I am horrible about updating Alexsa's baby calendar of milestones. I'm probably 2 months behind already... I think "Well, I posted it on Blogger, so at least its documented." And that gives me the excuse to procrastinate more. Another cool thing I wanted to do was print each of her daily photos into an album so later, she could see herself grow up (and that I could remember that she as once tiny and wonderful!). The task of having to print almost 365 photos was daunting. Then I thought "They should give you the ability to publish your blog! I think I'll email Google about that." So yesterday I went to do just that and realized they already have that ability! YES! (Too bad for me, I might've gotten some $$ on the idea, but oh well.) You can go to http://www.blog2print.com/ and print your blog in a nice hardback book! You can even customize it by label and other things. Its about $50 bucks, but what a great way to capture Alexsa's moments for us to look at anytime. I think I'll do this after her 1st birthday as a gift to both me and her. :)
We recently 'splurged' and bought a year membership to Jacksonville's Museum of Science and History (MOSH). I say that in quotations because we used a Groupon and got a family membership for only $30! So for the next year Barry, me and our kids (according to our membership we have 3! heehee) PLUS 1 guest can get into the MOSH for free!! YAY! I think Alexsa was a bit overwhelmed with everything to look at, but Barry and I are really excited for something to do with Alexsa that's free. Barry was practially raised in a museum, so he is super excied about sharing this with her.
I realized I've been slacking on posting things that are non-baby picture related... So here's an update on my life outside of Alexsa.
Work has been interesting. Back in May, it was announced that our institution would be purchasing another, effectively growing the Bank by 40%. Our 'Legal Day one' is in October, then the merger will be complete in December. Luckily I still have my job, doing the same thing I'm doing now. My virtual branch has been very slow since we lowered rates, so I've been helping in other parts of the operations department, primarily handling wires. Nothing too exciting, except for when I mess up!
Barry is starting his next semester in school on Monday. He's about 1/2 way to his degree in education. We both are looking forward to that! He goes full force and has only gotten one B since starting, making A's in all other classes. I'm so proud of him for working so hard to realize his dream. He's had his share of jobs, so its nice for him to be working towards a his dream of teaching. It really is what he's meant to do.
My family is doing well. My dad is currently in Bolivia participating in a language immersion program to learn Spanish. He is a Maryknoll Deacon who's job it is to ask for money to support Maryknoll's Missions. His district includes Puerto Rico and S Florida so its very important for him to learn Spanish! He is having an amazing experience outside of the classroom as well, visiting Toro Toro and other unique places. He's there for three months and will be back in October. We miss him but we're able to keep in touch on Skype. I love skype. Mom is loving retirement and keeping very busy helping with the grand kids and volunteering anywhere she can. Right now she's up in Chicago helping my Grandpa (more on that below).
The cats are doing great adjusting to Alexsa. Most of the time they stay away, but Hiro is especially good about letting her pull out his hair pet him. They aren't fans of the gates, but they are dealing with them.
Lastly, the sad news. My grandpa went to the doctor a few months ago to check out a pain in his leg. They found cancer that had eaten his femur so bad he had to get a metal rod put in for support. Unfortunately we learned the cancer was a secondary cancer, and it had come from his lungs. When they ran tests on his lungs, they found the cancer had travelled to his lymph nodes as well. They classified it as Stage 4 and, because of the lymph nodes, its inoperable. So he went through radiation, but it only kept the cancer from growing further. His next step is chemo, which he may or may not do. His 81st birthday is on the 31st. He's had a full life and watched his wife of 60 years go through the crapiness of cancer 2 years ago. I won't blame him for not doing the chemo. I will be heartbroken when he leaves us though. He's the last of my grandparents. I have so many great memories with him. Also, I am nervous to learn of the fate of their house. It is a magical little house on the lake that is, after all my travels, hands down the best place on earth. I know 7 other grandchildren and 9 great-grandchilren that feel the same way. Its been nice that my mom is there; We've been able to talk on skype and he's been able to see Alexsa laugh and crawl around.
So, even though my life (and heart) revolve around Alexsa, other things do go on. :)
A friend has posted a link on Facebook to vote for her gerber baby in a photo contest. I've been told by so many people to enter Alexsa in a contest,so I stole the link and entered my own baby instead! But first, I had to take her picture, of course. (Like I didn't have enough already, right?) So, here are the finalists from today's photo shoot. :)
We're having fun in the hutch :)
This one was a close runner up...
But here's the winner! As soon as it's approved i'll be posting the link for you to vote everyday!
My sister called me yesterday from Babies R Us to let me know about this deal they're doing: No sitting fee and only $7.99 for 10 decent prints from 1 pose (plus 16 locket prints). So as long as I have the will power to say "No" I could get a professional session for Alexsa's 6 month photos! So she made an appointment for me for today at 11:00. I put Alexsa in my favorite dress of hers (this one) and off we went! She did very well and was adorable of course. Overall, though, I wasn't too impressed with their set up. I've done Portrait Innovations a few times and really enjoyed those experiences better. Most of the pictures weren't anything my sisters or I could take with our own cameras. But just being there gave me some great ideas to do some photo shoots with my sister (Who has a Cannon D-something expensive). One of the poses was Alexsa wrapped in a pink towel. It was adorable! So I attempted my own version when we got home. She wouldn't really stay still, but here's the best one. :)
I didn't get a picture today of Alexsa, so I was going to put up one from her bath the other day. when I looked at my pictures I found this! How adorable is it that not only did Daddy do some baby wearing today, but that he took a picture of it? I love this man.
We went to the doctor for Alexsa's 6 month wellness check today. Here are her stats:
Weight: 15lb 4 oz (30th)
Height: 26 1/4" (70th)
Head: 42cm (30th)
So, compared to her 4 month check up, she's getting closer to the middle range. I kinda hopes she stays below 50% - I like that she's petite :)
At her 6 month birthday:
Alexsa has learned to sit up, get on all fours, rock and even crawl! She's my little mover now. She had no fear when it came to learning to crawl. She got on all fours and within a few days she was taking that first 'step' with her hand. It only took a few times of plopping on her forehead before she figured out how to move her legs to go along with her hands to keep her balance.
She is eating 6-8 ounces of formula every 3 hours, eating 4-5 times a day depending on her naps.
She and Daddy have so much fun during the day! She is just so much fun to watch and play with and is a happy happy baby 90% of the time.
Daddy has become the baby whisperer. He is very good at getting Alexsa to go down and if she's extra fussy, Barry goes in that room and does some sort of voodoo because 80% of the time, she won't make another peep when he comes out.
I love love love my time with her. I'm starting to get sad at how fast all these milestones are coming. Just last week she learned to crawl and she's already learning to pull herself to stand? I need to hurry up and invent that time machine so I can travel back to this age.
I love her snuggles. She knows the perfect way to curl up in my arms that makes me melt every time.
Alexsa has a gift to make everyone she meets fall madly in love with her. She's got an infectious smile that even the biggest cynic could catch.
I bought some rice cereal today! I also got some bananas. I smushed up some bananas and mixed it w/ the rice cereal for Alexsa's first meal from a spoon. She did very well! She only gagged a few times, which I read was normal. I attempted to video it and feed her at the same time, so sometimes the camera goes whacky, but here it is!
Got a call today from my mom to learn that my cousin's 6 year old daughter, Elizabeth, drowned in her bath last night. I don't know very much about what happened - I'm sure there's still an investigation going on - but needless to say its tragic.
I wouldn't wish what Bryan is going through on my worst enemy.
As I was giving Alexsa her bath tonight I wondered if there will be a day that I'll not think of Elizabeth when I give Alexsa a bath.
I never got to meet her. Unfortunately I haven't seen Bryan in about 15-20 years.
I ache for him. Imagining what he's feeling right now is painful enough. If the intensity is equal to imagining what its like to love your own child, then actually having a child, then I don't think I would survive.
I just want to hold my baby.
Its moments like this that I wonder if its worth having nights out w/o the baby. If something were to happen to her, will I ever forgive myself for not spending a minute more with her, instead of going out to dinner with my husband or checking my facebook?
How do I get over the guilt I feel for knowing my baby is sleeping soundly in the next room, when his will never wake up again?
I am so sorry for Bryan and his family.
The english language falls short in moments like this.
*Please forgive the lack of cohesion on this post... just wanted to get some thoughts out.
I had to take a shower so we could get out of the house and run the day's errands, so i left her in her crib with toys. (Barry was at school). This is what I came out to... Silly girl. (Its also the only pic I took of her on Saturday.)
First time sitting up in a shopping cart! (I could NOT get her to look at me!)
She crawled tonight!!!!!! I set her bottle down out of her reach to put my hair up (or something) and she crawled to it!! It was a few 'steps' at a time but it was definitely a crawl!!!! OMG she's growing too fast!
Today we woke up early and drove to Hilton Head, SC to visit with some family that are vacationing there. I did my best to take pictures of all the firsts that happened today, but there were so many and 1/2 the time I didn't realize it was a first until the camera was out of the way. So here's the day in pictures:
It was Alexsa's first road trip, her first time out of Florida, and her first time at McDonald's. All before 9 am!
It was also her first time in her stroller w/o her car seat. She LOVED watching her feet as we strolled to the beach.
First time ready for the beach!
First time in the ocean! (she wasn't too keen on it)
First Family Photo on the beach :)
First time meeting "Uncle" Josh! (cousin)
It was also her first time meeting many other Swedlows. She got passed around so much I actually got jealous and wanted her to myself. But I was good and let her cousins and aunts and uncles enjoy her. And was she enjoyable! She was so good all day. She got overheated after about 15-20 minutes on the beach and was the opposite of happy. I felt so bad for her! I scooped her up and practically ran back to the beach entrance where, luckily, there was a gift shop with air conditioning. As soon as she got inside she calmed down. When we finally reconnected with the others, Barry fed her some water out of a water bottle! So it was her first time drinking w/o a bottle. She did so well! I wish I got it on video because it was adorable the way she stuck her tongue out. Maybe next time.
From the beach we went where Josh and Melissa (his GF) were staying to play in the pool and cool off. I didn't expect Alexsa to like the pool, since just a few weeks ago we tried and she wasn't having it. But she loved it!
First time enjoying the pool!
First kisses in the pool :)
First puppy kiss! (I LOVE this picture!)
From here I didn't have a camera... We went to dinner at The Crazy Crab and got a high chair. It was the first time she sat in the high chair and not in her car seat. She only lasted a few minutes before she was done w/ that. Luckily she has plenty of people to hold her and entertain her. She also had her first non-formula food when Aunt Sharon gave her a green been to suck on at dinner. She didn't like it too much. But then she tried some smushed carrot and liked that. She played with spoons and enjoyed throwing butter packets on the ground with Aunt Sharon while I was able to enjoy some awesome crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp. YUM.
After dinner we said our goodbyes and got in the car about 7:30. She slept all the way home and we were back in Jax by 10:45. It was such a great day! I love spending time w/ family!