Thursday, July 25, 2013

It’s so much fun to watch my boys learn new things!

Liam is learning new words every day, and he’s picking up on cues more than I realized. I could swear that boy speaks French, too. Some days I can’t help but give him blank stares when he rattles off a few paragraphs to me. I wish I knew what he was saying! He's also learned little things like how to unlock doors and turn the water hose on outside.

Riley hit the six-week mark this past weekend, and he’s technically sleeping through the night now. I say technically because some nights he wakes at 5 instead of 7:30, but either way, it means more sleep for the whole family! He’s also been learning how to use his voice, and he smiles, laughs and coos a bunch.

Every day, I’m learning, too. Here are a few things I’ve picked up on since Riley came along:

The best way to get a toddler to cuddle is to let him see you cuddle a newborn. Liam hasn’t really been interested in sitting still long enough for cuddle time with me, but ever since my very-cuddly Riley entered the picture, all of a sudden Liam asks to be picked up, rocked, and accompanied while he goes to sleep. I love it!

The idea that oats increase milk supply is no wives’ tale. Of course the decision to pump meant that I’d face the challenge of keeping my supply up. What’s a girl to do but make a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies? I’ve eaten eight so far, and I can already tell a difference! (Whatever it takes, right? Wink wink)

How to chew without moving my jaw. Don’t lie; I know you all do it, too. I’m all for sharing cookies with Liam, but any responsible mom would agree I can’t let him eat the whole batch. But if he sees me eating one, he wants one, too. Problem solved.

How to breastfeed while chasing a toddler. Before Riley was day-weaned, Liam would take advantage of the fact that I was temporarily immobile to see what he could get away with. I’ve perfected the skill of breastfeeding in a football hold while keeping my oldest from destroying the house.

Cowboy boots go with everything. I actually already knew this one; I must be where Liam gets it from, but he wants to wear his cowboy boots all day, every day. I see no problem with this.

Getting a baby dressed every day is overrated. I mean, he's awake for an hour at a time and then he's right back asleep. Why get him dressed if we don't leave the house, just to put him back in a sleeper at night? And then I just have more laundry to wash. Waste. Of. Time.

The devil’s name is not George. Curious George is a good way to keep Liam still while I tend to Riley. You could say he’s like a personal assistant. I’ve decided TV is not evil after all. Some times.

What grace is really about. Last Friday, before 8:30 a.m., Riley had screamed through his feeding and vomited all over my pillow, and he and Liam were both fussy. I woke up with a terrible headache and a strained muscle in my back. It was not a good start to the day. So I put Liam in his playpen, Riley down for a nap, and I shut myself in my room to pray. I don’t think I’d ever really grasped the concept of grace, but I realize that it’s only by the grace of God that I can do what I do. It’s like God gives me the ability to handle any opposition with calmness and finesse, to come up with creative solutions, to make the most of my time. I don’t ask for it enough, but when I do, our home is a lot more peaceful.

We hooked the sprinkler up directly to the spigot.

Pool time. He loves the water!

Liam figured out what his keys go to. Our entertainment center.

Eating an oatmeal cookie. In his boots. With his PJs.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hey, it's OK...

One of my favorite columns in Glamour magazine is the “Hey, It’s Ok…” page, filled with one-liners to make readers feel a little more human about our shortcomings, so I decided to write my own about my recent experiences with mommyhood:

Hey, it’s OK…

To pretend to go to the restroom, when what you're really doing is sneaking the junk food so your toddler doesn’t see you. You don’t want to set a bad example, after all.

If you consider the television a good babysitter. It’s free, and you don’t have to worry about it stealing from you.

If you don’t wash and sterilize the bottles and breast pump after every use. If manufacturers really meant for you to, they would have made less parts.

To play rock-paper-scissors with your spouse to see who gets up with the baby this time.

If you justify a filthy house by remarking on how you’re building up your family’s immunity. What doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger, right?

If washing your hands is considered a luxury you don't have time for. (See previous item.)

If your to-do list includes “Brush teeth” and “Put on deodorant”…even if they don’t get crossed off by the end of the day.

To write down what you DID do that day, just so you can cross it off. Even if that includes “Feed baby.”

To drive around town with the kiddos for the afternoon so the little one will sleep and the bigger one will stay put for a bit.

If marinara sauce and ketchup count as your child’s daily veggie requirement.

To count graham crackers as a meal. For your tot and for you.

To choose cuddling your sleeping baby over folding laundry.

To choose taking a nap over cuddling your sleeping baby.

If you consider a bathroom break to be quality you-time.

If using a baby wipe counts as a bath. How dirty does a newborn get, anyway?

If your hair care routine consists solely of dry shampoo and hair ties.

To use, "I carried and gave birth to him," as a reason why your husband should take over baby duties. Every. Single. Time.

If you sleep in your makeup just so you don't have to put it on the next day.

What would you add to this list?

And then this happened...

Last week was a doozy, I’m not going to lie. It was one of those weeks where the laundry was piling up, the kitchen sink was getting a funky smell, and I couldn’t remember if I’d brushed my teeth all day. One of those weeks that makes me seriously question whether I’ve lost my mind, whether I have what it takes to be a stay-at-home mom of two.

But then this happened…

I was feeding Riley one day last week, and as usual he was having a difficult time eating due to his reflux, so I was trying to soothe him. Liam ran over, laid his head on Riley’s chest, and said, “Awww, baby.” Riley’s eyes grew really big, and he got calm. It was one of the sweetest moments ever, and in that moment things felt right again. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops, and I am sure they will become the best of friends.  

In other news, Riley’s one-month checkup went great last week! He weighed in at almost 10 pounds and has gained a half-inch in length, which puts him in the 50th percentile for weight and 90th for height. I don’t even know what to do with my double-digit baby! (Liam was in the 2nd percentile for what seemed like forever.)

Riley is doing all sorts of fun things now! He sucks his thumb occasionally, and for the past week he’s already been smiling and laughing a lot, especially when I sing to him. After talking with his doctor last week, I decided the best thing to do to make his feedings go better was to pump and feed him bottles. It’s a lot more work for me, but it has cut down on his discomfort, which eliminates a lot of added stress. I also started adding a little rice cereal to his bottle to help keep his milk where it belongs. There was an immediate difference! Let’s pray that he continues to improve.

For the last week, Riley has been sleeping about six hours every night, from after his 10:30 feeding until about 5 in the morning. Then he goes right back to sleep until I wake him up at 7:30 to start the day. Practically sleeping through the night at 5 weeks? I couldn’t ask for better than that!

And my sweet Liam is growing by leaps and bounds every day! He has started participating in saying the blessing at mealtimes, holding our hands and saying “Amen.” He claps and participates in the worship service at church. He LOVES water: playing in it, swimming in it, bathing in it, pouring it all over himself. He loves coloring with chalk or crayons and stickers. And he’s learning more words all the time. Maybe I need to watch what I say around him now.


I can’t believe he will be two in less than two months! It’s time to start planning the birthday party. He’s going through a lot of changes at this age. He tries to be so independent and gets frustrated easily when he can’t do something. Sometimes he has more energy than I know what to do with. And boy, is it hard getting that kid to eat! My secret weapon? Smoothies. I made him one yesterday that had fruit, yogurt, sweet potato and even some breast milk for an added immunity boost. (Might as well take advantage of all the pumping!) He drank it right down.


There’s so much more I want to write, just because I’m afraid I’ll forget a lot of these details down the road, but free time is a little scarce right now. Time to go snuggle my baby!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Riley // one month

Riley is a month old! Did I really just say that? How is it that a month has passed since we were speeding to the hospital, flashers flashing, praying Riley would hold out until we were surrounded by medical professionals? This month has felt like only a couple of days, but Riley has already grown so much…too fast, if you ask me! Tomorrow is his one-month checkup, and I’m excited to see how he’s progressed.

It’s been a little overwhelming adjusting to having two children under the age of 2. Going to the grocery store is a major event, and I’m still getting the hang of breastfeeding Riley while keeping an eye on my ever-on-the-run Liam. Dealing with the baby blues this time has been a new experience for me. And when Liam sees his daddy or me holding Riley, he runs over, raises his arms, and says “Up!” A little jealous, perhaps? I try not to let it break my heart. :)

I'm a little more flexible this time around. Riley has severe reflux just like Liam did, and I'm a little more prepared for how to deal with it. We didn't hesitate to seek medical attention to give him some relief, and he is also comforted by a pacifier: two things we put off with Liam out of fear that he'd become addicted to a pacifier or that taking a prescription would mess him up permanently somehow. I read Baby Wise when I was pregnant with Liam, which was a lifesaver, but I followed the principles to the point where I was a slave to them (I didn't know any better); this time I am making them work for us. Having a good routine works for our benefit rather than tying us down. If you are expecting a little one, I would highly recommend that book!

I’ve definitely had to adjust my expectations for what life looks like right now. Our pace has slowed a bit, and I’m learning to embrace restful pajama-and-movie days. I know this phase won’t last for long, and soon I’ll be chasing both boys around at full speed, so for now, I’m learning to take it easy and enjoy all the snuggles and naps.

I thought taking pictures of a toddler was a workout, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be getting good, sharp photos of a wriggly newborn! The dark, rainy weather this weekend didn't help, so I will be trying again soon when I can take advantage of more natural light. Here's what I got for now: