Friday, January 29, 2010

Lucky | Sleep | Schedule


I have realized I'm lucky now in the sleep department. Whereas a few months ago, Mia still woke up once or twice a night to eat, she can now, five out of seven nights a week, sleep for 10-12 hrs straight. She may go down to sleep between 8 and 9pm and not wake up until 7 or 8am. I know every baby is different, but it does make a huge difference when you are able to sleep more than 4-5 hrs in a row. A BIG difference.
Now, when she is teething, has been sick or just off from traveling, things change, obviously, and it can take a while to get her back on track. Yet our schedule (now that we actually have a schedule) looks something like this:

7:45am Wakeup, suck down a bottle
play
8:30am Eat ≈2-3oz baby food (oatmeal & fruit puree)
play
9-10am Go down for nap, by sucking down another bottle
sleep :)
11:30am/12pm
Wakeup, snack on a bottle
Eat ≈2-3oz more baby food (veggie / fruit, sometimes mixed with oatmeal OR rice)
play, maybe run an errand with ME
2-3pm Go down for afternoon nap, another bottle down
sleep :D
3:30-4:30pm Wakeup, more milk or food snacks (you get the picture)
Hang out in high-chair while dinner food gets made, read books, throw toy after toy on the ground
6pm Watch mom & dad eat dinner, make noises, clap, wave, beg for attention
play
7:30pm Bathtime!! (Mia gets all goofy-excited when she hears the bathwater)
8pm Bedtime
lots of sleep 8-)

Being on a schedule is great. Before I had a baby, or even when Mia was 6 months and under, I wasn't too sure about a schedule. I'm not a time-oriented person myself (family members are scratching their heads right now, asking, "Really??") and I just didn't want to be "tied down" to a schedule. You've probably seen those parents that freak out if it's past 2pm and their child isn't home for a nap, and conversely, those parents who let their child stay up and out much later than you'd think is normal, and the child is fussy or has trouble falling or staying asleep later (and there are some who do not fit on this spectrum at all!). I have found that for us, it is good to be somewhere in the middle. "Flexible scheduling" is what it is called. It may have taken us 7+ months to get there, but hey, I'm just glad we're here.

Lord Willing, if we have another baby, getting on a good schedule earlier on is something I will aim for. That, and seeing if they'll take a pacifier on occasion. Right now, Mia thinks it's a chew toy. And of course, there are other things I'd like to do differently, but those are all for another post.
Instead, I'll leave you with the ever-so-grainy video of Mia crawling. You can thank my cell phone (it was the most readily available video-recording device.)

Mia Crawls from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.



PS: Why I sound like a 9-year old while recording Mia is beyond me. I do hope I really don't sound like that on a regular basis in real life, and if I do, please break it to me gently.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Home what?!

I am very very {blessed} that I have a husband and that Mia has a daddy who is very willing to take care of and watch her when I cannot. Saturday I left in the morning to get my hairs done, and while it took a bit longer than I originally scheduled, Greg didn't bemoan my absence or just wait until I got back to start his Saturday plans. After her morning nap, he got her up, fed her some foods (probably a banana oatmeal concoction), got her dressed, loaded in the car, and they were off to Home Depot.

While I was at the salon, I received these adorable pics on my mobíl:






(Can you see that she's now waving?? So social.)

So not only did he do all that, but he managed to match her outfit (ha!), put a bow in her hair, and remembered to use the shopping cart cover to protect her from nasty germs!

What a guy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Things I love

I've probably started posts like these dozens of times and never finished them, because I'm not sure what direction they'll ultimately end up taking, but I'm in one of those moods where I feel like gushing. So with no further adieu, the most up to date random compilation of things I currently love:

Cloth Diapers. Call me a weirdy, but I love them. We use pocket diapers like Fuzzibunz, Bum Genius and Smartipants. Do the names alone just not appeal to you? They're really quite simple to use, not as gross as people may think, and a 'snap' to take care of. We don't use diaper pins or anything that might pinch or stick Mia. The diapers stay together with snaps or velcro tabs and are colorful and give her booty nice padding.

Here, Mia is modeling a yellow Fuzzibunz circa Halloween 2009.

Little barrettes and bows in Mia's hair. I've found a bowmaker online from whom I've bought several custom made bows. Mia's sporting enough hair now that they'll stay put and it's fun to accessorize her outfits.

Here she is sporting her skulls & crossbones bow, looking very rough and tough. She wore this last Sunday when the Vikings beat...whoever they were playing. It's light purple to boot.

Colors. I love the colors of purple, green, yellow and orange on her. She has plenty of pink, and I do like that as well, but I find the other colors more interesting. A lovely shade of turquoise or teal are quite charming on her skin tone.

This flows into my love of babylegs and cute hats as well. Here, Mia is showing off a combination of both!



And furthermore, I love the website Baby Steals. They have so many amazing deals on there! That is where I've gotten Mia's baby legs, that cute little purple hat, teething bling (cute jewelry your baby can safely chew on!) and a few other things. Basically, I realized I have a short window of time that I can let my creativity be expressed through Mia's style. It probably won't be all that long when she puts her foot down and says, "NO! I don't want to wear that!" or, "I don't like that color!" but for now...Mia is dressing how I'd like to dress if I were a delicious little 8 month old.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is this considered a developmental milestone?

My brothers worked with Mia on this skill over Christmas break. She seems to have perfected it just this very morning at breakfast.

Mia Mimics from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Be Real

RT @ tylerandkaracain.com/2010/01/be-real.html

Be Real.
"Be Real. There is no need to appear as a great pillar of strength, to not let others know that I too have struggles and problems and weaknesses. If people really knew how weak I was, they would never look to me for support. Then so be it. Don't hide behind a gilded layer of superficial piety. Be broken. Be real. Confession is needed, not something to hide or run from. Let go of the pieces of your own identity and let your identity be found in God. Let self be lost - so a new person can emerge... one that is honest, unafraid to be exposed and obviously human. God sent His Son to save such a one." -A. Ortlund

The challenge with keeping a family blog is handling the delicate line between sharing too much and not sharing honestly. I've never meant to be a "all is peachy keen!" sort of blogger, nor do I want to constantly cross the line with people scratching their heads thinking, "I can't believe she said that!" (We've all seen examples of both.) So, I just want to "be real." True to self without sacrificing too much privacy that's just for me and my family or for me and God. Sometimes that may be blasé, or sometimes "the lady doth protest too much." But, it'll be "me."

Here's to being real.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

2009 - What a tremendous year in our family. This has probably been the most exciting year of my life. There have been so many ups and downs (thankfully, more of the former, less of the latter) and my mind has never EVER been so inundated with new information, knowledge and experience, which will hopefully turn into wisdom some day. Earlier in the day I was reflecting on what my day-to-day was like before Mia, and it turns out, I was pretty stinkin' busy. Here's what I used to do:

For the months of January through mid-April of 2009, I:
worked 40 hrs a week as a middle school guidance counselor
was involved in 3 bible studies a week (aside from our normal church-going activities), one a Beth Moore bible study; one a study on Hebrews; and one a study on becoming parents...talk about a bit overwhelming!
went to prenatal yoga 1x a week
attended 2 massively intense childbirth class sessions
put together a nursery and got set up for a baby
redecorated the master bedroom and outfitted the guest bedroom
and took pictures of a growing belly :P

I assure you that my intent in sharing these is not to boast, but more like, what was I thinking?!? I knew when last January when I created my schedule for the rest of my prenatal life (those days were numbered), I'd be mega-busy, but I had no idea just how crazy things would get.

Fortunately, in February of 2009, Greg and I took advantage of Presidents' Day Weekend and got away to St. Augustine, FL. It was just what the doctor ordered. So many had recommended we take a final vacation as just the two of us before the baby arrived, and I'm so glad we took their advice. Even though my legs and hips hurt after walking around St. Augustine the entire weekend, it was worth it to create some final memories of just us, see someplace different, and stay in a lavish hotel. Honestly, it's probably the last time in quite some time we will ever drop that dough for such lodging. But as I say, totally worth it.







I really needed to slow down my life though, with that crazy schedule above, because when state testing took place at my job site in March, the HEAT was on. Probably literally, too. As a guidance counselor, there was a lot of pressure to make sure things were absolutely perfect. There was little room for error. This was indeed, stressful, and I believe contributed to the only pre-term hospital visit I had. At 34 weeks, I had blurry vision and extremely high blood pressure checks and went to the hospital around 11pm one Monday night. They admitted me to Labor & Delivery, monitored the baby, checked some labs, asked me about 5 billion unnecessary questions, also interrogated my choice of a birthing center, and then decided to let me go as I did not display all the qualifying symptoms for preeclampsia, thank goodness. If I had, it's possible I may have had to deliver Mia very, very early. And seeing how tiny a tot she was at her actual birth, who knows what complications she would have been riddled with so early on. So, after that, I spoke to my principal, my assistant principal, and my guidance team, and decided to slow things down. I almost considered quitting early, because there just seemed to be a LOT of stress at work. Yet, I hung on, worked a little over a month, through spring break, worked one more week after that, and called it quits (1.5 weeks before my EDD). I tried to wrap up any loose ends, make notes for my coworkers so they'd know how to handle my business, and said goodbye to my students. It was bittersweet, but I was determined to leave everything in a good spot, and with time to work on my own stuff at home.

I'm very glad I did that as well, because Mia arrived 3 days early and it was well worth it to have everything as much in place as I could have anticipated!

We had the best labor I could have imagined. Alright, I could have done without the throwing up in the early stages of labor, but the day itself was beautiful. It was sunny, breezy, very peaceful and not too hot. I labored at home and at the birth center with a sea of warm and supportive faces. Mia arrived healthily, albeit on the tiny side, and relief and awe washed over me. It was really just the beginning of a much, much more interesting journey. (Mia only a few hours old!)

------------------------------------------


Now, moving on...

If you've ever read The Twilight Saga, which I have, and feel sort of ridiculous for even acknowledging, then you'll understand how in book 2 (New Moon), how life just seems to stop for Bella after Edward leaves. The months following his departure are like a blur, and the author illustrates that by just marking a page for October, November, December, etc. That is how the months of June, July and August felt to me. The month of May was a bit more memorable as we stayed in the hospital for a week with Mia, we had many visitors at home, and then I went back to the hospital myself with that begrudged blood clot, and my mom returned for a week to help. I remember May. But, June, July, and August? Not so much! I know we celebrated Independence Day, drove to TN, bought a Honda Pilot, went to my friend Amy's wedding, and had some other friends and family in town, but that's about it. I was pretty much in the thick of newborn world. In some ways, I miss remembering just what Mia was like, being so small and so uni-dimensional, but in other ways, I don't miss it at all. It was very exhausting at times! Mentally and physically, I had read that it would/could be this way, but honestly, nothing ever prepares you for it all like the real thing.


(I look at this picture of the 3 of us and think, how was I even alive in this picture? I was exhausted...this was the first day my leg started to really hurt--first signal of the blood clot, and I was suffering from the all too common baby blues. Most definitely a pitiful attempt at a smile.)

Fast forward to now. There were also memorable events from September-December, mostly my brother's wedding and traveling up to MN, and then celebrating all the holidays with Mia. It seemed like getting to 5 or 6 months made a big difference with Mia and us. Routines started to fall into place, sleeping habits improved, and she became more independent in some ways. More infant, less newborn. More of her own person, you might say. And we really like her!

Even though some parts of the year were extremely difficult, I don't want that to tarnish one's perception of our entire experience as new parents. It weathered us, seasoned us, and forced us to grow. We are better people for it. We're not perfect, but I think we've become more compassionate, more centered, and hopefully, wiser. We're still have so much more to do and to grow, but we're getting there. As my wise younger bro once said, rehashing a quote from my own father, "We're all on the road to maturity, some just travel there more quickly."

I'm anxious to see what the year 2010 brings. In some ways, I'm very sad to see 2009 go, but in other ways, I can't wait to see what this road to maturity brings us to next!