Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's ahead?

Before we get onto other business, I should start with some sleep highlights, it's only right, I know you have all been waiting with baited breath...

Firstly, starting the day before Christmas Eve Levi began doing an 8 hour stretch at night (and would then go back for another few hours before getting up for the day)...it was good while it lasted. A Christmas miracle if you like. Last night we were back to a 6.5 hour stretch, I'll still take it!

He has started taking two, 2 hours naps in the day. This is great but it pushes bedtime back to 8 or 9pm.

I love our video monitor. It has let me see that twice in the last few days he has woken up mid nap, chatted a little and then put himself back to sleep for another hour or so. I am really hoping that this helps him  put himself to sleep in a month or so when we implement some sleep training...It will certainly help me to know he can do it (and that he can sleep 8 hours without feeding!)

He has more recently started taking a long time to settle to sleep for naps and for night so it's only reinforcing my desire to sleep train him. I want to be able to read him a story, sing a song, and put him down to sleep. None of this endless rocking and shushing and nursing to sleep.

And now onto other business;

Pretty sure Levi is ready to start eating actual food. He grabs at everything we eat and watches us intently when we lift fork to mouth, his bright eyes pleading for a taste. He is a pro at drinking sips of water from our glasses or cups. The recommendation here in the U.S. is to wait until 6 months even though the more general rule in sometime between 4-6 months.  On January 11th he will be 5 months old so we might use that as our compromise. I think that avocado puree will be his first food...goodness knows I am less than excited to see how this new food affects his diaper contents but I guess its all just part of the process. And my excitement to be making food for him is a pretty strong incentive too. He's growing up so fast.

I have been feverishly truing to capture these early days and months on camera, in pictures and video clips so that I can remember them in spite of the sleep deprivation that they include. I was going to make a photo scrapbook for his first year, but realised after starting that this would be a huge book. Instead I decided to break it into books covering three months at a time. I had the first one finished and ready to get printed for when I had a coupon, and Shutterfly did a 40% off promotion - don't mind if I do! I have just worked to get all our Christmas pictures into the second book. It is so much easier, and less intimidating to this project one event at a time rather than trying to do the whole 3 months at once. Especially because I am much more likely to have 10 minutes to work on it than I am to have scraped out 5 straight hours.

I often wonder if we had other children how much of this type of memory keeping I would have time to do for them. Levi gets his memory book and calendar completed every month, pictures taken for every month 'birthday' as well as the photo books...that's a little overkill I know, but it's my love language or something? I can't help it, I just love to do it.

Speaking of, I think that watching Levi grow so quickly has truly affirmed my desire for more babies in our family (it was never really a question, but we were not sure if we would try again for another pregnancy or move straight to adoption). As the new year approaches and people begin to voice hopes and dreams for the coming year, its hard for my heart to find peace. I would love for the coming year to include another pregnancy - just some of it, not the whole 9 month shabang, that would be crazy. We have many, many friends who will be welcoming babies into their lives in 2013 and it is hard not to envy their ease of process.

We can pray and hope that we will be blessed for a second time, but as we know there are no guarantees. Starting the process means we open ourselves up to the possibility of loss, or even losses. It might seem silly to even be thinking about this stuff now,  after all it will probably be almost a year before we make any sort of decision one way or another but hoping that 2013 will be a "fruitful" year weighs heavy.

I guess it goes to show that the sleepless nights, and the stress and worry that babies bring does nothing to stop a mother's (and father's) heart from desiring more little ones to make their families feel complete. We believe there are still more to come before we will feel that way about our family. Whether they end up being biological or adopted we have a longing and a belief we have yet to meet all our brood.

If it comes to mind please pray for us and our family as we consider our options and seek the Lord for direction in this new year.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Levi's First Christmas

What a wonderful Christmas it was. Of course I know that Levi had very little idea what all the fuss was about but Jeremy and I loved watching him experience all the festivities. Hoping that you all had a lovely day, celebrating with loved ones.

Here are just a few shots of our day...









Saturday, December 22, 2012

New normal

I remember life before 19 weeks ago when my baby arrived, but I admit it's slightly hazy. Life feels so different now, less rock'n'roll more radio 2 :)

Levi goes to bed between 6 and 7pm and after that I have an hour or so before the yawning begins and dreams of a cozy bed fill my mind. Realising that this was a new normal, made me think about what else had become 'normal' since I became a Mum.

It is 7.45pm on Saturday night and both Jeremy and I have been in PJ's for over an hour. This is not a one off lazy Saturday night, this is our new normal.

My new normal is being in bed before 9pm.

My new normal is choosing an outfit for the day based on what smells least like spit-up.

My new normal is sleeping no longer than 5 hours at a time.

My new normal is drinking hot beverages, lukewarm or tepid.

My new normal is washing the same load of laundry at least twice before I remember to put it in the dryer.

My new normal is speed showering.

My new normal is  a day filled with snuggles and kisses with my sweet baby.

My new normal is pretty amazing. 




Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

All The Laughter Holiday Card
View the entire collection of cards.

It's all about the sleeping...or lack there of

The rest of the week has made up for the sleep deprivation of the first few days. Levi had a day and night of lots of pooping and that seemed to help him settle. Not to be too graphic but I would be uncomfortable too if there was that quantity of stuff inside me.

We have all been sleeping much better since his bowels started behaving.

Earlier this week I was beginning to feel like I had bitten off more than I could chew with this motherhood business. I am signed up to take a class online starting in January, and I am planning to restart driving lessons in earnest - these two things in themselves feel like a lot on my plate - the driving especially because as much as I want my license and I need my license I am so very anxious about the actual getting behind the wheel. I want to believe it's possible but it is hard to imagine myself feeling confident enough to drive by myself. It sounds silly to many of you who have been driving since your teens but it's the truth. When I was taking lessons before my confidence increased but it's been a while now and my nerve has well and truly gone again. Taking it slowly, and prayerfully I hope 2013 will be the year that I will finally cross getting my license off my bucket list.

I digress, but when motherhood is hard and tiring I feel like I am barely making it through the day with a baby who is clean and fed and anything additional feels completely overwhelming.

And then on days like today, when we got good sleep and Levi was his normal cheerful self, I feel like those things are not more than I can handle.

There is a Christmas Eve carol service at our church followed by a cookie reception on the 24th and church members were asked to bring a dozen cookies if possible to make sure there is enough for all the guests and visitors. At the beginning of the week the visions of beautifully decorated sugar cookies that had pooped into by head when I heard the announcement about bringing cookies almost brought me to tears. How was I ever going to have time to make cookies? I am already going to bed at 7pm and I'm still exhausted where would I fit in baking and frosting? I am such a failure. And suddenly I am in tears over making cookies...or not making them.

And then today, the visions of sugar cookies are back, more elaborately decorated than ever and my schedule suddenly seems to be wide open, I can even see some time for scrapbooking...

It just goes to show that sleep truly makes all the difference. When I sleep I feel like I can be the mother that I want to be and that Levi deserves...when he keeps me up all night I want to pull the duvet over my head, and cry into a big mug of sweet, milky tea because it feels as though I am failing at everything.

So this year for Christmas, I am asking Santa for some good nights sleep to carry me into the new year and the new school term with a good perspective, not to mention a calm that can make driving seem possible too.

My degree and driving license have been on my list for years..possibly decades, and I would love to get one or both of them crossed off so I can dd something more exciting to the list for 2014!





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

He brought it...

Apparently Levi took the "bring it on" from the end of my last post literally. We had a day of wonderful long naps yesterday but it meant that he was a little off kilter and took his last nap at about 4.45pm, I let him stay sleeping on me because I was happy for him not to get into a deep sleep so he would take a shorter nap and still go to bed at a reasonable hour. After about 30 minutes I started moving around and he woke up. I assumed that after this sleep he needed to stay awake for a while before he went down for the night but I think that was a mistake. he was still so sleepy I think we could have done our bedtime routine and put him down for the night between 6 and 6.30pm and he would have been out for the count. Instead, he was overtired by the time he was splashing around in the bathtub and having his final feed. He usually falls asleep nursing but last night he was WIDE awake. I rocked him and J watched him and after he went down around 8pm he was stirring and wriggling and obviously not comfortable or in a sound sleep.

His first stint was about 4.5 hours and that was the longest stretch. Boo. Then he was having a hard time settling every time I put him back to sleep.Yawn.

At 5.30pm when I put him back to sleep I heard him stirring before I had even left the room so I picked him up and brought him back into our bed. I was hoping I could nurse him while I was laying down so that I could catch a few more z's when he settled to sleep but alas he was grunty and gassy and sad, uncomfortable and tired, poor thing. Poor mummy. By around 6.30am he had grabbed a few still moments of sleep on and off and I was still awake. I heard Jeremy start to wake at the same time I felt Levi had peed through his jammies - the second pair that night - and I reached my limit. Defeated I pushed Levi across the bed to J and burst into tears. I mumbled something incoherent about having had no sleep and the baby being wet again and I rolled over and burried myself under the covers.

Usually Jeremy would have an objection to being woken so abruptly with orders but I think he felt the fatigue and despair in my sobs and swiftly removed our very (by this point) awake and chirpy baby boy from the bed to let me catch 30 minutes slumber before he had to get ready to leave for work. Those 30 minutes were not  all spent sleeping, it took a couple to drift off, but the 27 minutes of rest I did get were enough to get me out of the blubbering cover hiding and ready to parent for the day. Helped too by the tea and banana that J brought up for me before he left.

Levi was awake and super sweet for a while and then passed out and is now asleep in the bed next to me.

I want to sleep too but I am wide awake now. Of course. Biggest of bummers.

I am not wanting this blog to become a place to report our sleep successes and woes, I am hopeful and prayerful that they will become much less unpredictable and therefore blog worth soon, but for now I want to mke sure that when I talk about it I am giving a complete narrative and not just highlighting the better days.

I am not sure how to cope with the poor sleep when it feels like his gas is really the culprit in making him so unsettled. He just wants to nurse for comfort and I have nothing else to offer so I let him.

Even with the sleep deprivation of today I am excited for the day. It snowed over night and while I don't want to be outside in the freezing temps for too long with the baby I am excited to have planned a little walk to get coffee with a friend and her sweet month old baby girl later this morning. I am not even sure the snow will still be there by then but the glimmer of the white on the ground is the most beautiful thing to wake up to...even when you are waking up still sleepy!




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift of Time - and a sleeping update

It is 9am. I am still in my PJ's and I am sitting in front of my fireplace, enjoying the warmth it's flooding into the room. Baby boy is sleeping in the motionless swing a few feet away, snoring his sweet little head off.
His relationship with sleep and naps has naturally become pretty consistent generally and we are finding our way with this new rhythm.

We feel pretty proud of how well he has adjusted to early bed times and sleeping in his crib and J and I are appreciating some evening time together. We put Levi down between 6 and 7pm (depending on his naps) and after some stories and songs and his final feed he goes down pretty easily.

We have decided that we are going to postpone full sleep training until 6 months but are making sure that we are consistent with the routine to help him prepare for sleep. A few reasons behind this including friends stories of much greater and lasting success at that age, plus information about the emotional development that allows little ones to better understand and remember their behaviour and how it was responded to once they hit six months.

In the evenings, Jeremy and I enjoy the quiet to catch up about our day and connect, and recently, to wrap presents, write Christmas cards and do some Christmas baking. Having said that, I confess that I am usually ready for bed by 8.30pm at the moment, this motherhood thing is exhausting!

Levi usually does a longish stretch between 6 or 7pm and around 1 or 1.30am when he wakes for a feed. Wish such an early bedtime, it means I don't get the full benefit of a long stretch of sleep but see above, I am getting more of it than you might imagine :) But we recognise it is for his best that he goes down at that time and seeing his positive and easy adjustment to the routine only confirms what we read.

He then wakes up between 3.30 and 4.30am  (between 2 hours 45 minutes and 3 hours later) for another feed.

His night feeds last between ten and fifteen minutes and he is asleep again. If he stirs significantly before 3 hours and I can feel confident he isn't hungry then I usually wake J to go in to change his nappy and resettle him, which usually works and he is back to sleep without ever really waking up. We are hoping that in time his need for food during the night will decrease and we can confidently let him soothe himself without going in, but because he is breastfed, our pediatrician has told us he may genuinely be hungry through the night at 3 hours intervals so for a bit longer and of course I am happy (or at the least willing)  to get up and nurse him if he needs it. If his feedings get significantly shorter, I might start giving him water and see if its just the sucking he needs rather than the substance. He eats well during the day.

After the 3.30am feed Levi usually wakes for the day between 6.30 and 7am.

I titled this post the gift of time because I am starting to get used to this earlier and more abrupt wake up and start to my day. Levi is a pretty happy chappy generally but first thing in the morning he is seriously A.dorable! He is soooo chatty, like he has missed having someone to talk to while he was sleeping, and he laughs easily, simple precious. Quite honestly I am not a morning person, so I have little energy or desire to do anything much first thing in the morning. I am not rushing to get to chores or "to do" lists, I simply want to enjoy my baby. We read stories in the nursery while he first wakes up and then we go downstairs, I make a cup of tea, grab something easy to eat for breakfast and then we play. I have an hour or two of simply enjoying my son. I would never have chosen to be up and going so early after such a broken nights sleep but having it forced upon me because of Levis schedule has been a special time and I am so thankful.

It is truly a gift.

When I get up and going with Levi early, he is ready for a nap around 8.30 or 9am and he sleeps well. It give me time to get dressed and ready for the day, throw on some laundry - or blog :) So it's good all around.

I am not holding too tightly to this routine because if I have learned anything in my parenting experience so far its that these little people change at the drop of a hat and they like to keep us on our toes.

Bring it on kid, mama's ready :)






Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Four month pictures

I love taking the time each month to document how quickly our little man is growing and changing. Looking back it's hard to believe that the little tiny peanut with the '1 month' sticker is the same kid that I snapped pictures of holding his head up and starting to find his balance sitting up.

Here are a few pictures and I love that along with his growth they are capturing his cute little personality. He has started pulling this funy face when he sucks in his lips like a gurner, it's so funny! He is also blowing bubbles which makes for a very wet shirt on a daily basis. He is so aware of everything around him, he takes it all in.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dear Levi - Four Months Old

Bugs,

You continue to make my days brighter, and seeing your smiles and joy at the Christmas lights just warms my heart.

You have had a busy month baby boy, at your 4 month check you weighed in at 15lb11oz, 50% again and you are 26 inches long continuing to stay in the 86th percentile. You also had your second round of shots which proved to be hard on your little body and made you pretty unhappy, poor guy.

You have come on leaps and bounds in other ways, you are just starting to discover your feet and I see days of much more complicated dressing and nappy changes as your grip gets stronger!

Your favourite new skill however, is blowing raspberries. I guess your Dad and I blow raspberries on your belly on a daily basis so it's not as if this is super surprising. You were just laying on your change pad and suddenly a loud raspberry noise came from your mouth! I tried to get a video of it but I guess you are still trying to perfect it. But boy it's cute to watch you.

Your gums bother you some days and the drool has started in earnest. I put bibs on you now because otherwise we would have to change your shirt multiple times a day. I hope you get some teeth soon. You are getting much more coordinated and you chew on your hands and fingers and put everything possible you can in your mouth. You have become firm friends with Sophie the giraffe who lets you chew on her without complaint!

You are not rolling over all the way yet, but when we play on the floor you can roll onto your side with ease.

Your neck is so strong, and your legs have followed suit. You love when we hold your hands and you pull yourself to standing. Nana and Grandad got you a Jumperoo for your Christmas present but let you start using it now because you love to stand so much. You just smile and laugh as the lights flash and the music plays with every movement you make. If you were not having so much fun I think the noise would drive Daddy and me crazy!

Your sweet personality continues to shine through. You are a pretty laid back little dude. You can turn on the charm when a pretty lady smiles in your direction and can certainly ham it up when you have an audience.

We moved you to sleep in your crib in your own room after we got back from England, and we also started putting you to bed at a reasonable hour. We say your bedtime is now sometime between 6 and 8pm depending on how your naps have gone during the day. I miss waking up with you but I am so proud of how well you have adjusted and now I look forward to hearing you chatting and singing to yourself over the monitor when you wake up. That's how we know you are rested and ready to wake up. Through the night you still wake up a few times but you are always sad, but in the morning you are happy and ready for the fun of a new day.

You are my special boy and I love seeing your little personality come out and watching you learn new skills as your body grows and develops.

It is hard to believe that it is only four months since you arrived. I can't remember life without you but I know it wasn't as much fun...or quite as tiring :)

Love you Buggy,
Mama xx


Monday, December 3, 2012

Anticipation and Advent

News just came through this morning of a royal baby on the way for William and Kate. Exciting news for sure but my gut reaction is a reminder that I still have some wounds from our losses that have not fully healed even after the birth of my sweet boy.

I expected that once we had a baby, pregnancy announcements wouldn't carry the same sting as they had done when we were experiencing miscarriage after miscarriage. And to some degree I was right. I feel genuine joy when people make their announcements but the idea that people can plan their families (to some degree) or that they can be surprised by a pregnancy still makes my heart heavy. I have no idea if we will ever be blessed with another pregnancy but if we begin trying again we will be back to charting and taking temperatures and medications just in case...I find it hard not to wish it was different, easy, simple.

And as I begin to go down that unhelpful thought road, I am reminded of the miracle that Levi is. I am reminded of the years of anticipation that preceded his birth and the lessons which were learned along the way. I see the intimacy within my marriage deepening as we walked the road to parenthood together even facing the twists and turns. And I am especially reminded that the anticipation made his birth even sweeter for us.

I love the advent season and I am excited that this time is such a sure reminder of the gift of anticipation. The waiting for Jesus to come and the opportunity for growth and love and relationship in the waiting are so clear in the stories of the Bible. The build up to Christmas can get crazy with gift buying and the stress of the season, but as believers we must remember that it is a time of anticipation. A time that prepares our hearts for celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th and reminds us of the significance of that event in our lives. I am always thankful that our church publishes an advent devotional because having it helps to focus my eyes and settle my heart to the peace and real reason for this time.

The Bible shows that although Jesus' birth was predicted the details remained veiled. The hopeful anticipation of believers was a beautiful theme. Jeremy and I do not know what our family will look like when it is "complete," we do not know if our future children will be biological or adopted or a mixture of the two. We are yet to meet them that's all we know, but we trust firmly that God does have a plan and a perfect design for our family.

I love the line in the Christmas carol,'O Holy night' that talks of the "thrill of hope" because I identify so much with that concept. The details of the future are uncertain but we can anticipate God's plans coming to pass in our lives; His grace transforming our hearts; His truth giving us purpose and joy; the gifts of the Spirit working to make us more like Him; and abundant life making us reflections of Him to the world. This can really be a thrilling experience as we put our trust fully in the Lord and leap without fear into the life he has for us.


Lord, in this advent season please restore my hope in the plans you have for my life and family, and increase my anticipation for the life you have set before me and fill my heart with your peace in the waiting.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Names. sleep and Christmas

It is pretty funny that we agonised so much over choosing Levi's name. We searched for names that had meaning and that spoke something specific over our little man and yet since he has been born we rarely use it, instead around here he is known as;

Buggy
Bug
Bugadoo, Bugadoodle
Toots Magee
Rooty tooty fresh'n'fruity
Stinky McCute-butt
Farty Stink Bum
Fussy Fusserson
and my personal favourite, Farty McFly

Yes, there is a certain gassy theme. It seems that continues to be an issue for the little man. He can get really uncomfortable and it interferes with his sleep, but once the flood gates open and he has well and truly emptied his bowels he sleeps like a champ. Hence the 9+ straight he did a couple of nights ago. I woke up after about 8 hours in a panic and just had to turn up the monitor to see if I could hear his breathing - I could and then I laid awake for an hour until he woke up. Of course, he had gone to bed at 7pm so I didn't get the full gift of 9 hours of sleep but I got some, and Jeremy and I managed to have some time together to just talk and catch up on life which was special too.

The early bedtime is working well for Levi and for us and he is doing well sleeping in his crib. The 9 hours was certainly an anomaly but he has been sleeping pretty well without  any crying it out. After more conversation and books reading we decided that we didn't want to do that intentionally until he was 4 months old and he is still a couple of weeks out from that. The more I thought about it too the more I felt like sleeping in his crib at night was a big enough adjustment. Without the sleep training, Levi doesn't take naps in the crib longer than 25 or 30 minutes, much less that the 1.5-2 hour he was doing in the swing. We decided that we would let him sleep in the swing if he was struggling with naps so he has taken his last nap of the day in the swing a few days this week to make sure he got some good rest before going down at night. The sleep book we have been referencing makes the point that children learn sleep routines as much as learning to sleep by crying it out so we are hopeful that the consistent nap-time and bedtime routines will help Levi anticipate sleep and hope that that will help when we do more sleep training in the near future.

I am loving the internet for my Christmas shopping. Usually trawling the mall at this time of year is something that I love. I think I am one of the few people who would say that but the hustle and bustle is all part of the holiday fun. This year however, the boy makes it less enjoyable. Having him on slightly more of a schedule makes outing of any substance pretty tricky. It is just a season and one that I am embracing fully but it means that I am having to shop a little differently. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in our house and I am excited to introduce Levi to lifetime Christmas movies soon. I am really enjoying all the creative Elf on a Shelf happenings I am seeing in my FB newsfeed and so look forward to future years when Levi will be experiencing the magic of that and so much more through this season. Right now, the tree lights are just about more than he can handle!

Here he is watching us put them up, and below we get up close and personal with the lights!





Monday, November 26, 2012

Early Days of Sleep Training

Sleep training seems to be making me much more tired than Levi. Not really, but certain moments feel that way. This one for example, it's 8.30pm and I am fully jammied and in bed, yawning and ready for sleep. Last week I blamed jet lag from our England trip but I have no real excuse now except that we are sleep training Levi and it's hard work!

He has been doing well adjusting to this new adventure. We are only two days in, but at the same time we started sleep training  we began to have him sleep in his crib...it's like we are trying to kill two birds with one tearful stone.

The 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child' book I am reading makes the point that children respond just as much to "cry it out" as they do to routine behaviours so this has been the backbone of the plan we created for Levi. We accept that we might have to let him cry for some very short periods of time as he learns to settle himself and also deals with his own opinions about going to sleep if they differ from ours (!), but I am not prepared (at this time, but not saying never) to let him cry for any extended periods.We are trying to use nap-time and bedtime routines to create an expectation of sleep in Levi. We will be using quiet play and story time prior to naps when we see signs of tiredness so that we can get him settled before he is overtired.

The book also makes the point that it's important for him to be soothed in a way that allows his to get as much sleep as he needs through the day so he is in a good place to sleep well at night. This means that whether nursing, rocking, using the swing etc. is right for getting him soothed, that is what we should be doing, but that if those methods are used after he is sleeping he should be moved or put in a position to have 'motionless sleep' which allows his to fall into a deeper and more restful sleep state.

That last point makes me uncertain about how the swing might continue to be a part of our napping routine. I had been so wanting to stop using it altogether, but as Levi gets used to the environment of his own room and sleeping alone, he isn't yet taking the long 2-3 hour naps he was in the swing, and it's showing in his more emotional demeanor in his awake time. He is also not sleeping long stretches at night and I think it is because of the poor nap quality/time of the naps in the day.

It might seems like I am going to be a slave to his naps, and for a while maybe I will be but I am making that choice intentionally for this short time to give him consistency as we teach him and work with him to create better sleep habits. This doesn't work for everyone and especially with multiple children I am not sure how you would do it but I guess we'll figure that out if we need to in the future. For now, we have one precious little man, and we want him to be a good sleeper :)

Tonight it took me an hour and a quarter to get him to sleep, I gave him a bath, then we played quietly in his room with the lights dim, I read him some stories in the glider and as he nursed I sang some songs and lullabys, and then I laid him down. He wasn't asleep and he struggled for a while to settle. I gave him some space and offered comfort over the next 45 minutes or so and eventually he finally settled to sleep at around 8.15pm. I am not sure how long he will stay sleeping this time, or what the night will hold but I am really hopeful and prayerful that he is able to find his groove and do a good stretch before he wakes. He needs it, and so do I. 

Tomorrow I am hoping to find even more of a rhythm and hoping that Levi will be right there with me.

In other news, the desserts I posted about in the previous post both turned out great. They both fall into the category of simple and delicious which makes them perfect for this time of year when there is too much fun to be had to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours unnecessarily!

And full disclosure, I have been letting the leftovers console me through this sleep training business...we'll talk about post-baby weight-loss, or lack thereof in another post! ha ha!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for dessert

You can tell it's the holiday season because there are flour, chocolate and pumpkin fingerprints all over my kitchen! While I would never want my baby boy to be sick, it has given me the opportunity to whip up some lovely fall desserts.

Firstly, I made this Pear Crumble Pie from my favourite blog Annie's Eats, it was simple and smells amazing, it was supposed to be for a dinner last night, but we decided to reschedule so that we kept our germs to ourselves, so now it jumped up to take the spot on the table of our Thanksgiving Eve dinner with our special friends, Tim and Sarah. I'll let you know how it tastes!

I am typing this as I am waiting for my Thanksgiving day dessert to finish baking, it's taking longer than expected which always makes me nervous but I hope that it turns out ok. It is this Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert cake. I like recipes like this one because I can make it the day before and just finish off the glaze tomorrow before serving. I dislike spending too much time in the kitchen on holidays!

Levi continues to smile through his sickness, he doesn't get that good sick attitude from J or me, we are both a bit pathetic when we are under the weather but he is a star. He seems to be feeling much better today, our humidifier purchase yesterday seems to make a difference to how well he slept - we are all appreciative of that -  and today he is napping better too so I know his nose is less blocked which is a very good thing because over the past few days he has developed a hatred for the nasal bulb syringe!

I just love this time of year, and this year especially I have so much to be thankful for. Due to early pregnancy last year the holiday season was a bit of a bust. A mix of nausea and uncertainty tainted the festivities so this year I have to make up for it. We sort of missed the boat for thanksgiving/fall entertaining with being gone for a few weeks and Thanksgiving being so early in the month, but I hope we can get some fun Christmas parties and entertaining on the books soon :) Me and my kitchen are ready for cranberry season :)

Ok, gotta get my cake out of the oven before Buggy wakes up.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take the opportunity to show those you love how much you appreciate them. I know I don't do that enough, and I know that I am most thankful for the family and friends that I have been blessed with.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

sick sick sick

Poor sweet boy is really under the weather. It's probably the most pathetic thing I have ever seen, Levi has watery eyes, and a pretty constant stream of drool out of his mouth, not to mention the occasional snot dribble too. When he tries to smile, it just makes even more drool come out, it's so sad but I love him even more for trying to be happy eve though he is feeling rough.

It is also one of the most helpless feelings when you have to just watch your infant be poorly. There is so little you can do to help them. I have given him a few small doses of pain reliever/fever reducer but mostly we are using saline nasal drops and the bulb syringe to clear out your nose and mouth and help you breath more easily.

Levi and I sat in the bathroom last night with the shower running to let the steam clear his nose a bit, it seemed to give him some relief, at least in the short term.

He seemed slightly better today but who knows. I am praying that this cold doesn't go to his chest. I am totally freaked out by the reality that this cold could become a big deal for such a little man.

At the moment Levi is snoring away, fully bathed and PJ-ed and I am hoping down for the night. I mean, I am under no illusion that he will sleep through the night but I am trying to make a positive from this crazy jet-lag teething sickness and start trying to put Levi down at 6.30/7pm. It worked last night, and while he was up a few times (that's an under statement, but it makes me feel better to think it was just a few). We had wanted to start him having a more set time to go to sleep for the night so I hope this is the start of that piece of our routine.

It's tough though because it will mean we are more restricted in the evenings. For example, tomorrow we are having dinner with some couples from our pre-natal class. I am not 100% sure we will make it with our sick kiddo, but if we do I am hoping we will still be able to settle him, even without the bath and story time. I guess, we'll see.

This is life as a mum. It's my life. There is good and bad and this part is the bad. Poor thing, I hope he feels better very soon. 



Sunday, November 18, 2012

The best laid plans

We are back in Seattle. We survived the flight home. Poor little buggy did great despite the teething until the final descent into Seattle when I think his ears must have started hurting. He wailed inconsolably, we were officially "those people" on the plane. I tell you though, if anyone had looked at us with a negative thought during those painful 20 minutes I was ready to start throwing down some mama bear! It is the most horrible feeling to have your child screaming when there is nothing you can do to make him feel better and you have an audience of less than sympathetic passengers. We were blessed to have a Mrs.Doubtfire-esque Scottish Grandmother next to us who was so sweet for the entire flight, but especially for the those painful final moments.

We arrived home and Levi's drooling and gnawing from the teething seemed to take a weird turn, the drool was matched with sneezing and coughing and nasal congestion. By 7.30pm Seattle time it was clear that Levi had a cold to add to his list of discomforts. Apparently, jet-lag and teething were not enough for him to contend with.

We had family bedtime at about 8pm Seattle time, and let's say last night was a bit of a doozy. Levi didn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, and woke up coughing and spluttering and obviously in pain every time. Nursing was tough too because he can't really breathe so he was also getting sad about that.

By 4am we admitted defeat and had an hour where we were all awake and trying to help our little guy with teething toys and gum gel to some relief. Then we all fell asleep again.

To clarify, we all fell asleep in our bed. Levi in his bassinet. Our plans to go cold turkey with him napping and and sleeping at night in his crib in his went out the window when the cold flew in, and our resolve not not reintroduce him to naps in the swing also disappeared because it keeps him upright and that helps his congestion and lets him breathe more easily. He is asleep in there, rocking away as I type.

I guess the best laid plans have to change, because after all, we make them with the best in mind for our children and when our children's needs change we have to be flexible.

So no crib-mageddon has been moved until after Thanksgiving.

It's been tough since we left my parents at the airport. I miss them so much and I am sure Levi does too. We Skyped this morning and he was so cute talking and cooing and giggling with them. He had been feeling so sorry for himself, it was so sweet how much he cheered up when he saw them on the computer. Grandparents can work magic from miles away!

So here we are, family pajama day as we spend a very low key day at home recovering from jet lag and keeping our germs to ourselves. The only possible outing will be a trip to the store to get groceries...This would be the second for my sweet hubby who ran out earlier and picked up eggs bacon, juice and bread for breakfast which he then proceeded to cook for us. It's good to be home...and sad not to be at home too.

Here are some picture we took just before we left for the airport.
We miss you guys already!!!



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dear Levi, 12 weeks old

Sweet boy time is flying. You are growing so fast. You are in 3-6 month clothes all if a sudden with your recent growth spurt, and we especially noticed it in your feet which outgrew your socks overnight!
You are starting to fill out. Your cheeks are getting chubbier and even though I didn't believe you could get any cuter, I have been proved wrong.

You are still so alert and fifth your sleep but with your lovey to rub on your face you have been known to settle yourself to sleep.

Your days sleeping in the co sleeper in our bed are coming to an end. Not because I don't love having you there but simply because you have outgrown the bassinet. When we get back home we will be moving you into your own room, so I am making the most of each sweet morning I can wake and watch you sleeping next to me.

We celebrate your 12 week milestone in London. You have flown quite a lot already for such a little guy. The long flights to Florida and back and the even longer trek to London. You were a fabulous flier and did us proud by sleeping and not really fussing at all. For now you are still small enough for us to change you on our laps when you needed it but those days will soon be over too.

You love your activity gym and will kick your legs and talk to your reflection in the mirror for ages. You can now reach and grab the toys and in the past week have figured out how to bring them to your mouth where you suck and chew to your hearts content. Speaking of, you have recently also become a drooler. Your non spit-up days are also far behind us so we have made good use of the burp rags in our possession.

Your tummy and gas still bother you but they seem to cause you less hassle than they used to. I started doing some massage on you at each nappy change and it seem to help. At the least you like  it and beam at me the whole time.

You have mastered the pee fountain in recent weeks too and we are now much more cautious to leave you nappy-less for any length of time.

You are a pretty laid back little dude for the most part, but you always have something to say :) You certainly let us know when something is not to your liking or standards and have made it very clear that dirty nappies will not be tolerated for more than 30 seconds before you melt down. On the otherhand, you are generous with your smiles and have just started to laugh which was a real treat for Nana and Grandad to hear in person.

Each day with you is a gift, even the fussy poopy ones.
Love you bugaboo, Mama x

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Adventures this side of the pond

So far our time with my family and friends have been wonderful. Levi has been a real trooper and coped so well with all the travel, the time change and all the new faces. He has been napping well during the day and sleeping some long stretches at night too which has made for a much more pleasant trip for all of us. I am not sure how that will translate when we get back to the USA and we face the reverse time change but I am hopeful it won't be too crazy.

We have done a day trip to London, going on the tube the Docklands light railway, trains and buses and having the baby in the front pack was much easier than I anticipated. We managed to time lunch and coffee breaks to fit with nappy changes and feedings and Buggy napped in the carrier as well as being happy in there facing out when he was awake. We also went on the new cable cars high above the river, they were a bit scary because they are so high up and swaying in the wind, or when your husband stands up to wander around and take pictures! I was relieved to be back on land again.

We have eaten lunch in many local pubs and enjoyed lots of traditional British grub. I am sure that I have gained 10lbs before we get home. We are on our second tin of Quality Street chocolates too and I am responsible for much more than my fair share of those. We have enjoyed curry night with our friends and have had nationally award winning fish'n'chips!

We spent the day today in the Kent countryside where we ate at another pub for lunch before heading to Hever Castle, home of Anne Boleyn. We ended our time there with a cup of tea and scones with jam and clotted cream. Cultural and Delish.

I wish that I had some more to share than just the play by play of our trip but honestly, I have had little time to think beyond our daily schedule. jet-lag seemed to hit me the hardest, a week later and I am still struggling to sleep at the right time and stay awake after 3pm! I brought three different books with me to read but so far I have only managed to crack one open, and even then I only got through a chapter before I was needed for nappy changing or feeding or something. I am hoping that when Levi is in a bit more a schedule at home I will be able to actually finish some/any of the books that are on my reading list.

Here is a picture of my two sweet boys at the castle today. I love how much they love each other. Plus check out the super cute boots that I picked up for Levi yesterday!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Dedication

On Sunday we were thrilled to dedicate Levi at my parents church and in the Christian community that I grew up in . We will have him dedicated in our home church in Seattle too, because that will be the community that our family is a part of day to day, but it felt special to have the chance to also have my old church community celebrate his arrival. So many friends and family were able to come and be a part of our day and I loved that he had been dedicated in the same church that I was baptised in, and that Jeremy and I had had our marriage blessed in.

Levi was a star, he smiled the whole time, even when the minister held him. I confess, I was a little nervous about how he would hold it together. His little body is still confused with all the time change and he has been a little more emotional since we got here, but I had nothing to worry about.

After the service, we had family round to the house to continue the celebrations and introduce Levi to our extended family. It was lovely to see my cousins, aunts and uncles again and special to have such a sweet little reason to gather.

Things will continue to be busy here as we visit friends and see some sights. We always wish there was more time once we get here because even though it feels like we are gone for a long time, the days fill up fast.




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick-or-treat

Growing up I never really celebrated Halloween. We often had some kind of harvest party with games like apple bobbing but we never trick or treated. Moving to the U.S. I soon realised that Halloween was a much bigger deal, and trick-or-treating was an "essential" part of the Halloween experience.

I am never one to shy away from dressing up. I loved Halloween parties (all costume parties actually) and finding a fun costume. I am not shy about looking the fool :)

In fact, Jeremy and I went to a Halloween party together four years ago before we were officially dating. Well, the day before we started officially dating...I guess my costume was good that year! haha! All that to say, I have some fun Halloween memories and was really looking forward to dressing Levi up this year. If we were not in the midst of packing and getting ready for our trip we would have hosted friends with their little ones so we could just all show off our bubbas in their costumes and Halloween attire over a mug of hot cider, I was trying to find a way to fit it in before we left but sadly I just couldn't swing it.

I wasn't sure if we would have any Halloween celebrations this year but when I saw a penguin costume in the bag of baby clothes we borrowed from my friends I just couldn't resist. Jeremy's office has kids come in and trick or treat around the cubicles so we decided it would be a great opportunity for Jeremy to introduce Levi to his colleagues as well as a nice excuse for us to get out of the house for a couple of hours and take a break from the packing madness.

Levi has about four different Halloween onesies and outfits, too many for one day so we might have to do a photoshoot later just because they are all so cute. I think he is adorable in his costume, I am not sure how many years I willl have a say in what he wants to dress up as, so I am going to make the most of it and make him as cute as possible for the years I am picking out costumes!!

Happy Halloween everyone, and happy Trick-or-treating!!


Here is my sweet penguin boy -




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Opinions of an 11 week old


In the last few days, Levi has developed quite a strong opinion about his car seat. Sadly, his opinion is that he hates it. He will scream from the minute he is in to the minute you get him out at your destination. And when I say scream, I mean scream. Until this point he has not been a big screamer. When he is upset, hungry, tired etc he certainly lets us know but it's more with yells and grunts than sustained screams.

I am not sure where this new opinion has developed from but I am sure hoping its a phase that passes or my nerves will ruin me. I just hate listening to him. I started sitting in the back seat with him but there was little I could actually do to console him, and me shushing and stroking his fac ejust seemed to make that little face redder and more aggravated. "Why won't you just GET ME OUT OF HERE !!!" But it's not like the ride in the front seat is a peace of cake either, it just hurts me ears a little less.

He has also developed a dislike of strollers and all things where he is strapped in. Lucky us.

I am really loving seeing his little personality develop as he grows. I think we have wuite a little goofball on our hands. He certainly likes to talk, just like his mother, and he is pretty generous with the smiles and almost giggles too. When he thinks something is funny he will certainly make it worth repeating with his sweet reaction. However, the downside of his personality coming through is that he inherited a stubborn streak and pretty strong opinions about most everything...he gets that from both his parents so it's not really a surprise but we had our fingers crossed :)

I am seeing that he gets pretty mad when he has an opinion about something which is different than mine. He is starting to understand that he can have a say in the world and that our interactions with him are connected to his actions. My prayer is that he feels loved and secure because his cries have brought comfort or food or a dry diaper when he has needed them, but as he grows older I am able to see that teaching him that he is not the center of the universe might be tricky. Especially because if I am honest, in so many ways, to me he is exactly that.

We are off to England very soon to visit Nana and Grandad and introduce Buggy to all the friends and family who only know him through Facebook so far. That's a big time difference and with just getting him over the confusion of Florida I have no idea how he will respond or how much sleep any of us will be getting at night time! I am excited to be home, I know it will be a special trip but I am also excited to be home, and to be staying home for the foreseeable future so we can begin to introduce Levi to more of a schedule. I think it's time for him, and for me. I know that I mentioned on here that forcing a schedule was just adding stress to the mix of new parent emotions when I tried it a month or so ago but I think enough time has passed that I am seeing the need of it more than just the obligation to have one!

We want to start sleep training of some sort. Having Buggy sleeping at night and for naps in his crib when we are at home. Having a set bedtime and bedtime routing rather than him just going to bed when we do and not really having much of a routine. I think it would help his little body and mind prepare better to settle if he could anticipate that it was moving towards sleep time. Of course the mama in me is almost in tears at the prospect of not sleeping in the same bed as him or watching him nap, not to mention the possibility that encouraging this might elicit some pretty powerful opinions from our son, but I truly believe it is the best thing to bring a little order to our chaos. Starting and ending our daytime routine at a consistent time.

The sleeper in me is also resistant because now middle of the night feedings will mean getting out of my nice warm bed and heading to the nursery and Saturday morning lay-ins will no longer have a place in our lives. But these sacrifices are worth it to offer the security to Levi that routine brings. Not that it will make either of them any less painful in the moment.

I am prayerfully reading a sleep book hoping that it will help Jeremy and I in our conversations and plan making. I know God's heart is for us to have a healthy and safe place for our son to grow up in, giving him boundaries and guidance that allow him to flourish and become all he is called to be so I am trusting that we can find wisdom through some of the books which will allow us to create that environment.

Here is a pic of Buggy in his stroller...before the wailing started!!


Friday, October 26, 2012

No place like home

So thankful that we were on one of the last flights out of Palm Beach yesterday. Not long after ours they closed the airport because of the strong winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy heading in. Usually an extra day in Florida would have sounded wonderful but being stranded in a hotel room while gale force winds and rains lashed outside is not my idea of fun. Especially because we would have had to venture out for food and supplies at some point. Yuck.

Our fight home went great. Levi got over his 'no napping on the plane' stance which had coloured our journey down and instead decided that being able to nap in our arms and on our laps for a whole day was something he couldn't pass up. I nursed him for take off and descent again and its seemed to work, there was just one instance of sad tears when he woke up suddenly and we happened to be heading down so I think that might have been a reaction to pressure in his ears or something, but the boob quickly fixed that and he was snoring again in no time. We actually had family nap time for about an hour when Levi was laying across both our laps, one of the other passengers commented on how lucky we were to have all been able to sleep. Glad I wasn't drooling because clearly we had an audience! That is one thing about traveling with an infant, you get noticed. You have to stop and make polite conversation with multiple people throughout the day!

I must say that our Florida travels make the thought of our longer flights next month much less intimidating!

I love being home, I love walking back through the door and feeling home. My body just relaxes and my heart is content. Then we go and unpack and I remember that coming home is also the gun that signals the start of the laundry Olympics! Seriously, how is it possible to go through so many more clothes on vacation than when we are here, especially when I feel as though I wore a swim suit the whole time.

It's barely 10am and I am on load 3.

Welcome home to me. Off to make a cup of tea and snuggle by the fire with my bubs while I medal in said laundry Olympics. Not the most exciting day but one that's good for this little homebody's spirit.


Monday, October 22, 2012

ICLW Coming at you from the sun

Yesterday Hubby, Buggy and I got on a plane and left the newly gloomy Pacific North West and headed for sunny Florida. This was little guy's first flight and at 10 weeks old he's got about 23 years on his land-loving mother!

Of course he had little idea what was happening but I was worried. He ended up doing a great job our flights were 4 hours and then an hour and 18 minutes or something, and even though we had little time at our layover he did great. He didn't sleep much but he was in a good mood for the most part, smiling, cooing and generally making friends with passengers in every direction. I admit to being a very proud mama when at the end of both flights multiple other passengers complimented our well behaved little guy.

I nursed him on the take-offs and landings to help ease any ear popping which might happen andit seemed to do the trick. I also nursed on and off as I hoped to ease him to sleep, that was less predictable in its effectiveness but as I said, he still managed to hold it together. 

The no napping continued into our second day with so much so see and no swing to lull him to sleep. Not sure when it will all catch up with him. I had hoped it would last night between the hours of 10pm and 8am but it didn't quite happen that way. He did some good stretches, but he seems to have adjusted quickly (or just be utterly confused by) the coastal time change, going to bed at 8pm but being up bright and early at 6am. Mummy on the other hand is still well and truly on Seattle time and finding it hard to be awake. Luckily you have gone down for a morning nap already (it's almost 7am) and I will be following close behind.

Hubby started his conference this morning - no thanks to an alarm which didn't go off - so it's just me and the boy until later this afternoon. Our plans? I am hoping that he will take some good naps if we can be in our room and he can be in his little bassinet so it feels familiar, and that I can nap too :) I am also hoping that in between everything sleep related we can go and enjoy the pool and the beach, or at least take a walk in the sunshine.

We certainly didn't wake up to the sunshine of yesterday this morning, but according to the weather reports it;s still warm outside, even though some kind of tropical storm is rolling in. Quite exciting for us considering that we don't see much of that kind of weather in Seattle.

I am glad for these few days away, and so glad that we are are here as a family - even though J has to work. He has been very clear to me that I am to treat this time like vacation, because for me it is. I am to go out to eat, make use of the onsite childcare if I want to go to do any of the spa stuff offered etc. There are lots of restaurants at the resort so after Buggy wakes up we can go and do some more exploring for lunch!

Trips like this are definitely different with a little baby. Without him I would have spent hours laying out in the hot sun yesterday, drinking Sangria by the pitcher-full, and staying out late at a fun bar or restaurant. With him, I made sure he was not in the heat too long, even in the shade because I worried he would be too hot. I have had to eat one-handed at most of the places we have gone to eat because I have needed to nurse him, and so alas I have been on the sparkling water. Last night when he took a long nap, I took a bubble bath in the huge hotel bath rub, and watched an episode of Downton Abby. It's a change, but not a bad one and thankfully I was prepared for it by the stories and experiences of friends so no crushed expectations for this new mum.

In less exciting news, seems political advertising is just as annoying in other states. I actually wonder if its even more intense here in Florida because the final Presidential debate is here soon.

[If you are stopping by from ICLW for the first time, welcome!!]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boys night out = Mama's night in!

It's 5pm on a weekday, how am I finding the time to blog? Well, the glorious truth is that I am home alone :) I am eating chocolate and watching reality TV, I have a copy of Cooking Light magazine which I will be slowwwly browsing through later while I eat dinner. I contemplated pulling out my Jillian Michaels work out DVD, I still might if I have time after I finish the chocolate. And all of this will be concluded with a long hot shower, a good quiet time and crawling into bed probably around 7.30pm where I will fall into a lovely sleep - hoping to get at least a few hours before my boys get home. All this is made possible because my lovely hubby took our baby boy with him to watch the Seahawks game at a friends house. He is actually watching with other dads and their little guys. Boys night out I guess!

I sent him off with his diaper bag fully equipped for any situation. I didn't even give him the easy out with diapers, I packed cloth ones because Levi has grown into them and they are working out great so far. I also sent enough pumped milk for two feeds even though he shouldn't need them both, Daddy doesn't have the equipment to feed if he suddenly needs more to eat and I want this to be a good and easy time as possible for J. It's the first time he has left with the baby by himself. I have no doubt he will do great and I am excited for him to come back with tales of how well it went!

And so now I have a fabulous quiet evening stretching out in front of me. It's is so nice to have the opportunity to chill out and relax by myself, and so I am off to enjoy it!! Goodnight!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin cookies

I had some rare free time this weekend while J and Levi had some guy time watching football. I have been wanting to learn how to use piping bags to frost cookies for ages and so it was a perfect opportunity to have a first try.
I have always looked at baking blogs enviously when they posted their beautiful sugar cookies and I hope that with some practice I can get some mad icing skillz myself!
Here are the results of my first try. I had to let one layer dry overnight so I just finished during Levi's morning nap.
Pumpkins! I'm pretty happy with how they turned out but I do need some more practice. Guess I'll be doing more baking this fall :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

2 months old and getting shots :(

On Wednesday Levi had his 2 month check up at the pediatrician. He is doing great and growing like a weed. He already weighs 12.11lbs and is 24 inches long. This puts him in the 50th percentile for weight and the 85th percentile for height!! I have a feeling that in the future finding trousers for him that are long enough but that are not falling off his lack of bum will be tricky! He out grows his clothes lengthwise all the time. We just had to pack away his 0-3month footsie jammies because he was too long for them and couldn't fully straighten his legs anymore! ha ha! He is mostly wearing 0-3 month clothes now, but he's in 3 month+ PJ's.We still have a hard time finding socks that fit because he has skinny little legs that don't keep them up :)

He is a monster napper in the daytime when he in the swing. He sleeps 2.5 - 3 hours a few times a day and cat naps inbetween. He will usually fall asleep in the stroller or the carseat in the car, he seems to like the motion. That might explain why his napping is so successful in the swing. I hope that we can break the swing nap habit when we take our trip at the end of the month and we don't have access to a swing. I guess the alternative is no napping which could be bad, but we like to parent with the philosophy of "Go big or go home" so here's hoping Levi takes big naps in the pack and play so we don't all go home very, very tired!

He has started to love his activity gym and can spend up to 45 minutes super content looking up, watching everything and hitting at the dangling things but mostly talking to himself in the mirror that is attached to the top of it. It's so cute and his legs do not stop cycling the whole time. He must have so much muscle in his thighs! He also like sitting in his little rocker and again, tapping at the toysthat hang down.

While he is not rolling over yet, he is at a stage where we no longer feel safe to leave him on a high surface. We used to be able to have him on the change table or the ottoman down stairs and leave him for a few seconds to throw the diaper away but now we take him with us. I don't think he is super close to rolling over intentionally but he flails his arms and legs with such speed and intensity that he rolls onto his sides all the time, I am convinced he will flip himself over pretty soon.

He seems to take after his mother in verbal ability because our little fella is a talker. He will sit and coo and babble and if you imitate his noises he does it even more, Jeremy is the best at getting him to talk. Levi thinks the whole thing is hilarious and starts to almost laugh. I am still waiting to hear him full-on giggle, and I cannot wait!! I love his little voice and I really love seeing J being such a goofball. Only his boy can bring out that side of him and it's precious and so, so funny.

Levi is still struggling with gas - which is now so stinky it's insane - he gets gas bubbles that get trapped and cause him pain, and his pooping also changes day to day so he can get pretty uncomfortable with that too, poor guy. The doctor diagnosed 'silent reflux' which might explain the grunting and hard to settle at night. He sleeps peacefully in the swing and he is at an angle, but the bassinet is flat. We are giving him a small dose of some anti reflux medication and we have also raised one end of the bassinet at night to see if it helps. Its so hard when you cant ask them what's wrong. If we don't see a change after a couple of weeks we'll stop the medicine.

Talking of uncomfortable, he also got his first real round of shots at the doctors appointment. I left Jeremy in the room with him because I knew it would be hard for me to hear him so I went to the waiting room and started to schedule our future appointments, however, Levi was loud enough that I could sadly hear exactly what he thought about the injections. He howled. I am so glad I wasn't in the room with him because it brought tears to my eyes hearing the muffled version. I had prepared myself for a fussy baby that afternoon, but he was his usual cheerful self but I shouldn't have breathed that sigh of relief so soon because yesterday on his actual 2 month birthday he woke up very sad. He wasn't able to sleep much longer than 10 minutes at a time all day. He nursed on and off but didn't seem to have much of an appetite. So sad. I gave him some Tylenol which seemed to help a little but he had a rough time falling asleep last night ( we are having a low-key day today, staying home napping by the fire so we can both make up for lost sleep!)

I can't believe he is 2 months old already. I am just now starting to feel like we have a rhythm. I am enjoying life so much more and feeling ever more confident in my ability to care for Levi. I am trying to savor every moment of this fun stage of infnacy, he's such a cutie and makes me smile. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother, but specifically to be a mum to this spunky, funny, particular, busy little man.


We love you Buggy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

That old game...

Comparison.

It's a killer. And it seems to be prevalent amongst mothers more than any other group of people. As I thought back over the last week, I realised that it was when I started comparing Levi to my friends babies that I had become discouraged. I became frustrated that he wasn't acting the way their babies were, he wasn't sleeping well like their baby, or eating like their baby or he was much more fussy than their baby. I stopped just loving Levi for Levi and trusting that we were doing just fine. I started enjoying motherhood much less when I compared how much other firends were enjoying their "perfect" babies...of course, this is only from my perspective on the outside looking in!

I panicked, certain that I had to "fix" him. I tried to put Levi on a schedule, I tried to make him sleep in his own room, I woke him to feed. I did all the things that other people were doing, and were working for them. I tried everything, all at once, scrambling to make things right, feeling like time was getting away from me.

Before I tried to make him like everyone elses baby, my little guy was quite content to take really good daytime naps in the swing, and eat when he woke up. Taking much more at some feeds than others. He settled well at night and slept pretty good stretches most the time. Then I started trying to force him to be on my schedule etc and he bagan to be fussy and unpredictable.

During one of my devotionals which challenged us as mothers not to compare I was strongly convicted that I was doing just that. A peace flooded over me. A hope that it was actually ok; that my 8 week old was doing just fine for an 8 week old in every area of his life - even if I didn't manage to do tummy time every day! haha!

He is him, and I am his mum, and we are figuring it out just fine.

This is not to say that I can't receive wise counsel from friends and family, solicited and un-solicited. I want to share this experience and have the humility to recognise that I do not have all the answers. However, I want our sharing to be coming from a place of love and not comparison. I want to hear another mother's story without anxiety that I am doing something wrong. I want to share my own experiences without fear of judgement or criticism. I want to be open to share when I fail, or struggle and celebrate when I conquer a hurdle.

I am blessed to have a great community of mums around me, who do a good job of supporting and loving me, but I am a newbie, and I am still insecure in my mum skills. I compare, and I need to quiet those voices and hear only Jesus.

That still small voice which gives me identity. I am a mother to a beautiful boy. I am enough.

This is a beautiful and wonderful journey, and while there is much shared experience, the fact remains that we are all unique individuals and so are our children. Made perfectly in God's image. Incomparable.

I leave you with a picture of my uniquely perfect little man at 5 days old. In comparison, he looks like a giant today...I guess that's a fun comparison to make!



Sunday, October 7, 2012

And then there are days like these...

This autumn has been beautiful in this part of the country, along with the crisp autumn wind the sun continues to shine and bring Seattle to mid-70 degree temperatures without a cloud in the sky!

Yesterday, we made the most of this as a family and took a walk around Green Lake.

Here are a few pictures. 





Here are a few pictures.

Friday, October 5, 2012

One of those days

Yesterday was one of those days. As I lay my head on my pillow, tears in my eyes from sheer exhaustion I began running through the events of the day, how did I get to this sad, tired, frustrated place? And as I thought back, the day brought a smile to my face. All of it, all of the crappy stuff that has been piling up one after the other to make me so overwhelmed actually made me smile, giggle to myself quietly so as not to wake either of my sleeping boys. In that moment I knew I had to capture this day on the blog. I hope it will be an encouragement to all the other mums who have had days like this, and also for me to look back on and remember that this season was tough. It was beautiful and amazing and tough and I don't want to let time erase all the hard parts and just leave the fluff. To remember that I did it.

So one of those days began bright and early. After being up over and over with a gassy, uncomfortable, sad baby boy all through the night. I found my self creeping downstairs in the almost dark to pump at 7am because a) the night had made Levi's schedule get all wackadoo and he had snacked but not done a full feed all night and had just fallen asleep hard so I knew he wouldn't be up for ages, b) there is nothing worse than waking up in a wet pool of milk which would have been the alternative to a) - even with breast pads in and not to mention c) The a fore mentioned wackadoo schedule meant that I felt full to bursting. I was mad, mad that I had to be awake, but knowing full well that I had no other choice.

Then having let Levi sleep because of the crazy night, he got up late and so did I. This meant he didn't eat or sleep well all day. I wish I knew better ways to keep him awake to do a full feed, but he happily doprs off to sleep after 5 minutes - except for when we are at our breastfeeding support group when he performs and feeds long and well for 30-45 minutes. I guess that means he gets in one full feed a week. Geesh. I imagine that nothing makes a mum feel like more of a failure when she can't feed her children. Strike two for the day.

And then, because of the crazy sleep I decided that it was my fault. Clearly, I have not sleep trained my 7 week old baby and so of course none of us will sleep through the night ever again. I decided that it had to change, and I had to put him to sleep in his crib in his room for naps - a place he has never in his almost two months of life spent any time because he sleeps downstairs in the swing in the day and in his bassinet in our room at night - anyway, I lay my sleeping, very in need of a nap boy down in his crib and turned on the video monitor. I kissed his almost asleep little chubby cheeks and walked away. About 30 seconds later, I watch the monitor and I see his eyes bright and big, looking around at this strange new place and suddenly the bottom lip come out and starts to quiver. His little body lets out the saddest cry I have every heard, and I hear it in stereo from the monitor and in real life. I can't take it and rush in full of kisses and apologies and I held him close.What's that? Strike three and four. Game over? Not quite!

Then that evening, I hand Levi to Jeremy and I take a shower - because let's face it, if I don't shower at night when Jeremy is here to hang out with the babe, I might not get to take one!

In the sanctuary of the shower, hot water washing away the guilt and failures of the day, I am frozen for a second. Not wanting to get out. Once I leave the bathroom, I'm on duty again, time for bedtime feeds and settling a restless baby. I realise that I genuinely cannot figure out what day it is because life has become one long wake sleep poo cycle (for Levi, just in case that wasn't clear)and that it feels like all I am doing is facilitating his bodily functions...and not doing it very well, kinda like how the guy the other night tried to facilitate the first Presidential debabte. Fail.

Eventually fully showered and clean, I rejoin my family and jump back in to motherhood with all the umph I can muster after having one of those days. And after the others are sleeping, the tears come. Because today was hard. I'm thankful it's over, and then the other moments from the day break through, the smiles the laughter, the cute cooing, the coffee date with a friend, the sunshine and it puts things into perspective. Never erasing that this was hard, but confirming that I can do it.

I am not writing this for affirmation. I know I am not failing, I know that the happy little sweetie who I blessed to mother is a sign I am doing something right, but as I said, some days are just hard.

Praying for all the mums out there who are having one of those days today. Know it will pass. Hug your little ones close, know that they love you and that tomorrow will come soon :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Life goes on

Life continues on. I am continuing to adjust to my new role as a stay at home Mum and getting to know my baby boy.

Some days are easier than others. Lots of lessons being learned. I am realising the importance of making a good nap for Levi a priority at least once a day. He can cat nap in place of one of his good day time naps but if he only cat naps all day then he gets overtired and cranky and has a hard time in the evening.

I am also realising simply that I can do less than before. My days used to be jam packed. I thrived on the busier schedule but with Levi along for the ride it is too much to do more than one thing a day at the moment. I try to make sure he and I get outside for at least a little while to enjoy this beautiful fall weather we are having. I think the fresh air is just good for both of us. But being at home, having a familiar place to take those all important naps, is important too. I want to have time just with him, reading singing, being goofy and soaking up this time before it is just a memory. The house also provides quite a 'to do' list that now has to happen during nap time for the most part.

We are so blessed to continue to have meals being brought to us a few times a week by friends from church as we are adjusting to parenthood, but the cleaning, laundry, bill paying etc waits for no man! I want to make time to keep our home a place of comfort for all of us to relax and hopefully be hospitable but finding time for all the things on my list is a challenge!

The other thing on my mind at the moment is losing my final baby weight lbs. I have 15-10 to go and I need them to beat it so I can fit back in my clothes. I am so ridiculously tired of wearing the same few shirts and the same pairs of maternity jeans. I am excited to start actually putting outfits together from choice instead of wearing what's clean!

In more important news let me just gush about my boy for a minute. He is such a joy. Yes, of course as all babies are he has his moments when he is frustrated or grumpy but we are fortunate that those times a few and far between. For the most part we have a pretty laid back little dude who loves to show off his smiling skills and really enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen. He is having some gas issues at the moment at night which are making him sad and Jeremy and I even sadder. I am trying to massage him at diaper changes to keep things moving during the day so that it doesn't build up. We'll see how that goes. God bless YouTube for all the wonderful Momtips and tutorials that they have.

For mow he is taking a little nap. I can't stop looking at him. I love this kid. All the other stuff is just fluff. Loving this kid well is my job and every day I try to do just that.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rough night :( Pajama day :)

Yuck. Bad night. Poor baby boy was up every hour or so. Just uncomfortable and needing to be rocked or fed to soothe him. I am not sure if he is feeling poorly, if I gave him my cold and this is him trying to figure out what to do with a body that feels yucky.

I have also heard from some seasoned parents that a really bad, out of character night can mean that a baby is about to master a milestone. If that's the case, and the badness of the night is proportionate to the milestone, I can be expecting to see Levi high jumping over the couch later today...or cooking me dinner.

I declared this a pajama day, I changed Levi because of a peeing through the first pair of jammies incident, but I just put him in another cozy pair. I am in sweats so if I have to answer the door I won't scare anyone but I haven't looked in the mirror. It's one of those days. I just don't care.

L just dropped off in the baby swing, poor little guy, he's exhausted but just can't seem to settle for long, so I am going to make the most of it and put my head down on the couch and see if I can't take a little nap too. I am really hoping the motion can allow him (and me) to get a good nap in. Praying hard that we both feel better soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Snuggly kind of day

I love holding babies. And I really love holding my baby. However, during the day there are times when I need both hands and so I put my baby down, in our house this happens most when Levi is sleeping _ He likes to nap in the baby swing. However this morning I woke up with a really sore throat and low energy and as the day is progressing so is the "I am getting a cold" realisation. Buggy did take his morning nap in the swing while I pumped and did a few other bits and pieces, like shower, but the tiredness of the cold is hitting now. I decided to give in to it. I am snuggled on the couch with my boy fast asleep and snoring on my chest. While he sleeps I am catching up on some junky TV and drinking tea. Oh, and blogging it would seem. This is my first sickness in a long time, and certainly post baby and I am really hoping and praying that Levi stays healthy. His diet is mostly super immune system building mama milk so he should be invincible, right? And that's about as exciting as it gets in our house today. Sometimes it takes being a little under the weather to force you to slow down, and that's exactly what happened. While I do not enjoy feeling poorly, today was not a bad day. It involved lots of tea and snuggles. I am making the most of the thick sofa blankets that have been neglected through the summer months. Pork chops with apples and green beans on the menu tonight. That feels like a comfort food meal. I like that (head cold aside) I feel together enough to get back into the kitchen a little bit. Even with my sore throat, this meal doesn't feel like too much effort and while I make it, Daddy will be doing the baby snuggling!

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