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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goals for 2015

I don't set New Year's Resolutions, but I do have some goals I'd like to work on this next year.
 

Personal goals:
1. Lose weight and get in shape
  • Exercise 4 times a week
  • Watch portion control
  • Cut back on the amount of soda I drink.  I used to never drink soda, but during my pregnancy with Little Dude, I had major cravings for it all the time and still haven't kicked the habit.
2. Read books and watch movies from my must read/see list.  I have a Pinterest board I add books and movies to whenever I hear about them so I won't forget them later.  The problem is that I never remember to check my Pinterest board.

3. I'm not the world's best cook, but I have quite a few easy--to-make recipes I've developed since getting married (and especially since having kids.) that I'd like to put into a cookbook, partly for my own use, but also to sell as an E-book.  I'd like to have it done by 2016.


Financial:
1. I'd like to be earning $500 a month by the end of the year or earn at least $5000 this year. 

2. Save money.  I tried doing the 52 week money saving challenge last year, but never had the right amount of cash at the right time so I gave it up a couple of months into it.  Instead, anytime I end up with a $5 bill, I put it in my change jar.  I only started doing that a few months ago, but if I do it for all of 2015, I should be able to save up a decent amount of money.  Don't tell Hubby, but I'm saving up for a trip for our 10th anniversary in 2016.  
3. I have a whole list of money saving tips that I plan to start incorporating into our daily life.  I'll publish a post of the list soon.


Family:
1. Make at least 3 pieces of clothing for each child.  I barely had time to sew anything in 2014 and I really miss being able to make things for my kids.
2. Do attitude charts with the 2 oldest kids.  An attitude chart is basically an empty chart.  Everytime a child has a good attitude about cleaning up his or her toys, getting ready for bed, etc, he or she will get a sticker on their chart.  When the chart is filled up, they get to pick out a toy at the dollar store. 
3. Do a marriage challenge.  I don't have one picked out yet, but I'm thinking of possibly doing the Love Dare.  Do you have something you could recommend?
4. Do character building with kids.  Each week, we'll focus on another character trait from the list.  My sister also plans to do this with her kids.
5. Have 1 tv-free week a month.  This doesn't apply to Hubby as I know he'd never go for it, but the kids will be doing it.  I tried it a few times this year and it helped to "reset" their attitudes about watching tv.



2. Keep the house reasonably clean by continuing to use the Motivated Moms app.


What are your goals or resolutions for 2015?





Monday, December 29, 2014

Random Monday - December 29, 2014

I can't believe that this is my last Random Monday post for 2014!  2015 is just 2 days away and I'm getting my "Goals for 2015" post ready to publish. 

I finally added a Special Needs Parenting page to my blog which includes Little Dude's story, links to posts about him, links to posts I've written about special needs parenting, and links to other websites that I've really found helpful. 

On Christmas Eve night, I made crockpot beef stew for supper.  It was delicious and I certainly didn't mind eating leftovers for several days after that.  The two oldest kids had slightly different opinions though...Little Man would only eat it if he could cover his eyes and pretend it was something else like chocolate chip cookie ice cream cotton candy.  Princess happily ate it, but halfway through she made this comment: "It tastes like dirt but I'm still eating it!"

I spent 6 hours organizing and going through the kids' toys, games, and craft supplies on Saturday night.  Goodwill will be pleased with our generous donation, I think.  I'm planning to buy a lock for the closet where most of the toys are going to be stored from here on out.  #mommastiredofthemess

Hubby's grandma found this hat in her basement while cleaning it out.  It used to be Hubby's dad's hat when he was a baby.


What's something you've done this past week? 




Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

This was our year to drive 6 hours to visit Hubby's extended family for Christmas, but Little Dude doesn't do well in the car and is easily over-stimulated so we decided to stay home this year.  It was nice to relax at home with the kids and Hubby and thankfully, no one was sick so we were all able to enjoy the day.

We opened gifts first thing in the morning.  Star loved unwrapping the gifts, but had no interest in actually opening the boxes until Hubby showed her that there were toys inside.  In the afternoon, the two little ones napped while the two big kids played with their new toys.  Hubby and I played John Deere monopoly which he easily won.  Let's just say that I don't have future plans to go into the real estate market.

For dinner that evening, I made a 13 pound ham (not surprisingly, there were a LOT of leftovers), mashed potatoes and ham gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and mince pie.

Princess received a Ramona and Beezus dvd, a Frozen easy reader book, a Tardis ornament, and a personalized ballerina ornament in her stocking.  She also got a wooden sewing machine, an Elsa doll, a stick horse, a set of horse figurines, and a coloring Elsa puzzle.  She loved them all, but was especially excited to open the Elsa doll on Christmas Eve.  Her reaction of, "Mommy!!!  How did you know I wanted this?!?" cracked me up since it's all she's been talking about  for months.


















Little Man got a Rio dvd, a Jake and the Neverland Pirates book, a Handy Manny ornament, and a Dalek ornament in his stocking.  He also got a stick dragon, a wooden combine with two heads, an Olaf beanie baby, an Olaf shirt, and a toolset.  His favorites are definitely the stick dragon and the combine.  While driving his combine yesterday, he turned to me and announced, "I'm going to go harvest some weed!"  Um, buddy, I think you mean "wheat."
















Star received an Ice Age dvd, a Doc McStuffins book, an owl ornament, and a Fisher Price telephone ornament in her stocking.  She also received a stick horse, a wooden camera, an Anna doll, a Leapfrog Scout dog (which she's enamored with since it says her name), and Doc McStuffins hopscotch squares.  Her favorite gift is the stick horse though and she loves riding it around the house.  Despite the look on her face, she was happy about her gifts, she just didn't want to pose with them.   
















I got one picture of her with her gifts and then I got this...






























Little Dude wasn't overly impressed with the whole gift opening thing, but has been having fun playing with his new toys.  In his stocking, he received a Happy Feet dvd, a Brown Bear Brown Bear board book, a First Christmas ornament, and a Sven the Reindeer ornament.  He also received an Infantino elephant, a set of stacking cups, a V Tech Catch Me Kitty (which incidentally, doesn't work on shag carpet with which my entire upstairs is covered), a wooden airplane, and a toy phone.  His favorite gift is the stacking cups, but once he learns to sit up, he'll have more fun with the elephant.



























We have some Christmas traditions that we enjoyed this year...

We hung up a stocking for Jesus and whenever someone did something kind for someone else, we wrote it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking as a gift for Jesus.  I emptied it out to read the papers with the kids and was blown away by how many papers Princess had added on her own, all addressed, "To God."  She's really been making an effort to show God's love to others.

We had our Christmas Eve reading party sans Hubby who is, sadly, not a book lover.  We read Christmas books together, drank hot chocolate (which Little Man says he doesn't like so we called it cocoa instead), and ate cookies.

I took pictures of each of the kids with their gifts as a record of what they received.  It's fun to look back and remember when they got something or look back and think, "hey, whatever happened to that toy?" 

The kids got a dvd, a book, and a Christmas ornament in their stockings.  Actually, I had a forgetful moment and ended up getting them each two ornaments this year.  Oh well.  Next year, I plan to start a tradition of getting/ them pajamas to open on Christmas Eve.  Obviously, that's a totally original idea, haha.

I made small photo books for each of the grandparents at walmart.com with pictures of the kids from this past year.  Hubby looked through one before I wrapped it and wryly remarked that Little Dude must be my favorite child.  No, but he is the one who stays still for the camera the longest.  Next year, I plan to make custom Chatbooks (look for the app on your smart device) for the grandparents with my Instagram pictures which will over double the amount of pictures I can include plus they will cost less. 


How was your Christmas?  What are some fun traditions you had this year? 




Friday, December 19, 2014

Little Dude - 9 Months

Age: 9 months

 
Weight and height: 16 pounds, 13 ounces and 28 inches long which puts him at the seventh percentile for weight and the 32nd for height.  He didn't gain much weight last month since he spent most of the month sick.
For comparison here are the other kids' sizes at 9 months old:
Princess: 15 pounds, 12 ounces and 27 1/2" long
Little Man: 18 pounds, 4 ounces and 30" long
Star: 15 pounds and 27 3/4" long

Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. 

Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves being on the floor to play and he's obsessed with paper, which is not good because he eats it and then chokes on it. 

Dislikes: He really hates it when I do his G Tube and skin care every morning-not because it hurts, but because he can't roll over and play when I'm doing it.  To get him to lay still and stop fighting me, I play a Youtube video on my tablet for him to watch while I'm taking care of his tube (he's a big fan of Peter Hollens and Baby Einstein).  He also is not a fan of his carseat. 

Eating habits: He gets five bottles a day with 5.5 ounces of water and 3 scoops of the Alimentum formula.  He drinks about 50% of his formula and the rest is tube fed.  Because he was sick last month and was having a hard time tolerating his formula, I backed off on the baby food and am just now starting to offer it once or twice a day again.  He tasted an orange and immediately had excema breakouts all over his body so we're assuming that citrus is off the table for now along with apples which he also seems to be sensitive to.        
     
Sleeping habits: He takes a morning nap from about 9:30 am to 10:30 when I wake him up for his next feeding.  He's such a light sleeper that when I try to tube feed him so he can sleep longer, he wakes up anyways.  He stays up until after his 1:30 feeding and then sleeps until his 4:30 feeding.  He's dropped the third nap of the day and goes to bed around 8 pm at night after his 7:30 feeding.  
Milestones: He still can't sit on his own, but we've been working on that skill.  He learned how to army crawl though and is all over the house now!  He also figured out how to hold two objects (during his OT session while we were discussing how to get him to do that!) and is saying "dada" a lot.  He's only mildly developmentally delayed at this point. 
    
Miscellaneous: Little Dude had his genetics appointment to discuss the results of his last round of genetic testing.  The results were as we expected...everything came back negative except for the MYBPC3 gene mutation which we'd already been informed of two months ago when the results came back.  The gene mutation causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy so we'll monitor his heart with echocardiograms every few years.  His last echo at the beginning of December was normal so there's no concern for his heart at this point.  We'll also probably be tested for the gene as it can be a familial thing.  Because Little Dude is doing well overall right now other than his respiratory issues, excema, and feeding tube, the geneticist will see him back in about a year for another evaluation and we'll decide at that point whether to pursue further DNA testing.   



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

8 Survival Tips for When Your Child is Sick

We're in the throes of a stomach flu that's making its way around my house.  A sick 2 year old who doesn't know how to grab the puke bucket in a timely manner makes things very interesting.

To make things a little bit easier, I have some tricks I use to prepare for and survive when my kids get sick.



  • Keep empty ice cream buckets under their beds at all times.  My older kids know they're under there and can grab them if need be.  Also, this way, I'm not scrambling to find a bucket for them in the middle of the night.








Friday, December 5, 2014

Pie Crust Cookies or How to Use Up Extra Pie Dough

The one problem I have with making pie is that I always end up with extra pie dough.  I hate throwing food away so I came up with a way to use it up.

Roll the extra dough out just like you would for a pie crust.  Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough.  Re-roll as necessary until you've used it up.

How to use up extra pie dough

Lay the cutout shapes on a cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle the cookies liberally with cinnamon sugar.  Sometimes, I skip the melted butter because I'm lazy and they still turn out delicious!
 
How to use up extra pie dough

Pop the cookies in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden.  Watch them closely because they'll burn fast!

How to use up extra pie dough
Star's baby doll helped me watch the cookies while they baked

Enjoy!
 
How to use up extra pie dough




Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Random Monday - November 17, 2014

Star has never been jealous of Little Dude despite how much time I've spent holding him.  However, I picked Little Man up the other day and she went nuts.  She kept tugging on my leg and yelling "Out, out!" which is her word for "up."  When I finally put him down and picked her up, she snuggled in and looked up at me with a smile, "My spot." she said with satisfaction.

Little Man: "Mommy, can we glue this feather to the front door?"
Me: "Um, why do you want to do that?"
Little Man: "So everyone would know we have a feather!"
I'm not gluing a synthetic blue feather to my front door. So everyone....WE HAVE A FEATHER. Just so you know.

Little Man was digging through the diaper bag and happened to find a *ahem* feminine product that I'd stashed in the deepest pocket.  Holding it up, he yelled across the house, "Mommy, what do you use this for?!?"
I'm not going to have that discussion with my four old son.  Just...no.

It's officially winter here.  We had our first snow and bought our first snowblower.  Personally, I think a shovel works just as well and is a lot cheaper...says the spouse who doesn't do any snow removal around here.


Little Man loved shoveling even though he basically just moved it in front of the garage door.





I'd forgotten how two year olds throw marathon tantrums.  An hour of screaming over the fact that I gave you the blue cup instead of the red one is really pretty ridiculous and it earns you a timeout in your bed.  Not that I'm talking about any one of my children in particular, of course.  Especially, the two year old.

Princess: "Look at those huge ice cubes hanging outside!"

If you don't read the MommyShorts blog or follow her on Instagram, you're missing out on some hilarious stuff.  To up the ante on the hilarity, her two year old now is gramming as well.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Best Time to Be a Kid

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing items through those links, I will earn a commission. You will not pay more by buying a product through my link. When you buy through my affiliate link, it helps me be able to offer you free items and giveaways. 

Yesterday, it snowed for the first time this year.  Normally, I'm breaking out the Christmas music by this time in November, but I'm running a little late this year.  Something about having four kids and being insanely busy, I think.  But Christmas has definitely been on my mind more in the last week and I've started thinking about everything I have to do to get ready.  Christmas shopping, decorating, cookie baking, ordering Christmas cards, etc.  Last year, we didn't set up our Christmas tree since space was very limited in our apartment so I'm really looking forward to decorating our new house.  The kids keep sneaking downstairs to the basement to peek at the Christmas tree in the closet under the stairs and whisper to each other about how they can't wait for it to come upstairs. 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions from when I was a kid is our reading party.  Yup, you read that right!  A party where everyone picks a cozy spot to read a Christmas book or two and snack on treats while Christmas music plays.  Of course, it's a little harder to relax and read a book when you have young kids, but last year, I was able to have our first Christmas reading party with Princess and Little Man.  I put Star to bed, made hot chocolate, and broke out the Christmas cookies.  Then the three of us sat on the floor and I read Christmas books out loud.  They didn't last long before they started getting tired, but it was fun to see them enjoying a tradition I loved so much as a kid. 


What holiday traditions are you passing on to your children?  Share how you make the holidays the best time to be a kid on Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtags #BestTimetoBeaKid #Contest for a chance to be featured in Gymboree's end-of-year video and to be entered to win a $2,500 shopping spree at Gymboree.  To see official contest rules and checkout all the fun visit this link.  And seriously, a shopping spree for adorable clothes and accessories for your kids...that definitely would make it the #BestTimetoBeaKid!



Friday, November 7, 2014

The Only One?

I recently read this article about a 12 year old boy who is starving because he can't eat and it was upsetting to me.  First of all because this boy and his family have to go through something like this and secondly because of this statement in the article: "He lacks all impulse to eat or drink. And he might be the only person in the world burdened with this bizarre medical condition."  (Italics mine)

The only person in the world?  Really?  Apparently, the reporter didn't bother to do much research on the subject other than on the boy featured in the article himself.  I belong to a support group on Facebook called "Pediatric Feeding Disorders/FTT/GERD/Kiddos with Feeding Tubes" with over 6000 members.  Six thousand members.  That's six thousand parents and caregivers of children with feeding issues.  It's estimated that approximately half a million people worldwide have a feeding tube.  The lack of understanding for pediatric feeding disorders is astounding and quotes like the one in the article only perpetuate the lack of awareness.  

Eight month old Little Dude is one of the many children who have a feeding disorder.  He rarely shows hunger cues and, if it were not for his strict feeding schedule, would go all day without eating.  Every three hours, I make a bottle and work with him to get him to drink it.  Sometimes he drinks the whole thing, but more often then not, he drinks very little or none so I have to feed the rest of his formula through his feeding tube.  Despite my constant efforts to feed him orally, he gets about 50% of his food via his G Tube.  After running dozens of tests, his doctors still have no idea why he doesn't eat.  The lack of diagnosis means that it can be hard to get people to take his feeding disorder seriously.  I've been accused of overreacting or just not trying hard enough to feed him.  Some people see the feeding tube as the easy way out (Sorry, but having a hole in your child's stomach and dealing with tubes, syringes, infections, etc, is actually NOT easy).  Let me tell you, until you have watched your child waste away and starve in front of you, you cannot understand how absolutely heart wrenching that is.    

Little Dude at 2 1/2 months old, shortly after having his G Tube placed

Little Dude at 7 months old, 5 months after getting his G Tube

The article concludes with a plea from the parents.  They're desperate to find others going through the same thing as them both for the support and to help them find answers.  It's heartbreaking that they think they're alone in this struggle.

So why aren't they aware that so many others are dealing with similar issues?  Probably because pediatric feeding disorders are not usually talked about.  The general consensus is that children who won't eat are spoiled and manipulating their parents.  Telling someone that your child has a feeding disorder opens you up to a lot of criticism and critiquing of your parenting skills.  Not being able to feed your child, the most basic of parental care, makes you feel like a complete failure as a mother or father.  Parents of children like my Little Dude often hear statements such as "He'll eat when he gets hungry enough.  Babies won't starve themselves!" or "Let me take her home for a while.  I'll get her to eat!"  Both of these comments are untrue and hurtful because they only make a parent who is struggling to feed their child feel even worse than they already do.

If you have a child with feeding problems, know that you are not alone.  There are many groups and pages on Facebook for support and information, internet forums and websites (www.feedingtubeawareness.com is a good place to start and has many resources), and some areas even have local groups where you can meet other parents with similar issues.

If you are blessed to have children who eat normally, don't take them for granted and please don't jump to conclusions or judgement when you see another parents struggling to feed their child.  You can find tips on how to support a parent with a child or children with feeding disorders here.       



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Little Dude - 8 Months

Yes, I know I skipped Little Dude's 7 month update. Oh well, I wasn't aiming for mother-of-the-year so I'm fine with it!   


Age: 8 months


Weight and height: 16 pounds, 4 ounces.  I'll find out his height at his 9 month checkup next month. 

Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes.  He must have had a growth spurt because all of a sudden, his 3-6 month clothes were too short for him. 

Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves blankets and snuggling.  His favorite toys are ones that play music.  He LOVES rolling over and has figured out that he can get places by doing so

Dislikes: Being where he can't see me.  He also really hates it when I do his G Tube care every morning-not because it hurts, but because he can't roll over and play when I'm doing it.  To get him to lay still and stop fighting me, I play a Youtube video on my tablet for him to watch while I'm taking care of his tube.  He's a big fan of Baby Einstein, Peter Hollens (his favorite is Ashland's Song-he smiles whenever I turn it on), and Lindsey Stirling

Eating habits:  He gets five 5.5 ounce bottles a day which means that I don't have to stay up late to do the last feeding of the day while he's asleep anymore.  He takes about 50% of his formula by mouth and the rest is tube fed.  He usually gets baby food three times a day-2 tablespoons of rice cereal in the morning and 2 tablespoons of baby food each for lunch and supper.  His excema flared up when I gave him applesauce so after trialing it again with the same results, apples are on his do-not-eat list.  He does seem to have some issues with staying full longer than he should.  He was able to eat a 4 ounce jar of baby food in a sitting and so we tried cutting back on his formula since he was eating so much food, but he ended up losing 11 ounces in 6 days when we did that so for now we're focusing on formula.  He also stays full a lot longer when he eats baby food and isn't able to handle taking formula for long periods of time after eating (longer than normal) so the most baby food I give him at a time is 2 ounces which is still pushing it a little.  He is developing the same eating habits for baby food as he has for formula-sometimes he eats it well and sometimes he doesn't.
     
Sleeping habits: His sleeping habits have seriously improved.  It kind of happened overnight (pun intended) when I moved Star out of the crib and moved him in about a month ago.  That night, I laid him down awake and he fell asleep.  ON HIS OWN!!!!  Ever since then, I've been able to lay him down awake in the crib (he won't do it anywhere else) most of the time for naps and bedtime and he will fall asleep, usually without crying too much.  Every once in a while, I still have to rock him to sleep, but I find that I can appreciate that a lot more now that I'm not spending literally half my day rocking him.

That smile kills me with cuteness

Milestones: He has SIX teeth already!  They didn't seem to bother him much when they came in so I didn't really notice until they had already popped through.  He has two on the bottom and four on the top.  He's also rolling over like crazy in both directions (right and left although he still prefers rolling to the left), and I saw him push himself up on his arms the other day.  We've been practicing sitting unassisted a LOT (I sit behind him with my hands close enough to catch him without touching him).  He's not ready to sit on his own, but at he's getting better at keeping his balance for short periods of time.    
    
Miscellaneous: He's gotten sick twice in the last month and a half which, obviously, is bad, but, he managed to stay out of the hospital both times so that's awesome!  His G Tube site looks great right now, thanks to the Granulotion and thankfully his Strep has not come back again so no infections lately.  We're watching it closely though and if there's any change in his stoma, we'll be taking action immediately because it worsens so quickly. 



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11 Tips for Supporting Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

It's unknown how many children have pediatric feeding disorders and issues, but there are more than most people realize.  Just a few of the many reasons for a child's inability to eat are GERD,  aspiration, allergies, motility issues, etc.  The list is extensive (you can see a partial list here) and sometimes a child never actually gets a diagnosis.

Parents of little ones with feeding issues face a lot of challenges and often feel misunderstood and like they don't have support.  I've put together a list of ways you can support a parent of a child with feeding issues.       



You can read an updated version of this post here on my new blog, Sunshine and Spoons! I hope to see you there!



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Random Monday - November 3, 2014

If you haven't seen it yet, go read my review on "Their Name is Today" by Johann Christoph Arnold and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself.  But only if you have children.  Or grandchildren.  Or students.  Or nieces or nephews.  Or come in contact with children at all.

I have three of the four kids' winter clothes unpacked.  Little Man will just have to freeze in his short sleeved shirts until I get around to re-working his closet too.  Or he could just listen to his ever-so-smart Mommy and wear a sweatshirt instead of whining about how cold he is.

Speaking of switching out the kids' clothes, Little Dude outgrew his 3-6 month clothes and I had to get the 6-9 month clothes out for him.  I may or may not have cried a little while I was packing away his 3-6 month clothes because first of all, there's this and also because he didn't get to wear a lot of his clothes because they weren't G Tube friendly.  I know it's a small thing, but it still bothered me that he missed out on getting to wear some of the clothes passed down from his big brother because of his G Tube.

If you follow me on Instagram, I apologize for the repeat pictures.  But seriously, these kids are so cute, I don't think it'll kill you to look at them again :)

We don't celebrate Halloween for religious reasons, but we still let the kids dress up for school.  I saw a pizza costume at Target and knew that Little Man had to have it as he's insanely obsessed with pizza (he'd be thrilled if he could have it for all three meals and a snack everyday).  But the price tag made me back away shaking my head.  So instead, I headed over to Hobby Lobby and picked up some felt and made one for him.  It was super fast to sew up and turned out really cute.  He absolutely loves it and begs to wear it everywhere we go.
 

I have a weird sense of humor.  It's genetic.  My whole family is weird.  But even I know it was a little pathetic that I spent several days looking for Little Man's dress-up cowboy hat just so I could get this picture of Little Dude...


Folks, meet Walker Texas Ranger.  Hahahahahahaha!!!!  I slay myself...  *crickets chirping*  Okay, fine.  At least I thought it was funny.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Their Name is Today" Book Review and Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to the Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



About the book:
Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a happy, healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide.  Yes, we can reclaim childhood, says Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books have helped more than a million readers throughout the challenges of education and family life.  In Their Name is Today, he highlights drastic changes in the way our society treats children.  But he also brings together the voices of dedicated parents and educators who are finding creative ways to give children the time and space they need to grow.  Cutting through the noise of conflicting opinions, Arnold takes us to the heart of education and parenting by defending every child's right to the joy and wonder of childhood.

When I started reading Their Name is Today, I sat down with a highlighter so I could highlight the points I liked or wanted to remember.  Before I was halfway done with the first chapter, I'd abandoned the highlighter in lieu of turning down the top corner of the pages I thought contained valuable information because I was highlighting so much.  By the beginning of the second chapter, I'd given that up as well because just about every page had a corner folded down.

The thought that kept going through my head was, "Every person who comes in contact with children NEEDS to read this book."  That includes parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers, Sunday School teachers, etc.  The US Department of Education especially needs to read this because the public school system could use a pretty big overhaul as the current system is damaging to so many children.  Believe me when I say that I will definitely be passing this book around to my friends and family and encouraging them to buy their own copies to keep.     

Arnold emphasizes the blessings that children are and how much responsibility we, as adults, have towards them.  Our society sees children as a burden that is to be pushed off on someone else to deal with.  We've forgotten that children are actually adults-in-training and without the care and love they desperately need, they will not grow up to be the kind of adults this world needs to keep going.  Their Name is Today reminds the reader of the importance of children and pinpoints many of the issues facing children and the adults raising them today.  But it doesn't stop there like so many articles I've read.  It continues with solutions and ideas that each parent, each teacher, each caregiver can utilize to help one more child have the childhood they deserve.   

Do you have children?  Babysit?  Teach?  Come in contact with children at all?  Then you are going to want to read this book!  Win your own copy by entering on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway







Thursday, October 23, 2014

Getting Our Flu Shots

Being the adventurous, fun-loving person that I am, I took all four of the kids to get flu shots today.  I even set a good example by signing up to get the shot for myself too.

What did you say we're doing today?
 
I didn't tell the kids where we were going because I knew mass panic and hysteria would set in.  The kids were generally happy and talkative when we got there, introducing themselves as Elsa, Olaf, Anna, and Sven which the nurses thought was funny.

Then we went back to the room for the shots.  By this time, they knew what was coming and were getting apprehensive, but no screaming or fighting had commenced so I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.  Little Man was first up.  He got the flu mist and sat perfectly still with a smile on his face while getting it.  Star was going to be next, but they checked her vaccination records right before giving her the shot and saw that she'd received the flu shot at her two year checkup a few weeks ago.  I counted that one as a Mommy Fail, but I was happy that she didn't have to get a shot.  Next was Princess.  Unfortunately, due to her asthma, she couldn't get the flu mist.  She was fine until she heard her name and then she. flipped. out.  She screamed, cried, refused to take her sweatshirt off (I practically had to break her arm to get it out of the sleeve), and fought me like a cat getting a bath.  I held her on my lap and gave her a "bear hug" and one nurse held her legs still while another gave the shot.  I have a tendency to laugh in tense situations so the nurses probably thought I was the meanest mom ever, but oh well.  Thanks to her super tense muscles, Princess bled all over herself and me.  After it was over, she was perfectly fine and even admitted that it barely hurt and wasn't nearly as bad as she thought it was going to be.  Oh look, Mommy was right again... 

I got the shot next.  The kids watched me closely and were very proud of me for not crying, haha.

Last was Little Dude.  He shocked us all by not crying at all when he got the shot.  He was just so thrilled to finally be the center of attention again that he kept smiling at me and the nurses.   

During this whole thing, Star entertained herself by stealing stickers off the desk, sticking them on the linoleum floor, and then stomping on them.  I scraped until my fingernails were toast, but couldn't get them all up.  I apologized several times, but short of sticking around for an hour with a bucket of water, I wasn't going to get them cleaned up off the floor.  I think they were just happy to see us leave at that point so the stickers were small potatoes.  

When we got home, Hubby was there.  The kids were very eager to tell him about our afternoon, and Little Man couldn't stop bragging about how brave he was for not crying when he got his shot (reminder: he got the flu mist).  Princess wanted to know if he could hear her screaming all the way from the doctor's office.

So, really it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I've had worse trips to the store.  All done until next year!  



Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Monday - Oct 20, 2014

I just love watching toddlers learn new things everyday.  It's seriously the cutest thing ever.  Well, most of the time anyway.  In the past week, Star has learned several new things...
  • She learned how to climb out of her bed at night.  She comes out in the living room with a big grin on her face and announces, "No, nigh-nigh!"
  • She learned how to open the storm door.  When the weather's nice, I leave the front door open and pull the storm door shut to let some fresh air in.  The storm door is incredibly hard to open, even for an adult.  But my 2 year old figured it out!
  • She learned how to buckle the chest clip on her carseat and Little Dude's carseat.  So annoying when we're in a hurry to go somewhere, and I have to take a child back out of their carseat to unbuckle the chest clip before I can buckle them in properly. 
This morning I told Star that she's cute.  She looked at me with a frown on her face and said, "No no no no.  (Insert Little Dude's name here) doot."  So I guess he's cute and she's not.  Which, by the way, makes her even cuter.

Little Man told me this morning that he's never going to throw a fit or tantrum again.  He lied.

By some miracle, my two sisters and I were able to visit a coffee shop on Saturday sans kids.  That's right...NO KIDS.  My younger sister isn't married yet, but between the two of us older ones, we have eight kids, ages six and younger.  It was a heavenly few hours.  And then we had to go home.  But at least we got a little break! 

My younger sister is a bit of a coffeeholic. 
 


Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day in My Life

I've had several requests for a "day in the life" post.  Never one to disappoint my many fans (you know, all two of them), I finally buckled down to doing one.  I decided to do it this past Monday which meant writing down what I was doing so I could then type it up in blog form.  Monday started off as a good day and then by mid-morning, it went haywire.  I thought about scratching it and trying again on a more "typical" day, but realized that Monday was a typical day for me.  At least several times a week, my day is thrown out of whack because of doctors' appointments, last minute or scheduled, or other medically related issues.

6:45 am - My alarm goes off.  I think about throwing my phone out of the window, but decide against it.  I hit the dismiss button and drag myself out of bed to wake the two oldest kiddos up for school.  As usual, neither is happy with this.  Princess refuses to pick out her own clothes, but complains about what I pick out for her, Little Man throws several tantrums in the first 10 minutes of waking up because he wants to go back to bed.  He asks if he can pretty please take a nap when he gets home from school because he is sooooooo tired.  I oblige, but know that he'll have changed his mind by then.  Neither one want to eat anything we have in the house for breakfast.  Star wakes up and can't seem to understand why everyone in the house isn't catering to her every whim.  Little Dude also wakes up and is ready for his first feeding.  Hubby and I tag team this whole production.

7:30 am - I prep Little Dude's feeding and meds and make myself a chai latte.

7:40 am - Princess gets on the bus.  I am working with Little Dude to drink his bottle.

8:00 am - Hubby takes Little Man to preschool and then leaves for the farm.

8:30 am - Little Dude is finally done with his feeding.  He ate 4 ounces so I tube fed him the remaining 1.5 ounces along with his meds.  I get some warm soapy water ready for his tube care.  He got another infection around his G Tube on Friday so it's a little more time consuming than usual.  I also change his diaper, do his skin care routine for his eczema, and get him dressed for the day.  Star gets into about a million things while I do all this.


9:00 am - Little Dude eats 2 tablespoons of rice cereal.

9:30 am - I have just laid Little Dude down for a nap when the doorbell rings.  I forgot about the public health nurse coming for his weekly weight check.  Naturally, the house is a disaster, but she is pretty used to the craziness at my house by now and understands.  :)  Little Dude is up to 15 pounds, 13 ounces which is a weight gain we're both happy with.  I discuss his current feeding regimen with her and we agree to continue with it.  Just for fun, Star climbs on the scale too.  She weighs 21 pounds, 10 ounces, less than 6 pounds more than her baby brother.

9:45 am - After the public health nurse leaves, I lay Little Dude back down for a nap.  I have to go in and give him his pacifier several times and he refluxed and choked once, but he eventually falls asleep with a minimum of crying.  I check Facebook and happen to see that the wipes we bought from Sam's Club in July have been recalled for a bacterial contamination.  Immediately, my mind goes to the recurring G Tube infections Little Dude has had since we started using the wipes.  I make a phone call to the doctor to see if they think there might be a connection.  She says she will call back after doing some research.

10:00 am - I change Star's diaper and go in her room to pick out her outfit for the day, but lo and behold, all of her clothes are in the dirty laundry.  I pull out the box of 2T clothes and pick something out for her to wear.  It's way too big.  Oh well.

10:20 am - I log onto Little Dude's online medical portal and check dates on his G Tube infections and then call Sam's Club to determine when exactly I bought the box of wipes.  The dates line up.  Then the doctor calls back and informs me that Little Dude has Strep.  On his G Tube.  Great.  We talk about how I need to disinfect ALL THE THINGS and keep the kids from sharing germs.  I have a mild panic attack just thinking about it.  I call Star's doctor to make an appointment for her because I suspect she has Strep too.  While I am on the phone, Star has dumped out and eaten half a bag of chocolate chips.   

11:00 am - Time to pick Little Man up from preschool so I wake Little Dude up and am putting him in his carseat when I realize that he has soaked through his diaper and all over his outfit.  I change his whole outfit quickly and rush the kids up to the school so we're not late for pickup.  Little Dude is already 30 minutes late for his feeding.

11:20 am - Home with a very talkative Little Man.  I try bottle feeding Little Dude, but he will have nothing to do with it so after working with him for a while, I tube feed him while he cries nonstop.  Little Man and Star are making up for lost time by getting into EVERYTHING together.  I set the alarms on my phone for the rest of the day's feedings so I don't run late on another feeding.  Little Dude is getting very worked up and I'm feeling just slightly extremely overwhelmed.  I vent him through the G Tube mid way through the feeding because his stomach is hard and distended.  I get a lot of air out, but his mood does not improve.  Mine doesn't either.


12:30 pm - Finally done feeding Little Dude so I throw a frozen pizza in the oven for the kids and Hubby.  I call my sister-in-law (kinda handy to have a doctor in the family) to talk about the Strep and wipes fiasco.  I end up venting my frustrations over Little Dude's health to her.  I give her extra points for not hanging up on me.  After I hang up, Hubby comes home for lunch.  I dish food out for everyone (except me) and sit down to feed Little Dude some pureed pears.  I finish my now-cold chai latte.

1:00 pm - Little Dude is in his crib napping and the big kids are eating goofing off at the table.  I clean the kitchen which hasn't been touched since yesterday afternoon.  So. Many. Dirty. Dishes.  I also wash Little Dude's bottles, med syringes, and tube feeding supplies.   When the kitchen is cleaned up, I lay Star down for a nap and do some laundry.  I call the school to arrange for Princess to go home on her cousin's bus today since we probably won't be home when school gets out.  Then I call my sister to let her know that there will be an extra kid at her house today.  Hubby leaves to go back to the farm and I feel a sense of despair as I watch him leave.

1:45 pm - Little Dude is still sleeping so I tube feed him his entire bottle.

2:30 pm - I get Little Dude and Star up from their naps so Star can go to the doctor.  Neither is happy with me.  We make it to the doctor's office in time.

3:40 pm - Finally done at the doctor.  Star does indeed have Strep.  Oh joy.  Like the idiot I am, I decide to run errands with the three younger kids before picking Princess up from my sister's house.  We start at the grocery store where I have exactly three things on my shopping list.


4:25 pm - We leave the grocery store with two things.  I fondly nickname our grocery store visit "The Worst Shopping Trip Ever" and head over to my sister's to drop Star and Little Man off so I can finish running errands with Little Dude (you know, the kid who doesn't whine, argue, throw screaming tantrums in the middle of the aisle, or run away from me).  I stop at the pharmacy which is practically our second home at this point and the library.  I don't need anything at the library, but I'm stalling picking the kids up.

4:45 pm - I pick the kids up from my sister's and we head home.  I get another feeding ready for Little Dude.

5:30 pm - Little Dude happily drank the whole bottle so the feeding went faster than usual.  When he's done, I lay him down for a nap.  I start supper for the kids while they jump off the couch onto the coffee table despite my warning to stop.  A few minutes later, two of them are crying because they got hurt (told you so!)  I pack Hubby's lunchpail for work and fold a load of towels.

7:00 pm - The kids are done eating supper and Hubby is off at work.  Little Dude wakes up fussy and crying just as I start getting the other kids ready for bed.  I rush to put the kids to bed so I can calm Little Dude down before he throws up or chokes.  The kids fight the bedtime routine and naturally, Little Dude starts choking and turning blue midway through Little Man's second tantrum.

7:45 pm - The big kids are in bed, but not sleeping.  I feed Little Dude half a jar of pureed pears and play with him for a while, incorporating some of his physical therapy into the playtime.

8:15 pm - I get Little Dude's bottle and meds ready for his last feeding of the day.  He refuses to drink most of it so I end up tubing it.  I change him into an overnight diaper and his pjs and change the gauze around his G Tube.


9:15 pm - Little Dude is done eating and ready for bed.  I lay him down and check on the other kiddos who are (finally!) all sleeping.  Woohoo!  Freedom at last!  I turn on Netflix and catch up on emails, texts, and Facebook for an hour and half before I go to bed.


Do you have a "day in the life" blog post you've written?  Leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!



Friday, October 10, 2014

My Last One

Last night, it hit me.

I was getting ready for bed when the cradle taking up all the space between my side of the bed and the wall caught my eye.  No longer in use by Little Dude, it was slowly filling with random clothes and blankets.

"I should take that apart and bring it back to the in-laws." I mused. (It belongs to them.  They lend it out for each new grandbaby in the family.) "It'd be nice to have that space back after so many years of having to climb into bed from the foot of the bed."


And then it hit me.

That cradle will never rock another tiny newborn at my bedside.  It will be the first of many baby items and paraphanalia that will slowly make their way out of my house.  For good

No more babies.


For over seven years now, my life has been about babies.  I've either been pregnant or had a baby to take care of.  For over seven years, my house has been arranged with modifications for bulky baby gear, sippy cups, and the storage of jumbo boxes of diapers. 


I love babies.  I love how their fuzzy (or bald in Princess's case) heads smell so good and are so soft after a bath, and I love all the baby gear, the simple baby toys, the tiny baby clothes, the soft baby blankets that always seem to multiply.  I love the soft squishiness of baby snuggles and the absolute innocence in their eyes when they stare up at you. 


Each one of Little Dude's "firsts" will be my last "first."  I probably won't even realize when the "lasts" will be until they're long gone.  When Star and Little Dude outgrow their clothes, they won't be packed up in a box, ready to be unpacked for the next one.  The bouncy seat, the infant swing, the jumperoo...they will be passed on to someone else who is just entering or re-entering this stage of life and this time, I won't ask that the things be returned when they're finished with them. 

I'm ready to move on to the next stage of life where my life doesn't revolve around diaper bags, feedings, and naps, but I'm still going to miss this.  I'm really really going to miss it.  



Monday, October 6, 2014

The Best Surprise Ever and Star's 2 Year Update

2 years ago, I got the best surprise ever.  I'd had two ultrasounds during my pregnancy and both techs said we were having a boy.  I had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind, but the statistics of an ultrasound (let alone 2 ultrasounds) predicting a boy and having it be a girl instead are really slim.  My reaction when I gave birth was one of pure shock.

Photo by Emily Anderson Photography

Just for fun, here's Star's birth story.       

On to the stats...

Age: 2 years old!


Weight and height:  She weighs 21.6 pounds and is 31.75" tall.  The nurse forgot to add her meaurements to the growth chart so I'm not exactly sure where she is, but I do know that she's in the 1st percentile for weight.  We go back in November for another growth check.

Wearing: Size 3 diapers and 18 month clothes.  Her feet had a growth spurt and she skipped size 5 and went straight into size 6 shoes.

Likes: She absolutely LOVES being outside and playing with the big kids.  She is very attached to her "Baby" (a doll we got at Goodwill a while back) and her Owl blankets.  

Dislikes: Not being included with the big kids, having to share toys.

Eating habits
: She eats 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks.  She still eats veggies and fruits, but isn't as much of a fan of them as she was 6 month ago.  She loves "too-ties" (aka, cookies).  She has typical toddler eating habits-eating a lot one day and hardly anything the next. 

Sleeping habits
: The night before her birthday, we moved her out of the crib in the boys' room and into the bottom bunk of the bunk bed in the girls' room.  We have a railing on the side and it's high enough off the ground (we have a boxspring and mattress on the bed) that she can't climb off.  She figured out how to climb up to the top bunk though which drives Princess insane.  Star goes to bed at the same time as the older kids (around 8 pm) and is up by 7:30 am.  She takes a 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour nap in the afternoon.    

Milestones/Accomplishments:
She's talking more and more each day and in sentences.  Some of my favorite things she says are, "Eah" for horse, "Huh and Mah" for hug and kiss, "Ray" for her blankets, and "Oh no!" said with much chagrin when something goes wrong.  She loves to sing and we're pretty sure she's going to be a little performer just like Little Man.


Miscellaneous:
To give you an insight into her personality, here are her three nicknames at the moment:
Turkey, because she's into EVERYTHING all the time.  Nothing is safe from her.
Vulture, because if you turn your back on your food for a second, she steals it.
Kamikaze, because the kid has no fear and is constantly jumping off or climbing things, ingesting some non-food item (Poison Control probably thinks I don't feed her) or running into traffic.  She gives me gray hairs daily!




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Overrated by Eugene Cho: A Book Review

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 15 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): May thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



About the book:
We all want to change the world, but as pastor Eugene Cho found out, it takes more than just desire. It takes action. In this personal confession he encourages readers to discover a practical discipleship that begins with the recognition that changing the world starts with changing ourselves.
Many people today talk about justice, but are they living justly? They want to change the world, but are they being changed themselves? Eugene Cho shares his story, a messy, painful story of being more in love with the ideas behind the actions than counting the cost and being a world-changer in action. Because everyone loves justice and compassion, but few have taken it upon themselves to truly live it out in their own lives. Cho is still on that journey to discover what it means, and invites readers to join him.

About the author:
Eugene is the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wages, a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. He is the founder and senior pastor of Quest Church, an urban, multicultural, and multigenerational church in Seattle, Washington. Eugene and his wife, Minhee, have three children.  You can also find Eugene on his blog and website, eugenecho.com

From the author:
This book is my confession. It’s painful and honest, but it’s mine. And it’s this: I am more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world. This isn’t a message of guilt or shame. But it is a call, to both you and me, to be less infatuated with telling a good story and instead live the good story—a story of faith, hope, courage, and justice. -Eugene Cho


“Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world?”  - Eugene Cho

After reading the overview of this book, I was intrigued.  So many Christians today are comfortable sitting in their cozy houses, sharing links on Facebook or tweeting about the injustices of the world, but not actually doing something about them.  Eugene Cho challenges us to get up and do something to right those injustices and to get out of our comfort zones.  He reminds us that instead of just getting upset about things, we need to ask ourselves, "what can I do about it?"  I'll be honest...it wasn't a "comfortable" book to read, but I felt that it was a necessary one and one that all Christians should read.

Cho started the book by sharing how his family publicly pledged a years' wages to the cause of justice.  After three years of scrimping, saving, and living without, they were still $10,000 short.  So, on a whim, he decided to put an ad on Craiglist to sublet his family's home to earn that last $10,000.  It worked, but it meant that his family had to leave their home for 10 weeks.  I was taken aback by the faith and sacrifice they showed.  Right then, I knew that I was in for a wild ride with the book. 

Cho's use of humor throughout the book was perfect and he was able to use his own stories and anecdotes to make very clear points.

Want to win your own copy of"Overrated?"  Enter on the Rafflecopter Widget below.   

Open to residents of US and Canada only. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner's entries will be verified and winner will be notified by email. 

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hospital Stay #4...Can We Be Done Yet?

This past week was...not great.  Princess came down with a nasty respiratory virus on Saturday (after she'd been to her cousin's birthday party and infected four of my nieces and nephews, of course).  I isolated Little Dude as much as possible from the rest of the family and washed my hands constantly, but the inevitable happened.  On Monday night, I put him to bed around 7:30 pm.  He was breathing normally (for him, at least), not coughing, not sick at all.  At 8:30, I checked on him and noticed that he was wheezing considerably.  At 11:00, I got his last feeding ready and started to hook up his tube so I could feed him, but realized that he was breathing very fast and hard and wheezing heavily.  He was having mild retractions and was really struggling to breathe.  Naturally, it was Hubby's night to work so I was home alone with four kids.  I called my mom and she walked across town to my house in the middle of the night to stay with the three older kids while I took Little Dude to the Emergency Room.  Once there, they did a chest x-ray and monitored his o2 levels and heart rate.  Neither one was very good, and they decided to admit him for observation in case he needed oxygen.  We didn't get into a room upstairs until 6:30 the next morning.  Little Dude had only slept for a few hours all night and I hadn't slept at all so we both fell asleep when we got up there.  Except that Little Dude wasn't feeling well so he woke up 45 minutes later and that was pretty much it for my sleep the rest of the day.

Little Dude would only sleep while I was holding him.

That day, he seemed to worsen, becoming lethargic and tired with a decline in his breathing so his doctor decided to keep him overnight.  It was a good thing we stayed because he did end up needing oxygen that night.  FYI, we found out the hard way that he absolutely HATES the nasal cannula!  He screamed, cried, and refused to settle down for 3 hours while pulling it out every few minutes, even after the nurse had taped it on.  It was obvious that that wasn't going to work so she switched him to blow-by oxygen which meant aiming an oxygen hose at his face at all times.  This helped him sleep and keep his oxygen levels up during the night.

The Child Life department brought him a swing and an exersaucer to play with.  He loved them both, but could only spend short amounts of time in the exersaucer because he got tired out too quickly.

We'd been hoping to go home the next day, but since he'd needed oxygen during the night, he had to stay another night to be sure he could sleep without it.  The doctor ordered saline nebs for him which helped loosen up the junk in his lungs.  Thankfully, that afternoon, his condition improved and he was able to sleep all night without oxygen.  His oral feeds went way down, but that was expected since he wasn't feeling well.  However, thanks to the G Tube, he was able to get the full amount of feedings in anyway.  He did throw up several times (thank goodness he likes baths!), but not enough to worry about dehydration.

Little Dude was discharged from the hospital last Thursday morning and we were both happy to be going home.  When I walked in the door at my sister's house to pick up the kids, Star was elated.  Not to see me...she was excited to see her baby brother.  That afternoon, she refused to nap because she couldn't see him while laying down and kept asking to go say hi to him.  It's so sweet to see the bond she has with him, even though he's turned her life upside down.  I can see those two being best buddies and partners-in-crime when Little Dude gets older.

Oh, and sweet little Princess recovered quickly after resting all day Sunday.  I was so happy that she felt better so quickly.  She has a residual cough at the moment, but I anticipate that clearing up pretty soon.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Little Dude-6 Months

Age: 6 months 


Weight and height: 14 pounds, 12 ounces and 25 1/4 inches long which puts him in the 6th percentile for weight and the 4th percentile for height.
Here are the other kids' weights at 6 months of age for comparison:
Princess: 13 pounds, 9 ounces
Little Man: 17 pounds, 4 ounces
Star: 14 pounds 4 ounces

Wearing size: Size 2 diapers and size 3-6 month clothes.  I've been putting him in some 6-9 month clothes just because we don't have a lot of 3-6 sized clothes that are compatible with tube feeding, but they're still pretty big on him. 


Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves blankets and snuggling.  His favorite toys are ones that play music.  He also loves playing with his pacifiers and paper (which for obvious reasons, isn't a baby-approved toy).

Dislikes: Not being entertained constantly.  He fights sleep like it's the worst thing in the world, but occasionally will fall asleep in his swing or without crying while being held.  He's also not a fan of physical therapy.

I can't get enough of this little face!

Eating habits:  He's still getting six 5 ounce bottles in a 24 hour period.  He eats about 50% by mouth overall and I tube feed him the rest.  His feedings vary-sometimes he won't touch it the bottle and other times, he'll drink the whole thing.  We're about to add rice cereal to his diet.  His GI doctor recommended not giving him gluten or oats for the time being.  We'll be introducing fruits and vegetables within the next month, but will be taking it slow to make sure he tolerates the new foods. 

Sleeping habits: He's taking longer, better naps now.  He still has a couple of days a week where he can't seem to fall asleep or stay asleep, but at least those days are fewer.   He goes to sleep for the night between 8 and 9 and usually sleeps until 7 am. 

My little Supertubie!

Milestones: He rolled over from his back to his stomach for the first time on August 31st and has done it several times since then!  Yesterday, during his G Tube change at the clinic, he started chewing on my finger and I realized that both of his bottom teeth have popped through already.  I'd just checked for teeth on Monday and didn't feel anything so was surprised to feel two.    
    

Miscellaneous: Around 5 1/2 months, I noticed that he wasn't able to hold his head up as well as before and that he often tilted it to the left as if he couldn't keep it straight.  You can see this in the pictures in this post.  This was concerning since just a few weeks before, he'd been doing so well with his neck control.  It was decided to increase his therapy to biweekly home visits instead of monthly and I have a list of exercises to do with him at home.  His physical therapist diagnosed him with mild torticollis.  He isn't even close to sitting up, but we're working with him to strengthen his muscles.  His fine motor skills and social skills are awesome though!


The pictures throughout this post are from Little Dude's 6 month photo shoot at Portrait Innovations yesterday.  That morning, he had a G Tube change, silver nitrate treatment on some granulation tissue and in the afternoon, he had his 6 month checkup and 3 shots.  He only napped for about 45 minutes all day, so when it came time for his pictures after both of his medical appointments, I was pretty sure he would be crying the whole time and wouldn't cooperate.  I was completely amazed that he smiled the WHOLE time we were there and the sweetest baby ever.  He charmed the socks off the photographer.  :)

 
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