In a good place

I must say that I think we have the easiest three month old ever. Seriously, we’re in such a good place with baby Mason right now, I can’t even begin to tell you. He’s SUCH a laid back baby!  Thank God, right?  With a crazy toddler running around and me yelling lovely tid bits like “Parker! Don’t stick your hand in the diaper pail! Poopy! Yuck!” who has the time for a demanding infant?  This baby hardly ever cries, sleeps well, and when he’s awake loves to coo and smile.

This is such a difference from the way Parker was as an infant.  He had horrible gas pains and crankiness quite a bit his first six months of life.  Not only that, but I learned all too quickly with Parker that forcing a scheduling (especially while breastfeeding) and going all baby wise (or even baby whisperer) too literally on your baby…sometimes isn’t very wise at all.  I have flashbacks of me doing the shhh-pat method until my chapped lips couldn’t take another shh…and my back ached from leaning into the crib.  It would frustrate me to tears why everyone else could get their baby to nap an hour and a half on, and hour and a half off… and I couldn’t!  What the heck was wrong with my baby!?  Turns out there was nothing wrong with my child.  It so happened that he was an awesome evening sleeper, but just didn’t want much to do with his naps.  Period.  The problem was me. I was a neurotic first time Mom, obsessed with having everything perfect and went a little overboard.  Fortunately, Parker wasn’t scarred.  Some may even argue that something must’ve gone right because he’s an awesome sleeper now (for both naps and bedtime), and he’s such the friendly happy kid,  but I can’t help but think I could’ve saved myself a ton of aggravation if I would’ve just  chucked the baby books in the trash, and just listened to my own intuition a little more.

So, we decided with Mason that  I would be a little more laid back about the whole scheduling/sleep training.  We all know that it comes in due time.  They’re only little for a short period of time.  However, with all that said.  I still love structure.  And if there is any baby in the world that is cut out for a schedule, then it’s Mason.  This kid is SO predictable.  Starting around 10 weeks he started developing a pattern.  I started to follow his cues, and now his typical day looks like this:

7:30/8ish- Squirm…wimper (I’m telling you, this child hardly ever cries!) Nursing session

9:30- He gives me the tired signals and I put him in his crib.  He goes right to sleep

11- Nursing session

12:30- Snoozaroo in his crib (conveniently the same time I put Parker down.  Parker turns on Mason’s sound machine and YELLS “NYE NYE MAYMAY”!)

2pm- I hear him shuffle in his crib…I go in to nurse him before he wakes big bro up

3:30- Starts to stare off into space with droopy eyes and I put him in his crib to nap

5pm-Nursing session

6:30- Cat nap in his swing

7:30- bath and bedtime nursing session

Then he wakes up one or two times a night.  Even if it’s twice, I don’t fret. I’m figuring that he probably didn’t take much milk in during the day, and needs the extra.  Or maybe my boobs weren’t producing that much, and he needs to catch up.  I could over analyze it, but at this stage, I’m comfortable with just meeting his needs.  He’s SUCH an easy baby, if I have to wake up one extra time to feed him, then I’ll just make it up with a nap during the day.  Something tells me that he’s going to be a great sleeper, and that all of this is just temporary.  I just want to love on him as much as I can, because he is growing WAY too stinkin’ fast for my liking.  Last week he rolled from back to belly (he already learned belly to back around 8 weeks), so I had to stop swaddling him.  When we transitioned Parker from the swaddle, it was HELL day and night for a week.  He would wake up and smack himself in the face, and cry for an hour because of it.  Mason on the other hand LOVES having his arms free.  I’ll check the video monitor, and he’ll have his arms spread eagle or he’ll be curled up on his side, totally digging his new found freedom.

You know another thing Mason is awesome at?  Eating.  It probably comes as no surprise that this chunker can EAT.  You would think my boobs make chocolate milkshakes the way that boy can put away a nursing session. No pumped bottles, no formula, …just the good ol’ fashion breastfeeding.  His weight certainly shows it too.  He’s in the 16lb range and wearing 6-9 month clothing.  Parker just wasn’t that much of an eater.  Part of it had to do with the problems with yeast I had during the first few months of breastfeeding, but even after all that cleared up, he was just much more interested in playing and exploring.

Many Moms that have gone through the first year of life with their infant knows, that there are good seasons and not so good seasons.  It’s forever changing.  Just when you think you’re in a good place, you move on to the next, more seemingly impossible and challenging phase.  So, I am going to enjoy this good place that I’m in with Mason right now, because who knows what the next daunting challenge will be.

My Better half

Things have been a bit crazy lately. I guess when it rains, it pours. We got a scare earlier in the week with Dan’s Crohn’s disease.  He had a flare-up, and was in severe pain, so much so that he cancelled his business trip and checked himself into the ER on Monday. They ran tests and blood work,  and fortunately it wasn’t a full obstruction, just major inflammation that narrowed a portion of his intestines so much that he couldn’t hold down food or water and risked dehydration.  They were able to give him something to reduce the inflammation, and started him on a liquid diet.

It’s been a long struggle with his disease.  It wasn’t too long after we met that he had to be hospitalized because of an obstruction, and then later he had a bowel resection surgery where they took out a good portion of his intestines that was full of scar tissue and narrowed due to the disease.  That was a little over six years ago.  Although we are blessed to live in this day in age with all the different types of medicine readily available, it’s been a daily struggle for him with trying different diets, going on and off drugs, weight loss, living through the side effects of the medicine and the disease… I don’t know how he does it.  He’s the strongest guy I know.

I’d say it’s been even more of a challenge since we’ve had kids.  This requires more of our time and energy, and it sometimes means focusing less on ourselves in order to focus on caring for the kids.  During Dan’s recent hospitalization, I felt awful that I couldn’t be there for him to comfort him and make sure he was getting the best care from the nurses on staff (I have a tendency of whipping them into shape if they start to slack). But since we had our boys at home, it was more important that I be home taking care of them. With all that said, here we are only three days after his hospitalization, and he insisted on catching an early morning flight (which required him to get up at 4am) so he could make an important business meeting today.  Talk about committed!  This amazing husband of mine is definitely someone that I could learn a thing or two from when it comes to perseverance and dedication.  He gives me that gentle reminder how precious life is and that we need to take chances, live our dreams and go “all in” when doing so.

With the birth of our second son three months ago, this makes Dan’s second Father’s day, and the Dad of two boys.  Who would’ve thought it would happen so fast, but I’m so very glad that it did.  He has been the best Dad to our boys and I delight in each day when I see how he grows and bonds with our boys.  Parker and Mason have such a great example to look up to, to aspire to be, and to learn from.  Happy Father’s Day sweetie!

Blog worthy thoughts

So, it’s been a while since I’ve done a good brain dump.  Ya know… the kind of blog post that really says whats on my mind.  One of  THOSE… Nothing in particular…just rando-town thoughts. 1-2-3- GO

I think Glee is quite possibly my fav show. This is huge people. I don’t give that title out too freely. It is just that stinkin’ fantastic. I love it!  That Sue Sylvester… favorite quote? How about “Now take your juicy, vine-ripened chest fruit and get the hell out of my office.” Compliments of tonight’s repeat.  Gotta love it!  What is your favorite Glee performance?  These have to be a few of my favorites…

I’ve been reading more about different parenting styles lately.  You know…I always thought it was so cut and dry…Either you’re an attachment parent, or you’re more “Babywise” disciplinarian. Either you’re a parent who spanks, or doesn’t spank…Either you’re a toughie or a softie.  However, after doing some praying lately, God has really led me to develop a discipline style that works best for Parker.  I truly believe that leading him with love, and focusing on teaching and redirecting in a loving way really renders the best results.  Does that mean that I’ll never loose my cool and yell or get frustrated? Probably not.  But I have seen such an improvement in Parker’s temperament since I’ve been responding with a gentle tone. James 1:19-20 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”  Sometimes I think that us Christians feel the need to take corrective action to discipline our kids out of anger when they do something that we don’t want them to do.  But what does this teach our kids about how they should respond to someone not doing something that they want them to dot? If anger is all they see, then anger is what they’ll produce.  Show love instead, and see how they respond.  I also found this to be a great article… http://greenegem.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/it%E2%80%99s-really-quite-simple%E2%80%A6/ and I can totally relate to the challenges she speaks of!

Speaking of challenges, the next major challenge for Parker will be potty training.  I want to do some reading about it to get myself ready, but I want to make sure first of all, to know the signs of when Parker will be ready.  That way I can be a support to him during this transition.  Apparently, the average age of potty training is between 18 and 31 months, with 98% being fully potty trained by 36 months.  So, I’m in no rush, but I want to jump on it when all the signs point to it.  I plan to get Elizabeth Pantly’s “No Cry Potty Training  Solution” and just start reading through it to get prepared.  One thing I need to figure out a good cloth diapering- training pant solution.  I want to get something that is absorbent for accidents, but can be easily pulled up and down.  Any cloth diapering- potty trained Mamas out there, please weigh in!

Parker has been growing and changing so much lately.  He’s my little man.  We’ve been attending a lot of play groups lately, which has allowed him to explore in social settings, meet up with familiar faces, and allow me to learn about things he likes.  It’s been good for me getting practice on how to get out the house with two kids, and coordinate feedings and naps.  Not to mention, just getting some time to chat with some girlfriends and feel a little “normal” myself!

Parker playing “dress up” with his friends in front of the green screen at Imaginations at Play

Parker feeding the ducks at Autry Mill Nature Preserve

Checking out the Indian Tee pee at Autry Mill Nature preserve with Mom and Tots playgroup

Parker at Fowler park peeking out of the tunnel

Parker and his buddy Cole at Cogburn Park having some slide fun!

Parker and Pace hanging out with “Mama Kate” at Cogburn park

Mason and his buddy Aidan at a Hip Mama’s playdate

Playing T-ball at Kangazoom

and… I’ll leave you with a funny parenting FAIL…

Delightful Destin

We had such a nice time on our first little vaca to Destin as a fam of four.  The trip down there wasn’t too bad… Parker and Mason took a nap at the same time and that gave us the reprieve we needed to continue.  We also found a cute little park right on the way where Parker could stretch his legs.  He loved getting out of the car and meeting some new playmates.

We had to pull over several times to nurse Mason… Have you seen this guy lately?  He’s a moose!  He’s been wearing clothes that Parker wore when he was sitting up, and trying to crawl…and he’s only TWO months old!  He’s still just exclusively breastfeeding, No bottles or formula…I just don’t get it.  What a hungry guy!

When we arrived at the condo, we were blown away at the views.  Absolutely stunning!

The weather was nice, in the 70’s, but the first few days it was very breezy.  Too much breeze on the beach can be bad, especially when it’s overcast.  We learned that pretty quick on our first venture out.  You know what else we learned…how much crap you gotta bring to the beach when you have kids!  I didn’t even occur to me that you can’t bring a stoller on the beach, and usually when we go anywhere we just dump everything in the undercarriage of the stroller.  Not on this sunny outing my friend.  We had floats, beach toys, adult chairs, bouncy chair, kid sized chair, umbrella, cooler and food…and of course a whole bunch of other “what if” junk like diapers, wipes, extra water, and sunscreen…ugh.  What a mother load!  Not to mention our two kids! We had to carry the baby…and Parker walks as slow as a turtle (especially on sand).  Mix that with a sore hip, and you’re ready for a margarita before you can say suntan.

It was all worth it for our boys though.  Exhausting…but totally worth it.

We visited the gulfarium in nearby Ft. Walton beach.  It was pretty cool.  Parker really enjoyed looking at all the different marine life.  They had a sea lion show, but Parker was more interested in trying to wiggle out of our laps for that. Maybe in a few more years he’ll be into it.

Since traveling with two small ones has its difficulties when it comes to doing activities, we decided to have a babysitter (who we found on Craigslist of all places- with excellent references) that we were using for our date night, join us for a boat ride to help with the boys.  She was awesome.  She held Mason so that I could take Parker in the water and Dan could do a snuba dive.

She was a great sitter, and we felt more than comfortable leaving her the following night for a date night.  We had a lot of fun together.  We had dinner at “The Back Porch”, which had some amazing views.

We also went to this unique place called Fudpuckers, where you can feed and hold real alligators!  We visited briefly on our date night, but then came back with Parker the next day.  He was interested for about five minutes…then he just wanted to run around, and see if he could figure out how to personally meet the alligator up close.

We had a lot of great outings, but some of my favorite moments were right in the condo.  Just being ourselves, letting loose, wrestling…tickling…and enjoying each other… making memories!

Our last day in Destin we hit the beach one last time in a nearby inlet, and then headed over to Harbor walk where they have a few nice stores, and good restaurants.  It was a great relaxing day to end the week.

It was a great trip, and we certainly plan to go back to Destin.  It was a beautiful place with lots of fun things to do.  The car ride was pretty rough at times, but I think the time spent in Destin, more than made up for it.  Can’t wait to see how the boys will do with future vacations like this one as they get older!