Saturday, February 25, 2012

Parenting Ups & Downs

I read a really wonderful blog, Jen Loves Kev, about a family that had a child two weeks before I had Jack. It has truly been fun to read her posts about parenting and has given me inspiration in my own parenting ways. So, when I saw her series about parenting ups and downs, I decided I wanted to copy that. I may not do it every week like her, but on occasion, it will be great! Here goes my first one!
Ups:
1. I love putting together outfits for Ella. I knew if I ever had a little girl I was going to have too much fun with her clothes and accessories....and I already am. Don't you just love her color blocking outfit above? Joe always gave me a hard time when I used the leg warmers on Jack, but I have a feeling he won't mind so much with Ella. Hopefully I don't waste money on accessories for Ella, but it is just going to be so much fun.

2. I have enjoyed my one-on-one time with Jack. I have realized how important it is for me to give him some time when Ella is napping. We run around the house and dance to music. It makes me so happy to see him laughing. This week I made it a focus to listen to more music during the day and on Wednesday I picked him up and danced with him to hip hop music. He was so giddy and I couldn't help but be happy too.

3. Breast feeding has gotten so much better this week. I finally decided to not stress out about supplementing. I would like to give her just breast milk, but it will be a while before I can reduce the supplementing, otherwise it can affect her weight again. So I have continued, but instead of using a syringe while breast feeding, I have decided to allow her to feed from the breast first and then get a bottle. It has made life so much easier for me. Not only because Joe can help with the bottles, but it means my nipples are not so sore and it just feels easier. I am enjoying this stage and have decided that if this is all I can do then I am so happy with myself for giving her this breast milk.

Downs:

1. We gave Jack a hair cut this morning with the clippers and he HATED it. Joe or I had to basically hold his head in place while he was crying uncontrollably. I wanted to give up, but after you start with a haircut you can't stop. I feel like we have probably damaged him when it comes to haircuts and he is always going to be afraid.

2. Taking Jack anywhere can be really difficult. We went to a mommy/baby meet-up this week and he was getting into every. At the outdoor store, he decided to pull down all the socks and sandals. At the grocery store he kept trying to stand up in the cart to grab at things. Teaching him that they are boundaries in life has been really hard.

3. Ella sleeps in bed with me for half of the night. I know I need to transition her into her crib for the whole night, otherwise I may never get to normally sleep in my bed. Right now we are already dealing with Jack in our bed and I don't want the same thing to happen with Ella. I feel so weak-sauce with night time routines.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ella at One Month

It is hard to believe that one month has passed with Ella in our lives. It has been a busy month, full of doctor's appointments and family visiting. We are still getting our bearings with feeding, play time, and a daily routine with Jack. She definitely enjoys being held, and with feedings that last up to an hour, it seems like she has taken a lot of my time. However, I am so happy to have our complete family all together. I just keep thinking that Jack is going to have so much fun with her when she is about six months old. He is at such a fun age and sometimes I almost wish I could fast forward Ella to that age. However, I also want to cherish this time with a little one, whose needs are so simple and easy to manage.

Here are the stats for the week! Enjoy
Nicknames: Little Missy, Turtle, Hazel Nut

Weight: 7 lb. 5 oz. It has been a slow start, but she is picking up in weight. I have officially given her a bottle. We are still breastfeeding at the moment, while supplementing with formula. The bottle is given after each breastfeeding and it feels much easier to me. I think breastfeeding is harder in general not just because of my own complications, so I really appreciate the bottles...it makes the whole process faster.

Temperament: It still feels like Ella cries a lot, but I think that is because she likes to be held all the time. I don't remember if Jack was like that or if it is just her age and she will gain more independence with time. We shall see. I still find it to be such a cute cry though! She is awake more now so that means more time that I am trying to put her down. She is getting very curious and looking at the world around her. I think she is especially interested in Jack. He doesn't stay still for very long, but she when can, she is all eyes on him, studying his face. I can't wait for her first smile!

First/New Experiences: Last Saturday we organized a family climbing trip. It was awesome, because the weather was fantastic (at least at the beginning of the day). There were several babies and toddlers, with lots of parental support, so it made for a fun day outside. It was Ella's first time experiencing the outdoors, but I think she enjoyed it. I just read in Parents magazine that infants know the difference between the indoors and the outdoors and that they enjoy the change in scenery. This was very much true with Jack, who loves to be outside. Ella pretty much slept, but I have decided to take that as a good sign since we didn't have a huge cry fest (those happen everyday in our house).

Now, my task for the second month of her life is to take more pictures. Especially pictures that capture her cute little pout, or of her looking at her big brother. I look forward to warmer weather so we can bring her outside more everyday too. Plus, now that she is growing she will be wearing more clothes (I only had about five newborn outfits and the 0-3 were all huge on her). It should be a good next month...maybe I will be lucky and get more sleep too?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Recent Renovations

The house we live in is a work in progress...with every room. This past August we tackled two new rooms, the living room and the sun room attached, which we call the office. We are still working on the office, since it needs blinds and the office table, but don't the walls and the crown molding look good? This is the office above and the living room below.

Joe has also taken on the task of creating a third bedroom so we have a place for guests without having to kick out the baby. It is still not complete and he has been working on it since the beginning of December. It was probably our second largest project in this house (the bathroom took the most work and money). However, it is very near the end. All we have left to do is install the ceiling fan, the baseboards, and the window treatments. This room has come a long way. I am going to have to search for the before pics, but you can see them on this post of yore!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ella at 3 Weeks Old

I have lost my camera charger at the moment, which is also the way that I upload photos. So this post will be short on the pictures, but as I was taking a shower this morning I was trying to think of all the things that I want to remember about Ella at this age. I was pondering over her differences from Jack. So that is what I want to write about. I will also give some stats too, just as an update.
* This is the picture we used for her birth announcement, which went out into the mail this week!

Nicknames: Ella Bella, Hazelnut, Little Turtle (this is her new nickname, because she has this way of stretching out her neck when she cries and she looks like a little turtle when she is all swaddled up in a blanket).

Weight: 7 lbs. After making two trips to the doctor this week we saw her weight start to pick up again! I'm still supplementing and I probably will need to do this for at least another month. I have decided that I will wean her off the formula after I know that she has reached 10 lbs. to be sure she is growing properly. I feel like I have been lucky to enjoy a tiny baby for a whole month, which is nice when you realize they grow so fast.

Temperament: Ella seems to be more awake everyday. In fact, I am always trying to find time that I can safely put her on a blanket or playmat without Jack hurting her. She loves to look around. It is great to see her curiously looking around the room.

She still has a fierce cry. I took her to the grocery store last night and she decided that she only wanted to be held or she was going to scream. That was definitely different that Jack, since he was always so easy to bring shopping. Even though her cry can be grinding to my ears, she also has some cries that I absolutely love. For example, after she has cried really hard she has this exasperated cry, as if it is so much work and it makes me smile every time I hear it. And sometimes shevcb just makes a little small pout like she was thinking about crying but then just decided against it.

For the most part although she is fussy and likes to be held, I have noticed that when she falls asleep, she is a super solid sleeper. I'm very thankful about that since Jack was and is still not a good sleeper. She likes to sleep on her side and I have noticed she seems much happier when she is on her side. Is this a crime that I like to let her sleep on her side? I figure we have about four months before she rolls over and wants to sleep on her stomach anyways. Oh and as for being held, I think she loves that more than Jack. In fact, I think Jack has always been quite independent and could play by himself so well. Maybe that was because he was not held very much his first few days of life. Ella, however, is happiest in someone's arms at all times.

We love her to pieces and are so glad that she is now part of our family. I look forward to all the months of seeing her develop and bond with each member of our family. It is great to be her mom.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ella is Two Weeks Old

Not too much different to share for the second week of life. My mother left yesterday, so we are officially doing everything on our own. Well, almost everything. We have had some friends bring over meals this week and that has been a huge help. I have really felt loved and it just makes me want to do more for others because they have been so thoughtful to us. It is also official that Ella is our second child, because I have already noticed that I have taken far less pictures than I did with Jack. I don't think I pulled out the camera once this last week, oops! I guess I have been too busy whipping out my breasts, because we are seriously working on breastfeeding. I think I might be able to do it without supplementing. I have learned a lot in the last two weeks to increase my milk supply. It would certainly make life easier and cheaper if I don't have to have formula. Okay, on with the details!

*All pictures added are from Joe's phone since I didn't take any pictures myself.

Nicknames: Cloven Hoof Princess (Joe's nickname for her since she has a turned foot), Little Turtle, and Hazelnut

Weight and Length: We have had some concerns about Ella's weight. Earlier this week we went into the doctor's office to do a check up on her weight and found that she had only increased by 1 ounce to 6lb. 13 oz., which is not enough. So we set an appointment for Friday and found that she lost 2 ounces. Maybe I'm just not giving her enough breast milk. She also was not pooping that much either. So I have been discouraged and started supplementing again at each feeding. I tried to pump after a feeding to use that for the supplement, but the hand pumps really suck and I don't get much from them. So I should know if her weight increases next week, because we have another appointment on Tuesday. However, I don't think I will continue supplementing like this after a month's time. If my milk supply doesn't increase, then I may just go straight to bottles...I just don't know. As far as her length, she keeps growing and is not 21.5 inches.

Temperament: Ella is more aware everyday. I have been trying to remember to put her on the floor play mat for tummy time and she does so good. I could never do that with Jack, because he would cry after about 10 seconds. He didn't like to be on his stomach until he was able to roll onto it. Ella would probably sleep on her stomach, actually I think she is more of a side sleeper (I let her do that for naps when I am around). I have to sit next to her when I put her on the floor though, because Jack would be all over her otherwise. He has not concept of gentle. And even though she cries when he grabs, hits, kisses, or bumps her she doesn't seem to get too upset. I have a feeling to is going to do well as the second child. Oh, and I have learned that she really does not like to take baths. Her cry gets very loud and extreme. I almost feel bad trying to keep her clean.

Items/Toys That We Love The Most: I still love swaddling her. It seems to be one of the most comforting things for her at this point.

First/New Experiences: Nothing to new yet. My mom left this week, so I guess we officially had our first days without support. Oh, I did take her to music class with Jack, but she slept through the whole thing...I guess it was a sweet sound!