Monday, August 29, 2016

Levi: 6 Months

I'm feeling pretty emotional about my baby being half way to a year! This is such a fun age, and it's slipping away so quickly!

He is usually a happy, laid back baby. He loves people, loves attention, will smile at anyone, and gives giggles freely. I feel like he's chunked out a lot this month. When I weighed him a couple weeks ago on our scale, he was 15 lbs. We have a WIC appointment on Wednesday, so I'll update with the official weight then.

He's still not doing much. Haha. He doesn't roll. He doesn't sit. He doesn't scooch. He does jump and kick and flail his arms all day long. And he's getting better at putting weight on his legs and holding himself up if you stand him up. It's interesting that he seems to be the opposite of what's expected for boys. He's a little behind with the gross motor, but I think he's more social/gregarious than the girls were at this age. I looked up Lena's 6 month update, and she was already having major separation anxiety. Levi hasn't shown any of that yet.

I'm also impressed by how vocal he is. He's already making consonant sounds - dada, gaga, etc. I know it's too early and he doesn't mean anything, but he sounds like he's talking sometimes! Haha.

I think he's stretching his feedings . . . for real this time. For the past week or so, he's been making it 3.5-4 hours between feedings. And, today, for the first time, he got his first taste of real food: pureed peas.
The girls were so excited to help feed him.

He was mildly interested. He did munch on it a little and swallowed a few bites. We also tried puffs. He had no clue how to pick them up, so I bit one in half and popped it in his mouth. He made some hilarious faces, but then got right down to chewing. He did gag on it a little, but got it back up and chewed some more til it dissolved. I'm not pushing the food at all. We'll just keep playing with it for a while.

Sleep continues to be hit or miss. Some nights he sleeps for 9 straight hours, sometimes he wakes up every 3.  A couple times lately, he's woken up in the middle of the night and wanted to stay awake for an hour or two! What the whaaat? Naps are all over the place. He's not sleeping in the swing as much because the girls are too loud and wake him up. But he doesn't very consistently sleep in the rock n' play either. He sleeps in the car or on me a lot. So today I decided to start sleep training. Now that school is back in session, we need to get in a good routine. My goals are to get him out of the swaddler, out of the Rock N' Play, and going to sleep on his own in his bed without me rocking him to sleep. I may have tried too much at once today. I set up the pack n' play, put him in this weird "Magic Sleepsuit" thing that's supposed to help transition from the swaddler, and laid him in bed sleepy but awake.
He cried for a long time [I'm too scared of criticism to tell you exactly how long], but never fell asleep. It was torture for both of us. I tried the "Ferber" method where you go in and comfort them without picking them up every 2 minutes, then every 5, then 10, etc. It just made him madder every time he saw me and I wouldn't rescue him. Eventually, I took him out of the sleepsuit because it was making him so hot. But he still wouldn't go to sleep. Every time I reached down to pat him or put his Binky back in his mouth, he grabbed onto me like this:
Clinging to my arm with his hands and feet. "Don't leave me!"
I ended up giving up. We went out for lunch, so he napped in the car for about 20 minutes. For his afternoon nap, I tried a sleepsack (swaddler without the arms pinned down) in the Rock N' Play. Kind of a happy medium. But he just screamed and screamed and still wouldn't sleep. Again, he ended up sleeping for 20 minutes in the car when we went to pick Lucy up from school. And then he wouldn't nap the rest of the day. He just cried and rubbed his eyes and refused to give in. I nursed him to sleep wearing the sleepsack at 7:30 and managed to transfer him to the Rock N' Play without waking him up. He's been sleeping for two hours, so we'll see how that goes . . .

Picture time!

First time in a lake.
He loves playing "roll the ball" with his sisters.
No teeth in sight, but his fingers are always in his mouth.
He loves to have his hands up by his head.
He adores the bath.
Has the best dimples.
He's such a blondie! The girls always had very dark hair.
He loves reading.
Loves his sisters.
Can't get enough of the Jumperoo!
First card game (with Aunt Libby)
First shirt with his name on it. Haha.
Gotta love the button up shirt 
First wedding
He was not impressed

Happy 6 months, baby boy! We love you so much!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The "Saturday" 7

I have to write this up quickly because I need to get in bed. School starts tomorrow, and I'm not ready for my early wake-up call!

This is late because yesterday was the big wedding!! More on that later. We have some other stuff to catch up on first.

1. Last Saturday after writing my Saturday 7, I took the girls to the nail salon in Meijer to get our wedding pedicures. They were swamped, so we had to wait forever. Finally, Lucy got in the chair and they got started on her nails while Lena and I waited for another tech to open up.
All of a sudden, the radio broke in with an announcement for a tornado warning in our county. It wasn't storming, though, so I figured it was just in a different part of our county. Sure enough, it was south of us, but moving in our direction. At first I wasn't too worried. Historically, Michigan hasn't seen much tornadic activity - and when we do, it's just a little swirling in the clouds. But then, the sirens started going off outside. And the radio continued to break in with multiple reports of touchdowns, and the storm strengthening as it tore in our direction. The anxiety was rising up in me, so I texted Justin, "Tornado?" He responded, "It's coming your direction. You better come home." So then I was real nervous. Justin never worries about storms. He always tells me it'll be fine. The fact that he was even slightly worried made me very anxious. Haha. So I told the guy to finish Lucy's toes and Lena and I would come back later. We ran through the pouring rain to our car and I sped a few miles to our friends' house because I was nervous about driving all the way home. Our gracious friends let us hide in their basement and keep an eye on the radar as the storm totally swerved to the east and missed us altogether. All that anxiety for nothing! Haha.

2. So on Tuesday, we tried again. This time, all 3 of us were able to get our toes done sans tornadoes. (They graciously re-did Lucy's polish for free because it got really smudged while running through the rain.) I wasn't sure how Lena would do, but she loved it and followed directions and held still the whole time.

3. We got to go to school and meet Lucy's teacher on Wednesday. Her teacher this year for 1st grade is Mrs. Kebless. Justin and I both had Mrs. Kebless as our teacher in Kindergarten 26 years ago. Circle of life. Haha. As soon as Lucy walked in the door on Wednesday, Mrs. Kebless gasped and said, "Oh! It's a flashback of Sadie!" Haha. I'm sure I'll be hearing that often throughout the year as Lucy is becoming more and more like me. Lucy loved seeing her desk and getting her books and checking out the classroom. It's amazing how excited and at ease she is about going back to school. She was a little shy with her teacher, but for the most part, she can't wait to go back and isn't nervous at all. It breaks my heart to think that she'll probably have to switch schools at some point (Christian school ain't cheap, yo.) She knows all the kids in her class, she's comfortable with the school, she's even comforted by the fact that Justin and I and most of our siblings have had and loved this same teacher before! I'm excited for her to go back.

4. And now for the wedding update! Good news, guys: my spanx came on time. Even better news: I didn't have to wear it! Haha. We went Goodwill shopping on Monday in search of wedding attire and I found a fabulous dress in my size with these perfect layers of ruffles that completely disguised my post-baby belly. And the best part: it was $6! Then I found the perfect pair of shoes at Once Upon a Child for $3.50! They were heels, which I wanted, but also strappy sandals, so there was the perfect spot for my bunion to stick through. Hahaha. I joked that I needed to find a dress that would work for nursing and shoes that would work for my bunion. And I found both for under $10! Woot!

5. Thursday through Saturday was all wedding prep all the time. On Thursday, I joined some of Niki's other fabulous friends and we browned 60 lbs of ground beef, made 200 brownie bites, scooped 250 cups of ice cream, and made 200ish favors. And then we spent allll day Friday decorating and prepping and setting tables and transporting things to the church and doing a hundred million other little details. It was crazy and chaotic, but so much fun. I love spending all that time with my family and working together to create a beautiful day for someone we love. Tyler and Rieley (my nephew and new niece) have spent months planning this gorgeous wedding and we were happy to help carry out some of the details. I'm very grateful to have a husband that can step in and take over the childcare without missing a beat while I'm running around like a crazy person. The kids were awesome and flexible. Even Levi did great with being away from me (for a few hours at a time - I still had to feed him every 3-4 hour hours since bottles are obviously torture instruments from Hell).

6. And then Saturday was the big day. We decided at some point this week that it was futile to expect Lena to walk down the aisle by herself, and we might as well just plan on Lucy being a co-flower girl. So the three of us went to Niki's house where everyone was getting ready bright and early on Saturday morning. Our fabulous sister-in-law, Esther, curled all of our hair.

And did all of our make-up:

It was so fun to hang out all morning and watch everyone getting ready. My nephews were all in the wedding and they're crazy and fun.

It rained all morning, so we went to a local greenhouse for pictures. This one that the photographer put up as a "sneak peek" is my new favorite:
My heart!
Lena did not have a wonderful attitude. She was overwhelmed and nervous and just plain ole naughty some of the time. Haha. This was her attitude much of the day:

But she warmed up as the day went on, and when it came down to it, she actually walked down the aisle!! I wasn't sure it would happen, even with Lucy there to help her. But they did a great job. I didn't get very good pictures on my phone, so this is all I have for now:

The wedding was beautiful. Rieley looked amazing. Tyler couldn't stop grinning. Niki couldn't stop crying. Haha.
Another one the photographer put up today. (staciebphotography - we love her!)
7. And the reception was so much fun. Everything went off without a hitch. We even remembered to get a family picture.

So many great memories. Such a fun day, and a great way to end the summer. Now, back to reality!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. It's wedding week!! My nephew is getting married one week from today! Lena is supposed to be the flower girl, but that's looking pretty unlikely. Until recently, she at least said she was excited. Now she's saying she doesn't even want to do it. Ha. Lucy's going to be the back-up flower girl. But of course, I don't have a dress for her. Or shoes for either of the girls. Or an outfit for Levi. I borrowed a dress for myself and am planning on borrowing some shoes. Good news, though. I bought my own spanx. Haha. Although I ordered it online and it still hasn't arrived . . . Check back next week for the update! (Not on the spanx, on the wedding, and Lena's participation.)
Attempting to put an outfit together for Levi.
2. Levi has finally discovered the joy of the jumperoo. Until this week, he just kind of swayed in it and got bored after about 2 minutes. But all of a sudden, he figured out how to jump and is loving it! He'll jump in that thing for half an hour at a time! And it's so good for his underdeveloped leg muscles. I'm hoping we'll see some improvement for his 6 month appt. in September.
He wouldn't stop jumping long enough for me to get a non-blurry picture!
3. Well, I finally did it. I had the awful "body safety" talk with the girls this week. I've been doing research and pinning articles for weeks. I originally planned on taking the girls out for a girls' day and then having a talk about all the safety rules. But then I found a couple books that said it so much better than I could. I read through them and put them on my nightstand. On Thursday, Lucy found the books and asked me to read them to her. So the girls climbed into bed with me while I was feeding Levi and I nonchalantly read the books without making a big deal out of it. Then I quizzed them a little bit afterward to make sure they were paying attention. I hate that we have to have conversations like this. We sure didn't talk about this stuff when I was a kid, but my eyes have been opened lately to how many people have been affected by this crap. It's so much more prevalent than I realized, and I have to do everything in my power to protect my kids from it - even if the conversations are uncomfortable. And I'm doing my best to act like it's no big deal so it doesn't have to be uncomfortable and awkward. One of the suggestions in my research was to share the rules I've taught my kids so that our friends and family don't accidentally break them. Here are the big ones:

  - I'm the boss of my body: I don't have to hug, kiss, or touch anyone I don't want to . . . This is going to be a hard one. My family is affectionate, but my girls are not. I'm always saying, "Oh stop it. Just give him a hug and be nice." We're also really bad about bribing my girls for affection. "If you give me a hug, I'll give you some candy!" It's seriously not as nefarious as it sounds, but it's really sending them the wrong message.

- We don't keep secrets . . . Again, right now, it's so innocent. We tell silly secrets. It's never anything bad. But we need to change our vocabulary. They need to learn early on that "Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets, hurt someone!" Haha.

Here are the books I read if you're interested. I really liked both of them.
I loved the Christian aspect of this one. It's out of stock on Amazon, but I found a copy through the library's interloan program. I'll probably buy it when it gets back in stock.
Amazon Link
4. Of course, I had already told the girls we were going to do a girls' day (with the intent of doing the body safety talk), so even though we read the books and did our talk at home, they still insisted on a girls' day. Originally, they each wanted their own. Lena wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese and Lucy wanted to get her nails done. But when it came time to take Lena to Chuck E. Cheese, Lucy decided she wanted to go too. So then Lena decided she wanted to get her nails done too. Oy. This girls' day turned into an expensive girls' weekend. We did Chuck E. Cheese last night, and are going to get our nails done today. Oh well. We're making memories. And we didn't do any fun vacations or trips this summer, so I guess this is it.

5. The other day, I was pulling into the Meijer parking lot when I noticed a man standing next to his car way in the back of the lot writing in a notebook. My first thought was, "Man, I wish I could be somewhere by myself to write in a notebook." Lol. I think I've gone off the introverted deep end. We've been very busy lately, Lena has been especially clingy, and Levi has been especially grumpy/needy. I miss having alone time. That man at Meijer was probably working on his grocery list. I'm sure it was nothing fun or exciting, but I was jealous of his alone-ness. Of course, I feel horribly guilty admitting that. I adore my kids and love spending time with them. I'm not jumping for joy at the thought of Lucy going to school every day in a couple weeks. I know I'd be lonely and bored without them after about one day. But I wouldn't turn down the chance to be away from them for like 12 straight hours . . . during daylight hours. Haha. Someday when Levi is done nursing every 3 hours/refusing to take a bottle I will go thrift shopping and bookstore hunting and coffee shop sitting with my notebook. Until then, I'll just stay up 'til 11:30 every night binging on brownies and Blue Bloods and regretting it in the morning!

6. I've also been having a really hard time parenting lately. Lena's behavior is out of control and I don't know what to do with her. I'm at my wit's end with her whining and crying and throwing fits. I was feel really defeated and discouraged, so I went back through all my old blog entries with the label "parenting," and I came across this from November 2013:

" Lucy and I had kind of a rough week. She is entering the whiny phase with a vengeance. I need to nip it in the bud, but I'm kind of at a loss. It's not just a whiny voice. It's this teeth-clenching, mind-numbing, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard fake cry that goes on and on and on. One day this week, we went to the dollar store 5 minutes from our house. 1 mile down the road she said, "I forgot to bring my balloon!" (She wanted to bring her balloon in the car with her.) When I refused to go back and get it, she cried the rest of the way to the store, the whole time we shopped, and the whole way home. Grrrrr. It makes me crazy. She seriously cries more than Lena does."

Lucy was exactly the same age when I wrote that as Lena is now. So it's not just me! It's my kids at 3.5 years old! It's just a rough age. And it's especially draining/difficult for me because now and when Lucy was that age, I was/am nursing an infant that won't take a bottle, so I get very few kid-free breaks. Lucy's getting to a much easier age, so I feel like there's hope for Lena. It's just a phase . . . a long phase, but it'll be over soon enough . . .

7. This week in pictures:

Redneck Lena . . .

He loves reading

Lucy has become a voracious reader. She carries her book with her everywhere and is constantly reading. 
In Pizza Hut
Trying on Halloween costumes at Grandma's store. Lucy wanted to pose like this because she was being Elsa singing on the mountain. 
So then Lena had to pose the same way:
Lol - this girl can drive me crazy, but she can also make me laugh so hard
Good news, guys. I fed my baby in the Target food court and didn't get harassed

Maybe next summer . . .
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