Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Half Birthday, Avonlea!

Avonlea, you're six months old! You're growing up before my eyes. This month, you've done so many new things.

You love to be tickled, danced with and you squeal in delight and give us peals of laughter.

You're well into your 6 month clothes (outgrown a few things already) and even wearing some 9 and 12 month.


You LOVE food (yes!) and so far you've had rice cereal, squash, peas, and avocado. Next, apple sauce!

You'll be sitting up on your own any day now. You can already go a long time without tipping over.

And, although you aren't crawling yet, you are scooting and can cover tons of ground. Check it out.


I love you, my sweet one.

Wednesday Morning

It's been a few weeks since I've done a Wednesday round up of all that I'm thinking about these days. Last week I was too distracted by Alisha and Dan and all the fun we were having with "parallel play"--a term more used to describe toddler interaction, but which we've lovingly adopted for setting up our laptops side-by-side and attacking creative endeavors while enjoying the occasional chin wag. We've got a triple parallel going this morning at Fiore as Alisha's hubby Dan is with us. He's just shown me his newly published article about the Northwest music scene this morning and I'm beaming with pride for him.

News in my life is slightly egocentric. I started a 6 month post-partum gentle cleanse and weight loss campaign last week. I know I've blogged about this before, but to be honest I've been very undisciplined and fell back into my chocolate and pastry eating ways without setting some stricter boundaries for myself. Anyway, the last week and two days have been really good, getting free of all that sludge in my veins, and I've already lost 5 pounds without depriving myself of any calories or doing too intense of a detox, so that my milk supply stays up for nursing.

I've approached weight loss from different angles in the past and there are a few things I've learned about myself.

1. I do much better avoiding food groups, but eating as much as I want of what I can have rather than counting calories or limiting my overall intake. I love that I can eat until I'm stuffed right now, no need to be hungry, but I'm just avoiding certain food groups. This does a good thing for my morale.

2. As much as I love to be my lower weight, I love life more. I'd rather be happy than skinny. Food makes me happy. I can bear to live with an extra 10 pounds if it means I can enjoy some indulgences and celebrate life. Exercise and being strong also makes me happy, so I just have to make sure I'm balanced.

3. When I do need to do some maintenance, say for example after having a baby!, I'm very encouraged by doing a strict two week thrust that gives me good results, then easing up for slow loss after that. If I go too gentle at first, the length of the program seems to stretch out into eternity and I never get any momentum going. Plus I need to break all those sugar and carb addictions cold turkey if I'm going to be able to hit the reset button on my cravings.

Here's the plan I came up with. It's got some of the structure of a diet I did a few years ago (South Beach), but the content of a more naturalistic approach, gleaned from a cleanse my naturopath gave me last year, and some advice from The Raw Food Detox Diet.

Stage 1: Fast Loss/ Gentle Cleanse-Two weeks
-No Coffee, Sugar, Wheat, Dairy, Meat/eggs/nuts, or Alcohol
-No processed foods/ artificial ingredients/ preservatives
-Raw vegetable juice and raw fruits until lunchtime
-Fruits, veggies, whole grains (quinoa, spelt, brown rice, etc.), beans, and herbal tea for the rest of the day. This allows avocado, olive oil, coconut oil milk/oil, and flax seed meal for fats and cooking options, since they are all plant derived. I can even have potatoes.
-Daily activity: walking or to the gym

Stage 2: Slow loss-until reach weight goal
-Same as above, including going raw until lunch
-Add back dairy, eggs, nuts and white meat in moderation
-Decaf coffee and red wine permitted
-Still no sugar, wheat, other coffees or alcohols, or red meat.

Stage 3: Maintenance
-Red meat, alcohol, sugar and wheat permitted in moderation
-Go back to stage 2 if weight gain occurs

Some of the delicious meals I've had so far:
-Veggies fajitas with spelt tortillas, brown rice, guacamole and pico de gallo
-Garden in a Pot soup
-Tabouleh with quinoa
-Veggie kabobs with baked potato and hummus
-Vegetarian Panang Curry with brown rice
-Curry quinoa, lentils and veg
-roasted mushrooms
-Vegetarian tikka masala (a little dairy in this) and brown rice
-spaghetti squash and marinara
-toasted spelt tortillas with mashed avocado
...and, of course, tons of fresh fruit, salads, and applesauce and herbal tea when I have sweet tooth or need a cup of warm. I'm also really looking forward to getting my protein intake back up next week with eggs, chicken, fish, cheese, and nuts.

In other news, I've *finally* finished the children's series I was reading, called The Dark is Rising. Overall, it was a captivating read through these five books. As a great lover of the literature of great imaginations, i.e. C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Tolkein's Lord of The Rings, Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet and many others in this tradition, I was happy to come upon another series in that vein. (Not to mention, it's a Newberry Medal and Honor winner for two of its books as well--an honor I could not esteem more highly).

The backbone of these books is Susan Cooper's writing. The style is luminous, poetic, moving, filled with meaningful ideas and among some of the best I've read in quite some time . And the imaginative power of her writing to move the reader seamlessly through fantastic situations and setting only strengthens her talent. However, like L'Engle, I find her lacking in the ability to create a plot sequence that feels grounded and logical, and therefore something in which the reader can be fully invested. Reading Cooper is like moving through a series of rooms filled with interesting and emotionally charged objects and atmospheres. The ideas and even the end-game in each of her novels have substance and depth. But the line of arrival feels sometimes arbitrary and disjointed. If I was hoping for another Lewis or Tolkein, *sigh*, I am a bit disappointed. But for what it is, it's very beautiful work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Book

My friend Paul surprised me with this book, saying he had seen it in a shop and thought of me. While the patterns are still a little big for Avonlea, I am SO excited to delve into this. There are definitely patterns I can modify to fit her now (like that adorable smock on the front cover) and others I can save for later. Thank you Paul!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on Motherhood

It's amazing that nearly 6 months have gone by since Avonlea's birth. As we approach what seems like a major milestone of being halfway through the first year of her life, I've been reflecting on my journey into motherhood so far. I feel that I have some distance and perspective now to judge the things I'm glad I've done and the things I wish I'd done differently. There are plenty of both.

I heard a quote once that "It seems like all the strength and wisdom you need to get through something, you don't have until it's over." It's so seldom that I approach anything in life with the full picture, with all the grace and intelligence it requires. I often wish I could go back and do junior high over again with the strength and self-possession I have now. But I guess that's the point of the trials and challenges of life, isn't it? We're not supposed to be up to task when we face them. It's the facing them that makes us capable (if just barely) of surviving them. It grows us up, sets us up for the next challenge.

So while I feel like a pro with a newborn named Avonlea (conveniently, now that she's no longer a newborn) I'm still finding my footing as a mom of a six-month old (all those nap time challenges!) and I certainly have no idea how to be a mom to a different child.

For what it's worth, here's what I'm glad I did:

1. Having a hospital birth

I'm glad I ended up there, but I'm also glad that I was an informed consumer who knew how I felt about things like epidurals, vacuum extractions, c-sections, pitocin and all the other medical interventions that exist. I believe that they all exist for a good reason, often because it saved someone's life or brought immense relief. However, a hammer is good for a nail, not a screw. In other words, I believe it's important to use the right tool for the right purpose, something which I think hospitals have become cavalier about in their fear of lawsuits and their tendency to see birth as a medical condition, rather than a natural life occurrence.

All that being said, as an informed consumer, I'm glad I was there. The nursing staff and lactation consultancy were an immense aid to me as a first-time mom with a all the challenges of post-partum recovery. Luckily, I was in a hospital with amazing ratings for their support of moms and babies and with a nursing staff that truly cared for me. Surprisingly, I was also glad to have access to pain relief measures. I'm leaning toward hospital birth again next time, but I really love and believe in natural and home birth as well.

2. Reading

I'm a student at heart, and a reader. Some of my friends told me not read parenting books, but I'm glad I did because it really helped me find my own way with my unique child with the knowledge and advice of many experts behind me. I like the balance between learning MY child and using wisdom that applies to MOST children. I also like to avoid the extremes of accidental parenting with little intentionality versus strictly prescribed parenting from a book that leaves little room for creativity.

A few of the books I read:
-Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin: Taught me about pregnancy and labor and newborn care
-On Becoming Babywise by Ezzo and Buchnam: Taught me how to help my child regulate her sleep and hunger patterns from the beginning. Without this, I would have been very confused and I owe Avonlea's good nighttime sleep to their counsel
-Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg: Taught me how to read my child's cues and to be more actively involved in her winding down process before sleep. A more balanced approach than some of the extremes.
-Dr. Sears Baby Book: Taught me a great deal about newborn care and my reference for medical concerns.

3. Breastfeeding

For those who can, I highly recommend it. While breastfeeding is a very big commitment of time and physical effect, I am so glad to know that Avonlea is getting the best food I could give her and that we have this special time together. That being said, when she's one, I plan to wean. I may not if she shows signs of not being ready, but based on how voraciously and enthusiastically she goes at her peas and squash, I have a feeling she'll be happy to move onto solids and goat's milk at that point. Anyway, I feel able to make this commitment to her for a year, although pumping when I want to go somewhere and the effect of funky hormones (think: two different types of deodorant at once still don't cut it, "honey I'm too tired," and these 10 extra pounds just still won't come off) take their toll over time. I love it, but I'll love it when I'm done.

One of the best investments I've made has been in a hand pump. Those first couple weeks of breastfeeding, with all it's challenges for us, had me reeling and I remember thinking "I'll never have a life again! I can't be apart from her for more than 2 1/2 hours at a time!" When I finally bought that breast pump, it was like the world opened up before me. I could pump ahead and leave her with someone. I introduced the bottle early to this end and she took it. I'm so glad I pursued this for the sake of my own sanity. Which leads to my next point.

4. Taking time off from being a mommy

I've never spend the night apart from her, and she's never tasted formula. But I've found a way to get time for myself and I'm so glad I've fought for that. A woman at my gym mentioned that she always took Saturdays off and left her kids with her husband so she could have time to do what she wanted to do. She said it was the best decision she'd ever made. I knew Matt and I couldn't do this every week, but we decided to try it once a month. I pumped all week and took my pump with me to keep up my supply while I was gone. That first Saturday I got coffee at my favorite bakery in our old neighborhood, I went to a movie, I valeted parked downtown and went to Nordstrom. It was heaven. I was also sort of lost for a significant amount of time. Not sure what to do with myself or where to go. Go figure. It's a mixed bag when you love someone so much and you are always with them. Love the freedom when you get away, but also hate it. I'm such a cliche.

Now Matt gives me Wednesday mornings too when he works from home and I still get one Saturday a month all to myself. Such a gift.

5. Having a gym membership with childcare included

For my sanity, it's such a mercy. Sometimes it's hard to bear the cold Avonlea might bring home (it's happened twice now), but the childcare is great and it's worth it for the physical and emotional well-being I receive from regular physical exercise. And there's a pool and YMCA programs for her too as she gets bigger. I really believe that a happy mommy makes for a much happier baby. Killing myself to be a mom to Avonlea doesn't do her any service. Taking care of myself teaches her to value herself too and gives me the emotional reserves to be the best mommy I can be.

6. Creating a sleeping and eating rhythm for Avonlea

There are great books about this, so I won't go into the details of how I did it, but I will say that I knew going into parenting that sleep would be the biggest challenge for me personally. I'm a 9-10 hour a night sleeper and the horror stories of sleep deprivation for the first year really got to me. I knew I would need to find a way to help my child sleep through the night. I learned that this was tied closely to hunger and feeding patterns and daytime sleep. Getting Avonlea on a rhythm resulted in her sleeping through the night at 8 weeks without ever making her "cry it out" and me having some (not total, but a lot of) predictability for our days. I call it a rhythm (and not a schedule) intentionally because while the clock helped to inform me, I still listened closely to her cues too and made adjustments accordingly. I am so glad that this worked out for us.

7. Cloth diapering

Ok, so I used disposable diapers the first month. Just to get my bearings on everything else, and to give her time to grow into the small (not newborn) sized diapers I had purchased. There are many great options out there. We chose gDiapers, so that we could use biodegradable disposable inserts (flushable) for when we didn't want to bother with cloth (babysitters, being out for the day, or for extra nighttime absorbency), but I sewed cloth inserts from prefolds and polar fleece (to wick moisture away from her skin) for the rest of the time. I don't want to get on some high horse here, but I just want to say that diapers do have a drastic impact on the environment--even for just one baby. I also feel that cloth diapers are a healthier choice for baby, and are more budget responsible. You can find out more diaper facts here.

I am so glad we chose to at least try cloth, and not just for the principal. I have been surprised how easy it is. I just put my diaper liners into my diaper pail (no water, baking soda or anything else in there). And when I get low on diapers, or enough of my diaper covers are soiled, I do a load: rinse once on cold, wash once on hot with a dash of fragrance free detergent, then dry for 90 minutes on high heat. That's it.

Now that Avonlea is eating solid foods, this is a little more of a challenge (for non-parents, things definitely change after introducing solids!). I'm now rinsing soiled diapers in the toilet before putting them in the pail, but I don't mind the extra step. I admit that you do have to get over the "ick" factor to do cloth, but I think it's worth it.

8. Tummy Sleeping

I trusted my instinct on this one and I'm glad I did. All the books say no tummy sleeping for babies because of suffocation risks. But Avonlea was born with a very strong neck and an ability to lift up with it. By two weeks she was able to lift up and turn her head from side to side on her tummy. It was around that time that we were at our wit's end trying to help her get to sleep at night. I tried everything I could think of--co-sleeping, mylicon (gas) drops, rocking, swaddling, etc. All she did was cry. Finally, some tummy sleep and a pacifier was the magic answer. She still sleeps that way now.

9. Independent playing

I've made a point of putting Avonlea down on her back or tummy to play independently from the beginning. At first, she couldn't do much, but as time has gone on she can go longer and longer periods of time playing with her toys on the floor. She does fuss sometimes and wants to be held, which I either indulge or I sit with her and help her to refocus on play. Either way, I'm grateful that we get lots of snuggle time, but I can set her down if I need to and she'll be alright.

Things I wish I'd done differently:

1. The pacifier

The jury's still out on this one. I did little reading about it, but what I did read encouraged using a pacifier after some time has passed and baby is latching well (so as not to interfere with the latch), but cautioned against it becoming a sleep prop. Well, I'm glad we have it for comfort and to help her get to sleep, but there was a phase of her development at about 4 months when she couldn't yet put it in her mouth, but she was mobile enough to dislodge it, and she cried whenever it fell out. I spent way more time at her cribside repositioning a bink in a restless baby's mouth than I care to admit. I really do think it became a sleep prop for us and I'm not sure how to do that differently in the future because it helped as much as it became a frustration. Any advice would be appreciated.

2. Naptime

Avonlea hasn't been a great napper. Sometimes she doesn't want to sleep, even though she's obviously tired. Sometimes she doesn't sleep long. In navigating this with her, I really regret a season when Matt and I would let her cry if she woke up too early in a nap. We believed she was just going through an active sleep stage and would resettle into sleep, but she would get really worked up. At that point if we let her get up, she would be a grumpy wreck. So we'd let her keep crying until she exhausted herself and went back to sleep. It wasn't pleasant and if I had it to do over, I'd do what I do now--if she's slept a little, try repositioning her. If she goes back to sleep (which happens rarely), great. If she's still awake and asking to be up, let her get up. It's a battle not worth fighting, as far as I'm concerned. The more I've been doing this, the happier she is when she wakes up--often squealing and giggling in her bed before I come to get her, even if it has only been 45 minutes. However, I don't mind some crying at naptime when she goes down, but I stay by her crib with her until she calms down. I feel like it's a good balance between letting her know I'm there if she needs me, and giving her the skills to sleep on her own.

3. Using a shield for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding was a challenge at first and the shield helped me get through the really painful stage. Avonlea had a not so great latch. My milk took 5 days to come in and by that point, I was in pretty bad shape with a lot of tissue damage. But I wish that I had had the discipline to stop using it once I healed. I tried, but it was hard. Anyway, now we're both used to it, and both a frazzled (me) crying (her) mess when I can't find it. I'll definitely not be doing that the next time around.

4. Trying to do it all

Every baby's different and my baby is kind of a homebody. It was easier when she was just a little lump and would sleep anywhere in anyone's arms. But I suppose having such a great crib sleeper should have been a signal to me that she was a bit more of an "I need my space" kind of girl: something we discovered when we traveled to California at 3 1/2 months old and she had screaming fits at the end of each day. Now, I see the thread of consistency. She hates the carseat, she hates the car, and if I try to push her to go more than one place in a day, she hates the world. It kind of cramps my style, but then again, I've got good babysitters around if I need them and I like a slower pace myself. God has a way of teaching us through our children. Avonlea is already teaching me.

That's about it for now. I'm sure I'll have a slew more as she nears a year and I can reflect on the stage we're in now. I offer all of this out of my own love of learning. I recognize it's what has worked for me, and not necessarily for everyone. Take the good, forget what's not for you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

June Garden Update: Thinning and Microgreens

the strawberries redden...

Matt and I are new to the whole gardening thing. So when it came to planting our little seeds, we made what is probably a classic mistake. We dumped tons of seeds down our planting rows, mostly uncertain about how many of them would survive to emerge through the soil in the weeks until germination. Oh we of little faith!

Here's what our burgeoning rows were looking like:

lettuce sprouts


rows of lettuce sprouts

We had no idea our yield would be so abundant. But considering these babies need room to grow big, I had to accept the reality that we added another step to the gardening process: thinning. Finally this morning I had a chance to have a go at the rows, both thinning the sprouts so that they have room to grow, and replanting some of the starts so that our rows aren't so far apart. Here are the results:

thinned onions

thinned onions

thinned lettuces

thinned lettuces

unthinned carrots

I'm waiting to thin the carrots until they get a bit larger. I'm hoping to use them for some mini carrot cupcakes, like the ones we had in Napa (photo here).

The upside to all this work is that we now have some beautiful microgreens for tonight's salad. I brought in all my starts, double washed them in cold water, spun to dry, and look forward to eating them raw with some cold pressed olive oil from our visit to Napa Valley and some balsamic vinegar. The lettuce starts are tender and a little bitter and the onions are chive-like--sweet and mild, but onion-y too. Can't wait.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Morning Musings

This morning before I left the house for a Queen Anne cafe, I half-lamented to Matt, "I have too many books to read!" (A delightful sort of problem, really). Now I know I recently posted my stack of books, but now that I'm using my local library with liberality, I have a whole new priority system with books I'm reading. Despite the lack of fines (God bless em), I still feel beholding to that little due date on my check-out slip. AT LEAST to renew it by then, and not ad infinitum.

Here's what I've got checked out or on hold at the moment:
~The Unprejudiced Palate, by: Angelo Pellegrini
~Silver on the Tree, by: Susan Cooper
~Sea of Monsters, by: Rick Riordan
~Little Stitches for Little Ones, by: Amy Butler
~Murder on the Orient Express, by: Agatha Christie
~Super Baby Food, by: Ruth Yaron
~Swallows and Amazons, by: Arthur Ransome

Phew! Those first two really need to be finished soon--I think I've had them out since April. I find it a bit funny that my library account looks like it either belongs to an elderly woman or a prepubescent boy. I guess there are those domestic mama books as well. And then there are all those theology books I intend to place holds on as well. Just need to get through some of this first. (Besides, it's summer!)

In other news, I've started little miss on solids. It's just a few tablespoons of rice cereal for now, but I've made a large batch of squash baby food and frozen it already for next week. Avonlea will eat enthusiastically for a few bites and is quickly over it. I would be less than keen on rice cereal myself, so I'm hoping she'll be more excited for vegetables. Jenny lent me this wonderful book on baby food, broken down by the age it is appropriate to feed to baby. I'm looking forward to making pea puree, apple sauce, and, eventually, asparagus risotto, carrot cupcakes, and all sorts of other things I think I would like to eat.

I recently semi-dismantled my facebook page. I'm still keeping it active and keeping my friends, but I've decided to pare down my online communication to emails and blogging. I'm following the wisdom of a few other friends who have gotten off of it completely. I don't mind the connection factor, but the constant inundation has just gotten to be too much for me (and, often, too much of a temptation away from more meaningful interaction or creativity). No more status updates for me, or probably reading much of other people's. I think I'm already having a bit of withdrawal, but I think it will help me to focus what I want to share here and cut out the unnecessary/ disctracting/ inane. Wish me luck!

That's all for the moment. Some more in-depth writing awaits me. Hopefully my day off on Saturday will afford me some focus for those ideas.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Dresses for Avonlea

So, if you remember from this post, I was more than a little inspired by a certain Etsy shop I discovered. After arming myself with fabric and sewing supplies from my local craft store and a few vintage sheets from a second-hand shop, I still had to wait through grading that interminable pile of papers. Finally (finally!) I was able to work on my little summer dresses for Avonlea. Here's how they turned out:

Pretty fetching, I think. I'm off to make little ruffled underoos now. Can't wait to see how they turn out.

***Just an added disclaimer. I only recently learned to sew. My friend Jenny taught me how to make some curtains about a year and a half ago. Then when I was pregnant, the nesting urge overtook me and I borrowed my mom's machine to make Avonlea's nursery curtains and a pillow case. Then at Christmas, some stockings (Jenny taught me on these too). Finally, I did a small diaper project recently, and now my first patterned project with these dresses. All this to say, if you think "Oh, but I don't sew," you might be surprised how far you can go if someone just gives your little boat a nudge out into the current. Thanks Jenny.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday Morning Musings


Coffee shop, Seattle morning, alone again (in a sea of retirees getting their morning gossip around me), and finally able to focus again on something other than English grammer, MLA citations and grading rubrics. I am abundantly happy to be finished with the 22 hours of grading I did for King's the last couple of weeks.

Speaking of coffee shops, here are some shots from the walk Matt and I took on Saturday morning to my favorite local spot.

Other things that currently on my radar: I've fallen in love with Anthony Bourdain, his blog (which was nominated for a Webbie this year), and his travel show No Reservations, which is available on Netflix instant view for nearly all of his seasons. This chef-cum-travel guide is consciously bad boy, rough around the edges, and unrepentant for his drug and alcohol past (in fact, he cashed it in for fame and notoriety in his best-selling tell-all Kitchen Confidential, which I haven't read). But he's a wordsmith and a connoisseur of food and culture, so it's hard to take him too seriously as an inane degenerate, a role he loves to play.

Now that everything I watch is on summer hiatus, back episodes of his show are the perfect thing to watch on my laptop whilst I'm working on my sewing projects. Recent favorites: cliff diving in Sicily, tacos al pastor in Mexico, and restaurant nibbling at Momofuku.

My dear friend Alisha recently published an Auckland City Guide on my favorite design blog, Design*Sponge. Read, comment, and enjoy! And while you're there, check out the rest of the site--amazing inspiration to ensue.

Finally, I'm working on two writing concepts.

First, after several good conversations that have given me the courage, I feel that I have a longterm guilty confession to get off my chest: I have too many "friends." In a culture that thrives (to our detriment, I think) on drivenness and busyness, I find myself (an admitted introvert) awash in a sea of social possibilities, unable to judge, navigate, and choose that which brings and offers life and say no to what doesn't. I'm determined to sit down with my struggle and look it in the face. How do you choose well where you invest relationally? How can you judge what's "worth it" and what isn't? And while the heart can be a trustworthy guide, what about those relationships that don't necessarily feed your own soul, but are important to pursue for the sake of the other person? I've decided to sift through these thoughts and hope to post a short essay on the subject soon.

Second, over the past few years Matt and I have had the veil pulled away from our eyes about a lot of things that we always took for granted: church, food, medicine, education, politics, etc. While a lot of these are hot button topics, I feel that we have ventured on a journey that has taken us far from the beaten path of these realms of influence on our lives. We want more than just the status quo--we want life and truth and meaning. What we're discovering is that in a broken world that runs on the currency of convenience and profit, we have to take our choices into our own hands and learn to think outside of the boxes our culture has created for us. The basic idea behind it all is "Organic"--growing ideas for ourselves. Looking forward to writing a series of essays on this topic.

That's all for now folks. The rest of my Wednesday involves meeting up with friends, and then a workout with my favorite Step instructor this evening. Maybe I'll get to sew some more after Aves goes down for the night. How I love Wednesdays.

Avonlea 5-months-old (and a week)

Avonlea's milestones this month:

~Rolling from back to front. She already mastered front to back awhile ago. She's a tummy sleeper, and she would roll over in her sleep and wake up on her back with no ability to turn over again. There have been many midnight rescues of a crying baby trapped on her back, and we're hoping her new mobility will soon lead to her righting herself without our help.

~Two new teeth! A third is on its way. Very little fussing and no fevers. Phew!

~Big enough for the jumperoo and loving being able to stand up and jump around.

~Giggling. I can't tell you how this warms the cockles of my heart.

~All signs indicate crawling soon (seriously? shouldn't this be a bit farther down the road?): planking, rocking on hands and knees, scooting, and covering more and more ground (literally) daily.

~Her sleep patterns seem more natural. No more waking up crying halfway through her naps, no more major battles just to get her to sleep. Her naps have settled nicely into two long ones and one short one. We also dropped her late night feeding and moved it to just before bed. She's waking up more at night, just needing her pacifier and to be resettled, so I think that means she's ready for solid food soon.

Grow baby grow!