Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eight Months for Anna Kate

Goodness. How's my baby eight months old? I haven't blogged about her in four months. Oh, I had every intention of trying to do something monthly or at least every other month, but life has a funny way of getting in the way and making you prioritize. This month I feel like Jeremy and I have turned a corner and things are getting better. There are still many days when I feel overwhelmed with three kids, but at least we are getting a little more sleep and time for ourselves. This June we had a record THREE dates! (Once to a Giants game, once for a dinner out when grandparents were in town to watch the kids, and once we met up on a Friday evening for dinner in SF and rode the ferry back home together.) Also, I was able to get away for 6-7 hours to meet my college friend, Lacy, in the city. Jeremy was able to feed the kids dinner and get them all to bed. Anna Kate took her bottle pretty well. (She rarely has a bottle since she's exclusively breastfed and pumping milk is not very efficient in comparison.) I came home to a quiet house which was totally lovely.

Here's what our Little Miss has been up to lately:

Gross Motor

Dang girl, just slow the heck down! This is the one area in which she is advanced. This girl is a mover and shaker! She was rolling over at two months, Army crawling at four months, sitting up unsupported at 5 1/2 months, hands/knee reciprocal crawling at six months, pulling up to stand at seven months, cruising now at eight months, and climbing stairs at eight months! She just started letting go while standing and balances for a second or two before she plops on her bottom. Pretty sure she will walk at 9-10 months. I learned she could climb stairs by accident and I'm very thankful she didn't get hurt. Emily left the gate open. I heard a bump and a cry and I went to look for Anna Kate who had been playing with toys in the living room. She wasn't there and I followed the crying sound up ten stairs to our first landing. She apparently bumped into the wall, but luckily had not fallen down any stairs.

Fine Motor

Anna Kate can now pick up cheerios and other small foods and bring them to her mouth. Pincer grasp is developing and she also uses the raking motion to get what she wants. She's at that age where if you give her a big chunk of banana, she will eat all around it and leave a big messy piece inside her palm that she forgets about. (Eeww!) She plays with toys purposely, enjoying pushing buttons, lights, sounds, opening/closing doors, etc. Overall, she's using her hands more and manipulating objects like the older baby she is now.


Sigh. I wish she slept through the night. She was the worst sleeper for the first few months that getting up twice a night at eight months totally feels like an improvement. Emily and Caleb's schedules messed her up quite a bit this year. We are trying to be more consistent with naps this summer now that we don't have school pick-ups/drop-offs to interrupt us. Here is a typical "schedule" for her:

6:45 am: Wake-up/Nurse
7:30 am: Breakfast (solid foods)
9am: Morning Nap
9:45: Wakes up from nap
10 am: Nurses
11:30: Lunch (solids)
12:30: Nurse her a little before afternoon nap.
1:30: wakes up. Sometimes I can get her back to sleep and then she sleeps another hour. She rarely puts herself back to sleep even if I let her cry fuss for a little while.
4pm: Maybe another nursing session? If she takes a terrible early afternoon nap. I'll try again and I can usually get her to sleep another hour.
6pm: Eats solids with us at dinner.
7pm: Nurse her again before bed.
7:30: Asleep for the night
11pm: Wakes up again. Nurse her.
3 am: Nurse again if she wakes up, otherwise she might sleep until 6:30 or so.

I have two thoughts about right now. 1) Dang, no wonder I have no time to do anything and 2) Actually, this schedule is a total lie. I have no idea when I nurse this child. lol. It completely varies, but I'm guessing it's about every three hours. Some of the sessions are pretty short. At night she is normally getting up twice over an almost 12 hour period. I've only been able to get rid of her Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle in the last month. She often got her little arms free from it, but holding them down and away from her face helped her to go to sleep easier and sleep more soundly. She still uses a pacifier some, but she can go asleep without it, too. We basically use it as needed if she needs another thing to put her over the edge to sleepy land. Oh, and she's a belly sleeper.


At eight months, she still has no teeth. We started solids at about 6 1/2 months. I started with avocado which she does not like by itself, but loves mixed with banana. Then, we moved on to mashed bananas, cereal, and prepared baby food. At first, I used a few of the stage 1 veggies because that's my least favorite thing to make homemade (especially when sometimes they take a few bites of something new and then refuse it.)  Now, we do a mix of prepared baby food, pouches, and table food. I'm really trying to give her more table food so HOPEFULLY she will eat what we all eat. It is really exhausting to prepare a nice meal for Jeremy and myself only to have both Emily and Caleb barely eat any of it. I could write a separate post about that. So, I'm giving Anna the healthy things we eat whenever possible. So, she's had potatoes, pasta, soft peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, peas, pears, carrots, chickpea nuggets, bites of grilled cheese sandwiches, steelcut oatmeal, and yogurt to name a few things. I'm wanting to add eggs and meats soon. I guess I'm worried about how to give pieces of meat to her when she has no teeth, but I think maybe I waited too long to introduce meats to Caleb and Emily since neither of them care much for it. My whole family needs to eat more veggies. We have a few favorites, but we could do much better with variety. We all love fruit and eat a huge variety of that.


She's a pretty happy and easy going baby. She happily lets me walk around with her in the Ergo for most of our outings. She actually prefers that and gets more fussy if she's in a stroller. I have to time the strolls JUST right. I had a lot of frustration with her not wanting to be in the stroller when she was a younger baby, but it's better now. She tolerates riding in the car for trips of about one hour or less pretty well---as long as we're moving. She gets really fussy if we're stuck in traffic! ha! Funny how that's how I feel, too, when I'm stuck in traffic and not moving. She has a funny little laugh that sounds almost like a quick double cough. She also has a deep belly laugh that is awesome. I can get the belly laughs when I tickle her or play "Boo" with her. It's my favorite when something amuses her and we get the belly laugh out of the blue.

Sorry for a long, wordy post. Just trying to play catch up.

Oh, just a random photo in the bathroom by the potty. Hope we washed her hands...I try to keep this door closed. 

At Emily's last day of school park picnic. The girls had on coordinating tops and skirts. Emily's last week of school deserves its own post, maybe some day. ;) 

Hanging out with me in Santa Cruz

With Dinkney and Poppy in Santa Cruz. This also deserves its own post some day soon! 

At Sister's ballet recital

Father's Day at home prior to driving Dinkney and Poppy to the airport.

Oh, so much love for this sweet photo. Happy Father's Day to Poppy and Jeremy! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We're Moving

BUT not back to KY! ;) It is unsettling how everything can change with one email or phone call. You're just going about your every day life making plans and then you get hit with unexpected news that changes everything you THOUGHT you were going to be doing. Thankfully, our unexpected news wasn't about the health of a family member or a job loss, but still, we were quite shocked: our landlord will not be renewing our lease. Our current lease expires August 31st. The Reisses have to move. Cue the tears. BOOHOO! I HATE MOVING! It is hard to put into words how challenging, disruptive and stressful moving is. Taking care of three children five and under and managing the household is already difficult without adding anything extra to that load. My emotions are all over the place. First I was shocked, then just really sad, and now I'm pissed. ha! The irony is that when we moved into this house two years ago, I didn't want to be here for more than two years. Our house, while fairly large, is divided into a duplex. We like our "house neighbors" and rarely see them or hear them. We don't share anything other than the back yard patio. However, the house was not what I  was accustomed to owning in KY. It met our needs, but it didn't have a yard or a very large living/dining area. Anyway, I simply could not imagine living here for long, but now I don't want to move! The house still has the same downsides, but now I have seen and experienced the major upsides. We have made good neighbor friends. We live in a nice walkable neighborhood with local restaurants, our ballet school and even my nail salon just a block or two away. We are able to walk three blocks to Emily's school and a park in a beautiful, unique neighborhood. Emily's school is one of the best around and she has had a great kindergarten year. I hate to think of starting all over with a different neighborhood school. (It remains to be seen if Emily will have to switch schools or not.) Also, I'm well aware that real estate costs and rentals keep climbing and while I may wish for something bigger or nicer, I certainly don't want to pay more than we already do to rent.

We have discussed if this would be a good time to seriously consider buying a home. Without discussing specifics and money, let's just say that Jeremy and I do not have a peace that that would be the wisest thing for us. I had hoped that if we moved from this house, it would be to buy something, but I don't think that will happen under this kind of deadline. Our friends who have bought homes often searched for months and put bids on a half dozen homes or more before finally getting one. I don't know if Jeremy and I can even stomach trying to buy something in the Bay Area. Surely, prices can't keep increasing at this rate! I feel like if we were certain we wanted to stay here 5-10 years, we could weather any temporary market downturns, but what would happen if we wanted to move back to KY and the house we bought at the top of the market was now worth much less? We might be stuck or worse. (Foreclosure/bankrupt?) Stakes are very, very high when you're talking an average 3 BR, 2 BA home can easily fetch $850K.

All of this turmoil, but yet we both feel certain that we aren't ready to move back to KY. Jeremy is still very happy at his job. We have good financial reasons to believe that it would be best for our future to stay another couple of years. (The housing market obviously isn't one of them.) We are happy with our lives here, the friendships we have made, our church home, schools, etc. I continue to have a million and one things I want to do on the west coast and while we have seen and done a lot, it barely scratches the surface. We get so much joy with our adventures here that it makes up for a lot of what we lack. Everything is good except we do long to own our own home again and we wish it wasn't so difficult to see family. I've started researching flights for the summer. Just browsing through the flight costs and thinking about air travel with the children puts a big knot in my stomach. I literally feel almost sick about it every time. Just when flying should have gotten easier for us, it is now worse than ever because of our third child--an active, crawling, seven month old. How in the world can I ever hope to contain her for six plus hours in the air? Aggh, I have to stop thinking about it! We may have to postpone our trip depending on if we can find a new rental in time. It's pretty common for a desirable overpriced rental home to have 7-10 qualified applications for it. Crazy. Prayers needed and appreciated for sure.

Anyway, despite these very real concerns and hardships that come with being forced to move and find a new place, we are enjoying all of the special moments we can. We are excited about our upcoming mini-vacation to Santa Cruz and our staycation activities with Dinkney and Poppy. Time will go by quickly, but our current predicament isn't as dire as when we moved out here completely alone with no idea where we wanted to live. No, now we know many people and mamas are already offering to help me with the kids from time to time while I pack. We know exactly where we want to live. We just have to get to work finding it and pray that by the grace of God, He will once again prove Himself to be faithful in providing for our needs.

Addendum: I forgot to mention WHY our lease is not being renewed (at least there's a valid reason). The wife suffered a brain aneurysm last year and underwent surgery. She's recovering well by all accounts, but is no longer able to work full time anymore. So the family has decided to sell one of their properties in order to reduce stress and expenses and allow her to stay home with the children. We are thankful that she is doing better because a brain aneurysm can cause serious longterm disability and even death.