My favorite salad

Whenever we need to think of a side dish to bring to a potluck style event, we go down the list of possibilities and depending on time constraints or inspiration often end up at salad. Sol and I like to sing our favorite throwback Simpsons song to each other before moving on to the next meal suggestion: “You don’t make friends with SAL-AD! You don’t make friends with SAL-AD!” But we have recently decided that this is a salad you DO make friends with. It sounds kind of weird, but it is DELICIOUS. Trust me.

Brittany’s favorite salad:

Spring Mix

Strawberries

Cucumber

Avocado

Sliced Mushrooms

Gorgonzola Cheese

Candied Pecans

Brianna’s honey mustard dressing

(You can thank me later!)

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10 on 10

10 pictures from the 10th day of the month.

Document a snapshot of your life and document the ordinary things in your day!

We are getting into the routine of the school year, and October 10th was a pretty regular Monday filled with middle schoolers, paint, rain, a subbing hubby neighbor and a cute baby. What made October 10th special, however, was an enormous and unexpected rainstorm, the arrival of our fall decorations and the first stew of the year!

 

Apple Hill

I am so excited that Fall is here. I love this delciously fallish weather, I love getting out the boots, coats and scarves, I love all things pumpkin flavored, colored or related, and I love the beginning of soup season.

I could go on and on, but one of my favorite parts of fall in El Dorado County is the opening of Apple Hill, a local hot spot for family fun and delicious Apple related treats. There is pretty mountain scenery, fun activities for kids, crafts and activities, not to mention: apple cider, apple doughnuts, apple fritters, apple pie, caramel apples, apple beer (you get the idea…)

Last weekend we needed a family play day so we trekked up to High Hill, along with every other family in El Dorado County apparently. We had a great day, walked around, had lunch, enjoyed the beautiful weather and got a very carefully timed picture of Lola in an unattended barrel of apples.

Months 5 and 6!

Ah! Somebody please stop this girl from growing!! I can’t keep up!

Lola is now 6 months old! SIX! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?! She’s half a year old! It feels like a blink. I can’t even believe it, and I clearly can’t keep up with my blog updates!

She is amazing, smart and oh-so-cute. She learns and changes every day!

Stats:

At her 6 month appt. she was 26.75 inches tall and weighs 16 lbs, 15 oz. She is in the 77th percentile for weight, 85th percentile for height and 99TH! percentile for head circumference…poor girl, that’s the fault of her 2 large headed parents. It’s because she has all those big brains in there!

Eating:

In month 5, Lola went from being an exclusively breastfed baby to being a solids eating, formula-supplemented, (still!) breastfed baby.

When I went back to work, my already sensitive milk supply tanked. Even with 2 pumpings during the work day (eating up all of my prep time..) I was only making about half of what she was eating while I was at work. I spent about 2 weeks in month 5 stubbornly obsessing about increasing my milk supply. It was literally at the back of my mind at every waking moment. I was doing everything you are supposed to do to increase lactation: drinking enough water to drown, eating tons of raw oats, taking supplements, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, adding extra pumping sessions and nursing constantly, but nothing was working. Meanwhile I was cooking through my freezer stash trying to replace what she needed for the day while I was at work. The conundrum is that stress reduces milk supply, and I was so stressed about not making enough milk that it was probably making my situation worse. After being consumed with this for several weeks and resisting the idea of supplementing with formula, I had a conversation with an experienced mom colleague, Mary, that gave me some piece of mind. She has 4 kids that she breastfed, and understood my resistance to giving Lola formula. She sympathized that it had become a badge of honor thing for me, something that I had worked so hard for and was resistant to admit that my body could no longer be the sole provider of what Lola needed. She helped me see that if I continued breastfeeding, but supplemented what I couldn’t make with formula, that Lola would still be getting all of my immunities and all of the good stuff in breast milk, but would be full and happy without me having to feel so much stress and pressure. I could still continue to have that bond with her, and be a better, less stressed mommy.

It took about another week of me pondering this to finally cave and give her formula, and really I was convinced she wouldn’t even take it…but she did, like it was no different. “Milk is milk, mom! ” I immediately felt relieved, like a huge weight of responsibility was lifted off of my shoulders. Lola now has about 4-6 ounces of formula a day, usually right before bed when she is hungriest. She still gets pumped milk when I am at work during the day, and I still pump twice at work and once when I wake up, she and is breastfed the other 95% of the time. She is full, happy and growing and I am a happier and more relaxed mommy…everyone wins.

6 months of breastfeeding was my goal, and there were many hard moments in the first few months that 6 months felt like a million years away. Before I had Lola, I never understood the breastfeeding badge of honor thing, and I never imagined that I would get as attached to it as I have. I figured I would put in my 6 months per self imposed requirement, and then I would happily quit. Well here we are, at 6 months, and I can’t imagine stopping now. In my 4 month post I reported that I didn’t love it, but we had “reached an understanding”. I am happy to report that I officially love it, and I love how happy it makes Lola. The thought of stopping makes me really sad, and so my new goal has been pushed to 1 year. We’ll see how I feel by then, but for now I am a happy nursing mama.

The other exciting milestone is that Lola is now eating baby food! The pedi recommended that we start with pureed veggies, (1 new one per week to be able to watch for food allergies), and then move to fruits. She has now tried (and loved..) sweet potatoes, squash, peas, carrots and green beans. She has hopefully inherited her parents lack of finickiness about food, so far she seems to love it all. Sol and I, and her Grandma Cece and Papa Tom all have so much fun spoon feeding her. She gets giggly, messy and is way too cute. I really want to start pureeing our own baby food (it makes sense for the cloth diapered, breastfed baby to get homemade organic baby food, right?) , but we need a proper device first…and enough time for such projects, which so far we have lacked. Coming this month, fruits!!

Sleeping: 

The 6th month has brought a huge new milestone. (Drumroll please…) Lola is now sleeping UNSWADDLED, IN HER CRIB, IN HER OWN ROOM! If you have kids, you know what a big deal this is!

The whole 5th month and a couple weeks into the 6th month she slept in her “taco” (the rock-n-play sleeper) next to my bed, with her straight jacket swaddle on, the same way she had sleep since she was a week old. She was still giving us pretty consistently long stretches of sleep, luxuriously long stretches, actually, for a baby of her age…and although we knew she was getting a little old and big for this sleeping arrangement, our theory was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I was however, on the internet constantly trying to research ways to wean the swaddle and the rock-n-play, knowing that as her feet stretched farther and farther over the edge of the taco, our nights of this bliss were numbered. When you have an infant that still has unpredictable sleep patterns though, there is never a night when you say to yourself “hmm, this is a great night to not get any sleep, let’s try the crib!” All my time fretting was clearly a waste though because ultimately, we didn’t have a say in when or how she weaned. She decided that she was ready to sleep in her crib, and we were along for the ride.

A visual of "the taco" for this story to make more sense. "The taco" went with us EVERYWHERE to ensure successful sleeping- even on the houseboat!

She had taken a couple (like literally 2) very short naps in her crib, one of which was swaddled and with a very taco-like sleep positioner. The first actual nap she had taken unswaddled, flat, in a crib was at my mom’s house. Sol and I were shocked and excited when we picked Lola up after work and she told us that Lola had just dozed in the crib for a half an hour. It wasn’t very long, but Lola had never slept for ANY amount of time in her entire life on a flat surface! She needed the taco-like enclosing feeling and if the taco wasn’t available, the car seat, the swing or on one of us were the only other acceptable substitutes for napping. We devised a plan to slowly start having her nap in her crib, and then wait for a long weekend or vacation to have her try sleeping in it overnight. Lola had other plans! I woke up at 2am one night, a Tuesday night..in the middle of a work week…when I was still sleep deprived from a crazy weekend in Tahoe…(you get it, less than ideal conditions!) to Lola outgrowing the taco. She outgrew the taco overnight. She was still swaddled, almost completely rolled over in it and madly squirming to finish her roll. She looked like she was either about to launch herself out of it or suffocate herself. We spent the rest of her night trying to get her to sleep in her crib, unsuccessfully, and ultimately she ended up in the swing next to Sol sleeping on the couch. The next day I was sleep deprived and worried, knowing that the transition to sleeping in her own room would have to happen TONIGHT and couldn’t even wait for the weekend like we had planned.

Sol and I formulated a game plan on the phone that day while I pumped on my lunch break. He would take the next day off work and sleep in the guest room with the monitor, so I could sleep in our bedroom and *try* to get some sleep for work the next day. We completed our normal bedtime routine, put her in some adorable footy pajamas (we had to break out the 6-9 month box because only 9 MONTH jammies will fit her now!), and put her down in the crib for the night. We anticipated a sleepless night for Sol (and possibly me..) but to our amazement, Miss Independent had an AWESOME night of sleep! She slept 7 hours, woke up for a couple binky replacements from Sol, then I woke up for work and fed her and she went back to sleep for another 5 hours!! She slept in until 10:30, we couldn’t believe it! I on the other hand got the least sleep out of everyone…I missed having her right next to my bed and was freaked out having her so far away. (Yes, so far away is about 20 feet across the hall). I must have peeked in to check on her 15 times to make sure she was still breathing…even though we have a pad under her crib mattress that verifies that.

The next day we were beaming with pride! We couldn’t believe our big girl went cold turkey without swaddle, in her crib, in her own room so easily. I guess she was just ready. She was clearly more ready than we were! The next night the wind was quickly knocked from our sails…she was up most of the night. The next night we went to bed anxious for the same unfavorable result and she slept 10 hours straight! The moral of the crib story is…she’s inconsistent, but we are getting there. The sleep stretches are getting longer and she’s getting better at falling asleep and staying asleep on her own. I am finally starting to feel a little more comfortable having her in her own room, although I am still experiencing major mom paranoia. She is a preferred tummy sleeper (which we wouldn’t have guessed since she always acted like tummy time was a fate worse than death) and everything they tell you from the second your baby is born is that tummy sleeping= SIDS. Now that she is rolling over on her own and so strong that she can do a push-up it is considered safe now, but it still freaks me out. (Even with the pad and alarm that makes sure she is breathing!) I’m getting more comfortable with it though and eventually I might be able to sleep soundly again? Maybe someday!

Sol and I are pretty excited about having our room back for the first time in 6 months, but it does take some getting used to. We are now allowed to talk, cough and walk around the room normally without having to “ninja” around and avoid waking the baby. The other night after we had put Lola to sleep in the crib we were in our bedroom whispering to each other when Sol laughs and says, still whispering, “why are we whispering, she’s not in here!”

Playing:

Ohmigosh, where do I start? She is so smart and playful!

The biggest milestone that Lola hit in month 5 was being able to sit up unassisted! She can’t pull herself up to sitting on her own yet, but she can stay sitting up indefinitely to play with her toys if you put her in a seated position. One of her favorite things now is to sit up on a quilt on our family room floor (there is a similar situation at Grandma Cece and Papa Tom’s house too!) and play with her toys. She is so into toys! She is getting much more deliberate about how she plays too…it’s not just a chance arm movement that pushes a button, stacks, or rolls something, it’s now intentional. She especially loves her O-Ball, baby bongo drums and this little turtle we have with blocks inside. She needs to touch everything…and then stick it in her mouth!

We downloaded a xylophone app that she happily plunks away at when there isn’t a toy available!

Even though she has a wide selection of toys, some of her favorite things to play with are crumpled paper, mommy’s necklaces, daddy’s glasses, kitties’ tails and large plastic kitchen spoons.

She also loves to stand and jump, jump, jump! She loves her jumperoo and (even though it doesn’t jump-she jumps in it) her exersaucer at Cece’s house.

Her “talking” has gotten a lot more deliberate too. She now strings together long sentences of silly baby sounds, like she has something really important to say. I feel like “mama” and “dada” are just around the corner. I told her (jokingly…kind of) that she came out of my vagina therefore she owes it to me to say “mama” first, but I really feel like her sounds are leaning more towards “dada” now. That’s okay too I guess, she IS quite the daddy’s girl.

Crawling is also right around the corner! She is rolling alllll over the place and can get up onto all 4s and rock back and forth, and scoot backwards. If she REALLY wants something in front of her, she can move forward towards it in a combo roll/scoot/push…but it takes her awhile. I was playing with her on the floor recently and encouraging her to crawl towards her stuffed monkey…then I thought to myself, “wait, what am I doing…do I really want her to be mobile?” I am excited for her to start crawling, but I think I am content with her staying in the general vicinity of where I put her, for now!

Adventures:

In her 5th month:

Lola was in her first bridal party! She served as a flower baby in Bianca and Justin’s wedding along with their niece Evelyn, who is 4 days younger than her.

Lola had her first sleepover at Cece and Papa’s house! The night of the Cox wedding, Lola’s awesome grandparents took the sleepy flower baby home with them so mommy and daddy could have a night out in Davis. We were only away from her for 12 hours but it felt like too long!

She went to her first Kibble-n-Bids event with mommy and daddy for Papa’s 60th birthday celebration!

Mommy went back to work and she started having fun adventures with Daddy or Cece and Papa during the day.

In her 6th month:

Lola had her first weekend where she got daddy all to herself when I went to Tahoe for the weekend for my annual Ladiespalooza trip. Both she and daddy did great and I was very proud. (I was also very proud of myself for being able to stay away for a whole weekend!)

She got a visit from her Aunt Smelley and Uncle Roger, who are enamored with her.

She went to a real mall for the first time, being mommy’s little shopping buddy.

She continued to be a champion boat baby in Papa Tom’s boat on many lake outings!

She had her first trip to Apple Hill, including a photoshoot on pumpkins and in a barrel of apples!

Check back next month for a 7 month update…teeth?!? Crawling?! Talking?!? Who knows what I’ll have to report, this girl is growing like a weed!