Friday, September 30, 2011

Let's Just Go Ahead..

And make a week of it!

I mean why not? 6 straight days of blog posts? OK! But that means I have a good excuse if I skip a few days now :)

This one is going to be fun if you like pictures of cute boys..




'Aedster, watcha doin'?'

'Pinnin' wheel, Mama!'




'Hey Aed, I'll give you a snack if you go lay down on the couch next to your brother!'

'No, LAY on the couch.. like on your tummy..'

'Couldn't you guys at least LOOK at the camera??'

'That's better, but why don't you lay next to him.. it will be cute!'

'Nack, Mama?'

'No, the snack was a bribe and you didn't do what I wanted you to do.'

Surprisingly, he was perfectly ok with that answer :)


So.. about that drooling thing.. Are we doing that already?


Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Littler One

I mentioned several weeks ago that Asher was a screamer and that we were hopefully on our way to figuring out why.

Well.. we have figured out why it seems, but no thanks to anyone on this side of the pond. After this medicine and that medicine, this doctor and that pediatrician, nothing really seemed to be making a difference. He still wasn’t gaining weight and was spending far more time unhappy (read: screaming) than happy.

I was at my wit’s end and was just trying really hard to be patient. I learned with Aed that a lot of things with babies just take a little time to pass, but his low weight gain was really unsettling. Aed never had that same trouble.

Enter: My Dear Old Dad. He had suggested (amongst other things that in retrospect seem like very reasonable suggestions compared to what we were told here) trying to give Asher some formula to see if maybe he was just hungry. I was doubtful that this was the problem. I knew we made hungry babies that nurse all the time, but I was able to successfully nurse Aed for 13 months with no problems. I figured that meant I’d be able to do the same each time.

I tried giving him formula twice, and the first time he played the ‘push it out of your mouth’ game with his tongue and didn’t seem interested. The second time he looked at me like I had just tried to shove a handful of dirt in his mouth. So I continued assuming this wasn’t the issue. We knew he’d take a bottle, so I figured if he was really that hungry, he would have eaten the formula.

So on we went.. Meeting with a doctor every week (a doctor whom I really love and appreciate, actually), and discussing changes and possibilities. And then a few weekends ago in a conversation with my dad on a particularly bad day, he suggested we get a different formula (sans dairy since it upsets his tummy) and make sure to warm it up before we give it to him. I quickly passed this message on to Ian before he headed home, desperate for something to work!

After some coaxing, he took to it and viola! He drank over an ounce! Over the course of that weekend the amount he drank jumped to 3-5 extra ounces per day. The next Monday he had gained 6 ounces, as opposed to his usual two or three for the week. After a full week of being supplemented with formula, not only was he happy as a clam, but he had put on almost a full pound in one week! It seems we found our problem.

It makes so much sense now and I am still baffled that no one here suggested it to me. He’s not gaining weight? Perhaps it’s related to what he’s eating! Genius!

So apparently my milk supply has not been sufficient this time around to keep him growing well. It’s hard saying why precisely, but his low weight gain started at a similar time to when I started running. It’s possible that running just put too much stress on my body.. but it’s also possible that I just don’t have a really strong supply. Who knows.

So our approach now is to nurse first to try to keep my supply up for as long as possible, and to supplement after so he gets his fill. Most likely my milk will gradually taper off, but we’re going to keep it going as long as we can so he gets the benefits of breastmilk.

This does make things way more complicated. I am doing pretty much everything you can do to feed an infant.. nursing, pumping, and bottle feeding, so keeping him fed is keeping us on our toes. But, we are all much, much, much happier and healthier this way, so a little extra hassle is no problem!

We are so enjoying our now almost 4 month old! He is just a cheery little guy and super social. He’s a great little brother and takes an obvious interest in Aed any time he’s in view. 

He loves his Mama and calms right down anytime Daddy is holding him. 

Who says you need necks?? We say who needs 'em!

He’s getting big fast now and is starting to reach for things and LOVES holding on as tight as he can to any piece of cloth he can find. He’s totally going to be a blankie boy :) 

He’s getting adorably vocal and is just now starting to laugh, which I love.

I am not a huge fan of the newborn period.. but whoa is roly-poly-baby-dom ever fun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My First Try..

At a bunt cake! (I continually spell bunt with a 'd'.. as in bundt and I can't figure out why!)

(EDIT: Thanks to Kate's comment, Ian discovered for me that bundt IS spelled with a 'd' when referring to the cake! It seems I should trust my instincts!)

I don't think this is actually my first try. I have a vague recollection of making one several years ago, but this is the first one I made and was also really excited about!

This is just a regular old pound cake, but it was so darn good. It came out without sticking a ton and was a delectable recipe. It will definitely be a repeat in this house :) Also very dangerous though.. Since there's no chocolate, my brain tells me it's not really a dessert. So I treat it as a snack instead of a cake :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I totally forgot!

In mid-August, we took a trip to Edinburgh to get Asher’s passport and some other documents all squared away. While we were in the Big E, I thought it would be a good idea to look for some running shoes.

We all know what a wonderfully inexpensive and practical town St Andrews is, so naturally, it was necessary for me to look elsewhere for these shoes.

I found a couple shoe stores that would work, so we tried to figure out how to minimize our walking (only because it took longer walking and we were counting on being home in time for a nap!) to get to one of them from the Consulate. We ended up using one of our train tickets twice and riding part of our journey home to a train station that was closer to the store we wanted.

Now, if you’ve ever ridden the trains here, you’ll know that if you are at a station that is just a stop along the way, the trains don’t actually stay put for very long. It’s not like they’re going to take off with your leg still hanging out of the door, but there is a definite rush to get on and off the train.

I normally push the buggy and had been doing so for the ons and offs during this day so Ian could lift from the front. This time though, Ian was pushing and didn’t realize I had put the brake on so that the buggy wouldn’t go anywhere while the train was moving. Feeling the rush and being himself (gorilla logic.. as he calls it.. and also a real hatred for inanimate objects), when the buggy wouldn’t move he just shoved it harder.

Well.. that led to the front wheel being jerked and pushed and eventually pulled right off of the buggy!

It landed down in the tracks..

I didn’t realize what had happened until Ian pointed it out after we were off the train, and when I saw the lonely wheel down there I laughed so hard. And then I saw Aed sitting there all leaned forward and weird, but also not really caring, and I laughed even harder. Asher was pretty indifferent too, though he was sleeping so he didn’t actually know what was going on.. (he's in the back under Aed.. in case you were wondering :)

We both held our breath as another train came and left, but all was fine and the wheel was far enough off the tracks that it didn’t get squished. Fortunately, things fall into the tracks enough that they are prepared to deal with it and were able to get our wheel back for us.

We made it home all in one piece :)

This was Aed’s first time on a bus or a train and he loved them both! The bus took some getting used to, but he had so much fun on the train. This is a ‘I’m ready for a nap’ picture, but cute nonetheless.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Party for Two

I thought it would be fun if, in addition to our family birthday party, we also had a bigger birthday party with friends. For some reason, Ian had a hard time understanding why we would do this, but it all seems very logical to me :). He came around in the end, and we decided to do a joint birthday party again this year with Aed’s due date buddy, Ellie. Because they get a kick out of very different things, we had a combined ‘trucks’ and ‘cute jungle animals’ theme :). It worked out really well!

(Although now that I think about it.. zebras aren't really all that jungley are they?)

I wanted to do a banner for them instead of buying one, so I painted some letters and a little truck and monkey based on the decorations to hang above the food table.

Food was pretty simple this year. Joy had just given birth to her new little Ian not quite two weeks before the party, so I took care of the eats on my own. On my own meaning.. me and the people that live with me :)

The part I most enjoyed, of course, was the cake!

It was SO HARD for Aed not to touch the cake. He hovered right next to it talking about the trucks
from the moment he saw it :)

I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like with the two themes. It didn’t quite hit the mark, but as usual, I was experimenting with things I have never tried before, so I think it came out pretty well in the end.

The animals and trucks were made by doing Royal Icing Transfers. Basically, you pipe royal icing onto waxed (baking) paper, let it harden, then peel them off and use them to decorate the cake. I thought this would be much easier than trying to decorate directly on the cake. And it was.. until it came to the putting them on the cake part.

My royal icing never quite dried, so I ended up having to get my x-acto knife out and cut around each shape and put them on the cake with the baking paper still stuck to the back :) Ian and I decided that if they had just had one more day to sit they would have dried all the way and been fine. So now I know for next time. I also know that it is very important to make extras, and keep them far, far away from the toddler’s reach!

We had a great turn out and had way too many people in our little living room :)

But it was really fun, especially because so many of these little kiddos were at Aed and Ellie’s party last year too. And four of them, including Aed and Ellie, have new siblings or ones on the way this year! I love that even though this is a fluid community, we are growing together.

Little cutie patoots!

So we lit candles, and sang to our little two-year-olds. They held onto their toys and stared while I laughed at that intimidated look on their faces.

I think this is fun.. but I'm not totally sure..

Aed talked about singing Happy Birthday to You for DAYS after the party. I even sang it to him a few extra times just for fun :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our Bigger Boy

Talk about overwhelming.. This is the fifth time I have sat down to write this post and I just can’t do it! (Not to mention the fact that I am frequently interrupted :) Aed has just grown so much and there is so much to tell.. How to sum it all up in text form??.. Here goes nothing..
Well, it’s official. We have a two year old. It is also official that I love him to pieces, but that’s to be expected.

We are having so much fun with our little guy, and I have to say, turning two is WAY more fun than turning one :) I can only imagine how much fun three will be.

As of this very day, Aed is full of toddler energy. He loves to ‘Wun, wun, wun!’ be it inside or outside, and likes to dictate who is running ('Daddy wun') and who is walking ('Aed just walk') whenever we are walking home (including the buggy :). He LOVES being outside still and has a total meltdown if he doesn’t get to go on a walk each day. He goes ‘Up, up up!’ and ‘Down, down, down!’ the hills in the field. He never just says ‘up’ or ‘down’ once.. always three times.. which I'm pretty sure is my fault, but I'm cool with that.

He is absolutely obsessed with all things vehicular, which you will see below from his birthday party, but he is deeply, madly, paralyzingly in love with Bob the Builder. We got him a set of 20 little books for his birthday and that is all we read all day long. Over and over and over. He knows every book pretty much by heart and can give you the main lines on each page. He is a dedicated little child.

At the end of every day, I can always count on finding a line of cars right about there on the counter.

He has finally turned a corner at mealtimes and is using utensils on his own! Woohoo! He is super messy, but it’s awesome to not have to sit and help him the whole time. It was totally like you hear things happening too.. one day he just up and did it. I’m hoping potty training will go like that too :).

I love love love the way he talks. His cute little high-pitched voice commenting on everything all day long with his little two-year-old pronunciations. He’s getting better though, which is fun and sad, as things like ‘thank you’ and 'yellow' and 'car' really sound like that now instead of ‘dee doo’ and 'yahyee' and 'dog' (we still don't know why he pronounced car 'dog'). And he is also finally figuring out how to sing. This comes naturally to some (most?) kids, and given that I sing all the time you’d think it wouldn’t have taken him so long, but it’s been really fun in the last few weeks to watch him figure out how he can move his voice in song.

These few paragraphs totally don’t do him justice, but how could they? To avoid the risk of stopping again, I’m going to give up trying to tell you about all of his cuteness (and try harder to write things down as they happen!) and move on to his birthday fun from a few weeks ago.

On his actual birthday, we had a little family celebration with gifts and cupcakes. When he woke up in the morning, we had a big surprise ready for him – his new tricycle from Nena and Papaw!

He is hilarious with this thing. I think most of the time he thinks it should do more than it does, so he gets really mad at it, but can’t tell anybody what he wants it to do :). But he does enjoy attempting to push the pedals and getting pushed on it.

It was so much fun getting him gifts this year, because we knew what he would really like. I made the mistake once again of making him cupcakes though.. the kid just cannot handle cupcakes very well. He did actually like them though, which was an improvement over last year :).

We got him to sort of blow out the candles, but then he reached for them and we all freaked out, so he decided he didn’t want anything to do with them. Now, though, when he sees any kind of candle (even my big decorative ones) he says, ‘Turn on happy birthday?’ ‘Sing happy birthday?’ ‘Blow out candles?’

 I love this picture. It totally looks like he is praying over that cupcake, but he just couldn’t figure out how to eat it! He doesn’t like getting sticky stuff on his hands (also a repeat problem from last year) and kept trying to pick it up without touching the icing. He wanted to eat it so badly, but he finally gave up and sat there like this for a while until I showed him how to eat it with a fork.

Once he figured out what was up with the gifts, he was all over it..

It was so cool to watch him get excited.

This little set of cars had the beloved double decker bus in it and is still currently one of his favorite things to play with. And you can see the Bob the Builder books there in the background.

It was a very fun day. It’s hard to believe he’s two, and yet it feels like enough has certainly happened to amount to two years!

Up next, the BIG birthday bash!

Monday, September 05, 2011

A Photo Dump

We use Ian’s iPod a lot to take photos, but rarely put them onto our computers for one reason or another. I finally got them all off the iPod the other night and decided to just dump some favorites here. Some are really old, but all are enjoyable!

Biggest. Mouth. Ever.

Flexing his muscles for us

First photo after birth

Sunday, September 04, 2011

So I know it’s been a while..

I have had many things to say, and many things I’ve been thinking about. Things like how crazy it is that my TWO year old is talking up a storm. Like how amazing it is to see how much having one child has prepared me for having another. Like how much I am not looking forward to winter in this country. Like how important it is to have good friends, and what a gift it is when you do. Like how thankful I am that the Lord loves me even when I am unlovable and holds my heart even when it’s breaking.

Unfortunately, I just haven’t had the energy to write about those things. Depending on your view of how leisure time should be spent, you could say I have had the time.. Oh yes. I could have easily written a blog post rather than reading this or that, or looking at Facebook, or eating a peach. But I just don’t have it in me most days. Turns out, we have another screamer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. For those of you who are familiar with our Aed Saga, we have not reached that level. But Asher is on his way to his own saga, for sure. Around 6 weeks he started giving us some trouble, but that’s to be expected around that age. Then rather than getting better, things just kept getting worse. We have been back and forth to several doctors and gotten some different opinions and prescriptions, but so far nothing has changed. We have found many things to be thankful for (most notably, the fact that he has a much sunnier disposition than Aed did, so when he’s feeling ok he’s very, very happy) and many things to be frustrated with, but mostly we’re just hoping we find a solution or that these next few months go by very quickly.

Perhaps on a more energetic day I will go into details about what is happening and our approach to handling it. And hopefully, we will have some more definitive answers in the next few days. But, today is not that day because there are more exciting things to say..

First of all, a certain someone in this house is closer than ever to becoming a doctor! We have submission date that for one of us is too close for comfort, and for the other is a thing to be celebrated even before the deed is done :). We have a lot of thinking and decision-making to do in the next few months about where we will go and what we will do if no job shows itself, and we welcome your prayers for that.

On the kid front, we are having barrels of fun! Somehow Aed grew into a little boy over night. He is sitting at the table in his ‘big boy chair’ with all of the rest of us now..

This was one of the first days.. sometime in mid-July. 
We had a very exciting few weeks as lots of trucks and workers were camping outside our house. They were putting in a new little playground, and our truck-lover was beside himself with all the trucks to see through the window.

We finally caught that mouse..

Edited for your viewing pleasure
These two are still cute as ever..

 And after a haircut, it turns out the biggest one has a mini-me..

 I will post several more updates this week about each kiddo and all of our birthday fun to get us back on track. Until next time..