Monday, September 29, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

OK, so 'the worst of times' is overstating it, but times certainly can be tough. It seems that that is the motto of life with a two year old and newborn.
Overall, this was a good week for both boys, but that doesn't mean everything was a breeze. The daytime battles with Jacob subsided a bit this week, which I was very thankful for. He is playing on his own more and is more patient when we waits on me to play with him as well. He still whines a lot when Daddy's around, which is very frustrating. The whining really makes the evenings and weekends more stressful than they need to be. I'm not sure why his demeaner changes so much when Daddy's around. Perhaps he's used to what he gets with Mommy, and with Daddy, it is still up in the air. Who knows. We are also still battling naps and bedtime, usually spending over an hour trying to get him to stay in his bed and sleep. I'm not ready to give up on naptime yet, so the battle will likely continue, for now.

Luke on the other hand had a great week of sleep. We are finally in somewhat of a daytime sleep routine, so by 7pm, I've timed it so he is ready to sleep. Unlike last week, this week he was very easy to put down. He stays down for 7-8 hours too. He still won't take a bottle, but we have made a little progress. I'll keep trying. For now, I just feed him and put him to bed before I go out in the evenings. It makes for a later start to the evening, but you do what you have to do. We did this on Saturday for our 5th anniversay date, and it worked out fine. Luke also took his first swim in the pool this week - and did great. With the hurricane closing the pool for 2 weeks, we didn't have a chance until Saturday. Now the pool is closed for the summer, so I'm glad we were able to go one last time to let him take a swim.

Go here for the rest of this week's pictures.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Do you think we're related?

What do you think? Each of these pictures were taken when the boys were 11 weeks old.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Little Mr. Independent and Mama's Boy

Jacob did the cutest thing yesterday, so I had to share. We were at lunch at Willie's Icehouse with some friends after Bible Study. At some point, Jacob finished his drink, so rather than wait on a waiter to come refill it, he decided to take it upon himself to get more. He picked up his cup and walked up to where the soda fountain was and proceeded to reach his cup up above his head as if he was going to fill it up. It was quite adorable. A passing waitress saw it and asked him what he was drinking. Evidently, whatever he said, sounded like 'water' so that is what he got. He took the cup and very proudly carried it back to our table by the sandbox and said "I more drink, Mommy." Quite the independent little boy.

Luke, on the other hand, showed what a mama's boy he is yesterday. I dropped Luke off at my mom's house so she could watch him while I went to a YMCA class. Apparently, he woke up not long after I left him and proceeded to cry much of the time he was there. My mom tried feeding him (with the bottle, medicine dropper, syringe dropper-all of which were unsuccessful) and since he wanted no part of that, he continued to cry. When I got there and took him from my mom (apologizing for him crying the whole time, I feel so bad when that happens), he quickly stopped crying and lay his head on my shoulder. Soon enough, he was asleep. Once we got home, he woke up and was all smiles. What a mama's boy. It is very sweet, but, like the whole 'no bottle' thing, it is a bit inconvenient too. I know, kids aren't here for our convenience, but it is nice to get away for a little bit. And if the baby is unpleasant when not around his mama...well, no one wants to deal with that. He's normally a very laid back kid...except for when he is hungry or tired. I guess I'll have to chalk this incident up to one of those things...

Monday, September 22, 2008

11 Weeks Old and No Bottle

Luke is now 11 weeks old, and growing bigger everyday. We finally moved up to the size 2 diapers today, another sign that my little guy is quickly moving out of that newborn stage :( (I've had him in 2's at night for a few weeks, but they were still a little big) He weighed in at 13.5lbs on our scale today too, a good 1/2 lb in 2 weeks.
After nearly a week of trying several times a day to get Luke to take a bottle again (he hasn't taken one in weeks and cries incessently when we try to give him one and won't calm down until we quit trying and eventually give in and nurse), I'm getting a little worried. Not worried in the sense that my baby isn't getting enough to eat (look at him, you would never think this little boy goes hungry), but worried that I won't be able to be away from him for more than a few hours at a time for the next several months if we can't re-teach him to take the bottle. We aren't giving up, but so far, things are not looking so good. Hopefully things will turn around soon....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

A long week at home has ended. Because of Hurricane Ike, we did not have school or Bible Study this week, and David didn't work on Monday or Tuesday either. Changing up our weekly routine really caused Jacob to struggle. We had a lot of battles, tears, and time-outs. We will be glad when everything returns to normal next week. We spent a lot of time at home, on walks, at the playground, and simply playing outside instead of driving anywhere because I wasn't interested in waiting in line for gas if I ran out. Thankfully, the 'gas crisis' is over, at least around here.

Luke has struggled with sleep this week. Bedtime at our house is ~7:30pm for both boys, and Luke used to be really easy to put down after his bath and feeding, but it has been a lot harder to get him to sleep lately. We often times spend over an hour on the process. He'll seemingly be asleep in our arms, but shortly after laying him down, he is awake and crying. And he's not a crier, so it is sad to hear. Then, he wakes up at 2am or earlier for his first feeding, then 3 hours (or less) later for another feeding. I know that if we pushed back his bedtime feeding, we might return to only 1 feeding per night, but we like the routine of both boys in bed at 7:30. Hopefully he'll return to the longer stretches of previous weeks soon. In good news, he likes the swing now! We decided to splurge and buy a new swing for Luke (Jacob had a hand-me-down) so I was very upset when he seemed to hate it. He just cried and cried everytime he was in it. We kept trying, and finally he has taken to it and will sleep in there for hours if we let him. He continues to be more and more alert, smiling and cooing in response to people. Very cute.

Jacob continues to amaze us in his knowledge and skills. He makes strides everyday. All of a sudden, he knows his colors. I think he knew them before, but often times was lazy and said the same colors over and over when we would ask him what color something was. He also seems to have 'memorized' all of his 100 books - 'reading' them to himself and us. Amazing. He also loves to do his puzzles, and has mastered those as well, naming the animals, shapes, food, etc as he puts them back together.

Go here for the rest of this week's pictures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike Hits

As I'm sure most of you reading this know, Hurricane Ike hit us early Saturday morning. And with the hit, he took our power. Nearly 3 days later, we got it back. Being without our conveniences was no fun, but nothing in comparison to what so many others are dealing with - including 1.5 million still without power. Thank the Lord, everyone is safe and we had no damage to the house. On Friday night/Saturday morning we did experience some scary wind and rain. Thankfully, the boys slept through most of it. We put Jacob's mattress on the floor of Luke's room and Luke was back in the bassinet in the guest room with us next door to the nursery. Each of those rooms have just one window facing our neighbor's house with a fence just a few feet away, so we figured they would be safest. Plus, the bathroom was right across the hall should a tornado come, we had a place to run to. Thankfully, we didn't need it.
I wish I had taken a few more pictures in our 'hunker down' stage and post-hurricane, but I didn't. I did take several from our time cooped in the house, which is where we have been since Thursday afternoon. Jacob didn't understand all that was going on, which is probably better. He was going stir crazy though. We took a lot of walks and spent all of Monday outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Thank you God for beautiful weather to help all those people without power survive September in Houston without A/C.

Jacob has already fallen in love with school and is missing it this week. He asks about it everyday. I'm not sure all that he is learning at school, but I can already see an improvement in his counting skills. He's also showing he has a great memory-which is both good and bad :)

Luke is doing great, sleeping long stretches most nights and happy most days. We've had a few nights over the past 10 days where he has gotten up twice to eat, but it isn't the norm, so it is ok. Go here for the rest of this week's pictures.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Growing Fast

Luke had his 2 month checkup today and everything looks great. "He's a good-lookin kid" says the pediatrician. Luke weighed in at 13.0 lbs - 75%, measured 22 3/4 in - 50% and his head was 40 cm - 50%. Heavier than Jacob at this same age, 1/2 in shorter, and a much smaller head.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Week of Firsts

We survived and enjoyed our busy week. Jacob enjoyed meet the teacher on Tuesday, his first day of Bible Study as a blue lamb on Wednesday, and his first day of preschool on Thursday. There were no tears, which I was very happy about. On Friday morning, we got ready to go to the gym and Jacob said "No Mommy, I don't wanna go to the gym, I wanna go to school." At least I know he likes it.

Luke is 2 months old and 12.5 lbs (on our scale). We go to the doctor tomorrow for his 2 month checkup, so I'm interested to see his newest stats. Jacob was 12lbs 4.5oz and 23 1/4 in long at his 2 month appointment. I'm guessing that Luke will surpass those numbers, just based on what clothes don't seem to fit Luke that did fit Jacob at this point. We'll see. He seems more alert everyday, smiling and cooing often. After 3 nights of sleeping unswaddled, we went back to swaddling, and haven't looked back. He is sleeping wonderfully, a 6-9 hour stretch each night, which means I only wake once to feed. I'm sure this won't last forever, but I'm enjoying it now.

After 8 weeks in our room, we finally moved his bassinet to the nursery last Monday night. He was just making too much noise when he slept, I wasn't getting very good rest. After a week in the bassinet, we moved him to his crib last night. When Jacob was a baby, we moved him to his room after only a few weeks, and he took naps in there in the first week or two. With Luke, I was worried he would wake Jacob with his cries at night or during the day Jacob would wake Luke from naps when he played. So far, neither seems to be happening, so we are settling in.

David hung some new decorations in both boys rooms over the long weekend, so they are looking great. Go here for the rest of this week's pictures.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Almost Top Ten and an Update

Once again, I'm a day late in my posting...such is life with 2 little ones. We have had several fabulous "Top Ten" weather days this year, but it has been several months since we've had one (good old Houston summers.) And although Saturday probably wasn't considered "Top Ten" it was close - especially since we hadn't had good outdoor weather in so long.
David came up with the great idea to check out the new downtown park, Discovery Green and enjoy the 'cool' morning. So we packed up the car and the kiddos and headed downtown. I know, driving to go to a park sounds silly, but I'm glad we made the trip. The park was really neat and it was so nice to get outside, lay a blanket in the grass, and just enjoy the weather. Jacob enjoyed playing in the fountain, on the playground, and kicking the soccer ball around the wide open spaces. Our friends John, Kasia, and their son Quentin joined us. Overall, it was a great day.
And a quick update on Luke's swaddling sleeping (I could get used to this, but I'm trying not to since, like most things with babies, different phases will change things up before I know it)

Thursday: ate at 8pm, to bed at 8:30pm, up to eat at 3:30am

Friday: ate at 9:15pm, to bed at 10pm, up at 4:30am

Saturday: ate at 7:30pm, to bed at 8:15pm, ate at 5am !!! Wow!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jacob's First Day of School and a Luke is Sleeping!

Today was Jacob's first day of preschool. We were both very excited about it (perhaps me more-so than him). I spent the past few days and especially this morning talking it up. Some people say when you send your kid off to school for the first time, you cry a bit. Now I know they are talking about sending your little one off to kindergarten, but this is school, just less of it. I wasn't even close. I was so happy for him knowing that he was going to have a fabulous time and I was going to enjoy some quiet time without him.
After talking about school all morning, Jacob was a little upset as we pulled into the church parking lot "Mommy, go to school." I assured him that is where we were was at church. He seemed to be ok with that answer and said "Mommy school too?" It was cute. We sat in the car rider line for about 5 minutes this morning and when it was our turn one of the teacher aides whisked him out of his seat and into the building. Luke and I enjoyed our afternoon together and before we knew it, 2:15 was here. Jacob's teacher was the one to put him back into the car and she said he had a fabulous first day. He played well and hard, smiled a lot, ate his whole lunch (no surprise there) and even took a nap without his pacifier on the nap mat. Of course, she didn't say how long he napped, but the point is, he napped. He was very tired this afternoon. He'll have to get used to the long day and shorter nap. I'm sure it will be fine in a couple of weeks. We are excited for next Tuesday already.
A quick note about Luke and sleeping. I decided to go for the Miracle Blanket swaddle - and WOW, what results. Here is what happened the past two nights.

Tuesday: eat at 7:30pm, to sleep at 8:30pm, didn't wake to eat until 2:15am(almost 7 hrs between feedings), and then again at 6:15am

Wednesday: eat at 8:15pm, to sleep at 9:15pm, didn't wake to eat until 4:15am (8 hrs!!) and then again at 8:15am

So, needless to say, I am thrilled with the results. I guess he can go a long time between feedings and sleep well at night - when swaddled. Maybe he needs it a little longer......(and perhaps I'm being a little selfish, loving the long stretches of sleep) I'm continuing to do the no swaddle at naps (which he doesn't seem to do much of unless he is in the car or being held) and we'll revisit the nighttime no swaddle when he protests the swaddle more - which he hasn't done the last 2 nights. I don't have a picture of his swaddled to post now, I'll hopefully grab one tonight.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sleeping and Swaddling Update

When I told David about my plan to break Luke of his swaddling need, he questioned why. He didn't understand why I was so anti-swaddle since it seemed to be working to help Luke sleep (and really helped Jacob sleep as a baby.) I didn't have a good reason that I could explain, I just felt like it was time for Luke to learn to sleep without it. In thinking about it, my reasons may not be the best.
First and foremost, I am succumbing to "the norm" or what I perceive is "the norm" for babies. When I talk with my other mommy friends, most didn't swaddle their babies much past the first week or so, and the rest continued just a little bit longer. They were able to lay their babies down to sleep and they slept. I want mine to have that ability. I want to be in "the norm."
Second, if we are away from home, I want to be able to put my baby down to sleep easily without a swaddling blanket in tow. This wasn't the case with Jacob. Once he was 2 months old, he was too big for the standard receiving blanket, so we bought a Miracle Blanket and it was used for every nap and nighttime sleep until he was 6 months old. If he was to nap or sleep anywhere, he needed that blanket to be swaddled in.
Third, I'm not sure Luke likes it. It seems like a love-hate relationship. Once he is sleepy and swaddled, he's out for the count. But if he is swaddled and not quite sleepy enough or not ready to sleep, he fights big time, grunting, groaning, writhing, and finally crying until he gets himself free. I just don't know if he actually likes it at all.
And finally, it is a pain to 're-wrap' a baby in the middle of the night, which sometimes occurs in addition to feedings. Jacob would often times break out of the swaddle in the middle of the night and would wake up and require re-wrapping in order to sleep. Add these re-wraps to the nighttime feedings and my sleep is sorely affected. Luke is to this point of breaking out of the swaddle often. This leads to one of two things: he needs to be re-swaddled to go back to sleep or he is reminded that it has been awhile since he has eaten and wants to eat then instead of sleeping more. I figure if he learns to sleep without being swaddled, we'll eliminate this problem.
Now, of course, being the googler that I am, I looked up "How long should a baby be swaddled?" today. Although several sites mentioned swaddling only up until 4 months old, I found several "moms" who swaddled longer and were advocates of it. After all, if their child was sleeping great with it, why mess with it? This should be my attitude. After all, he was sleeping great before he figured out how to break out of the swaddle, so if I can figure out how to keep him swaddled (perhaps trying the Amazing Miracle Blanket, which worked great with Jacob until he was 5-6 months old and breaking out of it too), perhaps he'll continue to extend his sleep stretches at night. I guess it is worth a least for another month or two, until he can truly go 8 hours without eating at night. So, I'm going to think about it some more, but what I think I am going to do is to keep Luke un-swaddled at naps and try swaddling with the Miracle Blanket (much harder to break out of) at night. If his sleep stretches continue to extend, I'll stick with it. If not, we'll go back to no swaddling.

By the way, he did pretty good last night without being swaddled. He went 5 hrs between feedings the first stretch, 4 1/2 the second, and only 2 1/2 the third. He did take some time falling asleep each time, but he did it on his own with me sleeping (or trying to) in the next room.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jacob was a busy boy

Jacob had a busy, fun week. He went to a Texans game with Daddy, painted ceramics, went to a birthday party, went to the pool, played with Daddy's cousin Heather, got a haircut, and spent lots of time with Daddy. Daddy took off from work a couple of days and that thrilled Jacob. He is in a "only Daddy' phase right now, which can be tough on David, but is sweet as well. School orientation is tomorrow, Bible Study starts Wed. and school starts Thursday. Jacob will have a great week.
After Luke sleeping wonderfully for more than a week, we had a setback in our sleeping the past several days. We are trying to break him of the need to be swaddled to sleep and it has not been easy. I didn't want to wait too long (like we did with Jacob), but I feel like we already did as he had gotten quite used to it. Hopefully he'll figure it out soon and get back to long sleep stretches. Go here for the rest of this week's pictures.