January 22, 2007

State of the Heiners

It's been almost 2 weeks since I updated the blog - I am sorry! I have a good excuse for the last week at least since Justin was gone to Phoenix for 5 days and I was busy taking care of Sam all by my lonesome. So, how have things been around here?

Sam is doing better with bedtime. He went to sleep with only a couple of minutes of crying while Justin was gone, and the last couple of nights have not been too bad. I think he's getting back into his routine after learning how to pull himself up - maybe he's learning that it doesn't really make a difference at bedtime whether he stands up or not, he is still going to bed!

He is also pulling himself up with ease all the time. He stands up and he can also get himself back down almost all the time. The only times he gets stuck standing up is if he grabs on to something that's too tall and he's not that familiar with it, then he can't figure out how to grab on to something lower to get himself down. He loves to stand up and if you hold his arms up, he'll take steps. Justin thinks that he is going to be walking in no time (oh my gosh!), but I think that his top half is too heavy and he can't balance that good, so we've still got time. Of course, he is a total champ at crawling now, so much of our time is spent chasing after him. We have the basement pretty safe now - after putting a blanket down on top of the cords and moving a chair in front of the DVD shelves, it's a pretty safe area for him to crawl around and play without us having to watch him like a hawk. The other day he crawled back into the play area (although really, the whole downstairs is his play area!) and we messed around with his Legos megablocks for a while. He has also crawled through the nylon tunnel several times, which is fun.

He is also eating like crazy! He is getting more finger foods now. He likes french fries (of course), and he's figuring out how to bite off smaller pieces with his teeth now. He has also had little bits of a lot of foods - he eats almost anything we give him so far! We are going to start buying more finger foods and safe fruits to put into pieces for him, because he is definitely ready. He is also eating a lot - this morning he ate two whole containers of baby food at breakfast! It was crazy.

As I said earlier, Justin was out of town earlier this week. He found out on Monday morning that he'd be leaving for Phoenix on Tuesday morning. I am aware of the fact that he sometimes has to travel for his job, but it is always difficult for me when he has to leave so suddenly. This time I was also disappointed because I had my monthly Girl's Night Out dinner on Thursday, and wasn't sure what I was going to do since Justin was going to watch Sam. Justin was gone for 5 days and I was with Sam almost 24 hours a day every day. It can be hard to be without another adult around, and even though Sam can play by himself sometimes, he is still a lot of work and it can be very tiring not to have any breaks.

As for the babysitter side of things, the whole 'finding a babysitter' dilemna has been something I've been thinking about lately. I had sent out an e-mail to my mom friends, and also to non-mom friends to see if anyone knew of babysitters, or had any suggestions for a good way to find a babysitter. I got back two replies, both which said 'If you find anything out, let me know!'. I was especially concerned when I was stuck with finding a babysitter on such short notice last week. So, I tried the regulars - my sister was unavailable, and our one babysitter that I used to work with didn't return my call (she was sick). My Mom suggested contacting local community colleges to try and find people studying early childhood education who might be interested in getting some experience, but I had no luck finding the correct contact numbers, especially with a limited amount of time to do the research. So, I ended up on the internet, and joined a website called Sittercity.com. It's a website where parents and babysitters can sign up, you can post jobs and people can respond, you can search for babysitters in your area, you can do background checks, you can post your information, and you can get references from babysitters and read whatever introductions they've posted. I ended up finding a great babysitter who works full time as a school counselor in a school district here and does tutoring and babysitting on the side. She was very qualified, and I was able to go out and enjoy my night out on Thursday. I also got replies from several other people who might be available in the future when I need sitters, I can post jobs earlier so I'll be able to check references etc. I guess it's as good a resource as any, and it seems like it will work for us. I am also happy about the babysitter I found, and she seemed interested in babysitting for us again in the future since we only look for sitters 3 or 4 times a month at most.

Justin will also be leaving sometime probably in the next week to go to the Philippines for work, so that will be another little challenge for Sam and I. Well, more for me I guess, I'm sure he enjoys himself just fine. We haven't found out exact dates yet, but at least I know it's coming!

Speaking of travelling, I made some exciting reservations this week. I booked plane tickets and hotel reservations this week for Brooke and I. We are going to California in April! Why? Well, if you didn't already know how big of a dork I am... we are going to the Creation Entertainment Grand Slam Sci-Fi Convention 2007! WOO! There are going to be people there from Battlestar Galactica (which is one of our favorite shows), Heroes, Eureka, and of course Star Trek and other various shows. We are leaving on a Thursday afternoon and coming back on Monday afternoon - four days of just girl geekiness with no kids etc. We are REALLY excited about it, we got special pass tickets for the convention so we'll get good reserved seats at the speaking events and autograph sessions and into some cool things like a dessert reception. I'll write more about it later when it happens, and I will definitely have LOTS of pictures to put up on the internet when we get back!

Well, I better get going. Justin wants his laptop back, and I've become addicted to playing Urbz - Sims in the City on the Nintendo DS he got me for Christmas, so I'll probably go do that now! If you haven't checked them out already, check out the photos from Christmas that I posted on the photo site. I will probaby post more pictures from January soon!
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January 10, 2007

"Challenging"

I guess the nice word for the last few days would be "challenging". I'll be polite here and not list any of the other words that could be used to describe it. I guess it only makes sense that if we're lucky with a well behaved, easygoing baby most of the time, there can only be times where he's not that way. Otherwise how would we know how good he is the rest of the time?

I've heard of the terrible twos, but Sam's only 8 months old and already having sort of mini-tantrums. Since he can pull himself up now, there is a lot more "no". There's a lot more pulling him away from the entertainment center, or pulling his baby monitor away and putting it up so he can't get it. And when we do that, he sqeals. Yes, it's a "hey, give that back you mean jerk" kind of squeal.

Right now he's in his crib crying and screaming at bedtime. He's been really, really fussy all day today. I don't know if it's because he seems to have a cold (runny nose/coughing) or if it's because another tooth is coming in, but he's been a major pain for the past couple of days. He's been very fussy before his naps, but also strugling when we try to rock him to sleep. Last night he woke up at 2 in the morning and would not go back to sleep. I tried for over an hour to get him back to sleep, but it just resulted in an hour of him crying in his crib and another hour of him in our bed eating a bottle and falling back to sleep.

It's just so hard to know what to do. I don't want him to learn that if he wakes up and cries in the middle of the night, that equals him getting a bottle and getting to cuddle back to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. But it's hard to see that logic when it's 3 AM and the baby has been crying for an hour. There is lots of stuff about letting a kid cry when you put them to bed, but what do I do when he wakes up in the night?

He just stopped crying. I guess he's asleep... oh, nope. There he goes again. It's more of a whimper now though so I think he's falling asleep. Before we went on vacation he was taking 5 minutes or 10 minutes at the most of crying to fall asleep. And it wasn't even too bad, usually it was just a tired cry, not really being upset. I don't know why things have been more complicated since we got back, but we're trying to stick to his bedtime routine. It's just hard to listen to him cry. It makes it a little easier when I know on days like today that if I do pick him up, he'll just fight me and struggle against me. But a lot of days it's hard not to just pick him up and comfort him. I guess that at the same time being a parent is a series of joys and love, it's also a series of hearbreaks as your child grows, and even at 9 months, has to discover different types of independence. I think he's really asleep now....

Oh, one last thing - one a good note - I finally got the rest of the pictures up from our New Jersey trip. There is a set for Sam's First Christmas with all the pictures from Christmas Day, and a set of random pictures from during the trip. Check them out by clicking on the photos link to the right under 'Good Stuff'.
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January 8, 2007

Slowly but surely....

I'm finally getting some photos up. I am still working on photos from Christmas Day and random photos from the trip, but here's some that I've gotten up so far:

A few random pictures from December at home:

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Pictures from our December Trip to Bellingham:

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Pictures from Christmas Eve at John & Marilyn's:

Group Art - The Finished Product!

Pictures from the PAR-TAY in Flemington:

Mmmmm... brownie cake

Pictures from New Year's Eve:

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I am still working on getting the rest up - I have to sort through to weed them out and decide which ones to put up. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it in the next couple of days. Enjoy!
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January 5, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2007 already. This year went by so fast - I think that's the way it's probably going to be from now on. Me watching time fly by and wondering how Sam has gotten so big and learned so many things when I remember just yesterday we were taking him home from the hospital and not knowing things like... how often do we wash him? How much should he be eating? Am I giving him enough tummy time? I can't even imagine what my parents think when they look at me and I have a baby of my own!

First off, I wanted to post this picture I took today. We were in Seattle yesterday and stopped at the Army & Navy Surplus store for something that Leela needed to get for her boyfriend, and she bought Sam this little camo shirt. Well, we took a few pictures, and I just love this picture. I set it as my background on my computer and I just keep staring at it, so of course I had to share it. I'll post a better copy on my photo page on Flickr later too. I'm working on getting all of the vacation photos onto my computer and sorting through them so I can upload a bunch of them to share!

So, the rest of our trip to New Jersey was great. We spent Christmas Eve at John and Marilyn's (Helene's brother and sister-in-law) and that was a lot of fun. The days before that Emmy came and stayed with us in Flemington, which was great. I am so glad that we got to spend so much time with her. Out of all of my cousins, she's the one I'm closest to, and I think she'll be a cool 'Aunt' for Sam, even if we don't see her much anymore. On Christmas, Kira, Sam, Justin and I drove into Philadelphia and had brunch with my Mom, Uncle John, Aunt Becky - and Aunt Becky's new FIANCE, David! That's right, we will be traveling to Atlanta in July for the wedding. It's so exciting, and we really liked him, he seemed really nice, is into computers, so of course got along with Justin, and to top it all of is handsome. After that we headed over to my Uncle Charlie & Aunt Gayle's house for Christmas with my Dad's side of the family. We had a great time, and it was nice to see everyone! Justin and I got a much appreciated break that night when Helene and Lianna decided to stay the night there and keep Sam with them! We went back to Flemington and our heads hit the pillow within 1/2 an hour. We got to spend the next day just hanging out and doing a little shopping and seeing a movie. The other big event was on the night of the 28th my Dad had a big party at his house. Half of a local band he knows (3 guys) came over and played music (mostly Phish covers) in the dining room and we all danced and had a lot to drink and hung out. It was really a great time!

Now we're back in Washington at home settling in. The weekend we got back Mom also flew back and stayed here a couple of nights, and we went to a New Year's Eve party at Kelly & Michael's house. We had a great time hanging out and seeing everyone again, and watching all the kids play! It's really fun to watch Sam and Micaela together since they're so close in age (they were due on the same day, but Micaela came early!). I can't wait until they get old enough to really start playing together. Kelly had a genius idea and we all celebrated New Year's Eve "East Coast Style" - we rang in the New Year when the ball dropped in New York at 9 PM! It was a genius idea for all of us parents with little ones. My head hit the pillow before midnight, but I still felt like I'd celebrated!

On Monday we headed up to Bellingham to take Mom back home, and she took Sam overnight while Justin and I had a little mini-vacation up in Canada. We stayed in a hotel with a Jacuzzi tub (I think I need one) and went to the Colossus Theater up in Langley and saw "Eragon", which I highly recommend. Since then we've just been settling back in at home and I've been working on getting everything we brought home with us put away and cleaning up things like the pile of mail I needed to sort through, and working through many many loads of laundry!

Sam is still doing pretty great. He turned 8 months old on Tuesday, and I can't believe how much he's growing and changing every day. I think now is the time that I'm starting to see just how much I would really miss if I was working full time. Sam started crawling while we were on vacation! He started with a lot of time up on the hands and knees, and rocking back and forth. Then he progressed to army crawling, but that didn't last long before he got up on all fours and really started moving. He's still a little wobbly and not too fast yet (which is fine with me!), but he definitely likes being able to move around on his own! Last Saturday, less than 2 weeks after he started crawling, he pulled himself up to standing for the first time! I was amazed that he is doing that already. He is crazy. He loves to stand up every chance he gets, and he doesn't have much balance yet, but he will take steps if you help him out. I can't believe how much he can do on his own now.

The only downside to his pulling up, which of course I am very proud of, is that it has caused minor setbacks in the bedtime department. We lowered Sam's crib as soon as we got back from vacation since before we left he could already pull up onto his knees. Well, the last few nights when we put him down, he starts crying (really crying - not just tired whimper crying) immediately and it's taking a lot longer for him to go to sleep and at least 2 trips back in to put him back to lying down because when we go in he's standing at the side of the crib wailing. It's really hard. I guess we were lucky before, and while we were on vacation he would fall asleep with a bottle or in the car a lot since we'd be out late, so he didn't have to go into his crib awake. It's really hard to have to go in and calm him all down knowing he's most likely going to start crying again as soon as I walk away, and to listen to him cry from the other room. At this point I know it's the right thing to do, because I don't want to teach him that if he cries he'll get picked up, and he is always tired and even drifting off during his bottle/story time before bed. Anyhow, I'm hoping it won't take too long for this to improve and maybe get back down to the 5-10 minutes that it was taking him to fall asleep before vacation.

We're still doing the bedtime routine with a bath and books and bottle before bed, and I think it's a nice routine to be in. Our favorite books right now are "Kiss Good Night" (the main character is named Sam!), "I Love You as Much" and "Love You Forever" (even though it almost always gets me teary).

Sam is eating more foods now and it's really fun feeding him different things. Sometimes I can't believe how much he can eat in a sitting! The other night I went over to Brooke and Dave's and he ate a giant spoonful of beans with corn and some guacamole plus a whole jar of baby food. He has eaten beans, mashed potatoes, a little bit of salmon (maybe a little early but it was just a little), guacamole, watermelon... it's so fun to watch him eat new things. He's not that great at chunks and chewing yet, but I think we're going to start giving him cut up fruit soon and start to get him learning how to chew up his food. He does LOVE the Gerber finger food puffs, and he usually gets some of those in his high chair before every meal while we're getting his other food ready.

We've also been trying a little juice and I'm starting to teach him how to use a sippy cup. He doesn't really understand it, and since they all have valves you have to suck a significant amount to get anything to come out the spout. Sometimes I'll suck it a little for him and sometimes I can take out the valve to get him to understand the juice comes out there. If I do that, I just have to make sure I'm watching him because it also means that if he tips it it will spill out all over the place!

Well, that is pretty much all I can think of for now. I'm going to go hop in the shower and get ready for the world while Sam is napping. I'm going out to a movie with Brooke later, and maybe stopping by the bank to finally open Sam's bank account since we got several gifts for him over Christmas that we want to actually be saved for him. On Monday Justin, Sam and I are going to head down to Olympia to visit Brie and the twins since they're both home now! I can't wait to actually be able to hold them - Sam is going to seem so huge compared to them! I will take pictures and get them up here. Also, like I said, I am working on getting our vacation pictures sorted out and hopefully in the next 2 days I'll have photos up online. I will definitely post here when I have them up because I definitely want to share them!

I'll be back again soon!
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