Annabelle Lyn: 3.25 Years

24 Jun

Annabelle was 3 years old on March 27, so instead of being horribly behind on a 3-year post, I’m choosing to be a little ahead of the game on a 3.25-year post. 😉IMG_8376IMG_7827IMG_7634IMG_7519Size

At Annabelle’s 3-year well-child checkup, she weighed 31 lbs (55%) and was 3′ 1″ tall (39%). She is wearing 3T clothes and size 7 shoes. She is also fully potty trained (more details below), so no more diapers!

Eating

Annabelle’s favorite foods recently have been yogurt, bagels, cheese, bacon, sandwich meat, veggie straws, pretzels, applesauce, and mandarin oranges. Her favorite treats are chocolate, Starburst, and gum.

Whenever she eats something that she is really enjoying, she goes “nom nom nom nom” in rhythm with her chewing.IMG_7805IMG_7819Annabelle typically front-loads her calories each day, in that she eats 27 snacks before lunch, then forces us to fight her for 5 bites of dinner. As long as I make sure her snacks are healthy, and as long as she continues to eat a variety of foods, I don’t really care. She’s growing, she’s healthy. That’s all that matters. I am, however, working with her on not screaming, “Mommmmm!!! I want a snack and a drink!!” every time she wants a snack. Because hearing that for 27 snacks, times 5 requests every 5 seconds for each snack, equals a LOT of screaming and Mommy losing her patience. I tell her that she needs to ask once, in a non-whiny, non-screamy voice, and then wait for Mommy to respond.

There have been a couple of times when Annabelle has asked Travis for a snack and he has asked her to try again (say please) but she doesn’t understand what he’s asking so she just keeps repeating her request in a different way.

“Daddy, I want some cherries!”

“Try again.”

“I want cherries.”

“Try again.”

“Give me some cherries.”

“Try again.”

“Can I have some cherries?”

“Try again.”

She got so frustrated after one of these encounters that she came crying to me. I told her “Annabelle, just say ‘Can I please have some cherries?'” She immediately stopped crying, laughed, and ran back to Travis to ask him again.IMG_7385IMG_7384IMG_7381Sleeping

I mentioned in my last update about Annabelle back in December, we had moved Annabelle back into her own room. She had been sharing a room with Emma, sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor, and we had been lying there with her until she fell asleep. Being in her own room helped Annabelle make progress with falling asleep on her own because we could leave while she was still awake, and she could flip flop around in her bed making as much noise as she wanted, and we didn’t have to worry about her keeping Emma up.

Then two things happened: We got Emma a twin bed for Christmas (freeing up her toddler bed for Annabelle) and we did 10 days of respite care for a little boy at the end of January. We had been planning to leave Annabelle in her own room until Corbin needed his room but instead, we moved Annabelle back into Emma’s room at the end of January.

We quickly discovered that we couldn’t leave the room if both girls were still awake, because even if one was almost asleep, the other would keep talking and get them wound back up. Then they’d both stay awake for another couple of hours tearing their room apart, playing with toys, hiding under the bed, etc.

Travis likes to Divide & Conquer by putting one girl to bed in our room, but I don’t like doing that because momma wants her bed for watching a show before going to sleep. So when I put the girls to bed, I “tick” Emma (run her back, legs, arms, face) first, then while I rock and tick Annabelle, Emma usually falls asleep.

For the past couple of months, we’ve been having Annabelle skip her nap. The problem wasn’t that she was fighting her naps, but that she wouldn’t be sleepy until 9 at night. The first couple weeks with no nap, Annabelle would fall asleep at 5 PM (or earlier if we didn’t keep her moving) so we had to make dinner and get her pajamas on starting at 4:15. But now she’s good until 6 or 7. She usually sleeps through the night and gets up around 6:30 AM.IMG_8616IMG_7803IMG_7693Development

Annabelle is officially potty-trained! Like with Emma, daycare did most of the work. She had been wearing pull-ups to daycare for several months when they suggested she could start wearing underwear because she was doing really well staying dry. So after they suggested it a second time, we started sending her in undies.

Once Annabelle was staying dry in undies, we started trying to be more diligent at home about having her go potty every couple hours. She was all about the potty for a few weeks and then started fighting me on it, so I let it go. A month or so later, she started telling us she had to go potty and she even started pooping on the potty (with very little prompting on our part). So we had her start wearing undies at home too. Now she only wears diapers/pull-ups at night.

She still has occasional accidents (usually because she doesn’t make it to the toilet in time). Her reaction is the cutest — she looks down and covers her eyes in shame. It’s seriously adorable.IMG_7902IMG_8680IMG_7548IMG_7334Annabelle has started to recognize letters (especially letter A since her name starts with it). She has a longer attention span for coloring and actually does pretty well with staying in the lines.

She got a bike with training wheels and has learned how to pedal. She loves riding that around! She also loves swinging on a big-girl swing.

Annabelle is a curious mix of liking to get dirty and play in the mud, and not liking her hands being sticky after eating something messy. She and Emma waded in the river just a month or so after the ice went out, and she walked through the nasty muck to find an abandoned flipflop, but she hates it when Emma splashes her and accidentally sprays her with the garden hose.IMG_8007IMG_8612IMG_8614Annabelle loves to sing and knows the lyrics to several songs, including Rain Rain Go Away, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, ABC, Bingo, Old McDonald, and Jesus Loves Me.

She still loves playing with Emma, and their favorite activities these days almost always involve Barbies and their imaginations. Annabelle also loves her “pink blanket with flowers” and “big purple baby.”

When Annabelle wakes up in the morning, she will often open her bedroom door but then wait for me to come get her. If Travis tries to get her, she hides in the corner and whines for mommy. 🙄

Annabelle loves her baby brother but is often rough with him, and weirdly likes to play with his earlobes.IMG_8620img_8637DBF2132F-911C-4933-932A-112F5F29DCE5img_8323Things Annabelle often says:

  • “I want a snack and a drink.”
  • “I have a runny nose!”
  • “Emma’s not sharing with me!”
  • “Ticky ticky ticky” (complete with butt swagger)
  • “Bye bye poopy butt.”
  • “No, I’m the mom!”
  • “I have to go tee tee.” (potty)

Other things Annabelle likes:

  • Playing hockey
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sleeping on her stomach, with no blankets
  • Pretending to be the mom of her Barbies or babies
  • Holding my hand, sitting on my lap, being carried around, and cuddling

IMG_6325IMG_6494IMG_7222IMG_6227IMG_0875IMG_6133And that’s Annabelle at 3.25 years!

Corbin Travis: 3 Months

23 Jun

Corbin is already 3 months old (13 weeks)!

Wow, that went fast. Some people feel sad when the newborn stage is over, but I’m excited that he’s starting to interact with us, play with toys, and coo more. And since he wasn’t an easy newborn, I’m kinda breathing a sigh of relief that the first three months are over!Size

He won’t go back to the doctor until 4 months so no weight or height stats for ya, but Corbin has been in 6-month clothing for at least 3 weeks now. Even 6-month pants mostly fit him. He doesn’t have a bunch of rolls though–he’s just a solid little boy. He’s also in size 3 diapers now too. Size 2 still fits him technically but I’d rather not chance the blowouts (sometimes they even happen in size 3 because he saves up for days and then lets it rip).Eating/Sleeping

Corbin has stretched his awake time out to 75-90 minutes (including feeding time). That gives us a good 30-45 minutes to actually play and interact with him before he needs to nap, which is nice. Generally speaking, he goes to bed between 7 and 9 PM, and wakes up between 4 and 6 AM to nurse. If he wakes up more like 4 AM, he goes right back to sleep for another couple of hours. If he wakes up at 6 AM, he’s usually “up for the day” (aka up for an hour before he needs his first nap).

His naps are usually about an hour long, with the exception of his late afternoon nap, which tends to be 2-3 hours long (from about 3-6). He still goes to bed at the normal time and sleeps through the night, so I guess it works for him!Corbin usually drinks 5-6 ounces from a bottle for a feeding, so I would assume he gets roughly the same amount nursing. He’s been a champ with the bottle (praise Jesus!), and has done really well with the nanny we hired. He is still taking his acid reflux meds. I didn’t give them to him for a day before his 2-month checkup and he seemed to be fussier, so we’re sticking with them for now.He still loves being swaddled, though he’s started to be able to get his hands out once he wakes up. He has been able to find and suck on his hands more too, so maybe we’re nearing the one-arm swaddle? I can’t imagine him giving up the swaddle altogether yet, because he loves it so much. When he’s ready for a nap, he wails like the world is ending. We swaddle him, sometimes give him a pacifier, and 85% of the time, he totally relaxes and is content to be carried around and bounced. Sometimes he’s still a little fussy (having a hard time settling down) but after only about 5 minutes, he starts getting sleepy. It still takes 15-20 minutes to get him to sleep though.

He fell asleep once in my arms unswaddled. The thing that makes him the fussiest is either not getting a good nap or getting woken up from a nap. Then he is a beast! But as long as he gets good naps (whether in the Bjorn or Rock n Play), he’s a pretty happy guy.Development

Corbin seems to be a pretty mellow baby so far. He does smile a fair amount, though not nearly as much as Emma and Annabelle did (though we were told by several people that Emma smiled more than the average baby). Emma and Annabelle were also considerably more vocal than Corbin has been, but maybe I’m remembering them at more like 4 months?

Since Corbin has distinct awake times now beyond just feeding, we can tell that he’s a pretty happy baby overall. His favorite thing is to lay on his back and kick his legs, whether on his playmat or in his bouncy seat. He has also sat in the Bumbo a few times, and seems to like that (we make sure to support his head if it bobs around too much but he has pretty good neck strength). He does not like tummy time though AT ALL. Seriously, 5-10 seconds and he’s done. Oh well.I put Corbin forward-facing in the Baby Bjorn yesterday for the first time and he seemed to really like it! That might start making it more possible for me to be outside with the girls while he’s awake. I also take him on very short stroller rides (to the mailbox and back). That’s usually his limit!

And that’s Corbin at 3 months!

Corbin Travis: 10 Weeks

3 Jun

Corbin was 10 weeks this past Thursday but just had his 2-month well-child checkup on Friday. (#thirdchild)

Size

Corbin is now 14 lbs 11 oz (87%) and 23.5 inches long (58%), with a head circumference of 16.13 inches (89%). He is 4 pounds bigger than Emma was at this age, and 2 pounds bigger than Annabelle.He is still mostly wearing 3-month clothes, though he does fit into his 6-month summer rompers, and 6-month onesies aren’t crazy big on him.

Corbin is still wearing size 2 diapers but once we use up all the ones we currently have, I think I’ll move him up to size 3.Eating/Sleeping

Corbin is still eating about every 2.5 hours during the day, but has lengthened his long nighttime stretch to 5-8 hours, which is awesome (now if only our girls would stop waking up for various reasons…). Most of the time, Corbin is down for his long stretch somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 PM, and wakes up to nurse between 3:30 and 5 AM. But he’s still unpredictable so every night is a little different.

Since my last update at 8 weeks, Corbin has mostly decided that naps longer than 45 minutes are overrated (though he napped well for my mother-in-law the days I was working… figures). He often wants to be held for naps, and still LOVES being swaddled. We started swaddling him even in his car seat (with his legs out for the harness)–now he does a LOT better in his car seat.Even though his naps are hit or miss these days, Corbin has thankfully become easier to get to sleep. He’s content to just be swaddled and held, and we can have him outside or rock him in the chair and he’ll eventually drift off to sleep (most of the time).

Corbin unfortunately isn’t always a huge fan of the Baby Bjorn (or even the Moby wrap). He will sometimes tolerate the Bjorn, as long as he has a pacifier or his thumb to suck on. Sometimes he just screams bloody murder until you take him out of it.He really likes sucking on a pacifier about 80% of the time (the other 20% he just pushes it around with his tongue).

Development

Corbin’s favorite thing to do while he’s awake is lay on his playmat, kicking his legs, batting at the toys, and watching the blinking star.

We’ve tried tummy time a few times but he lasts about a minute before screaming his head off, and we’ve had about all the crying we can handle right now, so I’m not going to push it.

He hasn’t started cooing or smiling much more than he had been doing at 8 weeks.

Last week was my first week back at work and Corbin did great for my MIL! We found a nanny for him so hopefully he’ll do well for her too. And that’s Corbin at 10 weeks!

{6-Month Update} 2018 Focus: White Space

24 May

I just emotionally vomited on my husband. It’s my last day at home with Corbin while the girls are at school and daycare before I go back to work, and I feel this intense pressure to at once enjoy my fleeting time with him (why do all the moms with newborns on Instagram seem to do this so well?!?!) as well as get stuff done during his naps. Except that he decided to not nap today unless I was holding him, and then only in the swaddle, not the Baby Bjorn. So I’ve accomplished exactly nothing today.

I wish deeply that I was ok with that. Why can’t I just enjoy holding him, even if it means I accomplish nothing? Why can’t I be ok with not having planned dinners for over a month? Can’t I let a dirty kitchen floor and dirty bathrooms go for just a few more weeks? It’s not that bad wearing dirty clothes, right? I don’t need to exercise, shower, write blog posts, finish thank you notes, or drink another cup of coffee, right?

Part of the reason I’m not ok with those things is that I’m a Type-A neat freak who is literally stressed out by a dirty, messy house.

Part of it is that I love accomplishing things and checking things off my to-do list. Getting to the end of a day and not being able to say I did anything but survive is a major killjoy.

And part of it is that I’m overly ambitious, always wanting to do 500 more things than I have time for. It’s sadly ironic that the days I’ve had either without kids at home or with just the baby at home have been some of my most stressful days because I feel pressured to do all the things. I almost always pray in the morning on those days, “Lord, I know that only about 2 things out of the 50 I want to get done today will actually get done. Give me wisdom to know what I should do, patience when I don’t get everything done, and trust that You’ve got the things that are undone under control.” That prayer helps, but I’m obviously still a basketcase.

I felt like this even before Corbin was born, and now it’s exacerbated 1,000%: I don’t have time for the things I want to be doing because I’m spending all my time doing crap I have to do. To solve this dilemma, I either have to A) Stop wanting to do things, or B) Decrease the amount of things I have to do. I choose Option B.

Enter Minimalism. I first really started reading about it during the winter of 2017, and that following spring, I spent weeks decluttering our entire house, getting rid of things that we had been holding on to from our college days thinking we would use “some day.” (And I’ve been a declutterer my whole life, so this was even a deeper level of getting rid of stuff.)

But that alone wasn’t enough. The week that Corbin was born, Travis and I had a tense discussion about a familiar problem: Too Much to Do and Too Little Time. The house where we live is in many ways our dream house. It’s in a mature woods, with no neighbors for two lots on one side, and a neighbor with just a garage and a garden on the other side. Our driveway is long enough that we can barely see the road leading through our quiet neighborhood, and our backyard leads to the river, all combining for a very idyllic, serene setting.

The house itself has four bedrooms–three on the main level and one in the walk-out basement, which my husband uses for his office, since he works from home. It has a lofted ceiling and big windows that look east onto our backyard and the river, filling our living room and kitchen with morning sunlight. In the summer, sometimes the sun even reflects off the water onto the wall in our living room.

We love living here. We love the space, the quiet, the water. However, we don’t love the required maintenance. You’ll encounter house maintenance in any house. But as I’ve told Travis, if I had known how much work it would be to live here with these woods and this lot, I would’ve seriously reconsidered buying it.

In any given season, there’s at least 2-4 hours of weekly maintenance that need to be done. In the summer, you have to pick up dog poop, mow the lawn, and deal with the large areas of landscaping the previous owners created (if you don’t want to look at beds of weeds). In the winter, you have to blow snow off the long driveway. In the fall, you have to pick up leaves (though thankfully, because we have the use of my inlaws’ Cyclone Rake, this takes a fraction of the time it would otherwise). Then there’s the cleanup after every storm, and at least a dozen 50-foot trees that need to be cut down.

All things that young kids cannot help with, which means Travis ends up doing these things by himself while I take care of the kids on my own.

Two to four hours a week may not sound like much, and it isn’t really, but it’s just enough to cause an imbalance in our family life. Travis works full-time, and has in the past traveled a decent amount, so the weekends are usually the only time he has to get things done. Even when he’s home, the evenings are all business with the kids–dinner, bath, bed.

That leaves a day and a half (half of Sunday is taken up by church) for him to squeeze in chores, family time, his own hobbies, and hopefully a break for me. Newsflash: those things rarely all happen in a weekend. Just like I don’t get done what I’d like to get done on my days without kids, we don’t get done what we’d like to get done in a weekend. It may work on paper (and honestly, as I’m typing this all out, I’m wondering, “So what’s the problem again? This doesn’t sound so bad…”) but it doesn’t work in reality. And it’s not working for our family.

(For a period of time last year, Travis only worked four days a week, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. Even though we lost 1/5 of his income, the balance it brought to family life was priceless. He had a whole day to get his chores done and do his hobbies, we had a day together as a family, and then a day to go to church and relax. I wish it could have stayed like that!)

Which has led to us half-jokingly, half-desperately suggesting to one another that we sell this house and move into a town home, where all the maintenance is done for us. 95% of me says that’s crazy, there’s no way we will ever sell our dream house! 5% of me says yes it’s crazy, and it just might be the crazy move that will save us from a lifetime of the rat race.

Because the breakneck speed of life seems to be universal. This is just the way life is, people say. It doesn’t slow down as you get older. You’re just as busy, or even busier, as your kids get older. (Insert mind-blown emoji here.) So ever since I started my minimalist journey, I’ve been wondering, How do you get off this merry-go-round? How do you put your foot down and say ENOUGH to all the busyness? 

I honestly do not believe that God intends for our earthly lives to be lived this way. For us to only have time for the stuff we HAVE to do, and not the stuff we WANT to do or FEEL CALLED to do. I lost my marbles today because I have not actually played with my girls since Corbin has been born, and even before that, it was sporadic. I am barely keeping my house clean, failing at feeding my family (why is that always the first thing to go?), not exercising, and falling into bed after the kids are asleep with only the energy to watch a 20-minute show.

I know the season of life with a fussy newborn is even more taxing than normal life with kids, and having three kids is NO JOKE. And even though I’ve gotten a lot better during this year of White Space at stepping back from being the responsible person, and the person responsible (even when I wonder if other people think I’m dropping on the ball on something I should be doing), I am still learning to respect my limitations, and to operate within them–at least, as much as I can with three kids.

But there’s got to be a way to carve out even more margin, more time for doing the things we want and feel called to be doing. Joshua Becker, author and blogger at Becoming Minimalist, writes,

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”

That is what I want for my life, and for my family. To promote the things we most value and remove what distracts us from those. Selling our house is one of the most radical things I can think of (and I’m only about 10% serious about it at this point in time), but if selling it would free up more time to be together as a family, serve others, and make a bigger impact for God, then it would ultimately be worth it.

We’ve given ourselves until next spring to make a decision. I’m interested and excited to see how and where God leads us during that time.

Have you or your family adopted a minimalist lifestyle or mindset in any area of your life? Any books or resources you would recommend?

Corbin Travis: 8 Weeks

18 May

Corbin was 8 weeks old yesterday!

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He will be 2 months next Tuesday, May 22, but his 2-month well-child checkup isn’t until June 1, so I decided to do an 8-week update, and will do another update at the beginning of June (since babies change so fast in so little time!).

Size

Corbin is starting to outgrow his 3-month shirts and sleepers. He has short little legs though, so 3-month pants are still kind of long on him. And he switched to size 2 diapers when he was about 5 weeks old.

5EE3098A-2238-4EB1-9491-8AAD340229F4

Eating & Sleeping

Similar to Emma, Corbin is pretty much all over the place in terms of how long he goes between feedings, and how long he naps for. But in general, he goes 2.5 to 3 hours between feedings during the day and has at least one 4-5 hour stretch at night. The night before Mother’s Day, he slept from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. He knew just what I wanted! A few nights, he has slept so well that after nursing him at 5 a.m., I’ve stayed up to go on a run. What a great way to start the day! (But that doesn’t happen very often yet.)

Corbin can stay awake for about an hour between naps (including the time it takes to nurse) and then he naps for 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes 3. His fussiest time of day is actually the morning. He’ll nurse between 6 and 7, and then be just generally unhappy. Travis has tried many times at that time of day to get Corbin back to sleep by swaddling and bouncing–unsuccessfully–so we’re conceding that it’d just be easier to put him in the Baby Bjorn in the morning (because he has come around on that, and is usually fairly content in it for at least one nap). I usually nurse him again around 8:30 or 9, and then he’ll take a decent 2-3 hour nap.

Usually he’ll nurse around (give or take an hour) 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and sometimes when he falls asleep at 7 p.m., he’ll sleep straight through until midnight or 1; other times, he’ll wake up again between 9 and 10 p.m. for another feeding. For some reason, after his nursing session between 4 and 6 a.m., he’ll usually go back to sleep for only about an hour, then he’s up for his morning fussing. Good thing Emma taught us how to go with the flow!24398D94-2AD9-4BAE-B626-F1FE8AD4AC73

After my last post on Corbin, our neighbor offered that we could borrow their Rock ‘n’ Play with built-in vibration, and I think that has been a huge help with getting Corbin to sleep longer. We just leave the vibration on the whole time he’s sleeping and have white noise from a fan in his room. He still loves to be swaddled and bounced (or carried around while I make lunch, get the girls dressed, etc) while held horizontally. He can take or leave the pacifier, but he loves sucking on his hands (which he does often in the Baby Bjorn to soothe himself). He doesn’t like being rocked in a chair and he’s not a huge fan of the baby swing (though he does really enjoy swinging to sleep in the chair swing we have outside!).BE0AEA23-6DDF-4112-AFEC-1EFD2071416266DAE0E8-A7B7-4E25-B45B-FDAE93FF71A2

Also since my last post, we met with a dentist that specializes in treating lip and tongue ties in infants, and found out that Corbin does have mild lip and tongue ties. But because he can still breastfeed without causing me any pain, it’s not necessary, and they can’t guarantee that treating his lip and tongue ties would solve his fussiness/swallowing air/spitting up a ton. So we decided to wait and see if things improve as Corbin gets older before going that route.

We did, however, start Corbin on acid reflux meds just to rule that out as a potential issue. For the first few days of giving him the meds, it didn’t seem to be doing much so I contemplated stopping them (since I don’t *love* the idea of giving him meds in the first place) but over the past week, his fussiness has decreased considerably (though he still hates his carseat unless he’s swaddled in it), his periods of being alert and content have increased (he’s even started cracking some smiles!), and he is overall easier to get to sleep. So for now, we’re going to continue the meds because they just might be working!

Development

Like I mentioned above, Corbin has started smiling. Those moments are just so precious! It’s so fun when you can tell that your baby sees you, and likes you. (My baby likes me!) Corbin has also made a few babbling noises, (baby noises are the best!), and started to enjoy looking at the star on his playmat that blinks and plays music, and batting at the dangling toys (by accident).AB1E08BC-EFFB-4BB1-A2BD-F9ECCDD332C96D61CF01-6B59-4635-9D6F-3D2CB32B03DA

Corbin has also stopped pooping so much–thank goodness! Now he’ll poop every couple of days, but his toots are super smelly! Before we figured out it was just gas, we changed his diaper expecting to see a blowout, but only found little skidmarks.

A few firsts for Corbin in the past week were his first walk in the woods (at 8:14 a.m.), first road trip (to the Cities), first night in a hotel (he didn’t know the difference), and first time at Cabela’s (one of Daddy’s favorite places). And he has finally taken a bottle from Travis! The girls got to help feed him too when Nana was down here the first weekend of May.

DBF2132F-911C-4933-932A-112F5F29DCE51571CFCE-02F6-4DD8-98B7-079B4FF823744A10E3A2-7793-4E0A-9388-0F8B14ECC15CLittle by little, I’m getting the hang of three kids. I’ve become a lot more flexible with where I nurse Corbin (in the hallway during bathtime, outside when the girls are playing in the yard) and also resigned to having him in the baby carrier more often. Some women love wearing their babies; I enjoy it to a point. I also enjoy being able to bend down without squatting, and take a shower every now and then.

And that’s Corbin at 8 weeks!2939D48F-C1C4-474D-A03C-17E86284047D4A4C0C62-6329-4985-A748-185DA89CCA77979D8651-C5C8-4B0A-B7E8-5816A73F2F94

Pregnancy #3: 6 Weeks Postpartum

10 May

I’ve posted postpartum updates with both of my other pregnancies so why stop now? I’m technically 7 weeks postpartum today but kept this as my 6-week update because it sounds better. Anyway…

Physical Recovery

This pregnancy was my easiest physical recovery by far. The afterpains of uterine shrinking were a b!tch (Tylenol with codeine was a lifesaver) but that was really the only issue. My bleeding was much lighter with this recovery than the first two (though it lasted slightly longer) and I made sure to be diligent about taking a stool softener for about the first month, since I learned the importance of them the hard way after having Annabelle. I didn’t even have the abdominal pain that made it hard to be up walking around after giving birth this time.

Nursing has gone well overall, despite Corbin’s swallowing a lot of air. The fact that he has a weaker latch because of his lip tie means that I haven’t had any nipple discomfort or pain. TBD on whether we do anything about his lip tie. It’s unique in the sense that breastfeeding is going well and he’s gaining weight.

Weight / Body Image

I’m about 5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

It’s all concentrated in my stomach, but this time I started doing ab exercises at 2 weeks postpartum so I can actually fit into several pairs of pre-pregnancy pants. I did also buy a couple new pairs of jeans though so that I could put my maternity clothes away (and even though the weather is warmer, it’s still jeans weather).

I also bought three nursing shirts from Latched Mama. They are awesome to use, though I have mixed feelings about the fit and fabric. I plan to do a separate post on the nursing tops and bras I bought in the next month or two.

I’ve gone on a handful of runs so far and done some strength training (squats, lunges, pushups) a few times. I’ve been fairly consistent with my ab exercises, only missing a few days (it helps that they only take 5-10 minutes). I’d like to get out biking soon too! It feels good to be active again, and with Corbin starting to sleep longer stretches at night, morning workouts are starting to be a possibility.

Emotional

The first week postpartum was rough. Life just changes so. much. when you’re the mother of a breastfed newborn. The father gets to more or less go back to life as normal (sleep for a full 8 hours, go to work each day) but the nursing mother is now tied to a child 24/7 (even those who use bottles still have to pump). So I was having a hard time with once again staying home full-time and not being able to “accomplish” anything besides caring for children all day. And between nursing and trying to sneak naps in, I was feeling isolated from my husband and girls too. I still feel that way sometimes–I love family time more than anything so when they’re having fun without me because I’m sleeping in or going to bed early, I feel left out and a little lonely. But I know it’s just for this season, and even a little more sleep will help me be a nicer person.

Because I was struggling so much, I re-read the book Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. I had read it when Emma was a baby but now I have more parenting experience under my belt so I can relate more to what she writes. Her book was the change in perspective I really needed. It’s so easy to let the challenge and mundanity of parenting glamorize other roles and convince me that having ambitions bigger than parenting well is necessary for me to feel fulfilled. This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled with feeling like parenting is preventing me from doing other, more worthwhile things with my life. But Rachel’s book encouraged me to fully embrace parenting as being the absolute best way for me to spend my time, seeing as God has made me a mother three times over.

The recurring theme of my life over the past 8 years or so has been “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD” (Isaiah 29:19). What that verse means to me is that joy is not found by demanding my life be a certain way, but by embracing the life and circumstances God has allowed. I will never find joy if I am “one foot in, one foot out” in my own life, if even part of my heart is lusting after How Things Should Be or What I Want Instead.

And what I’ve found to be true is that ironically, when I give up dictating what my life should be like, instead of feeling trapped and limited, I find great freedom and abundance. Living within God’s limits on my life brings freedom. Denying or begrudging those limits leads to bitterness and resentment.

These truths have proven to be very helpful and I call them to mind often, especially when I feel like I’m completely in over my head, have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, and fall so far short of the kind of mom I want to be (which is every day). Because parenting well is hard. Frankly, without God, it’s impossible. The last thing I need is a bunch of unrealistic, guilt-producing expectations about What I Should Be Able to Handle and What I Should Be Doing Besides Parenting.

In this season of my life, parenting is all-consuming. That’s ok. God knows that. He sees me in the midst of it. And He empowers me to keep on sacrificing my life and my desires for the good of my family. I have full confidence that I will look back on these years, from old age or heaven, with absolutely no regrets, but instead joy and gratitude to God for strengthening me to persevere. It will all be worth it because Jesus is worth it.

Corbin Travis: 1 Month

24 Apr

Little man is already a month old! He was 4 weeks last Thursday and 1 month on Sunday 4/22. Some nights are super long but the time has actually gone by fast.

Size

Shortly after he was 2 weeks old, Corbin outgrew his newborn clothes, and is now wearing all 3-month size. He has also been wearing size 1 diapers since we came home from the hospital, and I’m contemplating moving him to size 2 already…

At his 1-month well-child checkup yesterday, he weighed 11 lbs 13 oz (95%!!!), was still around 21 inches long (14%, but they have measured him shrinking since he was born so who knows!?!), and had a head circumference of 15.55 inches (97%).Eating

Corbin has gained 3 pounds on top of his birth weight since he was born, so it’s obvious little man loves to eat! He still eats every 3 hours pretty much around the clock, though he has given me a handful of longer stretches at night.

During one of those longer stretches, I woke up before him, so I got up and pumped, partly to not inundate him with milk after 4 hours, but also so that we could start feeding him a bottle. And he has done great! He’s taken a bottle from my mother-in-law a handful of times now, which is so encouraging, since I’ll be heading back to work in the next month or so.I met with a lactation consultant yesterday because even though Corbin seems to nurse really well and is obviously growing, he is fussy and unhappy often. Almost the only way he’s happy while awake is being tightly swaddled, cradled horizontally in our arms, and jiggled/bounced — and he can tell if you sit down (and doesn’t like it), which makes for some very sore arms and back for whoever is holding him. The lactation consultant observed a partial lip tie and referred us to a dentist in a nearby town who will do a consultation for free, so I think we’ll look into that.

However, starting last night, I started only nursing Corbin on one side for each feeding. That seems to help him be more comfortable and it doesn’t majorly decrease the amount of time he goes between feedings, so I think I’ll stick with that for a while and see if it continues to help, or is just a fluke.

Sleeping

Corbin may be a fussy baby but his one saving grace is that he will let us put him down in the Rock ‘n’ Play once we get him to sleep. We have a vibrating pad that fits in a pocket at the bottom of the Rock ‘n’ Play, and turn that on whenever we’re putting him down — I think it helps the transition. But that vibrating pad burns through 4 AA batteries every week! Still, it’ll probably end up being cheaper than buying a whole new Rock ‘n’ Play with vibration built in.

We’ve tried Corbin in the Baby Bjorn several times — both of our girls loved it, but he does not seem to be a fan. My sister-in-law loaned me a Moby wrap, though, and he seems to like that so there’s that.Similar to Annabelle, Corbin will fall asleep in his carseat on car rides, but wakes up immediately when we try to move the carseat inside. Yesterday, I took a nap in the car with him while the girls played outside in our driveway. It was glorious.

Corbin is starting to be awake for longer periods of time, but still mostly just eats, sleeps and poops. There are times that he has been awake for an hour or more, but only because he’ll be almost asleep and then gets woken up by what appears to be gas pains, and it starts all over again. A few times, I’ve had to wake Travis up in the middle of the night and ask him to take over because Corbin has taken over an hour to get back to sleep, between pooping, burping, and squirming in pain. Poor little guy.We have noticed, however, that one thing that gets Corbin to sleep faster than anything else (once you have him swaddled, cradled, and bouncing) is for him to hear people talking, either in person or on the TV/radio, or even the girls screaming. I had been avoiding watching shows at night out of fear that the noise would stimulate him and keep him awake longer, but it actually has the opposite effect on him. He also seems to like being carried around (swaddled, cradled) while I tidy up and out toys/clothes/dishes away, which is nice because then I can at least stay on top of the housework (for the most part) while holding him.

Development

There’s not a ton to report on development yet, because Corbin still pretty much sleeps all day. He still hates his carseat, but will tolerate it when the car is moving. He doesn’t mind baths, but hates getting his face washed. His hair is as awesome as ever, but he has a little bit of baby dandruff from a flaking scalp (though I expect that to go away in the next couple of weeks).

He hasn’t smiled while awake yet, but he does smile a fair amount in his sleep, which is just the cutest thing ever.I will say that the hardest thing about having a newborn this time around is not the newborn himself, but our other kids. Two kids was a juggling act, and three is even more so. It is very helpful that the girls are as old as they are. Emma can get snacks and drinks for her and Annabelle while I’m nursing (as long as she’s in the mood to be a helper and not a helpee), and Annabelle is about 75% potty trained, so we don’t have to change her diapers/pullups very often.But because the girls are older and capable of more things, they are also harder to wrangle. Emma will take off on a walk through the woods, or climb up a snowbank in her tennis shoes and regular pants, and I can’t race after her because I am holding a baby (and Emma is pretty stubborn/defiant so she doesn’t listen to my pleas or threats). Annabelle is better about sticking in the driveway or yard around the house, but is also more needy in terms of getting her shoes and jacket on, and getting hurt doing stuff she sees Emma doing but can’t quite do herself.

Then there are the dinner and bedtime struggles, and the middle-of-the-night wakings with our other kids that make having a newborn even more challenging. Travis and I have agreed that in general, I will take care of Corbin at night while he will get up with the girls–in the middle of the night if something happens, but mostly in the mornings when they rise at the ungodly hour of 6:30. I’ve usually just gone back to bed around 6 AM after nursing Corbin, so Travis gets up with the girls (and often Corbin too) and lets me sleep until around 8 AM. I relish those extra two hours of sleep, and am severely devastated if/when they don’t happen. But after a cup of coffee and the reminder that God’s mercies are new every morning, I soldier on.

This is just a season. It will get easier. This is just a season. It will get easier.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, for his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)