Friday, July 31, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday

its my second Seven Quick Takes Friday! By clicking here you will be linked over to Conversion Diary, a great blog about living Catholic after a lifetime of not believing. She hosts the seven quick takes, so I hope you check her blog out if you have the time. She is also featured on the side column of this blog in favorites!

1. The night of the living dead followed by the morning in the family bed
We thought we were doing great with our sleep "training" for almost 5 month old Clark. I no longer needed to nurse him to sleep for every nap. He could pretty much fall asleep on his own for most naps with little fussing and crying. This plan may have back fired as he started waking more at night. I used to feed him once in the night (12-4am) and once in early morning (5-7am) but with the new sleep schedule he started waking 3-4 times per night! So, Thinking it was teething, I gave him tons of Hyland's Teething Tabs (didn't work), Tyenol (didn't work). I co-slept with him. REALLY DIDN'T WORK!!! I switched back to disposable diaper at night (didn't work). And finally Tom and I started giving him Rice Cereal. We were hoping to wait until 6 months or beyond to start solids, but we were soooooooo tired!!!! Last night was his second night, he got up at 4am, and again at 6:30am. Maybe my angel is back...

2. Natural Family Planning Awareness Week!
Last week was NFP Awareness week. I posted regularly on Facebook to promote this wonderful method of family planning. I am happy to say that there was some good discussion on my posts from NFP practitioners and people who knew nothing about NFP. A few people said they checked NFP out due to the postings. YAY! On another note, this week was good timing for us. Due to the decrease of nursing/napping, I was supposed to increase vigilance of signs of fertility. It looks like it may be coming back. Now you know.

3.Goliath Tomatoes
They now reach the porch roof!!!!! GO Farmer Tom!!!

4. Some siting action
With the inspiration of his 2 month older best friend, John Paul (on the right), Clark is working on his sitting skills.

In other JP news, Josh and Ashley are now living in DC!!!! Tom and I have known them since our Tulane Days (2001-ish) They also blog which can be found here(Catholic stuff) here (more Catholic stuff) and here (family stuff).

5. FREE pictures!
Sears Portrait Studio has this deal where you can go get a FREE sitting and a FREE 8 x 10 photo. You can go EVERY DAY if you want. I guess it is $40 to join or $10 if you buy some other stuff first. I'm in! Who wants Clark 8x10s???

6. Motherhood
Sometimes motherhood is like going to the zoo and having a moment with a wild animal. The chimp who puts their hand up to the glass is your child grasping your finger. The butterfly who lands on your finger is your child's gentle arm resting on your shoulder as they fall asleep. You can't will them to action, their actions are a miracle you just happened to witness.

7. Why blog?
Its interesting to blog, to put all of your personal thoughts and actions out there for the world, or more embarrassing, your closest friends and family to see. I admit, in parenting, wiving, and living I feel a lot of uncertainty. It is somewhat scary to be alive and make decisions on behalf of others, let alone write about the process of those decisions and the subsequent outcome, good and bad. As a mother, I find that I look at other moms and judge, judge, judge. I think, "my kid will never do that!" But as my sister-in-law once told me, "I never thought I would let my daughter throw food. But she hardly eats anything, I'm just happy that she eats SOMETHING." Its true. We never think we will make the decisions we do. Instead we let our lives unfold and decisions are made upon the way. Some how, I feel that the blog is like my ongoing confession of prideful triumphs and then my subsequent downfall. Forgive me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Home Improvements

Wow! What a busy time we have been having lately.

On the weekend of July 11th, Andrea, Jake and Sophia moved back to San Diego. Now we have no family out here =( and have to fend for ourselves =( From what it sounds like, they are happy they are there and even went to the beach today! Here is a pic of Andrea and Clark the day they left.

Since they left, we've been pouring our energies into Clark's sleeping abilities (as written in the previous week) and working on our home.

Clark has amazing sleep powers now, and we are really proud of him. Because he can roll off of his back, it is now safe(r) to allow him to sleep on his stomach. So he is doing his sleeping on his tummy now.

We still go in and check on him quite a bit. He is happy to hang out in his crib and move around, playing with toys, his feet and sucking on his hands/arm. I am trying not to nurse him to sleep for naps, but he still misses the sucking and has been sucking on his arm quite a bit. We noticed some bruising on his sweet little arm and didn't know what it was. We now know that he is giving himself hickeys from all of the sucking. I honestly am not sure if I should be letting him do this or not. Will people think I am giving my baby an Indian burn? Any comments from other moms? It would be better maybe if he stuck to his hand/thumb.

This week Tom set up a rain barrel in the front yard!


This is the view from the kitchen window. He got a movable arm to bring the gutter over to the barrel. Then he prayed for rain. It poured last night and ......

We got water!!!!!!!! Here is a picture of the water coming out of the hose! yay!

After we took these pictures it poured, poured, poured and the 55 gallon barrel is almost full now! We will be going to the Pepsi distribution plant to get some more barrels and making our own. The one that you see in these pictures was purchased for bou coup bucks, but looks nice to have in the front yard. The other 3 barrels will be in the back yard. We get a $50 rebate per barrel from Montgomery County for having the barrels, plus we know that we are using less city water to water the plants in the garden and preventing the water from running off into the street and polluting Rock Creek Park!

Tom has also been working on his garden. We have a jungle of tomato plants in the backyard now, heavy with green tomatoes. I can't wait until they ripen! I know I posted a picture of Tom with his plants, but now at least two of those plants are taller than him, maybe even 6.5 or 7 feet tall!!! Here you can see the closest plant is almost as high as the roof eave.

Here is another plant, can you see the whole tomato plant? ITS ALL ONE PLANT!!!!

And here is its fruit!

I continue to contribute to the garden by composting all of our kitchen waste... and eating whatever Tom lets me eat! Thank you!!!

I have also been working on helping to make our house more energy efficient. I got these two books from the library and they have been my guide. For less than $25 at Home Depot, I have contributed the following:

A solar and thermal powered clothes dryer is now set up on our back porch.

Putting Sashes on the doors to keep the cold/warm air from leaking under them.

I insulated the hot water pipes under the house.

I turned the hot water heater down to 120 degrees.

My next DIY tasks are: figuring out what to do with these crawlspace vents that are under the house. Any suggestions? I heard that we should have them open in the summer and close them in the winter, but do we honestly need them at all? There are 3 under the house. They are icky. The crawlspace is also very cool and it would be great to insulate everything down there, but that's a future job.

My next big job is going to be putting up fiberglass insulation in the laundry/utility room and then putting drywall up over it. I'm not going to do it fancy and make it look good, I'm just going to do the insulation and then nail up the drywall, no drywall tape, no paint (at least I dont think so).

I also want to close off these portholes in the utility/laundry room that go into the house. The living room is on the other side and we lose heat/air conditioning through them into the utility room which is uninsulated! AHHH! The way they built this house is driving me nuts!

I have had contractors over this week giving us quotes for our heating/cooling issues of the upstairs. IT typically is 10 degrees hotter/cooler upstairs than downstairs. If it is 65 down in the winter, then it is 58 up. If it is 75 down in the summer, then it is in the 80s upstairs. IT looks like insulation will be over $15,000 and they will have to rip out our walls, the $15,000 does not include ripping out the walls, putting them back in, nor painting them. I dont think we are going that way. I've been meeting with A/C people and they have suggested putting in a few more returns and vents upstairs, this costs less than $1000. It looks like the way to go. I'm going to talk to a few more people and also look into getting a house fan that will suck the air out of the house and replace it with new air. This is a great idea, because the hot air keeps getting trapped upstairs when the downstairs is really nice and cool. I don't know how it will work in the winter, but we need more warm air upstairs so it sounds good for that as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

15 things we learned during the 3 day sleep experiment

1. Clark needs/wants/gets 4 naps per day, about 45 minutes each although he can sleep for longer if I pick him up and nurse him when he first wakes up.
2. Naps now naturally occur about every hour and a half.
3. naps after 5pm are perfectly fine (take that Pediatrician!)
4. The signal for tiredness is now eye rubbing and NOT yawning
5. Best bedtime for Clark is between 8 and 9 pm
6. wakeup time varies between 6 and 8 am
7. Clark can fall asleep by himself with little/no crying most of the time!
8. Reading a book, singing a song, rocking, playing mobile in crib is tooooo long of a wind down routine for a daytime nap. song and mobile is just enough
9. nursing upon waking is fine and Clark won't starve to death if I do it that way.
10. changing diaper before nap works to keep him clean and dry for sleeping
11. i can change Clark's diaper while he is asleep and he doesn't mind
12. Night time and nap time routines can be different
13. While a routine is nice, its not completely necessary (right now) to get good sleep
14. It's challenging to do this now, but it will be even harder when he can cry, "mama mama, mama" from his crib and I'm glad we did it now.
15. When he is 5 months old, we will probably start to help him to stay sleeping after a nap and during the night without lifting him out of the crib.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guess which little lamb rolled over today!

This one! Front to back! Yay
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hiking buddies @ Clopper Lake

Free from the constraints of our 3 days of sleep work, Clark and I went for a hike around Clopper Lake in Seneca Creek/Falls (?) State Park. I thought it was a 2 mile long hike and I couldn't figure out why I was going to slow. I found out it was 3.7 miles when I was done and then felt a lot better about my time! Ha!
I'll write more on the sleep experiment later, but overall it went quite well and we learned a lot about Clark's current sleep needs.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Farmer Tom and his Goliath tomatos!

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Hi Nana and Glamma!

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After a nap and nurse

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 1: sleep

Today went pretty well for helping Clark learn to fall asleep on his own. He cried for less than one minute for 2/4 naps, a lot for 1/4 nap and not at all for 1/4 nap. The one where he did not cry he slept for 3 hours-waking briefly to have a snack then falling back asleep. For bedtime, we created an elaborate ritual of bath, nursing, books, nurse and singing. He cried when he hit the crib, but the second I'm downstairs, he stops.
I'm glad he is adjusting to this and to life. I've been reading lots of parenting books regarding sleep and my fav is the Greenwell fav: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Other ones I have read are the Dr Sears Sleep Book and Babywise.
Babywise seems to think that babies can be trained like a dog, and will only need to be "trained" once. The attachment parenting books seem to think that sleep is frightening and scary. Healthy Sleep Habits thinks that sleep is healthy and normal, like eating. There are lots of options to try and he constantly reminds the reader that if it is too difficult or that the baby resists too much, to try again later when the baby and parent are more ready.
We decided that Clark was ready to sleep on his own because: he was starting to consolidate sleep on his own (turn a 45 min nap into a 3 hour nap) but erratically. We would like him to be able to do this regularily if that is what he wants. He was also starting to get "addicted" to nursing to sleep. In the past, he would spit the nipple out when he was asleep, but lately he would nurse until his nap was over. This made me a slave to his naps, I dont need to nap/sleep 16 hours a day, but Clark does!
In conclusion: day one went well. Lets see how days 2 and 3 go.
Oh! Clark also says, "hi" and "eye". He doesnt know what those words mean, but we can teach him!!!
He is close to rolling over on his own, watch for updates on that!
He can sit on his own for a few seconds before falling over.
Last night was the first night he slept unswaddled (except for when he was in the hospital) and he only woke up 2 times (which happens about once a week anyway!)

Photos from phone

Now that I know how to post photos from my phone things may never be the same. I also ask that you forgive misspellings, its hard to type and proof read from the phone. But as a reward for your forgiveness, I will probably post more often (but shorter)!!!

Clark in the exersaucer sucking on his hand

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Sleeping like a baby-this week's goal

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The Beloved turns 4!

Another post from my phone-one day we will have pictures here again...

This week, Clark had his 4 month birthday!!! It is crazy how much they change in the first 4 months! Clark is no longer a floppy blob, he has lots of muscle control- can hold and turn head, can push up on arms while on tummy, can stand on his legs, he can reach for things with two hands and grab them, he can use his feet to bring something closer to his hands! He no longer dazes off into the future, he actively engages people and toys by babbling to them and to himself. He laugs and giggles. He knows both me and Tom and is constantly distracted if we are talking while he is eating! He can roll to his side and rolled from front to back yesterday while he was on a slight incline (twice)!!! It will be amazing 4 months from now when he can crawl and say Mama and Dada!
Clark's 4 month checkup went well, his current stats area: weight: 15 lbs 12 oz, length:26 1/2 inches. He got some booster shots and is now 75 percent immune from HiB and 7 of the Pneumoncoccial strains. He is 99 per cent immune from Rotavirus!
One thing that we are starting to work with him on is sleep. For his entire life he has had no problem sleeping, I would nurse him ansd put hiM down in his crib whenever he started yawning. He would fall asleep quite quickly. He developed his own schedule which was 1 hour awake, 1 hour asleep. But... About 3 weeks ago, he started staying awake longer, sometimes up to 2 hours-which is about the maximum a little guy like him can handle, And he was having trouble staying asleep after I put him down asleep in his crib. This is for naps and bedtime (he wakes up once or twice in the night). I started feeling like it was a disservice to him that he could only fall asleep while nursing. I knew that he could fall asleep in the carseat, carrier, stroller and in our arms as well- but the transfer to the crib was getting difficult for him. It is important for good neural development that Clark have good quality sleep and his sleep was getting harder and harder for him. Clark has always been quite pleasant, not really fussy or whiney- but the less good sleep he got- the harder life was getting for him. SO this week we are going to let him fall asleep on his own for naps and bedtime- we know that it will be hard for us, but as Tom's mom always says, "no child ever died from crying.". It may be the first hardest thing I do as his mother, but healthy sleep is really important and I have to care more about his needs then my own. When he is 5 I'm not going to let him eat candy for dinner just because he cries about it, when he is 13, I'm not going to let him get drunk and stoned and drive my car just because he cries about it (and their parents let them do it!) As my mother always says, "I love you more than their parents love them." I always thought that was a cop out- but now that I am older, I realize that she did protect me quite a bit and save me from having to make hard decisions as a kid. I ramble- but what I'm saying is that it may be hard to not cuddle him to sleep- but it is not really working anymore and now it is time for him to try on his own. We are going to try for three days. I will update you as we go.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Little update from my phone

Our computer broke, so I am posting from my phone.

Clark is now strong enough to wave his arms and knock things over. An example is a giant glass of water placed near our comPuter- hence its brokenness. It was my fault though- not his.

He can hold his hands together, put weight on his hands while on his belly, arch his back and turn to the side a bit, and he can reach for something with two hands and grab it as well as transfer stuff from one hand to the other. As always, he continues to be adorable.

His eyes appear to be getting slightly lighter and clearer! Yay Averill genes.

This week Uncle John Greenwell came for a visit (yes, that's 4 visitors this month- we might take next month off). With UJohnG, Clark had his first zoo trip, and visit to Harper's Ferry and West Virginia.

We've also been hanging out with other moms in the neighborhood, from church and from our birth class. We went to the movies, had a pool party in the back yard and went to the mall.

Clark was getting very fussy and we think he may be teething. Apparently I didn't get teeth until I was 8/9 mos (which explains why I have no wisdom teeth and got 12 year old molars at 16) but Tom and the Greenwell cousins are getting teeth at 4 mos. Clark turns 4 mos on Tuesday.

Tom and I brought Clark to our birth class and gave our birth story, plus tons of tips. It was fun. I am exploring the posability of teaching Bradley childbirth and also Postpartum Doula-ing. Bradley would be a good place to start, training is in Nov.

I'll try to figure out how to post pictures and stuff here but it may be a while. I'll try to keep you updated in our comings and goings in the meantime!

Ps keep Andrea and Jake and Sophia in your prayers, this is their last week in DC, they leave for SanDiego next Saturday to start a new job in a new house!

Little update from my phone