Wednesday, October 31, 2012


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...


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.


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