A Few Happenings

Last week Dan started a new job.  It’s been so nice having him home more, spending time with the kiddos, enjoying dinner (albeit late at times), and getting to enjoy some time together after the kiddos go to bed.  He has a commute into an office each day, but will eventually get to start traveling again, but not as much as he was before.  The company is larger and there is more opportunity for a bigger career challenge and future growth in the company (which is huge).  Dan may have to turn in his “status” card for a while so he can be a trainee and learn the ropes. However, we feel it is a huge blessing and answer to prayers that the opportunity presented itself, and is now apart of our new reality. There will be some growing pains for Dan with the training, and commute, but will pay off in the long run! The boys have been loving the anticipation of waiting for his arrival while they play outside. This day, after a rather early dinner and some bike riding, the boys enjoyed a home made fruit juice pop on the porch while waiting for Daddy.

 

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Wednesday morning was like Christmas morning for the boys.  I had just scored some amazing deals at the summer consignment sale I go to every year, and got the boys some more costumes (like they needed more) for playtime and dress-up.  So, after raiding the new costumes that morning while I was warming up Sienna’s bottle, we got Sienna up for the morning, and Mason came in and asked sweetly if he could feed Sienna.  That kid is SUCH the nurturer and is going to be one amazing Daddy one day, I just know it! Of course, I couldn’t refuse.  Parker wanted to sit by his brother (per usual) and he got some sweet time with his sister once Mason was done doing his big brother duties.

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I can’t believe Parker will be four in a month!  He’s such a bright, happy kid, and I just can’t wait to celebrate him, and see what year four brings for him.  He has the pleasure of being the guinea pig for new adventures for us as parents since we’ve never parented a four year old before.  He’s always loved being the one to learn and figure out things on his own without wanting help from others, so he plays the independent big brother role quite well!  I took a few pics of Parker in his new (second hand, but new to us) spiderman costume for his evite invitation photo.   He loved being a ham for the pics!

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As I was taking a few photos of Parker, I had to take a few of Sienna too since she decided to show off by pretending she was going to make her way up the stairs.  She quickly spotted my intent to capture the moment, and decided to chase after the hanging lens cap.  Slow down, baby girl!

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A box of smiles

A little sad that the kiddos are starting school next week. We’ve enjoyed our summer, and the boys have thoroughly exhausted being silly, being loud and energetic, being creative, and being… well I suppose normal 2 and 3 year olds.  I had a lot of consignment sale preparation to do last week, and the boys succeeded in entertaining themselves for a while.  They found a box, and from the other room I heard loud bursts of laughter, and Parker yelling “Let’s do it again, Mason!” as they played in the box, entertaining not only themselves, but Sienna too! I grabbed my cam to snap a few pics, since they were having so much fun!

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Big Boys and Big Milestones!

There’s been a whole lot of milestones going on in the Christiansen house lately.  Here’s a little recap

Mason turned 9 months on Sunday. Yes, my friends.  He’s growing up so stinkin’ fast! It is true what they say about second born, being even faster growing than the first.  I’m not sure if its because Mason is trying to catching up with his big bro, or what, but he is definitely growing and changing, more quickly than I’d like.  He’s crawling all over the place, now.  He’s still doing just an army crawl, but it has gotten much faster.  When he’s in a disposable diaper, or when he’s naked, I’ve seen him a few times get up on his knees and rock some.

He’s still a BIG TIME eater.  He gets to be quite the impatient one at meal time. If I’m not scooping it into his mouth, or giving him something to let him shovel in, then he’s got something to say about it.  He’s eating meals similar to Parker now, except smaller, and more veggies.  I still offer the veggies to Parker, but he doesn’t seem to take to them as well as Mason does.  He loves everything from cheese bread and turkey, to carrots and peas.  If I put it in front of him, he eats it. I have yet to find something that he’ll turn away that is home made.  He’s made weird faces when I’ve given him jarred baby food, when we’ve been on the go, but other than that, he’s not picky at all!

He’s been such a mover and shaker lately, and so much so, that he hasn’t wanted to nurse during the day.  I kept trying to force it on him, but it would just makes him angry.  We would have this battle where he would pull off, and I would re-latch him over… and over… and over again for about five to ten minutes, until FINALLY  the let-down would happen.  Needless to say, this wasn’t fun for either of us. So, in short, I think he’s self weaning.  It is against my wishes, but it appears to be what he wants.  He’s nursing first thing in the morning, and sometimes before bed, and getting two formula bottles (Earth’s Best) during the day.  I keep reminding the perfectionist in me that formula IS NOT poison. And, although I long to be one of those Moms who nurse their child on demand until they can toddle, apparently, that just isn’t in the cards for us. *Sigh*

He’s still a great sleeper, which we are forever grateful for.  He does have the occasional night waking, grabbing out his mouth.  I have to say, though.  He’s a trooper! He had four top teeth come in at the same time, and now he’s working on cutting his seventh tooth! He’s such a happy kid, though.  Just these last few weeks, I’ve noticed just how much he loves to smile and laugh.  Some of his favorite things are (in no particular order): His brother, and his kisses, Lizzie and her wet kisses, Playing with Daddy and Parker on Mama and Daddy’s bed, wagon rides, park swings, Elmo, playing in his play yard.  He’s saying Mama, Dada, and “ok”.  Can clap and wave (on occasion, still working on it!), and loves to give free smiles and hugs.  Gawh, I love that boy!

Parker is not only a big brother, but is turning into quite the BIG BOY, too.  This week we transformed his crib into a big boy bed.  He’s doing SO good with it too.  I hyped it up, and told him that he was getting to be SUCH a big boy, and that it was time for him to be in a big boy bed.  He was so excited about it that he wanted to go to sleep immediately and wanted me to go away and cut out the lights so he could go to sleep!  It was so funny.  I gave him a few ground rules (no standing, jumping, or leaving his bed during “sleep” times) and he replied with, “Okay Mommy!”.  We took the child proof knob off the door, and he has lots of freedom now!  He’s done great at staying in his bed at night.  Yesterday at nap, he didn’t want to stay in there, and I ended up napping on the floor beside him, but today, he went straight to bed for his nap, and didn’t attempt to get out once!  I’m such a proud Mama.

Of course, Mason had to join in on the fun! They love each other so much!   So, why did we make this big step?  Well, I wanted to get Parker used to being a “big boy” because we’re about to take the plunge into potty training!  After reading the ebook from THIS site, I’m ready to go knock it out.  We’ve got a few potty related gifts under the tree to get Parker excited, and then we plan to start soon after Christmas.  Dan won’t be traveling for a few weeks, and Parker will be on “winter break” for a few weeks from his Mother’s Morning Out Class, so it’ll be a good time to just bite the bullet and have him trained.  He’s showing lots of readiness signs, and his verbal skills are improving daily.  I know this will be a big challenge for Parker as well as Dan and I.  It’ll test our patience and rack our nerves, but I’m hoping that with all the distractions of the Christmas toys that we’ll have for him to play with, and lots of preparation and help from Dan, that it’ll be a thing of the past in no time.  I’m trying not to have high expectations of early training, but at the same time, stay positive that he will in fact be trained before school starts back.  I’m leaving it up to him as to whether or not he’s ready for overnight training.  I will set him up for success according to what the ebook says, and see what happens!

Parker has also been doing great at school, too.  He’s had a lot of exciting events, with a big Thanksgiving potluck in November, and tonight he participated in his very first Christmas Concert.  He is turning out to big such a big kid!  I can’t believe that Mason will be doing all this same stuff, this time next year.

Thanksgiving Potluck

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Christmas Star!" Parker sings enthusiastically for the concert

Subtle hints that you may be pregnant…AGAIN

1.   If you are breastfeeding your baby, you notice a dramatic dip in your milk supply causing your baby to have the sudden urge to use the bite reflex instead of the suck

2.  You think it’s really awesome to eat olives straight from the jar and when your husband gives you a weird look you look back and simply say “What?”

3.  You chart your ovulation, do the deed on the proper days, and then realize the next month that Aunt Flow hasn’t reared its ugly head

4.  The smell of PF Changs, the mall food court, and dumping a poopy cloth diaper in the toilet is enough to make you loose your lunch

5.  You’ve cried uncontrollably, laughed hysterically and had a fit of rage all in the same 24hr period

6.  You feel as if you haven’t slept all day, every day, and every chance you get, you try to sneak in a nap and tell yourself that the dishes,  laundry…can wait

7.  You’ve already joined the would be birth club on babycenter.com  to see what other Mom’s are saying and to make sure you’re just as crazy as they are

8.  You ask your husband if you look pregnant, and the pause is a little too long

9. You take a pregnancy test and see those all familiar double solid lines

10.  In a burst of excitement you share the news with your nine month old and you capture his response for a beautiful memory before he decides to use it as a teether

So, I guess the jig is up.We are excited to announce that we are expecting again!  Parker will have a little baby brother or sister around March 7, 2011.  Parker will be 18 months old!  I know… Dan just couldn’t keep his hands off me.

Breast Pump RIP

I’m going to apologize in advance to all my male readers for my excessive boobage talk. I can’t help it though. I need to vent. I just laid my precious breast pump to sleep yesterday. We part ways. We had a love/hate relationship...that we did.

It all started right after Parker was born.  I needed to use the pump, but had a hard time starting the relationship.  I blame it on the slew of postpartum hormones and my need for everything to “go perfect” with the whole breastfeeding experience.  I had picked up the pump a few times and just cried.  Perplexed on  “how am I suppose to use this thing and think of my baby. THAT IS SO UN-NATURAL!”  Fortunately, I got a hold of myself and later realized how liberating pumping would be.  I could leave Dan with a bottle so I could hang with some friends, perhaps get a pedicure or a massage or even get my highlights touched up.  Then we became BFF’s

That was until Parker became a curious jumping bean around 8 months or so where during the day, he wasn’t as interested drinking.  He’d MUCH rather be on the floor, wiggling around with his army crawl, and that’s when I realized that I needed to pump more so he could get the fluids that he needed.  Jump over to a month later, and he didn’t want to nurse at all.  SO… Yes…I had to pump ALL the time.  My supply wasn’t that of a normal breastfeeding Mom who could slow the sessions down to 3-4 a day, and still get adequate milk, No…no, no.  I had to do a minimum of 6 sessions just to get 25oz, which is at the lower end of what is recommended at his age.  That is when I started to HATE my pump.

So, today… I celebrate.  Me and Medela go way back, but we’re taking a MUCH needed break.  I start to think of all of the things I can do now that we’ve broken up, and it makes me ecstatic.

I can remove all of the “reminders” off my outlook calendar to pump

I can spend time cleaning the house OR taking a nap instead of pumping or washing pump pieces

I can wear a REAL bra!

I can go to a girls night out without asking “will there be somewhere I can pump?”

I can work without visiting the mother’s room

I run, and my boobs won’t hurt

I can eat and drink whatever the heck I want (or at least in theory)

I can go on an extended girl’s trip without Parker (Labor day wkend, here I come!)

I can go on a family vaca without being embarrassed by onlookers staring at me pumping in my car…Yikes!

I can have ANY extended time away (if need be) without fear that my boobs will explode

I can sleep in and roll over and whisper “it’s your turn” on a Saturday morning at the first sounds of Parker babbling in his crib.

It’s SO liberating.  I haven’t felt this free since I discovered organic pizza.  Let my NEW life begin!

Let me give you the Run Down

Every other day or so, I think…I should blog. Then I go on doing what I’ve been doing and don’t get around to it.  Yep, story of my life.  So, instead of a one topic post… how ’bout a run down of what’s been goin’ on?

1. I saw the ever anticipated, teen obsessed, Stephanie Meyer flick Eclipse last weekend.  No, I wasn’t with all the teens sporting the heavy eyeliner and I heart Twilight T-shirt at the 12:01am showing.  I actually refrained myself since…you know…I’m a MOM and I have to show some semblance of restraint since I’m almost (but not quite) old enough to be Edward’s Mom.  I know that didn’t hold back some of you…and that’s okay.  I don’t judge.  I LOVED the movie.  Unfortunately, I can’t compare it to the book since I only got through the first two chapters of Eclipse.  I read the first two books in its entirety, but then I got pregnant, and all of my books consisted of how to prepare for delivery, baby, and the end of life as I knew it.  I’m still team Edward…Oh yeeeeah!  That’s right.  No team J here.  She belongs with Eddie (can I call him that?).  He’s untouchable.  Being with Jacob would be easy, and Bella wouldn’t have to change for anyone, and she could be warm and live a normal life.  But you know what, Bella isn’t normal.  She’s cold, depressing, sarcastic, difficult and wants to take the path with the most resistance.  I can relate to being a bit hard headed and going against the grain a bit.  Not to mention, I totally get her attraction to Edward.  He’s so mysterious and unique.  Seriously, who can resist his smirk? GORGEOUS!

2. We were sad to find out that they decided to cancel the little forth of July parade outside of our subdivision.  Yes, it was a tad lame, but it gave us a chance to meet up with the peeps in our ‘hood and wear patriotic outfits.  Dan’s Mom came for a visit and we enjoyed catching up with her, grilling out with the neighbors, and setting off some fireworks.  Yes, you heard me right.  We have a nine month old, and my husband insisted on setting off fireworks in the front of the house, while listening through our trusty audio monitor for sequels from Parker.  Boys…what can I say?  Fortunately, Parker was in dreamland, and the noise it didn’t bother him one bit.  Hopefully, our neighbors felt the same!

3. I’m giving MAJOR props for Moms that work from home.  Part of the reason that I haven’t had time to blog as much as I’d like is because I’ve been helping with a major relocation project … from home.  I don’t want to downplay this, because I love helping out (and getting paid!), but it is quite the challenge trying to juggle replying to emails, update spreadsheets, import data, during Parker’s nap and ALSO clean bottles, wash diapers, and all the other household mess I usually do before that little sneeper wakes up.  It’s hard, I ain’t gonna lie.  That combined with the fact that my husband is gone all week is enough to make me STRESSED! It’s kicked me in the ass this week, and I’m actually REALLY looking forward to the girl’s night planned this weekend for the much needed break!

4.  Parker is great.  There’s not much to complain about with him.  He sleeps REALLY well.  Two really good solid 1.5-2hr naps a day and a good 11.5-12hrs at night.  He’s a jewel when it comes to sleep.  He’s curious about everything and Dan and I are convinced that he’s super smart, because most of his toys bore him in only a few short minutes, leading us to believe that he’s just WAY too gifted to be bothered by that little blinking, singing, repetitive toy.  Attention and Stimulation is this boys middle name.  He can’t get enough of it.  It’s pretty exhausting too, taking him from room to room, place to place, from new toy to old, just to keep his interest.  He’s got an abundance of energy! I guess he should, he sleeps enough for the both of us combined.  And while I’m being all open and honest with my little booger, I mine as well mention our latest struggle-meal time.  Let’s just say it’s not our favorite time of the day.  I don’t get it really.  Just this last week or so he’s begun to be super fussy getting into his highchair, and all during meal time.  Which, has made going out to eat next to impossible.  He’s really good at self feeding, but apparently doesn’t like being confined.  He LOVES to throw his greens on the ground all while shoveling in the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  He doesn’t mind the fork mashed foods, but occasionally lets me know he’s completely over it by blowing raspberries of food all over my face. LOVELY!  I don’t get it.  He gets the best food.  I pre-make most of his finger foods ahead of time and freeze it.  The few exceptions are green beans, peas, and beans come from a can (I wash them thoroughly) because steaming them soft enough to eat isn’t possible.  I thought that would be easier because since Dan isn’t home much during the week, I end up making myself a turkey sandwich or salad most nights which doesn’t translate into finger foods for Parker.  So, to make a long story semi-short, Parker isn’t really diggin’ his foods.  I don’t want to go prepackaged, but I’m running out of ideas for finger foods that he likes.  I always try to make meal time a positive experience for him and if he does something that bothers me, I ignore it most of the time so we can keep that “positive experience” but that hasn’t seemed to change anything unfortunately. Mom’s out there, if you have some tips/suggestions, email or reply.  I’d love to hear them!

5. I am officially a full-time pumper.  Yes, pumping my boobies six times a day makes me a full time pumper for sure.  May I go on the record by saying that it totally sucks (insert funny pun intended comment here)?  Three things I keep telling myself: A)Parker gets the best nutrition when I pump B) I loose calories when I pump and C) Formula is friggin’ expensive.  My supply has taken a big dip (yet again) since I’m exclusively pumping so I’ve had to supplement with formula.  After some research and checking with some Crunchy Mamas on the best formula, I decided to go with Baby’s Only Organic formula.  I’m going to try my best to make it to a year with giving him at least some breast milk each day.  Why the hell do I have to be so ambitious?

6.  I can’t believe that I’m already starting to think about planning Parker’s first birthday party.  Fortunately, September is a beautiful time of year, and I can hopefully plan for a party that will be in really nice weather.  I went ahead and reserved our pavilion at Will’s Park, which is a beautiful park in Alpharetta where we go twice a week to walk and have also have the occasional family picnic.  We wanted to have it at Webb Bridge park, which is a nicer, smaller park, but there wasn’t a way to reserve the pavilion, and with me being the paranoid planner that I am, I couldn’t risk it.  Not to mention the pavilion was pretty small there, and we would have to rent an extra table.  I’m getting excited about the planning, decorations and celebration.  We are planning to have a photography session with Tracy Adams Photography, which will be great, because I’m sure I’ll be too busy enjoying the celebration to remember to snap those precious photos.

And that, my friend…is a Run Down.
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Time Flies

My little baby is turning into a little boy.  What has happened?  At nine and a half months old, he is movin’ groovin’ and showing no signs of letting up.  We had his 9 month check up last week, and he’s gained over two lbs (40th percentile) putting him at 19lbs 6 oz.  It’s crazy how much he’s grown and I love how he learns new things each day.  He self feeds during meal time and loves him some peas, bananas, and butternut squash.  He can’t get enough of elmo, and still laughs every time he sees his face.  He’s still babbling away with his Mamama’s and his Dadadas and he is very social, always smiling from ear to ear every time he sees someone new.    Lately, his favorite thing to do is to stand up and hold on to the toy basket.  He looks like such a big kid, muddling through it, trying to pick out his favorite toy.  He’s drinking all bottles of pumped breastmilk now.  Apparently that means he’s “fully weaned” by definition, but it doesn’t seem that way since I’m a slave to the pump.  He was just too curious and wiggly wobbly to stay interested in nursing.  PLUS…those teeth…LORD HELP those teeth.  Yep, ….another reason to reach for the bottle.  He can chew on that bottle nipple until his heart’s content, and I …can sit and watch without a single cringe.  Sometimes, to be honest…it makes me sad though.  Sad that he’s growing so fast.  In just a few short months, he’ll be one.  Lord, where has the time gone?  No matter what though, he’s my little punkin pooh.  That much I know, and that’ll never change.