Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jack: Month Eight

Dear Jack-

What a month!  You are sitting, rolling, babbling, and eating like a champ nowadays.  You have a become such a super happy sweet baby.  Everyone comments on your adorable cheeks and your big smiles.  I love this baby stage.  I love the sweet coos and happy noises.  I love the leg rolls and the dimpled thighs.  You are such a delight.

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Sleeping:Well it happened.  My wonderful sleeper finally had a sleep regression.  We had been holding your hand while you fell you asleep or sometimes holding your arms to your side which had been working for awhile, but it got to be too bad a habit and you started waking up frequently during the night unless we returned and did the same thing.

So, we've been doing some Ferberizing and it's gone pretty well for the most part. I'm finding it easier to do this time because I know that we will all be happier getting better sleep.  We also decided to drop the Magic sleep suit at the same time, and you have voluntarily given up the pacifier, which means you are really putting yourself to sleep all by yourself now!  You like sleeping on your side- a couple times you've even fallen asleep on your tummy and you seem to sleep even longer then.  We still have a few wake-ups here and there (especially the last few days which might be related to your new tooth) but overall you've been falling asleep much faster and staying asleep longer so I'm pleased.  You generally sleep from 8pm - 6am.

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Naps have gotten somewhat worse, on the other hand.  I remember when you were 3 months old and you were still sleeping like 20 hours per day and I was somewhat concerned with how much you were sleeping, haha.  You have definitely become much more like your sister as a baby in terms of naps; usually only taking 2 or 3 30-45 minute naps per day.  Occasionally we'll get one longer nap.  But, you are taking naps in your crib rather than the swing now (we actually sold the swing!  It was bittersweet for me.  That thing rocked you for so many hours when you were itty bitty.  I think it was starting to seriously strain trying to rock a 7 month old though).

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Eating:  I've stopped keeping careful track of what you've tried because you've had pretty much all the basics and a ton of new things, including pineapple, strawberry, plums, beets, chicken, and turkey.  You love your food.  Seriously if you see us eating dinner and you are not also eating you start crying.  You are eating three solid meals a day.  Usually a 4oz container of puree, a handful of puff cereal or rice crackers, and some sliced up fruit or avocado.  We've been giving you more "real" food this month and you are already really pretty good at chewing and not gagging.  You even had a whole pancake the other day and ate it all up.  We've also given you toast, orange slices, pear slices, banana slivers, and frozen avocado slices.  Your pincer grasp has greatly improved this month with all this practice.  You've also gotten pretty good at drinking water from the straw cup.

For bottles, you have a 7oz bottle when you first wake up, then usually 4 other bottles throughout the day that have ~5oz each, so usually about 27oz of formula per day.

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Weight: Heavy enough that I gave up on the infant carseat about a week ago.  You are now in the convertible seat!  I can't tell how I feel about it.  It's kind of a pain to not be able to set you down just anywhere.  On the other hand you are a lot lighter alone than with the seat.  My estimate using the at-home scale is 19.5 lbs.

Diaper Size:  Size 3. 

Clothes Size:  6-9M and 9M, and outgrowing some of the smallest of these.  You've started wearing a few 9-12M things.

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Teeth:  Just a few days ago you cut your first tooth, on the bottom right (with the one next to it looking like it will pop through any day now as well).  Nora didn't get hers until 11.5 months so I was actually a little surprised!

Milestones/Firsts: First Christmas and New Years.  First major sickness (the RSV I mentioned last week turned into a several week ordeal with at-home nebulizer treatments.  Trying to get a 7 month old to sit still with a mask on his face for 20 minutes was no fun at all.  But you are sounding better now).

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I mentioned in last month's post that we were going to get you evaluated by Early Intervention services.  Well, good news- you passed, and do not qualify for services.  They said you look perfectly normal for your adjusted age and even ahead in some areas like fine motor.  Gross motor does seem to be your slowest area but they were not concerned and thought your muscle tone and flexibility were fine.  I was happy for some reassurance and I know you will get to moving when you are ready.

You have been doing a lot more rolling this month, both ways, and you are now sitting steadily by yourself, and reaching and playing.  You also love grabbing onto fingers and being pulled into a standing position (can't quite do it by yourself yet but I have a feeling you will be pulling up sooner than you will be crawling).  You also have really found your feet and it's fun to see you finally playing with and grabbing them.

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You have been babbling more and more (way ahead of your sister here, I might add, who didn't babble until 9 months, though she had a pretty mean army crawl at this age).  Lots of "dadada" and "gaga"s.  Still no mamas, I've been practicing a lot with you and hope you say it soon!

Likes/Dislikes: You love food.  You like taking baths and we've started letting you take baths with Nora, which you usually think is pretty fun though you often look like you're a little worried about your crazy sister and all her rowdy bath antics.  You love games like peekaboo and "so big".

You've started getting increasingly mad when I set you down and then walk away to go do something.  You definitely like having people pay attention to you- mom and dad most of all.  You also light up when your sister brings you a toy or talks to you.  Still hating tummy time and you don't do a lot of it; however, you roll a lot more so you end up getting some tummy time in that way.

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Thank you for being such a sweet little baby, Jack.  You make each day so delightful.  We love you!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas morning

Is there anything better than that wonder you felt as child when you first saw your presents Christmas morning?  Well, very little could be better than that, but one thing might be seeing your own children experience the same magic.

It was a great Christmas because Nora felt the magic this year and because it was Jack's first Christmas.  I mean, can you feel her excitement on Christmas Eve?

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Jack just thought his costume was funny (and tasty!):

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Christmas Eve we had dinner at Kevin's parents' house with many of his relatives, and it was a lovely night. Happy children, happy adults. Nora is lucky she gets to grow up with cousins so close.

Christmas morning, my parents and Kevin's parents came to our house to watch the kids open Santa's presents and to have breakfast together.

Santa brought Nora these stomp rockets (a big hit with both Nora and Kevin, who has since taken to sneakily shooting at ME when I'm least expecting it... going to have to talk to Santa about this one...).

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She also got the turtle she asked for (two, actually!  Not real, Santa thought play turtles would be better), and the "ambulent" which was correctly interpreted as Sophia the First's "amulet".  Plus a new Sophia dress.

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Jack was predictably most excited about the wrapping paper but also enjoyed some of his new toys:

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Oh man, that little face. He is going to be total mischief next Christmas.

Another present Nora really loved was Hungry Hungry Hippos. It is not the quality of my generation's version, but fun for all ages nonetheless. We haven't had a lot of success thus far with Nora and board games but this one was a big hit! (probably because there are very few rules. Basically, just eat as many balls as possible).

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As 2014 draws to a close, I think about all the wonderful surprises of this year, the scary uncertainties with Jack's early arrival, joyous moments watching Nora at such a brilliant age, her change from only child to big sister, our change to a family of four. It's been a good trip around the sun. We are blessed, all of us, to have the chance to go around together again, and to see what surprises 2015 holds.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas Season

We've had a busy but fun December, with more fun to come this week and weekend.  Nora really gets Santa this year so the holiday season has been exciting!

First we had some friends over to make gingerbread houses.  The gingerbread kit from Trader Joe's is great!  Very easy to put together.

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Nora got to pick out an ornament and she picked the Little Mermaid, of course.

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Our Elf stayed with us for 10 days (we decided the full 24 days was a bit too long last year, but 10 days was just perfect this year!).  Here he's doing some archery (Kevin had a week off so he had some time to get creative).  He also made paper snowflakes, got tangled in some lights, and put a star on top of our Christmas tree!  Nora loved finding him every morning.

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We had an early Christmas get-together with Kevin's side of the family, since his sister was going out of town for the holidays.  Nora and her cousin played Zingo, we opened presents,  Jack got to try some bell pepper, we drank eggnog and had dinner, it was fun!

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Then this last weekend we went to the Aquarium for their breakfast with Santa (we went last year too) with my mom.  Nora had been talking about seeing Santa swim with the mermaids for weeks, so she was super excited.  And it was fun to get pictures of the kids with Santa (Jack slept through his first meeting with Santa).  And Nora got a snowman painted on her face, in orange and yellow (she was very definitive about the colors).

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The official photo that I got suckered into buying, because, you know, they're only this little once:

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We've also had fun doing a chocolate advent calendar, and going to see special lights on this nearby house that are timed to music, which was pretty cool. This weekend we'll do zoo lights and maybe bake cookies with my mom! It's been a very fun-filled month for sure. We wish you all the merriest of Christmases, and many blessings for the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jack: Month Seven

Dear Jack-

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Oh my happy boy.  You have got to be the sweetest baby around.  You are so smiley and full of laughter, it makes my heart fill with joy.  You are getting so much bigger, and it is fun to watch you grow, but bittersweet too, because this part of babyhood feels so short and precious.

Sadly you had a cold for pretty much this entire month (a cough, then that cleared up, but a week later was followed by an ear infection and a possible RSV diagnosis from lower lung congestion).  No fevers though, knock on wood- I'm not sure we would have even known you had an ear infection if we hadn't gone in for your well-check because you were acting just as happy as ever.  Still, sick babies are so sad!  I can't wait to get through the sick-filled winter months.

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Sleeping:  Since you were so congested, we moved you back into the Rock n'Play for sleep (it's slanted so you could breathe much better propped up).  You are barely fitting in there though.  It's a little funny because Nora was sick most of her 7th month as well.  Oh, also when you were still feeling okay at the beginning of the month, we tried to move you out of the Magic Sleep Suit and into a regular fleece sleepsack, but .... major fail.  Actually the first night you only woke up a couple of times so I was thinking it would work, but then the second night I think the freedom hit you and suddenly you were waking up three times in an hour.  So... back in the magic suit and you slept without any wake ups for 10 straight hours.  That thing really is magic.  Bad news is that I had to go buy the next size up because I'm not ready to sacrifice my sleep yet. :)

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Eating:  I'm not sure I can recall all the new foods you tried this month, but I know some of them were mangoes, blueberries, prunes, corn, zucchini, and peaches (all in puree form). You still hate peas. You also tried mum-mum crackers and puffs. You really love the puffs actually and can rake some of them up with your fingers but haven't figured out the whole pincer grasp and putting the food into your mouth.  You've also been eating more food using your mesh and/or silicone feeder.  The silicone feeder is awesome, so easy to clean, I wish we had it with Nora (we were going to give this to you for Christmas but I couldn't wait).  You eat banana and avocado from there and usually enjoy it unless you are really hungry in which case the slowness of it just makes you mad.

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Bottle-wise you have been drinking less this month finally.  Probably 30oz per day, 5-6 bottles.  For one thing you eat quite a bit of food now; for another, you have become completely distracted during bottle-feeding.   It's frustrating because you constantly stop drinking to look at everything going on around you- but cute too because you'll start chewing on the nipple (this is one time where I think thank goodness I'm no longer breast-feeding) and look up at me with the most mischievous grin. You've also been falling asleep during feedings which is a bit aggravating because you were on a really good eat-wake-sleep routine and somehow that got all messed up.  Still on reflux meds and the doctor said we will try weaning off of that around 9 months.

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Weight: When we went in for your well-check at 6.5 months, you were 17lbs 10oz, about a pound more than your sister at this age (look at those adorable rolls!).  I'm trying to decide how much longer I want to lug you around in the infant carseat since we switched to the convertible carseat when Nora was about 18lbs.  I think I'd like to try to make it to 20 lbs with you, but it's really heavy.  Still, you do still occasionally fall asleep in there and it's really nice to be able to transport you while you are still sleeping.  So... we will see.  I'm not sure I'll make it more than a month or two though.

Diaper Size: Size 3 still fitting well.

Clothes Size: 6-9M is now fitting well (some pants are a little too long)

Milestones/Firsts:  First Thanksgiving!  And we are SO thankful for you buddy.

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You hit two major milestones this month. (1) You finally rolled from your back to your tummy, though sadly I haven't actually witnessed you in action yet.  I did see you on your back, went to the kitchen, and when I came back you were on your tummy.  And the nanny has seen you and sent me some video.  You roll to your side a lot more now but often still get your arm stuck under you when trying to go any further.   You pretty quickly roll from tummy to back now which has made tummy time hard (and you still hate tummy time).  For this reason I don't see crawling happening for several months! (2) You started sitting independently, though you still have to be monitored because you haven't gotten the whole balance thing down and if you reach for something you'll often either faceplant or fall to the side.

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At your six-month appointment we actually talked about getting Early Intervention services because while a lot of your skills are right on track (even ahead given your adjustments for being a preemie), you do seem slightly delayed in gross motor skills.  Keeping in mind you are basically at a 5.5 month level, you still are basically on track and the lady said she wasn't even sure you would qualify based on my description but said it was worth an evaluation.  So that might happen next month sometime.

Other than that, you have learned a lot of new vocalizations, like making growling, gurgling, raspberries, and some kind of dolphin noise, haha.  Particularly when you are in the car you like to make sounds that sound like a bleating baby goat, which is pretty funny.  You are making more consonant sounds like "b", "g", and even some "d".  No "m" sounds for "mama" yet unfortunately.

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Likes/Dislikes: You think that peekaboo is just hilarious.  You love when your sister hand-feeds you puffs and you just smile away at her.  You are super ticklish on the sides of your rib cage, on your thighs, and by your neck, and you have the best laugh.  When you see someone you like you tuck your head in and giggle like you just got shy.  You are pretty easy-going and like strollers, car-rides, baths, babywearing- it's really pretty easy to take you places still.

You don't like being ignored, you still hate tummy time, and you don't like if someone takes away food or a bottle that you were still working on.

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Jack, it has been so much fun seeing you enjoy your first holiday season.  You are so much a part of our family and things feel so complete with you here.  It's a joyful time of year but all the more joyful because you are at the center of it.  We love you!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving

Whew, I know I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks- Kevin is in another crazy rotation and it turns out when he's gone I really do get less done- mostly because after the kids are asleep it takes me a long time to clean bottles and get ready for the next day, but also because I just want to curl up and watch TV when I'm by myself.

Anyway, we spent Thanksgiving in Denver with my family, which was wonderful.  Kevin had an overnight the night before Thanksgiving but then luckily had Thanksgiving Day and evening off and the next day off as well, so after he slept for several hours Thursday morning he was around to spend the holiday with us!  Also my brother and his wife Sara flew in from Illinois, which was wonderful, and my sister and her husband were in town for the holiday too.

The kids got lots of attention from their aunts, uncles, and grandparents:

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We mostly just hung out and cooked (Kevin and I were in charge of cranberry relish and mashed potatoes).  Everyone contributed something to the meal though and everything was super delicious!

My dad made some kind of fancy french chicken and my mom cooked one of the tastiest turkeys yet!

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The big excitement of the day was going on a walk and enjoying the 60 degree weather- beautiful for Thanksgiving.

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I loved the family photos I got on this walk.  This Thanksgiving I am thankful for families.  For the family that I grew up with.  For the extended families that my kids get to grow up with. For my own new little family.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jack: Month Six

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Dear Jack,

I simply cannot believe that half a year has gone by since you entered this world.  Time has gone SO fast.  In contrast to the first 3 months where I was sort of happy those were behind us, the last 3 months have just gotten better and better and now we're entering that golden phase of babyhood where I just want time to stop so I can just memorize every inch of how you are right now.  The way your hair smells after a bath.  The little high-pitched squeals of happiness when I smile at you.  The giggles when I tickle you.  The way you grab fistfuls of my hair and hold on around my neck when I carry you downstairs in the morning.  Even the way you take annoyingly short power naps where I put you down extremely cranky and 30 minutes later you wake up and it's like your smile tank has been refilled.  I just love you, plain and simple.  Like I'm crazy in love and constantly amazed that you are mine.

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Sleeping:  I keep waiting for the sleep regression that Nora went through to hit us hard with you as well, but so far (knock on ALL the wood)... you are like a dream baby sleeper.  Maybe it's because you've never needed (or seemed to even want) us to rock you to sleep, or feed you to sleep... you just want to be put in your crib with your pacifier.  I hold your hands for usually about 5 minutes and you are out.  That's it.  You have been sleeping from 8pm-6:30am pretty consistently, with maybe a few days in the past month where you woke up earlier and then went back to bed (this was during a cold so I think the coughing was waking you up).

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You still have no real nap schedule and you take mostly 20-30 minute naps, which isn't ideal; on the other hand, you are pretty easy to put down for a nap (I just put you in the swing, sad you're getting close to outgrowing it!), and you still take lots of these short naps in a day (probably 4-5).  Not sure when or how these naps will coalesce into 2-3 longer naps but hoping it happens naturally and I don't have to do anything in particular!  We will see.

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You are still rocking the Magic Sleep Suit but it's starting to get a little small and I've been thinking about trying the sleep sack soon instead.  A little scared that won't go well though.  If it's terrible I'll just buy the 6-9M Sleep suit and put off the inevitable transition!

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Eating:  You were immersed in new foods this month!  Aside from cereal, squash and green beans (which you tried last month), we've added sweet potatoes, avocado, peas, pears, bananas, and carrots.  Like most babies you definitely have a sweet tooth and the bananas and pear were your favorites so far.  You disliked green beans and truly hated peas.  We'll have to work on those green foods. :)  You definitely lost the tongue thrust fast and are a really good eater... even fairly neat, as you don't spit that much out (unless it's peas, which you spit pretty much all back out at me).

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You still love your bottles but the amount has leveled off, though you are still drinking 35-37oz per day.  Since you are getting cereal now I stopped giving iron supplements.  You are still on prilosec, but I feel like the reflux might possibly be getting a little better? (dare I jinx it?).  I still get spit up on me at least 1-2 times per day but that's down from like 10 times per day so it's an improvement. :)  I hope as you get closer to sitting up things will improve even more.

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Weight:  Your six month appointment wasn't until 6.5 months, but you weighed 17 lbs 10 oz!  25.5" long.  So about 40th percentile for weight and 5th percentile for height (and nearly 80th percentile for head size).  The infant car seat is feeling mighty heavy these days.  Still, I'm not quite ready to go to the convertible seat yet (maybe once you start sitting up well) so there will be a couple months still of the infant seat.

Diaper Size: Size 3.  Fitting good!

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Clothes Size:  Sort of in an awkward in-between size phase, though every day I find more 6M clothing that no longer fits and I pack it up.  Some 9 month stuff seems to fit well now, but in others you still seem to be swimming in them (you are still a bit short for 9M sleepers and things).

Milestones/Firsts:  First Halloween!  I think I sufficiently annoyed you with multiple outfit changes and lots of photos.

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You've been working hard this month towards sitting up but you still have a ways to go I think before you'll be able to sit unassisted (you're only 4.5 months adjusted age!).  Still you do lots of baby crunches and leaning forward when you are sitting in our laps.  You like to sit up in the boppy and play with toys.

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You still roll from belly to back but not the other way... you've been working on twisting over to your side.  I wonder whether you will sit before you are able to roll that way!

So many squeals and happy sounds from you this month.  Lots of laughs when I tickle your belly.  It is super cute.

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Likes/Dislikes:  You really are such a happy baby and like pretty much everything.  Your sister already had a lot of, ahem, strong opinions about stuff at this age so it's very different to me!  You like baths, babywearing, riding in the carseat (you pretty much always fall asleep), jumping in your jumperoo and playing in the exersaucer.  The only thing you don't really like at all is tummy time!  Still not a fan after all these months.  You like people to hold you and pay attention to you and there is a lot of protesting when I set you down to go do something.  Oh and if you finish a bottle and are still hungry, you dramatically wail like we must be starving you, until we get more.

Speaking of your sister, you like Nora a lot- you love when she talks to you and gets you toys.  It's very sweet.  I'm excited for when you can play together!

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I was comparing photos of you and Nora at about the same age, and it's kind of crazy how much you look alike.  Definitely some differences but I think sometimes you are like little twins, 3 years apart (Nora is on the left, Jack on the right):

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Happy 1/2 birthday baby boy! I love what a sweet and cuddly boy you are. I can't believe we're halfway to your first birthday!  We are so blessed to have you in our family.

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