7 Months with Stella

This past month brought more major changes, as Stella and I ended our stint in Korea. We traveled back to Seattle, where we are waiting on Bobby to finish up his remote assignment. Although the first 5 or 6 days back took some adjustment, the Bean did so well and got back on her schedule of sleeping 12’ish hours a night.  She also adjusted to sleeping in a *real* crib and particularly loves the mobile above her bed.  This month, Stella sprouted her first tooth, figured out how to sit up for a few seconds at a time and started saying her first word – “ma-ma” – to my delight and Bobby’s dismay (ha!).  She continues to love bath time and tried a few new foods this month – peas, green beans, apricots and mango. She didn’t love the peas, but doesn’t mind when I mix them with other foods. :)

It’s sad to say, but Bobby and I didn’t do much for Christmas this year. It was Stella’s 1st Christmas, but we wanted to wait until we got back to the States to get her any new toys or large items. I figure she didn’t know the difference just yet, but I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.  She did have some cute holiday attire though, so we just did a few photo shoots to commemorate the event.

Gearing up for Christmas

Gearing up for Christmas

On Christmas Day, the guys had the day off and Bobby’s office decided to spend it at the bowling alley.  There wasn’t a whole lot to do on base, so we figured “why not”?  We had a great time and Stella really enjoyed watching all the commotion around her.  I didn’t get a photo, but her friend baby AJ was in attendance too.

Bringing holiday cheer to the bowling alley

Bringing holiday cheer to the bowling alley

However, Stella and Baby AJ did get a photo shortly after Christmas in their matching bear suits.  It’s crazy to think that she was actually that small at one point. (Actually, she was even smaller!)

Twins!

Twins!

Baby it's cold outside!

Baby it’s cold outside!

Before leaving, Stella had a last minute date with her best bud Ollie.  We took a trip to Lotte Mart (Korean “Target”) and indulged in some donuts.

We wore the little people out.

We wore the little people out.

Stella worked on her muscles by sitting up in her chair and playing in a borrowed activity center.  The activity center ended up being a huge hit, so Mimi bought Stella one when she returned to Seattle. The thing is like a Bentley; it has all the bells and whistles a little one could want. She has flashing flights, music, 4 toys and has figured out how to rock back and forth and turn in circles. We’ve created a maniac!

Calling the shots from her executive chair

Calling the shots from her executive chair

She was a bit overwhelmed at first and played so hard she lost her sock

She was a bit overwhelmed at first and played so hard she lost her sock. (This is the borrowed play gym)

Check out those lights. She's enthralled.

Check out those lights. She’s enthralled. (The new version).

The activity center causes all kinds of great faces.

The activity center causes all kinds of great faces.

She used her last few days in Korea to spend time on her beloved play mat, since we didn’t have room for it in our suitcase.

Happy girl!

Happy girl!

Dad played dress up with Stella at Lotte Mart.  I think we have a fantasy film mini-fan in the making.

One tough girl.

One tough girl.

Of course, we took a few last walks with our friends Stephanie, April, Beth and Ollie as well. Stella continues to love her car seat and long walks in the stroller.  Soon we are going to have to get a convertible car seat though, as she is getting too heavy to carry in the infant seat!

Ducks lips!

Ducks lips!

DND...I'm growing (and dreaming about something sweet!)

DND…I’m growing (and dreaming about something sweet!)

She's up to something....

She’s up to something….

Baby blues

Baby blues

We also enjoyed some bath time snuggles the night before we left Korea.

:)

:)

And we were super sad to have to say bye to Dad at the airport. I like to think of it as a “see ya later” instead.

So long Dad! Catch ya on the flip side!

So long Dad! Catch ya on the flip side!

Stella was really excited to see Mimi and Granddad in Seattle though. Even though she only slept about 4 hours (out of the 10) on the flight, she was all smiles and laughs for her grandparents. We spent the next few days getting on the right time zone, playing in the bath and examining her new toys.

Mimi was happy to see the Bean!

Mimi was happy to see the Bean!

Happy girl in the bath

Happy girl in the bath

And she reads like her mama in the bath

Taking after her mama

Poor octopus can't get out of Stella's death grip

Poor octopus can’t get out of Stella’s death grip

She loves her new crib!

Nap time in her new crib

We also had the pleasure of seeing Aunt Debby.  Unfortunately, we got together to watch the Seahawks play and they lost.  I keep telling myself that there’s always next year…..

Go Hawks!

Go Hawks!

Stella came home to a whole new closet of clothes that now fit her, so she got to wear a new outfit almost every day for Mimi and Grandad. The downside of that means that she is growing WAY too fast. We have several drawers of things she can no longer wear. :(

Look, I can fly!

I can fly like dad!

<3

<3

Day 4 of her activity center and having a blast!

Day 4 of her activity center and having a blast!

My new bashful fox sweater

My new bashful fox sweater

We are continuing to work on Stella sitting up.  At her 6 month appointment, the doctor said that she should be able to sit for a couple seconds by herself.  She technically *can*, but it’s not consistent and really likes to fling herself backward or falls over to the side. When she does sit on her own, she uses the “tripod” stance to keep her torso up.

Big girl sitting up on her own

Big girl sitting up on her own

7 month photo shoot. No hands, mom!

7 month photo shoot. No hands, mom!

Studying her shoes, her newest fascination

Studying her shoes, her newest fascination

Tired from all that sitting up

Tired from all that sitting up

All dressed up with no where to go (well, we did go out for Stella's birthday lunch!)

All dressed up with nowhere to go (well, we did go out for Stella’s birthday lunch!)

She continues to grow at an alarming rate. Stella is drinking 24-28 oz of milk a day and 4-6 oz of fruits/veggies two times a day (morning and evening). It’s crazy to think that she was barely on the growth chart when she was born and now she’s almost in the 70th percentile for weight.

7 months!

7 months!

Stella’s Half Year Birthday

She really likes the seat

We made it!  I’m not going to lie; I feel like these past six months have been the longest of my life and we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  This past month, we have seen some major improvements and hit some big milestones.  First off (…drum roll please….), Stella started sleeping through the night!  She generally makes it 10-13.5 hours without waking and when she does wake, she is able to self-soothe and go back to sleep quickly.  Some nights are better than others, but this is a huge leap from waking every 4 hours. She also started rolling all over the place.  She has rolled from her tummy to her back since she was itty bitty, but just started consistently rolling from her back to belly.  She even stays on her belly for a bit, especially if the iPad is on and she can watch some animated tunes. We introduced solids this month as well and it’s been fun to see Stella’s food preferences. I think all of this has led to a happier baby.  She actually laughs most of the day instead of crying, which is making this mama jump for joy!… [Read More]

Stella Turns 5 Months

LOVE!

This month was not one of huge milestones, but rather, subtle changes that no one other than Bobby and I would probably notice. Her sounds got a little more developed.  She now tracks toys and movement like a pro, often getting upset when we walk out of the room.  I suppose she feels abandoned, although we constantly reassure her we are coming right back. :) Stella certainly recognizes our faces in a crowd and often grumbles or coos to get our attention.  She is still fascinated by the television and we regularly show her animated nursery rhymes on a loop via YouTube. She loves the bright colors and songs…. [Read More]

Stella is 4 Months Young

I love seeing my feet from above

This past month has been really fun and really trying at the same time.  The first two weeks, Stella was happier than she had ever been.  There was minimal fussing, she slept 10-11 hours with only 1 wake up and she seemed to be getting over the colicky hump.  She hit several important milestones and I was feeling somewhat accomplished as a mom.  I could finally make my baby smile…and even laugh!  The second two weeks, however, I felt like we took a pretty large slide backwards.  Stella entered into her “4 month sleep regression,” which meant that for several nights she woke up every 1-2 hours.  On top of that, she was even fussier than normal, which on the scale of 1-10, her crying, out of control behavior reached about a 12.  No matter what we did – fed her, put her in the swing, played with her – she cried.  The only thing that seemed to calm her down was taking walks, which was very similar to her behavior in her first 8 weeks of life.  I will say I’m really happy that we witnessed that Stella could in fact be a happy baby, although it made the bad days seem that much worse…. [Read More]

The 4th Trimester is (Finally!) Over – Stella is 3 Months

Working on a dimple

I realize that the title may take some of you off guard.  I feel like sometimes I’m wishing my child’s life away when the days are hard, hoping that the next day, next week or next month might be easier.  Several people have told me the “4th trimester” is the most difficult and I can only hope so. :) I think the first three months are the hardest for a lot of parents for several reasons – 1) there is a steep learning curve 2) you suffer from extreme fatigue 3) the baby’s systems (digestive, sleep cycle, etc.) are all maturing / getting sorted out and 4) mom’s hormones are still raging.  The good news is, I can definitely see improvements with Stella over the last month.  She is becoming much more interactive, which makes parenting very rewarding and fun and although she still cries a considerable amount, her acid reflux is under control and I know it’s not a cry of pain, but instead just her way of communicating…. [Read More]

Our Korean Adventure Begins!

The Koreans' simulator building

At 10 weeks, Stella finally started feeling better.  We changed her acid reflux medicine to first-omeprazole/Prilosec, which is a bit stronger and ended up working a lot better.  She seemed to finally calm down and I felt good enough about it to make the plunge (i.e. agree to take an infant on a 14 hour plane ride across the Pacific to go see dad).  I heard a lot of “wow, you’re brave” and “that’s crazy” and “that’s a really long flight,” all of which I can understand.  However, as a military family, you have to be willing to do some things that aren’t incredibly easy.  I’m not going to lie….  I gave myself a lot of pep-talks and told myself that if the flight went absolutely terrible, it was only one day of my life.  I was pretty terrified that I was going to be on a flight with a screaming baby for who knows how long and everyone was going to hate me.  However, I put on my big girl pants and I got all my paperwork in order to take the military “rotator” or “Patriot Express” (great name, right?) from Seattle to South Korea…. [Read More]

Stella’s First (mini) Road Trip – Mount Rainier

It was a little windy, so we didn't get a perfect reflection.  Beautiful nonetheless...

Although we live in West Seattle, I would still consider Mount Rainier a road trip when it involves an infant. In the last week of our Seattle stay, before “moving” across the pond to Korea, my mom, dad, Stella and I drove down to Mount Rainier National Park.  We decided to do the scenic loop of the park, entering at the northeast corner on 410, passing by the Reflection Lakes, visiting Paradise (yep, it’s a place!), and exiting at the southwest corner before heading back home.  When it was all said and done, we were gone for 8 hours and drove about 225 miles.  Stella was an absolute trooper and had her first diaper changed in the trunk.  (We have since perfected that technique)…. [Read More]

Maternity Photos

Stella bean

I must admit, when I first started searching for a photographer for maternity photos, I felt a little silly.  Most people get maternity photos with their significant other and since Bobby was (and still is) in South Korea, I was worried I’d look a little silly having them taken by myself.  After thinking about it for a while and even posing the question to the photographer, I realized these were keepsakes I wanted to have for years to come.  What if I forget what I looked like pregnant or what if I never have another child? I also figured it would be pretty cool to show Stella what she looked like in mom’s belly.  So, I got over my insecurities about feeling a little strange, about feeling really swollen and big and decided to do it anyway. And turns out, I’m so glad I did. :)  Thanks again to Meredith Dickens for the photographs. These were taken at 34 weeks and I gave birth to Stella at 38 weeks and 5 days…. [Read More]

Documenting Stella’s Birth

Weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs and 11.2 oz!

When I told the story of Stella’s birth, I believe I mentioned we had professional photos taken along the way.  After doing an internet search and finding out several of my hometown friends recommended her work, I hired Meredith Dickens to document my pregnancy via maternity photos (see next post) and take photos of Stella’s birth and as well as her newborn photos.  After seeing the final product and working with Meredith three different times, I HIGHLY recommend her for anyone seeking truly professional work in the Ashland, KY area.  She spent about two hours on my maternity shoot, came to the hospital at 1am to shoot the birth in action, even returned the next day to capture Stella’s first bath and spent almost 5 hours at my parents’ house taking Stella’s newborn shots.  In hindsight, I was even more thankful for the photo documentation since Bobby missed Stella’s birth.  They are truly keepsakes we will treasure for years to come.  Since I already wrote about the birth, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:… [Read More]

Stella Wren – The Growing Pains of Being (Almost) 2 Months Old

Someone still thinks she's in utero - 2 weeks old

Everyone says having a baby changes your life and I’m a total believer now.  Stella has been the best thing to ever happen to us, but also the most difficult endeavor we’ve ever taken on. I thought that the actual birth process was hard, but in comparison to the next (now almost) 8 weeks, the birth was a piece of cake…. [Read More]