Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Crazy, Beautiful Life

It seems like these posts are getting fewer and far between - life has been ridiculously crazy recently. There are several reasons for that including: my job, grad school, Ellis, Davis working nights, and being in the process of buying a house.

Thankfully, grad school is almost over, and I am so ready. Just a couple more weeks in this semester and one more class this summer. Also, a portfolio, and then I'm done! Figuring out how to juggle everything in my life with Davis working nights has been difficult; I'm grateful that my professor is totally okay with Ellis joining me in class every now and then. (He even gets to walk around with her and help check classwork sometimes!)

I'm also ready for this school year to be over. It has been a challenging year courtesy of a crazy first semester; it has been increasingly difficult to manage behavior as a result. I don't feel like I've done the best I could, and I'm ready for a fresh start.

To make things even more hectic, we've been in the process of looking for and buying a house. Our current lease is up on May 24, so we ended up in a bit of a time crunch. Luckily we (I) found a house that I fell in love with. Davis hadn't even seen it when we put an offer in (and thankfully he likes it too)! It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom in Lilburn, GA. The kitchen is about twice as large as our current one and has an eat-in dining room. There is also a formal dining room between the living room and kitchen that I anticipate using as a playroom (also for our ginormous fish tank). There's a large shed in the backyard that will be perfect for storing tools and lawn equipment. We even have an attic! My favorite part about the house (besides the fact that it will be ours) is the windows - there are tons of windows, so plenty of natural light. There are even a couple stained glass windows.

It's hard to believe that our sweet little boy is already 6 months old! (I know he's the real reason you read my posts!) He is getting so big and developing quite the little personality. In general he has a happy, pleasant temperament; but if you make him mad, he's quick to let you know. For the most part, he's happy if he has a clean diaper, full belly, and enough rest.

I think I've finally figured out how to get him to nap at home. As soon as he starts showing signs that he's tired (i.e. rubbing his eyes and hollering for no other apparent reason), I lay him down on his belly and either pat his behind, rub his back, or give him a gentle, rocking shake. It usually only takes a few minutes for him to stop being furious that he's on his belly and fall asleep.

We've been trying lots of food with him, and he loves it! Carrots, green beans, bananas, blueberries, kiwi, butternut squash, pears, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, peas, plums, peaches. We're going to try cucumber and grapes later this week. If we get the ok from his doctor on Friday, we'll start trying some meat!

Ellis loves "standing", taking baths, exploring new places, and banging objects together. Our house has gotten a lot noisier in the past couple weeks! He is starting to "talk" a lot more and make more varied sounds (including a "mama" sound). When he wants to be picked up, he'll reach out for you and grab onto your shirt. He is constantly chewing on things. There are no signs that a tooth is coming through any time soon, but he's sure working on it.

Well, Ellis is demanding my attention, so I think we're going to go take a walk in the park!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How Time Flies!

Goodness, it's hard to believe that Ellis is almost 4 months old! He has changed so much in such a short span of time that it's incredible. I guess I knew that there was a lot of development that happens in the first year, but I don't think you truly realize it until you experience it yourself.

At this point Ellis can:

  • Hold and shake toys (He loves rattles - especially the one Pops made for him)
  • Gurgle, coo, and use inflection in those sounds
  • Stands with support (We hold his hands and help with the balancing but he does all of the leg support)
  • Semi-sits with support (He usually ends up face planting between his legs if we don't use our legs to hold him up) (Also, the Bumbo is a great invention!)
  • Rolls from front to back, though this is inconsistent (He hates tummy time at home)
  • Wiggles around in his crib at night, often making 180 degree turns
When we went home (MS/LA) for Christmas, he got completely thrown off his schedule, so we started from scratch again once we got back to GA. I think he was also going through a growth spurt at the same time which means he was hungry all the time. This meant waking up every 2-3 hours to eat when he had previously been going up to 7 hours at a time. I think we have finally gotten back on track this week (despite Snowpocalypse!)

Here's what his schedule looks like:
  • 6:00 I wake, feed, and dress him
  • 6:45 we head to school and he usually catches a 15 minute snooze
  • 7:15 - 4:00 he is at school (with some of the best teachers)
    • 8:30ish - 6oz bottle
    • 9:30ish - nap
    • 11:45ish - 6oz bottle
    • 1:30ish - nap
    • 3:00ish - 6oz bottle
  • 4:00 we head home and he catches another 30 minute snooze in the car
  • 5:00 I feed him and we play until bath time
  • 6:45 bath time (our favorite!)
  • 7:15 he has a 4oz bottle of formula and goes to bed
  • 1:30 he wakes up to eat/snuggle and goes right back to sleep
His schedule at school is my best guess based on the daily reports from his teachers. I haven't been able to get him on a napping schedule here at home because he is so resistant to naps. He doesn't seem to want to sleep anywhere except on my chest, but I don't want that to become a habit (as much as I enjoy it as well!) 

We were having a lot of trouble getting him to sleep at night for any more than 2-3 hours at a stretch so we decided to do a mixed bottle with breast milk and formula. We also tried rice cereal until I did some research on it and found that it doesn't actually help a baby sleep longer or provide any particular benefits. Then Davis accidentally gave him a bottle of just formula one night and he slept for almost 7 hours, so I figured that might be just the trick we needed. Now he gets a bottle of formula before bed and only wakes up once in the middle of the night to eat!

Here are some pictures from the past month!

This is a 90 degree turn from how he was originally laying. 
The lamb was in the corner where the ball is, and the ball was at the bottom of the crib.

Steak and Shake fun with Daddy!

Yes, I have resorted to extraordinary measures in an effort to get him to fall asleep. Now he talks to himself in the mirror, tugs on the monkey, and falls asleep. It's a pretty great system at the moment.

He wore himself out from being in his jumper and fell asleep while he was still in it.

Playing with his rattle phone during bath time

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2 Months Already!

It is hard to believe that 2 months have already flown by! Ellis has changed and grown so much in such a short span of time. We've all adjusted to life with him around, and we made it past our first big hurdle this past week. Davis started his new job, so he was out of town the whole week, I went back to work, and Ellis started daycare. As anxious as I was about everything happening at once, it all went surprisingly well, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Our daily schedule looks something like this:
Between 12 and 1am: Wakes up to eat
Between 4 and 6am: Wakes up to eat
                   If he wakes up before 5, I feed him and put him back in his crib. If he wakes up after 5, I
                   feed him and put him in his tub in the bathroom (no water) while I get ready.
6am: Wake up and dress Ellis
6:15: Feed Ellis/top him off
6:45: Load the car and head to school
7:15: Drop Ellis off at daycare - he's usually asleep again thanks to the car ride and full belly
7:15  - 4pm: Ellis is at daycare. There hasn't been any discernible pattern to his schedule there. He usually eats twice during that time, occasionally 3 times. He seems to be getting worn out with all the stimulus, which is why he's sleeping longer stretches at night.
4:45: We get home; Ellis eats.
5:15 - 7: We snuggle or Ellis sits in his bouncy seat. I try to get bottles and my lunch ready for the next day during this time. Also, I eat sometime in this time span,
7pm: Bathtime!
7:30: Ellis eats again
8:00: Ellis goes to bed by 8, if not a little earlier and sleeps until his 12-1am feeding.
9:30: I go to bed

Things Ellis enjoys:
Being the center of attention at home (i.e. being held whenever possible)
Looking at the fan spinning
Bathtime (A complete 180 from his first several baths; now we use them to him calm him down)
Being held upright and bounced on Davis's stomach
Walking around and being bopped on the behind
Riding in the car (this only works if he's not hungry)
Riding in the Moby (another surefire way to put him to sleep if you walk long enough)

He is definitely developing his little personality. We've seen a lot of smiles, gurgles, coos, and even some giggles in the past several weeks. He'll reply to the noises we make so that it's almost like having a conversation. The past couple nights he has been all smiles (the big, goofy, open-mouthed smiles) when I change his diaper and re-swaddle him - things he tends to dislike. It makes waking up in the middle of the night totally worth it :)

We have his 2-month checkup on Tuesday, and I'm interested to see how long/tall he is now. He's been wearing 3 month clothes for the past few weeks because his torso is so long. His 3 month pants are still a little long, but that's easily solved by rolling them up a bit. I'll comment with his new stats after his appointment.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Birth Story

Ellis and I are writing this post together. By that I mean that he's curled up in my arms sleeping as I type. I could probably put him in his bouncy seat, but I really don't want to. I love holding him while he sleeps, which is what he does most of the day.

I find it ironic that my last post expressing my frustration at being "overdue" was on the same day I went into labor. That Sunday I had finally decided to try the eggplant parmesan myth, so Davis and I got all dressed up for our last date night pre-Ellis. On the way to Scalini's I started having contractions that were about 20 minutes apart and lasted through dinner. By the time we got home, I had a feeling that we were finally headed in the right direction. We were both too excited to sleep, so I started bouncing and rolling on the yoga ball as we timed the contractions. My doctor had said to call when they were 5 minutes apart for about 2 hours. I waited 3 just in case (I didn't want to be that crazy lady who went to the hospital and wasn't really in labor). At 3am I called my doctor and we headed to the hospital. (By the way, there's almost NO traffic at 3am!)

**Note: The rest of this post is about labor and delivery. I'm pretty sure I left out the gross parts, but if you don't want to read about labor and delivery, I'd stop now.**

Once we got there, they took us to the "triage"area and told us we were probably staying but that my doctor wanted me to walk around for 2 hours to see if we could get things to progress. So, Davis and I walked around in a big square until 6:15am. They checked me again, and went ahead and admitted us, at which point Davis called our family to let them know. A little after 7am we were brought to our room where we began the boring part of waiting. I tried sitting on the yoga ball some more, but every time I did, the monitor that was monitoring Ellis' heartbeat would slip which made the nurses nervous. So, I ended up alternating between sitting, standing, and walking around the room.

Around 1:30 that afternoon the doctor came in and broke my water, which almost immediately intensified my contractions. Once they got to the point where another contraction started as soon as the previous one stopped I asked for the IV pain medication. That pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the afternoon. Davis says I would wake up with a contraction and fall right back asleep. In retrospect, I wouldn't do the IV pain medicine again because I remained disoriented for the rest of labor, delivery, and the move to our mother/baby room.

At some point that afternoon they started pitocin, and that evening I asked for an epidural. I faded in and out for a few more hours until about 10:50 when we started getting ready to push (which I'd like to say is really difficult when you can't feel anything from the waist down). Ellis finally entered this world at 12:10am on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. He weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz and measured 20 inches long.
It seemed like they took forever to get him cleaned out enough to move him to my chest where they finished cleaning and drying him off.

Over the next couple hours we had our skin-to-skin bonding time, Ellis got his first bath, and I got "unplugged" from the epidural (and started getting feeling back in my legs). Around 3am we were moved to the mother/baby room. Once we got there they told me a bunch of stuff that I don't remember (hey, I hadn't slept in about 40 hours and was still groggy from the IV meds).

Okay, this post is long enough, so I'll post again later about our perfect little boy and his first week home.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

4 Days Overdue

Ugh. 4. Days. Overdue.

Now, I know that statistically, most first time moms go past their due date. But I really hoped I wasn't going to be one of them. These last 4 days have seemed like 2 months as I (figuratively) sit around and wait and hope and pray that today will be the day.

There is obviously some progress - I've been having contractions off and on since Thursday night. At my appointment Friday morning I was dilated about 3 cm (sorry if that's too much info for anyone). Friday night I dragged Davis out to The Forum to walk around and had contractions the whole time. Since nothing transpired of that, we went out to the Norcross Art Fest yesterday morning to do some more walking (and early Christmas shopping). After about an hour and a half, the contractions and heat had done me in, so we headed home where I continued to have contractions all day. However, the contractions were very irregular and lasting quite a long time: 1-2 minutes long. (If anyone has any insight into what that may mean, I'm all ears!) Since 4 this morning I've had some contractions that actually woke me up, again very irregular.

Once Davis wakes up (I don't know how he can sleep through these contractions!), I'm going to make him go walking with me again. And tonight, we're going to have a date night at Scalini's, whose eggplant parmesan is known for supposedly helping induce labor. Now, I've never had eggplant parmesan, and there's a chance I won't like it, but at this point I'm willing to try anything to coax Ellis into this world sooner rather than later.

My next appointment is Wednesday, and I'm really hoping I don't make it that far. However, if I do, then we'll be making a decision on whether or not to induce. As much as I'd rather let this happen naturally, it can get riskier for the baby as time goes on past the due date since amniotic fluid decreases over time.

Prayers are much appreciated that Ellis will be born healthy and that everything goes well with delivery. Also, if anyone has insight into those irregular contractions that lasted a long time, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Maternity Leave and Food

As of Friday evening, I officially entered the land of Maternity Leave...for better or worse. For those of you who know me, I don't do well with nothing to do. Since Ellis has yet to make his arrival (not for lack of encouragement from his parents....), I'm attempting to find other things to fill my time. Granted, I spent yesterday polishing off lesson plans for this upcoming week, and I still have the following week to finish up as part of my "teacher duties", but then I'm pretty much finished with all major teacher duties for the next 2 months. I've also got plenty of things I can work ahead on for my graduate classes as soon as I get the motivation to do so.

However, I spent a good portion of this afternoon on Pinterest. Ah, Pinterest - that lovely place where you can find crafts, projects, teaching activities, and recipes! Today was all about the recipes.... I'm going to go back to school in December still wearing maternity clothes if I try all of these recipes! Okay, I know, moderation is KEY. What I do hope is that I'll be able to use some of these before Ellis is born (and the freezer is already stocked for after he's born). Unfortunately, with my crazy schedule thus far and the pure exhaustion I inevitably find myself in, we've been doing a lot of eating out. An embarrassing amount, actually. So, I am really looking forward to some home cooked meals - and having the time and energy to enjoy making them! Tonight's dinner is crescent pizza rolls (which are smelling delicious) - not very innovative, but it's pretty much all I had ingredients for without grocery shopping! That's on tomorrow's to-do list :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

3 Weeks

Only 3 weeks until Baby Ellis is due. When I think about it in terms of work, I have this week (Fall Break) and two more weeks until I'm on maternity leave. Those last two weeks are crammed full of trainings, meetings, and preparing to be on maternity leave.

I'm guessing this short timespan (and generally being pregnant) accounts for all the bizarre dreams I've been having lately. Besides the fact that I get up every couple hours during the night to use the bathroom...again, I have dreams all night long. Last night every dream I had was about going into labor and my subconscious's interpretation of what it would feel like. In one I had normal contractions, in another I had back labor, and in the third my water broke. Another night last week I had a dream that worried me so much that I had to wake Davis up to reassure me that everything was going to be okay.

Besides the abundance of weird dreams, everything else seems to be going smoothly (oh, except for constantly swollen feet and fingers). We have the car seat installed in my car and a second that needs to be put in Davis' truck. Sunday we packed the hospital bags and purchased some more baby stuff. We got sheets put on the crib, the bassinet relocated into our room, and started getting the dresser/changing table packed and organized. I plan to do a load of laundry today to wash all the remaining clothes, sheets, and other items that are Ellis'.

As far as grad school goes, I was given the opportunity to change my internship project to something I can do from home during maternity leave. My initial project was going to have to be pushed to the spring due to the time frame and scope of the project. With my new project, I'll be providing feedback and guidance to 3rd grade teachers who are implementing some of the same lesson types that I've done in past semesters. My other classes are going well, and it looks like I'll be able to work ahead a bit this week thanks to Fall Break. Now I really should get to work on the literature review I have due tonight for the Action Research project that I never have to implement.

At my check-up yesterday, everything was measuring right on track. Davis and I joke that Ellis is our "Textbook Baby". He's done everything exactly when the books and other information said he would. This makes me believe that he'll probably come right on time - my guess is October 3 (though I'd be thrilled if he came September 28 - the first day of my maternity leave!) So, my question to all of you is...when do you think Ellis will decide to make his appearance?