Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our First Family Hike in California

With the weather warming up a bit, Jane getting bigger, and the REI dividend sale, we decided it was time to take our first hike as a family since moving to California. We chose an area that was a bit out of the way, in hopes that it would be quieter and less trafficked, and an area that we knew was going to be beautiful to spend our afternoon in. The Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve gave us just this.

Located in the hills south of San Francisco, almost to Half Moon Bay, was the Harkins Ridge Trail. It took us high up on ridgelines with ocean views and down into a canyon sheltered by Redwood trees and a gurgling creek. Stunning.

Originally, the hike is about 10 miles and 5 hours long, but since this was our first hike of the season and we arrived to the trailhead a little later in the day, we trimmed it down to about 7 miles and 3.5 hours long. There was also a bit more elevation gain than we had expected, about 1600 feet. Phew. That can get exhausting with a little one.

Jane did really well on her first hike. She made it in the carrier most of the way, until she had had enough and was getting cold. With about 45 minutes of the hike to go and about 1000 feet in elevation, we switched her to the k'tan carrier and mommy carried her rest of the way. As soon as she settled in, she was snug as a bug and took a nap all the way until we arrived back at the car.

I wish I had photos of the redwoods, but there were some computer errors and I lost them. Sometimes technology is frustrating.

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teeth, Toys, and Tomorrow

Jane showing off her new tooth at 6 months old
Big news! Jane cut her first tooth yesterday, and she did it amazingly well. I have to say, our daughter is wonderful. She isn't drooling, but she is chewing on EVERYTHING. She is sleeping and eating well, and other than being a bit more clingy than usual, she's handling turning into a carnivore pretty well. It'll be fun when she starts to use her teeth to explore all the amazing food that is out there to eat, like chicken nuggets and strawberries (my personal favorites).

Now that Jane is sitting up and able to reach and grab for things, I have to be careful where I set her down at and what I set down near her. Before I know it, she has a paper bag and is waving and smashing it around, pleasantly entertained with her new found object. My first instinct is to swap it out with a baby toy that is much more suited for her, like the colorful rings. But hey, she isn't eating the bag and it seems harmless enough. That bag was waved, smashed, crinkled, slobbered on, and played with for half an hour straight.

Jane's first Easter

Cheapest toy ever. Why do we even spend money on toys for her? She seems content with paper bags, clumps of string (knotted and short enough to be safe), Tupperware cups, ribbon, beach balls, mason jar rings, and laundry baskets. Oh and the closet mirror, can't forget the mirror. That is by far her favorite toy because that's where the other little girl lives that she plays with. Note to self, I need to socialize my daughter with more kids than just her reflection.

On to tomorrow, well not really tomorrow, but more like next month. When we moved to the Bay Area, we were quick to find an apartment that met our needs. Now that we've been in the area for a few months, we've had a chance to get to know what we want in a place and that our current apartment isn't meeting all of our needs. Today I received word that an apartment we looked at has become available for May and you know what that means, we're moving again! Much to Dan's demise, I'm making him move one last time this year. Hopefully this apartment will be amazing enough to keep us there for the next few years until life decides to change again with either a baby, a job change, or who knows what.

Until next time!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Things I'd Like to Remember About Having a 6 Month Old

Jane playing with her stacking bowls (6 months)
Tomorrow our little pickle will be 6 months old and even though it seems like some days go by in slow motion, the past half year has flown by us much too quickly. Before it's gone, I wanted to take some time to remember what it's like on a daily basis to have an infant.

1. Breast feeding. The biggest thing to acclimate to was nursing. Most will assume it's the sleeping, but for me, the most important thing to me every day from birth has been breastfeeding Jane. Nothing will compare or replace the bonding and closeness that a mother has with her child while breastfeeding. Those first few weeks were tough, dealing with a crying baby that every time she latched on it felt like I was feeding a lamprey, but every day became a little easier. I secretly didn't believe my midwife when she told me in a few months I'll just be popping her on like nothing. Thank goodness it's much easier and pain free now. My favorite daily routine is nursing Jane to sleep. Looking down at that sweet little face that has drifted off to dreamland will never be forgotten and forever cherished.

2. If you asked me, I wouldn't say that I'm a hippie, but if I step back and take a look at myself, I guess we do live a bit of an "alternative" lifestyle. With babies come diapers, lots and lots of diapers. Being on the budget conscious side of things, we decided that cloth diapers were the way to go. Since that decision, we've become cloth diapering, baby wearing, co-sleeping, elimination communication, paleo eating, milk freezing, bike riding parents. Maybe we should have stayed in Portland!

Right, back to diapers. After shopping at specialty baby stores and comparing so many options, we landed on Thirsties brand diapers. I LOVE these diapers! The diaper covers are super cute, come in a ton of colors, and the diaper inserts are soft and haven't stained once. When she poos, I don't even rinse it off, I just toss it in a bucket of oxi-clean and let it soak until I'm ready to do a load of diapers.

Jane, 1 week old, in her first cloth diaper

3. Cloth Diapers. And speaking of diapers, the amount of laundry is amazing! Every day there is at least one load of wash that needs to be done. Some days there are a few more leaks and blow outs than others, but man, I wonder how I made it through college doing my laundry once a month.

4. Sleeping. Yes, we are proud parents that sleep with our daughter in our bed (aka co-sleeping). It started off due to laziness because Jane's room was downstairs and I didn't want to go up and down those stairs every 2 hours in the middle of the night. From day one, she's slept right next to us, and I love it! Only a handful of nights has she actually cried enough to wake Dan up, and one of those she was vomiting and had a fever. If you're wondering, we do have a crib. It's a very nice crib. And we do use it, I let her play with all the stuffed animals in it while I fold laundry in her room.

Having her sleep with us allows us all to sleep soundly and fairly well. I sleep a lot lighter than I used to, but for the most part now, I wake up enough to move her to the other side of me and alternate throughout the night. Dan, the lucky man, sleeps all night without interruption. How many parents of a 6 month old can say that?

Carrying Jane in the Bjorn during our visit to Point Reyes National Seashore

5. Baby wearing. What is this? It's when a baby is carried rather in a wrap or other baby carrier. Why do we wear Jane? Because she loves it! And we love not hearing her cry. Carrying her is super comfortable in the K'tan and the Bjorn. Wearing her is another way for her to stay attached to us and close to us, knowing that we are always there for her when she needs us. I love resting my cheek on her head and having her relax on my chest. Often times it's the only way I can get her to go to sleep. An added bonus is that it's hands free! Once she's in, I have both hands to do necessary daily activities, like surf Facebook.

6. Talking to myself and Jane all day. I don't know how some Stay at Home Moms are, but I feel like if I don't talk to Jane, the house is much too quiet. Thus I have conversations with her, but I'm mostly just talking to myself. She responds with her coos, gurgles, and other noises, but I still look forward to my husband coming home and the occasional phone call with my mom.

7. Elimination Communication. We've just started this new thing this week. EC is helping your child understand and recognize when they are going to the bathroom. While I was at target this week, I picked up a training potty and I put her on there throughout the day. Over the course of the past few days, we've managed to catch her going tinkle three times already! I'm amazed, shocked, and happy we are trying it.

8. Smiles and laughing. This is the best part of my day, watching Jane wake up, look at me, smile really big, and then let out a giggle. Her laugh is infectious and her smile melts our hearts. When she sees strangers, she smiles. I think she knows how beautiful and special she is.

These past six months have been delightful, and I can't wait to see what the next six months are going to bring. Crawling, walking, talking? Who knows?