The day that Dan got home from the retreat, we flew to Texas for a family reunion over Labor Day weekend. It was a blast, as always, and the family is growing quickly with new spouses and babies. Emma is the youngest right now, but my cousin is expecting a baby girl at Christmastime. So fun! Since Emma's sleep has been hit-or-miss this month, I was nervous about sharing a bedroom with my mom, dad, and brother Paul. The Ranch House has large bedrooms that sleep five people in beds and more on the floor if needed. So we've always shared the room, but I was imagining Emma waking everyone up all night long. God answered prayers, though, and she slept really well both nights there! She only woke up once per night, and since she's not a loud baby, I don't think we really disturbed anyone.
Unfortunately, after several nights of less than ideal sleep, Dan came down with a miserable cold during the family reunion. After about four days, he felt better, and then I came down with it. Ugh. But so far, Emma has stayed healthy, praise the Lord!
Dan and I are taking some steps to get healthier, since we've both found ourselves bone-tired this month. The first major step is sleep training for Emma. We're going to be intentional about helping her learn to soothe herself to sleep so she will hopefully sleep through the night soon. She's physically ready for it - she's slept through the night once before and has waited up to 7 hours between feedings. But mostly, Dan and I desperately need this to happen! I can handle it when she only wakes up once at night, but she often wakes up more than that. We sometimes have trouble getting back to sleep after we're up with her, so the fewer interruptions we have at night the better.
Also, we each have some weight to lose and our goal is to lose it by Christmastime. I am determined to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, since I don't want to spend the money for a new wardrobe! We'll both feel more energetic without the extra weight, which will only help when Emma becomes mobile in the next few months. So we're eating healthier and encouraging each other to forgo unnecessary (but delicious) calories.
And now on to more fun topics, like what Emma is up to at five months!
- She can sit on her own for very short periods! We have to get her set up perfectly, with her legs spread apart for balance and her body leaning forward a bit, but she can hold herself upright for a little while. We practice every day, and I think she'll be a pro very soon.
- She can also roll from her back to either side. She still hates tummy time with a passion, although she can lift her head and chest off the ground with her arms.
- We introduced solid foods to her this month. We started with about a teaspoon of rice cereal mixed with milk once a day. She handled it fine, but then got constipated after about five days in a row, so we moved on to avocado, and then carrots. If we go back to rice cereal, we'll also give her a fruit so it hopefully won't have the same effect.
- She has learned to drink water from a cup, and it's now her favorite thing to do! She kicks her legs and opens her mouth wide when you bring a cup anywhere near her.
- Bath time has recently started to resemble the Splash Zone at Sea World! She has a little pink bathtub that we put on the kitchen table while we bathe her, because we like having her at waist level instead of kneeling and bending over our bath tub. We may have to move her to the sink or the tub soon, though, since her goal seems to be to kick at least half the water out! We have hardwood floors, so it just takes a minute to mop it all up with a towel afterwards.
- After three months of sleeping in her car seat at night, we moved her back to her bassinet. As long as you lay her on her side and she stays in that position, she sleeps so well! We have also darkened her room at night to encourage her to stay asleep. Nap time is sometimes a struggle, but once she falls asleep she will sleep for over two hours! She would only take cat naps in her car seat during the day, so this is a big improvement.
- Her sleep pattern this month was unpredictable. She had progressed to generally only waking up once during the night, but several times this month she'd have 3-4 nights back-to-back where she'd wake up multiple times. The worst was a night when I was up with her five times and then later learned that Dan got up another two times when I was sleeping too hard to even hear her. All I can say is it's a good thing she's so cute! Now that she's sleeping so much longer in her bassinet, we suspect she was growing uncomfortable in her car seat.
- We had her four-month doctor's appointment, and she measured in the 90th percentile for height and the 75th percentile for weight. Dan's dream of her becoming a professional hockey player may come true!
- One of my favorite things about Emma right now is her laugh. A few weeks ago, she started to laugh and squeal out loud, but it quickly went from normal-sounding baby laughs to a hilarious growl. It's sometimes very sinister-sounding, like a velociraptor from the movie "Jurassic Park." It cracks us up and takes others completely by surprise when they're expecting to hear a giggle and get a growl instead!
Taking a run along the beach at sunset while Dan was away at the retreat
I didn't get many pictures at the Labor Day family reunion, but here's one of us gathering for prayer before one of our meals, followed by a few of everyone enjoying the great food.
Emma got to spend a lot of quality time with her Nanna. They even coordinated their pink and white outfits one day!
She enjoyed her first swing
And practiced her foot work
She got her "1st Iowa Shirt" from Uncle Steve and Aunt Sheila. They're living in Cedar Rapids where Steve is a philosophy professor at Coe College.
She's learned to drink water from a cup, which she obviously thinks is the best thing ever despite the fact that most of it pours down her chest.
She seems to be enjoying the solid food, too, but isn't as enthusiastic about it as she is about drinking water.
She can now stand in and play with this toy, which we got as a gift months ago and thought it would be forever before she'd be big enough to play with it!
Her favorite sleeping position with her bunny in her bassinet. It looks like she is pooping a fireball, but that is just a beam of sunlight coming through the window.
Here's a video of her growl-laughing while we were waiting for the doctor at her four-month checkup. During my early pregnancy when people asked what I was having, I'd say "a cute kid with a really deep voice." Well, there you go.
The family who keeps Emma for us invited us to a pancake breakfast to welcome their daughter home from Colorado. Not only did they make us pancakes and smoothies, they also lit a candle for us and told everyone to stay away from the kitchen table for 10 minutes so we could have a date. Ha! There were only about 15 people watching us from the living room - very romantic. :)
A picture of Emma's second family. Every one of these sweet friends has helped to care for her at one time or another, so you can see that she's not suffering from lack of attention! Although I have to say, Dan and I get some crazy pictures from them sometimes...
I think they are trying to influence her to be a rock star.
But they are VERY involved in their care taking. Heh!
And Emma gets sweet time with her best friend, Ellie
She is such a joy to us every day! We're loving this fun and playful stage she's in!