Friday, December 31, 2010

Look Mom, No Hands!!

Jeff and I just watched Renee pull herself up to standing using the coffee table.  Then she let go and stood there all on her own for like 1 or 2 seconds, looking at us with her big goofy smile before falling back on her butt.  A few minutes later she did it again, and this time stood for a good 4 seconds :D

Of course we missed it with the camera both times, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities now that she knows she can do it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Weeks Leading Up to Christmas

Since I haven't posted in a while, I figured I'd give you a quick catch-up of some of the things we did before Christmas.  I'll do a post about the holidays soon though, I promise :D

The weekend of December 11 & 12:

We originally had no plans for this weekend, then on Thursday we got invited to our friends last minute birthday party for their son Hayden, who was turning 3.  Chris and Katrina (Hayden's parents) rented him one of those giant jumper things, which Renee LOVED!

Of course she had to wait until the "big" kids were tired of it before she got to go in, but I'm pretty sure she enjoyed watching them jump in it just as much as she like being in it herself!

She also got to play with her friend Aubrey, Hayden's little sister, who is just a couple of weeks younger than Renee.

I had Jeff pose with both the girls so we could do a side by side of how big they've gotten since the last time we were all together back in April.
Aubrey, Jeff and Renee - December 11, 2010
Renee, Jeff and Aubrey - April 25, 2010
It's amazing how fast they grow, isn't it!!!  Jeff pretty much looks the same though :D

After Hayden's birthday party, we went to my parents house for dinner.  And then the next morning we met Jeff's mom for breakfast, so Renee got lots of grandparent time that weekend :D

Later that afternoon she showed some interest in her magnetic drawing board and to my surprise she actually figured out how to draw on it, instead of just sucking on the magnet pen like she usually does.  It was really cute!

The weekend of December 18 & 19:

We didn't have too many plans this weekend, so Renee got to spend some time just hanging out with Daddy. She loves to press the buttons on his computer :D

On Saturday we went to Old Sac to have lunch with our friends Marc and Nancy and their sons Koichi and Seiji who were up in our area for the day to get a new puppy.

It was a bit cold and rainy out, but Renee didn't mind!

This picture has no point other than total and utter cuteness...

And here is Marc holding Renee (this was the first time they met) and that's his son Koichi over there on the right, playing video games I think.  

On Sunday we went to Jason and Jodi's house and Renee got to play with her friends Keira and Jackson.  We also did a gift exchange with the kids, so Renee got to practice opening presents before Christmas :D

Other than all the visits with friends and family, the weeks leading up to Christmas were relatively calm (most likely because I didn't make cookies this year!).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Renee threw a toy in the toilet for the 1st time this morning.

It normally wouldn't have been too big of a deal, except that we are a "If it's yellow, let it mellow.  If it's brown, flush it down."  kind of family.

...I threw the toy away!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crawling - A Video!!!

Renee is getting better and better at crawling every day.  I love watching her move around and explore new things in the house, which is pretty much everything other than toys or spatulas :D

I especially love the way she crawls, it's more of a scoot/drag than a crawl really, but it does the job and it's super cute!  Here's a video I took of her I took earlier this evening, there's really only good crawling action for the 1st minute, and then she gets distracted by the dogs:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa and a Shot

When I was a kid my mom always took me to the mall to get my picture taken with Santa Claus.  I remember really enjoying getting to sit on his lap every year and tell him what I wanted for Christmas, and it's a tradition I want to continue with Renee.

Of course, she has no concept of who Santa Claus is, or even what Christmas is at this point in her life.  But, I know she will enjoy looking back at pictures of herself with Santa from every year of her childhood.

So, I got off early today and took Renee to the mall.  She did not like the fact that I was handing her to a large, hairy, stranger.  And no matter what I or the "elves" did, she would not smile.  It didn't help that Santa wouldn't let her get a good look at his face.  He thought it would make her cry, and so every time she tried to turn around to see who was holding her he would duck his face down behind her back.  This resulted in her just sitting there looking sad and confused!  Oh, well, it's still a cute picture.

And without further ado, here is Renee's very 1st picture with Santa Claus, taken at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento.

After visiting Santa, we went to Sears to pick up our Christmas photo cards.  I would show you what they look like, but I'm pretty sure everyone that reads this blog is on our mailing list, so you'll just have to wait :D

After window shopping and snacking on some mall food (Hot Dog on a Stick), we got in the car and drove back to Davis to get our flu shots.  I fully expected Renee to cry like she does every other time she has gotten shots, but she just sat there in my arms and looked at the lady like, '"hey, why are you touching my leg lady?".
At this point, a few hours later, it feels like someone punched me in the arm where I got my shot, so I'm sure her leg is sore too, but she's a tough little monkey.  Hopefully she doesn't have too bad of a reaction to the vaccine later tonight!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Operation: Get Renee to Sleep

I am tired.

I have been tired for 9 months, 1 week and 2 days.  Some days are worse than others of course, but basically, I haven't gotten a good night sleep since Renee was born.  Well, that's not entirely true, she slept 9 hours straight on Sunday, November 21st.  You might think it's strange that I remember the date, but it was so miraculous that I might just make it into a personal holiday.  Most nights though she wakes up every 3 hours and I nurse her back to sleep each time.

Here is a typical night: I put her to bed at 8pm and I go to bed at 9:30pm.  She wakes up at around 11pm, 3am and 6am every night.  It takes me about 20 minutes to nurse her back to sleep each time, and then another 5 to 10 minutes for me to fall asleep after my head hits the pillow.  I stay up after the 6am feeding though.  She usually sleeps for another hour or two after that, and I use that time to get ready in the morning.

If you haven't already done the math, I am getting about 7 hours of sleep in a 9 hour period.  That might not sound too bad, many people do fine on 6 or 7 hours of sleep, 6 or 7 hours of continuous sleep that is.  It's amazing how important that is.  My 7 hours is interrupted twice on a good night, and that's not even counting if one of the dogs has to go to the bathroom, which of course is NEVER at a time when I'm already up.

Everyone's advice: "Just let her cry."  Well I can't do that.  I've tried.  It hurts me.  Physically.  Really, it does.

So, my new plan is to take out one nursing session at a time, and replace it with just holding and rocking her to sleep.  This week (or however long it takes her to get used to it) I'm not nursing her when she wakes up at 11pm.  My hope is that she just won't wake up at that time any more.  If I'm not nursing her, then there's no point, right?  Then, when we (really just me) are ready,  I'll take out the 3am one, and eventually she will just sleep through the night.  That's the plan and I'm sticking to it.

Renee does NOT like this plan!  It has only been two nights so far.  Both times it took me about 20 minutes to get her to go to sleep; holding strong through her screaming, pushing and back arching, all part of her fight to get her face to my boobs.  The whole time telling myself that if I give in and nurse her, then I lose and I will never get a good night sleep, ever again!

Both nights, as soon as I put her down in her bed she woke up and started screaming again.  Another 20 minutes of rocking, singing and shushing later and another try at putting her down and she woke up again!  The second time though her crying was much less intense, and I was too tired to continue the process so I just let her cry it out, which only took about 10 minutes.  I HATE doing that, but I can tolerate it when she's not screaming.  If it's just soft crying and I'm completely exhausted, then and only then, can I handle letting her cry herself to sleep.  Desperate times, desperate measures, or something like that.

So, wish me good luck in my endeavor to get Renee to sleep longer, and in turn, get more sleep myself.  I know my way seems like the hard way of doing it, and maybe not the best, but it's what I'm comfortable with.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Two Days of Thanksgiving

Normally on Thanksgiving, Jeff and I try to fit in multiple family visits into one day.  This year though, with Renee in tow, we decided to go a bit easier on ourselves.  Well, that was the plan anyway :D

To start our two day holiday celebration off we packed up the car and headed to Briones Regional Park in Pleasant Hill on Thursday morning for a hike.  The weather was beautiful and the dogs had a great time running around on the trail and chasing the ball.  Renee also enjoyed the hike, she just loves being outdoors for any reason, especially if she gets to watch the dogs run around.  I wore her in my front pack and zipped my fleece jacket up over her legs so she was nice and cozy warm.  

After the dogs were tired, we drove up to my parents house for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. There were a ton of people (19) and a ton of food (enough to feed a small army).

Renee is pretty comfortable at my parents house now, and even though she only sees them about once a month, I can tell she recognizes her Grandma and Grandpa.  But when everyone else arrived she was a little overwhelmed.  It took her a while, but she warmed up to the idea of getting to know all those relatives and ended up having a great time.

Playing with cousin Credence.
Hanging out with Uncle Dave.

Chatting with cousins Olivia and Loren.

The next morning we just relaxed and let Renee play and practice crawling.  She has been working on it for a while now and about two weeks ago she figured out how to push herself up from laying on her tummy to sitting up on her butt.  So we knew she was close.

Look at that concentration.  Tongue out, just like her Daddy!

She's also been practicing her standing lately, of course she always needs something (or someone) to hang on to for balance :D

Then for lunch on Friday we went to Jeff's parent's house in Dublin. 

Grandpa Earl and the kitty, Ted 2.

Grandma Karen was so happy to see her.

After spending the afternoon with Jeff's parents we went over to my step-mom's house in Pleasanton for dinner.

Grandma Lynne and Lacey dog.

Uncle Sam.

While we were there, we let Renee play a bit on the floor.  She REALLY wanted this metal pumpkin decoration that was on Lynne's coffee table, so we put it on the floor just out of her reach and....


It was really slow, and not very far, and she looked more like a lobster than a baby, but she crawled for the first time :D  It was very exciting!  Of course Renee was just happy she got to the pumpkin.  

We went back to my parents' house to spend one more night and then came home Saturday afternoon.  It was a tiring 2 1/2 days, but very fun and well worth all the driving to see our family for the holiday.

In other Renee news, she is also getting very good at waving and saying "hi", although it sounds more like "haaaaaaa".  But, she's working on it :)  Oh, and Jeff put up some more pictures and a movie on her gallery page, so go check them out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If a baby pulls herself up and no one is around to see it, did she really stand on her own?

Yesterday, when I picked Renee up from daycare, all of the teachers were so excited because Renee had used a bench to pull herself up from sitting to standing for the first time.  The catch was that no one saw it.  They left her sitting on her own, they all got distracted with helping other babies, and when they looked over at Renee she was standing!

Initially I was excited too, but when I was driving home and thinking about this HUGE thing that my baby girl did, I started getting really sad.  I wasn't there to see her stand up on her own for the 1st time!  The fact that no one else saw it was only a little bit of a consolation, and a very selfish one at that!!

She's growing soooo fast, and of course I'm not going to be there to see every new thing she does, as much as I want to.  And I can only imagine how Jeff feels, he barely gets to see her at all during the week; maybe 15 or 20 minutes every morning, and then sometimes he gets home after she goes to bed at night.

Obviously we can't stop her from growing, so we just have to enjoy every second with her as much as we can before she moves on to the next big thing.  And of course take pictures, tons and tons of pictures :D

And more for my own memory keeping than anything else, here are some of Renee's most current milestones (besides the whole standing thing):

  • She can say mama now, although it's more like, "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" 
  • She can also say dada and daaah (translation: dog, she LOVES the dogs) 
  • Her 1st tooth is coming in!
  • She can point and poke at things with her index finger (seems trivial, but it's an important one)
  • She's beginning to depend less on putting everything in her mouth and starting to actually explore what else she can do with them (i.e. shaking rattles, banging things together, etc.)
  • And finally, she's getting more and more adorable every single day :D

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.  ~Dr. Seuss

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Her first Halloween!

    I wasn't even going to get Renee a costume this year, she wouldn't know what was going on anyway.  But, my own guilt and a chat with a good friend pushed me over the edge.  So, on Wednesday, only 4 days before Halloween, I took Renee to one of those Spirit Superstores in Sacramento.  What a madhouse that place was!  They had no cute costumes left for babies, and the ones they did have were $30!!!  NO way was I going to spend that much on something she was only going to wear one time and that she wouldn't even remember.

    So, then we went to Target, who was selling their very limited selection of costumes they had left at 30% off.  I ended up getting a flower costume for infants 0-6 months old.  Too small for Renee, of course, but that's all they had and I knew I could fix it.  $10.50 on the costume and about 30 minutes with my seam ripper and sewing machine later and my baby girl had her very first Halloween costume.  Not bad, if I do say so myself :D

    She wore it to daycare on Thursday for their Fall Harvest Festival.  I knew they were having this festival, and they said costumes were optional, but EVERY single baby was dressed up!  

    Renee with her teacher Erika and friends from daycare.

    I was so glad I ended up getting a costume for Renee, she would have been the only one not dressed up if I hadn't.

    Playing with a baby pumpkin at the Harvest Festival
    On Friday, we were supposed to go to my parent's house for dinner, but I ended up getting a major headache (rare for me) and so we stayed home and relaxed instead.

    On Saturday, we had dinner with some great friends.  She wore her Halloween shirt that said, "Daddy is under my Spell".  Which, he is!

    Happy with Steve O., and that's Katie in the background.

    Hanging out with Jane and Steve.

    On Sunday, we had breakfast in Vacaville with Jeff's mom and some of her friends.  Then we went home to do some chores before my mom came over to spend the afternoon with us.  And Renee wore her "Baby's 1st Halloween" shirt.   We can thank the local children's consignment store for all her Halloween themed shirts :D

    Watching the Giants game with Grandma Denise.
    There were only a handful of Trick-or-Treaters, but Renee did enjoy seeing their interesting costumes.  And after such a long and event filled weekend, she was pooped!

    All of that Halloween fun made for a very tired baby!!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Cousins, cousins, and coming soon, even more cousins!

    Over the weekend Renee and I went to my cousin Rachel and her fiance Lindsey's baby shower.  They're going to have a baby boy, and his name is going to be Jaden!  There are actually three babies due on that side of my family (my cousin Jennifer is having a girl and my cousin Maryann is having a surprise), and they are all due within the next 3 months!!!

    Renee and her great-grandma Ferguson.  And that's Rachel and Lindsey in the background :D

    Renee and her cousin Ashley at Rachel and Lindsey's baby shower.

    On top of that, Jeff's brother Eric and his girlfriend Veronica just had a baby boy, Baby Eric, a month ago.

    Me holding baby Eric, and Veronica's cousin holding Renee.
    All of these babies being born are in some form or another cousins to Renee.  So, I started thinking about how many cousins she actually has?  And the answer is A LOT!!!  I had to make an Excel spreadsheet to count them all and keep their exact cousin titles straight, and these are just the ones that we stay in contact with.

    Here's the count:
    1st Cousins: 1
    1st Cousins, once removed:  25 
    2nd Cousins: 4, soon to be 7
    1st Cousins, twice removed: 2
    2nd Cousins, once removed: 3
    3rd Cousins: 2

    Grand Total: 37, soon to be 40 cousins!!!  Eight of which will actually be around the right age for Renee to play with at family functions.  Pretty crazy!  And there are more out there, many more, we just don't keep in contact with them, so I'm not counting them.

    Oh, and if you're not quite sure what all the cousin terminology (once removed, twice removed, etc.) means, check out this site:  Cousin Relationships (I'm always explaining it to people, but this site has a good visual lesson).

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Toys, unfortunately, are a necessity.

    Before becoming a parent, I always had this idea that I would not overwhelm my child with a million toys.  Our friends and family who had children before us seemed to lose their house to an avalanche of toys.  Everywhere you looked was another annoying blinking noisy plastic thing!  How?  Why?  No, that would not be us!!!! I will just let my child play with kitchen utensils and cardboard boxes.

    Then came Renee.  Our beautiful, precious, darling angel.  Our princess.  Our love.  Our slap in the face reality check.  And finally, after years of wondering, I understood.  If you give the baby an annoying blinky noisy plastic thing then you can get the dishes washed, or you can take a shower, or maybe, just maybe you can write a blog post (something which seems to always be last on the "to-do" list)!!!  And then the toys are no longer annoying; they are magical, they are amazing, they are life savers.  Alright, maybe I'm being a little dramatic here, but I think you get my point :D

    Don't get me wrong, kitchen utensils held their ground strong for a long time in this house.  Renee enjoyed many hours of sucking on, waving about and banging the array spoons, spatulas, whisks and measuring cups that call our kitchen drawer home.

    But, those have become old news to her and so last weekend I went to a local children's consignment store and bought her some used (well, new to her - and that is all that's important) toys to play with.  And she loves them!!!  And I love them!!!  And Jeff, well, he's still concerned that our house is going to be overrun with toys.  And maybe it will, but we'll worry about that when we get there.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Responsible Parenting

    Yesterday Renee and I went to my graduate group's annual Welcome Dinner to meet this year's incoming class and to re-connect with some of the other graduate students in our group.

    While I was chatting with a new student, Renee was sitting on my lap wildly grabbing at her beer bottle.  It's always so cute watching her chubby little arms stretching out, and her long chubby little fingers wiggling away, desperately grasping at whatever object her mind is set on at the moment!  When the student (sorry, I don't remember her name, I'm horrible with names) was done with her beer I asked if Renee could have the bottle so she could slobber it up.

    Another student saw Renee sucking on the beer bottle and "had to take a picture!" on his iPhone.  He sent it to me with the subject line: "Responsible Parenting"

    The picture turned out really cute :D  I love how serious she is about it!

    And with all the hype about BPAs and other chemicals in plastics, letting my daughter suck on a glass bottle is responsible parenting :D

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Apple Hill

    On Sunday we went to High Hill Ranch in Placerville with our friends Jason & Jodi and their kids Keira and Jackson.  The ranch is part of an area called Apple Hill, an association of local apple growers, vineyards and christmas tree growers.  It was our first time there, but apparently it's a popular destination if you live in Northern California because everyone I mentioned it too was like, "Ohh, I LOVE Apple Hill!!  They have the best pie, fudge, cider, donuts, etc..." or "That place is great, we go there every year!"

    Anyway, we had a great time.  We brought stuff to have a picnic lunch on the lawn by a man-made duck pond - Renee's first picnic :D
    Family portrait.
    We were sitting on a slope and I was worried that if Renee fell forward (which she does on occasion, she's quite top heavy) that she'd just topple on down the hill into the pond.  So, I sat below her the whole time just in case.  She only fell once though, right into the cheese plate (we were done with the cheese, thankfully), it was pretty funny :D

    Keira & Renee looking so cute together!

    There were only two ducks in the pond, and they were the fattest ducks we've ever seen, so they really had no interest in any food we had to offer.  That didn't stop Keira and Jackson from trying and they still had fun throwing bread in the pond!
    Jason, Jackson and Keira "feeding" the ducks.

    The weather turned out to be perfect.  The forecast had said 60% showers, but it just sprinkled a bit on our drive, and it was beautiful for the rest of the day.

    Me, Renee, Keira and Jodi

    Keira got her face painted and got to go on a pony ride.

    And there was a cute little playground for the kids.

    Keira & Jackson playing in the sand box.

    Renee really wished she was big enough to run around with Keira and Jackson, but she had to settle for watching from my lap.  Pretty soon baby girl!!

    And, of course, we got some apple pie for dessert.  It was okay, not great, mine is better (and Jeff agrees - I didn't bully him into that opinion, honest!)  They did have good apple donuts though :D

    At the end of the day we drove into downtown Placerville and checked out some of the cute little shops on Main St. before having some super yummy pot-pies at Z-Pie.

    It was a great Sunday!

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    World Traveler in the Making

    Jeff and I love to travel and did so as much as we possibly could afford to before Renee was born.  We always thought that having a child would hinder our traveling.  But, it turns out (for now anyway) that Renee is a great traveler!  Last week we went on our first trip with her and she did great every step of the way.

    First we flew from Sacramento to Seattle (with a stop-over in Portland) to visit Jeff's step-brother Earl and his wife Daphne.  The plane rides went great, Renee fell asleep before taking off and slept until we landed in both of them.  Of course it helped that they were only about 1 hour each :D

    Here's me and Renee in her Ergo carrier (I love that thing) in front of the Space Needle in Seattle.  And that's Jeff's hand blocking out the sun so he could take the picture!

    We went up to the top, but Renee had no interest in checking out the view.  She was hungry and just wanted to nurse.  So, now at least I can say I nursed my baby at the top of the Seattle Space Needle (I know, not really T-shirt worthy, but fun to say anyway!). 

    The view from the top of the Space Needle.

    And here she is with her Uncle Earl

    and her Auntie Daphne.  She thought Daphne was just about the funniest person she's ever met and laughed more in these two days than she has in her whole 6 months of life :D  It was really cute!

    Earl and Daphne were great tour guides!  We saw killer whales in the wild.


    We went to an alpaca farm, 

    and a lavender farm.

    And we enjoyed tons of yummy food (Earl is not only an exceptional cook, but he also had a nose for yummy food joints to snack at while we were sightseeing)!

    Jeff, Renee and I had one more day in Seattle to explore on our own, so we went to the Seattle Aquarium and the Pike Place Market.

    The aquarium was great.  Renee wanted to grab all the fish and didn't understand why she couldn't get her hands through the glass when they swam by!  Jeff and I enjoyed watching her reaction to everything more than we enjoyed the aquarium itself. 

    Then, another plane ride and we landed in Palm Springs to visit Jeff's grandpa, aka Renee's great-grandpa Denny, Uncle John, Sarah (the cat) and their house guest Valerie.

    We had a nice relaxing couple of days there before heading back home.

    So, really, the only hard part about traveling with an infant was dragging the car seat around everywhere we go and installing it in every new car we drive in.  And that really wasn't that bad, although Jeff was the one who had to carry the thing through all the airports!

    The only question now is, where should we go next?

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Food Face

    A couple of weeks ago we started giving Renee solid foods!  It took her about a week before the food we put in her mouth actually ended up in her stomach.  But she's got the hang of it now.  She's eating fruits and vegetables and sometimes rice or oatmeal cereal (the cereals constipate her, so we don't give it to her very often - sorry if that was TMI!).

    It's strange how changing one little thing like what we feed her has opened up a whole new can of worms on baby care.  Before, I just nursed her and we were done.  Now, I have to defrost her food (I made a whole bunch and froze it in small portions), strap her in her high chair, put a bib on her, then feed her, then clean up the mess.

    This should give you an idea of what kind of a mess I'm talking about:

    How does that happen you wonder?  Like this: Mom puts food in baby's mouth.  Baby puts hand in mouth.  Baby gets food all over hand.  Baby rubs hand all over face.  Mom takes picture while laughing at food covered baby face :D