Happy 4 Month Birthday Karis!

This month has been the hardest (first half) and the best (second half) so far.

No secrets that I have had some issues with nursing Karis this past month (milk supply diminished). So that caused a lot of issues the first part of this month for her (and me too). Things were not going good. Finally we decided on doing partial breastmilk (I'm pumping twice a day) and formula (HEB ProBiotic). She loves this change and so do I. Much happier baby since we made the switch... and happier Mama. While I had planned on nursing for a full year, I had to put her immediate needs and my sanity on the line. I've learned a lot this month about giving myself grace and trying to release expectations I have for this whole Mommyhood thing.

She has been just a joy now though. I think I hadn't realized how hard it was until we got out of it. I think I tell Chris and my mom many times a day now, "She's so happy. I'm having so much fun with her!" and on and on I go. She is all smiles all the time. Talking up a storm. And so interactive now. (More details below.)

Here are her four month birthday pictures (actually taken on the 19th, not the 17th since we were out of town). We finally have some smiles for these monthly pictures. Chris gets full credit for those-- no one lights her up like Daddy. And since it was the weekend, he was here to make her light up.
P.S. I think this is the last month for her to not be clothed. Chris thinks it's weird that she isn't dressed, but there's nothing cuter than a naked baby to me. So for those that were starting to wonder when we plan on dressing our child, now you know. And you should know that I dress her fully during the day.

Being this cute is exhausting...

And now for those of you that like more details. Here are some snippets from my daily tracker I keep of our sweet girl:
-You woke up screaming at 4am this morning. I thought you were just being fussy, but I went to check on you and guess what? YOU HAD ROLLED OVER! A genuine roll from back to tummy! So wish I could’ve seen it baby girl! We are so proud of you!
-You are sucking your thumb again. And may be teething. You’ve been drooling like crazy for weeks and now you like to chew on your hands or thumb. You can calm yourself down now with you hands/thumb too.
-Day with Daddy: Today we ran errands: returned items at babies r us (where I used the changing pad in the bathroom for the first time). I felt like such a real Dad! We went to Ella’s Birthday Party and you smiled at all the kids who wanted to say hi to you. We wore you out completely at the Veritas Thanksgiving Dinner where you feel asleep sitting up in my arms. Your Mom said it was the cutest thing!
-We decorated the tree together as a family. It was our dream last year that you would be here this year. You loved staring at the lights. Also, you have rolled over twice during the night. You are so close to during it during the day.
-We are giving breastfeeding another go (just want to make sure that it’s wise to start weaning you some). It was a long day-- short times between feedings (2 - 2 1/2 hrs) and short naps (30-60mins). We are praying for wisdom for what’s best for you. Daddy misses you on Mondays because he has accountability, so tonight he wants me to wake him up at the 3am feeding so he can see you. You have the best Daddy!
-You are loving your bouncer seat now. You will pat and pat at the tucan and monkey on there. You also love to flail your legs around while you do that. Another thing you’ve discovered is your legs-- you kick them up really high now and have even reached for them a few times. We drove to New Braunfels tonight and you didn’t make a peep (what a differences from last time)!
-100th Day of Life AND Mommy & Daddy's Anniversary! We left you with Mamaw and Papaw so we could go on our first date! You were a bit fussy for them (you seem to be teething, plus all the feeding issues). Even with the fussiness lately baby, just a full smile from you makes it all disappear. You have the best smile ever.
-Thanksgiving Day: You were a bit overwhelmed by all the craziness of all the people today. But you sure were loved baby girl, so loved by all your family. Daddy and I are most thankful this year for you. You are the greatest gift we’ve ever been given.
-Well baby girl it appears that you just might be teething. You’ve been drooling like crazy! Also, you like to chew on EVERYTHING-- your thumb, your whole hand, your shirt. It’s so cute. You put everything in your mouth and naw at it. It’s certainly made you a bit more fussy too. The one time I gave you Tylenol to see if you were in pain, within 30 minutes you were feeling good and took a really good nap!
-We got to see Uncle Nils, Aunt Katie and Emery again. It’s so cute to watch you girls together. Each time she sees you she gets more intrigued in you. She still says, “bay-bee” in the sweetest, most high pitched voice. This time though she really wanted to hold you a lot. She’d come over to where I was and pull you out of my arms (don’t worry, I held on to you), and held you in her arms like you were her baby doll, then, when she was done, she’d push you away (reason why I held onto you tight). You are her baby. She gave you lots of kisses and hugs. When she hugs you she lays her head on top of yours real sweet.
-You met Ethan and Drew Sumners. Their mom (Blakely) and dad (Scott) are some of our favorite people. I know it seems like I pimp you out to all my friends with boys, but I would be just fine if you marry one of these guys. Such an amazing family! You and Ethan are just a few weeks apart in age.
-You held your bottle all by yourself for a few minutes. I got a little of it on video. What is funny is I had just pulled you out of your crib and snuggled you and thought to myself how much I love you being so little. Then, just minutes later, you held your bottle all by yourself like a big girl!
-You have special talent for doing things to the extreme. You went to Mother’s Day Out for the first time today so Mommy could help Ms Carolyn with some things. From 9am-2pm you blew out not one diaper but two! Good thing I had two extra outfits in your bag! You make me laugh so much sweet girl.
-You heart your thumb! You are taking your paci some more now too, but your thumb is always your first pick. I’m just fine with that. I know I’m not supposed to let you. But I don’t care. We’ll get you braces if you need them. Its just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. You are currently in the middle of a long nap and I heard you cry out. So I just went to check in on you and I found you back to sleep with your thumb in your mouth. I love how you are learning to sooth yourself. I’m certainly maximizing my time that I have when you let me do it. Our middle of the night feedings have been so sweet. I know that any day you will drop it. So I’ll stay in there and just rock you for another 30 minutes. I love me some cuddles with Karis!
-You met Pastor Gregg for the first time today. Mommy was planning an event at the church and Daddy came to pick you up, and several ladies wanted to meet you. So we brought you into the event and Pastor Gregg was there. At first you smiled and then you cried. He was saying how adorable you are and commented on your little feet. His little girl’s middle name is Karis. Also, you’ve moved to a Size 2 diaper. You are growing too fast!
-You are such a big girl today-- you rolled over twice from your tummy to your back!! All that tummy time finally paid off. It was at night and your last tummy time of the day. Mommy & Daddy were both cheering you on. You have been really getting your head high the past week. And today you’d swing yourself to the point where you just about fell over, but you would stop yourself. You were just waiting for both of us to be able to see it. We cheered you on and gave you lots of hugs and praise! So proud of you baby.
-You slept a full 8 hours in a row... which was good because your Daddy took the night shift so Mommy could sleep (teaching the next day at the prison). Daddy had you all day to himself and took you on a date to Subway (your Dad’s very favorite place-- $5 footlongs). Also, since we are all bottles now, Daddy fed you at every feeding. And since I didn’t see you all day, I got to rock you to sleep. I rocked for a long time even after you fell asleep. Mommy & Daddy do this a lot at bedtime and naptime now-- we rock you and hold you for a while after you’ve fallen asleep. We know those days are numbered for us to be able to do it and we love it so. We love you so.
-We volunteered in your Sunday School room today. You are in the best hands in Ms Stacy’s room! It was so neat to see you among other babies your age. It was amazing to see the difference just a month can make between babies. You loved playing with the ring of rings (so Mommy went to the store and bought you one today). We also got to see how you are in the 25th percentile for weight. We thought you were chunky but you look so little compared to some of those other babies your same age!
-We are finally getting to hear your sweet voice. Today you and I had our first “real” conversation. I’d say something to you and you would “ooohhh eeehhh ahhhh” back. We went back and forth like this for the majority of the morning. I was near tears the entire time. You have the sweetest little voice and just when I can’t stand the sweetness, you will grunt like a man. It is hilarious. You make me laugh a hundred times a day.
-You are just a joy lately Karis. Obviously you have always been a joy, but the past few weeks have been a little rough for you (and subsequently, me as well). This past week you have been so happy. You take a feeding, burp, then play and talk for an hour or so, Then you take a nap for 1-3hrs. You have hardly fussed unless you need your bottle NOW or if you need to fall asleep but want so desperately to stay up with us. You like to fight falling asleep sometimes.
-We had interactive story time for the first time today. I read to you every day all through out the day. But today, a we were reading your soft Bible Friends book, you grabbed at the pages and wanted to touch all the different fabrics. Oh how I hope you have a love for reading like your Mommy & Daddy do.
-Today we went to Conroe with some of your best friends Elizabeth Craig and Jemma Folloder and their mommies (some of my best friends). We went to go look at their Christmas home tours. We had a blast. You took a 4 hour nap that afternoon (slept through the errands, packing and the drive up). Then you were a little out of sorts when we go there. But once we went on the tour you were calm as can be and even fell asleep at the end of it in your Baby Bjorn. Next Christmas will be so fun to see you experience all the lights and decorations. Jemma and Elizabeth both love you so much, call you “baby” and give you lots of hugs and kisses!
-You rolled over again today. I know developmentally to be patient and when you do something it could still be days before it repeats itself. Well you repeated your self today. I’m so proud of you baby girl. Also, you are just on the verge of going from your back to your tummy. You will twist yourself completely around and be on your tummy but you just can’t get your arm out from under you. You will learn so soon and I know in just a matter of weeks or even days, I will have a “mobile” baby.
-Sweetest noise we have ever heard-- you FINALLY giggled!! I was laying down and had you sitting on your tummy and I bent you over and made your face touch mine and you did a small noise. I turned to your daddy and said I think that was a laugh. So I repeated what I did and you laughed longer. Then one more time and you laughed really long. So sweet! First of many times we will all laugh as a family! Also, we took you to your Gpa’s church and showed you off to everyone. He was a proud grandpa showing you off!
-Daddy’s thoughts: When he was rocking you today he said he was thinking about future kids. And that made him hold you extra tight wanting to cherish every moment with just you. Also, we’ve been saying all day that you are such a different baby this Sunday then last. It’s amazing how all of a sudden you just started talking and became so much more interactive. You love grabbing at toys now and putting them in your mouth.
-You have a new love-- the swing! Not your baby swing, but the big girl swing that is attached to a tree! So every day we’ve been walking down to the Tricketts and we swing for a while. You smile the whole time. I love that you aren’t afraid to take a little risk sometimes. You don’t seem to be afraid by adventure.
-Your Mimi is here to see you! She hasn’t seen you since you were 10 days old. You love her and have taken right to her. Of course, she cried when she first saw you. I wasn’t sure how you would be since you haven’t seen her in so long. But you have been smiling at her all day (well except when you are tired). She has been laughing with you all day too-- such a joy you are to us all. You’ve moved past just blowing bubbles and now you like to do motorboats with your lips. You do it all the time now and think it’s funny when you spray me in the face.
-You are getting louder. You found your voice last week and this week you have realized you can control the volume too. It is hilarious to see you get louder and louder with your sound. You love talking now and pretty much do it non-stop between feeding and nap times. You will talk to yourself, others, your toys... you aren’t picky.
-You met Santa for the first time today. We had you dressed up in a really cute silver and white outfit and you had the biggest blow out of your life (you filled your pants legs with poop, it was disgusting). Thankfully your Mimi was there and treated you to a new Christmas outfit. So you and Emery got in line together to see Santa. She wasn’t to fond of him and had a nervous eye on him as soon as we got in line and then cried and screamed for Aunt Katie as soon as she got in his lap. You couldn’t have been happier in line in your Mimi’s arms-- you even had your third laugh! When we put you in Santa’s lap you were just Miss Chill. I’m very curious to see how next year goes... pretty sure the roles might be reversed.
-You love to have something in your hands now... and it always ends up in your mouth too. I am blown away by how you’ve changed so quickly from batting at things and kind of grabbing at them, to now you intentionally grab things, pick them up, etc. Your hand coordination is so strong now. Your favorite things are your key ring, Peacock, cat toy with rattle and teething feet, everything on your play mat... and whatever shirt you are wearing or blanket. Speaking of hands, I think you have your Daddy’s hands. That’s a good thing because I think he has the best hands in the whole world.

To see how she's grown, check out past months here:
Birthday (and here and here)
1 Month Birthday
2 Month Birthday
3 Month Birthday