Owen // four months old.

This baby boy is four months old.  Goodness, time, it is a-flyin’.  Owen is such a chill, smiley little guy and we are so happy he’s ours.  There’s not too much he doesn’t like…being too cold or too hot, formula or a pacifier, dirty diapers, getting overtired…  Those are the only things I can really think of off hand.  He adores these little hanging toys (a lion and a giraffe) on the safari chair, having onesies pulled over his head, smiling and cooing at whoever is holding him, and eating.

Catching Some Zzz’s

We have a really good schedule going right now.  Owen naps every hour and a half or so.  The length of nap varies from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.  He’s wearing the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit to nap and he’s napping in his crib.  He does a great job of soothing himself to sleep and does well between sleep cycles too.  He goes to bed at night in his crib at around 7:30 and he has been sleeping anywhere from 4 to 9 hours during that first stretch.  Truth be told, nine only happened once, but we’ve had a few eight hour stretches and I’d say it’s most commonly about 6 hours between falling asleep and his first wakeup/feeding.  (Except for the past two nights when it has been four hours, which feels cruel after tasting the sweet nectar of longer stretches.)  When he does wake up, Kevin goes to get him and brings him to our room.  I’ll feed him on one side, change a diaper (or have Kevin change the diaper), and then feed him on the other side.  We keep it dark and quiet with sound machines going so things stay low key and he goes back to sleep easily in the bassinet in our room.  He then sleeps for three or four hours and wakes again at around 6:30.  He eats and then I’ll usually lay him on the bed with me and doze for a bit while he sleeps for an hour or so.  He is still wearing the Pavlik harness at night.  In general, it doesn’t seem to bother him too much.

Nom Nom Nom

He continues to be a great eater.  He’s started really keeping eye contact while he eats and sometimes I’ll smile at him and he’ll smile back and those are my favorite breastfeeding moments.  I hate pumping so we bought some formula and Kevin offered him a bottle of it once when I was out of the house.  Owen was not in the least bit impressed.  I have been trying to pump a bit in advance if I know I’ll be out of the house so that there is some breastmilk available, but if he gets hungry enough, well, the formula is there.  I’m usually not away from him long enough for it to really be needed though.

Cool Tricks 

We had an appointment with the pediatric orthopedist on January 25 and Owen had been in the Pavlik harness part time (nights only) for six weeks at that point.  I went into the appointment really optimistic and thought for sure we’d get the okay to stop using the harness altogether.  The ultrasound showed that Owen’s hip angles were still good (68 and 72 and they look for anything over 60), but the doctor wanted us to stay in the harness for two more weeks.  I admit that this threw me into a funk.  That’s what I get for being so confident that we’d be okay to stop the harness. It is only two more weeks and I’ll do more than that if it decreases the chance of more aggressive intervention being needed in the future, but I really am ready for Owen to be out of the harness altogether.  Of course I will forever be nervous before his follow up appointments because hips do regress and we’re certainly not out of the woods. But I’m trying not to borrow worry too much or too often.

Owen is really lifting his head and shoulders up well during tummy time.  He doesn’t mind it too much usually.  He kicks his legs and lifts his bottom and will probably roll himself over accidentally when he gets enough momentum some random day.  He’s such a strong little guy.  He’s reaching out and grasping his hanging toys well.  He loves his play mat and the safari chair.  His hands fascinate him to no end.  They are fun to stare at and chew on and wave around.

Talk to Me

Owen is so chatty.  His sounds are just adorable.  Ava likes to say, “Oh really?  Tell us more, Owen,” which is cute.  I will love hearing their dialogues as he gets more and more vocal.  His smiles are so…genuine, for lack of a better word.  It’s like he’ll be watching us, very serious (he really has such an intelligent, thoughtful look about him), and then a smile will slowly spread and fill his entire face.  It’s very, very sweet.

Lookin’ Good

At the appointment on January 25 he weighed 15 pounds and was 24 inches long.  Size 3 clothes are snug, but still fit okay.  I’m surprised every time I put a 6 month size outfit on him, convinced it will be way too big, but alas, he always fills it out fine.  So I’m moving more and more to the 6 month stuff.  We just transitioned to size 2 diapers.  We didn’t have to buy a single size 1 diaper because we were gifted so many!  I thought that was pretty awesome.  Owen’s eyes are blue and he appears to be bald at first glance, but there is a bit of blond hair there.

He is such a happy, sweet, charming little guy and we fall more and more in love with him every day.

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January ‘18 recap.

I’ve done a monthly recap post, accompanied with a family photo from that month, every month since January 2015. The format has changed through the years and I debated what to do this year. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple – a family photo from the month and a recap.

January 2018 started off with a wonderful blessing – Ava got the okay on December 29 to just wear the rhino cruiser brace at night and she started walking a few days into the new year. Ironically she learned to walk the first time in January of 2017. She is doing really well and we’re so proud of how hard she’s working.  She wears the brace at night and during naps and is a good sport about it.  Owen is in his harness at night and is also such a good sport.  Our kids are just amazing.

The weather has been pretty mild and Ava and I (and sometimes Owen – he’ll often stay home with Grandma) have enjoyed walking over to Kevin’s office a few times a week to walk him home for lunch or to visit in the afternoon.  It’s a nice way to get some fresh air.  Another real perk this month has been grocery shopping.  I’m serious!  We love to grocery shop as a family and when Ava was in the cast and the brace, she would not fit in the grocery cart, so we had to take the stroller and one of us would push her while the other pushed the cart and wore Owen in the Ergo.  Now she can ride in the cart.  It’s a lot more fun for her and just makes the process so much easier.  If Owen is asleep, I can wait in the car with him and Ava and Kevin can go do the shopping.  That was impossible before because he couldn’t push her in the stroller and the cart at the same time.

My birthday was really nice and filled with love from family and friends near and far. More on that here.

Kevin and I went to a post-holiday holiday party on January 6 – the first time we both left Ava and Owen. It wasn’t a late night, of course, but was still nice to spend a little time together without kids. Owen was less than enthusiastic about taking a bottle but did fine and Ava was disappointed when Kevin and I got home. She made Grandma and Grandpa listen to Raffi sing the He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands no fewer than 20 times so they were relieved when we got home around 7:30. :)

We had our kitchen countertops and backsplash replaced and got a new microwave and dishwasher in January. Before and after pics here. We are really loving the improvements. We also had Renewal by Anderson come and replace the four remaining original windows. Nothing glamorous but they do look great and we notice fewer drafts so the improved insulation gets two thumbs up.

My sister came to town a couple of times in January and it was great to see her. We went out to breakfast with family on a few Sunday mornings. I had a few brunches/lunches with friends.  Kevin took his mom to the symphony one Saturday evening.  It was all Mozart (and they went on Mozart’s birthday!  How cool is that?) and they both enjoyed it, particularly the pianist’s piece.

We followed our “strict” eating plan all month which meant no fried food, no sweets, no sodas, no alcohol, no pasta, and no pizza.  We both feel really good.  Starting in February we’ll go to our three cheats phase of the plan which means we can each have three cheats (one serving of any of the above categories) in a week.  We’ve been super into smoothies and overnight oats for breakfast and honey lemon water in the evening.

And that was the month in a {large} nutshell.  Tell me something about your January.

2017 in 10 photos.

I know we’re over halfway through the first month of the new year, but let’s revisit 2017 in photos, m’kay?  Idea credit for this post due to Amanda!

Find a photo from the year’s greatest adventure – big or small.

Becoming a family of four!  Definitely an adventure.  That spica cast was an adventure as well.

 

Find a photo of a significant moment.

Ava’s first time in the chair-chair!  AKA the moment Kevin and I realized that we would in fact survive the experience with our sanity.

 

What photo makes you feel most alive?

We took morning walks together as a family all summer and fall.  Those walks were a highlight of the day for each of us.  Being outside, breathing in the fresh air, and chatting with Kevin and Ava as Owen kicked and punched in the womb made me feel alive and healthy and so blessed.

 

Pick your favorite photo of you and the people you love.

On Kevin’s birthday.  Ava said something that made us laugh.  I love these people.

 

Search for a photo of a morning you want to remember.

Taken at 6:06 AM on the morning of October 3, so Owen was seven hours old to the minute.  We were settled into our mom-and-baby room and Kevin got to do a little skin-to-skin.  Love that husband and that baby boy.

 

Find a photo that represents joy.

Zooming down the slide!  This little girl lives her best life and brings so much joy to our lives.

 

Locate a photo of the people that shaped your year.

Probably my favorite picture from 2017!

 

Find a photo of you trying something new.

Home alone with two of them!

 

Identify an image of something you are proud of.

These two!  So proud of how strong and smart they are and that, just by existing, they make me want to be a better person each day.

 

What is a photo that you’ll want to pass down for generations to come?

Father and son.  I mean, come on.  This one is a framer.  My guys.

 

You should do a post using these prompts!  Be sure to link to it in the comments so I can check it out. 

 

Birthdays, recents, randoms, and resolutions.

Kevin had a birthday! It was a Monday so he had to work until about three but I think he still had a good day. We started out the morning with smoothies.  His work people took him to lunch at Los Cuates.  He was able to come home a little early and take a little nap while Ava was napping too.  Then we just hung out.  Ava and I made him Thin Mint brownies (from a box) which we had with ice cream after dinner.  Dinner was food his parents picked up Pars (Mediterranean cuisine) and brought it to our house.  We did presents and then bedtime for Ava and Owen.  Monday night football would have been on, so I’m sure we checked in on the game.  Kevin is just the best and I love celebrating him any chance I get.

I also had a birthday.  I felt lots of love – texts, Facebook posts, phone calls, etc.  Owen started off the gift giving by sleeping two four hour stretches overnight, plus a shorter stretch in the early morning hours.  Kevin got us breakfast burritos from our favorite spot.  Then he had to go to work and I hung out with Ava and Owen.  Sue came over for most of the morning.  Kevin made us delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothies for lunch (decadent but light and healthy enough to feel good after our massive burritos). Ava and Owen napped simultaneously for a bit.  He took a few good naps, including a cuddle nap with me, through the day and she took one really long nap in the afternoon.  I read my book and did enough around the house to make myself feel productive.  Kevin brought home roses and a beautiful card and an amazing spa package gift certificate.  His parents came over and we all went to dinner at Los Cuates.  I had steak fajitas.  Owen and Ava were both really good little kiddos in the restaurant.  We went home and had ice cream with Kevin’s parents who surprised me with my dream Coach purse and a pretty pearl bracelet as a gift.  The kids went to bed well and Kevin and I got to cuddle on the couch in front of the fireplace in our room.  Owen slept a four hour stretch to end the day.  It was such a nice day!

I actually didn’t have ice cream on my birthday because I’m doing a no sweets challenge with my sister this month.  It has not been too hard to resist the sweets because I made it a point to borderline overdo it in late December.  I was snacking on candy and cookies basically all day and now – dare I say – it feels good to NOT be eating that stuff.

Lisa and I are doing a year long challenge.  We each chose six things and then assigned one challenge category to each month.  Here they are, broken out:

January:  No sweets
February: We set dollar amounts and are limiting discretionary spending for the month so no going overboard with clothes shopping, Amazon purchases, eating out, etc.
March:  Send a card to a friend or family member each week of the month.
April:  10,000 steps per day each day of the month
May: We’ll each choose a book for the other person to read.
June: Drink half of body weight (or more) in ounces of water each day.
July:  Do a 30 day fitness challenge of some type (squats, lunges, plank, whatever).
August:  No eating out (I think Lisa’s going to try to do no eating out – I told her there was no way I could do a month of no eating out – hello, we eat Dion’s at least once a week – so I’m limited to one eating out event per week)
September:  No alcohol (I won’t drink at all; Lisa is limited to one drink a week – girlfriend loves her beer like I love my Dion’s)
October:  No fried food
November:  One big DIY project or two little DIY projects
December:  Try one new recipe a week.

Speaking of recipes, I had Dinner: A Love Story: It all starts at the family table on my Christmas wish list and got it.  It has soooo many good recipes that I can’t wait to try.  I basically read it cover to cover.

What else do I want out of 2018?  I want to be more focused – whatever it is I’m doing.  If I’m hanging out with Ava and Owen, I want to really focus on being with them.  I want focused, quality time with Kevin.  I want to accomplish things around the house without getting distracted by other things that need to get done.  I want to find a balance between keeping the house tidy (because it seriously stresses me out when things are cluttered) and just letting go and letting Ava and Owen enjoy their play spaces.  I want to get a lot of fresh air and I want to be physically active but not be a slave to working out x number of times a week.

What do you want to accomplish in 2018? What’s something random and recent in your life?

 

Year in review: 2017 superlatives.

2017 was a roller coaster. I really, really hope that 2018 is going to be low key and downright boring. That’s more my speed than all the ups and downs that this past year included. Here are a few noteworthy memories from the year, high school yearbook superlative style

Biggest Surprise: Finding out Ava had hip dysplasia

Biggest Challenge: Ava’s surgery – out of our sight and in an operating room. It was horrible.

The Silver Lining Award: Focused time with Ava while she was in the cast

The Pleasantly Surprised Award: Labor and delivery of Owen – in a nutshell, quick and easy, but I still got my beloved epidural.

Best Vacation: Stay in hospital after having Owen. Granted, that was the only vacation of the year…  We did have a couple of staycations when Kevin took a little bit of time off of work (of course he was still putting out fires via phone and email on a daily basis by people from work, but at least he got to be home with us.) – one right after Ava’s surgery, after Owen was born, and during the Christmas holiday.

Best Hug: When Ava came to visit mama and meet Owen in hospital. Oh, how we had missed each other! Kevin set her on my lap and she hugged me so tight. My heart nearly burst with love for my sweet little girl.

Greatest Joy: Falling in love with Owen. Realizing there is not a finite amount of all-encompassing love that parents have for their children – your heart loves the second (and subsequent, I’m sure) child as much as the first. That was a hard thing for me to understand prior to Owen’s birth. Also watching Ava blossom into her big sister role with Owen has been a complete joy.

Best Date: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in January or Indigo Crow in September

Greatest Transformation: Master bath

Funniest Quote: One day Ava and Kevin were playing when she suddenly paused, rubbed her nose, and then extended her little hand toward him, saying, “Booger. Thanks.” We’re just over here, living this glamorous life.

Best Fiction Listen: Moon Over Manifest (Amy) and Treason (Kevin)

Best Fiction Read: All the Light We Cannot See (Kevin) and Queen Lucia (Amy)

Best Nonfiction Listen: Me Talk Pretty One Day (Amy) and American Kingpin (Kevin)

Best Nonfiction Read: Team of Rivals (Amy) and The Looming Tower (Kevin)

Best Watch: Billions season 2 (Amy and Kevin) and Daniel Tiger (Ava). Honorable Mention to Curb Your Enthusiasm season 8 – Larry made it worth the wait!

House Clown: Rue. Whether she’s stalking Kiki or annoying Ava by batting around one of Ava’s toys or showing a homicidal streak by abruptly flinging herself in front of Kevin or me as we walk down the stairs, she makes each  day an adventure.

Most Likely to be Remembered: Other than the Daniel Tiger moral jingles on constant replay in our brains? Goodness, right now the whole year was memorable! But long term, of course, our sweet baby Owen boy joining the family is most definitely the most likely to be remembered event.

Kevin and I feel blessed beyond belief to have lived 2017 together with our little family.  I heard a quote once that basically said some years are questions and some years are answers.  I think we had a combination of both in 2017.  Happy 2018!

Tell me a superlative from your 2017!  Was it a year of questions or a year of answers for you?

Owen // three months old.

Our little guy is three months old today!  He is such a little cutie-pie and I simply can’t get enough of him.  I can’t believe how quickly the past three months have flown by and how big he is getting.  He loves cuddles, chatting with mama and daddy, and the Christmas tree lights. He is so smiley for diaper changes and when we take his Pavlik harness off in the morning, so it’s safe to say he enjoys those things as well.

Catching Some Zzz’s

We are starting to get into a nice schedule.  Owen is napping every hour and a half to two hours, usually in his crib while wearing the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.  He is a champ at soothing himself to sleep and then usually settles and soothes himself back down between sleep cycles.  He continues to sleep in three hour stretches, on average, through the night.  He usually only nurses for 10-15 minutes and then falls back to sleep easily, so it’s not too bad.  He is a loud sleeper – lots of grunting and growling.  On occasion he’ll cuddle nap with Kevin or me and he’s the sweetest little cuddle bug.  We really want him to be a good independent napper though, so we try not to do that often and I want to try to avoid it altogether once he’s four months old.

One exciting development is that we’re all sleeping in our room rather than splitting shifts downstairs and upstairs like we did for the first 11 weeks of Owen’s life.  We don’t regret doing that because I think both Kevin and I were better rested for it, but it has been working well to have Owen in the bassinet in our room too. For the past three nights we have even started him out in the crib in his room at around 7:30 and he has slept for around four hours in there each night. When he wakes up we bring him to our room for a diaper change and a nursing session and then put him in the bassinet for the remainder of the night.

Nom Nom Nom

Owen is a great eater.  He eats every three to four hours in general, but I just kind of feed on demand overall.  My preferred troubleshooting philosophy when he’s crying is definitely “offer food.” He’s super efficient.  I have pumped a few times and he will take a bottle when he’s hungry enough.  That’s reassuring to me and gives me a bit of freedom to get out for a couple of hours.  It’s hard to believe he’ll be starting solids in just three short months!

Cool Tricks 

Owen got the okay to go to nights only in the Pavlik harness because his ultrasound (after four weeks of harness full time) showed that his hip angles have normalized.  We are so, so happy that these hip issues are being addressed at this young age.  Owen doesn’t seem to mind being in the harness too much, and he has really been just such a good sport. As mentioned above, he does love to come out of the harness each morning though!

When he is out of the harness he loves to kick and fling his beautiful little arms and legs around.  He has discovered his hands and thinks they are fascinating and the best ever chew toys.  He loves his foot piano play mat (a Christmas gift) and the safari chair with its little hanging toys.

He holds his head up really well and doesn’t mind tummy time too much.  He’s noticed Ava and Kiki and Rue a few times and seems pretty interested in all of them.

Talk to Me

He is quite the chatty fellow.  He’s exploring different sounds and is really into having a dialogue with us.  It’s the sweetest thing to hear his coos.  He is a smiley little guy and his gummy smiles are my love language. We’ve gotten a few chuckles and my mom, stepdad, and great aunt said they heard an outright laugh, but Kevin and I missed it so I can’t speak to how adorable it must have been.  He’s very cheerful and really only gets upset when he’s hungry, needs a change of scenery, or is tired.

Lookin’ Good

At his doctor appointment on December 14 he weighed 12 pounds, 13 ounces, so I’m guessing he’s about 13.5 pounds now.  He’s wearing 3 month and I’ll be busting out the 3-6 month stuff soon. His hair is rubbing off on the back of his head, but he does have a little tuft of dark hair at the nape of his neck.  I think when his hair starts filling in it will be blond.  His eyes are still blue.  He has the cutest little face.  I think he is the most handsome little guy in the world.

We adore our sweet, calm, cheerful little Owen-boy.

That’s a wrap {December}.

Links to Love:

  1. Emergency SOS on iOS 11 – how to quickly and easily call emergency services.
  2. Check out these tourist destinations before they get too popular.  There are some that may be on the rise, but I still don’t wanna go there.  (I’m looking at you, Columbia.)
  3. This MRI image is an amazing visual of the love between a mother and child.
  4. I love this letter a dad wrote to his daughter’s school in response to a school sponsored field trip.

Making Memories:

  1. Kevin celebrated a birthday!  He had to work for most of the day but managed to come home a little early and took a little nap to celebrate turning 34.  His parents picked up Pars Mediterranean for dinner and brought it to our house.  We had ice cream and Thin Mint brownies for dessert.  He opened gifts and I think had a good birthday even if it was pretty low key.  He is my favorite and I sure do love celebrating him.
  2. Kevin had about ten days off work for the holiday and it was so nice for all of us.  We’re all dreading Tuesday when he has to go back to work.  We had a long list of house projects to tackle while he was off and didn’t accomplish many of them, but that’s okay.  We relaxed, we played, we enjoyed the holiday together.  It was a good time.
  3. We met with a rep from Renewal by Anderson and the company that we used for our countertop and shelves in our master bath remodel and we arranged to start 2018 off with some home improvement projects.  We’re getting four windows replaced (finishing up our three phases of window replacement) and replacing our kitchen countertops, which I am really, really excited about.
  4. I met up with one friend for brunch and another for lunch – without any kids in tow, which was really nice.  Kevin has been working for several months to help plan his 15 year high school reunion and it was in December.  He said it was a good time and got to catch up with some classmates he hadn’t seen in a long time.
  5. We had a really fantastic Christmas.  Lisa came to town on the 30th and is currently staying with us.  We’re ringing in the new year quite festively as I type this.  We’re watching Breaking Bad reruns.  Lisa brought us a great Moscato and she and I are drinking that.  Kevin’s taking it to a whole new level of wild as he sips on honey lemon water (he’s fighting off a cold or a sinus thing).
  6. Of course we had a few doctor appointments because such is our life.  Good news all around – Owen’s hips have normalized and he has been in the Pavlik harness only at night.  We go back in January to make sure everything is still on track.  Also awesome news – Ava’s hip x-ray looked good and our doctor gave us the go-ahead for her to be out of the brace during the day.  It has been nerve-wracking but exciting to see her move around without the brace.  We go back in three months and she’ll have a standing x-ray, which will hopefully show great progress.  We’re not out of the woods but it certainly is a good start to 2018.

Bookish:

  1. In December I read The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne and gave it 4 stars.  I listened to Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan and gave it 3 stars.  And last but not least I read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, to which I gave 4 stars.
  2. I am currently reading Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery, Dinner: A Love Story: It All Starts at the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach, and I’m listening to Shopping for a Billionaire by Julia Kent.
  3. Kevin is reading The Great Bridge:  The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough and listening to Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman.
  4. Ava has been loving Little Blue Truck and Scaredy-Cat Sleepover (featuring Minnie and Daisy).

Challenges:

  1. I’ve had a few friends struggling with personal issues – one lost a parent, another has a very ill parent, a third had a baby and has had a tough time in her recovery.  It’s hard to see your friends struggle and feel so helpless.  Lots of prayers for them.

Sustenance:

  1. I think the only new recipe we tried in December was this Croissant French Toast.
  2. Pretty sure I’ve linked to it before but it’s worth linking to again – I made this apple bread three times in December.

How was your December?