8 months & 9 months

At the beginning of 7 months, Joey was rolling and spinning, and still tipping when he sat.

NOW, just two short months later, as we close out on being 8 months – he is EVERYWHERE. He crawls (fast), pulls himself to standing, likes to play while sitting on his knees, will take a few steps along furniture, loves playing – he is busy, busy, busy!

The night before Halloween (7 months and a week and a half) I thought he scooted himself forward across the bathroom floor. I wasn’t sure, and didn’t really believe it since he never went backwards and so many babies I’ve known have gone backwards before forwards, but Halloween night while we were waiting for trick-or-treaters he followed me (and my newspaper, which is what he really wanted) all around the living room! And he hasn’t stopped since! Just after he turned 8 months he figured out how to pull himself up and now he doesn’t want to do anything but stand. He’s getting more and more steady, and is very comfortable letting go with one hand. He is persistent and determined – if there’s something he wants, he will find a way to get it. He doesn’t often get frustrated, just keeps working at it. I know this is all very developmentally normal, but I am just so proud of him. He is so big.

(8 months on the left, 9 months on the right)

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Oh, and ps: the dogs are going on a diet. It’s called “you have 10 seconds to eat before mom takes your bowl away because Joey is playing in your food.” ;)

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BLW: The Beginning

I first heard about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) a couple years ago and thought it was pretty neat. The more I read about it, the more I knew it was for us. No cereal, no purées, just food. Completely on Joey’s time and Joey’s terms. I love that the emphasis and pressure is taken off of food. He’s still nutritionally getting everything he needs from breast milk, and with BLW he’s really getting to just have fun and explore.

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And he loved the exploration!

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It was not only a sensory experience for his mouth, but for his hands too. He’s getting to work on his fine motor skills to pick up each piece. He loved squishing them!

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We chose avocado as his first food because it’s a great healthy fat and something easy to pick up and gum.

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He enjoyed the social aspect of being at the table with us, and was constantly looking to Andy to make sure it was ok.

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He didn’t eat much of it, although he did enjoy sucking it off his fingers. When he got a chunk in his mouth he wasn’t quite sure what to think, and moved it all around before gagging it out.

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We’ll continue to go at his pace and let him explore, but I think it’s safe to say this was a fun introduction to food!

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Sunshine

I’m needing a little sunshine in my life today. Maybe you are too. :)

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Fall Fun

Earlier this fall we visited a pumpkin patch with our friends Ally and Rylee. The kids were too little this year to enjoy most of it, but they loved looking at the animals and we loved taking their pictures! We got to go on a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick our own pumpkin that we later carved (Joey slept through that whole part, so I picked the pumpkin for him ;)).

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We also spent a day out at the apple orchard as a family! We went on a hayride and picked our own apples, had some cider and roasted some s’mores… and Joey’s favorite part was the leaves. Lol.

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Time to dig in to the pumpkin! Joey enjoyed feeling the outside and squishing some of the insides when we got him a bit, but didn’t really want to stick his arm in on his own. He did enjoy showing the puppies what he was doing. :)

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We enjoyed some time with Joey’s great-grandparents when they stopped by on their way to Arizona!

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And of course we’re gearing up for our little monkey’s first Halloween! Happy Fall!

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7 months

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We’ll call this the month of the roll. Because this boy rolls everywhere!  He’s not crawling or even really scooting, but he can get where he wants to go by rolling and spinning!

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He loves his toes! They are his teething toy of choice.
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He’s sitting up so much stronger now, doesn’t even need to have his hands down (but of course wouldn’t pick them up when I wanted to take a picture!). He still forgets to balance sometimes and tips over, but he doesn’t mind too much because then he can continue rolling all around.

 

 

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I feel like he’s grown up a lot this month. Maybe it’s the jeans, or maybe just because he’s in the second half of his first year, but he seems so big now!

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He is still chewing/sucking on anything and everything he can get in his mouth. We are loving our Chewbeads! And he totally crossed his fingers like that all on his own and then shot me that look. Love his expressive eyebrows.

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Why We Wear #IBW2013

Happy International Babywearing Week!

As this week celebrating babywearing comes to a close, I just wanted to share what babywearing has done for us and why we choose to do it!

Making up for lost time They often say the first 3 months after birth are the “fourth trimester”. Babies need lots of touch and skin to skin time as they adjust to the outside world after 9 warm months on the inside. Well, on top of that, Joey spent 3/4 of his third trimester on the outside… in a plastic box with minimal touch no less! I think this definitely contributed to his “high-needs”ness. He has a high need for touch. Way more so than any other baby I’ve cared for. Babywearing allows him to be close to my heart – right where he wants to be. It also allows daddy those moments with him too!

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To share the world This one will continue to be a big one for me as he grows, but even now I love to share the world with him from his safe place. He’s not at knee-level, being forced at a crowd. He’s snuggled in my chest, and can look, explore, and observe at his own pace. He’s right near my face and I love chatting with him about the things we see and hear, even though he doesn’t say much back quite yet :).

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No germies I can’t tell you how many times when we first brought Joey home and I took him out in his car seat (like, to the doctor), people thought it was ok to reach in and touch my itty bitty preemie. I love that having him right up against my body, in our own private place, gives us a little barrier and some personal space. While I’m not all about keeping him completely in a bubble, we’d like to come through this first flu/RSV season with no sickness, and I’ll do what I can to protect him from that!

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Naps Oh, naps. Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby curled up on your chest or in that little space between your shoulder blades?

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More comfortable than holding Joey is a mover. It seems like he’s constantly kicking, flailing, bending, waving some part of his body. It can be hard to counterbalance all this movement. But when I wear him I think he feels less need to move, and it’s less taxing on my body when he does! Using ergonomic carriers distributes his weight well across my body and puts him in an optimal seat making it comfortable for both of us.

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Way easier to get around His car seat doesn’t take up the entire cart while I grocery shop (and I don’t have to lug that beast anywhere!). We don’t have to navigate narrow aisles or bumpy terrain. We can take on airports, downtown Chicago, stadiums and the apple orchard with ease.

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We like it Babywearing may not be for all babies or for all mamas (and daddies!), but it works for us. (And you might find the same if you give it a try!)

*pictured are a Moby Wrap, Ergobaby Options Carrier, Sakura Bloom ring sling, and standard canvas Tula*

6 months

Happy half birthday, buddy!

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Joey is now about 13.6 pounds and 25 inches long. Most doctors want breastfed babies to double their birth weight by 6 months – Joey is over 3.5 times his birth weight! He’s an overachiever. :)

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What life is like now:
- He has learned a pterodactyl scream when he’s not happy with what you’re doing. Or sometimes just because he’s wants to hear his voice.
- But he also has BIG laughs when he’s happy.
- He loves reading books.
- Loves jumping in his jumper.
- Has decided he HATES taking a bath (after that being his favorite thing in the world until now!).
- Loves watching the puppies, petting them, pulling their fur, and sticking his tongue out to kiss them back.

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- He thinks snorting is the funniest noise he’s ever heard. He tries to imitate it but can’t quite figure it out yet.
- He FINALLY found his toes!

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- He loves scooting and rolling all around in his crib.

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- But still has no desire to roll from back to belly. He’s totally capable, just decides he’s content once he’s on his back.
- He still sucks his thumb, but only when he’s sleeping or going to sleep. Never in the car when he’s screaming. ;)
- He grabs ev.er.y.thing. If it’s in his reach, it’s in his hand. And then in his mouth.
- He can sit on his own, but forgets he’s supposed to balance himself so topples over easily.

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He got sick for the first time this month and was just not himself at all for a couple weeks. A sure sign: he fell asleep in the car, let my carry him in in his seat, and continued to sleep in there in his bed for another hour. That is all unheard of in the world of Joey!

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He had his ophthalmology appointment this month and did great. Currently he’s about 4 points farsighted, which is on the high end of normal for his age. He’ll go back in a year and see how much he’s changed!

Joey got invited to his first birthday party this month! His little friend Paxton turned two and invited us to his party at Gymboree. It was fun!

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We also took our first trip to MN this month and Joey got to meet his BFFs!

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Cool dudes.

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Hanging out in the Tula!

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The first half of year one:

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Side by Side

Just for fun – some comparisons of how much Joey has grown! Hard to believe how much he’s changed in less than half a year.

First time in his car seat on homecoming day (5.5 weeks) and yesterday (5.5 months):

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Snuggled on my chest at 6 weeks and almost 6 months:

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First time in his It’s a Preemie Thing shirt at 6 weeks and last time I could squeeze him in at 5 months:

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In his swing on his due date (8.5 weeks) and at 5.5 months:

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First time in his Bumbo at 9 weeks, and a few days ago (5.5 months):

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First cloth diaper (9.5 weeks, almost 8lb) and this week (5.5 months, 13lb):

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First time in his bucket tub (I had to hold him up!) at 2.5 months, and still enjoying it at almost 6 months:

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And another just for fun – Joey at 5.5 months and ME at 6 months! This boy looks like his mama!

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Depth of Pain to Fullness of Joy

I’ve got 3 of my closest friends going through some incredibly hard and painful situations right now. They are weighing so much on my heart and I wish I could take all the pain, fear, and uncertainty away.

But while I’ve been processing these situations, one recurring thing I want to share with them all keeps coming back to me.

Over the last nearly 3 years I have seen some of my deepest, darkest days, as well as some of my brightest, most joyful days. Infertility is something you can’t fully understand until you’ve been there. The pain, the fear, the uncertainty – it’s so real and so raw.

A friend of mine just asked on an infertility board we’re both on a while back to those still trying to conceive their first, “Have any of you started to picture your life without ever having children?” I remember those days. That question brought me to the darkest places my heart has ever been. I couldn’t picture it. It wasn’t me. Everything about everything I had ever done was to the end of having my own children. Of being a mom. A life without kids was not a life I wanted to live. I felt absolutely forgotten, ignored, hopeless, hurt, and angry. Why didn’t God get it? Why did he put this unquenchably strong desire in my heart, only to keep the prize at arms length? It wasn’t fair.

But what I know on this side of it is if I hadn’t experienced the depth of the pain, the darkness of those days – I could never experience the fullness of the joy and light I’m experiencing now. God knew it’s what my heart needed. It was pain with a purpose. A purpose I couldn’t see, try as I did.

I think it’s ok to feel that anger, let yourself experience that pain. It will stretch your heart to new limits – in the capacity for pain so deep you’ve never experienced anything like it, but also in the capacity for joy.

I wish I could show you all the big picture. I wish I could say exactly how that joy is coming. And when it’s coming. All I know is that it is. And it’s going to be so much more beautiful than you can even imagine.

Proud Mama

My heart is just swelling with pride today. First Steps came back out again today to see where Joey is at. She was shocked and impressed at how far he’s come even just since the last time she saw him. As she interacted with him and asked me questions, she determined that he is really exactly where he should be for his actual age. A very healthy 5.5 month old. She even said if she didn’t know and hadn’t heard his whole story, she’d never believe he was so premature and has bleeds in his brain. The developmental pediatrician had the same impression last week too.

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As his mom, this filled me up big time. My days and nights with him are hard and long. Most days suck every ounce of life out of me by the time I finally lay down for the night. He is incredible, and exhausting. He is perfect, and needy. Being his mom is the greatest gift, and the hardest challenge. And to know that my efforts with him are helping… It just makes it all worth it. And to see how far he’s come… I am so proud of him.

I have started putting together a scrapbook for him (side note: LOVE Project Life! more on that later). It is still hard to look at pictures from his first few days. I hold a heavy guilt knowing that it was my body that failed him. He was warm and comfortable in his perfect home, and my body failed him. I know it wasn’t my fault, nothing I did on purpose, but oh how I wish he could have stayed inside. I felt like I set him back, set him up for failure, and placed a burden in his life he would need to overcome. Well, you know what, this boy is an overcomer. It heals my heart to see him so whole. To see tiny miracles in him daily.

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