Saturday, December 19, 2009

Picture Summary

According to my Picasa account, it's been 6 weeks since I've posted new pictures. In that 6 weeks, we've gone to Disney, seen Kaylani start walking, watched Kaylani make a complete mess out of spaghetti, went to our first holiday party of the year, bought a Christmas tree, and even saw our first snowfall! And of course, we've done so much more than that too that I can't even remember.

What I do remember is that I just posted a bunch of pictures to Kaylani's album today, so check them all out (they're in 3 separate albums). I've included a summary of our last 6 weeks below, but there are still more to come from Disney so stay tuned!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas "shopping"

I refuse to go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, or "Black Friday" as they call it. It would probably be really beneficial to get everything done almost a month in advance of Christmas, but I just won't bring myself to do it. You'd think that sitting here now, 1 week before Christmas, with only 3 out of 30 presents bought, I'd reconsider or feel regret for not having gone on "Black Friday"...but I don't. Even if Christmas shopping has changed for me...forever.

A few years ago, I became an avid Amazon Christmas shopper. It was just easier. Amazon had most things I needed, and with free 2 day shipping on Prime, I was losing money by not shopping on Amazon. But no matter how easy Amazon made Christmas shopping, it just didn't feel like Christmas without a trip or three to the mall. Christmas was about walking around, looking at decorations, having coffee/hot cocoa, and walking out with a handful of shopping bags and feeling accomplished for getting everything you didn't/couldn't buy off of Amazon. That's what Christmas was.

Christmas shopping with a baby who has just learned to walk is nothing like Christmas shopping with a 6 week old in stroller or Christmas shopping without kids at all. It adds a whole new complexity to the existing mall/parking madness, sale crowds, and decision making. Now, we have to split up. One of us has to follow Kaylani around and pick her up every time she falls/sits on the disgusting public mall floors while the other tries to find something on our list. One of us has to entertain her and distract her so we can walk between stores with her in our arms instead of at a snails pace due to her tiny, newly walking legs. One of us has to give her snacks so she stays in lines with us instead of walking around and grabbing all types of things that she shouldn't be touching/breaking. And when that's all done, both of us need to rest.

We spent 3.5 hours at the mall last night and came out with 2 presents. 2. That's less than 1 an hour. And if you take out the hour we spent trying to feed Kaylani and eat dinner ourselves, its still less than 1 present an hour. Add in the fact that we left the mall around 8:30, or after Kaylani's bedtime/cranky period and you get 2 exhausted parents.

So this is Christmas shopping for the foreseeable future for us. Today Mommy will try and tackle the malls by herself with Kaylkani, and tonight we'll try and do the rest by Amazon. Maybe we won't have to make a dreaded trip to the mall the Sunday before Christmas. But if we do, at least now we know what we're up against. For some reason, I'm not sure that makes things any better...but at least it feels like Christmas. And when it comes down to it, its still the best Christmas ever.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Walker, Toddler Baby

Remember last week when we got all excited that Kaylani walked 10 steps on her own? Well forget that! Now, she's walking 10 blocks on her own! Okay, maybe not 10 blocks yet, but she did take a nice stroll around the house last night. The pure excitement on her face when she walks is priceless. Sure it's a little nervewracking watching her walk near walls, corners, and bear traps, but it's still a pretty amazing thing to see her up on all 2's finally.

I've got to head to work now so it's up to Mommy to keep our new walking baby out of trouble today. For the rest of you, just sit back and relax and check out Kaylani's first walking video! And if you have a second, feel free to shoot Mommy your condolences as her life just got a bit more active with Kaylani!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Kaylani Show

Years ago, I used to wake up and immediately turn on the TV. Most of the times it was Sportscenter, but sometimes it was the news (lie), Saved By The Bell, or some other show that I should probably be ashamed of watching. Luckily, TV time in the morning has all but disappeared so I have nothing to be ashamed of. However, its been replaced by a 7" video monitor.

I've written a few times about how much we love our video monitor. It let's us know Kaylani is sleeping, or standing, or screaming just to scream instead of thinking something is wrong with her. But best of all, it let's me see her for a few minutes before I head off to work. Since Kaylani is sleeping anywhere from 11-13 hours at night, it means that my glimpse of her in the morning is usually of her sleeping, which is better than nothing at all. And on some days, like today, I get a real treat.

This morning, she started making noise around 7:20am. I was just about to hop in the shower when I heard her talking (to herself, her monkey, her dolls on the wall, or maybe her blanket). 10 minutes later, she was still talking. Not crying, not fussing, but just talking. Sitting in her crib, holding her blanket, and talking. Every few minutes she would stand up and look around. Then she'd sit down, rub her eyes, and lay back down...talking the whole time. Sometimes there would be a moment of silence and I'd think she was sleeping. But then she'd pop up and do it all over again.

Right now, she's standing up and holding her monkey over the edge and making monkey noises. I'm sure she's saying "come get me or I'll drop the monkey...and don't think I won't do it!" I've still got a little bit before I have to leave for work, so who am I to let the monkey drop. Time to catch the live version of the Kaylani show.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You're cut off

Tonight was the night. For the first time in 13 months and 3 days, Kaylani has been cut off officially. Tonight, Kaylani went to bed without nursing. Last week, she went to bed without nursing, but that was more like passing out. Tonight, she "voluntarily" went to bed without nursing. And I had front row seats to see it all unfold.

The plan involved Mommy being out of the house for the entire bedtime routine. The thought behind this was that if Kaylani even saw her at any point, she'd freak out...more so. So after dinner, Mommy said good night as Kaylani and I went upstairs for bath time. To make sure she was nowhere close, she left completely to get some holiday shopping down around town. That meant it was just Daddy and Kaylani in the house at bedtime. Woah.

I had no idea what to expect besides a lot of crying. This was all new for all 3 of us, so the only thing we anticipated was a lot of crying. Bath time went well with only a little crying (but that was because she slipped in the tub and splashed water on her face). Getting dressed went by without any crying. We even got through Goodnight Gorilla and Hush Little Polar Bear without any crying. But when it was time to flick off the lights and close the door, with no Mommy in sight, Kaylani knew something was up.

When the lights went on, the tears and crying started. She wiggled, she squirmed, and did everything she could to get down so she could open the door and look for Mommy. She screamed louder in case Mommy was still somewhere within the neighborhood and could hear her. She pushed herself sideways in my arms to see if that was an easier way out. She even did the hands and arms over the head trick to see if she could slide out. But I had a good grip on her and was determined to get her sleepy in my arms.

After 10 minutes of swaying, bouncing, walking, and singing songs that I was making up on the spot ("good night sweetheart well its time to sleep. lay down your head and don't make a peep. Close your eyes and drift away. Tomorrow will be time to play"), she started rubbing her eyes more frequently and screaming a little bit less. As I got closer to the crib, she pushed away from me which meant it was time to put her down. This is where the nerves kicked in. Was she going to scream and cry for hours? Would sleep training work? Was it mean? Should I just give up and pick her up again? All questions that I didn't have the answer to.

After her standing up and me kissing her and laying her back down 5 times, I decided it was time to leave the room. After a check-in with Mommy to give her the update, I went back in after 5 minutes to comfort Kaylani a little bit. Fortunately she was still laying down (which was a good sign). After a few "shhhs" and a few rubs of her belly (which she pushed my hand away from...another good sign), I kissed her on the forehead and left the room again. The next 6 minutes were agonizing as I stared at the monitor and listened to her cry while pulling at her ears...but still laying down. And then it happened. At 7 minutes. Silence.

She was quiet. She was laying on her side, with both arms on her left ear, but she was quiet. At the next "check-in" 3 minutes later, I didn't even go in because she was definitely asleep. Hands still on her ear, but definitely asleep. That was it. I survived. No, WE survived. And after texting Mommy to let her know, she responded with "I can breathe again!" Truer words were never spoken.

So night one of no nursing went relatively well. 13 minutes of crying in her crib plus 10 in my arm before that? Not too bad. Could've been a lot worse. Funny enough, yesterday she cried for 35+ minutes...and that was just a normal bedtime WITH nursing. Maybe this whole non-nursing thing isn't going to be so bad. In fact, I'm thinking it's going to be a real good thing. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll see how the rest of the weekend goes first.

And speaking of the weekend, for the first time in a LONG time, happy Fatherhood Friday! Don't forget to check out the other posts at Dad-Blogs. Even though I haven't written for them in a long time, they're still there going strong and doing great, so head on over! That's where I'm going now too.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holy Cow(seat)!

At Kaylani's 1 year doctor appointment, she weighed in at a whopping 17lbs (2nd percentile) and 29". While she's technically underweight, she's completely healthy. Other than recommending we try to fatten her up a bit with yogurt, lard, and butter soaked yogurt with lard (kidding), they said she was fine and to keep doing what we're doing since she actually eats a lot. Both Mommy and me were (and still are...kinda) both "skinny", so its possible she just picked up our metabolism. While not a bad thing, it does mean that we didn't get the green light to flip her around in her carseat yet.

Kaylani actually doesn't mind facing backwards. She goes in alright, stares at us through her jungle mirror, plays with her toys (or shoes and socks), and looks out the window. She even falls asleep just fine still when we drive her around. The only problem is that she was getting too long for her infant carseat, which meant her legs were pushing up against the seat. Since we had already bought her convertible carseat, we figured we'd at least install that, even if it was backwards.

We bought a Britax Marathon carseat in none other than the Cowmooflage pattern. It installed just fine, with the super convenient latch system. It's definitely bigger than her old one, but Kaylani seems to like this one too. But for us, there are 2 main problems. First problem is that there's no longer a shade over her head. Since it sits up straighter, that also means that light can get in from both sides. And with a shade only on her window, she gets blinded whenever the sun is on her left. I'm thinking we need to buy another shade, because its getting difficult to find routes where the sun doesn't shine on the left side.

The other problem is that the cowseat is anchored into the car. Gone are the days of having her pass out on the way home from somewhere and easily transferring her into the house in her carseat. Instead, we play a game of chance to see if she'll stay asleep when we pick her up. And like gambling, or the lottery, our luck (and our chances) aren't good.

The cowseat says we shouldn't turn her around to face forward until she hits 20lbs. At the pace Kaylani's going, we'll be able to turn her around when she turns 2, if not a little later. Maybe she fattened up a little bit while we were at Disney (I know I did) and we'll be able to turn her around sooner. It's supposed to make a big difference for her since she'll actually be able to see where we're going. But since backwards facing car seats are safer for her, she'll just have to deal for now. And if she doesn't like it, well then she better start gulping down her butter soaked yogurt with lard. At least, that's what my advice would be.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The End Is Near...

So the time has finally come. What we thought might have happened at 6 months, 9 months, and then at a year, has finally come. It's been 13 months in the waiting, and now our wait is no more. The only problem is, we have no idea what to do. We have no idea how to do it. And we have no idea if it's going to work.

This weekend, Kaylani is going to go to bed without nursing...for the rest of her life. To this day, it's only happened once, and that was 3 days ago in Orlando and it was only because Kaylani passed out on the bus ride home. She was so tired that she let us change her clothes and transfer her into her pack and play without even waking up. Something tells me that this weekend will be nothing like that.

Kaylani's pediatrician recommends that Mommy nurses Kaylani for as long as she can, but with Kaylani having 6+ teeth now, nursing has become far from enjoyable. We actually meant for Kaylani to stop nursing right at her one year birthday, but with guests, holidays, and vacation, the right time never came about. This weekend though, is the right time. This weekend is the first weekend we've had home without distractions for almost a month. This weekend is when I can be around to put Kaylani to sleep without Mommy. This weekend is it. So...what now?

My gut feeling is that this isn't going to go well. Kaylani is going to cry. She's going to scream. She's going to figure out that it's just me and her reading a book. She's going to realize something is up when she's drinking her bottle with me instead of nursing from Mommy. She's going to find it odd that she's brushing her teeth after her bottle instead of right after bathtime like normal. And most of all, she's going to freak out when Mommy kisses her on the head and then leaves just the two of us in the room.

It might not be that different from sleep training I guess, except this time she might not be drowsy, but not asleep. This time, she'll be on alert, and when I put her in her crib, it'll kick in that she didn't nurse. Hopefully we can do 5 min, then 10 min more, then 15 min more without giving in and sending Mommy in to nurse. Hopefully that's all it takes, because if it goes on longer, who knows what we'll be able to do. And then, let's just hope that we don't have to go through it for several days/weeks in a row.

So D-Day is 2 days away from now. Any suggestions? Or better yet, anyone want to come babysit while Mommy and Daddy leave the house? No? Just us? Alright, well then I guess we'll see what happens! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Disney Characters: Friendly or Scary?

When we first got to Orlando, Tio Carlitos and Titi Briseida bought Kaylani an autograph book so that all the characters in the park could sign it for her. Being her first (interactive) trip to Disney, we thought it'd be great to wait in line for a picture and a signature. What we didn't know was how Kaylani would react.

In each line, Primitos Alisha and Rohan would go first and get an autograph, a picture, and give a high five or two to whoever it was we ran into. They got pictures and autographs from Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale, Pluto, Daisy, Lilo, Stitch, and Buzz Lightyear (maybe a few more too). And for each one of those, they had a blast. But when they were done, it was Kaylani's turn.

Kaylani got all of the autographs, which really means that me or Tio Pritesh went to ask for an autograph which didn't feel weird at all. In fact, we both gave a few high fives, got a few hugs, and even snapped a few pictures. And for most of those, Kaylani was right there with us...kinda. Let's say she was in the general vicinity of them and us. A few of them, she was right next to us. And for those few, she screamed, cried, and dug her claws into my arm for fear that one of them might take her away from us. Little did she know that the characters could barely hold a pen, let alone a squirming, crying baby.

After a few of these episodes, we learned our lesson and let Kaylani admire them from afar. Sometimes, we'd distract her and snap a picture with the characters behind her. Other times we let her cry for the picture so she could see how much she enjoyed them when she grows up. And other times, we just let Tio Pritesh get a 3rd autograph for her while we walked around outside the greerting spots.

To be fair, Kaylani was not the only one to act like this. In fact, there were a ton of older kids who were just as afraid of the characters. So, are Disney characters friendly or scary? Right now, I think the answer is scary. We'll see what happens next visit...whenever that is.

In the blink of an eye

You can't avoid sleep. No matter how hard you try, its going to catch up to you. And when it comes to kids, it happens in the blink of an eye.

2 things I learned during our vacation in Florida: 1) Sleep training works, and 2) Kaylani will sleep anywhere if she's tired. I knew sleep training works from our experience at home, but we've never tried it out before. And I knew Kaylani would sleep anywhere, but had only considered anywhere as her stroller or her pack and play. Florida changed everything.

The first night we got here, Kaylani had been awake since 5:30am and took only a 15 minute nap before we got to the hotel. When we finally got her in her pack and play at 9:30pm, we knew it wasn't for the night. And instead of picking her up at midnight, changing her, nursing her, etc, we went for the training. After 5 minutes, I went in and laid her down 3 times (she always stands). 10 more minutes and I did it again. After 15 more minutes, she was down and out, and stayed that way until 7am. The next 4 nights she slept straight through no matter if we put her to bed at 9:30 or 11pm. Sleep training works (as long as everyone with you is okay with the crying for 30 minutes).

It also helps that Kaylani sleeps anywhere. She took at least 1 nap each day in her stroller, and usually another one on Mommy on a bus. But what we found out was that if Kaylani's tired, she'll sleep anywhere. Right now, she's asleep on Mommy on the bus to the airport. 2 days ago, she was asleep on me in the park. 3 days ago she was asleep on Mommy on the bus again. And the tell tale sign was her blinking. Even Primitos Alisha and Rohan gave the sign. They all sit there, straring straight ahead, and blink. They blink and bob their head as they fight a losing battle against sleep. Sometimes they get another burst of energy, but more often than not, they pass out.

Maybe things will all be different when we leave the Disney Magic behind us and get home. In fact, I know they will because Kaylani is going back to her 7 or 8pm bedtime for sure. But what I also know is that we'll be sleep training Kaylani on the first night wherever we go...Disney Magic or not

Monday, December 7, 2009

Disney Adventures

Yesterday, we wrapped up our 3 day Disney park adventure with a character breakfast at O'hana's in the Polynesian, and then a trip to Epcot. And both events were memorable, but probably not for the reasons you might think.

The character breakfast was a family style serving of eggs, biscuits, sausage, bacon, potato wedges, and of course, Mickey shaped waffles. Most of the tables were filled with people and cameras ready to snap pictures of Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch, and of each other. Most of them were normal families enjoying Disney magic. Most of them...but not all of them. One family was ready for a lot more, and lucky for us, they were seated right next to us.

This one table was filled with about 16 teenage Columbian girls who clearly were at Disney for the very first time. They didn't just wait for the characters to come to their table, they went after them. And when they got them, they hung on to them. They lined up for multiple pictures and poses each. They screamed like the Beatles just arrived in Japan. They clung to them like they were magnetically drawn to each other. But thatl wasn't the weird part. That, I actually consider fairly normal for Disney. Taking pictures of CHARACTERS is normal.

Apparently, Kaylani was a character. 2 of the girls came over and asked if they could take a picture of our "pretty son" (who was dressed in all pink and a Minnie Mouse dress by the way). After saying yes (awkwardly), the rest of the table looked to see what the commotion was and proceeded to "aww" and "ahhh" over Kaylani. For a while, I thought they were going to line up for pictures, but then Mickey came out and they were gone.

Next came Epcot. We saw Nemo, Innoventions, Simba, and all of the countries in the World Showcase. Normally there's not much excitement in the countries, but Germany provided some. While Tio Pritesh and I were grabbing a beer, Mommy was getting asked a very odd question: "Is your baby adopted?"

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with adoption, and in fact, Mommy would love to adopt a baby in the future, but that's not the point. The fact that Kaylani does look a lot like me also doesn't matter. The odd part is that it was a complete stranger. Overall, it's just a weird question to ask. Should I go up to someone and ask if that's the mailman's daughter? Or ask if someone's spouse is ugly? Or maybe even if a person was artificially insemenated? While none of them are technically inappropriate (maybe the mailman one), but you still shouldn't ask a stranger any of those.

Anyways, today we're taking it easy with a trip to the pool and to Downtown Disney for some shopping and food. Kaylani's about to wake up from her nap, so back to vacation I go. Let's hope there's not quite as much excitement today!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who says things change?

Almost a year ago, we came to Disney. Back then, Kaylani was 8 weeks old and spent the entire time in a Bjorn, her stroler, or in Mommy's Maya Wrap. She didn't see anything and she likely didn't pay attention to anything. Well here we are, almost one year later, and its like deja vu all over again.

Right now, we're at Animal Kingdom. If you've never been, Animal Kingdom has all types of exotic animals, a Finding Nemo and Lion King show, and all your favorite characters dressed up in safari gear. It's chock full of fun for everyone. Everyone but Kaylani I guess.

Instead of taking part in all the excitement, Kaylani is sleeping in her stroller. In fact, she's so tired (even though she slept 11 hours last night and only woke up once for 25 minutes), she practuically fell asleep on the bus ride over. Don't get me wrong, imn actually really happy that Kaylani is sleeping. In fact, we had planned most of our day around Kaylani NOT sleeping, which means we have a ton of toys and snacks to keep her busy. But since she's sleeping, our day looks like we might have caught a bit of luck.

Luck is definitely something we need in Disney, and not something I thought we were going to get. Forecast for the next 2 days is mid-60s and 80% chance of rain. All my thoughts that the 80% would just be a passing Florida shower quickly ended when it started pouring the second we entered our card and had the Disney machine take our fingerprint like we were common (yet fancy) criminals.

But the rain doesn't matter since Kaylani's sleeping. The rain ponchos Abuelo bought all of us make the rain not matter also. The umbrella I have (because I'm too cool for a poncho) makes it matter even less too. And the fact that I'm writing this post under an awning while rocking Kaylani back and forth with my elbow or foot definitely doesn't matter. She's sleeping. And that's all that matters.

When she wakes up, we'll show her some real Disney magic. Disney magic in the form of characters, rides, and turkey legs hopefully covered under our Disney dining plan. That's when things will be different. Last year, Kaylani was about the same size as the turkey leg. This year, she'll help me eat it (even though she's still pretty much the same size as the turkey leg).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Who doesn't need a walker?

We've been holding Kaylani's hand as she learns new things (literally). But now, I think it's time to cut her loose. It's time to let her run free. It's time she learns to stand on her own two feet. And if anyone knows me, you know that I never plan on letting her run free without me nearby. But now, I have no other choice because we've got ourselves an independent walker!

Her first step or two on her own actually happened the day after Thanksgiving. Unlike me, Kaylani wasn't too full to walk for a few days after eating 2 Thanksgiving meals. So up at Yin Yin and Yea Yea's, she cruised to the end of the couch and took two wobbly steps over to me. That was big. In fact, it was huge! But looking back, it was nothing. Nothing compared to today that is!

We arrived at Orlando International and were waiting for the Disney Magical Express to wisk us away to our magical Disney adventure. And since everything Disney related requires a minimum 10 minute wait, we had some time on our hands. And since Kaylani just spent 3 (well behaved) hours on a plane, she wanted to do nothing but hold my finger and walk around. But this time, she let go. She let go and she walked over to Mommy. She walked over to Mommy who was 5 steps away!

So for the next 10 minutes, Kaylani walked back and forth between us all by herself. She made it a full 10 steps to me before she fell down as I kept backing up. To prove she wasn't a one hit wonder, she did it again and again later on at the resort. She still can't make it much past 10 steps, and she still needs a little bit of a ramp up period sometimes, and she still falls on her butt and gets confused, but she's definitely a walker now.

It's great to have Kaylani walking. Sure we might regret it when she's running circles around us, but for now, its another amazing milestone that Kaylani has reached. Now, the only question is whether or not Kaylani learning how to walk right before we spend 5 days in Disney is a good thing, or a really, really bad thing. I'm guessing both...