Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stand, Color & Spin

I was actually able to get a few Renee steps on video last night!  I also got about 10 minutes of her just being cute; coloring, spinning around and making motor boat sounds :D  Don't worry though, I cut most of it out and made a short video to show you some of the highlights of her cuteness!

So you don't miss it, the walking part is right at the start of the video, it really is more like stumbling than walking, but it's a start!

The crayons are new.  Jeff, Renee and I went out to lunch, and the restaurant had crayons and coloring books for kids.  We let Renee do some coloring and she did pretty good (meaning she didn't try to eat the crayons as much as we thought she would) so, we went to Office Depot and got her some extra large crayons and a pad of paper.  

And here is the masterpiece that she created:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Renee Walked Today!!

When we picked Renee up from daycare today, one of her teachers told us that she took 6 steps!!  As exciting as that information was, the shock of this unexpected news caused me ask several questions for clarification:

    Teacher:  "Renee took 6 steps today!"
    Me: "You mean on her own?"
    Teacher: "Uh, huh!"
    Me: "She wasn't holding onto anything?"
    Teacher: "Nope"
    Me: "She walked, all by herself?"

And it went on like this for a few more rounds of me basically asking the same question and her politely nodding her head and smiling.  Although, I'm sure by the end of it she would have liked to yell, "YES lady, that IS what I said, isn't it!!!"

Renee was too tired when we got home to even play on her own for long, so Jeff and I will just have to wait until tomorrow to witness her new mobile ability :D  I will be sure to post a video as soon as I am able to get it on film.

In the meantime, here are some cute pictures of her from the last couple of weeks:

Here she is feeding Chico (my parent's chihuahua) some of her Cheerios.  Yes, there is a dog on the kitchen table!!!

She LOVES playing with her cousin Credence!  He was running as fast as he could from the other side of the room and diving onto the ottoman straight towards Renee.  She thought it was hilarious!  I thought there were going to be two crying kids with giant bumps on there head at any moment.  Luckily, I was wrong :D

Our little vampire!  Her eyeteeth are coming in faster than her front teeth, it's pretty goofy looking!

What can I say, poor Kirby dog!!

Mmmmm, spaghetti!  She is finally starting to eat solid food on her own.  Before, if she picked something up and it felt slimy at all, she would look at it in disgust and throw it on the floor.

Jeff picked out this shirt for her.  It says, "Dad Thinks I'm Rad."  It's totally a boy shirt, but she doesn't care!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Operation: Get Renee to Sleep - Part 2

I realize I never gave an update on my progress at getting Renee to sleep, so here it is along with the new plan implemented earlier this week.

Last month I told you about my plan to take away one of the three nursing sessions she woke up for in the middle of the night.  Which after a about a week of just rocking her back to sleep she just stopped waking up at 11pm.  Great progress right?  Well, kinda.  With that change in her night time schedule, two new things started to happen:  1) she moved her 3am wake-up to 2am and 2) she REFUSED to go back into her crib after I nursed her!

So, at 2am she would wake up, I would nurse her back to sleep and put her in her crib (used to work fine).  But now she would immediately wake up screaming as soon as her body touched the mattress.  So, I picked her up and did whatever I could to calm her down without nursing her again.  This entailed pacing the house, shushing, singing and rocking her until she would fall asleep again.  Then I would put her in her crib again and she would wake up screaming again, and the whole thing started over!   This process usually lasted an hour to an hour and a half and entailed 2 or 3 attempts at putting her back in her crib before she would stay and I could finally go back to bed.

Okay, so my original plan, although successful, kind of backfired as far as the overall picture of getting Renee to sleep better was concerned.  What to do next?  Well, with the holidays right around the corner, I was hesitant to make another big change until I knew we could have a more consistent schedule.  So, right after our crazy Christmas weekend, I started putting her to bed awake.  My thought being that if I could get her to be comfortable going to sleep on her own at bedtime, then maybe at our 2am nursing session she would be okay with just going back into her crib and not put up such a huge fight.  Also, I knew I needed to stop picking her up when she cried and so my plan was to just pat her back and shush and sing to her until she fell asleep.

This plan worked pretty well.  To keep her awake at bedtime I would read her a story while she was nursing, she can't fall asleep with all those cool pictures to look at :D  Then I would put her in her crib and pat her back and sing to her until she fell asleep, this usually took about 15 to 20 minutes.  But, it wasn't helping for the 2am nursing session, she still refused to go back to sleep.  I was spending way too long bent over her crib patting her, it was KILLING my back and I would end up just giving in and picking her up to rock her back to sleep!

HUH!!!  It was a rough week!

Okay, new plan, she needed to learn to got to sleep on her own and I just needed to stop nursing her in the middle of the night all together.  That was it, end of story, she's 10 1/2 months old Kelly, she won't starve!!!

So, on Sunday night, with Jeff's very persistent urging (to put it nicely), I put her to bed at 8pm and let her cry herself to sleep. Thankfully it only took 23 minutes, I wasn't going to let her go more than 25.  She woke up again at 10pm when Jeff went in to check on her (as if this whole process wasn't hard enough already) and then again at 2am (her normal time).  I let her cry for 10 minutes both times and, to my surprise, she barely resisted and went to sleep after about 6 or 7 minutes of patting her back and shushing her.  Not too shabby!

Monday night was even better.  She only cried for about 15 minutes when I put her to bed.  She woke up at 4am and was crying, but it was more like a whine/whimper, and she fell back asleep in 14 minutes without me going to her at all.  She woke up again for about a minute at 6am, and didn't get up until 8am.  Pretty good!

And last night, after her 15 minutes of crying to go to sleep initially, the only sounds she made all night were a few coughs and maybe a whimper or two.  She woke up at 6:50am.  Success!

The only side effect of this new sleeping arrangement has been that Renee is now incredibly clingy in the morning.  I can't even put her down for a minute without her screaming her head off!!  I'm sure it's really hard on her not having that extra cuddle time in the middle of the night any more, but hopefully she will get used to it soon :D  And now that we are all going to get a good night sleep, we will have plenty of energy for extra cuddle time during the day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 Days of Christmas

Renee was born into a VERY large family.  So, in order to see as many people as we can, holidays are always a little hectic.

Our usual tradition is that we have Christmas Eve dinner with my mother's side of the family.  Then on Christmas morning we have breakfast at my Aunt Barbara's house and dinner with my dad's side of the family.  We have lunch with Jeff's family on either Christmas Eve or Day, depending on what side of the Bay each of the dinners are being held that year.

This year though, with Renee in tow, we decided to make things a little bit easier on ourselves and only do 1 family function per day and then visit Jeff's family the day after Christmas.

So, on Christmas Eve we went to my Aunt Lea (my Mom's sister) and Uncle Dave's house in Novato.  Always a loud bunch, my mom's side of the family knows how to have a good time :D  Tons of great food, great people and gazillion presents!!!

Renee got to meet her cousin Erin, who lives in Long Beach, for the first time.

Erin, Me, Loren, Renee & Olivia

She got to play with my mom's dog, Pearl.  Renee LOVES dogs and is very happy when they let her "pet" them.

She got lots of play time with her Grandma Denise (my mom).

My mom thought is was hilarious when she squished Renee's face in her hands, Renee thought it was pretty funny too... I had to get a picture of that silliness!

And she had an absolute blast chasing around her cousin Credence.  Of course there was no way she could keep up with his 3 year old energy and speed, but she tried her hardest!

Credence, Jennifer & Renee
By the time presents were being opened, Renee was exhausted!!  But, to our surprise, she held it together quite well.  There were so many distractions and new things to play with, there was no way she could be upset for long.

Renee and her Daddy playing with some of her new toys.

She even let us put her in this cute box so we could take a picture of our little angel on her first Christmas :D

On Christmas morning, Jeff and I didn't have any exciting plans for her, we knew she would be exhausted and have a million new toys, so we only gave one small gift: a wooden shapes and colors puzzle - which she loved :D

Then we decided to try out one of her gifts from my parents and went on a walk in her brand new stroller.

Kirby, Sophie, Me and Renee.

I had previously borrowed a stroller from a friend when Renee was younger.  It wasn't quite the right fit for us at the time, but after using that for a few months I was able to come up with a list of features I wanted to have for the next stroller we got.  Things like: a single handle bar, easy and compact folding, easy steering and a really good canopy to protect my angel from the elements.  This stroller fits the bill perfectly, and Renee loves it too :D  It started pouring rain about halfway through our walk; Jeff, the dogs and I all got soaked, but Renee was snug as a bug in a rug!

When we were getting ready for our next gathering I put Renee in a very pretty Christmas dress, a hand me down from some friends of ours.

And as pretty as it was, it made me and Jeff uncomfortable just looking at her in it, we're just not fancy-dress-on-baby kind of people I guess.  So, instead she wore a "Baby's 1st Christmas" onesie I got her at Target, much more our style :D

We went to my Aunt Julie (my Dad's sister) and Uncle Mario's house in Petaluma for dinner that night.  And again Renee had a great time playing with the doggies!

Renee getting Christmas kisses from Piccolina.

My Aunt Julie has kept the high chair she used with her children, now in their 30's.  It has been quite well used over the years, Auntie Julies has used it for her grandchildren and now gets to use it for her great nieces and nephews.  She also let Renee play with a Santa Clause Rattle that was over 30 years old.  Renee loved it, but was treating it a little too rough for my comfort, so I eventually took it from her and put it safely back on it's shelf!

Renee got to visit with lots more family:

Great Grandma Ferguson (aka "GG") and Renee

Uncle Jerry and Renee

Renee and cousin Ashley

 And again there were lots of presents for Renee to open; she seemed to enjoy the paper more than the gifts inside though :D

On the day after Christmas we went to Jeff's parents house to visit and open a few more gifts.  Then we all went to lunch at the Hunan House in Dublin.  There's nothing like eating some good Chinese food after all that American holiday fare :D

Jeff's Dad, Earl, calls Renee his little light bulb because she always lights up the room.  I love watching him play with her; he's so big and she's so small and they always have such a great time together.

Grandpa Earl helping Renee drink from a cup.

Happy baby Renee with her Grandpa Earl :D

After lunch, we went to Pleasanton to hang out and have dinner with my brother Sam, my step-mom Lynne and their family.  There were more presents to open and more family to shower her with love and attention, so Renee was a happy camper!  

Pete (a very experienced dad of 4) giving Renee a bottle.

Renee also showed off her new talent.  When someone says, "Uh Oh!!", she puts her hands on her head, it is sooo cute :D

And of course, she had to have lots of doggie play time.  She is becoming our little Elmyra, which is exactly what I was when I was a kid.  Animals ran with fear from all the "love" I wanted to give them :D

Julia, Lacey and Renee.

And that was Renee's first Christmas, and our first together as a family.  A very busy and exhausting 3 days, but filled with great memories.