.

This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have a 6 year old boy and a baby boy (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥



Sunday, July 26, 2015

34 Years Young


My wonderful husband had his 34th birthday on the 21st and I threw him a surprise party and grilled dinner for everyone! We had 20 people over and he loved being able to see all of his friends and family. It rained on me while I was grilling but I didn't mind.
 




Our summer is slowly winding down and we are ALL ready for school to start again! Brad is very excited about being in 1st grade and seeing his friends again. Jacob is growing by the day and thinks his big brother is hilarious.

Next week is our last with daddy at home--he begins working out of town every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday next month. I have adjusted my work schedule to be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so that there is always someone home for the kiddos. I will again be on my own for the 3 days he is gone but it will be a bit easier when Brad goes back to school. This will help us bump our savings back up and finish a few more things on the house before we list it for sale again next year.

In other news....Bradley finally got in to see an ENT doc about his poor hearing and awful allergies. He has mild to moderate hearing loss from fluid in his ears and is scheduled for surgery on August 11 to have tubes put in and to have his adenoids removed. Of course it is a day that Nick will be out of town so I will be on my own with both little ones! I know he won't like the IV but I think he'll do okay with the rest of it. I'm going to have the pantry stocked with yummy soft snacks for his recovery. He should be good as new (and hearing MUCH better) in time for school to start the next week. They are repeating his hearing test a month later to make sure there was improvement. Hopefully after this we can cut back on the medications he is on!

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Three Months Old


 At 3 months old you:

  • have outgrown all 0-3mo clothes and are in 3-6mo size
  • have beautiful blue eyes and light brown/auburn hair
  • think your big brother is hilarious
  • smile at us but still haven't LOL'd
  • are taking 2-3 short naps and 1 long nap each day
  • go to bed around 8-9pm and wake every 3-4hrs
  • got pink eye from mommy last month
  • are working on taking the bottle when momma has to work
  • nurse every 2-3hrs
  • have been chewing on your hands a lot
  • hold your head up pretty well and are just a bit wobbly still




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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Trying to Enjoy the Summer

Yes it is the middle of July and we are just now getting our pool open! I have good reasons though. This has been a difficult summer--heck, it's been a difficult year! We are ready for it to be over already. Every day we have to remind ourselves of our blessings and that one day we will catch a break and have things go our way for a little while.






If you remember late last year I wrote about our neighbor threatening us with some old neighborhood bylaws that said we weren't allowed to have our camper? We wrote up some amendments and had them filed, but evidently our neighbor is best friends with a crooked lawyer and judge. He sued us over it in March and we just went to court on July 1. We thought we had a strong case against him since the rest of our neighborhood is doing the same thing we are....the judge thought differently. We had to immediately move our camper. We decided it would not be practical to store it somewhere so we put it up for sale. Thankfully some friends of mine that live here in Norman bought it so we should still be able to see it sometimes!

In addition, this year our truck's transmission failed and we had to get rid of it and get a different truck. Our pool pump broke, my car battery went out, the "new" truck engine went out and we have to put a new engine in it. Nick went out of town for 3 weeks to work and while he was gone (the week of my birthday) I somehow came down with pink eye, ear infections, and a sore throat (which I still have 4 weeks later). Then the next week Jacob got pink eye. Brad has been diagnosed this summer with severe allergies and asthma. Our mower broke and had to be fixed. Is there anything else? I'm sure I'm forgetting some things.

Did I mention Jacob had colic for his first 7 weeks? That was fun. And at 3 months old he still doesn't sleep longer than 4 hour stretches at night.....ha!

Nonetheless we still find moments of enjoyment and we are already working on a new plan to make sure next year goes much better. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

My 6 Year Old



(Yes he is wearing a cape--it was a birthday present)

Height: 46"
Weight: 43lb
At 6 years old you:
  • are full of energy and have a huge personality
  • love to be silly and make people laugh
  • are very smart and read at a 2nd grade level
  • do schoolwork for fun during the summer
  • love playing with other kids (big or little)
  • can ride your bike with NO training wheels
  • go to bed around 8pm and get up around 7am
  • rarely take a nap anymore
  • love school
  • are a great eater and not very picky
  • love being a big brother
  • really like going to VBS and you know a lot about Jesus
  • wear size 11 shoe and 5T clothes
At his checkup today he was diagnosed with asthma. His doc said that is common in children with allergies (which he has very bad). He has had an ongoing problem with a cough and clogged ears for about a year now. Bad enough to the point where he was sent home from school for the cough, and teachers thought he wasn't obeying in class but actually he couldn't hear them.

In May I took him in about his hearing issues and the cough. The doc said he had severe allergies and started him on Claritin and Flonase daily. They also said he had ear infections and he got antibiotics for that. I really didn't see any improvements with the meds so I took him back about a month later and he still had ear infections. They prescribed a stronger antibiotic. He finished that last week and I still didn't notice an improvement in his hearing. He has never complained of ear pain with this mind you.

So today when he asked if I had any concerns I said YES! His hearing and his cough! I don't want to keep shoving antibiotics in him when they aren't helping at all, and the cough is affecting his school attendance. He listened to his lungs and said he sounds wheezy and thinks the coughing is not only related to the allergies but also to asthma. So he ordered some Prednisone (steroid) and albuterol inhaler for the cough, and is going to refer him to an ear/nose/throat doc about the ear/hearing issue.

Hopefully we can get somewhere and have him fixed up before school starts in August. He is a trooper and I hate that he can't hear us and has to constantly say huh? and we end up getting frustrated that we have to yell or repeat what we say a million times so he can hear us. Cursed allergies! Adding it to the list of reasons to move.....

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Bradley!


My boys!


Yesterday was my big guy's 6th birthday! We had his party today so that more family could make it. Yesterday I took him to a local arcade and he spent a few hours running around playing games and riding rides. After that I took him to Braum's for some ice cream then we headed out of town to pick daddy up! He is now FINALLY back home after being gone for 3 whole weeks. We have never been apart that long and we really missed him!

Brad's party was from 2-4 at our house and we had lots of family and friends join us to celebrate! Brad just loves having kids over to play with and they all spent most of the time outside running around. He got lots of great gifts and I know he will love playing with his new toys this summer.

 Regina and my brother Shane

 Reagan, Kenzi, and Dylan

 My SIL Sarah, my niece Kiara, my nephew Kavyne, and my other SIL Amy

My stepdad Gary and mom Kathy

My nephew Cameron

John and Charla

 Party favors!


 Playing with friends outside

Wearing his new shirt and shoes
Little brother trying to eat his hand
We all had a great time, and my brother Shane stayed the evening with his kids and joined us for a pizza dinner. I'm sure we will all sleep good tonight! Brad's checkup is Monday so I will post his stats then.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Homemade Gripe Water

Gripe water is an old-fashioned remedy for multiple baby ailments including upset tummy, colic, gas, hiccups, and general fussiness. It is basically an herbal tea mixture and different commercial brands use different combinations of herbs. The most common ones are chamomile, ginger, dill, fennel, and peppermint. Here is what each one is good for:

Chamomile: Chamomiles reported anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions relax the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestine. The herb may therefore help to relieve nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence. It may also be useful in the treatment of diverticular disorders and inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease. Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses.

Ginger: Gingerols increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that it may help reduce nausea caused by motion sickness or pregnancy and may help relieve migraine.

Dill: Dill oil, extracted from dill seeds, has been in use in traditional medicines as anti-spasmodic, carminative, appetizer, digestive, disinfectant, to help increase breast milk secretion in nursing mothers and to relieve neurological symptoms like headaches and nervous irritability. Along with caraway, fennel, aniseed, it too is one of the most important ingredients in gripe water preparation.

Fennel: Carminative herbs, such as fennel, are rich in essential oils that help relax the stomach and stimulate the movement of the digestive system, which aids in preventing gas formation. Fennel has traditionally been used not only to relieve flatulence, bloating and gas discomfort, but also to stimulate appetite and digestion.

Peppermint: Research studies have also been suggested that the compounds in the peppermint relax intestinal wall and sphincter smooth muscles through blocking calcium channels at cell receptor levels. This property of mint has been exploited as an anti-spasmodic agent in the treatment of "irritable bowel syndrome" (IBS) and other colic pain disorders.

You can buy a commercially prepared bottle of this at the store but it is very pricey and may have high fructose corn syrup or other undesirable ingredients in it. So I decided to make my own! It's very simple and cost effective. You have peace of mind knowing exactly what is going into the tea and you can customize it according to what ingredients you have on hand.

For mine I used chamomile tea bags, dill weed, and ground ginger. In a perfect world I would have also used fennel and fresh ginger but I did not have either. I used purified water and steeped all the ingredients in a large bowl for about 10 minutes until cool. Then I poured it over a coffee filter into a glass jar and let it slowly filter.




To this I added about a teaspoon of sugar (only because baby made a sour face without it and did not want to take it). It smells quite nice and just tastes like fragrant herbal tea. I read that the herbs are not as potent after about 24 hours so to extend the use of the tea I poured it into an ice cube tray and froze it into approximately 1oz portions. I thaw what I need and only give him about a teaspoon at a time. It seems to help and soothe his fussiness and that makes for a happy baby AND momma!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dream Feeding


What is "dream feeding"? It was new to me also just a couple of weeks ago. It is where you feed your baby while they are still mostly asleep. Why would you want to do this? Well let me share why I tried it....

As a second-time mom I find myself unconsciously comparing my two boys and their development. The biggest one I was looking forward to was how at around 6 weeks old my first son started sleeping at least 6-10hr stretches at night. My new baby was very cranky and I kept holding on to that glimmer of hope that he too would start sleeping longer once he got closer to two months old.

The 6 week mark came and went and my little angel was still waking every 2-4hrs at night. He had a rare 6hr stretch once or twice that got my hopes up but I could tell his routine was going to be different. Thankfully around 7 weeks his fussiness got better so that made the days easier to get thru, and he started developing his own schedule of short naps during the day.

Here we are today at 10 weeks old now and he continues to wake every 3-4hrs at night. He typically goes to bed between 8-9pm, and I go to bed around 10:30pm. So that means just about the time I am finally drifting off is when he wakes up ready for a snack!

As a momma who hasn't had a good night sleep in 3 months, I started doing some research on baby sleep tips and such. Evidently with my first son I was just really lucky to have a great sleeper! One of the tips I happened up on was "dream feeding". At first I thought it was silly to WAKE up your sleeping baby just to see if they would eat! But a few nights ago I figured What the heck? and decided to try it. He would be waking up in an hour or two anyways and I was sick so I could really use a longer stretch of good sleep.

I put him to bed at 8:30pm. I came to bed just before 11pm but before I crawled under the covers, I gently picked him up and sat with him in the rocking chair with a dim light on in the background. I gave him a kiss on his furry head to stir him just enough to get him to nurse. And he did! He quietly nursed on both sides with his eyes still shut, and after about 15 minutes he was done and I GENTLY laid him back down in bed. He passed out as if I had never bothered him, and God bless America he slept until 3:30am! That means I got a strong 4 hour stretch before I had to get up with him again that night. I was sold!

I did it again the next night and had the same results. So I take back what I said about this being crazy and such because in my case it was just what I needed!

Obviously it depends on your situation if you should try this or not. Since my baby is still pretty young I know he will need to nurse at night for a while more. There are some nights where he goes to bed at 7:30pm, but then there are other nights where he will fight sleep until 10pm! Of course I wouldn't wake him up 30 minutes later when I'm going to bed. I just have to play it by ear and see how the evening goes.

Hopefully this helps any other new moms out there and gives you another option for getting some sleep at night with a little baby!

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Friday, June 12, 2015

2 Months Old


Somebody is 2 months old today! He is changing and growing by the day. He had a checkup today and got three shots but took it like a champ. Big brother came with us and helped hold his hand.


Weight: 14lb 3oz
Length: 24in 

At 2 months old you:
  • have slept a couple of 7hr stretches at night, but your usual is 3-4hrs
  • are an early riser and are ready to get up around 7am
  • go to bed between 8-9pm
  • take a few 30min-1hr naps during the day
  • love going on walks in your stroller
  • are wearing cloth diapers full time!
  • have outgrown some 0-3mo clothes
  • love bath time
  • get fussy and rub your eyes when tired
  • nurse every 2-3hr during the day
 

There is a feature on my camera that plays a funny clown on the front for kids to look at when taking a picture, and it made Jacob LOL!
 

Brad loves being a big brother and helping me out. He can't wait to be able to play with him and carry him around. Here is their 2 month comparison:
 

This week has been a huge adjustment for us...daddy went out of town on Monday evening to work with his dad for a few weeks. He is working in the heat and we miss him greatly! He has been home as a stay-at-home-dad for so many years that it is VERY different having him so far away from us. We are driving down to see him tomorrow and can't wait!

Yesterday was my 29th birthday and my mother cooked a delicious dinner and cake for me. I am getting together with my dad and brothers on different days when they are off work. Speaking of work, I go back in 3 1/2 weeks.....BOO!
 
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

My Cloth Diapering Adventures and Routine

We have been cloth diapering our little one for almost a month now. Honestly it is not as intimidating as it sounds! Before we started I was worried it was going to be a big deal and hard to adjust to. There was some trial and error at first to find the right combo of diaper covers to fit him correctly, but I bought a few different brands from online and was able to figure out what worked best for us.

The system I am using is prefolds and diaper covers. I bought several pocket diapers at first without knowing exactly what they were and they ended up being too big and too bulky for a little baby. I am planning on using them when he gets a couple months older. Right now the diaper covers and prefolds are working out great. I have about a dozen Gerber 3 ply prefolds (the colored ones) as well as about a dozen Gerber heavyweight 6 ply prefolds. The 3 ply are thinner and thus less bulky, but they also hold less liquid so we use those during the day when we are available to change a bit more frequently. The heavier prefolds are perfect for bedtime and I'm sure will work great when he is older and wetting more liquid.


They have been washing up very nicely with very minimal staining. Of course the white ones stain more easily than the colored so I hang those in the sun to naturally bleach them. Works like a charm!



 The majority of our time we are downstairs, so this is my diaper station for down there. I have all my clean prefolds ready to grab. We are using cloth wipes as well (much easier to just toss it into the bucket with the dirty diapers) with a homemade wipe solution. Those are right next to the diapers. When it's time for bed, I just grab a few prefolds and an extra cover to keep by his bed.


For the first couple weeks of cloth diapering, we still had some disposables left so I saved those for using overnight. At that time he was still only sleeping a couple hours at a time and I didn't want to fuss with figuring out a cloth diaper while super tired in the dark. Now that we are used to it (and he is sleeping a bit longer) it's no big deal for using the cloth at night as well.

Since we are on a tight budget (that's why I'm using cloth!) I did not want to waste extra money on a special "wet bag" to keep the dirty diapers in. I got a small plastic pail to keep upstairs, and a larger black trash can to keep downstairs by the changing area. Surprisingly you can not smell them! I can go two days between washing. If I do start getting a whiff of diaper, then I just keep the bucket in the laundry room until I can wash them. I also keep baking soda sprinkled in the bottom of the pails to help with odor.



I have about 10 covers that I am currently using, and about 8 pocket diapers that I am waiting to use. The covers I am using now are all adjustable up to 25lb so he should be able to wear them until potty training! He is about 14lb now and they are fitting great. I can definitely say that he has only had a couple blowouts in cloth compared to a disposable where he would blow out almost every time. The urine doesn't really leak, but the cover can get moist if you wait too long. That is why I try to change him about every 1-2hours during the day with the thinner prefolds. It has also been great for his diaper rash--no issues at all with it since switching to cloth.

And of course, he looks super cute in them!




For my wash routine, I first dump all the dirty diapers, covers, and wipes into the washer (I have a top loader) and set the machine to do a cold rinse/spin for a small load. That is done in about 15 minutes, then I add about 1/4c of washing soda and a cap of All Free and Clear detergent. Then I set my washer on a Normal cycle (small load), hot water, and two rinses. It is done in about 45 minutes or so then I set the covers out to air dry and toss the prefolds and wipes into the dryer (or hang in the sun if stained). That's it! It might change a bit when he starts eating solids in a couple months but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

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