Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Big Food for a Big Man

Who'd want baby food when you could be eating steak,
carrots and potatoes like a big man?!
     Tennyson has suddenly decided that he's too big for baby food. So, we've begun to offer him a portion of our meals. He has really embraced feeding himself and is putting those four teeth to work! We've enjoyed getting to simply share our meals with him. Our little man is growing up!

     With him feeding himself, we've had to remind ourselves of a few things. It's so easy to fret over if he's eating enough or getting enough of a balance. We've seen from others how that fear can manifest itself into allowing the child to determine his/her own meal or snack times and food preferences (such as snack foods and other sugary foods and drinks). Our goal is for our children to learn to eat the same foods that we eat. We don't intend to provide "kids food" or prepare two separate meals. We eat balanced and whole foods, and we expect our children to do the same. We're resolved on two principles for avoiding a picky or demanding eater: 1) offer "adult food" instead of "kid food" from the very beginning and 2) a child will eat what is provided when hungry. Tennyson is still at a good age for this new stage because he is still getting milk as his main source of nutrition. I don't intend to force a switch from milk to solids as the primary nutrition, but allow him to do so himself as he gains greater skill with eating solids.

      It's an exciting time! It's so thrilling to watch him grow and develop. Each day I notice him gaining greater skills and more of his personality coming out. Him feeding himself is just one reminder that we surely have an emerging toddler on our hands now! :)

...

     After lunch we packed up and headed to my Dr.'s office for another shot session. Because of the holidays limiting the hours of the nearby office (30 mins. away), we're having to go to the main office which is an hour away. Fortunately, David has made arrangements with work to join me to keep up with Tennyson. I can take him with me to the nearby office, but not to the other one. Requiring him to remain in his carseat during the drive and office visit, as well as me carrying him between the parking garage and the office in his carseat is more than I can manage on my own. I'm so grateful David's job is understanding of our situation.

     I was really grateful to have David with me at this session. The thing about getting shots (or any medical procedure) is that the experience is entirely dependent on which medical personnel you get. The last time I went the nurse was so personable and treated me like a person who had value (This is rare!). I barely noticed her administer the shot or any lingering effect. I wasn't even all that sore. Today's nurse, however, was a different story. She was rather curt, and our roles of she being the esteemed nurse while I was merely the meaningless patient was well established to her. She had no interest in me as a person or in preserving my dignity. The shot...holy cow. I did my best to hold myself together until I got out of the office, but then couldn't help but cry all the way home. It hurts, and hours later I still feel like I'm on fire. Last week I felt encouraged that I could make it through this and even entertained the idea of future children. Currently, I'm feeling very discouraged, dreadful of the  eighteen more that lie ahead, and questioning ever going through all this again. To compound matters, we drove past where we took Bradley classes last time and I was instantly flooded with an overwhelming amount of grief for never being able to have a normal or natural pregnancy and delivery. I have no choice but be subjected to medical care and personnel, and frankly... it royally sucks. *Sigh* It's been a difficult afternoon. Thank goodness for Ben & Jerrys!

       I created a little countdown sheet for the shots. When it's something you dread, it's encouraging to have a visual of the end. Interestingly, each time I cross one off it not only marks one less shot week, but also one more week closer to the baby's arrival. It's incredible to have a visual of that end as well. Of course, there's a good chance that this baby will arrive earlier than that. Twenty shot weeks puts me at 35 weeks gestation, which would be an absolute miracle. It was a miracle enough that I carried to 33 weeks last time, so David and I are still planning for 33 weeks but hoping for 35. Either way, we're practically halfway there! Holy moly has time flown in this pregnancy!
    

     

Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolutions for 2015

    In only a couple of days we'll say "goodbye" to one year and "hello" to the next. This time of year is always a time of reflection for me. Often, I think of the moments from which I have learned lessons and grown. I also think of the many good moments that occurred. Reflection isn't limited to the past, though. It's a great tool when considering the upcoming year and the potential that lies within. Who do I want to be? How will I work towards that growth?

     Each year, I create an excessive amount of resolutions for the new year. I'm a type-a, goal-oriented, and planner type of person and so this action is very natural for me. However, it isn't long into the year that I begin to feel disappointed that so many goals or resolutions have gone and continue to go unmet. This year I want to keep things simple. In no particular order:

1) 52 Week Savings Plan
    This is a very popular plan on Pinterest, and for good reason. It's brilliant! I'll do the version in which I'll start with 52 and then go down to 0. The purpose will be to create some seed money for David's dream business. It may still be many years until that dream comes to full fruition, but at least we'll have a start and will keep it alive.

2) 52 Projects
      While cleaning and organizing our home in preparation for a second baby, I realized that I have an extraordinary amount of unfinished projects. I've saved quite a few materials and ideas for "one day." Once I gathered everything together, I was amazed at how many there were and how much space was being wasted by simply storing them. I hope to complete one unfinished project each week. Though, some project weeks will be simply selling the finished item online. It still counts!

3) 52 Week Bible Reading in Chronological Order
        This resolution is all about the "who I want to be and how that growth will occur" reflections. As Tennyson grows older, I'm more aware of my role to teach him about God and faith. However, without having intimate knowledge of the Word itself I find myself having trouble relaying it further. More than just my words, though, my heart needs to reflect the message. The greatest influence I possess on others is in what I do, not what I say. My "doing" needs to be more reflective Christ. It needs to encompass the fullness of love that the Bible teaches. This is my heart- to be more like Him.

4) Proactive vs. Reactive In My Days
       Many days it feels as though time just slips away without me having a moment to clean, properly take care of myself or just have fun playing with Tennyson. I've written out all necessary tasks in the day and the time it takes to complete them, and arranged it all in a lovely daily schedule/routine. I even periodically update it to keep up with Tennyson's development and activity level. Yet, I still seem to be maintaining a steady state of "no time." The issue isn't time, but my use of time. I tend to be very casual with my time in the day. Nap times have easily become moments for personal enjoyment and relaxation, which doesn't help progress my day in a desired manner. These habits are highly unproductive and leave me being reactive instead of proactive. This next year will bring about even more demand on me and my time in caring for a second young child. Conducting myself proactivity through the diligent use of a daily schedule and cleaning routine is vital.

    There are many, many more goals I could add to this list. These areas, however, stand out the most to me and therefore are the ones that I will try to keep my focus on in the upcoming year. I think the greatest means of accomplishment may be through accountability. So, each month I may do a resolutions update post. :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kids Christmas Activity- Handprint Ornament

(I have his age painted on the back)
                              
    I have a handprint made with paint that I did with Tennyson when he was six months old. It's so sweet to look at it and see how small that little hand was and how much he's grown since then. I really enjoy having these little reminders of this moment in life with him.


 This one broke when
 I tried to move it.
      So, one of my Christmas activities with him this year was to make an ornament with his little handprint. I used a salt dough recipe, which was really easy to use. He was a little hesitant at first, but then really enjoyed getting his hands in the dough. So much so that it took quite a few tries to get a good handprint because he kept wanting to just play with it! Once it was fully dried, I chose to paint around the handprint to make it more visible, followed by a coat of clear protectant. Then, simply string a ribbon through the top and hang on the tree! I think the final result is so sweet. I'm really going to enjoy getting these ornaments out each year!
 
Tips: 1) Roll dough out and form on a moveable surface like wax paper, aluminum foil or silicone mat. Don't do as I did initially and make it directly on the table. These need to not be moved until fully dry (about a week), and so the table surface wasn't the best idea. Our first handprint ornament broke when I tried to move it.
 


He enjoyed squishing his hand and fingers into the dough!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Baby 2 Pregnancy Journal: 16 Weeks!



This baby deep inside of me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave to me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now a part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rodgers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"


How far along: 16 weeks!

"The bones that are now in place in his ears means he can probably hear your voice. ... thanks to his developing facial muscles, your baby is capable of making a few expressive frowns and squints, even at this early stage. ... And his eyes are finally working, making small side-to-side movements and perceiving light (although the eyelids are still sealed)." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition

Baby size:  "three to five ounces, and he's four to five inches in length" -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition


Gender: We'll find out on Jan. 7th! (I decided that there was no way I was going to be caught unprepared again, and that includes knowing the gender for clothing (preemie clothing doesn't come gender neutral)). I think the baby is a girl (Annelise Michelle). David thinks it is a boy (Huxley Nathaniel). We shall see!
 
 Weight gain: No new number. I just wait to weigh at my appointments. So, I'll have a new number in a few weeks.
 
Belly: Baby belly is growing! It seems like it just popped out one night. haha. It's definitely becoming more noticeable. I love it!
 
    I have also been able to feel on the outside precisely where this baby is, which is exciting. I recall with Tennyson being able to be keenly aware of his position from a rather early point in the pregnancy. There is one advantage to being on the thinner side. Of course, the big disadvantage is that there isn't much of a padding layer between the baby and the outside, and so if I bump into something (or have an active 11 month old in my arms or lap), I'm very much aware of it. I usually remain a little extra careful. It is pretty neat getting to see and feel where he/she is though.

 Sleep: We've entered the "can't get comfortable" and "ache all the time" territory of pregnancy sleep. But fortunately, my body pillow helps a lot. 
 
Symptoms: I'm still doing pretty good as far as not losing my innerds this time around! Whoo hoo! This is definitely a relief compared to the severity of my first pregnancy.
      The only new symptom is the aches and pains I mentioned earlier. I'm definitely feeling some of those growing pains. (Grow baby, grow!)

 Clothes: I received my order from ThredUp! I over-ordered to account for how fit is influenced by different styles and brands. Out of eight pairs of pants, I ended up with 2ish pairs (the third pair was a little tighter than I'm used to, but I will probably still wear them around the house just for a change). Fortunately, I didn't have to pay shipping initially and so I only have to pay it to send the unwanted items back for a return. I'm pretty excited to have at least two pairs of really nice fitting  (Gap Maternity) pants for only $40! Hello, comfort!
 
I still have to find some more camisoles to layer under several of my maternity tops that are a little too low cut for comfort. I think I found some at Khols that I'll be able to modify to accommodate nursing needs as well (they're also really affordable). Just have to brave the holiday mess to get them. yikes. haha. But after that, I should be pretty set! :)
 
Movement: My movement is slowing a bit. Some days the aches and exhaustion is a little hard to get through, but I press on. Also, with the baby being so easy to feel externally, even bending over sends a reminder of his/her presence. All bending is now done at the knees. haha.

Baby Movement: I can definitely feel his/her movements. Currently, it feels like he/she does flips or swims laps in there. It's enough movement that I'll pause for a bit until he/she settles down again. hah. I'm still looking forward to that first kick! Ah, I just love it!    

 Food aversions: Not sure. I still don't have as strong of a preference for meat and heavy meals, but that's pretty typical even when not pregnant.
 
Food cravings: I still love sweets far more than I should. (girl, girl, girl! ;) )

What I miss: Really good rest. I think I've forgotten what it's like to feel rested. Ah, the glorious life of a Mama. It's hard, but I love it.
 
Cuddling with Tennyson is getting a little more complicated. He, of course, doesn't really understand to not climb across Mama's belly. We still have lots of hugs and quality time though. He's too busy climbing, standing and cruising anyways!

What I'm excited about: I'm just thrilled beyond words for this little one. It was pretty exciting to realize where he/she is in my belly recently. Ah, he/she is getting so big! I'm so grateful for him/her!
 
     Christmas has arrived at our home! In an effort to not overwhelm Tennyson, who is only 11 months old, we decided to allow him to open one family's gift each night and then split our gifts to him between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (that's 7 nights of opening gifts. I've got our toy rotation bin ready to go!). It's been fun watching him rip the paper and play with his new toys. Next year we'll have two little ones to share the Christmas experience!

      Tennyson's birthday is also coming up (quickly!). I finished the invitations and hope to get the rest out today. I'm excited to see that we'll have several from our current church joining us to celebrate him! I'm eager to begin working on the details of his birthday party. I plan to have it be a celebration, but certainly modest. Should be fun!

 
What I'm nervous about:  I have to begin weekly shots tomorrow. I received the medication and the supplies last week. David warned me not to look at the needle, but I did. And then I cried. I didn't even know a needle could be made so large and it still be considered just a shot. The medicine is also thick which means it will burn oh so much. Good golly, the next 20 weeks of that should be "fun!" (sarcasm).
     Of course, I'm also conscientious of the fact that the baby receives all medication and interventions required. It's something that weighs heavy on my heart. I'll admit that I did have a moment of weepy self-pity. Oh, how badly I wish I was "normal" and not defective. I wish whole-heartedly that I didn't have to go through so much to have a child or that the child didn't have to receive all the interventions as well. How I long for that natural, normal pregnancy and birth instead of my high-risk and high intervention version. I realize this is all self-pity though and that will get me no where. I must accept what is and be grateful for even being able to have children. The fact is that very few with this condition are able to carry a baby at all. I have one healthy child and another on the way, and I am so grateful for them. I have to remind myself to have faith and trust. My struggles to have children renews in my heart just how precious this gift is and how little I wish to take it for granted. Despite all we must endure, I'm forever grateful for these little lives.

Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Photocards in PicMonkey

(That area with the black box has our address.)

       Tennyson's birthday is next month, and the planning and preparations have begun! My intentions are to have a birthday party for him, but keep it very low key. All those Pinterest-worthy first birthdays are impressive, but a lot of work and expense. We prefer a little more simplicity in life.

      My first task for the occasion is for an invitation. I looked and looked for a photocard option, but couldn't find one that would be inexpensive and yet still look nice. So, I decided to create my own! I was able to get all the elements I desired in the card and keep the cost low by using PicMonkey.

      Now, let me say that I am in no way a graphic designer or very good at working with the computer (as that should be pretty obvious!). I did what I could, and am satisfied with the result. I started by creating a collage to accommodate eleven month-by-month pictures of him, and two writing fields. I resized the image to be 1800x1200 in order to get a 4x6 print. I then used the editing portion of the site to add all the wording. The monkey is actually the same one I had painted on a canvas for his room. I simply recreated it onto a brown piece of paper, scanned it into the computer, removed the background, and then inserted it into the photo as an overlay. It's not super clean around the edges, but I got it about as good as I could. All I had to do next was send it to the printer (nearby drugstore for 1hr photo service).

     Each "card" only cost $0.29! Compare this to the cost of creating a photocard at about $1.85 each, and then having to pay more for shipping. I then just had to purchase a box of invitation envelopes and I'm all set!

   I've also used this method to create Thank You cards for Christmas this year. Part of the joy of gift giving is getting the see the delight of the individual opening his/her gift. So, I decided that I would take pictures of him opening each of his gifts from family members and then mail them a card so that they could see him opening and playing or wearing their gift. (In the future when he is able, I will have him handwrite a personal thank you on the back. I'm a strong believer in teaching kids etiquette like handwritten thank you notes). Below is one card I made using PicMonkey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Time Has Come...

     Tennyson has been a busy little guy this month. All of a sudden he decided to begin crawling and pulling up, which means he's now everywhere and into everything. It's been exciting to see him explore and become much more a part of our home environment. It's also been a huge reality check for me in how well (or not well) I maintain the cleanliness of our home.
 
     His curiosity and new mobility have reiterated what I feared for so long- the house must be kept super clean at all times. He has a knack for finding the tiniest bit of rubbish on the floor. When he sees it, he goes for it, and then promptly consumes it. We've joked about he pooping a Christmas tree one day because it seems like we're constantly removing from his hands the bits that have fallen off the tree and onto the floor. Haha.
 
      In all seriousness, I'm getting a fresh look at the necessity for keeping a clean home. I'll confess that I'm not the most disciplined in this area. It's a disciple and skill I never quite learned. I grew up in a home in which the home was a place of relaxation, not work. When the housework did build up too much, there as an explosion of cleaning and fighting. Housework days were very tense and very ineffective.
 
     The key is maintenance not burst cleaning. Thus, the practicality of a cleaning routine. A cleaning routine isn't as effective without the development of discipline. The simple notion of picking up after myself immediately would make such a huge difference in the state of my home. Yet, most days I just want to leave it and go to bed. (Yep, I'm going to bed tonight with the kitchen a mess. yuck). I have got to be more diligent about developing greater discipline in cleanliness for our home. It's important I not be constantly taking things away from the kids or telling them "no" for things that simply should be put up in the first place. It's also important that they learn from example the proper way to maintain a home, our personal property, and taking responsibility for our messes. I want them to grow up with a peaceful home, not one that is chaotic and messy. It's important.
 
Now for quite a few photos of him and his newfound mobility. I love his facial expressions in these! He's so proud of his accomplishments:)
 
I was doing dishes while he played in the living room. At one point I could hear him but not see him. I discovered him behind the couch! He had wiggled his way all the way back there! Of course, in true Tennyson style he came back out with a big grin on his face.
     
"I'll get that pan for you, Mama"
 
"I'll help! I'll pull out this plate...and spoon... and lid for you!"
 
Those two big boxes are my tree barrier. They're just moving boxes stuffed with several of our thickest books. It was completely effective when we set things up at the beginning of the month. Now, they're serving as means for practicing pulling up. The bows didn't last long either. haha
 
My lovely toy organization basket has now become a step stool. Fortunately, that thing is super sturdy!
 
I'd rather him not pull out all the dvds, but if he did it wouldn't be the end of the world. My greater concern is him slamming the doors and breaking the thin glass.Those doors now features some ever so attractive masking tape.
 
Ah, buttons! He managed to push the power button, which opened the disc drive and then he proceeded to remove the disc. That, too, now features some masking tape. haha.
 
His favorite activity is to try to climb the stairs! It's hard to tell from this photo, but the bottom of our stairs is configured in such a way that a standard gate doesn't work (we even bought an expensive one, but it didn't work and went back to the store). We're now searching online for a custom gate made for this kind of odd fittings. It won't be too much longer before he'll be able to fully climb the steps!
    The older he gets, the more fun he becomes. I just love watching him explore and interacting with him. It's just the best in life! And we've only just begun! :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kids Christmas Activity- Paint Bag

    When considering activities for our family's Christmas celebration this year, I really wanted to incorporate activities for Tennyson. At his age, sensory exploration activities are wonderful. This particular activity allows him to squish the paint underneath his hands and fingers, and combine the colors.  During play, I also stated the color names and pointed to each. I then used my finger to show him how to draw in the paints. He thoroughly enjoyed this little activity! We've pulled it out several times for him!
 
Mama tip: I found this simple activity really helpful as a table time activity. ("Table time activities" are those that can be done independently at the table, usually while I'm taking care of something else like cleaning up after a meal.) :)
 
 
Materials:
  • quart freezer bag
  • red, green, and/or white paint (child safe is best)
  • masking tape
     Squirt some paint into the bag and seal to top. I added a bit of clear packaging tape over the seal of mine just to make sure it didn't leak. I then added masking tape along the edges to secure it to the table. Masking tape is great because it will hold without damaging surfaces. I could also remove the bag from the table and stick it somewhere else for him to play (such as a wall or the side of the refrigerator) multiple times.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baby 2 Pregnancy Journal: 14 Weeks!

Taking these weekly pictures and writing posts
 on time was so much easier last time. Haha.
The 14 week mark was actually 12/6/14.
 
This baby deep inside of me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave to me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now a part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rodgers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"


How far along: 14 weeks!
 

"more fluid-like in his movements ... Other developments this week include a roof of his own (inside his mouth, that is) as well as intestinal activity: His intestines are producing meconium (which is the waste that will make up his first bowel movement after birth). He is also sporting a downy coating of hair (lanugo) that keeps him nice and warm. "-What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition

Baby size:  "the size of your clenched fist" -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition

Gender: We'll find out on Jan. 7th! (I decided that there was no way I was going to be caught unprepared again, and that includes knowing the gender for clothing (preemie clothing doesn't come gender neutral)). I think the baby is a girl (Annelise Michelle). David thinks it is a boy (Huxley Nathaniel). We shall see!
 
 Weight gain: According to my appt. this week I'm up to 120lbs. I started at around 116 or 117, so we're moving right along!
 
Belly: I still love seeing a baby belly. I love pregnant bellies and think they're absolutely beautiful. :)

Sleep: I feel like I sleep pretty well at night (though I still wake several times with Tennyson and/or needing to go to the restroom). However, I frequently wake feeling like I haven't rested much. I need to start making a greater effort of taking a nap during the day so that I can proceed with the day performing my jobs of wife and Mama more successfully. At least I know that I'm putting my best effort into getting adequate rest at night. I'm very grateful that David takes the night shift with Tennyson so that I can rest.
 
Symptoms: So far, the digestive issues and sickness that plagued me the entirety of my first pregnancy have not made their appearance to the same degree they did last time (and hopefully they won't because that was rough). I've still had some instances of digestion troubles. For the most part, though, I'm feeling pretty good!
     One new and weird symptom that has occurred is my feet widening. I've been having increasing problems with my feet. They've been so sore and painful to walk. I finally decided to go buy a really good pair of shoes. To my disbelief, I had to buy a wide! I usually have very narrow feet. Pregnancy can be so weird!

 Clothes: I recently placed an order at ThredUp for a few pairs of maternity pants. I was able to get three pairs of Gap maternity pants for only $41, which is much less than purchasing new in a store. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong on sizing, so I'll have to send them back and reorder. Even with shipping, though, it's still more affordable to buy from ThredUp than anywhere else. The only draw back is the time it takes for orders to arrive considering I'm clear across the country. I can't wait to have some properly fitting pants!
       The only other pieces I'm really needing to add are some camisoles. I have quite a few tops that I've not been able to wear because the neckline is so low. I understand that low necklines allow easy nursing access, but I don't necessarily need the girls out at all times. haha. I plan to go through my closet soon to make sure what I have is fully wearable and if not fill in the gaps.
       I've kind of made it more of a point this time around to go ahead and spend the money to have adequate clothing. I must say that it's much nicer (and I feel prettier in my growing size).
 
Movement: I actually did Pregnancy Fitness dvd one day! Okay, I did 20 minutes of it and then she said that they'd now be moving on to cardio. I was already feeling the workout, much less to have not even started cardio yet! I clearly rarely exercise to that extent because I was so sore for days afterwards. 
      Though I know I need to exercise more, I struggle most days for any extra energy to actually do so.  

Baby Movement: Sometimes I think I can feel him/her moving around in there. It's hard to describe, but kind of like a wave sensation. Now that I've had one, it's easier to detect baby movements second time around. I'm still looking forward to that first kick! Ah, I just love it!    

 Food aversions: Not sure. I still don't have as strong of a preference for meat and heavy meals, but that's pretty typical even when not pregnant.
 
Food cravings: I still love sweets far more than I should. (girl, girl, girl! ;) )

What I miss: Really good rest. I think I've forgotten what it's like to feel rested. Ah, the glorious life of a Mama. It's hard, but I love it.

What I'm excited about: I'm just thrilled beyond words for this little one. I read the size description and grinned with delight. Ah, he/she is getting so big! I'm so grateful for him/her!

     I got to hear his/her heartbeat on the doppler yesterday. There's nothing like the reassuring and joyful sound of your baby's heartbeat within you! I cannot express how grateful and excited I am for this little life.

What I'm nervous about:  I have to begin weekly shots in a couple of weeks. I've been on the phone with the drug company several times this week trying to get things arranged. Phew, is it a process to get this medication!
     I must say that I'm quite a bit nervous about it. In a nutshell, I will have to make the 1hr drive (round trip) to my dr. office each week to receive this IM (in the muscle injection) for the next 20 weeks. I'm nervous about the drive, potential side effects, constant injection site soreness, and financial burden. (It's about $700 per shot, and I need about 20 of them. Hoping and praying insurance will cover a significant portion of that! Though, David reminded me that the total is still not even half the cost of our two week NICU stay last time. Good golly). 
     Of course, I'm also conscientious of the fact that the baby receives all medication and interventions required. It's something that weighs heavy on my heart. Yet, I have to remind myself to have faith and trust. My struggles to have children renews in my heart just how precious this gift is and how little I wish to take it for granted. Despite all we must endure, I'm forever grateful for this little life.

Friday, December 5, 2014

First Time for Everything



     Yesterday was the first time Tennyson has ever been cared for by anyone except Mama and Daddy. In 10 1/2 months, we've never left him! I had an OB apt that morning, and taking Tennyson along wasn't ideal. Normally David joins me for my appointments but he couldn't make it to this one. I wasn't confident that Tennyson would remain content to just sit in his carseat for the duration of the appointment if I brought him along. He's becoming more mobile and loves to explore. Healthcare facilities aren't the greatest places for little ones to openly explore, however. So, I asked a friend of mine to watch him during that time. She has a son who is just a few months older than Tennyson (though, their size difference would suggest otherwise!). I knew that Tennyson would enjoy the new environment, toys, and having another child to play with. Of course, I still wrote a lengthy note about his preferences and cried as we separated. He did really well, though. She said he didn't really fuss or become upset at any point. That is, until I went to pick him up. As soon as he saw me, he began alternating whimpering and grinning, as well as working as hard as he could to scoot/crawl/wiggle his way over to me. His response to seeing me was simultaneously so sad and sweet. The feeling was mutual!
 
     Playing together so well!
(Tennyson is 10 months and wears 9mo/12mo. His buddy is 13 months and wears 24mo/2T. Wow. haha!)
   
      The appointment went really well. "Little Bird" (our nickname for the new baby because preemies have those precious little baby bird eyes when they arrive) is doing well! The doctor initially had a bit of trouble finding him/her on the Doppler, but finally did. I suppose he/she was just hiding in a comfy spot in there! That moment did make my heart pause in fear. Just a week or so ago I had someone tell me that if I haven't been too sick, then that means hormones aren't high enough to support a pregnancy. Considering low progesterone runs in my family and I even had that happen with my first pregnancy prompting the need for prescription supplementation, the comment made me rather nervous. Fortunately, everything is just fine and I've just been blessed to not be as sick this time around. (Side note- Why in the world do people feel the need to share such comments to a pregnant woman?! Between my last pregnancy and this one, I've learned that people absolutely lose their minds around pregnant women because some of the most absurd comments and/or stories are shared.)
 
     Later that evening, we took our annual family Christmas photo. I love the ones of Tennyson! I can't decide which one to include in our Christmas card. I may use both! Ah, love that little face. :)

 
 
 
Merry Christmas!
 
 
     In other unrelated news, I finally deactivated my Facebook account this week. I had hesitated because although I could reactivate my personal page at any point I would permanently lose the page created for my original blog. That would lose about 727+ individual followers, and in a way it kind of felt like abandoning them after they've stuck by me for so long in following despite my inconsistencies in posting. Nevertheless, I needed to do what was best for me personally, my home and family. I must say it's been rather freeing. It's amazing to come to realize how much of life has transformed into being experienced through the filter or lens of Facebook posts. Interestingly, I've had people texting me to find out why I closed it and what's wrong. It's like I've done the unthinkable! A few have given me a "right on" kind of response. For the most part, though, the response has been that of shock and dismay. Goes to show how intertwined and dependent we've allowed life to become with social media (and for some, fully addicted). The break will be refreshing.
 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Baby 2 Pregnancy Journal: 12 Weeks!

**I'm actually now 13 weeks along. I just didn't get this post up in time last week**

This baby deep inside of me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave to me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now a part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rodgers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

 How far along: 12 weeks!
"Most of his systems are in place, though there's still plenty of maturing to do. For one thing, his fetal digestive system is beginning to practice contraction movements necessary for eating, and his bone marrow is busy making white blood cells."-What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition

Baby size:  "baby weighs a full half-ounce and is about the size of a large plum" -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition

 
Gender: We'll find out in about 7 more weeks! (I decided that there was no way I was going to be caught unprepared again, and that includes knowing the gender for clothing (preemie clothing doesn't come gender neutral)). I still think the baby will be a girl.

Weight gain: I don't know the current number. I'll have an ob appointment just before the week 14 post and will know of and share a number then.
 
Belly: It seems like this baby belly has gotten much bigger much faster this time around. I've been feeling at least two weeks bigger than I was at the same time last time. I'm amazed to see a growing baby belly so soon. I love it though. :)

Sleep: Sleep improved for a bit, and then disappeared again. Of course, I'm still making frequent bathroom trips and up with Tennyson a couple times each night. Some days I feel like I manage okay on just a little and other days not so much. A daily nap when I can is magical!

Symptoms: So far, the digestive issues and sickness that plagued me the entirety of my first pregnancy have not made their appearance to the same degree they did last time (and hopefully they won't because that was rough). I've still had some instances of digestion troubles. For the most part, though, feeling pretty good.

 Clothes: Hello, maternity clothing! I could still wear my regular clothes, but by the end of the day the waistbands have left their mark. I had one day in which I delighted in thinking that my skirt still fit well. Then, I looked down and realized I hadn't finished buttoning it up when I got dressed that morning! Haha, no wonder it seemed to fit better!

        I didn't quite get back all the pieces I loaned. Not really worth making a fuss over though. I would like to purchase some new (to me) pieces anyways. I've found some great deals on maternity clothes at ThredUp.com. I'm especially looking forward to having several more pairs of pants and a different style of pant this time around. (I had only two pairs last time and they were full panels, which didn't work very well for me. This time, I chose pants with the bands that hit below the belly instead of stretching up and across. It's the little things. haha).
 
     As much as I love and prefer to wear skirts, I've come to the conclusion that pants will be the garment of choice this winter. I had a really hard time finding properly fitting skirts during my first pregnancy. The ones I did find were knits. It's way too cold here to wear knits (even with leggings underneath) during the winter. I also have a hard time with the..awkward ankle situation. Flats are the easiest and most stylish with skirts, but not very warm. Boots would be warmer, but I feel very clunky and am super clumsy in them, especially with a long skirt. That does not pair well with carrying two little ones. So, I'll just do pants for the winter maternity season, and then switch to skirts and dresses for the spring postpartum season.  :)
 
Movement: If cleaning the house until it shines and double cooking everyday count as exercise, then give me a gold star! My in-laws are visiting and so I've been preparing by cleaning and keeping clean the house beyond my normal. I've also been cooking our daily meals and the meals we'll be having with them each day. It's been a lot of work, and I'm plum worn out. Mission accomplished though!

Food aversions: Meat and heavy meals. Pretty much anything that requires significant energy to consume. haha
 
Food cravings: Chocolate cake!!! I'm obsessed. Haha. I've been indulging in a delicious a chocolate cupcake each week when we do our grocery shopping. The bakery has those gourmet cupcakes for only $.99. So, I've enjoyed a weekly cupcake thoroughly!

With my first pregnancy, I craved salty and meaty foods. Sweets didn't really do much for me. This time around, I'm less about the salt and meat and more about the sweets. If the old wives tale is true (and it was for the first time!), we may have a little girl on the way!

What I miss: I kind of miss appropriately fitting clothing. I'm in between currently- regular clothes getting a little too tight but maternity clothes still a bit too loose. I'm feeling like I wear the same things everyday. I kind of miss variety. Hah, not the most tragic loss, I know.

   We're making progress on weaning Tennyson from nursing. My supply is nearly up so that has helped. I still have moments in which I miss freely nursing Tennyson, especially during those moments that nursing provides the ultimate comfort. He's doing well, and we've had a great experience. I'm looking forward to sharing the same with baby 2.

What I'm excited about: I'm just thrilled beyond words for this little one. Though it may be early in the pregnancy, I already feel so bonded. I adore Tennyson, and I know that I will adore his sibling just the same. Love multiplies!

      I'm also excited about the happy organization that has been taking place at our home!  I have gone through and done a major organization overhaul of our home. I must say it is glorious. I still have a few more items to try to sell and others to sort and store. So far, it's been so nice to have a purposeful place for everything!

     Finally, I've begun looking into activities for Tennyson. I know that by spring I'm going to have an active little toddler to keep busy. I've been browsing websites and Pinterest for ideas for purposeful baby/toddler play. Incorporating these activity times into our day will be a great precursor to starting homeschool with him.  

What I'm nervous about:  Last post, I was nervous about handling two little ones. This time, I feel much more confident. Perhaps it's because I don't feel quite as drained and exhausted. The bit of added energy to think about organization and toddler activities gives me confidence that I can do this. Confidence has also been gained through seeing my belly grow and thinking of this little one with complete delight.

       ... And then that glorious energy depleted and I'm once again wondering about managing on very little rest. Functioning at tip top level as a mama while completely worn out has got to be the hardest part of the job. Phew! I'm still learning how to do it well.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Classic/Wooden Toy Gifts - 1 yr old boy

     The gift season is upon us! This year will be Tennyson's first Christmas! He'll be 11 months old by then, which will be such a fun age for a first Christmas. I'm so excited to watch him partake of the various holiday traditions!

     One of those traditions will be opening gifts on Christmas morning. My husband and I desire to not have Christmas be focused on a Christmas morning present extravaganza. We discussed various ideas for how to accomplish this goal. We ultimately decided upon a set amount we'd spend per child for the occasion. It's a reasonable amount that can provide plenty of gifts without being excessive.

     In general, we've focused on classic and wooden toys in our home. Classic/wooden toys develop the mind in a different manner than other toys. They permit calm and creativity. I find them to be just wonderful! Plus, most are gender neutral and high quality so they'll easily pass from one child to the next making the investment worthwhile.

      After making and remaking my list, I've finally settled on the specific items that will be adorned with bright and festive paper and eagerly await reveal on Christmas Day.  Some items I may be able to find second-hand. Books will all be second-hand (via Amazon Marketplace). I already found the puzzle at a consignment store, and if I can find any other items second-hand then I'll opt for those as well. However, classic and wooden toys are a little harder to find than conventional toys. Most likely, many of them will be ordered through Amazon (we have prime and so shipping is always free).

     The following is my list for Christmas gifts for my soon to be one year old son.
Toys
(a) Stacking Ring - Plan Toys
(b) 1st Bead Maze - Melissa & Doug
(c) Shape Sorter - Melissa & Doug
(d) Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone - Hape Toys
(e) Tools Chunky Puzzle - Melissa & Doug

 

Books
(a) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. And John Archambault
(b) Llama Llama Nighty Night by Anna Dewdney
(c) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle

 Stocking



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

 
    We live at a distance from all family, and so aren't able to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day in the traditional way with extended family. For the past few years, though, David's parents have driven into town the weekend before and we prepare a little Thanksgiving feast of our own.

     We prepared the traditional Thanksgiving foods: turkey (breast only since there are only four of us), green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, "tomorrow salad" (a family recipe), and rolls. And pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream for dessert. MMM!

(Tip: I spent the previous week making one dish ahead and freezing it. That way I didn't have to spend the entire day busy and cooking. It was also easier to manage making that many dishes while also caring for a little one.)

    Tennyson enjoy sucking on/chewing a piece of turkey. At one point his piece broke to where he had a small piece in his hand and a larger piece remained hanging out of his mouth. Instead of removing it, he just kept on sucking on it- hands free! He'd look around and carry on as if there wasn't a large chunk of turkey sticking out of his mouth. He never missed a beat in sucking that thing dry. So, so funny! A comment was made about Tennyson knowing how to really smoke a turkey. I cracked up until tears flowed. He's a funny little man!


     Since we don't have family or a meal for Thanksgiving Day, I've been trying to think of other fun ways for our family to spend Thanksgiving Day. For this year, we're starting the day off with some pumpkin pancakes with sweet apple cider syrup. Later tonight we'll all watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" while eating the featured meal of pretzel sticks, jelly beans, buttered toast, and popcorn. I think this will be a fun tradition for the kids. I have several other ideas for games/activities for the day, but they'll have to wait until the kids are old enough to participate. My goal is to make it a fun day together.





*Note: This post contains an affiliate link with Amazon.com. I am personally an affiliate with Amazon.com and as such will receive a small compensation for any purchases made through the links provided on this site. Thank you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Story Time & Other Activities

     Now that I have my own car again (hooray!), I've been eager to find activities for Tennyson. I would like for us to be able to get out of the house more during the weekdays. I think he'd really enjoy the change of scenery, having new things and places to explore, and being around other children. Some days, I need a break as well. If we can find some freebie activities then that would be even better.
 
      Today, we began attending the weekly story time event at the public library. Tennyson did fantastic sitting and listening to the stories. Afterwards, he and another child spent an hour playing in the play area. (The play area was fantastic!). Time got away from me, and so we didn't have time to look into getting a library card for checking out a pile of board books. Hopefully next time. If there is one area that I have spoiled Tennyson that has been books. I personally love books and, of course, hope to encourage him to develop a similar enjoyment. Too many children learn so early that stories come from a screen and subsequently lose appreciation for the great tales told in books. I'm excited for us to continue attending story time each week and he getting great exposure to the world of reading. I'm also excited for him to have access to such a wonderful play area. Play is important too! 
 
     Tomorrow is the "Tiny Tots" play group with the Moms Club. It's only the second time we've attended, but we've enjoyed it so far. It's so nice to have other mamas for me to connect with and for Tennyson to get to be around other children. Outlets are always healthy and help maintain balance in life.
 
     It's so good to have my own car again! I'm thrilled to be able to get out of the house more, especially when a change of scenery or relaxing break from daily routine is needed. Of course, now that I finally have my own car the weather has turned to being freezing. Loading and unloading a baby in the car in the bitter cold suddenly makes me desire to be a hermit and stay inside all winter. Haha.  Soon there will be ice and snow everywhere, and we will be staying inside more. For now, though, it's just cold. We'll bundle up and enjoy getting out to various activities while we can!
 
 
{Picture-less post again. Bummer. My camera finally died, but a new one arrives on Monday! (hooray!) I hate missing photo moments, or getting to share them alongside the stories. Soon, pictures will return here.}
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