Archive | September, 2018

Our Fall Routine

29 Sep

mums.jpgWe’re almost a month into the school year now, which is a unit of time that hasn’t really mattered to Travis and I since we graduated from college over 10 years ago. But now we have a kindergartener, and our lives are ruled by the school schedule.

Which, as it turns out, has been really good for us so far. Yes, the arbitrary holidays that the kids get off from school but we don’t get off from work and spontaneous early releases are going to drive us crazy, I’m sure, but the overall structure of school five days a week has enabled us to do something we’ve never done before:

Stick to a routine.

When I think about how to describe the way our days are going now, I can only think of the trite, “It’s just so. good.” But it really is. I have been trying to stick to a weekly routine since we moved back to Minnesota and I became a stay-at-home mom four years ago, but I could not do it for the life of me. I’m one of those people who functions well with schedule obligations like bookends–something to reign in my “free time” (or should I just call it unscheduled time?) and give it boundaries. I can’t be all scheduled, but I also can’t be all unscheduled.

Enter our routine now. Emma needs to be to school by 8:25 AM every day Monday through Friday. She needs to be picked up at 3:00 PM each of those days as well. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:45 to 2:45, during which time Annabelle and Corbin go to daycare. Mondays and Fridays, Travis takes Emma to school so I can still have a few lazy mornings.

Those scheduled things have taken up just enough of my week that I have felt the need to get more intentional about my unscheduled time. I also just recently realized, after lamenting for years how chaotic life felt, that I was a main culprit in making it chaotic by not sticking to a routine. So my routine:

I meal plan and make a grocery list on Sunday.

Mondays are reserved for grocery shopping and MOPS, and playdates or errands as time allows.

Fridays, I stay home to get stuff done (like laundry) and don’t change out of my pajamas until school pick-up.

At the beginning of the school year, I switched from working 9 to 5 two days a week, to working 8:45 to 2:45 three days a week. So I have an hour and a half with the kids every afternoon between school pick-up and dinnertime, and we’ve even developed a routine with that time. On Mondays, we go to the dollar store and buy Lunchables (at the girls’ request–they’re obsessed). Fridays, we go to a park near the school. The other days, we head home and play outside (while it’s still nice!) until Corbin needs to nap or nurse, usually around 4:45. Then they watch iPad while I take care of Corbin and start to make dinner. It’s not a ton of time, but it’s been so. good. to just have a slot of time everyday that I spend hanging out with my kids, doing what they want to do.

And Travis and I still have our scheduled workout times (M & W for him, T & Th for me), as well as our weekend hobby times. Sunday mornings, we go to church, and the rest of the weekend is fairly negotiable.

Something I recently read in an email from minimalist Allie Casazza was along the lines of “You may think routines make life boring and predictable. But routines actually provide the foundation for adventure.” She used the example of being able to spontaneously fly to visit a friend in need, leaving her husband in charge of all 4 kids, and feeling peaceful with the knowledge that their house was tidy, there was food in the fridge, and their schedules predictable because she had laid that foundation with her routines. I should’ve saved that email (why didn’t I?!?!) because that message resonated with me so much. I am loving our routine.

I should mention that the parameters of a school schedule aren’t magic. I’m not all of a sudden able to stick to a routine because I have a kid in school. My desire for and ability to stick to a routine have slowly evolved over the course of this Year of White Space. During which time I’ve learned that the main requirements of a routine are that you do it, regardless of whether or not you feel like it, and that you make time for it, which means guarding that time from other things. As a spontaneous and a Yes person by nature, I’ve had to learn how to stick to a routine.

For example, even when I forget about meal planning on Sunday until it’s 10 PM, I buckle down and do it so that I’m ready to go grocery shopping on Monday, instead of just blowing it off and saying, “Eh, whatever, I’ll do it tomorrow.” I keep telling myself, “If you want life to feel more predictable, you have to make it more predictable.” (Obviously, unpredictable things still happen but most of my strife with a chaotic life has come about through my own doing.)

Lest you think that our routine has made our fall a rainbow of mums and pumpkins, let me assure you that it has not. My job has been crazy busy and stressful, we’re in the midst of changing caregivers for Corbin, the girls have daily tantrums over everything and nothing, Travis’ work has been famine and now feast, and I’m staring down the barrel of another hunting season. But the routine definitely helps make things less chaotic. And that’s really all I can ask for.

Corbin Travis: 6 Months

22 Sep

Little Bud is already 6 months old! Time is flying!IMG_9914 (Large)IMG_9888 (Large)Size

Corbin didn’t have his 6-month checkup until October 5 (he was 6 months on September 22), but he is a chunk! He was 20 lbs 11 oz (91%), 26 inches (15%?!?!), with a head circumference in the 87th percentile. I have put away all of his 6-month clothes and some of his 9-month clothes (sleepers, shirts, pants) already barely fit. He has a very thick torso and chubby thighs, so there have been several pairs of pants that he didn’t wear at all because we couldn’t get them on, or the waist was too tight! So we might be pulling his 12-month clothing out before long.IMG_9931 (Large)And he’s still in size 4 diapers.

Sleeping

Corbin is not the greatest sleeper these days, during the day or at night. He’s still right around 90-120 minutes of awake time between naps but has started taking short 30 minute naps as his norm–or he “naps” while I nurse him and then decides he’s fine and is awake for another couple of hours. o_O He’s almost always happy when he’s awake (though if he is really tired, he’s only happy being held), but man, having a baby who doesn’t nap plus two other kids who no longer nap is EXHAUSTING. This momma doesn’t get anything done without letting the girls watch iPad for hours on end. (And since I don’t want to let them watch iPad for hours on end, I get nothing done.)

And then there’s Corbin’s nighttime sleep. He is getting his first tooth ❤ so he has been waking up every 2-3 hours at night for about the past week (and maybe even longer? Honestly, things are mostly a blur at this point). Thankfully, he almost always goes right back to sleep after nursing. I’m hoping that once his bottom two teeth pop through, he’ll go back to his “normal” sleeping habits (whatever those are–he’s so unpredictable!!).

Another change this month is that Corbin no longer likes being bounced on the exercise ball. He just wants us to put him down in his Rock n Play, where he sucks his thumb and falls asleep on his own (unless he’s already asleep from nursing). Yep, he’s still in the Rock n Play. Now that he’s getting close to sitting up on his own, he should probably be in his crib, but… man, I dread transitions. They’re always more horrible in my mind though, so we should probably just bite the bullet. Stay tuned until next month…IMG_9948 (Large)IMG_9944 (Large)IMG_9851 (Large)Eating

Corbin is still breastfeeding, and still refuses to nurse unless he’s ready for a nap. If I try any other time (even when he is quite certainly hungry), he’ll nurse for 30 seconds to a minute, then pull off and look around. Sometimes he pulls off to suck his thumb. 😀 Silly boy.IMG_9796 (Large)Corbin has now tried avocado and banana in addition to rice cereal. He loves avocado, but could take or leave the banana. My plan is to start feeding him two meals a day, one in the morning right after he wakes up, and another right before dinner. It always takes me a while to get into the swing of a new habit, and this is no different, so I haven’t been consistent on this yet (especially when I’m getting 7,389 snacks for my other two children each day). But this could help him sleep more during the night too. Right?IMG_9697 (Large)Finally, Corbin is done taking his acid reflux meds. Soon after he turned 5 months, I just kind of stopped giving it to him and he was fine. So we’re done with that, hallelujah. We have been giving him some infant Tylenol for his teething pain, and he HATES it. He didn’t like the taste of his acid reflux meds either, but you can tell that he hates the Tylenol even more. He also doesn’t drool or spit up as much now either.

Development

Little Man is getting closer and closer to sitting up on his own. He can now sit up in carts and strollers without leaning too much, and can sit up on the floor for a few seconds if he leans all the way forward. He is a curious little guy and loves being able to see what’s going on, so it’ll be nice when he can sit up on his own. IMG_9889 (Large)Corbin loves toys, especially ones he can chew on. His favorites are Mortimer the Moose; a half fabric, half plastic ring with a bird on it; a jingly ball that reminds me of a cat toy; a pink dog that has a wooden ring on one end; and a plastic circular rattle in the shape of a fish.IMG_9869 (Large) He still likes his playmat, and loves the jumperoo. He enjoys stroller rides and facing out in the Baby Bjorn (he actually does still fit in it–turns out I had the straps adjusted too tight). IMG_9826 (Large)And a new thing–Corbin loves swinging. He still for the most part needs to be propped up with thin blankets in our swing at home so that he doesn’t end up slouching, but he can sit up in the baby swings at parks too. And he loves it! IMG_9813 (Large)Those cheeks ❤

Corbin has really found his voice, and shrieks often. He doesn’t laugh very often, but when he does, it’s the cutest sound in the world. Emma is actually the person who can get him to laugh the most often with her crazy antics. One day when he was swinging, she pushed him a few times and then held him up in the swing leaning forward, and he thought that was hilarious. Of course, he stopped doing it the minute we got our phones out, but it was so cute. Travis can also get him to laugh sometimes by blowing on his neck.

The girls still give him lots of attention, and have started to want to carry Corbin around. One morning when we were getting ready for church, Annabelle made him cry a few times by trying to pick him up when we weren’t watching. But he’s probably over 20 pounds by now so he’s not that much lighter than she is! And whenever we send Annabelle in to entertain Corbin after a nap when we’re busy doing something, she makes sure that he has plenty of toys. IMG_9808 (Large)IMG_9761 (Large)IMG_9843 (Large)IMG_9700 (Large)We also braved the Minnesota State Fair this year with all three kids (plus two of my brothers and their wives, their two babies, and my dad), and it wasn’t a disaster!IMG_9737 (Large)IMG_9711 (Large)And that’s Corbin at 6 months!

Corbin Travis: 5 Months

2 Sep

Mister Man is 5 months old! IMG_9611 (Large)IMG_9686 (Large)He turned 5 months on August 22, so I’m late on this update like usual. It just takes so much time to write the post, download photos from Google, upload them to WordPress, and then proof everything. I’ve also started uploading all the photos from these posts to Walmart Photo Center, so that I can easily print physical copies 3-4 times a year. One of my BHAGs for the next year is to get all my digital photos of the kids (from the past 5.5 years) printed and in physical albums.

Size

Little Bud goes back to the doctor at 6 months, so I’ll know weight and height then, but he has officially graduated to mostly 9-month clothes, and size 4 diapers. I also bought him a cute winter hat, and it was supposed to be for 9-16 months (Chinese sizing…), and it just barely fit him now, so back it went. I’m trying to stop buying clothing from China anyway.IMG_9298 (Large)IMG_9284 (Large)Sleeping

Right around 4 months, Corbin had a few really rough nights, and reading that the 4-month sleep regression could last weeks made me panic. But after a few nights, he more or less went back to normal for about a week. After that week, he once again started waking up every 2-3 hours, and he was also really hard to get down at bedtime–I’d nurse him, get him to sleep, and put him down like normal, and he’d wake up 15 minutes later. He did that several times before he’d stay down for the night.

We thought maybe he was sick of sleeping in his Rock n Play, so we set up his crib and laid him in it awake. The very first time, he rolled around for 20-30 minutes and then fell asleep on his own. I was blown away (Emma traumatized us with her sleeping habits). He doesn’t always like his crib, but every once in a while, it comes in really handy. He can also now get himself back to sleep during the night by sucking on his thumb. It is THE cutest thing ever. Also slightly related to this, he has ditched the swaddle and graduated to the sleepsack.IMG_9351 (Large)Overall, he still usually goes to bed around 7:30/8 PM, and wakes up once between 3 and 5 AM. Whether or not he goes back to sleep after he eats depends on the day. Sometimes he’s just wide awake, and is really hard to get back to sleep. Other times, he goes right back to sleep from nursing, and I can put him right back down without bouncing him at all. (The way I usually get him to sleep is I nurse him and then bounce him on the exercise ball for 10 minutes to get him down.)

Corbin does not like taking naps in his carseat or the baby carrier. He can make do for a nap here or there, but I really try to limit the amount of naps he has to take “on the go” because the boy needs his naps, and he wants them at home, in his bed. Same for bedtime. With Annabelle, we could be flexible because she was such an easygoing baby and would sleep anywhere, but Corbin wants to be home, in his bed, for bedtime.IMG_9353 (Large)Eating

Little Bud is still super distracted while nursing, so I have gotten into the (not-so-great) habit of nursing him right before he goes to sleep. I would prefer to nurse him right when he wakes up, so that he doesn’t get into the habit of nursing to sleep, but it usually just results in him nursing for 2-3 minutes per side, and me needing to nurse him before his nap anyway.

Corbin has eaten rice cereal three times so far, and seems to really like it. I think it might help him to sleep better at night too (based on one night where he didn’t wake up at all), so I’m going to start feeding him some every night at dinnertime. We’ll see! Then at 6 months, we’ll venture into banana and avocado.

I’m still pumping at work. I try to pump three times each day, but sometimes I only pump twice, one because I really dislike it, and two because I run out of time. I usually get 5-6 oz from a session.IMG_9369 (Large)IMG_9318 (Large)Development

Corbin is changing so fast these days! He can now roll both ways (back to belly, belly to back) but rarely chooses to. It’s almost like he’s forgotten that he knows how. He’ll roll over onto his side to look at or reach something, but if he starts tilting a little too far, he’ll quick roll onto his back because heaven forbid he make it all the way to his tummy. He still isn’t the biggest fan of tummy time, and will tolerate it only in small doses (5 minutes or so).

Corbin has discovered his feet, and started sucking on his toes. He also discovered his voice, and is very vocal now. He gets progressively louder the more tired he is (so he squawks a lot right before naps). He also talks a lot when he gets excited. He has also started to really enjoy the jumperoo, and actually move around a bit (at first, he would just stand there doing nothing).IMG_9432 (Large)Corbin LOVES facing out in the Baby Bjorn and kicks his little legs in excitement. (But sad day–I just discovered yesterday that he no longer fits in the Baby Bjorn. That seriously happened overnight. One day he fit. The next day he didn’t.) He does pretty well on stroller rides too, and we’ve started taking family walks with him in the stroller and the girls on their bikes.

Corbin still gets lots of love from his sisters, in the form of a tent for his jumperoo, a bath in the bathroom sink, snuggles on the couch, medical attention, and jewelry. He loves the attention from them most of the time. Emma has made him cry several times by growling or yelling at him–she’s intending it to be playful but he doesn’t understand that.IMG_9596 (Large)IMG_9597 (Large)IMG_9471 (Large)IMG_9460 (Large)IMG_9440 (Large)IMG_9363 (Large)This month, he also took his first ride in Daddy’s pickup to the laundromat and bike shop:IMG_9463 (Large)Corbin also got to hang out in the garage while we painted a dresser and at the splash pad while the girls played:IMG_9332 (Large)IMG_9336 (Large)The last thing I’ll mention is how much I thoroughly enjoy cuddling with this little guy. I feel like with each progressive kid, I can enjoy them more, because I’m not as strung-out. IMG_9379 (Large)IMG_9681 (Large)One of Corbin’s other nicknames is Little Chubs. We just love this little guy so much!!