Saturday, April 5, 2014

Octavian Avery, 5 Months

Octavian turned 5 months old yesterday.
I know I'm going to say this every month- 
where has the time gone?

His sleep this past month changed quite a bit in many different ways.  The biggest change was his transition from swing to crib for ALL sleep!    We did do some sleep training to achieve this, but he adjusted so much faster and with WAY less crying than I expected (I will hopefully be posting on this in the future).  We are just ending the first week and he is currently sleeping from about 6:30pm-6am.  I still feed him at least once, sometimes twice, in the middle of the night.  If he's hungry, then it's my job to feed him.  Before sleep training he was also waking once, sometimes twice to eat- even while in the swing.  So I know that's what he needs right now.
Earlier in the month, he was sleeping from about 8pm-8am.  Sadly, this somehow got all screwed up and he started waking up around 630-7am.  Actually, this whole month it changed every week, so I just try to get to sleep as soon as I can after he passes out- yes, this means I was in bed by 830pm last night (yay Friday!).
Naps are still a work in progress.  Before sleep training, I was rocking him until he was fully asleep and usually had to give him my finger to calm him down- it would take forever!  His naps range anywhere from 30-45 minutes.  In the beginning of the month when he was napping in the rock n play, he was starting to extend a few naps to 90 minutes, but that is no more.  He still naps 4 times a day.  I did try to see if he could go on just three, and that proved to be a huge mistake.  I'm hoping that he will naturally start to extend his nap times, but I know some babies just never do.  At least he is falling asleep on his own now- although, I do miss his cuddles (I shed several tears the days leading up to sleep training).
Finally, no more swaddle!  We figured that he would need his thumb to self-sooth once we put him in his crib.
Overall, his sleep is much better now that he is in his crib, and will hopefully continue on a positive course.  I am so happy that he has the room to move and spread out now- something the swing prevented him from doing.

Eating and Weight:

16 pounds 3.5 ounces (April 3rd), 25 1/4 inches

His appetite has been all over the place this month.  Some days he is happy to eat whenever I offer, other days it's like pulling teeth.  I offer at least every 2 hours, sometimes sooner.  He is easily distracted, though, so I've had to move feedings to his nursery so that we have a quiet, calm space without distraction from Daddy.
He is still exclusively breastfed and we have given up on the bottle.
His weight gain has slowed significantly as he gained just under one pound this month.  He hasn't gained any weight at all this past week so I scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician for Monday.  While I know it is normal for weight gain to slow, no weight gain concerns me (I've actually be pretty paranoid about proper weight gain since he was born). We aren't planning on started solids for at least a couple more weeks.
He is wearing mostly 9 month clothing. Although, he can still fit in some 6 month pants and footed pjs.  He is also in Baby Gap 6-12 month clothes.  As soon as we run out of size 1 diapers, we will be moving on to size 2!

We still don't have a set schedule, especially since there were so many changes this month.  
Like I mentioned, he ate about every 2 hours and would need to nap about every 90 minutes or so.  I am hoping to get him on a Sleep, Eat, Play schedule this next month and lengthen the time between feeds to 3 hours (unless he shows me he is hungry sooner).  I suspect I am over feeding him and burning him out- so, lots of little snacks rather than filling his belly.  Plus, this way I can leave him with Grandma or Daddy for longer than an hour.

New Skills:

He figured out how to pull down his hanging birdie toy that hangs from his carseat, although now he doesn't understand why all hanging animals don't pull down.
He found his baby making parts and loves to grab them when he is being changed.
He chats up a storm!  And constantly blows raspberries.
He loves to shove his foot in his mouth- his big toe is especially tasty.
He is much more aware of everything around him.  It's hard to explain- he studies things much closer.  He loves tags, strings and zippers.
He loves touching my face while he nurses- this may not be a new "skill", but it's new.  Sometimes he gets a little excited and his gentle touching turns to painful hitting and clawing.  He has no idea that what he is doing actually hurts, so i'm letting it go for now.
He can sit on his own for about 10 seconds- sometimes more, sometimes less!
He loves kisses!  He always gets the biggest smile and opens his mouth.  He may have even stuck his tongue out a few times.


Naked time
...basically anytime his clothes and diaper come off.
Mommy's kisses
Bedtime in his swing, but sadly, that is no more.
His feet!
Playing on Mommy and Daddy's bed
His Under the Nile elephant lovie- his bedtime pal
Anyone that gives him a smile- he's sure to give one back!
Favorite toys- little birdie, duckie, his Haba wooden toys and Sophie the Giraffe


When he misses a nap
Feeling like he is not getting enough attention

Month Highlights:

This month we spent 9 days in Truckee, CA.  We were lucky enough to house and animal sit for some family, so we got to enjoy their lovely home and gorgeous mountain views.  We didn't leave the house much, but we did drive to Lake Tahoe once, got out of the car to snap a few photos, and practically froze from the cold and wind, so we headed back home.  He had his longest car ride yet- 2 hours!  And, had his first in n out experience, although poor guy only got to watch Mommy and Daddy stuff their face.

We also attended my doula's daughters first bday party- although, we had to leave early to attend Aaron's cousins baby shower- she's due any day now with baby #2!  He was finally able to meet many people that attended my shower when I was pregnant with him!

Daddy's best friend got married while we were up in Tahoe, so it was Mommy's first night away for a few hours.  I did wait until after he was asleep (since he refuses a bottle), and he never knew we were away.  I was only away from him for about 5 hours, and he was sleeping the whole time, but I missed him!  I had no idea how much I would miss his little face!

I just love him so much.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Prague- details

Prague still remains one of my favorite European cities.
There was so much history and detail packed into every crack and crevice of the city.
At first glace, it was a little overwhelming, but I quickly deconstructed the city and started to see the little things that made this city so fun to visit.

Have you been to Prague?
What was your favorite part?
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

my first hostel experience

While living in Germany, I took quite a few solo weekend trips-
several places in Germany, Prague, and Vienna.

The first time I traveled alone was to Bamberg, Germany.
I had only been in Germany a couple weeks, 
but I was ready to get out and see what the country had to offer.

Bamberg is only 4 hours by train from the village I lived in,
but, for the first time ever, I was on my own.
I had to get on the right train,
get off at the correct stops,
and had to navigate my way to the hostel I had reserved.
I had only my own navigation to guide me (which isn't always accurate).

Did I mention it was my first time ever staying in a hostel?
it was.
and, I had no idea what to expect.

After a long morning riding on several different trains,
I arrived at my final destination.
I jumped off the train,
and headed in the direction I assumed the hostel was located.
I turned onto the street the directions gave me,
and quickly found myself walking along a sketchy looking alleyway.

to my relief, saw the sign-
backpackers bamberg hostel

Remember, I had never stayed in a hostel before.
Only hotels.
places with front desks and people ready to meet and greet you at the door.
but, no one was there to meet me and it didn't appear that anyone was even nearby.
I remembered I had the phone number, 
and, to my relief, a phone with a German sim card.
so, I rang the person who I assumed was in charge.
She said she would be there to help me in 5 minutes.

I checked in, 
paid for the cheapest possible room (20 euro),
and was led up stairs to the place I would sleep for the night...

The first thing I noticed was the smell.
It smelled like something died,
mixed with dirty socks and sweaty armpits.
At this moment, all I could think was,
 maybe I should just splurge and get a proper hotel room.
it was that bad.

I'm not proud of these thoughts.
after all, I could have been in much worse.
but, let's be real-
who really wants to sleep in a sweaty arm pit?

When I first arrived, no one else was in the room.
I had noticed two other made-up beds,
but the occupants were no where to be found.
so, I made my own bed
(hostels do not prepare the bed for you, in case you didn't know)
and settled my things.
After some sightseeing, I returned to my smelly room,
and met the culprit.
I have no recollection of his name, or where he was from.
I do remember, however, that he had been living in this room for several months,
and had to wake up for work at 3am.

I later met the other occupant, a much more pleasant smelling girl studying in Bamberg.
We quickly started chatting.
 it was nice to have some company in a foreign country.
and I soon learned one of the great things about hostels- in most cases, they are full of travelers or people from other countries.
It was a little less lonely.
After a sampling of the local beer that Bamberg is known for and sausage and pretzel for dinner, we headed back to the hostel and I slept just fine in my bottom bunk bed-
that is, until smelly guy across from me woke us all up at 3am.

I was, and still am, a little proud of myself for venturing out on my own.
And although I still prefer real hotels to hostels, I am so thankful they exist.
It may have been my first hostel experience, but it was not my last.

Have you stayed in a hostel?  What was your experience?  Do you have a favorite?

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Monday, March 31, 2014

too fast

It has really hit me the past few days how fast time is passing by.
I never really thought this realization would come.  Up until now, time simply moved forward. Sometimes fast, and other times miserably slow.
This new discovery has turned me into an emotional puddle of mush.  With each smile, giggle and new milestone, I find myself choking back tears as I desperately try to avoid a complete meltdown.

Since having Octavian, there have been some incredibly long days.  Days that, while consumed by those moments, seemed to never end.  But, somehow, they were each over too fast and without warning.
And now, the days that move fast, well, it seems like they never happened at all.
I guess this is what happens when you have kids.
I was warned, but the realization has hit me like a ton of bricks.

Octavian is nearly 5 months old and sometimes I feel like the rushing of time will kill me.
He is at such an incredible age.  Every day he learns something new and is still lucky enough to see the world with fresh new eyes.
I knew I would love my baby, but you never really understand how overwhelming this love is until you have your own.
My love for him physically hurts-
and my new awareness of time just twists the knife a little deeper.

I try to savoir each and every moment as much as I can, since I know that is all I can do.
This can be hard for a person like me- a person that likes structure, order and predictability.
...That's another thing with having kids, all those things no longer exist, and if they did it will change next week.

Motherhood is like a roller-coaster. 
It brings you up. It brings you down.
It makes you cry, and it makes you laugh (sometimes harder than you ever thought possible).
But no matter what, it's over too fast, and unfortunately you can't get back in line and re-live the ride.

Despite this harsh reality of time, I am so thankful for each day and will take whatever I can get.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The day that changed my life forever

One year ago today yesterday, I took a little test that would change my life forever...

After months of trying, my wish came true,
and now March 5th will forever be one of my favorite days of the year.

I remember taking one of those cheap Dollar Store pregnancy tests expecting to see just one little lone blue line.  The same lonely line that I had seen over and over in months past.  Mentally, I had stopped trying to get pregnant-  Emotionally, the waiting game had become too painful.
I took the test and saw the faintest little second line- my heart nearly burst through my chest.
Was I imagining it?
I slowly walked out to the living room where Aaron sat and said with a shaking voice,
"So, ummm, does this look like a second line to you?"
I was so scared my eyes were playing tricks on me I thought I was going to throw up.
A smile spread across his face from ear to ear even before he took a look.
Thankfully, he saw the line too
...but, it was so faint.  Was I really pregnant?
My first thought was to call my mom, so that's what I did.
(I may have also gone on google and typed in "faint line pregnant")
My Mom said it sounded like I could be pregnant, but to be sure take another test the next morning.
After the longest night of my life, I had my proof in plain writing,

I was overjoyed.

Looking back at this picture, it boggles my mind that the little boy I now hold in my arms was just a speck of cells.  I don't know how I got so lucky to be his Mom.  I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect, healthy and handsome little person.

Thank you Biology for giving me the baby of my dreams.

20 week sonogram

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Octavian Avery, 4 Months

This handsome little guy turned 4 months yesterday...

15 pounds 5 ounces (March 3rd)

Schedule:  we don't really have a set schedule.  My day revolves around his feeding and sleeping.  At this point, I still feel like it's early and unnecessary to force any sort of rigid timeline on him. Plus, I'm learning that things really do change weekly when it comes to babies.  Up until this month he was sleeping until 10am almost every morning.  This month, every day is different- some days it's 7am and then other rare days he'll last until 9:30am.  To be honest, I have no idea what i'm doing- my priority each day is making sure he gets enough to eat and sleeps enough.  The one consistent part of our day, is I generally feed him every two hours.  

I am still only getting up once per night, sometimes two, to nurse.  He never really wakes up demanding food, but if he wakes up and doesn't fall back to sleep quickly, I'll usually just feed him.  His bed time varies anywhere from 7:30-9pm and he'll wake up between 7-9:30am.  Many times his early wake ups are due to gas or pooping and by that point he just won't go back to sleep.  Unfortunately, he is still sleeping in his swing at night.  I tried transitioning him to the co-sleeper, but he was losing too much sleep and clearly wasn't ready.  Also, I refuse to cry-it-out at all until he is at least 6-7 months.  Getting him out of his swing will probably require some tears.  I have been turning down the speed as low as it will go, and I've been putting him down awake so that he does fall asleep independently.  I really struggled with the fact that he was sleeping in a swing for a few weeks and felt like I was a terrible mother because of it.  However, if he is happy and comfortable (and it helps his reflux!), then i'll let it be for now.  Since day one he has refused sleeping in a bassinet or crib and always needed some kind of rocking or swinging.  For baby #2, however, I may keep swing time to naps only.  Speaking of naps, he loves them!  Unfortunately, they last for only 45 minutes, four times a day.  His short, but frequent, naps make going anywhere a challenge.  He naps in the rock n play (and sometimes crib).  I've tried just about everything to help his fall back asleep when napping, but nothing has worked so far.  

Although he is still a great eater, little distractions (noises in the kitchen, TV, Daddy talking, etc.) prevent him from eating as much as he used to.  He eats 7-9 times per day and I will have to guess 3-4 ounces each feed (with exception for late night and morning feeds where he probably eats more because my breasts are fuller).  Since he hates when i'm not borderline engorged (he's a lazy eater), it makes late afternoon and night times feeds especially difficult.  I've started pumping to help increase supply (and hopefully fullness), but I've noticed little change.  I can only hope that he adjusts to my changing fullness since he also refuses the bottle.  Knowing that he has probably been eating less stresses me out- I've been crazy obsessed about making sure he eats enough since day one (i'll save that topic for a separate post).  For the most part, however, he still seems satisfied and is producing plenty of wet/poopy diapers.  

New Skills:
It seems like he is discovering something new every day!  This month, his major discovery were his feet!  Since then, they are always in his hands. An added bonus of feet finding is it's helped him when he is really gassy (all the time).  He is also much more entertained when I lay him on his back to play.  He also rolled from belly to back on Daddy's birthday.  He has also started to giggle!  It has only happened a few times- mostly when Daddy is being silly, or when I tickle his belly!  He also discovered that someone (usually Mommy or Daddy) is carrying him around and that he doesn't just float around magically.  He still loves his hands and is talking up a storm.  Each morning I wake up to him babbling to himself- it's the cutest thing.  I always put him in bed with us and just listen to him chat to the fan and his hands (and secretly hope he'll fall asleep). Overall, this month was full of fun discoveries for my little man.  

This boy loves to be naked.  If he is ever sad, all I need to do is take off his diaper and he is a happy boy.  It's not surprising that bath time is his favorite part of his day!  He also loves his bouncer, when Mommy sings, tickles, Mr. Seahorse and just about anything else that he can get in his mouth.  He is also so in love with his Dad.  Every time Daddy walks in the room he lights up and gives us a big gummy smile.  

He hates sitting still- I should I say, when I sit still.  Other than that, I can't think of anything he hates.  Oh wait, he hates bottles.

//This month Octavian also got to see lots of family!  Grandpa Jeff, Auntie Jen and his Uncle Jordan all came to visit him from southern CA.  We also made lots of visits to Grandma Lorna's house.  
//He still hasn't figured out that he smiles for the camera.  Whenever I pull out my phone or camera he instantly puts his frown face on.  I have to be pretty sneaky to get a smile.
//He is starting to teeth.  I'm sure i'll have lots to say about this next month.
//Gripe water is still our best friend.
//He still spits up like crazy, but he's getting so heavy that I can't hold him for an hour after he eats anymore (I like to keep him upright to help his little belly digest his food).

I love my little man with every fiber of my body.  There really is no other love quite like the love for your child.  He brings me so much joy each and every day.  While I often wish time would slow down, I am so excited to watch him grow into his own little person.  I can already tell that Daddy and I are going to have our hands full.
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