Dreams To Do

Wait, summer is over?!

In the delirious state of adjusting to life with a newborn, I’m just now really coming to grips with the fact that it’s fall! As you can imagine, when your world is rocked by the birth of a new baby at the start of summer, it mysteriously seems to disappear right before your eyes. When I look back on the past few months, it’s a blur of breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, child wrangling, bedtimes, nap times, and HOT weather.

However, mixed in to the chaos that defined my summer of 2014, was a lot of simple and wonderful sweet summertime memories. Before I officially say good bye to summer (after all, it was near 80 degrees here until just this last week!), I thought I’d jot down a few things I never want to forget.

Long, hot days spent swimming at the lake with cousins…

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The bulk of time spent out in our beautiful backyard with our new bundle of joy…

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A dozen long car rides with wild kids to our tiny hometown…

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Andy’s 1st summer growing dahlias – they were huge!

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The first family photo of all 5 of us (a selfie!) during Roman’s 1st trip to the beach…

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Popsicles in underwear every day afterΒ nap time…

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Our one and only family trip to Leavenworth, WA…

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Warm evening walks to our local ice-cream shop at least once/week…

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It seriously boggles my mind that it’s over already. I spent many months growing a baby inside of me and anticipating a summer at home with my family, so it’s shocking how fast it flew by. I saw Christmas stuff out already the other day and I couldn’t believe it. I’m trying with all of my might to slow down time, to savor each second. It’s sad how with age it seems to slip through your fingers in the blink of an eye.

Adventures in Potty Training: Round 2

After potty training Leila a few years ago I decided that potty training was my least favorite thing about being a parent thus far. Trying to convince a little person that they should stop doing what they’ve known and are comfortable with for the whole of their life and instead sit on a big, scary potty/toilet isn’t easy. And then once you convince them to sit on it, getting them to actually go is another issue. And then when they finally do go, getting them to do it again and again is the next problem. And so what many parents claim to be something you can do over a long weekend actually turns into a training process that takes several months. No thanks!

So basically, with Leila it was such a long drawn out process that I vowed to wait until at least 2 and a half Β before even starting the process with my other kids. And when Landon turned 2.5, I was still dreading it. And with a new baby on the way and other life stresses, we decided to push it back a little bit longer.

After we got adjusted to life with a new baby in the house, and I was pretty much stuck at home anyway, I decided it was time to get going. I didn’t have a big, fancy plan for how I’d do it. I just bought a bag of M&Ms and decided to wing it. Landon was 2 years and 10 months old.

Right away I discovered that Landon wanted nothing to do with the little potty on the floor, so we went straight to the big pot. I think having a big sis that he follows everywhere and wants to mimic was the push with this. So, we started sitting him on the toilet periodically and what do ya know, the kid started peeing on it! Pee = M&M caught on really quickly and he was a pro in no time. The best part? After Leila was there to witness his first potty success and watch me give him (and her) an M&M as a reward, she was ALL about getting Landon to pee on the toilet (so they could get more sweets). Yes, my 5-year-old daughter took over potty training her brother! No joke! I got him to go initially, but she took over and kept on him about sitting on the toilet and getting him treats when he’d go. She was right there coaching him along for his first poo on the pot and everything! Ha! Leila’s tip for pooping success? Set up the iPad and his favorite show and just hang out on the toilet for extended periods of time. It worked!

An experience I dreaded with every bit of my being ended up being easy. In a couple weeks Landon will be turning 3 and he’s pretty much completely potty trained during the day (pull-ups at night). We’re still working on getting him to go in public restrooms (I don’t blame him for not wanting to), but he’ll hold it for a good couple of hours at least. So, so proud of him.

Here’s what I learned in Round 2 of potty training – some knowledge I’d like to pass on to you:

  • It’s not necessarily true when they say that boys are harder to potty train than girls.
  • If you have an older child, utilize them in the potty training process! The little one may just listen to their older sibling more than you.
  • Bribery and treats work. Find something that will motivate your kiddo.
  • If they like to sit on the big toilet, ditch the potty chair. It’s so nice to not have to clean that thing out.
  • Don’t expect potty training to happen over night, or even over a long weekend. To me it’s a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed. If you have low expectations to begin with, it’s a much more enjoyable (ha!) process.
  • Utilize technology! I say all of your usual rules about sweets and TV watching can go out the window when it comes to making potty training a happy experience for your little one.
  • Get ideas from other resources, but don’t expect what works for one person to work for you. You really have to just follow your little one’s cues. If you want ideas on different potty training methods, check out an old post I wrote for Daily Mom: 6 Popular Potty Training Methods.

Ahhhhhhhh, I’m so happy I’m down to one kid in diapers. I can’t even fathom the day when Roman is potty trained… by that time, I will have been changing dirty diapers for about 7 years straight! WOW. :)

3 months.

Somebody is 3 months old today! Blogging is definitely taking the back burner to caring for this little man, but I’m making it a priority when it comes to keeping track of his growth. So here we go!

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My Roman Michael at 3 months old…

  • Like a fine wine, Roman just keeps getting better with age. :) I seriously love him more and more each day!
  • He’s starting to giggle, but you REALLY have to earn it to get one.
  • He is about 500x more easy going than he was at birth. At first he didn’t even want to be put down, but now he’ll spend a good half an hour kicking on the floor, perfectly content.
  • He’s slept through the night 3 times already! He’s also had a few rocky weeks where he’s been up 3-4 times, but overall he’s a pretty good sleeper (at night… naps are a different story).
  • He still lives in the ergo carrier a good chunk of the day. I really don’t know how I existed without one of these with my firstborn!
  • Wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothing. He’s got the cutest little baby boobies and he’s starting to get wrist rolls – my favorite!
  • He looks like me!
  • Roman is starting to suck on his hands and drool a lot.
  • He hates tummy time (just like my other two).
  • He loves his sissy and brother – they get his best smiles. :)

I am just loving this age and mourning his growth. I seriously love, love, love the newborn stage. Yes, it’s exhausting and unpredictable, but there is nothing better than snuggling a squishy baby and being their everything. I don’t want it to end!

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PS – it is REALLY hard to get a good photo of a 3 month old! Yikes!

The End of Maternity Leave

My little Roman is 12 weeks old today and at this point I would normally be one big, hot, panicky mess as I prepare to return to work and leave my baby in the care of others. I honestly don’t know how I did that not only once, but twice before! The thought of having to leave Roman right now is impossible. He just got here! I am so, so, so, so grateful for this opportunity to stay home with him.

It still doesn’t feel real that I’m a stay at home mom. After all, I’ve only been out of work for 12 weeks which is just like my last two maternity leaves that I spent at home. It’s gone by in a blur of sleep deprivation, chaos, and lots of awesome family time. I feel like the real test of this stay at home mommy thing starts now. But so far, I’m feeling really dang good about it.

Yes, taking care of kids all day isn’t easy. It’s exhausting and sometimes much more mentally challenging than a day at the office ever was. For years I thought I wasn’t really cut out to be a stay at home mom – I was terrified of it! Even though I knew I wanted more time with my kids, I just didn’t know if I had it in me. So far, I’ve proved myself very wrong. I really am loving it. With Leila in school now, we are slowly finding our rhythm and routine. I am beyond blessed to have a couple stay at home mommy friends to keep me sane as well as my Daily Mom gals who I am constantly “hanging out” with throughout the day, so I never really feel like I’m lacking adult time. My awesome hubby also lets me escape on his days off for lunch dates with my old co-workers and me time at Starbucks. So, I still very much feel like I do have a life outside of my kids!

The other day, mid-week, I found myself sprawled out on the couch at 1pm eating licorice and catching up on DVR’d reality TV. Both boys were miraculously asleep at the same time. I nearly laughed out loud when I realized I was living out the inaccurate vision that many people have of SAHMs: lounging around in PJs, eating bon-bons, and watching TV all day. Ha! Yes, I do get moments here and there to relax, but it is usually very short lived (and very much deserved!).

A small part of me is starting to feel that dream-doing itch again. I haven’t felt it in a while. For months I was consumed with the impending birth of Roman, his possible health issues, and wrapping things up at work. Since his arrival, I’ve obviously been consumed with getting to know him and establishing a new normal for my family. Now that things are settling in to place I feel like I’m finally returning to myself a bit. I feel excited and hopeful for what’s to come.

A dose of good and a pinch of bad.

When you choose to have a baby all that you can imagine are the smiles, the sweet baby smell, the joy and happiness that new little life will bring. Sure, you know you’ll experience sleepless nights, fussy fits, and even the terrible twos, but it never crosses your mind that there could be anything wrong with your child. No one plans for or expects the worst.

I am beyond grateful for the three happy, healthy children I have been blessed with. I feel like God eased me into parenthood with the cards I was dealt. Leila was beyond an easy baby. A little bit of a traumatic delivery and jaundice at birth, but otherwise pretty darn perfect. Landon was also a pretty easy baby, although it took him forever to sleep through the night and we dealt with the whole flat head thing and subsequent helmet wearing. Roman is my little prince, but he’s a little bit more of a handful than the other two were as infants. He also has caused me some serious stress with his health concerns.

At my big 19 week ultrasound, we found out that Roman’s kidneys didn’t look quite right. The whole last half of my pregnancy was full of LOTS of ultrasounds and lots of stress over what we would face when he was born. Since birth he’s been poked and prodded a lot. Just before he turned 2 months old we went in for a day of testing. It was pure torture for me, but overall our little man handled it all quite well.

After a two week wait for results, we finally got some good news! Roman’s kidney dilation has gone down and his right kidney (the problem child) is functioning enough to NOT have to be removed! Currently his left kidney is taking on 80% of the work load with the right carrying 20%. Anything below 20% would have been concerning. So basically, we still just need to keep tabs on his kidney reflux with regular ultrasounds and a daily dose of antibiotics to prevent infection. It looks like he will most-likely have a little surgery to reposition his right ureter (that drains from kidney to bladder) to fix the reflux on that side when he is one year old. But, there is still a 5% chance that he will miraculously grow out of the reflux and all will heal itself. Keeping our fingers crossed! So, still a waiting game.

The day after we got Roman’s kidney results, another medical issue popped up that we weren’t expecting. Our pediatrician referred us to a cardiologist after a very subtle heart murmur hadn’t disappeared yet at Roman’s 2 month check up. So, last Thursday I took Roman in for an echo and ECG. I honestly expected us to walk out of there with a clean bill of health. After all, we are already dealing with the whole kidney thing and the several in depth ultrasounds I had during my pregnancy showed that Roman looked perfect everywhere else. However, it turns out that Roman has a bicuspid aortic valve. Yippee! Not. I won’t go into the details of it, but basically he will need to be seen by a cardiologist periodically as he grows up. Again, just a waiting game. It could need to be surgically fixed later in his life, or he could live a long and happy life with no complications.

All of this is to say that you can never prepare for having a baby with any sort of “issues.” It’s a level of worry that you just can’t explain. At this point I seriously am just so, so, so unbelievably grateful that we aren’t dealing with anything worse. I don’t know how parents with terminally ill children survive. I’m happy to be working with some truly awesome medical professionals and I am BEYOND happy that I don’t have to send this kid to daycare any time soon. He needs his momma. And I need him.

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