Monday, September 21, 2015

Ian is 8 months old!

Another month has come and gone, and once again I am baffled at how quickly time passes. One minute, this sweet boy is a cuddly, squishy, lump of newborn baby... then suddenly, I look again and he's got long legs and big feet and is SO big:

Look at you, sweet Ian Michael! You're eight whole months old! That's 2/3 of a full year! This month has brought a lot of sweet and funny moments, but I'm not going to lie, it's also been one of your fussier months so far. 

Which you'd never guess looking at this face:
You cut another 2 teeth this month, putting your total tooth count up to SEVEN teeth. You have 4 on top and 3 on the bottom. I think a large amount of your fussing over the past month was due to the fact that you cut 5 teeth in 4 weeks. Isaac also cut his teeth fast and early, which is an awesome alternative to slow and steady. Get 'em in. Get 'em done.
You've put those new teeth to good use by eating anything I'll offer you. I think hunger was the other fussiness culprit. We added another solid feeding around lunch time and you've been much less fussy throughout the day. That means you're eating 3 solid meals and nursing 4 times each day. That feels excessive, but you're definitely starting to wean off of your mid-morning feeding. It wouldn't surprise me if by your next monthly update, you would be down to 3 nursing sessions/day.

I haven't done a great job keeping track of the new foods we introduced this month, mostly because you're eating anything I can mush up or grab and gnaw on. You've had avocado, peanut butter, rice, chicken, noodles, potato, yogurt, cheese, pears, oatmeal, ...and there may have been a few desperate mommy moments where you got french fries and pizza crust. Haha! We introduced a sippy cup of water this month as well.
Check out ^this^ sweet brother moment. Isaac is giving Ian a drink of water. Apparently, in the nursery, Isaac transforms from the big brother who steals toys into the great protector. Yesterday, I overheard him say,  "No Chase! Don't run over Ian!! That's MY Ian!" Maybe they do love each other just a little bit.

And speaking of sweet moments, it's rare that I ever get a sleeping baby on my chest anymore-- especially in the middle of the day, so this selfie was obviously warranted:
Ian, you've grown leaps and bounds in the mobility department this month! Just as predicted during your 7 month blog report, you are officially crawling! You can also push yourself up to a sitting position when you're laying on your tummy, AND pull yourself up to standing. You have always been a very active baby, but now you're really moving. You are not content to sit in one place... which is why those cuddly moments are few and far between. 

You're wearing size 3 diapers and mostly 12m clothes or bigger. We don't have an updated weight or length this month, but I assume you're floating around the 21 pound mark. On the rare occasion that you wear shoes, I'll put a size 4 on. There's still very little hair on the top of your head (your brother was bald way past his first birthday) and your eyes are ridiculously blue.

Even though this month had its ups and lots of downs, my love for you, sweet boy, is and will always be unwavering. You are such a joy and a blessing to me! I pray you will grow into a great man of God, full of courage and wisdom. I love you dearly.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

7 Months Old!

Ian, you're 7 months old! What a month you've had!! Seven months ago, you were a brand-new squishy, cuddly, sleep-all-day baby... and now you're a happy, wiggly, babbling little guy, who also still happens to be squishy and cuddly.
This past month was a big one for you. We took our first road trip as a family of 4 to Augusta, which I should blog an entirely separate post for. It was a beast of a drive (It's about 16 hours from Rockport to Evans), but the time with family was really nice. Be on the lookout for more details and pics from our trip. 
The Rolls! They kill me!
As you become more and more aware of the world around you, I can tell you are desperate to move and explore. You're doing a great job sitting and can get yourself onto your hands and knees, but we haven't seen you move forward quite yet. Even though I'm wishing you'd take your sweet time figuring out how to crawl, I would bet that you're mobile by our next monthly update.

I'm happy to say that your demeanor continues to be happy and content. Also, you are a pretty self-sufficient sleeper. There are days and moments where you fuss and fight, but I'd say overall, you're about the easiest kid I know. I'm not sure how I got so lucky as to have not one but TWO easy babies. I'm certain a third would be the end of that streak. (that is NOT a pregnancy announcement.)

mmmmmmmm. Spinach.

You really got into solid foods this month, and just like your brother, you are a very happy eater. There's nothing I've offered that you haven't eaten! I've made most of your food, which is what seems most convenient for our family. So far you've had sweet potato, spinach, peas, carrots, squash, black beans, banana, applesauce, prunes, and a few random assorted fruit/veggie pouches during our time away from home. I'm also doing a few self-fed foods here and there: green beans, cantaloupe, corn on the cob, and watermelon. I'm pretty sure Grammy snuck in some macaroni and cheese one day. Ha!
Little thumb sucker.
Since you're now eating food like a big boy, I guess you decided that you needed the teeth to go along with it and cut THREE more teeth this month (2 in one day and the third a few days later)-- all on the top. This takes your total tooth count up to 5; three on top and two on the bottom. Breastfeeding just got a lot more scary. And as evidenced by the photo above, you haven't given up on the thumb sucking. I'm sure your ability to self-soothe has a lot to do with your easy sleep times, and you just look heartbreakingly sweet when you're sucking your thumb and laying in the crook of my neck. Sigh.
You were extra late getting in for you 6 month check up, so even though it looks like you've now outgrown your brother's 6 month stats, you were really almost 7 months when you were weighed and measured. You're now TWENTY pounds, 4 ounces and 27" long. I was pretty sure you were hovering around the 18lb mark, so boy was I surprised when you tipped the scales and kept on going. You're wearing 9-12 month sizes, with a few 6-12 month items thrown in. You wear a size 3 diaper and mostly go barefoot or with socks, so I'm not sure if you're even in a shoe size yet. Your hair is still sparse but light and your eyes are shockingly blue. I think you're probably the cutest baby ever.
Ian Michael, you are such a gift. Mom and Dad love you so very much and pray that you will grow in wisdom and grace. Our lives are richer because you're here and I'm so incredibly thankful to be your momma.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sunshine VoxBox Review

So I've gotten a few boxes from @Influenster since I signed up a while back. Some of the boxes have been nice (a free bag of hershey kisses in one and several facial mask samples in another), and others have been a miss (pantyliners.). I thought after the pantyliner box that I was doing something wrong, I mean, a friend of mine got a KEURIG from Influenster to try and review. A KEURIG. And I got pantyliners.

Anyway, I've been totally redeemed by the most recent VoxBox... the Sunshine box!!! This box was inspired by the summer and is full of awesome goodies. These are all products to keep you in tip top shape through these hot HOT summer days. Snacks, Hair, Nails, Skin: It's all covered! Check it out:

BarkThins Dark Chocolate Almond Snacking Chocolate (#breakupwithboring). @BlueDiamond Bold Sriracha Flavored Almonds. #SinfulColors Nail Polish. @Infusium23 Moisture Replenisher Leave In Smoothing Creme. #VaselineSprays Intensive Care Moisturizer. @DickinsonBrands Original Witch Hazel Cleansing Cloths.

What a fun box!! Couple little details: The chocolate bag in the picture is empty, because it took Jordan and I one afternoon to finish it off. DE-LISH. I would buy these again in a quick heartbeat. Just thinking about them makes me hungry. I am a sucker for dark chocolate and almonds. 

Haven't tried the almonds yet, but I also like sriracha, and we've already established I like almonds, so I expect this to be another win. 

The nail polish was surprisingly great. I typically gravitate towards OPI and Essie, but the Sinful Colors polish was opaque in 1 quick coat... a must for nap time manicures. 

The Vaseline spray moisture is a lotion that I can actually see myself using. It smells nice, absorbs quickly, and is the easiest, most convenient application of lotion ever.

The Infusium23 leave in Creme seems nice. I've used it a couple of times and it's not too heavy.

I'm a sucker for facial cleansing cloths. The Dickinson's Cloths are one of 3 types I have hanging out in my bathroom drawer. I was pretty stoked about these until I actually opened the package. You see, witch hazel has a pretty distinct odor. The same odor as the Tuck's Pads I just used 6 months ago for my childbirth-related maladies. So I open the package and immediately remember the less-than-awesome parts about giving birth. It's hard not to think I'm wiping my face with Tuck's Pads. Also, these wipes aren't awesome for getting makeup off, especially waterproof mascara. 

This was a really fun box to receive! I received the box for free in return for a review. I can't wait for my next Influenster campaign! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More life updates

Gosh, it's been a while since I've sat down and written something other than monthly milestones about Ian. Honestly, I go back and forth regularly about whether or not to even keep this blog open and active because I just don't have time for it. Or lets be totally honest, I choose not to have time for it.

But there's so much history written here about our lives and our babies, that I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. It's also an easy way to give family access to pictures and kid updates considering neither side of our family lives very close. Plus I'm still getting crazy amounts of traffic on some older blogs and some things that have been pinned.... but don't get me wrong, Pioneer Woman I am NOT.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity. Jordan has been gone for most of it, which has been hard for me and the boys. I'm not sure how single moms do it. Seriously. The last of our summer activities (aka: trips or obligations that remove Jordan from the home) will come to an end this Saturday afternoon. I couldn't be more thrilled to be done with this chapter. On one hand, I'm so incredibly proud of my husband and the leader that he is, but it requires him to be apart from us often. On the positive side, I consider these weeks to be refining moments, where I am stretched a little farther and in need of some big helpings of grace. Then, I wake up a little more confident and a little more patient. Days like this really bring to life Hebrews 12:11, "For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." It never ceases to amaze me how the parent/child relationship so intimately reflects the relationship I have with Jesus.

Some happenings so far this month: a quick visit from Aunt Casey while she was transitioning from her job in Plano to a new job in Madison, WI. (While I know it has its downfalls, I'm a little jealous of her travel-nursing-nomad-life.... could you even imagine being able to pack all of your belongings into 2 cars? And seeing a new part of the country every 3 months?) We had a quick visit from Jordan's parents AND we also took a short trip to Houston where they live. While in Houston, we met Jordan's new, more specialized cardiologist. It was a good check up and we loved Dr. Lam. I think I spend about 90% of my year in blissful ignorance and then the other 10% remembering that my husband has pretty significant CHD. I'm usually a little anxious when it's time for yearly check ups, so it's nice to have these good doctor checks and hear, "We'll see you in a year or so!!"

Work has been sporadic. This is the time of year where my PRN status is most needed and some months I'm barely making my minimum requirements. I enjoy my job so much and I look forward to getting back into a semi-consistent work routine. I'm working on some unit-based education and prepping for my next fetal monitoring class on top of doing patient care. What can I say? I love my job and I'm really passionate about pregnant moms. On a related note, I've been thinking that I may do another L&D series here on the blog sometime soon, so if you'd be interested in submitting questions or reading about the L&D world, leave a comment!

With 2 kids under the age of 3, we've been doing a lot of cooking in the last few months and have been subscribing to eMeals since May. It's been awesome! I get 7 new dinners with side dishes and a grocery shopping list every Thursday. Some of the meals have been huge hits and some have been duds, which is to be expected.  With eMeals, I've expanded my cooking abilities, especially in the Asian realm... pretty much any asian recipe I've tried has been delicious. It's nearly put an end to the grocery store/meal plan battle, and I say nearly, because some weeks still need our old go-to favorites. Plus, like I said, not all the recipes are total winners... "crispy chicken with peaches and cream sauce" sounds revolting, and "ham & cheese sliders with fresh fruit" isn't all that ingenious. I'd give eMeals 8/10 stars for ease and convenience, minus 2 for missing the mark with some of the meals. (for the sake of full disclosure, this is just me rambling about my cooking. eMeals doesn't know I even exist, because the account is under my husband's name. I get zero compensation for the above comments.)

Speaking of compensation, I have a post in the works about my latest VoxBox from Influenster. It's the best box I've received so far! A girl could get used to getting free stuff in the mail.

It feels good to get words on a page again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ian's 6 month update

Ian Michael! I just can't even believe it... you're SIX months old already. That's half a year for anyone keeping track, which means before I can blink twice, it will be time to plan your first birthday party. Oh, little brother, why must you get so big so fast!? 

We "celebrated" your 6 month half-birthday by introducing some food this morning! After weeks and weeks of staring, grunting, and drooling at what everyone else was eating, you finally got a spoonful of rice cereal. And you weren't all that impressed. To be honest, I probably wouldnt be all that impressed with rice cereal either... but just you wait... lots of other goodies will be starting soon! I thought you were ready to drop to 4 feedings and 2 naps, but after a couple of terrible days, it was pretty obvious that 5 feedings is the way to go right now.

Feeding drama aside, you continue to be the happiest baby I know. I thought Isaac was a great, happy baby (which he was), but you, my boy, are a total breeze. You're charming and you love smiling and laughing. Sure, you have your fussy moments, just like any 6 month old, but I'd say 95% of the time, you're pretty content. You still prefer to be held and cuddled, which proves problematic at times, but is pretty endearing. That other 5% of the time, when you're not happy with life, can be pretty painful... you have this shrill, ear-piercing cry that is SO hard to listen to.

We were lucky enough to get another visit from Aunt Casey this month, which was a real treat, because A. We love her and B. She was able to be here while dad was gone. You (Ian), me, and Isaac have spent a lot of time together this summer, and thankfully most all of those times have been smooth sailing. That being said, I'm definitely looking forward to the end of summer camp season. Three weeks out of town and one week of VBS has been a LOT of time away from dad!

You're babbling, squealing, and laughing non-stop these days! (I've even heard a few "mamas" while babbling... I won't go so far as to say it's your first words, but it's pretty heart warming to hear) You're so fun to be around, because your sweet, happy moods are infectious. You still suck your thumb when you get sleepy and just like your momma, you also like to knead a blanket while you're sucking your thumb. I keep wishing and hoping that you'll drop this little habit... but mostly I'm realizing that it's time to start saving for braces. Haha!

Obviously, you don't have a lot of hair on that noggin of yours, but what is there is actually pretty light, maybe even trending towards blond. It would be quite a sight to have a light haired member of this family, so I won't hold my breath on the blond hair becoming a thing. You're wearing size 3 diapers and mostly 9-12 month clothes. Your feet are growing into a size 3, but mostly you still wear socks. Your feet never touch the floor when we leave the house, so what's the point of chasing after real shoes all day? I don't know your weight or length, but I'm sure we'll see Dr. Canales sometime in the next week or so for a check up and vaccinations.
Sweet Ian, I pray you grow into a great man of God. That you are full of courage, quick to forgive, and have the heart of a servant. I pray in this house, you see love and grace lived out. I love you so much and I am so thankful to be your mom!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Five Months with Ian

Ian Michael! You're five months old! That just seems so old! You're growing up so quickly, it's amazing (and saddening) how fast the time has flown since your arrival. This month especially has felt like a triumph after managing to survive 8 days without daddy here. He spent some time in Alaska while we all held down the house. You survived, mom survived, and I feel 100 times more confident and relaxed caring for you and big brother.

You continue to amaze me, because you're the sweetest boy. You're very charming and love being around people. I don't think I'll ever get tired of your smiles, giggles, and chatter. Being in somebody's arms is still your favorite place to be, but you also love when anyone talks to you. You've spent more time this month with babysitters and in the church nursery, and everyone who meets you seems to agree: you're one happy, sweet fella. 

And when you're not happy, you let out this screechy-cry that could make ears bleed. Wooooooeee, little brother, you mean business. I'm thankful you don't often get that upset. 

You're sleeping and eating like a champ. Just as I'd predicted, you dropped a late feeding this month, which means you're now sleeping from 7:30pm to 7am each night. It's awesome! I don't want to jinx myself, so I'll hold my breath and knock on wood while I say... I have been SO blessed with 2 great sleepers. Sure, we have our "off" nights here and there, but for the most part, both Isaac and Ian love to sleep. Not only does Ian sleep through the night, but is still taking 3 naps/day. Since he dropped a feeding, he's eating 5 times/day (7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, and 7... with a lot of flexibility). All in all, I feel like this month was kind of a turning point for you, leaving behind the high-maintenance, around-the-clock newborn phase, and charging ahead to the infant stage.

This boy is DYING to do anything his big brother can do. That includes moving and eating. He's already rolling both ways (front to back and back to front) like a champ, and is getting more and more steady sitting up by himself. When he's on his tummy, he can pull his legs up underneath him and scoot around like a little inchworm. The boy is SO active. He doesn't stay in one place for very long at all... Lord Jesus help me when he really does get crawling. We haven't introduced solid food yet, although he will likely get a taste of rice cereal sometime this month.

His first tooth erupted on May 21 with no more teeth in sight.... so I was awfully surprised when he cut tooth #2 ten days later!!! Unfortunately, all this teething means more chewing and sucking his thumb. As much as I hate thumb-sucking long term (orthodontia!!!!), it seems to have become a habit, mostly while falling off to sleep. Isaac did the same thing when he was teething, but eventually gave up the thumb. Fingers crossed you'll do the same soon.

Check out my teeth!
You and big brother Isaac have formed this adorable relationship that continues to grow and sweeten as you become more expressive and interactive. The two of you love to be near each other! You will light up with smiles and chatter when Isaac is around, and he will talk to you, give you kisses, and sing to you. Isaac especially loves to cheer you up when you are crying by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Big brother proudly introduces you to everyone we meet.

Lets see, other randoms: You're wearing a size 2 diaper still (but could probably use a 3...) and 6 month clothes with a few 9 month outfits thrown in too. Not sure of your weight and length this month, but we will see Dr. Canales at 6 months for another check up, hopefully not any sooner. You've been to the pool and the beach this month and loved them both. You love to play with your green jingly mouse.

Ian, you are my squishy, little cuddler and I adore you! My heart is so full, I'm so very thankful to be your mama. The Lord knew what our family needed when he blessed us with you. I love you!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

On Blogging

Or in my case, not.

It's been a slow, quiet month here on the blog, and I can't say that last month was all that exciting either.

Conversely, life around my house has been full. With the exception of one week with no internet (thank you near-daily severe thunderstorms), my lack of writing has been largely due to a lack of time. I went back to work and have been on the labor unit two 12hr shifts per week for the last month. That might not sound like much, especially to you moms who work 40hr weeks(!!), but it's been an adjustment for me. Fortunately, I have a job I love and a trusted friend to keep the boys, meaning they don't have to go to daycare.

And then of course, my days at home are filled with lots of catch up housework, grocery runs, never-ending laundry, and plenty of time with my two sweet boys. If these things are accomplished before the day is dark again, you can usually find me zoned out on the couch or reading a book in silence.

My brain is full, my ears are ringing, and I'm over being touched.

Parenting small children is exhausting.

Can I get an amen?

It's beautiful, selfless, and full of moments so sweet I think my heart may just burst. But it is also exhausting. And it doesn't discriminate: parenting one small child is exhausting just like parenting 4 small children is exhausting. It's just a never ending cycle of cleaning spills, cutting food, diapering/pottying, kissing boo-boos, playing with toys, picking up toys, coloring, nursing, running, laughing, bubble-blowing, rocking, cooking, feeding, and so on and so on and so on. The physical demands are relentless. Then you add in the battles that come from a toddler who tests his boundaries over and over again or a teething baby who just can't get settled. The emotional wear is tiring to the point of tears. This chapter in life has a beginning and an end, where coloring pages are replaced with homework and trips to the park change from swinging and sliding to soccer practice and catching fly balls. Friends of older children tell me, "just wait until the next stage. Then you'll really know what hard is." I don't doubt that parenthood is a challenge from conception to the end, but there is something unique about being a mommy to children who are dependent on adults for a large majority of needs.

I don't really know where i'm going with all this, and truly, I should be up cleaning bathtubs while both boys nap simultaneously (!). Maybe there's another mom out there reading this who feels like she's barely treading water ... you're not alone. I would say our case is unique (it's not), because so much of our free time is given to ministry (just like all the rest of the men & women in full time or bivocational ministry) and we are several hours away from family (just like plenty of other young families), but the more I lean in to other mom friends for support and guidance and encouragement, the more I find that we're all basically in the same boat.

We're all tired.   "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

We all wonder if we're doing the right thing.   "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

We all feel low on joy.   "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm118:24

Parenthood is a challenge, and we likely won't see the fruit of our labor instantly. A dear friend recently remarked, "Motherhood is lived in the trenches. It's beautiful, but it's in the trenches"  Just like life is hard when you want to do it well, we press forward through the difficulties to produce a home full of love, joy, and life.

And in the process, sometimes we neglect our blogs for a little while. ;)
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