Monday, January 28, 2013

Twelve Years Ago...

Twelve years ago on this day I took one of the biggest risks I've ever taken in my life.  I leaned across the centre console of a car and kissed the girl I was quickly falling in love with.  Five years later we got married.  Today we celebrated with a simple "Happy Anniversary", and cuddling on the couch together watching a show while our two-year-old son slept in his crib and our newborn daughter rested in my arms. 

Twelve years ago I never imagined things would turn out the way that they have, but I am so, so glad that they did. 

Happy Anniversary Jen.  My one true love. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

{this moment} midwife boy

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sprout is One Month Old!

Today Sprout is one month old!

Goodness!  Where did that month go!  While a fair amount of time has been spent soaking up all the newborn goodness, we've also been busy celebrating holidays, visiting family and friends, playing Duplo, reading new books, singing songs, etc... enjoying things immensely, no doubt, but WOW how very much more we have going on these days than we did when The Bean was this age.  (Though I know it didn't feel like it at the time.)  

-While we certainly aren't on a schedule, Sprout has a little bit of a routine.  Generally speaking, she nurses every 2-3 hours, usually for somewhere around  10-15 minutes, though it can vary from five minutes to half an hour.  Between nursing, she usually sleeps, with about two periods a day where she stays awake --one in the morning, one in the afternoon.  In the evening she cluster feeds with "bedtime" being around 11pm.  Until the past few days we had been on a a little stretch where wake-ups were happening at 2am, 5am and then around 8am for the day.  Things seem to be changing again now.

-Overall breastfeeding is going well. I need to watch when Sprout latches, because sometimes her mouth isn't open quite far enough and then it hurts.  Or milk leaks everywhere and we both get soaked.  She often gets hiccups after nursing, which I feel badly about, but don't really seem to bother her.  The past week or so she's been getting a good bit of spit up when she burps, but nothing like how it was with her brother.  (A few days after we got home when I was exhausted and sore and overwhelmed, we had a doula who specializes in breastfeeding come to the house and help us out a bit.  SO worthwhile.)

-Her growth since birth is noticeable   She still has skinny limbs, but they have rolls.  Her tummy is round and she has these great kissable cheeks.  Her newborn clothes are starting to look rather snug on her, and I will have to get out some of the 3 month stuff very soon.  At her three-week midwife appointment she weighed in at a whopping 10lbs 4oz (up from 8lbs, 15oz at birth and about a 9% drop by the time we were leaving the hospital).

-At birth she had a good bit of dark hair, that hair is now falling out and she has some fluffy lighter hair coming in.  She won't be blonde like The Bean, but I'm guessing she'll have light brown hair.  Eye colour has yet to be determined, but I'm sticking with a guess of blue.  She has pretty, long eyelashes.

-She also had quite a few "stork bites" at birth.  The one on her forehead above her nose is less noticeable now than it was before, but the one on her left eyelid is still prominent as are the ones on the back of her neck and head.  There's also a little one on her lip, but it sort of blends in.

-Her likes and dislikes at this point are pretty basic.  She likes nursing and being held in general.  She dislikes being cold and sharp noises.  Fortunately loud noises don't seem to phase her too much.  She also dislikes having to burp, pass gas and poop.

-Her expressions are fairly limited.  She sometimes does that sweet newborn half-smile in her sleep and I can't wait until she starts with the real smiles.  Her vision must be improving, because she will stare, particularly at faces and at this beautiful black and white painting we have up on our wall.

As for me, I'm slowly recovering.  I haven't taken and of my "strong" pain medication since between the second and third week postpartum.  I still take extra strength Tylenol at least once or twice a day.  I'm usually pretty sore by the evening.  Hopefully it doesn't get too much worse now that I'm home on my own with Sprout during the days and will be taking on more of the housework.

I'm trying to stay mindful of the fact that staring at my newborn is a valuable way to spend my time and beyond making sure she is fed and clean, really the main thing that I should be doing right now.  I'm also trying to get used to narrating things as I'm doing them.  It feels a little bit funny to me to talk to someone who doesn't really respond, but I know it's good for her language development and whatnot.  

I've been incredibly hungry with the breastfeeding and can't believe the amount of food I consume on a daily basis, though it seems to be slowing down.  Despite the non-stop eating, I've lost about 28 of the 40lbs I gained during pregnancy.  My shape is not the same, but still, I'm glad that it seems that I will eventually get back (more or less) to where I was.

The disappointment with the way things went during labour and birth is fading, though I'm sure it will never go away completely.  I'm very grateful that breastfeeding has gone well so far as it seems sort of like a consolation for the labour and birth.

I guess that brings things up to date.  I'm so glad our little girl is here and that our family is complete!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Accepting Help

So, Sprout is now nearly for weeks old and Jen started back to this past Wednesday and you'd think we'd be starting to get an idea of what things are going to look like for the next few months, only we're not because Jen's (amazing) parents are back in town to help us with this transition.  

This is a good thing.  In fact, it's a great thing.  The issue is that I'm a fairly self-reliant person and I'm finding accepting their help, as well as help from others, has been really hard for me to do.   
I know Jen struggled similarly when she was pregnant.  At the time her job involved a physical component, and though she was adament about not doing any heavy lifting, she found it difficult to ask her co-workers to help when she needed to move things around.   

Back to the present, I know there are certain things I am not supposed to be doing.  Like lifting anything heavier than our now 10lb 4oz baby.  (BTW Can you believe how big she is?!)  So, I'm am very much okay with someone taking the laundry downstairs for me.  I have slightly more difficulty with the thought of them actually doing the laundry.  And a lot of difficulty with them doing things like Swiffering the floors or dusting.  You know, the things that I could definitely manage on my own, albeit perhaps at more spaced out intervals than we might have held to pre-Sprout.  I know that's why Jen's parents are here right now, but I feel guilty sitting on the couch updating the blog while they clean our apartment.  I also want to try to start getting used to managing things on my own, which is kind of hard when someone is insisting on doing everything for you.  Please understand that I'm not complaining about having help, I'm just saying it's hard to accept it.  I realize how very, very lucky we are.  

We've also been incredibly spoiled with people bringing food for us when they come to visit.  Ashleigh from from 2moms2dogs2babies, who also happens to be a nutritionist, stopped by one day with a delicious quinoa salad, homemade granola and organic yogurt, then, less than a week later when she came to visit brought yummy baked goods from a bakery near her place as well as homemade pasta sauce and brown rice pasta (since she knows Jen tries to stay away from wheat).  I think my comment when she showed up with all this stuff was, "You're crazy!" (She has toddler twins and is spending time making us food!)  Of course, I was extremely grateful (and should have said "Thank you" rather than "You're crazy") but felt guilty that she had gone out of her way to provide us with such yummy and nutritious food.  

I guess I have to get better about accepting help and showing how thankful I am for it.  There are others out there who've felt the same way though, right?

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Bean's Second Birthday

This year we decided to forego a big party in lieu of having people stop by at their convenience to wish The Bean a happy second birthday.  I felt a little guilty not making a bigger deal of it, but I think it was the right decision for us as a family right now and I believe that The Bean has been enjoying seeing all his people spread out over the course of the last week or so.

The night before his birthday my mom stopped by for a visit.  The Bean had a blast playing with her and was VERY excited about the Duplo set she brought him.  (Which I was glad about, since I had suggested Duplo animals as something he would probably enjoy.)

On his actual birthday they had a little party at daycare.  We made him chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles to take in and share with his friends --they were a hit!  (Last year when we sent in organic oatmeal muffins. That's a Famous Last Words post waiting to be written!)  At least the cupcakes were organic.  That's got to count for something, right?

When he got home we called up Grandma and Grandpa on Skype and they watched him open his gift from them and his gifts from me and Jen.  He totally gets the concept of presents now and was VERY excited, giving an emphatic "WOW!" after tearing into each gift.

Dinner was pretty much just leftover cupcakes.  

Saturday my sister and her family as well as my Nana stopped by.  It was really so that Nana could open her gift from us (a digital frame complete with a bunch of photos of the great-grandchildren from the past year), but my sister also had some loot for The Bean including the book Playful Learning for his Mama and Mommy to take a look at and get ideas from.  I was pretty excited about that!

I'm glad to say that almost everything has found a home now and that we've got a good stash of toys etc. to come out later in the year when the ones he's currently playing with get a bit stale.

We still have to arrange a time to see my cousins and Aunt, but needless to say, The Bean has already been quite spoiled and enjoyed every ounce of it.  As a friend's daughter once said to me, "It's okay to be spoiled, just as long as you're not spoiled rotten."  Smart kid. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Twenty-Four Months Old!

Today The Bean is twenty-four months old!  

As our regular readers know, this past month has been an extremely eventful one.  We're happy to say that The Bean seems to be taking things in stride.  
-We've switched our evenings around and The Bean seems to have taken to the new schedule nicely.  We used to do a bath directly after dinner, but now he gets to play for a bit while Mommy cleans up the kitchen and Mama wrangles both kids in the living room.  When it's time to go in for the bath, we give him a five minute warning and usually he just walks right into the bathroom and tries climbing into the tub.
-He started having more difficulty going to bed shortly before Sprout's birth and that's continued, but so far it's been reasonable.    He's started to get four books (vs. three) and four songs while Mommy rocks him in the rocking chair.     
-Over the last month he has started developing attachment to a "transitional object."  There's a particular receiving blanket that we'd been putting on him at bedtime that he's now bonded to.  He'll often want to take it out of bed with him in the mornings, but so far we have been encouraging him to leave it in the bed and he usually does so with only a little suggesting.  We haven't talked much about our philosophy on having it out in the apartment, but we're on the same page about trying to make sure it doesn't leave home regularly.  Any opinions/advice on things you've done in this area?
-Our daycare provider has done a lot of talking about big brothers lately, and The Bean is acting the part of proud big brother while he is there.  This week, she asked who in the class was a big brother, The Bean and one other boy (senior/half-day kindergarten age) were the big bros in the crowd so they were paired together for math work that day.  I feel like she's doing a lot to help him with the transition. 
-We are trying to give him a little more control over his world, especially when it comes to food and clothing.  We'll offer him two choices and encourage him to pick the one that he prefers.
-The Bean has become quite opinionated on how he would like the flow of events to proceed.  For example, when listening to music, he'll be very emphatic as to who is to dance and where there are to do it.  He'll also let us know who he wants to sing songs to him and who should "stop singing!" (Picture a "talk to the hand" sign thrown in there for that last bit.)
 -Some of the nicer phrases he's taken to saying are "Thank you Mama!" (or Mommy) and "I love you MUCH!" which is just about as adorable as you can imagine.  In fact, it's what he was saying when his 24 month photo was taken.  The arms thrown wide show just how much.  He also is into giving compliments.  In fact, just the other day he told me, "Nice PJs, Mama.  Nice penguins."  (And in case there was doubt, I was indeed wearing penguin pajamas.)
-He still loves music and dancing.  His new favourite song is "Jingle Bell Rock".  We probably listened to it at least 500 times in the past month.  He got various percussion instruments (and a harmonica) for Christmas that he often uses to accompany the music we are listening to.    
-Christmas with The Bean this year was a blast.  He's such a social guy and loved having family and friends over.  He also is just starting to get into the present thing and loved opening his gifts and playing with them. 
- Even though we've never really let him watch shows more then twice in one week, The Bean will ask to watch Blue's Clues (we have a DVD) most days (he requests it complete with the sign of hands opening and closing by his face).  It surprises us how often he asks for it. Santa brought Jen a new tech device for Christmas that will let us pull video snippets from YouTube and play them on the TV.  We've been looking at expanding his viewing options to include Sesame Street and other educational things like National Geographic, though the latter is still a bit beyond him at this point.  Unfortunately, there aren't may full episodes of Blues Clues on there. 
-Lift-the-flap books have become very popular over the last little bit.  He got Biscuit's Snowy Day as a Christmas gift, and that was also quite popular for a little bit along with Duck and Goose -It's Time for Christmas.
-He's still between sizes on clothes.  Size 2 tops fit a little big, but not crazily so.  12 month pants are perfect (or sometimes a little big) in the waist, but too short, so we've moved him up to 18 month ones.  They barely stay on.  My aunt noticed this and got him suspenders ("Penders!") for Christmas.  Good thing the boy loves his accessories.

-Edited to add: At his two-year check up The Bean was 24lbs and 2'9".  That's about the 7th and 13th percentile, respectively and somewhere around the 25th percentile for weight vs. height.
Even with Sprout's arrival, I still think of The Bean as our baby.  It's hard to believe that it's already been two years since he was born.  It's been such an amazing two years and I absolutely cannot imagine our lives without him.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Recap

This is likely going to end up being a very photo-heavy post.  I've been meaning to get to it for a while, but with a toddler and a newborn and more and more visitors making their way to our place (which has been wonderful) there hasn't been much spare time lately.  I'm going to hammer it out quickly before Sprout wakes up to nurse again.  


Since we were still in the hospital on the 25th, Christmas came to our place a little late this (last) year.  The good thing about The Bean being little still is that he really had no idea that we missed the 25th and was just as happy to celebrate on the 28th once we were all back home.  

We waited until Grandma and Grandpa came over to start any opening of gifts.  The Bean really didn't have any idea of what was going on prior, so again, it wasn't hard to keep him away from the presents... not until he had opened a few. ;)  

He started out the day having breakfast with Grandma.  

Once The Bean finished eating, we started opening gifts.  He had so many presents from us, Grandma and Grandpa, other relatives, and (of course) Santa.  What I found really nice is that after almost every present he would sit and play with it for a while.  That also gave us some time to open gifts in between his.  (We also got very spoiled.)

Note: Not everything got photographed, and even if it had been, there's no way anyone would want to see all his stuff, but he did get many very lovely and generous gifts.   

The Bean got a few new books.  This is a beautifully illustrated copy of The Night Before Christmas that Jen and I picked out for him.  Sprout didn't get many gifts, but she did get a copy of The Nutcraker that is also quite lovely.  I hope that the kids' keep these books and if they have children, are eventually able to read them to their kids.

The Bean LOVED his stocking.  It had three Folkmanis puppets in it that he had a lot of fun feeding his pretend food to.  That still seems to be his favourite thing to do with these puppets.  (He also likes it when they "bite" him.)

This sock-monkey-in-the-box was a big hit, but it didn't take him long to figure out how to push the little button on the top to get it to pop up, rather than having to wind the crank.

...real drums!  He got lots of smaller percussion instruments too, along with a harmonica that he got when my family celebrated Christmas together earlier in December.  He loves pulling them out now and playing along when we're listening to music in the evenings.  We had considered putting a ukelele on his wishlist, but for his age, I think the percussion instruments are more appropriate.

...a Thomas bridge, as well as Annie and Clarabel and a musical caboose (we got a laugh out of that one) for his new train table.

The curvy board.  It took him no time at all to start playing around with it.  :)

...and the train table!  We've had this for MONTHS and waiting until Christmas to give it to him was so challenging, but we're glad we did.  He loves it!  Right now the Lego side seems to be getting more use than the train side, so it's nice that it has both options.

A sweet classic book from Grandma and Grandpa.

Santa even brought a few things for Sprout.  :)

Christmas jammies.

Special "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments from my best friend and Sprout's Oma.  We didn't put them on the tree until after we brought her home.

This one was a little late, but my aunt brought over a new handknit hat for The Bean.  Isn't it cute?!

Tomorrow (hopefully) the birthday update!  Can you believe that our baby boy is going to be TWO?!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Play

The Bean's two "big" Christmas gifts have proven to be a hit so far.  (As have his small ones, but we are especially happy to already see him getting a lot of use out of these.)


Note: The Bean's "big" gifts were the KidCraft 2-in-1 Activity Table (from Mommy and Mama) and a Curvy Board from Open Ended Creations (from Santa via Grandma and Grandpa). 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Update, Recovery and Reflection

I find it somewhat shocking to look at the calendar and see that our lovely little girl is already two weeks old.  These two weeks have gone quickly.  Of course, the first several days were spent in the hospital.  I remember remarking to Jen on the second (or third) day we were there in recovery, that it was like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.  The same thing everyday.  Easy to lose track of time.  

It's been busy since we got home, but it is so good to be here!  The Bean has been his usual busy toddler self.  We're seeing him push the limits a little bit more.  Demand a little more attention.  But also be SO loving to us and to Sprout.  The other day we were all in bed and he kept giving her big kisses on her head.  It was so, so sweet.  The kind of moment I hoped for when we found out we were expecting again.  

I think it's good for all of us to be back on a more regular schedule with daycare now that the holidays are over.  It give The Bean the routine that he seems to do so well with.  It also gives Jen and I time to soak up all the newborn goodness, without worrying that we aren't being attentive enough to his needs.  Plus now we (Jen) can do laundry and clean and make meals and whatnot much more easily.  We were lucky that her parents stayed with us through the 30th and helped out IMMENSELY with The Bean and the apartment and everything else.  They're also coming back for a week on the 16th when Jen has to start back to work.  I'm sure we'll be fine, but I don't look forward to Jen being back at work and me being here on my own once they return to PA.  

Sprout is already seeming more like an infant and less like a newborn.  She has periods where she is quietly alert and just seems to look around.  We talk to her.  Sometimes we sing to her.  Her first album was R.E.M.'s Automatic For the People and Jen and I sang her songs --Man on the Moon and Nightswimming.  It is one of my many favourite moments from the past few weeks.  

Her face is becoming less squishy, and more her face.  She is lovely.  Her hair, which I initially thought was a very dark brown, seems lighter now that it's been washed and fluffed up a bit.  I think it will be light brown. Her eye colour has yet to be determined.  Both the donor and I have light eyes, so I'm kind of hoping that they are light, though brown eyes would also be quite pretty. She definitely bears some resemblance to my brother as a baby and even a bit to my sister's son, though we think she has the same under eye/cheeks as The Bean and the donor.  She is round and pink.  

I'm doing fairly well.  I took the tape of my incision on Day 10, and it seems to be healing nicely.  I'm still quite sore, particularly on the right side, and have to be careful of the way I move and lift things (nothing heavier than the baby).  I'm finding it hard not to be able to do things, both mentally and physically.  I am very glad for the progress I've made so far though.  In the hospital I could barely walk a circle around the ward.  Though I haven't been out of the apartment yet, at least I can move around with relative ease now.  And use the toilet, and shower, and dress myself, and all sorts of other small actions that I used to take for granted.  

Breastfeeding, thankfully, also seems to be going well.  The first few days were painful, but my milk came in and the latching issues seem to have resolved, so now things are pretty good.  I feel like I may still have a little too much milk, but I'm sure that will regulate as Sprout moves towards a more regular nursing schedule.  Right now she feeds on demand, about every 2-3 hours or so, for anywhere from 5-20 minutes.  She gets quite drowsy when nursing, but as long as I can bother her enough that she stays awake, she'll fill herself up.  

I'm still processing the birth.  Ultimately I got what I wanted --a birth where we were both safe and healthy in the end.  It was not what hoped for, or even what I expected though.  I don't understand why I never progressed beyond 3cm, and it doesn't seem to be a question that anyone can answer.  I am disappointed that I wasn't able to have a vaginal birth.  The opportunity won't come again.  I do feel that I tried though and that we made the right decisions without being pressured into doing something we didn't want to do by either midwifes or OBs.  But still, I wanted the experience.  One of the most amazing moments in my life was watching The Bean be born.  Jen didn't get that with Sprout.  She didn't get to cut the cord.  She did get to hold her right away though, so I guess there's some comfort.  It makes me kind of sad to think about, though I am so, so happy to have our beautiful and healthy daughter here with us now.  

Anyway, I would have posted a few photos, but right now there is a sweet baby snoring on my chest and I am also ready for a snooze.  I'll try to update again later in the week.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Just a few firsts, among many...

First Christmas
Gift from Santa

Gift from Mama and Mommy

First Bath

Our Helper

First Story Book