Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Warm weather is coming...

...And it's not going to be as easy to cover up my um....imperfections....left over from my pregnancy!  Oh yes, I'm gonna go there.  I'm going to talk about my FAT :-)

Weight maintenance isn't easy for me.  I was a competitive swimmer from ages 9-18.  I was very physically active during those years, and pretty steadily wore a size 8 or 10.  However, my eating habits weren't great.  I have a mad love affair with sweets.  Chocolate, cookies, cakes, bread.....yum.  I just love how those things taste, and that is my downfall.  My weight rollercoaster began when I went to college.  I wasn't as physically active as I had been in high school, and I was eating bad foods.  I didn't blow up or anything, but that is when I first remember really struggling to keep the pounds off.  Since then I've been teeny tiny, and I've been large and in charge!  LOL 

Everyone has some extra poundage to shed after giving birth, our bodies naturally store up fat for milk production.  Plus, I had twins, which obviously stretches the skin out to its maximum level!  And I've had a lot to deal with since the boys were born.  Weight loss hasn't been at the top of my list.  Which is okay.  I think as women we have to be kind to ourselves.  I'm not going to look at myself and say, "you're a fat slob."  Instead I'm looking at myself and realizing that it's time for my health to move up on my priority list.  My body did an amazing thing - it grew two babies!  And it's still doing an amazing thing by providing all the food and nutrients for Luke to continue to grow and thrive.  That's pretty cool. 

That is why I have joined Weight Watchers.  Weight Watchers will provide me with all the tools and guidelines to get back on track with healthy eating.  It's a lot of work, planning, and dedication.  But that's okay, because I'm worth it.  As the CEO of our household, I do a lot of giving to Mark, Nolan, and Luke.  I know that I also have to take care of me, or I'm not going to have anything left to give! 

Slow and steady wins the race with weight loss.  Plus, I have to avoid rapid weight loss in order to preserve my milk supply for Luke.  I'm going to follow the WW guidelines, eating my daily points, and see what happens!  I took some "before" pictures today, and it'll be fun to watch my transformation :-)  Mark is very supportive of me, which helps.  He never makes comments about my weight, which I appreciate so much.  When I told him about WW he was totally on board and I know he'll be my biggest cheerleader.

I'll give periodic updates on my progress.  Cheers to the first step in my weight loss journey!      

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where were you at 7:30am?

I was standing outside in my front yard, in my PJs and socks, holding Luke, and talking to a 911 operator.  Seriously.

Let's rewind to 2am.  Luke woke up to eat.  I changed his diaper, and went out to the living room to feed him.  I was watching TV and everything was fine.  Until I heard our laundry room door open.  I knew our cat was in the basement, and our dog was in her cage.  Mark was in the bedroom sleeping.  I shot up off the couch and ran back to the bedroom (while Luke continued to nurse!).  I woke Mark up and told him I heard the door open.  I was completely freaking out.  He went out to investigate.  He came back and said he didn't see anything, but acknowledged that now the laundry room door was open, and he knew he had shut it before going to bed.  I was terrified!  Mark was scared too, but he didn't see anything so we didn't know what to do.  I made him lock our bedroom door and put Luke's swing against it (like that would really hold back an intruder!).  Luke was in our room with us.  After about an hour or so, we both fell back to sleep.

Luke woke up again around 6am to eat.  I decided to feed him in our bed, because I was still too scared to go out to the front of our house, in fear someone was waiting there for us!  When Mark woke up, I told him to go out first to make sure everything was still fine.  I told him I'd wait in the back for him to give me the "all clear".  This is the part in the story where things start to get a little weird. 

When I said I was waiting for him to tell me everything was okay, I really meant it.  I was still scared.  He underestimated my level of fear and didn't realize that I was literally waiting for his "all clear" signal.  I heard him walk out and then heard him turn around and come back down the hallway.  Based on the sound of his footsteps, it sounded to me like he was almost running.  I said, "Is everything okay?"  His reply was a "shhh-shhh-shhh" (if you've ever watched The Dog Whisperer, it's the sound that Cesaer makes when corrected a dog).  We only use this sound for our animals.  As far as I knew, both animals were still confined to their respective areas.  After he made the "shhh-shhhh-shhhh" sound, he went into the bathroom and closed the door.  I called his name and he didn't answer.  At this point I completely hit the panic button.  In my state of terror, I concluded that he must have stumbled upon an intruder and was signaling to me with the "shhh-shhhh-shhh" sound to stay in the back/hide/get help.  I didn't know what to do!  I shut and locked the bedroom door. I knew if someone wanted to get through the door they easily could.  I didn't want to continue calling Mark's name, because I figured there was a reason he hadn't responded.

The protective mama bear instinct rose up in me, and I decided the only solution to this scenario was to go out the window and call 911.  I didn't want to wait for a confrontation, because I had Luke with me and didn't want him to be in danger.  So out the window we went, Luke in my arms, and ran to the middle of the front yard.  I dialed 911, then immediately hung up because I thought maybe I should go around to the bathroom window to be sure there was danger.  Well, the call still registered because 911 called me, stating they had gotten a hang up call from my number.  I started to explain the situation to the operator.  As I was telling the story, I realized how insane I sounded.  I didn't know for sure if there was danger inside. I didn't know if Mark was signaling to me. I didn't know anything for sure.  I was jumping to the worst case scenario and making a lot of assumptions.  I could tell the operator thought I was a little nutty (and I was starting to realize I had possibly overreacted!). 

Then I saw Mark appear in the window we had "escaped" from.  He looked confused.  I went over (still on the phone with 911) and asked if everything was okay inside.  He said yes, everything was fine!  I told the operator I was sorry for bothering her, she laughed and told me to have a nice day.  I handed Luke to Mark through the window, and Mark came around to let me in the front door.  We both looked at each other like, what in the world just happened?!?!

What actually happened was Mark walked to the basement door and let Mocha (our cat) out.  He looked around and everything was fine.  He went to use the restroom and Mocha slipped through the door leading back to the bedrooms.  He was chasing Mocha (hence the running footsteps), and was making the "shhh-shhh-shhh" sound to stop Mocha (we don't let the animals back by the bedrooms).  He was focused on Mocha and didn't hear me....and didn't realize I was literally waiting for him to say it was safe to come out.  When he came out of the bathroom I was already out the window.  Apparently he was looking everywhere for us and started to get worried.  While he was in the bathroom he had heard some weird noises (Luke and I exiting the house through the window!).  He then spotted the open window and wondered if we had been kidnapped....then he saw me in the front yard talking on the phone.  When I explained the events from my perspective, he felt bad because he didn't mean for things to turn out like they did.

LOL!!!!!

Mark said it is time to get an alarm system :-)  We live so far out in the country and it's spooky at night, in my opinion.  After we both recovered from the insanity of the morning, we've been cracking up about it.  This will be an event we'll always remember!  I would still like to know why the laundry room door opened...but I'm just going to put it out of my mind.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Coats, Coats, and more Coats!

When preparing my list of baby needs during my pregnancy, I intentionally left snowsuit/winter coat/pram/bunting - whatever you want to call it - off the list.  Nolan was born in January, and we got a beautiful, expensive pram suit for him that he wore once.  And he wore it that one time because we had an unusually warm day in January (60+ degrees), so I took him on his first stroller ride.  The pram came in very handy for that.  Then it went back into his closet to collect dust. 

I'm sure those types of suits were useful in the days before detachable infant carseats/carseat covers.  It's so much easier (and comfortable for babies) to just use a winter carseat cover when going out into the elements.  They keep baby cozy without all the bulk.

But I forgot about one thing:  Spring soccer season.  Each year I somehow forget just how cold spring can be.  And rainy.  And windy.  And chilly.  And warm.  And sometimes hot.  I mean if you think about it, you pretty much have to be prepared for anything during spring.  Sitting in an open field for soccer games and practices always seem to amplify whatever weather we're having.  I learned this the hard way. I remember leaving the house thinking it was a little chilly, so I took a light jacket.  I saw people getting out of their cars at the soccer field with winter parkas and blankets and thought they were out of their minds.  But then after about 3 minutes I realized I was the one who was out of their mind!

Anyway, just like I discovered it's difficult to find boys' pants during spring (which is bizarre if you ask me!), it's impossible to find warm infant coats in the spring.  They've all been snatched up by smart mothers who plan ahead when they go on clearance towards the end of winter ;)  My mom suggested eBay, and we hit the jackpot!  She found him a fleece snowsuit and a light spring jacket.  I found a fleece coat and a fleece snowsuit.  All were rock bottom prices.  The best buy was the Columbia snowsuit I found for $2.99.  It was used, but in perfect condition (again, most people have no use for those suits!).  I laughed because in one week, Luke received four different coats.  The snowsuits are for cold days.  We got two because he's famous for spitting up.  A lot.  Then he has a fleece coat for chilly days.  And a light jacket for days when he just need an extra layer.  I photographed him in all his coats, because it made me laugh to think an infant would have so many coats.  Luke is prepared for Nolan's soccer season!!!

My favorite, the $2.99 snowsuit (love the funky hood!):



Snowsuit #2:



Warm fleece coat:


And finally, the light spring jacket:



Oh, and the bad thing about all of this is that it's very possible I will become obsessed with eBay!  I had only been on eBay a few times before and never really thought much of it.  Now I see why so many people love it!!
      

Ramblings

I want to start by saying, I know I am extremely blessed.  There are very few things I would change about my life, if given the chance.  I hate to complain about anything, but I do have to say I dread the arrival of Mark's "busy season".  I put that in quotes because he is always busy....but he gets even busier during June, July, August, and September.  During those months, there are no guarantees about when he will get home in the evenings.  Sometimes he basically works around the clock.  He *might* stop home to eat....but sometimes there is not even time for that.  I'm not the type of person who needs my  husband around me 24/7....so while I miss him during his busy times, I am okay on my own.  I simply find ways to occupy my time when he's gone, and enjoy the times we're together. 

But now there is Mr. Luke in the picture...  Anyone who has ever had children knows that by dinner time, the exhaustion sets in.  I've gotten used to Mark getting home around 6pm every night.  We eat dinner, and then he's great about giving me a break.  Usually I only need about 30 minutes - I like to put on some music and soak in the tub.  When I'm done I feel recharged and ready to be an attentive mother again.  I am trying to picture what it'll be like to possibly not get that break for days at a time :-0  I got thinking about it because he's gone all day today at an equipment auction.  He left at 3am and probably won't be home until after midnight....

I've decided that I've got to take control of the situation.  I'm going to make sure I find ways to get out of the house to break up long days.  Once Luke is 6 months old, we can go to storytime at our local library.  That is one morning a week.  Also, I'm going to join our community center this summer.  They provide free childcare while you workout (once your child is 6 months old).  We can go there every day if we want.  I have a nice jogging stroller, and I plan on taking lots of walks on sunny days.  I can plan playdates with friends.  I can also go visit my parents for a few days.  I'm thinking about getting back into scrapbooking, as that would be something relaxing to do in the evenings once Luke goes to bed.  I'm sure that we'll fall into a routine and it won't be as bad as I'm imagining it to be!  One good thing is that Nolan will be here half the time.  He loves playing with Luke, so that will help.  Also, he's generally hilarious and will add spice to a day that is dragging along :-)  Just writing this all out makes me feel better already!

On an unrelated note, we had a fun family night at our church's Fish Fry and Stations of the Cross.  On our way home I said we should make it a family tradition to do that once a year during Lent.  Nolan said, "Well I hope Lent comes again in 10 minutes because I loved the food!"  LOL  When I told him we were going, he said he was glad because one of his friends told him the fish was "crispy on the outside, awesome on the inside".  Boys... 

Also, a big congratulations to Nolan for getting an outstanding report card, once again!  He was trying really hard for all A's, but didn't quite make it.  He got a B in math and handwriting.  But he worked very hard and I am super proud of him! 

Finally, Luke is back to his old self.  Last night was pretty good with sleep...he woke up earlier than usual, but it was much better than the previous three nights.  Not sure what was wrong with him.  He was just "off" for a few days.  I'm happy to have my smiling chubby baby back :-)   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Plans change...

As I was cleaning the kitchen this evening, I kept periodically smelling the fragrant aroma of baby vomit.  I realized the source was my shirt.  Nice.  This moment was indicative of the way things went today at our household!

Today was the day Luke and I were going to visit one of the schools I worked at.  I was really looking forward to seeing everyone and letting them all meet Luke.  It's always fun to have a chance to interact with other adults during the day :-)  Unfortunately, Mr. Luke had other plans for us...  The poor thing wasn't feeling too great.  He was a complete train wreck during the night....he woke up every 15-20 minutes screaming.  When I say screaming, I mean a full blown scream as if someone had just inflicted bodily harm.  We think he possibly was having gas pains.  Not sure...all I know is no one got much sleep last night.  In the morning he had a very mild temperature (100 degrees), which is below the threshold for calling the doctor, but high enough that I knew he wasn't his normal self.  So we had to post-pone our school visit until next week. 

The day didn't go much better than the night.  I felt very lucky to be able to get a shower...but my luck ran out there.  I had what I'll call "mom hair" today.  Mom hair happens to me when I can't blow dry my hair (due to Luke's hysterics).  It looks ridiculous, and it usually coincides with a glasses day, and if I really want to go all out, it involves no make-up.  Oh and I shouldn't forget my oversized tie-dyed T-shirt and baggy sweatpants.  Yes, I looked hot today. 

We do feel badly for Luke - not sure what is going on.  His temperature went back to  normal after the initial reading this morning.  He's eating like normal and his diapers are typical.  He just requires extra TLC to stay happy, and is spitting up more than usual (hence the vomit stence by the end of the day).  He already flipped out once since putting him down for the night, but is sleeping peacefully right now.  We shall see how long that lasts!  My aunt, uncle, and cousin are coming to visit tomorrow, so I can only hope that Luke will be in better spirits.  What a day!  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy SPRING! Happy 3 months old!

Luke was born on the first day of winter, and now he's turning 3 months old on the first day of SPRING!!!  Everyone says the first year gets easier every three months, and I would have to agree with that statement.  Luke has really turned a corner the past few weeks.  Smiling tons, having "cooing conversations" with me regularly, no more flipping out during diaper changes, bath time now = fun time, rolling over from belly to back, much better neck control, more quiet alert times - it's great.  I absolutely LOVE this age!  There is nothing better than his sweet coos and smiles. 

I feel like I'm pretty much adjusted to being a mom of an infant.  We've got a pretty decent schedule going on during the day.  Luke and I get up between 7-7:30am for his morning feed.  He's happy in his bouncy chair while I make and eat breakfast.  We leave to take Nolan to school at 8:30.  Nurse again at 9:30, and then Luke goes into his swing while I shower and get ready.  That can be a tense time of the day...sometimes he hates the swing and my getting-ready-for-the-day process turns into a major juggling act.  But we manage...  After I'm ready I give him a bath and get him ready for the day.  Usually he wants to nurse again, then it's Moby time.  He sometimes sleeps for three hours in the Moby while I get things done around the house.  I always try to lay him down for his nap, but that usually lasts for about 5-10 minutes.  After his nap he nurses, and then we play until 2:45 when we leave to pick Nolan up from school.  Once we get home it's anyone's guess.  I have to somehow make dinner and eat, but Luke's mood varies.  Basically when late afternoon/early evening hits, it's "whatever works" time :-)  The only hard fast rule about the evening is Luke cannot sleep after 6pm (it messes up his nighttime sleep if he does).  And we always fit in floor/tummy time.  Usually he's in bed by 8-8:30pm.  The days fly by! 

Mark and I weighed and measured Luke yesterday.  It's unofficial, but since we don't go back to the doctor until he's four months, we wanted to have an idea about where he's at with his growth.  He weighs 14 lbs. 4 oz., and is 24 inches long!  Our "preemie" started out in the 10th percentile, and now is 75th percentile for weight, and 50th percentile for height.  I can't believe how quickly he is catching up.  He's wearing a lot of his 9 month clothes already.  My guess is that once he catches up, his growth will slow down and follow his growth curve. 

We got some super cute smiley pics yesterday.  Here they are:



I also loves this picture of Nolan and Luke - they were hanging out on the couch together :-)


I've tried to enjoy every minute of these first 3 months, and I'm excited about all the fun things to come!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is that.....a sock?

First I want to give a shout out to the Jayhawks - Nolan's basketball team!  Today was their last game of the season, and they played GREAT :-)  This is Nolan's third season and I saw a huge improvement.  He seemed to really figure out the game this year.  Soccer starts next week - so it's time to switch gears!

One of my goals for this blog is to be authentic and real in my posts.  I have no desire to paint a picture of everything being perfect always.  But I also think life is too short to dwell on the negative.....so I try to find the silver lining when I can.  I like the quote, "Laughter is medicine for the soul."  I don't think I could live without humor....I love to laugh.  Nothing renews me like a night at a comedy club.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go to one, like right now.  But I digress...

Today was stressful.  Nolan had his basketball game at noon.  Then he had a birthday party to attend from 3:30-5:30.  I needed to get the entire house cleaned/organized for my parents' visit tomorrow.  I needed to pick up my dad's birthday cake from Meijer.  I also needed to help Nolan finish up a major project for school.  All this while nursing Mr. Luke every two hours and catering to his every need and desire.  I explained to Mark that I could not accomplish all the necessary tasks without his help.  He luckily was able to shuttle Nolan back and forth to the birthday party, pick up the cake, and even brought take-out home for dinner.  His help took a lot of stress off of me, and I'm in a surprisingly good mood considering that the only chances I got to sit down today were to nurse Luke!

I think most people can relate to the cleaning flurry that happens before you have friends/family over.  A couple of my friends and I joke around about "sweating" before company arrives.  A few years ago we had some friends over to our house for the first time.  I spent lots of time preparing and was satisfied with how everything looked.  The party went well and things were winding down.  Several people, including myself, were talking in the kitchen.  One of the kids ran in through the sliding door and knocked over a fake floor plant.  Everyone turned to see the commotion.  I watched in horror as a dirty sock fell out of the plant.  Yes, I said a dirty sock fell out of a plant.  A plant in the kitchen.  How did a dirty sock end up in a kitchen plant?  I will never know....  Everyone got quiet for a few seconds.  No one knew what to say.  Then one of my friends said, "Is that....a sock?"  We all started laughing hysterically.  Thank God for real, down-to-earth friends.  We all have kids, and we've all been there.  I got made fun of, but it was all good. 

To this day, every time I mop and have to move that darn plant out of the way, I laugh.  Why I am sharing this story?  Well I don't know, hopefully it made you chuckle a little.  Maybe you have your own "dirty sock in a plant" story that comes to mind....now you know you aren't alone!  And also I want to say cheers to being able to laugh at the many adventures of this imperfect life :-)        

  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A little this and a little that

This post has no real theme, just a few random things!

1.  Luke completed his first big physical milestone - he rolled over Monday night!  It was funny because Mark and I were playing with him on the floor.  I told Mark we should start working with him on rolling over.  We both felt it was pretty early for that, but I had read that babies usually roll over from belly to back around 3-4 months.  So we put him on his belly, and I toppled him over.  He looked surprised at first, but then smiled.  We did that about 3 or 4 more times, making a game out of it. I figured that was enough for the night, so we put him back on his belly so he could have some "tummy time".  Sure enough, he rolled over by himself!  We both sat there in shock for a moment thinking, did you just see that too?!  We clapped for him, put in on his belly, and he rolled over again on his own.  It was a proud moment for all of us :-)  As soon as Mark put him on his belly last night, he rolled over.  So either Luke really hates tummy time, or he thinks it's super fun to roll. 

2.  I am officially a stay at home mom and wife now!  It was a monumental decision, and a tough one to make.  I worked so hard to get my Master's degree, and to secure a school counseling position.  I loved my job, the people I worked with, my students, and the satisfaction I felt when I was able to help a student with something.  However, I couldn't ignore the overwhelming feeling in my heart that told me to stay home.  I feel that is how God speaks to us.  He led me through all the trials and tribulations I had to go through to become a counselor (and get a job!).  I could feel his presence urging me on when I wanted to quit or give up.  For the last four years I did what I know I was meant to do. 

But now my path has shifted.  Our family has been through so much in the past year.  We all need some extra TLC right now.  I need time to heal, and I'm not sure I could do that if I spent five days a week helping others with their problems.   What makes me feel renewed now is being able to take life at a slower pace....enjoying Luke....spending more time with Nolan.....taking care of things around the house so Mark doesn't have to....putting a healthy, home cooked meal on the table.....it might not sound glamorous (because it isn't!), but it's my life and I love it.  Mark has a unique job that pretty much requires him to work 365 days a year.  It's awesome that now when he is home, we get to all spend quality time together, vs. us all running around like mad trying to keep our heads above water.  I thank God every day for even having the option to stay home.  I know we are very blessed.             

3.  Luna's death has brought up a lot of emotions about Adam dying.  In a way I think it has made all of us deal with some sadness that we had carefully tucked away.  It's very hard to grieve the loss of an infant while you are also experiencing the joy that an infant brings.  We don't want to miss out on anything with Luke, so I think we all avoid our grief to some degree.  So I guess the blessing of Luna's death was that it let out some feelings that needed to come out.

Here is Luke in his new play seat.  He's still a bit young for it, but we put him in it for about 5 or 10 minutes a day to help strengthen his neck muscles.  He loves it!!  This first picture is him working really hard to keep his head straight up - love the facial expression (it was accompanied by heavy breathing!).


This is him loving the chair (notice the huge smile), but he could barely keep his head straight anymore :-)


   

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Boston Terrier, Luna, a.k.a. "The Pig"

Well, sadly, our family has taken another hit.  Last night one of our dogs got loose, ran in the road, and was killed by a car. 

Luna was a Boston Terrier and earned the nickname "The Pig".  She snorted like a pig, it was hilarious!  She also was all about food, so "Pig" was a fitting nickname in that regard as well.

We bought Luna from a breeder down the road from us about 2 1/2  years ago.  Luna had two litters of puppies, but due to her small size, needed to retire after those two litters.  Luna was much better suited for the spoiled life of a family dog.  As a breeding dog, she was well cared for physically, but didn't get a lot of love and affection.

Luna loved being a family pet.  Every day she went to the farm with Mark.  She would perch herself either in the front seat of his SUV, or on the console.  It was funny to see them drive down the road with her looking out the window like a human.  At the farm she had a padded chair that she slept on all day in the office.  She learned what time the workers took their lunch break, and would wake up at that time every day and stand at the office door.  When Mark opened it, she would run down the hallway to the break room and eat the scraps from the workers.  She never missed an opportunity for food!

At home her favorite spot was laying on the top of our couch (like a cat), on top of a pillow, or underneath a blanket.  She would completely bury herself under blankets. I've never seen a dog who liked their entire body, including their head, under blankets.  We never had to be worried about accidentally sitting on her when she was buried, because her snores were so loud they could be heard in the next room!

Luna loved to terrorize her fellow fur brother and fur sister.  Jazzy is our Boxer, and Mocha is our cat.  When Luna wanted to play with Jazzy, she would go over and start biting the bony part of Jazzy's legs!  Luckily for Luna, Jazzy is a very nice dog and would tolerate this treatment :-)  She also made chasing Mocha a daily part of her routine.  Luna was the smallest pet, but she ruled the pack!

Luna, Jazzy, and Mocha worked together on missions of destruction.  It was funny because none of them would destroy things on their own - it was only when they worked together.  If Luna was alone in the house, she wouldn't take anything.  If Jazzy was alone in the house, she would take things but never chew them up.  But together.....Mocha would push things off the countertop, Jazzy would grab it and run with it, and Luna would finish the job by completely destroying the object.  Their final mission of destruction was my bluetooth headset a few days ago!  

Luna and Nolan loved to play together with dog toys....especially tug-of-war.  Nolan would also take Luna out in the snow sometimes....which she didn't like (she preferred being warm and cozy at all times!), but she tolerated it.  When they would come in she's sort of look at us like, thanks a lot for that!  LOL  Luke and Luna didn't really get to know each other.  Luna was very curious when Luke came home...but after a few days of sniffing him, she pretty much lost interest. 

Luna will be missed by all of us, especially Mark.  Luna was his constant companion.  We think that Luna is up in  heaven now playing with Adam, laying under blankets, and eating all the food she could ever want.  Here are some pictures of The Pig :-)



The first one to lay in the new crib!



Our "tester" for the Moby Wrap!



RIP Luna, and thank you for all the wonderful memories!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No two children are alike!

I was a parent of an "only" for nine years.  During those nine years, most of my friends with kids had more kids.  I'd hear them talk about how different each of their kids were...but being a parent of an only, I didn't know the implications of that fact.  I never thought that Luke and Nolan would be exactly alike - but I thought the basic care of them during this infant stage would be similar.  I figured if I did things the way I did them for Nolan, then we'd be good to go.  Ummmmm, so not the case!

Let's face it, parenting is tough.  It's tough at each age/stage for different reasons.  There are unexpected joys and unexpected challenges all the way through.  I'm pretty happy with the way I've parented Nolan so far, and felt that I knew what I was doing when Adam and Luke were born.  I knew how to give a bath, how to successfully change a diaper, how to navigate floor time, how to breastfeed, how sleeping works - right?  Well, not so much.  What I actually knew is how to do those things with Nolan.  Luke is a whole different story!

The bad news is, it took me nearly 3 months to embrace this fact.  The good news is, I've fully embraced it now, so it's all uphill from here.  It's actually pretty exciting because I feel like I'm much more in sync with Luke now that I've decided to let go of what worked for Nolan, and instead focus on Luke's cues to know what works for him. 

I never, I repeat never, envisioned myself "babywearing".  But guess what?  I think that is where we're headed with Luke.  He wants to be held all the time.  His need to be held has increased lately, and rather than fight that, I'm rolling with it.  As I talked about in an earlier post, the Moby Wrap is my new best friend.  Today was wonderful with the Moby.  I was able to clean the kitchen, straighten up the living room, and vacuum the floors, all while Luke was snuggled up close to me in the Moby.  He was as happy as could be, and even fell asleep eventually (while I was vacuuming - noise obviously doesn't bother him!).  I was happy too because I was meeting Luke's needs, while also meeting my needs.  Lately I've been frustrated because either my back is killing me from lugging Luke around in my arms, or I feel like I'm locked on the couch holding Luke while the chaos around the house piled up more and more.  Or, I'd have Luke in various devices (swing, bouncy chair, rock 'n play), frantically trying to keep him happy while I run back and forth trying to get things done. 

I think Luke is going to be in line with a lot of the things Dr. Sears recommends (he teaches attachment parenting).  I'm going to do some research into Dr. Sears.....but ultimately I'm going to just see what feels right with Luke at each stage.  There is probably not one method that he'll fit entirely.  I've always done what felt right for Nolan, and he's turned out great. 

So my official parenting style:  Do what works for you and your child.  I stand by my parenting choices with confidence :-)  There will always be someone (or lots of someones) who think I'm doing the wrong thing, but oh well!  I figure in the end, if our kids turn out really screwed up I'll be blamed.  If I know that I always followed my heart and did what I thought was best at the time, then I won't have regrets.       

Speaking of parenting, here is a picture of my little loves :-)  Nolan is so happy because Luke lifted his whole chest up in this picture:


And here is one of Luke's cutie pie smiles!



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What a day!

Every year around this time Nolan outgrows his school uniforms.  Normally I plan ahead and buy new ones after Christmas when all the good sales are going on.  His school does not mandate where the uniforms have to be purchased - just the color/style. 

Well this year, for obvious reasons, I was not on top of the uniform buying after Christmas.  His pants were starting to look pretty short on him, so last week I ordered him some pants/shirts from GAP.  I paid extra for shipping because I figured the extra $7 was more than worth it if it meant avoiding a 35 minute drive/shopping trip with Luke :-)  Nolan anxiously awaited the arrival of the uniforms....I promised him that Monday would be the last day he'd have to wear his too-small uniforms.  The package arrived and when Nolan got home he went to try them on.  I heard his cries of disappointment - the pants were huge.  I mean HUGE....like completely too long and literally falling off of him.  Luckily, today was a dress down day because of Fat Tuesday.  I promised him that I'd go to the GAP store today while he was at school, exchange for the right size, and he'd be good to go for tomorrow.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Wrong.

Luke was in rare form today.  He was as happy as can be as long as I was holding him.  Constantly.  My back muscles were trashed by 10am.  I had a foreboding feeling about the trip as I could tell he was in no mood for shopping.  We got to the store and he was screaming as soon as we entered.  Perfect!  I quickly surveyed the store, looking for the cargos.  All I could find were shorts.  Luke's screams were escalating, so I asked the sales associate.  She informed me that they don't carry cargo pants "this time of year".  What?!  She said maybe there would be some on the sales rack.  So I had to go back and search through that rack....all the while Luke is completely losing control.  The sales person then informs me that she "forgot", and they do have cargos.  It's not a huge store, so I'm not sure how you forget?  But I was just relieved that they had some.  I of course couldn't fit the stroller through the aisle, so I was awkwardly trying to go through the pile to find Nolan's size.  I managed to knock the whole pile off the table.  After I re-stacked all the pants, I realize they only had one pair in Nolan's size, and I needed three pairs.  So back to the sales rack I headed, looking for two more pairs that might work.  I found two pairs in his size, they weren't the style he wanted, but they would have to do!  I couldn't take the crying anymore, so I took Luke out of his stroller and had the fun task of navigating the store with an infant in my arms while pushing his stroller.  At this point I was sweating from all the drama and just wanted to get outta there!  The sales associate was the most unhelpful person ever....never did she offer to help me look for sizes (which they normally do when I'm there alone, in need of no help).   We finished up at the checkout, and then we had to hurry and get to Nolan's school to pick him up. 

We got to Nolan's school and were actually a bit early.  I kept Luke in his car seat and carried him in.  As soon as we entered the gym, he freaked out and wanted to be held.  So I unloaded him and had to lug his heavy carseat around in one hand, and Luke in my arms.  He was hungry, and so was frantically trying to breastfeed through my shirt.  Nolan finally arrived, I reloaded Luke, and we headed home.  I was exhausted....I felt like I had just completed a major workout!

The non-stop holding commenced as soon as we got home.  So I decided it was time to conquer the Moby Wrap.  Luke has been wanting to be held/carried constantly for the past week or so and it's been taking a huge toll on my back.  I think if I use the Moby Wrap my back won't hurt so badly.  I followed the instructions and it worked perfectly!  He loved it, and fell asleep in it almost immediately.  The Moby Wrap is my new best friend!!  Here are pictures of me, the exhausted mommy, and happy Luke in the Moby!





Motherhood is not glamorous, and it's not always easy.  But in the end, it's all worth it....a hug from Nolan or a smile from Luke can somehow melt away all the craziness and give me the energy to keep going!!  :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adam

Our dear Adam has been gone for two months.  I wonder if the 5th of a month will roll around someday without me thinking about Adam?  I'm not there yet, but maybe someday.  One of my facebook friends posted this poem recently, and it made me think about Adam.

 You can shed tears that he is gone or
You can smile because he has lived.
You can open your eyes and see all he's left.
You can be full of the love you shared.
You can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
...
You can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can do what he'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
~ Anonymous ~


Adam David Joseph, gone but never forgotten!


    

Yes!

The mood was set:  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was playing softly in the background...the ceiling heater was on the bathroom...the water was the perfect temperature....Luke was wearing a hooded towel and was full of smiles.  We entered the bathroom.  I put him in his chair.  And then the most amazing thing happened - nothing!!!  He calmly sat in  his little cute chair while I gave him a full blown bath.  Score!  This scene has played out in our house twice now.  So happy that the bath time dramas are behind us.  I'm sure there will be issues here and there, but I think we are past the I-can't-breathe-because-I'm-crying-so-hard bath times :)  Hooray!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adventures in bath time

Most of the time, Luke is a lovely infant.  At this point, he generally cries for a purpose - mainly when he's hungry, or wants to be held.  He calms down quickly and life is good.  The main exception to this is bath time.  He pretty much hates to be naked.  I'm not sure if it's because he gets cold (which he seems to absolutely hate), or if he feels insecure not having clothing/blankets on (he loves to be swaddled tightly).  I've resorted to swaddling him and giving him sponge baths.  Eventually he learned to handle those (sometimes). 

We've tried to transition to real baths, as I feel that he's not getting as clean as I'd like with just sponge baths.  We have those big body sponges that you put in the big tub.  I used those with Nolan and he loved bath time.  Luke on the other hand, hates the sponge.  He completely freaks out, and stays upset for awhile.  So by the time I get him bathed, lotion on, and dressed, Luke and I are both exhausted from his screaming.  We must find a solution!!  Our latest idea is a bath seat.  The theory being that he loves his bouncy chair, and this bath seat is sort of like a bouncy chair.  I put him in it today with just his diaper on, hoping he'll get used to the feel of it.  Tomorrow I'll try it in the tub.  We are hopeful this will help!!!  Here is a picture of him in his chair.....he doesn't look overly happy in it :-/ 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two month shots!

Today Luke went for his 2-month well check.  He's doing great!  He weighed in at a whopping 12 lbs. 5 oz., and is 23" long.  Both measurements fall into the 50th percentile, which is good.  He's been catching up from being born early, as he used to be in the 25th percentile.  It was so nice to hear once again that all is well with him - a big relief!  The bad part was he had to get five vaccinations which translates into three injections.  Ouch!!!  I made Mark come with me because I wasn't sure I could handle it alone....I got a little teary when I heard his screams.  He was fine once they were over, and he's being pampered by me for the rest of the day :-)

We are getting pretty excited about the fact that spring will hopefully be here soon!  Nolan is sick right now, missed a day and a half of school, and we all are feeling generally cooped up.  Spring:  Get.  Here.  Now.

We continue to work through our grief over losing Adam.  It really is a two steps forward, one step back situation for me personally.  Some days I find myself going about my business as usual, and other days I am on the verge of tears.  Luke and Adam looked a lot alike, and there are times where Luke will make a certain face or I'll glance at him from a certain angle and it's like I'm looking at Adam.  Nolan found our Doppler that we used to use to listen to the boys heartbeats, and that really took me back to the days of listening to their little heartbeats ticking away.  Sometimes it seems surreal that I gave birth to two sons, but had to say goodbye so soon to Adam.  With all the snow and ice we got, we were unable to visit his grave because they didn't have the road plowed enough.  It was tough to have days go by without that connection.  We continue to pray for strength and peace.

Here is a picture of me and my little cutie pie.  I've finally graduated from wearing my glasses - I'm getting enough sleep now to handle contacts again!  And I trimmed down my out of control hair....starting to feel human again!!  :-)