My BIG guy and my Extroverted toddler

I’m sure you’ve heard….  My Mason is such the chunk chunk!  I took him to his four month appointment, and he was just over 19lbs and 26″ long!  This big guy is growing so fast, and I just can’t get enough of his squeezable lovable self.

The past week or so he’s been doing some new pretty note worthy stuff, and being the documenting Mama that I am, I just have to mention a few.  We introduced the jumperoo to Mason, and he LOVES it.  He can already jump in it quite a bit, and he is all smiles and coos.  About two weeks ago he laughed for the first time.  I tried to get it on camera, but in true fashion, once I grabbed my iphone to use the camera, and he wasn’t too interested.  He loves when I imitate his cooing.  He thinks it’s so funny and that seems to be his trigger to send him into giggle land.  He’s sleeping 12hrs straight, without feedings! Wohoo!  I’m totally impressed with this because I was completely prepared to get up once, maybe even twice a night to feed this big guy until he was six months old or older.  But ever since he learned to roll on his belly at 2 months, he started sleeping that way, and he has been a more sound sleeper ever since.  Only within the last few weeks has it turned from 8hrs to 12hrs.  And since his weight is certainly NOT an issue, he can continue to snooze!  He’s also has two teeth trying to come through.  Since Parker’s first tooth appeared at seven months, this one caught me off guard. Being that he is still exclusively breastfed, this milestone is not one that I am thrilled about him reaching so soon.  But, I’ll take it as they come.  One has already broke the surface, and the other is bulging white at the gums just waiting to break through.  I can’t believe he hasn’t been waking every few hours in pain.  Hopefully it continues!

He’s also wearing “Parker sized” diapers.  He’s outgrown the smaller infant cloth diapers, so him and Parker share the same size and covers. We got some thirsties covers with the snaps instead of the velcro, and we love them!  They stay on better and come in a few “boyish” patterns.  I would be in SO much trouble if I ever had a girl.

I’m starting to see more of his personality shine through too.  Mason is still very laid back and easy going. He’s not super serious, and not overly smiley like Parker was, but I’ve noticed that he does like to smile at familiar faces.  He thinks Parker hung the moon, and he loves seeing Mama and Daddy do silly faces at him.  I just love that chunky boy!

I’m learning so much more about Parker, my almost 22 month old, every day.  Yes, he tests boundaries, and yes, he has screaming fits and drives me insane. But isn’t that what having kids is about?  Maybe not all, but one thing that I can always count on, is that this little extroverted toddler defiantly loves to let his personality shine.  Recently when we were browsing Fry’s Electronics, Parker went up to two strangers and plowed into them and hugged their legs and looked up with a big grin to say “Hi!” and continued to wave until the stranger acknowledged him.  He LOVES people.  He’s such a people person and feeds off the energy of others.  Even though he gets upset when we leave places, or may throw a fit when I ask him to do something that he doesn’t want to do (a battle of wills). I have to remind myself to just let him be who he is and embrace it and try not to get caught up on what he “should be”.

As much as I want to think that all the other Moms out there have it figured out, they probably (like me) don’t know what the hell they’re doing either.  I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game, and being afraid of being judged by other Moms.  I need to just get over myself. He’ll never be the type of toddler that will be shy or cautious or sit still and listen to story time without the wiggles, or understand what “quiet time” is.  He’s energetic, determined, enthusiastic, and loves to laugh and dance. That’s just who he is.

I love that kid, and I need to cut him and myself some slack sometimes and just relax and enjoy.  I keep telling myself that all this will be over before I know it, and he’ll be a grown teen in no time.  He brings us SO much happiness, and joy and when we’re going through all the trials and stress of a toddler (learning his boundaries and learning how to navigate this world), I need to remember that joy and learn to extend grace.

Storytime

Besides the slew of sleep books, and the two I’ve posted on my page, my reading lately has been inundated with children’s books that I read to my favorite little boy.  We’ve gotten into a routine of sorts where we read a book before naptime and bedtime.  Here are some of our favs:

This book captures the love a Moma has for a child, no matter if he’s a stinky face, or an alien, or a scary monster.  Mama loves him all the same.

This book takes a little boy on an adventure filled with imagination and creativity.  This makes an artistic Mama proud.

Frog and Toad was one of my favorite book series as a little girl.  I love remembering the stories as I read them to Parker.  Can two frogs really be THAT great of friends?  I’m just sayin’…

Dan picked up this favorite of ours on one of his business trips.  It tells a tale of a little polar bear (ironically my nick-name for my husband) who is very inquisitive asking about how he came to be.  This book is definitely a must have in any children’s book collection.

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

Sunday Slim-Down & Sleepy Low-Down

Sunday Slim-Down
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a great Valentine’s day here in the Christiansen household. My little boy got dedicated today (more on that later), I got a beautiful bouquet of roses (my fav!) and I made it through the day without going into a chocolate coma! Woohoo! Actually, I’ve been doing MUCH better with my slim-down goals. I ventured out this week and got some exercise DVDs. I was a little skeptical of this, because I’ve always been a going to the gym kind-of gal. However, with a baby, and being home bound, somethings gotta give.  We started doing Cardio Max, and it’s going pretty well.  Yes, I said We.  I actually convinced the hubby to do it with me!  Last night he though it was silly of me to ask him to change into workout clothes, so he he did them in his boxers.  Yep, jumping jacks, and lunges in all!  He didn’t understand what the big deal was since we were home alone and no one was watching.  Boys are so weird.  At least it kept it fun!  The best part of this DVD?  It’s only twenty mins of intense cardio.  I say intense, because I’m completely out of shape.  Twenty minutes is totally doable. No excuses!  There’s a ten min warm up and cool down, so for a total of thirty mins, you get a great work out.

As of this week I have a new inspiration too.  We’re going to San Juan Puerto Rico for our five year anniversary in March.  I need my body back… and there’s no better time than now.  If I could just lose five LB’s before the trip, then I will feel SO much better about myself lounging on the beach.

Sleepy Low-Down

Yes!  Finally it has happened.  Our little one is sleeping through the night.  Reason to celebrate? Well, ask me again when he starts teething, gets his first cold, hits another growth spurt, or just feels like testing “the limits” again.  It certainly didn’t come without a fuss or two. “Oh my gosh!  You let your child CRY IT OUT??”  Well, considering that everyone seems to have they’re own definition of it, I choose not to answer that!  What I will tell you is this;  learn your child and follow you’re instincts.  We felt it was time for Parker to start to re-learn to put himself to sleep again, so we started letting him fuss for five mins, go in and comfort, ten mins, comfort, and only one night did he fuss longer  and it never exceeded fifteen mins.  He just “got it” after two days of doing that for naps and bedtime.  Really?? Yes, Really!  Will it last?  Who the heck knows.  It’s been about two weeks, and he has been sleeping great.  He goes to bed at 8pm and I go in to feed him at 5am, and he goes back to sleep until 8am.  Sometimes he starts to fuss around 11pm, but it’s usually for less than two mins, while he settles into his next sleep state, and he rolls over on his side, rubs his face, and goes back to sleep.  During the day, he sleeps about four hours.  An 1hr 30min in the am, 2hrs in the afternoon, and another 30mins to 45mins in the early evening.   Sometimes less during the day and sometimes more.  I’m SO proud of my little sleeper.  It seems as if once he was ready to do it again, and we set the stage for it, he really took to the idea well.  Now he’s such a happier alert baby during his awake times, which makes my heart happy.  You know what else makes me happy?  Mama getting some rest!  Amen for sleep.

Saturday Night Ramblings

~ Life is much better with some SLEEP!  So happy that Parker decided to extend his evening sleepy time last night so Mom and Dad could have a break!  Could this be a trend?  Let’s us pray.

~Cold rainy days are great for reading.  Little Parker and I ventured out for our first trip to the library together.  Lots of new books to read before nap and bedtime.  I can hardly wait!

~Can you believe that Parker is over four months old?  Craziness.

~We decided this week that it didn’t make since for Parker and I to go with Dan to California for his company “Bob’s Club”.  It was a sales contest that he won that got him and the family three nights in the St. Regis in Orange County.  However, we recently found out that the weather would be in the 60s (not exactly lay on the beach weather) AND, it would throw Parker for a loop with his sleep schedule…and having him wake up at 4am every night until he adjusts just in time to go home, and re-adjust again just didn’t seem worth it.

~In lieu of the California trip, for our five year anniversary in March, we decided to plan a trip to FL for a long weekend.  Parker will be older then, we’ll be in the same time zone, AND the weather will be MUCH nicer too.  Right now we’re thinking of the Hilton in Clearwater, but we haven’t decided for sure.  Up for suggestions!

~We finally have Parker on a good nap and evening routine (I think…ask me in a few more days).  Hopefully this time it’ll stick. We had to bump up the feedings to every two hours this past week because of nursing issues I was having yet again.  Uggh…  at four months you would think that I would have this breastfeeding thing down pat, but apparently just like anything, there’s always something new to learn.  Due to stress and lack of sleep, I was having problems with my let-down reflex, which of course Parker was very aggravated by, thus making my supply go down, and the cycle repeating.  Learning to relax is something that I have a problem with(shocker huh?) since I can be anxious at times…especially when it comes to making sure my son is getting enough to eat.  Now I see why breastfeeding seems to lend itself better to the more “free spirited” type of Moms! We ordered a scale, and now we’ll at least have some peace of mind.

~I love my husband.  He’s such a big help.  Today he went grocery shopping for the family and he made us dinner!  Yes, I’m Loving  it!  Can you do this every week?  Please? *wink*

~We’re officially apart of CWK small group (Couples with Kids) hosted by the Valencias.  Its so nice to be apart of such a great group of friends.  Right now we’re reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart, which has been very insightful (the few chapters that we’ve read).  We’re so excited to grow and learn from such strong Godly (not to mention down to earth and fun) parents.

~Last week our friends Jody and Melissa welcomed their second baby boy Jake into the world.  He is such a cute little munchkin! Congrats guys! As they say in Alabama…Ya’ll did well! =)

~Consignment season is approaching!  All  bargain savvy consignment addicted Mamas beware!  If you see a tall blonde Mama sporting some running shoes and a laundry basket on a rope…that looks like me, just go ahead and scooch over and make some room!  If anyone would like to join me (not that there would be much convo during shopping time, it’s all down to business then), let me know!  I don’t know what it is, but lately shopping for Parker is SO much more fun that shopping for myself.  Hopefully this doesn’t turn him spoiled rotten. Hmm… oh, well.

~A few weeks ago I spoke to my boss at AOS USA about coming back to work full time.  Dan and I decided that going back full time just wasn’t in the cards right now for us.  Fortunately, they offered me to work on a contract basis on local projects.  This will be great because I get to stay home with my son, but I also get to work with some fabulous people and do what I enjoy.  Once the projects start to pick up and I’m needed, I’ll be happy to put on my workin’ shoes again!

~I just have one question…When is it going to get warm again?  I’m starting to get the winter blues. It’s this very reason why I could never live up north.  I can’t even take the winter in Hotlanta.  The only positive thing I can think of is that I can cover up my “extra fluff” under chunky sweaters and overcoats.  I really can’t wait for nice warm stroller walks, pool time…oooohh pool time!  Won’t Parker look so cute in a little floaty, and his little teenie swim trunks, and his sun hat…I can already smell the chlorinated water & sunscreen *Sigh* My heart flutters at the thought.

Sunday Slim-Down & Sleepy Low-Down

Sunday Slim-Down

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my slim-down goals.  So here I am.    Fortunately the weather has been nice this week and Parker and I, along with the dog have been able to get out and enjoy son nice walks around the loop.  Dan is back to traveling throughout the week, so I haven’t been able to visit the gym in a while.  Over the last month I’ve been able to loose about 4-5 lbs (four on a bad day, five on a good) and squeeze myself back into my old jeans! Yay! That was a great accomplishment, although far from my goals I have set.  However, I’m still happy that at least I’ve made some progress.  I’ve found that I can burn quite a few calories just doing housework.  Which, I never got too much into while I was working full time since we had the help of a cleaning crew.  In fact, I’m seeing just how much I can work up a sweat by scrubbing the shower and moping the floors and pushing the vac.  Ahhh…the life of a stay at home mama. Who knew?  All those peeps that thought we just watched our soaps and did carpool….Puleeez.  Just wait until little Parker becomes mobile and is crawling all over the place.  That’ll be a workout in itself.

I’ve been looking into some things that Parker and I can do together that would be fun, and started looking into the Oh Baby Fitness to see about enrolling in a few of their classes.  They’re not cheap, but it may be fun to do a few times just to change up the week a little bit.  Since it’s wintertime and the weather isn’t always nice, we have to come up with some new ideas.  I’ve also found that the more I stay busy with either chores or activities outside the home, the less I’m “snacking” and making poor diet choices.  I also have more chance  of walking more throughout the day and being active instead of staying indoors and playing on the playmat with Parker.  I’ve also heard that Gymboree has Play and Learn classes.  Has anyone been to any of these?  They sound like a lot of fun.  I’m so excited about the days ahead with my little boy!

Sleepy Low-Down

With holidays and family visiting I have to say that the sleepy low down is that he wouldn’t go down. Well, let me rephrase by saying, he refused to go down for naps.  Fighting them to be exact.  Among all of the excitement of Christmas, family visiting, unfamiliar places, and throw in a three month growth spurt and low milk supply and you have a baby on sleep boycott!  I think after things calmed down a bit, I had real high expectations that things would get back to normal in no time, but sadly they didn’t.  The naps are back to normal.  He’s taking two 1hr45min naps and one catnap in the evening.  He’s been doing great with them, but he’s been going through the typical four month sleep regression at night.  It’s crazy to think that after about a month and a half of sleeping through the night, that he would start to wake several times a night for no apparent reason.  The first thing that went through my mind is “what did I do wrong?”  “Is he hungry? Newly aware of surroundings? Teething? Ear ache? Separation anxiety? Is he off his schedule? Too attached to his paci?”  I went down the list, and did quite a few trial and errors to see if we could get him to sleep longer.  We’re still working through some of those now.  Right now I’m trying to focus on the things that I can control.  I can control his feedings, when he goes to bed, and how I respond to him when he cries.  Lately I’ve been feeding him about 8x a day.  That way, when he does wake up at night…I know, it’s not because he’s hungry (unless he’s going through another growth spurt!).  We adjusted his bedtime to earlier so that he’s not overtired and gets only two hours of awake time from his last nap to his bedtime.  We also are implementing the Ferber method, letting him fuss for 6-7 mins, listening to his cry to make sure it’s a mantra cry and not a “I really need you” cry.  I use to cringe at the thought of the Ferber method but the more I read about it, I find that he doesn’t advocate letting the baby cry for hours.  Also, this is the method that a lot of pediatricians recommend once the child is old enough (between 4-6 months) to self soothe.  We also have the benefit of watching the video monitor to make sure that everything is okay.  We originally thought he was becoming too paci dependant, but after letting him fuss a few nights when he woke up, after less than three mins of fussing he fell back to sleep without his paci, so there goes that theory.  He likes to have it to fall asleep, but he has proven to us numerous times that he will do just fine without it.  I stumbled upon this site and found it reassuring when I find myself kicking myself for things not going perfectly:  http://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/baby-wont-sleep-your-fault/

The perfectionist in me wants everything to just fall into place so I can have the perfect little sleeping baby who is attentive, happy and playful when awake, and sleeps long and well during bedtime, but when I examine it a little closer I start to realize that just like anything, it’s not going to be perfect.  I don’t sleep well every night.  I’m not always happy and attentive during my awake times.  I have my “days”… and in no way does this reflect what kind of Mom I am either.  I need to trust that God will work this out… and learn to relax and let it go and take it one day at a time.  Hopefully through the trials and errors, we will ease into something that works just right for us.

Two pennies for my thoughts

Being a Mom is such a learning experience.  Just when you think you have it figured out, life throws you a curved ball.  The hardest thing is trying to decipher information that you hear and read as being fact, or just a theory from someone who thinks they know your child.  Here are some classic ones:

Just give them a little rice cereal.  That’ll help them sleep through the night

My 2 cents: Actually, the AAP recommends waiting until six months because their digestive system isn’t ready for them yet. So, that’s what I plan to do.  I can’t tell you how many people on the Baby Center forum that have their four month old on solid foods and then post on how they don’t understand why their child is all of a sudden waking up numerous times a night.

Your baby no longer has a nutritional need for a middle of the night feeding after 3-4 months of age.

My 2 cents: Every baby is different.  I know that sounds like a classic response, but it’s true.  It depends on whether your baby is breastfed or bottle fed.  A mom’s milk supply is different every day, and a baby could take in less milk during the day, thus needing more at night.  You can’t make them drink more during the day (unless they’re bottle fed) because when you breastfeed they only eat when they’re hungry.  If they don’t get the calories they need during the day, then they’ll want to get them at night. KellyMom.com says this:

After the first few months, your baby will begin to associate the breast with far more than just a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It becomes a place of comfort, security, warmth, closeness, and familiarity. The act of nursing is not just nourishing; it is nurturing. Keep in mind that these needs are every bit as real as baby’s physical ones, and having them met is every bit as needful to baby’s overall development.

Your baby should be getting X amount of naps for X amount of time at X age.

My 2 cents:  While I think it’s great to get your little one on a routine we (when I say we, I mean I)should be realistic about the length of nap times especially for babies under six months.  Most doctors agree that most babies are “short nappers” up until six months of age.  Sleeping long periods (naps and bedtime) is a milestone just like crawling, walking etc.  I think establishing a routine is a great thing, but I believe in taking the time to learn YOUR baby’s sleep habits, because it may not be “by the book” and sometimes that’s okay.  I’m preaching to myself as I type, because I’m all about “oh, he’s suppose to sleep one and a half hours exactly…crap! he only slept for an hour and wouldn’t go back to sleep…what did I do wrong”  The answer is NOTHING.  Sounds so simple eh?  I guess I’m just a bone head.

If you leave your baby to cry it out, they will have issues with feeling insecure and abandoned.

My 2 cents: Those that know me know that I haven’t been a  fan of the cry it out method.  Mainly because I don’t feel right leaving my child to scream so I can have “order” to my day.  However, I think it’s important to again learn your baby.  I’ve found that if I let my son do a “mantra cry” that this is a perfectly acceptable way for him to settle himself into a good sleep.  I also feel that age is a factor too.  All babies develop at different rates, but I do believe that there is an age that is too early to let a baby cry it out…even a mantra cry.  Each Mom has to figure out what time crying it out will work best for their baby.  As for the debate of whether or not crying it out will leave your child feeling abandoned and insecure, I think that this can certainly be the case with some instances.  Like anything…some things can be WAAAAY overdone.

You should never rock or feed your baby or have them depend on a pacifier in order to fall asleep

My 2 cents: If there’s anyone that knows about sleep associations it’s me.  After replacing the billionth pacifier in one night…I clearly realized that it was an issue.  Let’s say that there are certain things you need order to sleep every night (blanket, pillow, etc.) and in the middle of the night, you wake up and all of a sudden it’s not there any more.  Would you get up and get it in order to sleep?  Most people would.  Same thing for some babies.  I think it’s perfectly okay to rock your baby to sleep or offer a paci if they sleep through the night no problem.  However, it becomes a problem when they come out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep state and in turn needs the thing that got them to sleep in the first place several times a night.  It’s not an issue the first few months because you have to wake up to feed them anyways, but later you start to wonder if they’re waking because they’re hungry, or if what they associate with going to sleep is no longer there.  Eliminating the sleep associations helps decipher what the real issue is.

If I keep my baby up more during the day, then they’ll sleep better at night

My 2 cents: Those who have had sleep issues with their baby know that sleep begets sleep.  Have you ever noticed that when you’ve had a lot of sleep at night that you feel tired during the day?  In contrast, if you don’t get enough sleep, hormones are released to help you stay awake longer.  The same thing happens in babies.  If they sleep well during the day, they sleep well at night.  It doesn’t seem like it would be true, but it totally is.  If your baby is overtired,  they are much more likely to have several night wakings and also be harder to go to sleep in the first place.

When you breastfeed, you should only feed on demand

My 2 cents: I don’t agree that the only correct way to breastfeed is on demand.  I think a lot of Moms (especially first time Moms) find security in having some sort of a routine so they can keep track of feedings and make sure their little one is getting enough food (and keep their naps regular too).  I believe that babies find security in predictability, and erratic feedings could cause erratic sleep patterns, thus complicating things later down the line.  However, I do agree that abiding by a strict schedule can damage the nursing relationship with your little one.  Especially when those growth spurts sneak up on you.  It’s reassuring to have a routine in place because it can often help determine what’s going on when the baby has fussy periods.  You don’t have to “guess” that they’re hungry or tired, you know already how many times they’ve been fed and napped.

I clearly don’t have all the answers.  Just a first time Mom sharing my two cents of experience.  It’s all such a learning experience, and I intend on taking advantage of my trials and errors and so that I can hopefully be the best Mama I can be to my little man.