Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quotes

"Did you have fun riding your bike?"  "Just for a short period of time."

During our Family Home Evening this week, we made a little manger out of popsicle sticks and talked about doing nice things for each other to put a little piece of "hay" in the manger to make it nice and soft for the baby Jesus. L was so excited about our project, he was practically jumping up and down. In his excitement, he yelled, "Everybody knows the Church is true! And I know it too!" This is significant because he generally acts as though he'd rather be anywhere but Church on Sunday mornings! :)

On a related note, "Mom, I think bad guys don't know the Church is true, and they might even try to destroy it!"

Everything lately is about toots. "Baby J has evil toots..... whatever THAT means!"

"I'm not too tired for Legos!"

"I'm not too sick for ice cream!"

L has basically no interest in learning to read. He is, however, very into math. "Mom, does one plus two plus two make five?" and "Dad, I think that 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 makes 20."


Monday, October 22, 2012

Chiropractic Care for Infants

Today, after our third trip to the chiropractor for J, I posted on Facebook:
"We are now two for two on fussy babies turned normal/easy with gentle chiropractic care. Highly recommend!"
A friend asked me to elaborate, and I've got way too much to say to respond in a facebook comment, so it ends up here! I hope my experiences will help my friend, and any others who are struggling with fussy babies. I had no experience with chiropractic care before I tried it with L, and I would have like to have read all about someone's experience, so I'm going to go into great detail. Feel free to skim!

When L was born, he was "sunny side up" (occiput posterior), and at some point during pushing - or maybe slowly throughout... the details are fuzzy! - the doctor manually rotated L's head, so that he was facing the right direction (occiput anterior).

L woke up from the sleepy newborn phase at 3 weeks, and he was none too happy about it. Apart from times when he was nursing, he was rarely awake and content, and he had a terrible time getting to sleep. I would rock him for hours and sing the same three songs on repeat, because I was too sleep-deprived to remember the words to any other songs. He cried hysterically and often, but usually I was able to soothe him within ten or twenty minutes, only to have him start up crying again, either spontaneously or when I changed his position, a few minutes later. Because he wasn't crying nonstop for several hours, the pediatrician told me it sounded like a mild case of colic. In hindsight, I should have paid closer attention to the triggers of the crying, but I was too exhausted to put it all together.

Colic is supposed to get better by three months, so I anxiously awaited that day. The crying, however, continued, and I began looking for a solution. When Lincoln was almost four months old, I came across a study that concluded that 95% of colicky babies who are not helped by other means (gripe water, gas drops, etc.) are helped by chiropractic care. The average length of crying per day was 6 hours before the treatments and 3 hours after. (I must have read a detailed summary of the study somewhere, but the abstract can be found here.)

That was enough for me. I decided it was worth a shot. I got a recommendation from a friend and made an appointment with Dr. Mears of Edmond, OK. Dr. Mears was as gentle as could be. He had me lay down on my back on the table, with L face down on my chest, and then he adjusted L with his pinky fingers. L slept through the whole thing, and he didn't sleep through anything, so I knew it must not be hurting him. It was so gentle I thought it was probably not going to be effective. Dr. Mears said that the vertebrae in his neck felt out of place, which confirmed my suspicions of a birth injury.

After the first appointment, L got even fussier - which I had not imagined possible! However, I'd heard that it could get worse before it got better, so I was willing to give it another try. We went back a few days later, and after that second appointment, he was like a different baby. So much more content! We continued adjustments once or twice weekly for a couple of weeks, but before long, I knew he felt so much better that I didn't feel like we needed to continue adjustments.

J's birth was nothing like L's so I didn't expect that he'd need chiropractic adjustments. He rotated himself into the right position, so I wasn't worried about his neck. He was an easy-going baby. He slept for long stretches in his crib, able to soothe himself when he roused. Then all of a sudden around 5 weeks, he changed. He only wanted to sleep on me. I could lay him down, but after about 5 minutes, he'd wake up, crying inconsolably. I tried everything - white noise, swaddling, the swing, the bouncer, the car, the car seat on the dryer, silence, commotion, one of my shirts in his crib, etc. Nothing helped. This was especially hard on L. In addition to the stress of having to hold J every minute of the day, I had to keep up with L, who was feeling so neglected that he was determined to make me blow up. After several days of me bursting into tears as M walked through the door, M suggested the chiropractor. M said he'd noticed a couple of times that J was fussing and then began to cry harder (as if in pain) when M picked him up. I hadn't noticed this, but the mere mention of it was enough for me to call and make an appointment.

I used Broadneck Chiropractic for myself when I was pregnant, and knew that they specialize in pregnant women and infants, so I felt very comfortable taking J to them. Their method of care is a little bit different, which I expected. Having seen a couple of different chiropractors for myself, I've learned that each one has a completely different way of assessing the body and implementing treatment. Dr. Carrie uses a thermal scan to figure out what is going on in the spine, because small changes in temperature can indicate a problem. They rolled the scanner up J's back, and it showed a thermal spike in his neck. She held him over her lap, and used an activator on its gentlest setting along his spine. Then she used her fingers to gently massage certain places on his neck and head. She showed me some simple massage techniques to use a couple of times a day to relieve the pressure on his spine.

J's first appointment was on a Friday. He was his normal fussy self all that day, and on Saturday, also pretty fussy. I didn't notice that it was worse, like I had with L, just the usual. Then on Sunday, J slept almost the entire day (and night). He had a few periods of alert time, but he was content. There was still crying, but it was explainable crying - hungry, tired, diaper change, burp. That stuff is much easier to deal with - it's the unexplained crying that we want to reduce. Monday and Tuesday, J was awake more and similarly content. He had long periods of time where he was happy to lie on a blanket and wiggle around while we were nearby - something he would not have done the previous week. After two more adjustments, he is still doing great. Lots of happy awake time. On the sleep front, he sleeps in his crib again, and I don't have to use any tricks to make it happen. He is also able to settle himself when he rouses, just like he did before. I feel like the treatment has been very effective. I'm not going to take him back until I see he needs it again.

It's clear to me that something happened that hurt him (maybe a big brother?), and he was in pain. He was crying and needy because he was uncomfortable, not because he was working the system or because I was doing anything wrong. And as soon as this gentle treatment made him feel more comfortable in his new little body, he didn't need me nearly as much, which is good for the whole family!

If you are considering chiropractic care for your baby, Yay! I hope it works as well for your baby as it has for mine! A word of warning though: Not all chiropractors are gentle! I learned that one the hard way. When L was a baby, I once took him to a chiropractor who was closer to our home to avoid the long drive to Dr. Mears. I was HORRIFIED as I watched the chiropractor yank my 4-month-old's head from side to side. I scooped him up off the table and walked out the door, never to return. In fact, I took him to Dr. Mears the next day to make sure the other guy hadn't done any damage.

So before you make an appointment, ask to speak with the chiropractor, and ask this question:

What is your approach to treating infants?

Words you want to hear: 
G E N T L E
fingertips
massage
activator on lowest setting 
...and probably other things I don't know about

The point is to talk with them so that you're comfortable with the care your child will receive. You can even ask that the chiropractor demonstrate their techniques on your arm, so you can feel and be comfortable with the amount of pressure that they'll be using. Be smarter than I was - I got lucky with our first chiropractor, but because I was too timid to ask, I didn't know beforehand that he was going to be great.

Have I answered all your questions? Feel free to ask more, and I'll answer in the comments, and/or edit the post to reflect your suggestions.

Adventures in Family Home Evening

Rushed through dinner so we could go to the pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin.
Piled in the car.
Drove to the pumpkin patch.
Found pumpkin patch closed.
Heard crying from the back seat (from both children).
Averted crisis by visiting Rita's Italian Ice.
Ordered kids' size raspberry ice with chocolate custard and rainbow sprinkles.
Paid $3.81.
Drove home.
Sang I am a Child of God.
L prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for our furniture, our books, our carpet, and our ceiling fan.
L rearranged the assignment board and told us he had a lesson for us.

"It starts with a B and an N, and there's a 6 and a 3. 4 plus 5 makes what? 6?"
Profound stuff, right there. 

M gave the real lesson, which was about Heavenly Father's pattern of calling prophets in every day and age. We're working our way through Preach My Gospel.
L got out the exercise ball, a No. 10 can of diced onions, and a dixie cup maraca (with rice inside), so we could play "band".
Sang lots of songs, while playing our "instruments".
Talked about buying a piano.
Laid J down in his crib, since he was sound asleep.
Snuggled and tickled L while singing silly songs.
Sang "Lonely" at L's request four or five times while he giggled uncontrollably.
Said "Welcome back, L! I missed you!"
Exchanged knowing glances with M, while L said, "I didn't go anywhere, Mom!" The old L was back today - Hooray!
 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On being a mother of two (briefly)

I have to say that, hands down, the hardest thing about being a mom of two (so far) has been watching L adjust to all the changes around here.


He loves his little brother, but he's obviously having a hard time. It must be so sad to go from the-one-and-only to the-older-brother, the one who is expected to do lots of things for himself  (the baby doesn't have to do anything for himself!), the one who is supposed to help keep the baby safe (but he's secretly a little bit mad at that baby), the one who isn't supposed to need his mommy quite so much (but he does, even if he's not-so-secretly mad at her too).

He thought having a little brother would be so fun, and if you asked him right now, he'd tell you that he loves him to the moon and then to the sun and then to the stars, and then back, a hundred and thirty-nine times (that's L's favorite number right now). And it will get so much more fun as the months and years go by. But the J of today holds very little in the way of fun for L. But he keeps trying to have fun with his beloved baby brother. And I try not to scold him every time he tries.

Some recent good reads on motherhood:

Christlike Mothering from Power of Moms

Notice the Good from Hands Free Mama

Breaking news: M reports that J just rolled over (tummy to back). What?! He's not even two months old!

Friday, October 19, 2012

L's Recipe

One afternoon, I found L on the counter, pulling down ingredients to make a new creation. It was pretty cute, and resulted in a yummy snack! When you look at the ingredients below, you will see what L's (and my!) weakness is.

Here's what you need:

some Almond Bark
lots of sprinkles
a squirt of black icing
old crushed candy canes
a packet of stevia powder
a little scoop of cocoa powder


Mix. Place in mini cupcake liners. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.


I got a little video of L talking about his recipe. I'm trying to get better at using my dslr for video, but it's obviously a work in progress. It's hard to shoot video with manual focus while holding a fussy newborn! And the fluorescent light in the kitchen is responsible for L's day-glo hair :)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome Baby J!

 

First of all, I don't think I can continue calling this beautiful boy "Fleep", so we're just going to do a little switcheroo, and call ourselves by our first initials. Sound good? OK.


We have now had little J with us for eleven days, and he is a little sweetheart.


The story of J's birth is CRAZY and involves M driving like he's on the Nascar circuit, and so I am required to share it - don't worry, no gory details below, just the fun stuff.

To set the stage of anxiousness, at 38 weeks and 5 days, I was up all night with irregular contractions, and at my appointment, the midwives said it could be any day. In fact, they let me know who was on call that night, because they thought it might be that soon. And as anyone who has ever been GREAT with child before can attest, that is welcome news! Our bags were packed, I had finished up all the necessary preparations, and all that was left to do was wait for those irregular contractions to get themselves organized and turn into the real thing. Wait, and wait, and wait. And go stir-crazy, because when the midwives say it might be tonight, I'm not making any plans. The following evening, I started to feel weird. I was having hot and cold flashes (hormonal surges, according to the midwives), and after we got L to bed, I was having contractions every couple of minutes and they were more intense than the ones I had been having on and off for nearly 48 hours already. I totally thought it was the real thing. We called my sister-in-law to come over and spend the night with L, and we headed off to the birth center. Oops! False alarm! We came home again after a couple of hours, because it was evident shortly after we got there that things were slowing down and it wasn't the real thing, after all. They sent me home with some sort of super-Benadryl pill to help me sleep, and it totally knocked me out, and knocked out the contractions as well. I didn't have contractions for days afterwards.

We resumed our normal level of activity, because there are only so many days you can sit around your house and watch hours of shows on Netflix and wonder when your baby is going to come. At my appointment the following week, at 39 weeks and 5 days, the baby appeared to be happy as a clam in there. I made plans for the rest of the week - nothing big, but something to get us out of the house each day, preferably with friends.

Thursday, August 23rd was my due date, and the plan for the day was to go on a walk with our friends. My friend invited us, and I thought we were talking about a walk to the playground. It was a pleasantly cool morning, according to my outdoor thermometer, so I went ahead and took a shower and dressed in jeans and a cute top and flip flops. Little did I know that this was not just a little walk to the playground. No. She had planned a REAL walk. 3.6 miles round trip. I thought maybe we'd tag along for a little while and then turn back, but once we got going, we were having fun and decided to keep going. L was awesome, because I didn't bring a stroller, and he walked every step. About a half a mile from home towards the end of our walk - which had made me incredibly sweaty, but no contractions to speak of - I felt a little trickle, and wondered aloud to my friends if my water had just broken. As we walked, it became more and more apparent, and by the time we got home, I had called M to come home, and we had made arrangements to drop L off at a friend's house after we had lunch.

We ate our lunch, cleaned up the house a bit, finished packing those last little things in the bag, and then we were off to the birth center, even though I wasn't really having any contractions yet. When we arrived, I got my dose of antibiotics through the IV, which was required this time around, and then we waited. We noticed that the contractions, while still mild, were more regular when I was up and walking, so that's what we did. We walked up the hill to Safeway and walked down every aisle, finally selecting a little snack, and then heading to the register, where we rang everything up at the self-checkout before realizing that neither one of us had any money. We walked back down the hill, checked in with the midwife to let her know what was going on, and then headed back up the hill to buy our food.

After we'd been there for a few hours, it was obvious that my body hadn't kicked things into gear yet. The midwife gave us several options, and we decided to go home and hopefully get some good rest, and then try to get things going in the morning. I was super tired after all that walking all day, and it seemed like I should take advantage of any rest my body was willing to give me. It took a little while to do a non-stress test to make sure baby was doing well - he was - and get the supplies and instructions for the IV antibiotics I would have to give myself overnight, but by 8 p.m. or so, we were on our way home. We laughed the whole way, and wondered just how many trips to the birth center this little guy was going to have us make.

When we got home, my brother and sister-in-law were there with L, and L was MAD! He hid under his blankets, and when he finally let me take them off of him, he threw his pillow at me, and yelled, "I wanted a baby brother today!" He eventually cried himself to sleep, poor guy. We stayed up and talked and laughed and ate ice cream with our visitors. I was having contractions, but they were no big deal. I didn't have to stop anything I was doing to get through them. We wondered if my brother and sister-in-law should stay at our house, or go to her parents' house about 25 minutes away, but they decided to stay. {Thank goodness!}

Around 10, I went to take a shower and get ready for bed, and by 10:30, I was ready and had sat down on the edge of the bed to read my scriptures. I stood up a few minutes later, and as I did, I felt something shift inside me - the midwife thinks it was the baby's head rotating to the right position - and suddenly everything was very different. I was suddenly in lots and lots of pain, and about three contractions later, I was feeling the urge to push. I seriously think that I went from 5 cm to 10 in those three contractions.

My brother later reported that they were awakened by my yelling, and M saying, "Do I need to call 911?" I assured him that 911 wasn't necessary, and he ran around with my brother's help getting things back out to the car, while I contemplated giving birth at home. We ran - no, my husband ran and supported all my weight, as I feebly moved my legs - to the car, which my brother had pulled up to the door. We wondered what would be the most comfortable position in the car, and I chose sitting, which was probably not the most comfortable, but still a good choice, because it kept the baby in.

M drove like a maniac, all the while, being a good birthing companion and reciting Hypnobirthing prompts to help me relax. He kept trying, even though I kept screaming that it was NOT POSSIBLE to relax at this point! I was trying to gear myself up for hours more of labor, since my labor with L was much longer, but M had a feeling that we were close. He said he's never been happier to see anyone in his life than he was to see the midwife run out of the birth center as we pulled up to the door.

M and the midwife helped me inside to the jacuzzi, which she had prepared for us. My plan had been to use a birthing pool - larger than the jacuzzi, and offers more buoyancy and more position options than the jacuzzi - but the midwife had correctly guessed that we wouldn't have enough time for the pool to fill up. She helped me into the tub, and told M not to go anywhere because the baby was right there. But bossy me, I ordered him to go get me a drink of water and the camera was still in the car, so he ran as fast as he could, and luckily made it back in time for the action.

Three contractions and less than five minutes after we arrived, little J made his entrance into the world. I brought his face up out of the water, and he calmly looked around for a minute, then cried for a minute, and then calmed right back down again. He was pink and alert and beautiful.
 

J weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. - which was a total surprise for me, since L weighed in a full pound and a half lighter at 7 lbs. 5 oz. J still seems perfectly tiny. It's hard to imagine an even smaller baby. They measured him at 21 3/4 inches, but several nurses since then have measured him right at 21, so I think that's probably more accurate.


J has been a total angel of a newborn. He's a great nurser, and a total snugglebug. With L, I was very stressed out about the possibility of having to hold him while he slept until he moved out of the house, so I was really worried about getting him to sleep on his own. With J, I'm much more relaxed. If he will sleep laying down in his crib, that's awesome and it sometimes happens, but I know that this time is fleeting and my getting a good night's rest is much more important to me than making sure he's sleeping on his own. Those few nights before he was born when I was up for several hours with contractions, I really noticed how irritable and impatient I was the following day, and I don't want to be that person. Sleep is definitely a priority around here! So for now, he sleeps in bed with us, and snuggled up right next to me, he sleeps so well. Sure, I'm up feeding him every few hours, but I can usually sleep through most of that, and he goes right back to sleep every time, so I feel great. I know he's still in the sleepy newborn phase, but I'm crossing my fingers that he'll remain an easy-going baby.


L is completely in love with J. He's pretty happy to do his own thing and check in with him every once in a while to give kisses, and help with burping, and stroking his cheek to see if he's hungry. Of course, we've had to remind him about poking and squishing and all that other tempting stuff, but he's doing great. I asked him, "Is it better to be the only kid in a family, or to have a baby brother?" And he replied, "Definitely to have a baby brother!"




We sure love both our boys!




Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympics - four years later

Here's what Snick looked like during the last Summer Olympics.


I have fond and bleary memories of those days, watching all the events while nursing and rocking and soothing our new baby.

Here he is last week, during the Opening Ceremonies. He lasted about 15 minutes.

He's super excited about the Olympics. He insists that his favorite event is water volleyball. I don't think that's an Olympic event, but we'll just keep that to ourselves.

Nesting

We are getting ready for a new little person around here!

When Snick was a born, a friend gave us five kitchen garbage bags full of adorable baby clothes that her boys had used very, very gently. I hardly had to buy him a thing until he was two! In fact, she gave me so many clothes that we always moved up to the next size before we made it through all the outfits. I ended up giving away a lot of them, but I saved an under-the-bed sized box for each size through the baby stage. Which, really, is plenty! So the point is, we haven't had to do much shopping!

Instead, I've been clearing out junk from our house - lots of trips to goodwill! - and sewing. It's probably just because I work here at home instead of having a "real" job, like I did when I was expecting Snick, but it seems like I have been doing a lot more nesting this time around.


First, I made this cut chenille blanket. I used a tutorial from Aesthetic Nest. I made one for a new niece last fall, and I loved it so much, it was at the top of my list for our new baby. A little tedious, sewing all those straight lines, half an inch apart, and then cutting in between, but totally worth it after it's washed and dried and crinkly.



The other project I've been working on is a pieced quilt based on this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. I really love how it turned out. I accidentally bought enough fabric (and made enough blocks) for TWO baby quilts. Anybody out there having a baby soon, and loving this color combo? I'm thinking I'll sew it up quickly before the baby comes, because who knows when I'll ever get the chance to sit down and sew again!
 

The embroidery on the back says, "Welcome to the world, little one * 2012".

I love that feeling of anticipation. Waiting to meet a new little person that Heavenly Father is sending to be a part of our forever family. I can't wait! Remind me of how magical this is in about six weeks when I'm dying of sleep deprivation, ok?!

People are Amazing



One day, my husband came home from work with this pretty package under his arm.

Inside, a beautiful knitted blanket for the baby.

I was so grateful, but became even more so when I read the printout of an email he had received from the blanket's maker. He had written her to thank her and here's how she responded:

"Actually, the thanks have to come from me. Your child will come into this world having already given a gift beyond value.

"I worked on your baby's gift on endless trips to and from Williamsburg and Richmond, in more doctors' offices and waiting for more calls from physicians than I can remember now. Beginning last October, when we cycled through that heart-stopping vocabulary - lump, biopsy, tumor, lymphoma - and thankfully ending in a soft landing of much more gratefully received vocabulary - genetic disease, benign, operable. And all of these unthinkable words being used about our daughter.

"All the while, I was blessed with the gift from your son of something to do with my hands so they wouldn't betray my fear, my anger, my helplessness to my little girl, who at 18 and then 19 still counted on us to be intelligent, capable, and strong. Each stitch a breath, each row a prayer.

"So thank you from the bottom of my heart. My daughter is well, and I am so beholden."

We will treasure this one forever.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Four years old

Well, my baby is four. He's been four for about three weeks now, and I have to say, four is pretty fun. But I still can't believe he's four. (That's only one year away from five, and five is a big deal!)

At his 4 year old check up this week, Snick weighed in at 38 pounds and he's 40 inches tall. Both right around the 50th percentile. Over the last year, he grew three inches, and the average between age 3 and 4 is only two inches.

He is such a sweet boy. He's waiting so patiently for his little brother to arrive. He hugs and kisses and "zerberts" his little brother (a.k.a. my tummy) about 40 times a day. He says, "I love you, little brother!" about 60 times a day. Tonight when I said it was getting more and more uncomfortable to wash the dishes now that I have to stand so far away from the sink, he ran right over, and said, "Could I get you a chair, Mom?" What a sweetie. He's been asking me lately, "How many more days until the baby comes?" but he seems ok with my answer that nobody knows!

We spent Snick's birthday at my parents' house, since it was the week of July 4th and so the working man of the house had some time off and the nightly rate at my parents' house is pretty affordable. He wanted a Lightning McQueen cake, and mom was happy to deliver. More tedious than I had planned, but Snick was happy, so I was happy!

For presents, we got him a bike, a helmet, and a few little pool toys.

 He was most excited about the bike bell that came with the helmet. We put it right on the bike, and for a few days after his birthday, he'd go check it out, ring the bell, and say, "Yep! Still works perfect!"

He's getting better and better at the bike. He needs a little nudge up a hill sometimes, but he's getting stronger and more coordinated. He's also learning about the brakes, thankfully! I'm looking forward to fall when we'll take him out for rides more frequently, because it will be less hot and I will be less pregnant!




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

We're having a happy day around here! Our day started with present time (Snick couldn't wait!). We gave Daddy a framed copy of the collage above, which I think went over well. After church, we had a yummy dinner (pulled pork sandwiches with all the fixin's). That's more of a my dad meal, but it seemed appropriate for Father's Day. Luckily, the Dad in our house likes it too!

We followed up with peach and blueberry cobbler and homemade coconut milk ice cream, in honor of our lactose-intolerant Dad. I'll have to work on that one - I wasn't much of a fan, although he seemed to like it!

We have the best Dad and husband! He really is all those things above, and we love him so much! A more devoted and dedicated father would be impossible to find! We're a lucky bunch to have him.

On a more lighthearted and somewhat related note, Snick and I found this video this week while we were doing preschool. The lessons right now are all about baby animals, but sometimes the lesson leaves a little to be desired in the way of actual information about those animals. So we spend a little time online afterwards looking up some info. One day this week, we talked about baby seahorses, and the role their daddies play. Did you know that seahorse daddies carry the babies, and give birth to them? We found this video quite astounding.


Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the seahorses? Most of the time, I don't mind all this pregnancy and birth stuff, but maybe we could switch off every once in a while? ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confusion in the Animal Kingdom

Two quotes from Snick in the last 36 hours or so...

We're driving down the street. We pass a couple walking a small dog.
Snick says, "What was walking with those people?"
I say, "I think it was a dog."
Snick says, "No, it was a skunk."
Dad and I laugh hysterically, and I say, "I don't think they would want a skunk for a pet."
Snick replies, "Mom, skunks aren't pets. It was just walking with them."
Obviously.


Every morning, Snick climbs into bed with me and gives my tummy hugs and kisses. Lately, he tries to feel the baby kick. Often, he'll feel a hard spot where the baby is poking out his bottom or his knee or foot. It's like a little treasure hunt. In the past couple of days, Snick has felt my ribs and declared, "I found a hard part!" so we've discussed what ribs are a couple of times.

This morning, he felt my ribs and asked, "Mom, is that a hard part of the baby, or are they your reptiles?"

That made me laugh so hard.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

thirty

I'm just relaxing here on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, and I thought I'd make a little list of thirty things that make me happy right now. I might even add some pictures, if I don't get too lazy! *Update - almost too lazy, but you're in luck!

1. Snickerdoodle, Fleep, and I survived five weeks on our own (and Dad survived five weeks all by his lonesome, working and coming home to a hotel room somewhere, poor guy!).

2. He's back! And he surprised me by getting home two days earlier than I expected. I thought he was flying in on Thursday, but on Tuesday, after a sharp knock on the door, I found chocolates and a card that had been ding dong ditched (one of our favorite family pastimes - wait, you don't teach your three-year-old to ding dong ditch? ;) When I saw my husband's handwriting, I couldn't believe it. At first, I thought he'd sent it to a friend, and had the friend drop it off for him. He had done a great job, getting me to believe that Thursday was the day. It was pretty awesome to go outside and find him waiting for us! I asked if he'd arranged for an earlier flight or if he'd just told me the wrong date all along, and he said it was the second one. Sneaky, sneaky!

3. Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have my husband around? He keeps me company, complements me on the food I make - but also knows when to suggest dinner out, plays fireman/ambulance driver with Snick, listens to my gripes - and he's always on my side, lifts 40 lb. Snick into the shopping cart, carries the groceries, etc., etc., etc. I don't think I'll ever consent to another long business trip again! :)

4. Baby wiggles. Snick is LOVING baby wiggles right now too, and that just makes it even better. He loves to feel to see if the baby is kicking (which he always "is" - even if I can't feel it), and his eyes light up and he gets a huge smile on his face whenever he feels something, or even better, when he occasionally sees the wiggles!

5. I have this (Chocolate Ice Cream) chilling in the fridge right now, waiting to be churned up tomorrow. And I really can't wait. Of course, I swapped out the refined sugar, used whole milk instead of half-and-half (because sometimes homemade ice cream can feel a little like frozen homemade butter), and added a little salt and ground red pepper, a la Alton Brown's hot chocolate recipe, and WOW. I really really hope it has a great texture, because the flavor is amazing. I kind of want to go drink it right now.

ok... I might have to be a little more concise on the remaining 25 things...

6. Gorgeous weather.
7. Family (both mine and husband's) who live nearby
...and a Grandma who plays the Wii...

8. Young Women feels much less crazy than it used to!
9. A cleaning routine that is working (for now!)
10. Sewing up little things for the baby - right now it's a cut chenille blanket like this one, from Aesthetic Nest. I CANNOT WAIT to get it done and washed and dried and fluffed up! I made one for my new niece last fall, and the one I'm currently working on is in shades of orange, turquoise, and yellow. Just need to get the binding on, and then I'll be done (and on to the next thing...)
11. The Book of Mormon - I challenged myself to read the whole thing while Matt was away, and I almost made it! It's been so good to immerse myself more fully in the word of God.
12. Netflix. Can I just say how necessary Netflix is when one is the sole-caregiver of a very energetic three-year-old for five weeks? Sometimes, Mama just needs to get something done - or do nothing - and in either case, Netflix saves the day!
13. An unexpected *handmade* birthday card from a new friend.
14. My gallery wall.
15. The fact that my Easter decorations are still up - it helps that they're bright and colorful, and not too Easter-y.
16. Taking Snick to his first carnival.


17. Awesome friends - I had SO MANY PEOPLE offer keep Snick for me while I was on my own, and I took them up on it when I went to appointments, Young Women stuff, and even out to the mall just for some me-time. I have the very best friends.
18. Seeing my baby sister graduate from high school - very surreal, but she did an awesome job on her valedictorian speech, and we're all so proud of her!

my family is awesome
19. Spending time with this little chunky monkey. Love her!
I think her daddy should use this as his facebook profile picture!
20. A basil plant that is actually growing - I kill most green things.
21. Snick loves The Piano Guys on Youtube. He could watch them all day. And I love it. This one is his favorite. He giggles and giggles.

22. Taco Salad. Perfect food.
23. Green, everywhere I look - I used to think my mom was weird for marveling at how green everything is here in the summer, but now I do the same thing. It's like a jungle! I love it!
24. The beach. Growing up in a family where we only went to the beach once (when I was 7, and some of my siblings weren't even born yet), somehow we all ended up loving the beach - correct me if I'm wrong guys. I think we all love it. We had a fun Memorial Day trip to a beach where there were fossilized shark teeth! There was also this silt-y sand that Snick loved rubbing all over his body, and then splashing off. So gross, but so fun.



25.  Baby body parts poking out. Fleep has been consistently head down since I started feeling distinct kicks. Little flutters down low (hands), and big kicks up high (feet). Lately he's started pushing his bottom out on one side or the other. The other day, I felt that familiar bulge, but I was shocked and amazed that I could also feel the zigzag of a thigh, calf, and foot! It's a real baby in there! :)
26. Being in a groove. I feel like I've finally worked out a lot of things, and come to a comfortable place where everything's going smoothly. Cue new baby in about 11 weeks to throw that all off!
27. The pool is open. Need I say more? That's where we're spending our summer.
28. Preschool in a box. We are using Mother Goose Time, and it has been sooo great to have some fun activities that Mom doesn't have to think a whole lot about!
29. Having a "backyard" - the condo we're renting is on the ground floor and the patio opens to a grassy area. We're the only ones who pretend it's our backyard, so it must be ours, right? We play baseball, golf, frisbee, and when the weather gets a little warmer again, we're going to break out the baby pool!
30. 30 years of a beautiful, blessed life, full of amazing family and friends - and many more years ahead!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

six years

I woke up early this morning (as I often do lately) and wondered, "Was it six years ago today or tomorrow?" I had to get up and consult my journal - the white one with red and pink hearts that I serendipitously started the day I met my husband, and even more serendipitously filled up the day we got engaged. When I found the right entry, sure enough, it was six years ago today that he first held my hand.

We'd been on two dates and seen each other a handful of other times up to that point. At the time, I would have said it was far too early to know what the future would hold. But in retrospect, knowing what we know now, when I read those words I wrote so long ago, I think I already knew he was the one.

I mean who else could make me laugh so hard I'd inhale my gum and then still like me when I coughed it back up?! True story.

After our second date, during which we drove around the entire DC Beltway, he thought he'd blown it. He thought that was a pretty lame thing to do with a date, and that I'd probably never want to go out again. I, on the other hand, had had such a great time, just talking and laughing with him, that I hadn't even noticed that his car had no muffler.

So when we saw each other a few nights later at a church activity, I think he was pleasantly surprised when I suggested that we leave, and go find that park that we'd been trying to find while driving around the Beltway. Off we went, me driving, and him navigating, and after another little detour, we found the spot - Gravelly Point just north of Reagan National Airport.

As we walked along in the dark, I could tell by his unusual method of walking and arm-swinging that he wanted to hold my hand, and I didn't make it too hard for him. When he took my hand, a sense of excitement and comfort washed over me, mixed with only a touch of that "AAAH! Try to act natural!" feeling. I had never felt so comfortable with anyone before, and that's how I should have known he was the one for me. 



Friday, April 27, 2012

lately

  • we have baked (granola, cookies, garlic bread, and more granola)
  • we have had fun playdates with fun friends
  • we have cleaned the house
  • we have let the house get messy again, and then cleaned it again, and then....
  • we have rearranged the furniture (inspired by a dream I had!) 
  • we have revised the budget and adopted the cash envelope system
  • we have made homemade yogurt, chicken stock, and tortillas. and whole wheat bread that rose like a brick
  • we have sewn up lots of baby pants
  • we have almost completed a new quilt top (a Christmas present for someone! am I on the ball or what?!)
  • we have seen and killed three house centipedes recently {shudder}
  • we have had two dates in two weeks (go us! we're usually not that good) one was an at-home Q&A session followed by a movie, the other was dinner out at a hibachi grill - so yummy!
  • we have had lots of early mornings, and consequently some early evenings
  • we have found a perfect playmate for Snick - they are new best buds!
  • we have tried out almost every possible thomas the train name for the baby - the only one still in the running is henry. percy was vetoed early on.
  • we have found the hypnobirthing cds! (they were hiding behind the couch)
  • we have put taco salad in the permanent menu rotation because we can't get enough of it
  • we have watched an inordinate amount of netflix
  • we are growing (me - out, Snick - up)
  • we have snuggled
  • we have hugged
  • we have danced
  • we have blown bubbles
  • we have played baseball and soccer
  • we have gone for long walks (like four hour long walks!)
  • we have played at the playground
  • we have started swimming lessons
  • we have been feeling the baby kick and squirm
  • we have read books - Cows to the Rescue! is a new favorite
  • we are gearing up to learn how to read - Snick has more and more interest every day
          what have you been up to lately?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Big Brother/Little Brother

I sewed up a pair of big brother/little brother PJ pants tonight, and I couldn't wait to see if they fit Snick, so I went into his room, manhandled his little sleeping body into those pants, and then, because I couldn't help myself, turned the light on and took pictures! What is wrong with me? Lucky for me, he slept through the whole ordeal and is wearing those new PJ pants, which should be a fun surprise in the morning!

 
Snick continues to be obsessed with the baby, whose name has evolved into Squishy Baby (always accompanied by a pinch to my tummy). The baby is never far from his thoughts. The other night, Daddy was reading a book to Snick, and at the end, he said, "I like that book." Snick replied, "I like the baby." This morning, as we were headed home from a walk to the park, we ran into a friend who has a brand new baby. After we talked for a few minutes, we parted ways, and Snick said, "That was a really cute little brother. But we have an even cuter little brother!!" Yes, even though we've never seen him, I can safely say that we will think he's cuter, because that's just the way it works! 

Snick has a pretend window on my tummy that he can look into to see what the baby is doing at any given moment (sleeping, swimming, and blowing bubbles are the baby's preferred activities, it seems), and sometimes, Snick pretends to take the baby out to show him something, and then he pretends to put him right back where he came from. 

When Snick is upset, he often wants the baby to comfort him. I'll give him a hug, and he'll yell, "NO! The Baby!" The other night, Snick woke up just before we turned in for the night, and I knelt down beside his bed to give him a hug. He told me he wanted the baby, so I stood up, and he hugged and kissed my tummy. Then he happily laid down, saying, "The baby needed a kiss," and went right back to sleep. 

Such a funny kid! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Youth Conference

Saturday's Youth Conference turned out differently than anyone expected! The bus company that was supposed to take all of us to Ellis Island for our Family History themed conference called the organizers at 8:30 p.m. the night before and announced that there would be no buses the following day, due to a subcontractor's bankruptcy three months ago. I can't even imagine being on the receiving end of that phone call. So frustrating and disappointing. We all arrived at the church at 4:15 a.m. the next morning, none of us knowing what was going on, until they made the announcement at 5 a.m. that the show would go on! They showed a movie for most of the kids while the leaders and the youth planning committee had a 30 minute pow-wow to plan the day. The kids were such good sports and we heard very little complaining. We adapted the activities that had been planned for Ellis Island to our new circumstances, and the kids ended up having fun and learning stuff, so that's what's important!

I, for one, was so glad to cut the eight hour bus ride out of the day, so I could come home at 2 p.m. and take a nap! My body was not meant to get up at 3:15. Or walk five miles. Or both on the same day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

sewing

 

I've been in a sewing mood lately, and among other things, I whipped up this most adorable outfit for a friend's baby. I don't know why I never sewed anything for Snick when he was a baby, but this next one will definitely be wearing a few mommy-made items. 

I'm off to Youth Conference in the morning - 3:30 a.m. to be exact! I keep telling myself, "It will be worth it. It will be worth it. It will be worth it...."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

 

Easter (like all religious holidays turned excuses to buy stuff and consume lots of candy) is a hard one to explain to a three year old. Yes, it's about Jesus, but it's also about eggs and bunnies and chocolate and all kinds of other random things. I've been trying to explain that it's just a convenient time to also celebrate Spring, but I think I'll need to be more intentional about my approach next year.

We have, nevertheless, had some fun with it. I decided to make some natural egg dyeing solutions, rather than use the little kits. Do any of those chemicals really get into the egg? I don't know, but I mostly just thought this would be a fun science experiment - fun for Snick to see that we could take random food from around the kitchen and turn white eggs different colors. It was fun, and it was a LOT of work! To make the solutions, you boil the various ingredients with water and a little vinegar for 30 minutes or so, then cool the solutions off, then let the eggs soak overnight. Red cabbage = blue, turmeric = yellow, and canned beets = speckly brown. Next time we might go to the trouble of using fresh beets to get red, which is actually what we were going for. I buy speckly brown eggs Amish farmers, I don't need to go to all this trouble to get them! 


This morning, it was so exciting to pull out the eggs and see how they turned out! The red was disappointing, especially since it's Snick's current favorite color, but the blue and the yellow! They're so pretty! I wish I could just leave them out on the counter all day so I can admire them. After I took these pictures, we combined some of the blue and yellow dyes, which made this nasty brown concoction that actually turned the brown eggs green! I'll have to take another picture tomorrow.

Here are some links I found helpful, if you're interested in experimenting with natural dyes for eggs.
Serious Eats
The Nourishing Gourmet

Fleep is going to be a...

Another boy! So fun!. And now I feel justified in saving so much baby stuff from Snick's babyhood!

On Tuesday, we went to our ultrasound appointment (40 ounces of lemon water and all). This is a random sidenote, but I find it funny that the "What to Expect" type books make such a big deal out of not laying flat on your back, and then the ultrasound tech has you lay that way for such a long time. Guess I shouldn't stress if I wake up and find myself on my back! Anyway, I dropped Snick off at a friend's house and then met the hubs at the imaging place. He is an awesome ultrasound reader, and had figured out it was a boy before the tech got a clear image of it. I didn't know what she was going for at that point, so I was clueless until it was staring me in the face. 


Other things of note... Fleep is a mover! It was fun to see him wiggling all around. All his measurements were perfect, and he's actually measuring a few days ahead. At one of his early ultrasounds, he was measuring a day or so behind, so I guess he's had a growth spurt since then. Not that it matters, since he'll come when he's ready, but interesting to note. They estimate that he weighs 12 ounces. I remember them telling me that Snick weighed 8 ounces at the 20 week ultrasound, but there must be a wide margin of error on these kinds of estimates. Either way, isn't it so annoying how small a percentage of baby weight is actually baby?

The appointment ended uneventfully, and then we were off to pick up a cute little outfit to show Snick. We chose this "Little Brother" number, along with a sleeper that has fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and helicopters. We thought Snick would really like that one!

We picked up Snick and brought him home to have a cupcake, which I had baked earlier in the day - a few blue and a few pink, so we were set either way. I told him it was a clue about whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but he didn't get the connection. All he could think was CUPCAKE! CUPCAKE! CUPCAKE! If you can picture the way a mulcher devours a tree, you've got a pretty good visual on how Snick eats a cupcake. He pushes with his palm, and chomps until the entire thing is in his mouth - except for the fourteen thousand crumbs that are on the floor! Below is a relatively clean picture - before things got messy!


Anyway, after a lot of prompting, he guessed that it was a boy, at which point he said, "But I wanted a sister!" I don't think he'd really thought through what a brother or a sister would really be like, but he had it in his head that we should even the score in our family and have two boys and two girls, and a sister would do just that. He's a funny boy. We called our families, and let Snick do the announcing (which he sometimes did correctly) and then went out to dinner to celebrate!

Two last pictures to round out the post. On the left, this is the face I get when I tell him to smile! So funny! On the right, lovely portrait of me and the baby, courtesy of Snick.


Monday, April 2, 2012

General Conference Weekend





Oh, Snickerdoodle, my Snickerdoodle. What a funny boy you are. When I tried to take a picture of him in this football player outfit, he did a little dance for me.

We spent General Conference weekend at my parents' house and had a grand ol' time. Except for Snick, who emphatically declared after one too many sessions, "I hate General Conference!" I know someday he'll grow to love it, as the rest of us have. Between the time spent entertaining Snick and the couches at my parents' house that are WAY too comfortable and sleep inducing, I need to rewatch Conference to review and make some goals for changes I should make in the next few months.

Snick took over the camera and documented the important stuff at Grandma's house, and I thought these were kind of fun. I omitted multiple shots of the rug and the entertainment center. :)