This May, Lydia turned seven.
Almost three months have snuck by because 1) I had some technical issues with the blog and computer, and 2) these (5!) kiddos keep me busy. But here’s an update on our Little Miss Lydia as a seven-year-old.
Lydia is spunky, energetic, sweet, fun, outgoing, enthusiastic, inquisitive, sensitive, persistent, and observant. She loves to do fun things, eat good food, and be with people all the time. She observes everything around her, picks up on others’ conversations, and asks a ton of questions. She learns quickly, eagerly tackles new projects, and loves looking forward to things.
Lydia is a people person. She loves activities where we get to be with people: church, Bible study, gymnastics lessons, open houses, camping trips, dinner dates, babysitters, and the list could go on. Once a week, Dan takes one kid out on a daddy-daughter or daddy-son date for some one-on-one time. Lydia loves it because it’s something to look forward to, she gets to be with Daddy, and she gets a treat.
Maybe this goes along with being a people person, but Lydia is extremely verbal. Last year we took a trip to Toledo and Lydia literally talked the whole way there. She told stories, sang songs, and occasionally asked a question, but didn’t usually wait for an answer. When she gets excited, she talks more (gets that from her mom). Lydia already knows a lot about the difference between being an introvert and extrovert (because we’re opposites) and she knows how to give me space when I need it. But, when I’m up for it, Lydia always appreciates doing one more thing together, hearing one more story, or getting one more (long) snuggle.
Lydia is a sponge. This year she’s taken off on her reading and will read anything she finds lying around. For a day or two after we visit the library, we can hardly get her to do anything other than devour every single book we brought home. Then she asks me to read them to her too. She loves to read to me and she loves when I read to her. She’s also been learning piano (via hoffmanacademy.com) and she does extra math practice for fun (via khanacademy.com). She asks tons of questions. In fact, I started keeping a list of her questions. Once a week, during school, we learn all about all the things she wants to know. My current list includes: windmills, food born illnesses, branches of the military, how to play chess, how bikes work, how toilets work, ants, state versus federal politics, and our family history. I don’t come up with these ideas. They really come straight out of her mouth.
Lydia is a ball of energy. Maybe that’s obvious from what I’ve written so far. Looking back over the past few paragraphs leaves me feeling tired (and she’s not even with me right now!). But Lydia is also incredibly sweet and forgiving. She hates to be separated from others physically or emotionally. Sending her to her room is torture, telling her she can’t go to an activity is worse, and having a broken relationship with someone is the worst of all. She has a strong, but soft heart, and it hurts her to see others sad.
It is amazing to look back at Lydia’s life, all the way back to her first days in the NICU, and see her personality shine through from Day One. God has given us a precious gift in this little seven-year-old, and we are looking forward to see where He takes her in the years ahead.
I am so happy to be passed the 32 week mark! Last weekend I was utterly convinced Baby was going to be born before Monday (the day I hit 32). It was purely psychological, apart from a few random contractions, and I made it to Monday just fine, with Baby still in my belly. But let me back up a little…
Just before 31 weeks I started having some abdominal pain which I suspected to be related to contractions somehow. After two days of off and on pain, I started having clear contractions lasting about one minute, about five minutes apart. They never lasted long, so I didn’t expect Baby to come right away, but I was definitely concerned. This sort of thing started about a week and a half before Paul was born, and we weren’t hoping to have Baby come earlier than Paul.
At my last doctor’s appointment, a few days after contractions started, my doctor noticed some prelabor signs. Baby is head down, and his/her head is getting lower. There is also some effacement going on, probably from all those contractions. I’ve been taking it easy, more or less, as I have been for several weeks now. However, we aren’t putting our whole lives on hold this time. I’m still homeschooling Lydia and Dan is still at work all day. I just try to rest when I need to and avoid lifting heavy things as much as possible. I’m cooking the easiest meals I can think of and my 5-week meal plan (repeating the same few meals over and over), posted on the fridge and crossed off as each meal passes, has become my count down to Baby.
After the last ultrasound, the contractions stopped. About a week later I began to feel more pressure, but only occasionally. I’m guessing that has more to do with Baby’s position than anything else, so I just try to lie down when I notice it.
Meanwhile, we are getting excited to meet Baby! I’m only 17 days from the gestation when Paul was born, and less than five weeks from FULL TERM. I’ve finally packed my hospital bag. I wrote out a Birth Plan and stashed that in my purse along with my camera, so we’re not without either one no matter when Baby comes. We’ve lined up some babysitters for the kids too. So all I really have left to do is pack a bag for the kids and, when we get closer to 35 weeks, set up Baby’s bassinet.
I’m still craving almond milk, and have a cup every night. (We’re actually out right now, so I’m thinking the weekly Meijer run is happening tonight!) Other cravings come and go, nothing too major. My joints are all getting nice and loose, which makes it hard to sleep and lie down for very long. Between the joints and constant bathroom runs, I’m getting up several times a night some nights now. I’m trying to be disciplined to go to bed early, and I can tell my body needs the extra rest. When I’m not lying down I have an almost constant sore back, something new for me. My babies never got big enough for that before. 🙂 I’m not complaining though! A little sore back and trouble sleeping are far better than leaving Baby in the NICU every night!
I’ve mentioned this in my Instagram posts, but I’ll say it again here. It’s starting to sink in that there’s really going to be a Little Person coming home from the hospital soon. The pregnancy has been so full of medical stuff, praying, waiting, hoping, and taking it easy, that it’s not hard to forget that fact. Lately I’ve been thinking more about our names, imagining Baby and even having Baby dreams. Lydia is practically counting down the days too.
My next appointment is Tuesday, and soon we’ll be going every week for visits. I never know if I’ll have a chance to write another blog update, but mini updates will definitely be in my Instagram pictures. I so appreciate everyone who has been thinking of us and praying for us throughout the last weeks. God has been so kind and is, once again, answering our many prayers.
Here’s a picture of Baby at 27 weeks. It’s not the easiest to decipher. Baby’s face is sideways with the chin on the left and forehead on the right. The brightest white patch near the middle is Baby’s right cheek and just to the right of that you can see Baby’s right eye and nose as dark spots. Above Baby’s head is one hand and below the chin is the other, both made into fists.
It’s hard to believe I’m already at the point in this pregnancy when Abby was born! I don’t know how often I’m going to be able to give updates, but since I have a few free minutes this afternoon, I wanted to catch everyone up a little.
Things are going smoothly and so far Baby has stayed put. 🙂
I’m up to having appointments every two weeks now (starting this Tuesday) and so far, my doctor hasn’t seen any reason to feel alarmed that Baby might be coming soon. That means I haven’t been put on bed rest! We’ve been getting ultrasounds at every visit to check on Baby’s size and heartbeat, but also to check for signs that my body is preparing for labor. Last visit was the first time we could notice any signs, but they were subtle and not too concerning. (Whew!)
Originally our doctor predicted this Baby would make it 35-37 weeks and we were hoping for 37. However, Baby has measured half to one week big at every ultrasound since the beginning of my second trimester, so it seems likely that Baby might come around 36 weeks. That would put Baby’s birthday the week of Thanksgiving.
Baby is probably closing in on three pounds now (Abby was two pounds and fifteen ounces when she was born), and while that’s not huge, I’m carrying Baby entirely on my right side. Things are getting pretty tight over there. Along with the growing belly, I’m back to some of my less convenient pregnancy symptoms: nausea and food aversions. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been struggling to eat. I’ve also been feeling weak and sometimes clammy, but my blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood count are all normal. I’ve been trying to drink more water, hoping that might be the culprit, but I’m not sure it’s making much of a difference yet.
This is the first time in a pregnancy that I’m feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions. With Paul, and only with Paul, I started having contractions a week and a half before he was born. But those were all quite painful so I constantly thought I was in labor. These contractions aren’t painful, and it’s completely normal to be experiencing them at this point. My first contractions were about a week ago (27 weeks) and I’ve started noticing them more this week.
I’ve been able to keep up with my usual routine, including homeschooling Lydia now, and hopefully potty training Abby next week. We’ll see how that goes. Even though I’ve been feeling nauseous, I’ve still been craving almond milk, sugary sweets, and fruit. I relish my nightly glass of almond milk, try to ignore the sweet cravings (but sometimes I think Baby NEEDS a chocolate chip cookie), and eat as much fruit as I can without depleting the whole fruit bowl in one day.
The milestones are coming pretty quickly now! I’m looking forward to Tuesday’s appointment, where we’ll check one more time if my body looks like it’s preparing for labor. After 30 weeks it’s too hard to tell, since it’s normal to start getting ready for labor at that point.
In case you missed the Instagram announcement, Dan and I are excited to be expecting Baby #4 sometime this fall/winter. Our due date is December 19th, and our doctor has high hopes that we’ll make it to 37 weeks this time (a TERM baby!) which would put Baby’s birthday around the end of November (November 28th).
At our initial doctor visit, I was less than six weeks along but we could see a tiny little heart beat pulse on the ultrasound machine. I’ve never had an ultrasound that early before. It was hard to recognize our little girl/guy.
The first question everyone asks when they hear the news is: “Are you going to find out this time?” You may know already, we found out ahead of time that Abby and Lydia were girls, but we waited to be surprised with Paul. I loved being surprised and Dan didn’t mind the wait, so we’re waiting again this time. I guess you’ll all just have to wait with us. I have an inkling suspicion that it’s a girl, but, for the record, I’ve been wrong with every single baby so far. 😛
So far, this pregnancy has been the most difficult, with more nausea and food aversions than my other three. Then again, I’m also chasing around three Little Ones this time and I don’t get nearly as long of naps. I’ve been particularly disgusted by lentils, and for several weeks I couldn’t tolerate most foods. There haven’t been a ton of strong cravings, mostly little ones: ice in my water, nectarines, and simple sandwiches with tomato, mustard, and lettuce. I’ve felt well enough to handle breakfasts, but then I’ve been unable to eat much of anything come lunch time. After nap time I’ve felt the worst, and I usually haven’t felt better until after the kids are in bed. Then Dan teases me while I make whatever sort of dinner sounds good to me at the time. Lately, I’ve had a humongous craving for cottage cheese.
I had my second prenatal appointment at eight weeks and everything looked good. (That’s the ultrasound in the Instagram pic.) My third appointment was at twelve weeks, but Baby was measuring closer to thirteen. That was also my pre-op appointment for a minor surgery performed a week and a half later. It’s the same surgery I had with Paul, and the procedure that will hopefully help me carry this baby even longer. My next appointment isn’t until July 12th (17 weeks).
So, other than the difficulty eating, this pregnancy really is flying by. The kids keep me so busy and our summer is just so full of activities, that right now I’m distracted enough that I’m not counting the days. I’ve been trying to cook and freeze meals here and there, but it’s been nothing compared to last time because I’ve been struggling to cook much of anything anyway. Hopefully we won’t really need those freezer meals until after Baby is born!
Paul is closing in on one year, but before he gets there I needed to give an eleven-month update!
This month Paul was up to 20.4 pounds. Compared to his sisters at this age, he’s HUGE. And doing a lot more too. I remember at 11 months when Abby army-crawled for the first time. Paul is not only army crawling…
He’s getting up on all fours…
For weeks, Paul liked to crawl over to our fireplace and push up on the ledge. He’d stand there in a sort of push-up position for a long time. Then he figured out how to pull up on things and now he’s really standing. He has yet to take any steps while holding on, but he loves being upright and almost as tall as Abby.
Paul also likes to get into things…making my job a little harder. His favorites are dirty diapers (while I’m changing Abby’s diaper) and the toilet. Yup, he’s a boy. Other boy things he likes to do include chasing the vacuum cleaner and climbing on top of Abby whenever she’s on the ground. He’s watched Daddy wrestle the girls enough to know that the person on top is the winner.
Paul’s gearing up for baseball season too. He’s thrilled that the weather is getting warmer. We had our first outing to the playground this month and he desperately wanted to get down and crawl all over everything. It was wet, so we had to keep him in our arms that time, but he was super observant, taking everything in.
In fact, Paul is often observant. He watches whatever is going on in a serious face, preferring to be in Mom’s arms whenever it gets close to bed or nap time. But if you get down to his level and start a conversation, you are likely to see his little grin. Keep talking and he’ll flash you a huge toothy smile (two front teeth now). His hair is getting pretty shaggy, and he’s due for a haircut soon, but right now we are enjoying his bed head after naps too much to cut it just yet.
Paul is a content and happy baby. Often before going to sleep he’ll just keep looking at me and giggling. When I put him down he lets out some protests but willingly goes to sleep without too much of a fight. With our late night and early morning feeds, he pretty consistently lets me sleep non-stop in between.
He loves to eat and play and I just know he’s going to have a ton of fun this summer when we start spending more time outside. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started walking within a few months, and I’m sure he’ll be hitting baseballs with his dad not long after that!
Three quarters of a year, already! Paul is getting so big, so fast. During the past month he hit half a billion milestones and is cuter than ever.
We can start off with the one area where our Little Man is not winning our hearts: his sleep habits. Getting up three times a night is usual, four isn’t unheard of, and there’s a rumor that he got up five times in one night (but who can think clearly enough to count THAT high in the middle of the night?). We’re working on this (and someone may be moving out of Mommy and Daddy’s room a little earlier than his sisters). Moving on.
Paul is so cute. And he’s doing new things. All in the same week, he started sitting up, army crawling, clapping, and babbling. We have definitely heard him say, “baba” and “mama”. Dan claims he has also heard “dada”, but that hasn’t been confirmed. 😉 We just love it when he talks to us. His laugh is contagious. And boy, can he get around! It has conveniently worked out this year that our baby became mobile within a week of our setting up the Christmas tree, so that makes for some exciting times. His sisters do a great job watching him when we ask, playing with him occasionally, and warning us if he tries to pull the tree down or chew the lights.
Paul has started to enjoy his solid foods more this month too. He, for a while, would glue his lips shut when we tried to feed him. We recently figured out that he will eagerly eat up his food as long as he gets to be the one to feed himself. So meal times are a little messier now, but everyone is a little happier. And we aren’t too concerned that most of his food ends up on the floor since he’s still gaining weight like a champ: nineteen pounds exactly at nine months old.
Paul still loves Mom and Dad, but isn’t afraid to go with others either. Mostly he just wants attention and the chance to move around. Even when he’s being held or sitting, his arms never stop waving and his feet never stop wiggling. But my favorite is when Dan has him in the other room at Bible study, church, or even at home and Paul starts to get tired. If I come into his line of vision he’ll stop fussing and watch me, and if I step away he’ll start crying. Then I come back, scoop him up and watch him grin, happy to be back in Mommy’s arms.
You guys. I feel like I just did an update on Paul. Where does the time go?
Although my last post was late, and this one is early, so I guess it’s my own fault. But still. Where does the time go? How is our baby already 9 months old? That’s three quarters of a year…a whole year. Nevertheless, here is an update on our almost-nine-month-old with several pictures so you can enjoy both his latest antics and his adorable face.
Little man is as cute and cuddly as ever. This month he has shown more of his personality and insisted on snuggling with his Mommy every night at 3 in the morning. We’re working on that.
Paul likes broccoli and peas. Sweet potato and avocado are alright. Sweet corn is not his thing and he all but refuses to eat oatmeal. I’m sure he’ll grow into it, I mean, who doesn’t like corn? And you cannot survive in this family if you won’t eat oatmeal. 🙂 He’s not the biggest fan of solid foods yet, but we’re easing him into them with tiny hopes that they might just help him sleep better at night.
After getting up several times each night for several nights in a row, I finally admitted that this wasn’t just a six-month-growth-spurt. A couple of nights ago I decided to just hold Paul instead of feeding him. In just two days he’s down to getting up twice a night: once to eat and once to snuggle. And, speaking of snuggling, Paul loves to snuggle with Mommy. Often he enjoys being held by anyone, but sometimes he just wants me (yay!). He also likes it when I sing to him. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet. When Paul is sleepy and grumpy in the evenings, he’ll fuss and cry and stop instantly if I start singing “Jesus Loves Me” to him. He goes into a daze and starts sucking on the middle and ring fingers of his left hand. If I switch into “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, Paul will resume fussing, but “Jesus Loves the Little Children” keeps the daze going.
Paul doesn’t like noise. Yelling, large groups of people singing together in a small space, and sharp rebukes to misbehaving toddlers will bring tears to his eyes and cause him to stick out his lower lip. One Sunday Paul spent an entire church baseball game snuggled in the arms of one of the ladies from church. Just once she cheered for someone on the field and he started crying. He likes quiet and peace. He also doesn’t like being cold. Normally he’s a smiley guy but put him in a coat in the stroller these days and he’s super serious. Bring him in, take off the coat, and set him down, and he’s back to his smiley self.
Paul likes books. A few days ago we accidentally left Lydia’s “F” flashcard on the floor and when I found it later it was in shreds. The next day we forgot to pick up the library books and found a quarter of a page gone and the rest of the book covered in drool. We’re learning to be more careful about leaving paper on the floor, but we’re happy that Paul already has an appetite for reading. 😉
Paul is up to 18 pounds now (probably more, we need to weight him again). He’s getting stronger, but still not sitting up or crawling. He rolls, pivots, and can make it from one side of the living room to the other if there’s something tempting enough. His favorite items to maneuver toward (besides books) are shoes, blankets, and articles of clothing. His favorite real toys are his tiny stuffed elephant with polka dots, and the red animal that we’ve named “The Monkow” because it seems to have the head of a monkey and the body of a cow.
Paul is the perfect age for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we cannot wait for him to meet the Christmas Moose in just a few weeks.
Would you believe it if I told you Paul weighs over 15 pounds already? We love having such a big boy, well, big for us at least. Paul is about the size that Lydia and Abby were around one year old, but he’s only five months old. Although, it’s hard to believe we’ve had him in our home for almost half of a year already. This month Paul started showing more of his personality and preferences.
First of all, I mentioned last month that Paul had rolled from his tummy to his back. A few days later, Paul rolled from his back to his tummy and he’s been all-tummy-all-the-time ever since. No matter where you put him, he immediately flips over onto his tummy and holds his head up. When we lay him down for a nap or at bedtime he flops onto his belly and goes to sleep. On top of tummy-loving, Paul is a finger-loving baby. He loves to suck and chew on his chubby little fingers and hands. Sometimes it’s a thumb, sometimes a middle and ring finger, sometimes a whole fist. Paul doesn’t seem to have a favorite finger-sucking combo, or even a preference for his right or left hand, but he does love to suck.
He’s still our happy Little Man. Paul is the most content of our babies so far. He spends a lot of his days on a blanket on the floor, or in a bouncy seat, or his jungle (when he’s not napping) and he’s usually just fine with that. BUT, if someone will hold Paul and talk to him a little, his whole face will just beam with delight. He’ll “talk” your ear off, carry on long conversations with coos and squeals, and get anyone laughing with his cute little chuckles. At nighttime, while he doesn’t always go to bed as early as we’d like, he sleeps like a champ all night long. When he does wake up before morning, he’ll just suck on his pacifier and go back to sleep. I usually get him up at 7 to feed him and he’ll keep his two-hour nap routine, but he doesn’t always want to eat at the two-hour mark anymore. During the evenings he’ll stretch out the schedule, because that’s when he gets held the most and, if he’s being held, he’s extremely content and will hold off on eating for hours. Sometimes lately he’ll get into a “chill” mood where he just wants to sit with Mommy, not eat, just sit and look around and relax.
Last night I tucked Paul in for the night and came back downstairs only to hear him cry and cry. Finally I went up to get him. He wouldn’t eat, so I just held him in my arms and he just stayed there quietly staring at me for several minutes. I soaked it up, knowing my days of snuggling him might be limited…I’m not sure he’s going to wait until 21 months to walk like his sisters! But part of me thinks (and hopes) he might just always be a snuggler and that’s ok with me! With his big eyes and charming smile Paul is overwhelmingly cute and delightfully sweet. We just love our Little Man.
In a few days, little Paul will be two months old, but he’s already hit double digits on his weight. According to our scale, last night Paul weighed ten pounds. He has nearly doubled his birthweight!
The theme for this month was SNUGGLES. Paul loves to be held all the time. Most of the time, we don’t mind, except in the middle of the night. After several looong nights up with Paul, Dan and I were about to let the poor guy just cry all night before our pediatrician observed that Paul is suffering from reflux.
Once she pointed that out, Dan and I could see and hear that she was right. He’s like a pitcher! No matter how long you hold him after a feeding, as soon as you go to lay him down the milk starts gurgling right up his throat. I’ve been able to eliminate a couple of foods from my diet that have been making things worse, but Paul still needs a lot of snuggling to feel comfortable. I guess for my own future wonderings I’ll add that he eats about every two hours during the day and every three hours at night, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot as far as sleep goes because we’re up with him fighting reflux a lot longer than it takes for him to just eat.
As the weather has warmed up, Paul has been spending lots of time in his own little jungle. This is one of our favorite baby toys. It’s not uncommon to find Lydia and Abigail lying in Paul’s jungle when he’s not using it. Actually, it’s not uncommon to find Dan or myself lounging in the jungle with Paul. He’ll (Paul, that is, not Dan) kick his legs and swing his arms and stare at the animals and the lights. It’s great fun.
The best part about being two months old is that Paul is starting to learn how to smile! Now that we’ve seen those smiling muscles in action, Dan and I will do just about anything to get him to show us a grin. So far, he’s being Mr. Serious and we’ve only caught a couple half-hearted attempts, but we know great big smiles are coming our way. Even when he only grins a little, we just can’t tear our eyes away from his happy little face.
Well, it’s been one happy, peaceful, sleepy, surreal month since our Paul was born and we are loving being a family of five. Paul has been doing his job like a pro: eating, sleeping, and breathing. For the first three weeks he did nothing but eat and sleep all the time. Well, sort of.
Lets talk about that sleeping, shall we? I include sleeping in these updates so I can look back and remember that it is possible to survive on very little sleep for a very long time. Paul is a good baby, but like many babies, he was born with his nights and days flipped. During the day we could lay him down anywhere at any time and he would sleep peacefully. During the night he would eat and go right back to sleep until we tried to put him down. Then he would spit up, or realize his diaper was dirty or wet, or he would just want to be held. So he would cry and we would hold him…all night long. He’s gotten much better in the past couple of weeks. On a good night, he’ll eat every 2 to 2 1/2 hours and sleep in between. On a rough night he’ll eat every hour and a half and he won’t sleep in between except when we’re holding him. (Last night was a rough night.) Dan’s been a champ guarding my nap times and letting me take a nap when the girls go to bed until about midnight.
But there are more fun things to talk about here than sleeping! Paul is up to…maybe 8 pounds by now. (Last week he was 7 and a half and we’re going to weigh him again tonight). And he actually opens his eyes! It took almost three weeks before we got to see much of those eyes, but now he’ll have one or two long stretches a day with his eyes wide open.
He’s so cute. We love holding him and playing with him in his jungle gym. Every day he seems to be able to see a little farther and he makes more little baby grunts and snuffles.
He’s developed quite the personality too. Or maybe we’ve developed a personality for him. Paul is all-business. We call him Stone Face when he’s sleeping because he looks determined not to wake up and to put all his energy into growing. He’s also developed several other nicknames (in order of how frequently we use them): The Big Guy, Little Man, Buddy, P-Kizzle, and PK.
Paul’s main goals right now are learning to lift his head and stand on his feet so he can play baseball with Daddy and on Sundays with our church. He’s already been working on the right form for holding and swinging the bat and he’s almost as big as Dan’s baseball glove. 🙂
It’s been over a month since God blessed us with this little take-home-baby and it’s still hard to believe how it all happened. It’s hard to believe we really have a little boy. And it’s hard to believe how peacefully we’ve been transitioning to having three munchkins at home (Dan helps a ton). We feel so blessed and can’t wait to keep watching our little Paul grow big and strong.