Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stats: Month Eight


River at 8 months:

Sleeping:  We had major sleep regression this month.  River started waking up at least once every night to nurse, sometimes twice.  We decided to leave him in his own room, in his own bed, despite the tempting convenience of just putting him in with us, in order to keep his routine in tact.  He still goes to sleep around 7-7:30 and then wakes up some time between 10-12 to nurse.  Some nights, he wakes up again around 3 to nurse again and then he is usually up around 7 in the morning.  Thankfully, he nurses himself right back to sleep very quickly.  I feel that this is all due to a growth spurt and major teething woes.  With time and consistency, River will start sleeping a lot better soon.  And the rest of us with him...
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Feeding:  River is ALL ABOUT eating.  He is now eating three meals a day as well as nursing 6-8 times a day.  This month, we added lots of new foods to his menu including pineapples, mangoes, pears, peaches, zucchinis, plums, and steel cut oats.  He loves to snack on organic baby puffs but I really try to limit snacks, just as I do with the girls, to only once a day.  Nursing seems to be River's greatest teething comfort and eating 3 full meals a day has not slowed down his breastfeeding sessions at all.  I am still pumping twice a day while I am at work to keep up with this growing boy's demands.


Health:  River has been teething BAD.  He currently has two bottom middle teeth, one upper middle tooth, and one upper incisor.  He has been working on his other upper middle tooth all month long with lots of crying in between.  His amber necklace keeps the drooling and fever at bay but we also incorporate Ibuprofen and teething tablets when the pain gets too bad.  In the meantime, he chews on everything and has bitten each of us at least once.  Teething is tough business.

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Milestones:  This month, River started full on crawling and pulling up in the same week!  He moves FAST and follows us all around the house.  He says "mama", "dada", "baba", and coos and shrieks incessantly. He has the sweetest little laugh and is very ticklish.  River loves to play with his blocks and his Daddy's guitar.  Shawn plays guitar and piano with him a lot and he loves to strum and beat of his instruments.  He loves to be outside and hangs out in his sling while I water the garden every night.  River learned to wave this month. When we bring him downstairs after his nap, he peeks out from our arms and starts waving at everyone, squealing and bouncing up and down.


You are the sweetest boy, River Scott.  I love you so much and need to finish baby proofing this house asap as I can only imagine the kinds of shenanigans you are about to get into!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Update, and Photos!

For the last few months, I have been yearning for change in my professional life.  Though I have loved my current job and poured my blood, sweat, and tears into this company for the last 3 years, my heart was just ready for the next step, a new challenge.  I started networking, putting out my resume and researching my options.  I received several offers, different options for me to weigh out.  Some jobs would give me more money, some required longer hours, one offered an amazing benefit package while another would provide an excellent learning experience.  I made dozens of lists with pros and cons and considerations, taking my time and ensuring that I made the right decision for our family.  My heart was set, pretty much from the beginning, on one job in particular: another home health company, a better management team, opportunities to grow, less call but more job skills.  That job sailed to the top of my list and stayed there, my hopes already up despite my logical brain telling them not to.  I was patient but persistent, knowing that this was where I was supposed to be.  I turned down several tempting offers, holding out for the job at the top of my list.  It was a gamble, but I just knew.  And, thankfully, last week, I finally got the call that I have been waiting for: the job was mine!  I said goodbye to the company I helped get off the ground, the patients and families I have spent so much time loving and caring for, and I set out for my next adventure.

I don't do well with change and I often have to push myself to move past my comfort zone.  My last job had become very comfortable, predictable, and easy.  I wasn't growing, I wasn't challenging myself professionally. It's time to move beyond the big fish in the little pond scenario that I've been living in.  I'm ready for the big ocean, the deep seas.  I'm ready to be more. So, here I go: the next chapter unfolding and a whole new adventure waiting for me.  I am excited to see where my life as a nurse will take me next.

And now, an update via photos and a few words, too...

River has fallen in love with our horse sized lab, Ozzy.  He wants to pet Ozzy, climb on top of Ozzy, lick Ozzy, and annoy this poor animal to death.  Despite his ferocious size, our sweet dog patiently allows our baby to love on him to no end.  These two will be best buddies later, I am sure of it.

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Brees is currently obsessed with pirates, superheros, and spaceships, in no particular order.  Her imagination is UNBELIEVABLE right now and I'm not even sure she is ever completely living in reality these days.  She is constantly rearranging furniture to create elaborate scenes, is always dressed in some costume or another, and will only answer you if you speak to her in character.  She keeps us laughing, that's for sure.


Our two photogenic children AKA the two children who will actually look at the camera and smile.  AHEM, Brees...  Belle loves River and River loves Belle, that's really all there is to it.  


We set River down in the grass the other night for a "baby's first time sitting in the grass" photo op.  This fearless little guy took off at the speed of light, crawling and exploring and sampling as many blades of grass and leaves as he could stuff into his mouth before we could grab him.  He got his daily serving of greens that day, shall we say.

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Hey kids, can we please get just one picture all together for Mother's Day?  Just real quick?  Just, okay, can we please look at the camera?  In the general direction of the camera?  No?  Okay then...


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten (Because Sometimes Blogger Deletes Your Post and You Just HAVE To Repost It)

Isabelle turned 10 years old over the Easter holiday.  In the blink of an eye, a whole decade has passed since we first held our baby Belle in our arms, our forever first.  This past year brought tremendous growth and maturation, personal style and very distinct preferences.  She crosses her legs and bites her nails and loves to wear perfume.  She is the best big sister and is the most helpful girl I could ever hope for, always willing to lend us a hand with the babies.  Belle is an avid reader and almost always has a book in hand, reading to her sister every night before bed, a bed they now share per their request.  She likes to keep her room tidy but her closet messy, has a serious love affair with accessories, and takes the longest showers of anyone in the house.  Belle loves to be outdoors riding her bike, playing basketball, and exploring the woods behind our house.  She is a wonderful artist, dancer, and singer and has been working hard at learning the piano this year.  We are incredibly proud of her.


In celebration of her tenth birthday, Isabelle requested a bunny birthday cake and a trip to a local pizza/fun zone place with 3 of her best friends.  Thanks to Pinterest, I semi pulled the cake thing off, silently praying that no one examined the bunny ears (shaping mishap) or the nose (sunken cake middle, per usual).  But she loved it, proudly showing it off to everyone who came by our house!  Thank you, Pinterest, for making us mediocre, non creative type moms feel like superheros on special occasions!  The fun zone party idea turned out to be the best: the girls ran around playing mini golf, arcade games, bowling, and rode go carts.  Shawn and I walked around with the little kids "supervising" AKA playing Dance Dance Revolution with a baby strapped to my front in the Ergo.  Mama's still got it, kids.  We ended the day at our house, singing happy birthday and eating cake and ice cream.  The girls disappeared into Isabelle's room and gave each other manicures and some pretty questionable hair styles.  They were all so good and well mannered, you almost forgot about the incessant giggling and screeching at every turn.

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We love you, Belle, so very much.  Happiest of birthdays, sweet girl!  


This year, all I wanted for Mother's Day was to have my whole family over for a big Sunday dinner: all of the mamas and the daddies and the babies around our big dining room table.  Together.  A time to gather in fellowship and give thanks for the blessing we have been given in this role we call motherhood.

Because that is what Mother's Day is for me: to time to gather together with the ones you love and give thanks, a day of reflection, a moment of devotion and gratitude for these three little people that I can call my own.  My mother and I woke at the crack of dawn, much like every other day, and started prepping and cooking our big family dinner.  Every square inch of my kitchen was filled with steaming, baking, simmering dishes as well as the loud and hilarious conversation that my mother and I are lucky enough to share.  She can often be found sneaking behind me in the kitchen, adding things to my recipes and clucking away when I do things a little differently that her.  I used to get so hot and bothered by her "unsolicited advice", until I realized that I will probably do the same thing to my girls and I really hope that they know that I am just coming from a place of love, just like my mom is.  Patience and grace and love: it is what makes the relationship between mother and child work, right?

The morning was a busy, colorful scene of homemade cards dripping with glitter and glue, a "surprise" gift from my husband that I may or may not have not so subtly instructed him to buy (he needed help, admittedly), and three different cups of tea that went cold before I ever had the chance to drink them.  I can never finish a cup of tea before it turns cold these days.  The family started to trickle in just as we put the finishing touches on dinner and our house was bursting at the seams with people that I love.  My favorite part of the day was saying grace before our meal, all of us gathered around the table holding hands, the beautiful intimacy of the moment as we all thanked our Lord for bringing us together, for making us mamas.  You could seriously feel the love in that moment.

Mother's Day is not relaxing.  It is not a day to be pampered or a day to rest or a day to receive a million extravagant gifts.  My kids didn't magically behave any better just because it was Mother's Day and the dishes didn't somehow manage to do themselves.  The laundry still had to be done and my alarm clock still went off at the same time (his name is River and he has never once gotten the late sleeping memo).  Mother's Day is, truthfully, not much different from any other day.  What it is, in my world anyway, is a day to just say WOW, all of this is mine.  All of this love, all of these blessings, these three beautiful, crazy, unique children who rarely listen to me but are always willing to give me the love that I still can't believe that I deserve.  It is mine.

This thing we call motherhood: it's hard y'all.  To wake up every single day and give it your all, to be patient and kind and slow to anger, to be empathetic and respectful even when they are acting like complete lunatics.  To provide for them and care for them, to give up your own dreams so that they can someday achieve their own.  To be selfless, truly selfless, to the point that their happiness suddenly becomes ENOUGH.  It is hard.  But most things in life worth having, most things that are good for you and allow you to evolve as a person, are hard.  That's why we need a day like Mother's Day: we need to take a moment to stop and look past all the HARD, all of the sacrifice, and just see this whole journey for what it is.  Because it is so much bigger than us and what we feel like we need as individuals.  Being a mother is about stepping outside of ourselves for a moment and appreciating the fact that we have been given these people to walk this journey with us.  They make us better, they give us purpose, and we are so blessed to have them.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stats: Month Seven (One Month Late)


River at 7 months:

Sleeping:  We have officially entered that stage where River no longer just falls asleep anywhere and can nap on the go.  His naps are more routine now and he needs quiet and a bed for rest, making our days a bit more scheduled.  His cues are very obvious: he rubs his eyes, yawns loudly, and puts his head on your shoulder and you know it's time to lay the little buddy down.  He takes 3 naps a day and is still sleeping through the night.  Brees and River are sharing the nursery and we were pleasantly surprised to find that they do not bother each other or wake each other up at all.  For now, anyway...


Feeding:  River started solid foods this month!  I've been making all of his food using the Beaba Baby Food Maker and I love it!  So easy to use: you can steam, blend, defrost, and reheat the baby food all with this one appliance.  It is super easy to clean and doesn't take up much counter space. I use OXO Tot Baby Blocks freezer storage containers to store the food I make, putting everything in the freezer and taking it out the night before so that it can defrost in the fridge.  From a financial standpoint, making my own baby food doesn't really save us that much money when you add up the cost of the Beaba, the storage containers, and the food I so carefully select for River.  Making our own food is more, for me, about knowing what my baby is eating and making sure that his food is as clean and nutritious as the food I make for the rest of the family. This month, River had avocados, apples, bananas, squash, peas, carrots, pumpkin, quinoa, broccoli, green beans, and sweet potatoes.  He is a good little eater and has gobbled everything we've put in front of him up. His nursing habits have not decreased with the introduction of solids foods and he is still nursing 6-8 times a day.  I am still pumping at work and we are keeping up a really good freezer stash so far.


Milestones:  River is doing the wounded soldier crawl mixed with rolling back and forth to get wherever he needs to be.  He is sleeping in his own bed and puts himself to sleep.  River loves to dance and gets so excited when he hears music.  He literally bounces up and down and laughs hysterically when he hears a beat that he likes.  His current favorites are Sublime and Led Zeppelin. 

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River is an incredibly sweet, dare I say EASY baby.  He goes with the flow, smiles and coos constantly, and is just very mellow.  We all love him so much and I suppose the constant attention and affection has served him well.  We love you little buddy.  I'll try to get better about keeping up with your updates, okay?  Time is flying by so quickly and I don't want to miss a thing!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Let It Grow


The old folks always say to wait until after Easter to plant your garden, that's when the ground is warm enough to ensure that you won't lose any of your plants to frost or hail or whatever other weird spring weather might occur.  Since Easter was so late this year, I had to seriously fight the urge to ignore this old superstition and start planting sooner, my hands just itching to dig in the dirt.  But the voices of my grandparents kept sneaking into my thoughts, reinforcing that age old tradition, and so I waited.

On the Monday after Easter, we started planting with a vengeance: fruit, vegetables, herbs, and mosquito repelling plants.  We spent the whole week digging and tilling and putting seeds and plants into the ground, making more trips to the nursery and Home Depot than I can even count.  I love this time of year for its late sunsets and perfectly warm weather.  I love looking around after a hard day's work and seeing pretty green things everywhere.  I love seeing my kids so happy and free, dirt on their faces and bare feet running through the yard.  They are becoming excellent little gardeners and are so helpful around the yard.  Baby River is content sitting in his playard, watching us work like busy bees.  He takes it all in with his curious eyes: the colors of the leaves all blooming so green, the sounds of the birds nesting up above.  I'm thankful that "the witching hour" so perfectly coincides with watering time: nothing calms a teething baby down like a walk outside to water the plants.

I've made a conscious effort to plant more flowers this year.  I am such a practical and efficient person: everything has a purpose, fulfills a need, especially in my garden.  But this year, I've made a promise to myself to literally stop and smell the roses.  Because, sometimes, the only purpose that something needs to have is to just be joyful, to be so vibrant and beautiful that it brings you happiness when you are around it. So, more flowers. Namely hibiscus, marigolds, zinnias, begonias, and a bunch of other pretty flowery things that I know nothing about but hope to keep alive and thriving.

The girls were so excited this afternoon when they went onto the front porch and realized that their first orange daisy had bloomed.  They picked out daisies specifically because they saw pictures of them in their favorite book. They dug a little hole, just big enough, like I have showed them every spring before this one. They filled the hole with fresh rain water, placed their daisy plant inside, and then packed it down with dirt.  And then more watering, and even a special prayer.  They did it all by themselves, two little country girls learning about the earth and how things grow.  And then one morning, there they were, two little orange daisies, one on each side of our front door.  They were as excited about those flowers as they were on Christmas morning.  And seeing them so happy about something so simple: it made me happy.

Because this is where I am now: not just surviving, but really living.  Surrounding myself with beautiful things and learning a couple of lessons along the way.  This house and the land we call our own: it is our little oasis, the place where we find peace and comfort.  When you can find a place that you love enough to call home, and you do so with the people you love most in it, that is a good place to be.

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