Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let the weaning commence!

I was very fortunate to have been able to breastfeed both my babies. I didn't have an easy time of it either time for different reasons but I am glad I persevered. When Levi was ten months old I got pregnant with Nora and the medication I had to start taking meant I had to stop nursing cold turkey. Levi was a dream about this sudden change of life, I began giving him four, 8oz bottles a day and he would drink the whole lot down every time without a second look. [Side note : He also started sleeping through the night at this point too, so I saw his night time wakings were hunger related] I think my supply must have dropped more than I realised and he was hungry and eager to eat those yummy calories :)

When Nora turned ten months, I made sure I was 100% NOT pregnant and again at eleven and twelve months (and for the foreseeable future) She is far more attached to nursing than Levi ever was. She isn't all business about it like he was but happy to take her time, latch on and off and generally just enjoys having it there when it takes her fancy.

I haven't put her on a feeding schedule, but still just feed on demand as she asks for it or as I need to use it to settle her or calm her down. You see what I said there, I use it for more than just "feeding" and there in lies the problem now she is a year old and I want my body back!

I am ready to be done nursing. I am ready to feel a sense of freedom and that I can be away from her without causing her distress. However, my sweet opinionated little lady doesn't always appreciate being offered a bottle and she certainly doesn't have the capacity to drink as much as Levi did in one go - at least, I don't think she does?!

I decided to try and start feeding at set times a day and then pick a feed to replace with a bottle of milk (thankfully she likes cow's milk). Maybe do that for a few days/ a week and then pick another feed to phase out. Ending hopefully with her drinking at least 16oz of milk a day (plus water). Slow and steady wins the race and all that. However, I have a girls weekend away booked for April and I will be going so we do  have a deadline :)

I was so nervous but day one - which is today, has gone great. I gave her a bottle for her second feed, after she woke up from her morning nap and she took the 4 oz I prepared (it was an amount her doc recommended starting with) and I think if there had been 6 she might have finished that too so tomorrow I will increase it. Then she ate a snack bar, lunch a little later and then nursed before going down for her second nap. I feel peace that we might actually be able to do this.

Night time will actually be the toughest, because she is nursing for comfort and I am nursing to keep her quiet so she doesn't wake up Levi while we are all in the same room. I am praying we can find something that works. Maybe as I increase her bottles/milk and decrease nursing she will start sleeping better too? I can but hope and pray.

I just feel a pang of sadness that this nursing season is ending. Even though its my idea and my desire. I am not sure what the future holds for our family in terms of adding another baby at any time (not any time soon, but any time ever) This might be it. This might be some of the final times I am connecting with my daughter in this way. In the craziness of life with two little ones, I have enjoyed those times of one on one time with just my baby. I think we will have to start snuggling and reading books more often to replace that time.

So here we are, day one half under my belt. It wasn't terrible but my girl knows how to mix it up. I am sure tomorrow will be a whole different experience so I hope she is still happy to take the bottle.

I am also hoping that gradually reducing her feeds will help me not t get too uncomfortable :)

Any tips (for any aspects of this process) from mamas who have been there and done that much appreciated.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

He is for me

I can hear Levi and Jeremy outside kicking a ball, and Nora is sleeping in her crib. I have spent every spare minute this weekend doing laundry, dishes or something else on a long to do list, so I am taking this minute of quiet to write.

Levi hit 2.5 and he's really good at it. Most of the time he is a doll, charming us with his cute narrative of life and questions about the way the world works but he has his moments when his toddler emotions just emote all over the place; he yells "no", cries huge tears, runs away when called, pushes his sister down and runs away to avoid consequences. It's not unique behaviour by any means but its challenging and it's keeping Jeremy and I on our parenting toes.

We are still camped out at Jeremy's parents and the close quarters are certainly losing their charm. We are visiting lots of houses as they come on the market but we seem to get our hopes dashed every time. I am not sure how the realtors manage to make the houses seem so perfect in pictures - I guess that's the point but we have seen some real doozies recently, really bad, like 2 inches of standing water across the backyard/wetlands, bad.

I have been feeling the burden of sustaining relationships with friends and keeping Levi seeing his friends while we are here. The driving is exhausting to me but I feel stuck. As I was driving the other day a song came on the radio that has the line "Jesus he loves you, He is for you" All of a sudden tears are streaming down my face. A relief washed over me; God knows where I am. This situation is not a punishment or something I have to survive. God is with me and he is for me. He loves me.

Some days that's all I need to remember.

I am doing the best I can and he is on my side, everything is going to be GOOD. More than that, everything IS good.

Here I am. I have a loving husband, a beautiful son, and darling daughter and a roof over our heads, not to mention the means to find our own home. We are so fortunate and so blessed.

Here is the music video to the song on the radio. If you havent heard it I hope you can feel encouraged.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dear Nora - Happy First birthday, love bug!!

I cannot believe I am sitting down to write your first birthday letter. The fire is roaring in the wood stove next to me and you are sleeping soundly (for now) in the pack and play. We are still staying with your Grandma and Grandpa Blocher while we look for a house. You have officially lived here for half your life. This is not the vision we had for your first year as we all sleep in one room and live on top of each other but you enjoy your Grandparents so much it's not something you see as a struggle in anyway at all. I know you will miss them terribly when we do move into our own place and begin a new normal.

You continue to bring so much laughter into our family, sweet girl. You are such a ham and you know it. You have such a sense of humor and its so much fun to witness as you interact with us.

You have decided that you love to do action songs this month and you sit on my lap for the whole of the story and song time at the library - you never sit still so it's worthy of a mention. You watch all the kids and jabber away. You open and shut your hand for "open, shut them" and wave your arm back and forth trying to do wheels on the bus. First thing in the morning you often sit up and open just one hand, for "Twinkle, twinkle little star" which is a favourite, (you have even mastered making the diamond shape with your pointer fingers and thumb!) even though at 6am its tough for me to sound too enthusiastic, but you don't seem to judge quality, thankfully :) Just tonight when I was rocking you to sleep, I was humming the elevator song and realised that in your dream state you were lifting your arms up and down in the chorus! You love music and I love watching you love it.

Your inner bookworm continues to grow, and you have some faves. You love the ones with animals in the best, and point out dogs and bunnies on every page they are featured and then make your cute noises. You hardly ever finish one book before you are pulling out the next but you just love to look at the pictures.

You still don't say a ton of words, not that that hinders you getting your point across ever, but still, you say, "mama" and newly "dada" and "awe duh" (all done) You grunt a lot and when you are desperate to say something you bounce up and down waving your arms in the air at the same time! Even without much official language to speak of, you make your wants known with ease. You use a few signs to communicate too but I think you feel that grunts work just as effectively.

Your walking is really starting to take off, you gain confidence every day and slowly but surely are becoming a real little toddler. I love it, but I will miss your wiggle when you crawl, its so cute!

You are a big fan of accessories and are always bringing me your shoes or hats to put on and you wear them with pride.

You still love to hold two of the same things in your hands, and because your brother likes to step out of his socks all the time, you have a constant source for your obsession. This would be fine except for the fact you keep depositing them in strange places all over the house - thankfully you leave them together so we often find a complete pair but still, your brother will have none left one of these days!!

You still love to eat, except when your teeth are bugging you, but you can be hot and cold about the foods you like. One day you eat your weight in carrots and the next day you are not interested. You still love to nurse, and only take 4oz in a bottle at night before bed.  We will be heading down the weaning road soon and I know we will both miss it very much, but honestly I'm hoping it will help you sleep longer at night and settle easier at nap time. You are getting better with your sleep but it could still improve :) You nap 1.5hrs in the morning and about the same  in the afternoon but our living situation means you're often woken up in the afternoon so I am curious if having your own space will help you to sleep for longer.

You love to rock on the rocking horse and the rocking chairs and have just figured out climbing on the little rocking chair and sitting down all by yourself!

When Daddy gets home from work at night, you and Levi really enjoy jumping on him and bouncing on the bed too. You are so excited to be big enough to join in with all the fun now :)

We love you so, so much and enjoy your sweet spirit and hilarious sense of humor, you are ever the jokester.

Thank you for being our sweet love bug, Happy Birthday!

Mama xx

Here are a couple of pictures from your party (2/14/15)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another new season...

The freezing days have made way for more mild wet and windy ones, the crocuses are budding in the front garden and the days are starting to seem longer. Winter is preparing to leave us and soon spring will come.

[Side note: I got a book out of the library about Spring to read with Levi because he had started to notice the flowers budding and was asking some cute 2.5 year old questions about the changes. So mid-conversation Jeremy came into the room and I promted Levi by saying, tell Daddy which season is going to come after winter, to which he exclaimed with great joy, "Baseball season, woo hoo!!" This kid, I tell ya, has a one track mind! Technically he's not wrong, and I guess I already knew that bats and balls would be more exciting to him that flowers blooming but still.]

Anyway, our house hunt is starting to pick up, albeit very slooowly. We even went to view a house this weekend which we haven't gone since before Christmas so that in itself was exciting. It was a house with a very similar floor plan to the one we just sold, only it was bigger and had a great yard. All things we said we wanted and the familiar aspect of it was certainly a draw. However, it was priced way over what it will sell for. We think someone tried to flip it. They had bought it last year and now its back on the market at a significant price hike. Only they must not have done this before because they paid too much in the first place and then did renovations which did nothing to improve the value. For example they did new kitchen appliances which looked lovely but didn't change out the plastic counter and dirty, small sink? Then they put in laminate flooring which our realtor told us he found offensive in the price point they were selling in. (He is a hoot!) So all in all, I don't think they would ever accept the offer we would be willing to put in so it's a dead end unless something dramatic happens but it's a shame because the house had great bones, good neighborhood and great yard.

I'm getting increasingly agitated with the process and trying to keep focussed on embracing the present and not just wishing for the future.

I have been finding more time to sit quietly and read my Bible this year so far and even though it's a tough season I am finding rest in those times. I am able to hear God speaking to me through the scriptures and its a true encouragement.

I sense I will miss these days when we are in our own house again. I know I will miss the extra hands and eyes with the kids all day; the ease at which I can run an errand alone if I need to. And I will certainly miss only making dinner every other day!

Praying, praying, praying that our house comes on the market very soon and that we just know its the one for us. I'm ready. I have Pinterest boards coming out the wazoo with idea for our new spaces and I try to focus on that when I get down about everything moving slowly. Nothing like finding cute ideas for your baby girls bedroom to cheer my heart, especially since never got to make a nursery because we were planning a move! We can do nothing but wait, and be faithful to seek God as we do. We cannot make a house appear so we have to just have trust that we are in God's story right where we are and act accordingly.

Levi has been eager to get outside at every opportunity since the weather is warming up slightly and he has been making great use of Grandma and Grandpa's covered deck. In moments like that I remember the limitations of our old house and way we made the decision to move in the first place. I truly trust that our home is going to be revealed soon and I cannot wait! I am already imagining the kids playing outside this summer and having a blast, while I sip on iced tea and read a book, this is a fantasy after all.

I hope we will be spending Easter in our new house, and boy will we be feasting if we are but until than I'm reminding myself, one day at a time, keep my eyes on Jesus. Be here. Be present. Don't miss what he has for me, and for our whole family.


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