Friday, December 14, 2018

5 Things Friday

Hello, Friday! This is my last full week of work for the year and it kind of felt long! :P Here are 5 things that are on my mind today.

1. This might be my favorite photo I took this week! Phil hates getting his picture taken but was a good sport when I snapped this photo on Tuesday.


2. We had what I thought would be our last doctor appointment on Wednesday. We saw Paul's urologist for a kidney ultrasound and follow-up. One of his kidneys was measuring large when I was pregnant with him and they've been monitoring it every 3 months since he was born. I was hoping the kidney would stabilize and we'd be done with these appointments but his kidney was measuring a little bit larger at this ultrasound. The doctor decided to order a dye test which will determine if urine is backing up into the kidney and causing the enlargement. So much for being done with doctor appointments for the year! I'm glad we can fit it in before year-end, though, as we met our out of pocket maximum (in March!!) so we won't have to pay anything for this (costly) procedure. It's going to be interesting to see how they put a catheter in a wiggly infant!


Playing the ever-popular "take off my socks" game while waiting to see the urologist
3. We have virtually no plans this weekend, besides getting together with a run club friend whose baby is 3 days older than Paul. That will be a low key get together as I'll head over there around lunch time. We haven't seen them since September and our boys have changed so much since then! Plan-free weekends are my jam these days, especially since Paul is not on a consistent schedule. His nap lengths vary so much which makes it really hard to make plans!

4. Paul learned to clap last week! It's the cutest thing. He will clap on command. It's fun to watch him learn new things and figure out how to follow directions from us!


5. I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with my family at the lake but one thing I'm especially looking forward to is making these gluten free cinnamon rolls with my mom! The recipe intimidates me too much to tackle it on my own but my mom is a baking pro so I am sure they will turn out great. Cinnamon rolls are one of the foods I really miss since going gluten free. Hopefully these turn out well!

What's on your mind today?

Monday, December 10, 2018

2018 Review - Part 1

Last week on Instagram I saw a friend answering these 20 Questions for 2018 and I thought it would be a fun way to close out the year!


So for the final 4 Monday so the year, I'm going to tackle 5 questions! I'd love it if you played along by answering them in the comments or on your blog!

1. What did you do on your birthday?

I was planning to have a 'puzzle party' - I would invite friends to stop by for a snack and/or beverage and help me put a puzzle together. But I got that super painful blood clot in mid-January and was in too much pain to throw a party of any sort. So instead I had a quiet birthday celebration. Phil and I ordered Indian and had a quiet night on the couch. It was just what I needed.

2. What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?

The moment my OB lifted our baby over the sheet separating me and Phil from the c-section surgery and hearing Phil announce, "it's a boy!" I'll never forget the look on his face or the emotion in his voice. And I'll never forget meeting Paul for the first time. I was exhausted after being awake for so many hours and pushing through all those contractions without pain killers so I was a little shaky and delirious. But it was amazing to hold him in my arms for the first time!

3. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?

Oh my gosh, so many things. Had a baby via c-section, tried and failed to breast feed, pumped sooo much breast milk (almost 10,000 oz since I started tracking in late March!), became a mom, hired our first babysitter, and the list goes on and on. It's been a year of first for us!

4. What did you want and get?

A healthy baby, and honestly, I felt sheepish saying this before Paul was born but I really wanted a boy. I would have of course been happy with a boy or a girl, but I think I'm really well-suited to a be a mom of a boy. :)

5. What did you want and not get?

I really wanted a natural delivery. Leading up to the delivery I acknowledged that the process was out of my control but I kept telling my friend Amber that I really did not want a c-section. I also really wanted to breastfeed Paul and that did not work out either. But the more time passes, the less I care. The delivery and how I fed Paul mattered so much in the early months but it matters less with each passing month. And it's not something I really think about much anymore (well, besides the breast feeding thing because I LOATHE pumping!).

If we have another baby, I will opt to have a planned c-section. My OB suspects that my birth canal is just too narrow. C-sections are tough to recover from, but I don't want to have a repeat experience of laboring for over a day, getting to 9cm and then needing a c-section! Plus, anecdotally, I've heard the recovery is better when it's a planned c-section (and my OB wholeheartedly agrees).

Friday, December 7, 2018

TGIF!

Yay, Friday! I"m off with Paul today so it's a 3-day weekend for me. Woo hoo!

The high of my week was working from home while spending the day with Paul on Wednesday. The financial markets were closed as it was a National Day of Mourning for the loss of President Bush. Since it was going to be a quiet day I opted to work from home. We had the option to take the day off so I figured it was ok to work + hang out with Paul. I would never try to work from home and watch Paul at the same time because I can't be totally focused on work while watching him but it felt like the right decision on Wednesday. Not having to get up early to pump + get ready is the best!

My cute co-worker in his Christmas jammies!
The low of my week was some tough nights with lots of wake-up. We are starting to sleep train now that Paul got a clean bill of health at his 9-month appointment. It's going to be a little brutal initially but I know it will be worth it in the long run for all of us. We all need more uninterrupted sleep!

A book I'm reading is The Animators. It's been on my to-read list for awhile and I bumped it up the list when I saw that Stephany really liked it. One of the characters is really unlikable but I think she's starting to redeem herself (I struggle with unlikable characters). A book I'm reading to Paul is the Little Blue Truck Christmas book. There's a tree at the end with blinking lights which he loves!!!

He loves the bright lights!
When I read to him, he looks up occasionally and smiles at me which melts my heart!
A recipe I made was Lemon Pepper Chicken with Artichoke Salsa and Roasted Asparagus. I've made this several times and it's so good. The artichoke salsa really makes the meal. I forgot to take a picture but it was super delicious!

The best money I spent was on a mocha yesterday morning. I treat myself to a latte or mocha on Fridays so I had one yesterday since it was my "Friday."

My plans this weekend include going to my Julia Child aunt and uncle's for lunch today with Paul. Tomorrow we are going out to my MIL's house for lunch and then Phil and I will go to his company's holiday party in the evening. We hired the sitter we used in September. She's so great with Paul. He'll probably only be awake for an hour before going to bed but at least he'll be hanging out with someone that is excited to play with him! She works in an infant room at a daycare so is the perfect babysitter! On Sunday we are getting together with some of Phil's high school friends for a 'meet the baby' brunch as one of his friends had a baby in October.

What was the high of your weekend? What are your weekend plans?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Baby Paul: 9 Months

Paul turned 9 months over the weekend! It's been the longest, shortest 9 months of our lives. ;) Every month just gets better and better.

Firsts:

- He perfected his army crawl, often in pursuit of poor Oscar! He is so obsessed with her and loves to crawl toward her. The feeling is not mutual, though! He isn't crawling on hands and knees and I don't know that he ever will since he's gotten pretty fast at his army crawl.




- He got his 4th tooth and has 2 more on the way!

You can see his 2 top teeth in this photo
- He celebrated his first Thanksgiving. He seemed to enjoy eating with us at the table. He didn't really "eat" much of the Thanksgiving meal but he really enjoyed chewing on asparagus. But the pickle was his favorite part of the meal.

He liked chewing on the spoon. It must have felt good on his gums.

Our happy boy with his pickle

Black Friday ads = best baby toy

So much love for Grandma Joan!

- He finally mastered sitting up independently.


- He had his first surgery, which you heard all about last week.

Challenges:

- Sleep is still a challenge. With all the ear infections he's had, we haven't felt comfortable letting him cry for long when he wakes during the night. I follow the sleep training professional Cara of Taking Cara Babies on Instagram and she said you can't sort out sleep issues when a baby is sick or has ear problems so that made me feel good about our decision to not try to get Paul to eat less at night. After getting tubes, his sleep hasn't improved but I am sure his body is so used to eating multiple times a night. We need to work on getting him to sleep for longer stretches because 3 wakes up (sometimes more!) is not sustainable for us. We'll tackle that after we get a clean bill of health for him - hopefully at his 9 month appointment this week.

Eating:

- He really likes purees and we are getting to eat him more things, especially veggies mixed with things like pears. He is VERY particular about the texture of purees, though. I tried to make a butternut squash puree for him but he wouldn't eat it. He just pushed it out with his tongue as it wasn't as smooth as what he's used to eating. I tried thinning it out with water and it did not make a difference. So for now we are just going to buy purees.


- He eats 3 "meals" a day - oatmeal cereal in the morning and then a puree at lunch and before bed. His calories primarily come from breast milk, which is where his nutrition should primarily be coming from up until 1 year.

- He has no interest in eating anything besides purees, though. He will chew things up but then spits them out instead of swallowing. I'm going to talk to his doctor about this at his 9 month appointment but I've heard from other friends that it took awhile for their kids to eat more than purees. I'm trying really hard to not compare how Paul eats to other babies. This is easier said than done when I see other kids chowing down on solids/feeding themselves. But I guess Paul is just doing things at his own pace.

- His favorite food is pears but he also loves prunes, apples, oatmeal cereal, and any vegetable puree mixed with pears. He hates green bean, pea, or carrot purees. I honestly can't blame him, though. I've tasted them and they taste pretty awful.

Growth:
- He weighed just over 16 pounds when they weighed him at his pre-op physical in mid-November so I'm thinking/hoping he'll be 17 pounds at his appointment this week. He's still hanging out around 4-5th percentile. He finally moved up a size and wears 6-9 month onesies. He's still in 3-6 month pants and 6-month sleepers fit him best as the 6-9 month sleepers are too long for him.

Loves:
- He is still a very social baby and loves seeing other kids.

- He loves playing with his little people animals. We put them in a bucket and he loves digging through the bucket of toys and chewing on all of his animal friends.


- He loves being carried around in the laundry basket!


- Rough-housing is still popular, too!



- He loves being read to. His favorite books are Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can you?, Peek-a-Who, Snuggle Puppy, and Good Night Moon.


- He loves pushing this truck around. Once he figures out that you can pull back to make it go far, he's really going to enjoy it. But for now he has fun pushing it and then catching up with it.


- His favorite person is Oscar. He lights up, squeals, and waves his arms when he sees her. She's curious about him but is generally annoyed by him pursuing her. She has started to growl and hiss at him but I don't think she would ever bite or claw at him.


 - He loves peek-a-boo!


- And he's still entertained by his jumper. It's really nice to be able to put him in the jumper to 'contain' him while I do things like pump or meal prep.


We are excited to celebrate our first Christmas with a little one! We are skipping the visit to Santa as Paul has developed some stranger danger and while I know crying photos can be funny, I think it's more sad than funny when the baby is Paul's age. No judgment for anyone that took their kid to see Santa at this age - we are just opting to wait until next year when he's a bit older. I'm excited to see what he thinks of the tree at my parents. I think he'll love the bright lights!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Paul's First Surgery!

Our brave little boy had tubes put in on Tuesday. So many friends had told me how quick the surgery was and how fast their kids bounced back that I actually wasn't very nervous. The worst part of the process was not letting him eat after 2:30 am. He woke around 2 am and ate a couple of ounces. My plan was to wake him up around 5:30 am to get ready to leave (we had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am) but he woke up around 4 am and was inconsolable. Phil tried calming him down and we tried giving him water in a sippy cup but that did not help (he could have water until 4:30 am). I tried rocking him for awhile but gave up after 15 minutes. So we were all up for the day at 4 am. He had been up multiple times that night so I ended up getting 4.5 hours of sleep. Bleh.

He was in good spirits by the time we got to the hospital. The nurses were all impressed by how happy and smiley he was! He looked so cute in his hospital gown (which was WAY too big for him!).


A little before 8 the nurse anesthetist took him back for surgery. When they are under a year, the parents aren't there when they are put under. He had gotten kind of fussy around 7:30 but surprisingly he did well when he was carried away - he didn't even cry!

The surgeon came back to talk to us after he had put the tubes in, which took about 10 minutes. He said his ears had lots of thick fluid so clearly getting tubes was the right decision. One ear was still infected. We had suspected that as his sleep was especially bad over the weekend and he was fussy during the day. The surgeon told us that since Paul is younger than usual for a tubes procedure, he may need this procedure again in the future, possibly multiple times. That's obviously not ideal but at least it's a very quick procedure.

They brought Paul back from the recovery room around 8:45. I fed him a bottle and we cuddled.


We were discharged around 9, picked up his prescription for ear drops on the way out, and were home by 9:30! And then it was off to bed for everyone as we were all desperately in need of a nap!

After a 2.5 hour nap, he was pretty much back to normal!




His sleep hasn't really improved yet, but I think the ear that was infected is likely still bothering him. Hopefully it heals soon as Phil and I are so ready for more sleep and fewer wake-ups!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Currently: November

Another month has almost come and gone! Time is flying and it's hard to believe the year is almost over! Here's what is currently going on in my world. 

Reading: The new Liane Moriarty book, Nine Perfect Strangers. I like the book and it's been a fast read but I don't exactly love it. I really enjoyed this author's earlier books but the last couple just haven't been as good.



Loving: seeing pictures of everyone's trees on social media. I feel a little sheepish admitting this, but we have decided not to put our tree up this year. Now that Paul is crawling, he gets into everything and he doesn't understand 'no' yet. He's usually up when I'm getting ready in the morning. He plays in the living room while I'm getting ready in the bathroom and I can just see him messing with the tree. I can't watch him non-stop and Phil is in the shower at that time. So we decided we will just take this year off from having our tree up. We will be celebrating Christmas at my parents so at least there will be a tree to enjoy at their house!

Frustrated: that I have a pesky flare in my left hand that just won't go away. It's really minor so it's not bad enough to warrant a steroid shot but it's painful and annoying. It's in my left hand so at least it's not my dominant hand.

Feeling: excited to celebrate our first Christmas with a baby. Paul won't remember this Christmas, but I will! I bought a kit for making a hand print ornament. I think that will be a great keepsake from his first Christmas!

Anticipating:
 his tubes procedure tomorrow. I'm kind of nervous about it as he can't have breast milk after 2:30am so he's going to be starving but we'll get through it. We check in at 6:30am and the surgery is at 8am so at least we'll get it over with early in the day! I'm hoping this is a game changer for us. It's been so hard to watch him get sick over and over again and his sleep has been just awful! Here's hoping we all have more sleep in our future!

Grateful
: for health insurance. It's been quite the expensive year between my blood clot hospitalization, having a c-section + 6-night stay in the hospital when Paul was born, all his specialist appointments and now his tubes surgery! We met our out-of-pocket in March so haven't had to pay anything since then!

Working: on Paul's baby book. I've been good about writing in it each month but I recently ordered a bunch of prints from Shutterfly as there is a page for photos for each month. I'm so bad about printing photos but now that my google photos is connected to shutterfly I'm going to try to get better about it!

Listening: to holiday music on our Amazon echo in the kitchen whenever we feed Paul. It's nice to have some festive music in the background and Paul seems to enjoy my singing. ;) 

Wishing: that it didn't get dark so early! I hate how short the days are during this time of year, but in less than a month the days will start to get longer so I'm focusing on that!

Bonus Paul Pics:


We took a selfie together yesterday. It's harder to take selfies with him because he wants to grab the phone!

Mama, do I have something on my face?

I love how he had his little foot up on his knee while he was reading yesterday morning!

He's losing his baby face and starting to look more like a toddler!

Enjoying his Thanksgiving dinner. The pickle was his favorite part, of course!

When your head is too big for the "My first Thanksgiving" hat! Ha!

Reading with Grandma Joan!
What are you anticipating and grateful for?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Grateful

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow so I'd be remiss not to reflect on the many things in my life that I am grateful for. I love this time of year because it reminds us to be thankful. We shouldn't need a holiday to remind us to give thanks for the blessings in our life, but the reality is that we are all human and sometimes, we need a reminder in the form of a holiday!

So, here's what I'm thankful for this year!

1. Paul - Of course, I have to start with this little nugget of joy. Becoming a mom has been the best experience. Yes it's been trying at times and I'm super exhausted but it's all worth it.


A couple people have said Paul looks like me in this photo!

Mmm, pickles! He takes after me and loves pickles.

I am so in love with the latest batch of photos from our wedding photographer

2. A strong partner - It's been so fun to watch Phil become a dad. He had never held a baby before Paul was born but you'd never know from watching him. The work of mom and dad is never divided 50/50 but he helps out as much as he can. He's definitely Paul's favorite!



Paul loves rough-housing with daddy!


3. Our other baby - I can't leave our other/first baby, Oscar, off this list. She gets less attention since Paul came on the scene but has adapted pretty well. Paul loves her so much! She's been letting him get closer to her lately - hopefully they will be best friends some day!




4. Supportive family  - We are lucky to have supportive parents and siblings that offer advice or "I've been there!" comments. And his grandparents can't get enough photos of him! I send photos to my mom and MIL all the time and they seem to love getting them!





5. Friendships - Admittedly I haven't been able to devote as much time to friendships as I have in the past, but I'm still grateful for the good friends in our lives, both near and far. I know they understand that we are in a season of life where it's hard to get together with others. It helps that Phil's friends have similar-aged kids so we see them more often since they are on a similar schedule (i.e. they are all about afternoon/early evening get togethers that end at 6:30!) Because of this group of friends, Paul already has some buddies, like Gus. I can't wait to watch them grow up together!

How does this thing work? 


6. My health and good drugs - 2018 was a volatile year for me between the blood clot in January, my RA acting up so much during the pregnancy and having an unexpected C-section. But I'm thankful for my kind and competent team of doctors. And I'm thankful for the cocktail of drugs I take to keep my RA symptoms mostly at bay.

7. My job and my company's generous PTO policy - Coming back to work has been so hard - harder than I ever imagined it would be. But I know that continuing to work is the right decision in the long run so I am fighting through this difficult and lengthy period of adjustment. It helps that I came back to a job I like and a team that love. I'm also lucky that my company had a generous maternity leave (at least compared to other US companies - not compared to other countries unfortunately) and PTO policy. Taking every other Friday off to get extra time with Paul has really helped! I don't think we'll be taking any big vacation in 2019 so I will continue to use my PTO to get extra time with Paul.

8. Paul is cleared for tubes - We had Paul's ENT follow-up last week and as I suspected, he had another nasty ear infection so they decided to proceed with putting in tubes. He has surgery next Tuesday. It's not ideal for him to have surgery but I'll take that over repetitive ear infections and terrible sleep!

9. Daycare providers who love Paul - It's not easy to be away from Paul for 10 hours each day, but it helps to know that he's being taken care of by women who seem to genuinely love Paul. He's always happy when we pick him up and he doesn't cry when Phil drops him off. Each week they have a curriculum so parents can see what skills they are working on. I'm not sure how much Paul gets out of the curriculum at this age but eventually it will be more relevant.

Paul's first class photo. He clearly loves the camera!!! Some of the other kids look less thrilled. ;) 
10. All of you! - Some days I wonder if I should keep blogging but then I read comments from all of you or get an email from someone who reads my blog and I'm reminded that the community and friendships I've built make blogging worthwhile!

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S. If you live in the US, what are you doing to celebrate? We are going to Phil's mom's for the day. I'll miss seeing my family but it will be nice to not travel! What are you thankful for?