Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Not the Carrots. It's the Cook.

Staley actually really likes carrots.  She just doesn't like the homemade baby food carrots that I made.  I was feeling so proud about being frugal and healthy and domestic when I made my own baby food for Staley. When we started with the homemade carrots, Staley gagged and cried and spit them out.  Naturally, I thought she just didn't like carrots.  The homemade sweet potatoes went over well, so we moved on to homemade green beans.  Again with the gagging and the crying.  I was curious, so I bought some Gerber's baby food green beans and carrots...and Staley ate them without a single gag.  I've concluded that some of my homemade baby food is not as smooth and creamy as the store bought, and apparently Staley does not like the texture.  Hopefully we can slowly introduce some more texture into her diet.  Otherwise, Zach and I will be eating a lot of pureed vegetables for dinner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Sure I love raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles (okay, maybe not this one) and warm woolen mittens as much as the next guy.  But I also love...

sweet potato smiles...

matching hats...

and this sweet, sweet baby girl.

Give me Staley's sweet smile over a brown paper package tied up with string any day of the week.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Protecting? Or Serving?

I'm just curious.  Which is it?  When an Illinois state police officer is hiding out in an obstructed driveway along a straight, flat stretch of country road at 7:00 in the morning, is he protecting or serving?  When he pulls over a 30-something woman driving a mini-van (yes, a little faster than the posted limit) with her 6 month old child to drop off before heading in to work (at a children's hospital), is he protecting or serving?  Is it the protecting or the serving that requires him to politely request $120 or a visit to the Pekin courthouse?

For the record, I was speeding.  I will pay my fine.  My $120 will not make the slightest difference in the sad and sorry financial state that Illinois is in.  But maybe, just maybe, it will help keep a few more state troopers patrolling those scary and dangerous early morning country roads so that they can continue to...which was it again?  Protect?  Or serve?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photo Shoot

Staley had her first modeling job this morning.  My daughter is going to be famous!!  Although 'job' might be too strong a word since she didn't get paid.  And 'famous' might be stretching a bit since it was a picture for the library's 'Read' campaign.  But if the picture of Staley reading a book with me turns out, it will be on display at the Eureka Public Library.  So perhaps she will be famous...but just among those Eureka residents who frequent the library.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Staley: 1, Ellen: 0

I understand that Dr. Ferber is a sleep specialist and that his method of teaching children how to put themselves to sleep is scientifically proven and effective.  However, I don't believe that Dr. Ferber is a father, because his method can be just plain heartbreakingly difficult.

Staley has been so good about going to bed at night without a fuss.  (Hope I'm not jinxing us by typing that sentence.)  However, she has been giving me a hard time about some of her naps.  On Wednesday, she cried for almost 50 minutes when I put her down for her morning nap.  I held out, going in to reassure her only every 10-15 minutes as the Ferber protocol allows, and she FINALLY fell asleep.  This morning, she again created quite the dramatic scene about nap time.  I know she was tired.  I know she needed a nap.  However, explaining that to Staley didn't really change her no-nap stance.

I tried to be good.  I tried to follow the protocol.  I really tried to be strong.  I went in at my allowed 5 minutes and then at my allowed 10 minutes.  Each time I'd go into Staley's room, she would stop crying, roll onto her back, and look up at me with her red-rimmed eyes and give me a huge, gummy smile.  She would smile at me as I told her I loved her and that it was nap time.  As I would walk away, my heart would break as she would start crying again.  So, when I went in at my allowed 15 minutes, I couldn't take it anymore.  I did the unspeakable.  (Don't read this, Dr. Ferber.)  I picked up my sweet baby girl.  I cuddled her and held her and then danced her to sleep.  (It didn't take long.)

I want to be a good parent.  I want to teach Staley to be independent and capable of calming herself, even when things aren't going her way.  I want her to understand that I'll stick to my guns and follow through with what I say.  I need her to know that nap time is nap time, whether she likes it or not, because I know it will make the rest of her day better.  But she also needs to know that sometimes I'll break the rules, just because I love her too much not to.  Well, Staley can chalk one up in her win column for today.  She did not have to put herself to sleep for nap time.  But she has been taking such a nice, long morning nap and I know that will make her a super-happy girl when she wakes up, so I guess we both win.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

She Bangs...and Other New Developments

Staley has started performing a few new 'tricks' over these past few weeks.  She is now deliberately banging two objects together to make noise.  She has also gotten pretty good at ripping a napkin into pieces, and she loves playing with crumpled pieces of paper.  Staley has also perfected her fake cough, and she has started to snort when she gets excited, which are both awfully cute.  On the not so cute side, she has also started to get upset when a preferred item (like a cell phone or a napkin) is taken away from her.  And although she now goes down for bed generally without a whimper, she has been a bit more vocal about taking some of her naps.  (As I type this, my super-tired little girl is yelling at me from across the hall because, although I know she is tired, she seems to think that a nap isn't such a great idea.)  On the plus side, at least she is learning to voice her opinions.

Banging toys is fun, fun, fun!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And Then There Were Two

Teeth, that is.  I guess Staley's bottom front left tooth was lonely because he (she?) popped out today to hang out with her bottom front right tooth.  Now at night before bed, instead of brushing Staley's tooth, we can officially brush her teeth!

And day two of sweet potatoes was a success.

The sweet potatoes were good (as evidenced by the fact that she ate them all), but playing with the spoon and the bowl was the best part!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Carrots? NO! Sweet Potatoes? Maybe...

We gave it the good old college try.  Three days of eating carrots turned into three days of gagging and spitting and crying.  In order to avoid turning my daughter against eating altogether, we decided to move on from the great carrot experiment.  So tonight was our first night of sweet potatoes.  She didn't open wide for the spoon or lean in for the next bite or even smile when it was all over, but at least she didn't gag.  We can assume that means that sweet potatoes are better than carrots.  They're not great, apparently, but at least better.  And that's a start.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shots + Carrots = Bad Day

Yesterday was Staley's 6 month check-up.  She checked out just perfect, weighing 15 lbs, 15 oz (48th percentile) and measuring 26.5" long (76th percentile).  And because Zach tells Dr. Cross at EVERY check-up that we are raising Staley to be exceptional, Dr. Cross concurred and wrote "Staley is exceptional" on her visit paperwork.  I knew we picked a great doctor.  : )  Unfortunately for our exceptional baby girl, her vaccinations were a bit more traumatic for her today.  She started screaming when the nurse gave her the oral vaccine (which never bothered her before-I wonder if she remembered what comes next) and then she screamed through her 3 shots.  We were less than enthused about our nurse, who didn't attempt to interact with Staley and who was much less efficient about shot giving.  And after her appointment, Staley had a rough day.  She was fussy and lethargic and subdued.  She acted as though her legs hurt, crying when we tried to sit her up or change her diaper or move her into a different position.  She also vomited a few times.  Poor thing!!  (Luckily today is better.  Not 100%, but better.)

And to top of the rotten day, I tried to introduce a new food.  Apparently carrots did not make the day any brighter.  She gagged and made faces and spit out most of the carrots--and eventually vomited the small amount that she had taken in. 

Most days I would argue that it's great to be Staley--my happy, lively, social, adorable baby girl.  Yesterday, Staley might disagree. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Family Pictures

We had our family pictures taken at the end of May, and I FINALLY decided on the pictures I wanted to order.  I was so pleased with the results...especially because we had a tired Staley, a rainy day, and a shortened photo session.  However, even my tired little girl is photogenic, so I wanted to share our pictures...

Taken right before the rain started

I love, love, love this picture!

Can you tell we are under a bridge to escape the pouring rain?

Because that's where these were taken.

And this was my absolute favorite!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Six Months

Wow!  Six months!!  How time flies!!!  My Staley is growing and changing, but her easy-going personality and happy temperment never seem to change.  We haven't weighed her in awhile, but she gets heavier and heavier to carry.  She still wears her size 2 diapers and her 3-6 month clothes, although she is starting to wear some of her 6-9 month clothes as well.  As of the past few days, she sleeps in her crib at night and started taking solid foods.  She eats every 3-5 hours, takes 2-3 naps each day, and has started sleeping for about 9-11 hours at night.  We have spent the entire 6th month of Staley's life with her grandparents, and Staley took her first road trip (Chicago), her first vacation (Las Vegas), and celebrated her first 4th of July.  She also cut her first tooth--on her 6 month birthday.  It's been a busy, busy month!!!

Likes:  Staley likes almost everything.  She is a smiley, giggly, happy baby.  She loves playing, but her favorite toys aren't even toys--cell phones, computers, water bottles, her feet, her burp cloths, and tags all hold her attention.  She isn't too picky about her toys, but still really enjoys stacking cups and rattles.  She also became quite intrigued with Zsu Zsu Pets at Uma and Papa's house.  She loves music, dancing, reading books, playing peek-a-boo, going for walks, taking baths, and splashing in her swimming pool.  She is very interested in watching us eat, studying her hands, and playing with her carseat strap.  Staley loves her Daddy and always giggles when he makes animal sounds, gets her ready for bath time, and holds her up in the air.

Dislikes:  Staley is generally good-natured and tolerant.  She fusses when she is really hungry or really tired.  She is still unsure about sitting in grass, but that's improving.  And based on her first "meal" of rice cereal, we'll place that in the dislikes column for now.

Skills:  Where to begin...  Staley seems to be learning new skills every day.  She sits on her own for long periods of time and will even use a controlled fall backward when she is tired of sitting.  She can stand holding onto our hands or furniture--and is always so proud when she is standing up.  Staley is rolling from tummy to back and back to tummy all by herself, using this as an early form of mobility--although she is still not real adept at rolling to get something she wants.  We have to be careful because Staley loves to grab anything and everything--and then taste it.  (And her reach is surprisingly long!)  She likes to hold and examine her toys and will hold one toy in each hand.  She is very good at activating her cause and effect toys.  She likes to lift the flaps and touch the textures in her books.  She is beginning to learn to knock over towers I build and can sort of roll a ball back and forth.  (I'm not really claiming the ball rolling skill yet, but I think she has the idea.)  She makes lots of cute noises, although still primarily with vowel sounds.  Her new sound is a quiet, high pitched squeak that I think is so cute.  I may be biased, but I think Staley is just perfect!
Staley is so proud of her standing.

Staley at 6 months

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Tooth

It's a big, big day for Staley--hence the 3 blog posts.  Staley turned 6 months old (which I haven't even blogged about yet), tried solid food for the first time, and she cut her first tooth.  Welcome to the world, Staley's bottom right front tooth.

First Solid Food

I think the face says it all.

Home Sweet Home!

After almost 7 weeks of living out of suitcases, we finally got to move home on Saturday night.  Our basement is done, although the project is still far from completion.  The plumbing SHOULD be done (except for re-doing a few things that the plumbers screwed up).  Zach and his dad (with supervision from Zach's grandfather) are up-dating the electrical work.  The carpenters started this morning--they are gutting our current main floor laundry room and storage room, putting the basement stairs in the current laundry room, turning the current storage room into a laundry room, re-doing our side entrance, and converting the current basement stairway into a kitchen pantry.  (Follow that?)  And the geo-thermal guys have to drill their wells and run the ductwork.  After all that, we still have to figure out how to get the deck back on the house and how to turn our yard back into a yard.  It's all a bit daunting, but we're getting there.  Hopefully our house will be worker-free by the end of this month.

And for my 6 month old, the move home marked some big changes in her life.

1.  Staley slept in her crib in her own room for the first night since she's been born.  She did great!!  Me, not so much.  I had a hard time sleeping and frequently woke up to watch the monitor or check on Staley.  Obviously moving into her own room was much harder on me than on Staley.  I have a feeling this will be a trend as a parent--having a hard time letting my baby grow up.

2.  Staley picked up some bad sleeping habits in our time away (as documented in a previous post), so we thought it was best to address them immediately.  As I read about teaching children to put themselves to sleep, I realized that we had been doing a few things wrong.  So...Staley's bedtime routine received a make-over.  Staley always slept in a sleep gown, swaddled (with her arms free), on her back in her co-sleeper or pack and play.  We would get her ready for bed, read books, do music time, and then I would feed her to sleep.  Now Staley is sleeping in her big-girl sleepers, no longer swaddled, on her back (to begin with) in her crib.  I feed her BEFORE her books, music, and bedtime prayers so that she is going to bed awake.  We have used the Ferber method (aka crying it out) for the past 2 nights and for her naps the past 3 days.  The first night she cried for 13 minutes and not a peep last night.  Without being swaddled, she now rolls herself onto her stomach to sleep, and she slept 11 hours the first night and 10.5 hours last night.  It may be too early to tell, but I think the changes are working! 

3.  Staley is now intrigued with Jake and Elwood.  When we left, she had just started to notice them.  Now she giggles when they walk past, and she keeps trying to reach out and grab them.  Although our cats are not bright, they've figured out how to stay a little more than an arms length away from the little baby hands.

4.  We are going to start Staley on solid foods TODAY.  What a fun way to celebrate a 6 month birthday!  Although Zach suggested that pizza should be her first food (since EVERYONE likes pizza), I'm planning to whip up some scrumptious rice cereal this evening.  And my sister-in-law (Melissa) and I spent several hours together yesterday making baby food.  So now I have a freezer full of pureed broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, and squash.  I'm not a big veggie person, so hopefully Staley will like them better than I do.  If not, I may be offering up some pureed broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, and squash.  : )

It's really nice being back home.  Although honestly (not just because they read this), we had a very fun time staying with Zach's parents and my parents.  I feel very blessed that we had places to stay while this project was being completed--and places where we were welcomed, fed, entertained, and loved.  We are so, so lucky to have such amazingly wonderful families!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Show Her What It Means to be Loved

There is a song on the radio.  It's about parents who find out that their unborn daughter may not live long.  The doctor asks what they want to do and the chorus is:

I want to give her the world.
I want to hold her hand.
I want to be her mom for as long as I can.
I want to live every moment until that day comes.
I want to show her what it means to be loved.

I don't generally cry, but this song makes me cry every time I hear it.  This chorus is my anthem.  That is what my prayer is as a mother.  I want to give Staley the world.  I want to hold her hand, being there to walk beside her through the joys (and, unfortunately, the sorrows) that she will experience.  I want to be the best mom I can be for as long as Staley and I have together on this earth.  I want to cherish each and every moment that I have with Staley.  I could never have imagined the strength of the love that a mother feels for her child until Staley was in my life.  I don't expect Staley to truly understand the depth of my love for her, just as I couldn't fathom how much my mother loves me until I had Staley.  But as best as I know how, I want to show Staley how much she means to me, how she has changed my life, how I would do anything for her.  I want to show her what it means to be loved.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pool Party

Staley's inflatable infant pool shaped like a whale was the best $5 we've ever spent!  Staley loves playing and splashing in the water, and I love having an excuse to take pictures of my adorable baby in her super-cute swimsuit and sun hat.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Staley's First 4th of July

The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and Zach's whole family was together for the day.  What could make the 4th of July any better?  Staley LOVED the parade, watching wide-eyed as each float drove past.  Several of the floats were even giggle-worthy and she didn't seem at all concerned about the loud fire truck sirens.  Although Staley didn't get to enjoy the yummy BBQ food, she definitely enjoyed the attention from her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  And even without the fireworks (that she missed out on due to bedtime and bugs), Staley soaked up the excitement of her first 4th of July.

Getting festive with Daddy

Spending time with Zach's cousin, Emma

Staley with Olivia, Cade, and Lila

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rock and Roll Baby

Zach always calls Staley his 'rock and roll baby' because of her love of music.  She will rock out to the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Elmore James.  (Of course, to be fair, she also enjoys bluegrass, country, classical, hip hop, and 'The Hamster Dance Song.')  But, thanks to the wonderful world of baby hair, Staley can sport an edgy rock and roll look to go along with her musical taste.

Staley was born with a head full of soft, dark baby hair.  She kept it for a few months and I thought she would be one of the lucky ones who didn't lose her hair in early infancy.  Well, I was partly right.  She didn't lose any of the hair on top of her head.  Unfortunately, she did lose most of the hair along the sides of her head.  Lucky for my cute baby girl, she can rock a mohawk with the best of them!

Our adorable little rock and roll baby

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I do not want to preemptively retract my post from yesterday.  However, last night before bed, Staley and I had a heart-to-heart about her recent bedtime behavior.  I did most of the talking, but Staley appeared to be listening intently...although she did get a bit distracted when trying to play with my necklace.  Nevertheless, she apparently took our discussion seriously because she went to bed without a fuss and slept 10 hours straight, waking me up with her happy coos and squeals at 8:00 this morning.  Well done, Staley.  Well done!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Frustrated...and Tired

It's hard for me to write this post now (with my adorable baby napping sweetly after I've enjoyed her smiles and coos all morning) with the same frustration I was feeling at 9:30 last night...or 1:30 a.m....or 6:30 a.m.  Staley is smart...and we love that she is smart.  We just don't want her to use her intelligence against us.  And that is exactly what she is doing.

Staley has been waking more at night (those darned teeth), but we've been quicker to comfort her and feed her in the night as:
 1.) We do not want her to wake her grandparents (with whom we are STILL living)
 2.) Her pack and play is right next to our bed, making it more difficult not to intervene. 

Well, Staley has now figured out that crying at night = attention.  Staley used to go to bed without so much as a whimper.  If she would wake up in the night, she would fuss for a bit and then put herself back to sleep.  Over the past week or so, Staley has put up more of fight about going to bed and about soothing herself back to sleep.  Even with a full belly and tired eyes, she will start to cry even before her body hits the pack and play.  We generally let her fuss for a bit until her fussing escalates into "I'm-being-tortured" screams.  The first few times, I thought there must be something wrong.  Maybe her teeth really hurt.  Maybe she's too cold.  Maybe she's too hot.  Maybe her diaper is full.  I think something must be bothering her...until I lift her out of the bed and she immediately stops crying.  Put her in bed.  Scream.  Take her out.  Quiet.  It would almost be a funny game if it wasn't happening when all I want to do is go back to sleep.  This is obviously a bad habit that we need to address, but it seems that we will have to give in to her for a few more nights (as we have a tentative return home date of Tuesday).  So, for the time being, I'll just have to remain frustrated...and tired!