- My little brother is now a married man! He married his long time sweetheart in early October. It was a true family affair for us--Jeff arrived a couple of days before the wedding, as he was a groomsman. I was a bridesmaid. Alexa was a flower girl, at least in name. She wore the same dress as the older flower girls and was carried down the aisle by the mother of the groom. It was a beautiful wedding, with a fall theme, which made for gorgeous decorations. My sister sang and even managed to get through it without tears. The bride was, of course, beautiful.
- After the wedding, our little family spent a few days visiting friends and family in other states. Everyone was completely taken with Alexa. We spent quite a bit of time in the DC area with friends, whom we convinced to go with us to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. We'd been a couple of times before we moved to Egypt and loved it, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to go back. It was just like we remembered, with elaborate costumes, decadent food--can I just say croissant sundae?!--and all sorts of attractions, from jousting to shopping to watching the drunks to knife throwing (I think we avoided the drunks throwing knives, though). Our friend who went with us got her first henna tattoo. I've never had one, but it was interesting to watch. I documented the whole process in photos, but since this is a quick takes post, here's the one and only picture you get: the artist with his work.
- The flights went very well, overall, and Alexa was wonderful. She slept through all of our flights, with just brief awake periods for food and diaper changes. Luckily she didn't have any dirty diapers on the planes, saving those for layovers, so it wasn't too difficult to do lap changes. Also, may I just say that United was very baby-friendly? They had no issues with us taking on the car seat once we established that Alexa had her own ticket, they offered us an infant life vest before we ever took off, and there was room (in economy plus, to which we always upgrade because of Jeff's long legs) for the person in front of Alexa to recline his seat without interfering with the car seat. Lufthansa, on the other hand ... grrr. They didn't want us to use the car seat; we had to repeat two or three times that it was airline approved. Then they refused to give us an infant life vest when we requested one--they tried telling us that we wouldn't be flying over water because there were no large bodies of water around Frankfurt. Apparently the flight attendant didn't realize that we'd be flying over the Mediterranean Sea on the way to Egypt! She finally told us that it was their policy to give it to us only if/when it was needed. So apparently it's important for every passenger and crew member to have immediate access to a life vest--every passenger except infants, that is. I guess if there's no time for a busy flight attendant to go get the life vest before the plane hits the water, parents can miraculously grow suction cups on their arms to prevent the wiggling--and at that point wet--child from slipping out of their arms. My blood pressure still goes up when I think of that one. And then, in a final blow to Lufthansa's credibility in my eyes, the person in front of Alexa put his seat back, hitting the back of her car seat and causing it to pop up into an unsafe, unusable position. Luckily, Jeff was feeding her at the time, so she wasn't in it. Needless to say, I am no longer a fan of Lufthansa. At all.
- Alexa has been sleeping through the night ever since we got here. She slept incredible hours on the planes, probably due to the vibrations, and has been doing it ever since. She usually goes down for the night between 10 and 11 and wakes up at 7 or 7:30. I would like her to fall asleep around 8 or 9 and stay asleep, but she currently naps for half an hour or so starting at 8 or 8:30, then wakes up for 60 to 90 minutes for one more feeding and diaper change before going down for the night. Until the last week or so, her longest naps during the day were around 45 minutes--she'd take several short naps ranging from 20 to 45 minutes, with 90 minutes of wake time in between. Lately she's been taking a long morning nap of 2 to 3 hours. I think that's because I've been laying down with her for that one, so when she starts to wake up, I soothe her back to sleep--I need a long nap, as I'm getting up between 5 and 5:30 every morning so I can pump, shower, try to get breakfast, and maybe get some laundry started before she gets up.
- Speaking of pumping, I haven't shared the whole saga here yet. I had intended to breast feed Alexa, but that hasn't worked out. She was unable to take anything by mouth for the first two days, and after that, she had a hard time latching. Combine that with the fact that I wasn't producing enough milk in a day to get her through one meal, and well, formula supplementation via bottle was necessary. She never took to the breast, despite my best efforts and assistance from a lactation consultant. So we invested in a good pump, which I use regularly. Lately I've been able to produce enough milk that we only give her one 8-ounce bottle of formula a day. The rest of what she eats is milk. I'm not sure how long we can keep it up, but we're going to keep going with that as long as possible. Breast milk provides the best nutrition for her, so I'm committed to pumping until I can't produce milk anymore or until her first birthday, if I make it that long.
- We're fully on cloth diapers now. I had purchased some used BumGenius 3.0's before Alexa was born. When I tried to switch from disposable to cloth diapers a month or so after her birth, I discovered that the BGs were too big in the legs. So we used prefolds and covers instead. We're still using those during the day. We were using disposables at night until shortly after we returned here, but we decided to bite the bullet and see how well cloth worked at night. We realized that the BGs didn't fit in the legs because the elastic was shot, but we found two that still had decent elastic, and we used one of them with a doubler overnight. It worked wonderfully! No leaks and, thanks to the stay-dry layer, Alexa felt dry the next morning. We've used them every night since then (other than a couple times when we needed to use diaper rash cream). We bought a couple of new BGs on sale and LOVE them. They're too expensive to justify buying for all-the-time use, though. So we'll keep going with prefolds and covers during the day and the BGs at night, at least unless/until we find someone who is able to replace the elastic on our used BGs. It almost makes me wish I knew how to sew ... but I do NOT have time right now to learn a new skill.
Just in case the next time isn't for a while, let me just say to you all: