Thursday, December 25, 2008

Annika's first Christmas morning

As per the usual, our lovely Annika woke up early smiling this beautiful day.

It is snowing in Seattle - on Christmas! What a joy and a rarity. It redeems this year of exile in SoCal... ;-) Victor was able to finally get out of Long Beach and arrived safe and sound in Seattle yesterday morning in the snow.

Here is Annika's first Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa A.
She flashes us such big grins now! Love this baby!
Chattering at daddy. The little seahorse's belly lights up and plays soft classical music.

Here is Annika helping daddy open his present from her. It's a Cougar (WSU) quilt that Annika spent hours making last week. She loves her daddy that much!Helping daddy open his present.


Daddy taking Annika out in the snow. She wasn't so keen on the snow in her face, as she is a California girl, but she does find it interesting!She loves staring at the snow!

Annika happily chattering away at her friends, Campo, Cyrus, and Pio Pio. She is so good at entertaining herself too. We are so blessed with such a good natured little girl!
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Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Smiling Baby!

FINALLY!

I've caught some video of Annika smiling and laughing. Victor and I are so blessed with such a good natured baby. Of course, Victor gets all the karmic credit for that as he says he was a much more respectful child towards his parents then I was...ahem. Moving along.

For the record - we don't sleep with Annika in our bed as a rule. Too scared about squishing or suffocating. But this morning we were cuddling and she fell asleep. I caught this video as she was waking up. She is like this every time she wakes up. It makes those 3 AM wake up calls so much easier to respond to when I know such a happy little baby will greet me in her crib with such enthusiasm and joy. Also, she is pretty much sleeping through the night now. Not bad, as she turns 8 weeks old tomorrow.

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Next up - snow baby pictures! We are snowed-in in Seattle, and will post Annika in the snow pics later!

Friday, December 19, 2008

5 times make a habit?

Well, maybe not a habit, per se, but certainly can mark a trend.

Annika has now slept five nights - through the night - in a row. All before 8 weeks old. The first couple nights she was sleeping from about 8 PM to 3 or so. Sounds early, but is was 7 hours of sleep! I don't mind the early part!!! :-) Last night she slept from 10:30 PM to 6:00 AM. How perfect is that?

She is smiling all the time, too. I look forward to picking her up from he crib in the morning, or after a nap and she flashes me the biggest grin. Talk about a high! I'm addicted to her little smiles. Victor hasn't joined us in Seattle yet, and I'm sure he'll be astounded at how much she has changed in just one week!

We are enjoying the lovely snow and staying very cozy at my parents house. We are well stocked on hot chocolate and whipped cream, and have the fireplace blazing. It's a great vacation so far!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm a real mom!

Today I hand-picked a baby nose bogey, as well as caught spit up in my bare hands. I now feel like a real mom!

Annika has also slept all night for the fourth night in a row. Maybe it's all that rum and eggnog I'm drinking before I nurse her to sleep? Ha ha...just kidding. Seriously - kidding.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All Night Long!

Naps? What naps? I don't need no stinkin' naps!

I am the happiest mom on the block this week as Annika has now successfully slept through the night TWO nights in a row!!!!!!! I personally love getting 6 hours of continuous sleep.

She is officially 7 weeks old today, and still a complete joy to be around. She is smiling all the time, and I get absolutely high when she flashes me her wide-mouth grin when I pick her up out of the crib after a nap. My mom and I have tried to capture this smile, but the little stinker will not play to the camera! Here's what we have so far:
Avoiding the camera, but still smiling!
Tail end of a grin! We'll catch her in the act soon....


Sunday she refused to take a nap. I would try to lay her down as she would start to nod off, but she would have none of it. She would snap awake and insist she was only kidding about falling asleep. Fortunately, she is such a good natured baby that she very easy to hang out with.
We set her in the boppy on the dining room table while we were playing cards.
Learning the rummy ropes from Grandma A. Our family plays progressive, or International rummy and are quite competitive. G-Ma A is probably the most aggressive player, so a good tutor for Annika...lol.A familiar scene in the family house - playing cards. Also, notice the product placement? This particular 4Bux drink is a (decaf!) Grande Espresso Truffle Mocha - a very nice milder alternative to the regular 4Bux mocha, which I feel is too rich.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Earning her wings and first snowfall!

Yesterday was Annika's 1st airplane ride! I need to really sing my baby's praises as she was absolutely perfect the entire time. Fortunately, the plane was 1/2 empty so I was able to snag the empty seat next to me for her car seat. I had the bottle ready for take off as I was advised this is often a problem on little ears. Thank you Aunt Traci for calling and giving me all kinds of baby travel tips. Much appreciated!!!!!
Daddy's girl - sleeping through take-off!!!! One of Victor's skills, too!

She slept through takeoff.
She slept the entire flight, opening her eyes a couple times.
She slept through the landing and all the loud announcements.

Love this kid!!!!!
Peaceful slumber.

She got all kinds of compliments from the stewardesses (er, um - I mean flight attendants) and other passengers on not only how well mannered she was, but how beautiful too!

The really sweet stewardess also gave Annika her first wings too! Can I mention how much I love JetBlue????? And even more, love the direct flights they have from my perfect little Long Beach airport to everywhere I want to visit people (Seattle, Salt Lake, Chicago!)!!!!
Shameless plug for JetBlue!!! Love this airline!

We snuck into town a few days early and didn't tell my niece and nephew, Scout and A-rob, that we were in town. My sister told them they needed to go into g-ma's house to pick up a special package. They were so suprised, and loved to finally meet Annika! A-rob would leave me weekly messages on the phone about how much he misses me, loves Annika, and couldn't wait to meet her. He is such a sweet little man.
A-Rob holding Annika for the first time! Such a sweet cousin!
Scout is growing into such a beautiful young lady, both inside and out!

My dad, AKA the baby whisperer, immediately charmed Annika. I'm so glad they finally met. We have to wait until next Christmas for Annika to meet her Peruvian abuelos, and I know it's very hard on them to have to wait.
Snuggling with grandpa. It was love at first sight!

We also met my brother Doug and his lovely girlfriend Amber for dinner, when he also met Annika for the first time. It was also the first time my parents met Amber. We had a great dinner, and I think Amber will do a great job of keeping Doug on his toes!
Dapper Doug holding his favorite niece for the first time!

We flew into Seattle before the snow. We are experiencing a bit of a cold snap - quite a difference from SoCal weather. We are layered up and keeping toasty warm!
She has about 3 layers of clothes/tights/thermals on here, so no comments about not having a coat/hat/gloves on the baby. We were only outside a minute... :-)

Now, the cats are slowly adjusting to the invasion of their home our new, loud little critter. It is interesting to watch how they are now interacting with the new baby stuff that has taken over the house. Here is Osa perching in the stroller.
More posts later this week!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Six weeks!

Gazing at daddy.

We made it to six weeks, today, without losing, dropping, or damaging the baby in any way. We, in our zombie-sleep-deprived-stupor, feel pretty accomplished about that!

Seriously, it has flown by and we are having the time of our lives, despite the zombie-sleep-deprived-stupor part. We've worked out a pretty good system (thanks to Stacy O's suggestion!) where Victor gets home from work and I go to bed to catch 4-5 solid hours of ZZZZs. I take over at midnight when I'm on baby duty for the duration. I only can lightly doze during this time as every little sound she makes has me on alert. Ah, the joy of a new mom! :-)

I CANNOT, seriously, cannot believe how big she is getting. She has blown past the Gerber 3 month clothes, and starting to push the seams of the Carter's 3 months (which are a lot roomier). I am putting her in 6 month sleepers now, and they FIT! Good grief. The other day - true story - I laid her down to change her, looked away, and when I looked back a second later, she was bigger. I kid you not. Just like that.

Last week I went to a MeetUp group of moms. Nine moms/babies were there, and Annika was the youngest by 2 days. All were under 1. Looking at a three, 6, and 9 month old had me floored in the sense of seeing how much bigger and different they were. I'm in awe of how much she is going to change in the coming months.

Even the last few days she has changed up on us. She is learning to have opinions and be vocal about them. No idea where that comes from! Most notably, we have been placing her on the boppy on the couch when she's awake and hanging out with us in the living room. No more. I can't even lay her in it for a moment. She yells at me "What are you doing, Mom!" She wants her new rocker where she is much more upright and has her new toys to look at. She has pulled this on me twice now.

Even in the new rocker she is changing! There are some brightly colored dangling toys that she is mesmerized with! They are a dog (named Campo), and kitty (Cyrus) and a baby chick rattle (Pio Pio). While looking at them, she kicks, waves her arms, and talks to them. Very adorable. And because she is moving, it makes the chair rock. It is definitely more stimulating than the boppy. She also has a small orange monkey (Tio Mono) that she likes to stare at as well.

We are learning her little cues, such as the difference between the hungry fuss, and the need-to-burp fuss. She is training us well.

She is smiling too!!!! I haven't yet been able to get a picture of one yet, but working on it! And she loves music, and when I sing to her.

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks. Due to some camera issues, I don't have too many.
This is George, sleeping, curled around a cloth ducky-sponge for Annika's bath. Looks like it's a cat toy now!

Osa took over the boppy. She sat in it ALL DAY, and every time I looked at her, she changed positions to something 'more comfortable'. (The beautiful blankie was made by Aunt Traci in Chicago!)

"Osa! Move!"
"NO, I was here first!" (Beginning of 'sibling' rivlary?)

Rad hair day, chillin' on mama's lap.

"High five, mama!" (Her first Thanksgiving!)

Not enough memory for video, but in this picture she is chattering away at the baby chick rattle.

Looking content in her new preferred seating arrangement.

Dozing in the new rocker. It also vibrates, so she can get a massage while she sleeps.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Faker-Waker-Upper

How many times have you heard a parent say "My child is perfect..when they are asleep!" I can honestly say our child is perfect when AWAKE. She is a very sweet, easygoing baby.

However-- when she sleeping is a different matter entirely. She is the noisiest sleeper I've ever met. She is only 4 weeks old and talks in her sleep, very loudly too, I might add. I will hear her stirring and chattering, lean over to pick her up out of the bassinette, and...she's sound asleep. She must be one of those vivid dreamers, but what can she be possibly dreaming about? Milk? Walks to Starbucks? Clean diapers? She does this to me several times a night, and it is certainly adding to my sleep woes.

I'm still a new enough mom that I'm on hyper-alert with every little sound she makes, and not willing to put her in her own room yet. Slowly, I'm beginning to hear the difference between her 'sleeping' sounds and the 'Mom, I'm REALLY awake now - feed me' sounds. I still wake up, but am able to go back to sleep once I determine she's still sleeping.

Annika and I went for a little walk the other day in our new BabyTrekker (much more comfy than the Baby Bjorn!) the morning after it rained. It finally felt like fall! Wet, puddles, and leaves on the ground. She likes our little walks, and so far is getting to know our local Starbucks really well. I'm corrupting her behind Victor's back.

Sorry, no pictures today -- having some camera issues that will be solved shortly. Victor is off today and we're catching up on some chores we've put off over the last few weeks. Avoiding the malls!!!! May hit the bookstore later.

Has anyone read the 'Twilight' vampire books? Are they worth the read? Let me know...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The sweetest days



First, I really miss a full night's sleep, but I wouldn't trade these days for the world. Those quiet 3 AM hours after she has been fed, changed, is drowsy and Annika just simply wants to be held and snuggle. Who needs sleep? These are truly the sweetest of times. I'm in no hurry to hurry through these days. I'm learning, for probably the first time in my life, to savor and live in this moment. No planning ahead to the next event, no schedules to keep. Just. Enjoying. Now.

We've been venturing out on small trips. It's been strange trying to coordinate not only me but another person for something as simple as grocery shopping. I put Annika in charge of the list Wednesday, but she fell asleep and I almost forgot to buy stamps. Silly girl.

We took our first walk in the 'hood also this week. We went to Starbucks, and then Chipotle. We saw an adorable 4 month old little boy at one bus stop we passed. On the way home, we passed another bus stop with a bunch of nice kids with special needs. They were all interested in looking at the baby, and commented on how pretty she is. A good day was had by all!

Here are some pictures from this last week:

Aunt Carolyn was here!!!!
Carolyn is the best sister in the world. She gave up a week away from her own family to help us out. Victor had to work graveyard last week during a turnaround, and having Carolyn here saved my sanity. She took a couple late shifts herself, which allowed me to get six fill hours of sleep a couple nights in a row. I laugh in the face of sleep!!! Until I cry when I don't get enough...lol.
You know how there are certain phrases for an action, like a football 'Hail Mary', or a submarine 'Crazy Ivan'? Well, now we can add an 'Aunt Carolyn' to the lexicon. So, here is Carolyn, the seasoned mommy professional. She got nailed during diaper changes twice! 1st time was a simple little stream. However, the second was epic. Almost Homeric. Carolyn had just removed the diaper, and said 'I bet you're not done yet' when KA-POW! The sound effect was amazing, but not nearly as astounding as the visual. All over her hand, up her shirt, nailed her shorts, the couch pillow. Explosive. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. So far, she has 'Aunt Carolyned' Victor, but I've been spared, for now.
Really, though. She loves being Annika's favorite Aunt Carolyn. What a joy to have her here during this time. Thanks, AGAIN! to Scout and A-rob for loaning us their mommy!

A house divided!
My poor, sweet, baby girl. Victor went to that other school, the Huskies rivals, and I went to the UW. The Huskies lost the (cr)Apple Cup yesterday. So, she must suffer all sorts of indignities today as evidenced below:
Please, Mommy, do I have to????
I'm still cute in these scrappy rags!!!!
Ah, I'll just sleep it off. Mommy will change me when I wake up.

Until next week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Made it to two weeks!

These pretty tulips were waiting for us when we came home from the hospital. They were sent by my niece and nephew, Scout and A-Rob.

Wow! What a whirlwind of amazing craziness. Annika has been here two weeks now, and I am amazed everyday how much more in love with her I am every time I look at her. She is really, and I mean - really- a great baby. Doesn't fuss, likes to just hang with us when she's awake, goes to sleep on her own pretty well, and loves to cuddle. Who could ask for anything more? We are having some semi-annoying breastfeeding issues which we are resolving, thanks to some good advice from some dear mommy friends who are also very encouraging.

Victor and I are in the blissful state of new parent discombobulation. Routine? What routine?? Sleep? HUH? Both of us almost put diaper oinment on our toothbrushes (that would have been bad) and I have since moved the desitin to another part of the bathroom. Our first night at home was eventful around 3:30 in the morning. She was fed, changed, and warm -- and screaming! We didn't know what to do. I was panicking, afraid I was waking up the neighbors, and quickly moved her out to the living room. I started vigorously rocking her, and patting her back and then heard One. Tiny. Little. Sound. "Urp". She stopped crying immediately. One tiny bubble rocked our world. Now I'm much wiser...lol.

I'm learning the art of sleeping on demand when she sleeps. My dear sister Carolyn stayed up late last night to take the 1 AM feeding for me, which gave me 7 hours of sleep. She is such a lifesaver! My mom was down for almost 2 weeks starting the day before Annika was born. It was so nice to have her here for that time. She is, of course, smitten with her newest granddaughter. Carolyn is here this week and I want to thank Scout and A-Rob for loaning me their mommy. It's perfect timing, as Victor is back on a graveyard shift this week - the last for a really long time.

Here are some pictures from the last week.
Sleeping off a milk coma this morning.
In her ducky robe from great Grandma K, waiting for her first 'real' (non-sponge) bath. All she's missing is some OJ and the morning paper, right?
Cuddling with grandma A.And then there is George the Jealous, just as I called it. He's been needy and clingy since we brought the baby home, as well as leaving nasty grams on the bathroom rugs. He's since knocked that off, thankfully.
And then there is Osa, who has to be in the middle of everything I do with the baby. When I'm feeding her, she has to get right up next to us and snuggle in too. And then she 'mows' and complains when I try to move her. At least she's not jealous.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Welcome Annika Joy

Please join Victor and me in welcoming Annika Joy to the world and our family. She made her grand entrance on her due date, 10/28 at 6:40 AM. She was 8lbs, 4 oz, and 20.5 inches long. What an amazing thing to hold such a new little person in my arms!
Labor was very long (2.5 days) but despite intense pain and contractions 2-3 minutes apart, I was sent home Sunday night due to not being dilated enough. Finally, they let me in Monday night and the epidural kicked in around 11 PM. Sheer bliss.
Would you guess I hadn't slept in three days here? Isn't she cute!?!

The birth center was awesome, however...the 'recovery' wing was a nightmare. Shared rooms, broken air conditioner. I requested to go home immediately. And they said no. However, I did get my way the following morning after doctors cleared us to leave. For a place that didn't want to let me in, they were sure upset I was leaving before the appointed time. I just wanted to get my baby home where I knew it would be quiet, and we could care for her without hourly interference. Not to mention I wasn't able to sleep in the hospital (only got about 3 hours!) given all the interruptions due to a shared room. They were really frustrated I wanted to leave -- like I was a kook or something, but the conditions were substandard. Oh well....we're home now, with a perfectly healthy baby!Grandma holding Annika. My mom flew down on Monday and she has been such a blessing! She'll be here through most of next week. My sister is coming down the end of next week for a visit too.
She's already a daddy's girl. She turns her head to his voice when he speaks. Annika is a very snuggly little girl and loves to cuddle.

Here she is again with her favorite daddy!


Her first trip to a Peruvian resturant for lunch. OK - before anyone yells at me for taking a 2 day old out, you're right. She did great, but I realized we need to spend time at home. There will be plenty of time for adventures later. Also, I think the childbirth adrenaline wore off sometime during lunch and I hit the wall. Time to go home and rest for a week or so.

Sleepy girl!