Thursday, February 23, 2012

4 Months Old

About a week ago, November turned four months old! She is now in the age that I've always imagined and as 'typical' baby: she's giggly, wiggly, loves to smile, grabs toes, sucks on everything...
...is always babbling, likes toys and books. She still hasn't rolled over all the way but I can tell she wants to badly!
And every day when we practice tummy time, she gets stronger and stronger! She kicks her little legs, just trying to figure out the mechanics of crawling.
Entertaining her has also changed. It seems so recently that she would sit for long stretches of time in her swing, staring bright eyed and curious at her mobile above her. While she still enjoys sitting in her seats occasionally, I can tell she'd rather play when she starts kicking her legs and squirming. She has a bouncy gym at my mom's house that she really seems to like when she's there, so we decided to buy her a similar one for our house too. It just really seemed like she needed something fun that she can play with and keep her occupied, as opposed to simply just contain her.
I am so glad we got her that bounce gym! She seems to like it more and more every day as she notices more of the toys and learns to turn in the spinning seat. It's also become the newest way to get things done around the house! She loves playing in it while watching us prepare food, eat, clean, even vacuum!
We've also been trying to nip a bad habit in the bud: too much tv. November is so fascinated by tv that it's easy to slip into the routine of letting her watch it whenever she is awake so I can focus on other things like blogging or reading! But that just doesn't seem right...I SHOULD be focusing on her! Not to mention the developmental setbacks that can happen from exposing a young baby to too much tv (thanks to my brother for sending me this link.) So now the tv is off most of the day (unless she has an occasional overly-fussy moment and a somewhat educational show is on.) This means I have to be a lot more creative in entertaining her! But it's been fun; we've been reading a lot, getting lots of tummy and back time in, singing, dancing, and playing with her toys. She especially likes music toys, like her new panda...
November is still sleeping really well! She often sleeps throughout the night, waking for a night feeding only some nights. Here she is holding daddy's hand while she naps...
Other good news: we are expecting a really good tax return soon! We have about $1400 in past due bills from my pregnancy and birth, and with the child credits and such, November is essentially paying for them herself! What a relief! I can't wait to pay them off before they go into collections (one, unfortunately, has already gone that way.) And with the leftover, I think it's time I treat myself to a few things! Working only 3 days a week doesn't really leave me much for spending on fun things like clothes and makeup, so I am excited to buy the few things on my 'post-pregnancy-spoil-myself' list. One thing on the list that I'm considering getting is one of those expensive Ergo baby carriers. They are supposedly the best for baby's spine, and support more weight for the mommy's comfort; November is getting a little too heavy for the moby wrap. By the end of a 30 minute walk, my lower back is killing me!

I think we have a wonderful month ahead of us! I am so grateful for November and all the smiles she brings. And on that note, I'll leave you with a smile: this is what happens when you let your wiggly baby smell your chocolate ice cream...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Breaking Dawn and other books-to-movies

I know I usually write about my magical experience with mommyhood, but books and movies are a big part of my life too! Reading is one of my favorite one-handed pastimes (thanks to my easy-to-hold IPad), and watching movies is a great way for a new mommy to spend a Saturday night while the rest of the world gets sloshed in a bar. Even daddy Spencer is out on the town tonight, celebrating a friend's birthday!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand; I just got done watching Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! The other movies improved upon consecutive release, and were pretty enjoyable, but I feel like this latest really blew the others out of the water! Why, I wondered? The book is (from what I've read in reviews) often considered the least popular for numerous reasons (personally, I like the final book despite its quirks), so why would the final movie be so much better? And then I realized: time.

This final book, which, if I remember correctly, was only a couple hundred pages longer than the rest, and has been split into two parts for the movies. This basically gives them double the amount of time to tell (slightly more than) the same amount of story as the other books-to-movie. I think it gave them more time to linger on visually-moving and enjoyable moments that would normally have to be rushed through. The final Harry Potter book-to-movie used the same two-part formula, and I was so happy that they did! It was necessary to include everything that they did, especially for such an epic finale!

So now I'm definitely all for drawing out the movie versions as long as possible when going from book to movie. It has always irritated me when I go see a movie based on a book I love and so much is left out! I'm very understanding about changing certain elements and plots in order to translate better to screen, but most of the time it's the rushing over or leaving out important and enjoyable parts that really makes a book-to-movie lack luster.

Another recent example: I've really been getting into BBC classics and Masterpiece Theater Classics lately. I've wathched 4 hour mini-series versions of Emma, Wuthering Heights, North and South, Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice...and they are all awesome! So much better than the two 2-ish hour versions of Mansfield Park (and other books-to-movies) that I've seen. Two hours just can't seem to get it right!

Yep, I'm officially a fan of the mini-series and the two-part movie. However, there's also the issue with books-to-tv-series that can go awry as well. A lot of times it seems like they had TOO MUCH time, and end up going off on tangents and totally changing characters in order to stretch a book out to ten, twenty (or more) episodes. HBO's Game of Thrones series, however, did not disappoint. Loved it! Season One stayed almost entirely true to the first book in the series, and the variations were well placed. I recently finished George R.R. Martin's most recent book in that series, and can't wait for him to release his next. When will it be?! His writing is so good, other fantasy novels have just paled next to his. I'll never enjoy reading again!!! Ahem, sorry, just freaking out for a moment...

Anyhow, luckily I can get my Game of Thrones fix in April when season two premiers...except I don't have HBO, what will I do?! Oh the woes of becoming addicted to a good series...

What's your opinion of the Twilight books-to-movie? Love em? Hate em?

Friday, February 10, 2012

November's Nursery

Here are some pictures of November's nursery! She doesn't use it much, considering she sleeps in our bed, but I like having a nice, somewhat organized area for her clothes, diaper changing, and play space. Of course, the rest of our house has become filled with her play things as well, but we are trying our best to minimize clutter! There are still quite a lot of things I want to do, such as add more artwork, including painting something on the canvas the pink light is hanging on in the picture below...
I did enjoy making the artwork in the next picture. I took cards we received from November's baby shower, one of the invitations for her baby shower, and pieces of ivy that I wore in my hair at said shower, and pressed them beneath small glass frames we got from Ikea! So inexpensive and cute!
And below is her dresser (Spencer hated assembling that beast!) with a handmade owl lamp made by Spencer's friend, Dawn.
And here is November's crib with a cherry blossom wall decal above...
And just for fun, and to prove that you totally can hang dry cloth diapers, here are November's cloth diapers drying in the light of the window...
I hope someday I can take some time for art so I can finish that canvas and make even more artwork to make her nursery really look complete. We also have a cherry blossom window valance that matches her bed skirt and diaper stacker, but we haven't gotten around to hanging it. We may be moving in July so it's kind of hard to be motivated to put up fixtures that we will probably take down!

In other news, November's congestion has greatly improved! We got an air purifier, which quickly cleared up her sinuses, but then her cradle cap and dry skin came back. So now our bedroom is an energy-sucking machine at night! We have the air purifier, humidifier, and oil heater running all at once! But I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep November cozy and sleeping well. And on that note, I am so grateful to announce that she has slept over 8 hours straight for the past 3 days in a row! I hope it continues. I'm so proud of my big girl!