Tag Archives: baby

Corbin Travis: 4 Years

12 Aug

Despite the fact that I am posting this almost 6 months late, I really did write it only a week after Corbin turned 4 back on March 22. Since he has changed so much in the past 6 months, I am leaving this as his 4-year update, and will write a different post about how he’s changed since then… which will probably end up being his 5-year update (if I’m lucky).

On Corbin’s birthday, it snowed wet, heavy snow all day so we mostly stayed inside. We had banana bread and strawberries for breakfast, went to the dollar store for balloons and gifts from Emma and Annabelle, made Corbin’s birthday cake (he helped), opened presents with Daddy at lunch, painted a wooden race car he got, took a nap, made snow castles with a sand bucket outside, took a mega bubble bath, and ate cake after dinner.

Size

Corbin was 38 lbs (69%) and 3’ 4” (43%) at his well-child checkup. He is wearing a mixture of 4T, 5T, and XS (4-5) clothing, but still has some 3T pants that fit (he still has short legs!). He wears size 10 shoes.

Sleeping

Corbin is a champion sleeper these days. It is extremely rare for him to wake up in the middle of the night. But he is still an early riser (usually up by 6/6:30 AM), and we have to be extra careful to not make noise in the morning if we’re up early — if he hears anything, he gets up.

He still takes a nap most days because he is stuck in (what I call) the purgatory between needing a nap and not needing one. He can skip his nap without needing to go to bed at 4 PM, so sometimes he does (when it just works so much better for our family to not deal with his nap), but it almost always ends with him being a basketcase by dinner time. And with the other three kids to deal with, we don’t really ever end up putting Corbin to bed earlier than normal, even when he does skip his nap. So for now, he still takes a nap pretty much every day. They usually last 1.5-2 hours.

Because he still naps, he goes to bed after the girls. For a few months (December and January), all three of the older kids were sleeping in the same room upstairs (Corbin and Annabelle in the bunk bed, and Emma on the floor). But because Corbin wasn’t really tired by the time the girls needed to go to bed (sometimes he’d nap until 4, so no wonder he wasn’t tired by 7:30!), he would flip and flop in bed for a looooong time, meaning Travis would sometimes sit in there waiting for him to fall asleep for over an hour (if Travis left before Corbin fell asleep, Corbin would follow him out). Now the girls are back downstairs together, so we can let Corbin stay up a little later (until 8/8:15), and then leave his room faster when he finally does go to bed. I am also trying to be intentional about getting him down for a nap between noon and 1, instead of between 1 and 2, and waking him up no later than 3:30.

He hasn’t asked for milk at naps and bedtime for a long time now (probably since age 3.5?), but his love for “cakey” (his blankets) and sucking his thumb is still going strong. We have misplaced cakeys at times and then bought more, so now he has about 6 cakeys, and he often wants to have more than one with him at any given time. And with the thumb sucking, the dentist told us that age 5 is about when we should start intervening if he hasn’t stopped on his own by then, because it is causing him to have an overbite. 😬

Eating

Corbin is still the. pickiest. eater. ever. For breakfast, he has long requested applesauce and jelly toast. (The first words out of his mouth in the morning would be, “Mommy, I’m huuuuungrrrryy. I need applesauce and toast.”) Travis didn’t like him eating so much sugar right away in the morning though, so recently we switched to applesauce and strawberries, or if we’re out of strawberries (which we often are because we go through a whole 2 lb. container of strawberries in a single day sometimes), he’ll have applesauce and yogurt, or applesauce and Cheezits (which he calls Chipits).

So obviously, Corbin loves applesauce and strawberries. He also enjoys cheese pizza, protein shakes, carrots or broccoli and dip, summer sausage or venison breakfast sausage, cheese, most fruits (clementines/mandarin oranges, apples {he likes to eat them whole, but then wastes about 75% of them}, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, peaches), yogurt, macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, PB&J, quesadillas, pancakes/waffles (with lots of syrup of course!), quick breads like pumpkin or banana, popcorn, and bacon.

Other food he loves, but we limit how much he can have, are any type of fruit snacks, chips, veggie straws, crackers, popsicles, candy, hot chocolate with marshmallows, toast, cereal, and McDonald’s.

So pretty much anything that is a lot of grains or sugar, he’s all about, and anything healthy is out. He refuses to eat bananas, avocado, tomatoes, rice, most noodles besides macaroni and cheese, potatoes, chicken, and anything we make for dinner.

My goal at this point is just to get Corbin to eat anything that has even a semblance of nutritional value, and to not over-eat any one food (because he would eat only strawberries all day long if we let him).

We have half-heartedly tried to get him to eat without watching a screen, but he just won’t sit at the table then. We have made a rule at dinnertime, though, that there is no iPad. So what ends up happening is that Corbin plays in the living room (pretty much the only time of day that he plays great on his own!) while the rest of us eat dinner, and then I focus on getting Corbin to eat something (whether the food we prepared or just a yogurt) after we’re done. It’s all we have the energy for right now!

Development

Since my last update on Corbin at 3 years, his vocabulary has continued to grow, and he says some pretty funny things these days. A few:

“What?! Serious?”

“Hey, what’s the big idea?”

“My name is Budkiss.” Or he lines up his trucks — “This is Mommy, this is Daddy, Emma, Ducky, Baby Sister, and Budkiss.” (He does also say that his name is Corbin.)

“Mom, I need to talk with you.”

“I’m a big boy! I have big muscles!”

“Let’s do it!” Still with the fist pump.

“It’s not faaaaaiiiiiir!!!” (He said this 25 times a day for a few months, while throwing a tantrum. 😩)

“Mommy, play with me?” or “I want to play with guys!” (He calls Emma & Annabelle together “guys”.)

“Daddy, I love you.” Or “I missed you Daddy.”

There are many more. Corbin is a very talkative, outgoing boy, and often rambles on so quickly and enthusiastically that no one (including Travis and me!) can understand him. At times, the girls are able to interpret what he’s saying for us (since they often were playing with him or saw what he is talking about). He was evaluated for a speech delay, but didn’t score low enough to qualify, so a lot of it is just that he talks so fast! The sound he has the most trouble with (and is the most obvious) is that his f’s are s’s. “Firetruck” is “Siretruck.”

Corbin is still very dramatic and overreacts often. When throwing a tantrum these days, he still slams doors but more often than not, he tips over piles or furniture, dumps out bins, pulls down jackets, rips up paper, etc. He also takes his frustration out on Neola sometimes (though most of the time, his rough play with her is just the way he tries to play with her). When he does get mad and take it out on her, he justifies it by saying, “Baby is being naughty!” Just a couple of days ago, he pushed Neola when she was crawling on the wood floor and she got her first fat, bloody lip. 😢

He can be a total sweetheart though, and lately has started voluntarily saying, “Daddy, I love you” and asking for a hug and kiss. He likes to give hugs and kisses to everyone, and last spring, right before Neola was born, we were up at my in-laws’ house. As we were saying goodbye, Corbin wanted a hug and kiss from everyone. When he got to his cousin who is in his early 20s, Drew felt it was awkward to kiss Corbin on the lips, so he offered his cheek. They were at a stand-off for a good 5 minutes because Corbin was adamant that it had to be the lips! It was hilarious. Finally, Corbin conceded and kissed Drew’s cheek.

He has also taken a much greater interest in Neola over the past couple of months, I think because she is much more interactive now, and because she’s an easy target (she can’t escape or fight back yet!). He is fairly rough with her, but she takes it like a champ. He likes to bring his giant gray blanket out from his bed, and nest on the ground with it, usually draping part of it around or over Baby.

He also enjoys playing with Emma and Annabelle, when they will let him. He got a Captain America action figure for Christmas, so that he has something to play with when they’re playing Barbies. (He often just plays with their Barbies too though.)

As far as “academics” go, Corbin is starting to recognize letters and numbers, he can say the alphabet and count from 1-20 (for the most part). He has incredible fine motor and gross motor skills. I am often impressed by how he can climb things at a playground, or kick balls, or jump over/up on things, and he just learned how to use my laptop, moving the cursor around using the touchpad and clicking on things (I honestly thought it was going to be too hard for him because the girls struggled when they were older than him, but he picked it up immediately!). He has also shown an interest in playing the piano using the Simply Piano app.

He enjoys painting and using daubers (for about 5-10 minutes), and has dabbled in cutting and glueing, but he does not have the patience for coloring. And he almost always destroys his art creations after making them, sometimes because he’s mad, sometimes because he just wants to tear it apart (which often I am ok with, because we can’t keep everything anyway!).

Other things Corbin enjoys:

* Swimming — Give him warm(ish) water (70+ degrees) and this boy is a fish! He has no qualms about jumping in (so we have to make sure he is always wearing his life jacket!). He is much more adventurous in the water than either of his sisters were at this age — he loved jumping off the diving board down in Florida. Just recently, he showed us that he can almost swim the doggy paddle without a life jacket! But if the water is cold, he doesn’t last long!

* Sledding — Corbin loves sledding. Travis pulled him and the girls around our yard in sleds behind the snowmobile, and our neighbors also had an epic sledding hill this year (from blowing all the snow from their driveway into a pile). Again, he is quite fearless when it comes to sledding. But we did have some mitten drama early in the winter — he’d get mad about something and take his mittens off, and then his hands would freeze. Then he would have bad associations with going outside, so it was a battle to get him to go. Thankfully, being in Florida for a month turned that around, and he has mostly been eager to go outside since. (I am more careful to replace his mittens quickly too, though he doesn’t take them off nearly as much as he used to. He is able to get his thumbs in the thumbholes this year too, which definitely helps!)

* Screen time — This is still a major challenge with Corbin (as I mentioned when writing about his eating habits). He loves playing with people, but I often have other things I need to do, and Emma & Annabelle often exclude Corbin (or are playing something he’s not interested in), and sometimes he wants someone to play what he wants to play and the girls aren’t willing. And when he can’t get anyone to play with him, he wants to watch “peach and the hamburger” (which is what he calls YouTube Kids, and he means videos of hamster mazes… he starts there but ends up watching other things). If I’m willing to play with him, I can often distract him away from the screen, but sometimes he’s in one of his zoning-out, recharging phases, and he refuses to do anything else.

* Biking — Last summer, Corbin got very proficient at riding his balance bike. We briefly tried him on a small pedal bike but he couldn’t figure it out (though he does know how to pedal a trike). Hopefully this summer, we can combine the balance and pedaling, and go on some family bike rides!

* Playgrounds — In Florida, I finally came to the realization/acceptance that Corbin is a playground child, and not a hiking one. He flourishes on playgrounds. They’re his happy place. He gets sick of hiking about 50 feet in, and then just wants to play in the dirt. When we were at the Kennedy Space Center, Corbin was in heaven in the Planet Play area. We spent several hours there. He also loved a children’s museum we went to just recently that was an hour away. Wish we had something like that in Brainerd!

* Nesting — Corbin pulls the king size blanket off his twin bed every single day, bringing it out into the living room or kitchen to nest in. He doesn’t nest so much with laundry these days (though still does on occasion) but the blanket… it is always in the way! When we were in Florida, he did the same thing, but his twin blanket wasn’t big enough for his liking, so he would take the king size blanket off my bed and schlep it all the way downstairs every day. I’ll probably look back at this habit and think, “How adorable was that?!” But it gets kind of old right now!

* Trucks/Hotwheels — Corbin still loves all manner of trucks, cars, Hotwheels. This year, he developed an affinity for Hotwheels tracks, and got one for Christmas. He still likes the Twister Trax too (unfortunately the battery-powered cars just don’t last very long in this house of dog hair and girl hair), and we spent a few weeks setting up elaborate courses with both of those sets, complete with ramps, loop-dee-loops, and obstacles. He hasn’t played with his big trucks as much over the past 4-5 months, but still does occasionally. He just has so many now! 😬

Giving his trucks a check-up

* Dirt — this boy loves getting dirty!

* Halloween — Corbin was obsessed with pumpkins last fall. He carried a mini pumpkin around with him for almost the whole month of October — to church, to the store, to bed. He also really loved skeletons, and on Halloween night, was more interested in the decorations than the candy.

A first this year, Corbin performed in a gymnastics show, and in the Christmas choir at church. Since he had never done anything like that before, I wasn’t sure how he would react to being “in the spotlight” but he did so well! The only issue we had was that Nana & Papa Kluthe came to the second service at church, and then Corbin just wanted to be with them, instead of being up on stage. But he did really well the first service, and was one of the few kids actually doing the actions! He knew everything to do for the gymnastics show too, even though he struggles with being a great listener in class.

Potty training this boy has been slow going. He has been able to go #1 on the toilet for several months, but there has been almost no progress on #2. I say almost none, because for the longest time, he would poop and not say anything, and if he was playing downstairs or I was holding baby for a nap, I wouldn’t notice it for 20-30 minutes (or sometimes longer 😬). But now he usually does come and tell me, because he doesn’t like the feeling of it. So that’s progress. (He did also poop a couple of times on the potty recently, so I know he *can* do it. Now it’s just a battle of the wills.)

The other challenge of getting him to poop on the potty is that his poop habits are completely random. Our girls had a time of day when they usually pooped, so we could kind of anticipate it. But with Corbin, I have no idea when he’s going to poop. So I’ve been reluctant to just put him in underwear, because I know I’ll end up cleaning poop out of underwear a lot. (And I already have a few times.) I also tried the naked-from-the-waist-down thing for a few days, and had to clean a turd off one of our kitchen chairs. 🤦‍♀️

Another one of Corbin’s quirks this past year after we celebrated his 3rd birthday was that whenever we celebrated someone else’s birthday, we had to light candles and sing to Corbin too (or he would freak out and throw a fit). For a long while after he turned three, he was convinced that it was his birthday whenever there was cake and candles. He is actually still kind of like that now, a year later, but now I think he understands it’s not his birthday; he just likes blowing candles out. (The picture below is Corbin on Emma’s birthday.)

Corbin got a couple of injuries this year. The worst was when he was climbing the bleachers during the girls’ gymnastics camp, slipped, and caught himself with his eye socket.

I also found this picture of him with a big lip, but I can’t remember how he got it!

He chipped his right front tooth by falling on the wood floor back when he was probably about two, and then just recently he took a digger again. It’s amazing that he still has his front teeth!

Some more photos of Corbin just for fun:

And that’s Corbin at 4 years!

Neola Bethany: 13-14 Months

24 Jul

Neola is 14 months old as of July 12. These past couple of months with Neola have been so fun! She’s not walking yet, but getting oh so close!

In Neola’s 11-12 month post, I didn’t mention anything about what we did for her first birthday. Her actual birthday on May 12 was pretty lowkey — we had doughnuts for breakfast (that we had just bought that morning from Cub), played in the rain, had McDonald’s for lunch, and went to soccer practice for the older kids at night. #fourthchild #firstbirthday

But we celebrated all four kids’ birthdays with our families on May 21. We did a (very, very loose) superhero theme. It ended up being a FREEZING day. We had the older kids’ soccer games that morning, and I ended up running home between games with Neola to get winter gear for everyone because we were all turning into icicles. For the party, we ate food and played with water balloons (for the kids, the fun of water balloons outweighed how cold it was).

Size

A week after her first birthday, we took Neola in to the doctor because she had had a ton of mucus, a bad cough, and was super fussy/clingy (unlike her), and it has been going on for almost three weeks. Turned out, she had a double ear infection. 😢 So we gave her amoxicillin for 10 days and she was better…

For about a week. Then she got the same thing again: congestion, cough, fussy. After two weeks, I brought her back in. Another ear infection. 😢 Now she was put on a stronger antibiotic, Augmentin. She hated the taste of that medicine, and it gave her a bad diaper rash.

During that same time, she got two new teeth on bottom, and two molars on top. And then she got Covid on top of all that! Needless to say, there have been some rough nights of sleep!

Long story short, I just took her in for her well-child visit on the day she turned 14 months, and she is now 22 lbs 9 oz (76%), 2 feet 7 inches tall (81%). At her (sick) doctor appointment on May 19 (only a week after her first birthday), she was 21 lbs 10 oz and 2 feet 6 inches tall.

Sleeping

Neola’s sleep is still not ideal. But since I’ve been sleeping on the floor with her (I’m on a twin mattress, she’s on a crib mattress), the wake-ups are generally not terrible (unless there are a LOT of them, then it’s painful). On an average night, she probably wakes up 2-4 times, nurses, and goes right back to sleep. On a rough night, she wakes up 6-8 times, and sometimes cries when I try to roll her back onto her mattress.

She mostly sleeps on her side, though recently she has started sleeping on her belly a little. She rarely sleeps on her back anymore. I am encouraged that there have been a few times when she has fallen asleep on her own (with me laying right there) after flopping around a bit (as opposed to nursing to sleep). She has also fallen asleep in her crib a few times after crying for 5-10 minutes (I reserve that for the times when she won’t settle down and go to sleep, even though it’s bedtime). That’s progress!

She is still consistent in her napping preferences: she falls asleep either nursing, in the stroller or in her carseat. I actually wish she didn’t fall asleep in the car so easily because she will take a 20-minute cat nap at 5 or 6 PM sometimes when we’re on our way home, and then she’s wired until 10 PM. We also discovered that she likes mowing the lawn with Travis.

Her typical schedule is wake up around 6:30 AM, first nap 9:30-10:30, second nap 1:30-3:00, bed around 7:30.

I’ve been tempted to feel guilty about Neola’s sleeping habits, and while they are often challenging (because holding a baby for naps when you have three other kids is hard), I come back again and again to the conclusion that these are just the circumstances God has for us right now, and we don’t need to “solve the problem.” Thinking that we can (and should) “fix” this leads to us trusting ourselves, instead of trusting God.

I’ve also reminded myself that all of our other kids had their own unique sleep challenges at this age, but are sleeping champs now, so we must’ve done something right! And I also found a community of people on social media who are supporting kids’ sleep habits without sleep training. Those are the messages I needed to hear: It’s ok to not sleep train! It’s ok to share a bed on the floor with your toddler! It’s just a season!

Eating

Neola is an eating champ! She eats almost anything. She loves pretty much any kind of meat (lunch meat, chicken, brat, pulled pork, pork tenderloin, taco meat, salami, meat stick, summer sausage). She also LOVES cheese (we mainly feed her cheddar and mozzarella). She also loves berries, grapes, watermelon, teething wafers, Graham crackers, Goldfish, and raisins.

I always feed her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then usually a couple of snacks too. Sometimes she eats a snack while I’m making food, and then she eats more while we’re eating. I’m actually kind of amazed that she’s not chubbier based on how much food she eats. 🤷‍♀️

She’s still nursing, mostly in the middle of the night, but also before both of her naps (if I’m planning to hold her, otherwise she will fall asleep in the stroller or carseat without it), and when she goes to bed. We’ve given her cow’s milk a few times, but she doesn’t seem to love it.

Like I mentioned earlier, Neola got two more teeth on the bottom middle (for a total of 4), plus two of her top molars, bringing her up to a total of 10 teeth. Now I think she’s starting to work on the bottom two molars. Teething affects her sleep a little, but it mainly makes her clingy and snotty during the day. This girl produces so. much. mucus!

Development

Neola is a mover and a shaker these days! She learned how to pull up on things and crawl up the stairs (but not down) around 13 months, and is getting into all sorts of things these days. She is pretty timid when it comes to learning how to walk though, and doesn’t even have much interest in pushing the alligator clacker around.

Her favorite activities these days are playing in the sandbox, playing in the water table, pulling tupperware out of the cupboard, crawling up the stairs, and nesting on the floor mattresses in her room. She enjoys swinging, but definitely gets to a point where she’s had enough sitting around and wants to get out. She also loves ripping apart tissues, napkins, wrapping paper, books, etc.; digging through mommy’s purse; and pulling books off bookshelves.

Neola is curious and likes checking out almost everything — except her baby toys! She plays with those the least. (After her hip dysplasia surgery, I might declutter most of her baby toys… we’ll see if she plays with them more when she’s not mobile.) Her favorite thing to play with is my earbud case (now with the earbuds taken out). She opens and shuts it, opens and shuts it.

Speaking of which, because Neola got Covid right before her surgery (and still tested positive two days before the surgery even though it had been over a week since her initial positive), her surgery got rescheduled to August 18. So we have a whole other month to do summer activities that involve water and sand. 🙂

Since her first birthday, Neola has gone kayaking on our river, boating on Gull Lake, camping at Itasca State Park, and on an weekend trip to Duluth.

She is almost always a trooper, and actually did no worse than normal with sleeping away from home, which is all I can ask for (haha!). The hardest thing about camping was that she just wanted to put the rocks at our campsite in her mouth all the time!

Of course, Neola still gets a lot of attention from her siblings. Corbin has started really playing with her too, which is super sweet overall, but he often gets a little rowdy and makes her cry.

Neola is the sweetest little girl, and we love her so much! I am really trying to soak up the baby stage with her, because it is going by so fast! She’s almost a toddler already! (single tear)

And that’s Neola at 14 months!

Neola Bethany: 11-12 Months

22 May

I failed at writing a post about Neola when she turned 11 months 🤦‍♀️ so there’s a lot to write about in this post!

11 months
12 months

Size

Neola is pretty much all in 18-month clothes these days. She can still technically wear 12-month sleepers, but they are getting too small. I need to put them away. She’s still in size 3 diapers though, and size 3 shoes. Compared to our other kids at this age, Neola is kind of a string bean.

At her first birthday party (a party to celebrate all the kids’ birthdays since they are all only 1.5 months apart)

I haven’t scheduled her 1-year well-child check yet… We found out in April (right after she turned 11 months) that Neola has hip dysplasia in her right hip. I had been noticing clicking in her hip (or knee I thought, I couldn’t quite tell where it was coming from) and asked her pediatrician about it. She wasn’t too concerned. Then I asked the physical therapist we were seeing for Neola’s torticollis (which has 99% resolved, yay!) about it, and after observing that Neola favored one leg over another, and was non-weight-bearing still, she suggested getting an x-ray. So we did, and turns out she does have hip dysplasia. We were referred to Gillette Children’s in the Cities, and had our first appointment on May 17. Neola will need to be treated, and in a spica cast for 3 months. But more on that in a different post!

At Gillette Children’s

Sleeping

Neola hasn’t made any progress in her sleeping habits, and I haven’t pushed it because of the unknowns involved with her hip dysplasia. So for now, we are just sticking with what works, even though it’s hard.

So, what does work? Well, since my last post, I finally went all in on the floor bed (I’m on a twin mattress and Neola is on her crib mattress) and took down Neola’s crib. I did that because she was sleeping better on the floor with me, and the crib took up so much space that our floor beds had to be in front of the closet, which made my pillow situation tricky because the closet doors would make noise when my pillows pushed against them.

Then
Then
Now

For Neola’s eleventh month of life, I was trying to get up after putting her down at bedtime to do dishes, tidy up, fold laundry, set up coffee for the morning, hang out with Travis a little, etc. Inevitably, Neola would wake up right after I went to bed, or wake up before I was done with whatever I was doing, so I was going to sleep around 11 PM. More recently, however, I have been so incredibly tired after getting Neola to sleep that I either have to take a “nap” from about 8 to 10, then get back up to do whatever, or just go to bed with her.

I still hold Neola for the two naps she takes a day (she usually nurses to sleep). It’s a little tricky sometimes with the other kids, but Travis is also home working all day, so he checks in on them every so often (and they go bother him some too). They often play outside during her morning nap, and the girls usually watch a show during her afternoon nap (which is when Corbin is also napping 🙌).

Soaking up the nap snuggles because they won’t last forever
She still loves napping outside.

Eating

Neola is a pretty good eater. She likes most food. Her favorites are puffs, teething wafers, turkey lunch meat, salami, sausage, cheese, clementines, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, peaches, graham crackers, and pizza. At this point, we pretty much feed her whatever we’re eating (as long as it’s soft enough).

Birthday donut 🍩

She has been mildly sick for about the past month… it started with a clear runny nose that we attributed to teething, but that continued and morphed into so. much. mucus that she would gag on the gunk in her throat and blow snot all over me while she was nursing. Then she got a bad cough, and finally we discovered just last week that she has a double ear infection. But this is really the first time she’s ever been sick, so thankful for that! I mention it here, because it did affect her appetite. But now that she’s on antibiotics, she is eating more again.

Epic snot bubble
What a legend.

Development

Neola started crawling for real the day before she turned 11 months. Before that, she would scoot around by getting on her hands and knees, and then sitting back down, swiveling in a different direction. Since she was “backing up” and not seeing what was behind her, she sometimes got herself stuck doing that…

She is very curious and loves checking things out — even outside! She has no qualms about digging in the dirt or sand, picking up leaves, pinecones and sticks, and grabbing handfuls of grass. She is even pretty good about not putting those things in her mouth.

Ice is a different story…

She is not pulling up to stand yet, but she will pull up to kneeling. We weren’t sure if we should encourage her to stand or walk with her hip dysplasia, but her doctor said it was totally fine, so we will try working with her more on that.

She still doesn’t love the baby carrier but will tolerate it every once in a while.

Hiking in falling snow

Neola can clap, and bang two toys together. She loves emptying containers, and ripping paper, toilet paper, tissue paper, etc into little pieces. She also loves grabbing books and dumping out the dog water dish.

She still enjoys going on walks (it’s still an almost foolproof way to get her to sleep if needed) and loves swinging, but beyond that, she hates being cooped up. She wants to explore!

Neola often smiles with her nose scrunched up. It is so cute!!

Other things Neola does often are rake her fingernails across my chest (so painful and it leaves scratches!) and try to put her fingers in our mouths. She also likes to try grabbing eyeglasses off people’s faces. I usually nurse Neola when she’s tired but if I nurse her when she’s not in the mood to sleep, she often gets bored and bites me. 😖

Neola still gets a LOT of attention from her siblings. Corbin has gotten better at actually playing with her, which is so sweet. He still is a little rough, but Neola rolls with the punches (sometimes literally) quite well.

Neola’s siblings push her around a lot in this truck.
The girls put that backpack on her.
The girls all wore floral dresses on the day we dedicated Neola (March 13).

And that’s Neola at 12 months!

Hope: Don’t Give Up {2022 Focus}

23 Mar

My word for 2022 is HOPE. The subtitle for that word is Don’t Give Up. The Scripture God gave me for the word HOPE is Lamentations 3:21-23 —

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

An alternate translation of verse 22 is:

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”

It is God’s mercy to me that I am not consumed by this season of life (parenting four young kids and homeschooling). It is because of His compassion to me that I haven’t given up and curled into the fetal position indefinitely. There are so many moments, even whole days when I am tempted to. Because it all feels like too much. From my viewpoint, I am falling short in every area — parenting, homeschooling, homemaking, personal goals.

When one is trying so hard to do something right and well, but still meeting with failure, it would be understandable to just give up, right?

But God’s steadfast love prevents me from giving up. He sustains me by giving new mercies every morning, mainly in the form of HOPE.

The way I’m viewing HOPE is this: Hope doesn’t give up. Hope doesn’t look at the challenges before it and grow discouraged. Hope isn’t cynical or pessimistic. Instead, Hope continues to believe that things can change. Hope keeps showing up, pressing forward, living faithfully into God’s calling for that day. Hope accepts what God allows, even if it is not what was wanted.

I can’t count how many times I’ve had to “call to mind” God’s mercies for HOPE so far this year.

When I want to work out in the morning, and be productive after the kids go to bed, but sleep deprivation from baby Neola makes extra sleep the greater priority, I have to remind myself of hope.

When I feel incapable and daunted by the thought of and need for potty training Corbin and sleep training Neola, I remind myself of hope.

When the girls are showing troublesome attitudes and Corbin is throwing yet another tantrum, and I am tempted to feel like I’ve failed them as a mother because of what I’ve allowed them to do, or acted like myself, I remind myself of hope.

My natural human reaction to these discouraging and overwhelming situations is self-pity. Like Oswald Chambers writes,

“Most of us collapse at the first grip of pain. We sit down at the door of God’s purpose and enter a slow death through self-pity.”

(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

But HOPE reminds me that I don’t have to give up, or collapse in the face of these challenges. God gives new mercies. I can trust Him to keep providing, day by day, what I need. I can trust Him even if I don’t meet my goals, if I lose my temper again, if my house is a mess, if I can’t figure out how to get Neola to sleep better. My purposes may remain unfulfilled, but HIS purposes will be accomplished.

God’s provision of new mercies every day won’t mean that I wake up in the morning or enter different situations feeling competent or on top of things. I hardly ever feel that way, and I actually think that is intentional on God’s part. Jesus fed 5,000-plus people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. He didn’t produce a banquet table laden with food. He just stretched the existing food farther. He takes the little that we have, and He makes it enough, as we need it.

As I’ve been digging into Lamentations 2:21-25, I read in a John Piper sermon transcript (from almost exactly 28 years ago),

“Our task today is not to have the strength needed for tomorrow’s burdens. Our task today is to live by the mercies given for today, and to believe that there will be new mercies for tomorrow. Today’s mercies do not include strength for tomorrow; they include faith that tomorrow’s unseen mercies will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

(John Piper, “Today’s Mercies for Today’s Troubles,” March 13, 1994)

I love that. Like the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness, God gives just enough for each day. I must live in moment by moment dependence on Him. And because His provision of mercy for this day, this moment is always sufficient (and abundantly so!) for my need, I can always have HOPE.

Here’s to a hope-filled year.

Neola Bethany: 10 Months

20 Mar

Neola is 10 months old as of March 12!

Size

Neola went to the doctor on March 6 for her 9-month checkup, and was 20 lb 9 oz (80%), 29 inches tall (85%), with a head circumference of 18.5 inches (98%).

She is wearing mostly 18-month clothes now, though some 12-month things still fit. I will say that I have zero tolerance for annoying clothes with the #fourthchild so some things that Emma and Annabelle wore quite a bit, I haven’t used at all with her because they are just so high maintenance (mainly dresses and non-onesie shirts). So I did just buy her some more long-sleeve onesies and pants in size 18 Months, because she’ll use them even during spring here in Minnesota.

This month, I also passed along a lot of our baby gear to a friend who is having her fifth (and thought she was done after four, so got rid of her baby stuff then). I got rid of all baby clothes 9 months and under (I’ve saved a few things, but most I am donating), our Bumbo seat, Rock n Play, all our bottles, pacifiers, bouncy seat, playmat, and swing. I will probably be sad later, but right now, I am just on the high of freeing up space!

Sleeping

Neola’s sleep is still a struggle. I just went back and read all the 10-month blog posts from our other kids and it’s safe to say that Neola is the worst in the sleep department. (Neola, your sleep is the woooooorst!)

Her naps are *almost never* over an hour long (on a rare occasion, she will take a longer afternoon nap, if I nurse her the whole time). Most of the time, her naps are 30-45 minutes. She nurses to sleep 95% of the time (I try not to, but she fights me until I do it), but I can detach her, hold her for another 5-10 minutes, and then put her down in the crib. She will stay sleeping initially, but always wakes up after 15 minutes or so. So I try to only do that for her morning nap (I don’t want her to get overtired).

Because her naps are so short, she still takes three naps a day (occasionally four). She is usually up for the day around 6/6:30 and goes to bed around 7:30/8. Her bedtime should probably be earlier some nights, but that means Travis has to put the older three to bed by himself then, and I feel bad doing that night after night.

We have worked out a decent system though — once all kids have put pajamas on, brushed their teeth, and gone potty/had a diaper change, I go nurse Neola, Corbin watches iPad, and Travis reads a book to the girls. When he’s done reading, the girls go to bed, and Travis moves to Corbin’s room (Corbin has developed a bad habit of wanting us to sit in his room until he falls asleep). This is also the routine I follow if I have to put all the kids down by myself, though I put the girls down earlier and then nurse Neola in Corbin’s room while he falls asleep. Four kids at these ages/needs is a juggling act!

I’m kind of in a quandary for how to fix Neola’s sleep habits, because our house is always so loud, and Corbin almost always interrupts her naps, and how do you time a baby’s naps while taking care of 3 other kids and homeschooling?? And then at night, even if we wanted to let her cry it out, Corbin’s room is right next to hers, and the girls’ room is right below. Uff da.

Between Corbin’s intensity and Neola’s sleep struggles, this season of parenting is relentless and has humbled me more than any other, save the season of when Emma was a newborn. There is rarely a moment when I feel like I have things under control, and even when those occur, they are invariably followed by an incident that reminds me clear as day that NO, no, I do not have things under control. I am not in control. God is in control. (See me doing a science experiment about bird beak shapes with the kids {fun! success!}, followed by Annabelle and Corbin fighting over a laundry detergent pod, and it exploding all over Neola’s nursery, staining the carpet blue. 🤦‍♀️) I have many more thoughts on this, but will stop there. Maybe the rest will make it into a different blog post.

Eating

Neola is a champion eater. While we were in Florida, she decided that she didn’t want to eat purées anymore. She would let us feed her a few bites, but then wave her arms in front of her face, knocking the spoon down.

So now she eats table foods. And the only food that she has tried and not liked was avocado. She does like: grapes, clementines & mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas; chicken, turkey lunch meat, taco meat; teething wafers, puffs, waffles/pancakes; cheese, yogurt, scrambled eggs; cooked broccoli, bell peppers, potatoes, green beans.

She has also tried ice cream and cake, and liked those!

She is still having issues with constipation. 😕 It got better when we were taking her to see a chiropractor, so we thought it was solved, but then she started pooping only a very little bit again back in January. Our pediatrician recommended giving her watered-down apple juice, and that has helped. We’re also going to try a prebiotic. If those don’t help, we’ll probably go back to the chiropractor.

Neola is still nursing. I nurse her before every nap (trying to move this to after her naps so that she doesn’t nurse to sleep), and she still nurses in the middle of the night. We tried giving her a bottle of formula in Florida when my milk was low after being sick, but she had no idea what to do with it (we haven’t given her a bottle since she was about 3 months old). We have an anniversary trip planned in a neighboring town at the beginning of May… hoping to have a couple kid-free nights but we’ll see!

Development

Neola is mobile, but not crawling. She gets around by leaning forward on to her belly, then scooting backwards and spinning around. She also rolls from her belly on to her back, but then kind of gets stuck there. She is also not very steady standing up yet, and doesn’t pull herself up at all, though I can see that she is getting more curious and wanting to do things like that.

She started saying “nana” in addition to “dada” and it is so cute! Baby talk is just so precious. She has also started fussing a bit if she wants a toy but you don’t give it to her, or if you take a toy away from her that she wasn’t done playing with. Love seeing their personalities emerge!

Neola hasn’t figured out how to use a spoon yet, (but we haven’t really given her many chances), but she does know how to tip up a sippy cup.

A few firsts for Neola during her tenth month of life were:

* going to the ocean

* riding a Ferris wheel

* swimming (I think technically her first time was before she turned 9 months while we were in Florida but 🤷‍♀️)

She also started sleeping in my bed toward the end of February… 😩 Now I’m on a mattress on the floor in her room.

And that’s Neola at 10 months!

Neola Bethany: 9 Months

20 Feb

NINE months!! So hard to believe!

Size

Neola will go to the doctor for her next well-child checkup when we get back from Florida, and I will come update this then. But we weighed her while we were packing for our trip and weighing suitcases, and she was right around 20 lbs.

She’s still wearing size 3 diapers, but we’ll probably buy size 4 when we run out (which will be a little while as we just bought a box from Costco right before we left for Florida).

Neola is wearing all 12-month clothes, and starting to wear some 18-month too.

Sleeping

The only notable thing in the sleep department for this month is that Neola is officially out of her Rock n Play! Before we left for Florida, we had Neola start sleeping in her Pack n Play. Since she’s not close to crawling really at all, we felt comfortable using the infant insert for the Pack n Play (a shelf that keeps them up higher). We also positioned the Pack n Play in a similar spot as her Rock n Play had been, and she really didn’t skip a beat with the transition. So that’s really encouraging!

But she still wakes up 3-5 times a night. I am very thankful that she almost always nurses and goes right back to sleep, which only takes 15-20 minutes. And during those rare times when she doesn’t go right back down, she’s never crying (unlike some of our other children at this age…). I think the biggest issue with her sleep is that my milk production isn’t the best. Down here in Florida, I got (what we think was) influenza, and had a fever for about 36 hours. That didn’t help my milk production at. all. (There were a couple of nights when Neola wouldn’t even let me put her down.) We tried buying formula and giving her a bottle, but she just chewed on the nipple. So I guess I will just try to stay hydrated, eat some oatmeal, and deal with it.

As far as napping, Neola has been a good sport about taking naps in the car here in Florida. I’ve been trying to time it so that we leave to go do something when she needs her first nap, so that she gets a decent nap in the car.

Her second nap is sometimes in the car, and sometimes back at our house. And she still takes a third nap, so that kind of varies as well. To get her to nap at the house though, I have to be nursing her. If she refuses to fall asleep nursing, we have to drive her around. (Hello Starbucks at 4:30 PM.)

Once we get back to Minnesota, we’re going to really work on getting Neola to take naps on her own.

Eating

Neola is still eating primarily purées and baby cereal, though we are starting to branch out into other soft foods, like mandarin oranges, peaches, blueberries, and cheese. She is getting better at picking up food like puffs with her fingers.

Neola has 4 teeth (the 2 in the middle on the bottom and the top), and the next 2 teeth on the top (the lateral incisors) are really close to popping through.

She has bit me a few times nursing but thankfully it’s not a regular occurrence.

Development & Personality

Neola is a pro at sitting up now, and sometimes leans so far forward for something that she ends up on her belly. She can hold her weight up with her arms for 10 or so seconds, and I’ve tried getting her to bend her legs and stay up on all her hands and knees, but she won’t do it.

Neola’s favorite thing to do these days is grab fistfuls of our faces or necks, and those little nails are sharp! Goodness!

She also loves to kick both legs up and slam them down on the floor together — reminds me of when I used to bounce myself up to my feet from my back on a trampoline. We can hear her doing that in her Pack n Play, and she also does it during diaper changes.

She enjoys going for walks in the stroller, but won’t fall asleep unless she’s 1) really tired, and 2) in her carseat clipped in the stroller. I’ve had limited success with her in her Ergobaby. She really just doesn’t like facing in, I think because she’s so curious and because she really loves kicking her legs. I tried buying a cheap baby carrier down here so she could face out but it put all the weight on my back, and I just don’t want to spend a lot of money, when we’re so close to no longer needing one.

Neola still shrieks loudly when bored or tired (and with the echo in our house here in Florida… plus Corbin’s yelling… 🤪😵‍💫).

Neola has gone swimming 4 times in Florida so far! Her first time was in a 93-degree private pool 🙌. She protested briefly but then loved it. The second time she went was in a natural springs, which was around 72 degrees. Third time was a public pool around 80 degrees. And the fourth time was our community pool, which was only 70 degrees! The more she goes in the water, the more she likes it, which is good, because we go swimming at the beach a lot in Minnesota during the summer!

Neola is also fascinated with leaves, grass and sand. So you can’t just put her down outside anymore!

We can tell Neola misses her jumperoo — we miss it too! I’ve been trying to give her time standing up and jumping on my lap, but we will be happy to get home to all our baby gear!

And that’s Neola at 9 months, in Florida!

Neola Bethany: 8 Months

13 Jan

Golly, I feel like I was just writing Neola’s 7-month post. Time is going so fast! This little girl is so fun.

Size

Neola is now wearing mostly 12-month clothes, though some 9-month things still fit. She’s still wearing size 3 diapers, and doesn’t really wear shoes yet (we do have some little boots that fit her right now, but not sure what size they are)!

I haven’t mentioned this in a post yet, but with Neola (#fourthchild), we have pretty much gone the completely practical route in terms of dressing her. She will occasionally wear a dress to church, and a cute, more practical outfit when we go to homeschool group or BSF, but most of the time, girlfriend is in fleece footie pajamas. It’s just so easy and warm!

Sleeping

Nothing much has changed in the sleep department. Neola takes 3 naps a day (while I either hold or nurse her), the first about 2 hours after she gets up, and the others 2.5-3 hours after she wakes up from the previous nap. She naps for 30-45 minutes usually. Every once in a while, she will sleep for 60-90 minutes (but that requires her not getting interrupted, and she gets interrupted a lot).

She typically goes to bed between 7 and 8. When and how often she wakes up during the night is constantly different. Some nights, she first wakes up before I even go to bed. Other nights, she doesn’t wake up until 3:30. And she’s still in her Rock ‘n’ Play (but we’re going to start trying to get her to sleep in the pack ‘n’ play in preparation for our month in Florida in February). She usually wakes up for the day between 6 and 6:30.

I have been hesitant to let her squawk/fuss in the Rock ‘n’ Play, just because she’s getting too old for it, and I don’t want her to get too upset in there. But there have been a few different mornings when I hear her happily cooing a little around 6, and I wait to go into her room until she gets upset, and she actually ends up going back to sleep for another 45-60 minutes!

I have also gotten Neola to take a nap in the Ergobaby outside a couple of days (in 30-degree weather!), so that bodes well for Florida when we’ll be out and about more (but then we won’t be wearing snowpants and winter hats)!

Eating

Neola is still doing well eating solid foods. We’re sticking with the purees right now. She seems to like them better than small chunks of food — I gave her little bits of strawberry and cheddar cheese, and she didn’t seem to care for either one. But she does really like teething wafers, and she also enjoys the challenge of getting puffs in her mouth (she can kind of do it, but it’s tricky still!).

Her favorite foods are whole milk yogurt (blueberry, peach, and pear flavors); baby cereal; and fruity purees, like Pear, Banana, Apple blends, etc. She’s not a huge fan of the vegetable purees, though she will eat some.

One potential explanation for Neola not sleeping great at night is that she is getting her two top front teeth. I just noticed them poking through this past week. I’ve been giving her ibuprofen every night before bed, and try to remember to give her some before we put in the church nursery or BSF. That seems to help when she’s tired and with other people. Otherwise, she seems to be fine, as long as she gets plenty of things to chew on.

Development / Personality

Neola did roll over from back to belly a few times this month, but now she would much rather just sit up to play with toys — she gets upset spending much time on her back. She wants to see all the action (and not be stepped on, or have things dropped on her, probably!). She still tips over a decent amount, so we definitely have to sit behind her, or surround her with pillows, but she made a lot of progress in just the past couple of weeks. I also tried having her stand up and hold on to the side of the bathtub the other night while Corbin was taking a bath. She could stand for 5-10 seconds before her knees would buckle.

Neola seems to be getting tired of the same old baby toys. We are definitely in the phase of “What other random thing would be safe for me to give you to chew on?” Like this bottle of lotion. Or that marker. Or this Ziploc bag. Or an empty disposable water bottle (cap and ring removed). She, like most kids, is most interested in the forbidden things, like my water bottle or protein shake cup — especially when they have water or shake in them! If I take a drink while holding her, I have to pin her arm down so that she doesn’t reach up and grab it, causing me to spill.

Neola still enjoys her jumperoo, but we are getting rid of her playmat and swings. Even though there’s a tiny tinge of sadness in saying goodbye to those things that we’ve had since Emma was a baby, there’s more freedom! So glad to be freeing up more space in our home! Since our kids are 8 years apart from oldest to youngest, we have a decently wide swath of age-appropriate toys. And babies in particular just need so. much. gear!

This past month was Neola’s first Christmas. We spent it in Nevis with Travis’ family. I had pajamas for Neola that matched her siblings, but they weren’t fleece footie pajamas (they were out of them in that pattern 😭), and I was only about half alive because Neola slept terribly over Christmas, so I never mustered up the energy to put her in the matching pajamas.

Neola also went in her first snow fort this month (we have SO much snow!).

She also got blankets, pillows, and stuffies dropped on her from the top bunk (Annabelle); swung outside in her pink swing without being able to see anything (oops); and tried on swim goggles (hilarious). She didn’t cry at any of that! Such a good sport.

She also sported matching pigtails with her sisters. ❤

Corbin has taken much more interest in Neola the past month — maybe because she’s more interactive? Regardless of the reason, it’s adorable!

And that’s Neola at 8 months!

Neola Bethany: 7 Months

16 Dec

Neola is 7 months old as of December 12.

Size

Neola is starting to outgrow her 9-month clothes, and can easily wear her 12-month clothes now. She’s still in size 3 diapers.

Sleeping

Oh man. Sleep with this girl is rough. This past month, she has had a few 5-hour stretches but more often than not, she’s up every 2-3 hours. I definitely think she’s getting some more teeth (I recall from our other kids that teething can last for a month or more before the teeth pop through!) so I do give her ibuprofen every night before bed. But I’m also wondering if her poor napping habits have something to do with her bad nighttime sleep…

(She stayed sleeping on the floor for about 5 minutes after I put her down… we had to go somewhere and I went to find her carseat.)

Neola often only naps for 20-30 minutes at a time, which is just not long enough. It’s been hard to change that because 1) #fourthchild and 2) she won’t stay sleeping after you put her down and 3) she’s a pretty light sleeper around noise.

BUT in just the past couple of weeks, Neola hasn’t wanted to be swung to sleep in the chair swing. Instead, she’d rather be bounced in our arms, and then rocked in a chair, or nurse to sleep. I think that’s progress! At any rate, I’d much rather sit with her in the recliner than the chair swing.

I’m trying to focus on putting her down 2-3 hours after her previous nap (and not pushing her too long) and getting her longer naps — at least 45 minutes to an hour. Unfortunately that means pausing school during that time, and letting the older kids play unsupervised while I sit with her in the nursery. I don’t worry about Emma and Annabelle, but Corbin still gets into trouble (read: makes a huge mess or destroys something) every once in a while. But what can I do? Even sleep training gurus say that night sleep is usually the first to fall into place. On the other hand, it is sweet to rock Neola.

Neola has also been a stinker about switching to the crib, and wakes up even more often when I put her in there. I bought a weight sleep sack hoping that would help, and it did a little, but not enough (and Neola seems to only like the weighted sleep sack in small doses). So she still mostly sleeps in the Rock n Play. It’s just so hard to make changes that result in less sleep! We have talked about sleep training, but I hate to do that when she appears to be in pain.

I’m trying to remind myself that all of our kids had unique sleep challenges at this age, and there will be a day when she figures it out. All we can do right now is pray for wisdom to manage things well and keep trying to nudge things in the right direction.

Eating

Neola has been doing a great job eating solid foods! Most days, she eats 2-3 “meals” — usually around our breakfast time, around lunchtime, and right before dinner. So far, she has tried avocado, banana, applesauce, yogurt, baby cereal, cheese, and a variety of store bought purées — blueberry apple, butternut squash, sweet potato, apple banana grape, etc. She has liked almost everything, but sometimes she don’t seem very hungry and loses interest after 8-10 bites.

Before starting solid foods, she had had trouble with getting backed up and not pooping for as many as 10 days (apparently normal for a breastfed baby, but she seemed really uncomfortable), but we took her to the chiropractor 6-7 times, and that seemed to help. Since starting solid foods, she’s pooped every 1-3 days. She does still get kind of fussy right before she has to poop, and has lots of gas. When she finally does poop, more often than not it’s a blowout that requires you to wash the outfit she was wearing, plus anything else she came into contact with.

Development

Neola hasn’t completely figured out how to roll over yet (we are still majorly slacking on tummy time 😬 but she’s close!). She is getting better at being able to sit up on her own. She is now sitting in highchairs at restaurants, in the shopping cart at stores, and in her infant sled outside.

Neola is very curious and instantly grabs anything within her reach, which now makes it impossible to do anything while I’m holding her. She also shows her affection by grabbing my hair or neck with her iron grip and digging her nails into my skin (I have scratches to prove it!). She also gives “kisses” by putting her open mouth on my face.

She’s still very talkative and gets incredibly (somewhat annoyingly) loud at times, usually when she’s getting tired. Sometimes I’m trying to instruct the older girls about something school-related quick before trying to get Neola to take a nap, but I can’t because I can’t think or be heard over her shrieking.

Neola loves being outside, and still takes a nap outside 1-2 times a week (bundled up in her stroller).

Neola has also started to develop “stranger danger” and has gotten extremely upset a few times while being taken care of or held by someone else.

Neola loves playing with toys and can hold them like a pro now.

And that’s Neola at 7 months!

Neola Bethany: 6 Months

20 Nov

Neola is 6 months old already! Such a fun age. I love it when kids get old enough to start entertaining themselves a little, and when they start eating solid foods, it’s such a game changer. I don’t, however, enjoy the teething process, but what can you do?

Neola’s nicknames these days are Babaduke, Babadoo, Babby, Bibby Babby, and Babbalicious.

Size

At her 6-month well-child appointment, Neola was 17 lbs 8 oz (74%), 26.25 inches tall (62%), with a head circumference of 17.48 inches (95%). She weighs more than Emma did at 6 months, but less than Annabelle or Corbin did. She’s also about 1/4 inch taller than any of the others at this age.

She is wearing 9-month clothes and size 3 diapers.

Sleeping

Neola has been having some rougher nights with more wake-ups (which our pediatrician interpreted as an indicator of being ready to start solid foods). We did just start feeding her baby cereal this week (the day after her appointment) and she slept a lot better. But time will tell if that was just a coincidence.

For naptime, we still swing her in our indoor chair hammock, or get her to sleep in her carseat, either by pushing her around in the stroller or swinging/carrying her carseat around. She doesn’t fall asleep nursing during the day as much as she used to, which is probably good for the long term, but I am soooo sick of swinging her in the chair hammock. I have tried different strategies of putting her down after getting her to sleep, and am often successful in transferring her, but she almost always wakes up after 5-10 minutes.

We are also in the midst of transitioning her from her Rock n Play to the crib. We bought a Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack, which has definitely made a difference—she used to wake up immediately when we tried to put her in the crib, but now she will stay sleeping for a couple of hours at night (we don’t try at all for naps). But Neola has been dealing with a lot of congestion the past couple weeks (from teething and/or a cold) and has been gagging on mucus, so I have been starting her in the crib at night, but moving her to her Rock n Play if she wakes up a lot.

Once we get her sleeping in the crib all night consistently, I will work on putting her down for naps when she’s awake but drowsy. Someday!

Eating

Neola got her first two teeth — the bottom middle ones — about a week before she turned 6 months. And she might be getting the top two also because of the aforementioned congestion/mucus and nighttime waking. Nothing has shown up or poked through yet!

I also mentioned that we started her on baby cereal. Emma and Annabelle are all about feeding her! Neola did great. At first, she just wanted to grab the spoon because she thought it was a toy but by the end of that bowl, she was eating like a champ. Neola has grown to not like formula, and we haven’t given her a bottle since the end of August, so it will be nice that she can eat without always being nursed now.

She has also tried avocado a few times, which she seemed to like, but maybe not as much as the cereal. In the next week or two, we’ll try giving her banana and yogurt.

Development

Neola is still a very talkative, smiley girl. She is so easygoing and tolerates so much chaos and stimulation from her siblings. And she is so patient — I can know that she’s hungry or tired for 20-30 minutes, and be busy making lunch, or changing a diaper, or in the middle of something I just needed to do “really quick”, and as long as one of the big girls or I am holding or playing with her, she’s content. She does finally hit her limit sometimes though, and then she is not afraid to let you know she means business.

Neola still hasn’t rolled over at all but it’s not that surprising because we have been terrible about giving her tummy time (#fourthchild #andiveneverbeengoodatthat). She is getting better about sitting up — sometimes she has enough balance to stay up for 10-20 seconds, but most of the time, she still falls over almost immediately.

She loves her jumperoo (what kid doesn’t?), playmat, and enjoys facing out in the baby carrier (her little arms and legs go crazy!), but is becoming less and less a fan of the Bumbo seat. Which is fine, because now she can sit in her highchair.

Neola got her first haircut right around 6 months. The back of her hair has mostly been rubbed off by her turning her head back and forth when she’s trying to go to sleep. The top of her hair can’t figure out which way it wants to lay (but if you comb it over after a bath, it does mostly lay that way). But her sideburns! They were down past her ears. 😂 So I trimmed her sideburns to be above her ears, and trimmed a tiny bit off the top of her hair.

Emma and Annabelle are still very helpful and loving with Neola. Lately, they’ve been wanting to carry Neola in the Baby Bjorn — which doesn’t last long, because Neola is heavy!

Neola had her first Halloween this month. She just wore her bear snowsuit, and was a great sport tagging along for a Trunk or Treat and trick-or-treating with her siblings and some neighbor friends.

Having three older siblings means lots of chaos, manhandling, and stimulation, but Neola is so easygoing with it all!

We love our little Babadoo!

Neola Bethany: 5 Months

13 Oct

Our baby girl is 5 months old!

Size

Neola won’t go back to the doctor until 6 months, but she is definitely growing! She is now wearing all 9-month sleepers (Corbin wore that pumpkin sleeper for his 7-month photos!), and is starting to outgrow her 6-month clothes. She’s still in size 2 diapers though! She is definitely taller than our other kids were.

Sleeping

Neola’s sleep is pretty much the same as it was at 4 months. She still naps in either her carseat, the chair swing, or while nursing, for only 30-minute catnaps.

She is unfortunately still in the Rock n Play. I’ve tried her in the crib a few more times, and even kept her sleeping while I put her down, but she wakes up after only 5-10 minutes. So I’m getting the crib projector and vibration pad set up in the crib, and we’re probably going to have to do some sleep training. 😢

She sleeps for 5-8 hours straight at night, though she did sleep a straight 12 hours a couple times this past month! Her bedtimes and up-for-the-day times are pretty much all over the place, but lately, she’s been going to bed around 8 and waking up for the day around 6.

Eating

Neola is still nursing well. She has definitely become more alert though, and when we’re out in public, she pulls off a lot and wants to look around. At home though, she nurses to sleep for bedtime, and nurses and goes right back to sleep in the middle of the night. In the afternoon while Corbin naps, I often nurse her while she naps because then I get to sit in the rocking chair instead of the chair swing. Otherwise, if she’s not tired, she nurses for 10-15 minutes.

She still spits up quite a bit but I can tell already that it’s getting better. I’m very ready to not have to change her outfit 6 times a day!

Development

Neola is still a very talkative girl. She is loudest when she first wakes up, and then when she is getting tired. She’s so loud that when she is up before everyone, we have to go downstairs or she will wake them up!

This month, she figured out how to grab toys with her hands. That helps so much! Now when we put her in her carseat, she can entertain herself with a toy hung on the handle.

This past weekend, Neola took her first long car ride down to Rochester (4.5 hours). We stopped halfway for me to nurse her, and we wandered around Cabela’s, which the older kids loved. It actually went really well!

Neola is also learning how to roll over. She is *so close* to being able to roll over from her back to her belly—and if she does, she will be the first if it children to learn to roll over that way first. (Our other kids HATED tummy time, and would never voluntarily roll onto their stomachs. They learned to roll over from belly to back just to escape tummy time!) I don’t have a great picture of her attempts but this will have to do. She lays all the way over on her side, and gets her face all the way around, but can’t figure out what to do with her arms and legs.

Neola had her first “ouch’s” this month too. She accidentally slipped out of Emma’s grip and fell, thankfully just about a foot and onto the carpet. Corbin also took a pen and rather roughly drew a mark on Neola’s forehead. I’ve also miscalculated a few times while she’s in the Baby Bjorn and slightly bumped her with a door or shelf. It’s hard being a baby! Thankfully none of it was serious. As my husband always says, “Close calls are what keep us safe!”

Neola also went to her first pumpkin patch this month. She hung out in the Baby Bjorn for most of it. Such an easygoing baby (except when it comes to sleeping locations!)

And that’s Neola at 5 months!