Monday, July 23, 2012

Seven Months

I must say that having a baby in December makes it very easy to keep track of how old she is. One month old in the first month of the year, seven months old in the seventh month, etc. A friend's first born just turned a year old last week and it served as a reminder of how quickly these babies grow up!

During this last month, Natalie has changed so much (what else is new?!). Here are some of the things she's been up to:

-Rolling from back to belly and belly to back (as long as she's on a soft surface, like the bed or the couch. This child will NOT roll over on the floor!
-Pulling up on us or a dresser drawer. She LOVES to stand and has even started taking a few very wobbly steps like she's trying to cruise.

-I gave in and decided to let her sample a few foods here and there and have really liked my Munchkin baby food grinder to make small portions of food for her to try. She has tried zucchini, watermelon, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, and peaches, in that order. So far, it looks like watermelon has been her favorite and carrots are her least favorite. I might not have gotten the texture of the carrots smooth enough for her liking though. We don't feed her solids every day; usually it's only when we happen to be eating something that we could also puree and give to her. I'm just not that into giving her solids yet. Baby-led weaning is sounding right up my alley about now :)

-She sticks her tongue out when Layla tries to lick her face. Gross, I know, so now we're extra attentive to keep their mouths away from each other! *Shudder* She also sticks her tongue out when we try to wipe her mouth off with a paper towel after she has eaten. Silly baby!
-Natalie has finally started saying a few syllables again. So far, she is saying "ma" and "ba". She also does this adorable thing where she curls her lips inward like you do when you're saying an "m" word, but she smacks her lips together over and over and it sounds like bubbles popping. Or, at least that's the best way I can think of to describe it!
-She now naps on her belly about half the time. The first time that this happened, she cried out and I went to check on her and her legs were sticking out through the slats in her crib, underneath the bumper and she was stuck! I really wanted to run and grab the camera before I rescued her, but I resisted the temptation and helped her out. Silly wiggle worm! The past 5 days have been horrible as far as naps go. I don't know if it's because of teething or what, but Natalie will.not.nap. She has gone from 3 naps a day (two long naps and a short nap) to two really short naps. On Saturday, she took two 30-minute naps. Has anyone else's child gone through this? She just lays in her crib and coos or she lays there and cries. Either way, no sleeping is happening. Ugh. I hope it's just teething.

-Socially, Natalie has grown by leaps and bounds. At just two months old, she literally screamed when anyone other than Alex or myself held her. The grandparents were devastated, to say the least. Now, she lets them hold her during church and when we visit with them. It's still not usually for extended lengths of time, but she's getting there. I hope we can work up to her staying with her grandparents for a couple of hours between feedings without her having a meltdown. All in time!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Growing Up!

Natalie had her 6-month check-up last week. She weighed 17 lbs (70th percentile) and was 27.25 inches tall (just above the 90th percentile). Despite having her nap cut short, she was really content during our time in the waiting room and during the check up. She really enjoyed playing with the paper on the exam table :)
I've been putting off introducing solids to her because of a family history of food allergies, but we have given her just a taste of a few things here and there. While we were visiting my parents recently, they had a little too much fun letting her sample some blackberry juice from a cobbler my mom had made.
After her check-up, we decided to give her a little more than a taste of veggies for the first time. I pureed some zucchini that we ate for dinner and Alex let her have at it.

By the end of dinner, she'd had enough and was ready for bed!
A friend was feeding her daughter some "puffs" the other day and gave me some for Natalie, but she kept gagging and nearly choking on them, so I decided to steer clear of them for the time being. I know the whole gagging thing is normal since they aren't used to having anything with texture in their mouths, but watching your beloved child react that way is kind of scary for a new mom! Natalie loves to mooch water from your cup, so I kept dropping water in her mouth from a straw, much to her delight. These days, sippy cups with water are good entertainment for her while I try to cook dinner, too.
She's quite a ham. Everything within her reach is fair game. She spilled ice water on me at Cracker Barrel yesterday morning and then slapped her hand on some chocolate dessert that Alex was trying to eat today. There's never a dull moment in our house! It's a lot of fun to experience all of Natalie's firsts with her and not miss anything. She's changing so quickly and I'll have a mobile baby on my hands before I know it! I don't think I'm quite ready for that!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Never-ending Faithfulness

I am a planner. I've had my life planned out from the ripe old age of, oh, seven or eight:) Go to college, graduate, get married, have babies. Well, maybe that's a very general plan, but it's all come together quite nicely so far. Sometimes things don't go as we plan, and it's really frustrating for someone like me who doesn't handle change very well. When things don't go the way I thought they were going to, I get all stressed out and my thoughts are consumed with figuring out how to get things back on track so they fit nicely into the compartments of my mind (men aren't always the only ones who compartmentalize!).

Recently, I was asked to pray about a part-time job opportunity that I had been hoping might come along. After praying for a week, I felt like God clearly told me to accept the opportunity, so, that's what I did. Lots of details were still up in the air, but God was providing for our finances and I was going to be challenged to grow in Him more than ever before. In the weeks since, details have changed and I've been stressed out to the point that I don't want to pursue the job anymore. But, then the thought occurred to me that I can't give up simply because I don't feel like dealing with change. God told me to do this, so I have to follow through. His will doesn't change along with my moods. And His plan is bigger and better than anything I can think up anyway! So, I'm sticking it out to see what's in store. I'd rather be obedient and experience a few growing pains than be selfish, take the easy road and miss out on the blessing of the Lord. God is faithful, He knows my needs, and He has a plan to meet those needs.

Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Speaking of faithfulness, recently I have seen first-hand how faithful God is. Eleven years ago, divorce ripped Alex's family apart. His parents were devastated and helpless to watch as their ex-son-in-law moved across the country with his 3 sons - their only grandchildren at the time - cutting the boys off from the rest of the family. Last summer was the first time in ten years that Alex had seen his nephews. It almost seemed like too much to hope for that they would be allowed to come back again this summer for a repeat visit, but, God is faithful and He made a way! The boys just left after another wonderful two-week visit. I thought it would be really special to get pictures taken of all 8 grandchildren together with their grandparents so we could always remember that God will grant us the desires of our hearts and He is always working things out even when the situation seems hopeless. The timing couldn't have been more perfect either, because my in-law's 39th wedding anniversary is this Saturday, and we're getting this picture framed for them as a gift.
One more reminder of God's faithfulness is this precious little bundle of joy:
I've waited for her since I was that little seven year-old girl making big plans for her life, and boy was she worth the wait!