Liam {9 Months Old}

    With each passing month, I'm becoming more and more aware that Liam is slowly but surely turning into a little boy - and losing his "babyness." He has such a personality. He is super smart, independent, funny and determined. He knows when to turn on the charm and when to turn on the sass. He has both of us wrapped around his little finger, and he knows it! He keeps us busy and on our toes, and we have so much fun!

    At Liam's 9-month well visit, he weighed 20lbs, 2oz and is 28 inches long! He's growing perfectly! Everyone always tells me how huge he is, but I feel like he's pretty average size wise. He's in 58th percentile for weight, 35th for height, and his head is still in the 88th percentile, LOL. I hope he gets a growth spurt soon for his height, but if not, oh well. Being short is just fine, especially he's healthy!

    New Milestones/Skills
    • Points - This is hysterical, actually. He looks just holds his arm out and open his hand, most of the time at nothing. We get a kick out of it
    • Dances - To music from toys and from phones, the TV, etc. It's so cute! (see video)
    • Knee crawls - He chooses whether or not to use his knees or "swim" (army crawl on his belly) depending on how fast he wants to get somewhere.
    • Responds to "no" - He used to laugh when we said no, but now he is starting to listen! Unless he's doing something really naughty or dangerous, we try our best to gently say "No thank you," and explain why he shouldn't be doing whatever he's doing. Most of the time, he's trying to play with something he shouldn't be. The only times we sternly say no are really when he tries to throw himself off the changing table in dispair {eye roll emoji} or when he tries to stand up in the bathtub.
    • Opens and closes things - Loves to open/close toys that have this function, turn pages in the book, open/close drawers and doors.
    • Responds to "come here" - I often tell him to come with me somewhere and he just scoots behind me. It's adorable!
    • Says Mama, Dada and Baba - mostly Dada and Baba, but I get a few ma'am's now and then! Melts my heart.
    • Waves hi and bye - He started this last month, but now he will wave on his own and when prompted.
    • Recognizes himself - In the mirror, in the oven door, on the fridge, in photos - he sees himself, gets SUPER happy, and sometimes gives himself a kiss. Little narcissist!  
    • Imitates people - He is working on this - if you show him something or tell him to do something, he tries to do it, too. He's great at clicking his tongue!
    • Shows separation anxiety - Luckily, not too bad. He cries when our nanny leaves, and sometimes when we leave for work. He's a little leery of strangers, but usually doesn't cry. He gets sad when we have just gotten home from work and have been holding him and try to set him down. Hoping it doesn't get much worse than this!
    • Working on pincer grasp - He's doing great with most finger foods! Addy has learned where to camp out and when for lots of dropped foods :)
    • Exaggerates his mood - He plays up every emotion and can go from happy to PISSED in .001 seconds.
    • Sharing - not quite there, but he'll try to give us something (like his paci) when we ask for it
    Liam is learning new little "things" every day, and once we show him positive attention for these quirks, he does them over and over again!
    • Initiating games of peek-a-boo - he pulls himself to stand, then squats down behind a table and when you ask "Where's Liam?" he pops up! He also covers his face with blankets and plays that way. It's obviously adorable!
    • Looking at pictures - He is seriously OBSESSED with pictures. We could walk around the house all day showing him photos, or look through photo albums, and he would be OK with that. 
    • Looking at himself in the mirror
    • Dancing
    • Reading - He loves books so much! He's great at turning the pages, and wants you to read them 100 times in a row.
    • Playing "SO BIG!"- this is obviously the cutest, too. "How big is Liam?" we ask, and his little arms go up in the air, accompanied by a big smile!
    • Clicking his tongue
    • Tilting his head - mainly when he is in his high chair. He knows it's cute, and just ever so slightly, tilts his head and smiles. He'll do it on your shoulder sometimes, too. (See video)
    • Music - He has a personalized CD of children's songs that use his name (a gift from his Aunt CC), and he loves it!
    • Table food - He has tried so many new foods and we have yet to find out he doesn't like! Prayers that he keeps up the great eating!
    • Puffs - When he sees the can of Puffs, he immediately starts flailing his arms and fussing. He needed one 5 seconds ago!
    • Sippy cup - Now that he can hold and drink from his sippy cup, he just wants to do it all the time! I've even had to put milk in there before because he wouldn't drink it from the bottle! Little Mr. Independent.
    • The bath - He can't get enough. He's at the point now where he can hear the bath water turn on from the kitchen while he's eating dinner. And when we say it's "Nakey baby time," he takes off down the hall toward our bathroom. Smart cookie!
    Honestly, the kid doesn't dislike much, but a few I can think of:
    I mean seriously. Drama queen, much? WOULD NOT sit still for a photo shoot. Le sigh.
    • Still HATES being on his changing table. We still can't figure it out, but changing clothes and diapers takes two of us due to the screaming fits that ensue.
    • Being told "no." He used to think it was funny, but now when we say it sternly, he gets sad. And then I feel bad, of course. 
    • Sitting still - the child must be moving, all the time. Even in his crib, when he wakes up, he just rocks back and forth.
    • Getting frustrated - he just wants to do everything, to do it himself, and when he can't, or he needs help, he gets real unhappy, real quick!
    • Being rocked - sometimes. If he's really tired, he usually gets pissed when we try to snuggle and rock him! He just wants to lay down and sleep. The good part is that he'll just put himself to sleep in about two minutes, so I won't complain about that skill as long as mama can still sneak in a snuggle from time to time!
    Liam gets 4-5 bottles day, and is starting to drink less milk now that we're eating more solids. I'm still pumping for my little man, but am having to supplement more with formula, which is all good for this mama.

    Liam is pretty much feeding himself and eating purely table foods! His pincer grasp is still a little shaky, but he does great. Our nanny said he was ready to move on from the purees we'd been giving, so we kinda just went for it with the "real" food, and give him everything now! He loves tomatoes, black beans, waffles and meatballs. I steam veggies, cut up all kinds of fruit, give him shredded chicken, ground turkey/beef, spaghetti, mac 'n cheese, quesadillas, waffles...he loves everything! He eats 3 "meals" each day, plus a snack or two. We do keep pouches and purees on hand for when we are on the go.
    Liam is still an awesome sleeper, for which I am so thankful. For a couple of months now, he is sleeping 7:30pm-7:30am. He takes 2-3 naps/day - whether or not he takes a third nap usually depends on how long the previous two were. But sometimes he just flat out refuses, in which case, it's usually an early bedtime because he is SUPER grumpy! He'll sleep just about anywhere - in the car, in his crib, in his carrier, in the stroller and in the pack 'n play. Please Lord, let's keep this up!

    The months are just FLYING by, but I am loving every second of being this baby's mama. Let's see what month 10 brings!
    Photo shoots are getting harder and harder....
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    5 Things You Need to Know

    Hi everyone - and happy Monday! It's been awhile since I've been here, and it feels good to be back!

    Here are five things you need to know this Monday:

    1. We're back from South America! We had the most amazing trip. I missed my baby like crazy, but somehow managed to survive the 11 days away from him. He had an awesome time with his grandparents and they LOVED being able to spend some time with him. Pictures and recaps coming in multiple parts soon!

    2. I got a new job! Another post will come with more detail, but I am happy to report I accepted a new position on Friday! Leaving my current role is bittersweet, but I know it's ultimately the right move. I start mid-October!

    3. My birthday is next week! One week from today, to be exact. I'll be 32 (gulp. So old!) If anyone wants to buy me a present, I'd like this necklace from Stella & Dot.

    4. I've got several posts in the queue for coming weeks, like Liam's 9 month update, some pictures from our trip, a few good parenting posts, how I got published on Huffington Post, plus a letter to all the haters from my last blog that was published on HP.

    5. I'm ready for fall! I don't think we got much of a summer, but I'm ready for the cooler temps, changing leaves, boots, sweaters, tailgates, football weekends and fires!

    6. I had a great weekend! OK, I know I said five things, but here's a sixth. You're welcome. We spent the weekend doing pretty much nothing and it was perfect! After being gone, we played at home, went on walks, grabbed some meals al fresco and went to a Cubs game! So much fun with my boys.

    See you tomorrow with Liam's 9 month update!
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    Off to South America

    Nine months ago, my husband booked the two of us a trip to South America. It was my "push present." An opportunity to explore a new continent together, to enjoy each other, and relic in the fact that we successfully brought a life into the world, by way of my vagina - a fact which needed to be celebrated. (You're welcome for the visual.)

    At the time, a trip across the world sounded magical, wonderful. With a baby still tucked safely inside my tummy, I had yet to realize how hard it would actually be to take this trip.

    Pre-baby, Bryan and I traveled all the time. As a perk of Bryan's frequent travel schedule, we've been able to take very nice vacations on points and miles alone. This one included.

    Since having Liam, obviously, our trips have scaled down just a bit. We've taken several trips with Liam, and just one without Liam. We went on 5-day trip to Florida in May to celebrate our anniversary without Liam. Like this trip, I was dreading it, but much to my amazement, we all survived every day we were away. Liam loved being spoiled by Gigi, and it was so wonderful to be able to reconnect and unwind with my husband. (Not to mention sleep in!) At the end of those five days, I was SO ready to see our baby. It literally felt like my arms were aching as we sulked through a 4-hour delay on our way home.

    This trip we're taking is 10 days. DOUBLE the time. So for months now, I've had this week looming ahead of me. I use that word, "looming," purposefully. I'm excited, yet dreading it at the same time.

    Bryan always talks about how the fact that his parents traveled a ton and have lived all over the world has played a huge role in his wanderlust. And how trips like this one will be so awesome to have to show Liam, and our other kids, as an example and encouragement to seek adventure and explore this amazing world. Our plan, if we have anything to say about it, is to travel as much as we can as a family. We want to show our kids the world.

    Our first family vacation to Seattle

    I know he is right. The trip, and what he has planned, is going to be AMAZING. We'll be making memories for ourselves, while our sweet boy will be home making memories with his grandparents that they will cherish forever. Especially since we don't live in the same place as them, their time with him is always limited. It's going to be amazing for them to spend some quality, extended time with Liam.

    My sister sent me something the other day that was such a great reminder - not just for this trip, but for all aspects of my life.
    "No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. It's impossible to be happy if you're constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment."
    This really hit home, especially as I wrote a few weeks ago about feeling "less than" lately. And even more so as I think about this trip.

    This trip is happening, ready or not. So why am I wasting energy worrying about it? And what am I even worrying about? I know Liam will be in the best of hands with his grandparents and our nanny. They will all take the very best care of him. And once you have a baby, I feel like your mortality becomes so much more...real. In other words, if our plane crashes on the way to Peru, he loses both of his parents. I realize this is morbid. In the same vein of wasting energy worry about things that are going to happen anyway, it's also a waste of energy to worry about things that are out of our control.

    I also feel guilty for leaving him, and I've been all kinds of stressed out thinking about whether or not to continue pumping while I'm gone, or to wean. I literally CRY when I talk about the trip. This is not, OK, people.

    I'm not going to jail. I'm not going to the other end of the Earth. I'm not even going to be gone for two weeks. I'M GOING TO SOUTH AMERICA. This is exiting and amazing! We are going to Machu Picchu and South American wine country, for crying out loud. To say nothing of Buenos Aires.

    Basically, I need to pull my shit together and change my perspective. I need to realize how many people would LOVE to trade places with me. I need to be grateful that we can afford such a trip, regardless of points or miles, and that we have grandparents who are willing to travel to our home, take time from their lives and allow us to do such a thing. Taking a luxurious vacation to South America most certainly is not something to cry over.

    I've figured out a plan for the whole pumping scenario - one that works in such a way that I can do so on our trip without (hopefully) affecting my supply too much, but that also will not interfere with the trip.

    Not to mention, the trip will be so good for me and my husband. Strengthening the bond with Bryan is also in Liam's best interest. Nothing bad can come of quality time with your significant other.

    Whom, I really need to apologize to. He's planned our ENTIRE trip and literally has barely shared a detail with me because he doesn't want to upset me. I know he thinks I'm not excited. (Honey, if you're reading, I'M EXCITED! I promise, I am.) I am so grateful my wonderful husband. Trip planning is but one of his many talents and things I love about him. I haven't even thought about the fact that he is having a hard time leaving Liam for an extended period, as well. It's nice to know we'll have each other as support. (Along with some amazing Chilean wine to take our minds off it, ya know?)

    So here's to seriously letting go, embracing reality and opportunity, and being thankful for this trip and all the good that will come out of it, for us, for Liam, for the grandparents.

    I'll catch ya'll on the flip side!
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