Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lessons in baby proofing

Mark and I have tried to be very responsible when it comes to baby proofing our house.  Our goals were to keep Luke from getting seriously injured, and also to create an environment that didn't require us to chase Luke around every second.  I'm pretty sure we have met our first goal, but we're beginning to wonder if it will ever be possible to accomplish the second goal.  Unless we construct an empty, padded room.  Even then, there would be no guarantees.

We decided several months ago that our four-season sunroom would serve as Luke's playroom.  It's off of our family room, and has french doors that can close it off.  We figured it would be perfect because we could keep all his toys out there and have the ability to shut the doors if we didn't want to look at a big toy mess (or if we wanted to contain Luke to that room).  Everything was working out great until Luke became mobile.  He immediately would go to the ceramic tiled step and fall backwards.  After a few very close calls, we decided it was either install wall-to-wall carpet, or change the playroom location.  We opted for carpet.  The carpeting is great, and has taken the major danger out of the equation with the steps.  However, Luke seems to find new dangers each day. 

First, the air vents.  This one makes me laugh because Mark bought new wooden vents, since he thought the metal ones were too sharp (Luke spends lots of time at the vents).  The wooden ones are nice, but they make it easier for Luke to remove the vent altogether.  He removes the vent covers, and then there is a nice big gaping hole in the floor.  Lovely!  For now, we can put his toy box over the vent to eliminate that danger, but once he figures out how to tip the box over to reveal the vent, we will be back to square one.

Next, he found a way to remove the window crank, which exposes a somewhat sharp gear that would be perfect for poking his eye out.  While he was spending time at the window, he found two tiny wooden button-type things that he continuously tries to remove.  They are so small that we had never even noticed them.  Then we noticed two are missing....so we know it's possible to remove them.  It's almost as if Luke noticed the ones missing and decided he would work on the the remaining ones until he frees them. 

Then, he found a way to wedge himself behind a chair.  That would be fine, but it's a power recliner...so it plugs in.  Enough said on that.  It can't be shoved completely against the wall because it reclines.  For now we've built a toy barricade, but we know that won't last for too long. 

Finally, the step in the room.  It's padded and carpeted now, which helps, but it's still a danger.  He manages to fall backwards and/or roll off sideways.  We've started letting him fall because he has to learn at some point...but it's definitely not enjoyable to watch that scene unfold.  So we have to sit nearby and catch him a little so he feels himself falling, but doesn't have such a major crash. 

In addition to these things, he has started to look for microscopic items on the floor to pick up and put into his mouth.  No matter how much I sweep the floor, Luke finds a tiny treasure somewhere.  It's cute to watch him because he'll get something in his hand, and then he'll sit and study it.  Then I have to spoil the fun when I try to pry the item out of his sticky little death grip hand :)

So yes, our dream of a completely baby-proofed room has been squashed.  Luckily he is learning to navigate the world better and better each day.  He knows how to lower himself safely and slowly, and is a bit more cautious on the steps and when pulling himself up.  That helps a lot, and I know he will continue to improve in other areas as well.  We are thankful for his adventurous little spirit, as we know that will serve him well in life.  And he keeps things interesting around here, that is for sure!  <3          

Monday, September 26, 2011

One moment at a time!

I keep saying to myself that life has been a whirlwind lately!  It seems like ever since football started back at the end of July, time has flown by.  I miss the open days of June and July :)  I have been working hard on taking life moment by moment.  Otherwise, when I think of all the things I need to accomplish, I get too overwhelmed!

This has come in handy this past week.  Our whole household is sick.  It started with Nolan -- nothing major, just congestion.  Then Mark got it.  Then Luke.  At that point, my immune system gave in and now I am sick.  Luke being sick while I am not at the top of my game is challenging.  He's miserable and needs extra TLC.  I am tired and my head feels like it's going to explode.  I fantasize about being able to lay in bed, sip hot tea, and get lots of rest :)  Since that is not very feasible when you are a mom to a baby, the next best thing is to have a helpful hubby, which luckily is a reality for me!

Since Luke hasn't been feeling too great, I decided to hold off my usual grocery shopping trip.  We've been surviving on less than ideal meals, and finally today there was just no avoiding a trip to the store.  To add a little spice to the equation, is was POURING rain.  I tried really hard to shield Luke from the rain, but I was not successful.  It wasn't the most fun experience of my life, but Luke and I accomplished the task at hand, and yummy food fills our pantry once again.  I was even able to fill the crock pot with a fantastic homemade chicken vegetable soup and make our family's favorite dessert. All the hassle was worth it, and I know Nolan will be ecstatic when he comes home and finds out what Moo Town is serving today.

All that while managing a 7 week old puppy :-O  Talk about needing to take things moment by moment!  I do have to say though, Boomer is an awesome 'lil pup.  He already knows what "go potty" means.  It's funny because as soon as I take him out and say that command, he squats and goes.  I give him lots of praise and throw a little party.  He must love the praise because he goes again, and again, and again while we are out.  He looks at me each time like, okay, throw a party!!  I am actually wondering if he thinks I am praising the fact that he is squatting, because there can't be anything left in his little bladder after a few squats!  It's pretty funny.  Everyone is enamored with Boomer except Luke.  He is just not impressed at all.  I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't feel good, or if it's because Boomer snuck a nibble in with a lick a few times...or both.  We're working with Boomer to train him not to rush up to Luke's face, and I think over time that will help Luke warm up to him.  I'm pretty confident that in time they will be buddies. 

Nolan and Boomer were friends from the moment they met.  Nolan went with us to pick out our puppy, but he did not get to see Boomer until Sunday when he got back from his dad's house.  Boomer got so excited when Nolan got off the bus today, it was cute. 



Speaking of Nolan, he had an awesome football game this weekend!  I was proud of him!!!  He has improved a lot from last year.  It's amazing to see, actually.  It was so cool to hear his name announced over and and over again for taking down the quarterback.    I am not a huge fan of football, but I'm glad he enjoys it so much.

My break is over, Luke is up!  Time to finish off the day with the family, and then it's sweet relaxation and good TV time! <3  



   

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boomer has arrived!

Our new puppy, Boomer, arrived today!  It has been a pretty uneventful evening with him, surprisingly.  He rode in the car for 40 minutes, had a bath, met Jazzy, explored our house, and has gone potty outside every time I took him out.  Pretty impressive!  I'm crate training him.  The schedule we are using, at the advice of my mom (she has had very good results), is to take him outside so he can go to the bathroom, bring him in for about 20 minutes of play, and then back in his crate for about an hour.  Repeat over and over again.  I am hoping that by committing to this schedule, we will prevent accidents in the house.  Here are some pics of Boomer :)




 He's a cutie!  Here are some pics of Luke:

He had a fever this evening, and I wanted to put a cool washcloth on his forehead.  Well, as you can imagine, that didn't go well for a baby.  He wouldn't hold still.  So I just put the whole cloth on his head :)



We got carpet installed in Luke's playroom.  Having the ceramic tile exposed was not working out at all.  Too much of a hazard.  He seemed to really like having all carpet back there.  He did some exploration on the step.  He went up the step, and down the step.  We're so happy it's safe now!






Luke watching Nolan play football! 



And that's all!  <3

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healthy boy

Luke had his 9 month well check today - and he got a clean bill of health!  With Nolan, I took his health for granted.  After losing Adam, I am extremely thankful for good health (for everyone in my family).  Luke weighs 21 lbs. and is 29 inches long.  He's in the 85th/90th percentile - so a big healthy boy!  He is meeting all of his developmental milestones, and then some.  I'm so proud of him =)  I thought this was a shot-free appointment, but I was wrong.  He had to get a flu shot, but luckily handled it very well.  Initial scream, but settled down very quickly.  I cannot believe that his next well check is his 1 year check!!! 

I am excited to announce that we are adding a new furry member to our family: Boomer the 7-week-old puffy puppy!  We wanted to find a very young puppy that had been properly socialized.  That can be a bit tough, surprisingly.  Our experience has been that once a dog misses out on proper socialization, it can be very hard to reverse that.  Jazzy is a sweet, sweet dog, but is very fearful of others and at this point, I doubt that will ever change (she has come a loooooong way since we got her a couple years ago). She is fine with our family, but if anyone new comes around, she hides.  The puppy we picked out has been socialized extensively.  He is mellow and wonderful.  His dad is a standard poodle, and his mom is half golden retriever, and half Australian shepherd.  We were able to meet the parents and the grandparents of the mom.  All were wonderful dogs.  We are really going to focus on training our new pup.  He is already enrolled in a puppy class that will start mid-October.  Since we have children, we want Boomer to have good manners.  Everyone will be happier that way!  I know it will initially be stressful to have a puppy -- lots of training to do.  But once we get Boomer potty trained and responding to some basic commands, things will get easier.  I'm sure I'll have some crazy stories, because craziness and puppies go hand in hand =)  I'll post some pictures this weekend once Boomer has arrived.

<3  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some awesome developments

I've read that during the first year of a baby's life, things get a bit better every three months.  I think I pretty much agree with that statement.  I'd have to go back and read my posts at 3 and 6 months, but if my memory serves me correctly, those were months where I felt like we had turned a corner.  Now we are at 9 months, and I once again feel that things have improved overall with Luke.

Yesterday morning Luke and I went to my mom's group.  It meets for 90 minutes, and there is childcare available.  I decided that for each meeting, I will always try Luke in the childcare room.  If he freaks out he can come into the meeting with me, but at least he'll have some exposure to the room, even if it's not for long.  Much to my amazement, he made it in the childcare room the entire time!  It was heaven!  I was able to connect with other mom's without chasing Luke around.  He was able to be with other adults and children, which I think it good for his social development.  A win-win situation :)  He was so tired from playing, that he came home and took a three hour nap in his crib.  Even better!

Then the evening came.  It was a big moment for me: I was venturing out for the evening, leaving Mark to put Luke to bed for the first time.  Luke has a specific routine each evening that involves nursing right before we lay him in his crib. I nursed him at 7:15 and then took off for the evening.  The plan was for Mark to give him a bath, feed him some solid foods, and then rock to sleep.  It took an hour longer than usual, but he went to bed and slept all night like usual.  There was no crying involved....he just had a harder time falling asleep.  I was so happy to hear things went well!  We've actually discovered that I'm a "trigger" for Luke.  He likes to put on a show for me....crying and fussing if I'm around when Mark is playing with him or taking care of him.  If he can't see me, he's totally fine.  It seems that as long as I'm not in the house, Mark will be able to do bedtime if needed. 

On a cute note, today Luke "danced" for the first time.  It was hilarious!  I sing silly songs to him and I bounce him around like he's dancing.  Today I was singing him a song, and he was standing.  He started bending his knees and bouncing up and down, the classic baby dancing.  He was quite tickled with himself, and was laughing while he bounced up and down.  What a little cutie.

All and all, life just got a little bit easier in our household.  Between the good sleeping, ability to have Mark put Luke to bed, and Luke tolerating another caregiver for awhile...I'm thrilled!  <3  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello

Hello again, it feels like I haven't written a post in a long time!

We have been extra busy at our household lately.  I'll give some general updates :-)

1.  Luke had one of his top teeth pop through.  He has a rough time with teething, so we had a few challenging days.  Overall he was a trooper and the teething pain is at bay for now.

2.  Luke has been sleeping like a champ.  Crib naps are the norm (hooray!!), and if he ends up in our bed at night, it's not until 4 or 5am.  He nurses and goes back to sleep until 6 or 7.  This morning he slept until 6:30am in his crib.  After nearly 9 months of sleep struggles, Mark and I feel like we're in heaven!

3.  Nolan won his football game yesterday, and did an AWESOME JOB!!!!  His name was announced several times during the came for tackles, etc.  So proud of him! 

4.  I took the boys for a visit to my parents for one night.  We had a great time!  It was a quick visit, but nice to see them.  Luke screamed for three hours straight during our drive to their house, but the drive home was much better.  Nolan and I got to take a quick shopping trip together while my parents watched Luke.  It was fun to spend some one-on-one time with Nolan :-)  Luke even slept great at my parent's house, which was a huge surprise.  And it was a much needed restful night for me, after listening to him scream for three hours during our drive!

5.  I am going out to eat with a group of friends tomorrow without Luke for the first time ever!  Usually I meet up with friends early in the evening, bring Luke along, and get home before his bedtime.  Papa is going to navigate bedtime by himself - I hope for both Luke and Mark's sake that it goes well.  It's weird to think that I have not been out past Luke's bedtime in 9 months :-O

6.  I am looking forward to going to my mom's group this week, as well as starting music lessons with Luke.  Should be good times!

There have been some outside events the past few weeks that have been stressful for our family to deal with, but we are hanging in there.  I feel like these are the moments when we are challenged and have opportunities for personal growth.  Life isn't always easy.  I am learning to keep my chin up no matter what, and to count our blessings in the good times and in the bad.  It's easy to be grateful when everything is going your way.  I am working on trying to keep a positive attitude even when crazy things happen in our world!

Now, some pics of our ever-growing Lukie!

Luke, "brushing his teeth"


Giving Mama a heart attack.  He always goes to his swing to pull himself up to stand.  The seat obviously swings, and so it's dangerous when he is pulling up...sometimes he falls on his face before I can get to his rescue.  He has had some type of injury on his forehead for a couple weeks straight. As soon as one bruise/bump heals, he gets a new one!


Lifting his leg, looking for a way to CLIMB!  :-O


Cutie pie :-)


And that's all for now!  Luke is up - must resume my baby chasing :)
    

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We're getting there

I've lost track of what day we're on of "sleep bootcamp", but I'm happy to report that we continue to have success! 

I would say the biggest success is daytime naps.  Luke has learned to take an afternoon nap in his crib for anywhere between 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.  Morning naps are shorter - usually around 30-45 minutes.  I am completely satisfied with his napping, and I am really glad I set aside some time to work on naps.  I'm not exactly sure what helped him learn to take crib naps.  My best guess is the consistency and routine.  I was prepared for horrible naps, so when Luke went to sleep I would put my feet up, have a glass of tea, and relax.  That way if the nap was super short, I at least took a little time to relax.  Now that he's doing so well, I think I can start accomplishing household tasks while he sleeps, which was the big driving force behind wanting him to learn to take crib naps.

Nighttimes are much better too.  They have returned to the days of him sleeping most, if not all, of the night in his crib.  I feel like he is a child who has a varying nighttime sleep pattern.  We have had a consistent nighttime routine for a long time, but we don't always get the same result.  He seems to wake for the first time anywhere between 2am-6am.  We have never been able to find a rhyme or reason to what makes him wake early some nights, and late other nights.  For now we are just going to keep doing what we've been doing.

Cheers to success!  Unfortunately I don't really have any magical method to share, other than come up with a consistent routine and stick with it.  Although I really think each child has their own unique sleep needs and as a parent you just have to try different things until you find what works.  Okay, enough about sleep stuff!  I hope I don't ever need to revisit this topic again!  <3 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 4 of sleep boot camp

And we're holding strong!

Luke slept fairly well last night, didn't wake-up until around 2:30 or 3am.  He was hungry, and then he went back to sleep.  He took a 90 minute afternoon nap today.  We're hoping he'll sleep through the entire night tonight.  I'm the most encouraged about his daytime naps.  If he could consistently take a 90+ minute nap each afternoon, I'd be in heaven.  I don't even mind a night waking as long as it happens close to the morning, like 3am or later.  So all in all, boot camp is moving right along!

Keep up the good work, Lukie!

Here is a picture of the smile Luke gives me as he is getting into something.  Such a little stinker!


These are pictures with Luke and his beloved socks.  Now that some days are a bit chillier, I've been putting socks on Luke.  He loves to pull them off.  Then he chews on them, or carries them along as he crawls.  It's actually pretty funny!  He loves them as long as they are not on his feet :)




Cheers to the weekend!  <3

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 3 of Sleep Bootcamp

The sleep sage continues :) 

Right after I signed off yesterday. Luke woke up from his nap.  He slept 20 minutes longer than the previous day.  I'll take it!

He was asleep in his crib by 8pm.  He woke up three times and fussed a little, but just for a few seconds and he went back to sleep without any intervention from us.  That is very encouraging!  More evidence that he is learning to self-soothe.  Around 11:30pm he woke up screaming, and after about 5 minutes we got him out of his crib.  He was very gassy, which probably explains the fussing prior to that.  We decided to let him co-sleep for the rest of the night, which went okay.  He was restless and gassy for most of the night, so it wasn't the most restful sleep for any of us.  :/

I took some time out this morning for a glorious swim.  Very rejuvenating and helped me mentally prepare for another day of sleep bootcamp.  There are moments when I miss cuddling Luke during naps....when it's chilly and rainy outside it's tempting to snuggle up under a blanket.  Especially since I know he'd sleep a loooong time if I did that.  But, I have to keep my eye on the goal, which is independent sleeping. 

The super news of today is that Luke is sleeping right now in his crib, and has been for almost a half hour.  Considering that he never actually slept yesterday morning, I'm very pleased that he's sleeping now.  Ha!  As soon as I typed that sentence I heard him cry.  Well, 30 minutes is better than nothing.  Fingers crossed for a good afternoon nap <3

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Things are looking good!

I can't tell you how awesome it feels to be on the path to better sleep habits with Luke!  I am realizing that I was pretty darn frustrated with how things had been going with Luke's sleeping.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. 

Keep in mind I'm smart enough to know that sleep habits are a process.  A few good days doesn't equal good sleeping forever.  Teething, illness, vacation, change in evening routine, etc. can all disrupt sleep -- and with Luke, they are guaranteed to disrupt his sleep. 

I am specifically encouraged by the following:

1.  Luke slept about 9 hours straight in his crib last night.  Even better than that, he cried for a few minutes (or a few seconds) 3 different times, and each time he was able to go back to sleep on his own.  This is huge, groundbreaking news for Luke. 

2.  When I transferred him to his crib for a morning nap, he woke up immediately.  Initially he cried for about a minute, but then he stopped.  I wondered if he had drifted off to sleep.  Then I heard him playing in his crib.  Playing in his crib!  Not crying!  He played and babbled for 20 whole minutes before crying.  This means he didn't actually take a morning nap....but I am thrilled that he was okay chilling in his crib for that long.  Normally he would have never stopped crying and only escalated when I put him in his crib. 

3.  He went down for a nap at noon and it's 90 minutes later and I have not heard a peep out of him. 

All of these things point to one thing: our boy is learning to self-soothe!  A huge milestone for Luke!

Tonight could be a train wreck, who knows.  The biggest positive out of all this is I am feeling confident in the process we are using because we are having some success.  My confidence will be a huge help when his sleeping doesn't go well.  I no longer feel hopeless.  Now that I have had a taste of how a day and night can go, I don't ever want to go back!  I have never had Luke take a good, unassisted nap in tandem with a good night's sleep.  Having to lay with Luke or rock him for an entire nap somehow canceled out the joy of a good night's sleep.  Don't get me wrong, I love cuddling with Luke.  But when it's the only way to get him to nap, it starts to feel like I'm trapped.  I would think about all the things I could be getting done while he slept, and I'd feel a little resentful. 

So, our journey continues.  I'm sure that I will soon have some nightmare naps/nighttimes to report because that is just how it works :)  But for now, life is all rainbows and sunshine over here.  And I'm gonna enjoy it while it lasts! <3

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Small victory, but we'll take it!

I know it's a small victory, and it might not be repeated ever again, but we'll take it and smile about it: Luke took a 70 minute nap in his crib today!  Oh, and it gets better.  Due to not having his typical 2-3 hour afternoon nap, he was tired and went to be early.  When I layed him in his crib, he woke up and started screaming....but only for about 2 minutes.  Magically, he went back to sleep without any intervention.  He's been in there for about 45 minutes.  So already we're doing better than the last several nights.  If nothing else, this gives us hope that we can get Luke back on a good sleep schedule without resorting to "scream until you puke".

Some other random comments:

1.  Luke has invented a noise we call the "angry screaming raspberry".  It's actually pretty hilarious.  He's been doing this for awhile now.  When he's mad, he blows raspberries....but with an irate look on his face and a slight screaming sound effect mixed in.  That's our boy!

2.  We're going to enroll Luke in a music class.  He loves when we sing to him, so we think he'll love it.  The class is once a week in the morning, so that will be a nice little outing for us.  Looking forward to it!

3.  I am so excited for all the new shows to start up again soon!!  I'm getting very sick of re-runs.

Here's to hoping crib sleeping goes well tomorrow <3         

Monday, September 5, 2011

What to do, what to do!

First I want to start with a cute picture of Luke.  On somewhat of a whim, we decided to go to a fair today.  I love unexpected time with my family, so I was thrilled.  We had a great time.  The weather was perfect - nice and cool.  Luke loved every  minute of it because there were so many new sights, sounds, and smells.  When we got back to our van we looked at Luke and this was his pose:


We loved that he had removed a sock, and then had his bare foot hanging out of his stroller.  He cracks us up!

Except when he doesn't crack us up.  Like at nighttime.  :/

We were doing great at night.  I felt proud of us: we had conquered nighttime sleep without having to cry it out...and we even had let him co-sleep part time as needed.  I sort of felt like saying HA! to all the people who doubted our choice to let Luke co-sleep as needed.

Then, he cut his second tooth.  For some reason, life has never returned to normal after that.  Luke went from sleeping 8pm-5am in his crib to waking up 30 minutes after landing in his crib at night.  He is easily soothed and goes right back to sleep....until we lay him back in his crib.  Crib sleeping is nearly non-existent right now.

Mark and I are at a loss.  We had decided to try a version of crying it out.  We've given it a try, and it doesn't even come close to working with Luke.  It's incredibly stressful for us, and it's horrific for Luke.  Neither of us are sure we can actually follow through with it.  It basically goes against everything we've worked so hard to establish with Luke.  However, neither of us are okay with having Luke in our bed full time at night.  What to do!?

Our current plan (which is subject to change on a minute-by-minute basis!) is to focus on daytime crib naps.  It's going to be hard, but I'm going to clear our calendar and spend the next few weeks completely focused on crib naps.  I have a specific crib nap plan, but I'm not going to say it until I try it out.  I am hopeful it works....but it might sound really stupid. If my plan totally fails then I'll have saved myself from sounding like an idiot :)  If it works, I'll tell you what my procedure was!  Our ultimate theory is that if we get naps back on track, nighttime will follow.  We'll see!    

The only thing I know for sure is this: if you have a child who has difficulties sleeping, you are going to suffer.  You will suffer if you choose to CIO, and you will suffer if you choose to not let them CIO.  There is no easy option.  No lazy way out.  I have the utmost respect for ALL parents of the "sleep challenged".  I think most of us agonize about which "sleep solution" to use.  We all have the same goal in mind, which is a good night's sleep (for parents and kiddos).  If you are reading this and you know a fellow mama who has a difficult sleeper, be supportive.  Don't judge....you never really know what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes!  <3     

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Funny child...

I had to share two "Nolan moments" from the weekend.

Due to an unforseen, insane event at a local grocery store, involving us being forbidden to shop with a stroller because the stroller wheels would "ruin the flooring" (like the wheels from the grocery carts are any better?!), we ended up at good old Wal-Mart.  Personally, I hate shopping at Wally World.  We had traveled south of our home to go to a local grocery store, but when that turned out to be a huge mistake, the easiest alternative was to go a few more miles south to a Wal-Mart.  It was crowded and I did notice some odd behavior from some of the other customers, but I took it in stride and tried to ignore it all. 

When we got into the van to head home, Nolan says: Are all the windows shut?  Me: Yes.  N: Are you sure?  Me: Um, yes. N: Can anyone hear us?  Me: No.  N (in a very serious voice): Okay.  Everyone in there scared me.   Me (trying not to laugh):  Why?  Anyone in particular?  N: All the men in there with long hair.

LOL!  He proceeded to cite many examples of nutty behavior and more specific descriptions of scary Wal-Mart people.  It's funny that he's old enough to notice craziness...and wise enough to wait until we're safely in the van to tell me about it!  I have to admit there were a few scenes that could have been featured on that "People of Wal-Mart" website ;)

This afternoon we decided to go out for ice cream.  It was hot and humid, and we figured this might be the last really hot day for ice cream outings of the season.  We were sitting down, enjoying our treat.  Nolan got up to use the restroom.  A few minutes later he returned with the soap dispenser in his hands!  Not a small one either.  The huge, industrial ones that are mounted to public restroom walls!  His hands were dripping wet, and the dispenser was a soapy mess.  I was horrified!  I asked him what happened, and he informed me that it had fallen off the wall.  I'm not sure what the plan was when he decided to bring it out to our table?  LOL  I told him to take it back to the bathroom and leave it on the countertop.  Ay yi yi......! 

Here is a picture of my dynamic duo!  They sure add a lot of spice to our lives! 



  

8 months

Tomorrow marks 8 months since our sweet Adam died.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and in other ways it seems like just yesterday. 

When I think back to our pregnancy and birth with Adam and Luke, I feel proud.  Those were some tough times - filled with so much uncertainty - but we made it.  Many others walked that journey with us: supporting, encouraging, and praying for us.  Everyone was filled with hope.  Our faith was never stronger.  It was an intense situation that didn't end the way we had hoped.  We understand that our plans aren't always the same as God's plans, and we have worked hard to maintain faith and acceptance surrounding Adam's death.

The biggest gift of all is that a piece of Adam will always live on through Luke.  They were twins, and that is a connection that never dies.  Every time I meet a mom of twins, it hurts a little.  I don't know where I stand with that: Am I a mom of twins?  I was at one point - so I guess I always am.  I don't call myself a mom of twins because I will never know the ongoing challenges of parenting twins.  I doubt active duty twin mommies would appreciate me acting like I know what they are going through based on my 15 days of parenting twins!  I guess I would say my twin mom identity is something I struggle with.  I pray that someday I reconcile those feelings and figure out where I fit in the world of twins.

Being Adam's mom somehow gave me a calm confidence that has stuck around.  It's a confidence unlike I've ever felt before.  I suppose it comes from a place of knowing that if I can make it through a terrifying pregnancy and birth, and hold my child's hand as he takes his final breath; then I can make it through anything.  Of course, I have my moments when my confidence is shaken...I think that is only natural.  But speaking in an overall sense - I've never felt better about myself.  I'm finally living the life God wanted me to live at this time, in this season of life.  I feel content, and I feel grateful.  Two feelings that haven't always been present in my life.

I continue to sort through my memories of Adam.  The hardest ones are from our time at the hospital.  Those days were filled with fear.  I was unable to be with Adam and Luke at the same time.  I was in pain from my c-section.  I was frustrated and unhappy with some of the care Adam received.  At times I felt that the nurses and doctors did not respect our wishes.  Tests and procedures were being done without consulting us.  Our grief was on display, as horrible news was delivered in semi-public locations.  I hated the way hospital staff looked at us as we walked back to visit Adam.  I knew something terrible was about to happen, but I desperately clung to the hope that I was wrong.  That Adam would get better and live a normal life. 

My memories from December 26th-January 5th are much sweeter.  The news had been delivered.  Hospice was involved.  The awkwardness was gone:  Adam was going to die.  No one had to pretend anymore.  The focus shifted to enjoying the time we had left.  There was so much kindness shown from so many people.  Those were the days when I felt like we actually had a life with Adam.  I treasure those memories.  Adam's final days weren't all sunshine and rainbows, but he was home with us.  He got to feel our love and we were all together.  He was baptized with his brother.  I got to cuddle my babies at the same time.  Adam was able to say goodbye to Luke in his own way and in his own time.  God was present.  Adam changed our family, and we will be forever grateful for that.  <3

Friday, September 2, 2011

Freeze!!

For a month or so, I've had a couple sizes of clothing in Luke's drawers.  He could still fit most of his 12-month clothing, but also was ready for some of his 18-month clothing.  I decided to put everything in his drawers so I didn't forget about the 18 mo. things that were sized smaller, and I could get a few more uses out of the 12 mo. things that he was on the verge of outgrowing.  The other day I found myself almost squeezing Luke into an outfit and I decided it was TIME!  Time to clean out the 12 mo. clothing.  There was one outfit I came across that I just couldn't pack away yet.  I don't know why, but I think Luke looks so cute in it.  Probably because the shirt always rides up and his fat belly pops out.  And the diaper cover allows for full exposure of his chubby thighs.  It's just a basic outfit, but I love it and I wanted one more day of him in it.  I decided to take some pics so I can permanently freeze the image of him at this age in my mind.  He has, in my opinion, never been cuter :)

"Jazzy!  Come see me Jazzy!"  Luke stands at the gate, giggling hysterically, hoping Jazzy the Boxer will come visit him.  She always comes.  And licks his fingers through the gate.  More hysterical giggling.



"Look at my skills Mama!  I can hold on with one hand!" 


"Concentrate.  You can do it."  Luke is learning that letting go of the gate (or any object he is holding on to) will result in a fall that possibly hurts.  He tries to let himself down easy now.  He's getting pretty good at it...but before he lowers himself, he strikes this pose, gearing up for the big move!


"Hi Mama!  Want to see my two teeth?"


"Why does she continue to take pictures of me?  What does she want from me?  Want to see my diaper?  I'll throw in a slight smile too."


In closing, I wanted to share something I read today.  To give a little background...remember that Sugarland stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair?  Some people were killed, others critically injured.  One of the critically injured was from my hometown.  I didn't know her personally, but I knew of her.  I've been following her miraculous recovery.  Each evening an update is posted by her brother.  She has a severe head injury.  She is a wife and mother to a 4-year-old little girl.  The strength and faith of her family, friends, and the entire community is very inspiring.  This is part of the update that was sent out today.  I hope it stirs something in you like it did in me.  <3

What do we have? We have a life and we get to choose how to live it. God affords us the opportunity to make every single choice. When we wake up tomorrow morning, we can choose to be a participator in what God wants to do that day or we can choose to be a spectator and never experience what it’s like to be a participant in something God is doing. We can choose to be thankful for our circumstances or we can curse them. If we’re thankful for them, my guess is that we’ll find a way to “grow” through them. I am growing through this “circumstance” which I prefer to call an “experience”. I hope that you’re growing too. Choose to be thankful and you will be amazed at how much you then naturally focus on what you have and not on what you don’t have. Instead of focusing on what’s been lost, you’ll focus on what’s left. You may have things you’re not proud of that exist in your past. We all do. Let it go. Please don’t waste time focusing on what’s been lost in your life in your past. Focus on the time you have left. God doesn’t think about your past nearly as much as you do. Don’t be a victim of your past. Be a victor in your future.