Saturday, January 21, 2017

Four Months! (And Christmas Pictures)

Mercy, someone hit a growth spurt this month!

At her 4-month checkup, Hallie was in the 79th percentile for weight and the 95th percentile for height! She weighs 16 pounds and is wearing 9 month clothing already!  

She's doing better about sleeping longer at night. About 50% of the time, she'll sleep at least 4-5 hours during her first stretch, then another 2-3 hours after that.  She still sleeps in her car seat at night and often naps in it during the day. When we're in the house, we keep the car seat in a snap-n-go stroller, and it's super easy to wheel her from room to room with us.

She's become much more interactive and is usually super happy and smiles, coos, and laughs at us, especially in the mornings.  Besides having a couple of colds, she has been healthy.  We are incredibly thankful for that and don't take it for granted after all that Emma has been through.  Hallie often has red, rough patches of skin on her head (maybe eczema?) so we've tried several remedies.  The one that works best so far is putting a little bit of baby oil or olive oil on her scalp and letting it soak in as much as possible, then following it with an over-the-counter eczema lotion.  I'm sure her head gets itchy, and her fingernails grow so fast that she can really scratch herself if we don't keep mittens on her.

She eats bigger meals - around 5-6 ounces of milk at a time now.  We have her on a mixture of two different formulas - Similac for Spit-Up (which has added rice starch in it to prevent spit-up), and any brand (Similac, Enfamil, etc.) of regular formula.  About once a week, I fill an empty formula container with a half-and-half mixture of the two types of formula and then stir the powder with a whisk to blend it well.  When we give her too much regular formula, she spits up a lot, but too much of the "spit-up" kind constipates her because of the rice starch.  A blend of both is working well for her right now.  If she's still constipated, we add 1/4 oz. of white grape juice to a bottle or two, and it clears right up! She's very interested in watching us eat and always wants to sit on someone's lap at mealtimes, so we'll introduce pureed foods soon.

She is drooling a lot more now, and has discovered the wonderful world of spit bubbles.

She's now aware of her amazing hands, and spends lots of time each day contemplating them. My mom says she's praying. I say she's plotting something.

She is desperate to use her hands to help us when we feed her or prop the bottle, but she usually ends up hitting it out of her mouth and getting upset.  I captured a rare moment when she was successfully holding her bottle in the right place.  

She can now hold onto a cloth toy or burp cloth and pull it to her face. Her goal is to put it in her mouth, but she usually ends up smothering herself with it and needs to be rescued.

If we position her fingers around a toy, she can hold onto it for a little while. I'm not sure why, but every time I get a photo of her playing with her toys, she looks extremely guilty.

We can prop her up for short periods of time on her knees or sitting in the corner of the sofa, and she seems to enjoy the new positions. It looks like she and Emma are sharing secrets in this photo.

Here they are, both sitting on the couch and playing. This peaceful scene lasted about 2 minutes.

Hallie experienced her first snow and hated it. We bundled her up so well, she couldn't bend.

We were trying to get a nice family photo in the snow, when the wind blew snow off the roof into our faces. Ha! 

This was us trying to save our children from the icy blast.  We took Hallie inside immediately afterward, at her request.

We didn't send out Christmas cards in 2016. Maybe we'll send them late, but probably not. My cousin, Emily, took these awesome pictures of us while we were in Texas visiting family.

Consider this your Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Jester family!

Hallie's cheeks look especially amazing in this picture.

Our sweet girls!

My absolute favorite of Emma. It really catches the impish gleam in her eyes.

And our pretty Hallie enjoying her first Christmas at 4 months old.  She has been such a sweet gift from God!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


We didn't get out of the house much in December since Emma took a while to recover from her surgery.  It was probably two full weeks before she was ready for normal activities, and even then, her energy was very low. A few days before Christmas, we took the girls on a drive to see Christmas lights.  We drove to a house that had an incredible light display timed to music, and Dan and Emma braved the light rainfall to go see them more closely while Hallie and I waited in the car.

We found another house in our new neighborhood that was completely covered with lights - including their trees and yard!
Emma wanted to run through the light arches they'd added along the sidewalk.

She is thin from not eating much during her surgery and recovery, so her pants kept falling down when she ran. We thought it was hilarious!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with the Jester family! Everyone gathered at Dan's parents' house for the afternoon and evening.
 There were a "few" presents under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma's house. 

Emma and our niece, Naomi, got the biggest presents of the day - they each got a toddler roller coaster from Grandpa and Grandma!

Our annual Jester family photo

Christina and Kim King joined the picture, and our niece Miriam broke into dance to celebrate!

 The girls with their Papa and Nana 

And our family on Christmas Eve

A couple of days after Christmas, we flew to Texas to visit my Mom's extended family. It was Hallie's first flight!

Emma is an experienced and crazy flier!

Pretty soon, Hallie and Emma both succumbed to travel sleepiness

When we arrived in Texas, we found a Braum's for dinner. It's a Texas family-run ice cream shop (with the best soft serve ice cream!) that also serves meals and a few groceries. Unfortunately, their soft serve machine was being cleaned, but we still got to enjoy scoops of ice cream.

My mom's cousins had a reunion at the Ranch House. Several drove in from different states and they enjoyed catching up with each other. 

While mom's cousins were getting together, Dan and I drove the girls to my cousin, Tricia's, house to visit with her family. 

Emma loved playing on the trampoline with her cousin, Laura, whose hair does not conform to the laws of gravity.

My brother, Steve, and Sheila also came to Tricia's house with their adorable daughter, Meera. She had the best time on the trampoline, too!

After a fun afternoon at Tricia's, we all drove back to the Ranch House to spend the night.  Steve, Sheila, and Meera got to meet Hallie for the first time while we were in Texas together!  Meera especially loved seeing the new baby.   

Emma and Meera had a great time playing together and with all their cousins. Since Emma is still under doctor's orders to take three baths a day, sometimes a cousin or two wanted to join her.

And other times, she was just the subject of high interest. She's not modest at all - she's turned away because she doesn't want to share her toys with the other kids. Ha!

The Ranch House is so much fun! We did a lot of playing outside.

My cousin, Emily, taught the little kids a new game that involved jumping on the furniture, so it was a big hit!

Uncle Brian is magical. This was the first time Emma let someone else hold her during the trip (along with her younger cousin, Sadie).

Emma and I joined my cousin, Emily, and her son, Beckett on the pond one day.

 They didn't even get a nibble, but they enjoyed fishing anyway.

We loved getting all of my cousin's kids together for Christmas. I hope we do this often!
My talented cousin, Emily, took some Christmas photos of us while we were in Texas, too.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!