Friday, September 30, 2011

The Many Faces of Andrew

Newborns have great facial expressions! I swear Andrew can go from a totally non expressive look on his face to happy or sad in just a few seconds. And he has got some of the funniest faces I have ever seen. Allow me to show you. (Pardon the cell phone pics)

This is the "wide awake in the middle of the night" face!

The "don't disturb my sleep" face.

The "I really don't want to do tummy time, so please pick me up" face.

The "Feed me" face. (Being demonstrated on the carpet but it's usually when I'm holding him.)

"I'm sleepy" face.

"I'm really mad" face.

"I think I found my hands" face

"spit up" face

"Who you talking to?" face

AND his newest face "SMILE"!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Thankful Project

Recently I noticed that I spend a lot of my time complaining and/or being upset/angry/grumpy/cranky (the list could go on for a while...) about something. I discovered that I have a lot of self pity and I really wanted to do something about it. I don't want to look back on my kids' early years and realize that I spent all that time angry and upset. I want to have the kind of memories you find in storybooks. I want to be the mom that spent her time on the floor with her kids instead of being so worried about a clean house they have to play alone.

How did this realization come about? Well it was all thanks to MOPS Monday! My wonderful mentor mom challenged us to thank our husbands for the little things, things we may not even register that he does. She told us it would not only improve his mood, but ours as well. It could also open and improve communication, which is something I always struggle with! So I thought,

"Hey I should give this a try."  

I have a really bad habit of belittling the things Ryan does. If he comes home from work stressed out or tired, I have a quip all ready for him.
 "You're tired?? I was up every two hours with the baby last night"
"Do you even know how many times I've been puked on today, who cares about traffic?"
"Yeah well how many times did you deal with a bodily fluid today?" 
"At least people at work can talk to you!"

I know, I'm cringing too! No wife of the year awards here. I would like to blame it on hormones, but the truth is it was self pity. (I told you I had a lot of it.) I had been feeling sorry for myself, because things have been a little difficult around here. The kids have been behaving and it't not like I'm dealing with a huge crisis or anything, but our routine has changed since Andrew has come. Sarah's naps are unpredictable (and sometimes nonexistent), I have a harder time getting out of the house, my sleep is erratic, and it seems like our dogs have suddenly forgotten they were ever house trained! It's just the little things piling up and I was feeling like my life was nothing but one mess after the other. 

Enter MOPS... my attitude totally changed. I decided to make a conscious effort to have a more thankful heart. I want to notice the blessings I have and instead of getting angry about something, find something to be thankful for. So I'm going to be more appreciative of my husband. I'll thank him for taking out the trash, even if it is a chore I just expect him to do. I'll thank him for helping me or getting things for me. I'll notice, because if I'm honest, I don't notice when he does the little things. If the little things piling up can stress me why can't the good little things lift me up?

I'm going to take time to be thankful that Sarah can communicate well. And that even if she does dump out her toys, it's only because she wants to find something to do with her mom. I need to be thankful for the fact that she wants my attention because sometime (not too far away) she's going to choose friends over me. I need to realize that this time with Andrew, is not something I can get back. I should be thankful for all the cuddles and newborn smell. It won't last forever.

So in short, my mentor mom is a genius! I'm really excited about trying this theory. Because no one really likes going around being miserable. So my thankful project is to really be there and notice the things in my life I should be thankful for. It's really an attitude check if I'm being blunt and honest. (Which this blog is meant to be.) I'm very blessed in my life and while I may know that, I rarely take the time to acknowledge it. I am so thankful for a loving husband, a marriage that is constantly growing and improving, two healthy kids, and friends and family who support and love us!
My husband who loves me in spite of the fact that I am a crankypants!

My two BEAUTIFUL, LOVING babies!

Anyone else in need of a thankful project/attitude check?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Monster Baby

That's what Andrew is. It has absolutely nothing to do with his temperament though! *Knock on wood* It has to do with his size. We were at the pediatrician today and Andrew got weighed. To my complete shock he weighs 10 lbs 12.6 oz!!

See the reason we went to the pediatrician was because Andrew has been having spit up episodes for at least a week, He had been fussy at the breast, only wanting to eat for a few minutes and constantly unlatching and getting really frustrated. Then once he did finish his feed, he wouldn't burp and then would spit up either a little or A LOT! After another extreme, forceful vomiting episode last night, I decided he needed to be seen by the doctor.  I suspected acid reflux and I was totally right. They don't think it's a food allergy or anything else like that because his fussiness and spitting up is not related to foods that I am eating.

So since he's gaining weight and otherwise seems not too bothered by the spit ups, we are going on an unmedicated route. (Generally after he spits up, he's totally fine. And he doesn't scream before or after. Just acts frustrated while eating.) So anyway, we are going to be keeping him upright after feeds, burping him more frequently, and making sure he's eating and not just comfort sucking. But it looks like we have a "happy spitter" on our hands. While it's annoying to pack extra outfits for everyone and to be doing laundry constantly, I am happy that my boy isn't being harmed by all of this mess.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My sweet boy!

Eating a cupcake on Mommy's birthday!

After the cupcake was all gone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Month

So it's seriously been a month since Andrew was born?! That seems absolutely crazy to me. Part of me is in shock that it's been that long and another part of me can't believe it's only been a month. It seems like we've been a family of four much longer than that. But I remember clearly our hospital visit and all of my nervous energy about his birth. I was so worried about how this tiny boy was going to affect our family and how we would affect him.

I have to say that things have been going much smoother than I anticipated. I braced myself for days filled with tantrums (not just crying, but flinging herself on the floor and turning red tantrums), spit up covered clothes, too many dirty diapers to fit into a trash can, and a filthy apartment.The good news? It's totally not that bad.I think by preparing for the worst and expecting the worst, I've been able to be pleasantly surprised.

Sure there are days when one of those things happens (or more than one) but I've been handling it fairly well. I'm proud of the fact that all three of us are dressed and mostly clean by the time Ryan comes home. The apartment isn't spotless, but it's not something I'm ashamed of. I do at least one load of laundry and one load of dishes a day so nothing gets too far behind. (Now the laundry doesn't always get put away immediately but it's clean.) No, I'm not supermom. I don't even think that for a minute.  There are plenty of times when I get overwhelmed and think "What did I get into?" And there are lots of times when I feel like I don't have it together, but I know I am dealing with this much better this time because of two things. 1)Prior experience with a newborn 2)Prayer

Andrew is a great baby. He is content to swing or sleep and cries only for food. He's not too demanding and doesn't even get phased by Sarah's efforts to help Mama out. (Sometimes this is just bringing me things and other times it's her almost dumping him out of the bouncy seat.) I absolutely love cuddling him though and I really look forward to nap time so we can snuggle. Sarah is great about kisses and hugs too! Sometimes we just have to give her reminders about being gentle. I still find it a bit hard to balance quality time with both kids and making sure that Sarah isn't missing out on things like play dates and going to the park because I don't want the hassle of taking two kids out. But like I said, it's been a lot easier than I thought. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can't really be this blessed right? Here's hoping I am and that things stay pretty easy for us, because I have to say I'm loving our life right now. Andrew has truly blessed us and shown me that my heart has more room in it than I thought!

Andrew's stats

  • Size one diapers
  • Still in newborn clothes but some 0 - 3 are fitting now. 
  • Sleeps up to five hours!! Holy cow this Mama can get some rest if the toddler lets her.
  • He's nursing well and getting bigger each day.
  • He's beginning to be awake more often and notice things like patterns and noises.
  • Mama is his favorite person. Sometimes he stops crying just because I've picked him up. Then he snuggles in and falls asleep with a relaxed sigh. Melts my heart.

Little Man's typical afternoon pose!

Monday, September 12, 2011

MOPS Monday

Today was the first meeting of our new year of MOPS. I was so excited and nervous for this year to start. Part of it is because I am on the leadership team for MOPS. That in and of itself is totally crazy! I'm not that far into my journey of motherhood and here I am taking a leadership position to help other mothers? The other reason I was excited/nervous was because I knew I would have the opportunity to make new mom friends this year and I totally want to take advantage of it.

Last year I looked forward to MOPS because of the good food and I knew Sarah would nap well afterwards. I always enjoyed the message and listening to the other ladies talk, but I never really opened myself up to them. This year, I want to look forward to coming to a community of women who are my friends and I really want to put myself out there. The problem is that since leaving college, I've become a little more reserved and it's harder for me to branch and make new friends. Sometime in the past 18 months or so my brain has misplaced the ability to start conversations and make small talk. I'm guessing the middle of the night wake up calls and endless stories are to blame.

Anyway, our meeting went well and I felt much more connected to the ladies at my table this year. Maybe it's the addition of Andrew that makes me feel a bit more confident. Last year I was afraid of looking like a first time mom who "knew everything". This year, I'm not such a novice so to speak. (Yes I am aware that Andrew is only 3 weeks old, but he's alive and happy!) But back to our meeting, it was really a lot of fun. Great conversations, yummy food, and tuckered out kiddos. Sarah loved playing with all the other kids and the socialization is hopefully going to be good for her and maybe help with our sharing issues... My newsletter and welcome packets seemed to go over well. (I'm in charge of publicity so that involves writing the newsletter and I was really nervous about it.) I'm hoping the rest of this MOPS year brings lots of fun and more good times!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

10 years ago I was sitting in my high school chemistry class. The crazy chem teacher from next door came running into our room screaming and crying. I'm pretty sure just about everyone in our class rolled their eyes and thought to themselves that this time she had really lost it! After hearing her scream at us to turn on the TV, my teacher did. What we witnessed would change our lives forever. America was under attack, we would soon be at war, and a sense of underlying fear would become commonplace.

I spent the whole day at school just watching the news. Classes were halted and everyone, teachers and students, were glued to the television. Everyone was in a state of disbelief and shock! How could this happen to us? Why was this happening? In the days and weeks that followed, a new emotion replaced the fear. All of a sudden people seemed nicer to one another, more unified. Our school designed a t-shirt to raise money for those affected by the attacks. (I still have mine to this day and I absolutely love it!) Being an American meant something more than just being a privileged person, we were all proud of ourselves and country again!

And now 10 years later, I remember. I can still recall the fear I had in my heart as I watched the police and firefighters run into the buildings to help others, knowing they were risking their lives. I remember breathing a sigh of relief that my dad was no longer an active duty cop. And even if he had been, I was thankful for being in Kansas and not New York. I remember the tears on my teachers' faces and the gut wrenching emotion of a girl in my seminar class who had family in the towers. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that it has been ten years, because all of these memories are still as clear as day. I know that losing a loved one is not something you get over, it's something you get used to. So my thoughts and prayers are with all the families and friends who lost someone on that day. They live with the loss each and every day of their lives, so I think we can spare a few moments of our time to remember and mourn with them today!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Potty Training Already?

This afternoon I was in the bathroom putting on my make-up and Sarah decided to join me. This isn't an uncommon occurrence in our house, Sarah loves to watch Mommy and the "pretties". But this time she wanted to sit on her potty chair.We have a potty chair because she learned what the potty was while Mommy was pregnant with Andrew. Anytime I walked by the bathroom she would tell me. "Mommy potty." So Grandma bought her it in case she showed interest in going on the potty at all.  She drug the little chair out of its corner and put it right behind me on the floor. She then said clear as day "potty Mama". So I took off her diaper and let her sit there with her sippy cup of "wabie" (water).

I went back to doing my make-up and told her that if she went potty she would get to have her binky. We're trying to wean her from it and she's constantly asking for it. She only gets the "beebee" at bedtime/naps and in the car/stroller. Thinking back it probably wasn't the best reward for going potty, but it totally worked. (I was SO not expecting it to.) About 30 seconds after I said it, I heard a tinkling and I turned around to look in her chair and sure enough my baby had gone potty!

I was totally shocked! Sarah stood up and I yelled for Ryan and we all cheered. Then Sarah looked in the potty and said "uh-oh". I told her that it was a good thing and together we dumped the potty chair and flushed the big potty. So I'm thinking that I may need to invest in some type of reward system. What have any of you found that works? I was thinking M&M's or some other type of small candy. Although the binky worked, I'm not wanting to get hooked on it again just as we are weaning from it. Any tips on potty training from you mamas that have been through this?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Why Hello September!

I can't believe it's already September! Time is seriously flying! I think if the weather actually cooled down and stayed below 85, I would be able to believe that it's nearly fall. But here we are in the triple digits again. *SIGH* It makes it a little hard to take the big girl outside to play when the little one can't be out in these temperatures.

Anyway, today is Sarah's 17 month "birthday". Since coming home from the hospital with Andrew, I've really noticed just how big and grown up she's getting. I know she's still only a year old, but having a new infant at home really emphasizes her independence and development. She's still talking away. Sometimes it's a little hard to understand her, but most of the time we eventually figure out what it is she's saying. I love that we can have mini conversations now and that she gets really excited when telling us "stories." She seems to be growing up so fast, and sometimes I wish that time would just freeze so I could enjoy her in this stage a little longer.

I have to admit, I've felt a little pretty guilty about this big adjustment for her, but I think she's coping pretty well. She goes back and forth between loving Andrew and wanting to kiss him and help Mama out with him, and throwing herself on the ground in a tantrum when anyone is holding him and not paying attention to her. I think that's pretty normal. It's hard going from being the only child to having to share Mommy and Daddy. Especially since I'm nursing and I feel like Andrew is always eating! But I'm going to try and implement a special time during the week that Sarah and I can just have to ourselves. I think it's really important that she knows we didn't replace her and that she's still loved and cherished. I'm sure I'm overt hinking it and worrying way too much, but I can't help but feel that my girl may be feeling a little abandoned by Mama.

Today she's at Grandma's because she's been running a fever and our pediatrician was very worried about Andrew catching it. If he got sick it would mean an automatic hospital stay and spinal tap! Pretty scary! And I would feel guilty about that (in fact last night I was in tears because of it) but I know she loves spending time there and is having fun!  I just don't want her to feel like she's always getting shuffled around or that Andrew is more important than her.

But back to our pediatrician... Yesterday was Andrew's two week check up and he's not at birth weight yet!  He was 8 lbs 9 oz and the doc wanted him at 9 lbs. So frustrating because I was sure breastfeeding was going so much better this time. He's gaining 1/2 an ounce a day and not a full ounce. And on top of that he has a yeast infection in his diaper region. Add that to the fact that Sarah was sick and you have one overwhelmed Mama. So any tips for making sure breastfeeding works better this time would be greatly appreciated! I really want to avoid pumping or having to buy formula. (Nothing against formula, just an extra cost that I don't want with two in diapers.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Body Image Post Baby #2

I think it's common for postpartum moms to have a few body image issues. I know I do!  Even though I know that my body has done something amazing by growing, nourishing, and birthing a new human; I still have a few hangups about it. My stretchmarks are a big sore spot for me, but there are some good things about this being the second time I've been through this. I think my body knew it had to come back faster because I couldn't afford to be sore and rest up for weeks! I have to say that I am much happier with my post-baby body this time around.

For one I have lost ALL of the weight I gained while pregnant. Of course, Andrew was nearly 1/3 of it, but I'm still really impressed that I managed to drop all 30 pounds by 9 days postpartum! (As a rule, I don't weigh myself at home. I only know that I lost the weight because I was weighed at my blood pressure check on Monday.) And I ventured into non maternity clothes yesterday out of desperation. (Andrew peed on my last pair of clean maternity shorts.)  SO I took a deep breath and rummaged through my closet for some type of summer bottom that would fit. I was terrified that they wouldn't fit and I'd burst into tears. But lucky for me, they buttoned and weren't too snug. Although I think I prefer my yoga pants and maternity shorts for now. I'm hoping that the weather cools down a bit and I can start wearing my fall clothes that should fit  and have me feeling a bit more comfortable, seeing as how I bought all new ones last fall after Sarah was born!

Also my pain level have been much lower this time around! I was really happy about that! Who would have guessed that a 9lb baby would equal an easier recovery than a smaller baby! I'm walking normal and carrying on with life. Andrew and I even ventured out of the house together at 4 days postpartum. (I haven't braved taking both kids out in public by myself yet.) I have a lot more energy and just an overall better feeling which makes me feel better about myself.

One other thing that I have made sure is a priority is some down time to just take care of me. I didn't really take great care of myself after Sarah was born. Who cared what I was wearing or that my hair was a mess? I was just with a newborn and going to get spit up on anyway. This time though, I make sure to get in a nice hot shower/soak in the tub and do more with my hair than throw it in a ponytail! I'm not talking hours of time spent on my personal looks, but a few minutes here and there to put myself together has done wonders for my self esteem and mood this time around. Just a few small things make a world of difference! 

So while I may wish that the lower part of my stomach didn't have all these new stretchmarks and that my stomach was a little more toned. I am much more optimistic about how I look and I've already made plans to get into shape once I have the doc's all clear. (Having two kids to chase, means Mama really needs to make sure she kicks it in gear!)