Friday, January 28, 2011

Caleb: 7 Months

Who is this big boy living in our home? Certainly not the tiny thing I brought home from the hospital in June...

Caleb turned 7 months earlier this week and it's almost as if he knew. While every week brings great change this one has been exceptional. His awareness of himself, his surroundings and us seems to grow exponentially.

He's on the cusp on crawling- scooting everywhere, rocking on his hands and knees and getting frustrated when the only direction all that work seems to get him is backward!

He's also recently discovered that things don't disappear when you drop them. He is fascinated by dropping a toy over and over and staring at the place it lands. If it rolls to an unusual location, he looks for it. While this will be lots of fun when he's self-feeding, I'm in love with this new skill because when I move beside or behind him he knows to look for me...I haven't actually abandoned him after all!

Of course, many times discovering me leads to coos and grunts that encourage me to stop folding laundry and come play (NOW!)...which leads me to the next milestone! Finally, he is able to occupy himself for short periods at a time. When he "requests" I come over, he'll usually fuss a few minutes, suck his thumb and start playing again. Of course we still spend TONS of time each day playing together, but it is nice to have the freedom to actually finish a task again!

And finally, after moving through "mama" "baba" and "gaga" he is saying "ah-da!" It's not quite "dada", but I'm hoping we'll get there soon : )

I love seeing all the changes in him. Although there are times I still feel totally lost in this whole mom thing (weird sleep interruptions and random crying still throw me for a loop) I love seeing him grow into a person who can communicate his wants and needs more with me each day.

Of course, this leads to challenges too. This week, for the first time ever, I feel like I am moving from "advanced babysitting" to "parent". Why? Because I now say the word, "No".

"No" you may not roll when mommy is changing you (of course I don't bother with full sentences, I do "no roll" and then toy distraction), "No" you may not pinch mommy or pull her hair. Yes I know you've been doing that for a while now, but now that you understand a little more, lets break that habit! And, of course, "No" you may not eat mommy's sneakers, or the electrical cord, or that CD and YES: Mommy and Daddy are still learning the real definition of babyproofing!

7 months old is definitely the most fun yet! Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me leading up to this month!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Speaking of Eating...

One of my goals this month has been trying to stay on top of the budget weekly instead of letting it pile up. The good news is- we are doing great at meeting our goals. The bad news? I realized today that I have exactly $10.80 left in my grocery budget for this last week of the month.

My mission is to live out of our pantry and actually achieve the goal of staying under (or at) budget. I could pull extra from another "envelope", David even offered to raise the monthly grocery budget this year, but I really want to challenge myself to stay at our current number one more year. We'll see how it goes, but I thought maybe sharing my goal would add some accountability and motivate me even more.

Any great ideas for how to lower your grocery budget? I'm always looking to add another idea to my homemaker tool kit!

Highchair Highlights

In honor of Caleb's prolific weight gain over the past 2 weeks (from 14lbs 10oz to 15lbs 8oz)here is a photo recap of all the solids we've tried so far:

Rice Cereal

Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash


Next up...bananas or green beans, I'm undecided!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sleep: A Baby Mystery

Sleep is like oxygen- you take it totally for-granted until you no longer have it. Every time I start to think I'd like to wean Caleb from two night wakings down to one, it's as if he can hear my thoughts and immediately goes on a sleep strike, waking 4-5 times a night. By the time that's over, and he's back to waking only twice, it feels like a dream come true and I wonder why only wanting to be woken once ever mattered at all!

Of course after a few weeks of good sleep, I'm back to contemplating how luxurious it would be to only nurse him once during the night and the cycle repeats. It's a baby mystery! Anyway, I am happy to say our 1.5 week sleep strike ended last night and we are back to two wakings again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quiet Time Reflections

Interesting: 1 Samuel 10- Israel rejects God, wants a king. God gives Israel a king. People complain that the appointed king won't be able to save them. Lesson: When God alone isn't enough for us, nothing else we receive from his hand will satisfy us either. When God alone is enough, we are free to fully enjoy the blessings he gives.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Growing and Learning

After beginning my journey as a mom with enough milk to feed quadruplets the last words I ever expected to hear from a doctor were, "Your baby hasn't gained any weight." She actually said it much more sweetly and gently than that, but my eyes had been filled with tears from the second the nurse read the number on the scale. I knew that was not right.

We talked about what possible causes might be. We talked treatment options. And the whole time I felt like my world was falling apart. That probably sounds really dramatic. He wasn't being diagnosed with cancer. No one was implying I was a bad mom. But, as my husband said later, hearing your child isn't gaining weight hits at the heart of who we are as his parents. We are his providers, his care takers, the one's who should notice first if anything is amiss. And we missed it. We saw the spit up and thought "all babies do that", we noticed his diapers seemed less wet and thought, "he must be metabolizing the food more effectively.", we knew he was skinny, but we were both thin babies, especially me.

I've gotten past blaming myself. Although all these signs are so obvious in hindsight, to a first time mom, they're not so apparent. That's why doctors have you make well baby visits. These problems can be easily corrected. They just need to be caught.

Basically we are feeding him more. He gets 3 meals/day of solids plus I've added additional nursing sessions. The awesome news is, it's working. We don't have a scale here (part of why we didn't know there was a problem in the first place) but already we've seen a huge increase in his "output". In fact he started nursing so much that I started having concerns that I wasn't producing enough for him, but as usual, the troops have rallied and I seem to have plenty once more.

We are also keeping him upright after his feedings, this in combination with the rice cereal, seems to really be helping the food stay down. He spits up, but not like before.

It's been a hard two days of processing all the emotions that came with this, pumping like crazy to help get my supply boosted more quickly and have milk to put in his cereal, and the endless effort on my part it takes to keep him upright for 30 minutes after a meal when all he wants to do is go scoot around on the floor. But this morning I feel like I can breathe again. I don't know if he will gain weight, but I know we are getting more food in him and that makes me feel so relieved.

Thanks to everyone who has offered words of encouragement. They've been much needed.

Hopefully we'll be adding some chub to this guy soon:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wash Your Hands!

We've probably all heard the advice about having kids sing a song when they wash their hands to make sure they scrub long enough. I've heard the "birthday song" or alphabet as suggestions. In a public restroom last week I heard a mom singing a far more useful song I definitely plan to teach my kids, and I thought some of you other mommies might enjoy it too!

Set to the tune of Frere Jacques (also known as "Are you Sleeping"):

Top and bot-tom, Top and bot-tom
In be-tween. In be-tween.
Rub 'em all to-geth-er. Rub 'em all to-geth-er
Squea-ky clean. Squea-ky clean.

There is so much great mom-wisdom out there. Not only am a blessed to have a mom and two great mother-in-laws that I feel comfortable talking to about anything, but I've also been slowly gathering a network of other mom's who have shared wisdom with me about everything from healthy sleep and nursing to discipline and homeschooling. I hope all my young mom friends are tapping into the amazing breadth of knowledge found in the mom's in their life. It's so much more comforting and reassuring than the books written by "experts"!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The first 10 days

This past October, Mama C ( blogged about how she had one new goal for each month. As she kept us updated on her progress (including the things she ended up deciding weren’t worth her or her family’s time!) I felt so inspired. Focusing on one thing a month seems infinitely more manageable than trying to implement a bunch of good habits starting Jan. 1st!

This month my word has been ROUTINE. Schedules bog me down, but routines free me. I’ve already seen the joy and energy that’s been added to my day from making sure to begin the day with a warm breakfast, 10 minutes of tummy toning (I’m trying to lose that "4 months pregnant" look), a shower/clothes for the day (not jammies!), and most importantly time for scripture and prayer. This is all I can accomplish in Caleb's 1.5hr morning nap, but it makes me so much MORE productive the rest of my day. I would have never believed it. David has been amazed at the change in my attitude and the state of our home.

My only other routine has been one we’ve enjoyed since before our son was born, but was taken to new levels of necessity back in the days of colic. We take a 1 hour family walk just prior to our Caleb’s bed time. It really gets us through what continues to be the fussiest time of day and gives us time to connect after a day spent apart. David carries Caleb in the Ergo so they get some much needed cuddle time.

I know a lot of people make a new years resolution to exercise so I wanted to share a little more on my journey towards getting back in shape. I've been steadily (but slowly) losing my baby weight. After being plateaued at 10lbs above my goal for several months I decided I needed to actually work at it instead of just hoping nursing would do the job for me.

In just 10 days, I've discovered one very important thing:

-If it's not simple I won't do it. Complicated exercises are not for me. I do 4 basic tummy toners 3x's/week. It takes me less than 10 minutes and I've already started to see a change! Consistently doing a few basics has been way better for me than trying to do some super-hard exercises and then avoiding exercise all together because it's so miserable!

Now the really important news...How is Caleb doing? About a week ago I was having another spurt of feeling like nothing we do makes that poor kid happy. It seemed like every nap and transition was a struggle, sleep deteriorated again, and I felt lost as a mom. After a few "woe is me" emails and conversations with friends, God began convicting me that my attitude was preventing me from enjoying the child he's given me because I was envying (read: sinning) the joy other children seem to have.

Surprise surprise, once I confessed this attitude and repented, things started going a lot better. Not only was my heart better, but Caleb has been a true joy to be with. He's suddenly much more interested in communicating with us through smiles, raspberries and babble. We are loving getting to see him learn how to scoot himself all over and actually begin to like solids. Something about this past week has made us both realize, "he is growing!"

I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2011 brings!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Warm Thoughts

I wish this title was: Warm thoughts for a cold day. However, as the expected high today is 73, I'll just have to give up on being witty and share the thoughts that are warming my heart this morning:

-There is nothing better than hearing my husband say, "I have to say, I'm really excited about dinner tonight. You make the best omelets!" This would be wonderful to hear regardless, but you have to understand A.) I make things a lot more time consuming than omelets that don't receive this kind of compliment and B.) My omelets may taste good, but they are UGLY. Fortunately, men don't seem to care about aesthetics when it comes to food!

-If toe wrangling (aka clipping baby's nails) was an Olympic sport, I think I could compete. Getting all 10 of those tootsies clipped at one sitting always makes me feel like supermom.

-The livingroom is clean. I have to be sure to type this in the morning because by the afternoon it won't be true.

-Caleb is pushing himself into crawl position and using his upper body strength to move in a semi circle. I'm not sure if this is heart warming or terrifying...

And perhaps most importantly...

-This morning I realized I can't do it all. Which was what I told David when I asked if we could take time to pray over and write a family mission statement. I said, "We have limited time and almost infinite opportunities for how to spend it. I want to pray for God's direction on where our family should focus our energy." And while those may have been the words coming out of my mouth. My heart was saying, "And maybe, just maybe, we will discover the secret to actually doing it all instead!"

So as I was cooking my messy, but "delicious" omelet this morning from the left over ingredients, looking at my cluttered counter tops and wishing the kitchen looked as nice as the living room. I felt God reminding me that there truly isn't time to "do it all". We will need His wisdom about where to direct our time and energy. And, if He isn't our first love, all the other good things we could fill our time with will become idols to try and fill that void.

My prayer for the new year is that God would show me the good things I love too much, and that he would become my first desire.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday Recap

Caleb is 26 weeks old now (where is the time going?) He turned 6 months old on Christmas day and is definitely getting that "older baby" look to him. Especially when he pushes himself into crawl position (so far he is only moving backward, much to his frustration). Here are the highlights from the last month:

It's hard to believe how much Caleb has changed between Thanksgiving and now. At Thanksgiving he had just begun to sit up with out support, getting interested in watching us eat and had just begun sleeping. Now he can sit up as long as he wants with little fear of falling over (unless he gets really mad and flails, the backwards he goes!), he's eating rice cereal (sort of) and sleeps like a champ (comparatively). He's also had his very first boo boo's now and survived (mommy survived too, barely ; )

We've also done a lot of traveling as a family in the last few weeks. We visited Cape coral the 2nd weekend in December to see the play The Gospel According to Scrooge and David's old church. He was part of this play for many years and it was wonderful to see the show I'd heard so much about. The next weekend we headed up to Tallahassee to visit friends and Grandaddy. We really enjoyed getting to see the Lehman's and Boatrights again, though of course there is never enough time when it comes to seeing dear friends who now live far away. Caleb's first meeting with Grandaddy was love at first sight on both sides. My sweet, fussy baby, who never likes to be held by a new person, laid sweetly in Grandaddys arms, touched his face and smiled. It was amazing. We enjoyed getting to spend time together and share a meal. We even got an unexpected surprise when an old co-worker of Grandaddy's came over to the table to say hello. It was so neat to meet someone from his days as an engineer.

Finally, we spend the last week of 2010 at Granny Robin and Grandpa Joe's. He loved all the extra attention. He also chose this time to go through his 6 month growth spurt. Between losing some extra sleep and David having the flu, I was happy to have my parents to lean on for entertaining Caleb. He, of course, enjoyed Christmas morning. The wrapping paper crinkling was his favorite part. He also really enjoyed his Christmas in the Manger story book. He already loves to turn pages. Future bookworm?

We rang in the New Year at "home" in Tampa. David and I sat on the couch and toasted the New Year at 7:45pm with sparkling cider in coffee cups, while reminiscing about 2010. Afterward we played about an hour of Mario and went to bed. Caleb let us sleep in the next morning until 8am, it really was an awesome New Year. We also found a great park with a boardwalk just 10 minutes from our apartment so we enjoyed two hikes over the 3 day weekend.

As if all that weren't awesome enough, yesterday we were able to see the Tews (minus Eric, who was out shooting with a friend). It was so wonderful to be able to spend time together and see the kids. Who are getting way, way, way too big!

It's been a whirlwind of travel, but I'm so thankful God has allowed us this time with family and dear friends. I hope you are all having a wonderful 2011 thus far!