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Sunday, January 27, 2013

33 weeks down, & BEDREST

I can't believe I've had NO time to blog since announcing this pregnancy! I've been working 40+ hours a week, and still doing all the other stuff I do as a mommy (and yes, it is exhausting!)

This week I had my second bout with preterm labor, and this time my cervix was dilating so I've been restricted to BEDREST until delivery.....which needs to be at least 5 or 6 weeks away, to make sure baby is as healthy as possible!

This pregnancy has been SO unlike any of the others, from the very beginning. I didn't even know I was pregnant until I was 7 weeks in, and with the first four babies I always knew by 4 weeks at the very latest.  Then we had the 'positive' AFP test, which indicated a 1 in 79 chance that this baby has Down Syndrome. Knowing the high rate of false-positives with AFP tests, we opted not to take the risk of amniocentesis to find out for sure, and have since had LOTS of extra testing/monitoring done, just in case.  This includes twice-weekly Non Stress Tests (NST) which is basically monitoring for up to an hour at a time to observe baby's heart rate in response to his own movements, and in response to any contractions I might have while on the monitors.  Since I have an 'irritable uterus' I have felt braxton-hicks contractions since about the 14th week - fun fun fun! (NOT).

Oh yeah, and I did refer to baby in the masculine above, because he is another BOY!  He's been VERY shy during every single ultrasound, so it took a couple attempts for gender reveal, and with all the sonograms I have had since, we've only gotten TWO good profile shots because he likes to hold a fist or a foot in front of his face. We did have a very patient tech for our 4D ultrasound though, and got some amazing pictures. Not surprisingly, it looks like he'll bear a very strong resemblance to 2 of his big brothers (who look exactly like Daddy!)

We're re-doing the nursery, using the theme that was my 2nd choice 2 1/2 years ago when I decorated it for baby Bobblehead. We originally went with a gender-neutral nursery set accented with Monkey decor:

...and now have removed the monkeys and the green/white/brown bedding, replacing it with THIS Dr. Seuss ABC set:

The walls will stay the same as before, though I found a different saying to put over the crib: "A person's a person, no matter how small" - Dr. Seuss Isn't that one just PERFECT? The decal was only $10 on amazon.  I'm still looking for the best deal on coordinating decals for the new decor, so I can decorate the walls, dresser, and ceiling fan like I did with the original 'monkey room'.

I can't do much of the actual lifting or anything to finalize this room, so some of it may have to wait until baby is actually born - but that's OK, since his big brother didn't really use this room much until he was about six months old. Big brother moved into his new room  couple weeks ago, and while it is far from done, he LOVES his new Lightning McQueen bed!

This is the top half of the bunkbed that the oldest two boys shared before the 18 year old moved out a few months ago. I love that it has railing all around it, so my little man won't accidentally roll out of bed in his sleep.

I'm spending more time online while on bedrest, so hopefully I'll be updating here again SOON!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

annnnnnd we're BACK!

I can't believe it has been more than a YEAR since I posted here!  My sweet little Bobblehead is turning two years old in a few weeks, and soon he will be a BIG BROTHER!

You read that right, we're pregnant again!

Baby #5 is due March 14, and my plan (not like anything ever goes AS PLANNED around here) is to begin blogging here again so you can all follow this pregnancy and birth.

Another major development in our lives is my decision 6 months ago to finally answer the calling I've felt for nearly two years now - I am now a Birth Doula!  However, due to this new pregnancy, I am not taking on any new clients. I have two more clients due in the next 2 months, and then there's the holidays, and after that I will be too far along to really serve mommies the way they need from a good Doula.  After I have the baby, I plan to wait at least a year before attending births again, but I might do some birth photography in the meantime (this is a service I offer to my Doula clients).

I'll post some recent pictures here very soon, I promise!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Bobblehead turned nine months old the other day, and I almost missed marking this milestone!  Thankfully his nine-month well baby checkup reminded me to post an update here.

His height curve is BARELY above the last visit, and weight curve has actually moved DOWN, since he only gained 2 lbs in the last three months. He is now 17 pounds, and 24 inches he is pretty small for a nine month old.  The doctor isn't TOO worried about this, since his head growth is normal, and at least THAT growth curve still shows upward movement on the chart.  But he did suggest that maybe I should start adding BUTTER to Bobblehead's diet.  Yes, BUTTER.  I think, before I get that drastic, I will try giving him more avocados, and other 'healthy' foods that are high in UNsaturated fat. I know he needs fat for brain growth, but am also reluctant to give him something as 'bad' as BUTTER just yet.  One good thing the doc said about the weight issue, is that Bobblehead's motor development is excellent, and its likely that he will just need more calories because he is so active.  AND HOW!  I can't even get him to hold still for a diaper change lately.

He's crawling like a pro now, and LOVES to pull himself into a standing position using any piece of furniture (or my leg). He also cruises along the furniture, but not quite as confidently as he crawls.  The cruising thing has led to numerous falls, most of them without injury. I do catch him when I can, but I also know that he will learn much faster if he actually experiences some of these falls - so I don't beat myself up about the times I can't quite catch him, and he bumps his head or simply startles himself.

Sleep is still a myth...or at least NAPS are.  Nighttime is pretty routine, and he's bathed and down for the night, in his own room, between 8 and 9 every night.  He occasionally wakes up to nurse in the middle of the night, but then goes right back to sleep.  And he definitely KNOWS his limit during the day, with his 2 to 3 hour periods of wakefulness....anything longer and he becomes a cranky MONSTER.  Unfortunately, a 20 minute 'power nap' seems to satusfy his need for rest more often than not.  I remember three times last week that he actually took a REAL nap (1 1/2 to 2 hours) and I celebrated each time.  I am hoping we can get to a point where he takes two REAL naps every day. Someday.

For now I just keep my camera and my Flip handy to catch all the silly stuff he does. He just started shaking his head, like "NO" the other day...only he's not saying "no"....he's just enjoying the dizzy sensation.  What a nut!

He enjoys the pool now - enough to make me REALLY wish we had our own pool here!  But my brother lives nearby, and lets us use his backyard pool.  We also go visit my sister often, about 20 minutes away, and they have a really awesome comunity pool, complete with kiddy-splash-park.

He's feeding himself more finger foods, and LOVES playing with his food.  Sometimes when I am spoon-feeding him in his high chair, he grabs for the spoon with his little hands, resulting in a blob of pureed veggies on the tray.  This, of course, necessitates a long finger-painting session each time.  I absolutely LOVE seeing the look of wonder on his face as he makes designs by smearing his little finger (usually just the index finger, but sometimes his whole hand) through the mess. I don't love cleaning it up, but I know if I don't I won't get a chance to see THAT LOOK on his face again the next time he eats.  :)

His favorite foods right now are Pears (still), cheerios, peach flavored puffs, diced fresh apricots, VEGGIE STRAWS, and anything Mommy is eating.  I'm thrilled that he's begun to enjoy some of the food from my plate, and can't wait until he's really eating ALL table foods.  Last week we went on a two-day vacation to Disneyland and I had to pack SO MUCH BABYFOOD.  Totally not looking forward to that with our family reunion next month.

I know the table food thing will get even better if he can actually CUT those two top teeth that have been trying to push through for like a month now.  The two bottom teeth look lonely. Maybe he should ask the tooth fairy about this?  We know her...she lives down the street.  Bobblehead even borrowed her wings and wand for a few minutes:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

home-made baby food

I've been making about half of Bobblehead's baby food at home, and its easier than I thought it would be!  Here's a step-by-step guide if you'd like to try it:

1. Clean/peel fresh fruit or veggies.  If this already sounds like too much work, buy some pre-cut and pre-peeled baby carrots.  I bought a 5 lb. bag at Costco for about $5, so these are a good CHEAP food.

2. Steam (or boil) your fresh *OR FROZEN* veggies or fruit.  Costco also carries a 5lb bag of frozen organic green beans that my whole family enjoys steamed.

3. Use a strainer spoon to place the cooked food into your blender or food processor.  You will need to add at least a few tablespoons of the water from the pan, so DON'T dump that out yet!

4. Add just a little water to the mixture and puree.  If more water is needed, YOU'LL KNOW, trust me.  Add more water from your pan if needed, and puree again if needed. Younger babies will want a VERY smooth consistency, while older babies will enjoy some texture/lumps to begin some "practice chewing".

5. TASTE IT.  Yes, it will be incredibly bland.  Depending on your baby's age, you might be able to experiment with adding a little onion in step 2, or at least some sea salt.  First foods are supposed to be bland, though.  If something is wrong with the food, i.e. it was not as fresh as you thought it was, your tongue will alert you and you can now discard this batch and start over.  If it tastes 'normal', proceed to the next step.

6. Pour the puree into storage containers.  I like to pour some into an ice cube tray, so I can freeze it.  The frozen cubes then go into a labeled ziplock bag for long-term storage.  This allows me to make one kind of food, say, every other night, and still have plenty of variety on hand.  The little snack-size disposable gladware containers are also great for refigerating individual servings for use within the first 2 or 3 days after the food is made.
fresh baby food poured into an ice cube tray

frozen cubes of mango-strawberry puree

7. SERVE! If you use the ice-tray method, it's best to take out a day's worth of food at night before you go to bed - thaw them in covered containers (like the gladware or tupperware). If you forget to do this, or your little one's appetite suddenly spikes, you CAN thaw the frozen baby food in your microwave...just know that this does degrade some of the nutrients in the food.

8. EXPERIMENT with different foods! Combine a fruit with a vegetable - apples seem to blend well with everything, and take the harsh edge off of things like sweet potatoes or broccoli.  I still can't get meat to come out right in the blender, so we buy a lot of the chicken and turkey dishes ready-made. Last week I made Shepherd's Pie for the older boys, so I decided to throw some of those ingredients into the blender.

Cooked ground turkey w/onions, green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes.

Doesn't look all that appetizing, but he ATE it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life's a Beach

Yesterday was Baby Bobblehead's first trip to the beach.

He had a BLAST, but I don't know for sure how soon we'll be doing this much work just to pack all the necessary gear into my little tiny car, then to drag it all out onto the sand, and then pack it all back up a couple hours later. We also live about an hour's drive from the closest 'nice' beach, so yeah. Probably not happening as much this summer as it did last summer, but oh well.

We definitely have to go back at least a couple more times, if for no other reason than to get more pictures like these:

fascinated with the sand

feeding himself a 'veggie straw'

he could pick up and release fistfuls of sand ALL DAY

Could his eyes BE any more blue?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eight Months Old!

This week Bobblehead turned eight months old. He's been doing this cute little 'scoot' thing for a couple of weeks now, where he pushes off with his toes - straight-legged - and he pulls with his hands to get where he wants to go.

Last night, as if someone had told him "hey, you're eight months old, it's time to DO something" he suddenly began pushing himself up onto his knees, tummy off the ground, like he was ready to crawl. In the end, all that came of his efforts was this incredibly adorable "inchworm crawl".... butt up, legs tucked under tummy, then a wobbly push-up to propel himself forward onto his tummy once again. Slow going, but he's really getting the hang of it!

He also started pulling himself up to a standing position, on ANYTHING he can. Unfortunately, he has not yet learned to hold-on-for-dear-life after making that difficult transition....he falls to his butt A LOT, and he cries about it A LOT.

Tantrums aren't necessarily NEW this week, but he has gotten very good at them. I recently discovered that the camera is one of the few things that will get his attention when he is crying for something he can't have (like Dad's Coke Zero) and it is HILARIOUS to compare these 'before camera' and 'after camera' pictures...see the tears turn to a smile as soon as he sees the camera? SUCH A LITTLE HAM!!!

We've added the 'stage 3' foods to his diet to give him some protein, and to give him chewing practice (since most of the Stage 3 foods are intentionally left a little lumpy). Still getting used to the lumps. Also figured out that all of the Gerber brand stage 3 protein choices use RICE FLOUR as a filler. NO WONDER BOBBLEHEAD CAN'T POOP! Well, he can, but his stools are firm and he seems to experience a significant level of distress passing them. Needless to say, we've stocked up on prunes and prune juice. And I just might have to bind and gag my inner bargain shopper so she can't scream when I start paying extra for the "Earth's Best" baby food to avoid that rice flour from now on.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Am I 'Top 25' material?

WOW - got an email to notify me that someone nominated THIS LITTLE OLE BLOG for the 'Top 25 Military Family Blogs' on Circle of Moms!

REALLY?  I'm flattered - especially since this is not even my deployment blog! (If you've missed out on the deployment blog, you can catch up by clicking HERE)

Anyway, to actually make the cut and BECOME a Tope 25 blogger, I need your votes - you can vote for me by clicking  Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Family Blogs or click the pink & blue circle button over in the sidebar ----->


Oh yeah, quick update, Bobblehead said his first word today: BOO.  As in, "peek-a-boo".  I LOVE IT! I have been secretly hoping that his "MMMMMMMmmmmmmm" babbling would make "MOM" or "MAMA" his first word, but BOO is good, too.