Emelia at seven months

I feel like I’m reliving that same weird panic I did with Olivia at this age: that Emelia’s more of a one-year-old than a newborn now. It’s wild, thinking that seven months ago at this time I was visiting her in the NICU and living that surreal like that is day 0 postpartum.

Emelia at seven months

Life with a baby and preschooler is rough during COVID, but this baby brings so much light to our home. Olivia is obsessed with her and I love how much they’re interacting.

Emelia at seven months

We’ve hit the monthly update where the sticker has become much more interesting than anything Mom is doing.

Emelia at seven months

Olivia wore this same outfit for her seven-month photo and I’m dying a little bit. She’s just so stinking cute.

Emelia at seven months

OK, can I post a few more of these? I know, I know, obnoxious. I can’t choose just one.

Emelia at seven months

But look at her!!

Emelia at seven months

Nicknames: Meals, Mealie, Squish, Squeaks, Squishy

Weight: 16 lbs 6 oz according to home scale

Length: 26.5 in long according to home scale

Head circumference: 43 cm

Diaper size: 3

Clothing size: 6 months

Emelia at seven months

Eating

Dare I say this is the easiest month yet. Nursing Emelia was hard in the beginning. She had latch issues related to her prematurity. I had issues with oversupply and leaking and hard patches. I know others have it a lot harder, but it was still rough. But now it’s not. Now it’s easy. I knew this day would eventually come and now here we are, doing our thing. She’s still distracted, especially when her sister is in the vicinity, but overall, it’s been going well. She nurses right away in the morning depending on when she wakes up, before and after her two naps, and again before bed, but she may do more depending on the day. At night, she’s nursing 1-2 times, sometimes three depending on how long she’s in bed with me before I kick her back to her crib.

Obviously, with shelter-in-place we haven’t done any sippy cups since I never leave her, but I just had the conversation with Chris a few days ago about trying to bring them back in a few times a week to get her used to them and maybe this summer Chris and I will actually be able to get away by ourselves for a bit. Maybe.

I haven’t started baby-led weaning with her since she can’t sit up on her own yet. She’s lost her tongue-thrust reflex and she’s definitely interested in food, but we just need to get this sitting up thing down before we can officially begin. I have given her tastes of foods every so often: sauces, yogurt, etc and let her suck on a pickle one night. She was obsessed and then smelled like a dill pickle afterward which was gross.

This past weekend we grilled chicken with Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning and I handed her a strip of it. She was…not impressed? I don’t know. She made a lot of weird faces and was generally unhappy, but I also know she was tired as evidenced by rubbing her chicken wedge in her eyeball. So BLW is going slow, but we’ll get there. Things were better with the strip of steak I gave her this week. She enjoyed that, even if she was righteously confused about it all.

Emelia at seven months

Sleeping

She’s been sleeping in her room in her crib for the last month and it’s been going pretty well. I would say she was averaging being up twice a night, with one of those not long after I’d get in bed. So roughly 10:30-11:30 pm and then again around 2-3:00 am. There were three glorious nights where she slept from 7:30 pm allllllll the way to 3:30…then 5:20…then—wait for it—6:40 am!!!! And the angels sang amen.

Now she’s back to waking around 11:30 like clockwork. There was one night recently where she slept until 2:30, but otherwise, she’s up twice. I know she’s in a regression at the moment, so that has something to do with it. She does sleep through the evening generally and that definitely helps. And she will sleep in until usually 8:00, but has also slept until 9:00! Olivia did the same until she was a bit older so I’ll take it.

Naps used to be pretty good, but have been sucking lately due to a very obvious regression. And I know that because she’s always had good morning naps and afternoons were a hit or a miss. But now she’s been refusing her morning naps, choosing to wail instead. So I guess it’s another hurdle to overcome.

I did catch her one day for her nap sleeping on her stomach and of course, it unsettled me because of her prematurity. I was quick to go in and roll her back over, but I’m trusting she can manage herself. She’ll roll in the mornings in her crib sometimes and then fuss because she can’t get herself to roll back onto her back. Ametuer.

Emelia at seven months

Milestones

This girl loves nothing more than sucking on her toes and thankfully it’s gotten warmer so she can hang out in a onesie, leaving her legs free of pants (the easiest when you want to shove all five toes in your mouth). And she finally rolled back to tummy! She rolled not long after Easter and she’s since taken off. Rolling is nuttin’ now. But hilariously enough, she doesn’t realize (every single time) that once she rolls to her tummy, she remembers how much she hates it and fusses and squeaks until she’s rescued.

When she’s on her tummy, she will spin herself around and grab at toys which makes me happy because she wasn’t there last month.

She’s been working in PT on sitting up and her core strength. It makes me sad we’re not there yet (understandably, because of her adjusted age) because I want to officially start baby-led weaning and I can’t until she’s sitting up on her own. She is getting better in her exersaucer at holding herself up, but we tried her in the Johnny Jumper last week, but I think it was a bit premature.

Emelia at seven months

She loves to use her voice, but she doesn’t lie there and scream incessantly as Olivia did. My favorite is when she’ll quietly and calmly say, “Ooooo. Oo. OOOOOOOOOO.” She still loves to holler, “MmmmmAAAAAAmmmm!!!!!” when she wants to get my attention.

Emelia at seven months

Health

We learned that her little acne and rashes on her cheeks and chin are actually a result of so much drooling, which I believe because she drools like no one’s business. No teeth though. I check every so often.

Besides for a bit of reflux in which something will come up when we lay her down and spends a few seconds swallowing it all again, she’s been doing great. She’ll spit up every so often, but really, she seems to have outgrown the reflux.

The PT seems to be helping, but she still has some tightness with the torticollis and weakness in her neck, but her rolling now has improved it.

Emelia at seven months

Personality

This baby continues to be all smiles and laughs. She especially loves seeking me out from across the room and acts like it’s her personal goal in life to get to me at all costs.

Now that she has rolled and is practicing scooting around (her favorite is traveling by head and she looks like some creepy baby demon from the exorcist as she’s coming toward you) she seems very much like she’s going to take off just so she can keep up with her sister.

She continues to be a pretty chill baby, as in she’s perfectly happy until she isn’t, but she can be soothed pretty quickly (mainly by boob).

Emelia at seven months

Likes

Bath time: she’s all about it and has even started kicking and splashing a bit. I’m still in there with her (of course along with her sister) since it’s just easier to bathe her that way. Chewing toys, or anything really. She doesn’t discriminate. Her sister. Toby. Being outside. Walks in her stroller. Us singing to her. Her feet. Sucking her toes. Sleeping with mama. Nursing.

Emelia at seven months

Dislikes

Going to PT. Not being paid attention to. Going down for naps (most of the time).

Emelia at seven months

Undecided about

Real food. Her swing. Being in her high chair.

Emelia at seven months

Looking forward to

Oh man. What to say. We can’t go anywhere, so I’ll have to settle with having her experience the outdoors more. Also, with the warmer weather brings dresses and rompers and teeny tiny baby shorts.

Emelia at seven months

This girl is just developing like crazy every day. It’s strange to think of her as the tiny baby in the NICU.

Emelia at seven months

Past monthly updates

One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

The post Emelia at seven months appeared first on Risa Kerslake Writes.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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