Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Today is New Year's Eve 2008 - are you doing anything special tonight? Every year we have either gotten together with friends or gone to Morro Bay (for the past 2 years), but this year we decided to stay home. The boys are both sick again- Micah has an ear infection that has made him wake up screaming in the middle of the night, and Jaden has a bad cold that kept him up all night last night. I am fine with staying home, as I am not a night person and don't particularly enjoy having to stay up until 1am or so. But I do wish we were going to Morro Bay again, our refuge away from home, although it just didn't work out this year.

These past two weeks have been a flurry of activity, but restful as well. This is our first experience having "Christmas break" from school. Micah is going into week 2 of no school, no speech therapy, etc... and I have to say that I have loved it! Martin has had a good amount of time off, too, so we've gotten to spend a lot of time together as a family. We have had considerable less meltdowns from Micah, I think directly related to not rushing out the door, not going to school and coming home so tired. He has also finally turned a corner these past 3 days and has gone poop on the potty every time! Woo-Hoo! That is a major accomplishment in our house that I HOPE continues. It is about time - he is now exactly 3 1/2 and we thought this day would never come!

I was reflecting today over my post last year on New Year's about New Year's Resolutions. I had three resolutions last January, which included:

1) Go to bed earlier. Like, be in bed at least by 10:59pm (almost) every night.
2) Blog at least once a week.
3) Take an advanced photography class to boost my skills for my business

So, did I do it? Mostly yes to #1, Yes to #2, and No to #3. My photography business was very slow this year, partly due to my choosing, and partly due I think to the economy. I am very excited though that I was asked to do my first official wedding next month! It is a casual wedding with not a lot of formal shots, but exciting for me nonetheless!

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? I am not going to make any resolutions this year, YET, until I find one I know I can keep :)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Night and All is Quiet

As I sit here reflecting tonight on all the festivities of this past Christmas week, I am so thankful for my little family in our cozy little house.  The boys are snug in their beds, M is off to Blockbuster to rent the new Chronicles of Narnia (the first one was on TV last night so now we have to see the new one), and I sit here in quietness.

This week was both joyful and stressful at times.  Having an 18 month old and 3 1/2 year old makes for some really fun and laughable times.  I love this age, where everything is so exciting and new.  This was the first year that Micah really understood what Christmas was, and he was happy to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  Somewhere along the way he heard about Santa Claus, asked about him, and the story has just gotten bigger and bigger for him every day.  We wanted to downplay Santa as much as possible, but the little boy just wants to BELIEVE! :)  Tonight at my aunt's house, my dad came in dressed as Santa and Micah got to meet him and hug him, and we don't think he knew that was really his Papa. I loved the boys excitement about every single part of Christmas - from wanting to see every Christmas display at Target every time we went there, to gasps when we drove by any house with lights, to driving through "Candy Cane Lane" and hearing their shrieks with excitement, to seeing Santa at the mall and wanting so badly to tell him what he (Micah) wanted, etc... It was a year to remember.

The stressful part also comes along with the territory, as having an 18 month old and 3 1/2 year old is like having to transport an entire army. When we go to families' houses (multiple houses, I might add), we have to remember the diapers, wipes, binkies, blankets, changes of clothing, food (because of course they won't touch any food there besides chips), entertainment, a favorite toy, water cups, a portable high chair, and the list goes on. Because both of our boys do not have any cousins within 10 years of themselves, they are usually the only young children present. Houses are not always baby-proofed, and so we are dodging to and fro trying to keep (mainly Jaden) from breaking precious collectibles, eating someone else's appetizer plate, not playing in their toilet, going in private bedrooms and rummaging through drawers, etc... I probably make him sound like he's out of control, which he's not, but he is extremely active. After about an hour I am exhausted. Martin and I take shifts with them, but it is still a constant job just to get through the event. We managed to make it through 2 visits that were each about 5 hours each, and we have one more to go this Saturday. At this moment, in my exhaustedness, I just wish it would END!

Last night at the Christmas Eve service, I had to sit in the nursing mother's room because my boys were wanting to talk loudly during the quiet readings and solemnly sung Christmas carols. I felt sad, like I was missing out, in the cold and dark room with my boys, while everyone on the "outside" was cozy, warm and comfortable. YET, I realize that this is probably the only year that I will experience that. My boys are very young, at a tender but active age, and it probably won't be like this again. So, everything in perspective. Not everyone has a husband who is a worship leader and leading the whole Christmas Eve service, so understandably most moms in my boat have someone to help out. It was just a hard night for me; a hard week in some ways to try to enjoy the season while working extremely hard. So tonight, I'm tired and worn out, but very thankful for ALL that Christ has done for me, in me and through me. I'm so thankful for my boys, who I love with all of my heart. Even though it is a hard stage in life, they are worth every effort.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Toy Intoxication

It has already begun... my family came over on Saturday night to celebrate Christmas, and celebrate we did! The boys watched as my parents made trip after trip back out to the car and in, carrying loads and loads of Christmas gifts. Micah was trying so hard to hold in his excitement, and he waited so patiently.

After dinner he sat waiting as my sister handed out the gifts, and his excitement mounted as he opened each one. Can't you see the excitement in his face here? :)

Just kidding; I think he was in shock. But he WAS truly so excited about his new "electric guitar". I could see Jaden's envy as he looked on...

But then he got one too! Ever since they have both been inseparable from their guitars.  

At the end of the night, they were both sitting in mounds of wrapping paper and presents, and I could tell they were overwhelmed. I only wish I had been taking pictures at that point! It was almost like they didn't know what to play with because there were so many options. This was the first year that I realized how crazy gift giving can become! (But don't get me wrong - we are SO thankful for everyone who showered them with gifts they love!).

We went to my husband's side last night and everyone decided not to exchange gifts this year.  It was so refreshing and fun!  Everyone got together and ate dinner and then just talked.  A nice change... A few more parties to go!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Something Just Flu In...

Disadvantage of living in a small house: extremely close contact with each other.
Advantage of living in a small house: extremely close contact with each other.

This week we were all hit with the stomach flu.  Jaden first, then M, then me, then Micah.  Jaden is actually on round 3 now, poor baby.  I haven't gotten sick in probably a year but this one hit me pretty badly. Thankfully it seems to only be a 24 hour flu.   Since we live in such a small house, there is really no way of avoiding us all getting something once one has contracted it.  The boys share a room; we are only just feet away.  But because of this, we can respond immediately when we hear the first heave, rather than have to run in one minute later and clean it all up then :)  See how I'm looking on the bright side today?!

My entire family was supposed to come over tomorrow for Christmas dinner, but I asked if we could post-pone it one day.  Thankfully everyone could.  Tomorrow, though, I'm still headed out to the O.C. for my best friend's son's adoption ceremony.  I'll be gone about 2 hours, leaving the boys with Martin, and hopefully we'll all be better by then.  

Right now I'm thankful for:
-warm, cozy beds
-not being on vacation and sick simultaneously (the worst!)
-that Micah actually got better enough to go to his school's Happy Birthday Jesus party for 1 hour.
-that he is now exhausted and asleep from said event
-that Jaden is also asleep miraculously without his blankie which is in the washer
-a few moment's peace and rest :)

Have a happy weekend!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Funny Boy

Conversations with my son today:

Micah- "Mom, you are cwazy." 
Me- "I am crazy?!"
Micah- "Yeah, you are cwazy!"
Me- "No, you are crazy!"
Micah- "No, YOU are cwazy!"   :)

Martin comes in and says "Micah's Sunday School teacher told me yesterday that they heard a loud noise come from the nursery across the hall and Micah said 'How rude! We were talking.'"
(We still have a hard time believing he said that because we've never heard him say that, but he must have picked it up somewhere!")

Micah- "Can you put me to bed now please?"
Me- "Oh, are you ready for your nap?"
Micah- "Yes, I'm going to go lay down now."

What is happening to my child?! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

It is Finished!!!

Normally I am NOT a procrastinator.  Really.  It bothers me badly; I would say it is one of my top pet peeves.  Normally I am on the other end of receiving the ramifications of a procrastinator, but I won't go into that :)  But this time, it was me.  Big time.  I procrastinated to the very last minute.  Since September I have been enrolled in an online class to become a Lactation Educator/Counselor.  I shrugged my shoulders and thought "Eh- this'll be so easy." After all, I did get my BA and MA, and wrote a 40 page thesis paper back in the day. But let me tell you, after being out of school for the last 6 years, it is HARD getting back into it.  

THIS online class (as opposed to many others out there) kicked my butt.  I had about 30 hours of videos to watch, 14 tests to take, 8 clinical hours in a hospital, 3 hours observing in a lactation course, about 10 long papers to write, and to top it all off, had to write a detailed curriculum plan for a 3 hour lecture on breastfeeding, complete with a 40 slide Powerpoint Presentation.  And yes, I waited until just the past 2 weeks to complete 80% of it.  This past week has consisted of me getting NO naps (not a good thing in this household), staying up until about 1am every night, and working about 6-8 hours a day on it, interspersed with trying to care for my children, get dinner on the table, be nice and kind to my family, etc... 

Anyway, all THAT to say, it is OVER! I finished it all!  In about a month I'll be a Certified Lactation Educator.  I learned so much through this course - I thought I already knew a lot about breastfeeding (considering I was the poster child for problems in that department), but I was so wrong.  Here are some interesting things I learned along the way (in case you're interested):

-Babies are not born hungry.  They are born full (of fluids from the sac).  True hunger doesn't kick in until about the 3rd day or so, right about when the mother's milk comes in. (You might be asking right about now "Then why do they push breastfeeding so soon after birth? Because after birth the infant has the highest need to suck, and this helps develop the nursing relationship, help with bonding, help bring the milk "in", etc.)

-Every mother begins producing milk between weeks 10-14 of being pregnant. Crazy, huh?!

-There are VERY few cases (less than 10%) of a mother not producing enough milk for her baby.  Many mothers give up nursing in the early days, thinking that they are not getting enough milk, but the baby's stomach is only the size of a shooter marble for the first few days (only holding about 1 teaspoon per feeding), then a ping-pong ball, then the size of the baby's fist around week 2.  

-Breastfeeding is often possible even after having breast surgery (including implants).

-Babies have a growth spurt around Day 14 where they want to eat a lot more, and many mothers also give up breastfeeding around this time because they think they are not producing enough milk.  In fact, most women are - it's just that the baby wants to eat more because it's growing so fast. 

-All babies have trouble digesting formula because it is made with milk proteins.  We are the only mammal that drinks another mammals milk.  Yet the fat content and other nutrients in milk help with brain development, so it is a better choice than soy.  Horse milk has actually been found to have the most similarities with human milk, but nobody really drinks that.  It is better to give your baby another mother's milk than milk from a cow (because it still gives the baby antibodies), but very few women feel comfortable doing that.  Also, 50% of babies allergic to milk (and there are only 7% with a true milk allergy) will also be allergic to soy. 

-A mother does not need to avoid anything in her diet while breastfeeding (unless the baby has a true allergy to something the mother is eating -  most often nuts or milk); in fact, the more spices and flavors, the less chance of having a toddler who is a picky eater.

I also found a terrific study done on colic, which found that when mother's eliminated about 5 known allergens from their diet (including dairy, nuts - including soybeans, and wheat), a significant reduction in colic symptoms was seen (lessening crying by over 1 1/2 hours per day). 

Now I know I just gave a ton of information with NO resources, but at this moment I am a little exhausted from resourcing info. (I just finished all of this yesterday)  BUT rest assured, I will try to post references later.  For now, here are some GREAT sites if you want more information:

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Results Are In

Awhile back I wrote about my theories as to why Micah has gotten sick so much, despite the fact that I nursed him for 10 months.  I started keeping a detailed chart this year of how often he was getting colds and I found out that he had gotten about 10 colds, almost all between August and now.  

Today we took him to the allergist for the prick test, and Martin and I were SO nervous about it.  I had the prick test done a few years ago and the doctor pricked my back with about 36 allergens, and it wasn't pleasant.  I wasn't having good memories of my experience.  BUT, Micah, on the other hand, did amazing.  The allergist was so great, I think it was one of the best doctor's visits we have ever had (besides the fact they made us wait a long time and we were there for 2 hours total).  The nurse pressed 16 panels into his back at one time, and they felt like the end of a toothpick.  Micah did not even cry!!!  I was so amazed by him!  He watched a video during the 20 minute wait for the results, and lo and behold, he has a moderate allergy to dust mites, mold, weed and tree pollen.  BUT, that is only half of the story.  

The doctor wants him seen by an ear, nose and throat specialist, because she believes that he possibly has large adenoids that have made for his repeated ear infections and runny nose. That issue would only  make his allergy symptoms worse than they would normall be.  He has to go in for an X-ray this week and then he'll see another specialist in the next few weeks.  

I still fight the urge to not feel guilty that I didn't take him in sooner, but Martin reminded me that he's only 3 1/2 so we tried to catch it as early as we could.  It appears that this type of problem runs in my family, with my dad, my brother and I all needing tubes in our ears and tonsillectomies at young ages.  I'm hoping that won't be what he needs after seeing the ENT.  

Anyway, that's the update; thanks to all of you who knew we were going through this and praying!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Cluttered Christmas

As I sit here writing, I'm surrounded by Christmas clutter. Every year I think I've had this subconscious goal to be done with Christmas decorating by December 5th. I don't know why I've had this date in mind; it just seems like the weekend after Thanksgiving is a good time to do it. That gives me a week to wind down from Thanksgiving festivities and then spend a few days getting everything out for Christmas. But this year, I feel like I am not even going to get to fully decorate before Christmas arrives. I think I've been more disorganized this year than ever, but I'm not sure why. Maybe it's having a 1 1/2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old, or maybe it's my online class that's throwing me off... who knows, but it is a tad frustrating.

Two nights ago we did get our tree, and then we decorated it half-way last night. Here's what it looks like right now...

We still have about 20 more ornaments to put up, and then everything else is just in piles around the house that I need to get to.

Last night when we were attempting to decorate, Micah found the Christmas "stockings" and thought you wore them on your feet. I turned around and found him like this - it was so cute!

And GIFTS! What to do about that... Well, I've written before about how we're not exchanging gifts this year (at least store-bought gifts), but I do need to MAKE gifts for about 25 people (my MOPS table, the entire worship team, the pastors, a few friends, etc...) I have a bunch of different ingredients for cookies but am not even sure what I'll make yet. Again, totally disorganized. One this week is over I think I'll be able to focus more. The good news? All my Christmas cards are done and in their envelopes ready to mail! Thank the Lord for Costco! :)

This week I am just trying to get through, and hopefully I can focus on my Christmas tasks after that. By this Friday, I have to have my Lactation Education class completed. I still have about 20 hours of videos to watch, 6 tests to take, and 4 papers to write. Oy- I think I got in over my head, AND I thought I could get it all done easily. But little did I know how much work it would actually be.

Tomorrow we're taking Micah in to see an Allergist/Immunologist. Please pray that he does okay. Our little man does not like to take his shirt off for some reason - he hates doing that at the doctor's office, but he will have to do it tomorrow. They are doing the "prick test" on his back to test him for allergies. I am nervous about it - hoping he will do okay and not scream bloody murder or catapult himself off the exam table.

Tonight we have our second Christmas party, and I'm really looking forward to it. A chance to procrastinate again (which is totally against my nature, but I guess I just have to do it) :) A chance to get away and focus on the "season" without thinking about the mess, the clutter, the to-do list, etc... I hope your week goes well and you can enjoy the season!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Funny Things

Micah has been saying some really funny things lately. I think I'm going to keep adding to this list whenever I hear him say something funny so I won't forget.

For instance, around Halloween time he kept seeing pictures of ghosts around town, etc... and he asked me what they were. I didn't want to explain it, so I just said "Oh, that's the marshmallow man!" Well, he remembered that very well and kept calling them marshmallow men every time we saw them. Last night we were baking cookies and I asked him what each one of the cookie cutters was. He picked up the outline of the angel and said "This one is the marshmallow man!"

Today in Costco he was bothering his little brother so I said, "Micah, if you don't stop it, you're not going to get..." and I stopped because I couldn't think of anything to say! He looked at me and waited, and then said, "Mommy, I want to get!! I want to get!!" I started laughing and said "what do you want to get, Micah?" and he just continued saying, "I want to GET! I want to GET!"

On the way home, Jaden was crying and I said "Micah, why is Jaden crying?" Micah replied, "Because he's hungry, mommy. He wants some jelly beans!"

He also says almost every day, "I don't want to do it now! I want to do it after later!"