Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Baby Will at 2.5 Months

With Paul, I did updates on a monthly basis but I am finding that Will is making that difficult since he does not like to be set down much during the day. He will tolerate being set down for short periods as you'll see from the likes section, but he will only sleep during the day when being held. I hoping this improves soon! He's still in that "4th trimester" phase so I'm going with the flow until he's a bit older. The other moms in my mom's group are going through the same thing with their babies so at least I'm not alone!

Here's what is going on his/our world these days!

Growth: We had his 2 month appointment last week. He weighed 11lb 4oz, which is 14th percentile and he’s 24” long, which is 96th percentile! The doctor was not surprised to see his weight percentile drop quite a bit from birth as she knows we have smaller kiddos since Paul was slower to gain weight. She was happy with his growth and developmental milestones. 


Being bounced. We spend so much time bouncing. Most days my FitBit thinks that I have been on the elliptical! It has gotten better in the last couple of weeks but we still spend a good amount of time bouncing when he is fussing. I easily get 10k steps/day, even when we don't leave the house. During the fussiest 6-8 week stretch I would get more than 20k in!

A particularly difficult day full of bouncing!

Burrowing into mom when napping. I don't know how this is comfortable for him but he loves to do this while napping. I promise he can breathe!

He likes to be read bright-colored books.

One place I can reliably set him down is the bouncer seat, especially if I bounce it with my foot. In this picture, Paul is giving him some love. He often wants to climb in on top of William - still working on teaching him not to smother his brother!

He likes to lay on this boppy lounger and smile/have cooing conversations with mom. It's so sweet!

He likes to lay on his activity mat and look at himself in the mirror. 

Dislikes: baths, although he doesn't scream through the whole thing like he previously did. He is starting to like dad more but he has a harder time getting him calmed down than I do. At least things are improving on that front, though! He also hates his car seat/being in the car. Paul was the same way! I know some people’s kids love the car but it seems like our kids don’t! 

Firsts:  He started to smile and coo a couple of weeks ago which is so fun! He also got his first round of vaccinations at his 2 month appointment on Friday.

Feeding: Breastfeeding continues to go well. I've started to pump after his morning feed so I can create a stash of pumped milk in the freezer. Occasionally I keep some in the fridge so Phil can give him a bottle, especially on days when I'm away at an appointment. I've heard of others whose kids refused to drink a bottle at daycare so I want to avoid that!

Sleeping: is so much better! Once he hit 2 months things really improved. He is up about twice a night usually and typically goes back to sleep easily. As I mentioned above, daytime sleep is a different story as he will not sleep laying in the swing or snoo. Hopefully this improves soon!

Mama: I was feeling ready to add in some real workouts but then my c-section pain returned a couple of weeks ago - I think from some of the vigorous bouncing I was doing. So I am working on some core exercises to see if that will help and am going to try to see a pelvic floor PT to have her assess my abs and see if ab separation is the culprit or what is going on. So for now I am sticking to walks, but the weather has made them impossible lately as it's been soooo cold lately - like highs around 0 or even colder. 

I'm halfway through my maternity leave which is crazy! It is going by pretty fast. It can be a little isolating since we don't see people indoors and outdoor walks with friends are out of the question until it warms up. But all in all, I am enjoying my leave. 

Pablo: I think the "honeymoon" phase of becoming a big brother is over and we've started to see some jealousy surface. I know this is totally normal, though, so we are both trying to spend one-on-one time with Pablo each weekend. He really loves his little brother but is still learning about 'gentle touch.' We've definitely seen some challenging behavior from Pablo but it's hard to separate whether that's related to becoming a big brother or just part of being almost 3! But all in all, he is handling the adjustment as well as can be expected!

Monday, February 8, 2021

On Turning 40

 On Saturday, I welcomed in a new decade! I vividly remember anticipating turning 30 and had a lot of big feelings about it - mostly anxiety about the fact that I wasn't married (or dating anyone) and hadn't started a family. Most of my college friends were married and had started families so I felt like the late bloomer and wondered when my biggest hopes and dreams for a companion and children would be granted. 

Luckily, my patience paid off and my prayers were answered during my 30s. I met Phil when I was 32 and we were married when I was 36 and had our babies when I was 37 and 39. I also found a job that I love when I was 34. Of course my 30s were not without their pain. I went through an unwanted relocation to Charlotte which was one of the hardest years of my life. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis months after moving to Charlotte. Phil and I both lost loved ones and dealt with a heartbreaking miscarriage in 2019. But all in all, I look back on my 30s with gratitude. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that your 30s are better than your 20s. It's not that life is any easier. Hard stuff continues to happen. But you are so much better-equipped to deal with those challenges because you know yourself better and have more perspective than you did at a younger age. 

Perhaps that is why turning 40 isn't filling me with anxiety. It helps that I have as many children as I wish to have and know that I won't ever have to be pregnant again! Hooray! And I have a wonderful partner by my side to help me weather whatever comes our way. It does boggle my mind that I'm 40, though. I remember my parents 40th birthday parties. There were black balloons and streamers and signs about being "over the hill." It's funny how turning 40 has changed since then. I haven't received any over the hill cards or comments and doubt I will. But with the longevity my generation will experience, God-willing, 40 is probably not the half-way point for me. And after all the heartache and loss our nation and world has experienced in the past year due to Covid, we should all feel nothing but gratitude to celebrate a birthday each year as the gift of aging is not guaranteed! 

For my 30th birthday, I went to Paris for a week - by myself - and had the most amazing vacation. This milestone birthday looked very different thanks to Covid and having a 2-month old. But it was still very special! Here is how I celebrated the day!

I came down on Saturday morning to my gift from Phil - a signed photograph of my "dad crush" - John Dickerson! I am a huge fan of him so Phil worked with his cousin's wife, who works at CBS News, to get a signed photo. He didn't have any headshots so an assistant took this photo especially for me! In the background are the beautiful flowers from my parents and a co-worker.

While Phil went grocery shopping and ran errands, we facetimed with my parents and then I played several games of Hi Ho Cherry-O and the Hungry Caterpillar game with Paul. I absolutely love playing games so am glad he's at the game-playing stage. I bounced Will in the bouncer while we played games and was glad he stayed content long enough to do this!

Will gave me lots of smiles throughout the day, too! He's a fun stage where he smiles and coos and is more interactive. 

Throughout the day, I receive 3 deliveries of macarons - one from my college friends, another from our realtor who is a good friend, and a box from my mom that she made! I have been enjoying them over the past several days and it turns out that Picky Paul is a big fan of the ones from Nana! 

I had a video chat with 3 girlfriends I met through Phil. I think our high was -1 so while it would have been great to see them in person, it was nice to catch up from our cozy homes. 

For dinner, we ordered Indian and I enjoyed some Prosecco after Paul was in bed while holding Will. I snapped a photo of him when we went to bed. I was definitely feeling very grateful to have a little baby to tuck into bed. Newborns are not without their challenges but I know how lucky we are to have 2 healthy little boys. 

I'm hopeful that by August when Phil turns 40, we'll be able to safely have a backyard gathering with friends, But despite not being able to do something "big" for this birthday, I had an amazing day and felt so loved as I received many phone calls, texts and facebook notes. 

I'm looking forward to the decade ahead and can't wait to see what it holds for my sweet family of 4!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

What We Read in January

My January reading was BANANAS. I read 16 books. That is NOT normal for me and would typically represent 3-4 months of reading. But most of my reading happened between the hours of 10pm and 6am. So I am hoping February features less reading and more sleep (are you listening, Will? Ha). Reading during middle of the night feeds makes them a bit more enjoyable, though! And I have no trouble going from reading on my phone to going back to sleep once I get Will settled - I'm grateful for that as I know it would be a problem for some who are more sensitive to blue light. I think I am just so exhausted, though, that blue light has nothing on that level of exhaustion!

Of my 16 books, these were my favorites:

The House in the Cerulean Sea has an element of magical realism, which I'm typically not a fan of - but I loved this book. It's a sweet story about an island of misfit orphans who have magical powers. Such a delightful and heart-warming read.

The Giver of Stars is based on the true story of the pack-horse librarian who served rural areas of Kentucky. I loved the characters so much and was so sad when the book was over.

All the Devils are Here is the latest installment in Louise Penny's inspector Gamache series. This might be my favorite of the series. It was so good. I missed the Three Pines (the town most books are set in) characters but I love that this book was set in Paris. 

Nothing to See Here surprised me. It got a lot of praise last year but I didn't think it was for me as the concept (a politicians kids spontaneously combust) seemed too weird/over-the-top. But when my best friend said it was one of her best reads of 2020, I had to check it out and am so glad I did. The writing is so great and the story grabs you from the start! 

I Am I Am I Am is about Maggie O'Farrell's essays on her 17 brushes with death. Dang this woman has 9 lives as she has been through some harrowing experiences. I especially was touched by her reflection on her miscarriage. 

This group of books were my next favorite ones - you can't go wrong with reading any of these!

And this set was the ones I liked next best. There are only 2 books on this list that really didn't work for me. 

60 Million Frenchman Can't Be Wrong was just a bit dry and read like a collection of facts. This is the "France book" I read with my friend Kyria for our 2-person France-themed book club. There was a lot of interesting information in this book. I read a lot of passages outloud to Phil (I read this book during the daytime hours because it was too dense/dry for night feeds). But it was not told in the most engaging way. 

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune was another miss for me. There was magical realism and it just didn't work for me and I had trouble feeling sympathy for the protagonist. She just felt selfish to me. 

Paul and Will's Reads:

I am working on reading more to Will but it tends to happen during the day when Paul is at school. Paul gets a little jealous if I read to Will. :( In the picture below, I'm reading "The Feelings Book" by Todd Parr. I love that author! Will also gets to hear a lot of books secondhand when we are reading to Paul so he's getting plenty of reading time, I think.

Paul continued to get more books from friends as big brother gifts. Books are really the best gift you can give a child! I don't have a picture of him reading his favorite books, though, but they are 2 books by Chris Van Dusen. This is a new author to me and we love his books! We received "If I Built a School" and "Circus Ship." Both are so good, but Circus Ship is particularly loved. I requested more books by this author from the library. They are super fun to read as they rhyme!

Paul also started to get the "High Five" Highlights magazine - my parents gifted this for Christmas. I got Highlights as a child and have such good memories of reading it! It's such a great magazine and nice to get some fun mail!

How was your month of reading? Did you read anything great that you would recommend?