Tuesday, September 24, 2013

18 months

18 months

To Olen Ray, 

18 months, yep, 18 months and you have turned into a little boy for sure. I definitely dropped the ball on keeping your updates going over the past few months.  We’ve just been so busy hanging out together and learning new things (you - new words EVERY day, me - how to be a mom to a toddler), I haven’t had a chance to sit down and update the blog. You know what? I am okay with that at this point.  I’ll remember all those fun times over the past few months and after the blog is read a few times, it will be forgotten.  

Now, on to the fun stuff, all about what you are up to these days.

We just had your 18 month check up and you weighed 28 lbs 8 ozs while measuring 33 1/2 inches tall.  You are in the 60% for height and 90% for weight, staying strong with those percentiles over the past few months. I can really tell you are getting taller by looking at your clothes.  I had to hem all your shorts earlier this spring because they were WAY too long, but now they are starting to look too short. I am hoping I can let the length out so you can wear them next summer since most of the tags read 24 months or 2 T.  You are pretty consistent with those sizes across the board, 24 month tops and bottoms. There are a few 3 T pajama sets thrown in the mix and still some 18 month shirts here and there.  The shoes are the the clothing item that are giving us the issue.  Can your foot really grow that fast?  Right now you are wearing a 7, but it’s hard to find shoes that fit well with enough room across the top to avoid leaving marks on your foot.  Your chunkiness goes all the way down to your toes, and I love every bit of it :-) We have two pairs of shoes getting us through, some blue and orange stride rites and a pair of old sandals. You could care less though and happily pick out a pair to go out and play every day.  It’s pretty cute because I bought some new (well used) Merrills for you and you love to put them on and walk around the house.  No fights in the clothing department yet, you pretty much wear what I suggest.  Unless of course a diaper change is thrown into the mix, then we have to negotiate with vitamins and yogurt drops. Yep, thats right, I bribe you to lay there with snacks. I got tired of having to pop your little thigh for every diaper change to keep you safe (well keep you somewhat close to being on the diaper changing table) and you are much happier with the current arrangement. 

Speaking of snacks, you still love to eat. Of course you love all the fun little snack packages with yogurt-covered raisins, craisins, goldfish, fruit snacks, and crackers that we try to save for walks and weekend outings.  Manufacturers of foods are getting really good with marketing these things, I only wonder what will be around when you are picking out foods for your kid one day.  At home, we stick to fruit, string cheese, and yogurt for snacks most days.  You LOVE a popsicle (yogurt freeze or pedia-lite pop) after getting hot outside though.  Let me tell you, we have had more temper tantrums over popsicles than anything else I think.  I did discover that some of the ones your Maw-Maw brought you had a lot of red dye in them, since I stopped giving you those, the tantrums seem better.  Coincidence? Maybe? Maybe not?  During meals you are always willing to try new foods, even if you don’t take another bite. Your first choice is always meat (with dip of course) and noodles.  Green beans, sweet potatoes, fried okra, cooked carrots, olives, and onions are favorites in the veggie department. Are all of those even considered veggies?  Bread is a staple for you and dinner is usually ended with some applesauce and playtime with daddy using animal cookies.  You still drink from your straw cup (water or water with a little juice) and we are working on milk. It isn’t a favorite, but you take some at the babysitter’s house when the other “big boys” are drinking it.  We pray to Jesus before each meal and you hold your hands, say some jibarish, followed by “Amen”.  Yes, my heart melts every time. 

In regards to milk, you stopped nursing right as you turned 17 months.  I offered for a few days still but you would look at me and say “milk”, then “no”, and ask to get down or read your books. It was a little sad, but our nursing journey was great and I have no complaints. We have been giving you some formula at night before bed to help with sleep and make sure you are getting enough calcium since your milk intake is low. We have transitioned that formula from a bottle to a spout/sipper cup without any hesitation from you over the past week. Guess we will work on making the switch to milk next. 

Say what? Say anything is pretty much what your rule is.  Over the past month you have started putting 2-3 words together and you can really carry on a conversation.  In the mornings, I am greeted with “mommy”, then you ask for “daddy”, tell me “daddy work”, lay back down and say “mommy bye-bye” and “night night” as you pretend to sleep again. I pick you “up” and you say “heaby (heavy)” because you are getting heavy.  Then when I lay you down for a diaper change, you kindly ask for “biamin (vitamin)”, “jus one”, and “bue (blue)”, followed by “yodut dops (yogurt drops)”, “fee (three)” when the vitamin is gone.  We chat about what you want for breakfast, “badel (bagel), “oatmeal”, “nana”, “fuit tup (fruit cup)” and anything else you have on your mind.  Each morning we check on “Baiwey (Bailey)” and “Aye-Aye” or “Addie” the cat.  You still love to call cats “meow” and it is so cute.  I could go on and on about the things you say because I really am impressed with your speech, I wonder why?  Some of the funny things you say are “woo doddy (woo doggy)”, “up and down”, “right dere (right there - there is a two syllable word in case you are wondering)”, “deer pettin (petting)”, “hahaha funny”, “John Deere”, “tank-oo (thank you)”, and pretty much anything you want us to do. It’s fun to watch you learn other people’s names as well and you are pretty good at remembering them. 

You walk around the house pretending to be a bear or a chicken or dancing the booty-booty dance.  Now its your goal to get us to do it so you will say “mommy”, “bear”, “right dere” while pointing to spot on the floor.  You love to ride your daddy’s back around the house and play hide-n-seek anywhere.  You can name a ton of animals and their sounds in pictures, books, or at the zoo.  Counting is fun for you and we have even heard you count from 1-10 a few times.  You know what “one” and “two” is for sure as you pick things, hand them to me, and say “two”.  Books, cars, tractors, blocks, play food, animals, tools, lizards, frogs, bugs, worms; the list of things you like to play with is endless. Yes, I mean live lizards, frogs, bugs, and worms. A big rattlesnake was the most recent topic of animal discussion as your dad killed one in front of our driveway, 66” long. It was a little hard to explain to you that you couldn’t “pettin” the snake, but I think you are starting to understand.  Each day, we walk down the side path to throw corn out for the deer and check the game camera. You love it and really love it even more when daddy is home to go.  Just yesterday you refused to go with me because daddy was at work, and you relayed your message quite well with words. 

A little farm hand you are with shoo-ing the chickens, checking for eggs, and hauling limbs into the woods.  Helping daddy with his “tools” is at the top of your fun list and super cute I might add.  Any outside activity is right up your alley.  A new found adventure is playgrounds! It works out well as the weather is starting to cool off so we try to stop by them for a bit when in town. 

Ms. Elaine “Mimi” is still your babysitter and she is wonderful. We are so thankful to have her and she takes great care of you 2-3 days a week while I work.  Some days you cry a bit when I drop you off, which really tugs at my heart, but you calm quickly as soon as breakfast is served. You nap on a nap-mat there just like the big boys and play well with the huge selection of toys.  She just started to keep a baby as well and you are fascinated with “baby A-vee (Avery)”.  

Speaking of babies, you are going to be a big brother soon. I am pretty sure you have no clue what that means, but you can point to my belly when asked “where is the baby?” and are pretty sweet to other babies now.  I am sure you two will be great playmates, it just might take a few months of adjustment - for both me and you.  

Let’s see, you can tell people your name and how old you are.  You sleep from 8:00 to 8:00 most nights, sometimes more or less depending on how much you have played the day before.  Naps are down to one, which makes scheduling things A LOT easier on me.  You normally go down for your nap around 12:30/1:00 and sleep for 2-3 hours.  I really can’t complain about your sleeping anymore, glad that has changed.  Our morning walks have turned into both of us walking for the first part, yes, it takes a while longer, but it is fun to watch you explore, learn, and chat about the things you notice.  You have a great memory and know where everyone (and dogs) live along our route.  Riding in the carseat goes well for most trips thanks to “Mick Mouse” movies on the Ipad.  Your favorite movies have animals and singing; we try to limit the TV time to 30-60 minutes per day.  I usually cook dinner during your “moo-moo (movie)”. You run everywhere, climb on anything, and try to drive all things that could possible resemble any sort of vehicle.  Gosh, this update is getting really long! Of course, you are doing so many more things since 12 months, crazy how much changes in 6 months. Oh, you love to dance and sing at church during worship, but HATE the nursery there. We are going to have to work on that I think. 

The best part is just playing and talking with you.  Your “daddy” and I have so much fun with you each and every day. Yes, our world does revolve around you right now, but in a good way, a fun way, a joyful way.  We find so much joy in spending time together as a family and I thank God for our little family EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Your smile still brightens a room and you have a way of warming the hearts of others.  Everyone loves you, your laugh, your animals dances, your words, your hugs, and your kisses.  I pray that you continue to show people how to smile, laugh, and play each day.  Life is short and we need to live it to the fullest, something you do every day. Your joy radiates Olen Ray, your love for us is unconditional, your happiness brings tears to my eyes, and your kindness warms my heart. There are times when you stop playing, but your hands on my cheeks, look into my eyes, smile, and say “mommy”.  You make me a better person, a better wife, and a better mommy.  Thank you for being you and teaching us so much. Keep on growing (just slow it down a bit would ya?), stay strong, stay healthy, and stay sweet.  Hang on to that joy in your heart. I know Jesus put it there for you to share.  

Love, Mommy and Daddy (because you have moved on from Mama and Dada)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baby Bits - The First Year

I guess it is about time for me to share some bits of knowledge that so many people kindly shared with me as a first time mom.  If I could remember who told me what, I would gladly give you acknowledgment, but we all know that you give your baby your brain when you give birth, so "thanks to everyone" will have to suffice. Some things are just tips I discovered as well.  So, here we go, just a few things that helped me out in the first year.   If I had time I would include cute pictures by each number, but then you would never get the list. My friend Katie has several blog posts with tips as well, so check out God's Little Grace    after you scroll through this list. There are other things for sure, maybe I will add some tips for the second year once Olen Ray turns two? We shall see :-)

  1. Vaseline - cover that newborns soft bottom in the stuff before the first diaper gets put on. It make wiping off meconium so much easier.  Having to "scrub" your newborns bottom to get that tar-like goupe off is no fun.  So get a big tub of it and cake it on! We still use it now on Olen Ray's bottom to keep him dry if going on a long car ride or if his poop is getting kinda sticky again.  
  2. Sheets and mattress protectors - get as many as you can from yard sales and friends so you can layer on the crib mattress.  I have one mattress protector that is fitted and always stays on the mattress (well I do wash it every now and then).  Then I just put mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet, and on and on until I run out of sheets. When your little one leaves a drool puddle, spit-up stains, or diaper leakage on the sheet in the middle of the night, just pull the top one off and wall-a; baby goes back to bed. You can almost do it with one hand if you have to :-)
  3. Alcohol - no I am not talking about the kind you drink, although some of that is helpful to get you and baby to sleep, just kidding!  When your cute squishy soft newborn comes home with that icky looking umbilical cord still dangling (and they all will), keep some rubbing alcohol handy. The best method for us was to put some in the bottom of a small jelly jar and fill the jar with q-tips.  Then just grab a q-tip and dab it on the site.  Make sure you do this with every diaper change.  We all want our babies to have cute belly buttons so you need to make sure the umbilical cord stays nice and dry and dirt free during the shedding process.  It is super easy this way and you don’t get alcohol all over your hands 10 times a day.
  4. Vaseline - it’s for the boys.  Yes, I know I mentioned this already, but this tip was so helpful for our little guy’s circumcision.  Have you ever tried to get vaseline to stay on top of something slippery?  Well it doesn’t work! Have no fear, you don’t have to put the vaseline on the actual circumcision site, just get a huge dollop of it and stick it on the diaper where it will touch your little man’s goods when you close the diaper.  We used a ton of the stuff each time we changed his diaper.  When you close the diaper cross the tabs over each other to make an “X”.  It puts some extra pressure as well and decreases the comfort as your little man’s body is healing. 
  5. Wipe warmer -  just buy one, need I say more?  
  6. Sound machine - I will be honest, I went back and forth on this one a lot. I didn’t want to get one at first because I thought “my baby is going to sleep anywhere with or without noise” and then I didn’t sleep for like 3 full days and I was willing to try anything.  Just get something with water sounds or something soothing. The brand doesn’t really matter. It has been a life saver for us when traveling.  It makes it so much easier for Olen Ray to sleep in other places because  of his sound machine. The one we have is pretty small so it just goes in his overnight bag, just make sure you get one that you can put batteries in.  There was this one night when the power went out....you can figure out the rest of the story. 
  7. Babywearing - it is a verb, so look it up if you need to and DO IT ALL THE TIME. The more I “wore” Olen Ray in those first few months, the less he cried, the more he slept in the day, so the more he slept at night, which means (and this is the best part) the more I slept at night.  We started with a Moby wrap and I think it is perfect and easy to use with newborns and infants.  We also have an Ergo and a few others now.  If you aren’t going to really do much Babywearing outside the house, I would just invest in a used Moby and Ergo.  They are so versatile and the Ergo lasts forever and can be used with toddlers too.  If you want to know more about carriers, just ask me.  It is one of the things I like to collect!
  8. Pen and Notebook - keep a small one beside your bed where you hope to sleep at night.  Even if you are so tired you can hardly walk, just take 2 minutes and write down a few things from the day. This is so important in the first few weeks. I looked back over those notes a lot to see sleeping and eating patterns which helped me develop a schedule when Olen Ray was ready for one.  You will cherish those notes forever. I even had some crazy moments when I thought something was “wrong” with Olen Ray (Google - you can be so bad!!) and I wrote those things down. It has helped me share things with other moms and know that all those thoughts and feelings are very normal and part of being a new mom. 
  9. Pacifiers - notice that is plural?? Go ahead and get some, and then go ahead and get some more.  We waited until Olen Ray started to suck his thumb to introduce the paci. It has been really nice for him to be able to self-soothe with it.  It was such a great tool when he was little and made it easier for other people to watch him while I was at work as well.  Olen Ray also has a blankie that works great for naps and night time.  Just pick something that can help them be comfortable and start letting them hold it and snuggle with it early on. 
  10. Crib bumpers - don’t get them. They are cute, but you don’t need them. If you aren’t going to co-sleep because of all the blankets and pillows, why put a whole bunch of pillows in the crib with your baby?  Yes, that is totally my personal opinion and feel free to disregard.
  11. Neglectomatic - this term was created and probably copyrighted by my friend Chrissy.  You need one though. It can be a bouncy seat or swing for the infant.  Some type of jumper or excersaucer for the crawler.  You need something at each stage that you can put the baby in why you get something done (specifically like going to the bathroom).  We are not huge fans of contraptions, but it was helpful to just have something else to put Olen Ray in other than laying him on the floor when he was an infant. He enjoyed being more upright and was able to see us better during dinner and chill time.  
  12. Blankets - yes, you really do need a lot of them.  I used blankets for everything when Olen Ray was first born. I changed them out daily!  I wrapped him up in them, laid him on them on the floor, put them on the changing table, put them on my shoulder to catch spit up, used them to wipe up the floor when he did spit up, rolled them up prop him on his tummy, used them to prop toys so he could see them, and of course covered him up when he was cold.  
  13. Burp clothes - see description for blankets.
  14. Bathtime - ever try to give your newborn a bath in the bath hammock thing that comes on baby bathtubs? Well I couldn’t figure it out.  So, I just folded up a large bath towel and placed in on the counter beside the sink.  I got the bathroom really warm and just put Olen Ray there and squeezed a washcloth full of water over him to get him wet, soaped him up, then repeated to rinse. It worked so well! When it was time to wash his hair, I would just hold him under the sink a bit to get it rinsed well.  This was so much easier for me than the baby bathtub.  We only used this method for a few weeks though until he was big enough to sit in the baby bathtub (yes, we do have one), then that things was a lifesaver for like 6 months. 
  15. Nursery rhymes - sing, sing, sing away!  I started to sing to Olen Ray a lot when he went through his fussy time.  He still loves it.  I am so glad I started it when he was little. He can be crying in the car, wiggling on his changing table, whining at dinner, I start singing, and he calms right down, no supplies needed.  No, I don’t have a great voice, but he doesn’t care :-)
  16. Smart phone - No comment. 
  17. Laundry - Now this is something you can save for other people to do when they come over. Everyone always asked “what can I do to help” when they would stop by for the afternoon when Olen Ray was little, they still ask :-) Yes, we do have awesome friends and family. Anyway, always keep the baby’s clothes in separate hamper (I recommend one in the nursery) and have them wash them.  Who doesn’t love to fold baby clothes?  I would also recommend washing the baby’s clothes separate from other clothes. We use a natural soap product, plus it’s easier to find the clothes when you need to find something. I ALWAYS get Olen Ray’s clothes put away. We still have laundry sitting on the floor in our room from two weeks ago.  
  18. The chair - Just make sure you have a comfy place to sit to feed the baby (bottle or breast). You are going to spend A LOT of time there and you want to be comfortable, right? Well, maybe you are a first time mom, but yes, you want to be comfortable. Something with a foot stool is nice and keep a pillow and blanket close by. I just added some that match the nursery, so they stay add for decoration and are quite functional as well. When baby just fell asleep and your arm starts to fall asleep, you can use them to prop up your arm while baby snoozes.  Also, try to throw a colorful quilt or black/white blanket on the back of the chair. When I put Olen Ray on my shoulder to burp (he cried a lot during this process) before he could continue nursing, he helped distract him because he looked at the colors and shapes.  If you have a window in the baby’s room, but the chair by the window to give you something to look at.  Might even be nice to hang a humming bird feeder outside the window or some plants. Olen Ray still loves to look out the window while rocking. 
  19. Books - start reading when they are little!  We started to read to Olen Ray consistently before naps and bedtime when he was about 3 months old. He LOVES books and it is a great for so many reasons, other then the obvious reason of learning. It gives him a chance to snuggle with others, unwind after a busy day or before bed, attend to pictures when he needs to be quiet, and it is just so fun!  I love watching him pick out books.  He has his favorites for sure and we probably spend over an hour a day reading. I mean really reading as in he is sitting quiet and still in my (or dada’s) lap as we read.  
  20. Baby Washcloths - these things are so cheap and so functional. I keep them in his diaper bag, obviously in the bathroom for baths, and in the kitchen. I just keep a drawer in the kitchen with clothes and bibs so I don’t have to run to his room to find them at every meal.  I love having the washcloths for his face and hands after meals. We just use one for the whole day and then throw it into the dirty basket for washing.  It is easier than going through a whole roll of paper towels a week just on your kid.  AND who wants to use the dirty dishrag on your baby?
  21. Hairdryer - just hang one on a hook by the changing station. It is perfect for getting that bottom nice and dry during a diaper change to prevent rashes. If you have a little on that hates diaper changes, sometimes the noise helps too. We have ours hanging so I can turn it on and let the noise calm Olen Ray down if he is having a "no you will not change my diaper" kinda day.  Of course, the hot air should be blowing away from baby in this situation :-)
  22. Sunshine - a daily dose for you and baby is highly recommended. It really brightens up the day even if you can only get out for a few minutes. 
So that is all I can think of for now. Enjoy that baby!  They grow up WAY TO FAST.

Monday, April 22, 2013

13 months

13 months
 To Olen Ray, 

So, I wasn’t going to keep going with the monthly updates. I was thinking it is time to move to yearly updates, but I just can’t do it yet.  I know I never get the updates actually done on time, but you are learning so many new things every day. You have changed so much in the last month.  Let’s face it, you may never have a baby book (other than all these letters on the blog and my chicken-scratch handwritten notes in a notebook) so this is the way for you to recall your childhood.  Hopefully along with a lot of happy memories and we all know there will be a lot of pictures to help you :-)

Okay, now, let the words begin.  Seriously kid, I think you learn a new word everyday and I am now going to take the time to list them all: dowm (down), byebye, dada, mama, ba (ball), ba (bathe), maw-maw (meow meow), muh (moo), mow (more), neigh neigh (horse sound), woo woo (dog sound), k-k-k (cookie), bubu (bubble), pop pop pop (popscicle), baybay (baby), baba (bottle), hey, boo, bu (book), doo-dah-doo (cock-a-doodle-doo), nana (banana), wawa (water), tan-too (thank you). 

You have also started using a few signs, which is so super cute! You will use more, please, all done, open, and sometimes want.  You are really getting good with please and open because it gets you results fast. Just the other day, I put you down after nap time, as in down on the floor, you walked to the door (which was closed) and started to sign open. I opened it for you, you giggle and ran down the hallway to play. It just made me laugh too!

More pearly whites are popping in!  Two more teeth this month, the top two central incisors are shining bright these days.  You even know how to use them and we can tell you to “bite” your food off if you have a big piece.  Yeah, you still love food and now you want big pieces of bread, sandwich, pizza, rolls, etc just like we eat so you can bite it off.  Dip-dip-dip, what a funny thing to watch you hold a piece a chicken with your pincer grasp and dip it into honey mustard then eat it.  The dips extend to ketchup, syrup, and any other sauce we are using. Sometimes you even slip the fingers in for a quick taste test.   Still nursing four times a day and drinking water from a straw cup, so proud of those skills!

You love to run everywhere and when you are awake, you are full of energy.  You keep this mama busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Your dad taught you to do flips so you put your head down between your hands kinda in a crawling position and wait for him to flip you over.  Still love to play on our bed rolling and jumping around.  The word “no” is definitely in your vocabulary and you know what it means. Some days I tell you “no” and you have this dramatic cry/face with your eyes scrunched up and your mouth wide open.  It doesn’t exactly make you happy when I start laughing at you.  You are easily redirected though and the face is gone, although I must secretly admit it is kinda cute. 

Independent, geesh, this word describes you for sure.  You don’t want to hold hands when walking outside even if it means you fall 20 times in 10 feet.  I also didn’t know that 13 month olds could have temper-tantrums, but I am learning that they do. If you want something or want to do something that we can’t do, you cry and sit down with your head down.  These tantrums or “expressions of independence” are becoming more frequent and are usually centered around the snack cabinet. Blog readers - I am sure you can figure that out!  When it is time to go outside, you bring me my shoes and then go to get your shoes. You just got new Keens in the mail and you want to wear them all the time. We finally got a pair of shoes that fits well, yeah!  You also have a little baseball cap (it is camo of course), to keep the sun out of your eyes.  

You still give “love” all day long and have started to give me “kisses” but won’t give them to daddy. I love that of course!  Blankie and paci are your best friends and you would take them everywhere if we didn’t insist that you leave them in your crib.  Yes, that does result in an “expression of independence” at times as well. Fun, fun, fun is what you are baby boy and we are loving every minute of it. Keep us laughing, keep us guessing, and keep teaching us patience Olen Ray.  I need it more than you do :-)

Love, Mama and Dada

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

Happy Birthday, John Deere Tractor Style :-) We had a great time celebrating with family and friends, all 40 of them inside our house because it rained. You loved all the books everyone brought and the pictures tell the cake story I think. The last few pictures are your actual birthday morning. Balloons in bed and a candle in your cinnamon roll! Happy Birthday Olen Ray.