Ian’s Birth Story

To start with, for those who aren’t friends with me on Facebook, we had a baby! Ian Ray was born at 10:30am on August 15, at 39 weeks and 1 day. He was (and is) healthy and perfect and beautiful. 8lb9oz, 20 ¾ inches, and 100% wonderful.

As far as the birth story goes, I keep forgetting to write this out, but I need to get on it! He’s already 2 weeks old, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some details by now. (Ha! He’s 8 months now and I’m just now finishing.) So here goes.

I spent almost this entire pregnancy worried about preterm labor. I had moments when I felt horribly guilty for even getting pregnant, because I was so convinced he’d be even earlier than Lily was and have developmental issues because of it and it would all be my fault for choosing to risk getting pregnant even though I knew I’d be high risk. Getting weekly progesterone shots did help with that; the feeling of actually doing something to prevent labor was comforting. (And as a bonus, I’m way less bothered by needles now after so many shots.)

But it was actually a very uneventful pregnancy. I did have to go to the hospital once at 28 weeks because of Braxton hicks (non-labor contractions) that were very close together and wouldn’t stop, but they just confirmed they weren’t productive contractions and ultimately sent me home with orders to take it a little easier. As each milestone passed, viability, almost guaranteed survival, 33 weeks (when Lily was born), etc, I was able to breathe easier. I was SO happy to actually reach full term! I think one of the best things for me was realizing I was finally far enough along that going into labor would be exciting instead of terrifying.

That being said, by the time I hit around 38 weeks I was really starting to feel done. It was hard being huge and uncomfortable while chasing a very active toddler, I was very over waking up constantly at night to pee, and I was just kind of over it. I had honestly expected to go into labor fairly quickly after the last progesterone shot wore off at 37 weeks. I was happy to have made it farther, but I was really ready too. It had started to feel like I was going to just be huge and pregnant forever!

For about two weeks before he was born I was having *very* mildly painful contractions every night when I went to bed. They got the tiniest bit stronger each night, but never enough to make think it was real, and I always fell asleep after a few. The night before he was born wasn’t really any different on that front. They were stronger but nothing that really got my hopes up.

The morning of the 15th I woke up around 7, when Christopher’s alarm went off. As I was trying to go back to sleep I had a contraction that got my attention. It wasn’t super painful, but it definitely felt much more real than I’d had up to that point. After it happened again I decided to start timing them. The first I timed was 8 minutes, but after that they were all around 5. I still wasn’t 100% convinced (I’ve had Braxton hicks that were 2 minutes apart before, so timing isn’t always certain, and they still just weren’t that painful), but when Christopher got out of the shower I told him to delay leaving for work while I took a bath to see if that stopped them. At the very least I expected a much longer labor than I had with Lily. The midwives said that I should have a more typical labor since preterm births tend to be different.

When I was in the bath they got more painful quickly, and I was sure it was the real thing so I told Christopher to call my mom and get her over to our house to watch Lily. I stopped timing the contractions because they were hurting enough I needed to focus on relaxing through them. By the time I got out of the bath I was starting to worry that things were progressing so fast we might not make it to the hospital. Thankfully my mom got to our house super quickly so I didn’t have to worry that we’d wind up having to take Lily with us. I tried to get ready while ordering Christopher around gathering up the few things I wanted that weren’t in the hospital bag. We eventually made it out the door, though by then I was refusing to move during contractions, which were close enough together that it was hard to actually make it to the car.

The drive to the hospital is, unsurprisingly a bit of a blur, though not to the degree that it was with Lily. For one thing, I was actually able to sit up throughout it, instead of having to be on all fours in the back. So I was able to see a little of what was going on. The only clear images I still have are of passing the cemetery on Elm Hill, and the dude who let us run a red light in front of him even though he had a green arrow. (By that time we were pretty close to the hospital so I guess he saw our flashers and assumed it was important. But no matter why he did it, I am forever grateful.) The drive was still immensely unpleasant, because going over bumps just does NOT feel good during a contraction. Nor does holding yourself upright in a car moving faster than it should going around curves and turns and all. But still, it was much easier than it was with Lily. I think that was mostly because I was able to relax somewhat, instead of being totally freaked out like I was with Lily. I got Christopher to talk to me (I have no idea what about; maybe he remembers), and keep me from focusing solely on the pain, and it was just easier somehow. There were still some really bad omg-I’m-going-to-crawl-out-of-my-own-skin contractions, but most were ones I could breathe through and even though they hurt, they weren’t overwhelming.

Thankfully this time we knew where to go, so the actual arrival at the hospital was much less stressful. They have valet parking, so I got out while Christopher grabbed our stuff and pretty much threw the keys at the valet guy. He almost got away without even getting the claim ticket, which would have been interesting later. It was definitely super hard to walk by that point, but I didn’t cuss in front of any small children because the elevator was delayed, like I did last time, so that’s a bonus.

When we got up to the OB triage area, they started having us fill out some paperwork, but I was already feeling like I was needing to push some. They seemed a little skeptical at first, but once they confirmed that this was not my first labor (and we may have mentioned that my first was crazy fast), they rushed me back to get things checked. I was about 9cm dilated already, so I was right to feel like it was getting close! (At this point it had been around 2 hours since I woke up, so even I was shocked I was so far along.)

They got me into a delivery room, but like last time there wasn’t really any chance of changing clothes. They just got the pants off and left the shirt. Which on the one hand, I intentionally wore a Star Wars shirt, so both my kids were delivered in Star Wars shirts. But I had a couple of pretty hospital gowns I got thinking labor would be long enough I’d need them. Still, they wound up being really useful for the couple days I was in the hospital, so they were a good purchase.

Anyway, they got things all situated and the bed all broken down weird (I had no idea the whole end of the bed just came off), by which time it was pretty much go time. Things get *really* blurry at that point, but I clearly remember just being super impatient and ready to be done. I was pushing between contractions at one point (don’t do that, it’s unproductive and wastes your energy), and I let her break my water (that feels weird btw) which I had planned on not doing. In retrospect it seems ridiculous that I was that impatient after such a short labor, but dude that 0 to 60 in no time thing is just really intense! And I do not like pushing. Some people are relieved to finally be able to do something after having to just wait for their body to get moving, but waiting between contractions once the baby is part way out is unbelievably not cool. Just get out already! That was the one major pro to Lily being early. Ian wasn’t huge, but tiny little 5.5lb Lily came out much easier. Though again, it was WAY faster than most. According to the monitors they had hooked up, it was 18 minutes from the time we got in the delivery room until he was born. Not crazy or overwhelming at all, for sure. I’m just really spectacularly glad Christopher didn’t have to deliver him on the side of the road. Though it would have made for a fun story.

Fun note, Christopher almost passed out during the delivery. He was helping hold one of my legs, and inadvertently got a bit more of a full view of the proceedings than he’d intended. He’s not normally bothered by blood or anything, but for some reason this really got him. He did a great job not letting me know anything was wrong (I had no idea anything happened at all until he told me after), but as soon as Ian was out, he turned to the nurse and told her he needed to sit down. She took one look at his face and made him lay down. I think at one point he had more nurses focused on him than on me or the baby. He never actually passed out, but even once he was better enough to come over to me he looked paler than I’ve ever seen him (and I’ve seen him with a stomach virus so that’s saying something).

But back to me now. Like I said, pushing is no fun. But it was quick, and he was delivered with no complications. From what I can remember, he had the same apgar scores as Lily, 8/8, but in his case it was because he was a bit cold, not because of his color or breathing like her. They laid him on my bare stomach before the cord was cut, and I remember my very first thought was how shockingly warm he was. I guess I’d gotten a little cold (probably from sweat evaporation), so it was just weird how warm he was. Like Lily, he was relatively ungross, presumably because my waters didn’t break till later so he had the amniotic sac still protecting him from most of the ickiness of birth.

This is where I have the fewest clear memories, interestingly. I know I had to have stitches, but it was nothing major. They gave me a shot of pitocin because there was more bleeding than there should be, but it was minor and I had bleeding with Lily so apparently that’s just what my body does. I got to cuddle Ian and hold him and didn’t have to let them take him for a long time. That was wonderful after getting to see Lily for maybe a minute before having her whisked off to the NICU. I let him try nursing pretty quickly, and he latched on happily. I eventually let Christopher hold him, but it took awhile for him to get me to let him. At some point (after they took him to weigh him, I think?) my mom brought Lily so she could come meet her new brother. She wore her big sister shirt and at one point hit her head so she had a cupcake bandaid on her forehead for every picture for the entire day. It seemed very appropriately weirdly Lily. She was really excited even though she was clearly too young to understand just how big of a deal it was. But she enjoyed loving on him.

There’s really not much else to it. I had to stay in the hospital for two days because I was supposed to have gotten IV antibiotics during labor but there wasn’t enough time. So they had to monitor him and make sure he didn’t have any issues as a result. I was very ready to go home after, but it wasn’t bad. Vanderbilt is pretty amazing, so I really have no complaints about having to stay longer.

I had a different midwife this time, and I was very pleased with her. I’m not sure if I got lucky and got the best possible personalities for each of my births, or if they’re just good at their jobs and know how to tailor their approaches to what is needed. The first time the midwife was mostly just very reassuring. She stayed right in my face and did everything to keep me calm. This time the midwife was older and more stern. I was getting frustrated and impatient and she just had a “nope, you’re gonna do what I tell you because I know you can do this” attitude. Which sounds kind of bad but it was what I needed right then. Christopher liked them both too.

But anyway, I’m not sure how to wrap this up, so I’ll leave it with some pictures like I usually do. Here’s my perfect boy!


Liz is Pregnant- Take 6 (and 5)

I’m ridiculously far behind on blogging, so I have to play a little catch-up on how it came to be that we’re having baby number two. 


Long story short, a few months back I suddenly started getting baby fever again. All of my reasons for just wanting one were still valid, but I kept thinking of all the reasons why two would be better. And I just wanted another. Blame evolution. Christopher, being the much more rational person that he is, and less driven by emotions and instinct, was less enthusiastic. We needed to wait until Lily was 18 months old anyway, to limit the risk of preterm labor (the risk is higher with pregnancies close together, something no one bothered to mention when they cleared us to try again just three months after River 😡). We hadn’t really decided officially, but we stopped being careful a little before that point. And since getting pregnant is my superpower, not being careful was all it took.


The “month” before this pregnancy, we were on a cruise. I tested in the days before we left, and got all negatives. At that point I was well past the point that I should have had a positive if I was going to, so I stopped testing and only took one test on the boat. So of course it turned out my period was late. I took the one test I had, and it was a SUPER faint positive. I figured no chance of it being viable with it being so faint so late (4 days after period was due), and I was right. Period started before we even got off the boat. I didn’t mention this at the time to anyone because it was just such a non-event and it felt weird. Like how was the cruise? Oh great! We had lots of fun, had another super early miscarriage, the usual. I honestly just didn’t even care that much so I didn’t see the point in mentioning it.

Fast forward to the following cycle. I was feeling really confident, but again testing up towards my period I was getting no positives. I stopped after 12dpo (2 days before period) because in my experience no positive by then means no chance. But then my period was late. So the day after it was due I tested again. Super spectacularly I can’t even take a picture of it faint positive. So I figured it was going to be the same as the month before. And I didn’t mention it because it just didn’t seem important and I was super over it and didn’t even feel like talking about it. But I kept testing and the next day it was darker. I could kind of get a picture of it. And the next day even darker and so on. 


So I called the midwife (still thinking no chance) and went in and had bloodwork done. You want the number to double every 48-72 hours. My first number was 106 (which was very low for what I thought my dates were, but also very pregnant since anything above 5 is pregnant). Second blood draw was 46 hours later so I figured 175 meant still some hope and 200 was really good. It came back 334. Which was super shocking. Like kinda sorta maybe twins, though not likely, level shocking. (To be clear, we are very sure it’s not twins.)


Based on my original dates, my due date was August 18, but the dating ultrasound showed (as expected, obviously) that that was wrong, so it was changed to August 21. Apparently the miscarriage the month before, as early as it was, messed with my cycle just enough that I ovulated a few days later than usual. We also went ahead and did the genetic screening again, so we found out we’re having a boy! (And it came back negative for all the issues it screens for. Unfortunately though, since River didn’t have any known genetic issues we can’t screen for that.)


The first trimester was rough. Physically I was fine, other than the usual tiredness (I’ve still yet to throw up from pregnancy, labor notwithstanding), but emotionally I was a wreck. Really more of a wreck than I even realized at the time, and I knew I was struggling. I don’t know if it was the hormones (first tri is the worst for the crazy hormones) and exhaustion, the constant fear of another miscarriage, or (most likely) a combination of the two, but it was a hard couple months.  


That being said, I’m 17 weeks and it’s mostly a ton better. Though apparently I got a lot more worried than I thought. I had a gestational diabetes screening this week (which I passed! Hooray for no early GD!), and while I was there I asked to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. She found it *immediately* (he’s still so small that it can take a minute to figure out where he’s hanging out), and I almost cried with relief he was okay. That’s never happened before, even when we found out Lily’s anatomy scan was clear and she didn’t have any of River’s issues. So I guess I was worried, even though I hadn’t realized how much. Also, possibly even more telling, I wasn’t feeling any movement earlier in the week. Then that afternoon, after hearing the heartbeat again, suddenly I was feeling him move all over the place. And it’s been very, very frequent ever since. I’m pretty darn sure he didn’t just coincidentally decide to have a dance party as soon as I knew he was still okay. Best I can guess, I was so afraid to believe things were okay that I was unconsciously dismissing anything I felt as normal twinges/gas/whatever without even realizing it. But he’s definitely making his presence known now. Last night I even felt him with my hand, though I think it will be a while before Christopher will be able to feel him. Without being able to feel it on the inside at the same time, it’s still very subtle.


Now, with the anatomy scan a week and a half away, I’m definitely struggling again. (For those who don’t know or remember our whole history and why the anatomy scan scares the piss out of me, see here. Warning, it’s upsetting and potentially controversial.) I keep having these moments when I just get hit with a memory of one of our far too many shitty ultrasound experiences. Things I normally don’t even think about at all. And my mood is definitely crappy, just in a vague sort of way. But a week and a half isn’t that long. We can all survive my anxiety and crappy mood for a week and a half. And then we should know one way or the other how things are going to be going.


I was right about one thing, incidentally. I said, and may have written here, after we lost River that I was glad we didn’t have another kid already because it would have made it harder. As it was, I had no frame of reference for what we were really losing, emotionally speaking. It was all just a lot of hypotheticals. We didn’t truly lose a child, the way you think of when you hear about a baby dying. I felt pretty sure that if we had a kid already, it would have made the whole thing a hell of a lot harder. And I’d say I was right. I feel a lot more attached to this pregnancy than I have any of the previous ones. Between knowing he’s a boy (I kind of wish we didn’t find out so early, as neat as it is to know) and being able to look at Lily and know how I feel about her, this just feels more real. Which, unfortunately, makes it that much scarier. If something were to go wrong, it would be harder than before. Still FAR easier than if something happened to Lily- I’d trade another hundred pregnancies if it somehow kept her safe. But harder than it was.  


Okay, that’s definitely enough of all that ever so cheerful stuff. On a lighter note, I’m pretty sure this kid is going to be Baby Boy Smith forever. We’ve only ever agreed on one boy name, which was Liam. Except it was almost 12 years ago when it wasn’t particularly popular. It’s since become the number one most popular boy name, or course. It’s bad enough we chose Lily, which is in the top 25. Number one is so not happening. (It’s worth noting that our first girl choice back then, Madison, is now number 13. Apparently we can predict name popularity.) At this point we have a grand total of two names we can agree we could live with. And neither of us is big on the idea of picking a name that all we can say for is we can live with it. Rationally I know we have months left to figure this out. But we’ve had years up to this point and never found one! Eek. Baby Boy Smith it is. (Actually, I love Apollo. Technically I’m the one who gets to name him, as far as filling out the paper work, so I threatened Christopher that if we don’t agree on something in time I’m just naming him Apollo and he can get over it. He wasn’t amused.) 


Since we’ve only had the dating ultrasound, I don’t have any good pictures (he was just a blob at that point), so I’ll leave you with this cuteness of the Lils stepping on her baby (I’m sure this bodes well for baby brother).

Sort of a Real Post 

I promise to write a real post that at least covers how the latest pregnancy and all are going (uh, I’m pregnant again, FYI, for my readers that aren’t friends on FB), but for now I at least have this! Kidlett is 20 months now, to put it in some kind of context.
-Cats are MAOW, which must always be yelled as loud as possible. She also yelled it at the meerkats at the zoo today on her first Nana Camp Sunday.


-She started stomping more intentionally recently, and she just made her babies and Oswald stomp too while (as best she can) saying, “stomp stomp.”


-I asked her if she could get her baby’s blanket (they each have their own, which mustn’t be mixed up), and she looked from the baby to the blanket, gasped dramatically, and hurried over to get the blanket and bring it over to wrap around baby. Apparently it was very shocking that baby didn’t have her proper blanket.


-One of my current favorite things she does it point to totally random things in a book and call them all dogs or maows or bock bocks or what have you. I know she knows what they really are, so I think she’s trying to be funny. 


-That was about the sweetest thing ever. She was fighting sleep at nap time, then grabbed my face in both hands, pulled me down to her, and fell asleep. ☺️ She prefers to sleep with our heads touching at night too.


-She insisted on feeding her baby a blueberry, then picked her up and ate the berry directly from her mouth. 😆


-One thing I love about cosleeping is getting to hear her talk in her sleep. I’m in bed but reading and she just pointed straight in front of her and said “water.” She frequently says mama/daddy/Nana, and sometimes no no no, which I don’t like because I’m afraid she’s having a bad dream.


-Last night she started fussing/crying, but without fully waking up. That kind of super tired and just want to sleep but something (upset tummy? bad dream?) won’t let her crying. It was really pitiful. But what was interesting to me was that as I was trying to cuddle her to soothe her, she deliberately took my hand and put it on her foot (her way of asking for a foot rub). And it worked. I rubbed her feet and she went right back to sleep and was totally settled. It’s so neat that even half asleep she knew what she needed and how to ask for it. Kids can start communicating with us so much earlier than most people realize.


-Apparently with her stacker pieces, she’s figured out that the holes go all the way through. So as long as she can see a hole on top, she should be able to put the piece on. Except one of them doesn’t go all the way through. And she will not turn it over! She insists the hole be on top. It’s so interesting to see the “rules” kids develop to understand how the world works, and how they have to adapt them.


-We left her tree up in the playroom after Christmas because she loved the trees so much that I couldn’t bring myself to put them all away. The plan is to have it be for all holidays, although Easter is the only one I’ve managed. They just didn’t have any good heart ones for Valentine’s and I wasn’t up for making them. But the dollar store Easter eggs look pretty cute. Now to stop her yanking the ribbons off of them so they can continue to actually hang. (Update- The original styrofoam eggs have been thrown away. I was out of the room talking to Christopher, and when I came back 4 or 5 of them had bites taken out of them. Thankfully I was able to match all the pieces up so she didn’t swallow (or worse, choke on) any of it. She kept trying to snatch them up and bite them (saying “bite!”) when I was gathering them up to throw them away, and she still keeps pointing at the tree saying bite even several days later. I got some hard plastic ones to try, so we’ll see how that goes.)


-I let her sort of help me cook for the first time! I was making hamburger helper (I know 😬) and I let her dump in the pasta (dumping is on her list of most fun things ever, so she was excited) and stir it a little. I really should have started having her help sooner, but I just didn’t give it much thought. I think I was waiting till she actually understands, but why wait? She enjoys it now. I want to get her a kitchen helper so bad! But it has got to be the kind that collapses down so I can only have it out when I want her to help. It’s bad enough she’s so tall she can reach half of what’s on the counter already. Thankfully for some reason it hasn’t occurred to her that the things she uses to climb into the big chair in the playroom (mostly her little chair, but occasionally boxes or even packs of diapers) could easily be carried into the kitchen to let her reach everything she wants. I don’t need to make it any easier on her to get into things she shouldn’t!


-It’s official. My kidlett is the sweetest of them all. I saw on the monitor that she was starting to wake up (early) from her nap, so I went in. As soon as I walked in she gave me the sweetest little sleepy smile. I laid down next to her and she rolled towards me, reached out with both arms and cuddled up to my face, sighed “momma,” and went back to sleep. Pretty sure that makes up for being up wide awake for hours in the middle of the night last night. 


-Also on the subject of how sweet my girl is, she’s started giving so many kisses! Tonight during bedtime she pulled my face down to hers and gave me 5 kisses. And even better, she’s started giving Eskimo kisses (Update- we are now calling these nose kisses). But seriously, there’s almost nothing cuter than a toddler grabbing your face and rubbing her little nose on yours. Love the affectionate toddler loving!


-It’s fascinating how much Lily has to say these days. You think of a kid with relatively few words (maybe 50-75?) and no sentences as not being ready to communicate a ton beyond “I want that” and “I see something.” But at bedtime, as best I can tell, she really wants to talk about her day. Like today she kept saying whee (her word for slide) and daddy. This morning Christopher took her to the park and they went on the slides a lot. I usually do my best to repeat back what I think she’s telling me (“daddy took you on the slides?”) and ask her about it (“did you have fun on the slides?”). She only does her “yes” giggle some of the time (have I mentioned how much I love that she still does the giggle instead of actually saying yes?), so I assume I’m interpreting her correctly. Who knows? But she seems to enjoy our conversations, such as they are.


And some pictures, because I don’t really have ones that make sense with any of the things above.


Her first time expressing a real interest in digging in the dirt! I want a sandbox for her!


I walked in and she was so proud to show me she “put on” her shoes. 😄

Apparently lotion is delicious. She loves to lick it off her hands. 🙄😆

Pretty sure the highlight of having Grandaddy and Aunt Kat visit was getting to use the water fountain for the first time.

Lily’s Words

I promise I have some actual blog posts in the works, but for now here’s the list of all the words Lily knows. I tried to spell them how she says them, but she makes some sounds that have no real English spelling. 

Lily’s Word List
Feb ’17

-mar (more)




-bain bain (really somewhere between bean and bain- green bean, possibly all beans)

-yock (sock)


-dog (pronounced dōg)

-MAOW (cat (see also bunnies or anything with whiskers))

-bock bock (chicken)

-moo (cow)

-neigh (horse)

-boon (prune or spoon)




-yow (get up/off/out/???)

-nana/nanana (Nana, banana, and moon)

-dar (car)

-bain (plane/train)

-whee (slide (noun and verb))

-reen (pronunciation can’t be spelled, it’s actually somewhere between an R and W, also usually in threes- read read read)

-rar (bear/dinosaur/anything that roars)


-oswald (oswald, also Mickey or Minnie)

-bal/wal/wow (Val (our dog))

-dink (Link (our other dog))

-baby (baby, also BB8)

-yoyo (Yoda)

-dee (tree, also leaves and any plant)

-waader (water)

-boo (poo/Pooh bear)


-deown (down)

-bee (bee and brush teeth)

-eeeee (belly button)

-dock (duck)

-yeah (sometimes ooooh yeah, which we don’t know where she got)

-brrrrr (squirrel and bird)

-nom nom

-dum dum (Darth Vader and the imperial march)

-wone (phone)

-ba (box)

-dump (referring to dumping all of her binkies on her head- update, she now generalizes to any kind of dumping, water, food, etc)

-ooo/yooo (shoe)

-boun (bounce)

-oh ho (Santa)

-bu (shorter ooo sound than boo- boots)

-raf (giraffe)

-domp (stomp)

-gar (star, but sometimes other shapes too)

-ight (light)

-ome (home)

-arr (hard (difficult))

And a few pictures for good measure. 


Happy Thoughts 

Trump has me all pissed off, so time to focus on the happy things going on with my girl!


-It’s fascinating to watch how she changes the way she plays with things. Like her stacker. Initially she just pulled all the rings off. She chewed on them and discovered they make fun noise if you bang them together. Then she eventually figured out she could put them back on. So she’d sit and put the same one on and take it back off over and over. At some point after that it occurred to her that she could put more than one back on. And most recently she apparently figured out how to put them in the right order. She doesn’t do it every time, but often enough it’s not a fluke. All these different ways of playing with one toy, and I’m sure she’ll figure out more! (Maybe making patterns with the colors/sizes? She has more than one stacker, so she’ll have a lot to work with.)


-It’s really interesting that she has apparently learned what clapping sounds like. When there’s clapping off screen on tv, she’ll stop what she’s doing and clap along.
-The kidlett is currently chasing the kitty, backwards. She discovered that she can crawl backwards (deliberately; she did used to do it accidentally when she was first learning to crawl), and she’s been doing it a lot. Today she’s doing it to chase the kitty. Not a bad plan really, since kitty runs away slower when she doesn’t realize she’s coming for her.


-It’s so neat how she’s really starting to communicate what she wants more. Like today she had me pick her up, directed me to the front door, then reached for the storm door handle (and cried when I tried to put her down without taking her outside). And she’s getting better at really understanding. I told her to wait just a minute while I peed and changed shoes, then we would go outside, and she calmed down. Still seemed anxious, like she wasn’t 100% certain we were going out, but she waited patiently. 


-It’s also interesting to see her preferences on things develop. Like she gets really upset if I try to cover her legs up with a blanket when I hold her to get her down for her nap. I have no idea why. I do cover them up after she falls asleep, and it doesn’t bother her, but as soon as she wakes up she kicks the blanket back off. And she used to like being cuddled up against me basically in a nursing position to fall asleep, now she likes that for taking her bottle but she insists on rolling onto her back (in my arms) so that both arms are free before she’ll fall asleep.


-Arg. Not everything she learns is good. She’s realized that when the dogs really freak out, at least some of the time it’s because someone (Daddy or Nana mostly) is here. So now when they bark she looks excitedly to the window. But they bark at everything! So I feel bad that she’s disappointed most of the time.


-I think I mentioned that when she does something she’s not supposed to, she shakes her head no as she goes to do it (frequently looking at me directly and shaking her head). Today she started to climb in her white shelf thing, shook her head no, and stopped. I’ve never actually told her no on that, but she’s gotten stuck a couple of times (and cried), so apparently she’s telling herself no on that one!


-If you ask her if she wants to do something she likes (brushing her teeth, going outside, etc) she gets excited and does this particular giggle. Today as I was unbuckling her to take her inside for story time, I asked her if she wanted to go to the library and she did the giggle. I love that she loves it already! Books are the best.


-I noticed this week (at two different play areas) that she seems to be climbing higher and more confidently. She’s loved to climb for a while, but she was really moving! I finally realized that she’s using her feet more, instead of relying on her knees to push herself up. I’m assuming this comes from walking more. When she crawled, her climbing was essentially crawling upwards, so now that she’s walking she’s making better use of her legs and feet.

She was actually a lot higher, but she gets down the second I try to take a picture every dang time

-It’s amusing how much she’s started hooking things on her legs. Bracelets and headbands mostly, but really anything she can get around there. She currently has three headbands around her ankle.


She also apparently figured out how to put things around her neck. Awesome.

-Just came to bed and the baby was sleeping with her arms flung up over her head, completely sideways with her feet on Christopher. We’re a perfect bedsharing stereotype.


-She’s getting so much better at communicating! Unfortunately her go to “I want something” noise sounds like an upset (and rather whiny) baby dinosaur. It’s honestly super annoying, and she did it pretty much non-stop today. In her defense, she had a rough day (we’re officially giving up any attempts to get her on cow’s milk based products instead of formula. Maybe we’ll try almond milk. She’s constipated and puked after just a few ounces of kefir in the last two days). But I’ve got to work on finding a better way for her to let me know she needs something! But the flip side to it is that when you ask her if she wants something, her way of saying yes is the aforementioned super adorable giggle. I guess it’s a fair enough trade off. Update- She just signed “more!” I decided to get more serious about teaching her signs to work on stopping the baby dinosaur noise, and it seems to have worked. Christopher swears she signed “water” this morning, and I’m pretty sure she’s been doing all done for a while. Eek! She picked them up so fast, it’s exciting! (She’s doing “all done” now too!) 


Gratuitous cuteness.

This is what having a toddler is- adorable giggles in the middle of a giant mess

Poor ole Link is so patient

Toe licking goats!

She loves to wave, but it almost seems sarcastic it’s so tentative

Puppy kisses are the best!

All About the Lils

-Eek. The baby (when do I have to stop calling her that?) is in bed alone, and has been for at least half an hour! We had been working on getting her to sleep alone, and then she went through a spurt of awful sleep, up screaming a ton. Then she got sick, twice. We just let it go and haven’t given it much thought. But I have a new video game and Christopher has a fantasy football draft right in the middle of what is supposed to be my alone time (and she was unusually super clingy today, so I need it!). So I decided to just go for it and see how it goes. Christopher should be done and heading for bed soon, but if she’s doing this well I think we can plan to start maybe having an hour or so of time together in the evenings for the first time in over a year. Woohoo! (Update- Yep, I’ve been leaving her every night now, and she’s fine and dandy! A bit wiggly, and I do sometimes have to go in and help her settle, but overall it’s working beautifully. I’m glad we didn’t try to force it, even if it would have meant more free time sooner. It’s so nice to just go with the flow and do what works, instead of feeling like we “have to” do things a certain way.)


-Oh, that was sweet! As I was coming to bed, she started getting a little restless. I settled her but she wasn’t wanting me to go get ready for bed- every time I tried to get up it made her stir again. I grabbed Christopher’s arm and pulled it up against her, her eyes closed and she hasn’t moved since. She loves her daddy! (Update- The next night I got up to pee in the middle of the night, came back and she was sprawled face down across his chest.)


-She loves opening and closing things. Today she’s got the case from my manicure kit (without the nail clippers and things, of course), and she’s sitting working as hard as she can to get the zipper open. Once she does she brings it back to me to stick something new in it (like a bottle lid or hairbow) and rezip it so she can do it all over again.


-On a non-Lily note (does anything non-Lily really even matter these days?)- For those who don’t know, I dropped out of college after a year. It was the right decision for sure (though I’m also glad I went for that year because I met my best friend and my husband there!), but at the time I had a friend who just lost her shit over it. She had Aspergers, so socially she wasn’t typical, but it was still really weird. She said I was wasting my gifts and she would kill to be as smart as me (so basically how dare I not use my abilities exactly like she would if she had them), and wound up refusing to ever speak to me again. I remember thinking at the time (and saying to her) that I also have not inconsiderable, though not super spectacular, artistic talents, not just “book smarts” (I was a physics major, for what it was worth), so was I wasting those gifts by not becoming a professional artist? These days I’m thinking I’ll probably wind up baking/decorating when Lily (and any future kiddo?) is grown and I’m ready to go back to working (noooooo). While there’s some various non-artsy skills involved (there’s some major engineering in some of the cake structures some bakers can do!), overall I’ll be focusing on the artistic side of my personality. And I can assure you it makes me far more happy than physics, even though I still enjoy a good book on cosmology or game theory or psychology or whatever nerdy topic piques my interest. And I wonder sometimes now what she would think. I feel like the outcome proves I was right to not keep wasting money on a college degree that wouldn’t have given me half the satisfaction I’ve found in doing something I love. Would she agree? It doesn’t matter- I don’t know what came of her, and I’ve long since gotten over being hurt by her cutting me off so abruptly and inexplicably. But I do wonder.

My first ever fondant cake

Still my favorite cookies


-The Lils has a new thing where she cuddles up to go to sleep, but just before she actually passes out she starts wiggling and talking. Then just boom, out go the lights. And it makes me freak out that she won’t go to sleep every. damn. time. Even though I know she’s been doing it every time for several days now, I’m still trying to get her to stop and settle back down because it’s time to sleep, child! I’ll probably actually get used to it just as she stops. 


-Arg. She took forever to fall asleep, then I realized she was poopy (I sniffed but didn’t smell it before; anytime she fights sleep that’s one of the first things I check, but I missed this one). Tried to change her without waking her up, just moving the nightlight close. I *almost* managed it- if we had a wipes warmer, I might have managed it. Not shockingly, a cold, wet wipe on her little booty startled her awake. And then she proceeded to stay awake for the next two hours. Of course. I think next time I’ll wait till I think she’s very soundly asleep, instead of dealing with it as soon as I realize she’s poopy (assuming, of course, that I don’t realize till after she’s asleep). I probably still won’t be able to keep her asleep, but hopefully she’ll pass right back out.


-She loves to push her footstool over to the toy box (big fake leather ottoman that opens) and climb on top. Usually she just pushes the footstool to the general vicinity of the toy box and tries to climb over. If it’s too far away, she falls. This time she pushed it, started to climb up, and apparently realized it wasn’t close enough because she got back down and pushed it closer before climbing up and over. So I guess she’s learned to estimate distance a bit. Neat!


-Her new favorite sound is “oh-eee oh-eee oh-eee” over and over. It’s adorable.


-She just tried to stick one of her rings from her stacker on a pickled green bean.


-She was trying to climb on the arm of the couch (which is about 4 inches wide and not against anything, so she’d almost definitely fall), so I told her no and shook my head at her. She looked at me, then slowly nodded yes. 


-She’s playing “Where’s Lily?” with me around the door jamb, with her in control! She mostly only plays when we cover her (or ourselves) with something, or hide around a corner. This time she’s the one hiding and peeking back out! So stinking cute!


-She’s all but walking! She’s up to about 5 steps before she falls on her butt. It’s so fun to see how excited she gets about working on it! And she’s got her first pair of shoes now. (Well, she had some baby shoes now and then just for cuteness, but you know, first *real* shoes.) She seems to like them, in that she’s currently sitting patiently trying (and failing abjectly) to get them on her feet. She’s a little less sure when they actually are on her feet, but she mostly leaves them on. I don’t know how much I’ll make her wear them, since a-I still hope to wear her most of the time, and b-I just don’t care as long as it’s safe, but I’m happy to have them. For one thing, asphalt is hot as hell around here this time of year. For another, most of the playgrounds have wood chips, and she doesn’t like the feel of them. I expect I’ll take her a lot more once she’s really walking, since she pretty much refuses to do anything as long as she has to crawl on the chips. Though I will say, regarding the walking, I’m really ready for her to get it mastered and move on. She’s so unsettled lately. She’s been super clingy (which isn’t terribly unusual for her when we’re out (yesterday at the indoor playground she wouldn’t move away from me when the other kids were around, but as soon as they left she took off and played with everything, which is how she seems to roll), but normally she has no interest in me or my lap at home), and her sleep has been very restless. I’m ready to just get back to normal (fingers crossed, of course, that this isn’t just the new normal).


And the usual zillion pictures because I have the cutest kidlett ever and I know you all want to see.

Rearranging the playroom again

Hard to get a good picture, but she had the most perfect curl one day

She’s still all about the climbing

And climbing

And climbing. I am less than thrilled

Though I’ll grant that the climbing in her seat is actually helpful

Sleeping booty

She stuck her head in while I was showering, and she’s like a puppy- she goes wild when she’s wet

Updatey Stuff 


-Well, that was a (rather inevitable) first. She had a granola bite that she was working on eating very slowly, taking it out of her mouth periodically and looking at it, then putting it back. The puppies were crowded around her, clearly hoping she’d drop it. And apparently she did, because next thing I knew, she was crying, one dog looked happy (and the other rather put out), and the granola bite was nowhere to be seen. Oh well. She had to learn that they steal food sooner or later.


-She’s really into imitating sounds lately. Not so much the sound itself, but the quality of it (high or low pitched, loud or soft). It’s adorable when she’s just copying us talking, but it’s occasionally hilarious. Like when a character on my audiobook (been listening to books lately to help combat the fact that playing with a toddler isn’t just riveting most of the time) was whispering, and she started whispering too. Or when I belched rather loudly, and she started growling at me. Or when I was singing loudly in the car and she just screeched at the top of her lungs the whole time. Or when I blow on a bite of food to cool it, she starts blowing too (which admittedly isn’t precisely a sound, but I think it counts). Growling is her particular favorite. She growls at any low noise, including but not limited to the dogs, me making pig noises at her, thunder, airplanes passing, particularly gruff sounding characters on my audiobooks, burps (as previously mentioned), and plenty more that I’m forgetting.


-Yesterday when I went to get her jammies to get her ready for bed, I came back to find her with one arm out of her shirt. I don’t know how it happened or how intentional it was, but I’m guessing nekkie baby is coming. Once she can get out of her clothes on her own, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep her dressed.


-Today has been a bit of a big day. Went to story time (probably not the best idea since she’s still got a cough, but I couldn’t handle another day of not getting out of the house, and she loves it so much), and this was the first time she clapped during the songs that call for clapping. She’s been able to clap for a long time, but only very recently started actually doing so during songs, and never at story time before. Then when we got home she had a big time climbing on her car seat, which she’s never really done before (she’s started climbing out when I unhook her, but not just playing). Then later she climbed up and sat in one of her little chairs (we got her a table and chairs for her birthday) all by herself. Then got down and moved it so she could sit and look outside. Then tried to stand in it (😳😣). All very impressive stuff. 😄

-I love when she is drinking her milk, and gets distracted so that she turns to do something else, and a few seconds/minutes later remembers her milk and gives me a “I was drinking that!” fuss like I’m the one who took it away. Also, when she spits out the bottle to put her binky in her mouth, then acts annoyed at me that I stopped feeding her. 


-This morning apparently she was too squirmy after a diaper change so Christopher left her pants off. A few minutes later she came up to him, handed him her diaper, and crawled off with a little nekkid booty. I was not looking forward to her figuring out how to get her diaper off! And she’s gotten her arm out of her shirt twice now. We are going to have a naked baby problem very soon.


-Well, she discovered she can push the ottomans around, and that she can use them to climb up to higher things (including using the smaller one to get on top of the larger). Developmentally I’m sure this is a good thing, but she’s going to turn my hair grey with all this climbing! I can’t decide if this is better or worse than her fascination with standing on her little chairs. Either way, we have an actual climber coming this week. It’s officially for ages 18mo+, but I think she can handle it. We need to channel this climbing! At least the pushing the big ottoman around seems like good work on walking, not to mention working off some energy!


-I think I finally really got her toys organized in a way that works well for us both. I have two bins of loose small toys, everything from various bottle and jar lids to small stuffed animals. Then I have two bins of big more specific toys, like her shape sorters and ring stackers and puzzles. At any given time I have 2-4 of the bigger toys out, and a small basket with 5-10 of the smaller ones. There are also some random places I stick some small ones (like the little bins under her chairs) for her to find if she happens to look. I make note of what she’s playing with and what’s she’s ignoring, and when I pick up in the evening I put away the ones she’s lost interest in and replace them (usually every few days, not daily). Even with weekly toy rotation I was finding that she had so many toys out that she ignored most of them, other than to pull them out and make a mess. This is working much better. I still have all of her books that are at least close to age appropriate out, and she pulls most of them out (and looks at them) every day. I think once I make a used bookstore run and get a few more I may start rotating those as well. So far it’s working very well. I’ll have to be sure to dig down in the loose toy bins so that the things on the bottom get out some, but overall it’s a good system.


-It’s amazing how long she can spend with one of the little medela bottles from the NICU and a lid, putting them together and taking them apart, over and over. They’re screw on tops, and she hasn’t figured out how to screw them on, but as long as she gets it on square it stays pretty well until she pulls it back off. She has some other things with lids that she opens and closes, but she always comes back to those little bottles.


-She’s also in love with emptying the diaper bag and my purse, so I gave her my old owl bag. It’s technically a kid’s backpack anyway, so it probably ought to be hers. But anyway, I load it up with random things, including my old wallet filled with empty gift cards and things, and she has a ball emptying it. She’s spent at least the last 10 minutes on it. I leave it almost completely zipped shut, so it’s practice at opening a zipper too. She spent another solid 10 minutes just opening and closing the outside zipper pocket on it today. The owl is a hit.


-Just signed her up for her first music class! It’s stupid expensive, but I think she’ll love it. She really enjoys the music at story time. This will involve instruments and things, so it should be fun. Less fun for me, to be honest. I’ve been to a Music Together class as a nanny and I’m not a huge fan since I have to dance. Anyone who knows me knows this is not a good thing. But oh well. She’ll have fun and it’s good for her, and both of us are happier if we get out of the house plenty. So music class it is.


-I made her first sensory bottle! It’s not a rousing success in my opinion (we’ll see what she thinks tomorrow when she finds it in her playroom- Update- she’s thinks it’s vaguely interesting, but not super worth playing with). I just did oil and colored water, and the proportion of oil to water isn’t right. I also just used a small soda bottle, and something with straight sides would definitely work better. But it’s a pretty shade of purple and looks neat if you shake it, so hopefully she’ll at least be a little interested. So far she’s has fairly little interest in any sensory activities, but they break up the day and one of these days I’ll hit on one that she really likes. Soon I plan to try out finger painting. She still sticks everything in her mouth, so I’ll use baby cereal and food coloring. I have some lovely colors available from all of my cookie decorating. I’m not a huge fan of kids eating artificial colors (I used natural food coloring for her smash cake), but I don’t think she’ll actually ingest much. Hopefully she at least gets the idea and has some fun with it!


-I just changed Lily’s diaper. She had been playing with her sippy cup of water, and her pants were soaked. So I figured I’d leave them off for now. There’s no real need for pants at home after all. She sat and unhappily waved her pants (which I left sitting by her changing pad) at me until I came back and put them on her. Then she just went back to playing!


-That was interesting. She just hit her head hard on the corner of a shelf. She was in my lap but she overbalanced too fast for me to intervene. It clearly hurt a lot, and she was very upset (I hate that so much!). But what was interesting was what came after. She stayed in my lap, and we were reading a book, when all of a sudden she pushed the book away and moved back over towards the corner of the shelf. She looked at it and started crying again. She spent several minutes off and on crying while looking at the corner that she hit and touching it. I guess she didn’t really understand what happened, and needed to process it. Kids are fascinating.


-I don’t regret letting her get dependent on the binkies (though that may change when it comes time to get her off of them), except when she has a stuffy nose. It’s so pitiful and frustrating to see her wanting it but having to immediately spit it out because she can’t breathe.


-She stood unassisted for real twice today! She’s kinda sorta been trying to let go of things lately, but she really did it, for a good 10 seconds! She seemed proud of herself. (Update- Standing way more, and starting to sort of take that one lurching step when she’s not *quite* able to reach from one hand hold to the next.)


-It’s both amusing and frustrating how much she varies in her willingness to eat. One day it’ll be milkies or starve. She does not like real food, she does not eat real food, and anyone who tries to give her real food is clearly a crazy person. Another day she’ll eat 3 or 4 pouches, but acts like actual solids are poison. Then days like today where she won’t touch a pouch, but she’s had half a banana and two slices of apple just since we got up a couple hours ago. And then some days she eats any and every thing. Impossible to predict.

Well, she wants to eat anyway


-Eek! She figured out her stacker! We don’t believe in teaching her how to use toys the “right” way, so we’ve just been keeping it available to play with and letting her do her thing. Up until now she’s just pulled all the rings off to play with individually. But now just out of nowhere she’s totally got it down! She’s taking the rings on and off over and over, and seems pretty pleased with herself. Go Lils!


-Lily apparently prefers to sleep facing a bit to her left. When Christopher isn’t in bed with us (he’s had a nasty cough the last few days, so he’s slept in the other room to keep from keeping us awake all night), that means she generally sleeps in her own space, a bit away from me. But when he is in bed at night, she mostly prefers to sleep wrapped around his face. She turns on her side, grabs his hair or ear, and just cuddles up. Pretty sure it’s not the most comfortable for him, but oh goodness it’s the cutest.

And a bunch o’ random pictures for good measure!

She got stuck 😄

Not a fan of the slide yet, but she loves sending her puppy down

Tried the cloud dough again- apparently the problem the first time was that she wasn’t sitting in it

Toy boxes are for sitting in

As are laundry baskets

Getting braver at the (free!!) indoor playground

She loves taking pictures of the baby in the phone

I guess there’s no reason *not* to open cabinets with your mouth

First time on the carousel!

She totally forgot she had Daddy’s hat on

Here Daddy, you eat some

She loves playing in water, but mostly just to drink it!

Climbing at the mall!

She spent about a week doing headstands, then totally lost interest

Stuck in the cat cave

And one throwback, because oh my goodness those cheeks!