Friday, December 3, 2021

Baby Will is 1!

Baby Will - who I guess is now Toddler Will?? - turns 1 today! Insert head-exploding emoji. The common adage "the days are long but the years are short" is especially true during the baby's first year of life. There were many days in the early months where I had to bounce Will so often that my FitBit thought I was logging multiple sessions on the elliptical! There were sleepless nights (and still are sleepless nights - I'm looking at the 4+ wake-ups/night over Thanksgiving weekend). But there were lots of good moments, too, like watching the boys interact, seeing Will's love of water develop, and the recognition and appreciation of the fact that Will is a really chill, content baby!

Growth: I think he's hovering around 20 pounds and is 30" long - so 2" longer and about 2 pounds heavier than Paul was at 1. Will is very long and lean, and especially has a long torso! In terms of percentiles, he's in the 30s for weight and the 80s for height. But he seems sooo big compared to how small Paul was (Paul was around 5th percentile for weight at 1!).

That posture! He always sits up nice and tall!

He has 8 teeth now (4 on top, 4 on the bottom) and his bottom molars are coming in which is making him CRANKY!!

I thought it would be fun to compare pics of the boys at age 1. They look SO different. Paul had a rounder face and chubbier cheeks and Will is so much taller - and has SO much hair. He's due for another haircut this month whereas Paul didn't get a haircut until around 18 months or maybe even later! I've given Will several at-home trims and he's had one professional haircut.



Likes: 

Hands down, bath time is his favorite time! He usually takes a bath with Paul and it is a BOISTEROUS bathing experience. There is much splashing and shrieking. They have so much fun together!





He can't stand on his own but loves to stand/lean on the train table and ottoman.


 


He also likes the walker, but he has not figured out how to walk behind it.

- He ADORES his older brother. It will be fun to watch their sibling relationship develop! Paul currently takes toys away from Will but I expect that dynamic to change when Will is more mobile!


Dislikes: 

- He's had a hard time with the molars that are coming in, but I remember Paul struggling, too. I can't wait for them to be in! 

- I've disliked how sick he has been over the last 6-8 weeks. He's had an ear infection and several fevers. He's a pretty good sport when sick, though, and I do appreciate the extra cuddles. But I hope we have a healthier stretch ahead of us as I've caught most of what's he's had, too! You can see from the photos below that he loves to suck in his bottom lip - he especially does this when he's not feeling well.






Firsts:  

- He "celebrated" his first Halloween but I use "celebrate" lightly as all we did was dress him up for the block costume photo. But he sure was a cute hedgehog!


- We took him swinging at the park for the first time and he really loved it!


- He celebrated his first big holiday with my side of the family - Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I have no photos of others holding him since he was pretty fussy due to feeling under the weather. My mom did get some time with him on Saturday morning when she graciously took care of him and Paul so I could go back to bed - but I didn't get any photos!

- He also learned how to clap, do "so big" and give high fives. He has gotten really good at scooting around on his butt. We jokingly refer to him as Lieutenant Dan from Forest Gump! I know his doctor is going to say he's gross motor delayed at his 1y appt. At the 9m appointment she wasn't concerned as she said it was related to his temperament (he's just soooo content). We'll see what she says at his appointment next week but overall I am not concerned. Paul walked at 16 months thanks to his giant head on his tiny body. I thought Will would walk earlier but he may be on the same timeline as Paul was. It helps to have seen how little it matters in the grand scheme of things. I was so stressed about Paul walking late but I hope to be less stressed with Will. The gift of perspective is a wonderful thing!

Feeding: I AM DONE PUMPING! Did you hear me yelling with excitement from where you are reading this?? Ha. I still nurse him in the morning and evening each day and during the day on weekends, but at school he drinks whole milk from a sippy cup and water. He is eating the toddler menu at school and apparently is such a good eater that he eats off his friends' plates! Ha! His favorite foods are banana pancakes, mac and cheese, yogurt, bananas, and graham crackers. We try to feed him what we are eating as much as possible and he's a pretty good eater overall. He's learned how to drink out of a miracle 360 cup. 

Drinking out of a cup like a big boy!

Clapping at dinner at my parents

Sleeping: Meh. Sleep has not been great. Between all the illnesses and getting molars, he's getting up at least once a night usually but there have been nights where he's up hourly for a good stretch. I tell myself that this, too, shall pass. He goes to bed around 6:30 since he's absolutely exhausted from being at school and wakes around 6am. He takes 2 naps but the length of his naps is unpredictable!

Mama: I plan to do a post about being at the 1-year point soon so stay tuned!

We will have a low key celebration tonight. Then on Sunday some of Phil's family are coming over for a taco fiesta at lunch time. I'm making a banana cake with cream cheese frosting (thanks to Daily Candy for sharing a link to a banana cake!). Hopefully it turns out, but GF baking that includes fruit is usually very good and foolproof!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November Reads

Happy December! It's the last month of the year and Will's birthday week! He turns 1 on Friday which is kind of mind-blowing. But also wonderful! The first year is, in a word, exhausting. Also exciting and wonderful, but mostly really tiring, especially for the mom when you are breastfeeding. So bring on 1 and all that is to come! 

But that's a topic for a different post. Today, I'm sharing my November reads. November was kind of a meh reading month for me. I still read 6 books, but that's a low number for me. But still a good number of books. I was sick for the first week of the month and then again around Thanksgiving so I shouldn't be surprised that I read less than usual this month.


Best books:

I loved The Madness of Crowds which is the latest installment in Louise Penny's inspector Gamache series. I appreciated that it was pandemic-adjacent - I don't really want to read a book set DURING the pandemic because I'm just so burned out on pandemics, since it seems never ending (I'm looking at you, omicron variant). I will be so sad when this series ends! I also really appreciated Caste by Isabel Wilkerson which is about the race dynamics in our country and how we got here. It's brilliantly written. She weaves together history and data with personal stories from her life. This is our December book club and I think we'll have a great discussion.


Least favorite:

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev was my least favorite of the month. I should have loved this book but I felt pretty meh and it was a bit of a slog. I probably should have abandoned it. 

The boys' reading:

Paul enjoyed reading new-to-him books at my parents house last weekend. It was nice to have extra readers around who were thrilled to read to him!


Will loves this 'Baby Faces' book. He kisses some of the babies which is so cute! 


He's also really into "touch and feel" books, like this one my mom got for Paul when he was a baby. he also likes lift-the-flaps books. Dear Zoo is his favorite. 


I sometimes worry he isn't going to love books as much as Paul but these pictures remind me that he does like books. He has learned how to turn pages, too, which is very cute!

Did you read anything great this month?

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021 in Pictures

We spent Thanksgiving with my family - our first holiday with family in 2 years. I thought I'd let the pictures do the talking!

Will had a fever on Thursday and was all about snuggling. We took him to the doctor to make sure it wasn't another ear infection and for a covid test. His ears looked good and the test was negative. So just another stupid virus.

Paul discovered how delicious chocolate pie is! He especially enjoyed eating it with an construction equipment fork.

The high of our time at my parents was seeing Paul interact with his cousins. They did a great job including him, even though he's much younger (the 3 in this photo are 7 and 10). I especially loved seeing them working on puzzles together - while singing jingle bells!

Will sort of rallied for his early birthday celebration on Friday night - but wanted nothing to do with the homemade GF chocolate cupcakes my mom made. Womp womp. In his photo he is clapping, his favorite trick.

But Paul thoroughly enjoyed the cupcake and had chocolate frosting all over his face afterwards.

The big kids were great about reading to Paul.

A flashback photo on Facebook reminded me that I had a picture of Anna reading to Paul at Thanksgiving 2 years ago. My how they have both changed!

So that was Thanksgiving. Phil and I came back feeling pretty bleery-eyed since Will's sleep was epically bad - like up 4+ times/night. I got a cold the day before Thanksgiving and it hit Phil on Saturday morning. We'll be well-rested and healthy some day?

How was your Thanksgiving/last weekend in November?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Giving Thanks

'Tis the season for giving thanks, at least here in the US since Thanksgiving is later this week. Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. I love all the food and I love that it's all about getting together and eating good food - and that's it! No presents! No decorations (at least not in our case - we are such minimalists and only decorate for Christmas). And this year, we will get to celebrate with my family for the first time in 2 years. I'll get to see my parents, 7 of my 8 nieces and nephews, and 3 of my 4 siblings! It's rare for so many of us to be together so I am really looking forward to it! 

But I have to also admit that being thankful is not coming super easy right now. This stage of life is just really HARD right now. Little kids take a lot of time and energy, and so much of it falls on the mom. So if I am being honest - which I always strive to do in life and on this blog - I'm feeling pretty depleted. Kind of like the sad little Christmas tree on Charlie Brown Christmas if you need a visual. Will's recovery from his ear infection has been rough and his sleep has been pretty awful. On Sunday night I didn't quite get 5 hours of sleep - I need 7 or 7.5 so I was on the struggle bus on Monday. 

And yet - I know I'm incredibly lucky to be in the position to have child that is waking during the night and only wants his mom. Is it hard in the moment? Absolutely. Parenthood is a constant lesson that two conflicting things can both be true. You can be exhausted and grateful at the same time, although the strength of the opposing emotions really ebbs and flows. 

You know what helps spur feelings of gratitude, besides the upcoming holiday? Looking at family pictures. We recently had family photos taken for the first time since April 2019! That obviously pre-dates Will as it was around Paul's first birthday. I didn't feel comfortable having newborn photos taken last December and technically having a photographer in our home would have broken the lockdown rules - which I clearly followed. But I knew I wanted professional family photos done this fall as we only had 2 photos of the 4 of us and both were, well, not great. 

So on a cold morning in October, my cousin's talented wife took our photos by our favorite area of the creek by our house. Getting to the meeting spot at 8:30 on a Saturday morning when it was 40 degrees outside was NOT FUN. Phil said he would never look at family photos the same again because he now understands what it takes to get a family together, looking nice, and smiling for the camera. 


We had to cut our photo session short because the outfits I had for the boys were not great for 40 degree temps. Our kids don't own "cute" outer wear because it seems unnecessary. But in a span of 30 minutes, she managed to capture our family pretty darn perfectly. 



So yes, there are incredibly trying moments and times when I feel so. dang. tired. 



But I can look at these photos and think - "gosh, we're beautiful and so very lucky to have each other." 


So yes, in this season of life, I might need to remind myself to be thankful. And that's ok. I tell myself it won't always be this tiring. But in the mean time, I'm glad I have photographic evidence of how very lucky we are. 

Happy early Thanksgiving to those who will celebrate this week! Tell me one (or more!) thing you are grateful for! In addition to my family, I'm thankful for coffee, my health, sunshine, living in a walkable neighborhood, the library, my kindle, being able to run again, and many other things!

Friday, November 19, 2021

TGIF

Happy Friday! We made it through another week and next week is a short one for us Americans thanks to Thanksgiving! Yay! Here's a TGIF-style recap of our week. 

The book I'm reading is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (physical book) and The Final Revival of Opal and Nev (ebook). I'm only reading 2 chapters/day of Caste as it is a heavy topic and I need to slowly digest it. It's my book club's December read and will make for a great discussion. Opal and Nev is from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. I should love it but I feel kind of meh? Maybe right book, wrong time? It's an oral history of a fictional band and they cover topics of racism so there is some overlap between the 2 books I'm reading which should make me appreciate it more but again, I don't feel super connected or compelled to read it? But I like it enough to keep reading it so it will probably end up being around 3 stars.

The high of my week was getting a massage on Tuesday. I was glad I was able to reschedule the massage I had to cancel when Will was home sick. I went to a place a couple of blocks away for a deep tissue massage. It did not have the ambiance of the usual place I go, but the massage was great and the convenience of walking there was amazing! It was my first massage in about 2 years (thanks, pandemic!). 

The low of my week was just a general sense of feeling tired. We've had lots of early mornings and Will's been awake more than usual during the night, probably because of his ears. Things seem to be getting better and I think the kids have maybe finally adjusted to the end of daylight savings?

A recipe I made was Cauliflower Chicken Tikka Masala. This is a recipe that I tend to make once a month. The leftovers are even better as the flavors really meld together! I fed Will some peas from it which he seemed to like. It's pretty spicy so that is the extent of what I shared (Paul won't touch it, of course). 

A show we are watching is Dopesick on Hulu. It's a dramatized documentary based on the book, Dopesick, which is about the opioid crisis. It's very well done. Michael Keaton plays a doctor in West Virginia who prescribes OxyContin for patience with moderate pain because the drug label says less than 1% get addicted. He then takes them when he gets in a car accident and becomes addicted. It does a good job of looking at the Sackler family who owns Purdue Pharma, the company behind the drug OxyContin and the false claims that it wasn't habit-forming. After each episode I usually vent to Phil about how so many people have no conscience! It makes me want to read the book, "The Empire of Pain" which is a deep dive into the Sackler family and how they profited off of Oxy. But I need to be in the right mind set to read that...

For workouts I went for a  run on Monday, did beach body workouts Tuesday and Wednesday, and ran yesterday. I'll do another beach body workout today and maybe on Saturday and then will run on Sunday hopefully.

The best money spent was a contribution to my local United Way and to the library. It was "give to the max" day yesterday which is a day of giving for non-profits in Minnesota. There tend to be matches from large donors if non-profits raise $X that day, so it's a good day to give! I also bought some lipstick and facial cleanser from Beauty Counter and ordered Christmas cards. So it was an expensive week!

My plans this weekend include laying low tonight, like usual. Tomorrow morning Phil has his physical and then I am going to a wreath-making party. On Sunday we are putting up our Christmas tree! I used to be firmly on team decorate after Thanksgiving, but the pandemic changed me. Now I like it up a little earlier so I can enjoy the warm glow as long as possible! 

Bonus Will and Paul photos:

He loves to play at the train table with Paul!

Bath time shenanigans!

Cuddled up with dad. Paul is sharing cheerios from a snack cup. Will has learned to put out his palm when he wants some!

Bit of a blurry action shot, but Will's new thing is pulling books off our bookshelves. I worry that he doesn't love books as much as Paul because I haven't read to him quite as much as we read to Paul (although we still read at least 4-5 books/day to him). But he knows how to turn pages in a book while you read to him and loves to pull books off the shelf and look at them so he probably likes books as much or more than the average baby?

What was the high of your week? What recipe did you make this week?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

So Much for that Vacation

I think I must have cursed myself by posting about my vacation days and how relaxing they would be. I'm sure we all have heard the phrase, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Will ended up home with me on Wednesday and Thursday, so I had to cancel my massage on Thursday. Instead I spent the early part of the day at the clinic with him, which ended up being THE MOST FRUSTRATING experience. I had called to get him an appointment to have his ears checked but when I got to the clinic, they said he only had an appointment for a covid test. I mean, I was planning to get him tested for covid since he had a fever but I had a hunch he had an ear infection. After our covid test, I went to the reception area for the pediatrics unit and luckily they were able to fit us in. And sure enough - Will had a double ear infection. No one wants their kid to be sick, but I was sort of glad there was an explanation for his fever and sad state. 

I got 2 doses of meds into him that day and he was fever free all day so was able to go back to school on Friday. So I salvaged one day of PTO. Which is better than nothing but not what I had expected my 3 "days off" to look like. Add in the fact that one or both kids were up at 5:30 for 8 days in a row and it just makes for a tired and overwhelmed mom. 

But it wasn't all bad. I set aside Friday morning as my "shouldless halfday." I did a workout, read by the gas fireplace in our bedroom, and then laid in bed and tried to nap - but my body wouldn't let me fall asleep of course. 


The afternoon was productive. We met with the fireplace conversion consultant and I ran some errands before picking up the boys. I was happy to hear that Will had a great day and was back to his happy self. 

The final stretch of the year is going to be busy as we have a new product launch that started yesterday so I need to be available for client calls (all virtually of course). So maybe in late January I can try to do a shouldless day or 2? The first 3 weeks of January are always busy since I'm dealing with quarter end but hopefully I can tag a day onto MLK weekend. 

This post is not positive so I'll close with 3 positive things!

1. Phil agreed to get our living room fireplace converted to gas. Hurray! Longtime readers of the blog will know that Phil is incredibly frugal so getting him to spend money can be a challenge. But he saw the benefit of the conversion, especially since he's seen how much I use the fireplace in our bedroom!

2. Last night we were talking about Will's upcoming birthday on 12/3. I asked Paul what we should get for Taco (family nickname for Will) and he said cupcakes (which I'm on board with - we are not planning to get him anything for his birthday because he will surely get many gifts from family and truly doesn't need anything). I asked what flavor and he said, "hmmm, banana because Taco loves bananas!" I am pretty impressed that he took Will's favorite food into consideration when suggesting a cupcake flavor. So now the search begins for a GF banana cupcake recipe! I could make banana muffins but this is the dessert we'll serve to Phil's family when they come over for the small party and I'd like a real treat and not a muffin if that makes sense?

3. I was able to reschedule my massage for this afternoon. I've very much looking forward to it! It's my first massage in about 2 years!

How are you doing? Tell me some positive things happening in your life! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Days off + Shouldless Days

I wrote this post mid-day on Tuesday and then got a call from daycare at 3 saying Will had a fever. Ugh. I did a rapid antigen Covid test at home and it was negative so hopefully he’s only home today so I can still have 2 relaxing/productive days off! Really tired of someone always being sick in our house!! 

I am very excited to have the rest of this week off from work, starting today! I was feeling a little worn out back in October so I decided to take 3 days off in November. My company moved to "manage your time" in 2020 or maybe earlier? I used to get a generous 6 weeks off before the change in our PTO policy. I am sure the company changed it knowing that people tend to not use their time off but my goal has been to take around 6 weeks off/year. It was easier to track pre-kids because I mostly took time off for vacations. Now a lot of my days off are due to being sick or a kid being sick. 

But even without tracking, I know I haven't taken/scheduled 6 weeks of vacation days! I did use PTO to add 4 weeks to my 16 weeks of maternity leave but my boss told me to view it as me taking 2 weeks at the end of 2020 and 2 weeks in 2021 instead of 4 weeks of my 2021 leave since I barely took any days off last year thanks to the pandemic (I have a very kind, thoughtful boss). 

Looking back at the days I have taken off for reasons besides illness, they are for daycare closures, kid doctor appointments, and trips to the lake. Daycare closures and kid doctor appointments are not exactly "fun." The lake trips were fun, but they are not exactly relaxing since Will sleeps more poorly when away from home. They are certainly worth it and I look forward to our time at the lake over Thanksgiving, but I don't exactly come back "refreshed."

Thus, my reason for taking 3 days off this week! I wanted to make one day a "shouldless day." I used to take those quarterly pre-kids. Now I think twice a year is a more reasonable goal. Shouldless days are as they sound - I don't do anything I feel I "should" do. So no house work, organization projects, errand-running. I just give myself time to "be." I have a deep tissue massage booked for Thursday but no other plans besides that. I'm sure I will exercise, read, cook dinner, take a nap, etc - which are all things that I enjoy, especially when I am on my own and not juggling watching kids. 

I also have some 'to do' items so there will be a productivity component to my days off. Paul has his preschool screening on Wednesday, I plan to sell my remaining maternity clothes to a consignment shop (will not get much but I just want them out of the house and not in a landfill! I'm selling them at a place where I've bought most of my maternity clothes), we have the fireplace wood burning to gas conversion consultation on Friday, and I'm sure I'll identify other tasks to do on a quiet weekend instead of while juggling watching the kids on a weekend day. 

I'm hoping my 2022 PTO will include more adventures, though. 2020-2021 were just not the year for adventures, pandemic aside, as I was pregnant for a good chunk of 2020 and then 2021 was all about having a baby/adjusting to life as a family of 4. So it actually wasn't the worst time for a pandemic? Obviously there is never a good time for a pandemic and I hope I don't live through another one. But it didn't cancel any trips for me. So far for 2022, we are planning to go to Tucson, AZ for about 5 days in February to visit my sister/take a break from the cold and we are hoping to go somewhere, kid-free, for our 5-year anniversary in May. 

All this is to say - don't let the lack of plans or adventures keep you from using your vacation time!! It's easy to kind of muddle through the days and forget to plan days off, especially if it's not tracked by your company's HR. I harp on my husband to follow my lead but he is TERRIBLE about taking time off! He did seem a bit envious of my days off this week so we'll see if that pushes him to schedule at least a day off!

Do you have any time off planned for the remainder of the year? Are you good about using your PTO?