Monday, June 27, 2016

Natalie Claire - 2 1/2 year Update

Natalie Claire 

Age: 2 1/2

Length: 3 Ft.

Weight: 33 lbs.

Things you do that makes us laugh: Um, how about everything?
You say hilarious things every day. You do this ridiculous thing when I'm changing you that I can't even explain, but you basically keep saying "And you go like THIS, then you go like THIS, and you go like THIS..." and you strike a different pose with your arms and legs each time you say "this" over and over again and it literally makes me die laughing each time.

Last week I put you on time out and said "Time out, 2 minutes" you replied " about 3 minutes?"

You marched in our local parade with your favorite girls from the neighborhood last week. (a very informal parade to kick off a festival happening at our local church) Now every single time we leave the house you ask if we can march in the parade, and you want to walk down the middle of the street...oy vey.

Favorite Song: for awhile it was "Everything Changes" from Waitress the Musical. Now it's "Let it Go" from Frozen, "Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid, and "Hakuna Matata from The Lion King (Which you pronounce as "hapupa patata.") Of course - none of these still top "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" - which is your "I'm going to go to sleep now" song.

Favorite Food: All Fruit, broccoli, rice, fish sticks, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars, baked oatmeal.

Phrases: Every day before I leave the room for your nap you announce very matter of factly:
"I'm going to cry, and scream, and read a book, and make a poopie." (It's your way of telling me that you are NOT happy about naptime.) I say "OK" and then you respond with "Sounds like a good plan."

Every time you see your baby brother you say "It's babbbby Christoper"

If Christopher is crying a lot - usually in the car and I can't tend to him, you decide to join in by screaming. You say:

"Natalie and Baby Christoper are crying, and screaming" and then you SCREAM. (Car rides are just a JOY).

Favorite show: I could ONLY put on Sesame Street for like the past 6 months. In the last two weeks you are now OBSESSED with Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave on Sprout. We go between Ruff Ruff, Sesame, Super Why, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and sometimes Fraggle Rock (Uncle Michael bought her the complete set), and on the rare occassion: Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First or sometimes Maya the Bee. But really - right now you ONLY want Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave.

Last week you bit completely through your lip when you fell down playing in your playhouse in the backyard. You literally hadn't been in the house more than 30 seconds and you fell badddd. I was surprised that you didn't need stitches, but it is healing very nicely and quickly.

You are pretty much fully potty trained at this point; accidents are very rare.

In the last week (really, like 3 days) You have successfully transitioned to your new big girl room!!! This is HUGE. I thought it was going to take 4 weeks minimum to get you used to your room and you have been sleeping in a full sized twin bed for the past few nights! All I have to do is keep the door slightly open and you are totally fine!! This is the BIGGEST relief as I think I was putting off moving you to your new room because I was so nervous it was going to be a big project, and also perhaps slightly not ready to move you out of your baby room. I walked into the empty baby room the other night and instantly got sad that you weren't in there anymore. Baby Christopher will be moving in there in the next 2-3 weeks!

And as always - you are a very good big sister to baby "Christoper" You are constantly kissing the top of his head, and 9 times out of 10 are very sweet to him. Here's hoping it sticks as you get older!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Weekend June 17-19 2016

Happy Weekend!! Here's a video recap of our LAST weekend: Puppets in the Park, Sprinklers in the park, Gymboree, Grilled pizza, Pool and Father's Day! Looking forward to more fun adventures this weekend!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Christopher Joseph: 2 Months

Name: Christopher Joseph

Weight: You were 10 lbs. 6 oz. at your 6 week checkup - so you much be somewhere around 11 or 12 pounds already!! You are suuuuch a chunky monkey!! And when I compare you to Natalie's 2 month pictures,  (She weight 8 lbs. 12 oz. at her 6 week check-up!) It's crazzy how much bigger you are, and how different you look! You wore your newborn clothes for about 2 weeks!! If I knew you were going to grow so fast, I wouldn't have dressed you in ANY newborn clothes!

Height: 20 3/4 inches at your 6 week visit

Health: Perfectly healthy! Growing twice as fast as anyone ever expected you to. I seriously think I'm going to need to start you in 6 months clothes soon and you're 2 months!!

Sleep: I feed you before I go to bed around 11 or 12 am, then you are up between 3 and 4 am, and then again around 6. I can't get you back to sleep comfortably after your 3/4 am feeding. You fuss and fuss and fuss and fuss. So we have the swing set up in our room and after that feeding I pretty much always end up putting you in the swing until you wake up again.

Exclusively Breast Fed. You eat every 2-3 hours. Sometimes it's every hour, sometimes it's every 4. I'm just feeding you entirely on demand and on average, it's probably about 2-3 hours during the day. Luckily, you eat a lot quicker than Natalie did. I used to have to sit down to feed her for about 30-45 minutes! You are done in 10-15 minutes every time!

We started giving you a bottle of pumped milk at 4 weeks old. I'm having a really hard time finding time to pump to store up a supply, but I'm trying to make sure you get at least one bottle a week so that you are used to them and I will be able to leave you at some point (though honestly, I have no will or need to leave you at all right now)

Being Held and eating. This kid MUST be held at all times. I'm not kidding. If it weren't for the BOBA wrap, I would not have gotten through these last 8 weeks. When I get dressed in the morning, I put on my clothes, and then put on the BOBA wrap, and wear you for most of the day.
As long as I'm wearing you, you sleep through EVERYTHING. I'll pick up Natalie, play with her, feed her, feed myself, go out to the park or play places with Natalie, do the dishes, and you just sleep and sleep on me while I go about my day. I've definitely gotten some food on you already and am ashamed to admit I once had to play a game of "whipped cream or spit up?" It was not one of my proudest moments...
Disclaimer: When he falls asleep I tuck his head into the cloth on the
side he's sleeping on so his head is fully supported. 
Pacifier - specifically the WubbaNub. You take the pacifier way more than Natalie ever did. But that's because you're nursing so much quicker and not satisfying your need to suck the way she did.

Dislikes: Not being held

Car Rides - cries. every. time. to the point where he coughs, chokes, and there are tears running down his cheeks. It's horrrrrible. Aren't kids supposed to LOVE car rides??

Nicknames: Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Pancake, Muffin-Tart, Muffin-Cake, (there seems to be a breakfast pastry theme going for me) and Chunky Monkey.

General Notes:
You look just like your daddy and like your Papa (Chris's Dad) when they were babies. It's crazy! Here is my husband Chris in 1985, compared to baby Christopher now. I'll do one with papa's pictures next time!
I haven't yet figured out a routine or set schedule with you. I know it will come, but I can't decide what your best bedtime is, how much you really should be sleeping. I never know day to day what your major "awake periods" are, and they seem to constantly be changing and you are awake more and more. I know these things will fall into place in the coming weeks. So I'm not worried. I do like having you in the room with us though. It's just so easy with nursing in the middle of the night. I moved Natalie to the nursery at 11 weeks. I'm not sure if I'll be ready to do so with him in just 3 more weeks!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hello Fresh Review

I have an evil plan: to try out alllllll of the many different companies that offer ready-to-make meal deliveries to your home each week. Seriously, there are so many companies out there that all offer the same thing, and all offer significant discounts for your first trial of their company. In fact, there are so many, that I could try each one out there and effectively not have to plan meals, or do significant grocery shopping for the rest of the summer.

The only thing with my plan is I HAVE to remember to cancel the subscription after I try it so I don't automatically get charged each week. Last week I tried Hello Fresh. I signed up for 3-meals for 2 people plan.

I loved each of the meals I prepared, and each one took me about an hour to prepare, but really should have taken a half hour. It took me an hour because I constantly have to stop and go with Natalie running around and tending to Christopher. It was all recipes I wouldn't necessarily have made on my own, but it opened my mind up to trying some new things I wouldn't have tried otherwise. I feel like it taught me a lot. For example, it was sooo easy to cut up ciabatta bread and make homemade garlic croutons for my salad - I will definitely do that on my own again.

My favorite meal I was sent in my shipment was the Cod en Papillote with Brown Butter Caper-Sauce, Dill, and Red Pepper-Potato Hash (I don't eat peppers, so mine was just Potato Hash). Chris doesn't eat fish so I got to enjoy this for two meals in a row, and I was quite happy about that. I didn't take a great picture of this because I was too busy devouring it. It was amazing, soooo easy, and I will most definitely be recreating this recipe on my own. I don't know why, but I never ever think to buy cod for myself. If I buy fish, I resort to salmon. But I looooved this recipe and can't wait to try it again.

My second favorite meal was the Summer Vegetable Salad with Seared Chicken, Garlic Croutons, and Mustard-Chive Vinaigrette. Again, I'm not sure why but I've never butterflied chicken before, but I kind of liked it because it felt like I was eating more chicken than it was.

Lastly, I made Steak Tagliata with Rosemary Sweet Potato Wedges and Arugula Salad. I liked the rosemary sweet potatoes very much. I kept my steak in the oven longer than it suggested and it still was a litttle too rare for me. But I liked it.

I'm already signed up to try Blue Apron the first week of July and Marley Spoon the second week. Then there are at least 4 more companies like these that offer discounts for the first trial:

Each of these alone will take me to practically the end of the summer for literally $30 a week. I just have to do minimal shopping beyond this for milk, fruit, and little things for Natalie. Honestly, I think that this will actually keep our grocery bills down for the next two months.

Have you tried any of these companies? Are there any others out there that I am missing?? Anyone want to join in on the experiment??

I'll be back to give my reviews on the other companies and meals!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Vlogging and other documentation

I'm struggling with my documentation methods these days. I used to be a great journaler. I used to write down evvvverything. When Chris and I started dating I wrote down every single text we'd send each other in a journal. That was back in the old days before smart phones, so I only had one side of the conversation to record!! LOL I have a whole journal full of "responses" from Chris but no idea what my side of the conversation was - can you believe, or even remember, that's how we used to text?? My mom recently shared journal entries with me from her pregnancy with my younger sister: she can tell you every details from each stage of her pregnancy with her. I obviously can say the same about my pregnancy with Natalie - but since having her, my documentation methods, which primarily were blogging, have really fallen by the wayside - yet these are the times I want to document the MOST. It's frustrating me to no end and I'm trying to figure out the best (and most time efficient) way to document and have it in a format that I'll actually WANT to easily look back on one day.

I'm already finding myself asking things like "Did Natalie do this when she was 7 weeks old?" "What age did I start this with Natalie?" "When did we introduce the swing?" "How long did she sleep through the night at this point?" It's been 2 years and I just can't remember half the things about her first few months of life - I know, who can? It's inevitable through the sleep deprivation and chaos that surrounds that time.

I commented to my mom what a good documenter she was to have all of that written down, and she noted that while she has her journal, I have more pictures and video to record my life right now than she ever did, and that that's the trade-off. Which is true. But when you have literally 1000 pictures a month, I worry: "What's the point?" What will I do with all these thousands of pictures. Will I sit down and click through them one by one years down the road? Will my kids? It would take hours to look through.

So I've been trying to be better about keeping up with making my digital scrapbooks (still working on my 2015 one!) and I would like to utilize more video in my life. I've mentioned Sam and Nia on here before - a family I'm only mildly "obsessed" with. I could never display my daily life in the way that they do (no hate, or judgement, on them for doing so) But I do find watching their videos incredibly fascinating. For one, they now have two kids the same age as Natalie and Christopher. I like to see what types of games they play, foods they eat, things they do with their kids because it gives me ideas. But I also just think that their videos will be such an amazing thing for them and their kids to look back on.

People ask me all the time what a typical day for me is like, so I'm trying to compile little snippets of our days here and there and record what a "typical" day or week consists of. I need to get much better at this, and I hope to make somewhat weekly video "vlogs". This is my first feeble attempt at a video update. There is much from our weekend I didn't capture at all, including a nice dinner night Saturday with our friends Chris and Corinne....but here it is:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Delivery Q & A

Yesterday I shared with you Part 1 of my delivery story with Christopher. Today I have a little "Delivery Q &A" of the most common questions I get asked:

1. How long was your delivery? 
My water broke at 7:40 am, and Christopher was born at 6:03 pm. 10 Hours and 23 minutes. I didn't feel my first contraction until 10:30, and then not again for awhile after that, so the actual "hard labor" part was waayyy shorter than that. 

2. How long did you push?
I pushed for 12 minutes (as opposed to 2 1/2 hours last time!)

3. Was the pain worse than I imagined?  
It was about on par with what I remembered, but what I wasn't prepared for was how close the contractions would be, which I now know is because of the pitocin. I had 3 painful hours of contractions happening every 2-5 minutes. There was literally no rest for the weary. Normally, there is a bit more of a rest period in between the contractions. I finally got an epidural around 4:00 pm - a whole hour after I requested one - and that was me putting it off as long as possible, so I was not a happy camper. I was pretty much yelling at the nurse to go into the hallway, find the anesthesiologist, and walk him to my room RIGHT NOW. I was having multiple contractions WHILE having the epidural put in and was being told by the anesthesiologist "You cannot move while I do this at ALL." And I know all too well from having too many friends in the health profession that one wrong move with an epidural and you're left brain dead or paralyzed so OMG it was intense period of time in there.

4. Did I tear?

My doctor said she didn't even consider it a tear, but more of a "scratch". She said I had the tiniest little scratch and she put a tiny little stitch into it. I felt absolutely nothing.

5. Did I poop on the table? 

Nope!! Wahoo!!!

7.  How was Chris during all of this? 

Amazing as always. He was keeping up with a pretty intense texting chain between all of our friends and our family (which I loved reading through after it was all over - hilarious and amazing. I had something like 75 unread text messages to read through after I delivered) BUT there were a few times that I had to yell at him to put the phone down and hold my hand during a contraction. I always feel bad for him and have to laugh because he tries so hard to help me through a contraction by talking or making a joke or putting on music or something but I HATE all of that. Allllll I wanted was for him to hold my hand as I clutched the bed-railing through each contraction. Which he mostly did on his own, or would finally do after I'd yell at him to remind him ;) LOL.

Also, during one contraction, I distinctly remember yelling out "OHHH KELLY CLARKSON!" Which had Chris and me in absolute hysterics. But it hurt soooo bad to laugh so I my comedy routine ended there.

8. Do you regret getting an epidural?

No, I only regret not getting it sooner. I should have had it at least an hour or two sooner than I did!

The question I get asked the most is 
9. "How is Natalie with him?"

Natalie is really great with him. Every single day, every time she sees him she says "It's Baabbbbby Christoper" (that's a hard P not the "ph" sound). She kisses the top of his head constantly and has even taken to now kissing Chris and me on the top of our heads as well. She wants to hold him and she has her whole routine down for holding him that she recites "First you sit in the chair, then you get the pillow, then you put your arms like this, and then you hold Baby Christoper!" (Why I don't have ANY of this recorded and on video is beyond me and I'm already mad at myself for it!)

She enjoys holding him anywhere from 1 minute to 2 seconds, so you have to be on guard for her to throw him off of her when she's done. Which is he actual reason why I don't have a lot of these holding sessions recorded, I have to be prepared for anything at a moments notice and can't fumble with my phone.

The most interesting thing through all of this with Natalie was that at the hospital, she really couldn't have cared less about him. We kept showing him to her, we kept asking her to kiss him. She would do as she was told but really didn't seem to look at him or have any interest in him at all EXCEPT for one time: when we took him out of his swaddle.
It was like the veil had been lifted and for the first time she saw that this was an actual baby with hands and arms, and legs and feet. Every time she has seen him prior to that he was completely swaddled with a hat on - he was just this face to her - she didn't get it.

When I unswaddled him on my hospital bed, Natalie's whole interest in him changed, and it changed from that point moving forward. Luckily, we caught that immediate realization on camera. Unfortunately this moment is a bit marred and interrupted by Christopher throwing up at the end of it, of COURSE. I still don't know what or why he threw up, and he never did that again.

So my only advice I'd give to those who are introducing a new baby to an older sibling who might not fully understand what having a little sibling means, would be to let them see the whole baby un=swaddled to fully grasp it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Christopher Joseph's Birth Story Part 1

On Friday, April 22 - we decided that the next day we were going to take Natalie to the Bronx Zoo for the day. We were so excited to take her and figured it would be our last outing with just one child. We wanted to make it a special day for Natalie, before her world was rocked with the arrival of a little sibling.

Saturday morning I got out of bed around 7:30 am to get Natalie, change her into her clothes, and bring her into bed with us for a little snuggle session. I put Natalie on the potty to pee, then lifted her up to put her on the changing table so I could dress her for the day. I've been told that there is no way that action is what caused my water to break, but it was at that moment that I felt something drip down my legs. It wasn't a LOT. Not like what you envision it to mean when your water breaks - I usually envision a pool of water all over the floor. This just trickled down, and I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. I thought "No way....that's not what I think it is." I continued changing Natalie, while very calming calling out to Chris who was still sleeping in our bedroom. I asked him to "Please come here," he came to the bathroom and I said "I think my water just broke..."

Chris is a spring into action kind of guy, and even though I think internally he was freaking out a bit, he remained calm with me and immediately sprung into action. He called his mom to come over and get Natalie so we could get ready to go to the hospital.

I wasn't feeling any contractions, any pressure, or anything out of the ordinary other than the fact that my water broke, so I was in total denial that I was actually in labor. My Mother-in-Law called her friend who is a maternity nurse who said "If her water broke, she must deliver the baby in the next 24 hours." But even then, I thought "My water only HALF broke...that can't be all of it, the hospital will probably send me home."

I called my parents and told them that my water broke, we were going to the hospital, but not to leave yet until we knew for sure what was going on. Well about 20 minutes after I got off the phone with them another gush of water came out, and that's when I texted my parents "More water, I think this is really happening."

This time was SO DIFFERENT from last time because I wasn't in any pain. I was able to shower, do my hair, slap on a little makeup, pack my hospital bag (which was only half-way, haphazardly packed), and eat breakfast. It was a perfectly wonderful morning! While I did that Chris set up the pack 'n play, installed the car seat bases into the cars, packed his hospital bag - LOL clearly we were a bit behind on getting things ready!!

It was also nice that I got to say "good-bye" to Natalie. I tried not to make it too emotional or grandiose for her sake. She was holding onto me pretty tightly and asking me to "sit down" so I'd stay with her. I held her tight - the last time she would be my only baby.

With a folded towel on the seat, we loaded into the car, snapped a picture and headed off to the hospital.

We arrived to the hospital around 9:30 am. Chris dropped me off in front of the hospital while he went to the park. Walking into the hospital, I was having deja vu to my last labor with Natalie: I had a contraction as I got out of the car and had to stop and get through it right outside the doors. A kind valet man came over and asked me if I wanted a wheelchair, but the contraction was ending and I just wanted to get inside. This time, I leisurely walked in like I was just there for a visit. I walked into admitting (last time this was where I threw up into a woman's trash can). They asked what I was there for.
Me: "Hi, um, my water broke...I guess I'm in labor?"
Woman: "How far along are you."
Me: "37  1/2 weeks."

She pulls up my paperwork and takes me to the back where I sign a bajillion papers to start the process of admitting me to the hospital. (Again, even as I'm signing these I was thinking "Hm...I wonder if I'll have to go through all of this again when I come back to really deliver the baby." When I say I was in denial. I. Was. In. Denial.)

Chris and I were each given wrist bands, and we were escorted upstairs to the maternity ward. The guy who was escorting us was a nice guy, who was making conversation:
Man: "How are you guys today?"
Us: "Fine...I guess, looks like we're gonna have a baby!"
Man: "Wait, really? You're in labor now?
Me: "Well I water broke this morning."
Man: "Oh my gosh! Do you want a wheelchair? We can take you upstairs in a wheelchair!"
Me: "No, really, I'm fine...I don't feel anything."
Man: "Wow...ok."

I was set up in a triage room where I would be swabbed to check if the water that I was feeling was in fact my water breaking. (They literally swab it and put it on a test strip. If it turns a certain color, it's your "waters"). This whole process took quite a while. I had to switch beds because one of the machines wasn't working, and because I was so calm and not feeling anything I think there was just no real sense of urgency on anyone's part.
Chillin' in triage
So we waited. Around 10:30ish, I felt a very strong cramp. I turned to the nurse and said "I think I just had a contraction". She went over to the monitor to look at the screen and sure enough - I had! My body was started to respond to the fact that my water broke. I was happy about that, because I didn't like the idea that I was going to be induced with pitocin. At least now I knew that my body was preparing and getting ready for labor on its own anyway. It didn't feel like we were doing anything too prematurely.

After the test confirmed that my water had broken, I was wheeled over to the delivery room where I would spend the rest of the day. Other than the fact that I went waaayyyy longer without an epidural and had 3 hours of very very intense and quick contractions - other than that - this whole delivery process was a million times better than it was last time with Natalie. At first, I felt like the room I was put in was too small, but I ended up loving it because everything felt closer, more intimate (though, can this process really GET more intimate?) and less crazed this time around. Last time, I felt like there were a million people in my room and looking back on it I keep wondering "Why WERE there so many people in my delivery room??" I think there were like 3 baby nurses, my doctor, a med student, my nurse, some other nurses (?) and people kept popping their heads into the room and coming and going. This time around it was me, my nurse, my doctor, a resident, and Chris. It was sooooo much better and less stressful to have less people there. Our nurse even said to me afterward "as far as deliveries go...this was one of the easiest ones I've seen!"

Also, I was able to do skin to skin immediately and they kept him on me for at LEAST two hours before they even took him to clean him up or anything! I was shocked, literally shocked by how long they let me just hold him after he was born. Christopher just layed there, calm as can be for two whole hours just taking in this new world around him. It was in a word: Amazing. Last time, Natalie was pale from the umbilical chord being wrapped around her neck, so they immediately cleaned her up, let me hold her swaddled for about 5 minutes, and then took her to the NICU where I wouldn't see her again for the next 6 hours!

But I digress...

Once they got me started on the pitocin my contractions started coming on fast and strong with barely any rest in-between. I finally asked for the epidural at 2:50 pm. The nurse said I would get it very quickly once I requested it - but it took a whole hour! I waited way too long to request it. I think I kept waiting for someone to say to me "This is typically when someone would get an epidural. I didn't want to cave too early, but I definitely didn't. I was measuring at 3 cm. and my doctor said to go ahead with the epi. I got it at 4:00 and by 5:30ish I was at 10 cm and they told me it was time to start pushing!

The epidural was still extremely strong by the time I had to start pushing (even though my contractions were very, very painful again). I couldn't really feel my legs and I didn't feel like I was pushing at all, but they asured me that I was. I pushed for 12 minutes and out he came where the doctor anounced "It's a boy!"

I just threw my hands in the air and went "Really?? Of course it's a boy!" Meaning - Of course I was wrong about the gender - AGAIN!!

Like I said before, Christopher laid on my chest for at least 2 hours after he was born. Back with more tomorrow on what happened next!