Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A trip to the beach to watch the sunset

Playing ;-)

With Uncle Brent and Aunt Lauren

4 Generations!

We had a wonderful trip to FL for Thanksgiving. We left on Sunday night at 5pm and arrived at 11:30pm.  It was definitely a good idea to drive at night because Hannah ended up sleeping the majority of the trip.  She did such a good job on the way down and was in a fabulous mood the entire week!  She smiled the majority of the time and slept very well while we were there.  She hit a few exciting milestones during the week as well.  She started pulling herself up in her crib and she got her first tooth!  She handled the new tooth like a champ! :-)

It was great to spend time with my parents (MeMaw and PaPaw) and Hannah got to meet her Uncle Brent and Aunt Lauren for the first time.  It was so good to see all of them and made us realize just how much we wish we lived near our family. 

We came home yesterday and drove during the daytime, which was definitely not as easy as the night.  Hannah took two short naps during the drive, but was definitely ready to get out of the car during the last hour or two.  I ended up driving for the second half of the trip and Brian sat in the back with Hannah, to give me a break from the entertaining.  When we got home Hannah was in quite a mood - she obviously missed all the attention she had been getting.  She slept horribly last night and so far today has cried through both of her naps.  She is definitely paying us back for the car ride yesterday.  Maybe she's getting another tooth and this time isn't taking it so well?  Not sure what the problem is, but she is miserable. :-(

We have so much to be thankful for this year - a healthy baby, wonderful family and friends, a secure job for Brian that he loves, the provision Brian's job provides that allows me to stay home with Hannah, our health, our home, and most importantly our Savior who loves us unconditionally!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hannah: 8 Months

Sweet Hannah,

Another month has gone by and you are 8 months old.  Hard to believe that you are closer to your 1 year birthday than to the day you were born.  You aren't listening to me when I whisper in your ear, "Slow down!"  Don't you know you are supposed to always listen to your mommy!  But these days you don't slow down for much.  You are all over the place!  Into everything!  You started crawling a few days after you turned 7 months old and haven't slowed down since.  You are starting to pull yourself up on things now too.  But you haven't quite mastered that yet, which I'm happy about.  I am in no rush for you to grow up.  If you decide that you want to stay my little peanut forever, I'm okay with that! 

Here's what you are up to these days (besides crawling):
  • I haven't weighed you yet, but at your last doctor's appointment (October 20), you weighed 18 lb. 14 oz., which was less that what you were when I weighed you at home on October 11.  I am pretty sure you are at least 20 pounds by now though.
  • You still have no teeth and no real signs of any coming in....I am loving that.  No teeth = no biting while nursing! ;-)
  • You talk all the time - "dadadadada" is your favorite thing to say.  Everytime you say it I just assume you are asking for your daddy, so we then spend a few minutes talking about daddy.  I think you two will be best friends one day! :)  I think you said "hi" the other day too.  At storytime one of the other mom's said "hi" to you and you looked right at her and said, "HI"!!  It was probably just a coincidence, but it was cute either way.
  • You adore our dog, Bubbles.  You can't get enough of her and would chase her around the kitchen all day if I let you.
  • Your obsessed with cell phones and tv remotes...apparently a favorite of all babies.  I don't know what it is about these things, but the second you see one you stop everything to try to get it.  And are obsessed with those too!  It's been really hard trying to teach you that those are "no" items.  We are going to have our hands full when it comes to discipline with you!
  • You eat all kinds of foods these days - prunes, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, raspberries, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, squash, peas, chicken, oatmeal cereal, whole wheat cereal, rice cakes, puffs, wagon wheels, teething biscuits, and greek yogurt.  You are generally not picky about what you eat, except when I try to feed you homemade green beans or peas.  You HATE those!!  It's definitely a texture thing though because you love the jarred variety.  If I try to feed you the homemade ones you start crying and's pathetic. 
  • You are still nursing like a champ.  You nurse 4 times per day still (8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 7:30pm) and average about 4 minutes per side.  You also eat solids 3x's per day (8am, 12pm, 4pm).  You definitely aren't very interested in eating these days though.  You have better things to do with your time. ;-)
  • I could watch you play all day.  You are so fascinated by the littlest things.  You love the tags on toys and the shadows the sun makes when it shines in the playroom window.  You love the writing on my Gator sweatshirt and the specks of dirt on the floor.  Who needs toys when you have those things! :) 
  • This month was filled with firsts - first time at the park, first time in a bucket swing, first time at a pumpkin patch, and first time drinking from a straw.
  • You are wearing 9 month (6-9) and 12 month (9-12) clothes and size 3 diapers, although you now wear a size 4 diaper at night.  You are also wearing size 2 shoes.
  • You sleep with your pacifier for every nap and at night.  This was definitely a habit we didn't want you to have, but after exhausting every other measure, we decided it was okay.  You sleep much better with it and so do we! ;-)
  • You love to turn off the light in the playroom.  Every time we walk out, I ask you to turn off the light and your little finger reaches out to the light switch and pushes it down.  Your face lights up with excitment.  Precious!
  • The last 3 nights you have slept through the night again!  Amazing!  Just when I thought I was going to go insane from waking 1-2 times every night, you started sleeping 10-12 hours again....thank you!
We love you so much and cherish every day with you.  The Lord truly blessed us 8 months ago!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Independent Playtime

Independent playtime is a concept I took from the 'Babywise' series and have used with Hannah since she was only a couple months old.  Just saying 'Babywise' probably has some of you wanting to close my blog, never to return.  But keep reading and I think you will find that this is a very helpful tool for any parent.

Independent playtime is a set time, each day that Hannah plays on her own.  Right now her independent playtime takes place in the pack n' play and I usually try to do it right after breakfast, before her morning nap.  Before she goes into the pack n' play, I set out several toys and tell her to choose one to take with her.  After about a minute or so, I pick her up along with the toy she is currently playing with and place her in the pack n' play.  I always have at least 3 other toys in the pack n' play that I rotate every so often, along with a musical toy and a mirror.  Every time I put her in, I turn on the musical toy, hand her another toy to play with, set the egg timer, and leave the room.  I make sure to stay out of her line of sight, as this is a time for her to play on her own.  Right now she stays in there for 17 minutes at a time.  However, when we first started, it was only 5 minutes.  I do not go into the room until the timer goes off, even if she is crying!  However, after almost 6 months of doing independent playtime Hannah has truly learned to enjoy this time and rarely fusses at all.  After the timer goes off, I go into the room with a big smile and say, "Wow Hannah, you did such a good job!  I am so proud of you for playing all by yourself."  I say that even if all she did was cry the entire time.  This shows her that there is nothing to be sad about and that the timer is what brought mommy back, not her crying.  Before I taker her out of the pack n' play we always clean up her toys (we just stack them in the corner). 

There are many benefits to independent playtime:
  • It teaches your child to enjoy their own company, creating independence
  • It teaches your child to focus on a limited number of things at a time (mental focusing), therefore increasing their attention span
  • It encourages creativity in your child
  • It teaches your child orderliness by limiting the number of toys and cleaning up when they are done
So, how do you get independent playtime started with your child(ren)?
  1. Start with a short amount of time - 5 minutes is a good starting point
  2. Place your child in a pack n' play or even on a blanket (if they aren't mobile yet) with several toys in reach
  3. Set a timer in the room (so they can hear it when it goes off) for the designated time
  4. Don't come back until the timer goes off (but stay within ear shot)
  5. Even if your child cries the whole time, praise him/her for "playing" all alone!
  6. Clean up the toys together (even if your child is too young to help, let them watch you)
  7. If your child did not cry at all, increase your next independent playtime by 1 minute.  If your child did cry, keep the time the same.  Continue to increase by 1 minute everyday that he/she doesn't cry until you reach your goal (30 minutes is a great goal)  You increase the time when your child doesn't cry, but you never decrease the time when he/she does cry.  You just continue doing the same amount of time until he/she does not cry.  It may take a while, but you will get to your goal eventually.  Hannah will be 8 months old in a few days and we are just now at 18 minutes, so you can see how long it might take.
I hope that you will implement this 'Babywise' principle into your child's life as I really do think it is a vitally important skill.  If you have any questions about independent playtime, please ask! 

Happy playing! ;-)