July 3, 2014

Hannah Joy: 9 Months

A bit of a preamble here...
This was a tough month for me personally. While Hannah continued to thrive and hit milestones, I was only healthy for nine (yes, nine!) total days in June. I was hit hard twice by two completely different sicknesses. Each time I was out for about a week and a half. It was heartbreaking and extremely frustrating to be so ill and unable to just be myself. Rian and I had multiple conversations as to how I could better take care of myself. I already eat well and exercise every day, but something just wasn't adding up. So we decided that Rian will now start helping me with night shifts for Hannah. It will mean more pumping for me during the day (since Rian will have to thaw a bottle for her at night), but the trade off is SO VERY worth it. Bottom line: I'm not getting enough sleep and it's wearing me down and leaving me susceptible to every nasty bug that I come in contact with. I'm thankful for this change and I know it will be a great thing for not just me but also my family :)

At nine months, Hannah...

- Can pull herself into a sitting position AND standing position! Though both of these new skills have been making bedtime a bit tricky...but she's super proud of herself and basically wants to practice standing all day long.

- Went on her first trip to the zoo! We had so much fun celebrating Father's Day as a family at the Oregon Zoo. Rian's parents generously gifted us a zoo membership, so we look forward to going many more times.

- Has started finger foods. It was a struggle for a while there to get her to actually pick up food and eat it. But thanks to some tasty puffs and yogurt melts, I think she's finally getting the hang of self-feeding.

- Still enjoys chasing the dogs around the house. Typically her favorite place to be is wherever the boys are.


- Got a remodeled playroom! Rian and I are quite proud of this room. It went from being overcrowded and unsafe to baby-friendly and roomy! It was fun to have a vision for a room for Hannah and then see it come to life. We hope this is a space she can learn, play and grow in for a very long time.

- Constantly babbles. Favorite "words" are baba, dada, blah blah blah. And yes, I swoon over her every time she says them. #firsttimemom

- Started Skyping with my mom. It's been so fun for Hannah to get to see my mom more and more this way. Thank God for technology and our ability to be close even when we are physically so far apart.

- Celebrated the gender reveals of two new Portland babies! Friends Annie & Aaron are having another baby GIRL and friends Paul & Rachel are having a baby BOY! This was such an exciting time for us and our wonderful group of friends. It's been fun "explaining" to Hannah that she will have two new friends in December. I can't wait to watch all these babies grow up together. What a blessing it is to have such a close-knit community.

- Proudly supported Holland in the World Cup! As we've mentioned dozens of times, we are a proud Dutch-American family. It's been fun to cheer on Holland and the U.S. But now that the U.S. is out, we have all of our efforts focused on Team Oranje! Thanks to our family in Holland for sending this adorable shirt for Hannah. And yes, she wears it for every game :)

- Got her first tooth! We were really starting to wonder if we'd hit 12 months before we ever saw one! But right at the beginning of the month a little tooth popped up front and center on the bottom row. It's super cute and we love making her smile extra big just so we can sneak a peek of it.

- Had a fun visit with Oma and Opa. We went to the vineyards and hit up the Tigard Festival of Balloons. It's always a fun weekend when the grandparents are in town to play with us and spoil us! :)

Some favorite pictures of Hannah at 9 months:

 {Baby jail with Callie}

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June 3, 2014

Hannah Joy: 8 Months

Just like everyone has said to me, it really does just keep getting better and better. I have really loved this stage that Hannah has been in. She is so interactive and really seems to be present with us more than ever before. It's a joy to watch her explore and develop new skills and I am continually thankful for her easy-going and jovial nature.

At 8 months, Hannah...

- Is officially crawling! I feel like we didn't spend too much time just sitting up. Hannah wants to MOVE! Which of course means massive child-proofing around our home now. But hey, it's so much fun to see her exploring the world around her.


- Can hold her own water cups. This is an exciting milestone when you're 8 months old ;)

- Joined us on multiple trips to the Dundee/Dayton vineyards. We're teaching her early about the importance of good wine :)

- Got her first two colds. I can actually trace them back to the two specific occasions when she got them, too. The first cold was at the beginning of May when we attended our first Gymboree music class and the second was after our first visit to the church nursery. Ha! There's definitely a connection there. But it's OK, she needs to get exposed to these little colds to build up her immunity. Since she isn't in daycare, it's also good for her to be exposed to other children more and more.

- Speaking of church, Hannah had her first visit to the church nursery! This was a huge milestone for both of us. For most this may not seem like a big deal at all, but it was the first time we've left her with anyone other than grandparents or close friends. Rian and I had talked about doing it for a while, but never felt like it was exactly the right time. Finally, after countless sermons spent in the community room, we felt like we were ready to worship in the sanctuary and let Hannah play without having to be shushed or pacified. It worked out SO well and we are SO thankful for the loving staff at our church. I was sad to not have her in my arms during service, but truly loved being able to sit and focus through the whole service with Rian. When I went to pick up Hannah she was so smiley and happy! Total win-win.

- Loves going on walks to Cook Park. It's about a 3 mile walk round trip and we both love the exercise and sunshine. Hannah especially enjoys when I pack the picnic blanket and crawls all around under the beautiful trees. I try to go about four times a week.

- Moved into 9 month clothes. While some of the 6 month clothes still fit, the majority of what she wears now is 9 months. She's simply getting too long!

- Started a "mommy mommy mommy" phase. She gets in moods where she pretty much ONLY wants me. No one can console her. (see below) She doesn't really scream or cry hard, but just gets angry enough for me to intervene. But we are working on separation and handing her off to as many friends (and Daddy!) as possible. Also, I think the nursery time at church is helpful for this.

- Jumped up to the 52nd percentile for weight! We had a doctor's appointment to check on her cold and they did a weight check. A whopping 18 pounds! We are so happy to see her thriving.

- Learned how to wave :)


- Suffered through a bit of a sleep regression. This was not nearly as bad as it was at four months, but she started waking about 2-3 times a night (which is pretty brutal for me since I'm still breastfeeding). Everything we've been told is that this is very common as babies start to learn new skills (i.e. crawling) and also become more aware of object permanence (where did mommy go after she fed me?). Thankfully, this seems to have passed. *crossing our fingers*

Some favorite pictures of Hannah at 8 months:

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May 21, 2014

Thoughts on Pregnancy/Postpartum Weight

I was one of those lucky women during pregnancy that gained virtually no weight. Yes, my belly expanded, but the number on the scale barely rose. When I went into labor I was approximately 18 pounds heavier than the day I found out I was pregnant.

Now, I can take some credit for this. I was extremely careful about what I ate and I walked a lot (when I had the energy). But it also helped that I craved super healthy foods like avocados, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and pineapple and during my first trimester anything that was even remotely sweet made me run the other way.

So yes, I can take credit for that. But as any mother will tell you, there is so much that is out of your control. I can toot my own horn for my low weight gain, but so much of that was dumb luck. The way I carried Hannah, the foods I craved, her overall size, how I retained fluids, etc. was pre-determined from the get-go. Please always remember to extend grace to those mamas that struggled with a lot of weight gain during pregnancy. So much of it is not only out of their control, but often exactly what they needed for their pregnancy. Which is why I still cringe when I hear people remarking on mothers and their subsequent weight gain/weight loss. I mean honestly...what do they know?

And why do I care so much? Because after I had Hannah is when my weight struggles surfaced. I was a ravenous breastfeeding mama who literally ate everything in sight. The same sweets that made me cringe in the beginning were basically calling my name morning, noon and night. I struggled for those first three months to find a balance between filling myself up, but not on total crap. All the healthy foods that I chowed down on for 9 months were now completely unappealing compared to pumpkin muffins, ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches. And if it was easy to grab and eat, it was the perfect food. Because let's face it, breastfeeding those first couple of months is freaking HARD and when you have the appetite of a professional football player, food is food. So, please always remember to extend grace to those mamas that struggled with weight gain AFTER they have their baby.

My point of all of this? I guess I've just been thinking lately about what I want to teach Hannah about this time of my life. I'm happy to say that I've now got my weight back under control- lots of walking, healthy eating (for the most part-ha!) and portion control. But I don't have any regrets about those first few months. And I want my daughter to know that. I want any woman that is struggling with any sort of weight issue surrounding pregnancy and motherhood to know that. I was able to carry my baby girl for 9+ months and then supply her with her sole source of nutrition. And because of that, I'm extending myself grace.

And I really do love this body of mine. 

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May 8, 2014

Thoughts on Mother's Day: 2014

I make dinner for my family every evening. There are a few (very rare) occasions when we eat out, but it's safe to say that 95% of our dinners take place in our dining room. Thankfully, I really enjoy cooking for my little family. I do not, however, enjoy the clean up. And if you do the math, that's a lot of dinners and a lot of clean up.

After dinner, Rian takes Hannah up for a bath and I clean up. It's a routine we started a while ago and it just stuck. Every time the food on our plates begins to magically disappear, I know the dreaded dish washing is around the corner. And can I just say that it's amazing how a meal that took so long to prepare can be devoured and over so quickly? sigh

So while I'm downstairs lamenting the end of our meal, I often hear Rian and Hannah getting ready for bath time. I hear giggling and splashing. I hear stories being read and squeals of a baby that loves to be in the water. And I long to be there. Because you know what? Even though I am with Hannah all the time, I truly hate the silence that fills the room when she leaves. My heart longs to be near hers.

There are long days in our home. Days when being a mother is hard. Exhausting. Demanding. Genuinely frustrating. But no matter the day, once Hannah is unsnapped from that high chair seat and carried upstairs, it's as though the life of the home has shifted and the downstairs becomes so very quiet. And in that brief moment of transition, I feel an emptiness. I feel a sadness for the silence and forget why I was ever craving it.

So I guess this is all to say...this is what motherhood is to me. Being around your child all day, every day, and still aching to hear every splash and giggle. Racing through the dishes so you can climb the stairs and catch a few more smiles and laughs before she nods off for the night. It's a never-ending desire to love.

Thank God for the privilege of motherhood.

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May 3, 2014

Hannah Joy: 7 Months

We have had such a fun month of milestones and growth. We've enjoyed an unseasonably warm April, which meant lots of fun activities outside. Hannah is generally a happy baby and we are so grateful for her cheery disposition. It's hard to believe our baby girl is seven months old!

At seven months, Hannah...

- Is sitting up on her own! This was something we've been really looking forward to. I can put her down now and she is finally strong and sturdy enough to sit up. She's enjoying playing so much more now that she's reached this milestone.

- Can move around pretty well. She's not crawling yet, but she scoots herself back with ease. The time has come for constant monitoring :)

- Had to have her crib dropped to the lower setting. Because of this:

- Enjoys eating lots of new foods. We've been fortunate when it comes to eating. Hannah likes everything she tries. Breast milk is still her main source of nutrition, but the new foods have been a fun addition for her. And on that note, I'm still very thankful that she breastfeeds like a champ.

- Got her last round of shots until her 12 month appt. (This is nice since our 9 month appt will be a bit easier!)

- Spends a lot of her time petting her puppies. It's the cutest thing ever.

- Had her first visit to the Tulip Festival. Her Dutch family was pleased :)

- Attended her first birthday party for her sweet friend Lily at the Portland Children's Museum.

- Celebrated her first Easter with her Oma and Opa Schlyper.

- Attended her first Gymboree class! We have started once a month music classes and they have been so much fun.

- Can now sit up in a high chair at restaurants. This opens up a whole new world to us!

- Experienced her first picnic at the Rose Gardens.

Some favorites from seven months:

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