Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Month 8 & 9!

Age: 8 months, November 11, 2013.  
Fun & Exciting Events:  I STARTED CRAWLING (November 24th, 2013 8:30pm!)  We drove to Buffalo to stay with my Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving.  While we were visiting my Uncle Nate's house I crawled for the 1st time!  I really really wanted to play with a computer cord that Mommy was waving around on the floor to make it look like a snake.  I rocked back and forth a few times on my hands and knees and then just went for it!  It was great.  I was still a little wobbly but after a few days I got the hang of it and was a master by the time we arrived back in Nashville.  I had so much fun visiting my family in Buffalo.  I have a lot of cousins up there and my Grandma and Grandpa pay attention to me every single second!  Grandpa bounces me on his knee while making funny noises and I love it so much.  And he wears glasses that I like to look at and pull on.  Grandma always whispers to me how much she loves me and misses me being so far away.  

 Meal Times:  I love sitting in my high chair and being a part of family dinners each night.  I "drink" water from my sippy cup and throw my plastic bowls on the floor for Mommy to pick up!  I eat all the pureed food that Mommy and Daddy give me.  I am pretty picky when it comes to texture and Mommy has to make sure that my food is perfectly pureed.  Mom is somewhat worried about my texture issues and I have overheard her asking our neighbor who is a pediatric occupational therapist about my sensory issues! She reassured Mom that I was fine and to just keep offering different choices at mealtimes. 
Sleep Times:  I am giving my parents a real hard time at bedtime!  I am making them work to get me to sleep.  They get frustrated sometimes.  But, Mom read an article that was written by another mother explaining that the 8-13 months that some parents have to snuggle a few hours extra each night with their child isn't that long in the grand scheme of their time with you.  Mom was so glad that she read the article and was a little more patient with me at bedtime.  Right now, I am waking up about 3-4 times between 8:30-12:30am.  Mom and Dad take turns snuggling with me.  If it's Mom's turn, she nurses because I will not just lay with her.  Dad rocks me and hums be back to sleep and then gently lays me back in the crib.  I sleep until about 7:30am each morning so they do get about 7-8 hours of good sleep each night.  Mom was telling a friend how weird it is that you really can function only running on 3-4 hour sleep blocks.  Dad acts like he is never tired and is always doing things around the house.  I still take about an hour and a half nap when I get home from school so sometimes Mom lays down for about 30 minutes after she finishes cleaning all of the bottles and pump parts and washing my diapers.  She keeps reminding herself that I won't be this little forever and then she doesn't get as stressed out about being tired or doing some extra chores!

Age: 9 Months.  December 11, 2013.
Fun & Exciting Events: Mom and I have already posted about my awesome 1st Christmas which occurred during my 9th month of life.  
Mom and I like to have "Target Time" together.  Aunt Suzy mentioned this fun activity  to my Mom and she thought it was the greatest.  The two of us go to Target and Mommy treats herself to a tall decaf  coffee with a pump of caramel.  We walk around the store for about an hour.  It's very hard for Mommy not to buy everything that she sees! She usually leaves buy at least one item (usually it's something for me or Daddy!) 
Another activity that I enjoy in the house is playing on my alphabet mat that Mimi bought me.  I love ripping all of the edges off and chewing on them while crawling around the house! Mom and Dad have made me a little play nook between the green couch and piano, right under the window that looks into the backyard.  I have a few toys that I play with everyday, a musical egg shaker, plastic water bottles filled with items (jingle bells, buttons, puff balls, & beads), plastic shape sorters, and duplo legos.
Mom and Dad are having a lot of fun with me during this stage.  Everyone said, you don't want him to crawl, you think you're busy now just wait until he crawls, ugh, just wait until they start crawling;  well, guess what, Mom and Dad have LOVED watching me crawl and explore and discover all sorts of things in our house.  It makes evenings more entertaining and weekend mornings a lot more fun!  
Cheers to month 10!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My 1st Christmas!

     My 1st Christmas was everything that I hoped it would be.  Mom started off the season by decorating our house with LOTS of decorations and taking me to visit Santa Claus for the 1st time!  I loved looking at the tree and playing with a plastic Santa Claus ornament that hung on the very bottom branch.  I didn't enjoy the feel of the fake tree branches so I mostly left it alone and played with my fabric nativity scene and Christmas books that Mom has been collecting for me this past year!

     One day, it was very warm outside, 71*, and Mom and Linus and I all went to the playground to take some pictures for a Christmas card.  Linus was not cooperating and Mom was  getting pretty angry at him.  He and I both thought it was hilarious as Mom would wrestle Linus in place and then quickly grab the phone to snap a picture, just as I fell over and tried to grab Linus' paw as he tried to eat my Santa hat and I tried pulling on his reindeer antlers.  Needless to say, I was the only one on the Christmas card this year.  Mimi said that people don't care about when my Mom and Dad look like and they really only want to see me anyway so, I guess it works out. This is what Mom ended up with for our Christmas card! Mom LOVES my little curled toes and drool and tummy rolls.

     For Christmas this year we went to Grayson, Georgia and stayed with my Mimi and Pop Pop!  My Great Nana was there almost the entire time and I was so excited about that.  We played at Mimi and Pop Pop's house the whole time we were there.  Mom was planning on meeting up with lots of her friends, but we were having so much fun having family time that it didn't work out.
     We got to be there for a whole week which was so much fun.  My Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Eric stayed at the house for several days and even my Nashville McKay family was there for a few of the days.
    On Christmas Eve we all went to eat at Mah Jong, a Chinese restaurant.  Mom told me that they go every year on Christmas Eve.  I was excited for my first time.  I sat at the table like a big boy and ate my food and Mom shared her rice with me for the 1st time.  It was delicious! I sat and watched my family and talked and waved to people the entire meal.  I was a little angel baby and Mom and Dad were so happy about that!
    On Christmas morning Mom was the first one awake.  My Aunt Lindsay told me that Mom is always the 1st one awake.  They said that we couldn't wake anyone up until 8:00am.  Mom felt like that was too late and woke up about 6:30am.  She laid in bed with Dad looking at the video monitor waiting for me to make the tinniest twitch so that she could come scoop me up and wake the rest of the family.  We went and got Aunt Lindsay and my puppy cousin Avery first and then ran upstairs with Linus and jumped on Mimi and Pop Pop's bed.  I was so excited because my Mom was so happy!  We all went downstairs and opened presents.  My Mom told Mimi and Pop Pop not to buy me any toys because I already had so many.  They actually listened and bought me a fun wooden stool with my name on it and a coat hook with my name on it.  I love my stool so much; the letter "e" is my favorite! I enjoyed opening presents and trying to sneak some wrapping paper for a snack every now and then.  At one point I got a little overwhelmed and needed a nursing break, right in the middle of all of the chaos!

    After opening presents at Mimi and Pop Pop's we went over to my Aunt Kristen and Uncle Mike's house.  My sweet sweet cousins, Madelyne and Lily, were so excited to see me.  Uncle Mike cooked a HUGE breakfast and we opened a few more presents!  Madelyne and Lily gave me a little walking toy that I absolutely LOVE.  I immediately pulled up on it and walked across the living room.  I felt so free and proud of myself!
   My favorite present is the Learning Tower that Dada built for me.  He surprised Mommy and me on Saturday morning before we left for Atlanta.  Each year my Dada (with the help of Mom's emotional support and craftiness) is going to DIY me a Christmas present!  Mom has a lot of ideas that she send Dada from Pinterest! They better get pretty creative if they want to top this year's gift.  I love it already and I know that I am going to like it even more when I am able to actually help Mommy cook and bake each night! Here is where Daddy got the plans to build my tower!
    While at Mimi and Pop Pop's house, I had my 1st spaghetti!  It was delicious.  I loved the way it felt in my hands and they way that it tasted.  Linus kept licking my legs through the high chair and I thought it was hilarious.  During the actual meal, I was very serious about eating the noodles.  All of my cousins were watching and people kept trying to take pictures!  It was a lot of fun.  Dada loves spaghetti a lot and Mommy likes to make the sauce at home so they were both glad that I enjoyed it.

    One extra special event  that happens each year at Mimi and Pop Pop's house is the McKay Family Christmas.  All of Mimi's brothers and their families come over and brings a little dish and we eat together and hang out.  This is one event that we all get to be together and for most of the people, it is the only time of the year that we get to see each other.  This year we were missing three cousins out of 20 isn't too shabby.  We have added a couple of significant others to the group as well which makes it 23 and then I make 24!   I'm the 1st great grandchild!
    It was a wonderful Christmas filled with LOTS of family time.  Next year we will be in Buffalo for Christmas and I will be old enough to sled with my cousins.  Mom is already feeling a little sad about not being able to be at home for Christmas each year but she loves Dada's family so much.  I have a lot of cousins on Dada's side of the family as well.  There are 9 of us so far and we will all be together next Christmas for the 1st time! Mom LOVES the snow so much and I got to see a lot of it when we were in Buffalo visiting for Thanksgiving but I wasn't able to play in it.  Dada can't wait until I am old enough to teach me how to snow board on the same mountains that he would snowboard in high school!

Thanksgiving recap in pictures:

Nursing Update!

    The last time I posed about nursing, Leland was only 9 weeks old.  I can't even believe that he is 46 weeks old now.  It doesn't even seem possible.  In my last breastfeeding post Leland had just began nursing without the nipple shield and I closed the post with, "maybe one day I will be able to nurse in the ERGO!"  To update, we definitely nurse in the ERGO, meal times, pumpkin patches, walks, shopping, blueberry picking.   I guess I can check that off of my wish list of things I hope to be able to do with Leland! We are still a great nursing team.  We have our ups and downs with nursing and I still ask my LLL leader friend about 10 questions a week about breastfeeding; I still think that maybe "my supply is getting low"; I still worry about how much milk I have frozen; I still feel like I can't be away from him for longer than three hours without having my pump so I don't miss a feeding, and I still pray that he is gaining weight and getting enough milk each time he nurses.
     We are going on 10 and a half months of being exclusively breastfed (except for the wonderful formula that he had in the hospital when his blood sugar dropped scary low).  I figured when I had Leland that I would nurse for a year, if I could make it that long.  Well, after a 3 day nursing strike and my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer when Leland was 4 weeks old (she has gone through radiation and as far as they can see, she is cancer free and healthy! Thank the LORD!), I can't imagine stopping anytime soon.  I have read countless articles that state how "women who breastfeed reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 25 percent. The reduction in cancer risk comes in proportion to the cumulative lifetime duration of breastfeeding. That is, the more months or years a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk of breast cancer."  After receiving some of the scariest news a daughter could ever hear, i am going to nurse as long as possible to lower my risk as much as possible.  As for the nursing strike, he decided one Thursday afternoon when he was just 7 months old that he was NOT going to nurse.
    This nursing strike was so painful both emotionally and physically.  He was teething at the time and had a double ear infection and was on antibiotics.  He had bitten me for the 1st time and I took the advice that I had heard from countless people, "yell NO in a stern voice and put him on the floor so he knows he can't do that to you.  He needs to learn that he can't bite.  Flick him in the cheek or bite him back so he knows what it feels like." When he bit me the first time, it hurt! I yelled "No!" and placed him on the floor in his nursery.  I can only imagine how much hurt he felt from having his Mama yell at him like I did and turn him away from the one constant thing that comforts him most.  He began sobbing and never took his eyes off of me.  I scooped him up and cuddled him and tried to nurse him again.  He wouldn't nurse for me.  This went on until Monday morning.  It was devastating.  Everyone kept telling me that it wasn't my fault and yelling like that wouldn't cause a nursing strike.  Well, in my heart I know it did.  When I called the LLL leader she gave me the best advise for a biting infant.  She told to me talk to him.  Explain to him that biting hurts Mommy and that Mommy can't nurse if he is biting.  Speak in a calm voice and use my words.  Funny how I remind my students that every single day and now I was the one who needed the reminder.  Each time we tried nursing I would try to use a positive voice and act like it was ok if he wasn't ready to nurse.  Nate would help me talk to Leland when he didn't want to nurse.  I was feeling so sad and like such a failure that often times I would just cry.  I know many people are thinking, it was only three days get over yourself but when you nurse your baby 10-12 times a day, that is 30-36 times of trying and failing.  The emotional aspect of this strike was horrible but I was in so much physical pain as well.  People kept saying, can't you just pump, pumping isn't that bad. I know pumping isn't bad, I do it 2-3 times a day, everyday, in addition to nursing 6-8 times a day.  I usually respond really well to a pump but that is when I have a little nursling helping things along in between pumping sessions.  I was engorged during the nursing strike and NOTHING would come out when I would pump.  Wearing a shirt would be painful as well as lying down.  I would try to pump after each nursing try, I did warm compresses, cold compresses, massages, power pumping (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for an hour), I even got really great at hand expression but the milk just wouldn't flow out.  Thankfully, I had a neighbor who was renting a hospital grade pump that she was willing to loan me.  It is a closed system and I had my own tubing and parts that I had kept from the hospital. I used that pump about 4 times and on the fourth time, the clogs came out and the milk was flowing.  It felt so good.  I finally was able to take a deep breath.  I used the pump for another 12 hours and then on Monday morning, Leland woke up, Nate brought him downstairs for me and laid him on my lap.  He rolled towards me and began to nurse.  He looked up and smiled while nursing and acted like the last three days had never happened.  I was about to start crying tears of joy, but Nate was in the kitchen mouthing to me, don't cry, don't cry! We didn't want to scare him away again!  And that is how the nursing strike began and ended.
    We are still nursing on demand these days.  He is still eating a lot of solid foods.  I bet it is about 60% breast milk, 40% solids.  I nurse him before each snack and meal to make sure that my supply stays up.  If I was home with him each day, I wouldn't be as worried about my supply.  But being away from him for 7 hours a day, Monday-Friday, I try to nurse as much as possible when we are together.  It is still hard for me to be away from him for more than a couple of hours on the weekends.  We nurse about 6 times a day on the weekdays and about 8-10 times on the weekends.
     I have a lot of frozen milk in the freezer and I freeze the fresh milk each day and use the oldest frozen milk to send to school with him.  Our plan is for me to continue pumping until the end of school, May 16th, and then just nurse until he is ready to wean and continue to feed him the breast milk at meal times in sippy cups.  That's the plan.  However, Nathan and I have learned these last 10 and a half months that babies do not always stick to the parent's plan!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Month 6 & 7

     Mom has realized these past few months how freaking hard it is to update a blog while working full time and taking care of me! I am actually 10 and a half months old now and Mom and I are just now catching up on my 6,7,8 & 9 month posts.  She still needs to write about my 1st Thanksgiving and Christmas; my first snow; update her breastfeeding and cloth diapering adventures.  She's very grateful that I still take really great naps so that she can get all of the daily household chores finished each night before Daddy gets home from work. 
     Now, to update you with how much I have been changing and growing and EATING these last few months.....

Age: 6 & 7months!
Weight & Height: I had an appointment and had to get some more shots on October 8, 2013.  I was such a brave boy.  I only cried for a second and then immediately nursed when the nurse finished!  I am still a petite guy.  I weigh 16 pounds 2 ounces and I am 25.5inches tall!  That puts me in the 5%!  Oh yeah!  I am developing just fine and I am growing, just on my own little curve! 

Things I enjoy: I am LOVING food.  Mom has made me so many different types of food.  Some of my favorites are pumpkin with banana, peas (like my daddy), green beans with some garlic powder, apples-carrots-cinnamon, sweet potato - pear, broccoli-apple, and sweet potatoes with cinnamon.  Mom spends about 3 hours on the weekend and makes about 80-90 ounces of baby food.  She steams or roasts everything and then uses the immersion blender to mix and puree everything.  Then, she freezes it all in ice cube trays and when it's all frozen, she separates them into Tupperware containers that have been labeled with sharpie marker on painters tape.  Painters tape is moms new favorite took.  She has notes all over the pantry door for meal planning, pics on the fridge, and has everything labeled in the fridge and freezer with painters tape.  Its easy to remove and doesn't leave any sticky residue behind! She also uses painters tape to label all of the frozen breast milk!

What I have been up to: Things have been busy around here.  I am still loving school and my teachers are amazing.  I have never cried at school and Mom is so happy about that! I don't know what she would do if I was a sad baby at school.  We celebrated Halloween and I dressed up as a cheeseburger!  My puppy brother was a hot dog and mom and dad were mustard and ketchup.  We had some friends and family over to the house and ate pizza and just hung out on Halloween.  It was very stormy and people were not trick-or-treating. One weekend, mom, dad, and I all went to Birmingham for a fun weekend with all of moms friends.  We went to a pumpkin patch and I loved playing with the small pumpkins and touching the stems.  I tried chewing on the rough stems several times, but Mom snatched them away from me.  My friends all brought their Halloween costumes and we dressed up for about 30 minutes, just long enough for my mom and all of my aunts to take some pictures!  I was a pretty adorable cheeseburger!

In September, I went to my first hockey game!  I loved it so much.  The noise and lights and people were so entertaining.  I was so good because I was occupied with all of the action.  Dad was so excited that I liked it.  Mom was excited that I looked absolutely adorable.  I wore a Nashville Predators shirt, my croched hockey skates, skinny jeans, and my Buffalo Sabres winter hat.  All of the people sitting around us wanted to take my picture and just kept telling my Dad that he is going to love to watch me play hockey one day! 
One morning, Dad, Linus, and I met Mommy downtown and watcher her "run" in the Color Run with her co-teachers!   It was fun and there was so much excitement that I enjoyed it.  Mommy ran the Color Run last year too when she was 20 weeks pregnant and wore a pink sock and a blue sock because she and daddy didn't know what I was going to be! How the times have changed!  After this race, she went to lunch and had to excuse herself to go pump in the car! I know that she does that a lot.  She brings her pump everywhere, just in case she will be away from me for longer than about three hours.  When it is longer than that she gets pretty uncomfortable so she just pumps and freezes it and Dada gives me a bottle.  
I also got to meet my Great Aunt Judy!  I went to Atlanta with my Mommy and got to hang out with Great Aunt Judy for three whole days.  It was so much fun.  She fed me a lot and played with me every second.  She even wakes up as early as me so we got to play together each morning! 

We had a little bit of breastfeeding DRAMA at the beginning of October.  I went on a Nursing Strike for 3 and a half days and oooohhhhh was Mommy sad.  I am pretty sure that we will tell you all about in in a separate post! It started with an ear infection and I had to be on my first set of antibiotics.  I was also getting my top two teeth in so it made for a VERY interesting weekend.  My Grandma and Grandpa from Buffalo were here and I was not the happiest of babies.  Thankfully they were mostly here to visit my brand new cousin, baby Gray, who was born on September 28th.  I am so excited that he and I are just 6 months apart and living just a few minutes away from each other.  I just know that he and I will be the best of friends!

The next few months got even busier as I became even more active than I already was.  Hopefully we can catch all the way to month 10!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thank You Dad!

     It's your birthday, and I wanted to let you know how thankful I am for you.  Your days (and nights especially) may not be as peaceful as they once were and you definitely are not getting those 8 hours of sleep you loved so dearly anymore, but I won't always need all of those midnight snuggles and early morning play dates that we have together.  There are so many things that I am thankful for that I decided to make a list...

Thank you for...
~letting me sleep on your chest each night for about 3 weeks straight.
~waking up with me every single night that I have been born.
~teaching me to stand up in my crib....and bounce like I'm on a trampoline.
~giving me crawling lessons while Mom watched TV downstairs at night.
~picking out my clothes each morning.
~taking me to school everyday....and singing me the Billy Maddison "back to school" song on the way.
~changing ALL of my diapers when you're home.
~supporting Mommy 100% in her nursing endeavors.
~being patient while feeding me breakfast each morning.
~bouncing me on the exercise ball for the  first 9 months of my life!
~keeping me squeaky clean when you feed me.
~showing me how to use the knee hockey sticks.
~giving me a bath at night when I start to get a little fussy.
~taking me to the grocery store on Saturday mornings so Mommy can get some extra sleep.
~building me a Learning Tower!
~making me laugh when you jump on the bed with me.
~dressing me so cute!
~staying home from work when I am feeling sick.
~sucking all of the boogies out of my nose every time I get congested!
~letting me crawl all over you at night when we hang out together in the Sabres Room.
~always being happy to see me when you get home from work!
~sleeping on the floor in my nursery when I was sick at night.
~taking me to the doctor when I was sick.
~washing all of Mommy's pump parts before you go to bed at night!
~never wasting any of Mommy's hard pumped milk.
~being extra sensitive when Mommy is feeling like "her supply is low!"
~always holding me so sweetly when you give me a bottle.
~never ever complaining about taking me to school.
~teaching me how to use a video game controller.
~teaching me about the Sabres at such a young age.
~being so sweet to Mommy when I was on my nursing strike.
~always keeping the car seat straps untangled and ready for Mommy to put me in there.
~vacuuming the house each morning to entertain me and keep all of the dog hair out of my mouth.
~playing with me on the weekends when Mommy needs a nap.
~changing my sheets in the middle of the night the first time I ever threw up.
~ looking up answers to all of Mommy's questions on the internet when Mommy is freaking out!
~knowing how to wear me in the ERGO!

....I am sure I am forgetting some things, but Dad, I am so thankful for you.  I hope that you have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and, just in case I need a bunch of snuggles tonight, remember that I won't be this little forever and I LOVE your nightly snuggles.