Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happiest Boy

**I wrote this update for our family blog, but I thought I would post it here as well. :)

I am obsessed with this child.  He is my favorite.  His colic is completely gone--it took just about six months for him to totally get over it--and he is a delight to spend all day every day with.  I finally love being a stay-at-home mom!!  As much as I loved my baby all along, it was an adjustment to be home with a screaming infant.  I've heard from lots of other new moms that the first few months can be the toughest, and I'd have to agree.  Noah will be seven months old this week, and he has gotten so interactive.  I think this age is the funnest yet, and I am savoring every moment.

Noah is my little buddy.  We hang out all day, and he loves to watch me as I prepare dinner or work in the kitchen (especially when I dance for him, and really, who can blame him for that?).  This is his favorite spot, on the carpet just outside the kitchen, so he can see me no matter where I go in the apartment:

He still isn't crawling, but he is getting darn close, and I think his new "mobility" is part of the reason that he's gotten so happy.  He isn't bored anymore.  He doesn't have to scream and whine every five minutes in order to be moved or entertained. He can spend 30 minutes rolling back to front, front to back, over and over again, all over the room (this new habit makes it interesting to change diapers).  If he wants to get to a toy, he sorta rolls/scoots himself over to get it.  I am loving this stage because he is mobile enough to entertain himself, but not quite mobile enough to tear the apartment apart.

All of that rolling makes him tired, and he has consequently started taking long naps!!  Hallelujah!  For the first time in his almost-seven months of life, he seems to have a fairly consistent sleep schedule.  I am thrilled because now I can plan my days better, and I can get a few things done while he naps.

My favorite moment of the day has always been when Ryan gets home from work.  It used to be because I was so ready for a little break when Noah was super fussy, but now it's because Noah absolutely lights up with the world's biggest grin when his dad walks in the door.  Whenever I hear the key turning in the lock, I drop whatever I'm doing so I can see Noah's face the moment he spots his dad.   Melts my heart every time.

Noah's still not a huge cuddler, but he's been a little more "chill" lately, where he'll at least sit with me to read a book every once in a while.  And this week, Noah fell asleep in my grandpa's lap when they were babysitting him!  I was shocked because he never does that with me (he's usually trying to squirm out of my arms or grab my glasses or pull my hair or reach for the toy nearby).  Hopefully more snuggly days are ahead!  I've noticed that when he's in an especially good mood, he grabs at my face and kind of attacks me and slobbers all over me--I think it might be his way of showing affection, which makes sense since I am rather aggressive with my own kisses and squeezes.  I can't help it.  I get overcome with his cuteness, and I just have to give him a big, fat, forceful smooch.

Right before bed, when he's tired but not overtired, he gets in an almost deliriously good mood.  He laughs spontaneously, and lately, he's been doing what we call a "happy wiggle."  He is lying on his back, and he just wiggles his head and shoulders and butt back and forth for a moment, like a little happy dance.  I wish I had a video of it because, man, it is adorable.

We love him.  We are so grateful that he is ours forever.  And he is ours forever--that was made official two weeks ago in court and then in the temple.  I know I still haven't blogged about it (I've been feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of chronicling it all), but I am going to this week!  Stay tuned for photos of our handsome little man in white!

Life is so good!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Your Nursery

I know you are already six months old, and I should've posted pictures of your room months ago...but I couldn't photograph it until I'd made all of the little finishing touches and the room was perfectly clean (which rarely happens).

Anyway, enough excuses--here is your cute nursery!

To Kill a Mockingbird wreath made by "Aunt Tiffany"
This white dresser was in my room as a kid
Pennant banner made of children's books (decoration from my Buffalo baby shower)
Matryoshka doll (from your dad's mission in Russia)
"My Heavenly Father Loves Me" sign (gift from some dental school friends)
A train made of toothpicks and baseball cards (more on that story below!)
A gumball frame (featuring a photo of your mom and dad on the night of their first kiss!)
Creamy the Llama (made by your Aunt Sarah)
A lovely topiary made from children's books (from a dear Buffalo friend)
Your dad first kissed me on the Heber Creeper train.  It was perfectly romantic.
The week after that blissful night, he made me this train out of toothpicks, baseball cards, and photos.
Our watermelon picnic basket has become a blanket basket
Special frames:
Mom and Noah
Dad and Noah
Grandma Sally 
Special, handmade are one loved baby!!
Another baby shower decoration made by Tiffany--
a vintage Alphabet garland
Your Auntie Muriel did this painting for me when I was in the midst of fertility treatments and adoption heartache. She said it was a "fertile image." :)  Your dad and I think the baby looks like you (before we cut your hair off).
Cute crib and bedding from Grandma Nielson
The frame above your crib features all of my favorite photos from the night you were born.
Every time I look at these pictures, my heart swells with gratitude for you and your birthparents.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
The balls hanging from the ceiling above your reading corner are made from books! 
Grandma Nielson made the cute curtain (matches the bedding)
Dad bought you this glowing globe for $1 at a garage sale. :)
I think your nursery is really darling, no thanks to me.  All of the cute decorative touches were made by my dear friends in Buffalo and your very talented Grandma Nielson.

I love it!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

6 Months Old!

"What???  How did this happen?"

**I wrote this update for our family blog, but I thought I would post it here as well, to chronicle all of your milestones.  Happy six months, Sweetest!

My boy is six months old.  It's so hard to believe.  Some of the days were long (eh hem, colic), but the months have flown by.  He is getting so big and way too cute for his own good.  Sometimes I can't help but gnaw on him and squeeze him.

Last night, every time he looked at me, he would laugh aloud in delight.  Ryan was holding him, but Noah was looking at me across the room with stars in his eyes.  I don't get it!  I am the one who lets him cry himself to sleep for naps (he won't settle down any other way--believe me, I've tried everything), and he still adores me.  It is the most endearing thing in the world.

A little bit about our boy:

-He's chunking up quite nicely.  He's always been in the 50th percentile for weight, but we went for his 6-month check up today, and he has jumped to the 68th percentile (18 lbs 7 oz).  That's my boy!  He's 54th percentile in height (26.5 inches).

-His nicknames are "Noah Bug," "Noah Nugget," and plain old "Baby Noah."

-He is active, busy, and curious.  He always has been.  The very first time I held Noah, when he was minutes old, he raised his head up from against my chest, held it there for a few moments, and stared straight into my eyes.  I'm not kidding.  He's been really strong and alert from the first day.  He's never really liked to snuggle because he is too busy arching his back and craning his neck to check out his surroundings.  He loves to be out in busy places, like restaurants and the mall.  When we're at home, he gets bored easily and insists on a new toy or a new environment every five to ten minutes.  He'll play contently on a blanket for five minutes and then start squawking until I move him to his swing, where he'll rest for a few minutes, and then start squawking again until I give him a rattle...etc.  He is stubborn and very vocal--if his squawks don't get your attention, his screams will.  He makes his opinions known!  (Heaven help me when he's a teenager.)  I recently put a magazine in front of him, and he enthusiastically tore it to shreads.  I mean, he seriously went after this thing.  After he was done, he looked around like, "What else can I destroy?"  (What am I saying, heaven help me when he's a teenager?...heaven help me as soon as he starts to crawl!)  I recently read a book called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, and she calls babies with Noah's temperament "spirited."  I call him "spunky," "a rascal," and a bit "high maintenance."  But I love him just the way he is!

-Perhaps not surprisingly, he does not like to nap.  I've read book after book about baby sleep schedules, but my baby just won't conform to any of it.  Before I had a child, I was sure that I would be able to read a book and immediately solve all problems.  Ha.  Noah has humbled me in so many ways.  When he naps, it's for about 45 minutes max.  I am still hopeful that we will get him into some sort of a predictable napping schedule, but every time I think he is settling into something consistent, he changes.  I am not opposed to letting him cry in order for him to learn how to sleep, but sometimes he cries through the entirety of nap time and doesn't sleep a wink, the stinker.

-After all of that activity throughout the day, he is exhausted and goes to bed by about 6:30 p.m.  I've tried to keep him up later so he can get more time with Ryan, but he is absolutely done by 7:00.  He still protests every single time we put him to bed, but after fussing for a few minutes, he realizes that we are just as stubborn as he is, and he goes to sleep.  In the last few weeks he's started sleeping all the way until morning--a solid 12 hours or so.  We had to do a little "sleep training" to get him to sleep through the night, but now it appears to be a habit.  He does wake up and stir and fuss every once in a while, but for the most part, he's learned to settle himself down and go back to sleep on his own.  It is heavenly, and I am grateful.

-Up until this week, he's been swaddled for naps and bedtime.  He got addicted to the swaddle when he was a newborn and super fussy (it calmed him down somewhat), and he couldn't seem to let it go for all these months since.  He's just so darn active that his arms would be pumping wildly when he was supposed to be falling asleep, or he would whack himself in the face as soon as he was drowsy.  My aunt who is a pediatric physical therapist said it is normal for babies with his temperament to need a swaddle for a long time--even until they are nine months old--but that we should stop swaddling him if we ever found him sleeping on his stomach.  Well, that started happening this week, so goodbye swaddle.  The last couple of days, I've been finding him in all sorts of positions in his crib--it's kind of fun to sneak a peak at night because you never know how you are going to find him.  Unfortunately, he doesn't sleep well without his swaddle (he wakes up much more frequently), but he's just going to have to get used to it.

-He stopped using a pacifier this month.  I don't know if it's because I refused to replace it 500 times a night when it fell out of his mouth or what.  I am a little sad that we won't have the "plug" to quiet him down on road trips and in public places, but he has found other things to suck on--namely his fingers and his feet. :)

-He loves food and is quite aggressive about it.  It is hysterical.  He dives for his bottle when we are lowering it toward his mouth.  It is one of my favorite things to tease him a little bit: I'll hold the bottle a few inches from his lips, and he opens wide and purses and tries with all his might to get to it.  I know it's mean, but he looks so cute when he does it that I can't resist.  He also lunges for the spoon when I am feeding him solids, and he screams between bites  and pounds his little fist on the tray as if he's starving.  He is not picky and has tried lots of foods: carrots, peas, beans, avocados, pumpkin, oatmeal, sweet potato, squash, banana, peaches, and apple sauce, to name a few.  So far, he seems to like sweet potatoes the most and avocados the least.

-Favorite things: 1. He loves being outside. Since I am training for a half marathon, we spend a lot of time outdoors running and walking, and he almost never cries when he's in the stroller.  He seems calm and reflective. 2. He loves his daily bath and often splashes like a maniac. 3. He loves his parents. He sometimes cries when I leave the room where he is playing (this is both annoying and darling), and he grins and pants in excitement when Dad comes home from work. He has us wrapped around his fat little finger.

-No teeth yet.  At his four month appointment, the doctor said two were coming in--she even showed me where, and I swore I saw it too (I am easily persuaded by health professionals...I believe anything they tell me)--but so far, no pearly whites for Dr. Nielson's son.

-Not crawling yet.  He still hates being on his stomach, and I haven't pushed it as much as I maybe should.  The doctor said he is definitely strong enough to crawl, but he just hasn't figured out the motion yet.  I'm not in any hurry for him to reach this milestone, as I know it will make life much more complicated for me! :)

-He still spits up a ridiculous amount.  It is really starting to gross me out.  I was hoping that he'd stop spitting up so much once he started solids, but nope--still spits up the same amount, but now it is multi-colored and stains everything.  Awesome!  I am convinced that he plots "sneak attacks" and purposely slimes me.  Seriously, I can have a bath towel spread across my shoulder and chest, and just at the precise moment when he is going to spew, he'll whip his head around to the uncovered shoulder and regurgitate all over it.  Sometimes he'll actually spit up on the burp cloth, but then he grabs a fist full of my hair and rubs it right in the mess, just for good measure.  (Thanks, Son!)  And of course, the spewing isn't limited to immediately after meals when I am on the defensive.  Oh no.  An hour later, he slimes my freshly washed jeans or creates a nice puddle on the living room carpet.  I really wanted to get a photo of him spitting up to post on this blog, but so far it hasn't happened yet.  I'm always too busy reaching for a burp cloth (or two or five) to reach for my camera.

-Noah is a charmer.  Two things will almost always bring a big grin to his face: 1. When he makes eye contact with someone new, and 2. when he sees that Mom has a camera pointed at him.  I love this about him.  When we are out in public and strangers stop to admire him, he gives them lots of gummy grins.  The most common comments I hear about Noah are, "What beautiful blue eyes he has!" and "What a happy baby!" (this was true even when he was colicky and screamed all day for me).  He is friendly and very interested in the world around him.  Taking photos of him is so fun because all I have to do is pull out the camera, and he starts smiling from ear to ear.  I am starting to accrue so many cute photos of him that I don't know what to do with them all--I feel like they should all be framed!

Speaking of which, here are a few from our "six-month photo shoot" today with Aunt Sarah!  I love my little Cupid.

A messy smooch from Mom
I couldn't resist...I had to give him another.
He's happy about it.

All in all, I am obsessed with this child.  And, really, can you blame me???

Happy Six Months, Noah Bug!!