Thursday, October 01, 2015

Seven months with Silas

"Making the decision to have a child—it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."
-Elizabeth Stone
Sickness has invaded our house for the last couple of weeks... which has pushed the monthly post farther down on my to-do list. I was determined to get it posted before the the 3rd rolls around again. So here it is... pardon any jumbled half-thoughts! And, I wrote as if it were actually September 3...

What's Silas up to?
This month Silas moved up to the big baby class at daycare. As his daycare teacher says, "For a baby who can't crawl, he sure can get around." If you leave him alone for a few minutes, he'll end up under something. He pulls himself forward with his arms, army crawl-style. But he won't go after a toy that's more than a few scoots away, even if he ends up pushing it forward and continues after it. He'll go the farthest for a cell phone screen; he'll end up doing laps around the living room floor chasing it. However if another toy gets in his path, he is totally stumped.

We celebrated Silas' 6th month birthday with his first solid foods: sweet potatoes and roasted squash. I was impressed with the baby-led weaning approach, so we've been giving Silas table food since we started. He hasn't ingested much, but we've already seen an improvement about how much he gets in his mouth and how much less he gags. Right now his favorites are green beans, plums, and corn on the cob.

I was leery about letting him eat solid foods at daycare. When his teachers bugged me about letting him eat food, I explained what we were doing at home, but I didn't expect that they would want to deal with it during the day. However, his teacher was interested in the baby-led weaning approach and has been willing to try it. Following "strict" instructions from us to guide them, Silas' teachers offered to start feeding him snacks. They were amazed how well he did with strips of banana on the first day.

Silas definitely knows his name; I love to call out his name and watch him whip his head around. Silas always looks to Mama when he's sad, but looks for Daddy when he's happy. By the end of the month, we have entered the full-fledged separation anxiety phase. He wants Mama and only Mama. Daddy is only good if Mama is right there with them.

Silas went on his first road trip this month, up to Ohio for one of our best college friend's wedding. We broke up the trip into two parts on the way there, but made the long haul back in one day. Surrounded by his favorite toys (monkey, Sophie the giraffe, a rattle, and toy cell phone), Silas rode pretty well, although on the way back, he was a little bit whinier.

By the time we got home, his eyes were goopy, his nose was running, and he had a fever over 101. At the pediatrician the next day, he was diagnosed with a double ear infection and double pinkeye. Neither the oral antibiotics nor the eye drops seemed to work very fast (although trying to wrestle a baby down to give him medicine is not the most efficient form of treatment), and he was out of daycare (Rob and I took turns out of work) for the whole week. He looked and felt pretty pitiful. Finally five days and a new antibiotic later the fever broke, and as Rob said, "we got our boy back."

From mama's perspective...
The ear infection at the end of the month did a number on us. I wrote about some of those feelings in one of the last posts. I'm really grateful that my job and workplace is flexible enough to occasionally let me work from home or bring Silas with me. As pitiful as he was, I enjoyed being home with him once again. Although my introverted self was (and still am) eager for some alone time, I also wish that he could come alongside me everyday.

This month I struggled with pumping enough milk. The day care teachers told me that they were having a hard time making three bottles stretch all day, which felt awful to hear. We've had to dig into our frozen stash a bit, I've had to squeeze in extra pumping sessions in the morning and evenings, and I'm taking fenugreek supplements three times a day. All of it makes me anxious which probably doesn't help my supply at all.

It's so weird to think that Silas is closer to a year old than to his birth. And yet I already can't really remember what it felt like to hold and cuddle a newborn.

A few of his favorites...
  1. Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair :: We received this as a hand-me-down and opted to use it instead of purchasing a free-standing highchair. It's great because Silas can pull right up the table, and we can pull the fabric seat off and throw it in the wash. Unfortunately he is a very messy eater, and sometimes it's absolutely gross before we get around to laundry, which means we're considering buying something that wipes down easier, but this seems to be working pretty well.
  2. Baby Einstein Rock 'N Roll Guitar :: After seeing how much my nephew loved his Baby Einstein piano, I was looking for a similar toy that plays real songs rather than kids' diddies. What a neat surprise when Aunt Callie sent us this guitar! Silas loves it! And, we love it, too because he is easily distracted by it, which is perfect when he's about to scoot into something that he's not supposed to get into.  
  3. Fresh Starts Baby Food Prep Steamer :: At this point Silas is only eating a few green beans at a time, so it seems a bit over the top to pull out a huge pot to prepare his dinner. This little tool is my favorite because all it takes is 70-90 seconds in the microwave and the veggie is soft and ready for little man to eat. Although we try to feed him some of the same things that we're eating, I often supplement his plate with steamed green beans, butternut squash, carrots, and broccoli. 
  4. Summer Infant Tiny Diner Portable Placemat :: I can't say enough wonderful things about the trough on this placemat. It's perfect for restaurant... saving us from cleaning up a huge mess on the floor. It also rolls up nicely to fit in the diaper bag. Unfortunately the suction cups don't work everywhere, but that hasn't caused too much trouble so far.
  5. Bumkins Super Bib :: I can't say enough great things about these bibs. Baby-led weaning is definitely not for the neat freak (although who's kidding, neither are purees!), and the Super Bibs are big enough that they cover most of his front. These bibs are great because they wipe clean, and they have a pocket in front; after a meal, it's always amazing to discover what 's hiding in there.
  6. Baby-Led Weaning :: This is the book that started it all. My sister let me borrow it, and the premise makes a lot of sense to me, both from a scientific/developmental and parenting perspective. If you're interested in this concept, I would also recommend the website/Instagram account Baby-Led Weaning Ideas/@blwideas; I've found some great meal ideas from her feeds

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Goodnight Silas...

“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”
-Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon 

While my last post was about Silas' newborn photobook that I will treasure forever, it's not actually my favorite book right now. A few weeks ago a surprise package showed up on our doorstep, and inside was this gorgeous storybook that my sister had written for Silas.

Inspired by the children's classic, Goodnight Moon, Callie had written a story featuring the details of Silas' room. The poetry is amazingly clever (love the rhyme about sprocket and rockets!), and the verses are illustrated with photos that either my mom took when she visited in February or from our professional newborn shoot with Erin Drago. And, surprisingly, (because great minds think alike!!) Callie picked the same cover photo that I did for his photo album.

I hope that she doesn't mind if I show you a few snapshots. We are just so in love with this book. It sits next to the rocking chair, so that I can read it to Silas as part of our bedtime routine. I love that Silas can feel a bit of love from his aunt each night before bed.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A photobook to treasure...

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
~The Wonder Years

As I posted back in March, we splurged on a professional newborn photo shoot by Erin Drago here at our house when Silas was just thirteen days old. I was so excited with how the images turned out, and as I mentioned in that post, I hoped to create a photo book of the pictures. However, this was the only thing on my maternity leave to-do list that just didn't get done before I went back to work full-time.

But I am finally checking it off the list! And, I could not be more thrilled with the book that I ordered from Artifact Uprising. I can't wait to show you!

Although usually I'm a Blurb girl for my travel books, I knew I wanted something of heirloom quality for this particular project. I read so many good reviews of Artifact Uprising and thought this would be just the project to start with.

While sometimes I design photo book pages in PhotoShop or InDesign before publishing, this time I wanted the photos alone to tell the story, so I decided to stick with the provided page layouts. Artifact Uprising's online book-making software makes it easy to upload photos in bulk, but I was simply overwhelmed with trying to pick the best image from the tiny thumbnails in the interface, while at the same time pick the best page layout. So needless to say, I started and stopped this project several times before completion.

A few weeks ago when I decided to give it another go (thank you once again, One Little Word project for encouraging to get things done!!), I tried a new approach. As I scrolled through the photos in iPhoto (where I had already given them a star rating and could easily magnify them to see them better), I chose the best photo from each "scene" along with up to four accompanying images. I then uploaded the photos in small batches to the online software, and chose a pair of page layouts accordingly.

I'm on the Artifact Uprising email list, so I waited a week or so until I happened to receive a coupon code for 10% off and then placed my order. The book arrived on my doorstep about a week later. 

It is gorgeous... with its matte paper pages and crisp colors. I absolutely love it and can't wait to flip through the pages with Silas as he grows older. A moment of newborn life captured in time...

Stay tuned because you may see that cover image again in the next post!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Random thoughts from 6+ days nursing a sick baby...

“Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.” 
-Kahlil Gibran

Double ear infection, double pink eye, fever over 101° F, a runny nose, and an overall grumpy baby. It has been a long week.

Here are the random thoughts that have been running through my head...

Mama vs. Daddy
When he's happy, Silas will do anything to watch and be with Daddy. When he's sad, he wants nothing to do with anybody but Mama. Which means it has been the "Mama show" around here all week.

I remember the lactation consultant explaining, "when baby's hungry and his tummy hurts, he comes to Mama, and she makes him feel better. It makes sense that when something else hurts, he wants only her. He knows she will make him feel better."

Project Management
Because I feel fine, I had great aspirations to get things done during my days off from work. However, the only thing I have been able to finish off lately is a bag of M&M's or a package of raw cookie dough.

I finally put my finger on why I'm feeling like I can't get anything done at home, even when I feel like I've used my time wisely. My time these days comes in 10-minute chunks ... This is the season of "fringe minutes" rather than "fringe hours".

I also realized that I get through life one project at a time... maybe it's about time that I start thinking of cooking dinner and sweeping the floor as projects.

Embracing the Present Moment
A sick baby meant extra days at home with him. Even though he wasn't feeling the best, I tried hard to savor these unexpected moments... him falling asleep in my arms, sweet cuddles to make it feel better, and even the night that he wouldn't fall asleep anywhere but on top of me.

However, now that Rob's got a sore throat and runny nose, and my eyes are itchy and bloodshot (thanks for sharing, son!), it's almost impossible not to wish these days away.


Sunday, September 06, 2015

Summer of '15

“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” 
-L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams 

As this summer comes to an end, we're checking off the last of our summer bucket list items.

I posted a list on the refrigerator back in early June, hoping to get Rob excited about some fun activities this summer. He was quickly on board and planning how we could make each adventure happen.

Here's how we spent the Summer of '15!

1. Swim with Silas. We went to the neighborhood pool twice and even took a dip in Lake Bistineau while in Shreveport.

2. Visit Shreveport. Where Silas met dogs for the first time, went to the Farmer's Market, celebrated Luke's birthday, and had fun hanging out with family.

3. See grandparents... Grandma Theresa, Lovey and Papaw, Great-Grandpa Tom, and Mimi

4. ...and aunts and cousins. Aunt Stephanie and the Bunch boys as well as Callie and Luke.

5. See fireworks. At Barnet Park for Fourth of July.

6. Dine al fresco. Many times at Chipotle, Sonic, and Chick-Fil-A.

7. Visit Dottie's Toffee. Yummy toffee ice cream made right here in Spartanburg.

8. Take a hike. A Sunday morning hike to Little Bradley Falls was life-giving in so many ways.

9. Celebrate our 31st birthdays. Mine and then Rob's a few days later.

10. Celebrate Silas' half-birthday. First solid foods!!

11. See a movie at the drive-in theater. Spontaneous trip down to Greenwood, SC.

12. Roadtrip!! Up to Columbus, Ohio for a long weekend.

13. Party it up at Mike and Amy's wedding. Well, if you count sleeping through it...

The only thing on our original list that we didn't do was "grill out." Rob is scared of fire, and after an unfortunate incident with a mouse living in our grill a few years back, I am scared of opening our grill. We just weren't willing to face our fears this summer.

Now we have to decide what to put on our bucket list for fall...

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