Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lena's "3 Year" Interview

I was just reading some old blog entries and came across the birthday interview I did with Lucy, which reminded me that I never did one with Lena for her 3rd birthday. So here it is . . . just 3 months late. Haha. I didn't coach her for any of these answers, and wrote down exactly what she said - even if they didn't make much sense. Haha.

What do you and Mommy do together?
Go to the grocery store, go to some eating places

What do you and Daddy do together?
Wash the car

What makes you happy?
My stuff that I sleep with

What is something scary?
Thunder and rain and wind

What are you really good at?
Getting groceries

Who is your best friend?
Presley and Harper, Persephone and Quinn

Who’s the prettiest person you know?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A stager or a teacher of a class at church

What do you think about before you fall asleep?
My Ellies

Purple, pink, orange and red and green


Dora and Hannah Montana


Macaroni and cheese and cheese roll ups and grilled cheese


Favorite drink
Juice and water

TV Show
Curious George and Neighbor


Giraffe and elephant

ABC and Precious Baby Lena



Breakfast Food


Where’s your favorite place to go?
A pizza place

Favorite way to wear your hair

Friday, April 29, 2016

Levi: 2 Months

Little Levi is 2 months old today! 

As you can see, he is super expressive. Lol. (Takes after his dad.) Here's what he's up to lately:

He is a great sleeper. I really can't complain. He generally does about a 6 hour stretch followed by a 3 hour stretch at night. He eats at 10 or 10:30 pm and is up again at 4 or 4:30 am. He usually goes right back to sleep after that and gets up around 7:30 or 8 to eat again. Sometimes I have to fight with him a little bit to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. A lot of leaning over the side of my bed putting the binky back in his mouth and rocking the Rock N' Play. Haha. 

During the day, sleep is more sporadic. He tends to take cat naps throughout the day - usually in my arms. If I put him down, he immediately wakes up. I'm finally catching on to his tiredness cues. At first, I thought he wanted to eat or had a belly ache because he acts so mad, but I'm learning that he really fights sleep. If I get him in the right position and jiggle him hard enough while holding the binky in his mouth, I can usually get him to fall right to sleep. This is his favorite position:
He loves to put his hand inside my sweatshirt like that and hold onto my shirt.
He does take one good long nap in the afternoon, though. After his feeding around 11:30 or 12, I swaddle him, rock him to sleep, and put him in the Rock N' Play. He almost always sleeps 4 or 5 hours then! It definitely makes up for the cat-naps the rest of the day.

Breastfeeding is going pretty well. I think we have thrush again because he has white spots under his lips and I'm having some major pain - but only on one side. I don't understand how it wouldn't spread to the other side, so I'm not totally sure it's thrush? I have leftover Nyastatin from the last time, so I've been using that for a couple days. I'm not sure it's really helping. 

Other than that, though, things are good. He eats every 2.5 - 3 hours, usually does both sides and is done in about 20 minutes. He definitely prefers the right side. I remember Lena having a preference too. So weird. (And weird how my body catches on and produces more on the right than the left!) He sometimes gets really fidgety (especially on the left side) and tries to burrow his head into my armpit without unlatching. You can imagine how pleasant that feels!! 

His two month appointment is May 9, so I'll update with stats then, but at least according to my scale, he's still pretty tiny - less than 10 lbs. He's just finally starting to fit into some 3 month onesies and sleepers. 3 month pants are all huge on him. But I've been enjoying having some more variety with his wardrobe! He also moved up to size one diapers this week - only because I have a huge stash of them, ran out of newborn, and didn't want to buy more. The 1s are a little big, but we haven't had any leakage problems, so they're sufficient. 
3 month outfit . . . scrawny legs!
On Lucy's bed
Milestones and Personality
The most exciting new milestone is that he's finally starting to smile! He's definitely my latest smiler. Not sure if that's because he's a boy or if it's because he was 2 weeks early, but it's so fun to finally get some emotion (other than anger) out of him! They're not terribly regular yet, and hard to capture on camera, but here are some of my best efforts:

He's usually kicking while smiling, and my phone's camera doesn't handle the movement very well.

He's also starting to coo a little bit. He's most vocal after I change his diaper and he's laying on the floor in front of me. We have lots of meaningful conversations in our changing spot on the floor.
I think his eyes might stay blue! What are the odds 2/3 of my kids would get blue eyes when brown (what I have) is so dominant?!
He's kind of a strange baby and really loves tummy time. Sometimes when he's cranky for no apparent reason, I'll plop him on the floor on his belly and he'll just lay his head down like this and relax for a while:

He has great head control, too, and does hold his head up and look around. I just don't have a picture of that.

He's kind of a fussy baby. In general, if he's not eating or sleeping, he's fussing. He wants to be held most of the day. I can set him down for about two minutes at a time before he starts crying. (Although I do think he's getting better. He sat in the bouncy seat for 10 minutes tonight while I made dinner!)
Yes, I take pictures of his crying face. It's adorable!

"Everyone show me your sad face!"
He has a hilarious pout face. I have yet to capture the full-lip, but here's the beginning stage:

You may have noticed that he has a burp cloth under his head and puke on his clothes in most of the above pictures. He's still a major puker. Some days I feel like it's getting better. Some days I change his clothes (and mine!) 4 times a day. I keep burp cloths in every room, do a lot of laundry, and have learned to live with puke-covered nursing tanks (because I only have 4!). Haha.

Overall we're doing very well. He's needy, but I'm learning to let things go and enjoy him. And I'm thankful we have a lot of help. I pass him off to my mom regularly. And even Lucy is very helpful. She knows how to calm him down and loves to hold him if I need a minute to do something. Both of the girls still adore him. They're constantly in his face, cooing over him, and begging to hold him.
Not a great pic, but it shows how they're always smothering him. Haha,

And I'm doing really well. I definitely have my moments of feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, but I'm not experiencing the crushing depression I had after Lena, nor the crippling anxiety I had with Lucy. I'm down almost 20 lbs - only 9 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but I only have one pair of jeans that fits. My maternity jeans are huge and saggy, but I can barely button most of my regular jeans. I also have a major belly still. Patience, patience . . . My back still hurts something fierce. Levi likes to be walked and jiggled, but I can only handle about 5 minutes at a time before my back starts screaming in pain. My sciatic and pelvic pain are gone, though. Thank the Lord! 

We love our precious boy and already can't imagine life without him. He's worth the flabby belly, aching back, and excessive laundry! Haha.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. We got serious about the van search this week. It was an incredibly frustrating process. It was such a pain to find time when Justin and I could both drive down to the dealership. I do not understand why dealerships close at 6 pm during the week and are open for just a few hours on Saturday. Don't people who buy cars have jobs? Ugh. It was also a major pain to haul all 3 kids down there, transfer their carseats for every test drive, and keep them fed and entertained. I hate the whole car-buying process. After getting burned with our last car we're a little gun-shy. My extremely scientific facebook poll unanimously suggested getting either a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. So that's where I started my search. But it became quickly apparent that the only Odyssey or Sienna in our price range is at least 15 years old and most have 200,000 miles or more on them. Ugh. So then it was a toss-up between old but reportedly reliable or newer and less recommended. We ended up going with the latter and buying a 2006 Town and Country. It's still not very new, and it still has plenty of miles on it, but it has some nice features that I'm going to enjoy. We debated financing something nice and new(ish) and hoping it'll last us for the next 10 years while our kids are little. But we've worked so hard to get out of debt in the past few years that it seems like going backwards to take out a new loan now. The new van is nothing special, but it's good enough. Oh! And we got a great deal on it! I almost forgot the most exciting part! We had a price in mind that we really didn't want to go over. And this van was listed at $995 over that - which didn't even include tax or title fees. I was on the fence after test driving it and had no emotional attachment to it. So when the salesman hemmed and hawed, I literally stood up, put my purse on my shoulder and said, "That's ok. We'll keep looking." He quickly went to find his manager. The manager tried to get me to go up on the price a little bit too, but I didn't budge, and I won! We got it for the number we wanted including the tax and title fees. Woohoo! I've never negotiated over a price in my life! I was so proud!

2. The other exciting news this week is my 16 year old nephew's brain surgery! The poor kid had a headache for 16 days straight, punctuated by random high fevers and one bout of vomiting. My sister brought him to the doctor and she sent them to the ER for a CAT scan. The ER doctors didn't think a CAT scan was necessary, diagnosed him with strep, gave him a strong antibiotic and told him he'd feel better in a few days. When he still had the headache and random fevers a few days later, Niki took him back to the doctor. This time she ordered the CAT scan herself. Niki and Tayton went down to the CAT scan Thursday at 6 pm. It was a quick process. They were told they might not get the results til next week, so went home thinking nothing of it. As they were pulling into their driveway, Niki got a call saying they needed to turn around immediately and go back to the hospital. She called me at this point and we were all feeling a little nervous, but hoping it was just a problem with the machine or something unimportant. She texted me a little while later saying they were brought to a private room waiting to have a conference with the doctor and they already had a room number where Tayton was going to be admitted. At this point, we knew it was serious. Of course, I was immediately thinking brain cancer or inoperable tumor or an aneurysm that could burst at any time. It was an agonizing wait. My mom and I eventually drove down to the hospital to be with Niki and Tayton since Mike (Niki's husband) was in Orlando for a work conference! When we got there, Niki told us it was a brain infection. It's amazing how relieved we were to hear it was just a little brain infection. Haha. Tayton had surgery Friday morning at 7:30. The doctor literally drilled a dime-sized hole in Tater's head and drained out tons of infection-filled pus. He was shocked by how much came out. Tayton is doing great. He's up and around, acting totally normal, just in a little pain from the surgery. He'll be on strong antibiotics for the next six weeks, but is going to completely recover! Praise the Lord!

3. Ok, how about a couple shorter points?! Lena loves to talk about what Levi might be when he grows up. I don't know why she doesn't think about what she wants to be. She just loves to come up with ideas for Levi. Here are a few of her suggestions from this week: a soccer ball player, lion, pizza cooker, desk maker, paper maker, trumpet player, cleaner, or firefighter. Haha.

4. Levi has finally started to smile a little bit! They're still very few and far between, but he's definitely starting to figure it out. It is adorable. The first time he gave me a full, big smile my immediate thought was of this picture of Lucy:

I don't think they really look much alike, but the smile reminded me so much of her. Levi's also been trying so hard to talk and coo. He mostly just opens his mouth really wide and studies my face really hard. Haha.

5. I read a couple great articles from the same blogger this week. This one has been floating around facebook a lot this week: This Stage of Life? It's Hard. This was my favorite line:
You don’t know the answers to ANYTHING, but you feel constant pressure to figure out EVERYTHING.
I strongly identified with the hard things she shared about mothering young kids. But I loved the ending, when she shared some of the beautiful things:
It’s the stage where your kids love you more than they are EVER going to love you again, for the whole rest of your life. It’s the stage where they can fit their entire selves into your lap to snuggle…and they want to.
 It’s the stage where you get to see Christmas, Halloween and the Fourth of July through your kids eyes, and it’s so much more fun and magical than it would be just through your own eyes.
It’s the stage of life filled with field trips, class parties, costumes, swim lessons, bubble baths, dance parties, loose teeth, and first steps. And those things are so fun. 
Such a good reminder. I also loved this blogger's related article called Things I Don't Do. She talks about how it's ok to give yourself permission not to do certain things as a mom - even if other moms are doing it. Like being a room mom or eating all organic or throwing Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. I don't do any of those things. I also don't fight with the girls over what they wear (to a degree):

6. I forgot to mention in my Saturday 7 last week that last Friday Justin and I went to a seminar at our church on sex-trafficking. I hate thinking about that kind of thing and like to live in ignorant bliss, but I know that's stupid. I need to be aware of the warning signs and have some tools to protect my children (and myself). Of course it largely just made me paranoid, but that's to be expected. I've also been thinking a lot about sexual abuse in general and how we really need to start talking to Lucy about "safe touches" and other cringe-worthy topics like that. Ugh. I hate that we have to have conversations about it, but my eyes have been opened lately to how prevalent it is. Until recently, she was never really away from me. But now she's going to school and AWANA and she's old enough to play with her friends without constant supervision, so I feel like I need to be a little more vigilant. I came across this book on Pinterest, and think I'll probably get it for her to start some conversations. Do you think she's old enough for this kind of discussion? She's anxious like me and I hate the idea of giving her more to worry about. :-( 

7. Speaking of things for her to worry about, yesterday after school she said, "I was scared all morning today." When I asked why, she said, "We had to talk about Code Red today." Sigh. Code Red is for a dangerous intruder in the school. We definitely did not have those kind of drills when I was a kid. Lucy said they didn't actually have to practice anything. They just discussed a plan of action. It was sadly sweet when she told me they have to run in a zig-zag pattern away from the school so if the bad guy tries to throw a rock at them, he won't know which way to throw it. Doesn't that just make you sick to your stomach? Maybe I'll reconsider homeschooling after all . . .

That's a terrible way to end, so here are some cute pictures from the week:
Lena insisted on having her picture taken with the globe. Lol.
Watching "George" together
Lucy wore this outfit to bed, kept it on all night, and came down in the morning with it on. Haha.
Reading time
I don't even know . . . lol

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. What a week. I was miserably sick most of it. I came down with a cough last Wednesday and it just got worse and worse throughout the weekend. I couldn't sleep. I had no appetite. My whole body hurt from coughing so much. My abs and back and ribs were horribly sore from coughing so violently. Not to mention my poor shredded throat. It's one thing to be up every few hours in the night feeding a sweet baby. It's another thing entirely to be up hacking your guts out. Ugh. Fortunately, I had my 6 week postpartum checkup already scheduled for Monday. The Dr. had pity on me and wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic and a cough suppressant. It took a few days to kick in, but by Thursday I was starting to feel a bit more normal. And by yesterday, my coughing fits had significantly reduced. I'm still hacking every once in a while, but not nearly as much. Praise the Lord! Of course now both of the girls are coughing, and even Levi has a little cough - although it's not terrible. Someone in this house has been sick since Levi was born and it's getting real old! Thank goodness Spring has finally arrived. It's time to open some windows, shoo some children outside, and get some fresh air!

2. Remember when I was hugely pregnant and miserable and crying about how I didn't feel God's sustaining grace? (My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. -1 Cor. 12:9) Well this week, I experienced that grace and figured I better be publicly thankful for it after being a brat so publicly a few months ago. Tuesday morning I was exhausted from being up all night feeding Levi and coughing. I figured between the two, I had gotten 4 hours of interrupted sleep. I was miserable and wondering how I would get through the day with all 3 kids. Around 9:00 Levi fell asleep in the swing and I slumped over in my chair in dozed off. I knew the girls would wake me up any minute, so I didn't plan on getting much rest. But God showed his grace in that the girls played together so nicely for an hour! They sat on the floor next to me doing play-doh and reading books. They even cleaned up after themselves when they were done!!! Then they built a fort and set up a stage to do a show. I "mom-slept" for an hour in my chair!!

Sure, my living room looked like this afterward, but it was so worth it. Thank you, Lord!

3. I got the OK from the doctor this week to up Levi's Zantac dosage now that he's gained some weight. I paid to get the medicine flavored after the first week of him screaming every time I poured it down his throat. It helped, but he still wasn't a fan of taking it twice a day, and there was still screaming. The doctor said I could give it to him in a bottle of pumped milk, but I really didn't want to give him a bottle twice a day. Then I stumbled upon this awesome tip online that has made all the difference. I put a bottle nipple in his mouth, wait for him to start sucking, then squirt the medicine directly into the nipple. He gets to control the flow and sucks it right down without choking and gagging and spitting half of it out. And he usually doesn't even protest! He just drinks it up! Success!

4. Today I found a van on that looked promising, so Justin and I threw the girls in bed, left them with my mom, grabbed Levi, and hurried down to the dealership to check it out. By the time we got there it had a sold sign on it. *sigh* I was ready to buy it. I'm so sick of looking and weighing pros and cons and worrying about buying a lemon. I just want to buy one and be done with it! We spent the next hour driving around looking for car dealerships. We found tons of dealerships but very few vans - and almost nothing that is older than 10 years old or cheaper than $10,000. Big fat disappointing fail.

5. Mini Levi Update of the week: He turned 6 weeks old on Monday. He's gotten into a good sleeping pattern at night of 5 hours followed by 3, then another 3. I can't complain too much about that! Although he doesn't usually go to sleep at night 'til 10 or 11. That's kind of nice because then I go to bed when he does and get a solid 5 hours of sleep. But it's kind of a pain when I want to go to bed earlier than that.

Trying to get him to nap with me . . . no avail . . .
When I weighed him today he was up to almost 10 lbs. Woohoo! But he's been pretty fussy still. Today he's been crying a lot, wanting to eat every hour and a half, and only cat-napping. Not sure if that's just normal baby fussiness or if it's reflux related.
This outfit is too short on his legs. He's actually starting to outgrow some of his newborn clothes!

My mom just bought him this outfit (size NB) and it's already a little snug. Yay! Growing!
I'm a little disappointed that he's almost 7 weeks old and still doesn't smile. Justin and I have each gotten about half a smile from him once or twice, but nothing big or consistent. Patience, patience . . .

6. Today was the first really warm day we've had all year - mid seventies! - so I declared it "family outside time." We have been cooped up in this house with our screens and sickness for far too long, so we broke out the short sleeves and headed out into the sunshine!

7. Well Levi's ready to eat again, so here are a few more pictures from our week to end with:
Terrible photography, but the moment had to be captured: future soccer star.

I wish my sisters would be quiet!!
I think she's getting some molars. Her fingers are constantly in her mouth. But look at those lashes!

Haha. Oh Lena . . .
Pin It