Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen Indeed!

Hoping you all had a wonderful Easter celebration. We certainly did. I love to host this holiday and his year I pushed the boat out and make a lamb roast. I think the first rul e of hosting in not to make a new recipe for company, right? Well, on reflection that might have been a good idea. My plan to eat around 2.30 or 3pm turned into eating at 4pm. My family were gracious and the Brie, crackers and grapes I had set out were certainly necessary!

Luckily, it was a glorious day weather-wise and we had time to take Levi to play at the local park while we were waiting for the roast was doing it's thing. It was delicious in the end, and was matched with equally delicious elements brought by my Mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

I also tried my hand at some good old British Yorkshire puddings which turned out fabulously! I think I will tweak the recipe slightly to make them again but I will definitely make them again :) Another menu item that was a big hit and will be made again with a few minor tweaks thanks to lessons learned, was dessert. Strawberry meringue cake. Holy moley. It was good.

I had fun decorating the table this year and I took some inspiration from something I saw on Pinterest to make my Peeps centerpiece.

Levi had a great first Easter. Having his giggles and bubble blowing through the service was a reminder of how great the power of Christ's resurrection is. In this world, full of our sin and full of darkness, it can be hard to expect miracles. We don't deserve the freedom in which we live. But in Christ's death we have life. Full, abundant life. Life in relationship with our creator God. Levi is our answer to prayer. He is our miracle and our constant reminder that death has been defeated and Christ controls our destiny. Now that is a reason to celebrate!

Here are a few snaps from our day;

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Teething Biscuits

Levi loves to feed himself and he does really well with bigger things such as slices of toast (soldiers, for the Brits that are reading)...he is also pretty good at "eating" non-food items such as the remote control :)

He is working on his fine motor skills, maneuvering Cheerios or small pieces of banana from the tray to his mouth, but he is loving his new found food independence, even though I feel very lucky that he will still willingly take the pureed fruits, veggies and grains from a spoon. I am sure it's going to get way more messy when he takes charge of the spoon so I'll take his willingness to be fed for as long as he has it!

I had bought him some rice teething crackers and they were really convenient to give him to help when his teeth were bugging him or to tide him over between feeds, but I did wonder if there was a more natural alternative to these highly processed, overly packaged (why do they do that?) crackers. I Googled my heart out and found a bunch of recipes to try. I happened to have all the ingredients for this recipe so I whipped up a batch during Levi's nap yesterday.

It was super easy and has only a few ingredients. It's nice to know exactly what is in the food he is eating.

1 Cup baby rice cereal
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil ( I am sure other oils would work too)
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Banana mashed
4-6 Tbsp water

Put everything in a bowel and mix together. I used my hands to work it into a dough. Roll it out onto a floured surface to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick and cut out cookies. Put them on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Simple as that. I used a square cutter to make the ma good size and shape for Levi to hold onto but you could play with cutter shapes. It made 18 good sized cookies. It got this little guy's seal of approval :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Standing Man

Not content to have mastered crawling last week, our little guy set himself a new challenge...pulling himself to standing. I actually think that his goal is walking, and this is just the first step (no pun intended) on is way to meeting that goal. Heaven help us!

My life suddenly got much busier. Levi has a strong attraction to cords and wires and he would give his favorite chew toy to get a quick nibble on a cell phone. He is also strangely attracted to the fireplace and the vertical blinds...all of these things are no nos and it makes for a crazy day of distracting him and moving him from one place to the other in our house to try and keep him occupied. He is still so little, just 7.5months old and "discipline" isn't really appropriate yet. He can understand that we don't want him to get into something, and boy, can he share his discontent - which he does - but he is too little to unerstand any sort of rational argument to do with the fireplace, or understand consequences. Do for now, its distract, distract, distract and phew, it's exhausting!

Last night as J and I were laying in bed just catching up on our days, he said, "it's so cute to see him crawling around everywhere now, isn't it?" That's one way to put it...I mean it is, his little bum wiggling around and his strong chubby arms and his smiling face, so proudly getting around wherever he wants to go but it's a game changer. I have taken to putting him in the pack and play with toys so I can make dinner or go tot he loo because he is so quick I don't want to be dashing to get him out of danger with my knickers around my ankles. He is happy to be contained for a half hour especially now he can pull himself to standing in there.

This was the sight that greeted me earlier today - he was supposed to be napping but instead he had been working very hard to pull himself up to standing in here.

Hello Mummy!

Luckily we had lowered the crib this weekend - it needs to go even lower I think...just to make sure there is no flinging himself out during the night when sleep is too boring and he's in search of more adventure ;)

He has had a tummy virus for the past five days, at least that is what the doctor thought it was when i took him in after three long days and nights of pooping and an increasingly sore bottom. Poor baby. We have been trying to give him same naked time every day but with his gastric issues it's a bit of a dangerous game! Because he's been a bit off we have spent more time at home which has given him the opportunity to practice his crawling and standing and I guess it's paid off. I think we are in for a busy few months!! I love watching this little man growing up, but it's happening so fast!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Catching up

It feels like forever since I finished writing a blog. I have lots half written and saved but something, or more specifically, someone needs my attention before I get to finish a thought let alone write it down :)

Here are a few bullets about what's going on with us recently...

I finished the quarter of school (Praise the Lord!) and now have hopefully only 3 classes to go until my Associates degree is done and dusted. It will still probably take a while because I will just be taking one class at a time to fit in with life but I am so close I can taste it!

Levi is officially crawling. And he's fast! He also decided to impress/shock J and I this morning by crawling tot he ottoman and pulling himself up to standing like it was no big deal. Seriously, kid?!

Our house is suddenly the most dangerous place on earth (see above!)

It's March madness. Which means there is way more basketball on my TV than I would ever choose. But J enjoys it, and apparently so does Levi, my sweet little telly addict.

Yesterday we woke up to snow fall. By the afternoon the sun was out and I even had to try Levi's new sunglasses out it was so bright. Next weekend, it's supposed to be close to 70 degrees. Crazy Spring weather. 

I am on my third bag of Cadbury's mini eggs. No I don't feel guilty. Yes, I might be in my bigger jeans for a little longer than I anticipated, but I think it's worth the sacrifice.

I am loving the flash that J got me for Christmas for my camera and am really enjoying snapping our little man as he grows.

I am finally getting to finish a few different books that have nothing to do with American history - Yay, for no more history class - I love to read but the reading load was pretty heavy for a single class so these "fun" books have been giving me sad eyes, sitting on my night stand for the past few months. I'm looking forward to some tea + blanket + book times this week. Maybe while Levi naps (because it certainly won't be while he is awake :)

That's about it - or at least that's all I've got for now and I really want to publish a post - finally! But I will sign off with a few pictures from our time at the park and the beach this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teething Sucks

I am writing this blog sitting on the couch, still half dressed and un-showered at 4.15pm. Sweet boy is sat next to me content to be still and chewing on something. Clearly he is not feeling good because he is never still.

He is teething and really struggling. He (and I) were up last night at 11pm, 1am, and then for a few hours from 2-5am. He was crying and in pain and overtired so this poor exhausted little guy was a mess and I was right there with him. He slept, praise the Lord, from 5-8am and woke up his cheery self but much later than his usual 7am wake up so it threw his routine way off.

Soon the shiny smiling boy was beginning to dim. He was distractable but not content and not able to settle to sleep at all. Usually he takes at least 2, 1 hour+ naps and today he has netted a whopping 44 minutes of sleep in two spurts all day.

I have been faithfully applying his gum numbing gel but it wasn't cutting it so I finally gave in a gave him Tylenol and that has at least subdued the pain for now because he is snuggled next to me quietly.

On days like this I am so thankful for his cheerful personality because it is easy to tell when he is not feeling well. It's sad for me to see him like this and tough to be soothing him and patient when he refuses sleep or is just grumpy when I am so short on sleep too. But that's all part of the mum package, right?

He is still managing to make the best of it, he is making himself laugh rihgt now by bonking a toy on his head, over and over. But it doesn't distract him for long and then he is back to grizzling and complaining. Jeremy is coming home with more medicine supplies becasue we are almost out and I anticipate needing some tonight and some Cadbury mini eggs because desperate times call for desperate measures.

I had plans for today. School work to work to start. Dinner to cook, a pie to bake for tomorrow Pi day (3.14) but none of it has happened. Dinner will happen eventually when I can trade baby duty with Jeremy. Pie maybe. School work hopefully, but I am reminded that when it comes down to priorities, this little guy and his wellbeing come first and today he has needed to snuggle and to have my (and Grandma and grandpa's) full attention. So that's been my lot.

And tonight, I will fit in the rest of the "less important" things. Chicken noodle soup on the menu tonight, because let's be honest it's a chicken noodle soup kind of day.

Wishing you all a peaceful night tonight and hoping for the same here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Right here and right now

This morning Facebook shared with me news of two new babies on the way in families of my friends, adding to the 3 or 4 from last week - babies being adopted as well as growing in mummies tummies - families excitedly anticipating new little ones.

I am happy. I am excited for them. Truly. But I am noticing that as Levi gets bigger and we wonder more and more about the future of our own family, I am feeling those familiar feelings of anxiety and fear about what lies ahead for us.

It's brought me to my knees. God, please give me contentment in this beautiful life I am living and flood my heart with peace about the future. Please.

Our c-section delivery comes with an advisory to wait at least 9 months before getting pregnant again. When they first told us this I didn't think it would be an issue at all but it is amazing how fast our little guy is growing and how much my heart is desiring to have another little one. I can totally see that without the 9 month 'forced' wait we might have been having a conversation about us trying again by this time.

Its funny how even though we had a baby, the reality of our fertility struggles and our losses are still prominent in my thoughts. The grief of our losses can hit in a wave sometimes out of nowhere and it's followed by the aftershock of fear about all we may have to endure and all the decisions that lay ahead about our future journeys to parenthood and all they may include. 

I have always dreamed about having a big family and while I love Levi with all I am, I still find myself wishing that we knew how life was going to turn out in terms of how many little ones we will raise and how we will get them.

We don't know if or when we will choose to try again and in the meantime I am prayerful and trying to remember to hold my plans loosely, trusting that God's plans are best for all of us. We have seen this before, and cannot help to be reminded of it with every sweet smile and crazy laugh that our little man gives us. He is truly our joy and he can to us perfectly, in God's perfect time and of course we wouldn't trade him for the world

 We know God's promises to be true but sometimes doubt and fear can steal our contentment. Today I am reminded that I have to be intentional to choose hope and trust because the enemy would love to us my friends' happy news to make me feel anxious. But this isn't our first time at the rodeo - we can see past the fear to the beauty of staying faithful and walking closely with our Heavenly Father to the life He designs for us. Our story is our story, our struggles are what have and continue to shape us, it's all a part of our journey. We have more chapters being written by someone who loves us and turns all things to work together for our good. We don't know what lies ahead but we trust it's good.

"For the mountains may depart and the hills disappear, but even then I will remain loyal to you. My covenant of blessing will never be broken", says the Lord who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Levi - Seven Months Old

Little man, you are seven months old today and you getting more and more cheeky with every day that passes.

You are scooting around, not quite crawling yet but you are mobile enough that you can get where you want to go in a hot minute. You are keeping us on our toes and it's going to be time for baby gates very soon so when we turn our backs you are not climbing the stairs! Taking your seven month pictures was tricky because you were way more interested in perfecting your crawling skills than laying still and posing :)

You are a master at sitting by yourself now, no pillows required and can go from sitting to crawling and almost back again. You prop yourself up in a sort of mermaid pose that you can sometimes lead to getting back to sitting but other times you don' quite have the umph to get there! I am partial to your mermaid though.

You are not a fan of bedtime or naps in general and are starting to twist your head to see if the door is open once we are in your room - you know if it's closed then its time for sleeping and you let your dissatisfaction be known. You whine but it's soon pacified by nursing or rocking and once you are snuggled and sleepy you are getting really good at putting yourself to sleep. You are however starting to boycott one of your naps and generally take two solid ones a day and go to bed around 6.30pm. It was daylight savings this weekend so I am not sure how that will impact your sleep but I hope it will be for  the better if is is affected at all :)

You are my fabulous eater. You have yet to meet a food you don't like. You are still enjoying the puree's I made for you and are also keen to eat anything we offer you - or you help yourself too - from our plates!! You are getting quite sneak and very fast at swiping things when we are not quick enough to stop you! I love that you enjoy your food so much.

You find something to smile about everywhere you go. I love your sweet personality and enjoy your company so much. You are certainly a fun buddy to have in tow everywhere I go. You love riding in the stroller which mean we can take long walks which is a great way to get outside on the sunny spring days. And Daddy and I are very glad your hatred of your carseat is over and you now pass the time in the backseat chatting or blowing bubbles which we drive! ha ha

You continue to bring me such joy and I love you so much Buggy, looking forward to seeing what your eighth month will hold!

Love you, Mama x

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yay for being average...and for baby showers!

First our big news...WE HAVE A TOOTH, PEOPLE!!

I know the doctor said that teeth can pop up and go back a few times before they decide to come out for the world to see officially but I am calling it. Levi has his first tooth, it's his bottom middle left. He isn't seven months until tomorrow, so I guess in this respect he is totally average - and I, for one, am totally thankful about that because this sleep deprivation is making me a crazy person. I know it's hardly a walk in the park for Levi either so I am happy for both of us.

And he's pretty happy about it too - see below :)

To go right along with the final weeks of this quarter of school and the piles of extra essays and assignments that brings, and the 5 hours a night (not consecutive) of sleep I have been getting this week because of the tooth business I was putting together the final touches to the shower I was throwing for my dear friend Marie.

It was my first really 'involved' party/event planning since Levi and I think I bit off a little more than I anticipated. It was a lesson learned, but I will set my bar at a more realistic level in the future :) I love every piece of it and enjoyed the baking and planning, cookie decorating and decoration crafting bit, but with everything else on my plate and a now mobile almost 7 month old it was not easy to get it all done.

However, I married a man who is gracious to fill in the gaps when I spread myself too thin, and who ran last minute errands with the baby and moved furniture to help set up and promptly set about vacuuming and helping clear up when he got home. I could not have done it without him - or without friends like Paige, who helped make decorations last week and was an incredible help and extra pair of hands everywhere that was needed on the day! Thankyou both so much.

Marie, we love you and we cannot wait to meet those two little babies you are cooking :) I was so busy hostessing, I didn't get any pictures with the mama to be - or anyone else for that matter (boo), but i did remember to snap a few of things as we set up. The orange vanilla bean cupcakes turned out very yummy, I am not at all sad there were a few of those left over!

It was a bit of a different shower, we played Bunco  (that's what the little tables in the picture were for - there were two more tables of fun. We also drank cocktails (mocktails for the preggy's and nursing mamas) but it was a lot of fun. Laughter, squeals and shouts of delight were heard as the dice were rolled across the tables and scores were tallied. Once the craziness stopped, and prizes were awarded, Marie open presents and received pledges of help from all of us. Glad to shower this sweet friend with love and encouragement, but also glad it's over...but now there is no excuse for not getting homework least, not now I have finished this blog. Oh well :)

Happy Sunday friends x

Marie we love you and

Friday, March 8, 2013

All I ever talk about - Naps and Nursing...

In our house, 6am is the new black. For the past two days, my once sleep-till-7 little guy has become a bright-and -awake -at-six one. This equals one sleeeepy Mummy.

This is in part why I am blogging at 8.30am. I have been awake for over 2 hours so I am sadly wide awake and not able to take advantage of the nap Levi is taking right now, but I am also refusing to actually gt up and at 'em just yet. So here I sit. Snuggled under my duvet., writing a blog. It feels like quite the luxury and I am savoring every second.

Things have been changing up around here, slowly and with some resistance but I am hopeful these changes will eventually make life easier.

Firstly, I have been working with Levi to settle him to sleep without nursing him. Since Levi has been sleeping and napping in his own room I have been nursing him to sleep. I am not exactly sure how or why that change happened because as an infant I followed the sleep-eat-play routine and it worked well. I think that when he was napping in the swing he was soothed to sleep by the motion but he struggled to settle at first in the stillness of the crib so I began to nurse him and suddenly we were in a very bad 'sleep association' habit.

Not only has this made settling for naps more difficult because if he doesn't actually fall asleep in my arms, then he startles as soon as I lay him down. He flips over and is rocking back and forth in crawling position before you can say, "just kidding"! Then it is a fight, that often ends in missed naps and overtiredness...for me and him! This bleeds into night time settling because he has forgotten how to settle himself or at least he doesn't prefer to settle himself so he is up 3 times a night to be nursed back to sleep.

Now  sit in the rocker, with his snuggled in his blanket and holding his lovie while we read a couple of stories and sing a sing. The I rock him for a verse of Silent Night (still haven't moved beyond the festive tunes for lullabies!) before I lay him awake in his crib.

It is a big change and he has not always drifted off into a dream state in seconds, but he has done it at least half the time without any other interaction with me. It's only been a couple of days so I am hoping that in time his willingness and understanding will mean it becomes second nature.

The other change, which is very connected to the napping is feeding. I have been demand feeding Levi since he was born and he has often done 3 hour stretches but it has often been broken up because of feeding before naps. I am hoping that by being firmer with the 3 hour stretches in between feedings he will get in a better sleep habit at night because he is actually taking full feeds in the day and getting all his ounces in. I have been talking with a couple of different friends this week with babies Levi's age who have recently stopped night time feedings. I would love to do that sooner rather than later but I need to know for sure he is eating enough during the day first. When he soothes at night he often doesn't actually feed so i am hopeful that with the settling to sleep sans nursing and the bigger, set timed day feeds we could be on the cusp of sleeping all night in the near future...we'll see!!

I am throwing a baby shower tomorrow for my dear friend Marie so I do need to get my behind out of bed and get in the kitchen. This will be a whirlwind day of cupcakes, brownies and to follow.

Happy Friday friends - TGIF!!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Teeth that don't want to come out!

Apparently, the average baby gets teeth in their seventh month. This is Levi's seventh month and while as his mother I refuse to consider him average in any way, I think that this month may be it for him tooth wise. He has just under a couple of weeks for his little white cap to cut through and I am hoping beyond hope it does. Mostly for Levi's sake, but I confess, my sleep could do with some teething free nights too.

Levi is a trooper but these teethies have been bugging him. He has been a drool faucet for the past couple of weeks, I have to have a bib on him when he is awake and I have to change it at least twice during the day and he is still seems to end up soaking wet. And he is chewing, chewing, chewing. Everything and anything, if there isn't a toy handy his poor thumbs and fingers get stuck in and gnawed.

I am diligent to rub on the gem numbing gel which is the only time he lets me feel to see if anything has pooped...nothing to report. It's getting old. A couple of nights this week he has been so unsettles at bedtime that I have resorted to Tylenol to soothe him. I want my happy little guy back. I mean he rallies bless his heart and is quickly distracted but it is a lot of work because the distractions don't last long. It seems that Daddy can always elicit a smile which is both wonderful and disheartening! My heart is always happy to see Levi smiling but I do wish that I was able to get the same reaction by just being there! Daddy and bathtime. Bathtime is another fail safe way to keep Levi happy. He is actually never more content than when he is splashing around in the bath. Recently while he has been splashing he has also had one of his rubber bath toys in his mouth and been chowing it to death but still, he doesn't seem to be sad about his teeth when he is surrounded by water.

I feel as though I have been a bit of a zombie recently because of lack of sleep. Our boy used to do a consistent 6 or 7 hour starting stretch before it went to pot in 3 hours blocks, but recently we have had a 4.5 hour stretch of we are lucky and most of that is before we go to bed. Poor bubba, he can't seem to settle himself back without nursing either so I am up with him until he falls asleep. I don't begrudge him, I really actually love the snuggle time but I am shattered and ready for some more solid sleep - I'm sure Levi is too. I look forward to posting that our kid has a chomper or two and I hope I can post it soon!


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