th (my 30th birthday!) and 9th. (Grandma Kay Ellen and her friends were watching big brother John for the weekend.) We also got to see our good friends the Reclas, including little Lauren, who is exactly 3 months younger than Lila (she was born January 26th of this year).

It was SO nice to have some one-on-one time with Lila! She did really well with all the traveling, although the plane rides got a little tedious. I had been thinking she'd nurse during take-off and fall right asleep, but she didn't fall asleep on any of the four flights. (We had a connection in Dallas both trips because we were flying in and out of Killeen.) She wasn't entertained by any of her toys or books for very long, especially on the Dallas-Chicago flight. The only things she wanted to play with were the Children's Tylenol bottle, the teething gel container, and the butt paste container. We rotated between those for a while, and then we just stood and walked around with her. I wished we could have used her infant car seat on board, but there wasn't a single seat free on any of the legs of the flights. I know she would have fallen asleep in her car seat.

We didn't take any photos in Texas except for a few at the resort, where Daddy took Lila in the pool one morning. This was Lila's first time in a big pool -- she had only been in a really small baby pool up until then. She loved splashing with her arms, just like she does in the bathtub!

July passed quickly because of all the traveling we did between Wisconsin and Illinois. Lila actually got to see her boyfriend a second time shortly after we returned home from Texas. John, Lila and Mommy stayed in Illinois for Grandma Kay Ellen's brain surgery, and Baby Kael, Aunt Chiara and Uncle Eric flew out to help us (and help they did -- they were LIFESAVERS!). It was wonderful to get to hang out with them again, even under the circumstances. The babies enjoyed each other's company for sure!
Through all of traveling and transitions that month, Lila was a total peach! Here's a quick rundown of some of the notable things about Lila at 8 and 9 months old.....

Physical stats:

At her 9-month check-up with her new doctor, Dr. Dunigan, Lila weighed 17 pounds, 5 ounces (25th-50th percentile) and measured 28.5 inches long (75th-90th percentile). I think John weighed 18 pounds, 1 ounce at his 9-month check-up. Lila definitely takes after her Daddy -- long and lean!

Lila's eyes are still the same dark blue, but her hair seems to be getting darker. Maybe it's just that it keeps getting longer and thicker. Dr. Dunigan was definitely smitten with Lila -- he kept saying what a beautiful baby she was.


Lila was still a good nurser, although it started getting a lot harder to keep her focused. She started wanting to pull up on the sides of the chairs/sofas on which we nurse. Also, she started trying to get out from under the nursing wrap when we were out in public (like on the plane rides).

As for solid food, she has always eaten everything we give her! We buy the jars of Earth's Best organic baby food, and there isn't a single one she hasn't liked. The fruits she has tried include apricots, peaches, pears, apples, bananas, plums, prunes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and mango. The veggies include green beans, sweet peas, zucchini, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and winter squash. She has tried a variety of grains. We started giving her (pureed) chicken and turkey in late June/early July.

She started regularly eating breakfast (her 3rd meal) the week of July 11th. We had tested her while we were in Texas to see if she would take solids in the morning, and she was definitely ready!


Lila's daily schedule didn't change much over these two months. She was still waking up between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. and going to bed at night around 7:00 p.m., and she was still napping at around 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. She was still nursing four times a day (and once at night). The only feeding change was adding the third meal at breakfast.

Much to our dismay, Lila was still waking up several times at night. There was a period of about 3-4 days at the end of July when she slept through the night completely, and it was wonderful! Then she started waking up again at least once during the night. I'm sure it didn't help that we were doing so much traveling. The transition from crib to port-a-crib back to crib must have been rough on her.


Lila's 3rd tooth (top center right) broke through on July 24th and her 4th tooth (top center left) broke through two days later on her 9-month birthday. Luckily, her teething didn't seem to bother her very much.

Separation anxiety:

Lila's first-ever time at child care was at the marriage retreat in July, and she did wonderfully. After that, she started going regularly to the nursery at the gym and church. So far she hasn't shown any separation anxiety in these settings. She does sometimes get a little upset at home if Daddy takes her from me.

Pulling up and other milestones:

Lila started getting very adventurous during these months. Besides trying to pull up to standing while nursing, Lila started rocking back and forth on her bottom in an effort to move towards out-of-reach toys. She'd get up on all fours and continue to rock back and forth, but then she'd plop down on her tummy. She started being able to stand up against things unassisted at the end of July -- her Fisher-Price activity table definitely helped her with this. She also started waving (sometime in June) and clapping (end of July).

Favorite toys:

Fisher-Price numbers/shapes turtle, Fisher-Price activity table, Chicco activity walker, kitchen utensils, Mommy's cell phone, water bottles, and generally anything else in Mommy, Daddy or John's hands. She definitely stopped liking actual toys as much.

To cap off this lengthy post, here are some other random photos of Lila from June and July. (Most of these are from Grandma Kay Ellen's house.) I'll be uploading a bunch of photos in the next few days so I can get Lila's 10-month post done. She turned 10 months yesterday!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

9-month photo shoot

Lila had her 9-month photo shoot this past week, and our photographer, Anna Lemon, just posted a sneak peek of the shoot on her website. I purchased the CD, so I can print off any of the photos. It is going to be so hard to decide which one of Lila to print out for the 11 x 14'' frame on the wall in our living room!

These three might be my favorites:

This one is Daddy's favorite:

Here are the rest of the sneak peek photos of Lila (and two shots of John):

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We're still here! (and a prayer request)

It's been nearly two months since we last posted any updates/photos of our family, and I apologize. It probably seemed liked we fell off the face of the Earth!

In some ways, we did. We've been in a state of limbo, traveling back and forth between Illinois and Wisconsin, ever since Daddy returned home from Fort Hood on June 18th. I looked at my calendar today and realized that the kids and I have not slept in our new house more than 12 consecutive nights, the longest stretch having been July 18-29. This is where we've slept recently:

June 21-30 - Wisconsin
July 1-3 - Illinois
July 4-5 - Wisconsin
July 6 - Illinois
July 7-9 - Texas (Hail and Farewell and marriage retreat at Horseshoe Bay)
July 10-17 - Illinois
July 18-29 - Wisconsin
July 30-31 - Illinois
August 1-3 - Wisconsin
August 4-9 - Illinois
August 10-? - Wisconsin

The reason we've been going back to Illinois so often is that Grandma Kay Ellen is very ill and has been in and out of the hospital throughout the past month. At the end of June, after suffering from several localized seizures in her leg, she learned that her breast cancer had spread to her brain. She underwent a type of brain surgery called a craniotomy on July 12th to remove the lima bean-sized tumor. Roughly 60-70% of the tumor was removed during the surgery, and she was waiting for a follow-up radiation treatment scheduled for mid-August to get what was left when some other health issues popped up.

These issues led to an emergency room visit and an 9-day hospital stay for her beginning on July 29th. Doctors found an obstruction in her intestine which was being caused by breast cancer that had spread to the outside of the organs in her abdomen. She had one treatment of two new types of chemo drugs and was supposed to have a second until her foot starting seizing again. At that point the doctors decided it would be better to finish off the brain tumor first with the radiation treatment (scheduled for August 15th) and then continue with the chemo beginning August 22nd.

We are so grateful that we now live so close to Grandma Kay Ellen. A huge factor in our decision to move to Milwaukee was its proximity to Lisle (only 105 miles from our door to hers). Please keep Grandma in your thoughts and prayers these next few weeks. She is a big believer in the power of prayer, as are we. We love you, Grandma!!!