Lydia was having some "independent time" in her pack n play this morning while I caught up on Facebook and she fell asleep in there. She hasn't slept in it since her first week home from the hospital and I was planning to start trying to do some naps there to get her used to it for travel... looks like she beat me to it!

I'm so glad my baby can put herself to sleep. Sometimes she still has a little trouble, but for the most part she can fall asleep without me, without motion, and without a pacifier. I just plop her in her crib and walk out. She might fuss for just a few minutes, but usually settles herself down just fine after that.

She's still learning though... we definitely still have rough moments. Yesterday I put her down for a nap around 2:30 and she initially fell asleep pretty well. But after 10-15 minutes she woke up crying... an obviously "tired cry" not one indicating she needed anything. So I'd leave her be and she'd resettle after a minute... but then she'd wake up again after another few minutes. This went on for nearly an hour! I went in a couple of times to try to burp her and each time the poor thing was just SOOO sleepy but was having such a hard time staying down. Finally at around 3:30 I burped her and cuddled her for just a minute, then layed her down and she was able to sleep for another 30 minutes.

So yeah, we still have some naps that don't go so well, but I'm thrilled that she's learning to do this without needing any aides.

Currently I'm working towards getting a solid feeding schedule for Lydia. I'd been feeding her ever 2.5-3 hours during the day... typically starting around 7am... but I never had a good routine for it. Some days would be mostly 2.5 hour blocks, others would include more 3 hour blocks. It just made it more difficult to plan our days. Now I'm trying a solid 3 hour schedule with her first feeding at 7am and last one at 10pm. This gets her 6 good feedings during the day and 9 hours of solid sleep at night. Yesterday was the first full day on this schedule and she did really well on the 3 hour blocks. I was afraid I might have to deal with some fussing in the last half hour since she's used to sometimes eating after 2.5 hours, but she had no problems at all yesterday. She did wake up a little before 4am this morning, but rather than jump to feed her I tried the pacifier first and it worked! She took her paci and fell back to sleep by 4:15 (I had to go put it back in her mouth a couple of times before she fully fell asleep... precisely the reason I don't often let her sleep with the paci!). I'm really hoping that after a few days of this routine she'll settle in and get back to sleeping longer at night. The last time she fully slept through the night, I didn't sleep well because I kept wondering if she was okay all alone in her crib. :-P

For not even being 10 weeks old yet, and being exclusively breastfed, I'd say Lydia is a champ at sleeping! She still has rough days (and always will), but she is learning very well and all of the good days make for a very pleased mommy. :-)

There's a lot of housework that needs to get done still, but I've decided to blog instead. Hey, I've put a yummy stew in the crock pot for dinner, washed dishes, done laundry, and kept a cute little kid fed, changed, and well rested all day... I deserve a break, right? :-)

I love being a mom. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mother and have the chance to stay home and raise my kids. Finally being able to do so is fantastic! Now, I'll be honest, the first few weeks were HARD. I cried a lot in Lydia's first few weeks of life. I cried because I didn't know what she needed... I cried because I felt like a failure when nothing was getting done around the house... I cried because I felt like I was neglecting my husband and therefore must be a terrible wife... and I cried because I was not getting nearly enough sleep. There were times when I looked at Lydia and wondered why I didn't feel happy that she was here. Why don't I feel totally in love like I'm "supposed" to feel as a new mom? It was really really rough on me.

I think things started to turn around some for me when Lydia started smiling. Finally getting some feedback that said to me, "Hey Mom, I like you and you're doing a great job!" was much needed assurance. It also helped me when I loosened up on trying so hard to get her on a schedule. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a huge fan of schedules... but I needed to step back a little and learn to work with my child to do things that fit her as an individual, not try to mold her into what the books tell me she should be. That was a huge step for me. I live by guidelines and instructions... I think that's why I always liked Math more than English. With math there was always a right way to do things... always a right answer... everything was very cut and dry. So parenting has been an adjustment for me. Suddenly no one can tell me what the right way to do things is (though there are those that try!). I can't always know if what I'm doing is the best... I just have to go with my gut and hope it all works out. I'm so glad I've got Christ by my side to give me strength to get through each day. Knowing that He is ultimately the one in control is a huge weight off my shoulders!

So now here I am... the stay-at-home mother of a beautiful 2 month old daughter... and I truly, honestly can say that I absolutely love it. (I think the fact that she finally sleeps through the night most of the time helps with that haha!) It is so much fun to look back and see how much I have learned in just 2 short months. I certainly know a lot more about Lydia than I did when we first brought her home. I know when she is sleepy or just tired of being held. I know how to make her smile and laugh, and also some things that make her really mad! And while a part of me feels a little sad seeing her grow up so quickly right before my eyes, I take great pride in knowing that I can provide for her needs and have contributed to her outstanding growth and development. She is by far the best job I've ever had!

I know that as a mother the learning will never end. Just as soon as I think I've got her figured out, Lydia will change and I'll have to adjust. But that just means I get to live in constant awe as I continuously discover who this beautiful child of God is becoming. I can't thank God enough for entrusting her to my care and for all that He is teaching me as I get to watch her grow.
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So I was wondering the other day as I read a friend's blog about how much she was getting accomplished during the day while at home with her newborn son... why is it that I haven't seemed to be able to do that? Lydia is over 2 months old now and there are still several places in the house that haven't seen a housekeeper's touch since before she was born. Now granted, I've never been a clean-freak and put off cleaning stuff long before I had a child, but after bringing Lydia home I often found it difficult to even get to the simple stuff like washing dishes or picking up the piles of baby stuff that kept accumulating everywhere.


I pondered this question and came to the conclusion that it's because I have given birth to a catnapping wiggle worm. I can't carry her in one arm and do housework with the other because she doesn't like to be held for very long periods of time. She wants to be somewhere that allows her to kick her legs and swing her arms and basically just wiggle everything. So, she doesn't want to be held but still wants my attention. If I stop looking at and talking to her for too long she gets mad.

In addition to her wiggling, she's also become a catnapper. You can almost set your watch to her naps... 45 minutes long, give or take 5 minutes. She will be awake for typically no more than an hour before she starts to wear down, then she'll sleep for 45 minutes, then be awake for another hour or so, etc, etc. This does not give me very many good blocks of time in which to do anything. The beginnings and ends of each wake/nap time involve cuddling, diaper changing, dealing with fussiness, and/or settling down which eats up even more of those short little time blocks.

So sure... I could probably make it work and figure out how to have an immaculate house all the time... but I don't care that much haha. I just needed to understand for myself why it seems the days just fly by without anything getting done.

^ That's the post I've been meaning to make for days... now on to more recent news...

Lydia slept for 8 hours last night! It was wonderful! She's been doing fairly well with at least giving me 6 or 7 solid hours, but last night we had our last feeding then went to bed at 11 and she slept until 7 this morning. I still haven't managed to get her in her crib at night though. A few days ago I started working on crib naps again. She did great the first day, then struggled a lot yesterday (for one nap she cried off and on for an hour... never long enough at a time that I felt I needed to get her though... and then promptly fell asleep for nearly 3 hours after I gave up and brought her downstairs in her chair), and so far today she's doing good again. It's 8:30 right now and I put her in her crib at 8. She only fussed for a minute and has been sleeping since. Hopefully she's starting to understand that crib = sleep!

The trip to Cinci last week was really nice. Lydia got to spend lots of time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. By the end of the visit I missed my little girl! I hardly got to cuddle her at all! On the way home we stopped in Findlay so I could show her off to all of my (ex)coworkers. By this point I felt comfortable informing them that I do not intend to return to work. Most didn't seem surprised by the news at all... and who would be when they see how utterly adorable my daughter is? How could I possibly NOT spend all my time with her??? ;-)

After we returned home we had a couple of very busy days. Wednesday was family dinner night at our house then Thursday we had Lydia's 2 month appointment. She had to get her shots that day. Ouch! Poor little thing was already really tired from a busy morning then she had to get 3 shots. She screamed and her tiny little face turned all red, but she calmed down very well once Mommy picked her up to comfort her. Before we even made it back to the car she was fast asleep in her car seat, and she continued to sleep for most of the afternoon and early evening.

FYI it is now 8:42 and, like clockwork, my baby girl is waking up...

The weather has been really great lately. A little hotter than I prefer and WAY too windy, but at least we are seeing the sun and able to go outside! Lydia actually enjoyed the wind. Every time a big gust would come she'd smile and kick her legs with excitement. It was too funny!

For the next few weeks things will slow down around here in terms of activities. Hopefully this will give me a chance to really get a good routine established for Lydia and I. After she got sick when she was 1 month old, I kinda set the schedule aside and just took things as they came. Now I'm ready to adjust back to having more of a sense of "normal" in our lives.

I was going to blog, then the tiniest member of the household woke up. It took me entirely too long to type this with one hand. More to come later.
As a stay-at-home mom I'm finding it increasingly difficult to remember what day it is. For instance, today is Saturday... but I've had to convince myself of that at least 3 times already and it's not even 9am yet. I'll think about it, look at the calendar, and say to myself, "It's Saturday... isn't it? Yes... wait... yes, it's definitely Saturday... at least I think it is..." Sometimes there's just very little distinction between the days. Maybe as Lydia gets older and we start getting into more activities I'll be able to keep track a little better.

The weather here has been FABULOUS these past couple of days. It's about freakin time! On Thursday Lydia and I went out to Target and did some shopping. I loved getting out to see the sunshine! Then yesterday Brent was (mostly) off work so we had a lovely family day. In the afternoon we drove over to Coldstone (I absolutely NEEDED a strawberry bonanza smoothie) then took our treats to the park for a walk. Lydia didn't much care for the sun in her face, but she fell asleep on the walk and overall didn't fuss much.

Tomorrow we'll be packing Lydia up and making her first trip to Cincinatti to visit Nana and Grandpa! Mostly the purpose of the trip is to see my brothers and their families since they can't as easily come up to see us. Michael and Jenna still haven't even met Lydia! So we're looking forward to seeing the two of them, as well as Joshua, Erin, and their 3 girls (who just adore their cousin Lydia!). I sure hope Lydia travels well!
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Sleep has been no where to be found at my house lately. Lydia is still dealing with sinus congestion/reflux that causes her to stir more during the night and she sleeps like junk during the day. Sometimes it seems you'd be able to set your watch by her naps... 45 minutes long, right on the nose. That is, if you manage to get her to fall asleep. She regularly fights sleep and will doze off for a minute or two then jolt awake. This is all very frustrating because she NEEDS the sleep. She ends up overtired and fussy which just makes everything even worse.

BabyWise talks about stuff like this happening around weeks 7 and 8 (Lydia will be 8 weeks old on Sunday) and says it's a growth spurt and she's waking up because she's hungry. I don't really think that is the case with my little girl. She's never really been a good napper and she doesn't wake up screaming... typically she wakes up all smiles (for about 10 minutes until the fact that she's tired makes her fussy again). So I'd like to think that this is a temporary thing that will be going away soon, but I'm not so sure. I may never sleep again... :-(

Thankfully we have her 2 month doctor appointment next week and I can ask more about the reflux issue. Lydia has been on Zantac for the past month but it doesn't seem to be helping anything. Sometimes when she is sleeping she lets out the saddest sounding whimper that just breaks my heart... I worry that she's in pain and I don't know what I can do to help her.

On a different note, I'm glad I started this blog. I realized the other day that I already find it hard to remember what things were like in those first days after bringing Lydia home from the hospital. It made me sad to think that I'm already forgetting precious little details about her life. So now I will hopefully be recording more of that stuff so I can jolt my memory in the future. Here's a summary of Lydia today:

- she spends her days mostly napping for 45 minutes (typically after much prodding) then being awake 45 minutes (or a little more) in cycles

- she hates hates HATES when I put lotion on her, but her poor skin just gets so dry!

- she's battling reflux and/or sinus congestion that makes her cough and snore and often sound like she has junk in her throat

- the only place she'll sleep for any decent length of time is in her bouncy chair... so she spends her nights in that chair in the guest room while I sleep in the bed

- she gets this cute little grin on her face all the time as she is just drifting off to sleep

I started writing Lydia's birth story about a week after she was born but haven't shared it with anyone. So... for anyone interested in our story, here it is!

Trying to find time to rest, see visitors, care for a newborn, AND get around to writing down the birth story is a challenge. So chances are it will take me a few attempts before this is completed. As I stated before, Mom arrived at our house on the 20th and we began the countdown to Lydia’s arrival. That night around midnight I woke up in a terrible coughing fit. I spent 30 minutes or so in the bathroom over the toilet trying to cough up the junk in my throat. I mention this only because I think it might finally have been what started the labor process. By 2AM I started to feel contractions. They generally ranged from 6-10 minutes apart and weren’t too unbearable, but enough that I couldn’t sleep very well. I didn’t want to get Brent and mom up until I was thinking things might continue, so I just got up and went downstairs to read up on the differences between real and false labor. Contractions continued so I eventually got Brent up, then later we decided to get Mom up so we could all be ready if we determined it was time to go to the hospital.

Brent loaded up the car while I showered and got dressed, but after I finished getting ready I noticed the contractions were slowing down. By 7:30 or 8AM they’d more or less stopped. I was disappointed that we’d thought this was perhaps the real deal and it ended up being a false alarm. The rest of the day we stayed home in case things picked up again but they did not until early Sunday morning. Once again around 1 or 2AM contractions started. Again they were around 6 minutes apart, but this time they were feeling much stronger. Considering the previous morning, I was hesitant to wake anyone up or get too excited for fear that they would stop again. I woke Brent up to inform him and then took a shower and got dressed before waking Mom up (since this was the activity that preceded the stopping of contractions on Saturday morning).Still unsure if this would go anywhere, we all got up and got ready then Mom made blueberry muffins for us to have for breakfast. We continued timing contractions and they stayed fairly consistent at 5 minutes apart, with some of them being quite strong. Just before 10AM, we made the decision to head to the hospital and hope they would confirm that our baby was indeed on her way.

We arrived at Toledo Hospital and Brent wheeled me up to the 3rd floor (Labor & Delivery). There we informed the nurses of my contractions and they took us into delivery room #5. By 10:20 I was in a gown and sitting on the bed waiting for word from the doctor on what we were going to do next. When the nurse (Erin) checked me I was 90% effaced but still just under 2cm dilated. We were told that I was still in early labor so I would have two options: Go home and labor there until in active labor, or stay and start a pitocin drip to speed things up. I was torn… part of me wanted to let the labor progress naturally in hopes that it would be easier to manage, but I was heartbroken at the thought of going home and waiting who-knows-how-long for active labor to kick in. At 11:00 I decided that I would get the pit drip and hope for the best. The drip was started at 11:30 and the doctor (Dr. Confer-Seeley) came in to break my water as well. I remember thinking at that point that there was no going back now… ready or not, Lydia was on her way!

After the pit drip was started, the contractions began to get closer together and more intense. I would get very intense pain in my lower back with each one, so I positioned myself to be able to roll to my side and have Brent or Mom massage my back with a tennis ball until each contraction passed. The nurses had told me that I could have an epidural whenever I wanted one, so when Erin came in and told me they were doing an epidural next door and could be in to give me one in 20 minutes if I wanted one, I decided to go ahead with it. They did not do another check of my cervix, so I have no idea how dilated I was at 1PM when I received the epidural. Wow… it was amazing how quickly the pain went away! The procedure itself wasn’t too bad (I refused to look at any of the needles) and as soon as they got it in I stopped feeling the contractions. Brent would look at the monitor and see I was having a contraction, but I didn’t feel the slightest change. So besides not being able to move around once the epidural was in, it was great! Mom and Brent went to grab some lunch since they weren’t needed for pain management anymore and I laid in bed watching Grease on TV.

Everything was pretty quiet for the next couple of hours. We talked and watched TV. Erin or another nurse (Wendy) would come in periodically to check on things and change my position (I was on my back at first, then moved to laying on my right side). At 3:10 it was time to check my cervix again. Now, we’d been told up front that this would likely be a very long process. The most time required to get to 4cm, then an hour per cm from 4 to 10, then up to 3 hours of pushing for a first time mom. So we were anticipating Lydia’s arrival being quite late in the evening and thus I assumed that this afternoon check would have me at around 4cm. I was completely shocked when Erin announced I was at 8! Brent quickly got on the phone and informed his family that they might want to think about coming to the hospital… still keeping in mind that it could be another several hours. But no sooner had Erin left the room that I felt the need to push (felt exactly like a desire to have a bowel movement). I called her back in and when she checked again I was at 10cm already. I went from 8 to 10 in literally a matter of minutes!

As the nurses started setting the room up for delivery and informed the doctor, Brent got back on the phone to let his family know that Lydia wasn’t going to wait much longer! By 3:35 I had started pushing. I still could not feel the contractions, so the nurse watched the monitor and told me when they were starting so I could get 3 pushes in each contraction. The epidural still kept the pain away, but pushing was definitely tiring… I can’t imagine having to do that for several hours! As I pushed, the doctor would tell me she could see Lydia’s head and that she had lots of hair. I couldn’t wait to see her myself!

At 4:14PM on Sunday, February 22nd, Lydia Beth was in my arms at last. I couldn’t help but cry as I heard her tiny cries and they placed her on my chest. She was absolutely beautiful… and very pink! Not all purple like some babies. The doctor and nurses even remarked that she was one of the pinkest babies they’d seen. She scored 9.9 on her APGAR! 7lb 9.9oz and 19.5in in length, with plenty of hair on her head. I hardly even noticed anything else the doctor was doing to me after I had Lydia in my arms.

Brent was so proud of her too. He likely held her more that night than I did! He claimed I’d had her for 9 months so it was his turn now. Eventually Mom had been patient long enough and asked for her turn to hold Lydia before the other family members came in. So right away Lydia was introduced to Nana, Grandma Rita, Papa Tom, Aunts Sarah, Devon, and Natalie, and Uncle Jay. As she got passed around to the family, I finally got to eat! I’d not had anything but some water and a few sips of chicken broth since our muffins in the morning and I was hungry! Thanks Lydia for showing up by dinner time.

Once I was done eating it was time to change to a recovery room and let them take Lydia for a bath and health assessment. I was really sad at how long they kept Lydia. It was a busy night and they had lots of babies in the nursery… but I wanted my Lydia back! Finally she returned and we were able to snuggle some more. We had a few other visitors that night including Brent’s grandparents (Jim & Nancy) and his Aunt Sandy. I was just so happy that Lydia arrived safe and sound.

What a journey it has been, baby! I’ve loved you every step of the way and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. You are an amazing blessing, Lydia. I can’t thank God enough for allowing us to have you in our life. May you never forget how loved you are and always have been.
We had a lovely Easter yesterday. Lydia did great in the nursery at church (slept the whole time!) and I really enjoyed watching the message. It was amazing to me to realize how much more meaningful Christ's sacrifice is to me now that I am a parent. As I watched a video depicting the crucifiction, I cried... praying that someday my little girl will know and understand the great love her Savior has for her. Then as I watched another video of a father having to choose to save a train full of people by sacrificing his son, I had to bite my lip to keep from bawling. I just don't know that I could bear to make such a sacrifice. I LOVE my daughter... how could I ever choose to let her go for ANYONE?

It just made it so much more real to me what an incredible sacrifice God made by sending his Son into this harsh and ungrateful world. To put his Son through such torture knowing that most people would be oblivious to what a great gift had just been offered to them.

Amazing how having a child can change your perspective.

After church we dressed Lydia up in her fancy Easter dress to take pictures. I know I'm biased, but I think she's the cutest baby I've ever seen!

I would have put her in her dress for church, but since she was going to the nursery the whole time and we wouldn't have time for pictures until after church, I didn't want to risk her getting all messy before the photo shoot. So instead she dressed up for pictures first, then wore the dress to her Great Grandma's house for dinner.

This week I'm going to try to keep close track of Lydia's schedule... particularly her napping habits. She used to be a good napper, but lately she has decided that being awake is more interesting so she only catnaps during the day. I wouldn't mind too much if she was happy and content when awake, but the past few days she's ended up overtired and super fussy by the end of the day. I try and try to get her to take good naps, but usually they are no longer than 30 minutes. Thankfully she is at least doing okay at night. Last Wednesday night she actually slept through the night! I got 7.5 hours of continuous sleep! But the nights since then she still wakes up once or twice. She's still only 7 weeks old, so I'm not expecting much different... it can just be so hard on me when she's up several times a night and then won't nap long enough during the day for me to get a nap (or get anything done for that matter). So anyway, I'm hoping if I track her behavior better I can notice some patterns and we can go from there.

Every day as a mother is bringing me new lessons to be learned!
Today is Lydia's first Easter and I am so excited about dressing her up and taking pictures. My little girl is growing up so fast! Today will be the first time I plan to leave her in the nursery at church... and we've got Grandma coming over to babysit for the first time on Tuesday. Yikes! But I'm glad that we're taking that step and she'll get some time with other people besides me.

Lydia is definitely developing a little personality. She "talks" so much these days! She'll sit in her chair and laugh and smile and make talking sounds. She loves when I sing and talk to her and she really gets a kick out of laying her her bassinet and talking to the bears on her mobile. I love it!
Well here I am... considering a return to blogging. I used to use Xanga all the time in college, but basically abandoned it after 2007. Guess I decided I didn't have anything to write about.

Now that I'm home with my beautiful baby girl all the time, perhaps I'll have more time to blog and more things to blog about.

Stay tuned...