Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What We Like: Months 1 & 2

I can't believe Michael is 9 weeks old today.  During the course of these 9 weeks, we have found certain products that have been pretty useful to us.  Here are some of the things we like:

Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor:

From the start, we've used the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor.  It's so helpful to know that we will be alerted if there's no movement in the bassinet.

Pampers Swaddlers:
Pampers Swaddlers are still our favorite.  Target Up & Up diapers also fit Michael now and he has been making use of them before we break open our boxes of size 3 diapers-- yep, you read that right:  My 2 month old is in size 3 diapers! We used Newborn size diapers for one week.  Then Michael was in Size 1 diapers from Week 1 until the end of Week 7.  We used size 2 diapers for Michael for just a week.  I coulda shoulda transferred Michael into size 2 diapers earlier, but what's done is done.  I could see a notable difference from the beginning of that week to the end of that week.  He really did manage to grow right on out of them.  Fortunately, I didn't dig into any of the boxes of size 2 diapers that we have.  So, those can now be exchanged for size 3 diapers.  Hopefully, he'll spend a while in size 3.

Dr. Brown's Bottles-- 4 oz. and 8 oz.:
These are just the ticket.  I desperately wanted Michael to like the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles.  Mainly because they consist of a bottle, a nipple, and the nipple collar.  This means easy to wash.  The Dr. Brown's bottles consist of the bottle, the nipple, the nipple collar, the vent tube, and the valve.  These take a long time to wash!  However, Michael would not have anything to do with the Tommee Tippee bottles.  It took him 20 minutes to drink an ounce of milk.  After realizing that little progress was being made during that feeding, I poured the rest of the milk into a Dr. Brown's bottle and he began freely drinking.  He doesn't even take his mouth off of the bottle while he's eating.  
Michael had steadily been taking 4 oz at a feeding, but he has made the switch to 5 oz per feeding now.  That meant, I was filling the size 4 oz bottles, and then putting one extra ounce in a tiny bottle to be added once Michael had finished the original 4 ounces.  You can imagine the frustration a baby might have while you have to pause his feeding to pour another ounce of milk into the bottle. So, I had to upgrade from a size 4oz. bottle to a size 8 oz. bottle.   The 8 oz bottles are great!

Stroller strap:
This feature on my diaper bag is amazing!  On each side of the diaper bag, there is a locking-loop.  I can attach this loop to my stroller handle... or to the handle of shopping carts.  It makes the diaper bag so easily accessible and that is so nice. 

Dr. Brown's Pacifiers:
Michael is not a huge pacifier fan, but when he does want to take one, (usually during daytime naps), he does best with Dr. Brown's pacifiers. 

Sassy Go-go bugs:

These cool little felt toys hang from Michael's car-seat carrier handle.  They each make a sound (the red bug crinkles, the orange bug jingles, and the yellow bug rattles.  As Michael is pushed around in shopping carts, the car-seat carrier jiggles some and this makes the bugs sound their sounds.  These can be quite entertaining for Michael to watch, or they can act as white noise and lull him to sleep as we enjoy our shopping adventures.

Fisher-Price Space Saver Seat-n-Swing Luv U Zoo:
Yep, we're still loving the swing!  

Fisher-Price Musical Mobile Gym Luv U Zoo:
Michael works hard to bat the hanging rattles and toys.  He also sometimes does tummy-time by laying on the soft mat of this gym.  This gym has a mobile and lights with songs.  Michael LOVES music and I sing along to the tunes I recognize, and I make up words for the songs I don't know... Michael thinks it's great!  He's so proud of himself when his hand connects with the rattle, which he is attempting to hit here:

Twilight Turtle:
As I've referenced multiple times before, we LOVE the Twilight Turtle!  It plays a crucial role in our bedtime routine by casting a soft glow on the walls and ceiling, and acts as a night-light.  We do our middle of the night and early morning feedings by the light of the turtle.  This keeps Michael from getting over-stimulated. 

Extra-large swaddle blanket:

Michael, as you know, grows very quickly.  He is now making use of the extra-large swaddle blanket sewn by Great Grammie.  As you can see, he stays nice and cozy during sleep times.
Michael scratches his face no matter how many times I cut his nails.  So, at nighttime, we put baby-mittens on his hands to keep him from scraping the baby-soft skin on his face.  This also serves double duty because it keeps his little hands extra warm, now that the cooler temperatures have arrived in the South East. 

Bumbo seat:
Michael does very well in his Bumbo seat.  We tried it out for the first time the other day.  It helps him learn to strengthen his neck muscles to support his head. 

Thanks for catching up with us and taking the time to learn about some of Michael's favorite things!  Tomorrow, Michael goes to the doctor for his 2 month appointment.  I will share the update this weekend!  Much love, Reba

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2 Months

Today Michael is 2 Months Old!  Can you believe it?  I look back at all the pictures that I've taken of him since he was first born, and I'm amazed at how much he has changed in this short amount of time. Since I see him everyday, it's hard to catch the changes right when they happen.  My "tiny" baby is already growing up so fast!

Michael is discovering his feet, hands, and voice.  He can stare at his feet for long stretches of time.  Yesterday, he would stare at his feet and then wiggle his toes.  He is still obsessed with sticking out his tongue and putting his hands in his mouth.  I've had to put the "baby gloves" on his hands at nighttime so he doesn't scratch his face in his sleep.  This morning, he started making different pitch coos and cries.  He was testing out his new skill:  using his voice! 

On Wednesday, Michael will have his 2-month check-up.  I am anxious to find out how much he weighs and how tall he is.  Last month, he weighed 11lbs, 2oz and was 22 inches long.  I think this month we will see a bigger height difference, and as for weight.... I think he weighs around 15lbs.

In the afternoons when Aaron and I get home, we like to have family cuddle time.  We also use this time to teach Michael some fun skills, as shown here:

Michael is working on his xbox skills.

It's so fun to hold a cuddly baby, and this is just what Michael is in the afternoons:

Cuddling with Mommy

Cuddle time with Daddy.
Yesterday morning, we had a good stretch of family time in our room before we officially started our day.  We hung out in PJs and let Michael have some Mommy & Daddy cuddle time.  This was his expression after Aaron blew a raspberry on his cheek:

We took a little trip to Academy Sports and Michael napped nearly the whole time.  He woke up briefly, contemplated whether or not he should suck on his pacifier, and then went back to sleep.  He likes to be in motion.  This is him during his nap in the store:

In the afternoon, Michael, Nana, and I went to Spinner's Park Pumpkin Patch craft festival.  It was SOOO windy, but Michael was bundled up very well.  He was very content as I pushed him in his stroller.  Once again, he napped nearly the whole time.  He got lots of comments on his cool hat and quilt. (The hat is courtesy of his cousins, and the quilt was hand-made by his GG).

Last night was the Fall Festival at church.  Here is Michael at home, getting ready to go.  He was a Baby Tiger and he even won the door prize for the Costume Contest! 

This morning, Michael and I relaxed while Dad went to church for drum practice.  I told Michael he was 2 months old and this was his response:

Aaron and I are so very blessed to have such a sweet, sweet baby!  God has shown his favor immensely to our family and we are very grateful.  I can't even remember life without our little one.  And with a cute face like this, who could imagine life without him?

Thank-you for your continued prayers!  We are doing well adapting to our daily routines and we appreciate all of the prayers that get us through!  Until next week!  Much love, Reba

Friday, October 19, 2012

Schedule Changes and Adapting

Well, we made it through my first week back to work!  During these last two weeks, we have been slammed with schedule changes and conflicts.  It has been quite an adventure for our family to combat the kinks and curves thrown at us.  For some, it might not seem like a big deal.  But to this new mom who was preparing to return to work, every scheduling conflict was a HUGE deal.  Not only would returning to work be hard enough on it own, I suddenly found myself being the single parent at bedtime (not the best time of Michael's day-- refer to last post). :) 

So, I had my last full week of maternity leave all planned out.  I knew how I was going to spend every day.  I was going to make ornaments with my mom at her house.  I was going to have my mother-in-law come over to my house on one or two days to do another practice run of caring for Michael. I was going to enjoy my evenings with my husband and watch new TV shows to relax.  It was all planned out.  And then life happened.  On Tuesday, Aaron found out he'd be working night crew.  What did this mean?  It meant that he'd be home (but mostly asleep) during the day, and then he'd be gone at nighttime.  Fabulous (note the sarcasm).  So, my daytime plans were shot. And now I was going to be the only parent home to put our son to bed-- an activity that I was not fond of even when Aaron is here to help.  So, I dreaded nighttime from 5pm when Aaron left for work until 1:30, or 2:45, or 3:30, or even 3:45am (all were possible times that Aaron would arrive home).  Fortunately, one of my best friends came and spent the nights with me on Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights.  It was such a relief to know she was sitting in the living room while I endured the nighttime ritual of scream-cries and restless sleep.  I was exhausted at night because I just wanted my husband safe and sound at home with me.  I was exhausted during the daytime because I felt like I should try to keep Michael quiet so Aaron could rest.  Needless to say, stress became a common figure in my life and routine and I could see that it was spilling over to my son.  This had to stop! 

Oddly, it had never occured to me that Michael needed to have a bedtime.  I had been functioning on the "baby goes to bed when I go to bed" routine, which really meant that I'd be up for an hour or two after I really wanted to be asleep, because I'd be attempting to get an overtired newborn to sleep. Not fun, and not helpful.  I transitioned into the "when the baby acts super fussy, put him to bed" routine, which meant that I'd lay an overtired newborn in his bassinet, and I'd sit on the couch and listen to him cry.  My child has strong lungs.  His cries are very loud.  Even when he's in his bassinet in our room at the other end of the hall and I'm sitting on the couch in the living room. This is also not fun, and also not helpful. 

Sometime during the week, I remembered reading that babies crave routine.  They like to know what will happen next.  Therefore, I decided that Michael needed a bedtime, and he also needed a routine leading up to bedtime.  With my return to work, I knew we both needed good sleep, and that would only come if my little boy was able to go to sleep before becoming overtired.  So, the bedtime routine was established. Beginning at 6:00pm, we begin to "wind down."  Michael gets a bath everyday (every other day I use baby wash and shampoo.  On the other nights, he gets a warm water wipe down-- basically, a bath without soap).  A diaper change and a clean set of PJ's is the next step.  Michael is then offered a "snack" to "top off his tank."  This calms him since sucking is a comfort to babies.  It also helps him relax when he's put in his bassinet since his tummy is full and he isn't dealing with hunger pains.  While Michael is eating, or shortly thereafter, Aaron or I read to him "Night Night Blessings" by Amy Parker (a phenomenal board book that I totally recommend).  Then I take Michael down the hall to our room, and we turn on the master bathroom light, and we turn on the Twilight Turtle.  I lay him on my bed and swaddle him.  I then say a prayer and sometimes I sing a song. Then I tell him I love him, and I lay him in his bassinet.  I return to the living room and time his cries with a stopwatch (this is mainly so I can reassure myself that what seems like minutes upon minutes of crying is actually only a few seconds).   For the first few days of the routine, he cried during the whole thing. After being laid in his bassinet, he would cry off and on for an hour or 2.  But, by putting him in his bed and letting him exert any extra energy through crying allows me to come into the living room and breathe.  I still hear the cries-- as I said, my child has extremely strong lungs.  Over time, I think he'll sense the release of stress and will settle down quicker.

Another schedule change aside from Aaron being absent in the evenings, was my return to work.  Michael and I were then separated from each other for 10 hours during the day.  We had NEVER been apart that long!  I know we'll adapt, but I expect to have some fussy nights for a little while longer.  This little guy has a lot going on!

Fortunately, on Wednesday of this week, Aaron was FINALLY done with night shift!  My teammate is home to help me once again!  The 3 of us are involved in the bedtime routine.  Aaron talks and sings to Michael during bathtime, he lays out the clean diaper and PJs, and reads the story.  Hopefully, now that both of Michael's parents are home during the evening, we'll have more stability and will adapt to our new weekday schedules.

Tonight, for example, was FABULOUS! Michael let out a couple of fusses around 6:00.  I can't even say he even cried-- he just kind of hinted that he was tired.  So, we began the bedtime routine right on time.  He didn't cry during his bath.  He didn't cry getting his PJs on (and if you know this kid, you know he LOVES to be naked and hates having clothes put on).  He didn't cry when he was eating, or during his story.  Folks, he didn't even cry when I swaddled him or said a prayer!  I tucked him in and that was that!  Ready for this? Total crying time was less than 9 minutes! Woo-hoo! Answered prayer!  We're getting used to the routine!  In addition, Michael only woke up once last night to eat.  I see a full-nights sleep on the horizon!

So, how do I feel now that a full work week is behind me?  Well, there are pros and cons.  The pro is that going to work is almost like an ability to un-wind.  I do not hear fussiness or crying, which allows me time to rejuvenate.  I think about Michael constantly at work, but I am still able to perform my job.  The cons of course is being away from my baby!  And though I am rejuvenating during the 10 hours, I'm doing real work--  so, it's not like I get to come to work and nap! I'm also already tired when I arrive at work, and staring at a computer screen is not a help! I am fortunate to be able to pump at work.  It is going well and I count my blessings every day and I'm very thankful. The days go by relatively fast, but unfortunately, the nights do too. On Wednesday, I was exhausted.  I think I had been surviving these last 7 weeks on adrenaline and caffeine.  I have a caffeine entourage at work: coffee with creamer, hot tea with honey.  I'm almost afraid to drink my hot tea because it'll make me relax so much that I might conk out. :) I also drink Fenugreek tea for it's "motherly" benefits.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE holding my little one after I get home.  He just molds right into my chest and loves to be a cuddle bug.  That makes me feel so good! My cubicle is COVERED with pictures of him and that makes me feel closer to him.

I am loving being a mom!

Resting with Mommy after a long day.
Not so sure he likes the hooded towels. :)

Little baby laughter during a song. :)

Trying out the Bumbo seat for the first time today!

The latest obsession: the tongue!  He sticks it out all the time!

Deciding what he thinks about his "big boy chair" as we call it. :)
Thanks for catching up with us!  Prayers are always appreciated!  Until next time! Much love, Reba

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busy Busy Baby P.

Wow!  I'm so sorry that it's been almost 2 weeks since the last post!  We have been very busy around the Petersen household.  Last week, Aaron's dad, stepmom, and family friend all got to come stay with us for a visit!  It was so much fun!  Michael enjoyed meeting Grandpa Mike, Grandma Petersen, and Pat.  Lots of pictures were taken to document the special trip. 

This past Sunday, Michael had his first church trip!  He did pretty well.  We made it through most of Granpa Bil's sermon before Michael needed a diaper change and a feeding.  Fortunately, Grandma Dana was in the nursery for Michael and I to visit!  Michael likes to be moving whether that be in his swing, in the arms of somebody, or in his carseat while in the car or as part of his travel system stroller.  So, I had him in his carseat as part of the stroller on Sunday so I could push the stroller gently to simulate a rocking chair motion.   It lulled him to sleep during the singing and visiting time, and through the first part of the sermon. 

I think that over time, he will get used to being around the church crowd and will be able to make it through a full sermon.  He was very tired on Sunday afternoon and I'm sure it was from being overstimulated.  I did my best to keep him on his schedule, but I also realized that sometimes, he's just gonna have extra sleepy times and will need extra rest.  He did wonderfully on his schedule on the 2nd half of Monday and pretty much all day yesterday.  Today has been a  pretty good day as well.  We were able to run some errands in the early afternoon during one of Michael's naps.  He slept all the way until we pulled back in the driveway! :) 

Bedtimes have become somewhat of a fussy activity this past week. However, I've started implementing a new bedtime routine. Hopefully, I will get better at it as time goes along. Right now, it seems to work really well every other day. We'll have a semi-easy bedtime one night, and then the next night will take extra effort and time to get Michael to settle down for bed. Usually somewhere around 7:30, he begins to get sleepy.

On the best nights, Aaron or I can rock him in the living room til he's asleep, then give him a diaper change, swaddle him, and place him in his bassinet without a fuss. 

On the good nights, Michael will probably fuss enough to make me realize that he’s not hungry, he doesn’t need a diaper change, he doesn’t have to burp, but that he’s just tired.  I’ll take him to the bedroom and lay him on his swaddle blanket on our bed and swaddle him up.  He will smile at the ceiling fan and at me, and I’ll pick him up and put him in his bassinet and turn on his Twilight Turtle night light.  Then I’ll lay on the bed with my stopwatch and I’ll time his cries.  He starts to fuss a bit, and I try to wait 3 minutes before I pick him up.  If the 3 minute mark comes, I’ll pick him up and rock him while I sit on the side of the bed or in the rocking chair in our room.  After he settles down (sometimes he even falls asleep in my arms), I put him back in the bassinet and he usually goes right to sleep and stays asleep for 3-5 hours. 

On the “not-so-good” nights, we do the bedtime routine of diaper change, PJs, swaddling, songs, rocking, etc, but Michael just won’t settle down.  It’s on these days that I realize he’s overtired and is having a hard time winding down enough to sleep.  It takes a lot of patience on these nights to keep rocking, to keep singing, to keep walking around and bouncing him in our arms, etc.  On these nights, it might take us an hour to 2 hours (rarely more than that) to get him to sleep. 

Usually we’ll have a good night, then a “not-so-good” night during the week.  The great nights are the rarest, but I know they will soon become the most common type of night we experience as Michael gets older and grows more accustomed to bedtime. 

Yesterday Michael turned six-weeks old! Can you believe it?!? I surely can’t!  I had my 6-week check-up yesterday at my OB’s office.  Everything checked out okay.  I’ll have to return in 3 months to get my blood levels checked for my thyroid.  By that time, I’m positive that Michael will be sleeping through the night!


I start back to work on Monday. :(  Sad, sad, sad.  I will miss my Little Bitty Boo so so much!  He will be in good hands as his Grandma Chips, Grandma Dana and Granpa Bill all take care of him, but I will surely be a nervous-wreck as I have to recall how to do my job and do it well. :)


Please keep us in your prayers as we go through the “back-to-work” transition this next week.  And for anyone reading this who will be going on maternity leave, please please enjoy every second.  It goes by way too fast! :)

Enjoy these pictures of Michael.  We are amazed every day at the new things he can do.  He’s currently working on laughing. :)

Playing with his Musical Mobile Gym

Caught in the act of not napping at naptime

His first little baby laugh.  So sweet. :)

Listening to his Daddy talk

Realizing that Daddy is a funny guy!
Thanks for catching up with us!  Please remember us in your prayers as we begin the "back-to-work" transition.  :)  Until next time!  Much love, Reba