Saturday, December 1, 2018

Stella is 9 Months!

Dear Sweet Stella,
Broken record here but time is flying by.  You are fun, happy and content.  You have been mobile this whole month and I feel like it is a game changer.  You can interact with Linnea and also get into ALL THE THINGS.

Before I get into what you've been up to this month I wanted to talk a little bit about postpartum fog.  The biggest change this month was probably with me.  I feel like some postpartum fog that honestly I didn't know was even there lifted.  Once it lifted I could definitely recognize that I hadn't been myself, like truly myself since probably before I was pregnant with Stella.  My pregnancy with Stella was hard.  Significantly harder than with Linnea.  I was sick, throwing up multiple times per day for over half of the pregnancy plus the exhaustion of growing a child and taking care of a toddler was hard.  I barely had enough energy to get through the day so being silly and creative with Linnea just didn't really happen while I was pregnant.

After Stella was born I felt so much better.  I could eat food again without fearing I would throw it up minutes later.  I had more energy and I could move around so much better.  I thought I was back to 'normal' but Jake would make comments occasionally about me still not being myself.  He didn't say them in a rude way, just more an observation and to see if we could talk about it to fix it.  I didn't know what to tell him. I thought I felt like myself.  I couldn't pinpoint anything that wasn't 'normal'.  I mean, I was tired and overwhelmed by taking care of two kids and feeling like this newborn and toddler stage would never end but that was normal right?  The transition to two kids was harder than I thought it would be but I wasn't crying all the time or anxious.  I was definitely crankier than normal but 'normal' was 18 months ago and maybe I've just always been this cranky ;).

Once the 'fog' lifted I realized I wasn't my normal self before.  I had the energy to dance, sing and be silly with Linnea again.  I wasn't so frustrated or overwhelmed and it didn't feel like I was just dragging myself through the day until 7:30 hit and they were both asleep.  I don't know exactly what changed but Jake and I have both felt the difference.  I think a big factor is that I am working out more consistently for the first time in about 2 years.  It isn't even a super hard workout but it is apparently enough to make a huge difference in my energy level and attitude.

Over the last 9 months (and probably the 9 before that when I was pregnant), I was jealous of Jake and Linnea's relationship.  He had so much energy and creative bandwidth and I didn't. I liked seeing how close they were but it made me feel like I would never have that closeness with Linnea again.  Like he had 'won' and I needed to just face the facts and move on.  I was the boring parent so why should I even try.  Then I realized how incredibly depressing that was considering she is only 3.

I listened to a great podcast about 'checking in' with your kids when you are wanting to 'check out'.  She talked about using all 5 senses to engage with your child.  Having that as a guide to reconnect with Linnea has been so good.  I think there was a snowball effect with working out, my energy coming back, the fog lifting and being more intentional to check in with Linnea.  It has made a huge difference.

Just hoping that if I share this someone might be able to relate.

Back to regular programming.  Here is what you have been up to this month sweet girl:

I have no idea how much you weigh or how long you are.  I could weigh you but since I'm typing this sentence 1 day before you turn 10 months old it wouldn't be that accurate ;).  I'd guess you weighed about 7.65 kg (16 lbs and 13 oz).
This little stinker was stingy with her smiles this month.


Seriously mom. Enough is enough.
You have been eating more table food this month.  Linnea was 11 months old before she got her first tooth and I naively thought she couldn't really eat table food until she had teeth.  After she got her first tooth I realized babies chew with their gums in the back of their mouth so having teeth isn't essential for eating table foods.  You LOVE feeing yourself.  It keeps you entertained and you get fed so win-win!  It does make a HUGE mess on the floor but that's the trade off I guess.

You love sweet potatoes, peas and pears.  I used Jake's sous vide machine to make chicken this month and you loved it.  It was super tender and easy to eat.  You are also a fan of slow cooker carnitas.

You usually have yogurt and fruit puree for breakfast.  Then for lunch, you either eat something I am eating if it is soft enough or have some baby food.  You don't care for baby food with chunks.  Apparently, if it is going to be chunky you want to feed the chunks yourself.  Pureed food is fine on a spoon though.

When we nurse first thing in the morning I'm usually just wearing a t-shirt and not a nursing tank top so you can see my belly.  You love playing with my belly button.  You will actually lift my shirt up to find it.

While you are nursing you also like to rub your hand all over your head.  You do this mostly at night during the last nursing session.

Now that you are really good at crawling you will crawl to me when I tell you it is time for some milk.  It is so cute!

You are doing fairly well in the sleeping department.  There were a few nights in a row where you would wake up between 8:30-midnight and have a panicky cry.  I would go in to hold you but if I tried to hand you off to your daddy you weren't having it.  You would lose your ever-loving mind!  Then when I would take you back you'd almost chuckle.  Turd.

I do not know how this is comfortable.
Waking up is hard sometimes
You are wearing size 4 libero diapers this month.  Your clothes are mostly 9 month with a few 6 month tops and 12-month sleepers.

I had a great time dressing you in Halloween clothes even if your dad wasn't a fan.

Playtime this month is 'let's get into all the things'.  You've found cords, your sister's toys and you LOVE the broom and dustpan!  Since you are the second kid I already know how to 'discipline' you by making a little noise to indicate that you can't play with it (instead of saying 'no no') and then I move you to somewhere else.

The drain is so fun!

Problem-solving skills

Our Days
I feel like our days haven't changed that much but I know it is easy to think I'll remember them forever when I won't.  So maybe next month I'll do a 'Day in the Life' post so I remember what it was like staying home with you.

I love riding on the metro!
Activities and Outings
I got up the courage to host a rhyme time with friends this month.  I LOVED going to rhyme time at the library when we lived in Olathe.  It was fun to learn new songs and rhymes but I also just enjoyed getting out of the house and seeing other adults during the day.  After going to a few rhyme times with Linnea I noticed two moms with little girls similar to Linnea's age.  I got up the courage to ask if they wanted to hang out sometime and we hit it off.  Even though we live an ocean away we still keep up on Instagram and I'm so thankful for their friendship!

I was hoping to do something similar with you.  There are rhyme/song/story times at libraries here but I felt like all of them were right in the middle of your nap and that just wasn't going to work.  So I decided to host my own!

I have a huge stack of rhymes from rhyme time in the US and a great resource which the Johnson County Public Library shared with me which is jbrary.  They also have a YouTube channel with all their songs and rhymes.  I went to both places and started planning the first rhyme time.  We've had 2 of them so far and they've been so fun!  I've typed up song sheets and handed them out at both get-togethers.  I realize that might be over the top but I love it!

Both of you got sick this month.  Ugh.  It was NOT fun.  Linnea came home from school on a Monday with green discharge coming out of one eye.  It was going around the school so we had to keep her home from school.  Of course, I did my best trying to keep you two apart but that is so hard now that you can crawl.  By Thursday or Friday of that week, you started having green discharge.  It took 2+ weeks for Linnea to get over it.  It was viral so we had to let it run its course and keep her home until it cleared up which was 8 school days.  I got sick with a head cold shortly after Linnea got sick.  It was HARD taking care of two sick girls when I was also sick.
Sharing her paci and boycotting her nap.
A little smirk even with swollen, goopy eyes.

The first day the head cold was really bad I wanted Jake to stay home.  He didn't and later that day he told me he left so I could 'rally'.  Really?  The next week we thought Linnea was better so we sent her to school only to have her sent home again because she was scratching at her eyelids and they were starting to bleed a little.  I told Jake if Linnea was staying home he was too.  I eventually lost my voice for almost a week and had a terrible cough which is still kind of hanging around.  Jake also got sick but not too bad.  It was a LONG month of sickness.

I love fall.  I love all of the leaves and the colors.  I took a few pictures of the girls in the leaves and we also had family pictures taken.
I love her fist full of leaves and her little tongue sticking out.
Pictures by my coworker Barbara Kucera.

 Her tongue facial expressions!

We celebrated Halloween this month.  Trick or treating isn't that popular yet but it seems to be getting more common.  Linnea did get to dress up for school.
She wanted to be Lava Man from Moana but her school said no scary masks. When Jake dropped her off he noticed several kids had masks and face paint so they laminated her mask but she didn't wear it much. It was too large and too tight to her face.

They had a great day celebrating Halloween!

We did go downstairs to trick or treat at one neighbor's apartment and then they came up to us as well which was fun.

Firsts and New Skills
Your dad claims that you pulled up to your feet but I was not there to see it so it doesn't count ;).  You so badly want to walk/stand but the way you try isn't very efficient.  You basically straighten your legs and stand on your feet but with your hands on the floor (like a downward dog) or a bear crawl.  Ha!

You started clapping this month just after you turned 8 months old actually.  You don't do it very often but you like to bang two toys together which is pretty much just like clapping.

Sister Moments
Linnea is having to learn how to share toys with you now that you can actually get in the middle of whatever she is doing.  I don't like when older siblings take a toy from a younger kid and give them something else.  I want her to learn that even though you are little and may not care we don't take toys from someone who is actively playing with it.  For the most part, she is still very sweet to you.  If you start fussing she will either bring you a toy or start clapping and making faces at you.  She even shares her beloved Alix with you.

When your sister tries to make sure you have something to play with . . .

Linnea earned a baby doll for Stella. It was so cute!
Sisters are so much fun!

Don't mind me, mom, just pushing Stella into this box . . .

Linnea New Skills
Linnea's school has been working on numbers for the past 7 weeks.  Linnea can count in English and in Swedish but sometimes she gets confused if you ask what is 6 in Swedish.  I can tell they are studying bigger numbers as well because she'll throw out numbers like 45 (which was her go-to favorite number for a while).  She is starting to be able to read bus numbers and bus stop signs which is fun.

Finding numbers on the way home from the store.
Speaking Swedish to Emma.
Loopy Moana singing
Going on a walk with Alix

Slide or Stroller ramp?

Linnea Funnies/Quotes
Linnea has been learning about numbers at school so we've been hearing lots of:
"I want 6 cookies."  "Let's count to 7."  "Can I have 6 cookies?  How about 5?  I want 11 cookies."  "I want you to set a timer for 6 minutes."  I want you to lay down with me for 7 minutes."
Since Stella was on the move so much this month Linnea was constantly asking "Can Stella have ____?" to know whether or not we should take it away.  She knows plastic bags are a big no-no for Stella.
We don't let Linnea sit on our laps when we eat but after we are done eating she can sit on our laps at the table.  One night she said, "Daddy, are you done eating? My hands are clean."  Aka, can I sit on you?
I want to remember what it felt like when the fog finally lifted.  Like I could see again or breathe deeply.
 Jake's caption for these picture through Stella's eyes: "This is my mama!"

I want to remember what it feels like to hold your little hand.

I want to remember watching you play with Linnea.  You love her so much it actually hurts . . . like when you pull her hair.

Love you Sweet Girl!
Your Mama
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Friday, October 19, 2018

Stella is 8 Months Old!

Dear Stella,
I feel like I literally just finished your last monthly update and here we are again.  I mean, it could have something to do with me being behind but I swear time is flying by.  You are happy and sweet and MOBILE!  But my favorite milestone this month might be . . . that you are sleeping through the night again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You hit 3 big milestones on back to back days. On September 17th you got your first tooth, on September 18th you crawled for the first time and on September 19th you slept through the night for the first time (possibly tired from all your big leaps) since our trip to the US on August 15th.  You like to go big or go home!

Here is what you've been up to this month:

At 8.5 months you weighed 7.445 kg (16 lbs 6.5 oz) which is in the 25th percentile. You were 69.5 cm long (27.3 inches) which is in the 52nd percentile.  Your head was 43.5 cm (17.1 inches) around which is in the 48th percentile.

These aren't the best pictures but shortly after these you got a viral eye infection and now you are almost 9 months old so this is the best we've got!

You are eating solid foods about 3 times per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and still nursing 4 times per day (7:15, 11, 3, 7).  You tend to prefer savory over sweet but you like mangos and peaches quite a bit with yogurt in the mornings.  You usually eat dinner around 5:30 right when I'm just kicking back with my feet up making dinner and trying to entertain Linnea.  You are usually done eating by the time we eat so we've been putting food in a silicone feeder for you and it keeps you pretty busy.  You also like trying to eat peas but most of them end up on the floor.

Whenever you are nursing on my right side you love to pull your sock off or pull on the foot of your pajamas. You know where we nurse so if I sit down in the chair to feed you and then get up again before I start nursing you let me know that you disagree with that choice.  You also like to squawk a little while I'm getting ready to nurse you.

When it is time to eat solid food you take a very small first bite and turn your head to see how it tastes before accepting any big bites.  It is so funny watching you 'taste' to see if you approve.

We had you tested for an egg allergy this month and you tested positive.  You are allergic to eggs.  The doctor thinks you'll outgrow it since 95% of kids do.  We will go back again for testing when you are a year old.

You are sleeping through the night again!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So our little camping trip to the US totally messed up your sleep because I basically "trained" you to need to eat in the middle of the night again.  Whenever you would wake up I'd nurse you and you'd go back to sleep but I think you were just awake from jet lag.  But since we were all getting over jet lag in one room and then in a tent I just did whatever got you quiet the fastest.  Let's just say I won't be repeating that mistake next time.
"Watching" West Wing with us (aka sitting with us for a minute or two and then I put you back to bed. Silly girl!
We used the Baby Sleep Solution book to resleep train you.  The book tells you to slowly decrease the amount of milk you get in the middle of the night to retrain your belly to not need it.  Start by tracking how much you usually eat and then slowly cut it back 3 minutes at a time.  Well, you were only nursing for about 3:30 total.  So I started cutting it back by 30 seconds at a time every 3 days.  Once you got to 1 minute and 30 seconds you stopped waking up in the middle of the night.  You did get a lot of bonding time with your dad in the middle of the night because I'd cave and nurse you so i could go back to bed ;).  I think having him be up with you was great for everyone!
As soon as you slept through the night you started to crawl and then shortly after that your bottom teeth started coming in and that wasn't very much fun at all.  You had some big milestones all happening at once.

Your new go-to sleeping position.

Someone thinks she's a big girl.  We lowered your crib that night.
Naptime is so funny!

You fell asleep after this.  I am a big believer in putting kids on a schedule and laying them down when they are awake even before showing signs of being tired.  Once my girls act tired they have such a harder time falling asleep.
Looks like you get your 'planning ahead' skills from your dad ;)
You are wearing size 62, 68 and 74 in most tops and pants.  Most of your pajamas are size 9 months and you could probably wear some 12-month pajamas.  It is so fun seeing you in the same outfits Linnea wore as a baby.

You are officially mobile and that has changed the playtime ballgame!  You are everywhere and into everything.  It is nice having a small apartment because I can see you all the time but everything is so much closer so you can get into everything so fast!
You love playing with rings, shapes, and balls.

You can easily go from your belly to your bottom and back again.  I love seeing you move around more but it makes you look like such a big girl!
Sitting up is a little tricky.

Your shower cap is hilarious Mama!
Our Days
Our days have been great.  We are in a great rhythm and I love being home with you.  I definitely miss adult interactions but I know that will be here (going back to teaching) before we know it.

We usually go grocery shopping on Mondays during your morning nap and then sometimes meet up for lunch or fika with a friend during the week.

Don't let these two fool you, they had a great time at Pizza Hut with their mamas!

After your afternoon nap, we pick your sister up from school and stop by a park on the way home.

I got a new carrier this month just in time for you to get teeth and need to be close to your mama.  I didn't mind one bit!

Activities and Outings
This month a high school friend, Ali, and her husband Barclay visited Stockholm before heading out on a cruise.  We had a fantastic time together! I really hope they can come back to visit again soon!
Ali wrote a great blog post about their time in Stockholm.  You can read it here.

We went to Comic-Con this month.   Linnea wore her Belle dress half of the time and her Batman pajamas the second half.  She had a great time.

 Roaring fire at the dragon.
Linnea saw these girls and wanted a picture with them.

We went to a fall festival and Linnea loved playing in the hay with the wheelbarrow.

We went on a family adventure walk near our apartment.  It was a gorgeous morning.

Linnea has so much energy!  This was after a full day a Comic-Con, no nap, and then a birthday party.
Firsts and New Skills
You got your two bottom teeth this month.  The left one came in first (Sept 17th) and then a few days later your right one came in.  You were definitely more drooly and you noticed the pain more at night.  We gave you ibuprofen and Tylenol which definitely helped.  Linnea never put up much of a fuss with her new teeth but you definitely let us know about it.
You can crawl!  You started crawling on September 18th right around 7.5 months old.  You never army crawled, you just went straight to hand and knee crawling.  When you crawl on the hardwood floor sometimes you crawl with one leg straight which is funny.  Maybe the floor hurts your knees?
Before Linnea was born Jake and I would 'talk' for her in a high pitched voice.  This has continued but now Linnea has started talking for Stella like she does in this clip.

I caught your first forward progress on camera!

You've been watching your daddy do bear crawls.

Sister Moments
Now that you can sit up I love watching you play more with your sister.  Linnea loves you so much and you love her too but sometimes her hugs might be a little much for you.
Now that you are mobile we've been working on teaching Linnea how to share her toys.

You are just happy to be able to go where you'd like and join in on whatever fun you can get into before I tell you 'that's not for you".
Linnea New Skills
Linnea's Swedish is taking off.  I mean, I assume it is because she's speaking it with ease to kids on the playground and adults in elevators and I just smile and nod like I have a clue what she is saying.  She can usually translate for us if she starts saying something in Swedish and we don't understand she will switch it to English.
This video is long but Mona, Florian's Mom, is talking to Linnea in Swedish asking her questions so I could get some of her Swedish skills on camera.  Thanks Mona!  She's asking her about what color the carton of milk is that we usually drink (It is red which is 3% whole milk. You can also get green which is 1.5% or blue which is 0.5% skim milk.)

They've been working on numbers and colors at school and I've realized Linnea says 'brun' for brown 100% of the time.  So I asked her if she knew that that color was called brown and English and she said no.  Oops.  I sure wish I had her confidence when speaking Swedish.
Linnea was a little sick this month so she wore a Belle dress while we watched half of Moana one day and the rest of the movie the next day.
Linnea loves to climb and Jake loves to encourage her.

One of Linnea's favorite preschool teachers left her school to go to university.  We were so sad.  I barely held it together for several days in a row when picking Linnea up from school.  I mean, the day after we found out she was leaving I walked up to the playground to pick her up and she was sitting on her lap just cuddling with her and playing with her necklace.  Thankfully she is helping out at the school on Fridays still.  I know Linnea loves seeing her.

This is at her preschool.
Puddles are so much fun!
Taking Alix on a walk.

Linnea Funnies/Quotes
While Linnea and Jake were playing on the floor:
Linnea: Daddy, I feel a little bit silly.
Jake: Do I need to take my glasses off?
Linnea: Yeah
Then lots of giggling happens.  She knows she has to be careful with Jake's glasses (because she has broken the nose piece before) so he's told her when she is feeling silly to let him know so he can take them off.
Recently when Jake and I are talking over dinner or just in general Linnea will say, "Mama, can you tell it to me?" "Daddy, can you also tell it to me?"  We've realized she just feels left out but also the tone we use when talking to her is different than when we talk with each other so when she says that we try to include her but sometimes our topics are pretty boring.  She is a good sport and will add little comments like "That's nice" which cracked us up.  She just wants to be included.

I realized we were both wearing navy blue shirts and since we are the 'birthday girls' born on July 5th, I thought we needed to get pictures.

Linnea has been asking that I bring Alix when I pick Linnea up.  She's been showing her all the fun parks on our way home.
Linnea came in to cuddle with me one more.  It was so sweet.
Linnea and Jake with matching pink shirts with buttons.
I want to remember the pouty face and cry that you give when I sit down to nurse you and then get up again before we start.
I want to remember the way your face lights up when you see me, especially if it is time to eat.
I want to remember your belly laughs at your sister.

I want to remember everything about the baby stage.  Before Linnea was born I didn't think I'd like the baby stage but I ended up really enjoying it with her.  I think I'm enjoying it, even more, this time around because I know how fast it goes so I am really trying to soak it all in!  It helps that you are such a happy, easy going baby!  I am so thankful I get to spend my days with you!

Your Mama
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