Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Clara: Two Month Update

While Clara sleeps better than the other two did at this point, I'm still feeling a bit sleep deprived, and now that we're getting into the swing of things with school starting (!!), this whole balancing three kids thing is going to be ca-razy! But Luke is still home for 2.5 more weeks. And then I'll really be going crazy getting us out the door on time! :)

Height and Weight: We had her two month well check today, and she came in at 8 lbs 9.5 oz (1%) and 22.5 inches (43%). The doctor wasn't really concerned, but suggested that when Luke gives her a bottle in the evening to add an extra ounce or so just to give her some more calories. I thought for sure she'd weigh at least nine pounds, but not quite!

Sleep: Nighttime sleep is still great! For the most part, she's continued her pattern of waking up some time around 2:00, and then again in the 5-6 o'clock hour. She nurses and goes right back to sleep. Luke still takes her down to the basement for a few hours around 8:30 and sometimes gives her a bottle if she's acting hungry.

On our first full day in Seattle, we put her down for what we thought would be a nap around 5:30 p.m., and she didn't wake up until almost 2:30 a.m. Almost 9 hours!! Thankfully she nursed and went right back to sleep and woke up again around 6:00 a.m. I think the jet lag and being out of her somewhat normal routine threw her off. Thankfully she slept well the whole time we were there, and seems to be adjusting for the most part since we've been home.

Noelle also started school this week, so now we have to navigate drop-off and pick-up around naps. The first two days have been a little crazy, and she's ended up taking decent morning naps, but can't seem to settle for a solid afternoon nap. Hopefully we can get that all figured out once we all get used to our new routine!

Eating: She mostly seems to want to nurse on and off while she's awake, and I'm a bit worried my supply is not sufficient. But I'll keep feeding her on demand and give her a bottle now and then to hopefully help with that and get her growing more. I didn't pump at all in Seattle, and haven't since I've been home, but need to figure out how to fit that into our new routine as well.

Diapers/Clothing: Newborn onsies are pretty much filled out to the max, and I tried to put some newborn sized footie pajamas on her today, but that was not going to work. Before we left for Seattle I washed a bunch of 0-3 month clothes so we have those ready to go for her. Most are for warm weather, so hopefully it's warm for a bit longer. We also ran out of newborn diapers so we moved her up to size 1. 

Social/Milestones: I have gotten a few smiles out of her, but I have to work really hard for them. She's usually pretty content when she's getting changed on her changing pad, so I try to use that time to talk to her and smile at her. We've done tummy time a few times, and sometimes she's quiet for a little while, and sometimes she screams as soon as we lay her down. But her neck control is definitely getting stronger!

Likes: She continues to do well when I wear her in the wrap. That was our saving grace in Seattle- I wore her whenever I could, including through a bunch of our meals. She tends to fall asleep in it, and does really well while snuggled. She also loves the bath! Noelle and Jonah help by pouring water over her lower half, while I pour it over her head. Even when water runs down her face, she doesn't cry. She also seems to like watching Noelle and Jonah move around, at least for a little while. Sometimes their love can be a little over-bearing, but she does well overall!

Dislikes: She absolutely hates the car seat! We had a long day in the car seat in Seattle when we went to Mount Ranier, and we all endured a lot of crying. But I'm hoping that phase passes soon, because we'll be spending a decent amount of time in the car driving Noelle to and from school, and getting to various other activities. During the day, if she's awake and not nursing, she really wants to be held. The swing is not sufficient, and it makes it difficult to get much done. But I'll just have to start wearing her more around the house!

Fun things we've done: We celebrated Holden's birthday, went to Jackie's baby shower, gone to multiple library times, went peach and raspberry picking, first Howard County fair, first plane ride and more! It's been a busy month, and I feel like with school starting, things will only get busier!

some pictures:

We love you, Clara Irene!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Busy Week

We've now had eight weeks with Luke home on paternity leave, and I know me and the kids are still loving it. He is an amazing daddy, and takes such good care of all four of us. Less than a month till he goes back to work now, and I know I won't be ready (even though he so is!)

On Monday we headed to library time with our favorite Mr. Chris. Quick story about him and his wife, Jenna- she is best friends with a girl I went to college with and worked with for a few years, and they also are friends with one of my good friends from church/MOPS. (They also sang/played for my post-college roommate's wedding recently- small world!) Chris and his wife, Jenna, are singers/songwriters and when they did the Piggie and Gerald event at the library last year, I finally made the connection that he was Chris of THE Chris and Jenna. Anyhow, we've chatted a little bit, and I read in their music blog recently that they are pursuing their music and headed to Nashville for a month to do some recording. Thankfully he'll be back to the library eventually, and while I'm excited for them, we will miss him at library time!

All that to say, when we went to library time this past week, I lamented to Luke about how this was Noelle's last library time with Mr. Chris before she starts school. Never again will she be a regular at Mr. Chris' storytime (except for next summer when she's home, of course.) Luke just looked at me like I was crazy and told me I am going to be sobbing when we drop her off for her first day of school. (We'll see- I'm hoping I'm more excited for her than anything else!) Noelle and Jonah did their usual with Mr. Chris, singing songs, reading books, and of course ending with a craft. (Which lately always ends with Jonah having a meltdown- #threenager!)

A local dance studio was offering free classes this past week for all ages, and I took Noelle to a class on Monday evening. She had an absolute blast, and it was so convenient that the studio is less than five minutes from our house. I will definitely be looking into lessons for her!

On Tuesday we headed to the $1 movie to see Happy Feet 2. Luke and I weren't super impressed, and Noelle was begging to leave about 20 minutes in. Since Jonah still seemed interested, and Clara was napping/nursing, Luke took Noelle out of the theater telling her she'd be bored waiting for us. They ended up deciding to check on the other $1 movie, which was Cats and Dogs, and she of course loved that. Fun times all around, and proving that I would NOT have been able to handle something like that with all three kids by myself.

Wednesday was a quiet day, mostly spent at home, and on Thursday, I took the kids to Noelle's school to drop off her school supplies. Noelle was so excited to see her teacher again (although her shyness stops her from saying much), and Jonah was of course his verbal let-me-tell-you-my-life-story self. We love her teacher, and I know once Noelle has spent time with her consistently, will get past some of her shyness. We are so excited for her for this year (and I'm also a lot bit nervous!)

After chatting with her teacher for a bit, we met Nana and Holden at Larriland for a picnic lunch and raspberry picking. It was a hot, humid day, and after about 10 minutes of picking, Noelle was complaining of the heat, and Jonah, of course, copied her. Between the two of them though (with some help), we ended up with about a pound of raspberries, and they were delicious!

On Friday, we met up with both my parents and Holden at a local conservancy for another picnic and to wander around for a bit. After not much time in the heat (oh Noelle!) we grabbed snowballs, and then Noelle headed off with my parents for a sleepover, and we went home to give Clara a good nap.

Saturday we headed up to meet Grandma and Aunt Lyd for the Tomato Festival at a local Farmer's Market. They had different types of tomatoes to try, as well as sweet and savory tomato recipes to sample. We ran a few errands, and then headed back to pick up Noelle from my parent's house. A busy week, but full of lots of fun and trying to do ALL THE THINGS before Noelle is not spending her days at home. (Eek!)

Friday, August 18, 2017

This Morning

It's 9:00 on a Friday morning and all 5 of us are still in our pajamas. The baby didn't wake up for her first feeding until 4:45 a.m. and then slept until almost 8:00. The big kids got out of bed around 7:30, and other than a few meltdowns from Jonah, they've been happy eating breakfast and playing on the back deck. Overall, a pretty great night and morning so far!

As I'm standing in the kitchen making some breakfast, Luke is playing hide-n-seek with Noelle and Jonah. Our downstairs is small, so there aren't many places to hide, and it's usually pretty obvious where everyone is hiding. I hear Luke saying things like "are they behind the curtain? no! Clara, do you know where they are?" And after each thing Luke says, lots of squealing and giggling from the big kids.

I love it! This right here is even better than what I imagined my life would be like as a wife and mom. I'm one of those people who went to college more for an MRS degree than anything else (though I did enjoy most of my classes and think a degree is beneficial!) And I always knew I wanted kids. So basically, I'm living my dream.

Each day is full of it's challenges, and there are different seasons of this life that have been hard. But mostly, all these wonderful moments of family are what make it so so good. God's blessings abound!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Our Week in Pictures

Summer is winding down (two weeks till Noelle starts kindergarten!!), and I'm trying to soak in all the activities we can do while Luke is home and I have extra hands to do things outside of the house. Seriously, this summer would have played out completely differently if Luke had gone back to work after a week or two. But we've been able to do a lot of fun things!

A rainy Monday morning called for a trip to Dunkin Donuts, especially since I had a free coffee about to expire. :) Noelle and Jonah got their usual (chocolate for J and strawberry for N), and after enjoying our donuts and coffee, we headed back home.

Noelle and Jonah decided they wanted to bust out their umbrellas and rain boots, which always makes for fun photos, so of course I said yes. And it gets them outside for a bit, and they are self-entertained. win-win!

Tuesday morning I took little miss Clara to an appointment to get her vaccines. We decided that since we'll be flying to Seattle before she turns two months to go ahead and get the shots early. That way she will have some immunity when we're on the plane and visiting the West coast relatives. She of course cried, which made me tear up, but thankfully I was able to nurse her and she was calm for the rest of the day.

Tuesday was also the $12 wrist band day at the fair, so Luke and the kids got bands and rode all the rides over and over again. We were there for over seven hours, most of which was spent with them on rides. Clara and I hung out with them for a little while, and then I found a shady area to nurse her and just sit for awhile. We had planned on going home for dinner and then come back, but the kids were having so much fun that we ended up buying food at the fair. And then they rode more rides. I forgot a hat for Clara, so Luke pulled out a pair of Jonah's underwear (clean!) and we put it over her head. And poor girl was in the same diaper the whole time since I hadn't planned on us being there for that long. But she survived, even with a blowout right before we left.

Right at the entrance of the fair was this little water pumping station with little rubber duckies that float back and forth as you pump the water. They have both done this before and would have stayed here for awhile if we hadn't moved them along.

Wednesday morning I had a follow up appointment with the podiatrist for my foot/ankle. Basically the result of that was keep wearing the boot if I feel pain. So I'm in the boot for longer- I was definitely in a bad mood about that, but I also know that it won't last forever! (Right?!?) Luke and the big kids went and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa while I was at the appointment, and afterwards we headed to Target to do back to school shopping. Despite Noelle's face in the picture, she was very excited to pick out all her supplies. (Also, how is it possible I'm school supply shopping for one of MY children?!?- seriously- can't get over this!)

Thursday morning the big kids did some crafting together while I nursed the babe and ate my breakfast. It was a beautiful day, so Luke and his dad worked together to replace our front storm door. They also hung up our house number that my mom got for us probably the Christmas we moved in (like 8 years ago), which was more of a pain to hang than replacing the door. Thanks Luke and Dad!

Thursday evening it was still nice out, so I took the kids out back to jump on the little trampoline and then take pictures in front of the Black-Eyed Susans.

Friday was a quiet day with a Starbucks run in the morning with all three kids by myself (Luke needed a break from Jonah), and then to Kohls to buy some more gifts for our Holdy who's birthday party is today. Jonah was a disaster most of the day crying about every little thing (like the fact that I "broke" his popsicle in order to push it up in the plastic so he could eat it), and when he came to lay down next to me after I crawled into bed last night, I just didn't even fight it. He fell asleep while I was reading, and I carried him to his bed later on. Little stinker! (But I also know that one day he won't do this, and he's going through a lot with not being the baby anymore. Or at least that's how I justify it. :))

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cows and Chips

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month! So far it is going so much better with Clara than it did with Jonah- with him at this point I was just getting past the pain I felt at every single feeding and constantly considering going to see a lactation consultant. This time it's been mostly pain-free, and baby girl is growing like a champ!

blurry picture by Noelle
Last Monday we had Holden back with us for an afternoon while my brother-in-law had to work overtime. It was so good to have him hanging out with us again- but I'm also pretty sure it was only "easy" because Luke is home! We filled up our little pink pool on the deck and Holden, Noelle, and Jonah played in the water for awhile and ate popsicles while Clara napped the afternoon away. While she was still sleeping Holden went down for his nap, and the big kids had some downtime, which made for a peaceful afternoon. 

On Tuesday, we continued our summer tradition of going to South Mountain Creamery. It was my third summer taking the kids, and Luke's first time joining us. We packed lunches, played on the little playground, visited the baby cows, ate some delicious ice cream, and watched the cows getting milked. It was a fun afternoon, and Clara slept in the wrap the whole time we were there. 

the baby cow in this picture was born that day!

On Friday, we headed up to the Utz Potato Chip Factory in PA to party at their summer bash event. There were lots of vendors giving away free things, games for the kids to play (and the prizes were bags of chips!), a blow up obstacle course, and more. I nursed Clara in the shade while they did the obstacle course twice (even Noelle!), and then we drove home while the littles munched on their chips.

On Friday night, Jonah went to Nana's house for a solo sleepover just for fun. He was spoiled with pizza, play time at the mall, and ice cream. Now Noelle is asking when it's her turn. :)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Our Hospital Stay

So the only reason I want to document our time at the hospital with Clara after she was born, is because it was SO different than how it was with the other two. Sure, there were some similarities- someone coming into our room every few hours to take my blood pressure or give me pain meds, a steady flow of family coming to see the newest family member, breastfeeding or pumping while all these people were coming in and out of the room. You know, the usual things you deal with after having a baby. :)

One of my favorite bloggers to follow (Camp Patton), noted something about her hospital stay after her fourth was born (same day as Jonah). With baby number four, it felt like her time in the hospital was like a little vacation- just soaking in baby snuggles and sleeping when she wasn't feeding her newborn. And I've heard other people talk about how they get the chance to read a book or catch up on some t.v. since they're away from the usual responsibilities of being at home. Which all makes sense!

BUT for both Noelle and Jonah's births, Luke and I could not wait to leave the hospital. I slept horribly being not in my own bed. Both of them cried for hours on one or both nights that we were there, and then of course as soon as we laid down, they would start crying again. With Noelle we had such a complicated system to feed her formula through the breast, which was a two person job, so every time she cried, both of us had to be up and involved. With Jonah, his latch wasn't amazing, and a few hours in to his little life, my nipples were on fire and every attempt at feeding left me in more pain and completely discouraged. Both times, we were SO ready to be back home in our own environment.

We figured things would go similarly this time around- and even contemplated opting out of the second night at the hospital. Since Clara was born in the evening, it worked out that we would end up being at the hospital for less than 48 hours, whereas with Noelle, I labored through a night, and then we spent two nights there, and then with Jonah, he was born just after midnight so we still had another two nights to go.

getting her hearing test done

For whatever reason, breastfeeding started off so much better with Clara than it did with Jonah. She did have to get her blood sugar tested before every feeding because she was small for gestational age, but she wasn't much of a crier, so every three hours or so, we'd call the nurse to come test her, and then I'd feed her. Her numbers never got below what they were looking for, but when it dipped a bit, they had us give her some formula. Thankfully, this worked out perfectly because while I was pregnant I was most stressed about breastfeeding, and we had planned on giving baby formula and a bottle early on. She took to the bottle perfectly, and even though she fought breastfeeding for a few days afterwards, we persisted, and now she's a pro at both. From then on while we were at the hospital, I would nurse her until she fell asleep, which is what usually happened, and then Luke would give her some formula while I pumped.

She fussed a little bit both nights, but she just wanted to be cuddled. The first night, I ended up holding her on my lap while I scrolled through Instagram and read a book, and then we watched the sun come up. The next night, Luke held her for a bit while I slept, and then while she was getting some tests done, we were both able to sleep. It really felt so different from the first nights of Noelle and Jonah  crying, cluster feeding, pain from breastfeeding, and just sheer exhaustion from the first night of laboring through the night. I actually felt like we had some down time that wasn't spent trying to comfort a crying baby.

And maybe part of it was knowing she's our last, and just thinking back to a year ago when we were in the midst of fertility testing and procedures. This baby we'd waited and longed for was here in our arms, and I couldn't help but marvel over that and thank Jesus for His good gifts!