Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ren {7 Months Old}


Ren, you're 7 months old! You keep getting more and more interactive and fun. Here's what you're up to:

*I have no idea on your weight and length, but based on last month, you're probably in the 18 pound range.

*I just moved you up to size 3 diapers. They still seem a little big, but we'd run out of 2s from your diaper shower and I have a box of 3s. Plus, you're technically in the weight range for the 3s, and too big for the 2s. Proves my thought that you're long and skinny.

*You're in 6 month to 12 month size clothes. I think the romper you're wearing here is 12 month and it's a bit big, but not much. The problem is all in the length with you. Most 6 month things you're too long for. 


*Your schedule is still pretty much the same. You go to bed between 8:30 and 9. You get up once or twice to eat, usually at midnight or 1am, then around 5am. Sometimes you skip the first feeding and that's awesome! But sometimes I have to get up and pump.

*You nap in the morning, once or twice (for 40 min to 1 hour each time) depending on how late you slept in. Then we usually all go down for a nap in the 1pm hour and sleep for 2-3 hours. You still have a weird thing about your afternoon nap. You always wake up after 45 minutes or so and want to be awake even though I know you're tired. So I pat your bottom and lay with you in my bed until you go back to sleep. I've been napping with you every day since you're in and out, and since you need your pacifier put back in all the time during this nap. Then I stay up late after you're in bed at night to work. This schedule has been working for the most part for us.

*Your daddy slept on the couch downstairs for about 3 weeks due to a cough he just couldn't get rid of. So I got in the habit of bringing you to my bed after your 5am feeding. You seemed to love it because you would sleep in til 8:30am most mornings, which you did NOT do in your crib. We're still transitioning now that Daddy's back in bed. There's not as much room for you in there, but sometimes you won't go back to sleep at 5am in your own bed.

                         

*You are SO CLOSE to crawling. You've got the leg part figured out, just not the front part. Just in the past few days, you've started getting up on all fours (instead of just sticking your bottom in the air) and rocking before kinda face-planting. You want to crawl so bad. You would probably be crawling if we didn't have hardwood floors upstairs...I'd probably put you down on your tummy a lot more if it was soft and carpeted, so your tummy time isn't super often.

*You still roll over pretty much the second I lay you down anywhere. And somehow you can move around quite a bit just from your rolling and rocking.

*You sit up a little. If you have something that's eye-level or above to look at, you are able to sit for awhile. But if you're looking at the ground, you just bend in half and your face ends up by your toes. Sometimes you'll fall backwards or to the side. We've got to work on that balance.

                         

*You still love to do your weird, deep man-yell/cry. It's not always when you're mad, sometimes you just love to yell.

*You have a fake cough you do. Daddy thinks you're just experimenting with different noises you can make, so when you find a new one, you do it over and over.

*You love love love your bouncy seat. We went to 3 stores looking for a new bigger, sturdier one, but couldn't find one.

When I laid you down to take this photo, it was a job to keep you on your back. You just wanted to roll over, as evidenced by the photo below this one.
                        

                        

*You are still so smiley. You smile at strangers, and then bury your face in my neck, like you're bashful or something. You smile when Daddy gets home from work. You smile whenever we smile at you. You smile sometimes when Sutton is crying because you think he's laughing.

*You love to be tickled. Daddy knows all the good spots. Sutton knows some too. There are so many times where I think he's being too rough with you and I'm getting ready to tell him to stop pushing on your tummy or rubbing his head on your tummy, and then you'll let out this funny belly laugh. I suppose boys are tougher than I expect.

I got some new backdrops for my studio, and Papa Bruce made me a little baby bed. So we tested them out and had a little 7 month photo shoot. I think we really captured your personality!





*You are still refusing food. I have tried so many times to feed you purees, and you don't ever eat a single bite. It all comes back up. You'll eat puffs - we tried those for the first time on August 30. You like them. And the other thing I've found is that you love to suck on food. So I let you suck on fruits like cantaloupe and apples. The other night you were acting interested in my dinner, so I let you suck on a piece of chicken and you LOVED it. You probably sucked on the same bite for like 10 minutes. But any time I'd let you have a little piece to try to actually eat, you'd act like it was the end of the world and spit it out. So you're liking the flavors, just not the actual swallowing.

*It seems like you've started eating more often. We were on a pretty regular 3-hour schedule, but now you've started wanting to nurse sometimes every 2 hours. Sometimes you still go 3. We just never know. I'm grateful that I get to be home with you most of the time so that I can follow your lead with feedings and don't have to try to plan ahead since you're not as regular anymore.

*You've started getting really impatient when it's time to nurse. I will get you in position and start to get ready, and you just start yelling at me. It's like you know what's coming and you don't want to wait!


*Pooping has been on and off. Sometimes you'll still have the super runny blowouts, sometimes it will be normal. Everything else is normal though so I've let go of worrying about it.

*At night time, we usually put Sutton to bed first and read a story or two. Then I rock you in your room and sing or hum. Sometimes I feed you then too. Sometimes you're out within about a minute, and other times I'm in there rocking and singing for 20-30 minutes. You sleep with a noise machine on an ocean waves sound, and a fan blowing on you.

*Your brother is your favorite person. You love him so much and are always smiling at him and trying to be by him. He loves it. For now. Often, we'll watch a movie while laying in my bed, and you'll be between Sutton and I. You will roll towards him and reach out your arms. I tell him that you want to cuddle with him, so he'll put his arm out for me to lay you in his arm so you two can cuddle together.


*I think you're taking a toll on him subconsciously though. Big bro has been having a rough time lately. Lots of crying. So....so much crying. Lots of tantrums. Lots of yelling. Lots of impatience. I think it's partly his age, but partly because he was used to getting all the attention before you came and he's realizing that it won't be that way again. He loves you so much, but he is figuring it all out.

*Your momma is still figuring stuff out too. I know we have it so good, but it is really hard to juggle two kids and a business. There have been times where you're crying for no reason other than you want to be held, but I have to send "one more email" or get "one more photo edited and posted." I feel guilty all. of. the. time. I look at you and can't imagine my life without you, but then I try to figure out where the last 7 months have gone and realize I've been so busy, so stressed, that it's all a blur. If I could just sit and hold you every day all day, I would!



*You love bath time. You lay in your little bath sling and just kick your legs like crazy to splash and splash. You yell sometimes too. It's like you think it's funny to make a bunch of noise. You've really started trying to roll off your sling though, so I can't take my eyes off of you for a second.

*You like to play with toys. Everything goes in your mouth. You play with toys in your high chair a lot while we're eating, and you always start with a tray full of toys and about 2 minutes later, there's nothing there. You knock them all on the floor or in your lap.

*You also love to play with everything in my makeup bag. Your brother did this too when he was your age. I sit you in the Bumbo on the counter while I'm getting ready, and you just start taking stuff out of my makeup bag and trying to chew on it or throw it. Crazy kid.






*Your hair is starting to look redder. I think you're gonna be a redhead just like your brother. You've also got this little curl right on top of your forehead, so we'll see what that turns into.

*You've just started this new thing when I'm putting you to bed at night, where you scratch your head. I try to hold that hand down, but you pull it away forcefully. I also have tried to cover your head with my hand, but you'll just find a different place to scratch. Your cousin Carson has given himself scrapes on his head doing this, so I don't want you to get into that habit! Sometimes you'll also just play with your ear.

*You're not the biggest fan of your carseat and you grow tired of it after you've been in there awhile. You have started leaning forward when we go to unbuckle you, cause you know we're getting you out.


And our monthly comparison:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Videos!

My DSLR (aka my "nice" camera) also has video capabilities that I've just never taken the time to figure out.  I decided to see if I could make a couple little videos of the boys last night, and so I googled some things and voila!

I'm intrigued by this because I still have control over the settings such as aperture and shutter speed, so I can adjust how light or dark it is, which is AWESOME. And also, I can make the background blurry like I do in photos, which I think makes the video look so much better. The only thing I'm still trying to figure out is focusing (as you'll see). The only way I could do it was by manually focusing it, and that doesn't seem the best way, especially when you have moving subjects. So I'll need to do a little more research on that.

Enjoy a couple of test videos of the boys! I figure we'll look back at these and LAUGH at Sutton's cute little boy voice and the pink snow boots that he is currently obsessed with wearing (hand-me-downs from his cousins). He's even decided that pink is his new favorite color now. :)




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Last Lake Day of the Summer

One of the Sundays in August, we had our last lake day of the summer. The four of us took the boat out and swam and drove around. It was a perfect day. The sky was pretty, the water was calm, the temp was perfect.

We drove out to the middle of the lake. This had been one of the few days we'd tried to go without Sutton's nap. He fell asleep as we were driving. So did Ren. Adam got this photo of the tired little dudes.


We parked and they woke up. Adam tied the tube onto the boat and he and Sutton got on and just floated around for a bit. Then they both jumped in and Sutton swam around like a pro on his own. We were so proud of him.



Ren got hot just hanging out in the boat, and while he didn't complain, I felt bad for him.



So after I took those two photos, I stripped him down to his diaper. There's a wooden platform on the back of the boat, so he and I sat there and let the water run over our legs. He really seemed to like it.

I even got to go float out on the tube by myself for a bit. That hasn't happened since pre-kids. It was short-lived but awesome. After awhile, we decided to head back to shore. The boat wouldn't start. We were in the middle of the lake. Luckily, Adam figured out whatever it was that was wrong and after a few panicky moments, we got going.

We found some picnic tables near the boat ramp and had peanut-butter-and-jelly tortilla roll-ups and Sun Chips. Mm mm.


I wanted to remember this moment with Sutton, in all his little boy shirtless glory, sitting across from me having a picnic.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Little Photo Assistant

Back in August, I had a shoot at Botanica with a family who has a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. When the mom told the boy that I also had a 4-year-old boy (Alex's birthday is just 3 days before Sutton's), he wanted him to come along on our shoot.

I was hesitant because 1) I knew Sutton would just want to be IN all the photos and 2) I didn't want to have to deal with wrangling him and keeping him in line while I was working. But the mom insisted and I thought maybe he could help me out a bit by getting some "real" smiles from the kiddos. And Sutton absolutely LOVES Botanica since his preschool class took a field trip there last spring.

When we first started, I thought "Oh no, what have I done?!" because Sutton and Alex hit it off and acted like they'd known each other for years...running around, doing somersaults in the grass, and yelling their crazy heads off. But after awhile, it ended up being a good thing that he was there because the other kiddos lost interest in having their photos taken, but Sutton listened to me and showed them what to do. They took direction better from him than they did from me. So Sutton ended up in a few photos, and I thought I'd share them here.



 







Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ren's 6 Month Stats

We had Ren's 6 month check up yesterday. I moved it up a bit due to the pooping issues. Here's what we found out:

*He weighs 17.56 pounds (48.84%)
*He's 27 inches long (62.17%)
*His head is 18 inches around (96.91%)

His weight is completely average and is perfectly following the normal growth curve. His height SHOT UP from the 4 month appointment, at which they said he was in the 14% for height. But I really think last time, she didn't completely straighten him out, so I made sure we did this time. I've always thought he was long because of the way onesies fit him. And the big head, well...that was to be expected.

The pooping seemed to be a non-issue to Dr Morrow. She said it may just be how he's going to poop for awhile. She said we could start putting rice cereal in a bottle for him 3 times daily to solidify the poop, but I don't really like that plan and my friend Laura who is also a pediatrician says that probably wouldn't solve anything.

Dr Morrow also said we could try taking things out of my diet. Such as dairy or wheat. Eliminate things one at a time to see what it could be. So I was contemplating this option today while eating McDonald's (don't judge, I rarely go there and it's been a loooooooooong week). Then this afternoon (after I'd fed Ren McDonald's tainted breastmilk for two feedings), we had a normal poop!!!!! The first one in like 3-4 weeks. Nothing has really changed on my end so I'm at a loss. I suppose we'll see what happens from here on out.

And here's a photo of our happy boy waiting and playing with the crinkly paper at the doctor. He was so happy during his appointment...until it was time for shots. That's always the worst, but I'm so grateful for breastfeeding because that always calms him down after his shots.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Issues With Breastfeeding

Disclaimer: If you're a male-human or if you're someone who has no interest in breastfeeding, then go ahead and skip this post. :) I've realized how many things I've forgotten about Sutton's first year(s) and so I wanted to document this for myself to look back on since it's been a big part of our lives the last couple of months. Disclaimer over.

So. Breastfeeding. It's so strange. After the initial learning/adjustment phase with Sutton, I really had no problems with nursing, keeping my supply, up or anything else. I just assumed everything would be the same with my second baby, but I was so wrong!

Issues at the beginning were similar to Sutton...both my babies tend to suck in their bottom lip, which makes for a very painful latch and inefficient feeding. So I used the nipple shield with them both to kind of force them to open up more. With Sutton, I weaned him off it after a month. With Ren, it was more like 3.5 months. The problems stopped there with Sutton.

But with Ren, when I weaned him from the nipple shield, all the pain of just starting to breastfeed came back again. Then he started to decrease the time that he fed. With the shield, he would nurse for 10 minutes on each side, a total of around 20 minutes per feeding. I always keep track of feedings, and this meant he nursed for over 2 hours total each day. At the beginning, we would sometimes hit 3 hours for the day. But once we took the shield away, he started only nursing for 4-7 minutes on one side, then he was done.

I was concerned that he wasn't getting enough milk. He was growing normally, chunking up, and he was happy. But going from 20 minutes per feeding down to 4 minutes just didn't seem right. And when my total for the day was between 45 minutes to 1 hour? I felt like I was hardly feeding my baby at all.

So I took him into the breastfeeding clinic. The nurses kinda laughed when I came in because #1 they're used to seeing newborns and Ren was 4 months old at the time; #2 he has never been a "skinny" baby, so with all his rolls...they weren't quite sure why I was concerned. I explained my issue, and they weighed him, had me nurse him, then weighed him again. He was able to get 2 ounces of milk from me in 4 minutes, which they said made him a very efficient nurser. They weren't concerned and said he seemed completely fine and healthy (especially with all the flirting and smiling he was doing with them). They told me to come back if anything changed, he lost weight, or became very irritable.

Nothing ever changed with his weight or temperament, but I started to realize that I never really felt full anymore. I didn't know if it was just because he was emptying me at every feeding, or if it was because I wasn't making enough but since he's such a good little baby, he wasn't complaining even though he was hungry. Additionally, we started to run low on the stockpile of pumped breastmilk in our freezer for the days I had to work.

So I began to start trying to pump a little more often. I would get nothing. There was one two-day span where I pumped after several feedings and it took me the whole two days to get 2 ounces. I became very worried that Ren wasn't getting enough to eat. He had also been having pooping issues. He wouldn'tt go for 24-48 hours, and then it would be explosive and runny. And it'd been weeks like this. It made me think he wasn't getting enough...that his little body was freaking out, trying to adjust to only having a small amount of calories or something. Or that my milk wasn't hearty or SOMETHING.

Of course I did what any 21st century mother would do...I turned to Facebook. :) I asked if any nursing moms had advice for ways to increase my supply. I got a ton of responses, which was so helpful. Out of all the things people suggested, here's what I decided to try:

*drinking lots more water
*taking fenugreek (an herbal supplement)
*making lactation cookies (cookies that contain brewer's yeast, flax, and oatmeal which are said to support a healthy supply of milk in lactating mothers)
*pumping after certain feedings every day (the thought there: if supply = demand in breastfeeding, the consistent pumping will create a greater demand, thus a greater supply)

Also, since I had gained nearly 60 pounds while I was pregnant with Ren, you can understand how I was more than eager to get that weight off. It's pretty depressing when you have to wear the same 5 things over and over because you don't quite fit into any of your old clothes and can't stand to wear maternity clothes when your baby is 5 or 6 months old. So, since Easter, I had been making a conscious choice to eat less calories....I was trying to walk the tightrope between eating enough to make milk but little enough to keep losing weight. I was down to within 10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight and was very excited about that. But since my supply was in question, I figured maybe I should relax with this as well. So add "stuffing my face" to the list above. :)

I don't know if it was one thing or a combination of things, but I'm glad to say that it has worked! I smell like maple syrup (really!! the fenugreek has that side effect). There have been several occasions where I feel "full" and while that's not the most comfortable feeling, it makes me happy because I know there's enough milk in there for Ren. I even leaked one night, which hasn't happened in months. And we have too much pumped milk to even fit on the "breastmilk shelf" in our freezer. I pumped about 6.5 ounces in one sitting yesterday.

But...I gained back 5 pounds. UGH. It's so frustrating. I'm so glad that I was able to get my supply back to where I feel comfortable that Ren is getting enough to eat (especially since he's refusing solids thus far), but feeling extra fluffy is just a feeling I am done with. I wish I could wear a sign on my forehead that says "NURSING MOTHER: Dieting isn't an option right now. Come back in Spring 2015." But then I feel so vain and superficial for even thinking that way. It's a vicious cycle.

Bottom line though...what's best for Ren is what I'll do. And I suppose when else do I have the excuse to eat a little extra? Now to force myself to make those HEALTHY calories... :) That's something I'm still working on.

Ren is still just nursing 4-7 minutes per side, but I'm more confident that he's getting enough since I know I'm making more. I've even heard him "gulping" a couple of times, which hadn't happened in months either. The pooping issue has NOT yet resolved itself, so that is still concerning.We have his 6-month check up on Thursday, so we will talk healthy weight and healthy poop with the doctor then. But I'm mostly happy with how things are going...such a peace of mind!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ren's 6 Month Photos

We took Ren out early this week to do a "real" photo session to document him at 6 months.

While I love the photos we got and am so glad we took the time to do this...I was stressed the whole time and it was HOT and there were lots of bugs. I don't know what it is about photographing my own kid(s) that stresses me out, but it does every time without fail. Maybe it's partly that some of the things I want to do never work out. I need to get over it. Ha. Just thought I'd let you in on "behind the scenes."

But I am now convinced that Adam and I have the cutest babies that ever lived. Sorry everyone-else-in-the-entire-world. :)

(I will post these on my photo blog in the next couple of days but thought I'd give a sneak peek here!)





I hadn't dressed Sutton for this because I didn't think I'd do any with him, but then last minute thought that I would probably love to see how they compared in size down the road, so he jumped in a couple.