Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017

I need to fulfill my promise to future Austin, who I'm sure is totally awesome, and get his six-month post written up.  But first, I need to recap our Halloween this year because it was a lot of fun and I don't want to forget some of the details.

I'm calling Halloween 2017 Connor's first REAL Halloween.  In 2014, he was an infant; in 2015, he was sick and still didn't "get" it; in 2016, he just wasn't into the holiday and told me "Nothing" over and over again when I (or anyone else) asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween.  But 2017 was his year.

Connor knew a long time ago that he wanted to be a police officer for Halloween so I ordered his costume from Party City and it looked great!  The only negative was the hat.  It was so small!  So I had to shell out more money for a better and bigger hat, but it was worth it because it's more adjustable and will fit for a long time and it really completes the costume/uniform.  The hat arrived the day that Bass Lake Park hosted its annual Spooktacular Event - perfect timing!  Connor actually won a runner-up prize, which I'm sure wouldn't have happened if he hadn't had his hat.
Connor got to wear his costume to daycare on Halloween.  I didn't get a costume for Austin, but I dressed him in black and white stripes so that at least when he was with Connor, I could say he was Connor's prisoner.  I snapped a few quick and not-so-great photos before they headed to school.  (Please note the 6-9 month pants that are barely containing our little chunkers.)
I wasn't going to do trick-or-treating since Austin typically goes to bed by 6:30, but the McHusband talked me into it and I'm so glad he did.  I got Austin changed into his pajamas and gave him a bottle then put him in the stroller and kept my fingers crossed for general happiness followed by sleepiness.
Apparently I wasn't the only one tired from being up since four-something-in-the-morning because he dozed off pretty soon after Connor started ringing doorbells.
We had talked to Connor about how he'd say "Trick or Treat!" or "Happy Halloween!" when people opened the door.  He combined those and told everyone "Happy Trick or Treat!"  Yes, it was as adorable as you imagine - my little police officer toddler in his slightly-too-big costume and hat combining those phrases with gusto and holding out his little pumpkin for a treat.  I wanted to go to even more houses just to hear him say that over and over again.
The neighborhood we went to had lots of houses decorated with lights and blow-ups and all other assorted Halloween paraphernalia.  Some stuff was spookier than others but Connor didn't let it faze him.  Only one thing made him nervous and it would've gotten to even a seasoned trick-or-treater.  It was a hairy hand/spider thing mounted toward the ground that jumped out randomly.  Connor saw it before he hit that house, and I thought he wouldn't go past it but apparently the pull of more candy was stronger than the fear of being gotten.  He later told us, when asked how he liked Halloween, that he "didn't like those scaries."
Connor loved all the "Christmas lights," as he called them, that people used.  We stopped at one house that was all lit up and Connor told the homeowner, after he'd gotten his candy and said thank you, "I like all these lights.  They're pwetty."  She just loved hearing him say that totally unprompted.  When he joined us in the street, he looked ahead at the other houses and their lighted decorations, kinda motioned to the general surroundings with his arm, and said, "This is so beautiful."
Something else this neighborhood had?  Adult treats!  One house offered beer or wine, one had sangria, and another was giving out condiment cups of vodka Gummy Bears!
Connor loved Halloween and as we were heading home, he said, "But Halloween isn't over yet" because he could still see the lights on and people out.  But he was tired so it wasn't too tough to get him focused on walking home.  Austin had woken up by this point but was just content to ride in the stroller all snuggly under a fleece blanket.

Final verdict?  Halloween 2017 was a big hit all around, and we are excited to do it again next year with two trick-or-treaters.  And more of those Gummy Bears.  And maybe our own Thermos of an adult beverage in the stroller's cup holder.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Austin: Five Months

I went back to look at Connor’s monthly wrap-up when he was five months old and I just loved reading about him so I’m going to try to do a monthly post about Austin going forward.  I know down the road I will regret not taking the time to do it.
So what’s our not-so-little guy up to these days?  One typical milestone at this age is rolling over, at least back to tummy.  Austin isn’t doing that yet but he’ll get himself contorted with his head bent back toward his bum and be on his side so he looks like a backwards “C”…and then he stays like that.  I think I’m hindering that progress by having him in a sleep sack that contains his arms but we’re not ready to give up the sleep sack yet so if he’s a late roller, so be it.

I wrote most of this post on a Friday and over the course of the weekend, Austin decided he was ready to be a roller.  He's not the most consistent with it yet, but I don't think it'll take long for him to figure out how to do it more smoothly and without trapping his one arm under him every dang time.
Austin is still getting a dream feed at night anywhere from 9:30 to 11 or so depending on when the McHusband is going to bed.  That seems to reliably get him through til about 5 or so when he wakes up and must think it’s time to start his day.  Luckily he’s normally pretty happy just hanging out in his crib until I get him as close to 6 as possible.  I’ve been setting my alarm for between 3 and 4 to give him another dream feed so that he’ll continue sleeping and I’ve had mixed results.  Sometimes it’s kept him asleep until almost 7, sometimes he’s still awake around 5:00.  Or, in one case, woke up around 4:45 after I laid him back down once he'd finished his bottle and never went back to sleep.  

He is (and has been) wearing 6 month clothes, and I even have him in some 6-9 month stuff.  I think he has a few 9-month pajamas that fit him alarmingly well.
Austin loves his big brother and always gives Connor big smiles.  Similarly, he loves the baby in the mirror and so far, seems to be quite the mama’s boy.  He has an adorable laugh that’s music to all our ears.  Still won’t take a pacifier so I think that ship has sailed.  Based on how he rubs his hands, which are tucked into his sleep sack, on his face, I’m pretty sure I’ll have another blankie-lover on my hands, which is just fine with me.
No teeth yet but he has been practicing his gnawing – on toys, teethers, and my knuckles.  I hardly even knew when Connor was getting a tooth so, because they have been so different thus far, I’m expecting Austin will be miserable and, therefore, so will I.  Fingers crossed he proves me wrong.

We made it to five months and one day with some amount of breast milk every day, but that ship, too, has sailed.  It got to the point where I was pumping 4 to 5 times a day and averaging one ounce per pump.  That was enough for one bottle, which was fine for a while, but then I was just over struggling for every drop.  Connor is healthy and smart and a great eater and he transitioned to all formula closer to 4 months so hopefully Austin is no different in those areas.
Austin likes to sit with assistance and one of his favorite places to be now is in Connor’s high chair.  We put him in there with some toys on the tray and he’s a happy camper for quite some time.  At daycare, his teacher said he really enjoys having two Boppies stacked behind him so he can sit up.  And I have him in the actual stroller now instead of in the car seat on walks and he loves to look out at the world.
We've just completed house repairs thanks to a leaking pipe under the house and now that everything that was on the hardwoods is out of the den, we can bring down the activity chair for Austin to sit in.  And we'll get the bouncy seat hung up as well.  Connor loved to jump jump jump in that thing and I imagine Austin'll like it, too.

Austin is more Awesome and less Awful every day.  If he could just be a better sleeper (not waking up quite so early and taking better/more consistent naps), I'd say he had secured his title of Awesome Austin.  Maybe in his six-month post...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Austin: The Fourth Trimester

First, an apology to Older Austin: I’m sorry I haven’t documented your life like I did Connor’s.  I promise it doesn’t mean I love you any less.  Life is just busier with two small children and I’m tired so I prioritize sleep over blogging (and pretty much everything else).  But I do plan to use this blog as a sort of scrapbook so I want to get something about you into my little corner of the internet.

All right, let’s catch up!

Austin was born at 6:11 a.m. on April 27th, one day before his due date.  I went into labor with him the day before and had contractions off and on for most of the day.  I happened to have a check-up already scheduled on the 26th and the doctor confirmed the contractions with monitoring so I knew Austin would be arriving soon.  That evening, I got the house in order while the McHusband and Connor took Monte on a walk and I tried to get some sleep, but the contractions were getting stronger so we opted to call Vanessa sooner rather than later, mostly so we wouldn’t have to rouse her and Karis from bed in the middle of the night.  Better to get them to the house where they could go to sleep for the night.  Karis goes to the same daycare as Connor so besides Connor knowing them, it worked out for Vanessa to drop both kids off in the morning.

Based on how quickly Connor arrived, we all thought Austin would be here in much the same manner, maybe even faster.  He had other plans though.  My progress was very slow, but I stuck with my plan to try for an unmedicated birth.  I changed my mind around 5 a.m. when I was about 7 cm dilated, had been up for 24 hours, and didn’t know if I could handle the pain for another few hours.  We ordered the epidural, got some IV fluids going, and I got out of bed.  Once I did that, my body switched into high gear and I was at 10 cm very quickly.  That was the worst pain of my life, dilating those last few centimeters.  No epidural for me!
The doctor joined us and I was very happy to be able to push.  Austin came out with the cord wrapped around his neck and I was instructed to stop pushing.  What?!  Any woman who’s been where I was knows that’s easier said than done.  Thankfully the doctor worked quickly to get the cord unwrapped and I could resume pushing.  He came out a little gray, but pinked up quickly and was on my chest in no time.  He weighed 7 lbs, 15 oz (just like Connor), was 20.5 inches long (a little shorter than Connor), and had dark hair (almost as much as Connor).  Unlike Connor, he came out ready to eat and latched on almost immediately.
In the blanket Grammie knitted for him
And just like that, my heart doubled in size.

We were released from the hospital Friday afternoon and the night that followed was terrible, definitely one of the worst in my life.  And that’s saying something considering I’d stayed up all night two nights prior with contractions and, you know, enduring a natural birth.  Austin wanted to eat all night long and when he wasn’t trying to eat (because there wasn’t really anything for him to ingest just yet), he wouldn’t sleep except on me, but it was really hard for me to sleep that way.  So I was already going into this night extremely sleep deprived and the way things were going didn’t help things.

I wish I could say it got much better from then on once my milk came in, but that’s not the case.  I mean, most nights were better, but remember the scale.  That first night was AWFUL so it didn’t take much for another night to be marginally better.  Most of my maternity leave I dreaded the nighttime.  Austin just wasn’t a good sleeper, I wasn’t a good napper when he occasionally was…  It doesn’t matter if you’re reading this four months after he was born or four years or 14 years – I’m probably still trying to catch up from all the sleep lost during that time.

Eventually Austin got good at sleeping at night.  He’s 16 weeks old now and goes to sleep between 6 and 6:30, gets a dream feed somewhere between 9:30 and 11 depending on when the McHusband is going to bed, and is waking up once a night to eat before going right back to sleep until somewhere between 6 and 7, but usually closer to 6:45.  Now if I could just get Connor to consistently sleep that late (or later!) on the weekends, I might stand a chance of making a dent in my sleep deficit.

Austin is growing like a weed, as he should be at this point.  We do a mix of formula and breastmilk although he seems to prefer the latter and straight from the source if he can get it.  Luckily, when he’s hungry, he’ll usually take whatever he can get however he can get it.  I wish that I had a better supply for him, but I just don’t think it’s in my biology to be a milk machine.  But I’m doing better this time than with Connor and I will keep it up as long as it’s worth it.
A blanket the McHusband used as a baby, sewn by HIS grandmother.
Okay, some general Austin info for us to look back at…
  •          Refuses to take a pacifier and has since that first awful night at home
  •          Likes baths, looking in mirrors, and being held (a lot!)
  •          Uses a sleep sack that keeps his arms contained up by the sides of his head with some ability to move them
  •          Tends to suck on his hands for comfort even through the sleep sack
  •          Loves to look at Connor, who I think is going to prove to be Austin's favorite form of entertainment
  •          Wears size 2 diapers (but not for much longer) and 3 to 6 month clothes
  •          Has pretty good head control and tolerates the Bumbo seat for short periods of time
    First bath!  I hardly remember that skinny little baby.
I went back to work when Austin was 8 weeks old and I was ready to not be at home any more, but man!  Leaving him that first morning was so much harder than I expected.  I was much more emotional at just the thought of having him in daycare than I was with Connor, and maybe it's because Austin is at the same place as Connor, which is more institutional.  Connor went to a home daycare until he was 18 months old and having done both with an infant, I definitely prefer the home daycare.

Life right now is pretty boring.  I leave for work around 7:15, the McHusband drops the boys off at daycare, I pick up the boys around 5:15, rush home to get Austin fed and in bed, go downstairs to clean up bottles and prep the ones for the next day while the McHusband and Connor finish dinner, maybe grab some dinner for myself, the McHusband bathes Connor every other night, we tag-team putting him to bed between 7:30 and 8, I eat if I haven't yet, shower, dry my hair, pump, and go to bed, hopefully turning the lights out before 10:00.  Then I'm up at 5:20 to do it all again the next day.

I'm not sorry to say adios to the fourth trimester.  Those were tough months.  I can't wait to see what kind of person Austin becomes (besides a car guy since that's pretty much a given) and be there to support him as he grows.  I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Connor and Austin together once they can interact a little more evenly.  Right now, it's mostly just Connor rubbing Austin's head or feet.

So there you have it, the past four months wrapped up in one post.  It's probably for the best that I waited to write this up all at once because if I'd tried to do monthly updates, they'd pretty much all be major downers.  Did I mention that I'm not sad to see the newborn stage over and done with?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Connor turned 3!

How do I have a three-year-old?!  I mean, it's not like I'VE aged three years.  Nope, no way, not happening. :)  The past three years have flown by and I now get that phrase The days are long but the years are short.  I'd add "and the nights are fleeting!"  I don't think I can remember what it's like to feel rested, but that's not Connor's fault so much as it is his brother's.  I'm just not sleeping too well most nights these days.  Might as well get used to it, I guess.

The McHusband and I both took the day off so we could celebrate Connor's birthday on the 15th.  I'm sure he would have enjoyed a party with his friends and extended family in attendance, but he plays with his friends every day.  What he doesn't get is his parents' undivided attention in combination with a fun activity and presents.  I knew we made the right decision when, halfway through breakfast and after only getting three helium balloons and a taxi to add to his car collection, Connor looked up from his waffle and said, unprompted and seemingly out of nowhere, "Thank you, Mommy, for my happy birthday."

(BTW, the surgery to repair my burst heart went very well.)

We spent the morning at a bounce place where always-cautious Connor waited until the last five minutes to finally try a slide, but he had a great time with his other options like shooting foam balls across a bounce house, dodging a wrecking ball, and knocking foam balls off the air they were balanced on.

We gave Connor three choices for lunch: a hot dog, Mexican (the kid loves chips and salsa), or pizza.  He chose pizza so we ended up at Blaze Pizza before heading home for a nap.  After his nap, he got his big (literally) present from us: a hand-me-down John Deere riding toy.  He was hesitant at first (remember, he's no daredevil), but he has warmed up to it quite a bit and now asks to ride it most evenings when we get home.  That night, he had a normal dinner and then he blew out his "3" candle and devoured his cupcake.  All in all, a very good day and one I know the McHusband and I will always remember and cherish.

So a little about Connor at age 3.  He's perfect, the end. :)

Okay, Connor for real.  He is smart, sweet, funny and, maybe most importantly, very agreeable.  We rarely have to resort to anything resembling a timeout and even when he does have a toddler moment, he gets over it quickly.  He still watches very little TV but we've branched out to include Doc McStuffins with Mickey Mouse and the Roadster Racers and Chuggington.  As is typical of toddlers, who get on a kick and stay on it until the next obsession pops up, right now (and new this week) Connor just wants to watch Doc McStuffins.  Thanks to Aunt Jenny, Connor now has some Play Doh to play with at home and he's been having fun with it and the trucks that came with it.
Speaking of obsessions...  Connor LOVES vehicles.  He has a fleet of rescue vehicles, some construction trucks, a variety of matchbox cars, and a few of the McHusband's model cars that he's allowed to play with.  He comes by this preference honestly so we aren't at all surprised that he loves just about anything with tires.

The McHusband and Connor went to the Monster Truck show when it was here at the end of January and Connor loved it. More recently, they went to Cars & Coffee, a once-a-month gathering of car enthusiasts in our area, and they saw two Lamborghinis among other cool cars.  He was adequately impressed.  But his favorites?  The garbage truck and police car that WEREN'T part of the show.
A pic that Heather snapped at the car show.

I expect Connor to learn new things at daycare, or school as we call it, but he surprises me sometimes with what he knows.  This past weekend, Connor was playing in my bathroom while I was getting ready and he just said, out of the blue, "Red, blue, and lello are primary colors."  I had to do a quick inventory in my head to make sure he was right as it's been a long time since I had that lesson.

Connor went to the dentist on the 23rd for a check-up/be familiar with the dentist so he isn't scared when they actually clean his teeth appointment, and he did great.  Like I said, he's very agreeable and is generally happy to just go with the flow.  Plus, he got to wear "gunglasses."
So far, Connor is still a good eater who turns his nose up to very little.  Right now, he LOVES bell peppers and raw tomatoes, his favorite condiments are flavorful ones like mustard (even the spicy kind) and salsa, and I don't think he's met a hummus he doesn't like.  Of course, he has a sweet tooth as well and is partial to Cadbury Eggs.  I feel kinda bad getting him hooked on a seasonal treat...

We have Connor's three-year check-up on the 3rd and I don't doubt that he'll be in the upper percentiles for height, weight, and head size.  3T pants at this point are barely long enough when he's standing and definitely too short when he's sitting, but they are also in danger of being too big around the waist.  Thank goodness shorts season is right around the corner!

As I mentioned in my last post, Connor is fully daytime potty-trained and for the most part handles all of that himself.  He is still using a training potty most of the time, but he gets it assembled and can empty it without any assistance from us.  I typically just let him handle things then go behind him to check for any lingering messes, but I think it's important that he feels a sense of accomplishment for taking care of business beginning to end.  Plus, soon enough, I could be otherwise engaged for a lot of his potty breaks so he needs to be somewhat independent in that arena.
Connor's Corner o' Toys
Connor often tells the McHusband and me, "Mommy/Daddy, you my best friend."  He also likes to dole out compliments and if I'm wearing a dress, he'll tell me how much he likes it.  Just the other night he told me how much he liked the flowers on my pj pants.  Connor also understands that he needs to use good manners.  He's really good about "please" and "thank you" and he even has us basically role-play with him where he tells us, "Mommy say 'Please I can have the car?" if he has one and he wants me to ask for it essentially just so he can ask for it back just as nicely.
Okay, I guess it's obvious, but I could go on and on about Connor.  He is a wonderful kid, and the McHusband and I are grateful that he's happy and healthy.  We are definitely trying to soak up these last two months with him as our only child before he becomes a big brother.  Pretty sure I'll need another heart surgery when I see him in that role...

PS  Happy Birthday to the McMom today!  We hope you have a fabulous day!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Two trimesters down, one to go!

So apparently my pregnancy posts this time around are/will be:
1) We're Pregnant!
2) Almost Done Being Pregnant!
3) Not Pregnant Any More!

Versus the every-four-weeks updates I wrote when I was pregnant with Connor. #secondchild
McBaby Number Two showing off his muscles

For the most part, the main difference between this pregnancy and my first at this same point is that I'm bigger.  That's normal for the belly with subsequent pregnancies, but I also started off heavier and have gained more weight.  Ugh.  Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, chasing a toddler isn't equal to six days of high intensity cardio at the gym every week, especially when there is a desk job involved for the majority of your waking hours.

I have my glucose test next week so hopefully I pass that with flying colors and don't have to worry about watching my carb intake with an eagle eye during the remaining three months.  It's bad enough giving up wine, but to give up chips, chocolate, and crackers, too?  Oh the sacrifice!

I'm still taking my boot camp and PHX (Power Hour Extreme) classes two to three times a week depending on the McHusband's schedule.  I even ran on the indoor track a couple Saturdays ago.  I'm modifying where I need to (no more crunches, less jumping) but trying to keep it up as long as I can.  I also get in at least two to three walks a week with Monte, which he desperately needs every day and meets the minimum daily requirement for me in general.  There are so many benefits of an active pregnancy for both me and the baby and I try to remind myself of that on nights when I really don't feel like doing anything more than plopping down on the couch.  But if I can just make myself put my tennis shoes on and grab Monte's leash, we both feel much better 20 minutes later.  

A related-to-the-baby aside: Connor transitioned to a twin bed back in December and he did so without any trouble at all.  He was happy as a clam to give up his crib and let us move it across the hall to the baby's room.

An unrelated aside: Connor is potty-trained and has been for several months now.  He only wears a diaper at night and has woken up once dry and several times not very wet.  The McHusband and I are both fine with him staying in diapers overnight for a while, but I think we're both just hoping he'll start having more and more dry diapers and we can go cold turkey on the diapers even if it means doing a sheet change once in a while.
You are lucky I cropped this photo...

Okay, back to McBaby Number Two and his room.  It has a crib in it so technically it's ready for him?  I have plans for the walls - a combo of green paint and white shiplap (Thanks, Joanna!) - and I've bought the paint, I just haven't actually moved forward on any of those plans yet.  Maybe this weekend...  The day I had Connor, I was up and down the ladder putting some finishing touches on his room so if McBaby Number Two's room takes me until his due date or beyond, that's just par for the course.

McBaby Number Two is a wiggle worm and apparently I'm feeling him more than Connor because my placenta is behind him.  With Connor, I felt his hiccups all the time but didn't feel such specific movement like I do with this little guy.  It's cool but also kind of annoying especially when he's just starting to party at 9:30 and I'm trying my best to be fast asleep.

Oh, speaking of sleep!  Luckily I don't wake up to pee all night long, but I do wake up often and almost always between 2 and 3.  Most of the time, I can fall back to sleep fairly easily, but it's no wonder I'm so tired every night; I can't seem to get a long stretch of zzz's to save my life.

To answer some of the questions that were on my posts before:
1) My rings still fit.
2) My belly button is still an innie although it's definitely not as deep as before.
3) Connor and I bought some short-sleeved onesies this weekend since this baby will come in warm weather compared to Connor's February arrival.  Otherwise, I hope to reuse most of Connor's wardrobe.

I know some of you are thinking, "All of this is very interesting and all, but what does Chinese astrology say about McBaby Number Two?!"  You weren't?  Oh.  Well, I bet you're curious now, aren't you? :)  Here's what I found on

"According to Chinese folklore, every animal and element combination has specific traits. Fire rooster babies, for example, will be hardworking and trustworthy, with a strong sense of responsibility. They usually find success in numerous career paths.

"You can expect your child to be better in the field of business, and that's how he will express his creativity," said astrologer Joey Yap. "And that's why people in the olden days predicted that those born in the year of the fire rooster would be wealthy, because they're hardworking and knowledgeable in business. In terms of weaknesses, however, they tend to be blunt and sharp when they speak."

So I guess you could say McBaby Number Two is my retirement plan.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good and I am grateful for a healthy pregnancy (especially at my advanced maternal age of 37 and 3/4 years old) and a seemingly healthy baby who is a little wiggle worm.  And now, if you'll excuse me, it's closing in on 9:00 and that's my bedtime most nights. #partyanimal

PS  Don't mark your calendars or anything, but I hope to write an update on Connor around his birthday in a couple weeks.  Two posts in one month, what has gotten into me?!