Visiting the Aquarium with Three Littles

Our membership that we got last year will expire next week, and since Dan will be traveling next week we decided to take a trip to the aquarium. We were hoping to make it there early right when they opened, but I had such a horrible night of sleep. I had a painful plugged milk duct that I noticed while nursing the night before, and it just got progressively worse and worse. I decided to help unplug the milk duct, I would just bring baby girl to bed with us so she could have a buffet of boob if you will and hopefully help me out a bit. I even crawled into a warm bath at 4am hoping the warmth would help ease the pain and let the nursing feel better. I felt somewhat better by the morning, the duct felt unplugged, but the pain was still there. Oh, and the sleepy eyes… Yes the sleepy eyes had me.
Still, the day must go on. And a fun one too! Aquarium! So, I tried to feel better, packed the boys lunches, fed baby girl, and put myself together. Did you know that this post was going to have so much boob talk? I probably should renamed the post “Visiting the Aquarium with three littles and an achy boob”. No, that would scare people away.
So, we head down there and I feel terrible my head throbbing and tired and general achy-ickyness. Thinking it could possibly be from the tick bite I had three days ago (yes, I found a TICK on my body in February-thank you global warming). I thought since the milk duct was unplugged, the nursing was going better and I was okay to go on our little fun family day trip.

We had a nice time! Parker and Mason really loved getting to see all the fish. It’s amazing how much more Mason could enjoy now, than he could this time last year.  We went to the main exhibit with the largest aquarium and tunnel first then ate lunch that I brought. We even got tickets to the dolphin show and got to stay for about fifteen minutes before excusing ourselves. We decided to high tail it to the penguins since Mason was being a wiggle worm and wasn’t too keen on the opera singing. The penguins were a big hit too! The fun didn’t skip a beat and the boys were very compliant and nice. Sienna was easy too and just hung out in the stroller or in the Ergo where she slept during the dolphin show. We started to head out about quarter after one because we just knew we would be in for it if we didn’t. Sure enough, Mason passed out on the way home and we were thankful we averted a meltdown!  We didn’t stay for a really long time, but it was just enough time for the boys to enjoy something fun before naps!
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On the way home, I agreed with Dan that since I still felt terrible that I should go to a doc in the box and see what they have to say. Well, after running through the nursing issues, possibility of pregnancy or reaction to tick bite, he examined me (and found a huge red spot the size of a pancake on the side of my boob) and determined that I have mastitis! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a terrible bacterial infection with flu-like symptoms that starts in your milk ducts. This is my third time nursing (I’m no newbie), and I’ve been through yeast/thrush, milk supply issues, let-down issues,  and I never had anything like it.  Now I can say I’ve positively had every nursing issue known to man!  Aren’t I the lucky one.  Fortunately, I got a round of strong antibiotics and I’m on the mend and back to feeding baby girl like a champ! They drew blood to test for Lyme disease just in case, but the antibiotics should get rid of any bacteria from Lyme’s disease as well. Even with the headaches and body aches, I’m still glad the boys had such a nice time at the aquarium and that we were able to enjoy it one last time before the end of our membership.  What a great break from all the packing of boxes and being stir crazy at home!

Summer Lovin’

Its shaping up to be a pretty good Summer so far.  So, what have we been up to?  It’s just the beginning of July and we’re already enjoying some summer fun.

I’ve noticed in the past few months just how much Parker just LOVES being outdoors.  Any outside time he can get, he’s a happy camper.  We got him a little pool and a slide in the back yard (yes, our small little 12×15 green space) and a little $10. sprinkler.  He has just lights up with giggles and laughter playing, just as content as can be.  He’s such an earthy outdoorsie person like his Mama!  We also have fun blowing bubbles.  He tries so hard to blow his own bubbles, but most of the time he looks like he’s making out with the wand.

We’ve really been enjoying our playdates lately.  We’ve been doing more either at other people’s homes or here at our house.  Venturing out in public has been more difficult since Mason nurses around 11am every day, and he usually naps from 9:30-11.  I hosted the first here in our home for Hip Mamas Happy Babies playgroup.  I was a little hesitant for some time because we don’t have a traditional “play area” because it’s in our master bedroom.  But I finally came to terms with it and said “what the hell…” and it was a lot of fun.  It was all boys that came, and they had a great time playing with Parker’s toys and eating snacks.  Mason even had fun with his little buddy Aidan too.

We also went to see Marcie and her two little cuties Maddie and Simeon.  I think Parker has a little crush on Maddie.  He kept giving her hugs at our house, and so we said that we must do a playdate.  Just look at what cuteness ensued!

Maddie’s little brother Simeon proved to be little buddy sized for Mason.  They were so cute together!  Should I dare to say that they even look related?  I love these cute plump baby boys!

Another regular pal Campen has been having frequent playdates with Parker.  I came up with this fabulous idea on the road trip back from Destin that maybe Gracile would like to swap watching Parker and Campen every Thursday.  We both have a new baby and since Campen and Parker play so well together, with thought it would be a win-win.  It gives us some free time to spend with baby number 2 when its our off week, and when its our week to watch both, they enjoy the time together. When they’re at Gracile’s house they play outside a lot with the water table and the sand box, and over here we love to do dance parties and coloring with the occasional elmo time.

Parker and Mason have also been having a lot of playdates with Nanny and Aunt Mandy.  They always get so much love from them and Parker LOVES his Nanny! He always lights up when he sees her and immediately wants to show her all his toys.  It’s the sweetest.  Of course, Nanny can’t get enough of him and little Mae Mae.

Dan has been traveling a lot lately, which is the usual.  We’ve been doing a lot of skype video conferences and Parker has really enjoyed seeing Daddy and talking to him that way.  The traveling does have its occasional perks.  Dan saved up enough points and exchanged them for a very nice Trek bike, but then also got an InStep Trailer to add to it ($600 value).  So, this will be fun riding the boys in when it gets a little cooler out.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds!

 

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.

Nightlife with a four month old

Life has been super crazy lately.  My milk supply has gone down, which has made nursing my little guy extremely exhausting.  I’m trying to listen more to his cues instead of going by a schedule since my supply is so low.  Once it gets back up, we’ll be back on a routine of sorts. We are also weaning him from swaddling since he has learned to roll quite a bit.  Here is a glimpse of our night life.

This is Parker’s point of view:

8pm- Hi daddy, sure I’m ready for bath time

8:05-Oooh, warm tub.  Daddy makes the tub water just right.  Wow, daddy is a horrible singer, but I love how he scrubs my belly.

8:15-Hi Mommy, dry me off please…agooooo, goo goooooh, thank you. Nice and dry.  Ooohh, cold lotion, oh, belly time. Yay…goooh..eeeek…EKKKKK! gooo.  I love my baby massage…ooooo EEEK!

8:20-Be gentle when you dress me Mommy…Wahhhh!!!…I said gentle..suck suck, ooh, passie…thank you mom.  Oohh.. you sing much better than daddy…suck suck…*grunt” grunt…hungry…grunt grunt.  fuss…

8:25- Reading Winnie the pooh again mommy?  When will this novel end? …Grunt grunt…I hope she’s feeding me soon…maybe if I cry she’ll stop reading and feed me….Waaaah!!

8:30-Oh, big bottle.  Yum,Gulp! Oh, what is this new stuff I taste? Not mommy’s milk…gross…ooh, getting sleepy.., Oh, yeah, bottle…suck, suck, gulp…

8:38-That’s it?  That’s the end of the bottle?  Wahhh!..oh, pacie, thanks Mom.  Mommy, you forgot to swaddle me!  Waaaah!…Waahhh…Oh, mommy hand on belly…nice rock.  Who is this Jesus person she speaks of while I’m trying to sleep?  Why is she asking him to help me sleep through the night?  Aw, Mommy is leaving…Heavy eyes…deep breath…feeling very tired…zzzzzzz

12am-What was that sound?  Where’s my paci? Wahh..Wahhh!!!! Oh Hi daddy…thanks for giving me my paci…zzzzzz

2am-*grunt grunt* I’m hungry…and wet! Wahhh!  Oh, my sholder is wet too…I must’ve spit up all over myself…Waaah!

2:02- I’m REALLY hungry!! Wahhhhh!  Oh, Hi Mommy! I’m hungry! Why are you changing my diaper first?  You have to change my clothes too? I said I’m hungry!…fuss fuss..

2:05- Oooohh…boobie!  *Gulp, gulp* finally!

2:10-Feeling tired….zzzz…Why did you tickle me? Oh yeah, boobie…gulp…zzzzzzz

3am- Where am I?  I thought I was with Mommy? Waahh!!  Ooo…paci…thanks daddy! zzzzzzz

4am- I can’t sleep…it’s dark in here…Waaaaaaahhh!!!  *suck, suck* thanks for the paci daddy! zzzzzz

4:10- Did Daddy leave?  Waaaaaaaaah!!….Oh, Hi Mommy!  Is it time for milk?  Oh, paci..

4:15- Wait…I want milk…I’m hungry…Wahh!!!

4:16- Hi Mom, I’m hungry.  Oohh…Thank  you…gulp…gulp…zzzzzzzzz

5:30- Agooo…*giggle* time to play.  Agooo….Can they hear me?  Waahhh!

5:32- Hi Daddy…I don’t want paci….waaaahh!  I said I don’t want it…

5:35- Hi Mommy…Where are you taking me?  Oh, nice big bed.  There’s daddy too.  Oh, maybe I will go to sleep….zzzzzz

7am-Where am I?  I’m hungry…oh, Hi mommy. Gulp…gulp…

7:15- time to play!  Oooh, mommy doesn’t look very good.

7:20- I love my play mat…Gooooo! Eekk gooo!  Ahhh gooo!  Good Morning to me!

8am-Is it time to eat again???? Oh, Good Morning Lizzie…Yuck, cold wet tongue on my face!

Feeling like a crappy Mama

I knew the day would come, I just didn’t think it would come this soon.  I thought my crappy Mama period would be sometime in his childhood when I slipped and let him watch a movie that was too violent, or when he gets to be a older back-talking teenager, and I loose my cool and yell, but no…it was going to be MUCH sooner than that, that I would feel like a crappy Mom.  It would be now.

It all started around Christmas.  Parker all of a sudden started waking at night.  We had been spoiled because he had been consistently sleeping through the night (8:30pm-5am, since some people have different definitions of STTN) since about 10 weeks old.  So, I started to go through the mental list of the reasons why this was happening.  I had recently changed his feedings from seven a day to six because seven feedings meant feeding him every 2-2.5hrs during the day, and he was spitting up ALL the time, so we thought that he was being overfed.  Plus, everything that I was reading said that most babies reduce their feedings to about six feedings around three months.  Since he was starting to take his naps much better, I didn’t find the need to wake him more during the day to fit an extra feeding in, so I adjusted his routine to six feedings.

Fast forward one week later.  He’s still waking several times at night.  Where we would give him the pacifier, and he would drift back to sleep.  So, this led me to do another CRAZY (crappy) Mom thing.  I thought since he was waking several times a night because his paci fell out of his mouth…maybe we should wean him from his paci.  Sound insane?  Well, you’re right.  It was  insane.  None of us slept a wink all night because we were constantly in there trying to soothe him every other way but with a paci.  My thought was, if I could just get him to go to sleep without his paci, then when he wakes up and doesn’t have it, then he won’t need us to come in and give it to him.  Well, it was a good thought in theory.  EXCEPT… infants have the need to suck.  That’s how they self soothe.  So, he was still waking up, except this time MANY more times, and my dumb ass took away the only thing that makes him soothe himself!

So, where did I get this idiot idea from?  The internet.  Sometimes I think that our parents had it much better not knowing what the hell they were doing and just following their gut instead of reading all the useless BS that is on the internet these days AND reading all these silly books that say you can have a breastfed baby sleeping 10hrs a night by 3 months old. Needless to say, we ended up giving him back his pacifier.  Dan practically had to knock some sense into me.  (I’m so glad he intervened) He wasn’t really down with the idea to begin with, but he was trying to be supportive of what I thought was the right thing to do.

Fast forward a few days later and we had teeter tottered between giving him six and seven feedings during the day, and adjusted his awake times during the day to see if it would in turn give him more sleep time at night. That didn’t work.  I sought out the advice of others on forums and blogs, and they confirmed that the six feedings should be sufficient for him, so we decided to keep it that way, and find out if there was something else that was causing him to wake.

Here we are a couple of days later and the crappy Mama syndrome hit me.  Why isn’t he sleeping through the night?  What is it that I’m doing wrong?  He USE to sleep though the night.  What has changed?  Instead of trying to find “opinions”…at this point I just wanted facts.  I went to La Leche League site, and posted a thread on their forum about my feeding and sleeping delimma.  Of course, I knew that I would find a bunch of crunchy moms that believe in attachment parenting, no schedule, baby wearing, hippies, but nevertheless… I also knew that they know a heck of alot about breastfeeding too.  This is where I found out that it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants average about 8 feedings a day up until they’re six months of age.  Yikes!!  Then it dawned on me… OMG has my precious son been hungry all this time at night when he’s been waking up, and I’ve just been giving him a paci?  I”m the worst Mom on the planet!  I started to think about it and it all made sense.  Since he’s older, he weighs more, he needs MORE milk.  I was reducing the feedings and not giving him any more quantity.

Sounds so simple when I look back on it and I begin to wonder how I made this crucial mistake to begin with.  It began with trying to figure out how many times other people on my forum with babies Parker’s age were feeding their little one, not taking into consideration that they may be formula fed, which takes MUCH longer to digest than breastmilk, which takes about 90 mins.

So, I’ve learned that I need to trust myself and try to listen to my son’s cues a little better.  I just want to know that he’s growing and thriving and being absolutely everything he can be.  I think it’s so easy for first time Moms to wonder what other people are doing with their babies instead of focusing on the individual that your baby is.  We have never met two adults that eat, sleep or interact with others the same, so why do we expect our babies to?

Lesson Learned!  Now hopefully I won’t have any more crappy Mom moments for years to come! (Hey, a person can dream right?)

Post Christmas Update

So, we had a wonderful first Christmas with Parker.  He got plenty of love from family and friends.  We enjoyed the candlelight service at Stonecreek, and we had a great dinner with my Mom and Sister.   We later went over to my aunt Angie’s house to see the Ashby family for our annual Christmas Eve get-together.  My aunt Rachel who lives in Boston flew in with her family and it was great to see them and see how much her family has grown.  We did our traditional reading of the bible story and the kids opened presents.  Good times were had by all.  Some family wasn’t able to make it, and that saddened a lot of us.  It is my hope that they were able to enjoy the holiday even in the midst of a very difficult situation.

Some of you may be asking: What happened to Sunday Slim-down and Sleepy Low-down?  Well, I’ve decided that it is just too much pressure (not to mention it doesn’t really make for good reading) to do a post every week.  So, I’m going to try to update you all on my progress monthly as originally planned.  I’m hoping that monthly will allow me more time to really start to see results.  I was told recently  that breastfeeding puts your body into a pseudo-pregnancy state, which can make it more difficult to loose weight.  It was a little reassuring to hear that since I’ve still been teetering around the same weight, and it has been over a month since my original “I’m going to put the smack-down on weight loss” post (well, not exactly titled that, but close).  Not to mention that even with me exercising and watching what I eat, it can get a little depressing not to see the scale go down and then have to write about that fact.

BUT  you know what?  I think I’m coming to terms with it a little bit.  I’m not by any means going to settle for this weight.  I’m still going to push myself to loose weight and get to my pre-preggo bod and beyond, but I think what I’ve learned recently is that my priority right now should be to be a good mom, and be a good wife.  If I’m stressing all day about trying to fit in a workout, or beating myself up for not loosing weight, then THAT isn’t good either.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to be positive and try to cut myself some slack since my little one is only three months old, and we’re still having “those days”, which make life…well,… unpredictable.

My focus for the next few weeks is trying to put myself on a schedule.  I know that sounds really silly, but now that I have Parker on a good routine…I’m trying to put myself on one so that I can get things accomplished around the house.  We decided in order to save money, and since I’ll be at home, that I will be doing the household chores instead of hiring maids.  With that being said, I’ve been using my trusty outlook calendar to see what chores I can do on what days all while fitting in some time with my little man, grocery shopping, working out, cooking dinner, and spending time with my husband.  As I mentioned above, some days can certainly be unpredictable with a three month old, but having a task list of the weeks “to-do’s” will help me feel accomplished and organized by weeks end.

On another note: Parker and I did the Mommy and baby fitness DVD, and LOVED it!  That will definitely have to be on our “to-do” list for each week, maybe even a few days a week.  I love finding new things for us to do together.  I’ve also read that you can start your child on infant sign language as early as six months, so that will be something that I will look forward to doing with him.  Right now, he really enjoys sitting in my lap and watching me while I help him clap his hands, sing, play “ride that pony”, and reading to him.  He likes his belly time too, but he has such a weak stomach and spits up so easily, that it has to be done  WAY after a feeding.  He LOVES his bath too.  I think that’s probably his most favorite part of the day.  Dan and I take turns when he’s home, but we love to make up silly songs to sing to him and he has little animals that squirt water that he loves to play with.  He likes to kick his feet in the water all while smiling and giggling.  It’s SO adorable.  If there wasn’t so many creep-o’s on the internet, we’d post a video of it.

We updated his monthly picture on Christmas day.  It’s so hard to believe that he’s over three months old now!  We can’t wait to see what this next month brings.  Every day we love watching him learn new things and develop his own little personality.  It’s such a blessing.