Thursday, October 12, 2017

Holland | Six Months

Holland is six months old!  This is about the time I start breathing into a paper bag as I realize she's now closer to one year than a newborn.  I blinked and here we are.  She continues to make life incredibly interesting, absolutely crazy, and perfectly complete.  I love how her presence has changed our family dynamic and she's allowed me to love Jude & Sloane in a completely new and different way.  Word to the wise - Do not ask me what I think about having a third child because I will talk your ear off on how you must do it too. ;)

Holland had her six-month check-up today and I found out she's not only large but also really tall!

Holland's stats at six months...
Weight: 19 lbs (91%)
Height: 28" (99%)
Head: 17" (71%)

Holland doesn't miss a meal, which is obvious when you look at her chubby cheeks and roly poly arms.  And her legs absolutely kill me, they are so chunky!! Breastfeeding continues to go well and just a few days before she turned six months we gave her cereal for the first time.  She was absolutely thrilled as she's been intently watching the rest of us eat for the last month or so.  It was a huge mess and a bit like Cookie Monster (I'm not sure how much food actually went/stayed in her mouth) but she was so excited to finally join the rest of us at the table.  My plan is to make her baby food as I did with the twins - we'll see how it goes!

I haven't pumped much at all with Holland because we're always together and there hasn't been a need.  However! I'm leaving for Charleston this Friday so I started pumping last week to fill the freezer in my absence.  I was nervous she wouldn't take a bottle of thawed milk but we did a test run today and she did just fine.  Whew!

Holland is quite the charmer.  She absolutely adores attention and will smile at anyone who looks her direction.  And her smile is so sweet.  I'm constantly holding her and whenever we're in a public place the person behind me starts talking about what a happy baby she is.  The attention used to surprise me but now I'm used to having the world's biggest flirt in my arms.

She is all over the place these days.  Whether it's rolling or scooting, if she sees something she wants she will get to it.  I think we're a couple months away from crawling but she's so strong she may surprise us all.  She's also sitting up on her own but I use that term loosely as her back is only straight for a few seconds before she slumps forward and uses her arms to hold herself up.  It still surprises her when she sits on her own and oftentimes the shock alone is enough to knock her off balance.

She's also incredibly LOUD.  She's by far the most vocal of our kiddos and has the lowest, loudest voice.  She starts chatting away and can be heard over a room full of people.  Bless her.

Michael has gotten her to wave a few times but no words just yet.  She is absolutely a daddy's girl so I have no doubt "dada" will be her first word.

What has been a sore subject for months... continues to be a bit of a sore subject.  What makes it so frustrating is she'll have a great night of sleep followed by a night of waking up every two hours ready to eat.  It's perplexing and exhausting but we're hoping it becomes more consistent this month as we attempt to let her cry it out.  I'll be the first to admit I typically pick her up and feed her because it's quick and a sure way to get her back to sleep fast but the last few days we've started patting her back and not picking her up.  The first night was a disaster and the second night went much better.  Here's hoping for restful nights for everyone in month seven.

We moved to a new house this month, which wrecked any sort of schedule I'd established with Holland.  What used to be a two minute commute to MDO, ballet, and gymnastics is now 10-12 minutes, which is just enough time to put her to sleep en route.  She was back in the pack n play for a week while we moved/painted her room so when she finally reunited with her crib she was all smiles - it was hilarious.  She scratched the sheet and smiled at the bars like they were an old friend.

I'm not sure we'll ever be on a strict schedule like we were with the twins because life is a little bit crazy these days and the only way to be consistent is to stay home all day.  Not a chance.  She rolls with the punches pretty well and when she doesn't get enough sleep she's perfectly happy as long as she's in someone's arms.  I can't decide if she'll be an early walker because she wants to keep up with Jude & Sloane or extremely delayed because she adores being held.  It will be interesting to see!

Her hair is thickening up and appears to be dark blonde/light brown.  It's hard to tell since her dark hair from birth still remains.  Her eyes are a deep blue and her skin has lightened up quite a bit.  Friends say she looks like Michael or Jude, though she's had a few pictures/faces that resemble big sister.  I look at her and see a completely new face - one that doesn't really resemble anyone else in the family.

Michael wrote Jude & Sloane's six month letters so in keeping with tradition he wrote a letter to Holland as well!  He couldn't love them more.  :)

* * *

Dear Holland,

As I sit down to write, your infectious smile is the first thing that comes to mind.  Generally, when you meet someone, you take them in for a moment and then you give them the biggest smile you can, which is every one of your smiles.  If you see a family member from across the room, you'll smile until they turn your direction.  Should someone be holding you while this happens, you use all your energy to smile and stand as straight as possible before you collapse and burrow down into your holder's shoulder.  

You always want to be in the middle of it.  What it happens to be is irrelevant.  You want to be where the action and the people are.  We used to lay you down with toys or put you in your jumper so that the rest of us could eat dinner.  Exclusion was not your style.  The first time we put you in your high chair at the table with the rest of us, you smiled alternatively at each family member for the entire meal.  

You love your brother and sister.  If they walk in the room, they immediately have your full attention.  We can tell you want to follow along and play so badly!  Enough so that I wouldn't be surprised if you walked earlier than either of the twins.  In return, they adore you.  Sloane likes to be the first into your room in the morning so she can show you whatever she's playing with or put on a show for you while in your crib.  Jude is your partner at dinner.  He sits close to you and makes sure you stay happy and retrieves any toy you may drop during the meal.  

Holland will be heard!  You don't know what you're saying yet, but you say it repeatedly and with vigor.  It's a bit like a comedy bit that doesn't know when to finish.  You'll yell and people think it's cute or funny.  Then you keep going and it can get to be a bit much.  Then when you continue to talk and yell to no one in particular, it becomes funny again.  

Just when we were settling down into how life would be, you came in and rearranged everything.  You're only six months old and already living in your second house!  We didn't know our family was incomplete until you arrived.  You've had so many positive imapcts upon our little crew and we're so grateful you came along to shake up the balance.  We're so excited to learn what's next!

Love - Dad

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Holland | Five Months

Five months!  One whole hand of months!  I feel like I just wrote Holland's four month post, which is pretty accurate because I was so late with it.  This time I was determined to be punctual! (Can you tell two of my three kids are now in school?)

This was a huge month for the two of us.  I finally feel like I know my daughter.  I think most moms feel like this a month or so in.  Me?  I'm pretty dang slow to figure my babies out.  I'll never forget when one of my friends heard her daughter cry and said, "Oh, that's her hungry cry."  There's a hungry cry?  It's different from a sleepy cry?  I thought babies just cried.  

But now I understand.  While I'm still not sure I believe there are different cries (hmm), I know how she likes to be held when she's tired, I know she hates to wake up on her stomach but also sleeps the best that way, I know she's never going to eat well if someone else is in the room (especially daddy - she only has eyes for him).  It's the best feeling.  Holland Claire, you're just the best!

This has been a big month of eating.  And I don't mean big changes, I just mean she still loves to eat all of the time.  In fact, I'm going to admit it right here & now... we don't do the Eat/Play/Sleep routine.  We do the Eat/Play/Eat/Sleep/Eat/Sleep routine.  I should be ashamed of myself but at the moment it's what's working best for both of us.  She hates to be put down awake in her crib so I have two options:  I can let her cry and check on her every minute or I can feed her before she naps and she's out like a light.  I consistently choose door two.  Mama needs a break.  

She's now wearing size 3 diapers and 6-12 month clothes.  It's still warm in Texas but most of her 6-12 month clothes are for fall so we have a select number of outfits that are on constant rotation.

Holland had her first cold a week ago and it made eating (and sleeping) pretty hard.  Her poor nose was so stopped up.  She handled it like a champ and is feeling much better.

Holland is so curious right now.  She loves to people watch and is so content just sitting in my lap and watching the world in front of her.  When we go to ballet & gymnastics she is happy as a lark with all of the commotion and attention.  Yesterday I took her grocery shopping while the kids were in school and she was fascinated with the balloons at the checkout counter.  She has a squeal that (unfortunately) sounds a bit like a witch's cackle, very much like her big sister.  And, funny enough, Sloane can get her to laugh more than anyone else in our house.  The sister bond is intense between those two and it is absolutely precious to watch.  

She really loves bouncing in the exersaucer and prefers it over the playmat.  After staring at the ceiling fan for the last few months she was more than ready for something new.  She can't sit up on her own but her core is getting much stronger and I don't think it'll be too much longer.  And while she's nowhere close to crawling, she pushes her legs against the ground and inches herself to where she wants to be.  

She is such a great mix of her siblings.  Jude was our happy baby and Holland is very much the same.  If she's crying it's because she's by herself or has been in the car longer than she would like.  Otherwise, she's all smiles for family and strangers alike.  Sloane was our curious baby and from a very young age you could see the wheels turning in her head.  Holland does this as well - future engineer like her Uncle B, perhaps?  

Meh.  I should stop including this category for now.   Holland is just now starting to take longer naps during the day.  Yesterday her morning nap lasted an entire 90 minutes and I checked her breathing about 12 times.  Nights have been inconsistent as well.  She wakes up at least once a night, sometimes twice, sometimes (dear Lord) thrice.  I know this is temporary and I'm trying so hard to savor those late night feedings.  I'm so tired most days but my goodness she is sweet.

This past week she has consistently slept on her belly.  She's so angry when she wakes up and is positioned this way but it doesn't stop her from immediately rolling over the second I put her in her crib.  Other than the occasional nap on our bed or in the car, all of her sleep occurs in the crib.  We're moving in a few weeks and I'm curious to see if the new room will affect her sleep at all.  

Lastly, the pacifier seems to be a thing of the past.  She never showed much interest in it but now it's rarely used.  She occasionally sticks her thumb in her mouth when she's really tired but never for more than a minute or two.  

Dear Holland.
My sweet little sidekick, I can't believe you're five months old.  You are at that perfect age where your personality shines but you're still not mobile.  It doesn't get any better than that - ha!  Now that the big kids are back in school, you and I have had a few days to ourselves and I think it's perfect for both of us.  Neither of us care to be alone so we definitely have each other's backs.  

One of the biggest differences between you and your siblings is how much I hold you.  I wasn't able to hold your big brother or sister much but you are on my hip or strapped to my chest constantly.  The second I put you down your face says it all... Not acceptable, mom.

We're still trying to figure out who you look like.  Most say you're a good mix of your siblings and/or favor your dad.  Your hair continues to come in slowly but surely.  It's so soft and looks to be a light brown.  No teeth yet but you're quite the drooler and your hands or feet are in your mouth constantly.  It'll be interesting to see if one pops out in the next month or so.  

You are quite the chatty Cathy.  Your dad and I laugh at your constant stream of "words," even when you're alone in your nursery.  Your smile is the sweetest and you're so generous with it.  Strangers are drawn to you and you can't get enough of it.  We've had lawn guys and painters over at our home and these macho men have all turned to mush thanks to you.  

Holland, we can't get enough of you.  Your dad and I know how fast these early months go and we have both tried to make every moment count.  You bring us so much joy and I get so excited when I think about all the fun times ahead.  I adore you, sweet girl.

Love - Mom


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