Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Year Old!

First, many apologies for the lack of posting. Between matching (yeah, we're going to Rochester!), the endless paperwork required for residency, selling our house, buying a house, and packing, I've had little time to write. Here's a recap of the past couple months. Lyla is one year old! Where has the past year gone? Time has flown so quickly. Everyone tells you how quickly time will fly, but you don't really appreciate it until you start wondering where your little baby has gone! Lyla is definitely turning into a little toddler and is so much fun these days. It's amazing how much she comprehends and how smart she is! She started walking a couple weeks before her birthday and is now getting pretty steady on her feet. She is babbling a lot and waves at everyone we meet--so cute! Her favorite word is still of course "doggy" and she is learning her animal sounds--she knows the doggy says "woof," the monkey says "haha" (that's her version anyway--she has a stuffed monkey that is her new best friend) and she does the fish face too. We're working on the duck and cat! It's amazing how much she understands too. She still uses her basic signs for "milk," "all done," "more," "eat" and "telephone." Two weeks ago I took away her bottle and it's been a bit of a struggle to get her to drink milk out of a cup although she does fine with the water. She's still petite at 27 inches and 18lbs 14oz but her head is growing and measures at the 92 percentile! Yesterday we had our first trip to the playground and she loved it! She went on the swings and slide and of course, what could be better than playing with mulch! She's taken a new liking to stuffed animals and pets them and gives them kisses. She's started being a little rougher with the dogs but they've been so tolerant of her thankfully. Lyla had a great birthday party but didn't seem that impressed with the cake! She did get a ton of presents though which have been keeping her occupied. With our upcoming move I have had to pack away all of her "baby" stuff that she doesn't use anymore and it was a bit sad to think she'll never use that stuff again. Here are some photos of the big girl:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ten Months!

I really can't believe how quickly the past ten months have gone by! It seems crazy to me that our "baby" is now very much turning into a toddler. I can see the wheels turning in her head every day and she's learning so much so quickly.

STATS: 17lbs 3oz (thanks to all that cheese she eats!)

HEALTH: more ear infections :( this makes the fourth course of antibiotic therapy in a little over two months. We went to see ENT this week and the doctor said that there's only fluid behind her ears now, and they're not currently infected, so that was good. We'll finish up the Augmentin and follow up next month. Meanwhile, if she gets another ear infection or the fluid persists she may be getting tubes. She is CONSTANTLY playing with her ears, but I have no idea if it's habit, soothing, or they're really irritating her.

MOVING: Lyla is getting speedier on her knees! Still not so fast that we can't keep up with her, so that's nice for us! She's pulling up on furniture which sometimes makes me nervous when it's near the corners of our coffee table. She's taken a few tumbles and suffered a few bruises so far--this crawling business is dangerous work! She still hasn't realized that she can stand up in her crib--she just lies there are babbles or cries until we come get her. She does like to stand a lot during her bath which has become a bit trecherous!

SLEEPING: Still going great! Lyla goes to bed between 7-8, and on the weekends she usually sleeps until 8-9! On the weekdays I usually have to wake her up.

COMMUNICATING: This is the most fun part for me because I can actually see how much she really understands. Some fun games that we play are "So big" and she lifts her arms in the air, and we also play "wind the bobbin up" which is a British version of pat-a-cake sort of, and Lyla has started making the wind up motion and clapping. She waves at people, and when I say "yeah" she claps. She has several new signs which is so cool. In addition to "more" she's mastered "all gone" and is also doing really well signing "milk," "drink" and "eat." I think the next ones we'll try are "sleep" and "diaper change." I'm so glad we did the sign language with her--besides just being cool, it really helps us understand what she wants, and she doesn't need to get frustrated. Mealtime is usually very calm because we usually know exactly what she wants. When we were in the grocery store yesterday she signed that she was hungry so I became one of those moms who opens packages of snacks in the grocery store to keep kids quiet! But it worked and she signed the rest of the shopping trip for "more" crackers. So cool! She also says "dada" and "doggy" more clearly. She babbles a lot...but no "mama" yet...

New photos and videos are on flickr!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nine Month Milestones

I have not been as diligent about posting news about Lyla as I would like to be—sorry to all of Lyla’s fans out there! Lyla is starting to resemble a toddler these days and less of a baby, which make me both sad and excited. Here’s what’s new with Lyla at nine months old:

1. STATS: at her 9-month appointment Lyla weighed 16 lbs 4 oz (9%), was 26 inches long (7%) and her head was 17 3/4 inches (80%!!!!). So she’s still quite tiny but her height and weight are very proportionate and she’s not skinny—she’s getting some very nice full cheeks and pinchable thighs. Her head on the other hand, is making getting dressed a challenge sometimes when it won’t fit through her clothes! But it has to be so big to store her huge brain!

2. FERBERIZED! Our sleep struggle has finally come to an end! And like all the books and stories say, it really only took 2-3 nights! Why on earth did we not do this sooner? Mike and I made a pact that when she cried at night we would give her 10 minutes, go in once to make sure her head wasn’t stuck between the slats of the crib, and then after that she would have to learn to sooth herself. And guess what? It was as easy as that! I just turned the monitor down and went back to sleep and so did she, and in the end everyone survived and is much happier and well rested! Lyla now goes to bed between 7:30 and 8 (seems like everyone wants to call us at that time too—leave a message J ) she has a bath after dinner, then we read (she now turns the pages of the cardboard books herself), and then she goes to bed, in her crib, awake, and puts herself to sleep. WONDERFUL!

3. CRAWLING! Finally Lyla figured out that there are many more things to put in her mouth if she’s able to move towards them. She just started this weekend so she’s still slow and awkward but she’s getting the hang of it.

4. PULLING TO STAND: We bought her an activity table (with an over-abundance of obnoxious buttons, lights and sounds) so she has something the right height to pull up to. Plus it’s just adorable when she makes it play music and “dances” (bounces) up and down.

5. SIGNING! So excited about this—Lyla used her first sign “more” when we were having dinner. We really only use it for food, so I think she might think it means “food” and not “more” but we’ll keep working on it. She’s getting more and more consistent with using it appropriately. It’s amazing to see her little mind working! We’re also using signs for “milk” and “all gone” so we’ll see how she does with those I need to find out the sign for “water” since she “asks” for that a lot at dinner by reaching and whining for her cup. What a smarty pants we have on our hands!

6. TALKING: Lyla babbles a lot and sounds like she has very important things to tell us. She says “dada” all the time, sometimes referring to Mike, sometimes referring to a plant or a car or the television or anything else in her line of site. She also says “doggy” specifically for our dogs, although sometimes is sounds more like “doddy” or “dadoo,” but it always refers to the dogs. Guess what word she hasn’t said yet? I’m definitely feeling underappreciated, but I guess that’s my preparation for the teenage years!

7. EAR INFECTIONS: Lyla is unfortunately getting to be a pro at these. She’s had two in the past two months (maybe it was the same one that never cleared up) and might be working on the third at the moment. On the upside—she really enjoys taking her medicine.

8. EATING: Favorite foods these days are cheese and meatloaf. She’s also a fan of oatmeal, banana, pear, honeydew, and deli turkey, as well as peas, sweet potatoes, applesauce, mushrooms, and crackers. It’s great watching her try new foods. So far no allergies. She’s also pretty good at using her cup for water.

9. TEETHING: Lyla now sports six pearly whites which makes eating a bit easier. She has a little toothbrush and baby toothpaste which she loves to chew on, which I figure is close enough to “brushing.” She really enjoys when we sing the Raffi “brush your teeth” song too while we brush.

So that’s what Lyla has been up to this month. It’s crazy how fast the time goes by. I’m already starting to plan her first birthday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year! A lot has happened since I posted last time, and we’ve been very busy! After our snow storm in December we finally had our “Buffalo Christmas” which was lots of fun. My aunt Johanne came from Toronto to celebrate with us so it was great to see her. Lyla had lots of fun and got tons of presents, some which she seemed to enjoy more than the wrapping paper! She got lots of toys and books so she has plenty to keep her busy these days.

On the 18th we set out on our great adventure—Lyla’s first trip to England! Lyla was a superstar traveler—we flew Erie to Philadelphia and she slept the entire plane ride. Then she woke up for our trek across Philadelphia airport, and as soon as we boarded our transatlantic flight she was out cold for 6.5 of the 7 hour flight! The flight went smoothly, no running across the airport as in the past (and future!). However, we did not get the baby bassinet that we had requested, and I was extremely uncomfortable all cramped in the seat holding Lyla. I did not find a comfortable position to hold her until an hour before we landed. Lucky for us, our flight left Philadelphia only hours before a major snow storm hit the east coast and closed airports for days. Phew!

When we arrived Mike’s entire family was waiting at the airport for us! It was so nice to see everyone and of course they were all excited to meet Lyla. We spent most of our trip just relaxing and visiting family—it was nice for everyone to get to meet Lyla, especially Mike’s grandparens. Lyla had a great time with her Nana and Grandad who just would not put her down, although they had to fight to hold her because Aunts Beckie, Sophie, and Amy wanted to play with her too! Lyla got a lot of attention and I think she probably spent maybe an hour the entire week on the floor!

England got quite a bit of snow (for their standards) while we were over. It snowed almost everyday which is quite unusual for them, and the roads and sidewalks were quite treacherous because they don’t have snow plows and shovels!! It definitely made driving difficult and unfortunately Mike’s family Christmas party was cancelled because the driving was so bad 

We had a great Christmas with Mike’s family—Lyla got a lot more presents, including the entire 50 book collection of Thomas the Tank Engine books from Nana and Grandad (at Mike’s request!). We had so many gifts to bring back with us our suit cases were busting at the seems! We had a great visit, Lyla seemed to really enjoy meeting everyone and was on her best behavior.

Our visit went way too fast and before we knew it we were leaving. When we got to the Manchester airport our flight was over an hour delayed because of increased security due to the Christmas flight bomb scare (which we weren’t aware of). This time though we got the bassinet for Lyla which was fantastic! Lyla didn’t sleep as much on this flight since it was daytime. But she was such a great traveler. She sat in the bassinet and played, and took a nice nap and ate some lunch—she really is very adaptable to new situations. Since our flight had left late, we arrived late to Philadelphia and made a mad dash all the way across the huge airport—having to pick up our luggage, go through customs, re-check our luggage, go through security, jump on an airport bus, then sprint across the terminal (with a baby, car seat, stroller, suitcase and diaper bag!)—only to find out that our connecting flight was also delayed—phew! We made our flight and got home safely.

Since being home I had an interview at Cleveland Clinic which went well and they seem to have a good program and Cleveland seems like a great city to live it—not too big and not too small. It was interesting driving since the interstate was closed because of wonderful Erie snow, so we had to take the back roads both there and back and the drive took four hours instead of two! One more interview left to go then I’m DONE! Akron is next Tuesday and seems promising.

Lyla has started doing lots of new things in the past month. She’s learned to wave and clap which is very cute. She also lifts her arms to be picked up. She’s very good at saying “dada” which is almost the only thing she says, but with varying intensity and inflections. She also is pretty good at “g” sounds and is now starting to say “baba” a bit—although “mama” is nowhere in site no matter how much I try. She’s been trying lots of new foods as well. She’s not so keen on eating pureed baby foods anymore (although she seems to eat it ok at daycare, just not for me at home!) She much prefers to eat finger foods that she can pick up on her own—like carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pears, and bananas. New foods that she’s tried are cheese and scrambled egg which she loves! Also pasta, yogurt, bread, kiwi and strawberry. We tried chicken which was too tough and dry, for her, so I tried pureeing it, and that was a disaster so I ended up buying pre-made baby food meats that we’ll try this week. She did eat a bit of the meatloaf we had for dinner this week and that went down well. She’s getting to be such a big girl! I can’t believe all the things she can do these days—she’s not a little baby anymore! It is really fun watching her mature and become a little person with her own personality. I definitely am enjoying this age a lot.

We have tons of photos from our adventures which I’m trying to upload on flickr—so check them out at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let It (Not) Snow!

Oh how I love living in snow country. It's beautiful, it's scenic, it makes you want to cuddle up on the couch with a nice cup or hot chocolate. I especially love when the thruways are closed and there are white-out driving blizzard conditions. So fun. Thursday I was supposed to drive from Erie to Buffalo with Lyla, drop off Lyla to stay at my parents for the night, then head to Syracuse for an interview. My dad called at 7am to say the roads were supposedly bad and maybe I shouldn't come. It was fine in Erie so I was skeptical. I called the program in Syracuse and they said their weather was fine. I looked on the weather map and it didn't look too bad. So Lyla and I bundled up and headed off. The first 1.5 hours were a bit windy but not too bad. Then we hit Angola and I was clenching the wheel for the last 25 miles. The visibility was about 50 feet and we were driving at 15 mph, just hoping that the car in front of us knew where it was going. Luckily we made it to Buffalo safely, but by then severe weather warnings were in effect and I had to cancel my interview--there was still terrible weather up through Rochester so there was no way I was going to make it. Lyla and I hung out with my parents which was nice but I still felt bad about missing my interview--I will try to go in January. Then Mike was supposed to come to Buffalo today after school and join us, but school was cancelled because of the snow. He was going to try to come early today, but then the interstate was closed!!! And it's still closed now at 8:30pm. We're hoping it will re-open by early morning and the weather will be ok for traveling so he can come join us in the morning--we're planning on having our "Riessen Christmas" tomorrow since we'll be in England on the 25th. I keep telling myself I'm just glad Lyla and I made it here safely and that Mike is safe otherwise I'd just be annoyed. Poor Mike is home by himself with the dogs--I hope he makes it here ok in the morning. So that's our excitement...hopefully it will be more mundane soon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday & Interview Updates

Sorry for not posting in a while--things have been busy with us lately. Between interviews and Thanksgiving, and now Christmas fast approaching, the days all mush together and I can't keep straight what's happening when! I've had four interviews so far and four more to go. I will be relieved when they're all over as it has become a bit draining with all the traveling, smiling, and questions. Traveling with an infant is challenging too--although Lyla is usually pretty good, it's just more time consuming to pack, travel, and get organized. So far I've been to VCU in Richmond, VA, Geisinger in Danville, PA, Children's in Buffalo and Golisano Children's at University of Rochester. So far Rochester seems to be in the lead--it seemed like a great program and Rochester looked like a really nice city and still close to family. Monday I'm in Hershey, PA, Friday in Syracuse, and then in January I'm in Cleveland and Akron, OH--and then I'm done!

We're getting excited about the holidays too even amongst the chaos. We had a great Thanksgiving in Buffalo with my parents. Lyla had her first bite of turkey (puree) which did not go down well! She pulled a terrible face when she took a bite and then refused to eat anything else the rest of the meal! I wonder where she gets that stubborness from? She has seemed to enjoy eating more in general though. At daycare she gets lunch--rice cereal and a fruit or vegetable, and then dinner of vegetables and/ or fruit. She's also getting pretty good at feeding herself the gerber puffs cereal. Yesterday we tried little pieces of diced steamed carrots and yams which she seemed to like but had more difficulty picking them up than the cereal because it was a bit more slippery.

Next weekend we are celebrating an early Christmas in Buffalo, and then in less than two weeks we head to England for Lyla's first Christmas! I know there's a bunch of people in England who can't wait to meet her and are sooooooo excited for our visit! I wonder if I'll even see Lyla the entire week--I think her nana, grandad and aunts will steal her the whole time :) It should be a lot of fun and we're all excited about our trip. We fly Erie to Philadelphia, then to Manchester. I'm hoping she sleeps on the tranatlantic flight since it will be her routine bed time, and if she doesn't sleep then we'll have even more trouble with the time change. Lyla has been resisting napping which makes for a really cranky baby sometimes. Bedtime too has been a challenge lately. She used to sleep so well--in bed by 8 then sleep soundly all night...what happened? Lately she resists going to bed--she'll fall asleep but as soon as I put her in her crib she wakes up and cries--sometimes for a while. Some nights we just let her cry it out, which sometimes works ok, but not always. Lyla, when will you start sleeping well again??? Soon, please!

Lyla has mastered rolling in both directions and sitting too. She still loves her jumper and the exersaucer at daycare. Next is moving from sitting to lying, and then.....crawling.....???? eeek! We have to start thinking about babyproofing soon! I guess we'll have to get a gate for in front of the stairs? Lots to plan for!

Here's photos of Lyla's latest adventures:

Friday, November 13, 2009


At last! I passed my boards!