Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Hold

Righty's duct is (or maybe even ducts are??) plugged again. I tried everything that I did to relieve it on Sunday with no success. After a very fussy pre- bedtime feeding session (I was trying to get Ayden to help clear things out and he was frustrated with the decreased flow) I decided that I needed some professional advice. My dear home birth midwife used to be a La Leche League leader and even though I'm technically not her client anymore, she always told me to call anytime, especially with any breastfeeding issues. I told her what all I had tried (hot compress, hand compressions, shower/wide tooth comb massage, nursing and pumping) and she suggested that I also try bending over into a pan of hot water while hand compressing and to be sure to have him nurse on that side as much as possible. She asked of I had been wearing anything constrictive, which I haven't, but I did tell her that I've been sleeping on my stomach. She gave me orders to avoid tummy sleeping, and to take in extra fluids, take some vitamin C and get as much rest as possible in an attempt to stave off mastitis while I get things worked out.

Needless to say, our "get more sleep boot camp" is on hold until I can get this under control, especially if I need MORE sleep (haha) since we woke A LOT last night... I actually want him to wake a lot tonight so that I can encourage him to nurse as much as possible because nothing can clear out ducts in a breast like a baby!

I think instead of pans, I'm going to run a nice, hot bath to soak in. I just need to be sure that, while I'm working on the duct, to position myself so that gravity can help move things out; as well as relaxing a bit. Here's hoping because plugged ducts are a bit painful and the idea of it developing into mastitis is very stressful for me...

As for our day today, we slept in after partying all night, got a few things done around the house and then went to have lunch with David. He's always a bit bummed when we sleep in because he doesn't get much time with Ayden on those days. A lunch date was just the ticket. Ayden is becoming so social. He smiles at everyone and is wide eyed with curiosity, taking in all of the new people and voices. Everyone just kept commenting on what a happy baby he is and how cute, sweet , etc he is. Of course David and I were all puffed up with pride as we showed our sweetie off to everyone.

The smile that won everyone over today!
I know I mentioned yesterday that Ayden had really been getting his hands out there to explore his world but even today he showed further development in this area. He's building up stamina for his exer-saucer and went around and around, from toy to toy, completely engrossed on figuring each one out.

Here he is playing in his crib today:

Such a playful little boy!

I've said this a lot on this blog, but I'll say it again, this age is so fun and we are soaking up every minute we have with Ayden while we watch him grow and develop right before our eyes.

Being a parent is so cool :).

My favorite is the big smile with the crinkled nose.
Reminds me of his daddy <3.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Belly Laughs

Ayden started laughing back in March but now he's taking laughter to the next level. Until recently, you had to be touching, kissing or tickling him in some way to make him laugh. Today, I was just being my silly self from a cross the room and he laughed at me. I caught the tale end of it on video. He still thought I was a little funny but it was starting to get old ;).

Someday pretty soon, he'll be giving full out belly laughs. His laughter is already the best sound in the world so I can only imagine how a big belly laugh will make us feel!

In other news, Lefty is finally pulling her weight again!! I think a couple of days with the manual pump, or the fact that the manual pump made pumping Lefty regularly more convenient, must have done the trick. Ayden hasn't fussed while nursing on the left for two days now and their sizes are much more comparable.  I'm back to alternating sides, one side per feeding, again and am glad for it. Shew! That was a close one...

On our morning walk!
Ayden and I had a really nice day at home today. I got a lot done and spent plenty of quality time with this handsome fella.

He's gotten to where he'll pull back when he's done nursing, look me in the eye and smile as if to say, "Thanks mom!"  I just love it!

When David got home we had dinner, put Ayden down for his last nap of the day and worked out together. It was nice to workout and to have a workout buddy.  I'm stuck in the vicious cycle of not working out because I "don't have the energy" when I know good and well that working out regularly will actually give me more energy.  I found some motivation and made it happen today.  It wasn't an intense workout but I got my heart rate up a bit and that is definitely better than nothing.  It doesn't help that our current dietary lifestyle has me back in my jeans and shorts from college that I had been saving for years for whenever I could fit into them again.  The fact that I'm back into them now, after having a baby, without working out at all doesn't give me much motivation to hit the pavement...  But being thin doesn't mean that you are in shape so I need to workout at least a few times a week to keep my heart and lungs healthy and my muscles challenged and strong.  The daily naps I've been taking with Ayden have really helped so if I can keep that up, I should be able to start making working out part of my regular routine again.

I wonderful reader, Jana, suggested that I look into one of Tracy Hogg's follow up books to The Baby Whisperer called, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.  I purchased it on my Kindle and will spend the next few days reading it.  I think I'm going to have a little "Get More Sleep" bootcamp.  I've got one of our camping sleep pads set up in Ayden's room and I intend on keeping a little log of Ayden's sleep patterns throughout the night.  I always forget the details by the next morning and The No Cry Sleep Solution suggests keeping a basic log over a few days so that you can use it as a tool to help you modify.   It will also help me be more strict about whether or not I feed him at a wake up, since I can't always remember exactly how long its been when I'm that sleepy.  I think we'll go to 4 hour stretches for a few nights and see how it goes.  It'll mean even less sleep in the meantime, I'm sure, but I'd rather loose more sleep temporarily for a couple of nights than to keep going on like we are for months.  Obviously waiting for Ayden to just miraculously sleep more on his own isn't working and we've got to make some changes around here.

Other than our sleep woes, things are wonderful.  Ayden has become such a happy and sweet baby and we are just so in love with him.  David rushes in everyday after work and swoops Ayden up to tell him how much he missed him.  What did we ever do without our little love bug?? Life is good.

Is your baby a good sleeper?  Share your secrets!! :)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I <3 Baby Wearing!
Ayden made a new development over the weekend.  He's been batting at dangling objects for months and started reaching to grab toys a few weeks ago; but now he's actively trying to reach out and touch anything and everything he can get his hands on.  He found his pacifier pod on the diaper bag while we were at the pool, he grabbed a printed burp cloth off of my shoulder and he has discovered that if he pulls hard enough, he can get the toys to come off of his bouncy seats.  

He is definitely persistent and is really enjoying being able to manipulate his environment.  And, of course, his mouth is the primary destination for any treasures he can get his hands on.  

A little while back, I posted a picture of our little rabbit friend that has taken residence under our deck in the back yard.  We named him Peter.  I think it's invited a friend to stay with him...

We'll call this little one "Chip"
I think Maverick got a glimpse of Chip or Peter because he spent a good 15 minutes sitting like this.

Our back yard is usually very boring with our 6' privacy fence and all.  He NEVER looks out the back door and much prefers the busy happenings out the front of the house.  Mav is a big fan of rabbits, squirrels and other furry little critters so he was probably willing the door to open!

There wasn't too much going on today.  We went for our morning walk during which I made a few phone calls.

Then did a little housework before heading to teach another make up dance class.  On the way home I stopped at Kroger for the items for this week's groceries that Whole Foods didn't have and to take care of a couple things at our bank branch there.  When we got home I was so happy to find that Ayden was  ready for a nap.  He woke up a lot last night so I was so tired and ready to join him!  I got to sleep for about 20 minutes until my cat discovered it was nap time and woke me up trying to get under the covers with us.  Ayden, on the other hand, slept for an hour and a half. 

That's two days in a row of long afternoon naps (his morning nap was an hour as well).  Poor little man is making up for lost sleep at night I think.  Sleep is so important for babies' and kids' development.  I want him to get it when he can!  We'll keep working on getting it at night but if he doesn't, I want him to make up for it during the day for sure.   

Has anyone ever heard of this book?
David and I originally saw this at a cute little bookstore in Pennsylvania while we were visiting our old neighborhood over the summer.  I was 20 weeks pregnant and we thought it was funny, cute, clever, etc (we are not easily offended)...  I'm pretty sure if I were to read it now it would have a whole new meaning :).  The illustrations are actually quite beautiful.  Ayden turned 18 weeks on Saturday, which coincides with what my midwife said about growth spurts every 3 weeks.  Hopefully we'll be back to waking every three hours (or less) soon!!  


Monday, May 28, 2012

Little Fish

Happy Memorial Day! I wish every week had a 3 day weekend. It was so wonderful to have David with us. 3 day weekends are also nice because you can conquer your usual weekend to do's but still have plenty of time to relax and play. We celebrated today with a family pool day!

Ayden has loved his baths from day one, so we have been looking forward to swimming with him this summer. We went to one of our local public pools and had so much fun!

LOVE the little sandals! :)
Ayden loved the water as we predicted.  He was mainly just pretty chill, looking all around and feeling the cool water on his skin.  We decided to move from the baby pool and take him into the main pool so we could enjoy the water too.  That's when he really started to have fun.  We were lifting him in and out of the water and he was smiling and laughing.  He really was so happy in the water, we can't wait to take him back!

He had so much fun that he took a nap for an hour and a half, pool side. :)

I think the waterfalls in the kiddy pool, along with all of the other sounds of a public pool, made for perfect white noise.  He slept in the shade with a nice breeze, it's no wonder it was such a good nap for him (that and the fact that he woke up about every hour the night before...).

The rest of the day was pretty nice too.  We came home, showered, made paleo lasagna for dinner, took a walk while it baked, ate it and all got to bed early.  It's so nice to take a break from the normal routine and do something fun as a little family today.  Too bad David has to go back to work tomorrow!  Ayden and I have both really loved having him with us so much this weekend.

When was the earliest that you took your baby swimming?  Did you wait until 6 months old to use sunscreen?  We got him the little swim shirt and sun hat pictured above but I was so worried about his little legs the whole time.  We just limited our time in the sun for today, but we're wondering if a natural baby sunblock on his legs would be so bad at 4 months... Thoughts?


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Keeping Things In Harmony

For the longest time, breastfeeding had been a piece of cake.

No need for cropping... Ayden censored the shot for me :)
I even had to remind myself not to question why it could be so difficult for some because it really did come that easily and naturally to both of us. Ayden had a tiny latch problem in the beginning but only on the left side and once my midwife helped us out it was fixed, just like that. Now that we are 4 months in we've hit a few small bumps. Still nothing as rough as thrush or mastitis (knocking HARD on some wood right now), but bumps none the less. I thought I'd share what we've been through and how we fixed/are fixing them.

1) Milk Blister - This is when a tiny layer of skin grows over one of your milk duct openings. I had never heard of this... It looks like a little white dot and is pretty painful right where the dot is. The fix? Placing a hot washcloth over the area before nursing. It took two days but once it broke through, the pain was gone immediately as if it were never there in the first place.

2) Favored Side - Ayden obviously favored the right side from the start since he only had trouble latching on the left. As soon as my sister heard about this she said, "you'll always produce more on the right side and it will probably end up being a little bit bigger." She was so right. A couple of weeks ago I started seeing a size difference, then a couple days after that, Ayden began getting fussy on the left breast. I have no idea if the favoritism belonged to Ayden or my subconscious but somehow, somewhere along the way, we began expecting more from righty. So, in the true nature of supply and demand, she started to exceed expectations. Ayden was still getting plenty of milk, as evidence by his diapers and spit up, so I can't say I was worried; but I called my midwife to make sure I was taking the right measures to even things back out. I told her that my good friend, Google, had suggested always latching Ayden onto that lesser producing side first, since a baby's suction is always strongest at the start, and pumping after/between feedings on that side only. She said that stimulation was definitely the best way to encourage milk production so those tactics should work best. We are still working on this one... The size difference is much less noticeable (it was never bad enough to notice through my clothes) but he is still a bit fussy on the left side and righty yields twice as much milk than lefty when I pump. David bought me a Madela manual pump today so that I don't have to use my big pump and style for all of the extra pumping sessions I need to do. I found I was putting it off due to inconvenience which is not good... It's important to me that the girls are as close to matching as possible at the end of this journey and my midwife warned that the size difference can become permanent if you don't stay on top of it. If something's important to you, you do what you need to to do to make it happen, right? I'm hoping that with the manual pump it will be easier to pump on Lefty while Ayden nurses on Righty since I won't have to worry about electrical outlet proximity. I shall update on our progress here in a couple of weeks.

3) Plugged Ducts - I've had a few plugged ducts over the past 4 months but nothing that required any extra effort besides nursing... Until yesterday. I made the mistake of skipping a feeding while I taught my makeup class. My plan was to go home and pump right afterward which would have only made me go one hour past Ayden's feeding. But we let our busy schedule get in the way and decided to go straight to the bike shop to get our trailer. By the time we got home, 2 hours past his feeding, I was engorged to say the least. Especially over-achiever Righty... I nursed and pumped but I still didn't feel soft like you should right after a feeding. I would massage between and during feedings but it only got worse. By this afternoon, the entire top half of righty was hard and filled with little knots, not unlike when my milk first came in. We had big plans to take Ayden swimming for the first time but I decided that for today, clearing the plug needed to be top priority. I've heard that mastitis can really knock you out and I had no desire to experience that first hand.  So we cancelled our swimming plans and I headed to the shower with my comb friend here.

Yup... a wide tooth comb!
I had read on (an EXCELLENT resource) that this was the key if nursing and pumping weren't moving the plug along.  I stood under HOT water for a few minutes, then I soaped up and slowly massaged the knots with the comb while hand expressing.  After a few minutes of that, I got out and fed Ayden again and that did the trick! When Ayden finished eating and I felt around to find no knots and only soft tissue, I said, "We did it, Ayden!" to which he replied with a big gummy grin.  It's always nice to have knowledge and tools but the most important lesson for me here was: it is just as important for me to stay on Ayden's feeding schedule as him.  If I'm going to be away from him, I still need to at least pump during his feeding time.  The breastfeeding relationship really is so sensitive and we really do depend on one another to keep it running smoothly.  I need to make sure I'm responsible about it and take the harmony of it very seriously.  I'm sure my new manual pump will come in handy during these situations too!

Just because we missed out on swimming, doesn't mean we didn't have some fun today!  We gave our bike trailer a try for the first time.

He's still a little small so we had to boost him up with a rolled blanket and just took it easy around the neighborhood.  We don't plan to do any more than that until he's sitting up independently and can fit into his own little helmet.

We felt like what we did today was actually a little less intense than a jog in the jogging stroller and Ayden loved it!

Later in the day, we went to the local arboretum and walked around.  It was so beautiful!

Ayden was getting tired and was a bit fussy but then I moved up to walk in front of the stroller and his whole mood changed.  

He loves the City Mini stroller in the neighborhood but apparently being pushed toward the strange, unknown wilderness made him a little uneasy because seeing my familiar backside walking out in front of him made all the difference :).

After we got Ayden to bed, David and I ate some paleo crunch cereal for dinner (our form of take-out) and snuggled up to watch We Bought A Zoo.  It was a cute movie and a bit of a tear jerker...  We miss Ayden while he's asleep but it's also nice to get some grown up time.

It ended up being a great day and we are going to try to make it to the pool tomorrow.  Gotta love three day weekends for getting in some quality family time!

Do you have any breastfeeding obstacles that you overcame?  Tell me your stories!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer's Here!

Someone's getting chunky!! :)
I know the first official day of Summer isn't until June 20th but I've always considered Memorial Day weekend as the start of Summer. Because of our mild Winter, the last day of school for kids around here was on Thursday which hasn't happened in a LONG time. During all four of my years teaching, we always had to go at least a week after Memorial Day to make up all of the snow days. The past two nights, after we put Ayden to bed, David and I have taken our dinner out to the front porch and talked to our neighbors while all their kids play. Tonight, all the kids were counting all of the lightning bugs they could see. Yup, summer's here!!

Staying cool.
It got close to 90* today. Ayden started the day off right with an hour long nap! When he woke up, we put him in the jogger, leashed up Mav and the four of us went for a run. It was only 11am and already HOT! The run totally kicked my butt... I've still got a ways to go before I'm back to my pre-pregnancy stamina and strength.

Ayden's morning workout :)
When we got back from our run, we ate lunch and then headed to our hometown so I could teach a make up dance class. It's a duet of a couple of high school gals who chose "Another One Bites the Dust" as their song. I never realized just how repetitive that song is until I needed to think of a different tap rhythm for every time it says the title line. Needless to say, I've been a little less than inspired in the choreography department for their dance. It was really nice that David came with me to take care of Ayden so I could focus 100% of my energy toward knocking out a full minute of choreography during their class.  I know a minute may not seem like a lot but for a fast tap number, it is like an eternity!

Before we headed home, we stopped by a local bicycle store to purchase a bike trailer.

Ummm... Not yet, Daddy.
Ayden is still a little small for it so for now we'll stick with easy rides around the neighborhood or our neighborhood park. Once he's big enough to wear a helmet, we'll be able I take nice, long family bike rides. It's just one more way we've found to model the healthy, active lifestyle that we hope to instill in Ayden.  Here's what we came home with:

When we got home we attempted a family nap but Ayden was so rested from the two naps he had already taken earlier in the day that he was still ready to party!  David took Ayden and I attempted a nap but everytime I heard any kind of noise, happy or upset, out of Ayden my body would jolt awake.  I suppose it's all the nights of training it to hop up out of sleep at the sound of Ayden on the monitor.  Next time I'll be sure to shut our door and put a pillow over my head or something :).

We went to the grocery and when we got home, Ayden was finally ready to nap.  I put our spaghetti squash in the oven and the three of us snoozed together for about a half hour while it cooked.  David and I both felt SOOO much better after resting.  

The rest of the night was pretty chill.  David has Monday off so we are considering camping out at my parents farm tomorrow night.  Hopefully it won't be too hot... YAY for three day weekends! 

What are your Memorial Day plans?  We're going to try to take Ayden swimming for the first time.


Friday, May 25, 2012

A World of Wonder

We went to have lunch with Daddy at work!
Everyday, Ayden is becoming more and more involved with the world around him. He is very playful and curious. When he sees or hears something new, he becomes a quiet observer. You can just see the wheels turning and you just know that he's soaking it all up. These days, he is very eager to explore new things. He reaches out to grab and bat at things, instantly pulling them to his mouth.

This is one of the very things that David and I would daydream about before we were even pregnant. Now that we are parents, we get to discover and explore the world through the eyes of a little person who is taking it all in for the first time. It is so fun to see the expression of surprise on his face as we pour his bath water over his hands; or when his little eye brows raise and his head bobbles around, searching for the source of a new sound.

He is quick to put together cause and effect relationships as you may have noticed in the "how to make a bouncy seat bounce" video and in this video of him in his exersaucer:

He has discovered that when he does little body slams against the back of the seat, the little chameleon sings his fancy color song. He does it over and over, looking at the chameleon and smiling once he's achieved his goal. He seems to be a tough little guy too since all that body slamming seems to make him so happy. I think his daddy will have a wrestling partner before we know it :)

David finally got around to editing Ayden's 3 month pictures.  We narrowed it down to 39 from 600... That takes a while :).  It's so hard to throw out pictures of our handsome little man! Here are a few of our favorites!

Such a cutie pie!!
What has been your favorite thing to re-experience through the eyes of your child(ren)?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Precious Moments

So... I haven't had too much to report lately. We've fallen into a wonderful groove and Ayden is, for the most part, very predictable. We are still working on the sleep thing but he is consistent and predictable even with that and my body is adjusting.

Lately, I've been succeeding at taking at least one of his naps with him everyday, with my sleep lasting anywhere between 15 - 30 minutes. Not only does this help me get through the day without feeling like a floating head (that's the best way to describe how the exhaustion makes me feel on worse days), but it also pencils downtime into my daily schedule.

I think it's pretty typical for stay at home and working moms alike to get caught up in whatever tasks may be on their never ending to do lists. Thanks to Ayden's need to eat every 3 hours around the clock, and the toll it takes on me, we now have a wonderful and valid excuse (if one were even needed) to drop everything, lay in bed, snuggle, nurse and sleep together. If all of that isn't wonderful enough, it's not even the best part...

The best part is the precious moments we share when he wakes up. He may fuss or fight waking a bit but as soon as he hears my voice, singing works best, it's like it pulls him back from dreamland to the present. He stops fussing, blinks a couple of times and then greets me with smiles and adorable coos. These are moments I savor. Right as I'm experiencing them I tell myself, "Remember this forever. Remember exactly how his soft cheek feels when you kiss it. Remember the sound of his sweet little voice and cute little raspberries. Remember how he reaches up to touch your face, exploring your mouth and nose. Remember that though he may not have memories of these moments, they are shaping him just as much as they are shaping you. This matters." These moments are so precious and I just feel so lucky and happy to call them mine.

Writing about these feelings reminds me of one of my favorite children's books:

I have it up in my attic with all of my school books. I need to get it down and read it to Ayden. It is such a sweet little book and I have no doubt it will make me cry now, as I haven't read it since becoming a mother. I'm pretty sure the author wrote it from his own memories of precious moments just like these.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saving Money?

Could this kid get any cuter??
Holy moly, he's a doll!!
Is it counter productive to make your own laundry detergent to save some money and then go to Meijer and spend $50 all in the same day?? David seems to think so... :)

I FINALLY got around to making the Duggar's homemade liquid laundry soap today and it was so easy!! It has to sit, covered, overnight in a bucket so it can gel and will be ready to use in the morning.

I made the whole 5 gallons (and that's a concentrated 5 so actually 10 gallons) so I hope we like it!! I did the math and the supplies: super washing soda, borax, Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap and a 5 gallon bucket, only cost a little over $12.  That right there is already cheaper than a large container of store bought detergent and you only use a portion of each ingredient to make more than those large store bought containers hold.  I also got some lemon essential oil but didn't include it in the total since it's optional.  I've heard mixed reviews and I'm eager to add my two cents...

I dropped Little Miss off at her family's store at 2:00 both days this week and it worked really well for me. It gives me plenty of time to take a little nap (if possible), straighten up the house, get dinner started and regroup before David comes home. As it turns out, it might have been the lack of downtime between Little Miss and our evening family routine that was spreading me a bit thin. I also love that I am now in control of when she leaves. Her family will be on vacation in Florida next week so that will give me a glimpse of a week without watching her at all.

Before dropping her off I swung by the afore mentioned Meijer with a few items on my list:

1) Some fruit because grocery day isn't until Saturday and somehow we were already running out.

2) A retractable clothesline for the diapers in the back yard. I've been using an accordion style drying rack but a lot of the upper diapers cast shadows on lower diapers defeating the stain fighting purpose of sunning them in the first place.

3) A few new toys for Ayden. All of his current toys are in use and I felt like he needed a few more so we could have enough rotate them out. This makes the old ones new again after he goes a few weeks without them.

4) A storage bin for Ayden's newborn/0-3 month clothes. I've been in the process of switching him over to 3-6 month clothes for a couple of weeks now. It's quite the task! I'm finally ready to put a few boxes in the attic. I can't wait until they're out of his room. At least we'll have a few weeks before we bring in boxes of 6-9 month clothes to clutter it up again.

There you have it. $50 spent just like that. It always seems like we "need" something else, doesn't it?? I'll just go with the argument that my laundry soap making and Meijer spending cancel each other out... I will eventually save $50 in detergent, won't I?

As for Ayden, one of the toys I purchased for him was the Bright Starts car seat toy.  I had registered for it but no one ever got it for us and we chose to wait on it since he wouldn't be interested in it for a while.
I told David that I had my first experience with seeing his face light up at the sight of a new toy.  When I picked it up off the shelf, I held it in front of him and his eyes immediately lit up and he smiled as he reached for it.   We're in trouble...  We have these grand plans of not purchasing random toys for him on impulse.  I'm going to need David's help to stand strong on that one. I also hope I'm there to witness David turning down Ayden's sweet little smiley face the first time he encounters such an opportunity. I bet it'll be just as hard for him and he'll be needing me to help him out!   When we got home, I put the toy on the bar of his bouncy seat and he loved it!  His face was very serious and concentrating and he totally got lost in it.  It definitely showed that he was ready for some new things to explore!

What's your biggest impulse toy purchase you ever made for your child(ren)? 

Do you do anything beyond the obvious (couponing, etc) to save money?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best Part of Everyday

Ayden and I had a quiet day at home today. It was a good nap day too. I was able to take his second nap with him which was glorious.

When we woke up we went for a walk and then tackled some house to do's.

"Helping" me put laundry away...
Ayden's next nap came earlier than expected and all on his own. I put him in his crib with his mirror and a few toys so I could vacuum his room. Right after I put him in he started rubbing his face and yawned so I wondered if he'd want to go to sleep. After I vacuumed I came back to check on him and low and behold, he had rolled over and fallen asleep.  I don't know whether he really was that tired, he's learned to associate his crib with sleep, or if the white noise of the vacuum did it; but those naps are my favorite! He's just so peaceful when he falls asleep all on his own like that.

After that nap he played in his exersaucer while I made dinner and was "talking" to Mav. It was so cute!

 When he was super tiny I wrote a post wondering if one day he'd be an animal lover like his mommy and I think that day has already come :). He is so interested in Mav and Polly and already acts as though they are just a couple more members of our little family.

Then it was time for the best part of everyday!

When we are all together again when David gets home from work. Ayden really lights up when David comes in. He definitely knows and loves his daddy.

Now we are ready to end this quiet day with a relaxing evening.

What's the best part of your day?


Monday, May 21, 2012

4 Months Old

Our handsome big boy!
Man these past 4 months have flown by!! I think the biggest area of development for Ayden this month was in the social department. He smiles at random people who talk to him and will now tolerate, and even sometimes enjoy, being passed around at gatherings. He has made steady progress in all other areas as well but I personally think social takes the cake this month.

4 months old!
Click to see: 3 months, 2 months, 1 month
Even though I may vent about my exhaustion and Ayden's sleep "troubles," the average baby his age actually doesn't sleep through the night and it can take up to two years to establish predictable and consistent sleep patterns. Though at 2am I may dream about him being ahead of the curve in this area, I am not concerned that we'll never get there.

Here are the screen shots from the Baby Milestones App that I've been using as a reference.

 Like I always say, I only use milestone lists/charts for reference and to guide our play.  It is important to remember that all babies develop at their own pace. That being said, aside from the sleep section (he takes 3-4 one hour naps, give or take, and we all know what his nighttime sleep is like), Ayden is doing everything on this list!!  He has even rolled back over, though this is not yet a consistent skill. He is also scooting on his belly which is a pre-crawling skill (I do have this on video but in it, he's diaper free and I will spare his future self by not posting that on the internet). Some of our favorite developments this month were him starting to vocalize to get our attention, his adorable cooing/babbling and the fact that we can truly tell that he knows us in a crowd. He also holds onto our arms when we hold him which is adorable. It feels like he hugs us back sometimes and it just melts our hearts.

Another big development, which goes along with his social strides, is how much attention and contact he needs. We've always kept him with us and talk to him and play with him, heck, I have him strapped right to me half of the time; but we used to be able to let him hang out in his bouncy seat or on his playmat for a bit while we got ready or completed some sort of task or chore. Now his patience for such things is greatly decreased. He wants to be in on the action and wants to be played with and talked to all the time. This is so wonderful for his development and is definitely something we are enjoying , but now we have to tweak our routine to still get all of our daily to do's done while also entertaining Ayden more often. I have heard that this stage is tricky because babies this age are ready to become more involved with their world yet they aren't yet sitting up on their own or mobile which can be frustrating for them (and tiring for parents).

Like I've said before, life with our little boy is a one way train and our only choice is to go right along and enjoy the scenery as we go. We are so proud of Ayden and are excited to see what his 5th month has in store for us!!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Six Years

Six years ago today, I married my best friend.

Though we've been together for 12 years total.  You can read about our story here.  We've been through so much in the past 12 years.  High school, college, graduations, job interviews, jobs we've loved, jobs we've hated,  supporting one another's dreams, etc.  We aren't perfect, no relationship is, but we have worked hard over the years to stay head over heals in love with one another and to make our own happiness together.  We had plenty of time to "get to know one another" (as everyone advises before starting a family) and we've had a lot of fun:

Out Honky Tonkin' in Nashville, TN
(The weekend before we found out we were pregnant)

But, out of all of the years we have been together, this past one has been the most amazing!

We found out we were pregnant (after almost 2 years of trying...)

In New Orleans, November 2011
8 months pregnant!!
And finally became a family!

We feel more complete, and more in love with one another, now than we ever have before.  I am so lucky to have a man like David in my life.  He is sweet, romantic, smart, and strong.  He makes me laugh and he holds me when I cry.  He is my Love and now we have our Ayden, who is our love personified. Making a little person together has been our greatest accomplishment as a couple to date and I can't wait to see what the next six (or twelve) years have in store for us and our little family!

Now... You may ask, how did we celebrate?  Well, it wasn't your typical date night, that's for sure!  David and I decided that we just weren't ready to actually leave Ayden with anyone yet.  What good would a date be if all either of us would be able to think about was whether or not Ayden was crying his little head off the whole time?  We also thought that a movie, which was our original plan, wouldn't be the best thing to do since we wouldn't be able to talk or hang out at all.  So we decided to do yard work!  

Hahaha, I know, it doesn't sound like much fun but it actually really was.  We had a lot of it to do and it had been weighing heavily on us, as all of our neighbors had prettied up their yards weeks ago.  We have to keep up with the Jones'! :)  We needed to trim all of our bushes, weed, plant flowers, mulch and we still had some work to do for our vegetable container garden.  We decided it would be wise to use our eager babysitters to give us a chance to knock out our outdoor to dos.   We worked together for most of the day and got to talk and hang out.  We got plenty of alone time and they even stayed so we could shower, together ;),  without having to worry about Ayden needing us in the middle of it.  We got plenty of time to talk and "reconnect," though neither of us have felt disconnected at all since Ayden's arrival.  And now we can let out a sigh of relief and enjoyment as we look at our own prettied yard:

Some of the flowers from my Mother's Day shopping spree! <3
Mav surveying our work...

Finally planted my herb garden!!
I used plastic knives as labels :)
We'll be sure to go on a "real" date next year.  For this year, we are both satisfied with a day of sunshine and fresh air together.