Saturday, January 30, 2010

This last week has been hard..

Aed and I didn't go to church on Sunday because he was up every hour of Saturday night from when we put him down to when we got him up. He then proceeded to cry all morning and afternoon, only sleeping for half an hour. At first we thought he was just being resistant to sleeping.. but then he continued. And he couldn't be comforted.

We decided to take him to the 'after hours' physician (equivalent to the 'on call' doctor or the emergency room) and found out his ears were really red and he likely had a bit of a virus - hence the not sleeping.

We were actually thankful that his ears were red. We obviously don't enjoy seeing our child suffer, but it was a huge relief to take him on an emergency trip to the hospital and find there actually was an obvious reason for his crying. It is incredibly discouraging when that happens and there is no apparent reason.

Then, Sunday night, running on 1.5 hours of sleep for the whole day and very little the night before.. He slept awesome. And it was great.

But then he didn't do it again. He kept waking up and waking up every single night. Sometimes every two hours, sometimes every three. We have been very exhausted and confused about what this kiddo is doing.

We found out on Tuesday when we went for his immunizations that his ears were back to normal. We were glad for that. And more confused about the waking.

Some night during the week, we decided to leave him to cry a bit when he woke up too close to the previous feeding to really be hungry.. just to see what would happen (and possibly because we were so tired we just didn't want to get up again.. maybe).

He was asleep again within five minutes.

This has been our continuing strategy. This, and also eliminating one of his naps during the day. He has only had three naps during the day for the last two days. I like it! It's really fun to have him awake for longer, and I actually think he likes it too. He still woke up two extra times last night, but was back to sleep quickly so hopefully those will disappear soon enough.

Honestly, every day I am more thankful for this baby. I have always been thankful for him. Even in our darkest moments if you looked into my heart, you would have found gratitude for motherhood. It is so exciting to watch him grow and figure things out. He is more actively playing with his toys, and obviously delights in them now. He is much more mellow and hasn't minded being kept up for longer during the day (as long as the paci is handy! :). We've gone out for walks with him sitting up in the stroller like a big boy. He's had a taste of pear juice and oatmeal.

He changes every day.

All that to say, I am thankful that things are looking up. I'm sure it will all change again in a heartbeat, but it's one day at a time in the Church household!

Pictures are coming soon! :)

Current Trends 101: Cloth Diapering (aka Reusable Nappies)

PreScript (right.. the opposite of PostScript?): More photos of Aed will be coming soon to celebrate the ridiculousness that is him being 5 months old today! And, hopefully some more Daily Thankfuls. We've kind of been steam rolled this last week and I've gotten out of the habit of posting them..

PostPreScript: The words 'diaper' and 'nappy' are used interchangeably in this post. This is how things work in my head on a daily basis. I cannot commit to either type of English, so I compromise..

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program..

We are currently cloth diaperers. This is actually not because it seems to be a growing trend (though I can’t say the thought would have crossed my mind in seriousness if it weren’t for all the people I know who are also doing it successfully) or because we really want to save the planet, it’s because it makes financial sense for us to do so.

We made an initial investment which was relatively small, and that’s that! I don’t know how long these diapers will last us and I’m not holding my breath for them to last through 5 kids (or even two necessarily), but I know that we are saving money and that’s what we need to be doing (especially because we purchased our reusables in $$ and we'd be purchasing our disposables in ££). It also makes sense for us to do this because we do not pay a water bill, so are not adding any cost through extra laundry and toilet flushes :)

I know some of you will not care about these details, but because I often scoured the internet for information before we decided to do this, I thought (at the prompting of my hubby) that I’d do a quick (quick is a relative term, right?) post devoted to the process.

First, you have to get the diapers, and let me tell you:

All cloth diapers were not created equal.

I have tried some of them, so I thought I’d give you my two cents (pence!) on a few different styles.

Most of our diapers are BumGenius. I found very few negative reviews about these diapers in my early hunting and LOTS and LOTS of people who were raving about them. We have the one-size pocket diapers (there is a link below each diaper for more info).

In my seemingly endless searching for information and good deals, I came across Kelly’s Closet. It’s a very informative website and often has great deals on all kinds of diapers and starter kits which is where I got our diapers, so we didn’t even pay close to full price for them.

I can honestly say that I am very happy with our BumGenius diapers. They rarely leak (especially now that Aed’s thighs are a little chunkier :) and come with the regular insert plus a booster (which can be used as the infant insert at first). They are super easy, and aside from having to put the inserts in and, you know, wash them, they function just like disposables. The poppers on the front allow for the diapers to grow with the baby, so they last from birth to potty (unless you have a big baby.. then they might not last as long) or function for multiple children in the same house.

While I have been very pleased with these diapers, I have found some annoying things in the craftsmanship. For whatever reason, some of the Velcro and laundry tabs are of a higher quality than others. So some of my diapers seem like new, but if you look at the Velcro on others, it looks like we’ve been using them for ages and they often come undone and stick to other diapers in the wash. I’m not sure why there is such a difference between diapers and am disappointed by that. In my research, I have found that Cotton Babies (the maker of BumGenius) has great customer service and will send new tabs, etc. and even replace diapers if they see fit, but I have not pursued this.

If you are looking into cloth diapering, you may be tempted by these bad boys:

The all-in-ones are touted as the easiest system in existence because there is no stuffing at all, they function exactly as a disposable, minus the disposing, plus you can add liners if you desire for extra absorbency and it still won’t be directly on the baby’s skin. I don’t have personal experience with these, though some have said they wear out faster and I think they may be more expensive. But I can’t imagine there is anything easier!

In the UK they are really pushing cloth diapering, so a lot of areas have nappy trial packs that have been subsidized by the government and are way cheaper than buying that many reusable nappies. A friend of mine here (thanks Joy!) hooked me up with an organizer of the packs, so we were blessed to get a variety of 6 nappies for only £25, which is a fabulous deal and nicely padded our current supply.

I’m not sure if these are available in the States, but here’s my take on them for my UK buddies…

The first is the Lollipop PopnGro one-size nappy.

Same idea as the BumGenius one-size, but it’s not a pocket diaper. This is a pretty good diaper. For some reason it seems to leak a lot. It is nice and soft, but just doesn’t seem to fit Aed’s body very well. Also, while the booster is very soft, it is also very thick, so you end up with a ton of material between your kid’s legs. But, it seems a good quality, so we’ll see if as Aed grows it starts working better.

Next is the Micro nappy

These are shaped nappies that require a cover. I really like this one. They are sized however, so you have to buy more as your kid grows, but because of that you don’t use the same ones for as long so theoretically, they last longer overall. This one has never leaked (even with splurgy newborn poos!) and the cover fits the diaper really well. The Velcro is great and the diaper stays soft even without a dryer. We have a similar version of this diaper in the next size up, but it is made of bamboo.. I haven’t tried it yet because Aed isn’t big enough, but I have been told that bamboo is super absorbent, but slow to dry. So if you have a dryer, it’s a great material to invest in for your diapers.

This nappy is Popolini’s one-size nappy. Ours is organic cotton, but is not green! It’s just kind of off-white (au natural).

Love. This. Diaper. If I had tried this type of diaper before we bought the BumGeniuses, I would have just bought a bunch of these. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I do! There are several ways to fold it so that it can fit your baby at any size and there are poppers (poppers are key.. while you can’t always get an exact fit like you can with Velcro, my prediction is that they will hold out much longer than my Velcro diapers.. I’ll let you know.. there are also lots of one-size pocket diapers like FuzziBunz, etc that use poppers rather than velcro..) that face both ways on the tabs to accommodate the folding variations. It is nice and soft (though it does get crunchy without a dryer, this is a downside for us) and also has never leaked. The Lollipop cover fits over it really well, and once he gets big enough, we’ll move up a size in covers but use the same nappies. I think these are a really cost effective way of diapering because you’re only buying one set of diapers and two sets of covers (which are way cheaper than the diapers), plus you don’t have to mess with putting inserts into pockets or pulling them out and trying not to get your hands poopy, you just toss the thing into the pail (though you do still have to rinse if there’s poo, of course :) and that’s that. One downside is there is nothing separating your baby’s skin from the wet material. You can use a paper liner, but they just get wet as well, so I assume you’d want to use a diaper cream to protect the little hiney overnight.

Next is the Itti Bitti D’Lish Snap-In-One

This diaper is lovely and soft on the outside, not so much on the inside. It is marketed as being super slim and luxurious because of the materials they use. HOWEVER, I find it to be the one that consistently seems most uncomfortable on my baby. Perhaps this is again because we do not have a dryer. The outside stays really nice and soft, but the liners on the inside (which have super fun coordinating colored snaps depending on which insert/size you’re using) are SO hard after being washed. It is really slim compared to most diapers, but overall just seems so hard on him. I’ll let you know how it is if we ever get a dryer. Another downside, these are expensive and they are sized, so you have to buy three sets of diapers to make it birth to potty.

Also, I almost forgot.. If Aed poops while he’s wearing this diaper, it is guaranteed to go everywhere. This may be the dryer thing, but the inserts are so hard it’s like there’s nowhere for the poop to go. It’s gross. I try to only use this one when I don’t think he’s going to poop. Poop poop poop.

This next one is really fun if you love the sound of snaps and poppers as much as I do.. The Pop-In by Close Parent

This is a birth to potty diaper with some seriously hard-core Velcro. There is a good variety of inserts you can use and they all pop in and out with poppers. While I really like a lot of the features of this diaper, it’s another one that tends to leak. Maybe my kid just pees a lot.. I would still recommend it as a good diaper, you just have to play around a bit with the number of inserts to try to avoid the leaking. I don’t think I’d ever try to use this one overnight though (Actually, I'm sure I will at some point, but maybe not til the Aedster is a little bigger.. I'm not sure if you've noticed but if you have a skinny baby, it takes a little more finagling to get your cloth diapers to do their job). Also, it’s not a pocket, so your wet inserts are directly on baby’s skin.

There you go.. My take on some cloth diapers. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t.

Now, onto the practical usage.

What do you do with the diapers once baby has used them?

We use the dry pail method. A lot of the newfangled diapers have PUL covers that will break down very quickly if stored in water. I have a pail liner that is waterproof and keeps smells in, and the pail itself is just a stainless steel trash bin. If the diaper is just a pee diaper, all you have to do is take it apart/pull out inserts (depending on the type of diaper) and throw it in the pail. If it’s poopy, you just rinse it into the toilet and then throw it into the pail. I highly recommend a toilet sprayer for the rinsing so you have minimal touching (maybe that's not a thing for you, but I have issues with touching all kinds of things.. poop, pee, raw meat, squishy foods, etc). There’s a lot of options with these.. the super expensive BumGenius sprayer, the do-it-yourself tutorial on how to make a sprayer, the bidet sprayer, etc.

We have had some trouble figuring out what to do since we’re too lazy to figure out if the tubes that go in and out of the toilet are the same size here as they are in the States.. so for now, Ian is the poopy diaper rinser. I wipe the poop, he rinses the poop. I think we will eventually get a sprayer though, because I hear the worst is yet to come in this area. Sidenote: if it’s just breastmilk poo, it is apparently sanitary enough to just throw into the washing machine without rinsing.. sadly, we are no longer in that stage.

Next comes washing the diapers. This should be done about every other day. Detergent type is important, as residues can build up on the materials of the diapers and cause them to leak. The fewer ingredients the better. Here in escotia, we use Ecover, but I hear there are way more options en los estados unidos. Not surprising. (Though there probably would be more options if we lived in a bigger city that carried more varieties.. you have to keep my complaints in context.. St Andrews is a very impractical place to live.. Fun to visit, impractical to live in.. I mean, how far can you really get with 43 coffee shops, 32 high end fashion stores, 89 pubs, 16 grocery stores, and a few ice cream joints thrown in for good measure? disclaimer.. numbers may be slightly inaccurate)

You don’t have to use much detergent at all.. the amount depends on the type of washing machine you have. ¼ the recommended amount for a front loader, and ½ for a top loader. I just do a cold cycle and then a hot cycle with an extra rinse. If the diapers seem like they’re leaking a lot, I add some vinegar where the softener would go if I were washing a regular load (don’t use softener on your diapers!). You can also add baking soda instead of detergent to the first cycle if they’re starting to smell weird.

Then, easy peasy, hang them to dry! Once they’re dry, you just put them back together and throw them in your diaper drawer and you’re ready to go.

Tip #749: Hang your diapers horizontally rather than vertically to extend the life of the elastic.

That’s it! I’m happy to answer any questions about details I didn’t get into if anyone is curious, but let me tell you, if this unmotivated mom can cloth diaper.. anyone can! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Little Feet

Little feet that do not know

Where the winding roadways go,

Little feet that never tire,

Feel the stones or trudge the mire,

Still too pink and still too small

To do anything but crawl,

Thinking all their wanderings fair,

Filled with wonders everywhere.

Little feet, so rich with charm,

May you never come to harm.

As I bend and proudly blow

Laughter out of every toe,

This pray, that God above

Shall protect you with His love,

And shall guide those little feet

Safely down life's broader street.

Excerpts from Edgar Allen Guest’s Baby Feet

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hey Aed!

Yeah Mama?

Would you mind giving me a little poochy face?

Sure, no prob.. How’s this?


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seriously, Mom??

This is the face you get when your spastic camera flashes a bunch of times in your kid’s face before it takes the picture.

I’m glad it was captured on film :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today was a good day right up until bedtime :)

In other news, I was out on the town for a bit with the Aedster and we ran in to so many people! It was so fun to unexpectedly have these little conversations while we were out doing our thing and it made me so thankful to live in a small town. And it made me thankful that we have made such a community of friends here. Even though sometimes it can really slow you down to run in to people you know every time you're out, how can we not be thankful for such a gift!?

I took a meal over to a friend who just had a baby and was remembering back to all the meals that were provided for Ian and I right after Aed was born. I am so thankful for our community of Christian friends as well. We care for each other and bless each other in so many ways, and these years here would have been so much harder without this community.

In talking to my friend about her new baby, I learned that she seems to be a bit of a screamer (the baby, not the friend. The friend doesn't scream. At least not at me.). And honestly, with my whole heart, I can say that I was thankful in that moment that I also had a screamer and was able to encourage her and make myself available to her when she is so far from family as a new mom with a challenging baby. I know how hard that is and I am so thankful that it has opened up a new realm of compassion in my heart.

Some of that thankfulness then went away when my challenging baby opted not to go to sleep tonight :) But I figure, you win some, you lose some.

All in all, today was a good day. And now it is cold, dark, and pouring down rain.. a good combination for some nice deep sleep.

With that, I bid you farewell.

Playtime with Daddy

Daddy is home. Aed is awake (and not eating.. a rare occurance).

This is a recipe for something exciting!

Daddy is always ready to play.

Sometimes he plays crazy.

And sometimes he plays gentle.

Either way, good times are had by all :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My bed.

I am thankful for my bed.

And I am thankful that I have made it into my bed before midnight tonight.

Goodnight Moon.

I have a thing for using knives on fresh produce..

I can’t explain it. There is something so right about slicing into a fresh pepper or a juicy apple.

Deep down inside.. I am a chopper.

These chopped beauties came together in one of our favs – enchiladas! I lined em up all nice and straight for ya.

So, the moral of the story is: when you need your vegetables chopped with love, you know who to call.

(chop chop chop.. starting to look weird, isn’t it?)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today I am thankful for a day that was good through and through. It still amazes me each and every time I put Aed to bed and he goes to sleep all by himself. Even if he doesn't go to sleep the first time, the second time never fails.

Today I was amazed that he woke up for the day talking to himself instead of doing his little alley cat whine that he usually does when he wakes up. I was amazed by his patience as I finished some things I was doing after he woke up and didn't feed him right away. I was amazed at how he maintained a joyful disposition EVERY time he was awake.

Today my heart swelled with joy when Daddy came home and immediately grabbed Aed from my hands. He looked him in the eye and said, "Oh I missed you! I think I'm getting kind of attached to you.. Any time I'm away I just sit and look at pictures of you.." and on and on with the sweet talk.. I love seeing them together and I think I might have some serious competition for face time with the Aedster :)

I am just so thankful for the Lord's faithfulness and patience. He gave us so much grace in so many difficult days with Aed and is so forgiving of our selfish, impatient hearts. We are undeserving of the opportunity to parent this little boy, we have known that from the beginning, but we are so grateful that we've been given it.

He’s my kid too..

Ok, so we all know that Aed looks like Ian and I am not one to argue (and I don't get offended when people say that, either.. I've had several people apologize after they said it!).. It was obvious the moment he was born (which is amazing! Had we been able to see his face in the womb, it would have been obvious then too.. crazy!) that there is a strong resemblance to Daddy. I have had one, maybe two, people comment to me that they think he looks like me (and one of them couldn’t remember what Ian looked like! :).

If you knew me in high school or prior to high school, you probably attended my graduation party that fateful day in the late spring of ’03. At that party, you would have seen a tradition that we began with my sister: taping together the big 8x10” pictures mom had of us from each year of school (and a few before) and hanging them from the mantle over the fireplace. The most common comment my sister got about her pictures was, “You look exactly the same!” The most common comment I got was, “You look completely different!”

I bear very little resemblance to my baby self, and there was quite a bit of change from year to year as I grew up.

So. I decided to have a rummage and find some of my baby pictures while I was at my parents’ house over Christmas and lo and behold – if you add a little chub to his cheeks, I think my kid does look like me! (He totally wins for the ears though.. Where did that kid get such huge ears??)

What do you think?

(Aren’t you glad I labeled it?.. I know it would have been hard to figure out which one was me and which one was Aed.. I’m always lookin’ out for ya..)

Monday, January 18, 2010

There are so many more moments of joy than there are strife.

I can honestly say that we are enjoying our son far more than we are not enjoying him :)

He is still as confusing as ever, but in a much less screamy way.

Aed is laughing (peek-a-boo and 'mama's.. gonna.. gitchagitchagitchagitcha!!' get good laughs) and squealing all the time and seems to be figuring things out little by little. He opens his mouth in anticipation of each bite when we feed him his cereal, he knows his bedtime routine, he is rolling over every day. We just cannot believe how quickly everything seems to change.

We still don't have his length, but he is officially 15lbs 5oz when all nekkidy. I am thankful that we started cereal when we did with him. He is staying perfectly on his growth curve and we were cleared once again as healthy and happy at baby clinic today!

I am also VERY VERY VERY thankful for the fact that my husband cleans all of Aed's poopy diapers and NEVER complains about it. I did not marry a complainer, that's for sure. (This is especially good, as Aed has pooped every day for the last FOUR.. I think this may be a record! :) Maybe as he's cleaning the diapers, he is considering how I actually cleaned the poo off our baby's behind.. it's a give and take, you know.

I am thankful that we don't seem to have any days that don't hold victories any more. In one area or another, something good always seems to happen. Something that we thank the Lord aloud for.

And you know, even when we have our moments of trouble, I continue to find gratitude in my heart for the opportunities to hold and love on my baby boy. As exciting as it is to see him grow and experience new things, the thought of him growing out of his baby-ness breaks my heart. I am squeezing the life out of every day with him!

He ate a record amount of cereal today.. so MAYBE tomorrow I will be thankful for more sleep! I'm not getting my hopes up though.. I know better than that. :)

Tomorrow you will have the opportunity to decide if my son actually does look like me or not.. won't that be fun??

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A little message for all you Grandmas out there..

Aed was eating his dinner a few nights ago and wanted me to stop and take a picture so he could send you his love..

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Aed's First Christmas

I have a confession to make…

I am the most irresponsible mother the world has ever known.

Guess how many pictures I have of my first son’s first Christmas.


Guess how many times I have kicked myself for letting this happen.

Too many to count.

I’m not sure how it happened really.. We didn’t take our camera with us back to the States (hence the lack of photos) because it is pretty big and we already had like 47 bags and a baby to keep track of.. And, well, the doting family members just didn’t dote with cameras in hand very often. And suddenly all the presents were opened and we were sitting there and it smacked me in the face. No photos.

I’ve mentioned this to Ian a few times and he suggested we stage another Christmas.. Wrap some of Aed’s toys and take pictures of him opening them up (it was really cute to watch him help Nana unwrap his presents :), which is a great idea, but it just wouldn’t be the same. His first Christmas wasn’t in our house in Scotland, and it wasn’t just the three of us. And he had a stocking. It just wouldn’t be the same.

As I was considering this last night, I realized that most of the world probably has no pictures of their children’s first Christmases, and that actually made me feel a bit better. The pictures don’t matter as much as the love and the memories.

Nevertheless, he was wearing one of his little Christmas sleepers a day or two ago, so I thought I’d take some pictures to commemorate the cuteness and the fact that he did indeed have a first Christmas.

Unfortunately, he was pretty spent by the time I thought to take the pictures, so he’s not really smiling, but they’re still cute.

A full frontal of Aedey cuteness.

I think he was begging me to quit at this point.

And tell me, is that not the cutest little sad face you’ve ever seen??

He wasn’t genuinely sad here, he was just getting tired and he sometimes he starts pooching his lips out when he’s tired. He does it occasionally when he stops nursing too and it just cracks me up. I love this kid’s lips.

So there you have it. My sad, fake Christmas pictures of Aed.

Hopefully, we’ll do better next year :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sorry.. I forgot to be thankful yesterday.

We've been going to bed really late since we got back and I didn't remember til we were already up in bed. And I wasn't about to come back down to post on the blog, so I just stayed in bed and was thankful for warm covers :)

We have made HUGE strides in the Church household in the last few days! With our new strategy for sleeping, Aed had started going down for his first nap with no fuss and going down for bed at night with no fuss.. Well. Today he went down for all his naps but one with NO fuss! Hooray! Every time I put him down, I come downstairs and we just hold our breath waiting for him to start crying, but today we forgot we were even holding our breath until we realized we hadn't heard a peep!

Now if we can just figure out remedies for all his other weird things we'll be good to go :)

Seriously though, it is such a relief to have this small change. We are both so thankful that our little boy is doing so well getting himself to sleep.

Also I am thankful for melty ice cream.

And apples. I love apples.

It is so fun to watch Ian and Aed interact.. it's so funny. And since we got a VIDEO CAMERA for Christmas, maybe I'll try to capture it and share it with you :)

Changes in the Weather

On the day we were supposed to leave to come back to the land of the Scots, Indiana was hit with a snowstorm. Fortunately, we made it home with only one small delay in London. We learned on our arrival in the UK, that there have been record amounts of snow and cold in some areas. We learned on our arrival in St Andrews that there have been crazy amounts of snow here too!

We were so excited to wake up our first morning back and find this when we looked out the window..

There is nothing I love more than waking up to a snowy morning.

The flakes were big and beautiful.

It was quiet and peaceful outside.

And the sun even managed to shine.

Most of the snow has melted away now, but I am hopeful that we might get some more :)

Another thing I enjoyed upon our arrival home was the view in my living room.

I was sitting here reflecting on the day for my daily thankful post and looked at the coffee table in front of me.

I was greeted by a tiny pair of shoes.

I smiled to myself and remembered how I had taken some photographs of the first baby clothes I washed way back before we even knew Aed’s name. Every time I struggled to bend down and pull things out of the washing machine, I knew the truth that things were about to change. The baby items piling up in our hallway testified to that, and the fact that I was hanging laundry for a baby made it seem so much more real.

Now that baby is here, and not only do I hang up his laundry, but evidence of him is all over our house.

I looked at the shelf to my left and found this..

His medicine, his (beloved) pacifiers, burp cloths, and the ever necessary chapstick (shhshing really dries out the lips!).

I considered how far we have come. Learning of his reflux and becoming accustomed to giving him medicine three times a day. The pacifiers have come and gone and come again. The burp cloths that are now used far more frequently for slobber than spit up..

Then I looked out in front of me to find more hints of this addition to our lives.

My gaze fell on the hutch where I found all of his sweet little books and his swing.

There is not a part of our lives that remains untouched by Aed’s presence in this family. And as we settle back in to life here in Scotland, we are excited as we anticipate the growth and change this year will bring.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Little Boy

I was going to write a post about what we found when we came home from the States and some reflections on how motherhood has changed my life… and then I considered that a post like that contains pictures of objects, not babies.

And then I considered how long it has been since a baby has appeared on this blog.

And I decided to change the order of my posts a bit and put a smile on your face.

There. That’s better.

Aed did lots of new things while we were in the States and it was really fun to see the changes!

Before we left, he had smiled at only two other people aside from Ian and I. As he was smiling over and over again at the Irish woman talking to him in a line for a bus at the airport on the way home, I realized this little boy is getting bigger.

Before we left Aed had accepted a pacifier for a few weeks right after he was born. He proceeded to then begin to refuse it and I did not argue. However, after a few trips in the car upon our arrival in the States, something had to change or we were all going to be deaf by the end of our visit. So, on the way to church I decided that since we had a good long car ride, I’d just keep putting that thing back in his mouth to see what happened and eventually, he took it! And, we quickly learned why it was given the name, ‘pacifier,’ and we thanked Jesus for it.

Before we left Aed had only taken a bottle once after much struggle. When we came back, he had only taken a bottle twice and we might just forego the bottles altogether :) (you can’t win ‘em all!)

Before we left Aed weighed 12lbs 12oz and was about 2 feet long. We haven’t found out how long he is yet, but we know that he is now over 15lbs! (and my arms can certainly feel it!) This little boy is getting bigger.

Before we left he was pretty sure he knew that those were his hands flopping around in front of his face. While we were there he discovered how very much he loves having them in his mouth at every possible moment. He also discovered his fabulous feet at the end of his legs and hasn’t looked back! This little boy is getting bigger.

We found ourselves commenting at least once a day how we can’t believe how much bigger he is. I am dumbfounded when I recall the tiny baby we brought home from the hospital, all wrinkly and spastic. We had no idea what we were doing.. We still don’t. That will probably never change.

Before we left he had begun to wake up every three hours around the clock to eat. That was very tiring and confusing. While we were in the States, we decided to give some baby cereal a try to see if that would help at all. The first day, he ate about 2 tablespoons. The next, he ate three. The next he ate four and slept 10 hours that night. I think we have an addict, I’ll let you decide if it’s him or me :) This little boy is getting bigger.

Before we left Aed was making some noises and babbling a bit. While we were in the States he began what I call singing (a repeated note over and over again.. sometimes at 5am) and babbling like crazy. He also has incorporated more laughs and squealing into his repertoire (also coughing.. which is hilarious), along with a wider variety of whines and cries. It is amazing to watch his face as he interacts with people and objects, and to find that I have already unknowingly taught him something – to squint his eyes :)

We saw more of his personality, his likes and dislikes (he still dislikes small spaces, by the way). He is unfazed by animals and likes to stare at other small children. He was a little overwhelmed at first, being introduced to so many new people, but he got the hang of it after a while, and I’m afraid he’ll be rather bored now that it’s just Ian and I again. He is quickly learning to enjoy a wide array of toys, including anything in my hands or nearby – whether it is technically a ‘toy’ or not!

He has now rolled over four times from his tummy to his back, and Daddy has missed it every time.. We still haven’t been able to get him to do it while Ian is watching.. Sneaky little fellow..

Another first was when he didn’t poop for four days in a row. We are now learning that this seems to be a pattern (another thing he inherited from Mama – currently the record holder in this family with waiting 10 days to go).

It is hard to believe how quickly he changes and grows, but so fun to watch. He still loves reading books with his Daddy, and singing ‘My God is so BIG!’ with Mama gets a smile every time. We are so thankful for our baby boy and though my daily thankful posts have let you in on some of our struggles with him, we know these days are fleeting and are getting the most from them that we can. There is nothing sweeter than holding Aed’s gaze and watching him lean in to touch his forehead to mine, then giving me a big smile. This little boy is getting bigger.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yesterday was another very challenging day. I am thankful that today was better.

We hit a point yesterday where we realized that we needed to come up with a clear strategy in how to deal with Aed’s sleeping habits. For most of Aed’s life I have been spending the majority of my days (and Ian too, when he’s home) trying to find ways to soothe my baby to sleep. Sometimes this takes hours at a time and he screams no matter what you do with him. Then when he wakes up, he is only happy for a very short time before he gets tired and fussy again. I have played all the mental games you can imagine and tried every strategy I can think of to help him get to sleep more peacefully to no avail. The only thing that is consistent is if we find something that works it only works twice max before we’re back to square one. It is incredibly discouraging and incredibly tiring to do this all day long for a baby who is napping (or attempting to do so) four times a day (plus bedtime!), not to mention the strain this has put on our social lives (and marriage) as it is hard to go anywhere or have anyone over when Aed is demanding our attention almost constantly.

Yes, he has been overcoming jet lag this week, but we believed that we were past that and he was just continuing to exhibit many of the difficult tendencies he’s been exhibiting for most of his short life with regard to sleeping. So we decided to consult a sleep book that we have to see what it says about how to deal with temperamental 4 month olds.

We are both so glad we did.

We found that the section on 3-4 month olds described what Aed is doing to a ‘T’ and decided to try to consistently implement some of the suggestions on how to deal with such behaviors.

My wonderful and supportive hubby stayed home with me all day today (although he was still working diligently!) to offer reassurance when the inevitable discouragement came along. I am happy to report that Aed went down for one of his naps today with no crying and he went down for bed tonight with no crying! We are hopeful (though we have certainly learned NOT to count our chickens before they hatch with this little fellow) that if we stick with it, our persistence in this area will pay off and we will end up with a baby that can sleep more easily and is much happier when he is awake!

So, today I am thankful for our sleep book. I am also thankful for my hubby because I pretty much have a break down every day when he’s not here and Aed is really struggling. I know it is harder for him to work from home, but I am thankful that he is willing to make such sacrifices for the sake of his family. I am also thankful for our son (I know.. I don’t really mix things up much on these thankfulness posts, but hey, at least I added the sleep book today!). Though he has brought many new areas of difficulty into our lives, they are all seasoned with his smiling face and snuggly body, his exploring personality and his zeal for intensity :). He is one of a kind, and we love him for it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I know you're all probably dying for some Aed and some stories from our time in the States..

I know.

Sorry, but not today!

It has been another day that makes me want to sleep until Kingdom come.

I really do think I'll have time to get on our camera and edit some pictures for you tomorrow, but for today, it's just another 'this is why i'm thankful' post.

Today I am thankful for the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that He doesn't give up on us, but keeps prodding even when we are ignoring and oblivious.

Ian and I have let our demanding baby take a lot of time away from our spiritual lives. We were already at a fairly difficult point spiritually before Aed was born because of our respective demanding schedules, and after we were given a very high maintenance baby and no idea what to do with him, it just got worse.

I cannot tell you how easy it is to let my head hit the pillow without giving a second thought to God's Word. I'm too tired. I'll try again tomorrow. And to let my prayer life be consumed with, 'Why is this so difficult?' 'Why is every victory followed by three defeats?' 'Why, why why?'

That, my friends, is a recipe for self-destruction. It's the overshadowing storm cloud that prompted me to start striving to be thankful each day in the first place.

Today I hit a low. We had a long morning with a fussy baby, I have a big deadline on top of me that has already been delayed too many times, Ian is trying to get back into a routine with work, and we had several things we needed to get in town, including some that we were hopeful would help Aed (the kid hadn't pooped in like a week.. seriously, who wouldn't be fussy after that?). I offered to run the errands while Aed slept so Ian could work for a while. Ian thought it would be good for me to get out of the house anyway.

So, I head off and accomplish one thing. Check. Move on to the next. Road block, can't get this one done (this one being the most important one that we thought would help our fussy baby). Frustration and discouragement begin to set in more deeply. Suddenly the long morning seems to have been so much longer and so much more difficult. Move on to the next, there are still things to be done. Road block. I am an idiot. I left the house to run errands with no way to pay for anything. Commence the inner break down.

I calmly return all my items to their cosy places on the shelves, cursing myself on the inside for being so dumb. I begin the treck back home, empty-handed and lamenting what a crappy day this is, and why my life sucks, and how I'm such a failure that I can't even remember a basic thing like a debit card and blah blah blah.

Ian greets me in a manner far too chipper for my doldrums, so I give him my breakdown in the form of tears and hugs. It helps a little but there is still frustration, so we sit together to work it out.

Here's where the Holy Spirit made his move. He prompted me to say the right things, and prompted Ian to hear the right things. And we found that the Holy Spirit can refresh even the most dry of wastelands when given the opportunity. We wholly surrendered our hearts to the Lord together for just a few minutes and committed to forsake our laziness and distraction in order to run this race the way we were meant to.

We are weak and we will keep failing, but we are praying that the Lord will use this day to bring us nearer to him than ever.

The day didn't get much better, a lot of other discouraging things happened. But, they all happened in light of something to be thankful for.

And for that I am thankful.

Postscript. I have considered several times apologizing for being such a downer so often on this bloggy blog as of late. I'm sure you'd rather read about adventures and fun instead of our struggles and turmoil. I'm sure you'd rather see lovely pictures than to keep seeing, you know, words. But, I decided that I can't be sorry. This blog is one of the easiest places for me to process my life, and that is what I am living. Our honeymoon with Scotland is long over. This is home. It is an adventure and beautiful and fun, but it is also groceries and dishes, highs and lows, good days and bad days. I have found great encouragement from being able to put my thoughts out into space and occassionally get responses from people I love. It is not easy to know so many read such personal things, but I'm not sorry you do. The end.

maybe if you come back tomorrow, there will be pictures :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I am sitting on the couch trying to get some work done.

I had hoped to post pictures, but to no avail.

I had hoped to finish my responsibilities for tomorrow before tomorrow, but to no avail.

I am the mother of a confused child.

For some reason his jet lag is really going strong this evening and he has been awake for the last two hours wailing, screaming, babbling, squealing, and squirming, probably wondering why his parents are so confused and want him to be asleep when he knows he should be awake.

We are taking turns working our magic to no avail.

He is still not asleep.

And as I was sitting here trying to keep working, listening for the cue that it's my turn to go back upstairs so Ian can come down, I couldn't help but be thankful.

I honestly didn't want to mess with this post tonight. I thought I could claim forgetfulness and let it slip. I wasn't thankful for much of anything and was really letting the last two hours taint all the good things that happened today.

And then suddenly, I realized how much I love my son.

How thankful I am that even when he is fussy (whether I know the reason or not), I have the opportunity to stare at his little face, to wonder what is going on in his little mind. I have the opportunity to feel his soft head on my cheek. To feel the weight of his little body in my arms. To feel him nuzzle his face into my chest as he begins to drift off.

I have these privileges. I can hold his hands, rub his feet, kiss his nose, smell his baby scent, and hear all the noises he can make.

I am his mama.

Sometimes I am consumed with the weight of it all. The responsibility of trying to raise a person. Knowing that life is going to punch him in the gut more than once. Knowing that if the Lord allows it, I will grow old, and he will grow up, and he won't need me so much any more.

But even then, I'll still be his mama.

Four months in and I can't read the book "Love You Forever" without crying.

He is still crying. I need to go rescue my sweet husband. I love my baby and God is gracious.

And I am thankful.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Well there has been a hiatus!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s and got to spend time with just the right people as life took a break for the norm for a few days (or weeks or months depending on your life!).

We went back to the States on the 14th of December and just got back last night. It was such a blessing for both of us to have some time to step back from life as normal and take a break with family and friends. I am being reminded that my husband knows me well today.. He has been working to get the house back to normal and making dinner and doing all kinds of little things to make the transition back to Scotland easier.. I had forgotten that this is always a hard transition for me to make, but he didn’t forget. I am thankful for him.

I am also thankful for our sweet little babe, who did really well yesterday despite almost 24 hours of travel and disruption (I am also thankful for a long day of travel that went off with only minor glitches but lots of safety and good attitudes!). He had a bit of a breakdown on the third flight yesterday and then in the car on the way home, but they were both short lived. We are certainly looking forward to getting our little guy back to normal and out of the jet lag stage.

Aed had lots of ‘firsts’ while we were in the States that we can’t wait to tell you about, so stay tuned!

(It’s amazing how time changes a person.. Ian and I were both just commenting on how much Aed has changed since this picture was taken just a few days after we arrived in the States!)