Friday, February 28, 2014

Three Months Old

Last Friday, our girl turned three months old.
Three months with this little sweet wonder.
Three months of less sleep, but more joy.
Three months as Five.
Three months of being filled so full that my heart might actually burst.
Three months to remind me exactly why I’ve always wanted so badly to be a mom, and the fresh reminder, every day, that my three are truly a gift. 
So loving this new life, us together as five.
I feel like, in this last month, we’ve really established a pretty great schedule; meaning, managing three children has become pretty routine.  And it feels pretty great.  Everyone is still adjusting, to a certain degree, but I feel like we’ve arrived at a really good balance of responsibilities and schedules and, well, life.  It’s all just kind of coming together, and the credit must go in large part to Ruby, as for the last month, she has been consistently sleeping through the night.  {Which meansI’ve been sleeping through the night, which makes me really really happy, and that old adage “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is so, so true.  So there’s that.}  Shortly after her two-month birthday, when she was still waking once a night to eat, it seemed to me that she really wasn’t that hungry or interested in her bottle.  So when she woke, I began rocking her back to sleep with her pacifier instead of feeding her.  She’d fall back asleep, and stay asleep, until morning.  It took just a few nights of doing that before she began to sleep through.  She’ll stir early morning (sometime between 5:00 and 6:00, usually) but a pop of the pacifier will keep her satisfied for another hour or two.  She gives us at least eight hours, usually more, so that is really, reallygreat.  
But what is even better…her morning smiles!  Oh my word, this girl is happy! She flashes the biggest, brightest smiles all day long, but the ones she gives when she first wakes up are my favorite.  She will be patient as we change her diaper and get her bottle ready {just don’t dawdle - she is hungry!}, with big, wide, toothless smiles lighting up the whole room.  It’s a great way to wake up in the morning!
Ruby has also found her voice this last month.  She is cooing and squealing and squeaking and giggling and it is so much fun hearing her jabber away!  I think she even surprises herself sometimes as she’ll make a loud noise, and then her face will go stone-cold with giant bug eyes.  Her personality is starting to show and she is a hoot!
Ruby’s awake times continue to lengthen; she can last about an hour and a half before she needs a little shut eye, and her naps still consist of one 3-4 hour nap with several 30 minutes to an hour cat naps in between.  She has taken a liking to her swing, both to play and to sleep.  She has taken a greater interest in her rattles and other toys that hang off the toy bars on her bouncy seat and play mat, and she’ll be content with those for longer periods of time. 
Ruby is still on a 24 ounces a day feeding schedule, although there are a few days we only manage to get in 20 ounces because of when and how long she decides to nap during the day.  I’m a bit concerned that her reflux is beginning to be painful for her.  It is still very sporadic, and it can be pretty mild, but the more significant episodes are increasing and the ringing in my ears I’m experiencing from her screaming cries afterwards tells me she doesn’t like it so much.   We have another pediatric appointment next week, so we’ll discuss it then.
Milestones this month include her baptism and her first Valentine’s Day.  She rolled over a couple of times (belly to back) one evening while doing tummy time, but she hasn’t since, so likely a fluke.  She continues to grow and would still likely fit into a few of her 0-3 month outfits, but I washed up her 3-6 month wardrobe and she has started to wear those.  While I am still cherishing each and every day, not at all regretting that my girl is growing, it has been a bit difficult putting away some of these really cute outfits that she has outgrown!  Girls clothes are just so much fun!
Here’s to month number four!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Welcoming Friends

We had the pleasure of hosting our very good friends, the Vrieze family, here at our home this past weekend.  This is the third time they have visited us here in Michigan (we’ve lived here now for only 19 months)…and they live in Minnesota.  These are true friends, people!
It is always a special treat to have them here, as brief as the visits are, and we are always so grateful that they take the time to travel so far to be with us here.  They made it a priority to visit us {roughly} twice a year when we lived in Illinois, and now they continue to make travel plans to see us even as the miles between us lengthen and the number of children to travel with increases!
One of the things that I have noticed, especially the last few times we’ve been together, is the way that our children just pick up where they left off the last time they were together.  It’s a lot like Kathy and me…we hug and say hello and are excited to be together, but it’s really like we haven’t been apart.  It’s that kind of friendship, ya know?  Well, the same can be said for our kids; which I find pretty remarkable considering our six have never lived near each other and see each other so infrequently!
June 2009: Drew, Reed, Norah & Grace
Last Friday: Grace, Drew, Norah & Reed
Wow.  Just wow.
So we spent just a few days together.  There was a lot of chatting and catching up.
The kids spent a lot of time playing in the basement, and running back and forth from upstairs to downstairs.
And there was one sweet new baby to meet.
And fresh snow to romp around in.
And, of course, a whole lot of this.
Kathy & Scott - Thank you.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Old Girl

Luci doesn’t get a lot of press here on the ol’ blog.  She is nearing the 10 year mark, and she’s taken up her role as sleepy, lap dog (minus the lap part) quite well.  I’m not even sure she’s noticed Ruby yet…when we brought the baby home from the hospital, Luci didn’t even flinch.  No smelling, no inspecting, no nothing.  Her thoughts were probably along the lines of “Great.  Another one.”
Nevertheless, she has fulfilled her breed’s tendency to be great for families with young children.  She has always been gentle, protective, and sweet on our three, and while our kids do their best to ignore her most of the time, when Luci is in need, the boys are quick to jump in and help.  No doubt she is a significant fixture in our family.  Even when she drives me crazy with all the peeing in the house and aggressive behavior to get whatever last morsel of food she can pull off the table, she holds a special place in our hearts.
Last week, Brad took Luci in to our vet for her annual check-up, and he came home with a whopping list of diagnoses for our aging pup.  Among them: the beginning of cataracts, a heart murmur (which apparently isn’t of concern unless she starts coughing), weight loss (five pounds, which isn’t necessarily bad as she’s been overweight for quite some time, but is certainly indicative of aging as she lives a pretty sedentary lifestyle), and six masses (the largest of which is 7x11cm and sits underneath her left arm, forcing that leg to protrude out and causing that foot to be pigeon-toed).   
When we brought Luci home so many years ago, I remember thinking “I’ll be darn near 40 when this dog kicks the bucket!”  That was a long way off at the time, but here I am, not too far away from that milestone, and here’s our old girl, still tagging along.  Here’s to hoping she’s got a few more years in her! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

She Grew! & Other Medical News

Back to the scale this morning for Little Miss, after one week of pushing the ounces and losing sleep (more on that in a bit).  I’m not totally sure what our pediatrician was looking for except weight gain, but Ruby hit the mark, weighing in at 11 pounds 9 ounces (she was 11/4 last week).  Final advice is to keep doing what we’re doing: aiming for 25 ounces a day to keep her on the up-side of the scale.
This, however, hasn’t been particularly easy.  You’d think it would be.  Our girl has been easy to put on a schedule, and she sticks to it fairly well.  BUT in order to make sure she’s eating enough, I have to interrupt her daytime naps.  Waking her during the day to eat, however, has somehow messed with her sleep at night.  I didn’t know for sure that the two were related, but I did a little experiment yesterday and, sure enough…I think I’m right.  Here’s the thing: I make sure she is eating every three hours during the day.  So if she’s asleep, I wake her up.  Thankfully this hasn’t messed with her mood,
but it seems to make her very restless at night.  I get up five or six times throughout the night to soothe her back to sleep.  After almost a week of this, I decided yesterday to not interrupt her sleep during the day to feed her.  She only ended up eating 20 ounces, but she slept like a rock last night.  So, there has to be a happy medium in here somewhere…she needs to eat, and she needs to sleep (and so do I!!!) so we’ll keep giving and taking here and there until we figure this thing out!  
In other news, Reed and I took a trip to the Urgent Care on Monday night.
In a matter of minutes, it seemed, he did a 180, from feeling and acting totally normal, to feeling not well at all.  He had a fever of 101.7, was coughing, complaining of leg pain and a sore throat, he didn’t eat supper (which is totally uncharacteristic) and fell asleep on the couch at 6:00.  Remembering the poster I had seen when I was at the pediatrician’s office last week, Reed had all the symptoms of influenza.  Pair that with a healthy dose of motherly paranoia, and I didn’t want to wait until the next morning to call in.  Long story short, his rapid strep test came back negative and was diagnosed with a virus.  By the time he woke up yesterday morning, his fever was gone and was in his normal mood.  I made him rest throughout the day as much as I could, and kept him on a routine of tylenol and motrin to keep the fever away.  Thankfully, it worked, and aside from a runny nose and sounding congested, he’s doing well.  {I did just get a call from a nurse at the Urgent Care, and Reed’s strep culture came back positive for Strep B.  Strep A is the normal variety that they treat with antibiotics and unless he isn’t getting any better, Strep B isn’t treated with meds.  You learn something new every day!}
And like all good children that share germs, I, too, have a runny nose and congestion.  Awesomesauce.  
I love being a mother.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Check-Up

In to the pediatrician yesterday morning for Ruby’s two month check-up.  Overall, she is looking great, falling into all of the “normal” ranges…for just about everything.  Of possible concern is her weight.  She hasn’t gained what the doctor had expected her to.  She is at 11 pounds, 4 ounces, which is in the 50th percentile.  At her last visit, she was in the 75th.  So because she isn’t following the curve like they like to see, we’ll go back in next Wednesday for a weight check.  {Golly, the last thing anyone in this family has ever been told is that they haven’t gained enough weight!}  
In order to pack on the pounds, Ruby’s doctor wants us to aim for 25 ounces of formula a day.  At 4 ounces every 3 hours, and with Ruby now sleeping through the night, she would be getting 24 ounces a day.  But because she naps so well, and usually sleeps through the every-three-hours schedule, she is getting between 20 and 22 ounces.  I’d rather not have to wake her in the middle of the night to feed her, so I’m keeping watch on the clock and waking her as needed during the day to get these ounces into her.  Obviously, with her mild case of reflux, I have to be careful with the amounts, but today went well, and we’ll do what we can to get a little fat on those bones.  :)
She’s looks great in every other way.  {Her length was measured at 22 ½ inches, but that was questionable as that’s only ½ inch since last month…perhaps she was a bit wiggly when measured.  And her head continues to near blast off the charts, well into the 98th percentile.}
And just to confirm…Ruby is beautiful.  Her doctor said so. ;)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Currently {Reed}

Every month or so, I want to post a bit about the boys “right now”.  There are so many little things I want to remember about them, this seemed like a good exercise in capturing who they are and what they’re doing at this exact moment.  I’ll be using various “-ing” prompts to do so (an idea I’ve seen on many other blogs I browse). 
wishing he could go to school every day
kissing his baby sister. a lot.
wearing mismatched socks and backwards shirts
and sleeping in mismatched pajamas
planning a Mickey Mouse birthday party
bringing home some really fun art from preschool
watching cooking shows {Rachael Ray and The Chew always seem to catch his attention}
making masterpieces with paper, pencils, scissors, and stickers 
answering questions with his usual catch phrase: “of course!”
playing a lot of board games
missing his brother when he’s at school
helping a lot in the kitchen, making meals and doing dishes
waking me up in the middle of the night: “Mama, I want to sleep with you”

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Turtle Power!

Because we like to make the celebration last at least a week, we partied today, Ninja Turtle style, celebrating Drew with a handful of his school friends.
Man, does he look old!
You know by now how much I enjoy putting together birthday parties for the boys.  This year was no exception; however, I had to put my “time to be realistic” cap on as time and energy are currently not at a level they need to be to be as creative as I like {read: Ruby!}.  As it turns out, I was still able to be a bit creative and recruit a little help from the birthday boy himself.
Drew wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party theme, and he invited eight friends from school using store-bought invitations (his invitee limit was eight because that’s how many invites came in the package…he would have liked to invite a few more, I think, but our house isn’t that big and I was already counting on at least one or two “no’s” from the eight he did invite).
A very simple table scape.  I wanted the kids to eat in the kitchen, so I cleared out the chairs and the food was placed on the counter.
I pinned quite a few ideas on Pinterest, which was were I spied the idea for this cake.  This was the easiest of the ideas I came across, and one I knew I could pull off.  Triple layer chocolate cake with green frosting and a fabric mask to look like Raphael’s head. 
I always like to make my own birthday banner, related to the party theme, as something creative and fun for party decor.  I cut the letters using my Cricut, then created the turtle heads {to mimicthese} with cardstock and a mask template I found here.
Snack ideas were also mainly taken from different ideas found on Pinterest.  And Drew’s turtle action figures make for nice decor.
Green apples and caramel, oreos (they look like sewer lids!) and cheese and crackers.
Cheetos, pizza rolls (the turtles loooooove pizza), water and green juice.  I’ve learned that snacks are not the hit of the party; I usually have too much as the kids are more interested in just being loud and running around. ;)  These seemed to go over well, though, as the only thing that remained when the party was done was ¾ of the cheetos.
Drew was the guy behind the games.  He came up with two really great ideas, and was put in charge of putting them together.
The first was “Bowl over the Bad Guys.”  He drew several of the bad guys from TMNT and taped them onto our plastic bowling pins.  Then, obviously, the object is to bowl over the bad guys.  He did a really great job, and the kids really liked it.
The other two games we were planning on were “Toss the Turtle” {we have a couple stuffed TNMTurtles that look like balls that we were going to toss into the basketball hoop} and “Going to the Sewer” {we cut a circle out of cardboard to look like a sewer lid - it’s a game like Musical Chairs except when the music stops, whoever is on the sewer lid is out}.  We found, however, that Drew may be reaching the age when games aren’t as fun anymore.  The kids really just wanted to play with the toys and hang out with each other.  Think one giant playdate. 
I also picked up a package of tattoos for additional party fun.
Drew’s friends began arriving at 2:00.  They immediately went to the basement and entertained themselves.  Put a bunch of kids together in a room with a bunch of toys, and they pretty much take care of themselves!  At some point we came upstairs for cake and ice cream.
And then Drew opened his gifts from his friends.
I just have to say that Drew has some of the greatest friends.  Some are a little loud and rambunctious :) but I am so proud of the kids Drew has chosen to be around.  They are all good for him, and I hope they feel the same way about him.
{To note: the girl at the party.  Drew and Nizi were in the same class last year in kindergarten and are in the same class again this year.  From what I’ve seen of them when they’re together, and from what I was told from their kindergarten teacher, they are really, really good friends.  After seeing them together today, I would classify them as the kind of friends that have known each other their whole lives, even though they’ve only known each other for a year and a half.  They just seem to fit well together.  It’s fun.}
As a thank you, we put together little goodie bags for all of Drew’s friends.  I picked up a quarter of a yard of felt for each color of the turtles’ masks, and made what I hoped would be enough that everyone would get the color of their choice.  There was no arguing, so it must’ve worked out. :) 
I picked up the bags at the Dollar Tree (3 for a $1 - love them!) and included inside stickers, TMNT candy, green M&Ms, and a green necklace.
Turtle Power! {Reed was in on all the party action too, he just opted out of the photo op!}
By 4:00, the friends were gone, and I was told by the birthday boy he had a really great party.