Winter’s 10 Month Update

10months

BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 10 months old

(All as of August 10, 2014)

Baby’s Age: 10 months old

Height: 27.5 inches

Weight: 19 lbs

Diaper Size: Size 3

Clothes Size: 9 months and a few 12 months

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Here is a look back at the past few months:

10monthcollage

Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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August 2014…We Moved!

Sorry this is posted so terribly late!  I have an excuse every.single.month.  This month I feel like my excuse is even more valid…we moved!  In fact, our moving day to our new house was August 10, the day that Winter turned 10 months.  So needless to say, I haven’t had a moment to spare for blogging.  Not only that, but we didn’t have internet hooked up until this past week, so there we go!

Why did we move?  Well, the true answer is this…our previous home was bought as our “starter home” aka “5-year-home.”  We owned it for 5 years and now have a baby, compared to just the two of us when we bought it.  Our yard was tiny, the house was tiny, and we were feeling cramped!  Since we plan to have another kid or two in the future (yes, I said FUTURE, not NOW!), we wanted to plan ahead and buy a house with more space and a bigger yard.  Done!  Our new house has 2600 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (2 full, 2 half), a finished basement and a big back yard.  We are absolutely LOVING this house!  It has been very busy considering we are DIYers, so we have been tackling projects ourselves.

Packing and moving with a mobile baby sure was an experience.  I utilized naptimes as much as possible.  Packing seemed like an endless job!  On moving day, we had some friends from church babysit Winter all day, so that we could focus all of our energy and effort into loading and unloading the truck.  That was so helpful to be babyless on moving day.  Unpacking at the new house was tricky for the first several days as there were many non-babyproofed danger zones to combat!  Thankfully, after we got a little more organized, put some outlet covers on and installed baby gates, the unpacking process went smoother.  We still have unpacking yet to do, but I imagine that will be the case for a few months to come!  One thing I love about our new house is that we have a 100% baby proof play room for Winter.  It is so wonderful to be able to let her play and make a mess to her heart’s content and not have to worry about her getting into unsafe things.  Every mom should have a baby proof play room in their house!

Winter is growing and getting smarter day by day.  She is very mobile.  She’s an expert crawler (started crawling at 8.5 months) and is pulling herself up onto everything.  She can also cruise (walking around while holding onto objects).  I doubt she’s close to walking just yet–I could see her walking somewhere around 12 months.  Since she is so mobile, she keeps me busy and on my toes!  I rarely have a chance to sit down.  I love it, though!

Her big thing these days is clapping.  It’s her favorite thing!  She claps all of the time.  Since Winter is such a happy girl, she expresses her happiness or joy by clapping when she likes something.

We were slow going on teeth, but now she seems to be catching up.  She got her second tooth, so now she has two teeth on the bottom center.  Her little teeth look so precious.  Thankfully, I have yet to feel a bite from those teeth while breastfeeding.  🙂

We were able to do Winter’s baby dedication at my parent’s church in Indiana.  It was really special.  Since we live in Colorado and don’t have our families here, doing the dedication in Indiana at my home church was really neat.  It was the church where Eric and I were married, and my youth pastor who married us was the one to do Winter’s dedication too.  How special.  Not only that, but it was extremely memorable to us that both Eric’s family and my family were able to not only be present, but joined us up on stage!  Every single one of our parents and siblings was there.  What a blessing.

Milestones: Crawling, pulling up on things, cruising, talking a lot (mama, dada, meow, da for dog, and other various sounds), clapping, has 2 teeth.

Sleep: Sleeping great!  2 daytime naps and 12 hours at night.  (Naps: 9:30-11:30am, 2:30-4:30pm and nighttime: 8pm-7:30am.)

Best Moment: Winter’s baby dedication at church.

Worst Moment: None.

Health:  Excellent!

Eating:  Winter is currently nursing 4 times per day and eating 3 solid meals.  She is a fantastic eater and there isn’t anything she doesn’t like (besides tomatoes).  It’s so nice to be able to feed her regular foods.  She eats what we eat, just chopped up into small pieces.

My breastfeeding plan has always been to nurse until a year old.  As that is approaching, I plan to get to 12 months and then reevaluate at that point what I’d like to do.  Winter is still as excited about nursing as ever, and I’m in no hurry to wean…so I could see us continuing past 12 months.  She currently nurses 4 times per day, and I plan to drop one feeding when she turns 11 months.  At 12 months, I will drop another feeding, so she will be down to two nursing’s per day (upon waking up and before bed).  I could continue with two nursing’s for forever, so easy!  Winter and I have such a bond, so we might go to 13 months or longer.  Neither of us is ready to say goodbye to this chapter!

Likes: Clapping, jabbering, making cat “meow” sounds, getting into everything, feeling soft textures.

Dislikes: Diaper changes, getting dressed after a bath.

How Mommy is doing: Not gonna lie, I have felt a wee bit overwhelmed these past few months.  Moving has been a lot!  Now life can slow down as we get settled.  Summer is coming to a close and Winter’s 1st birthday is right around the corner.  I want to cry just thinking about that!  Ha!   I am in training for my October half marathon.  Running is going well.  This race I am training for and running solo.  It is a luxury to be able to do my weekend long runs ALONE!  No stroller!  As much as I love my BOB stroller, it’s so freeing to be able to go outside and run without ANYTHING!  Woohoo!  Plus, since I’m training alone, I get to ulitize weekend naptime to go out and run while Eric is at home.  Overall, life is great.  Winter is great.  Being a mom is incredible.  I LOVE IT!

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Winter’s 9 Month Update

9monthsoldBABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 9 months old

(All as of July 10, 2014)

Baby’s Age: 9 months old

Height: 27 inches

Weight: 18 lbs 8 oz

Head:

Diaper Size: Size 3

Clothes Size: 9 months

Here is a look back at the past few months:

9monthscollage

 Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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July 2014 – This baby has gone through some ch-ch-changes… (Tooth, Crawling and Sleeping Through the Night Again)

(Written July 20, 2014) Looking back over the past month, from eight months till nine months, I’d say we have hit some big developments.  First of all, the “teething” that Winter has been going through for the past 3 months finally produced a tooth!  About a week before she turned 9 months, I started to see/feel the developments of the two bottom center teeth.  On the day she turned 9 months (July 10), her bottom right tooth finally began to cut through the gums.  It continues to make more and more of an appearance as the days go on.  Her bottom left tooth is on it’s way next, but has yet to cut through at this point.  It’s exciting for her to finally have her first tooth!  Took 9 months to achieve that goal, but by golly, it has finally happened.  Perhaps it’s better that it took until she was 9 months old to cut a tooth for the sake of breastfeeding and having yet to get a nipple gnawed off.  🙂  My friends said that biting during breastfeeding only became an issue once the top teeth made an appearance….  So at this rate, Winter might not have any top teeth until she is 12 months, and then she will be going through the weaning process anyway!

Another big development since last month: Winter is officially on the MOVE!  She was on the cusp of crawling for the past several months, getting on all fours and even rocking.  But finally, on July 3rd (a week before turning 9 months old), she finally took things to the next level and began arming crawling.  Not even a week later, on July 9, she upgraded from army crawling to regular crawling!  Just one day before turning 9 months old.  The more she crawls, the quicker and more efficient she has gotten.  No longer can I sit her down on the floor to play with toys and expect her to stay there…no, no.  She crawls all over the place, making me have to watch her like a hawk!  As exhausting as it is chasing her around, there is such a magic feeling to watch your child learn to do a huge new milestone!  Eric and I feel so proud of Winter!  It’s overwhelming how much joy she brings us.

In last month’s update, I remember I spent a fair share of time complaining about our sleep issues.  For about 7-8 continuous weeks, Winter went through a major sleep regression.  She went from previously sleeping through the night (12 hours), to waking 2-3 times every night.  I was beginning to feel desperate that my sleep filled nights were never going to resume.  At Winter’s 9 month pediatrician appointment, I explained our situation to her doc and hoped for some positive feedback.  Well, the doctor explained that by this point, Winter was in pattern of night waking and she was in a trained routine.  The best way to break her of this routine was to cut her off, cold turkey.  Oh boy!  I never thought I’d have to implement the “cry it out” method on Winter, as she was always a good sleeper.  But here we were, at a crossroads.  If we wanted to get our household back to a good sleeping routine, then it was time to give a new approach a whirl.  The doc said that it would take 3-5 continuous nights of letting her cry without going in to rescue and nurse her until she resumed a healthy nighttime sleep ritual.  Knowing myself, I knew that if I had to listen to her cry, I would cave and go get her.  So, we decided that it would be best to create a sound barrier so that it didn’t allow me the opportunity to cave in.  Night one, we made sure both her nursery door and our bedroom door were both closed.  We plugged in a huge (and very LOUD) boxfan in our room and turned it on the highest level.  That first night, she did wake up around her usual first wakeup (midnight), and we watched her on the monitor.  After approximately 15 minutes of crying, she went back to sleep.  That was the last we knew of her waking up!  I’m sure she has woken up and cried several times in those first few nights of sleep training, but we never heard her.  And that was wonderful.  She has always been happy in the morning, so obviously she was fine.  We have now gone 10 nights where all 3 of us have slept through the night and woken up refreshed, happy and healthy in the morning.  SCORE!!  Praise God that Winter is back on track in regards to sleep.  We went nearly 2 months with sleepless nights, and boy am I glad those are (hopefully) behind us.

Along with crawling has come the desire for pulling up on things.  We dropped Winter’s crib down to the lowest level after we realized we were long overdue for that.  She is so strong and she constantly tries to pull up on everything.  She is really good at getting up on her knees, but she still can’t always pull up to her feet.  She has done it a few times, but she’s still working towards that.

In mid June (June 20th to be exact), when Winter was 8.5 months, she spoke her first word.  “Mama.”  I was thrilled!  She now says “mama,” “dada,” “baba” and various other sounds mixed together.  She calls our dog, Koda, “a” (as in “ah”).  So cute.  We love hearing her speak her mind now!

Another big change in our family….we are MOVING!  When I say moving, I mean, moving out of our current house and into a new house.  We are staying in Denver, just buying a bigger home.  Mid June we officially put our house on the market, and received multiple offers within a weekend.  We accepted an offer and have been under contract, set to close soon.  Meanwhile, we had been house hunting for a while, but could officially begin putting offers on houses once our house was under contract.  After putting offers on 3 homes, we were finally able to get one of them.  Yay!  We are SO excited about our new house.  It has 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 2 half baths, a big back yard, and is in our desired neighborhood.  We couldn’t be happier!  These past few months of getting our house staged and ready for the market, selling, house hunting, and now buying a house have been quite the adventure, to say the least.  We are exhausted.  We can’t WAIT for closing day so that we can move and get our lives back to “normal”….whatever that means.  Let’s just say, we hope to live in this next house for at least 20 years.  We’d like to avoid buying and selling again.  🙂  But we are so happy that we found a house that we can grow into.  Winter will have more space and she’ll actually have a yard to play in!

My brother, sister in law, and their two kids spent about a week with us at the beginning of July.  It was fun to spend time with them.  Winter really enjoyed playing with her cousins, David (3 years old) and Emily (17 months old).  Emily and Winter look a lot alike and could almost be sisters.  One day, the two of them were in a stroller together, and someone asked me how old they were.  After spouting off their ages, I quickly explained that they were cousins, not sisters!  🙂

Milestones: Crawling, pulling up on things, clapping, got her first tooth, back to sleeping through the night, and learning how to wave goodbye.

Sleep: After cold turkey sleep training, Winter is back to sleeping through the night.  She goes to bed around 7:30-8:30 pm and wakes up in the morning around 7:30-8:00 am.  She takes two really good naps, usually from 9am-11am and from 2:30pm-4:30 or 5pm.

Best Moment: Watching Winter crawl for the first time.  Also hearing her speak her first word: “mama.”

Worst Moment: Feeling like our sleepless nights were never going to end (thankfully that’s better now).

Health:  Very healthy!  She’s continuing to gain weight and reach her milestones.

Eating:  Lots of changes in regards to her eating once she hit 9 months.

1. We increased to 3 times per day of solids (breakfast, lunch and dinner).  We used to do only twice per day.

2. I dropped one feeding and now we are doing 4 nursing’s a day (instead of 5 and sometimes 6).  Dropping her to 4 liquid breastfeeding’s and increasing to 3 solid feedings, she has really done well with the transition.

Maybe I was a little dumb to drop a feeding at the same time we were sleep training her, but hey—it all worked out!  She’s 9 months old and she doesn’t need to be nursing every 2-3 hours anymore.  I realized that if I was going to drop a feeding that I needed to be consistent 100% of the time with 3 solid meals per day.  When it comes to solids, she doesn’t want “baby food” anymore.  She is totally OVER the purees phase.  She wants “big people food.”  So that’s what we give her.  She eats finger foods (ex. black beans, corn, chopped fruit, cheerios, chopped turkey/chicken, etc).  In addition to finger foods, she is obsessed with yogurt.  SHE LOVES IT!  She can eat yogurt nonstop all day long.  The pediatrician said that is perfectly fine, but just make sure she is getting the full-fat, full-calorie yogurt, not the low cal Greek yogurt I eat.

Here’s her current eating schedule:

7:30am – Nurse

7:45/8:00am – Eat breakfast (ie, yogurt, cheerios, prune juice)

11:30am – Nurse upon waking from nap

11:45am – Eat lunch (ie, chopped turkey, chopped strawberries, yogurt, puffs, water)

2:30pm – Nurse before nap

6:00pm – Eat dinner (ie, black beans, corn, peas, yogurt, water)

7:30pm – Nurse before bed

Likes: Smiling, laughing at herself, crawling, getting into things, standing up.

Dislikes: Lying still while getting a diaper change.

How Mommy is doing: As I mentioned, we are feeling exhausted with all of the house stuff going on these past few months.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!  We close on our new house in a few weeks.  I know that once we move and get settled into our new house, life will feel a little less exhausting and there will be fewer elements of stress.

Overall, life is great.  I’m beginning my half marathon training for my Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon (Oct 19th).  The first few weeks of training are always easy as I have maintained running and the distances are what I’m used to already.  In about a month from now, I’ll be running a little longer distances that always are a little intimidating, but that is why I progressively work up to them!

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

5 Month Update

6 Month Update

7 Month Update

8 Month Update

Winter’s 8 Month Update

8months

BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 8 months old

Again, I am posting late this month (considering she’s nearly 9 months old), but all of this was written and the stats are as of June 10, 2014!

Baby’s Age: 8 months old

Height: 27 inches

Weight: 17 lbs 14 oz

Head: Not sure

Diaper Size: Size 3

Clothes Size: 9 months

Here is a look back at the past few months:

8monthcollage

Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

8monthsbumbo

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June 10, 2014 – Our theme this month: NO SLEEP!  Those glorious sleep days are OVER.  I’ll explain in a minute…

Can you tell that I am a busy mom with an 8 month old to take care of 24/7??  The fact that I keep getting around to posting Winter’s monthly updates late is just a taste of how little time I have for things these days.  Especially blogging! 🙂  I made a goal to continue with monthly updates on Winter until she is 12 months old, so I’ll bust out a few more months.  I know that when Winter is grown, I will look back and appreciate the time I took to write monthly updates on her during her first year of life.

Winter is growing, growing, growing!  Between 7 and 8 months, she has grown an inch (by my amateur measuring skills, that is).  It’s amazing to see the difference in how much “taller” she looks.  She not only looks longer, but her body is thinning out a little.  Don’t get me wrong, she is still PLENTY chubby, she is just not as roly poly as she was before!  Right before she turned 8 months, we finally put away her 6 month clothes and moved into the 9 month outfits.  I notice I hold out as long as possible to keep her in smaller sized outfits because I hate saying goodbye to her clothes!  Poor thing was stuffed into some of her 6 month clothes like a stuffed sausage!

I have been swearing that we have a teething baby on our hands.  Everything has been pointing to it!  But I am still seeing no “true” evidence of it.  She has been very cranky and fussy.  I am looking forward to seeing something actually pop through at some point.

As I have written about every month, Winter has been a champion sleeper.  She started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks old, as has consistently been a fabulous sleeper (usually 12 hours at night).  That is, UNTIL THIS MONTH!  Over Memorial weekend (she was about 7.5 months old), we said “so long” to those beautiful sleeping patterns.  Her nighttime sleep and daytime nap routines went out the window!  For 3 weeks straight, Winter was waking up 2-3 times every night.  Not just once, but TWO TO THREE times!!!!  That is very, very hard on parents who have been spoiled by a baby who sleeps like a rock for 12 hours.  VERY hard.  Not only did her nighttime change drastically, she also didn’t want to take very good naps during the daytime.  She would only sleep for short periods, or sometimes not at all.  She was cranky, fussy and making mommy feel completely exhausted.  Thank goodness, we seem to have passed the worst of it.  As I said, she was doing that for 3 weeks straight, but she seems to be tapering off—she’s now only waking once per night and she’s back to doing two 2-hour naps per day.

She isn’t crawling yet, but she is very close to it.  She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks.  She can transition from sitting to moving into a crawl position.  It took her a little while to master that maneuver. She would often get “stuck” on her leg.  But now she has skillfully mastered the technique.  Part of me thinks the reason she hasn’t started crawling yet is because she can successfully roll everywhere she needs to go.  She just rolls and rolls and rolls.  🙂 We know that once she begins crawling, our lives will drastically change, so I am in no utter hurry to see her crawl just yet.

Winter is very expressive.  She loves to wave her arms around and clap when she gets very excited about something.  Her little feet and hands are always moving–usually in a circular motion.  Constantly.  She also makes the most hysterical facial expressions!  She loves to scrunch up her nose a lot.

We got to see several family members recently.  At the end of May we took a trip to Hermosa Beach, CA to visit my brother Paul.  While there, we also go to visit Eric’s great aunt and uncle and cousin.  We had so much fun there!  We also had Eric’s parents here in Colorado for several days the first week of June.

Milestones: She is clapping, nearly crawling, is trying to pull herself up on things, and stands against a object.

Sleep: As I mentioned, we have experienced a rough month of sleep.  We really hit a low!  We seem to be somewhat getting back on track, as Winter is only waking up approximately once per night instead of 2-3 times.  She usually goes down around 8pm, wakes to eat anywhere from 12am-5am, and then wakes up for the day around 7 or 8am.  She is back to napping pretty well again.  Her morning nap is 2 hours and her afternoon nap is 2 hours.  The afternoon nap used to be consistently 3 hours, but oh well!

Best Moment: Getting to spend several days with her Grandma and Grandpa Lute!  She adores her grandparents.  We had a great time when they came to Colorado to visit.  We also had a wonderful time seeing Uncle Paul (my brother) in California.

Worst Moment: There have been a lot of bad moments this past month.  Lots of crying, screaming and overall fussy baby…..

Health:  She is healthy and I believe she is teething.

Eating:  Breastfeeding is still going well!  She eats 5-6 times during the day, and lately 1-3 times during the night.  We are eating at around 7-8am, 11-12pm, 2-3pm, 5-6pm and 7:30-8pm (plus any night time wakings).  She is eating 2 meals of solids (morning and evening usually).  She begs for EVERYTHING we eat, so I often feed her tiny pieces of whatever I’m eating (grapes, broccoli, chicken, peaches, banana, watermelon, etc).

Likes: Standing up, playing with her feet, the pets, swimming, eating my food, and jumping.

Dislikes: She dislikes getting her diaper changed lately.

How Mommy is doing: I am doing well.  But I’ll be honest…this lack of sleep is KILLING us.  I mean, we are so exhausted all of the time.  We are doing so many things trial and error to try to get her back to sleeping well.  I know that it’s just a phase and she will eventually get back to sleeping through the night.  But it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (especially because as I’m posting this blog, it’s been 6 weeks since she has slept through the night, and that’s a long time!).

It probably doesn’t help that we are going through the stressful process of selling our house and house hunting to buy a new one.  That is a full time job right there!!  The good news is that our house received multiple offers within a weekend and we got under contract quickly.  Now the hard part is finding the right house to buy.  We need a bigger house, bigger yard, etc.  I know we will find it!!  It’s just stressful and very time consuming to go through this process.

As far as “post partum” goes, I am feeling great!  I haven’t had time to do a post-baby body update in a while.  I’ve been maintaining my 40 pound weight loss for the past several months.  Breastfeeding is really allowing me to eat whatever I like without much consequence.  I love that!  I still exercise 5 times per week (mostly running and some weight lifting too).  I am registered to run my next half marathon in October, but haven’t begun officially training for it yet.

***Also, I apologize if I have been less than stellar at responding to comments!  I love and appreciate all of your comments, and do plan to eventually write back!!  So sorry that I am not very good at all of this blogging stuff now! 🙂

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

5 Month Update

6 Month Update

7 Month Update

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

Winter’s 7 Month Update

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P.S. Sorry this is posted late–I wrote it May 10th and then never got around to uploading the pictures to go with it!

BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 7 months old

Baby’s Age: 7 months old

Height: 26 inches

Weight: 17 pounds

Head: Not sure

Diaper Size: Size 2

Clothes Size: 6 months and some 9 months

7months

Here is a look back at the past few months:

7monthcollage

Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

7monthsbumbo

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May 10, 2014 – Okay, I know that every month I talk about  how “quickly time is going” and how much I wish “time could slow down,” but seriously, how on earth do I have a 7 month old baby?!?!  I remember when Winter was just a few weeks old and I would see moms with “older” babies like 6-9 month olds and I couldn’t even imagine Winter being that big or that “old.”  HA!  Now, not only is my baby not a tiny little newborn, she is a full personality, spunky, silly, cute as can be, chubby 7 month old!  She sits up and plays, she attempts motions of “learning to crawl,” and she constantly wants entertainment.  Winter is so much fun!  I don’t miss those newborn days–as cute as she was back then, I love every new stage more and more!  Her personality continues to develop and she is more opinionated about likes and dislikes.  It is incredible witnessing her grow and change.

The last week of April into the first few days of May, Winter and I travelled to Texas to visit my best friend.  Travelling with a baby solo was an adventure!  The last time that I flew with her alone was when she was 5-6 weeks old when we went to Florida to attend my husband’s work project launching into space.  I knew that travelling with a 6.5 month old was going to be very different from travelling with a one month old.  Overall, the trip went well!  Since I am a more experienced mom than I was at 6 weeks, I felt a million times more confident about my ability to travel with Winter alone.  In the airport, I chose to wear her in the Ergo.  I kept my stroller and carseat with me because I actually used the stroller as a “luggage cart” to transport my carryon bag, diaper bag, and my breastpump (which is a little backpack bag).  People stared at me as I walked by, but who cares!  People probably just wished they had thought of my idea to use the stroller as a luggage cart!  On both of my flights to and from Texas, I had really nice gentlemen who helped me get on the airplane.  I had to take the carseat out and breakdown the stroller to gate check them, as well as carry my pump, diaper bag, baby (who I was wearing), and pull my carryon suitcase.  The nice men who helped me took my carryon for me and placed it in the overhead bin.  I am grateful for people who see a woman in need and volunteer their help!

Winter isn’t crawling yet, but I am in no rush for that to happen!  I know that once she begins crawling, our lives will drastically change.  My prediction is that she will master the ability to be mobile (whether it’s crawling or army crawling) within this next month.  She is really “trying” to crawl.  She gets up on her hands and pushes her belly off the floor.  She hasn’t quite gotten onto her knees yet, but she attempts getting on her knees.  I see her frustration–she really wants more independence!

Still no teeth!  That’s ok though!  Again, no rush on that.  We really thought she was for sure teething recently because she was acting differently and being more fussy than usual.  But we haven’t seen any true evidence of teeth yet.  Sometimes she will put something into her mouth, bite down hard and furiously shake her head back and forth….that must feel good on her gums?  Who knows!

At a restaurant, Winter sat in a booster seat/high chair for the first time on Easter weekend!  What a big girl!  She looks so cute and grown up in it.  🙂  We put her in one of those a couple of times since, and we have started to realize that our relaxing days of going out to eat with a baby in tow are pretty much over.  It isn’t that much fun or “relaxing” to have her along with us at restaurants anymore.  I guess it’s time to start thinking of getting a sitter every now and then so Eric and I can get a nice dinner away.

In the past month, Winter has become obsessed with her feet and toes.  She adores playing with them and putting her toes in her mouth.  It’s WAY too cute.  🙂

This little girl is needing constant entertainment!  She gets bored of things quickly!  When she sits on the floor and plays with toys, she moves so quickly from one toy to the next.  She loves shaking toys really hard (especially if they make a rattle sound).  She likes waving things around too.  Even when she is not playing with toys, we’ve noticed that she uses her arms to show emotion a lot.  When she is happy or really excited, she waves both arms out and waves them around.  She nearly claps, but not quite yet.

Winter is getting to be a bit stubborn and a “stinker” sometimes.  One example: she used to smile on command for a picture.  Now, getting her to smile for a picture is nearly impossible!  When we went to get her 6 month photos taken, we were exhausted afterward from our failed attempts to get her to smile.  Don’t get me wrong, she still laughs and smiles A LOT—just only when she wants to.  Not when we are trying to prompt her to do it!

We love this little girl.  She brings us so much joy!

Milestones: Sits by herself for long periods, while sitting she constantly rolls her toes in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation, she isn’t crawling, but she is “wanting” to–she has started scooting backwards, she isn’t quite clapping her hands–but almost there, she is eating 2 solids meals a day in addition to 5-6 nursing sessions per day.

Sleep: Our rockstar sleeper is still going strong!  She consistently sleeps from 8pm to 8am (12 hours).  She takes 2 daytime naps, one around 9am to 11am (2 hours) and one from 2:30pm to 5:30 pm (3 hours).  After she first learned to roll over onto her tummy, she was always sleeping on her tummy, but I have noticed lately that she sleeps on her back half of the time and on her tummy the other half of the time.  What I do notice also, is that she uses every square inch of her crib!  She moves around so much throughout the night.  Often times she wakes up in the morning in the corner of the crib (sometimes with one of her legs stuck in the rails)!

Best Moment: When she and I travelled to Texas at the end of April/first week of May, on our return flight home, she slept the entire duration of the flight with her head cuddled on my chest/shoulder.  For a baby who is too independent and never wants to slow down to relax and cuddle, it was truly a special 2 hours of getting to have my daughter cuddle with me!

Worst Moment: On the flip side — while travelling, on our flight to Texas, I had a baby who slept briefly, and then cried for portions of the flight!  I nursed her 3-4 times to console her, but those moments where she was belting out loud cries felt stressful to me!

Health:  Winter has been very healthy this past month!

Eating:  After 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, we are now a full month into the addition of solid foods (ie baby food purees–all vegetables so far).  For the first week or two of introducing solids, Winter didn’t know what to think about the new tastes and textures she was experiencing.  Much, if not all of the food was spit out and ended up all over her face!  After a couple of weeks, she started catching on and getting the hang of this whole eating thing.  For the past 2 weeks, she has been doing great!  She went from eating about 1/3 of a 3.5 oz jar of baby food to either 2/3 or all of a jar!  Initially we were only adding solids to her routine around 6pm, but for the past few weeks she has been so interested in baby food that we have been doing twice per day solids in the mornings and evenings.  She is loving pureed carrots!  Those are her favorite.  So far we have tried: green beans, peas, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, avocado, mixed vegetables and chicken/vegetable mix.

She still nurses 5 times per day.  8:00 am upon waking (then solids after), 11:30 am after her morning nap, 2:30 pm right before her long afternoon nap, 5:30/6:00 pm after her nap (then solids after), and 8:00 pm before going down for the night.

Likes: Winter loves blowing raspberries.  She absolutely loves animals!  We took her to a petting zoo and she squealed and waved her arms in delight at the cow, goats and sheep!  She really loves our dog, Koda.  She smiles and laughs when she sees him.  She likes the cat too, but the cat tends to keep a little more distance from Winter compared to our dog.  Winter really likes my phone, go figure!  When we were out of town, we would facetime (or sometimes just call) Eric and as soon as she heard the ringing, her eyes lit up and she smiled.  When she saw her daddy or even just heard his voice, she smiled and cooed out of happiness!  I try to call Eric several times per week during the day just so she can say “hi” to him — she loves it!

Dislikes: She really hates getting her face wiped off after eating solids.  HATES it!  She also hates having her nose wiped if it has been runny.

How Mommy is doing: I know that the choice to be a stay at home mom has been such a great decision for our family.  I truly love my days with my daughter!  I know that Eric struggles with the fact that on weekdays he only sees her for about 2-3 hours before she goes to bed (she wakes up from her nap around 5:30 when he gets home from work and then she goes to bed at 8pm).  That would be REALLY hard for me to be a working mom and only get to spend those few of hours each day with her.  I think I would just die!  It is truly a blessing to be able to stay home with Winter.  I know not all families have this option, but I thank God every day for the gift of all of this quality time with my little precious girl!

As I have mentioned in previous months, Winter and I are very active in our moms/babies group.  At least 2-3 days per week, we spend and hour or two with our friends at various activities….stroller runs, play dates at someone’s house, working out with babies in the carriers (like climbing the stairs at Red Rocks), walks, park days, etc.  We also have mom’s night out with no babies about once per month too.  It’s SO MUCH FUN getting to bond with other moms who are in the exact same stage that I’m in!  We talk about everything mommy related (like breastfeeding, teething, solids, crawling, etc) to birth and personal things (like sex, weight, body image, periods or lack thereof, etc).  I’m so happy that I found this group!  (If anyone reading this is interested in finding a mom’s group, the place I found my group was on http://www.meetup.com.  The group I am in is for moms of babies born in 2013 or 2014, so that way we all have really similarly aged kids!)

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

5 Month Update

6 Month Update

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

Winter’s 6 Month Update

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BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 6 months old

Baby’s Age: 6 months old

Height: 25 1/2 inches (34th percentile)

Weight: 16 pounds even (50th percentile)

Head: 42.2 cm (43rd percentile)

Diaper Size: Size 2 (we are about to move up to size 3)

Clothes Size: 6 months and some 6-9 months

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a look back at the past few months:

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Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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April 10, 2014 – How on earth has half a year already passed by since Winter was born?!  It seems like you blink and you could miss it.  I’m constantly begging my little baby to stop growing and for time to slow down.  But somehow my wish hasn’t been granted.  🙂

Winter is doing so well.  She sits up all by herself.  Her main activity that she enjoys is sitting on the floor with toys all around her to play.  She grabs a toy and plays with it for about 30 seconds to a minute and then moves on to the next toy.  She is constantly wanting entertainment!  She loves to pick up a toy and shake it really hard, or wave it around.  She has started throwing things, though I think it’s still unintentionally!  When we are at play dates with her baby friends, she grabs toys away from other babies.  She sees a toy she wants, and she takes it.  I guess I’m going to have to introduce the concept of sharing.  For now, sharing doesn’t happen.

I experienced Winter’s first jealous moment.  I babysat all day for a friend’s baby (who is only 10 days younger than Winter) so they could enjoy a day skiing together as a couple.  While I fed the baby her bottle, Winter started getting really fussy and kept reaching her arms towards me!

Winter still has no teeth.  I love her gummy smile.  She is showing no true signs of teething, aside from constantly putting everything in her mouth.  Honestly, she is so darn cute toothless that I am in no rush for any teeth to make an appearance!  I want my baby to stay a baby.  🙂  Plus, I am not looking forward to getting bitten during breastfeeding with those baby teeth!!

Winter is so goofy sometimes.  She makes the funniest little faces and expressions!  My favorite face she makes is when she sucks her bottom lip in her mouth and purses her upper lip while blowing raspberries.  So cute!

She loves playing in her Little Einstein jumper/activity center.  She bounces up and down endlessly!  She loves that thing.

Friends and people are continuously mentioning to us how “good” of a baby she is.  We agree, she is such a joyful, happy little girl!  We feel so blessed by her in our lives.

Milestones: Rolls over constantly (rarely stays on her back for longer than 30 seconds), sits up unassisted, picks up toys and shakes them furiously, sleeps 11-12 hours non-stop each night, has gone 6 months exclusively breastfed.

Sleep: Winter sleeps for 11-12 hours at night without waking up.  This has been extended from a month ago when she was usually sleeping more like 10 hours straight, but I finally got brave enough to drop her late night “dreamfeed.”  Instead of waking her up around 10:30 pm to feed her, she goes down for the night around 8:00 or 8:30 pm after her last feeding.  Her usual wakeup time is around 7:45-8:00 am.  In addition to being excellent nighttime sleeper, Winter is a fantastic daytime napper too.  She usually takes a 2 hour nap every morning (9:30-11:30 am typically) and a 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon (usually 2:30-5:30 pm).  I LOVE that she is such a good sleeper!  Mommy is in heaven!

Best Moment: Lots of best moments.  I love how she always smiles at me when I come into her nursery in the morning to get her out of her crib.  She beams when she sees me, and I beam when I see her after missing her for 12 hours!

Worst Moment: Can’t remember any 🙂

Health:  Just shy of a month ago, she somehow caught a cough that lasted for about 12 or 13 days.  It wasn’t anything serious (no congestion or anything too terrible), but it was a lingering cough.  It’s amazing how these germs gets spread around during cold/flu season!  Hopefully we are DONE with sickness for a while!

Eating:  Now that we are hitting her 6 month mark, we are going to begin introducing some solids.  I still need to figure out our exact game plan, but we plan to start with pureed vegetables.  Our doctor said that we could skip rice cereal if we wanted.  As of her 6 month mark, she is still exclusively breastfed.  She has shown much interest in food, so it will be interesting to start feeding her solids!  (Because I am delayed on posting this by a week, we have now been trying to some vegetable purees once per day for the past several days.  We have tasted carrots, avocado and squash.  She isn’t so sure about actually SWALLOWING anything until last night, she finally seemed to get the idea a little bit!  Our pediatrician said that she might be getting vegetable facials for a little while until she actually grasps the concept of EATING.)

As of now, her current nursing schedule looks like this: 8:00 am upon waking, 11:30 am after her morning nap, 2:30 or 3:00 pm right before her long afternoon nap, 6:00 pm after her nap, and 8:00 pm before going down for the night.  5 feedings per day, occasionally 6 if she gets cranky and I put her on the boob (many times around 1 or 1:30 pm she tends to have a “hunger moment” where I just feed her an extra time).  It seems that no matter whether she has just eaten hours ago or 5 minutes ago, she will NEVER turn down the opportunity to nurse.  She loooooves milk!

Likes: Jumping up and down in her bouncer, sitting and playing with toys, rolling all over the place, pulling hair, putting anything & everything in her mouth, smiling, laughing, singing songs, sucking on her wabbanub pacifiers, reading books, putting her hands in her mouth, playing with toys, putting ANYTHING into her mouth, taking a bath, feeling textures, getting tickled, standing up, looking at her reflection in the mirror, getting her hair brushed, getting thrown up in the air, watching the dog & cat.

Dislikes: She occasionally gets scared at loud sounds.  Like one time Eric sneezed really loudly and she started crying!

How Mommy is doing: I’m doing great.  Eric is doing great.  Winter is doing great!  We are enjoying parenthood very much.  We adore Winter and can’t get enough of her.  As a stay at home mom, I am so grateful that I get to spend all of my days with her, so I don’t miss anything.  We are staying very busy with activities with my mom’s group (play dates, park days, stroller walks, swimming pool, runs, etc.).  Life is great!

Twice in the past month Eric and I took an entire day away from Winter to go up to the mountains to ski together.  Though both of us dislike time away from her, we know that in the big picture, 8 or 9 hours apart isn’t going to kill us.  And we know that those times together as a couple are very important in our marriage!  Skiing is our most favorite hobby and we LOVE doing it together.  We plan to take one more day away before ski season ends this month.

As a couple, we trained for a half marathon together over the past 3 months.  We just completed the race together!  It was so much fun training for this race with my husband and daughter!  It was really exciting to run side by side with my wonderful husband and cross the finish line together.  I’m somewhat sad that the race is over, but we are grateful that we get our weekends back since we don’t have to go for long runs that take up a lot of time anymore.  🙂

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

5 Month Update

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

My Testimony

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My close friends and family know of my journey through life.  Not everyone knows my story.  As a Christian, I want to be bold and share my testimony publicly.  I know that God can use my journey, including my mistakes to shine light and bring others to him.  I pray that if you choose to read my testimony (which is long, I warn you!), that you would be open to allow God to speak to your heart.  Please be quick to love and slow to judge.  I know that God is my Father and He never gives up on his children.  It is tough to be vulnerable and be willing to share personal details of my life — but I trust that if you choose to read it, that you would see what a great work the Lord has done in me!

My Testimony – “God’s Love Never Fails”

by Katy Lute, April 8, 2014

 *Disclaimer: This was written by me, Katy Lute. Everything in this testimony has been written from my personal point of view and how I remember the events that took place. Some names in this story have been changed. The reason I am sharing my testimony is because I know that it is a powerful story of God’s redeeming love. I want Christ to use me to help others.

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I was raised in a Christian home. I’m 4th out of 8 children. Growing up, I would often ask my parents “why on earth did you have so many kids?!” Their response was always the same: “that’s how many children God wanted us to have.” Looking back on my childhood, I would have had it no other way! Being one of 8 kids was so much fun. I always had several best friends to play with. Our parents home schooled us and took us to church. They were Godly examples to us. They did mission work in Central American countries: Costa Rica and Nicaragua, taking all of us children along for a year at a time on two occasions. In the summers we attended Vacation Bible School. In fact, one summer at VBS, when I was around 6 or 7 years old, I decided to accept Jesus into my heart and have Him be my personal Lord and Savior. I never remember a time where God was not in my life! I am so fortunate to have been raised by Godly parents who use prayer and God’s guidance to lead their every decision.

As I mentioned, I was home schooled with my siblings. Our mom was our teacher and dad was our principal. At a certain age, I felt that I wanted to transition to going to school with my peers, because my personality type has always craved social interaction and friendship. I attended a Christian school in Nicaragua my freshman year while my parents were doing mission work, and my final 3 years of high school were spent in public school in Indiana, where I am from.

During high school, I stayed very involved with church, youth group and a Christian club at school. Everyone knew that I was a Christian, because I wasn’t shy about my beliefs. I was happy that others knew my faith. I was very involved in my church youth group, which I brought my friends from school to. I was even dubbed “Saint Katy,” which to this day I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be a compliment or a criticism.

My parents have always been very conservative, and this was no exception when it came to relationships with members of the opposite sex. My eldest sister never dated. Instead, she courted a man that led to marriage. My parents were against dating. Hence, I was not allowed to date. In my senior year of high school, I decided to do what I wanted to do and disobey my parents. I started dating one of the starting football players. To be honest, I didn’t like their idea of courting with the intent of marriage. I was young and was attracted to someone and had not a glimmer of desire about the idea of marriage any time soon. So against my parents’ will, I dated. I didn’t like being at odds with my mom and dad, but I really enjoyed my first boyfriend. We held hands, I had my first kiss, and learned that I was a big fan of making out! As a strong Christian, I had long before dedicated to God that I wanted to save my virginity for my husband, and I had no intention of breaking that vow.

My high school graduation came, and before going to college, that first boyfriend came and went. One thing that I was left with was a desire to continue dating because let’s be honest — I was boy crazy! I liked kissing and I just liked being attractive to someone. Being the object of someone’s affection was like an emotional high for me. I craved attention from guys. When someone felt that I was desirable, then it made me feel wanted.

When college began, I started dating any cute guy who caught my eye. Sometimes it was a week long fling, and rarely did it last a month. I was having so much fun. I loved this male attention. Though I did lots of kissing and making out, I still felt very strongly that my virginity was meant only for my future husband, so I made that clear to any guy that I dated. Back at home, my family caught wind of my dating life and they didn’t take me very seriously. In fact, my sisters would joke with me about how instead of measuring time in months or weeks, I would measure time by “oh, that was 3 boyfriends ago.” I didn’t mind, because I loved how much fun I was having. Marriage was part of my “someday” but not my “anytime soon.”

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, a friend of mine told me that his pledge brother was interested in me. Since I was open to meeting guys, I went on a date with Eric. After just a short time of dating him, I felt like this was different. Eric was more serious about life. He was someone who I felt attracted to on deeper that a surface level. He was a guy who was thinking about the big picture of life. His heart was huge. He and I fell in love quickly. Eric is the first man I ever said the words, “I love you” to. Very suddenly, I went from casually dating for fun, to — this is the man I know that I am going to marry someday.

Eric and I continued to date for the remainder of our college years. During our senior year, he proposed and we eagerly anticipated graduation and getting married shortly after. Our relationship was so full. It was fun and yet it was serious. After years of dating, I was so excited to finally get married and “be an adult.”

In the summer of 2008, Eric and I both graduated from college, we got married, went on our honeymoon, and moved across the country from Indiana to Colorado to start our new lives together. All of this happened within a month’s time! Talk about lots of changes all at once! Eric is an engineer and started his career. My degree is in Health and Fitness. I moved to Colorado without a job lined up, but I knew I’d eventually land something in the fitness industry.

Moving to a new place where I didn’t have any friends or family was a lot harder on me than I’d thought it would be. I went from being a social butterfly with a huge group of friends to ZERO friends. And it was so much harder making friends in a new city where people are already set in their lives. This was very hard on me. We started attending a church in Highlands Ranch and joined a young married’s class with the intent of finding some new friendships. In this marriage class, we often would hear about how “hard the first year of marriage is.” Eric and I were thinking — whatever, marriage isn’t hard, it’s EASY! We were as in love as ever and now, with the move, we were depending on one another so much more because we were alone. We were baffled by what we heard in our class — “marriage takes work.” “It’s not always easy.” “You are going to have to decide to commit to each other even when you don’t always feel like it.” “Fight fair.” Etc. Etc. Etc. We felt like we were acing this class because none of this applied to us. Apparently we were just the exception to the rule, because our marriage was flawless and perfect. We never fought and we really just felt like it was easy to be married to each other. Obviously God designed us perfectly for each other and we didn’t have to put in the work! Or so we thought.

Meanwhile, Eric was getting a great start to his career at his company. I finally nailed down a job as a fitness trainer at a local gym. I worked at the front desk, taught fitness classes, worked with small groups and occasionally personal trained clients one-on-one. Going into this job, I felt really excited that I actually landed a job where I was able to use my college major–success! Well, I quickly felt overqualified for my job. My Bachelor’s degree was not necessary to get the job I had–they hired anyone, degree or no degree, even high schoolers were working with me. The entire staff I worked with were all young people, mainly in their 20’s to early 30’s. I was the only one on staff who was married. Everyone else was dating around, sleeping around, going out and partying. It was sort of like the college world again — young and unattached people just having fun and living it up! When I told these new friends that I was 22 and married, they automatically assumed I must have gotten married because I’d gotten pregnant and had a baby or something. It was unfathomable that I could possibly be married simply because I was in love and wanted to settle down. I often felt teased because of my lifestyle. It was clearly “uncool” to be so young and already in a monogamous relationship. BORING. It hurt that others felt this way about me, and slowly I began to feel embarrassed about my life.

Over the course of the next year or two, my feelings of embarrassment started to affect the way I acted. At the gym, I was surrounded by partying/unattached/unmarried friends. There were also all kinds of members at the gym who I socialized with regularly. Many of these members were males who would shamelessly flirt with the “pretty girls at the front desk.” For whatever reason, in a gym environment, people tend to be much more extroverted and flirtatious than they normally would be. Such was the case with the people at my gym. I acted like a tease and would have a fun banter back and forth with men, not thinking it was a big deal. I was very open about the fact that I was a married woman, so as long as they knew I was off limits, I didn’t see any harm in flirting and having a fun time.

Over the course of time, my innocent flirting didn’t appear to be so innocent anymore. By the way I acted around men, people wouldn’t assume I was a married woman. Because I had very slowly slipped into a downward spiral, I didn’t even think I was doing anything wrong. I was just having a good time. As long as I didn’t ever take things to the next level by hanging out with someone one-on-one outside of the gym, it was ok. As long as I never did anything physical with someone, it was ok. As long as I kept things light and breezy, it was ok. No one else seemed to notice I was in the wrong, so it was all fine and dandy in my book. But was it ok? No. It wasn’t. I was not acting honorably to my husband. I would often talk to Eric about my “guy friends” at the gym and doing this kept my guilt at bay. I was treating my husband like my doormat. I was wiping my dirty muddy feet all over him on a regular basis and neither of us seemed to mind at all.

After 2.5 years of marriage, we were 25 years old and sinking farther into this pit that we didn’t realize we were sinking into. Eric was secure in our marriage because he assumed that I was a faithful wife. Though I was technically faithful, my actions weren’t that of a truly faithful wife. I continued a string of male friendships which were inappropriate.

In early 2011, there was a new member who walked into our gym. He had just transferred his membership from the East Coast. He was a serious marathon runner. A competitive runner, actually. This guy ran and won all kinds of races. His entire life revolved around his running career. The purpose of his move to Colorado was solely for the intention of training at higher altitude. He wanted to improve his stamina via altitude training for an entire year in Colorado before going to the Olympic trials. He was an Olympic hopeful in the marathon division. Being a runner myself (though an amateur runner in comparison), I was fascinated with this man. At the time, I was training for my 2nd half marathon race, and was simply awestruck at his athleticism and running successes. It felt like he was a celebrity or someone who I should look up to. I was inspired by him.

Max and I became buddies at the gym. He would spend a lot of time working out but he spent a lot of time talking to me as well. Max often arrived at the gym and told me about the details of his 10 mile trail run he had done that morning. Awestruck! I was captivated by his abilities! As a beginner to intermediate runner, I couldn’t imagine myself having the elite athleticism that I was witnessing before my eyes. We started talking about running all of the time. I tried to “show off” to him and tell him about my upcoming half marathon that I was training for. Often times he would come in to the gym on a Monday and tell me about the easy 10K race he had ran over the weekend and won prize money. It was so exciting for me to know someone who I really looked up to like this. He was my hero!

Max knew I was married and it was no problem because he also was in a relationship with a girl back home on the East Coast. The more I was around this guy, the more I wanted to tap into his brain and learn anything and everything I could about running. He suggested that we go get coffee sometime so that he could enlighten me on his running career. I was ecstatic to get to hang out with him and hear about all of his exciting successes. Plus, I looked forward to seeing him outside of the gym setting. So one day after work, the two of us took his car to Panera where we spent hours talking about running and just life. Afterward, we went to a nearby park to play frisbee. He brought me back to my car at the gym that evening and I drove home thinking about how much fun I’d had that day. I felt like I had just started a friendship with my “NEW BEST FRIEND.” Max made me feel so good. He inspired me. He made me want to do better at my own running. He made me feel motivated to do better at everything! He was such a passionate guy and it overflowed onto me. It was incredible how “high” I felt around him.

Max and I continued to hang out together outside of the gym on a regular basis. We even took off an entire day to ski together in the mountains. We started calling each other best friends. I talked about Max nonstop to my husband at home. Eric didn’t seem to be as excited or as in awe of this guy as I was, but he didn’t have a problem with me hanging out with him. Eric trusted me. Max and I would text each other all day, every day. We would talk on the phone for hours, late into the night. He just GOT me. And I GOT him. I raved about him to Eric and couldn’t wait for the two of them to meet.

Slowly, very slowly…things were getting complicated. Here, I had found my “best friend.” Max would tell me that he felt like our “souls were connected.” Max and I were investing our hopes and dreams and all of our emotions in our conversations with one another. To that point, I was not physically unfaithful to my husband. But I was in a very deep emotional affair with Max. My heart was connected to him. And quickly my feelings were all Max and there were no emotions for my husband. Max and I started to talk about how much we cared for one another. Neither one of us wanted to get in the middle of a relationship. Neither one of us wanted to break up a marriage. I didn’t want to hurt Eric. I didn’t want to get a divorce. But my passions were exploding. All of that changed on the day that Max kissed me. Not only was my emotional self all-in and 100% attached to him, but now my body was ready to jump in too.

I made up my mind that Max was it. He was my soul mate. He was “the one.” Eric was just a part of my story that enabled me to get to Colorado to meet Max. For that, I was grateful. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, I knew that my future was with Max. I didn’t want to have a full-on affair — I wanted to make a clean break and do it the “right” way. And what I felt was right was to tell Eric that I no longer loved him and that it was time for us to go our separate ways.

One night, I sat down with Eric and told him a bunch of half-truths. Half-truths are really lies. There is no such thing as a “half-truth.” A flood of words came out of my mouth: I wanted to break off our marriage. I wanted to get a divorce. But I didn’t want him to know that it was because I wanted to be with Max instead. So I told him that I had stopped loving him. I said, “Eric, I don’t know ever I ever really loved you. We were so young when we met and we didn’t know what love really meant. It’s stupid that we got married at such a young age. Unfortunately I can’t honor the vows I made to you. It’s over. I want out. I want a divorce.”

Eric was in absolute shock. He had no idea where any of this was coming from. He loved me and felt blindsided by what I was telling him. This was not the Katy he knew. She would NEVER say things like this!

Because I felt so firmly about my choice to end my marriage, I wanted to make it WELL KNOWN to my friends and family that this was happening. I didn’t want to live in guilt. I made it pretty public what was going on — minus the Max factor. I even changed my name on facebook, removing Lute from my name. I took my relationship status off. My family was in pure shock about what was going on. This was NOT the daughter they raised. This was NOT the sister they loved. They loved me too much to let me throw my life away without blinking my eyes. This was too bizarre and strange. There was something missing. What no one knew was the biggest piece of the puzzle — I was head of heels and passionately “IN LOVE” with someone else.

The very day I told my husband I wanted a divorce was the day that I took things to the next level with Max. That night we had sex for the first time. In my mind, it was guilt-free since I had already told my husband I was done with him, so it was ok. I was unattached. I was free to do with my body what I wanted. My passions and emotions were leading my ever move and decision.

I started making arrangements to move out of my house. I found a friend at the gym who was willing to sign a lease with me and move into an apartment together. In the period of time leading to our move in date, I bounced around living anywhere but my house. Mainly I stayed most nights with Max at his house, getting more passionate and more physical than ever. Not only was our sex life incredible, he filled me up emotionally too.

One of my close friends at the gym (who I looked up to and admired) encouraged my choices. She told me that she was glad I was making a change, since she had never really cared for Eric anyway. She applauded my courage to stand up for myself and do something that was against the odds. I was taking a stand for myself. I told her that Max and I were in love and she thought it was fantastic news. It felt good to get some positive reinforcement from someone, since surely I wasn’t getting it from my family.

Eric continued to be in shock. He made it very clear that he was never going to give up on me and he refused to give up on our marriage. He said that we made vows not only to each other, but also to God. And he would NOT break a vow that he made to God. This absolutely infuriated me. WHY couldn’t he just let me go??! It seemed that no matter what I did or said, he wouldn’t let me off the hook. He hated what I was doing and how I was treating him, but loved me anyway.

Finally, the truth had to come out. I needed to be honest about my relationship with Max. Maybe then, Eric would finally be disgusted with me and throw in the towel. I wanted to squash out any hope of there ever being a repair to this marriage. So I told him I was in love with Max. I even told him the dirty details of our sex life just to push him over the edge. I was absolutely nasty with my approach. Eric’s heart broke. But he still wouldn’t give up. He turned to God. He sought the counsel of Christians for support and guidance. Though he felt like his heart was being ripped into shreds and trampled on the ground, he wanted to honor God and do the right thing. He wasn’t letting go of his wife.

Eric insisted that I see a counselor. I refused.   I was done and nothing was changing my mind.

My half marathon came and Max was there to coach and cheer me on. Later, he informed me that Eric had come to the race and gave him a piece of his mind. Eric wouldn’t go down without a fight!

Time continued on and Eric and I stopped communicating regularly. I was feeling so happy with my new life and my fulfilling relationship with Max. Max and I talked about our bright future together. We talked about getting married one day. We talked about the children we would have. We dreamed of making babies together. Never before had I been this excited about the idea of someday being a mother. He filled my cup and made my heart want to explode with passion and excitement. This was IT. It was the best life could be. I felt that God had designed Max and I perfectly for one another. It was magical!

My family was devastated about my decisions. They were fighting so hard to somehow get me to change my mind and turn around, with no avail. I felt that they were judging me. Looking back, they weren’t judging me — they just loved me and wanted the best for me. They felt that Satan had gotten a hold of me, was making me believe lies and was leading me down a path of immense sin. They let me know that they were praying for me. I stopped talking to most of my family members except for my mom.

Out of the blue, Eric called me. He told me that he had a business trip for a week and said that if I wouldn’t come take care of our pets, he was giving them away to an animal shelter. The last thing he needed to deal with was pets. I didn’t want them going to the shelter, so I agreed to house sit and care for the dogs while he was gone.

Something happened to me that week of house sitting. Here I was, back in my own house that was no longer my house. I felt strange to be back. My home that I created with my husband, that I had decorated — was no longer mine. My heart strings started tugging that week. I felt a bit nostalgic. So I called Eric. Just to see how he was. This was our first conversation we had where I wasn’t screaming at him and telling him how much I hated him. We talked. That was it.

To Eric, that phone call was a glimmer of hope. It was a game changer. He had been advised that he needed to hire an attorney to protect himself in this mess of a situation. Just that day he had decided that maybe getting a lawyer was a good idea. And then I called him. It was just a little something from God.

Several months passed on. To this point, I was feeling very confident in my decision and felt zero guilt. Not a smidge of guilt. I was finally taking charge of my life and doing what was best for me. Go me! I was being my own advocate and it felt intoxicating!

Well, that started to change. I remember the day specifically. I was at the dealership getting an oil change in my car. It was taking forever and I felt very annoyed. Never before had I needed to sit and wait during an oil change because Eric had always changed the oil in our cars himself. This few hours of sitting around waiting was aggravating. At the time, I didn’t yet have smart phone to keep me distracted, and I was bored out of my mind. I spent a good deal of time on the phone with my mom. As I mentioned earlier, I had stopped communication with my family except for my mom. Though she was very unhappy and unapproving of my life and the decisions I was making, she remained involved in my life. We still talked often. She loves me in the way only a mother can.

Something happened to me that afternoon at the dealership. I don’t know if it was in my conversation with my mom, or what. She continued to tell me, “Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. You may not always ‘feel in love’ with your spouse, but you choose to love and honor them no matter how you feel. Feelings come and go, but your commitment to your spouse and to God always remains.” Somehow amongst all the walls and noise I had surrounding me in the chaos of my life, I started to hear God’s voice. That scared me.

This started a new chapter for me. I started crying out to God and asking Him why on earth He hadn’t been telling me to turn around BEFORE I started making all kinds of big decisions.

Well, God had been trying to get me to hear His voice for a LONG time, but I was just unable to hear it. And now I was hearing it. And I didn’t like what I was hearing. This was NOT good. I didn’t want to start questioning what I was doing. I didn’t want to feel guilt. But now I was. I was questioning myself and feeling guilty!!

Here I was, madly in love with Max. He was my everything now. He made my heart want to explode. He was my future. I couldn’t let him go like God was asking me to do. I couldn’t! But, God’s voice was getting stronger and stronger. It was driving me crazy how much guilt I was living with. I couldn’t live like this and not do something.

I started talking to Eric. He had offered to pay for me to go to counseling. So I finally tapped into his offer and started seeing a Christian counselor once per week. I insisted that I was going to go alone. This was NOT for the purpose of marriage counseling, I just needed to get some answers. Week after week I talked for an hour about my life. I talked about how Max made me feel so alive. Eric made me feel dull and uninspired. I didn’t feel in love with Eric. I felt in love with Max. I felt like with Max I was capable of doing anything I wanted. I felt driven and alive! Week after week, she listened to me. And week after week, I started to hear how foolish I sounded.

My heart knew what was the right thing to do.  God was calling me back to Him.  He was telling me that I needed to step out in faith.  He loved me, but He could not bless the life I was choosing to live.  I needed to be bold and put a stake in the ground– once I put a stake in the ground and chose the path He was calling me to, He would richly bless me.  But if I chose the other path, no blessings would ever come.  I was torn.  I prayed, I read scripture.  1 John 1:7-9 “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

I knew what I was being called to do.  Everything in me was screaming and telling me not to do it.  I couldn’t live without Max.  My soul was connected to him after all!  But God made it very clear to me that I needed to have faith in Him that if I chose to walk away from that relationship and turn to Him, that he would take care of me and richly bless me.  I wanted to be in God’s favor.  I needed His love, His grace, and His mercy.

So I did.  I ended it with Max.  It was a start.  I had put my stake in the ground.  I was boldly telling the world that I was turning from my sin and choosing to follow Christ, no matter how hard it was to do.

Though I was firm in my decision to follow Christ, it was by no means easy.  It was hard.  The hardest thing I’ve ever done.  My emotional self was a mess because I was so strongly attached to Max, and it felt like I was grieving as if someone had died.  I knew that I had to hit a low before I could come back up again.  I continued to follow Christ’s lead and allow Him to hold me and care for me.  God is my Father and He would not abandon me.

I’m not sure why Eric was still willing to try to make a marriage work, let alone look at me after all I had done to him.  But he was obedient to God.  Eric eventually was invited to join my weekly counseling sessions.  We started to tackle some of the big issues.  Neither of us knew where things would end up — but we both felt firmly that we wanted to follow God’s direction for our lives, whether that was separately or together.

We were determined to be led by the Lord. Acts 3:19 – “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

God wanted us to be together.  Slowly, over time, and through counseling, the two of us were able to begin some healing.  We started becoming friends again.  We eventually started to date one another.  We continued to live separately for many months.  Our marriage had a lot of jumps and hoops to get through because of the damage that had been done.  But because we were both diligently following the path that God was setting before us, we found healing and eventually love.

I knew that I had to make some huge lifestyle changes to make.  I knew that it was no longer acceptable for me to work in the gym.  That environment was not a good place for me to be in.  I worked really hard and finally landed a new job working as a chiropractic assistant at a Chiropractic office.  Another big change I needed to make was to make it a point to have friendships with only women.  I choose to never be a friend with a man anymore.  Harry had it right with his mentality in the movie When Harry Met Sally.  He said that “men and women simply cannot be friends.”  And I agree.  As a married woman, I choose to honor my husband by having friendships with females, not males.  I make it a point to never be alone with the husbands in couples we know, even innocently.

Years have passed.  I have changed.  Eric has changed.  We no longer even resemble the individuals we were back when our marriage fell apart.  We are coming up on our 6 year wedding anniversary this year!  It’s a celebration!  I got baptized and shared my testimony with my church almost 2 years ago.  Neither one of us regret what happened.  Looking back, we know that SOMETHING big had to happen to shake us up and heal our marriage.  It was never a healthy marriage from the get-go, and something needed to occur to get us on a better track.  As tragic as 2011 was, we would never change a thing, because that’s what got us to where we are today: happy, healthy, following Christ’s lead, and more in love than we have ever been before!

Marriage is hard work.  A husband and wife cannot simply give 50/50.  We must both each give 100% to make it work.  And God blesses us.  He has tremendously blessed our lives.  In ways we never imagined.  In October of this past year, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Winter, into the world.  It truly a miracle that she even exists.  She is God’s precious gift to us.

Eric is a strong man.  He never lost faith in me, and he never ONCE strayed from keeping his eyes on Christ. He is the strongest man I know. When he could have easily kicked me to the curb and lost every ounce of respect for me, he chose to stubbornly LOVE ME, as Christ loves me.  Without God’s help, he admits he couldn’t have done it.  After all of these years, he never brings up any of my past mistakes or uses them against me.  I praise God for creating Eric.  I love him so much.  He has the biggest servant’s heart that I know!  He absolutely hates running, but over the past 3 months, he faithfully worked hard and trained for a half marathon with me.  On Sunday, together we crossed the finish line of the very same race I had been training for 3 years ago.  It was a momentous day for us!  I love my husband.

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God’s love never fails.  There’s a song that is very popular that has a powerful message.  Kristian Stanfill’s One Thing Remains.  It says, “Higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant in the trial and the change, one thing remains. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”

I want to leave you with a few verses to take away:

            1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

            Ephesians 2:4-5But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

             Isaiah 54:10“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

            Proverbs 31:10-12“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

 Thank you for listening. I pray that God will help use my story to speak into your life. Christ’s love is unfailing. No matter what you do or what you say, He will never, EVER stop loving you. Always return to Him. He loves you.

 

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 Eric, Winter and I — very happy and blessed!

 

Winter’s 5 Month Update

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 5 months old

Baby’s Age: 5 months old

Height: 25 inches (approx.)

Weight: 15 pounds, 1 ounce

Head: not sure

Diaper Size: Size 2

Clothes Size: 6 months

Here is a look back at the past few months:

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Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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What Winter is Like at 5 Months: Our baby girl is no longer a newborn!  She is rapidly growing up and constantly learning.  Sometimes we feel truly shocked at how quickly Winter is changing and developing!

A few weeks ago, Winter learned how to roll over from her back to her tummy.  Ever since she learned how to do this, we cannot keep this baby on her back no matter how hard we try!  She is just a little rolling machine.  In fact, because she refuses to stay on her back for longer than 15 seconds, this affects her sleeping style–she no longer will sleep on her back.  When we put her down for naps or night time in her crib, we always lie her in the middle of the crib on her back.  Instantly she rolls on to her side and typically sleeps on her side/partially on her tummy.  In the morning, I usually wake up to her either in the corner of her crib or with her legs stuck in the crib rails — always on her tummy.  She is too funny!  Honestly, her rolling all around scared me at first because I was afraid of SIDS, but now I realize there is nothing we can do to keep her from rolling, so I’ve accepted that is how it is.

Winter is the epitome of a happy baby.  She has a stellar personality and absolutely loves anyone and everyone.  As soon as she sees a person (whether in real life or on Skype/Facetime, she instantly lights up and grins from ear to ear.  She is so social and loves attention!  Whenever we take her to the nursery at church or the nursery at MOPS, we are always praised for what a joy she is to watch.  Everyone adores her.

She is no longer content to lie down and observe or quietly bat at the toys in her play gym…no, no, no — she wants to play and interact constantly!  As I mentioned, she won’t stay on her back for very long, so she rolls on to her tummy and then she plays with toys and wants to constantly be entertained.  Sometimes it’s exhausting because when she is awake, I’m constantly playing with her and giving her attention.  She does enjoy playing and jumping in her Little Einstein exercauser/jumper.  For a while she was too short as her feet didn’t touch the floor, but now she is taller and has discovered how much she enjoys jumping up and down!

She has become very interested in our two pets (dog and cat).  She really likes both of them.  She loves petting (eh–grabbing and pulling) their fur.  She enjoys when the dog licks her face.

Winter is really ticklish.  She giggles and laughs when you tickle under her arms, on her toes and squeeze her chubby thighs.  She loves being sung to.  We sing “What Does the Fox Say?” to her multiple times per day.  She also likes “Jesus Loves Me,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Pat-A-Cake,” “Bushel and a Peck,” as well as other lullabies and praise/worship songs that we sing.

Sometimes if she starts fussing because she simply wants attention — I start to clap repeatedly and this gets her attention and she stops fussing.  You’ll find me clapping a lot while eating dinner so that we can get through our meal without having to hold her! 🙂  It’s really kind of weird, but clapping works!  It gets her attention.

Several weeks ago, she caught her first bad sickness–the stomach virus.  In 24 hours she vomited 12 times and couldn’t keep anything in her belly!  It was a truly awful experience.  No mom wants to see their little baby go through that.  We felt scared because we were very concerned about her becoming dehydrated at this young age.  We closely followed the guidance of her pediatrician.  We did take her in to see the doctor, and aside from losing a little bit of weight, she was just fine.

Overall, Winter is growing, learning and a very happy little baby.  She is so much fun, and I enjoy every single day with her!!

Milestones: She can roll over in both directions, she is learning how to sit up unassisted, she puts everything in her mouth, she stands up while holding onto our hands, she sleeps through the night, she jumps up and down in her Little Einstein exercauser.

Sleep: Our champion sleeper sleeps 10 hours at night.  She takes 2 long naps (2+ hours) and one or two shorter naps.  She is such a great sleeper!

Best Moment: Finally getting well after her stomach virus.  It felt amazing to have the throwing up stop and get back to normal.

Worst Moment: Watching Winter vomit repeatedly during her sickness.  She puked so much and you could tell she didn’t feel good.

Health:  Aside from the stomach bug, she has been doing great.  She is growing and learning and reaching her milestones on time!

Eating:  Winter is still exclusively breastfed.  We are waiting to start any solids until she is 6 months.  Though she is showing a lot of interest in foods, I am fine holding out for one more month.  Once we start solids, I plan to begin with vegetables and eventually add fruits (start with bland and eventually add sweeter tastes).  We might skip rice cereal as her pediatrician said there is very little nutritional value in cereal.  As for now, she is nursing 5-6 times per day.  Her typical routine for eating is this: 7:30 or 8:00 am, 11:00 or 11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 6:00 or 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm, 10:30 pm.  Sometimes the 8:30 pm and the 10:30 pm feedings blend into one feeding somewhere in the middle–but it really just depends on what we have going on.  I am very laid back and will nurse her on demand if she seems hungry at a non scheduled time.  I still follow Baby Wise, but have realized that I make it into what works for me — I don’t worry too much if I don’t follow it to a T.

Likes: Pulling hair, putting anything & everything in her mouth, smiling, laughing, singing songs, sucking on her wabbanub pacifiers, reading books, putting her hands in her mouth, playing with toys, putting ANYTHING into her mouth, taking a bath, feeling textures, getting tickled, standing up, looking at her reflection in the mirror, getting her hair brushed, getting thrown up in the air, watching the dog & cat.

Dislikes: She doesn’t like it when we aren’t paying attention to her.

How Mommy is doing: Life as a mom is great!  I love spending all of my days with Winter.  We have gotten very busy and involved with my moms groups.  At least 2-3 times per week we have activities going on during the day with my moms group.  Usually walks or playdates at someone’s house.  Sometimes we go swimming or do other fun activities.  I love all of the mom friends I have made and Winter likes playing with other babies her age.

If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

4 Month Update

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

Winter’s 4 Month Update

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BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 4 months old

Baby’s Age: 4 months old

Height: 24.75 inches

Weight: 14 pounds 7 ounces

Head: 41.2 cm

Diaper Size: Size 2

Clothes Size: 3 month & some 3-6 month

Here is a look back at the past few months:

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If you missed her previous updates, you can check out:

1 Month Update

2 Month Update

3 Month Update

Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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What Winter is Like at 4 Months: Winter is the epitome of a happy baby.  She is always in a good mood.  This girl rarely has fussy times.  Don’t get me wrong, she does occasionally get cranky and fuss a bit, but as a whole she is a happy spirited gal.  When she starts to get tired and it’s nearing naptime, she rubs her eyes and starts to whimper a bit.  People are always commenting on how pleasantly tempered Winter is.  Eric and I feel so blessed to have such an “easy” baby.  At the same time, I don’t think it’s purely luck — I think that she has been trained to be happy because we have her on a schedule that allows her the gift of getting GOOD SLEEP.  I think this is so important.  I sometimes wonder if she would be such a happy baby if we didn’t follow Baby Wise.

At this age, she has really discovered how fun it can be to play with toys.  EVERYTHING goes into her mouth!  She always sucks on her hands.  She picks up her toys and instantly puts them into her mouth.  She shakes her rattle and keys.  She bats at toys hanging down.  We have some ring links on her carseat that she always holds on to.  She even falls asleep with a firm grip on her rings.

Winter has quite the personality.  She loves getting attention from anyone and everyone.  She loves to sing songs and read books.  She loves to watch mommy and daddy be silly.  We dance around and act crazy because she likes it.  She babbles a lot and often talks at a volume that almost makes us wonder if she is screeching in happiness or if it’s a cry, lol!  She has got a LOUD volume to her talking.

She is going to the church nursery regularly now.  She really has a fun time away from mommy.  She LOVES other babies.  It was hard for me to leave her the first few times, but I realized I need to be able to enjoy church again.  I now can sit down and pay attention and fully enjoy the time at church without entertaining a baby.  I miss her, but I think the time she is in the nursery is beneficial for both her and I.

We are really enjoying this age.  Winter is so much more interactive and playful.  She is so interested in everything she sees in the world around her.  It’s fun to watch her learn and do new things.  She is so smart.  I feel like she is smarter than other babies her age…but maybe that’s just the proud mommy in me.  Playing with her is so much fun.  We always are being silly and goofy to make her laugh and giggle.  She is so much fun in our lives!

Milestones: At the end of January she rolled over for the first time (tummy to back)!  She also laughs & giggles.  On her tummy she can lift her head really high and put her weight up onto her shoulders.  She “talks” a lot — and she has discovered how LOUD her voice will go!  She is overall very strong, but her favorite position is to stand.  I can hold onto her hands and she stands for an endless amount of time without her knees buckling.

Sleep: She is a pretty solid sleeper.  She still sleeps through the night, typically 9-10 hours straight without waking to eat.  She occasionally wakes up around 5:00 am and fusses a bit until we give her the pacifier and she goes back to sleep until about 7:30 am.  She doesn’t do this all the time, but at least once per week she wakes up like that.  Her usual routine is sleeping from 10:00 pm to 7:30 am.  During the day she takes naps.  She gets at least 2 or 3 solid naps (around 1.5 or 2 hours) and maybe a few shorter cat naps (45 min to an hour).

Best Moment: Snuggling in bed after our first morning feeding!!  When she wakes up each morning, I always go get her from her crib, bring her into bed with me and I nurse her in the side lying position.  This is my favorite nursing session of the day.  After she finishes eating, we lie in bed and cuddle for a little while and I just love this time together.  After we cuddle, I get out the breast pump and she hangs out with me while I pump (we play and I sing songs to her while pumping)…then we get out of bed and start our day!

Worst Moment: Shots at her 4 month appointment.  It is SO HARD for me to watch my baby scream because she is in pain!

Health:  Her pediatrician couldn’t stop praising Winter.  She says that Winter is in excellent health, is strong, smart, growing fantastically and doing superb.  Winter is such a healthy and happy little girl.  She is always content and is easily brought to a smile.

Eating:  Breastfeeding is going great!  We are nursing 6 times per day.  She typically eats at 7 or 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 5 or 5:30 pm, 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.  She usually eats every 3 or 3.5 hours, though I think she is probably ready to push back to at least 3.5 hours and sometimes even 4 hours.  I’m going to adjust our schedule soon to dropping to 5 solid feedings with consistently 3.5 and 4 hour intervals.  I think she is ready for that.  As far as nursing goes, she is very efficient at draining the breast quickly now.  She usually finishes eating within 10 minutes tops.  She eats about 6 or 7 minutes on the first side and 3-4 minutes on the other side.  What a great eater–nursing is SO EASY!  We have not introduced any solids.  I want to hold out to closer to 6 months.  As of yet, she is 100% exclusively breastfed and has never once received any formula or food.

Likes: Smiling, laughing, singing songs, sucking on her wabbanub pacifiers, reading books, putting her hands in her mouth, playing with toys, putting ANYTHING into her mouth, taking a bath, feeling textures, getting tickled, standing up, looking at her reflection in the mirror, getting her hair brushed, getting thrown up in the air, watching the dog & cat.

Dislikes: She gets tired after too long on her tummy & gets mad.

How Mommy is doing: I am doing great!  Life as a stay at home mom is really going great.  We have a good routine going.  Every day I always do some sort of exercise (mostly running these days since I’m training for my upcoming half marathon).  I’ve gotten involved with a lot of other moms.  I am going to my MOPS group and getting together for playdates.  I’ve joined another moms group that is for moms of ONLY babies, which is so awesome for me!!  I love having other new moms to hang out with and talk to about baby related things.  We get together for stroller walks and baby playdates.  It is such a good outlet for me.  I love making friends with other mommies and watching Winter play around other babies her age.

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

I LOVE MY SIBLINGS!

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I am one of 8 kids.  Unheard of, I know!  These days, it’s rare to find families with more than 2 or 3 kids, let alone 8!  We were able to ALL be together this Christmas for the first time in a few years.  Though it’s hard to be far away from my family, we keep in touch.  We can call, text, Skype, use social media, etc.  It was really fun to all be together for a week to celebrate Christmas together.

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All 8 of us in age order! Front to back: (Christine, Mark, Paul, Melody, me, Maggie, Luke and Jill)

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All 8 of us together.

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Doing “The Sound of Music” where they do the “coo-coo” song.  We are goofy.  Love every single one!

HERE ARE MY SIBLINGS….

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Jill is the oldest.  She is married with 4 sons and a little daughter on the way!

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Luke is 2nd born.  He is married with a son and a daughter.

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Maggie is 3rd.  She is married with 3 sons.  I’m 4th.

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Melody is 5th.  She and her husband have a little doggy.

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Paul is number 6.  He is living and working in Los Angeles.

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Mark is 7th.  He is a college student.

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Christine is number 8.  She is a college student and the “baby” of the family.

Not everyone gets to be a part of such an incredible family like mine.  I am so blessed.  To end, here is the family portrait we took with Dad, Mom, kids, spouses and children:

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