Denver Bound

Last Friday, we signed a lease on our new place in Denver. We get the keys on the 11th and will probably be moving in over the weekend of the 18th, though that still has to be locked down for sure.

Yahoo!

We were fairly sure we’d end up with an apartment, mainly because that’s about all we could afford in lower Denver, but we got extremely lucky and ended up signing a townhouse in the same complex that was our favorite on the list. It was in the perfect area, only about 10 minutes from Cameron’s new store and in a safe location with lots of stores and activities/parks nearby, and when we called to schedule a tour, the price we were quoted on a 2 bed 2 bath apartment on the 7th floor overlooking the city was out of this world perfect. So when we showed up, the leasing agent took us up to the unit and it was great. Perfect size, nice open layout, fireplace, GIANT balcony, amazing view. When we got back to the leasing office and he looked up the rates, though, it was about $300 more a month than we had initially been quoted over the phone, which put us just out of reach of our budget. I mean, we probably could have done it, but I hate the idea of stretching every month. We were both visibly bummed, and a little annoyed that the price was so different. He explained that their prices change daily based on supply and demand of units and residents, and the price we were quoted over the phone was only locked in for 3 days. (This was never pointed out to us.) So we figured, we’ll still fill out the application anyway and go to the other tours we had booked later that afternoon and see if any work out. While we were sitting there filling out the application, the leasing agent started poking around on his system looking for other units (I think he could see we were about to walk out and not come back) and he said, “Have you guys considered a townhouse?” And I said no, because the prices we’d seen online were a little too high. Well, he says, I have a 2 bed 2 bath that just came open yesterday and it’s currently being offered at cheaper than the price I quoted you for the apartment. It was also about 400 square feet larger than the apartment and had a washer and dryer in the unit (the apartments only had laundry on each floor), so I said, done and done. We ran to the bank to get a money order for our application fee and when we came back he said he couldn’t show us the actual unit because it wasn’t clean yet, but the one right next door is about the same (except it was a 3 bed) so we can go see it and possibly peek in the windows of the unit. We head over there and toured the 3 bedroom, and noticed that the maintenance guy was in the other unit painting, so the leasing agent poked his head in the door and asked if we’d be a bother if we walked through really quick. (He wasn’t supposed to do that, but I think at this point he was trying to make up for us being so pissed about the other agent not divulging the info about the quoted price.) So we walked through, went back to the office, and submitted the application and all the other paperwork. Done! We never even went to the other tours we had booked that afternoon.

I’m really pleased with the place. It’s 3 floors with a finished basement that has a wood-burning fireplace in it. It also has a utility room with a washer and dryer in it which will come in handy for storing stuff (and it means we won’t have to get a storage unit). There’s a small fenced patio area out back big enough for our grill and our patio furniture and the front looks across the complex’s courtyard with a nice pond/fountain. It’s also on the back side of the complex, which means it’s about as far away from city traffic as it could be, so very quiet. We’re only losing about 150 square feet altogether, which is not bad considering our third floor we only use as storage anyway and our 3rd bathroom is pretty much negligible anyway. The rent we’ll be paying is still less than what we’ll be getting from the renters moving in here, so we won’t be stretching ourselves too thin.

The only downside of it all is that we won’t be able to bring Brody with us. The complex has a 2-pet limit and we have the two cats. I hate feeling like I’m picking between my favorite children, but the fact is that my parents, who offered to take him, have a big back yard and a dog of their own, so he’ll be better off there anyway. They also have two cats who are pretty territorial, so it just wasn’t an option to have one of the cats go live with them. (Cats are snippier than dogs when introducing them to new animals, I’ve found) Anyway, at least this way we’ll be able to see him whenever we want, they can bring him to visit, and it won’t be forever. When we are able to buy a place in a little bit, the Brodes can come back to us.

So, the countdown is on…under 20 days till we get keys and move. Urp.

The Bean got to hang out with Meme and Papi while we apartment searched. Days at grandma and grandpa’s are exhausting!
Advertisements

The Bean Family is On the Move

Yahoo!

20140324-103707.jpg

We finally have a date and location for our big move back to civilization. Before the end of April we’ll be back in Denver. A little farther south than we’d originally anticipated, so we’re looking for places in the Cherry Creek area, instead of the north metro suburbs, but I’m still super excited. We’ll only be about a half hour from my parents and right next to downtown and all it offers. Hooray!

Now, who wants to help me pack? The baby is cute but she doesn’t work too fast.

20140324-103826.jpg

Mommies Don’t Get Sick Days

Nor do they get breaks for the craziness that a full moon brings. It would be just my luck to be sick over the weekend of a full moon, wouldn’t it?

It finally happened. I’m generally not a sick person, and in fact can’t recall the last time I was down for the count like this–possibly not since 2009, my first senior year of college, when I came down with Influenza A–the same year swine flu was big on the scene and my mother told me in a panic “that flu is killing young people!” Real confidence booster. Usually when I feel oncoming cold symptoms, I overload with vitamin C (praise ye, god of Emergen-C) and fluids and I escape unscathed. Two weeks ago this happened; I had a sore throat for about three days but thanks to my overdosing of VitC and herbal tea, nothing ever came of it. I guess this time I wasn’t so lucky. It was my time.

Anyway, I am finally feeling human again after several days battling a sinus infection, or something otherwise devised by Satan. These are especially fun when you also have a four-month old at home and you are desperate to not get her sick. I went to the doctor on Friday morning just to make sure it wasn’t something contagious (it was) but she gave me a round of antibiotics just in case it was bacterial. I know it doesn’t necessarily work this way but I started taking them anyway. What the hell. After several days of begging the baby to sleep for just twenty minutes longer so I could just rest a little more, the worst of it hit in the early hours of Saturday morning when I arrived at the “I just want to die” stage. Saturday wasn’t a whole lot better, but Cameron managed to come home a few hours early so that I could catch a break. Sunday I hit the “nose so raw I want to cut it off” stage at the same time that I hit the “I am so tired of being sick I just want to cry all day” stage, which might have helped clear out my sinuses.

I ended up using a teething ring to cool my burning nose. Yes, I washed it after.

But, this morning when I woke up, I felt sort of normal again. Still stuffy and coughing a bit, but not quite at the death-warmed-over point. So, progress.

And luckily (knock on wood) it doesn’t appear that either Cameron or Caroline has picked it up. I’m hopeful that by now she would have been showing symptoms and she’s not, so fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the poor thing didn’t escape quite unscathed, because you know what happens when Mommy is stuffed up and can’t smell shit? Yeah, just that. Mommy can’t smell shit. Saturday night after I put her back to bed following her middle-of-the-night bottle, she kept waking up and fussing. I was terrified she was becoming cranky because she had caught my sickness and wasn’t feeling well. (Oh, and did I mention this was also the weekend she decided to start rolling over in her crib and cry for help when she landed on her back and couldn’t go back to sleep? Full moon!) In the morning when I finally got her out of bed, I discovered an hours-old poo in her diaper, which I had been unable to smell but is more than likely the cause of her continual waking and fussing. Womp womp. Sorry Bean. The same thing happened this morning, but this one looked like it hadn’t been in there since 3 in the morning at least. So as much as I hate to say it, I’m hoping my sense of smell returns soon so I can sniff out the FPD (Formula Poops of Doom) in the middle of the night so that she doesn’t have to sit in it all night long.

Now I am facing the daunting task of picking up my house, which has been woefully neglected since I came down with this crap. Ugh.

You’re sick Mommy? Aint nobody got time for that!

Food!

Last week at the baby’s appointment her doctor said we could start giving her solids like oatmeal and fruit/veggie purees. I was super excited about this because I’ve been looking forward to exposing her to foods! I love food, hope to attend culinary school some day, and I was reeeally excited about getting Caroline interested in food too.

The first attempt, oatmeal, went rather as you might expect it: messy! In fact, after the first mouthful, she looked at me and burst into tears.

Not a whole lot made it down that first attempt, naturally. I tried again the next day, but she still wasn’t particularly interested. She also still has a pretty strong tongue thrust reflex which naturally makes it a little more difficult to finagle a spoonful in there.

After giving it a couple days, I tried some apple juice, since the doctor suggested using it as a sweetener when I pureed fruits. He also said to try everything by itself first and to wait a few days so that if there are any allergies, we can nail it down to the right food. Anyway, I gave her the apple juice bottle and she immediately looked at me like “just what the hell do you think you’re trying to give me here?”

It took a bit of persuading, but she did eventually drink 2 ounces.

)

We tried pureed banana after that and she gobbled it up. She’s getting much better at opening her mouth wide enough for the spoon and is keeping most of it in her mouth. Today she had two servings of oatmeal with a little apple juice stirred in for some more taste and she snarfed it! Later today I’m going to do some apple puree (I used this as an excuse to finally buy a food processor and snagged a Ninja choppy thing last week, wahoo) and probably soon will try something like green beans or peas.

Now we’re working on nailing down the right amount of food for her. The suggested serving size on the oatmeal is for a much bigger child, so I can’t really go off that yet. I’m working on cutting out her lunchtime bottle and giving her juice, oatmeal and a fruit or veggie instead. I think some oatmeal at dinnertime is in the works too. Maybe that will keep her full through the night and I can soon start to wean her off her midnight bottle!

4 Months

Sweet Bean is 4 months old! A whole third of a year! (Right? I almost failed remedial math in college…)

At her 4-month checkup yesterday, she weighed 11lbs 12oz and was 23 1/2 inches long. That’s the 10th percentile for weight and the 15th percentile for height, so she is still a tiny li’l thing, but growing fast! The doctor was really pleased with her growth and happy to hear that the colic had been resolved by switching to bottles. She is fitting into 3 month clothing at last, even the sleepers! She is still rocking the gray eyes (I’m so pleased) and light brown hair, which is getting wicked long in the front.

Eating, sleeping, and her daily schedule are pretty much the same as they were last month, except that now on top of her 5-6oz bottles we are also venturing into cereal. She had a few bites a couple days last week and naturally most of it ended up on her bib or her face, but it was still fun to try! Her ped said we could continue with the cereal and also start doing fruits and veggies which I am sooo excited for. (Plus it gives me a great excuse to finally buy a food processor!)

She is FINALLY learning to enjoy bath time! Took long enough. Now it is part of our nightly routine. She sits in the bath in her Super Seat and kicks her feet around and watches her duckies swim by and for the most part she doesn’t cry anymore!

She is almost sitting up on her own. She can sit up without support if she is sitting against something, like a chair. There’s still a little wobbling going on but she is really getting the hang of it. She loves going for walks in her stroller, which is nice because the weather has finally been warm enough to go outside without 500 layers. A few weeks ago we took her to the Cherry Creek Mall down in Denver and she really enjoyed cruising around!

On top of walks in the stroller, she goes grocery shopping with me every week, which is actually a huge leap for me in terms of the PPA. For the time being, she hangs out in the K’Tan while I shop since it’s pretty much the only way I can finagle her and all the groceries. I’m hoping soon she’ll be able to start sitting up in the front part of the cart.

This girl is a mover! She lies in her playpen on her mat and kicks and wiggles like crazy. Last night I heard her crying on the monitor so I went in to replace her binkie and found her completely sideways in the crib with her head up against the slats and she was basically crying for help. As soon as I moved her she went right back to sleep. She can get around that crib though, even wrapped up in her blanket. When I hold her up to stand, she really puts her weight down and stands up quite strong. She still isn’t really crazy about tummy time, and tends to get frustrated quickly, but since I can see her gearing up to roll from her back to her belly any day now, she’ll hopefully get into it more.

Her development this month was really amazing to watch. She is starting to recognize more things and show favoritism to certain objects. She always smiles when Cameron or I walk into the room, and she loves her horsey toy and her bedtime bear. She’s getting really good at grabbing and holding onto things, and she giggled for the first time on Valentine’s Day. (I had a fit of excitement) She’s showing independence and is not clingy at all. She’ll lie in her playpen for 45 minutes at a time and just hang out with her toys, no problem. She likes to be near us and to be held while we’re walking around, but she is not much of a cuddler. She’d much rather be held facing forward while we walk around so she can see what’s going on than just be held close to me–which is nice on the one hand because I appreciate having a baby who exhibits independence and curiosity, but on the other sometimes I just want to sit down and watch tv while holding her and she is just not into it. She’s definitely discovered her hands, and the last few days wants to put them in her mouth all the time–and if it’s not her hands, it’s anything she’s holding. I handed her my bedtime bear (yeah, seriously) the other day and she immediately stuffed his ear in her mouth, so I think maybe not so much playtime with him anytime soon. (He’s almost 26 years old and getting a little fragile, and since I still sleep with him nightly I really don’t want anything to happen to him. I am still just not ready to put him into “retirement”…as silly as that sounds.) It’s incredible to watch her change daily from this little bundle who cried all the time and needed to be changed and fed nonstop into a real little person with personality and a smiley face. She started using her voice a lot more this last month, and now she makes little squawks and sounds that are pretty much the cutest things ever.

Mmmm, hands so yummy!

Happy 4 months, my sweet Bean!

Oh, and just because who doesn’t love a baby growth comparison photo….

She’s still so tiny in comparison to other babies her age but to me she looks giant!

I Love Sleep. Sleepy, sleep, sleep.

“Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” 

– Napoleon Bonaparte

I should preface this post with the fact that I have never actually seen Anchorman a disclaimer to appease the Mommy Wars combatants out there. I’m not using this post to brag, criticize, or diagnose. I’m not saying anything I’m doing here is better than anything anyone else is doing. I’m not claiming to be an expert at infant sleep or anything like that, but since we have a 4-month old who has slept pretty much through the night for a long time, I figure we must be doing something right. I’m just putting forth a list of things that work for us in the event that someone out there is frantically googling for help. Maybe something here will help. Maybe not. Whatever. Take what you need, leave what you don’t. If you don’t agree, feel free to keep on moving.

IMG_20140126_082342

Despite the awful first few months we went through with the Bean, I have to admit that she has always been a relatively decent sleeper. It was more difficult at first, obviously, but since she was about 8 weeks old we settled into a pattern and since then (knock on wood) she has been a rock star sleeper.

I think what has made it work for us is 2 major things: routine, and her disposition. Not all babies like to sleep, plain as that. The Bean does! She is like her mommy like that. If I peek into her room during her nap before she is done sleeping, she will actually give me a look, turn her head away from me, and continue snoozing. Fine by me.

So here’s some things that work for us in the sleep department. Like I said, I’m not looking to be contested or criticized, nor do I want people to think I’m bragging or saying that what I’m doing is better than anyone else. What works for one family doesn’t for another.

1. White noise machine. We have a little sound machine that I got at Walmart for like 15 bucks and it is awesome. It runs on batteries or A/C and has 6 different sounds. You can time it out to turn off after a certain amount of time, but I pretty much leave it on all the time.

2. Humidifier. Not sure if this contributes at all to the sleep, but I figured I’d mention it since we use it every night. It is SO dry up here, and I notice that if we don’t use it, she ends up boogery and congested the next morning. (So do we!) We have one that projects stars onto the ceiling which is an awesome night light, and it has a slot for Vick’s menthol…thingies? in the back so that if she is ever sick or congested, I can just pop one of those things in there and it will fill the room with Vick’s vapor. I think this cost me $30 or so but it has been a great investment.

3. Wrapping her. At first, she had to be swaddled to sleep. She is definitely one of those babies who prefers to be tucked in tightly. I am the same way though–I love climbing into bed and cocooning myself! Now that she is a bit bigger, I wrap her in an afghan tight enough that she feels secure, but loose enough that she can get her arms free if she needs. I have tried putting her in a sleep sack/wearable blanket, but the startle reflex is still in effect and she tends to wake herself up too much with those, so once that fades, I’ll start putting her back in that.

4. Naps! I am a true believer in that whole “sleep begets sleep” theory. Caroline naps usually 3 times a day, but sometimes she makes it 2 long ones. The trick, I think, is knowing her signs and schedule. Right now, she can only go about 2 hours in between naps, so usually at the first sign of tiredness, I put her down. I don’t wait until she is really tired. I also have dark curtains in her room so that her room is sufficiently dark during the day.

5. Binkie/Pacifier/Soother/Whatever you call it. Binkies tend to be one of those divisive yes or no items in the battles of the Mommy Wars, but we use them. She isn’t addicted to her binkie, in fact she usually only wants/needs it in two places: in bed, and in the car. When I put her down for sleep, I pop a binkie in, and she goes right to sleep. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night wanting it back, but that is actually getting less and less often now. I think if I just started not giving it to her, she’d be fine, but I figure for now it’s working, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

6. Routine. This one is big, I think. Babies like routines. Late in the afternoon, she will usually go down for one last short nap around 5:00 or so, and even if she is still sleeping at say, 7, I will get her up and start our bedtime routine. I have a feeling if I left her to sleep, she’d be fine, but she’d probably be awake for the day way earlier than I’d like. Our bedtime routine generally consists of a warm bath, low lights in the bedroom, getting into her jammies, lavender lotion, sometimes a story, and finally I turn out the lights and sit in her rocker in the dark and give her her last bottle. Once she is done with that (or sufficiently sleepy and not eating any more) I burp her, wrap her in her blanket, give her a kiss and put her in bed. Pop a binkie in, turn on her sound machine, and walk away and close the door. I check on her once before we go to bed, but other than that, I don’t bother her.

7. Limited interaction during the middle of the night. Right now, she is usually waking once a night to eat. When I hear her fussing on the monitor, I get up, make her bottle (I bring the formula and a clean bottle into the master bathroom before we go to bed since our kitchen is downstairs and it’s just that much faster), pick her up out of bed, change her (if I don’t she is usually soaked through her jammies by morning and I’d rather let her continue to sleep comfortably for as long as possible), and give her her bottle. Then burp, a kiss, back in her blankie, and back to bed with her binkie. I don’t turn on the lights, don’t talk to her very much, and keep things very quiet and calm.

8. Bedtime/Naptime in the crib. For the most part, Caroline has only ever slept in one place: in her crib. Obviously at first she napped frequently in her chair or in her wrap, and she sleeps in the pack and play when we visit her grandparents, but 99% of her nights have been spent in her crib. I’m not comfortable with co-sleeping and have only ever done it a few times when we were really desperate for sleep. Caroline knows that her crib is her safe place and that is where she goes to sleep. Even on night #1 home from the hospital, she slept in her crib in her room. Now–I should point out that we are lucky enough to have an extra bed in her room, and we slept in her room with her for about 8 weeks. I understand this isn’t a possibility for most people and you want to be close to the baby those first few weeks, which is 100% understandable.

9. She sleeps on her tummy. I know, I know. Big supposed no-no. But raise your hand if you were brought up in that generation when tummy sleep was not only the norm but it was recommended. The recommendations regarding SIDS change so often because nobody really knows exactly what causes it. I didn’t sleep her on her belly when she was a newborn, obviously. I waited till she was big enough and strong enough to lift her head, turn it, and support herself on her elbows. She just doesn’t like to sleep on her back. I started it out with naps, so that I could check on her frequently. Finally, I just started doing it for night time too, and she sleeps great. I think you have to feel 100% comfortable with this, though.

10. We let her cry. Yep, another battle cry for the Mommy Wars. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m not big into the whole gentle/attachment parenting thing. Just not my style. If I’ve just put her back to bed after her midnight bottle and I know that she is dry, full, and has burped, but she’s crying or fussing, I’m going to give her a little time to work it out on her own because I know she’s going to go back to sleep. (If anything, I will pop her binkie back in.) I never, ever rush into her room upon the first peep that she makes. When she is napping during the day, if she’s only been down for 45 minutes and I know she could go longer, I will give her a few minutes and if she doesn’t go back down, I’ll sneak into her room and put her binkie back into her mouth and usually that will do the trick. Obviously there are limits to this, I’m not going to let her scream for 45 minutes, and I wouldn’t do this with a newborn, but you get the idea. I know she knows how to put herself back to sleep and I think that’s super important with establishing good sleep habits.

So there you have it. Those are the sleep tricks that work for us–for the time being, naturally! I know things often change once teething begins, but I also think that establishing good sleep routines from the beginning helps a lot. I kept seeing people online talk about a 4-month sleep regression, but I don’t think we’ve had to deal with that. Every night is pretty much golden! (Not to press my luck or anything.) I’m happy to elaborate on anything you’re interested in hearing more about.

Happy sleeping!