5.31.2009

the other side: naps

So I've decided each week I'm going to blog about what we have learned since having a baby. I think I was blessed going into parenthood...having grown up with my mom doing in-home daycare, having younger brothers, and babysitting since I was 10...I had a pretty good idea of the not-so-fun side of having kids. :) At the same time, I still had/have a ton of questions and parenthood has been a learning experience every step of the way....but books aren't my thing. Too many theories, opinions, ideas....I learn more from picking other parents' brains.

Although, you can never fully be prepared :) I think that people don't talk enough about the difficult times of parenting and the frustrations that accompany this blessed time :) so I'm going to talk about the nitty gritty and hope that someone will glean some sort of info and/or comfort from knowing "they aren't the only one" :)
Let's talk naps. Sleeping. This is not something our sweet girl is a pro at :) Let's put that out there right now. I know quite a few new moms who say their babies were on a schedule from day one and have never had problems....so obviously they have no idea where I'm coming from, right? I've gotten quite a few answers when I bring up the topic that hint at maybe it is something I'm doing. Like I'm not a good mom because my daughter doesn't nap the greatest. Thanks. :) I've tried the same time everyday, nap routines, rocking her for every nap...I mean you name it, I've tried it.
4 1/2 months later I feel I'm finally getting it, sort of. Adelyn is not a complete schedule girl. She's got her own beat and she's going to do her own thing no matter how much I fight her. :) Naptime is a nightmare and she fights sleep EVERY time I lay her down! No matter how tired she is, she cries and gets ticked whenever I lay her down....we go through the same thing of patting her back and fighting with her to sleep until she FINALLY succumbs...it is SO exhausting...especially when it is day after day, 3 naps a day. Bedtime is sometimes easier (for some reason) but there are times where bedtime isn't so fun either...
Here's what I've learned:
Babies like some predictability. They like to know what's going to happen next. While we don't have a set schedule, we do things in the same sequence everyday. We get up around the same time, go to the gym (she goes to the daycare) for an hour or so. Come home, nap, wake up, eat and play, nap, wake up, eat and play, nap, wake up, bath, eat, play, bed. That is the order, it just happens at different times during the day (although we're getting to a point now where she's around the same hour each day, so that's been nice). She's putting herself into a schedule now, I'm just helping her out by keeping things predictable for her.
Babies have a 90 minute sleep cycle (give or take a couple 10 minutes or so). Rule of thumb (wherever that expression came from), babies are ready to sleep every 90 minutes or so after waking up. If they are up too long between naps they get too wound up to go to sleep and then their next nap is shorter and a more fitful sleep. I don't remember why, but it's totally true. Adelyn goes down about every 90 minutes and she goes to sleep a little easier and her nap is a little longer.
Avoid overstimulation right before naptime/bedtime. This way they get more relaxed and have an easier settling down to nap. With Adelyn, I cradle her and give her her paci and rock and talk to her before I lay her down. Obviously this isn't possible for every nap, so I just try and limit visual stimulation when it gets closer to nap time.
The sucking reflex is a very calming thing for babies. I just give Adelyn her paci when it is naptime/bedtime or around there. It really helps her settle down when she is fussing and fighting sleep.
Jiggling and back patting have really been a lifesaver for us. She really settles down when we pat her back when we lay her down. She has slept on her stomach since she was 2 weeks old (she sleeps so much better that way!) and we pat her back a bit until she settles down. They're so used to the movement and bouncing around in mom's womb that it's comforting and calming to them.
When in doubt, go down the list. If she is fussing and she's eaten recently, has a clean diaper, and has been up for a while, it's time for a nap. It's hard to know for sure (especially when you are just getting to know your baby) when they are ready to go to bed, so eventually you learn their ques...but until then, just go down the checklist :)
Babies rely on us to help them settle down and go to sleep since they can't do it on their own. They depend on us to help them get the sleep they need. Nick and I have learned we have to make sacrifices so Adelyn can take her needed naps. She is no longer at the age where she can just sleep anywhere anymore, so we have to be somewhere where she can actually lay down. I have to plan my errands and lunch dates around her nap time...we can't stay out late anymore unless we are somewhere that she can lay down.
It is so frustrating and naptime has definitely been the toughest battle for ust with her b/c she fights us EVERY TIME....we are constantly saying "why don't you just go to sleep?!". Thankfully, when one of us (usually it's me) is ready to yank our hair out and starting to lose patience, the other can step in and take over....it's been SO frustrating learning her sleep cues and pattern, and we are still learning.
Hopefully this helps...if not, then hey, at least you know your child isn't the only one who doesn't nap well ;) If your child is a great napper and has a schedule...nice work :)


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5.29.2009

8 things

Okay, I was tagged at the beginning of the month, so I should get this done, right? :)
Here ya go...

8 things I am looking forward to...

1. spending this next week with my in-laws (yes, seriously!) ;)
2. Adelyn crawling
3. Adelyn saying "mama" and "dada"
4. fall weather (I don't like being hot and sweating if I'm not working out!)
5. 4th of July
6. paying of my ridiculous amount of student loans!
7. going on a bike ride this weekend
8. SLEEP on Sunday night (Nick is taking Addy to MN before me since I hafta work Mon. and Tues.)

8 things I did yesterday...

1. went running
2. cleaned the house
3. read a book
4. read Galations
5. played with Adelyn (alot)
6. talked to my mom
7. hugged my husband (yes, we kissed too)
8. took a walk

8 things I wish I could do...

1. run more than 3 miles without gasping for air
2. not sweat
3. pay off my student loans NOW
4. cook like Emeril
5. decorate cakes like Chef Duff
6. never do laundry again
7. never hafta clean again and still have the house be clean (yeah right)
8. be super mom-wife :)

8 shows I love...

seriously?? okay...

1. Ace of Cakes
2. The Office
3. the news (yes, seriously)
4. Biggest Loser

...okay, that's it... :)

8 people I'm tagging...

1. Steph
2. Natalie
3. Marti
4. Nealy
5. Angela (except she just had twins and may not be on for a while!) :)
6. Melissa
7. Allie
8. Tracy

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5.28.2009

love love love


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5.26.2009

a story of growth

This post is a jump away from the regular Adelyn updates and what nots. My mind has been spinning this morning and I've just been praying and talking to God the last few hours. I feel the awful taste of bitterness creeping up in my throat again. This happens every once in a while and I feel like this time, I need to share with everyone. Not to cast blame or display the yuckiness under a magnifying glass, but to share b/c we are not perfect and this is something that has had an immense part in shaping my heart.
At the end of February 1996, it was a Saturday morning. My dad came home after being gone for 3 days and announced he was leaving for another woman--his secretary, Lori, to be exact. I was 12, 3 weeks away from my 13th birthday. My dad was the man in my life. He was leaving. Tears are welling my eyes as I remember it even now. That was and is still to this day the most painful thing I have ever experienced. What made it harder was that no one had any clue this was coming. My dad's dad had past away about a year or so before and I knew he was changing. He quit coming to church, he wasn't as cheerful, he started smoking again (and hiding it from us even though I KNEW he was doing it)....then around October of 1995 I remember he just seemed to be a different person. He started coming home later.....I remember overhearing my mom on the phone one day saying "I just think he's fighting the Holy Spirit and he doesn't know where to start"....those 3 days he didn't come home my mom's answer was either he was working late or he was out playing pool at a bar (years later I asked her and he had been at Lori's place and one of those nights he had called and said he was divorcing her).
This started the crushing journey and transformation. I became the bitter and ticked off teen. I hated my dad for leaving us and hurting my mom. I hated his mistress for leaving her family and breaking up mine. My brothers would go visit every Tuesday and E/O weekend...but I wanted NOTHING to do with him. I made up excuses and fought tooth and nail not to have to go....and I won 99% of the time. I think my mom was just so emotionally exhausted from the whole thing and then on top of now raising 4 kids basically by herself (b/c I mean come on, parenting is a full time thing, not once a week and E/O weekend) that she didn't have the energy to fight me too much on it. This went on for years. I eventually started visiting my dad more often but I never stayed the night.
That following summer, I remember my mom getting ready "to go out" one night. I asked her where and eventually she broke down and said she had a date with my dad. I was so excited.... fast forward a few more weeks....we went to counseling (I hated it) and one day my dad was there, so it was the 6 of us again. I remember my dad getting teary and saying he was sorry and the counselor asked if I could forgive my dad and I said "I guess". I was still so angry with him, but I desperately wanted him to come back...I didn't know what to do. Fast forward another few weeks...after all of this my dad decided he wasn't going to come back and he wanted the divorce.
That clinched it for me. I was done. I had lost my dad...this man wasn't the dad that I knew. 8th grade was hard for me that year. I remember in youth group one night they were talking about dating and how dad's should be "screens" for their daughters. I remember being so bitter that I wasn't going to have that. My dad should be there to screen dates for me and protect me and be an example of a husband....and he wasn't.
About a year later, my dad and Lori broke up. I was so happy b/c I couldn't stand to be around her. What gave her the right to steal a wife's husband? A daughter's dad? A son's dad????
My mom's sisters and my grandparents were amazing and really helped out a ton. My Uncle Russ and Aunt Laurie I remember came down alot to help with house stuff and help my mom out. I remember sitting with my mom and Laurie and just listening to their conversations about how the Lord is so much bigger than divorce and how despite the situation, He is a good God.
My mom grew in her faith by leaps and bounds during the following years. I remember getting up at 5:30am for school and she'd be up sitting and reading her bible, talking to the Lord. I saw that and began to realize that that was what was getting her through this whole thing. My anger eventually faded to bitterness. Despite everything, my mom forgave my dad.
My junior year is when my faith became my own. I made a conscious decision to accept and live for Christ. I talked to my mom alot about forgiveness and she said to me one day "there are still days when I get angry with your dad for what he did. I forgive him for what he did to me, but it's what he did to you kids that I have to continually forgive him". That was amazing to me and I realized forgiveness is something that isn't a one time thing. You have to do it everyday. I have to forgive my dad DAILY b/c the pain and bitterness still rise up sometimes (like today) and I have to forgive him.
My freshman year at Central College I needed a seasonal job while i was home over winter vacation. I decided JCPenneys would be good (and they were the only ones hiring) :) I was at training one night and the people kept saying they were waiting for one more person to show up and she was going to be late b/c she had another job....an hour later in walks LORI. I froze. I know she saw me. She looked me, her eyes flickered, but she didn't say anything. Thankfully they were having a break, so I immediately left and found a secluded spot and started bawling. I never thought I'd have to see her again....and here she was being hired to the same department I was. I was going to have to WORK with her! I called a dear friend of mine (I couldn't bring myself to tell my mom yet) and bawled out the whole story....he encouraged me and reminded me that I needed to just love her...despite how much I wanted to hit her...and I needed to forgive her too. I went back and didn't say anything to her....I just sat there thinking about what he said, knowing he was right, and praying that God would give me the strength not to rip her hair out. Needless to say, she never showed up to work and I actually felt bad b/c she obviously needed the job since she was already working and still applying to work at JCP.
So where am I going with all of this? My parents divorce shaped me. I grew so much learning about God's grace, forgiveness and love. I learned early on that marriage is one of the hardest things a person can ever choose to embark on! I remember a few weeks ago, a friend of mine said, "Abby, I was surprised you didn't walk away a more cynical person, especially regarding marriage and men" and she is so right. Many people who experience divorce start to view marriage as a sham or something that's not even worth it...I think that's where Nick and I have had a one-up on alot of young married couples, we knew going into it the sobering realities of divorce and it wasn't going to be easy and it was going to be one of the hardest things ever....no fairy tales that's for sure :)
By God's grace alone have I come to where I am. I often wonder what would have happened if my dad wouldn't have left and my mom wouldn't have sought the Lord for her strength and comfort? Would we be the family who just goes through the motions? Would we just be going to church on Sunday and joining the rest of the World during the week like most Americans??
Days like today are hard. I hate that my parents are divorced. I hate that I didn't have my daddy there through my teen years. But God has blessed us through that. I love my stepdad and stepmom. I have a relationship with my dad again. (He and my stepmom accepted Christ last year and the change has been amazing. Praise God for his faithfulness!) I grew to trust the Lord and seek Him b/c He is the only one who will not fail me. I am more solid than ever in my commitment to my husband.
But the bitterness still rises at times and I go through the last 13 years in my mind again....and again I forgive my dad and thank the Lord for not letting me fall through the cracks.

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Flipper

video

We have been trying to catch Adelyn rolling over for the last 3 weeks! She's been rolling over for a while..but it's only when she's in her crib waking up from a nap, in the middle of a nap, or fighting a nap. The child will not flip over when we're just playing! She's so weird... ;)

Anyway...here it is...she gets ticked at me at the end b/c I keep flipping her over to get her to roll over :)

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5.23.2009

yum





Last week we started rice cereal...seriously, I know...I can't believe we've hit that time already! She doesn't seem to mind it too much, though, and I know eventually she'll get the hang of eating vs. sucking and quit pushing the food out with her tongue...eventually... :) For now I can get some super fun pictures to share with y'all.










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5.19.2009

you're invited!

Sunday, May 30th at the 10:30am service at First Family Church at Ankeny Christian Academy...we are dedicating our sweet girl to the Lord. :)
A number have people asked me what's the difference between baptism and dedication...I'm not the theological type, but it is important to know what I believe and why and "back it up" as some people put it....I'm learning daily...here's what I have so far on the baptism thing :)

In scripture, baptism was an outward act for people to proclaim their decision to put the faith in Christ. The act of baptism does not "save" a person, nor is it what makes them a Christian.
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved..." Mark 16:16. Faith comes first, then baptism as a symbol of cleansing yourself of your former life and beginning a new life with Christ.
Infants are not able to make the conscious decision of faith. Our church follows the example of Hannah in 1 Samuel when she dedicates her son to the Lord, "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord" 1 samuel 1:27-28.

Adelyn is our daughter, but she belongs to God. He has entrusted us to love and parent her, but she isn't ours. We are outwardly dedicating her to Him as a symbol to everyone that we will raise her as His and teach her His ways. Utimately, the decision is hers to make, but we pray that God will give her a heart like His own and that she grow to be an amazing woman after God.

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5.14.2009

4 months of funny faces































Our sweet girl turned 4 months last Monday, can you believe it?!

We had her check up on Wednesday. She's 25 1/2 inches long (75%), 15 pounds even (75%) and her head is 40 1/2 centimeters (26%). So just to recap the whole percentile thing....if you were to line Addy up with 100 kids and number them 1-100, she'd be #75, 75 and 26....'kay?
In light of this 4 month thing, I'm posting those pictures that can be used later in life to embarass kids and post at their graduation parties, show to boyfriends (ugh), etc...
I could just be nice and make y'all think that Adelyn is just so cute in every picture and there is no way she could look silly or ridiculous, but where's the fun in that?

So here's our little funny face...laugh, smile...I do every time :)























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5.12.2009

A Happy Mother's Day

Judy, Cade, Jill w/ Colton, me w/Adelyn, Diane (mom), Brooke w/ Drew, Laurie and Grandma

Adelyn (4 months), Colton (3 1/2 months), Drew (9 weeks)

Grandma and Allan with the babies (Cade wasn't in the mood for pictures at this point) :)

This weekend we went up to Storm Lake to spend Mother's Day with my mom's family. I love going up there and spending time with family and this day was no different.
Two of my eldest cousins, Brooke and Jill, both had babies 8 weeks and 2 weeks after Adelyn...so it was fun to FINALLY meet their little ones.
Not everyone was able to make it back, but it was fun to see those who were. :)




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5.07.2009

not a dull moment

Last night we went to my dad and step-mom's place for my dad's birthday. Adelyn didn't get much of a nap and by the time we got home she was super tired. I started getting her ready into her pjs, but she suddenly got playful...so we wound up playing for about a half hour (how could I resist??).

I can't believe how much she has changed even in the last few weeks. She rolled over for the first time yesterday. I didn't see it, but my mom did. The last few days she's been getting herself propped up on her side (from lying on her tummy), but she'd get stuck and couldn't figure out how to get her arm out from underneath herself....she hasn't done it since, but she still gets stuck :) She's reaching for things and intentionally sticking them in her mouth (here we go...) and on her tummy she'll get her arms and legs kicking like she's trying to go somewhere.

She is such a joy!

videoy.

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