Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thank You Cards

What did my giveaway winner get?

Take a look:

In this season of thanksgiving and my theme for my giveaway being "Thankful" for all that has happened over the last 5 years, I couldn't think of a better gift than Thank You cards. I haven't made cards in a while so I really enjoyed being crafty again!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I have so much to be thankful for. I've recapped some of the things in this post a few weeks ago. But on Thanksgiving Day, I was thankful for different things. Things that can go unnoticed if I'm not careful. Having a middle of the week day off helped to open my eyes to them.

The day began like a Saturday. Woke up early with William (so thankful he seems to have adapted to 6 a.m. instead of 4 or 5 a.m.!), had breakfast, played and got him ready for the morning nap. Just like every other day. But this day was quiet. The streets were empty. There wasn't anything that had to get done. We read our Bibles and prayed. Lovely.

When William woke up, we headed out on our morning walk - this time Walgreens to take advantage of their sales. Yes, I still stock up on toiletries on Thanksgiving/Black Friday. No crowds. Peaceful walk. Again, Thankful.

After lunch and the afternoon nap, we headed to Oakland to visit Chris's cousin, Trent and his wife, Lisa. They have a wonderful home and invite us often. This was their first time hosting Thanksgiving and decided it would be just us joining them. Dinner was incredible! The conversation much more focused/intimate than our traditional Thanksgiving meals. It was lovely, and I was again, so thankful. This holiday is normally a little chaotic. Lots of people, lots of conversations, too much food. And with William trotting around and exploring everything these days, that would be less than ideal. This year, it was just what we needed. (But yes, we did miss seeing our families!)

Sammy, the dog entertained William for the majority of our evening. William grabbed his toy, Sammy grabbed it back and so on. I was so thankful for how well William did that day. He also loved the piano, the magazines, and gourds. 

And look how cute he was in his little fall outfit! My Little Man.

We headed back home to get William to bed and I worked on some photo stuff and Chris headed over to play games with some friends. It was a very enjoyable day. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Noise

It's hard to focus.
The diapers are in the washing machine,
the dishwasher is running. Baby sleeps.
The man outside tries to break up concrete without power tools*--
boom. boom . . . boom.

Please Lord, let the Baby sleep.

Traffic speeds by. Cars honk.
Buses beep as the stairs are lowered.
Men yell. Dogs bark. Everyday. All Day.

It's hard to focus.
The noise . . .  oh, the noise.

We've lived in this busy city for nearly 4 1/2 years. And only when I started to work from home did I realize how busy, and noisy it really was. It never stops. Often we see and hear a dozen emergency vehicles drive by before the day's end. As I sit in my warm home with my cup of cocoa, I can't quite calm down to listen to the One I want to hear, the noise is just too loud.

My devotional this morning was a perfect fit. If I stop to think about the to-do list or the things I want to do this weekend (so thankful it's Friday!), my heart starts to race a little. I need to calm down. I need to sit at Jesus' feet, even if it can only be for a moment.

Take a moment with me and contemplate this passage with me:
Martha and Mary -- Luke 10:38-42
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

*Okay, he was not really trying to break the concrete, but that is what it looked and sounded like outside my window!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

And the Winner is . . .

Congratulations to Sheryl B. for winning my giveaway! 

Thank you to all who participated in my giveaway, I really enjoyed reading your responses! I'm so very thankful for all of my readers and hope the next five years prove to be just as blog-worthy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, to go make those cards!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Breastfeeding Chronicles

This is mostly for my own sake of remembering how nursing went for William and I. But I'm sharing it here as well, because as I have discovered, many people do struggle with nursing and knowing you are not alone is helpful.

From day 1 nursing was a challenge. William latched fine, but my milk seemed slow to come in. It was my understanding that this was normal, but William lost too much weight so the nurses asked that we begin formula on day two or three (see, I already can't remember!) I started pumping that same day, after every feeding. William liked to sleep when snuggled up close which made getting a full meal difficult. Chris would finger-feed and tube-feed to give me a break (in hopes of not going through nipple confusion during the first few weeks). Those first few weeks are really a blur. There was a lot of feedings, almost every two hours (not every 3-4 like the books say) and pumping afterwards.

After a month, I had a follow up meeting with the lactation consultant who recommended that to get my supply up, I do interval pumping for an hour before bed. 12-minutes on/12-minutes off. I did this for a week and William gained weight. I took that to mean I should keep doing the interval pumping and did so every single day for 12 months. I was also pumping at least one more time during the day, often twice. By William's first birthday, I was so ready to be done with my pump.

From 1-4 months old, I would nurse him at night and then either Chris or I would top him off with a 2-4 oz bottle. We did this 3 or 4 times a night. At four months old, we needed to make a change to his night feedings. We just couldn't go on like this. So, we gave him two or three 4 oz. bottles each night (almost half of his daily intake) and I stopped nursing him at night. But I would still get up once during the night and pump to avoid being engorged.

At 6 months, we attempted to sleep train, but it didn't take. So, we went back to the nightly feedings until he was 9 months old. There was a point where we thought he was just so hungry we fed him three 6 oz. bottles a night! (18 oz was more than half of his daily intake!) Thank goodness, at 9 months, the sleep training clicked!

William also went through a phase of resisting me right around six months old. I would attempt to feed him but he would arch his back and detach almost immediately - which hurt so very much. My pediatrician said he may be self-weaning and it was okay if I wanted to stop. I didn't think that was really what was going on so I continued. Eventually, he stopped behaving this way and nursing seemed to finally become "normal" We had three feedings each day, usually after he woke up from his naps when he was most cuddly. We also offered a bottle during each wakeful period before he went back to sleep to ensure he was not still hungry.

So my day went something like:
 - 5 a.m. = nurse
 - 7 a.m. = breakfast of cereal and fruit
 - 8 a.m. = small bottle
 - 8-10 a.m. = nap time
 - 10 a.m. = nurse
 - 11:30 a.m. = lunch of veggies and bread
 - 12 p.m. = small bottle
 - 12 - 2 p.m. = nap
 - 2 p.m. = nurse
 - 4 p.m. = large bottle
 - 4-5 p.m. = third nap if I was lucky!
 - 5 p.m. = dinner
 - 6:30 p.m. = large bottle
 - 7 p.m. = bedtime!

William is such a snacker! He really has never been into large meals or feedings and that continues to be the case even now as we are in the process of weaning and eating 100% solid foods. This schedule seemed to stick and from 7 months to 12 months, nursing was actually a joy.

After his one-year check up, we got the okay to end the bottles and breastfeeding and introduce cow's milk. We are taking it slow. Over the last month, we have cut the bottles down to one bedtime bottle with formula and nursing once in the early morning. He caught on to the straw cup fairly easily and didn't refuse the cow's milk, although he still isn't drinking the volume that he needs.

It has been such a long up-and-down road with feeding William. Some days I was an emotional and exhausted wreck. Other days weren't so bad. I felt awful for having to use formula, both for the expense and the immunities he wasn't getting. But no matter what I tried, my supply was just never enough.

I grew up on a farm and every lambing season we would have at least 1, if not 14 bottle-fed lambs. Sometimes it was my job to mix their formula and feed them . . . so often I remembered that while mixing William's bottle. They smelled the same! (Eww.)

I'm so glad William is a healthy, strong, little boy. I'm thankful I was able to continue nursing for a year. But it wasn't easy and I often wanted to give up. And when the time finally came for weaning, guess who finally learned how to sign "milk"?

Weaning has also been challenging and I often doubt my decision, just as I doubted my decision to continue nursing. But I know this is what I need to do for us now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fall Fun

October was a full month! William and I had a lot of fun with all of the Halloween/Fall Harvest activities.

Earlier in the month, Chris, William and I ventured over to Noe Valley (a neighborhood just a few streets over) to check out their Fall Harvest Pumpkin Patch. It was really a whole street fair with live music, food and booths up and down the block, but we hung out with the pumpkins for the most part. It was a really wonderful family day. It was warm, relaxed and a lot of fun.  And most of our friends with kids were there too! Bonus!

The other bonus was the free pumpkin! I didn't want to risk introducing William to paint for the first time while at the event, so we waited until we got home to put his mark on it. 

Last Wednesday, two other moms and their littles met me at the pumpkin patch! Now that William is walking, going places like this are a lot more fun - but also a lot of work! The kids had fun poking the pumpkins (and throwing them-- oops!), playing in the hay and wandering all over the place. 

And then Friday was Halloween! I typically don't do anything for Halloween, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see friends and have a little fun dressing William up! This year, he was Old McDonald, and I was his pig. Unfortunately, in the process of showing him my costume, he ripped my snout and I didn't have time to repair it before the party... this was the only photo I got of the two of us (sorry for the poor quality, had to share it anyway).

Cutest Mama Lion and her cub!

William didn't know what to do with himself at the block party we attended with our friends. Candy was of no interest to him (thankfully), but following the little Fireman around sure was fun! And so was flirting with the 9 month old strawberry!

This little red tricycle captured his attention for a while, until it's owner came by and saw William looking in the "trunk." (it was empty.) Again, now that he is walking, going out like this proves keep me on my toes and allows for very few finished conversation. Everyone was really friendly and it was great seeing all the creative customs! We only stayed for an hour in hopes of keeping to William's routine.

And with that, it's all of a sudden November! William is 13 months old and on the go, all of the time!