6 months 2 weeks

October 28th

October 28th – First ascent of Bear Mountain since getting pregnant over a year ago!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo dump! Emily is getting more mobile every day. She can now sit on her own for several minutes at a time, and can scoot with great agility. She has started getting up into the crawl position and rocking back and forth a bit. No real crawling yet though. She can also support her entire weight while standing, and seems very interested in trying to pull herself up.

October 30th – Missing pieces.

November 2nd – Nom nom keys

We’re getting much better at having a good routine for the day also. Feeding solids, going for walks, and bath time are now basically daily events. I can’t remember why it was so difficult to make sure these three basic elements happened every day, but I think life with a newborn can feel like a blur of naps, play, changing, and feeding. I feel so much more sane now that we have some rituals and structure to hang the day on. The great thing is that Emily enjoys all of these things, which is the most important part. It’s no good to have a ritual that both of you sort of dread. So we’ve been easing into everything, dipping our toes in, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

November 3rd

November 5th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what it is. Parenting involves acquiring heaps and heaps of intuitive knowledge about your specific baby. You go in knowing nothing. But they all have their little preferences, and as their faces get more and more expressive, you get flashes of insight. So, something like bath time can start out confusing for everyone. Baby seems worried. Does that mean the temperature is too hot? Too cold? Am I soaping too fast? Too slow? What exactly can I do to help her relax? It’s unknown, but you try this, and you try that, and eventually you reach this amazing point where you have a baby in a bath tub, looking up at you and smiling, closing her eyes as you pour water over her head, and looking relaxed and happy as ever, and knowing that she knows that soon it will be time for lotion, and then the hair brushing, and then getting wrapped up in a cozy blanket, and then, bed time and sweet dreams. And it takes months to get to this blissful state, but when you figure it out – Aha! The pieces begin to fall into place, and you’ve got another ritual in your pocket.

November 6th

November 6th – Starting to get very chilly outside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So no, there’s nothing inherently difficult about a day in the life of a Mom (or a Dad). Walking. Dressing a baby for the cold. Feeding a baby. This is all incredibly easy stuff. But there’s an art to doing it well. Doing it in a way that feels like you’re on vacation rather than a battle. To be fair, I have one particularly easy-going and generally very happy baby. I don’t want to brag that I’ve got it all figured out, because I know that not all babies are this easy. But, I believe it’s possible to make progress with any little person. Even if your days are generally miserable, there might be just that one or two things that work like a charm, every time. You and your pre-verbal babe are a great team, working on a very big project – the most important project of all. You got this!

November 7th – Starting to look a little bit like Christmas!

November 8th – Emily’s version of vegging in front of the TV.

November 10th – Crouching Emily Hidden Dragon

November 10th – Got a hand-me-down bouncer from another Boulder mom. Excellent! Emily loves this.

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October 2017 – 6 months

October 3rd

October 4th – Zoey has started to like Emily’s play area a lot!

October 5th

Fall is always my favorite season, since it reminds me of running cross country in high school. The crisp air and the smell of rotting leaves always bring a promise of new beginnings, new chances to run fast, study hard, and make new friends or deepen existing friendships.

Boulder doesn’t have much in the way of rotting leaves, but I’m gradually getting used to the fall smells here, and have gathered a few more favorite things that remind me of Fall. Lenticular clouds. Always a chance of snow. Hours and days of gusting wind. Aspen groves turning entire mountain-sides yellow, then orange, then red.

We’re entering Emily’s third season, and she’s now old enough to seem to really appreciate the outdoors (if only for 20 minutes before she falls asleep in the carrier), so I can see we’re going to have lots of Fall adventures!

So much has changed this month – it’s been a real whirlwind. The most significant changes are that she can now sit up mostly unsupported, and she can traverse the length of her play mat using a combination of army-crawl moves and sideways or rotational scoots. This is great, because now she has access to any of her toys, and gets to exercise a little bit more choice over what she wants to play with (and Mommy can be lazier).

She’s also pushing up a little bit into the yoga equivalent of cobra pose (like you’re doing a pushup but keeping your belly button on the floor). Still a bit of work to go there though. I also try to hold her up in the true crawling position for short periods of time. She seems to like it for about 10-30 seconds, but then starts crying. I think her arms are working really hard to maintain this position, so we just do short bursts and stop just a few seconds after she gets frustrated.

Holding her up in standing position is still an exercise in containing a very strong and very wiggly, bouncy, wobbly jelly bean. So she clearly has a lot of strength in her, but I don’t think she fully understands the concept of standing yet! Still, she always seems so thrilled by it, so we keep practicing.

October 7th

Then, last but not least, we’ve begun to introduce her to some solids. So far she’s tried banana, avocado, green beans, orange bell pepper, collards, and zucchini. She just chomps on the pieces of food, and is practicing grasping and shoving into her mouth. I don’t believe she’s swallowed anything (that I can tell), but the point is to get her to practice the manual dexterity. Bananas and avocado are both ridiculously slippery, so this is an extreme challenge. I could see taking weeks to really master those.

 

October 8th

She may just decide the way to do it is to cup her hands and stuff everything in her mouth that way, if grasping proves too slippery. Or she might just smoosh it with her fist and then lick her fingers off. Who knows? She’ll figure something out – they always do. Until then, we’re just going to have messy fun times with food. Next we will probably try carrots sticks and apple slices – hopefully those will be easier to manage. I also made up some purees, so we might do some spoon feeding. At this point though, there isn’t any pressing need to get food into her. She’s still getting plenty of nutrients from her formula.

 

 

 

October 8th – getting chilly already!

October 9th – New toy!

October 9th – So, it snowed today. Yep.

October 10th – One of the great things about having a kid – I get to see the sunrise every day!

October 10th – Alright, she’s moving in…

October 12th – Watching the NASA PIPER balloon launch.

October 15th – Mom is getting back into hiking again, sporadically.

October 16th – All the planets!

October 17th – Crazy lenticular clouds at sunrise.

October 19th – Let the staring contest begin.

October 20th

October 22nd – Emily’s first taste of solid food! But what fresh hell is this?

October 22nd – This is more promising.

October 24th – Time to break out the fleece

October 26th – Yes, Emily is wearing a pair of my socks as booties / leg warmers.

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5 months

Well, hello there. It’s been a while. Here’s another photo dump!

Sept 20th – First visit to the Louisville library story time.

Sept 22nd – Cat!

Sept 22nd – Working extremely hard at sitting up.

Sept 27th – Zoey wants to play too.

Sept 27th – Surrounded by many of her favorite people and things.

Sept 28th

Sept 29th

Sept 30th

Sept 30th – We had a wonderful visit with the grandparents this week!

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4 months 3 weeks – Leaps

Sept 14th – Playing with sensory balls on the tummy time mirror at Mountain Kids gym class

Emily has definitely been leaping this past week! According to the Wonder Weeks she’s going through Leap #4, which is all about Events. It’s hard to describe what an “event” is (isn’t that just, everything that happens? Do newborns really not understand “things that happen”?) Well, apparently, Things Happening is a new concept, and Emily is grappling with it now. It makes sense though, if you watch her carefully and imagine that she’s seeing the world for the first time as being a dynamic place filled with causes and effects, rather than just static snapshots.

 

 

 

 

 

Sept 14th – Doing some arm strengthening in preparation for crawling.

You can see her track objects, grabbing things with more purpose (if not exactly great dexterity yet), and actively moving in order to obtain things that she wants (or getting frustrated when she can’t). Events also take place in her body, which means her proprioception is switching on and she can understand that her body is moving through space and how that feels. The two obvious signs of this that I’ve noticed are 1) when she’s trying to sit up, I can see her making corrective motions when she starts to tip over and 2) Playing airplane is now uproariously fun and involves endless laughter and smiles for miles. Needless to say, this activity also happens to be Mommy’s favorite thing in the world now!!

 

Sept 15th – Action shot!

The other big developments have been: Sitting up (so close!) and the very first tiny scooches along the floor. So ok, I’m jumping the gun. By a lot. This is like, if learning to crawl is a 50 stage process, she’s completed stage #1. While on tummy time with her arms folded in front of her, she pulled her arms closer and scoonched forward by an inch, and it was clearly a massive effort to do so. But hey, is there anything in the world cooler than the fact that your kid has just done something that they have Literally Never Done before?? There will no longer in the history of the entire Universe come a time when this exact Emily Kastens has not yet made a move to crawl. That infinity of past is now done. It blows my mind.

 

Onwards!

 

Sept 16th – Flying baby.

Sept 17th – Working hard

Sept 18th – Sitting up now with just minuscule support.

Sept 19th – First time sitting up with no support! (Mom very close by and ready to catch the inevitable tip-over).

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4 months 3 weeks – Occupational Therapy

Emily is in an early intervention program which is a federally funded program that kids can take advantage of if they were premature or otherwise have developmental issues. At first I was ambivalent about this. It’s hard for me to write this down. Having Emily in a program made it impossible for me to ignore the fact that she was premature, that her birth was traumatic, that yes, all that really did happen. She’s the perfect little human. Our perfect daughter. Anyone who has met her has seen her incredible strength, her bright eyes and brilliant smile. Anyone who has spent more than a few days with her has seen how every day she seems to learn new things. In just the past two weeks she’s suddenly grabbing things with more coordination, starting to push up (straighten her arms) while on her tummy, and her vocabulary has exploded. Oh yeah, plus she’s making almost unbelievable progress in learning how to nap in her crib. She is in a word, amazing. That’s all I ever want to think about.

Sept 10th – This is going to require some deep contemplation. Maybe a nap first.

Louis has done a much better job at “worrying” about the consequences of her history, the hypoxia event specifically. It’s strange to say “a better job at worrying”, right? One of the great coping strategies that I’ve developed over my lifetime, in order to stay sane and get things done, is not letting myself worry about anything unless there’s an obvious reason to. And with Emily there certainly hasn’t been an obvious reason (well ok, there’s the feeding issue, but it’s easy to pin that on reflux plus possibly some scar tissue in her esophagus that’s making swallowing difficult). Except then there’s this: we’re first time parents, we have zero medical training, and even less than zero specifically pediatric medical training. We have no idea what to expect in terms of the developmental timeline or behavior of an infant. Sure, we’d be able to detect if something were obviously wrong. But barring that, it would be so easy to fumble along, letting Emily progress at her own pace, not wondering where she’s falling on the bell curve.

And seriously, who cares about bell curves? That was my guiding philosophy. Children are all so different, and the range of “normal” is incredibly varied. Lord knows I’m familiar with both extremes of the bell curve in my own life! So of course, of course Emily is perfect, no matter how quickly she learns a given task. But I figured something out yesterday during our latest visit with our wonderful occupational therapist. I’d read a facebook post earlier in the day where a mother was concerned that her baby was doing the army crawl instead of the hand-and-knees crawl. Most of the responses were along the lines of “Hey, my kid never crawled, he just went straight to walking, and he’s fine now!” but then an occupational therapist commented saying “Well, actually, it is preferable that they learn to crawl properly, because the cross-body motion really helps their coordination and stability later on”. And it hit me that parents really are forced to do so much guesswork with their children. No one has time to earn seven advanced degrees in childhood development while raising a kid. And for the most part (the species has survived!) guesswork really is good enough. But knowledge is power.

Sept 13th – Tasty giraff

So I asked the OT how we can help Emily progress towards crawling, and she unloaded a pile of incredible strategies and tips, the product of thousands of dollars worth of education, and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scientific research. For free. So my thinking has switched completely, and now I am so incredibly grateful that we have this opportunity to give Emily every advantage she can get, to potentially open even more doors for her. Not that those doors would be locked forever otherwise, but if we can make her future a little bit easier, a little bit more filled with possibility? Oh my goodness! I’m suddenly overflowing with enthusiasm for this whole early intervention thing. So as usual, Louis is lightyears ahead of me in the instinctual knowledge department, but hey, I get there eventually!

I can still comfort myself imagining that Emily suffered no ill effects of her birth. I can still put that in her past and look only towards the future. I think that’s a reasonable thing to do. But now I can dive in with my whole heart and search the ends of the Earth for any “extra help” we can give our daughter. Plus, learning about how brains develop is just fascinating. Win win!

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4.5 months – First trip to the library

Sept 7th – Sleepwalking

Since Emily has been doing such a great job with head stability, we’re trying out front-facing her in the carrier. Results were mixed, and I don’t think this is a permanent change. If only because I can’t tell whether Emily is sleeping when she’s facing out! Generally, she was sleeping, but I don’t think quite as comfortably as usual.

We had our first trip to the library, and checked out a couple of board books. At some point Emily will inevitably latch onto her favorite stories and demand that we read them every night over and over again. But until that point I’m going to take advantage of reading new books for her every day. So this will require many many trips to the library. Fortunately we have one that’s only 10 minute walk from our house!

Today (Sept 11th) I was determined to start doing some “social” events, having discovered the Boulder Family Calendar yesterday. On Mondays at 10:15am there is a board books reading event at the library near our house, so we bravely went to that. Naturally, getting out of the house was an event in itself, so we arrived 10 minutes late, just as the host was finishing reading the last board book (10 minutes is a rather long attention span at this age!) But no matter, we just hung out on the floor chatting with other Moms (and one Dad).

Sept 7th – Books!

It was mostly slightly older kids (crawling and walking, so 8+ months) so Emily was a lap baby, happily absorbing the goings-on. So yeah, we lasted about 15 minutes before it was clearly nap-time for Emily, at which point we briskly shuttled back home.

But hey, it’s a start! Baby steps, as they say. As one wise mum said, for the first year it isn’t really necessary to “socialize” your kids – mainly they just need Mom and Dad. Still, I do think that Emily was fascinated to see other babies, even just for the visual stimulation, so I don’t think it can hurt.

Plus, maybe just a coincidence, she was overstimulated enough by the tiny outing that she slept in her crib for 30 whole minutes later in the day. What?! So it looks like we’re making progress there too, incrementally. I’m now a third of the way through “Precious Little Sleep” but so far there’s been no mention of how daytime activities (like being outside, intensity of play, etc) can effect sleep. But I imagine it does, quite!

Sept 8th – Happy kid!

Sept 9th – I love this picture. For some reason this particular face expression reminds me of a photo of my mom, Grandma Bet.

Sept 11th – Books read to Emily so far (I’m probably missing some)

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4 months 2 weeks – Marg and Phil visit Part 3 – Birthday

Sept 5th – Phil has Emily in stitches

Sept 5th – The birthday gal!

After a day at the Dunes, we had even more reason to celebrate – it was Margan’s 65th birthday! So we had cake and celebrations. A wonderful way to round out the trip!

Sept 5th – Emily helped blow out the candle.

Sept 5th – See, no vampires here.

Sept 5th – I took sooo many, many pictures, and most of them came out blurry. So you’ll have to use your imagination here. Imagine the best cake you’ve ever eaten. I never believed this was supermarket cake! It was too glorious.

Sept 6th – Morning Selfies.

Sept 6th – A quick jaunt in the morning before we had to leave for Boulder.

Sept 6th – That’s all folks! We were so sad to leave, but we had a great trip!!

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4 months 2 weeks – Marg and Phil visit Part 2 – Sand Dunes

Sept 1st – Standy-up girl!!

Sept 2nd – I hope everyone else is as addicted as I am to the cuteness of this sleeping baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept 4th – Taking our time among the cows on the way to Alamosa

For our next adventure, we drove out to Alamosa, CO to meet up with Margan Phil on the last leg of their vacation. This was a giant leap for all of us in terms of stretching our family travel abilities to the max! But I knew we’d create memories to last a lifetime, so we wouldn’t have dreamed of missing out. Could Emily handle a 5+ hour car ride? We would soon find out! I knew it would be “possible” (anything’s possible, right?) even if it meant arriving at 2am. OK, I knew it wouldn’t be that bad, but I was prepared for making many, many, many stops along the way. Strangely, I was almost disappointed that we only made two stops on the way out, because I was enjoying the scenery and being out in the world so much. Maybe next time we can arrange for a crankier baby?!?

Sept 4th – Mountains with Daddy!

The trip was amazing all around, not least because our travel partners seemed to have thought of everything (the perfect rental house in an easily walkable neighborhood of a great city, great food, and laid back expectations). In their working lives, M&P traveled the world, so I guess it’s not surprise that they got it figured out – how to stay sane and have fun while on the road! We’ll have to emulate this as we continue to set out on more family adventures.

On day 2 of the trip (our only full day in Alamosa) we decided to head to Great Sand Dunes National Park – cuz that’s what you do! (Actually, there are plenty of wildlife-watching and nature-walking adventures to be had nearbouts Alamosa, but with just one day, the Dunes are the biggest draw). This was our second time at this particular NP, but our last visit was at the cusp of winter, so I was really looking forward to seeing this wonder of nature in a completely different season.

Sept 5th – Our day at Sand Dunes National Park was characterized by thick smoke that wafted in from the many, many fires in the Western states.

Emily, unfortunately, was not having any of it. We had a rough morning, feeding wise, followed by a truly epic barf (like, Mom and baby in the bathtub levels of barf – I really need to invest in feeding poncho). It was huge. That doesn’t happen very often (maybe five times in her life so far), so I figured something in her little system was out of whack. We never know whether it’s a little tummy bug, or too much gas, or just “I’m having a hard day” (one time was the day after she got a round of vaccines). Either way, it didn’t bode well for a walk over hot and windy dunes.

Rolling with the waves is our specialty though, so we figured we’d take the day one minute at a time and just see how it unfolded, knowing that we could always retreat back to the house (the rental, not Boulder) and have a chill day if Emily truly was sick. It turned out that she wasn’t sick, but the day continued to be one of upheaval for her, so what ended up happening was, after a brief picnic lunch in the shade, Emily went back to the air conditioned space of the car with Louis, to try to catch up on food and naps (both of which she was short on), while the rest of the grown-ups explored the dunes.

Sept 5th – What’s a giant sandbox without water? The kids were loving this cool but not cold shallow stream. Perfect for tiny feet! In the background is Crestone Peak, one of Colorado’s 14,000+ ft mountains (aka “14er”)

As I mentioned to Louis later, I now owe him two epic adventures, since I got to see the total eclipse, and now this! He did insist on both of them, so I can’t feel too terribly guilty, but I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to let him do fun things. I think he really wants to climb a 14er this season, so we’re trying to carve out time for him to do that. Climing a 14er is rather big undertaking though, as you can’t exactly go from couch to 14,000 feet. One needs to do some serious training, and the season is rapidly dwindling. But with some oomph, and dedication, and luck, all things are possible!

I’m not really angling for anything remotely that extreme. My own healing process is taking time, but I think I could quite reasonably hope to climb Bear Mountain (the 8,000+ foot peak right in our backyard) before the year is out. At any rate, the Dunes did not disappoint, but they did teach me that I’m not exactly at my peak physical fitness! It’s always good to be made to eat a humble pie, especially when out in Nature.

 

 

Sept 5th – The happy couple!

Sept 5th – The Dunes!

Sept 5th – Those are real humans, not ants. For scale.

Sept 5th – The epic trudge. This is harder than it looks.

Sept 5th – I initially thought that none of these pictures turned out well, but they do look somewhat better on a full computer screen rather than a little phone screen.

Sept 5th – The great wall of sand.

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4 months 1 week – Marg and Phil visit Part 1

The great-aunt and -uncle from the Eastern Shore of MD came to visit! Here are some pictures. The first part of their CO vacation was in Boulder, so we hung out with them mainly at our house and downtown. I was so impressed at how well Emily did during our outing to Pearl Street. She napped in the carrier while we wandered around, managed to eat some of her bottle in front of the Boulder Court House, and even survived getting passed around the dinner table at a restaurant (Sforno Trattoria Romano – excellent food!) OK, to be honest I guess I’m mostly just proud of ourselves for braving the outdoors and the downtown restaurant scene with a 4.5 month old.

Emily is making such rapid developmental gains that it’s been a whirlwind few weeks and blog posting has fallen by the wayside. But I’d really rather not let it go more than a week – I don’t want to forget all these amazing leaps! I also don’t want our tiny circle of internet followers to get too frustrated by unpredictable updates here. So I’m going to really try to do Sunday updates, at least for year 1.

August 28th – Squishy baby toes.

Before Marg and Phil came to visit, Emily had just started really exploring the range of her voice – both in tone and VOLUME! The screeching is magnificent. I’m sure I will one day take back that statement, but for now it is so wonderful to hear her outbursts of excitement while playing. Then just a couple weeks later, she started experimenting with the “Oh”, “Ah” and “Eh” vowels (those are her particular favorites right now – I haven’t heard much “Ee”s or “Oo”s yet).

There are hints of consonants in there too, enough that Mommy can imagine that she’s actually saying real words. I’m convinced that she’s already said “Hello”, “Milk” and “Hungry”. There’s no way that’s possible though. I mean. Is there? Well, she couldn’t understand what those words mean yet, but they certainly are highly probable words around this house, so why not? I have a very overactive imagination though, and am prone to auditory hallucinations, so the jury’s still out on that. For now!

August 30th – Auntie Marg and Uncle Phil have arrived!

Concurrent to Margan Phil’s visit, Emily also started rolling over onto her tummy – with gusto! She’s unstoppable now. She can stay on her back only so long before flipping, and she seems to prefer sleeping tummy-side-down. We do try, if we can possibly do it without waking her too much, to encourage back sleeping, but it doesn’t always happen. The AAP does say that once they can roll, it’s ok to leave them in whatever position they’re in to fall asleep, as it means that they’re neurologically mature enough now to be able to adjust if they’re not getting enough oxygen. But I’m not buying that (yet). We’ll give her at least another couple weeks of “back to sleep” (unless it makes her falling asleep impossible).

Speaking of sleep, I’ve been reading “Precious Little Sleep” by Alexis Dubief, which is an extremely well-researched book on baby sleep. I joined the facebook group created by the author many months ago, but was finding myself getting lost and confused by all of the member’s questions. So much contradictory advice, huge ranges of what constitutes “normal”, and impossible to piece together a coherent strategy from piecemeal posts.┬áThen there was a pattern of commenters responding with “Dude, just read the book! 99% of all your questions are answered there!” So I figured I should just stop the madness and do that.

August 31st – So … this is still happening. This is a kid with some serious FOMO.

I’m only a quarter of the way through the book, so I don’t have all the magic yet, but we’re working on several things now. The first thing is having Emily in the bassinet in our bedroom all night (instead of being held by Dad until 2am). This has been quite successful, except that I still feel like I wake up 20 times a night for 5 minutes. That adds up to a lot of missed sleep! She doesn’t cry, but she’s just a very noisy sleeper. We tried adding white noise last night, and that seemed to make things much much worse (for me, not for Emily). But we’ll have to experiment with that before ruling it out.

The other thing I’m “working” on (more like “flailing at”) is getting her to sleep in her crib during the day. So far, she will only do that for nap #1 of the day (6am to 7:30am). Anything beyond that has been an epic fail, so I will have to read on.

August 31st – Hellooo!

August 31st – At The Cup on Pearl Street

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4 months

Another photo dump. It’s been a busy week! I started off on Sunday by driving to Alliance, Nebraska to catch the total solar eclipse. We weren’t planning on going anywhere, since we couldn’t get a last-minute cat sitter, and after all the planning involved in the camping trip, we didn’t have the logistical energy leftover for planning an eclipse trip.

August 19th – More sleep playing.

August 20th – Hello there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Especially since it would have either required making hotel reservations back in June (nothing but pure survival was on our radar that far back) or doing another camping trip. But even then, I’m sure the campsites were booked months ago too. So the night before, around 7pm, we were discussing going to downtown Boulder to attend an eclipse-viewing event there. That was when FOMO started hitting me VERY HARD. I’m not usually susceptible to such things, but it came out of nowhere and I started getting a bit depressed thinking about being so close to totality, a once-in-a-lifetime event, and not making the effort to see the eclipse in its full glory. I had to go!!!

August 21st – Carhenge, Alliance, NE for the 2017 Total Eclipse

August 21st – Using a saltine cracker to view the partially eclipsed sun

So by 8pm, I was frantically packing the car, planning to drive out there overnight, sleep in the car once I got to Nebraska, and then driving back right after the eclipse so that I’d be home in time for Emily’s Dr.’s appointment the next day. After a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up 24 hours worth of food and water (apples, bread, cherry tomatoes, mini carrots, peanut butter, and granola bars) I was on the road by 9pm. I got to Alliance, NE around 2am and bought eclipse glasses from a guy selling them at a gas station. I then managed maybe 2 hours of sleep in my car. I hadn’t banked on sleeping in the car being quite so difficult! So around 5:30 I gave up and went to the gas station again for a quick pit stop. It was good that I got such an early start to the day though, because it meant that I was able to easily find parking up by Carhenge (for $30!). Luckily I had cash. Amazing how many aspects of this insane last-minute trip worked out despite my complete lack of planning.

The eclipse itself did not disappoint. All of the hype is 100% justified. It was incredible, utterly magical, impossible to describe. Have you ever been in a crowd of hundreds of people, all cheering and gasping and applauding and shouting “Oh my God”, over an astronomical event? Probably not unless you’ve seen a total eclipse of the Sun. It’s that ridiculous. Unlike seemingly everyone else, I was at a loss for words. All I could do was stand there hyperventilating with one hand over my heart and another over my mouth and tears streaming down my face. I don’t know why. But I was so grateful to be there, in the path of this otherworldly shadow traversing the continent at around 2,000 mph, surrounded by other eclipse nuts, science nerds, astronophiles, bucket listers, and also just regular folks who might have thought the hype was overblown but were dragged along by family or friends. 10 out of 10, would do again!

August 21st – Shadow of the moon sweeping in from the Northwest

August 21st – The diamond ring! Totality of the eclipse.

The next day, after a 9 hour drive home, we took Emily to her Dr. appointment during which we discussed at length how Emily seems to be having tremendous difficulty with bottle feeding. When she’s asleep, she can chug 6 ounces easily (thanks to the sucking reflex, she can eat while dreaming). But awake, the level of disorganization in her sucking and swallowing is quite bad. She cries, and arches her back, and turns her head every which-way. When she’s not doing that, she’s chewing on the nipple, or making very loud noises when swallowing, pushing air back into the bottle, and dripping massive amounts of milk down her chin. It’s not a good scene.

August 23rd – I’m too cool for school.

August 24th – Emily’s so good at grabbing hold of things now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve also been working with an occupational therapist who has given us a truck-load of strategies and tips for helping her get more organized, stronger, more aware of her oral position, and calmer. No progress or improvement as of yet, so we are going to get her an appointment to get a full suite of diagnostic tests. My hunch is that there might be some physiological barrier, given how exceptionally hard she has to work to eat while awake, and the loud swallowing / gulping /popping noises that happen. Why this doesn’t happen when she’s asleep, I don’t know!! It’s a tough nut to crack, but we’ll get there..

August 25th – What’re you lookin’ at?

August 26th – Tummy time at the Farmer’s Market!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now. Feeding difficulties haven’t stopped us from continuing to have lots of adventures though! We can easily go out in the mornings between feeds (bringing milk just in case, of course! In a pinch, I could feed her anywhere, but I like a more controlled environment when possible). Still, I feel like once she is finally eating with pleasure and without trouble, anything else is going to seem easy! Teething? Potty training? Tantrums? Bring it on. Hahaha, I feel like nothing will phase us, because we’ll be able to say “Hey, at least she can eat her food!”. I know, I’m dreaming. Parenting does not have any easy roads, or shortcuts. It is what it is. The fact that we are taking this all in stride, and still enjoying, cherishing every moment and finding things to laugh about and rejoice – I think that’s the key. Onwards!

August 27th – Ready for anything.

August 27th – Practicing sitting up against mommy.

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3 months 3 weeks

Time for another photo dump. I’m sure one day I’ll figure out how to align photos in wordpress properly. Until then, enjoy the chaos!

August 12, 2017

August 13, 2017

August 14, 2017

August 15, 2017

August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017 – Just starting to push herself up on her elbows!

August 17, 2017 – Wow, just one day later she’s got her arms positioned much better for support.

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3 months 2 weeks – camping!

It was getting chilly already, long before dark. Thunderstorms coming!

Yesterday we took Emily on her first camping trip! She seemed to really enjoy being outside, watching the trees, listening to all the new sounds, etc. We stayed at Kelly Dahl campground, between Nederland and Rollinsville. The campground is beautiful, well maintained, and close to civilization. That’s the one drawback I guess – you could hear cars on CO 119 just a quarter mile away, and lots of trains came through just one mile away in Rollinsville. Still, in the middle of the night it was still quieter than Boulder, so we were clearly “getting away” in a real sense.

There was rain in the forecast, but it barely got in the way of fun. It started to rain just after we’d set up the tent and before we went back to Nederland for dinner, and then it rained a bit in the middle of the night. But after that it cleared up enough to see stars.

We spent one night at the campsite and drove back down the next day, counting the trip a success, even though the grown-ups only got about 2 hours of sleep (I think Louis might have gotten a bit more). So it was a really quick jaunt up into the mountains, all told, but still so worth all the effort and planning and preparation! And indeed, there was a hefty amount of that. Surely, our next camping trip might be a bit quicker to organize.

Ready for a night under the stars!

Someone remarked that we were “brave” to take on a trip like this with such a little one, but I think the hardest part was really the logistics, and the research, and the ordering of outdoorsy stuff for a tiny human, most of which we did not use (the sunblock, hat, and shades for instance – although those will come in handy some day).

By far and away the best purchase was four (4!) different sleepsacks for Emily. I’m in love with all of them – so cozy! One is fuzzy and fleecy, one is luxuriously silky and padded, one is a “winter weight” quilted, and another is extremely poofy and looks warm. So we had lots of options for keeping her warm by layering any number of these (plus backups if she barfed on one).

The irony, I guess, is that the thing that prevented me from getting any sleep was still hovering over her imagining that she was getting hypothermic (it got down to 46F overnight). She was fine. She was sleeping like an angel. Yet still, I couldn’t rest!

Food time

I think the altitude was getting to Emily. So groggy!

The grownups went to Backcountry Pizza for dinner. We’ll save campsite cooking for when we’re ready to rough it just a bit more.

The headlamp family. Emily needs a little headlamp though!

So peaceful…

Zonked out in her cardboard box, complete with socks as arm warmers. Her mittens did arrive from Amazon the day we left for the trip, of course! Next time…

Sunrise

My best good morning face after 2 hours of sleep.

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