Cecelia at Four Months

September 28 | Four Months


Likes: Nursing, mommy, being awake CONSTANTLY, being held, tasty hands/blankets/anything that can go into her mouth, squealing/shrieking, popping her eyes open as soon as her body touches the crib, nursing, being outside, nursing, and watching her big brother

Dislikes: sleeping at night, napping during the day, being put down once asleep, the hour before bedtime.

(comparison time...)



Biggest Achievement of the Month: Two things---> taking the pacifier like a champ, and surviving the first TWO nights away from mom and dad. Nate and I went to Colorado for a college friend's wedding and we were gone for 2.5 days, getting home really late on the third night.

(four iPhone pics for you...)



(we are officially in love with Breckenridge!)

Cecelia did fantastic for my mother-in-law and father-in-law even though I was a nervous wreck before we left. They stayed at our place to keep the kids in a consistent environment and I know they loved their time with CC and Tru but I could also tell they were exhausted when we got home:) CC took the bottles, including ones in the middle of the night and before bedtime, and was generally happy without The Boob. Whew. I'm sure you could hear my sigh of relief around the world even though this blog has been ridiculously silent in the past month. (no exciting excuse for that one, just crazy-busy life with little time at the computer). I overcame my fear of pumping and dumping ABSURD amounts of milk on this trip, and only brought back 16 oz with me. And I didn't even freak out too much thinking about how much of my freezer stash Cecelia went through while I was gone. Well, that's not true---I still get a little sweaty just thinking about it, weeks later:) But I did enjoy myself despite the milk dumpage and I'm really glad we went on the trip together, just to have 'adult' time away from the kids for once. We felt so free and young! :)

Biggest Challenge of the Month: Sleep, or lack-thereof. I shall go into detail in a few more topics but let's just say it hasn't been too pretty up in this household for the past couple of weeks. I've come dangerously close to multiple mental breakdowns and it's seriously starting to feel like we are 'just' surviving each day and not really living/enjoying it. Sad, but true. For as young and free as I felt in Colorado, I'm pretty sure I've aged an additional 5 years because of sleep drama.

(don't let the smiles fool you.)


Secret Tricks of Parenting: I discovered that when she is super fussy at night, even while attempting to nurse and rock in her dark room, she will usually pipe down if I walk around while nursing. Apparently sitting to nurse is not always acceptable to miss thang? The pacifier has been an awesome 'trick' this month, too, although she isn't the best at actually keeping the darn thing in her mouth. At least it's something to soothe her when she just wants to suck....took her long enough to listen to me on that one, huh?



The Mecca (aka Sleep): Okay, here we go. This should have been a separate 'complaining about life/It's really hard being a parent sometimes' post but you are lucky enough to get my emotional unloading all wrapped up into one post today. Cause that's just how I roll as a dwindling blogger:)

One month ago Cecelia was kicking butt and taking names in the sleep game. Remember how I was all, 'Oh she can sleep 7, 8, 9, even 12 hours at night now!' but I was nervous it wouldn't last? It didn't. Apparently the initial transition to daycare, or maybe just being 3 to 3.5 months in general was amazing for her sleep. But about 3 weeks ago everything fell apart. Four month wakeful period, indeed.

She gradually started waking up earlier for her first wake up, moving from 3 am to 1 am, then midnight, then 11:00. That is when I sort of freaked out, wondering what in the heck happened to my great sleeper who could sometimes last until morning time without waking but almost ALWAYS lasted until at least 1:30. Then we left for Colorado and when we came back, Cecelia's sleep went into the crapper.

(who, me?)

I've been keeping track of her sleep for the past few nights and holy man, it's bad. She used to go down peacefully after nursing to sleep at 7, and I wouldn't hear from her again until about 2ish. And now?

6:45 - asleep in the Ergo, into crib
7:10 - awake, screaming, pissed. Nursed and rocked until 8:00. Tip-toed out of room.
8:35 - awake, talking. Then crying by 8:50. Tried paci, failed. Nursed other side, rocked. Tip-toed out at 9:40.
10:25 - Awake, sighing, but somehow fell back to sleep without help. There is a God.
11:05 - Awake, fussing. I'm exhausted, so I took her to bed and nursed to sleep.
3:45 - Awake, fussing. Nursed other side. Couldn't fall back to sleep until 4:45 after pacifier and rocking and a lot of praying on my part.
6:30 - Awake for the day since big brother is calling for me. Sigh.

See what that tells us? She sleeps a lot better IN our bed and only woke once in the night when I finally gave in to co-sleeping. But on the nights I'm a hard-ass and keep her in the crib longer that 11pm she will continue to wake up every hour or so. Horrid, right? Also horrid? Any wake-up that lasts longer than about 10 minutes---can't handle being awake for an hour at a time on top of being up numerous times!

Here is what I consider to be the biggest blow to my mental sanity: the hours from 7-10pm used to be my fave because I could unwind a bit, get caught up on housework, BLOG, comment on blogs, do paperwork for my job....you know, total and utter luxuries at this point. But now? I'm lucky if I get 20 minutes in a row to myself before I'm back up in her bedroom begging her to stay asleep. (And yes, Nate helps me out, too, but her highness doesn't tolerate the fact that daddy doesn't lactate. And so I usually end up rescuing Nate from her protests within 10 minutes). Then after such a crappy evening of failed sleep, she is still up throughout the night.

Numerous wake ups. Difficulty getting her to fall asleep at bedtime. And long stretches of awake time in the middle of the night, once she is awake? The trifecta of bad sleep, if you ask me. 

Let's not discuss that Truman has been waking up around 5 to start the day, and he had a streak of three nights in a row when he woke up around 2 after wetting the bed. That has NEVER happened before and thankfully hasn't happened lately, but nothing like having to change a child's jammies and an entire bed on top of dealing with a crying baby at night. Those might have been the 'lowest of lows' at nighttime thus far with two children.

She is also not napping longer than 20 minute stretches throughout the day, unless I hold her or let her nurse the entire time of a nap. And even then, it's only cat naps that never amount to anything past a half of an hour. I believe she is averaging about 1.5 hours total of sleeping each day and it used to be about 4-5 last month. So that's great, too, since I'm pretty sure babies this young need about 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Cecelia gets about 8. Fantastic, right?

Basically she only wants to fall asleep while nursing and when I go to put her down, forget about it. Dunzo. I realize that she probably has a pretty wicked sleep association between my boob and her zzzz's but it's really difficult to change this. I'm not always just popping my tat in her mouth at the first whimper, either---I am totally down to try the pacifier, rocking, shhh'ing, standing near her crib without picking her up for a bit, etc. But seriously? Nothing works. And at 2 am, when she has already been up 5 times, I give up. And usually bring her into our bed and let her nurse until her heart is content, while I'm semi-awake and relaxed.

For the past week or so, I've been so sleep deprived that I feel like I'm treading water and my head keeps dropping below the surface. I'm so frustrated that I can't figure out what has changed, and then FIX it, that I'm just exhausted from over-analyzing all of the possibilities. I know it's just a phase and someday she will sleep. I know I should be grateful that she just wants to nurse and cuddle and be held for every second she is asleep. And sometimes I am at peace with just not caring that much and going with the flow. But sometimes I'm really over being so tired. It's one thing to be majorly sleep deprived with a newborn and a toddler on maternity leave. It's another to be sleep deprived with a 4 month old, a toddler, and a part time job.
I'm sure some of you will suggest crying-it-out but the bottom line is that I don't feel comfortable with it right now, especially when she is just now 4 months old (ie way too little, in my opinion, to be left alone to cry). One really ugly night I did try to let her fuss more than usual and put my foot down, refusing to nurse her back to sleep. I put the pacifier in her mouth 100 times, let her cry/fuss for 5-10 minutes at a time, rocked her, etc. And do you know what happened? She was awake from 9:30 until midnight when Nate finally called it quits in the name of maintaining my mental sanity. Seriously. I think my child is the strongest-willed baby girl I've ever met and she makes her laid-back brother look like the easiest child ever.


So whatever, that is my sob story about how tired I am at the moment. You definitely caught me in the midst of a rough patch and I can only hope that the next monthly update will not contain any mention of multiple RIDICulous wake ups each night, or struggles to fall asleep at all. Please, God, let this phase be short lived (so we can move onto the next challenge in baby-ville) :)


Temperament/Personality: You won't believe me when I say it, considering the assault you just took with the previous 9 paragraphs of complaints, but she is really a happy baby. Aside from not sleeping she is such a doll and is incredibly happy 80% of her (loooong) waking hours. Cecelia is quite content to lay on a blanket and observe her crazy family, or chew on a toy, or just be. She gives us the most amazing, gigantic smiles each morning and then throughout the day, unless she is overtired (ahem, most evenings). And a big first? She laughed for the first time the day after Nate and I returned from Colorado!! I tried to catch the tail end of this gift on video and only sorta succeeded.

The child definitely has opinions about things, though, and will let us know about it if we get out of line:) I hate to admit it, yet I sort of love it, but she is definitely showing preference to mommy holding her above most others. It is embarrassing when daddy or grandpa or anyone else tries to hold her and she immediately starts to cry and stare me down, but I'm hoping it's just a phase. {side note: should the title of this blog be 'Hope it's just a phase' or maybe 'So freaking tired?' I might need to rename it soon}.





Eating: Sister loves to nurse and for that I am seriously thankful. (There's always a bright side, right Pollyanna??) I just wish she wouldn't NEED to nurse in order to sleep but I will gladly accept her love for my milk. She still goes about 3 hours or so between feedings but sometimes can go 4 if we are busy. She's been doing great with her bottles at daycare for the most part and only takes two 4 oz bottles while there. Which obviously makes me pretty happy since I'm pumping three times each day and getting about 15 oz. Love the number games...when I come out on top:)




The Superficial: The Hair is still there...in patches.

She's wearing all 6 month clothes now and 9 month ones fit, too. Since I've gone on a bit of a shopping spree for missy in the name of a fall/winter wardrobe, I had to buy all 9 mo stuff because 6-ers fit just perfectly now and I know in a few more weeks her legs will be entirely too long for them. Let's pause for a second and soak that in: my 4 month old baby is wearing 9 month clothes. She's so freaking tall. Weight guess: 15 pounds by my trusty method of weighing myself alone and then holding Cecelia. No clue about her height but we'll find out official stats next week at her four month appointment!




Oh, and I guess this fits in here: she has a new favorite pose. I call it 'The Mega Pout' and it's freaking amazing. She did it non-stop for a few days and now not so much, which makes me sad, because I loved seeing her bust it out when she was happy and playful, like, 'Oh, this is kind of fun, this lower lip thing I can do. I think I'll practice for 10 minutes straight.' Observe.




Strangers are still stopping me to drool over her, asking how old she is. When I tell them 'four months' I'm still getting the response that she seems a lot older than that, and a lot more alert/attentive. I think it's funny that people think my baby looks 'old'. :)

Motor Milestones: Shortly after my 3 month update Cecelia started holding her head up during tummy time like a boss. For real, and not just occasionally, like I had said last month. Her head control is fabulous enough to avoid the classic newborn head bob when we hold her upright. Then there's her stellar hand-to-mouth coordination. She's like, 'Oh, come here, shirt--let me eat you,' and 'Ooooh, my favorite tasty blanket again!'. Everything.in.her.mouth. She's still the queen of a half roll and hasn't *quite* gotten the hang of moving her arm out of the way to make it all the way onto her belly from her back.




Out and About: The only really notable excursion from the month would be CC's first time to church. AND! It was our first time as a family of four in the pews, but we weren't 'that' family with crazy-loud kids distracting the entire congregation. I hesitate to use the church nursery just because I really do enjoy having our family do church together, and I'd just rather have them with me so I'm not stressed about them crying the whole time in the nursery. But anyway, we all made it to church and it was a good trial run for this upcoming weekend when Cecelia is getting baptized!

(all dressed up for God!)



Favorite Baby Gear: 
 -Nuk brand pacifiers (apparently we should have bought stock in all things 'Nuk' brand, since these are the only bottles she will take, too. Love you, Nuk!!)


-The Ergo (again. I wasn't going to repeat baby gear throughout each month but this bad boy has provided for at least a FEW decent naps. And therefore it makes the list again)



Little Sister and Big Brother: Reading back over Truman's four month post made me chuckle for a lot of reasons, but mostly because OMG-he was so fat and bald! But also, we had already pulled out the jumparoo for him. I just remembered we even had one for Cecelia a few days ago, haven't pulled out the monstrosity yet as I'm avoiding the inevitable 'baby gear takes over the house' period of time. He'd already rolled over twice but he wasn't consistent with it yet, which really surprised me to read because I remember Truman rolling over really 'late' compared to most babies. Apparently he gets the tally mark for the first child to roll over as CC hasn't done it yet. And then, it struck me to read that he was laughing a LOT by now. Cecelia had her one shining moment of laughing for me one weekend but nothing like that since. Hmmm. Hope I don't start getting a complex about her being less happy than her big brother. Plus, I didn't even mention Truman's sleeping habits in my 4 month post so they must have been more acceptable than Cecelia's at this point. Which is frightening because Truman has never been the best sleeper and even HE was sleeping okay at 4 months. Sheesh.



But it's funny that at 4 months we were getting ready for a visit from the Missouri grandparents---because they are coming for CC's baptism this weekend, too! And both of my children found their voices by 4 months with their shrieks, they are generally happy children, and really freaking cute (biased opinion noted, but it's true. You have to admit). So they are still a lot alike.



Cecelia is obviously super young still, but I can already tell that she is in love with big bro. She pipes down when he is around and will just stare at him as he runs from train to train. And Truman? He's still very protective of baby sis, telling strangers as they oogle the baby, 'That is my sister. She grows up and plays trains with me.' ::swoon::



I love you, Cecelia Lorene. Even when you are giving me hell and wrecking my confidence as a mom because you WILL.NOT.SLEEP. I still love you. And I'm totally going to make you pay for this when you are a teenager by waking you up suuuuuuper early each day when all you want to do is sleep. Hee, hee, hee. No, really. We shall be best of friends during your teenage years, okay? Seriously. Because girl teenagers scare me a little right now.

On the other side

I flip the calendar over to a new month: September. The summer is ending and we are heading into fall---the smell of crisp leaves on the ground, football, cool breezes during our family walks, pumpkin spice candles, apple orchards, hot coffee, crock pot meals, fleeces, and sweaters. I love all four seasons we get to experience in Wisconsin but fall has to be one of the best. The scents in this cooler air remind me of last year and I can't help but flip through my pictures from September 2011 with a sense of wonder. Was it really just one year ago?

Last year at this time I was over-thinking every twinge in my body, desperately hoping that I was pregnant. Desperate. That is a great word for the Julia of September 2011. I vowed not to test for a few more days but I couldn't get out of my own head. I wanted so badly to be pregnant again. I would say it was bordering on an obsession, really. My head was filled with thoughts on babies and pregnancy tests and ovulation strips and timing and symptoms and hope but fear and plenty of anxiety. Prayers each night requesting a patient heart, His will be done, not mine. And when that Saturday morning finally came, and I allowed my self to test, I could feel the weight of that moment on my shoulders. 'Pregnant'. It was happening again. And Cecelia's tiny being was a matter of a few cells, rapidly multiplying and ready to fight for survival.

My pregnancy journey from the positive test until her birth was....rough at times. Nothing was certain. I was bleeding at six weeks and heard the words, 'I've never seen a bleed this big turn out okay in the end.' I was awaiting another miscarriage. Cecelia wasn't supposed to be sleeping in the swing next to me as I type this. And yet, here she is---every bit the fighter that we saw on that ultrasound screen last year. She's here and she is amazing and truly the most wonderful miracle I've experienced. Words could never fully capture the love I have for my daughter and it seems silly to even try to describe how grateful I am for this little lady. Gratitude. Thankful. And even when my little fighter is fighting any sort of routine, or the bottle, or sleep, and I'm fighting back tears----even then, I wouldn't trade a second of it for the world. She is worth it. I think back to the Julia of September 2011 and remember how badly I ached for our second child. And I'd gladly take the sleepless nights and newborn dramas over the desperation for another pregnancy.

Prior to that magical moment of Cecelia's announcement into the world with a positive test, we had been through some of the most difficult months I could have imagined. And it's those months of grief and mourning and loss and despair that I find myself sorting through a year later. It's not that I think about my miscarriage a lot, and I don't let it get me down too often. I don't want you to think I'm sitting around dwelling on the loss or feeling sorry for myself. But when those memories come back to the surface they still make my heart hurt. Who was baby Wren? Why did it have to happen? Why did I have to have one of the most complicated, prolonged, expensive miscarriages ever? My story still seems like it happened to someone else and as I type it out, or read back over my own posts, I almost feel like it was all a dream. Or a nightmare, I suppose.

My body didn't know the baby's heart stopped beating and I needed medication to get the actual miscarriage going. It was painful. It was scary. It was horrible. I bled for 6 weeks just waiting to fully lose my baby, then had severe hemorrhaging and landed in the ER, where the staff handled my case like crap. Threw out words like 'hysterectomy' and 'large mass' and didn't provide any sort of answers or hope. Then I had the surgery I so badly needed and things started to return to a new normal. And nearly 7k later, with an entire summer of heartbreak, we entered the fall. When I saw the word 'pregnant' and felt a sense of peace, if ever so brief, that the worst was behind us.

I hear the creaking of the swing next to me and glance over at my beautiful baby girl, and I get a little choked up. Tears welling up in my eyes show me that again, it was all worth it to have Cecelia here with us. If Wren had been our number two we'd never have the privilege of meeting Cece---and that would be the biggest loss of all. But it still hurts to remember the path we took to get on the other side of loss.

My heart breaks for every other woman going through the motions of life after a loss. Miscarriage is everywhere and each time I read about it, or hear about it, I feel angry that it happens so much. It's not fair. It's so sad. But life does go on. It will get better.

A year later, we are living the life with two kids that I dreamed about for so long. It's happening. It's real. SHE'S real. We're on the other side of a loss. And I'm at a loss for words to accurately reflect my gratitude. And so I simply give my sleeping baby a kiss and say a prayer of thanks.

She's worth it.


House updates

Oh yeah, I still have house projects going on up in here. It's just been awhile since I accomplished anything on my To Do list, but now that I have it's time to show it off.

When I was severely pregnant (is that the right terminology?), I had way too much nervous nesting energy. And so I decided to tackle painting our stairs, knowing that I *might* not get a chance to finish everything before baby girl arrived. I was totally fine with that idea and secretly hoped that by beginning this fairly large project when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I'd send my body into labor. Didn't really happen though, because I got it all completed except for one final coat on the lower hallway woodwork. And so it was a win-win situation for me---I got to get rid of a lot of creative energy and our stairs have never looked better.

I always knew I wanted to paint the rises white because we paid to have the actual treads refinished, and they were SO pretty all spruced up. But you didn't even notice them because of all that dark woodwork surrounding the tread (yes, a matter of personal opinion, I know).  Plus, I hated the cream colored walls that were ALL over this house, and the stairway/hallways were the last of that dreaded cream to remain.

So I painted all of the walls my new favorite gray, Behr's 'Dolphin Fin' (same as our kitchen) and even just that made a huge difference. Then I got to work on the woodwork. Sanding, cleaning, filling in holes and cracks with spackle, priming, then painting 2 coats of paint. Sigh. Lots of work. But worth it. And this time I decided to go with Sherwin Williams for my wood paint instead of my previously used Benjamin Moore. LOVE the SW stuff, FYI. Their Adhesion Primer is water-based and is the bomb. And the Pro Classic semi-gloss paint for woodwork is also amazing. Wish I would have used this combo for all of the other woodwork in the house, too, but too late now!

Shall we look at pictures of my masterpiece, done while ri-donkulously pregnant?

Our Stairway:



And might as well show off my other shadow boxes on the upper hallway---birth of Cecelia, wedding, and birth of Truman. AKA 'the big events'. You'll see that we have each of our running races in a shadow box, too, going down the stairs. Those are great, too. But these three hold a little more weight, I'd say:)


stairsbeforeafter copy


And then there is our full bathroom upstairs. The thorn in our sides. You see, we REALLY want to tear out all of the ugly speckled tile in there and possibly use plain white tiles or just plaster the walls instead. But apparently this will be a very messy, very annoying project that we just can't do right now (read: Nate doesn't want to tackle it just yet). And so we are making due with the hideous tile and trying to update around it.

Painting the walls was a must, and then our old neighbor made us a flush-mounted medicine cabinet for above the sink (which is a new console we bought and installed). We also tore off part of the shelving system above our laundry chute and my father-in-law added a nice edge to it. Then it was up to me and my mom to paint these new wooden items white, and to also paint the window and door white (go away, hideous yellow woodwork!!).

With the new paint colors and a fun shower curtain, it's really not all bad. I still wish the tile was a distant memory but maybe someday.

And now, pictures...

Our Full Bathroom:







Another little project I haven't shown yet is this awesome wooden box Nate built for our mantel. Totally got the idea on Pinterest, of course!



I wanted something long and low to put under our TV and this is just perfect! I can envision putting ornaments, Poinsettias, and little Christmas trees in there for the holidays. And for the fall, maybe some pumpkins and pine cones and leaves or something. Ahhh, the possibilities are endless. Gotta love my handy husband. And those new giant sea-glass candle holders from World Market. Love those, too.

The other sort of big addition we made is that instead of buying new chairs for our sunroom, we decided to haul over our old love seat from the duplex. And I have no idea why we waited this long because it looks fine and is a great, comfy place to sit in there now. We were just using lounge chairs for the longest time and that sucked. This is much better, even though our poor love seat has seen better days and isn't our style anymore. Whateves. It works.


See that tab up there at the top of my blog? The one that says 'Our Home Renovations'? I updated it to show current snapshots of each room in our house. Sure, it's a lot more 'lived in' than the first round of pictures I took. I blame the newborn for that extra bit of clutter and baby gear and junk. But I kind of like the 'lived in' look now:) I also updated all of my 'before and after' pictures for each room in the house. Talk about mind-blowing---we sometimes forget how much work we've done to this place already. Love looking at the old photos to remind us of how we've made this home into our own style. I'm sure this tab will evolve over time to show even more home renovations and decorating changes, but it feels so good to have it updated to present day.

The only other projects that we have on our radar right now are:
-paint all of the windows white
-paint the front entry way
-paint and clean the back hallway to basement
-paint and hang french doors into sunroom

And my awesome Grandpa has made us our very own dining room table. I cannot wait to see it in a few weeks when my parents drive up here with the table in tow. He made it to go with the new dining room chairs I found on Craigslist and it has leaves to expand and fit 8 people around the table. Eeek! What a gift, right? Heirloom, for sure.

My mom has also made one more window treatment for this house of ours, making the grand total about 122:) But she is bringing one up for the stairway window and then I believe all windows will be properly dressed in our house. Can I get an 'Amen'? Well, the upper bathroom needs something at some point but I'm not sure what I want to do just yet. I just still want to redo that entire bathroom so I'm not very motivated to dress the window at this point.

So those are the updates I've been meaning to show for awhile now. It's nice to have a few projects here and there but there is no way I'd ever have the time or energy to do all that I did before Cecelia arrived. Thank goodness we did 90% of the projects before she came!
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