Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Delightful December

December was a full month and here are some pics to show what we were up to.

This is probably one of the first times that Athea woke up in the morning and had some wonderful expressions to give me! The first one I sent to Ben and said something along the lines of... this probably won't be the first time she gives us this look!

Yep... 4 months old... December 11, 2011. So crazy to believe that she is getting so big already. 
10 lbs, 14 oz... 22 inches long and 40 cm head. She's over 10 pounds!

Just hanging out pics... notice that Athea is getting better with her tummy time. Yes... notice that Ben's beard is getting bigger! 

Anticipating Christmas... Athea helped us pick out this tree and "helped" us decorate it. She absolutely loved staring at the colorful lights!

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without family around! Aunt Jen and "Tito" Dani came all the way from Spain to spend Christmas with us. They flew into DC to spend an early Christmas with Athea's new cousin (still can't wait to meet him) and then came over to see the wild wild west! Dani has never been to Arizona so this was quite an unforgettable trip! Needless to say we tried to pack in as many things as we could with them here. This was also our first time really taking Athea out consistently. Up until now she mostly left the house to go the doctor's offices or a quick trip to Target.  SO... not only was it nice to be around family but it was also nice to get out of the house and see that it is possible to keep a preemie healthy despite being out and about. Plus we knew that it was time to get her ready for daycare. Sniff sniff... that's me dreading the day of going back to work.

Athea's very first CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! Wow! I'm so happy that Jen and Dani came to spend Athea's first Christmas together. It was so memorable and so relaxing. It was a reminder of how precious family really is. Yes, Athea was spoiled not just by Jen and Dani but by family and friends that she has even yet to meet. 

Since this is Dani's first trip to the wild wild west... we had to go to Old Tucson Studios!!!!!! Actually... Ben hasn't been here either so it was fun for all of us! Needless to say... after some cheesy can can dancing, cheesy gunfight show and cheesy nachos... we had a great time!

How precious is this???? The picture says it all.

After a great trip to Tucson, Jen and Dani headed up to the Grand Canyon before continuing their fun filled winter vacation. SO... we had to say goodbye. It was wonderful having them here and Athea and Dani definitely bonded. This conversation says it all!

I'm probably forgetting a ton of other things that happened in December... but these were the highlights! Now that December is coming to an end it also means that my extended maternity leave is also ending. This also means that Athea will be starting daycare in the beginning of January. SO I am trying to soak up every moment that I can without thinking about going back to work!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

It's been way too long but here is my attempt at trying to catch you up with what's been going on...

Our first Thanksgiving was quite a memory! Ben got sick for the first time and trying to protect Athea from any kind of germs (goal is to avoid getting sick during the winter season)... he wore a mask pretty much the entire Thanksgiving weekend! Quite a sight!

We also got a visit from Athea's great Aunt Terry and great Uncle Keith. It was nice to see family!

Check out our pics from the weekend. The house is a pass down from a friend of ours. Athea has a new "hobbit" house and we are already envisioning Athea playing in it!

The first picture is Athea "watching" her first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! PLUS... who do you think weighs more? Athea or the turkey? If my memory serves me correctly... I think the turkey weighed a few ounces more than Athea!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moon Doggie is getting older too

Exactly three years ago, I found Moonie near my school... I brought him home and he's been with us ever since! Happy Birthday Moon! Check out his birthday dinner pics!

Athea has two wonderful furry brothers... here are some pics from the past couple of months.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guess who is 3 months old?

Athea is three months old!!!!

Athea's doctor had her come in at 3 months to check her weight and get a few more vaccinations (spreading them out a bit since she is so small). She is gaining more weight and is now 9 pounds, 6 ounces!   We've also been exclusively breast feeding for the past month (no bottles with fortifier or bottles in general unless I'm running an errand and Dad has to feed her)... she's eating like a champ! Plus it is less pumping for me and less prepping of bottles for the day! Woohoo!

ALSO... the other night she slept for about 5 hours!!!! I had to give her a pacifier in the middle of that 5 but she fell right back asleep! I was shocked!

Here are her 3 month pictures! It might be time to retire the burrito... and yes, that is a fresh burrito!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fun Weekend

We had a fun weekend... it started Saturday morning taking another mini photo shoot! So much fun now that Athea is beginning to smile!!!!!

Saturday night we took Athea to her first "social" gathering... a baby shower for one of Ben's co-workers. His wife is due in February and we really wanted to make an effort to be there... I think also we wanted to be a part of a baby shower since we had to cancel our own after being in the hospital. We definitely had to plan it out and of course I dressed Athea in long sleeves and long pants with footies so that no one could touch her. She was attached to me in the moby the entire time so no one made a move to touch her! All in all it was a success... she slept the entire time. It was great to get out as a family but we also knew that this was a special outing that wouldn't happen again. 

Sunday morning we took the whole family out for a wonderful walk on the River Path... we love this walk since it has beautiful views and is easy for us all to walk on.

All in all... a very nice weekend!

Did you notice I am putting pictures up in collages???? It's my first attempt... makes adding pics a lot easier... thanks Aunt Malia for the tip!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gaining weight and goals... (this is a long wordy post... no pics)

Today we had our first visit with Nurse Becky. She is a former NICU nurse and now provides services to babies who were in the NICU within the home setting. Athea qualified to be a part of the Newborn Infant Care Program since she was in the NICU for a while. 

I'll be honest... when I first heard we "qualified" for the program I wasn't too keen on the idea of having a stranger come into our home to track Athea's development. But recently I've been feeling overwhelmed at times and unsure as to what to expect with Athea. She can be very very fussy and at times it feels like there is no warning with her "moments." After we went to our centering class reunion, it was a big blow to realize that our daughter is definitely a preemie. The other two babies  were full term and the moms had a normal pregnancy. Nothing to write home about... they both gave birth naturally at the birth center. So it was a bit hectic when we were at the reunion and Athea was literally crying for almost the entire two hours while the other two "termies" were contently eating and just hanging out in their mom's arms. It was such a reality check. A week after the reunion the moms got together and just talking to them about things that they have been experiencing were completely different than what we were experiencing with Athea (eating, reflux, developmental milestones, being much more cautious about germs). I remember driving home and thinking that our daughter will continue to be challenged differently. 

SO, when I got the call from Nurse Becky I jumped at the chance for her to come into our home and I started making a mental list of questions to ask. 

I am so happy we met Nurse Becky and she was impressed with Athea's weight gain. She brought her scale and also measured her body. She explained that we should be comparing Athea to other babies that were born on or near her due date and not when she was actually born. 

Her are her stats:
Actual age: 11 weeks, 6 days
Adjusted age: 6 weeks, 2 days
8 lbs, 14.5 oz (20% compared to babies born around her due date) 
21 1/2 inches long (30%)
37.5 cm head (75%!!!) she has a big head!

Nurse Becky gave us some goals since a lot of her development is emerging (beginning to smile, beginning to vocalize- mostly grunts, lifts head a little, beginning to look at faces). MORE TUMMY TIME!!!!! Encourage face to face time and more talking/singing and eye contact. 

All in all I was reassured that we are doing what's needed for our daughter and to not place so much pressure on keeping up with the other "termies."

Monday, October 31, 2011

October Full of "Fun Firsts"

October has come and gone very quickly for us. We still don't have a finished kitchen but we are full of fun memories from October. 

Our first trip to the Farmer's Market (this was our first "outing" taking the boys as well... they have been to the FM many a time but now we have another member to tote along!)

October 16

Athea's first Trader Joe's experience (this was the first attempt at taking her to a store and really the first indoor experience with a crowd... we really needed groceries and Ben was working... couldn't really get much because her car seat took up the whole cart... but at least no one could touch her!)

October 17

Athea's first amateur mini photo shoot. After talking to Aunt Malia about taking baby pictures, I was inspired and did an impromptu "photo shoot." Love all of her faces!

October 19

Our first trip to Brian and Kelly's Pumpkin Patch (this is a great place to get pumpkins and trees... we met up with another family that was in our centering class and got some great pics)

 October 22

First time sitting in the bumbo (on a whim one night we decided to see if she could "sit" and she "sat" for a short time)... it's hysterical to see the many faces that she makes!

October 24

Athea's first time in a soft structured carrier (this was actually given to us by another neighbor who has two little girls... they actually were the very first to welcome us into the "hood" when we moved into our house over 3 years ago). Athea did ok with her legs dangling out for the first time. Up until this point she's been carried in the moby wrap with her legs inside.

October 26

Our first walk around the neighborhood (in true fashion, we chit chatted with our neighbors who spotted us walking... some of them met Athea for the first time... ironically the men neighbors had met Athea much earlier than the women since they were helping us on the house!)

October 26

Athea's first time joining us for dinner!

October 26

This is not our first story time with Athea but it is the first picture we have of it! I thought it was too precious to not show.

October 27

To end the month of October... our first HALLOWEEN! We all dressed up and even the boys were good sports about it all. It was Ben's idea to be a family of gnomes! I had fun putting the costumes together... felt is a wonderful invention! You can make anything out of felt.

October 31

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unexpected Work on the Kitchen

One evening Ben noticed a leak in the bathroom wall. After a few visits from the plumbers, it was confirmed that our pipes would need to be replaced... so here we are with no countertop, a temporary sink and dirt galore! Not exactly the best combination with a premature baby in the house! Every day is a "cleaning" day just to keep all the dirt/dust under control. Crazy! 

Here is a picture that Daddy absolutely loves!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Athea is 2 months old!

Athea is now two months old and the doctor was quite impressed with how much she has grown. 

Here are her stats:
8 weeks, 5 days (actual age)... 3 weeks, 1 day (adjusted age)

7 lbs, 14 oz (2nd percentile for actual age, 25th for adjusted age)

20 inches long (1st percentile for actual, 25th for adjusted)

36 cm head (3rd percentile for actual, 25th for adjusted)

She also received two vaccinations and she was a big trooper!

We have decided to start a "tradition" with her monthly photo shoot by taking it with a Chipotle burrito. She has grown since her one month... see how she looks next to the burrito! Plus... we don't have to think about what to make for dinner!

There are too many to pick just one favorite! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Daddy-Daughter time!

Now that Daddy is back to work... time together is even more precious!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Big Girl Bathtub!

Tonight was our first time using our "big girl bathtub!" Athea has grown out of her hospital tub (mommy was sad for some reason... time to let go of the NICU) so we upgraded her to the big girl tub. She actually really enjoys bath time which is a wonderful relief for us! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Our First Family Outing and Visit

Up until now, we have been very cautious about taking Athea out in public. She has been to doctor's appointments for herself and for mommy but that is about it. Every medical person that we have talked to has impressed upon us the importance of staying away from large crowds (stores, church, malls) and keeping Athea away from the opportunity to get sick. SO, Ben and I have been taking turns staying at home when errands need to be accomplished. She has yet to be at a grocery store or even to our work places to "show her off." We haven't had any visitors due to being cautious. Sometimes it feels like we are over doing the "cautious" thing but we are trying to avoid any hospital trips/stays! Our goal is to get her through this winter without being sick... that is quite a challenge!

Anyway, our good friends just opened up their very own fresh water fish store (Arizona Nature Aquatics) which just happens to be less than 5 minutes of a drive from our house. Their grand opening was today and we thought we would make it as soon as the store opened to avoid any crowns. That way, we could take Athea out, support our friends but avoid the crowds. Since we were already out (it takes a lot of planning to get out) we thought we would stop across the street for breakfast. We popped her car seat in the snap-n-go and kept a blanket over her the entire time. If it hadn't been for her crying, people wouldn't have known she existed! Our very first family outing was a success!

It was such a nice feeling to be out together!

Athea is hanging out with the ladies! Notice the nice large aquarium behind us. Marche owns the store with her husband.

When we arrived home, Athea took a nap and then we busted out the activity mat for the first time (Thanks Uncle Nick and Aunt Devan). Check out the 2nd picture of Moon Doggie checking it out.

Later that day, a friend of ours stopped by with the coolest gift ever! Check out the pictures! Apparently, she knew we were pregnant before we told people. She said she noticed my bump but didn't say anything! She's been collecting items ever since... Athea is already wearing an outfit from the clothesline! Notice that the clothes get bigger as you move up the line!

We had a wonderful day filled with many exciting memories... and we were all exhausted!