Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh Yeah! Christmas and stuff.

Holy Granola. Christmas has come and gone. This year was significant as we went from a couple to a family! Twas the second married Christmas for Ryan and I and our first with Leilani! So weird that this same time last year, she was just a kicking, nausea inducing (but still adorable) bump.

Christmas 2009

What a year it has been...

Lei managed to be cranky for a lot of the weekend. Probably cause the little bit of a schedule that we were working on went up in smoke. It made for hard picture taking. (Yes I will blame the lame pictures on a stressy baby instead of my horrible photography skills.)

Christmas Eve was spent with Ryan's family and we had a really nice evening. They had decorated beautifully, cooked deliciously and it was the most relaxing part of the whole weekend.


She climbed her first mountain. Having never practiced before (our condo has no stairs) I found it to be quite an impressive feat!

She was more interested in the coffee table, other people's gifts, and the random crumb on her shirt than her gifts. After several tries, she sorta got the idea and made it through one gift.

Twinkle lights were everywhere! Oh, my, goodness. I want to eat her cheeks. She really is the most adorable person ever its almost too much to look at without me getting teary.

(One of my first attempts at no flash. Yes. It has taken me this long to try.)

At church on Christmas morning!

I think this may be the second fluffy dress I have put her in her whole life. Not because I don't like the gorgeous little poufs that are baby girl dresses, I love them. I just can't imagine how a pile of tulle and ruffles around the knees of a crawling little person is comfortable. I am too much of a creature of comfort myself to subject her to regular bouts with tights and frills. But gosh they are cute. Cept I had to mar the cuteness by sticking a onsie underneath her dress. Hey, it was cold (Snowing!) and the dress seemed itchy. At least the onsie matched...

Anywhoooo... After church, we went to Ryan's aunts house, as is tradition, and partied it up familylike the rest of the day. I always thought I had a loud, big family, with 6 younger siblings, two grandparents, one cousin and an aunt and uncle all nearby. Then I met Ryan's family. As an extrovert, there is nothing quite so great as a house full of laughing aunts, uncles, cousins, 7 little children under 6, 2 dogs, food and gifts. Totally awesome. Also as is tradition, the living room held a lively politics debate between the only 2 republicans in the family (Ryan and a cousin) and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins, who are all democrats. The craziness that was Christmas happily wore us out! AND we left the camera in the car and I was too lazy to go get it. Yep. I am a committed memory catcher.

The next early afternoon we headed to my parent's house for a smaller version of the day before. I just love my parent's living room all dressed up for Christmas. A mantel crowded with stockings, a cozy fire in the wood stove, a delicious breakfast making everything smell festive... No place like home. After a late start to the day, we eventually wrapped up (or finished unwrapping, har har) at my parents and everyone went up the road to my grandparents. So cool to have both of them living right up the road. Mom and I stayed behind an hour to finish preparing the turkey dinner. I seem to have missed all the cooking with my mom the past few holidays, so it was really nice to spend that time together. Once all assembled with my mom's brother, his wife, their daughter, and all the Spinolos at Papa and Granny's, we spent much of the time digging people out of wrapping paper, debating if the baby was too tired to go back to my mom's for dinner, and watching the SNOW!!!! come down outside. Lots of memories in that livingroom. It gets more crowded every year! We all made it back over to Grammy and Grandpa's before Leilani decided that enough was enough. Granted, it was super late. We managed to get food eaten, gifts loaded into the car and an unhappy tired person home before collapsing ourselves. Busy, busy weekend! I am so thankful for my families and for the blessing of having them all near. Leilani is so blessed to be able to grow up surrounded by so much happy family.

And now, all in an unattractive, disorganized pile, the pictures I managed to take for Christmas Part 2.

Breakfast! Nothing like pumpkin muffins...

Family devotions before gifts.

The BEST pajamas ever. And a trap door on the back? Favorite.

Aunt Abi and matching pajamas


Unpacking her stocking and a new hat!

Laughing at Grandpa

At the end of a long day, riiiiight before the meltdown. It is amazing how quick she can go from perky to done. Too bad super tired never guarantees a full night of sleep though. Oh well. It was not a restful weekend, but it sure was great. Thank You Lord for so much blessing.

The End

The Post in Which I Chronicle My Pilgrimage Through Sleep Training... Thus Far.

This past month has been Learn How to Sleep month. Or rather, "Oh My Freaking Goodness, Child Please Succumb to Your Fatigue and SLEEP!" month.

*WARNING* This is dreadfully rantish and poorly written. I was at the time distracted by those heart stopping pauses in the cacophony of 9 month old angst and fatigue ensuing from the nursery. Is it over? Is she still alive? There. You have been warned.

As I type, she is sitting in her bed, gagging, screaming and doing her level best to display her displeasure. So I type to distract myself from the agony of listening.

As an expert on parenting (before I actually had any little people to parent of course) I knew that I was a fan of letting the rebellious child cry it out. "It isn't bad for them. It is bad for them to not know how to sleep!" Being the oldest of 7 kids, I have heard my share of wailing and fussing. "Oh, there is nothing wrong with them. They are stubborn." And thus I went happily into parenthood. 6 months of nursing little baby to sleep, rough naptimes that didn't really exist, and getting up 3-5 times every night took its toll and I became a crazy lady. So we tried one night to let her cry it out. The night ended with me realizing that cry wasn't a stubborn one, but a fearful one. So I picked her up and nursed her to sleep. Then a month later, we decided that Daddy needed to put her down for the night, to start practicing going to bed without nursing. After a few bumpy tries, she learned to go to sleep with Daddy just fine. Still got up several times a night, but more like 2-4 instead of 3-5. Hurrah. Enter the book, Becoming Babywise. Great stuff. Wish I had of read it like a year ago instead of at 8 months. The "best" pattern to follow is feed, awake time, sleep and not the more natural feeling, awake, feed, sleep. I remembered the whole "Babies need consistency and schedules." thing that I am awful about even for myself.

*insert pause where Momma can't handle any more after an hour and a half of sobbing and gagging and goes to pick up said wailer.* (Leading me to question whether or not that hour and a half freaking did anything at all and if picking her up was the right thing to do, or whether I should have picked her up an hour ago... yep. Basically I cried with a discouraged/ omgimacruelbadmother attitude...)

Anyways. Yeah. Have a consistent pattern to your days, predictable naptimes and bedtime routines and such... All of which we started "late." "By now your 9 month old should be sleeping at least 10 hours straight at night and taking two naps that last at least an hour every day." Oh if only. Not a lot of help out there for how to help your tired little 9 month old to adjust to healthier sleep habits after not so great ones... her whole life. Basically its "Just Do It." and "there will be a lot of crying."

How much is too much crying? How long is too long? Is bouncing her every time to sleep the right thing to do or should she cry? Is this flipping working? Is this even an effective way to teach her? How does my baby need to learn? And all that. I wish every baby came with a personalized manual and an LCD readout on their foreheads.

I realize that there is not One "correct" way of doing things and that the "right" thing to do may be many different things at different times and that "every baby is an individual" and all that jazziness. But heck. Can someone just come over and tell me what to do?

In the midst of yet another week of getting up at night and sometimes good, lotsa times not, naptimes, I often forget about all the progress that has been made. She does not need to nurse to sleep. Huge. Daddy can put her down. Huge. Daddy can (and does!) get up with her in the middle of the night now and can get her back off to sleep without too much fuss. Huge. She actually takes naps sometimes now. Huge. Patterns and routines are starting to be established. Huge.

So why do I keep feeling so maxed out and like it is all for naught? Weirdo.

But in the midst of it all, there are those sweet little moments of happy baby sighs, little hugs and kisses and warm cuddles and quick falling asleeps that manage to make up for it all. Mostly..

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leilani Lessons 11 and 12

Lesson 11: Lei sobbed it out hard for naptime today. But I was there, holding her hand and singing her songs the whole time. She was so loved, and so safe, but she needed to go through it to learn to sleep. We go through seemingly unending periods of grief, hardship or suffering, but God is so lovingly shaping us, and holding our hands the whole time. Like it hurt me, it hurts God to watch His children suffer, but it is His deep love for us that causes Him to allow it to happen. And in the end, we rest.

12: Lei hates her car seat and will struggle the moment she is put in and frequently cry till the moment she is taken out. She wants to stop the trip and get out every few minutes. She just doesn't know that the uncomfortable ride is taking her on a (short in actuality) journey to where she really wants to be. The journey is the only way to the destination that she wants to arrive at so badly.

Got Stress?

Confession: Frequently, I am an anxious, worried, often driven for no reason person. This makes for a crazy mommalady. I worst case scenario like its my job, fret and fear like the sky is falling, and usually manage to make mountains out of molehills. I am really, really good at it. Since becoming a mother, I have taken this tendency to the next level, and have come to the place where I can look at myself and go "woah. You are an anxious, worried, often driven person for no reason." I didn't really realize this about myself till this year. I also did not really realize how utterly blessed I am till this year. It is still sinking in. I need to get to the place where it permeates through the stress and becomes a serious chill pill. GOD. Is. SO. Good. To. ME. I have realized that all this unnecessary anxiety and stress is not only unhealthy, it is sinful. I act like God must not have it all under control, and that somehow, by worrying, I can do a better job, or at least make for a really great sobby novel.

I need to slow down and focus on the Truth.

Luke 12:28-32 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek first his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It is one of THOSE mornings...

The ones where I have to wake up far too early to my thinking, after a night spent trying to fall back asleep after multiple risings to put the baby back down. Over and over, seemingly. Odd dreams that leave one feeling weirded out all day and like they never actually did sleep don't help either. It is one of those mornings where I have to drive a lot very soon, and do things. Which is fine, when the baby has not been awake for several hours before. Cue the anxious "Oh man, will she scream the whole time till I get home? How painful is this morning going to be? WHY WONT SHE JUST SLEEP??" rumblings of my twitchy mind. I feel snappy and impatient with her, frusterated at the whole "wrongness" of it all... and yet...

The sun is shining. My baby, despite being sleepy, is adorable and in a good mood. My house is warm. And best of all? Jesus loves me, and He is never impatient with my fussy rumblings, when I wont just let go and rest in Him.

Afternoon edit:

AAAANnnnnnd she was good as gold. Slept with hardly a fuss on the way, held up beautifully while there, and only cried a little on the way home before sleeping. Thank You Lord.