Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ice Cream "Picnic"

Today I realized half-way through our lunch that we really hadn't gotten to eat on our new picnic table that Jillian got for her birthday. So, we decided to have an ice cream picnic!
Meredith showing off her ice cream
In true Jillian fashion, she couldn't sit long enough - even for ice cream, but she had fun exploring outside.
Her need to explore along with the fact that crawling around on top of leaves and acorn-y things was not alot of fun, did have Jillian practicing taking more steps (that she seems to be doing more and more every day!)
And what fun would be a day in the backyard without lots of swinging?
Coki was pretty excited too - she got to bask in the sun and sneak a lick or two of left-over ice cream while we weren't looking.

Sunday, Fun-day (even without Daddy)

Sundays are so much fun around our house - after church, Meredith's favorite activity of probably the entire week, is coming home to play outside with Daddy until lunch is ready. She will talk and talk about what she wants to play with him the whole way to and from church. This week, though, Neal was out of town fishing with a friend, so I tried my best to be a good fill-in. Instead of the typical tee-ball, golf, or basketball with Daddy, Meredith had lots of fun for us planned in her room.
First, Meredith prepared a picnic lunch for two of her animal friends...she was too cute "prepping" all the food in her kitchen and then taking it little by little back to the room for them.
Meredith had to stop the picnic to take care of her baby, Sarah.
Then it was time for a Dance party (a favorite activity any time of the day or week at our house)....I wish I could have gotten a better picture of this - it was so cute to see the girls dance together!
My Dancing Queen, Meredith loves her dance parties!
Jillian's took a break from dancing for her favorite activity - pulling as many books as possible to the floor!
The fruits of her labor. I have given up cleaning up books, by the way. Oh, and after a trip to Borders this week that looked vaguely similar to the scene above, I am thinking we should limit our trips back there...

After nap, we decided to break into Jillian's new picnic table she got for her birthday. Who knew that could be so much fun - and just so you know...picnic tables are way more fun upside-down!
And nothing makes an upside-down picnic table more fun than dressing up in tutus right? I am not sure why Meredith thought this was a necessary accessory, but I think it really worked for them!
Luckily, they weren't too disappointed with the table turned the right way, either!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jillian's 1 year photos

I have been so blessed to have a full year of pictures of Jillian from a photographer that I love - I have such a wonderful chronicle of Jillian throughout this year. I am just sad that this is my last quarterly post of these beautiful shots! I am thinking, however, it won't be long until I decide it is time to call up Adrien again for my sweet girls!

Get ready for more picture over-load...I can never narrow these down!

But first...just because this is my favorite in both color and black and white. You are welcome! :)

But, really how could I even choose a favorite when I have all these others, too? Have I mentioned I love Adrien?

Roar! Maybe she thinks she is a tiger?
This is the look of a girl doing something she shouldn't be doing...
LOVE this look - this is what she does when she is excited!

As usual, Adrien was super-sweet to take some pictures of Meredith while we were together, making a three-year-old quite happy to be her model.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fun with 'Anny Annie

This week, Neal's Grandmama, who Meredith calls "Anny Annie" (for Great Granny Annie) came to visit. Meredith LOVES Anny Annie! Probably about a year ago, she asked Bubbie where Anny Annie lived, and Bubbie told her that she lived in Alabama and you had to take a plane up into the clouds to get there. That night at dinner, Meredith announced that Anny Annie lived in the clouds. Neal was a little worried about this announcement at first, but then figured out what she meant. A little after that, she lost a balloon and was convinced that it flew to Anny Annie. So then, when we started talking about how she was coming by plane to visit, Meredith asked "But how will the plane get her from the clouds?"

Not sure we ever quite cleared that up, but by the time she got here, Meredith was so excited, it didn't matter. We started off our visit with her with a trip to Veteran's Park for a picnic and then a little nature walk. Meredith was excited to show Anny Annie the bluebonnets and tell her the rules "You can't pick them, but you can smell them."
Anny Annie and her girls on our nature walk!
Jillian had fun cruising on the benches...
...with a little help from Bubbie.

After our picnic and walk, we headed to the playground for some swinging!

Bubbie started pushing Meredith's swing and running under it which Meredith thought was super cool!
And Jillian thought it was really fun to watch too!
After a fun afternoon at the park, we all headed home to rest, but then went over to Bubbie's for dinner.

Meredith talked Anny Annie into watering Bubbie's plants with her (which she does on every trip to Bubbie's whether they need it or not!) then they were just sitting out on the bench cuddling and chatting - it was so cute! Of course, when I got out there with my camera, Meredith started acting silly!
Jillian joined in too, of course!

We were sad to see Anny Annie back to the clouds, but had so much fun with her!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just a little reminder...

So, as I mentioned in my last post, the doctor feels that Jillian waking up in the middle of the night is "behavioral" so he gave us a plan for stopping the "behavior." This includes me cutting back the amount of time I nurse her so that she will be more willing to eat solids throughout the day and so that I can eventually not nurse anymore (since I was only really aiming for doing it through the first year), he suggested we take away her paci, and of course, trying to let her cry when she wakes up at night to push through whatever is waking her. We are on night three of this plan (although it is slightly modified.) I felt like if we were going to have rough nights then taking the paci away now made sense, but for some reason I can't do it! It is something that is so comforting to her that I just don't want to take it away. And I think part of me associates that with her being the baby that she is and if that goes away then maybe that makes her grow up even faster than she already is...I don't know.

We have attempted to let her "cry it out" a few other times but I always went back to realizing she really was hungry in the middle of the night or that maybe her reflux was bothering her too much to sleep. But the doctor (and a few friends) convinced me that she might be waiting to get her milk calories until 2 am instead of eating real meals. And she is on a pretty powerful reflux medicine, so the doctor feels that should be doing the trick if that were the problem. So those two things plus the fact that I am going on 372 nights (minus a handful of much appreciated nights where she had Gigi/Bubbie/Aunt Sandy sleepovers) of interrupted sleep in order to feed her - not to mention those nights leading up to her being born where I got terrible sleep. So - all in all, I am tired. Really tired. I think I forget how tired I really am because it has been so long since I slept a full night so I keep pushing through. The hardest part is that I am someone who LOVES sleep but this phase has made me loathe it - I just dread falling asleep at night because I know that I only have a few hours until I will be woken up and will likely feel worse than I did before I went to sleep...

So we started this and she has (or should I say we have) survived 3 nights of not eating in the middle of the night - I am not saying she hasn't been awake, she has been - each of those nights for decent periods of time. Crying. Screaming. Wailing. And I try to push through and ask for confirmation from Neal that I should still push through. And I turn the monitor down ever so slightly so that I can try not to be so aware of how long she is crying (not enough that I don't hear her at all, though). And I doubt.

It is awful. I hate it. I want this phase to be over. Each time I wonder "How will I know if she really needs me? Or worse...will she one night wake up with a real need after we are through this but have no confidence that I will be there to help her? Will she think that I will help her during the day even?" I know lots of babies have gone through this and are perfectly happy children, but what if Jillian is the exception?

Of course, this morning, she was still asleep long after we had to get up since she had a rough night herself, but when I did finally hear her stirring, I went in and peeked over her crib rails to see her, and she lit up and giggled - so happy to see me, funny how I almost expected her to be upset with me! This is why babies are so amazing.

I do feel like we are making actual progress -- she has basically gone until about 5:30 both of the last two mornings without waking up (our threshold that we set was 6 am) and then she has cried up until about 6, fallen back asleep, and slept until at least 7:30ish. So I am encouraged with it - but still frustrated, not knowing....

So it was fantastic timing when I read on my friend's blog this verse (that is slightly modified from how it probably appears in your Bible...) "Every good and perfect gift (even if they don't sleep) is from above. James 1:17." She was having trouble with her little one napping and another friend gave her this counsel to get her through a rough day. Lukily, on most days, I don't feel frustrated with her specifically, just with the situation. But other nights, I could definitely use a dose of repeating that fantastic verse from James. So, really, dealing with Jillian's sleep (or should I say non-sleep) issues is frustrating, but when it comes down to it, I love this little girl with all my heart and I am actually thankful for those times in the middle of the night where just she and I were up and where I was the only one who could soothe her back to sleep. And I am especially thankful for the fact that I have had 12 months of nursing her - that is a blessing that I know not everyone has. And I love that she is her own person. She is not a clone of her sister (who slept through the night early on) and she does things on her own time in her own way. There are lots of times that I wish I was more like that and I hope that is something that she will keep in her personality - of course, I hope she keeps that after I convince her that sleeping is good!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jillian's 12 month stats

We had Jillian's 12 month check-up on Friday - I was a little nervous because Jillian still isn't sleeping through the night and the doctor had been telling me at the past two appointments that I needed to let her cry it out, so I was afraid when I asked his advice he might just think I had been ignoring him. I was really feeling like it all had to do with her reflux, which I still think might have been the start to her waking up early on, but now that she is on a pretty decent medicine, who knows. He does think that it is now "behavioral" and gave me a plan to try to get her to drink less milk so that she will eat more table food (which is also a struggle for us) so that she might be less hungry at night.

We also had another head discussion since her head size is still off-the-charts. This time he asked if he could measure my head. When he did, he showed me an average woman's head size chart and I was as far off the curve as Jillian is, so he was satisfied that we are just a family with large heads. So I guess that is good news? :)

So her stats:

Height: 29 3/4 in (75%)
Weight: 21 lbs (50%)
Head: 49 (99% - only because he said you can't be 100% because you can never have a bigger head than yourself. Again- I guess that makes me feel better?)

Her percentiles in height and weight have dropped (from 95% for height and 75% for weight) in the past few months, but they said that was normal.)

Jilly Bean's First Birthday Party

After a fun family day on Wednesday to celebrate Jillian's actual birthday, we were so excited to get to have a fun party with some of our favorite people to celebrate Jilly Bean's first birthday!
The happy Birthday girl! She had a blast playing with her friends in her play room.
Posing with her presents and enjoying a birthday cracker!
Jillian loved all of her presents although opening them up with everyone watching was a little overwhelming, I think!

Her nickname gave us the perfect theme for her party - Jelly Beans! I had a lot of fun searching for things to make the party perfect! For party favors I actually tested my hand at sewing and make these really fun Jelly Bean-bags plus we set up a Jelly Bean-bag toss.
The party favor Jelly Bean-bags
Meredith was very excited about playing this game - she even chose her boots for her dress, saying they were her "Bean Bag throwing boots"

After finding a pattern for the bean bags, I started cutting out lots of Jelly Bean shaped things for other decoration - these were my favorite:
When it was time for cake, I was sure Jillian was going to be ready to dive right in - this girl loves sweets! Again, I think the whole thing was a little overwhelming so she was a little more cautious than I thought she might be.

Her Jelly Bean cake! My friends, Krista and Joyce have a cake business, so they helped me cut the jelly bean shapes and then made the one and the banner for me. Then I had lots of "fun" baking the cake and assembling it. After lots of little hiccups, I finally got it all put together and was pretty proud of it! It didn't taste bad either! And check out the really cute Jelly Bean cookies Gigi made - they were a hit too!
Jillian, looking very interested in her very own smash cake
I think she was feeling a little shy with all the singing
The big kids were very excited to come help her blow out the candle
Meredith was also happy to come help her figure out how good cake is!
Such a sweet big sister!
Now she is getting the hang of it!

"I'm done!" Jillian decided to just go ahead and climb out. We almost had a foot in the middle of the cake.
The final cake damage

After I got her cleaned up and dressed, she was wanting to just be carried, so I held her while I ate my cake. At that point, she decided she was ready for round two of cake eating! Mine was chocolate, so maybe I just chose the wrong flavor for her smash cake - or maybe it is just more fun to try to get Mama messy too!
The two of us quickly polished off my piece of cake...
What a mess!
We sure love our Jilly Bean!
After the cake, we had another game to play - fill the Jilly Bean jar!
Jillian had more fun taking the beans out, but hey - it's her birthday!
Meredith putting her bean in the Jilly Bean jar
Gigi also made Jelly Bean cookies for the kids to decorate which Meredith and Sydney were excited to do!

After the party, our family stayed for burgers, brats and hot dogs. Then we had ice cream sundaes (Jillian loves ice cream!)
Aunt Sandy and Uncle Perry made it to our house in time for dinner and everyone was thrilled! Meredith and Landon couldn't have been more excited to see Aunt Sandy and Jillian couldn't get enough of Uncle Perry. The whole night Jillian had either wanted to be attached to my hip or she was just a little overwhelmed, as I said before. But then when Uncle Perry arrived, she couldn't stop smiling and laughing! She was loving it and I think Uncle Perry thought it was pretty great too!