Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sleep Diaries: Improvement

So, Saturday (1/26) night he slept 6 hours straight! It was incredible. Of course I got up to check on him during it. The next night (1/27) he slept a 4 hour stretch.

I figured it was because he was sick and exhausted. I was skeptical that it would continue once he was back at daycare, where he was NOT napping well. Once he felt back up to his normal antics and had his full appetite again.

But the week has gone pretty well! I am not sure if the being sick and sleeping well taught him he could? Or if he just is figuring it out in general. Frankly., as long as it keeps up, I don't care.

- He is napping better at daycare - they are making a real effort to get him down even when he fights it (plus we have updated them on what we are doing at home so they can try some of our new things).

- The last three nights he has had at least one 4 hr stretch each night, and last night he had 2 4hrs stretches.

- For the most part, the nighttime wakings have not been rough. He has either eaten and gone down (if it has been 4 hrs), or cried for less than 5 minutes while I comfort him in his crib. 

- DH has been able to put him down with relative ease as well during nighttime wakings, which had been an issue at times in the paat.

- Two of the last three mornings he has slept in his crib until we wake him up (around 6:20-6:30). The morning he did not stay in his crib he woke up at 5:45am, at which point I fed him and brought him to our bed for the last 10 minutes.

- Bedtimes have been easy and peaceful. 

January 31st 2012
So today was a bit different. At daycare, instead of his "usual" 30-40 minute morning nap and 40-75 minutes afternoon nap, he took one nap from 12:20-3. That's odd. So I am not sure what to expect tonight. He went down easily like normal, but has already needed tending twice, and the second of those times was a night terror. Hopefully he got that outta his system and will sleep well the rest of the night.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hot Toddy's and Books

I had intended to post more "nonbaby update" type posts this year and I am failing.

That is probably because we have not had time for much else recently. First was Benjamin's birthday, then he was sick, now we are in the thick of sleep training. And I am sick. Like "feel like my face is going to explode" type sinus pressure.

In better news. I learned to make a hot toddy. And it rocks my socks off, especially with the cold (making sure to hydrate too!)

R's Hot Toddy
Fill a mug 2/3 full of hot water. Add one shot whiskey (I have makers mark, though I am sure its good with almost any type), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons honey. Stir well and enjoy!!

Other adultish things...

DH has been going to weekly game nights. Every Thursday. They started out as "Nerd Game Nights", but recently have just been game nights. Yes. There is a difference. If you have never played "Nerd" board games, you are missing out. Some day I hope to be able to go to game night with him, or maybe host even, but the prior would take a patient weeknight babysitter that came to our house, and the latter would require Benjamin to sleep better.

I have had two book clubs so far this month. The first was on the book Girls Like Us.  We read this because it is Human Trafficking Awareness month. The hostess is very into the cause and had a person from a local advocacy group come to facilitate the conversation. The book is about girls who are sexually exploited - 16,15,14,13,12, even 11 year old American girls being sold for sex on American streets. Many of them thinking that this is the only life they have, that their pimp "loves" them and is family. Until very recently, a minor, a child, who was caught in this type of situation could be charged with prostitution, despite the fact she is not old enough to consent to sex. That is just messed up in my opinion. Recently many states have started to enact "Safe Haven" laws that make sure children get treated like victims and get services and support rather than punishment. The book was interesting. I did not enjoy having a facilitator at book club, I like it to be more casual. I am glad we will return to our normal format next month!

The other book club was for the classic Brideshead Revisited. It failed at being book club as only one of us had read the entire book, I was close to the end but not there, another girl had read 30 pages maybe, and the fourth had not touched the book. So it failed at book club but rocked as girl hang out time. And I managed to learn to make a hot toddy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sleep Diaries: Volume Illness

January 24th
I started to apply the idea of staying in the room long after he is in is crib. And we did get a nice longer stretch from 12:30 - 4:30. The only problem was, instead of staying in his room the 5 minutes I had planned to, I stayed in there sleeping in the chair until 2am. Oops.

January 25th - January 26th
I put him down like normal. No Problems. He slept decently, woke up at 9:30 or so and I resettled him, continuing both times the idea of staying in the room longer. He woke up again around 10:45pm. While it had been almost four hours, I decided to stick to the rule and try to put him down without feeding him, and it worked. Again, I stayed in after he went to sleep for quite awhile. He woke up again at 12:30 or so and I fed him. I tried to put him down and he would have absolutely nothing to do with it. It was pretty nasty. When I picked him up I realized he felt quite warm. I eventually (1:30?) took him down and changed his diaper, checked his temp. 102.9F. Lovely. Gave him Motrin and rocked him, he seemed to go out like a light but would not let me put him in the crib. I am not entirely sure what happened. I thought I had left him in the crib and sat down to try and let him settle (last thing I remember),but I woke up at 3:30am holding him sitting in the rocker. I put him down in the crib successfully this time and went to bed, 4:30am he started fussing and I started to send DH because I was exhausted, but the monitor went silent before DH got up. He started fussing again at 4:45am. I realized it was time to feed him so I got up and did it. I tried putting him back down after I fed him but he started screaming bloody murder. After about 10 minutes the screaming over the monitor (despite any of my efforts) woke up DH and I let him take over and went to bed. About 20 minutes later DH brought him into our bed. He still was fussing and would not settle. We tried all the positions and tricks that normally settle him and finally after quite awhile I got him to settle for about an hour. He woke up and was restless/could not get comfortable again around 6:15am, and again tried all the tricks in the book and eventually got him to settle. 7:30 he woke up screaming and could not be calmed. He still felt quite cool. I sent DH to change his diaper. When he came back up, we turned on the TV and he fell asleep on me sitting up watching TV (This is probably the first time we intentionally had him watch TV. Desperate times, desperate measures). I leaned back a bit and he slept on my chest for 2 hrs, until 10am. I did not sleep during this time because I was nor comfortable enough and was afraid of putting him down. At 10am we took his temp. 103. Tylenol.
(since this is sleep diaries... that is the night story... note my entire lack of sleep).

January 26th
And here is really what this post is about. Benjamin is still sick. He had a fever of 103.1 at 4pm and we gave him Motrin again. Bedtime was pretty normal, quite peaceful actually and I was proud of him. But he already has been up and inconsolable once. How do you decide which rules to break when your child is sick? Do you just throw them all away and do whatever you think is most comforting to him? Its hard to not pick him up and rock him and hold him when I cannot tell if it is just his normal night time antics, or if something actually hurts, or if his fever is spiking again, or what. How far will these days of sick set me back in terms of his healthy sleep? I don't know. But I can tell you I am NOT looking forward to the rest of tonight.

Results: Holy Crap he slept 6hrs. 9:20p - 3:30a. I was so not expecting that. I woke up at 1am and checked on him. LOL. After that he woke up again at 4:45am. We checked his temp and it was "only" 100, so no meds, back to bed, except DH could not get him down so he ended up in our bed again. Looking forward to him being healthy again...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sleep Diaries - Volume 4

I could continue the diary night per night. But nothing is changing.

He goes down OK for bed. And then he wakes up. At a minimum, every two hours. Sometimes more. I have been good about night weaning at least, but it does not change the waking up (which I had hoped it would).

I got a couple new ideas from friends and family this evening. One idea is staying in the room longer after he falls asleep, making sure he feels very secure. Another is some Lavender for relaxation. I also have the idea of music. There are three CDs I play a lot when he sleeps in the car and maybe he would like those at night.

I will start really trying the first of these ideas tomorrow, and look into the other ones as options if that does not help. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sleep Diaries - Volume 3

January 20th
Results - I think my prediction was right. After the easy bedtime, Benjamin was still up every two hours. I did follow the night weaning stuff, but I am just exhausted from getting up with him so often. He needs to sleep longer and I am not sure how to promote it. I will give this method more time. I don't want to let him cry more, but how to teach him to sooth himself better?

January 21st
Bedtime once again was easy.
Results: Total disaster. I am not even sure what happened. He was up about every two hours, but the big failure was when I woke up holding him in the rocking chair at 3:45am. That is exactly what I am trying to PREVENT. No more zombie mom! Also, because I pretty much fed him in my sleep, I fed him on the wrong side, resulting in some serious engorgement issues today!! Eek. Lets home tonight goes better

January 22nd
Benjamin took a rare 3rd nap at daycare today, which always changes things a bit (he was asleep when we went to pick him up at 4:50pm)

I was was book club this evening, so DH was in charge. I fed Benjamin before I left at 7pm, but he was not ready to go down by a long shot and was very energetic/hyper. DH tried to put him to bed at 7:30 and it took him about 35 minutes to get him to sleep. Sounds like his main method was to play the projector and let him crawl around in the dark until he seemed really ready to collapse, then move him to the crib and give him the pacifier and seahorse. Also he has had one wake up so far, which was rapidly remedied with a pacifier and seahorse. I think we might be in better shape if he figured out how to turn the seahorse on on his own, but I am not sure that is even something he is interested in. We will see how the night goes after an abnormal evening.

to be continued ...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Other Benjamin News

I feel the need to document our sleep training. So just skip those posts if you are not interested. I will keep them up until I no longer feel that need.

In other Benjamin news, he is healthy again! Has not really shown any symptoms since Thursday morning.

His vocabulary is growing, but in a surprising manner. I always though baby's first words would be things like "mama", "dada", "milk", "ball", etc. Well. Benjamin started with sound effects - Moo and Vroom. Then he moved to prepositions. His first non-sound effect word was "Up". Now he has added the occasional "Out" (sounds more like ot), and today I noticed "More" (Mo), which accompanies his baby sign for more. My dad said he was saying "mo" all week, and I believe it. Sometimes I feel like we are just not that observant and he might have all sorts of "words" we don't pick up on!

Today he was showing us his new dance moves. Mainly, moving his feet faster while standing in place. Like marching in place. He is so proud of himself when he does it and it makes us laugh, which makes him laugh, and its generally a good time.

Today he also learned how to put on an oven mitt. We have a drawer in the kitchen that he loves to open that has oven mitts and cutting boards in it. He kept taking the mitts out and holding them out to us. So finally, I put one on one of his hands. He started crying and shook it off. Five minutes later, I turn around, and he has put it on himself! Silly boy!

Yesterday I took him sledding for the first time, sled courtesy of his Aunt K and Uncle M, winter gear courtesy of his grandparents (various parts from each side). It was about 20 degrees out and I thought not too much wind (though the wind picked up while we were out). There is a golf course across from our house, so we walked over there, right past the "no trespassing" signs to join the other kids and parents on the hill. I pulled Benjamin in the sled most the way there, except crossing the street. His balance is not really good enough to ride sitting up in a sled (unless I pull VERY carefully). He is light enough that the sled does not sit evenly and gets caught up on the snow, making the whole thing lean back. I discovered however that he was quite content to lie on his stomach in the sled. We went down a little tiny hill first (no bigger than a snowbank) to make sure he would not freak out and that I could hold him well and control the sled. Then we went down a more normal size hill. I can't really tell you if he liked it or not! He did not hate it, no tears. But I don't know if he smiled when we went down the hills because I could not see his face. He liked watching the other kids go for sure! We went down three times.  He actually fussed more when I was trying to get him back up the hill, because we were walking into the wind. His little face was cold in the wind so we went in. It took us about 15 minutes to get bundled up to go out, and we were outside for about 15 minutes, actually sledding for about 8 of that probably! It still was a nice "first".  It was hard to get good picks with him looking all around and no one to help!

Sleep Diaries - Volume 2

January 18th 2013
Results Continued 
After my post last night, Benjamin woke up of course, about five minutes later. But he was easily put back to sleep in about 3 minutes using the "method" I described. The Manday Method lets call it. He woke up again at 10pm and was inconsolable. I broke my own rule and fed him again and he went right back down - Night Weaning fail. He woke up again at 1am. He was not happy and would not stay lying down, he kept sitting up and screaming. After trying to lay him back down a couple of time I just sat down in the rocking chair and let him scream a little. When he had exhausted the height of the tantrum, I laid him down and comforted him and he went right to sleep. At 2:30 he woke up and I fed him (more than 4 hours, so good job). He went right back down when he was done. At 5am he woke up and again insisted on sitting up and crying. I again let him cry and this time he stopped much faster. At 6:30 I sent DH to get him, I fed him, he went back to sleep in our bed until almost 8 (yay sleeping in!).

January 19th 2013
As today is Saturday, we deal with naps as well as bedtime. Nap#1 I used the same method as for bedtime. He played in the crib for quite some time (20 minutes?) before going to sleep, but it was easy. Maybe I can leave the room when he is like that in the future. Nap #2, well. I took it with him. Haha! We slept on the floor of his room...

Bedtime tonight went great. Same bedtime routine as last night, but no need for the "sleep" method tonight because he was so tired he fell asleep eating while the projector was on! He has not woken up since. We are thinking he might want his bedtime to be even earlier than 7pm, he has seemed really tired earlier than that the last two nights. We are waiting to see if its just him recovering from being sick or if he really wants to go to bed earlier!

Results: He slept for 4 hrs for the first stretch! That is great. We are used to more wake ups. His first wake up was at 11pm, so I fed him (4 hrs had passed). He went right back down. Second wake up was at 1pm. And it was a total disaster. I tried to use the method that had been working, and it would work for a few minutes but he would wake up again. I tried letting him cry a bit, but no luck. I even fed him. No luck. At 2:15am I got DH up and let him have a go at it. He changed the diaper and tried his stuff. No luck. He brought him into our room. No luck. Baby did not go back to sleep until I fed him again for the second time in 2 hrs at 3am. After that he slept through to 6:20 (normalish wakeup time for a weekday), so we brought him into our room and he slept until 7:20am. Not a stellar night.

He napped a ton today because of it.

January 20th 2013
I feel like we are already reaching a point we have been at before, where bedtime is no biggie but wake ups are. Bedtime was easy tonight, and we did it about 15 minutes earlier than normal because he was acting tired. We will see how the night goes...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sleep Diaries - A Plan

Thursday, January 17th - I am starting a actually sleep method tonight. I do not mean one I read in a book, I mean I am making myself rules for putting Benjamin to bed and I am going to stick to them for at least a week to see how it goes. Here is my new method (worked out some kinks tonight. DH was not home so I figured I had time and no one else to hear if there was some crying (on my or Benjamon's part). I will try to fully implement what I decided on tomorrow. Here is it - I will breastfeed, after he finishes eating I will rock him no longer than one lullaby, and then lay him down in his crib w a pacifier - When he is laying in his crib I will pat/rub his back if he seems to need it. If he is fussy we can turn on his singing seahorse. - If he sits up or stands up I will move away from the crib and not pay attention to him. If he starts crying/fussing I will lay him back down, and comfort him if he needs it (pat or rub his back). In other words, I will only offer him comfort while he is laying down. - I will not pick him up or talk. - If I think he is asleep and I leave, and then he starts crying (or wakes up really anytime while I am still awake), I will let him fuss for five minutes before going to tend him' - When I go to tend him, I will not pick him up unless he needs fed or changed. I will make sure he has his pacifier and comfort him if he is laying down. I will not offer him breast milk in the middle of the night unless its been at least four hours since he ate and he is acting hungry.

Results: I did most of this tonight, though with some hiccups and experimentation. It took a LONG time for him to settle in to sleep. Like a half hour the first time, then ten minutes later another half hour. But by the end of it he seemed to expect me to lay him down rather than pick him up when he fussed, which was really great. He did not stay asleep very well. There were extenuating circumstances though (cats and gas). When he woke up the first couple times I tried to comfort him the old way by picking him up/rocking. This was highly unsuccessful. The latter times I followed above more, and he went back down relatively fast/easy. At 5am when he woke up I just moved him to our bed out of habit and he was a little terror in there, rolling around and fussing. It used to be you could just bring him into our bed, lay him on the boppy and go to sleep. Not anymore. The fact it does not help anymore will make the habit easier to break.

Friday, January 18th - After last nights successes, failures and lessons I decided we need more of a bedtime routine. So our new bedtime routine is that around 6:45/7pm (depending on his behavior), we will change his diaper if needed, then go upstairs into his room. First we find all the pacifiers and put a couple in his hand but most in the crib. Then I lay on the floor and read a book. He can do whatever he wants while I read - sit and listen, walk around, pull out other toys and books, whatever. Then we turn out the light and turn on his projector. Again, he can do anything he wants during this time, but its darker and there is an image on the ceiling he likes to just sit and look at, and soft lullaby music. I will breastfeed him during or after the projector is on, and then when the projector is off or he is done eating, tell him its time to go to sleep and put him in his crib, then follow the rules like I described yesterday.

Tonight he was acting really tired, so we started this new routine at 6:40pm or so.

Results: The immediate bedtime results were a HUGE success. I can't believe how fast he is learning. I fed him while the projector was going then he wanted down. He went down and looked at some books for a minute or two, then the projector went off (it is nice and fades the light over about 30 seconds so I have time to react). I put his books to the side, told him it was time for bed, picked him up, hugged, kissed him and laid him in his crib. He fussed for a couple seconds and I turned on his singing seahorse and gave him a second pacifier, and put my hand on his back. He promptly rolled the rest of the way onto his stomach (I always set him on his side), and went to sleep. As in, I left the room before the seahorse even went out, and its been almost an hour with not a peep.

Stay turned for more results about how it goes tonight....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sick Boy

Benjamin has been sick since Monday. He was extra fussy overnight Sunday to Monday and when we got up Monday I told DH that he might have a fever. Sure enough,  his temperature was about 102. This post could easily turn into a recount of what his temperature was at various times, and I don't want that. Lets just say the fever has stuck around. High measurement on Monday of 104, yesterday 106, today 104. Tuesday night was spent in the urgent care - blood work, urine testing. This morning I took him to the pediatrician - flu testing. He is on Tamiflu, antibiotics, and then of course Tylenol and Ibprofun as needed for the fever. The tamilfu is causing some vomiting (one time so far). He has spent most the days (except for his doctor appts) with my parents. I am super fortunate they have been available. His fever did not seem to get as high today as it has (the 104 measurement was at 5am), so maybe we are on the down slope? A girl can dream.

His illness has highlighted two things for me.
(1) A sick baby dominates life. I believe this is the sickest he has been. He had a sore throat ear thing back in August that was no fun, but it never seemed dangerous like this has when his fever has spiked. I am exhausted. There is the physical exhaustion of course - having him not sleep as well, getting up in the middle of the night for temp checks and medication, the extra driving to take him to my parents instead of daycare, him wanting to be carried around when I am with him. But worse than that, or more intense than that is the psychological exhaustion. All my energy has been focused on him, I have struggled to concentrate at work, I don't get much of a break in the evenings because his poor sleep or being at the doctor etc, and most of all worry worry worry. Everything else has sort of fallen to the wayside - the house is a disaster, the pets feel neglected, laundry is everywhere (dirty and clean), I have not packed my lunches I bought to pack, the fridge wreaks (we were supposed to clean it out Monday), I have not been reading for my book club that is up and coming, the car did not get taken for its oil change like we had planned... if its not sick baby related, it probably is not done. I really hope we are nearing the end of this for so many reasons.

(2) The more I deal with the medical system, the less I trust doctors. I trust medicine - the science, technology, drugs, etc. I just don't really trust those that are supposed to decide how to use them. I have NO idea why urgent care would not have ran a flu screening and strep test. I am glad they wanted to rule out more serious things like meningitis etc, but the flu test seems so basic and easy in comparison I am not sure why it got skipped. I feel like I should have gone in there with a list of tests I wanted done, but I just did not have the time or energy to research that. Even now they are just shooting in the dark with the tamiflu. I am really tempted to stop it because even if this is flu, which we won't know for sure until Monday probably (after the tamiflu is done), the tamiflu was started so late it is unlikely to have an effect. (Everything says Tamiflu should be started within 48 hrs of symptoms onset to have an effect, Benjamin got it at more like 60). And with all the testing they did, still no one did a strep screening, which could come up positive in 5 minutes possibly. WHY? I don't know. If I had stuff like this happen (doctors missing things, not knowing things I know, not using common sense, etc) once or twice I would think I just had a bad doctor, but I have seen it happen WAY to many times to attribute it to specific people. The fact is, doctors are not experts in my health. Where am I headed with this rant? I am not sure. I guess what I really am getting at is you HAVE to be your own advocate big time... and I need to remember that.

Wish us luck that Benjamin continues to improve.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Nursery

We had a nursery ready for Benjamin in our Columbus house before he was born, well, except the the crib. It was not set up. We figured out we were moving before we got it set up. The crib was not that important anyway because we did not plan to use it for quite awhile, as we have a miniature pack and play to put next to our bed instead.

Then, of course, with Benjamin 3 weeks old, we moved 1500 miles.

From the end of January until the beginning of July we lived with my parents, and as planned, Benjamin slept in the miniature pack and play next to our bed. We had a second bedroom in my parents house that we used as a changing room and for our clothes and other belongings, but of course we did not decorate it or anything as it was short term.

Then in July we moved into new (forever?) home. When moving in, it was quickly discovered that Benjamin's dresser/changing table did not fit up the stairs. So we stuck it in the dining room. My BIL offered to disassemble (at a later date), to get it up the steps, but by that time we had decided we liked it in the dining room, and it was too big for the nursery anyways.

Benjamin continued to sleep in the pack and play next to my bed. Then, towards the end of July, he had a HUGE sleep regression. He was up every hour. It was bad. I thought I might be contributing to it by not giving him time to settle when he fussed, so we moved him into his crib, which was placed on the far end of our bedroom (as planned). I had always thought we would keep him in our room a full year.

 Meanwhile, his room sat there unused. Ok, actually used for (baby) storage. My mom was awesome and painted it for us, the same paint job she helped us on in our Cbus house. We got the curtain my MIL made hung.

And now Benjamin is a year old. We are tired of tiptoeing around at night when we go to bed. Or having to turn the light out quickly if he is having a bad night and starts to stir. We meant to move him the weekend between Christmas and New Years, but we were both recovering from illness and needed to also get the guest room ready, so it just did not happen. Then last weekend was his birthday. But finally, this weekend, we got it together, and his nursery/room is up and ready to go!!

Only 1 yr and 1 week after he was born. Only 6 months after moving into this house. Only 2 weeks after we intended to have him sleeping in it.

Here is it!!

From the Hall

From Right Inside the door (by the bookshelf)

From between the chair and crib (see crib corner bottom right)

From between the crib and wall, by the rocking horse.

Close Up of the rocking horse my BIL handmade for Benjamin.

Close up of the curtain fabric.
A few comments - Yeah,. no dresser/changing table. That is staying in the dining room for now where we are used to it being. When the rocking chair can be moved out of their (presumably when he is putting himself to sleep), we will look for a small dresser to put in their and use as a changing table. The two things on the walls are teddy bears with balloons that inspired the theme in general. The panda bear is mine from when I was little, and Paddington is from Aaron's room when he was little. The Paddington even has "Aaron" in one of the balloons. There is a third piece that inspired us that has not been hung, a balloon mobile that was in Benjamin's paternal paternal great grandparents house in the kids room. We do plan to hang it in the corner by the radiator. We also have an airplane mobile to hang over the crib. There is a couple other minor touches, like a lampshade for the rocking horse lamp, a light fixture on the cieling (not pictured), and maybe something a bit more on the walls (like by his crib).

But it is put together enough that I will happily try to put him to bed in it tonight! Wish me luck....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ice Skating and More

We had a lot of fun, besides the birthday party, with the ILs this past weekend.

The other big highlight was ice skating. You probably saw it on facebook, but if you didn't :

It was pretty hilarious. Benjamin could not keep his feet under him at all, and really was hardly trying to. Eventually, by the end, we figured out a method to have him standing while we moved fwd slowly. DH said it was going about how he expected 'minus the tears". Benjamin tolerated trying to skate but what he really loved was watching other people skate. He loved when we would skate up to the boards to say "HI!"

In other Benjamin news, we had a parent-teacher conference last night. It was nice sitting down and talking with his primary care giver 1x1. Some things we learned during the conversation I had not realized (either we learned from the care giver, or realized by discussing things)

- Benjamin LOVES music. He dances whenever it comes on and loves musical toys like maracas etc. He will even start dancing if you just start singing him something.
- Apparently he growls a lot at daycare
- He recently started saying the word 'Up" - with the "p" ending and everything. Not consistently, but sometimes on his own when he wants Up and definitely with prompting. His spoken vocab is a bit behind average but not so slow as to worry, and it is his new learning objective at daycare.
- His comprehension vocab is pretty high. He knows what we are saying a lot of the time even if he does not try to copy us on most things. Tonight we were saying "go get X" and he was doing pretty good at bringing us what we asked for!
- He apparently can ride on riding toys all on his own now! (we dont keep one out most the time so we have yet to see this, will have to try it out).
- He is signing "more" to ask for things all the time, especially food. Especially bread.
... I feel like I am forgetting things I meant to put here. Oh well.

Also, we took him to his 1 yr checkup where he got a bunch of vaccines, passed the iron & lead screenings (he has enough iron and not too much lead). His stats are kind of hilarious, but here they are:
29.5 inches tall (28th Percentile)
22.25 lbs (68th percentile)
19 in head circumference (95th Percentile).

Yes. He still has a giant head. I really need to find some baby pics of my Grandpa to show you its genetic... I suspect the disproportionate weight to height is caused by a combination of the large head (that grey matter weighs a lot!) and that he is about to have a growth spurt!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Birthday Bash 2013

We were lucky that Benjamin's birthday was on a Saturday, it made party planning very easy! We are also very fortunate that my ILs could come up for the weekend to be at his party! It was so great having them here. Here is my rundown of his party.

. I am sorta going to write this "by section" so if I repeat myself, I apologize. 

The Prep
I was originally planning to do an ABC/Blocks theme. But then, about two weeks ago, I realized just how much Benjamin is loving anything with wheels, so I decided to change to cars. The theme was not really heavy handed or anything, just some decorations and the cake. Of course I do everything last minute, so I did not get invites out, invited people word of mouth. I bought decorations both the weekend before and from Amazon to be delivered the day before. I started baking the cakes on Friday. I had lots to do on Saturday. I NEVER would have gotten the house ready, the cakes decorated, the decorations up, etc, without the help of my MIL and FIL, and my little sister. Unfortunately DH had to work OT during the day so I really needed the additional help. Thank you so much to those three for helping me out!! I basically got up at 6:20am and started cleaning, baking, running errands, etc, and did not slow down until the party started at 4:00pm. Let me tell you, it was so nice to relax a bit when guests started arriving!

Cake Boss (or Cake Student)
The cake was a true adventure. I wanted to carve Benjamin a car. I am pretty good with layer cakes and cakes by scratch, so I was most worried about the frosting part.  I used this recipe from Veena's Art of Cakes. It turned out SO DENSE and was very easy to work with. When I started carving, it turned out it was easier to make an SUV than a car, and he likes all things that go, so I went with SUV. I was (of course) doing everything last minute. I called my little sister and she came over to help out! She baked the second cake (lemon store bought for those chocolate haters), and made frosting for the SUV cake. Well, I had bought Wilson's Prof Grade food dye, the reviews of which said they would make a great red. Not so much. We used a lot and it still came out BRIGHT pink. So then we added yellow, and ended up with bright orange. When my little sis started icing the SUV in bright orange she realized it looked a lot like my brother's jeep, so she decided to go full out and copy the jeep. Meanwhile, the lemon cake got a quick store bought frosting job and some momma's messy writing, and the Smash cake, made from scraps of the chocolate cake, was a baby block. Honestly the little Smash cake turned out so nice made me wish I had stuck with the Blocks theme! But Benjamin liked the SUV cake! The chocolate carving cake was dense but super delicious, and perfect with buttercream and vanilla ice cream. People loved the store bought lemon as well Here are the results:

The Decorations
Benjamin loves decorations, so I wanted to make sure to have some stuff up, even just streamers! He loved pointing at things. Once I got the banner up (that said Happy Birthday), he immediately started wanting to look at it, and kept pointing it out to my ILs as they chased him around. He also loved the hanging balloons - here are some pictures of the decorations and Benjamin enjoying them!

The Guests
Guests included DH, myself, and Benjamin. Grandma and Grandpa K, Grandma and Grandpa Y. Tante L, M, and K. Uncle M and J.  Adopted auntie and uncle K & J and their son K. My sisters ILs J & L, and the vet student who is working with my older sister this week. Total count 18! It was bigger than I originally planned. It was SO fun having everyone here, and all of them loving on Benjamin. I love having a full house for a party!

Benjamin's favorite food is Pizza, so we got Pizza! There was also veggies tray, and cake of course. Benjamin enjoyed eating the Pizza just as much as he enjoyed the cake!

The Party
People started arriving right on time at 4pm. DH and FIL went to pick up the pizza while the rest of us hung out and watched the two babies play. K is 2 months older than Benjamin and I always enjoy getting those two together.

Then came the pizza! We had PLENTY for everyone and I think everyone got what they wanted!

After everyone was feeling nice and well-fed, it was present time! The first gift we "unwrapped" was not wrapped at all - it was a sled from my brother and his wife. Benjamin LOVED it and insisted on being in it for the rest of the present opening. I cannot wait to go out and use it!
As with Christmas, it was hard to tempt Benjamin to help unwrap his gifts, so I did a lot of it. We did get him interested in a couple things though! Of course he was more interested in the toys already open than he was in the ones left to open. Some high lights of the presents (no offense meant if yours does not get mentioned!) - A "Lap Pup" leap frog toy, cabbage patch doll named Eduardo, some great books and cute out fits, and of course, his Tonka Truck!

We let the kids play for awhile before moving on to the last part of the party - CAKE!!!

 Benjamin liked his SUV cake and was very interested in it. Everyone crowded into the dining room and sung to him, then I blew out the candle. We gave him his smash cake, which turned him BRIGHT BLUE. Guess the frosting had a bit too much dye! He mainly ate frosting and not much cake, but I am unsure whether that was his preference, or he just had trouble smashing the cake when it was so dense! It was a lot of fun! Everyone liked the cake. And yes, I dressed him in blue on purpose!

After cake, people hung out a bit more and chatted, but started drifting out. It was a really great time. Benjamin is so lucky to be surrounded by people that love him! I hope all his parties go as well as this one, and that this is the first of many great Birthday memories created in this house!

We did a lot of other fun things recently, so I hope to post again soon. Sorry for all the pics, I am just loving them!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Year Old

My little Benjamin is one year old. Still my baby boy, but not for long. What a year its been! Its really stereotypical to say things like "time flies" or "I can't believe he is already a year!" or "he is growing up so fast." These are stereotypes because they are true. But I try to avoid them because they don't really do justice to the situation of the passage of time, the growing and changing of my child. Time does move fast. It is amazing that it has already been a year. I feel like saying "I can't believe it" implies that I somehow let time slip away. I did not. I enjoyed this year immensely. I embraced it and tried to relish in every minute of it that I could. It still passes fast, because that is life. I am sure next year will pass faster. That is how life works - beautiful and transient.

Can you tell that I am writing this at night? I am getting all poetic.

The point is. Happy Birthday Benjamin! How you have grown, and how I have loved seeing you grow! It has been an incredible journey and I look forward to continuing it with you!

At One Year Old - you are....
Walking, trying to learn to run!
Still unsure about strangers, especially when Mom & Dad are not around!
Saying "DA DA DA" and blowing raspberries a lot!
Tackling the cats and climbing on the dog.
Obsessed with  teddy bears, which you hug, books, which you sometimes let us read, DVDs which you like us to open for you (just the cases), anything with wheels which you can make "vroom vroom" noises for.
Still no where near sleeping through the night
Eating everything we eat. You love pizza, olives, and of course anything sweet. You like pretty much all food.
Not a good napper, unless it is in the car or stroller or on top of one of us or nestled near one of us.
A big fan of milk in a sippy cup.
Still breastfeeding.
Just starting to switch to size 4 diapers.
Just starting to switch, perhaps a bit late, to 18m clothes.
Climbing stairs like a champ and (usually) turning around to come down safely backwards.
Pretty healthy, except a chronic runny nose an dry skin.
Fond of daycare. You get excited a lot of times when we drop you off.
Fascinated by other kids, especially older ones that can do things you cannot.
A pointer! You like to point at everything, like the decorations in the daycare room.
Not a big fan of changing tables, which make you stay still.
Giving good hugs.
Picking your nose.
Cutting your seventh tooth.
Learning to use a spoon.
Fighting bedtime frequently.
Climbing anything that looks climbable. (boxes, couch cushions, etc).
Good at taking DVDs out of the PS3 and DVD player.
Pretty good at listening when we use our "danger" voices to stop you from doing something.
Pretty re-directable.
Not "into everything" the way I hear other babies are.

More on how his party went later, but just wanted to jot these notes first.

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolutions 2012 2013

How did I do on my 2012 resolutions? 
1. Read 10 minutes each day and read 24 books over the course of the year. CHECK - I read exactly 24 books, one of which is the massive 1400 page War & Peace, which also knocks out something on my 30x30 list.

2. Post at least 2 blog posts a week - This would be 104 posts. I made 110, so I did complete it. CHECK. I did intend to post more about my thoughts on being a parent, but it just did not happen. Maybe I will try to do a post like that soon!

 3. Take more pictures and keep more records/journaling CHECK - Its easy to take more pictures when you have such an adorable subject. THough, admittedly it slowed over the course of the year. We are currently plotting 1 yr pics of Benjamin.

4. Find a job in Duluth - CHECK

What are my 2013 resolutions?
I already mentioned most of them in my optimistic post earlier this week, but wanted to write them down in a more formal way. I largely want to focus on knocking out my 30x30 goals (I will turn 29 in May), but I of course have to have some  New Years Resolutions as well!

1. READ -  Read 48 Books - of which, 10 should be books I already own, 10 should be published in 2013, and 5 should be books that were recommended to me in 2011 that I failed to tackle.

2. HEALTH - Do not drink soda. Period. Only exception I can think of is extreme illness like I had two weeks ago where Soda was the only thing giving me calories. Otherwise, no Soda. At all. Start to walk at work 20-30 minutes a day. Train for the inline marathon (we will see if I can do it). Eat more varied dinners and get out of the ground beef rut. I want to feel strong again. Get a physical and go to the dentist. Cut back on or even eliminate caffeine (should be easier now that I won't be having soda!)

3. COMMUNICATE - Get skype set up with the ILs. Send out appropriate greeting cards (Sorry no Xmas card this past year...). Re-connect to some people from Cbus I have failed to chat with this year. Go on more date nights with DH. Make some new connections here in Duluth.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Done Pumping

I have mentioned a few times that Benjamin has almost entirely stopped taking bottles at daycare. He has been having 1-4oz of breast milk at daycare for the past 3-4 weeks. Now that he is a year they are giving him cows milk too, which he loves, and I think he will be totally off breast milk from a bottle within the month.

He still feeds directly from me at night (too much at night... haha... but that is another story).

I intended to wean off pumping, to not actually stop until his daycare demand had entirely stopped. Just switch to once a day for awhile. But then I accidentally did not pump one day I was working from home (the day I was sick/not feeling well), and my supply was fine. Then I forgot my pumps one day at work, and my supply was fine. And I have a freezer stash that I doubt we will even make it through before he stops.

So, I just stopped pumping.

It rocks! I  love having the free time at work! Real lunches! Taking walks! Running errands! I love leaving in the morning without a huge freezer bag w my pumps and bottles in it.

I don't miss pumping, but somehow I still am a little sad, just because its a sign of how big he is. It is RIGHT on schedule with what I wanted in terms of weaning him. He is growing up so fast!

Soon I will start night weaning. Ideally that would leave me breastfeeding him once in the evening and once in the morning. I would keep doing that as long as he wants or as long as I am able. We will see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is going to be a good year.

I wanted to take my first post of the New Year to be positive and forward looking. 2013 is going to be a good year, or I am going to do my best to make it such. New Years is a time for big ambition and lots of optimism.

Benjamin will turn one on Saturday, an he will keep growing! There is not stopping him and I would not want to. We are trying to schedule to take him ice skating. We would have gone today but its too cold outside. Maybe over the weekend, we will see how the weather is!

I am going to try and be healthier this year, in so many ways! Starting with, I am giving up soda, completely totally and cold turkey. 365 days without soda. No problem, right? I want to plan meals more and eat more variety for dinners, and pack my lunch more. I want to be more active! Now that I have more free time on my breaks, I can go for walks. When the weather starts to get nice, I want to start rollerblading. Maybe I can do the Inline Marathon this September! I figure once summer comes I can even Rollerblade in the evenings, after Benjamin is in bed! I want to be more prompt with addressing health concerns, maybe see a dentist for the first time in too long.

In June, I hope to go down to the cities to see a friend. Maybe we can knock some of my 30x30 list out - the Art Museum down there, or the Mall of America, or both! It could be fun. I also hope to visit my friend who lives in Georgia. In August, my SIL is getting married in Flagstaff! That will be our big family trip for the year. If we are smart and lucky we might get to see the Grand Canyon while we are there. It should be a really fun family time time.

I want to read more! Of course! My reading goal in 2012 was very modest because I was a new mom, but now I hope to go back to reading more - 48 books is my goal this year. And I want to tackle some new books, so when I get to the end of 2013, I can review books that everyone else is reviewing (that were written in 2013). I also want to read some more of what I own and have not read. And I want to revisit my 2011 reading goal I failed, that involved reading recommendations from friends.

It is going to be a good year! Lets make it happen!