Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Less Words Wednesday

Today is Darrin's 40th birthday. He woke up early and celebrated with Miles & Carson. I was sound asleep and didn't realize the party had started somewhere in the 5 o'clock hour.

Since I'm still on maternity leave and currently not getting paid, we decided to forgo gifts and stick with cards from the boys. Miles wanted to make one. I think it was a big hit. Here is the front and back. Miles told Darrin he could keep the dollar b/c he had two more :)

At work, the team made sure everyone knew it was his birthday.

I love the sign in the hallway, just outside his office, "Rub my bald head, it's my birthday".

I decided to fix several of Darrin's favorite things for dinner. I'm getting back into the groove with cooking lately. When I picked Miles up from school and told him what we were doing, he was so excited to help.

On the menu was grilled bacon cheeseburgers, pineapple casserole, and Chinese coleslaw. Food blogging is not in my future. My pictures never look tasty.

Dessert was this Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie recipe. I tried it for the first time a month of ago and have already made it a couple of times since then. It's so, so good.

This sums up what Carson thought of his dad turning 40. Miles said we were too old to have kids, so basically both of our kids think we are ancient. Carson did a lot of sleeping today. Hopefully it's a growth spurt and not sickness coming on. 

Volleyball season prohibits any big parties or celebrations for our birthdays or our anniversary. It's hard to even find time for a date night. Nevertheless, we hope Darrin had a great day & knows how much we love him. Happy Birthday, babe!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a big weekend for our family. A little background...Darrin's first season as a head coach was in 2008. That was before kids, so it was easy for me to travel to games and watch as many games as I wanted. That year, I traveled with the team to Chicago for a preseason tournament. The trip did not go well. Darrin was completely stressed and I was new to the coach's wife role and had no idea how to give space as needed. Since that year, I have not traveled with the team like that again. On rare occasion, I have ridden the bus if it was not an overnight trip. For overnight trips, I have driven my own car or ridden with someone, and I have always had my own hotel room. One trip, our rooms were even right beside each other. Usually we have hotel points so we aren't actually paying for a room, but in the case we didn't have points and we didn't want to spend the money, I just wouldn't go.

So, it was a big weekend because the whole family traveled to Darrin's games in Alabama and stayed in the room with him. I felt pretty confident that we are both much farther along in this coaching journey to be able to give it another try. Miles got to ride the charter bus for the first time.

He kept asking Darrin why the bus had to be so big. He has been on trips in the Bulldog bus, which is more like a church bus. Since they only travel with around 20 people, he just couldn't understand why it was such a big bus.

Carson and I rode with Darrin's parents. They are very easy to travel with and I thought that would be more flexible for Carson. This was Carson's first volleyball game and his first overnight trip.

The timing of his feedings and nap times could not have worked out better. He only got restless the last hour of the trip and that's understandable after being in his seat for so long. 

Darrin arranged with the head coach of University of North Alabama for Miles to see the lion habitat, which is their mascot. What a fun experience for him.

On Friday night, Darrin's mom was nice enough to stay in the hotel with Carson. She wanted to rest and it was much better for Carson to relax there rather than to be completely overstimulated at the game.

Miles was a little bit of a handful at the game. It amazes me how he can be so laid back and easy going for Darrin, but with me, he constantly needs something. He always wants to sit somewhere else, walk somewhere, or needs food, preferably junk from the concession stand. At Darrin's games, he gets to roam the gym. He can't understand why he can't do the same at away games.

He ended up standing on the second level with a player's dad and was quite happy about that. A player's mom gave him some gum tape that comes in the roll. Halfway through the game he dropped it out of the case and it rolled under the bleachers. He teared up and started begging me to get it. I finally said, "Miles even if I got it you couldn't chew it b/c it's been on the ground. He argued and said, "It dropped on the ground up here and I ate it???" 7 year old logic.

On Saturday, two of Darrin's former players, Britney and Christen, came to watch his game. His assistant coach, Jenna, also played for him. These three were all in the same class and played together for four years. Their senior year was Darrin's most successful season. These girls are very special to us.

It's so fun to see former players as they grown up, get married, have kids, and become such great adults.

The games could have gone better, but overall the weekend was fun for all of us. Miles had such a good time. I know he made memories that will last forever. It's much harder for me to travel now that we have kids and Miles is in school. He was out of school on Friday, so this worked out, especially since I am on maternity leave. I won't be traveling a lot, but I do think it's safe to stay in Darrin's room from now on. I'm not sure I'm ready to ride the bus, eat meals together, and stay in his room, but at least we are making baby steps :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Babywise with a Completely Different Child

Carson is now 10 weeks old. By this time with Miles, he was sleeping through the night and I was back at work. With Miles, we sleep trained him using the Babywise philosophy. I am a huge fan. It worked so well with Miles and throughout most of his life, he's been a great sleeper. He's had a few rough patches along the way, but I hear of kids his age getting up several times a night. We don't have that issue and I attribute it all to Babywise. Since Carson was born early and has been dealing with some stomach issues, we haven't done any sleep training. I tried a few times to lay him in his crib while he was still awake and he cried so hard that he choked.

Carson is very comfortable on his stomach. I think he would do so much better if he could sleep like this, but it's just not safe yet. We let him have some tummy time when we are able to keep a close eye on him. Once he can roll over by himself, we will let him turn himself over and go to sleep if he puts himself there. 


I started telling myself that he has a different personality than Miles and that maybe Babywise just wouldn't work for him. However, if I'm being honest, lately he's been wearing me out. He wants to be held all day, every day. I love to snuggle with him, but it's exhausting to be needed all day. I picked up the Babywise book to see if they had any advice for babies like Carson. Of course they did. I read chapters 7 & 8, "When Your Baby Cries" and "Colic, Reflux, and the Inconsolable Baby". I was immediately reminded that Babywise will work for every baby. It just takes persistence, and the end result is 100% worth it. A few notes that stood out to me:

- "The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes crying as a natural part of a baby's day."
- "Tears shed from crying help to eliminate chemically activated stress hormones from the body."
- {Paraphrased} Some research shows that infants who were allowed to cry during the normal times in infancy were active problem solvers at one year of age. When presented with obstacles separating them from their parents they were able to maneuver back to them. Babies whose parents routinely suppressed their cries tended to sit and wait to be rescued. ***This alone is HUGE motivation for me as I want deeply for my children to be self sufficient and problem solvers.***
- "Crying for some children seems to be an art form, despite the fact that he is nurtured, loved and cared for with great devotion and intensity. Some babies have a greater propensity to cry, especially when being put down for a nap. This is not a signal that their basic needs are not being met but of the fact that some babies have a disposition to cry that we wish they did not have!"

Armed with these thoughts and a new motivation, I decided to start sleep training Carson on Tuesday. I go back to work in 3 weeks and it's important to me that he's in a better, more predictable, sleep routine. I don't do well with the unpredictability of his days now and I think kids of all ages thrive with structure. I reached out to some friends that also used Babywise to get some advice. You have to love friends that care enough to walk you through stuff like this and check on you along the way. My friend, Bethany, recommended this projection/noise machine that she used with her daughter. I told Bethany that she is my parenting advice soul mate. We worked together when Miles and her son were younger. We share many of the same thoughts on parenting and walked through many phases together. I bought the noise machine the very next morning. He can't seem to follow the projection yet, but I think the noise is making a huge difference.

The Babywise routine goes like this...bottle, then some play/awake time, then he goes down for a nap in his crib while he is still awake. The goal of Babywise is to teach children to fall asleep on their own, and get themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of nap time or night time. Carson really enjoys play time. He plays on his stomach and his back.

Our first day to begin the sleep training was Tuesday and it was awful. I started it later in the day, which is also his fussy time, and he cried two times for an hour each before falling asleep. I went in every 15 minutes or so to give him his pacifier, pat him, and make sure nothing was wrong, like a dirty diaper or too hot or cold. It literally turned my stomach to listen to him cry. Plenty of people feel the 'cry it out' method is heartless, but trust me, it's the farthest thing from it. It broke my heart. I just believe so strongly that it's for his good, so I push through it. I was very happy to finally look on the monitor and see him fast asleep.

Yesterday, he only cried for 30 minutes two times. Progress! Another time he got directly in his car seat to go get Miles from school. That is never a problem for him. Surprisingly, he goes right to sleep after his last feeding of the day around 9pm, and his middle of the night feeding.  I was really happy to see him asleep with his arms so relaxed to the side one time yesterday. We are also trying to ween him from his swaddle during the day b/c I don't think that's a feasible option at daycare. He's plenty big enough to regulate his body temperature now.

Today, he is 2 for 2 with NO crying! I am amazed and relieved and also hesitant to get too excited yet. I'm reminded that sleep training doesn't take long if you are consistent. It's brutal, but the hardest period is brief. I've learned a few things with Carson. First, a monitor makes it worse. We didn't use a monitor with Miles. Now that we have one, I find myself looking at it all the time, he asleep? moving? about to wake up? The slightest whimper sounds like a harsh cry. I'm trying to turn the monitor off during the day as long as I can still hear him as I move around the house. I've also learned that if he's crying and I know there is nothing wrong, to stay busy and get things done around the house rather than just listen to him cry. It's too hard and minutes feel like hours. Lastly, he needs to be sleepier when I lay him down than Miles needed to be. Carson seems to enjoy wake time and being around people more than Miles. Miles was content to sit in a bouncy seat, but Carson likes his activity mat much more. He fights sleep big time. I've started letting him stay up a little longer and then holding and rocking to relax him before laying him down.

While he's doing a much better job of going to sleep, staying asleep is a different story. He is the ultimate cat napper. But, that is a fight for another day. Our first goal is learning to fall asleep. Staying asleep will be our next challenge. If he wakes up before I think he should, I try to let him go back to sleep on his own. If he doesn't I check on him and give him a pacifier. If that still doesn't work, I let him get up. He's been napping while I'm writing this and he's woken up and gone back to sleep on his own 3 times.

It hasn't been a fun week, but it has been productive. I feel so strongly about teaching my boys to sleep, so I'm willing to put in the work. I think it's essential for their growth, behavior, and health, both physical and emotional.  I've been doing a lot of praying this week. Obviously there are much more pressing issues than sleep training, but one of my favorite thoughts is that God cares about what we care about. Right now, I care a lot about teaching Carson to sleep. It is so important to me that he knows how to sleep when I drop him off at daycare in 3 weeks. The verse I've been repeating in my head is Psalm 5:3 "In the morning oh Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." So, I'm praying and waiting in expectation for Carson to figure out this sleep thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up

Just a few quick pictures from our weekend. It was a busy one and momma is tired! I just laid Carson down and I need to get a few hours of sleep before it's time to feed him again. These days he goes to sleep about 10pm, wakes up between 1-2am to eat, and then sleeps until around 6am. I think that's pretty good for 10 weeks old, but it won't hurt my feelings when he starts sleeping through the night. I actually enjoy my time with him in the night, but I'm also very tired. Night after night of interrupted sleep is beginning to catch up with me.

Friday was Grandparents' Day at school. Miles was happy to have Granny & Pa...

...and Marmee there...

We had volleyball games on Thursday and Friday night. We won one and lost one.

Miles has been asking me to get to the car line early so he can come over during recess and talk to me. I had to get there at 2pm to be at the front of the line, which was close enough for him to talk to me. The line doesn't even start moving until 2:55pm. There are parents that do that everyday. Why in the world? I get there right at 2:55pm and it takes between 5-10 minutes to get through the line.

I decided to do it once for him b/c it's another one of those things I can't do when I'm working. It made him happy. He brought all of his friends over and even introduced me to his girlfriend, Adalyn. She's in the yellow shirt on the right. Oh my.

We let Miles pick out a new jersey for football season. He chose a Panthers' jersey...Cam Newton.

Miles spent the night with Granny & Pa on Friday night and went fishing with Pa on Saturday morning. He's been asking to do that for a while. When we picked him up, we surprised him with a new bike. He's learned to ride really well. That's the first thing he does almost every afternoon when we get home from school. We bought his current bike used and one of the handle brakes doesn't work. Since he's enjoying it so much, we thought a new bike would a good purchase.

When we told him we had a surprise for him, his first guess was that I was pregnant. A bike probably seemed like such a let down. Poor kid, reality never matches his expectations.

Carson got to meet two of his great Aunts. Darrin's Aunt Lynda...

...and his Aunt Brenda. They are his mom, Glenda's sisters. Yes, Brenda, Lynda, and Glenda.

Carson loves to hold my hand.

He was crying in the car on the way home from Darrin's parent's house. As soon as I climbed in the back seat and put my arm around him, he grabbed my finger and went right to sleep. I've never seen a kid like this.

We had an exciting night. Our church voted with a standing ovation to purchase a piece of property in our county. Right now, we are a satellite campus that meets in a middle school. We began meeting in January of this year and already average around 600 people every Sunday morning. This church has been an unbelievable blessing to us and is undoubtedly part of God's plan for moving us here. I'm excited to watch our children learn what it means to follow God in this church.

That's our weekend. Time to catch a quick catnap before Carson wakes up. Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A New Plan & Carson's Two Month Check Up

Last weekend, I flipped out while Darrin was out of town and jerked the TV out of Miles' room. While that sounds very dramatic, I actually kept my composure. On the inside, I was completely flying off the handle. Not getting to watch a TV show at night is always our go to punishment. Threatening to take the TV out altogether is used for desperate times.

It's been our routine for a while that Miles gets to watch TV for 30 minutes before he goes to bed. We set the timer on his TV and when the TV turns off he's supposed to go to bed. Lately, the routine just hasn't been working. And since that is our standard punishment for everything, I feel like I spend way too much of my day talking about taking away his TV show. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes Miles lose his mind like not getting to watch TV at night. While something that cuts that deep is a good punishment, it didn't really seem to be deterring him much for poor behavior. He did get his show taken away occasionally and the TV has been removed before, but again, this form of punishment didn't seem to be making him think about his behavior on the front end. I finally got sick and tired of talking about the TV show and decided the TV was causing way more trouble than it was worth.

At first, the plan was to keep the TV out for a week. But then I realized something...having the TV out of the room was such a relief for me and he was going to bed way better without it. I did not want to put it back in, so we came up with a new plan. We put his TV in the sun room. The sun room is right off of our living room, but there are french doors, so it can be closed off. In essence, it's like having another TV room.

We rearranged the room to accommodate the TV. I didn't want the TV to be a big focal part of the room, especially since I never really wanted a TV in there at all.

Miles still has a table in there to play games, work on puzzles, build Legos, etc.

He watched some TV on Sunday afternoon and loved it. He loved laying on the couch. As of now, he says he likes the TV better in the sun room than in his room.

I'm pleased with the new set up and I think it's going to reduce a lot of arguments and melt downs. Darrin is gone a lot at night right now and I'm left to deal with the bedtime routine that hasn't been working for a while.

So our new plan goes like this. Snack & brush teeth between 8-8:15. In bed at 8:15 with a book. He gets to read for 15 minutes at which time his clock alarm goes off. Then, he turns off his light and goes to bed. We've only been doing this for three nights, but all three nights have worked perfectly. This morning I told him that I was proud of him for going to bed so well last night and he said "I like it" meaning the new routine. Be still my heart. I've been wanting to encourage reading more with him, but have been having a hard time finding the time to fit it in. I went to the library on Monday and checked out 20 books for him. He read one last night and was able to tell me all about it this morning. It seems with kids that it's always about chasing a new routine or a new plan until it doesn't work anymore and then it's onto something new. I really hope this routine is here to stay for a long while.

In other news, Carson had his two month check up today.  I fed him while we waited on the doctor. He was very happy with his full belly. He weighed 9lbs 3oz and measured 20.5" long. He has almost made it onto the growth chart in both areas, but is closer in weight.

He wasn't as happy while she examined him. He didn't cry until she pushed on his belly a little. I talked to the doctor at length about his stomach. He is still pooping 10-15x a day. Today, he projectile vomited twice. It sounds like the situation is dire, but he still looks good and shows no signs of dehydration. She took a stool sample to check for a bacterial or viral infection. We should the results in the next day or two. If everything comes back negative, we will talk about formula again. I'm not worried, but I just don't like to see him in pain or unhappy. I'm trying to keep things in perspective. He was perfectly happy and healthy for the first 8 weeks of his life. This rough patch has only been for the last week. I'm actually hoping it's a virus that is about to go away so that we can get back to the formula he was on when he was doing so well. Having to play guessing games with different types of formula doesn't sound like fun.

At two months...he started smiling just yesterday. He's been close for a while, but he definitely smiled several times yesterday. 

He loves to be snuggled in soft blankets. He buries his face in them in a scary way. 

He loves tummy time. If his stomach isn't bothering him, he is very content to lay like this. We don't let him sleep on his belly in his crib, but I let him nap on his tummy during the day when I can keep an eye on him.

He's still as sweet as ever. I'm hoping we get his stomach issues settled soon so he can feel better. It's clear he doesn't feel great right now. I'm glad I still have a few weeks at home to work with him if we have to test some different formulas. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

2 Months

Carson is 2 months old today!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up

Since I'm still on maternity leave and weekdays and weekends are somewhat the same for me, minus Miles being in school, I would say that our weekend started on Thursday. Darrin left to go out of town that morning and my mom came up that afternoon to stay for a few nights. Thank goodness she was here b/c it was a l-o-n-g weekend.

The weekend started with a trip to the doctor for Carson. On Monday, he started having diarrhea off and on. Wednesday night it got much more frequent. Since he's still so young, the doctor said to bring him in. I had to pick Miles up a little early and head to the appointment.

It was a quick visit. She said he looked good. We aren't sure if it's a virus or possibly a milk allergy. I lean towards virus, but she told us to switch to a soy formula so we could rule out a milk allergy. The plan is to use this formula until his diarrhea stops and then switch to Similac Sensitive. He was on Similac Neosure, but she said we could be finished with that. If his stomach starts acting up again, we will know that he has a milk allergy. I didn't love this solution b/c I really felt like it was a virus, but I couldn't not take her advice. He started the soy formula on Thursday and continued to have runny diarrhea all weekend. Thank goodness my mom was here to help with changing diapers. I have NEVER changed that many diapers in my life. Sometimes he would go 2-4 times in an hour span. It was exhausting. He has continued to eat, which is great news so he doesn't get dehydrated. Lots of baby wearing occurred this weekend. #momlife

Putting on make up...

Just chilling on the couch. Sitting without the wrap was not good enough for this demanding little baby. The wrap is like magic.

I may or may not have been walking up and down the driveway wearing Carson last night at 7:30.  Miles did his part to help keep him happy.

Miles had a baseball game on Thursday night. He did a really good job. He started the game at short stop and then moved to right field. He made a couple great throws and also got two singles. My mom was nice enough to stay home with Carson. Taking him was not an option with the diaper situation.

I was able to sneak away on Friday morning to go to a doctor's appointment. Marmee is determined that nothing will happen on her watch. I came home to find her resting with the monitor on her chest.

I was also able to surprise Miles for lunch since my mom could watch Carson. He's been wanting me to come, but I am not taking Carson to the germ factor, also known as school. He was so happy to have me there. He kept hugging me and smiling so big. He melts my heart. I also took some selfies with a few friends' children and sent them to their moms. I love when people do that for me. Nothing like getting a picture of your kid while you are at work.

My mom left around noon on Saturday. I was completely worn out from the weekend with Carson. He required so much care and attention. Miles and I filled the rest of our day with movies. I'd say Miles enjoyed movie day. This kid lives the life.

Carson has been a little better today. The diahrea has subsided some, but he's been extremely needy tonight. He has his two month check up on Tuesday. When we went last week, we had to see the on call doctor. I'm anxious to talk to his regular doctor. I don't think there is anything wrong with Carson, but something is bothering him and I can't figure it out. He has times that he is completely inconsolable, usually 1-2x a day. We just didn't deal with this at all with Miles, so I don't know how much is normal. Sometimes I think he's just tired or hungry, or maybe he has gas. Sometimes it seems to go beyond gas and feels more like pain. I feel like he's uncomfortable more than what is normal. I just want to be sure that we aren't missing something. I'm anxious to see his doctor this week.

Today was practically a holiday in our house. It was the first Sunday of NFL football. Miles looked up all the games and arranged the helmets. All three of us picked the teams we wanted to win. Miles is keeping up with who has the most picks with wins.

We are introducing Carson early to our love of football. "Train up a child in the way he should go" know?!?

Carson is so close to smiling. I think I almost captured one here.

Darrin and I both had exhausting weekends for very different reasons. Miles and I went to church this morning, while Darrin stayed home with Carson. Since we aren't sure what he has, we decided to keep his germs at home. We also moved our small group to another house. If he does have a stomach virus, no one wants it! I was sad to cancel small group here b/c I love seeing everyone, but it was for the best. We chilled most of the afternoon. I did manage to get a few things done around here, which is necessary since Carson doesn't let me do much during the day. Darrin is going to take care of the 10:30pm feeding so I'm off to bed to get a few hours of sleep before McFussy Pants, our nickname for Carson, is up to eat in a few short hours. Even though he's super needy and oh so fussy, all three of us love him to pieces. He is such a sweet and cuddly baby. We have a busy week ahead with doctor's appointments, baseball games, volleyball games, company...and the list goes on. Hope everyone has a great week!