Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Toes Were Nibbled

My mom was here last week and Orelia was so happy to be reunited with her Noni again.

I'd say Noni was pretty excited to be reunited with her only grandchild too.

Orelia greeted Noni with a big smile every time she saw her and was thrilled to have another person to play with around the house.  Toes were nibbled to great delight.  Songs were sung.  Glasses were snatched.  Messes were made.  Rattles were shaken.  And kisses were dolled out freely.  Thanks for the great visit - we can't wait to see you again soon!

Friday, April 26, 2013

As You Mean to Go On

My mother taught me the old adage "start as you mean to go on."  It's been ringing in my ears a lot lately.

Up until recently, I hadn't felt like training or discipline were a part of our lives just yet.

Then we had an incident where Orelia decided she hated something (a baby carrier) she used to love.  John and I both got the impression that she hated it because we had stopped using it for a few months, but if we had "trained" her to use it, she would have been fine.

Some of my friends say they are having a lot of trouble feeding their babies, who constantly grab the spoon.  In my experience, if you want your baby to not grab the spoon - you don't let them grab the spoon, ever.  The baby learns how to eat from a spoon and is fine doing it.

It sounds stupid, but it's true.

If you want your baby to like the stroller - then you have to use the stroller and get them used to that.

If you want your baby to be comfortable feeding herself, then you have to let her feed herself.

If you want your baby to be comfortable going to restaurants, then you have to take her to restaurants.

We are obviously not in a strict or disciplining mode with Orelia.  She's only eight months old, after all.  But I'm realizing how much she picks up on the little things (and the big).  She watches John and I eat and drink and wants to imitate what we do.  In the long run, I imagine this will mean she will get her eating habits directly from us, so we had better make sure they are worthy of copying.

We are in a phase of choosing which things are important for us to "train" her.  Wearing hats is a must in sunny California, so we force them on her despite her protests.  Wearing socks, however, is less important, so we let her go barefoot.  Keeping a bib on, important.  Learning how to use a sippy cup, less important.  Tolerating car rides, important.  Tearing apart napkins, less important.  Riding in grocery carts, important...etc. etc.  

We are starting as we mean to go on in the hopes of having less battles to fight later.  I assume it will help us, but you know what happens when one assumes...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Play Group at Our House

Last week twelve of Orelia's closest friends came over for an exciting afternoon in our back yard.  That's right - it was our turn to host play group!

As I promised to my friends, there was Chick-Fil-A, and a few of the Californians (and foreigners) got to try it for the first time.  We went through over a hundred nuggets, so I'd say it was a hit.

I think Orelia was actually the only baby to eat any nuggets - she likes to be the adventurous one.

It was a warm 75 degrees and extra sunny, so all the babies were lathered in tear-free sunscreen and wore their floppiest hats.

The moms took turns wiping up messes and stopping the babies from gouging each other's eyes out.

The great thing about our play group is that the moms have just as much fun as the babies.  

The babies babbled and exchanged spit-soaked toys.

While the mommies chatted about feeding solids and preschools.

I'm so grateful that Orelia and I have both found such great friends already.  It makes everything much more fun.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Indoor Pool

It was 85 degrees here the other day, and after a walk and two park outings, Orelia was ready to relax in the pool.  Unfortunately for her, Mama was worried about all the sun she had gotten that day, and wouldn't let her spend any more time outside - even in the shade.

So we made an indoor pool out of the steel tub we used the other weekend for ice cold beers - it worked great!  I knew the tub didn't and wouldn't leak, so I was willing to put it on our hardwood floors.

A few inches of warm bathwater and we were all set to play "pool" in our play room!  Orelia still uses the baby bath, so sitting up on her own in this steel tub was a new experience for her.

Needless to say, it was a hit!

Since it wasn't really bath time, I didn't need to torture her by getting her hair wet or scrubbing her down.

We were just there for the fun of splashing and singing and being silly.

It was a great way to pass the time on a hot day.

Turns out, Orelia wasn't sunburned anywhere, so she probably would have survived some more time outside.

Who knows - this may have been our first and last indoor pool party, so I'm glad I captured the fun on camera.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Picnic Lunch

Orelia and I dropped by Google for a picnic lunch with Daddy last week, and the three of us had a great time in the shade.

We brought Chick-fil-a and Orelia nibbled on a french fry or two.  We weren't willing to give her any of our nuggets because they are too delicious.  Sorry, girl!

Orelia got to wear shorts for the first time since Hawaii, and it made rolling into the grass even more fun.

When one's at Google, it's only appropriate to don one's Google paraphernalia.

Orelia said she's willing to be the official Google mascot if they are accepting applications.  If it means more afternoons spent at Google with Daddy, she's all for it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just Take the Photo

The above photo happened totally organically, with three of my favorite people/dogs cuddled up together by our back window.  They were as cute as cute can be.  John said "You should take a photo" after I oohed and aahed about their cuteness.  "It's backlit.  It won't come out right."  I muttered.

"Just take the photo," he said.  And he was right.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Orelia at Eight Months

Our favorite little dictator is now eight months old.

Weight - unknown, but heavy enough that I grunt and groan if I ever have to carry her in her car seat.  Height - unknown, but wearing clothes as small as 6-12 months and as big as 18 months.

I can't remember when it happened, but I now put Orelia in a seated position and leave the room (albeit briefly), because I trust her not to fall over...unless it's intentional.  She usually takes herself out of the seated position once a toy gets out of reach in front of her, and then she gets to her belly without a problem.  She loves to sit and play with her toys.

She's still a big roller - getting where she wants to go by rolling instead of crawling.  She can move forward a tiny bit on the hardwood by pulling herself.  She frequently scoots backward on the hardwood when she flexes her arms.

While on her tummy she can do a complete 360 intentionally.  If Harper walks by, for instance, she will follow her movement by using her hands to turn her body so she can find Harper again.

Right now we know she knows two words - Orelia and Harper.  She looks at you when you call her name and she looks for Harper when you call Harper's name.

Her sleeping is much the same - 11 hours at night (bedtime around 7:30 PM) and three 45 minutes to one hour naps during the day.

She is very talkative these days - not just making noise (screaming), but saying lots of consonants.  She now will use two consonants in the same "word" - BaMaMaBa, for instance.  Her favorite consonant is M, so she says "Mama" quite a bit.

We have started signing to Orelia more frequently and she watches us pretty intently when we do it.

She still nurses 5 times a day (roughly ever 3 hours), though she is feeding for less time (and, therefore, taking in less milk).

She eats purees twice a day (if I have my act together), and handheld food two to three times per day (mostly at adult meal times).

We have officially stopped tracking what foods Orelia has tried and waiting 3 days between each new food. She eats table food now, and some of it is quite spicy.  She's had things fried in peanut oil and she eats strawberries eagerly - so we're feeling happy about that.  Probably the only high-allergen food she hasn't had yet is egg whites.

I usually mix a fruit puree with plain unsweetened yogurt for her "breakfast" (after a nursing) and she loves it. She eats a pound of yogurt in about two weeks.

We are really proud at what a great eater she has become - both with us feeding her and her feeding herself.

She doesn't seem to "get" sippy cups, yet has mastered drinking out of a straw.  She drinks from her straw sippy cup every day and loves water (just like me!).

I take Orelia out for a stroller ride two to three times a day - usually about 20 minutes each walk.  She plays with her toys or just relaxes while I get a teeny bit of exercise.

We still use the Baby Bjorn carrier a lot, and it's a great way to keep her happy while walking around the farmers market or going for a stroll.

She rides in grocery carts now and sits in high chairs at restaurants.  For some reason, when she's out in the open like this she gets LOTS of attention.  People come up to greet her or compliment her.  Most of the time they are greeted with a big smile, but occasionally there will be a few tears from someone she doesn't like.

We imitate her crazy noises all the time.  A month or two ago she didn't seem to notice, but now her reaction is to stop doing what she's doing and look at us like "Hey!  You're mocking me!"

She "dances" around by wiggling pretty often and absolutely loves it if John and I do it back to her.  Call and response dancing and head shaking is hilarious in our house.

She gets a bedtime bath every night from Daddy, which she likes a lot.  She splashes around quite a bit now and plays with her toys.

She has several adult friends whom she lights up for every time they are near (namely, Natalie and Joyce), and lots of baby friends too.  She loves being around well-dressed Gemma and talkative Ethan.

Just last week we started a weekly Music Together class with some of our mom and baby friends.  She loved the singing, dancing, and instruments, and I'm eager to see how excited I expect her to get as she gets more and more used to the class.  We play the class music on CD for her every day.  John and I constantly have the songs stuck in our heads, so I bet Orelia does too.

She loves playing with toys that make noise - mere rattles or her maraca or shaker egg.  They toys end up in her mouth too, but she likes making music with them even more.

Our sweet girl has maintained her happy and fun personality, and we are thrilled!

She makes us laugh every day and brings so much light into our lives.  This crazy eight month old monkey is a joy.