Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Ruby!

Ruby is one! Wowee! I can hardly believe it! It seems like only a little while ago, we were welcoming into the family.... I think alot about the day Ruby was born and I savor that feeling of just pure joy that I had. It sounds corny and trite but it is so true whether you are the one giving birth or are adopting a child. There was no specific moment, it was the whole day. Excitment, anticipation, happiness. Everything went pretty much the way I wanted it to and was nothing like I expected.
I think back to those first few weeks and it's so weird to think that was her, that was us. We were enthralled with every burp, poop, facial expression... We had all of this new stuff that we were figuring out how it worked, whether it was what worked for us. There was nursing - the pain OH the pain! There was a tiny little umbilical stump that fell off and we found it later when the cat was playing with it. There was our drive in the car, coming home from the hospital, when every bump and turn was an anxiety-ridden moment. Our first outings and trying to figure out what the hell we needed for a 30 minute trip and did we pack enough stuff? There was the incessant spitting up (don't miss that!) and months of damp clothing and smelling like sour milk. There was just watching her sleep for hours (literally).
And now....we are still enthralled but it's with the foods she eats, the "talking," crawling, what makes her laugh, what makes her cry, what toys she likes, how much she sleeps, when will she walk, what'll her first word be...on and on and I don't think that will stop. When she does sleep we are ecstatic and close the bedroom door. Outings are a breeze and though we are much much slower in getting out of the house, we don't need the mental preparation or have the anxiety we once had. No..now we can have anxiety about a whole bunch of other stuff -- is she eating enough, is our bedtime routine sufficient, are we stimulating her in the right way...and on and on. But I have to say, it's been a fun ride so far and I know it will continue to be so, ups and downs alike.
Happy Birthday, my wonderful special baby, Ruby!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Baby's First Pageant

It's no secret that I love me a beauty pageant. I don't know why, I just always have. It's long been tradition to gather some pals, throw on a tiara and pick a delegate for an evening of fun. I picked up a tiara for Ruby so she could join in the festivities with me, Danielle, Christine and Kathy. And here they are in all of their pageantry:

What We've Been Doing

Well, we had a another whirlwind kind of week. Our dear friends Nick and Heather got married and we were lucky enough to be present at the big event. It was a small and intimate ceremony and we are really happy for them. Ruby was a dear through the whole thing....except when she was grabbing Scott's shoulder and pushing him out of the way. Ha ha!
Nick's two sisters, Courtenay & Adrienne, came up for the ceremony. Nick, Courtenay and Adrienne are three of my oldest and dearest friends. Their mom and my mom were BFF so I've known them for literally my whole life. C and A used to babysit Nick and me and apparently, we used to gross Courtenay out by sticking slime on our noses so it looked like boogers (ok, I still think that's funny). We had such fun chatting, laughing and looking at old photos. It struck me at one point how cool it was...we started out as this motley crüe of little kids, thrown together because of our parents' relationships and now here we are, grown ups (age-wise anyway- ha ha), with spouses and kids of our own. I love the continuity of relationships...that things are continuing on and I really hope that it continues throughout our generation as well. Also made me wonder about the children of my friends here....will Ruby one day be playing in a band with Hank? Taking a road trip with Watts? Attending Jack's wedding? Sharing an apartment with Cecilia? Going to concerts with Ryder? Hmmm...only time will tell...
In other news, Ruby's been really focusing on standing and has started climbing things. Oh dear oh dear. The trouble has now begun! She's gotten taller because she can now touch the ground when sitting on her little car and can push herself along. She is SO proud of herself!
Her one year doctor's appointment is this Friday and for that matter, her birthday is on Thursday. I cannot believe it! We have some little quiet type things planned but no big party. For those of you that know me well, I love party planning and tend to go overboard. I am saving my energies for when she'll really appreciate it. For this birthday, I am keeping it mellow for my own sanity. ha ha ha!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hi Jack!

This is a little video of Ruby's reaction to seeing Jack's picture. I swear it sounds like she's trying to say his name...you be the judge. Too cute in either case!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby Tip #642

All those toys you bought for you cats that they wouldn't play with? They can be put to good use! Babies love them! They are crinkley, soft and move around in interesting ways. A great way to save money on baby toys! Ha ha!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good-by Goopy Eye

Cripes -- I totally forgot to add this! Ruby's clogged tear duct has FINALLY cleared up! It started when she was about two weeks old and last week, it magically went away! No more boogery eye (sadly this means no more pirate baby in the mornings when she had one eye glued shut). It's so nice to have it all clear and not goopy anymore!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Weaning

Well, with all of the holidays, I didn't have a chance to talk about a rather monumental milestone in the lives of Ruby and me. My original goal for breastfeeding Ruby was one year and we fell short of that by about a month and a half. At about 7 months, we started supplementing with formula because I wasn't able to produce enough with the pump to feed her and our frozen stockpile was depleted. I reset my goal to keep pumping up until Thanksgiving at which time I would give it up. I was only pumping about 1-2 ounces a day so it just wasn't worth all of the time and energy I was putting into it. Unfortunately, about 3 weeks after we returned from our Thanksgiving trip, without the pumping I stopped producing enough and Ruby was weaned. It was really easy and there was little fanfare and she honestly doesn't seem to miss it. Then there's emotional part and, as usual, it's totally conflicting. Here's what bums me out:
  • I am disappointed that I wasn't able to make it to the first year.
  • I really miss the actual nursing and the closeness and cozieness of it that I haven't been able to duplicate with bottle feeding.
  • The lazy side of me hates it because now I have to actually get up and be conscious enough to make a bottle rather than just rolling over in bed every morning (props to husband for helping out with this one).
  • The needy (martyr) me misses knowing that I can do something for my little monkey that no one else can.
  • I had a hard time the first few days, mourning the absence of breastfeeding....just really missing it and wishing it weren't over just yet.
  • Like with much of this journey -- some things have ended too soon for me and breastfeeding is one of them.
  • It's hard to predict how much she will want and I never know if I am making too much or too little.
  • Formula is expensive! Thank god it's almost to the point where we can just do whole milk.
But there are other layers to this weaning onion. Here's what's awesome:
  • I did it for 10 1/2 months (7 exclusively)-- yay me!
  • I have a real sense of relief that I am not the only person who can feed her. The weight of her survival does not feel like it is solely up to me (granted this subsided after the introduction of solid foods).
  • No more pumping!!!!
  • I can go out for a whole day and do stuff without trying to figure out when I need to be back or if there's a place to pump.
  • Did I mention, no pumping?
  • Dad, grandmas, aunties -- they can all snuggle her and feed her too!

So, yeah...there's good and bad. It pretty much boils down to feeling a sense of loss and freedom all at the same time.

Oh and there's another thing that just ticks me off. After being off that week at Thanksgiving, where I was with Ruby the whole time, we got to the point that we didn't need to supplement with formula at all. This just proves my theory that if I didn't have to pump, she never would have needed to go off the boob at all. Lame. What's the solution? Good question.

At any rate, feel very fortunate that I was able to do it as long as I did -- especially considering the how difficult it was at first. I guess this is just preparing me for more of the simultaneous highs and lows that occur in parenthood. Great.

More pics and vids will be posted soon.

Ack! What's New?

Oh jeez...I feel like I am still playing catch up from the holidays. Anyway, things have been mostly back to normal and we've been making strides in the sleep department so all's well. Ruby is growing and changing every day. I know she understands stuff and there are times when I can see her really concentrating on trying to say words. She understands that when you say "bye," you wave and when you say "hi" or "hola" you wave. She points and says something that could be "what's that?" or "jack" or "that looks enticing, take me over there and let me put it in my mouth." I haven't interpreted that one yet. She's got a tooth just barely ready to break the surface on her top gum. This is cool but I know it's going to change how she looks.....not that that's a bad thing. It's just weird...I look back at all of her new baby photos and her face has changed SO much. Thank god for the miracle of photography. I always think about how for centuries, people would watch their baby change before their eyes and have no way of looking back to remember what they used to look like. Then again, they were probably so tired from washing laundry in the creek and fighting off the plague, they didn't care....... At any rate, I was thinking about how there are more photos of Ruby in her first year than there are of me in my whole 36 (yes, that's 36) years, thanks to digital photography. Amazing. Another funny thing happened this past week. Ruby and I went to dinner to say goodbye to our dear friend Darlette who is moving away to Austin (sniff). While there, we were approached by the crazy Scottsman. Background: This past summer, while getting a coffee at the grocery store, we had our first encounter with the crazy Scottsman. He's a 50-something guy, silver teeth, necklace, low cut shirt, nice enough and a real character. He was gushing over Ruby, how beautiful she is etc and do I have other children. Well, no, she's it so far. "Well," he says, "You should start banging them out and have at least 10 more! She's too beautiful to have just one." And while I agreed, I felt he was being a little cavelier for someone who didn't have to do that actual "banging them out" part. At any rate, he was there at the restaurant and didn't remember us so we basically had the same conversation except this time he said I should have at least 3 or 4 more. So, he was at least a little more realistic this time. I wonder how many more times I am going to run into this guy though........ Well, that's the news for now. More photos and news SOON!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Baby's First Christmas

I had a feeling that this was the case, but it's true -- kids make Christmas more fun! Ruby had a wonderful first Christmas...at least I am assuming she did. She didn't actually say one way or another but look at this face:

We started off with a little get together at our house the weekend before. Ruby stayed up waaaaay past her bedtime but just loved interacting with all the people. The wonderful lady who takes care of her, Magy, stopped by with her kids and and gave her this funny little frog girl that sings in English and Spanish. Hooray for bilingual things!

Christmas eve we spent with Uncle Steve and Auntie Monica (Tía Mónica) and their family. We had a delicious dinner and lots of yummy goodies. Ruby got an adorable little outfit and a plastic car that she can ride and push around. That was a big winner! She looooved it! It was a really lovely way to spend the holiday eve with good friends and lots of cheer. Christmas day was really really low key. We woke up and opened Ruby's presents, of which there were many. Lots of cute little clothes, books and a few toys. It was a perfect array, really. She, as I suspected, enjoyed the bows and wrapping paper more than anything. She did however greatly enjoy the Tickle-Me-Elmo from Uncle Jay if this photo is any indication. Grin. We spent some time on the phone talking with the Grandma & Papa back East and the numerous Idaho grandparetns and aunties, wishing them well. Ruby even got into the conversation a few times. Afterwords, Auntie Kathy and Shorty came over and we made a big ol' vegetarian paella and had bourbon pumpkin cheesecake. Delicious. Again, good company and food were in abundance. Our holiday fun continued with the arrival of Grandma Rita the next day and Uncle Harley that evening. This was the first time Ruby met Harley and now she's met pretty much all of the immediate family. We had a great time visiting and they had fun playing with Ruby. On Saturday, Grandma Genie arrived and the fun continued with shopping trips and of course, more delicious food. The absence of Grandpa Gary was noticible and we certainly missed him as he loved the holidays and it just wasn't quite the same without his unique combination of endless enthusiasm and curmudgenly comments. I think we all found ways to remember him in the spirit of the holiday and felt his presence in our own way. Now, our house is empty of guests and the decorations are put away but we are still basking in the love of all of our friends and family both near and far. Tender. Over all, a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

11 Months

Oh gosh, it's been a while. The holidays are over and now I need to catch up!
Ruby is just motoring along. She's been very vocal as of late. Her vocalizations range from sounds like a sweet little baby to sounding like Rosemary's baby. She's got some "words" in there but I don't think she's quite figured out that they have meaning - she "says": dada, hi! and what sounds like jack or cat. It's pretty fun to watch her play with her toungue and lips -- sometimes she makes a big "O" with her mouth and sings to us.
Ruby is also catching on to the wave. If you tell her to say hello or bye, she'll wave. She's quite the princess about it too -- elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist. Our little debutante. She also likes to clap and will start it whenever she feels like she needs some smiles from us. Or when we ask to play patty cake. She's also starting to like to play patty cake with her stuffed kitty.
She crawls all over the place and pulls herself up with ease. She loooves walking while holding onto our fingers and gets really upset when we stop to do stuff...like fix dinner or eat. She has really taken to drumming and everything is a potential drum or drumstick. This is probably one of those things that all babies do but we find it especially endearing since .... well..we've got drummers in the house.
Ruby mostly eats anything and everything. We've stayed away from some of the real danger foods - honey, citrus, nuts, shellfish etc but she's had most everything else. We give her a little of whatever we are eating and she gobbles it up. She's recently had salmon and spaghetti - both of which she seemed to really like. She goes through periods where she only wants to eat what she can give herself but otherwise she's pretty easy in this department. She has little interest in drinking from a cup, however. We give her one at mealtimes and sometimes she'll get into getting something out of it but mostly she bangs it on the table. I've tried different types of cups but no dice. I think it's something that she's just not ready for yet so I'm just waiting....I'd like to get her off the bottle in a month or two. We'll see how it goes!
Sleeping ..yeah that old issue. It's the same. Sleeps great some days not the others. "Naps! I don't need no stinkin' naps!" seems to be her motto though she does sleep better at night when she has one. I am secretly jealous of all those people whose babies sleep 2-3 hours during the day....
It's pretty crazy that she's nearly one years old. I have found myself saying to her on numerous occasions, "When you were little you used to..." WTF? When she was little? She IS little! But, but, but...she's big now. She's practically a TODDLER! I almost don't have a baby anymore but a KID. I am freaking out right now.