In November we took our first trip on a plane down to California to visit my family. It went very well and Elora barely fussed. We did learn pretty quickly that bringing the stroller and car seat is both a pain in the ass and surprisingly easy. This is because our stroller is entirely too large but the airport makes bringing it easier then you'd expect with free gate checking. We ended up purchasing a stroller 'frame' when we got home. This is a very light weight frame that our car seat securely snaps into. It weighs maybe five pounds and takes up much less space in the car.
During the trip many of my family members got to meet Elora for the first time; namely my mother, father, and siblings.
We risked the Donner Pass to visit my mother's family in Reno, Nevada and then had a lovely Thanksgiving with my father's family in Modesto. All in all it was a very good trip and I wish it would have been longer.
Mommy's little turkey!
Once we got back from our trip, we decided to start trying to sleep train. We came to this decision because Elora was spending most of the night in our bed and was waking up to eat every hour. I was getting very little sleep and it was starting to show. The first week of training was crippling for me. I was up almost all night and what little sleep I got was at odd angles in the chair in the nursery. Mike, I'm happy to report, slept very well. In about a week we went from her sleeping in a pack & play in our room or in our bed and waking up once an hour to eat, to sleeping in her own bed and eating twice a night. I still bring her into our bed for the last two hours or so of the morning but that's more for my benefit then hers. Also, we were able to adjust her bed time from trying to put her down at 10pm and then struggling with it until midnight or so to a consistent bed time routine of bottle-story-bed at 8:30. I'd say all in all it really helped us but I did learn an important lesson: I have to follow my own instincts as a mother. I'm not as comfortable as I thought I'd be with the cry-it-out techniques. It's painful to hear my baby cry and I really didn't see much of a benefit in letting her howl pathetically for hours like our pediatrician suggested. I am fine giving her a few minutes to try and settle herself but then I'll go and comfort her in some way. The hardest thing for her to learn was that comfort didn't necessarily mean eating. The books I've read and the advice I've gotten suggests that she should be able to sleep through the night without feeding at all but, honestly, I'm happy where we are now. The training was almost harder on me then it was her and I got to the point where I was getting severely exhausted and depressed. Maybe we'll try again in a few months when we've both had a chance to recover.
I've always love the holiday season but this year having her gives me even more of a reason to go all out. The adorable outfits and accessories are definitely more for my benefit then hers. That said, I think it is incredibly important to have these memories recorded to show her how important she is to us and what an integral part of our lives she was.
A few days ago a terrible tragedy occurred at an elementary school on the other side of the country from us. 20 innocent first graders were gunned down while attending school in Connecticut. I've found since I've had Elora that mortality has hit me harder. Even before this horrible event I was having anxiety attacks about even the idea of something bad happening to Elora. It's so terribly hard for me to even think of being without her now. I can not even imagine what the families of those children are going through and I hope I never do know. I feel so strongly for those poor people.
I love my life. I am not by nature a very religious person but I find myself praying every day that this will not end. That my child and my husband will not be taken from me. That I can have peace from this terrible anxiety that something bad might happen any day. As hard as these feelings are on my nerves I am learning to appreciate and enjoy every day I have.
Lord, please just let me see her grow.