The Gill Family Webpage

Monday, July 30, 2007

Keepin' it real

Now that Zoe's about 2 months old, she's starting to get into somewhat of a routine. This makes her sleep times, eat times, and fussy times more predictable. In addition, with 2 months of parenting under our belts, we're getting better at learning how to deal with Zoe's sleep times, eat times, and fussy times.

Zoe's a pretty good baby most of the time. She's fussiest starting from around 5pm 'til bedtime at 8ish. I feel bad for Everett because on work days this means he gets to see her at her fussiest after a long day at the office. I'm not looking forward to the same after I return to work in 2 weeks. But I digress...

As I said, Zoe's fussiest in the early evening. But the panacea for this is to take her outside nestled in the baby bjorn. Well before she was born, we had a weekly ritual of meeting friends after work on Fridays at a local brewery which is located in an old motor works building here in town. The seating area for the brewery is partly outside, which fulfills Zoe's take-me-outside-so-I-don't-cry requirement. The meeting of friends fulfills my get-me-out-of-the-house-before-I-go-crazy requirement and the beer fulfills Everett's simple give-me-beer requirement. So Zoe has visited her first pub and the entire Gill Family was happy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A whole lotta growin' goin' on

Zoe had her second doctor appointment today and boy has she grown! Since her two week visit, she grew 2 1/4 inches making her 23 inches long and gained 3 pounds 1 ounce making her weigh 11 pounds 14 ounces. Her head circumference also grew an inch to equal 15 inches around. I'm not quite sure what the head measurement means, but there you go. Also, for what it's worth, she's in the 80th percentile for weight and height and 40th for head circumference. We call her Tiny Head now - ha ha!

Zoe also got a bunch of vaccinations today - 3 shots and one oral vaccine. It broke my heart when she got her first shot. Her little mouth trembled so much and her eyes looked at me as if to say, "Why Momma?" I got a bit teary eyed as I held her hands tight in mine and looked into her eyes trying to reassure her that she was okay. She's okay now; in fact she's sleeping.

The best thing about the doctor appointment though is that I was able to comfort her while the doctor was doing his examination. He placed her in such a way on the examining table that she couldn't see me at first and she was very fussy. Finally he swung her around so she could see me and she stopped being fussy. My baby recognizes me and is comforted by my presence. What a wonderful feeling.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fifteen minutes

Zoe's attention span is getting ever so slightly longer lately. There are several activities that keep Zoe occupied for at least 15-20 minutes at a time. She will either play in her crib, on her activity mat, or in her kick-n-play all by herself, leaving me short blocks of time to do whatever I can. I've learned to do most things pretty fast. Fifteen minutes is a long time, but it's not that long. For example:

It's enough time to take a shower, but not enough time to dress.

It's enough time to make lunch, but not enough time to eat it.

It's enough time to put in the next load of laundry, but not enough time to fold the previous load.

It's enough time to start a blog entry, but not enou

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ha ha ha

We figured out a way to bring Zoe alive on this website - with video! Click on the image below and you will be treated to a video of Zoe laughing.

Our own tropical paradise

Zoe gave me an early birthday present today - a pool! Six feet in diameter and 2 feet deep...just big enough for two adults and a baby girl. It's also big enough to create a whirlpool!

Zoe loved the water! She fussed for about 3 minutes at the start and then started smiling and kicking around in the water. I think she's going to be a swimmer!

Click below to see a video of her enjoying her swim in the pool.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What we do all day

The month of June was full of family which was wonderful. They cooked, they cleaned, they held Zoe, and I was able to sleep. Then came July. Now I cook (read: reheat leftovers and frozen dinners), clean (read: pick up as much as I can), hold Zoe (read: she's permanently attached to me), and she sleeps (read: she doesn't sleep). This picture of her sleeping was taken in one of those rare moments when I was able to get her to nap in her crib for 15 minutes one afternoon.

The biggest problem I have though is trying to figure out what to do with her. What does one do with a newborn? Especially one that doesn't sleep on her own so well during the day.

Well we're now into somewhat of a routine. First, we get up, eat, and change into our "day clothes". After which we make faces on the changing table for about 10 minutes! She loves her table! And the more moms I talk to, the more I realize that a lot of babies like the changing table. I'm not sure why, but I don't question it!

Then we take a walk around the block - provided it's not a billion degrees out. If it is, then we walk under the shade of the trees down a few houses in each direction from our house.

When we get back home, we change what is inevitably a dirty diaper. Then Zoe plays in her crib staring at her mobile and/or herself in her mirror. She'll do this for a good 15-20 minutes. I usually eat my breakfast during this time, but today I was able to take a shower while she played contentedly in her crib!

Then we go through a cycle of eating, changing diapers, and going outside. When (not if) she gets fussy, nothing calms her down more than stepping out into the great outdoors. Seriously, we open the door and she closes her mouth. We close the door, she opens her mouth. It's amazing! We're thinking of moving the nursery outside!

Some other activities we do throughout the day include playing on her activity mat (see the picture) and reading books. Today we read Make Way for Ducklings. It's a great book set in Boston all about a family of ducks looking for a place to raise their family. If you are lucky enough to visit Boston, make sure you visit the Public Garden and check out the statues of the ducks.

Tennessee has a great program spearheaded by Dolly Parton that provides all children under the age of 5 a free book each month. The first book Zoe received was The Little Engine That Could. We read that classic as soon as we got it and can't wait for the next one! This program is available in some areas outside of Tennessee so check their website to see if your area participates in the program.

Finally, we try to get out a bit each day. Some days we go to the mall and walk around, other days we go visit friends. I've been trying to connect with other new moms as much as I can. It's good to talk with other people who are experiencing the same things I am.

Being a mom is a lot harder than I thought it would be. People told me motherhood would be hard, but I didn't fully appreciate what they were trying to tell me. It's more than the sleepless nights. It's more than the fussiness. It's more than the constant string of dirty diapers. Simply put, it's the responsibility of being someone's Mother that is so hard. I hear it gets easier, but I realize that it will never be easy. And I probably don't fully appreciate that either.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Magical Movie Number Two

We made it through our second movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, on Sunday. This movie was an hour longer than the other movie we went to, but we were armed with a bottle! Zoe was pretty good for the first 2 hours of the film, sleeping like a baby! But towards the climatic end, she began to get fussy. Everett fed her the bottle and she was good to go and we were able to watch the end of the movie.

Whenever we go out with Zoe, we wonder if she'll "be good". By "be good" we really mean "stay asleep". I have to admit that I get a little anxious if she's awake and we're not home. It's not as if she's always crying when she's awake (it's only about 78.4% of the time) but she needs to be entertained constantly by someone. She's not quite old enough to do it by herself. Plus, when we're out we have to worry about when she needs to eat next and if there's a private place to breastfeed or a sink nearby to heat her bottle. I suppose these are all growing pains that new parents go through when adjusting to life with a newborn.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What I thought it would be like

When I was pregnant, I had big plans for my maternity leave. I was going to take care of my bambino by loving her and playing with her and hugging her and changing her diapers with ease. And then when she was napping oh so preciously in her crib, I would clean the kitchen, do the laundry, weed the garden, and clean out the garage. Like most things in life, this is not the way things are.

I do love and play and hug and change my baby girl all day long. I repeat, all day long. She does sleep, but so far, she will not sleep in her crib for very long during the day. In fact, right now she's asleep on my chest as I type this with my computer balanced on my knees. I am able to get her to sleep in her vibrating seat for an hour in the morning which is long enough for me to grab a bowl of cereal and take a quick shower. I am grateful for that! And she does sleep in her car seat in the middle of the day when we go out "on the town" to either the mall or a restaurant. But she will only stay sleeping if the car is moving or the stroller is strolling. Finally, she does sleep in the late afternoon if I put her in the Baby Bjorn and take a walk. But as soon as I take her out of it, her eyes and her mouth pop wide open!

So you can see, Zoe does sleep during the day, but it doesn't free up Mom very much to do much else. When I get discouraged at my lack of productivity during this here maternity leave, I just have to remember that maternity leave is a time to be maternal, and not to clean house. There will be plenty of time later to clean and weed. Now it's time to be a Mom.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bottled Freedom

I am free! Well somewhat...

On the 4th, before we went to the movies, we washed and sterilized all the bottles we had in anticipation of the big event: Zoe's first bottle! I then started pumping to get our supply of milk up. A few days later, Everett gave Zoe her first bottle and she took it like a champ, eating a whole 2.5 ounces! This was after I fed Zoe the ol' fashioned way first so that she wouldn't be too fussy to take the bottle.

This is a wonderful development in so many ways. First, Everett finally gets to participate in the feeding of Zoe. She really is quite sweet when she eats, making all sorts of noises including grunts, sighs, and coos. I'm glad Everett can experience that now. Second, I'm not so tethered to my little girl. I love her and always want to be close to her, but having to be available every two to three hours, just in case she gets hungry (read: fussy) is stressful and tiring!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Party on!

Zoe has been gettin' crazy lately! She's seen here rockin' out with Mom and Dad! Party on Zoe!

She's been getting smiley lately as well. When Everett or I make faces and sounds she first looks confused then breaks out into the sweetest smile and coos at us. It really makes the crying times worth it...well mostly worth it!

You can see Zoe smiling in the picture below. I got her to smile by leaning back from her, drawing in a loud breath, and slowly moving my face to her's, kissing her cheek with a big "mmmwah"! She gets all still when I start this little game and then wiggles all around after I kiss her.

You can also see Zoe bustin' out of her newborn pajamas. I'm real bummed because I really like those pjs! But it also means Zoe's getting bigger. In fact, she's been out of newborn diapers now for a while and a bunch of onesies no longer fit. What a difference 5 weeks can make!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Zoe spent her first 4th of July like most other Americans: by going to see a summer blockbuster and then having a BBQ at home with friends. No fireworks though - too loud. Zoe will have to wait for another 4th to experience all the booms, bangs, and sparks that Independence Day has to offer.

We went to see the Fantastic Four movie at Zoe's typical sleeptime: midday. Everett strapped her into the Baby Bjorn and we were good to go for the entire one hour and twenty-nine minute movie. Even better, we were good to go for ice cream afterwards! I got coffee ice cream with oreo cookies while Everett indulged in double chocolate with peppermint patties. I wonder what flavors Zoe will enjoy when she gets older. Hopefully it will be a flavor that her Mom likes! I remember that when I was a kid my Dad would "help me out" by licking my ice cream cone around its perimeter so that it didn't melt all down the side of the cone and onto my arm, lap, legs, and floor. This helped me to learn how to eat a neat ice cream young!

After the movie, we had Neva and Jason and their 6 month old over for some good grillin'. Cheeseburgers, skewered veggies, and fresh-from-our-garden-cucumbers were on the menu. A simple menu, but we had a lot to talk about with the new parents. It's good to be able to trade stories with another couple who have gone through "life with newborn" recently. The good news: their little girl sleeps through the night! It gives us hope!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A visit from 2 Gills and a Witt

Zoe met her first cousin this weekend - Granny and Granddaddy Gill brought along cousin Regina for a visit and boy did we all have fun!

We took Zoe to the zoo where she slept peacefully (for the most part) in her stroller as we walked among the animals. It was a tad hot, but we survived.

And when you have the Gill Men together, grilling out is a requirement! Sherrill and Leon brought us a bunch of deer meat and fish from their hunting and fishing trips. We had sea trout, which is my favorite kind of fish, and shish kabobs made with deer wrapped in bacon with water chestnuts to give it a bit of a crunch. So good!

Finally, Zoe got some language lessons from Granddaddy. He would lean in real close to Zoe and say slowly, "Graaaannnndaaaddy." He taught her well; I think I heard her mutter "Granddaddy" a few times after they left!