Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Preschooler

My last several posts have been mostly about Caleb so I thought I'd take a few minutes to write down some thoughts about Emily at this stage (3 yrs. 4 mon.) After much debating, I decided to start Emily in 3 year old preschool this year. I wasn't sure how I would feel about my baby having to go to "school" 3 days a week. They grow up so fast anyway. Did I want her to be gone from me already? We feel like we made the right choice to send her this year. She loves it! Our church has a wonderful program. Last year she attended a parent's day out program there two days a week during the school year. It worked out well for her to transition to preschool this year. Emily attends 9am-12 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9am-1pm on Thursdays. The children have the option to do "lunch bunch" from 12-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but right now we are just doing the one day. Today Emily told me that she was looking forward to "lunch bunch." It has been more difficult to get Emily to class because of Caleb, but we are doing better and Caleb doesn't cry as much during the car rides now! Caleb and I enjoy 1:1 time when Emily is in preschool. Overall, it has been a good thing for our family.

Shortly after starting preschool, Emily came home reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. We were so surprised that she had learned it so quickly. One night during dinner, we asked her to say the prayer and she started reciting the pledge! It was a very Grizwoldesque moment! (Emily also learned a beautiful prayer song at preschool, but I think she got them confused that night!) Emily's teachers are so kind and patient. We love Miss Melissa and Miss Mandie! Each month we get a calendar of the special plans for each day. One day a week they have "show and share" time. Sometimes it is a free choice show and share. Other times they are supposed to bring in something that starts with a certain letter or is a certain color. Emily enjoys picking out what to share with her classmates! Today they are decorating gingerbread houses. Each family donated different supplies for the kids to use. I'm glad that she gets to do so many creative things.

Emily also started gymnastics this fall. We signed up for nine classes. I picked the gymnastics center that was closest to our home although I don't think it is the best in town. However, I felt for a 3 yr. old who is just exploring this interest, it would be fine. Emily really looks forward to going every week. She LOVES the trampolines. Each week they set up a different obstacle course circuit for the girls to use. There is usually a bar for "skinning the cat", a balance beam on the floor to walk over, a wall to climb up with a rope and a slide to use to come down, a trampoline, objects to hop over, and parallel bars to walk across with your feet (while hands are also touching.) I need to video her going through the circuit. It is fun to watch. The teachers also work with them on learning various positions and jumps. (e.g. tuck jump, straddle jump, pike position, "tabletop", "butterfly" etc.) They have learned forward rolls (which she already could do) and now they are starting to learn cartwheels. It has been good for gross motor development and learning to follow instructions. Jeremy and I love watching her to see how she learns and listens in a small group. Sometimes she is very distracted. Other times she does great! She looks over at us on the sidelines every now and then and gives us a thumbs up or runs to us for a high five or hug (even though she isn't supposed to do that!) Jeremy and I have had a few issues with the organization of this place so I think we will do something else in January. However, Emily has loved it and it has been good to have something to do once a week for exercise during these cold months and short days!


First day of preschool


New backpack and matching lunchbox


She looks pretty happy, don't you think? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2 Months

Baby Caleb is growing like a weed! We have our two month old appointment on Tuesday the 27th and I really can't wait to see how much he has grown. I can't even begin to guess. Just a few weeks ago I was complaining that 0-3 mon. clothing was too big on him and he had "nothing to wear." Now, he is wearing 3 mon. clothes and some of them are starting to get tight, too!

Eating and Sleeping Habits:

We are getting into a better rhythm at home. I wouldn't say that he has a strict, dependable schedule, but we are working into a routine. I feed him every 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. during the day and at night he can go between 4-8 hrs. between feedings. Usually he wakes up once during the night between 2 and 4 am. However, occasionally he still wakes up twice. He naps in the mornings at around 9 am after being up an hour or so and naps again a couple of times in the afternoon. He is usually ready for bed between 7:30 and 8:30 pm depending on how the day has gone with naps.



Emily 3 yrs. 2 mon. and Caleb 5 wks. old.


Princess Emily (Belle) also wore this dress to see her first musical with Mom and Dad (Beauty and the Beast) 


Jen and Elizabeth visited for a week at the end of October. 


Here's our little man in his church clothes!


My hairy men!!! haha.


Challenges:

The three biggest challenges for me this month have been preschool drop off and pick-ups, Caleb's rides in the car seat and coordinating nap schedules. Our 3 yr. old has preschool from 9-12 (to 1 pm Thurs.) Tuesday-Thursday. It is so hard to get out of the house with both of them and be somewhere on time by 9 am!!! Jeremy usually drops off Emily on Wednesdays and Emily's grandmother (Dinkney) picks her up that afternoon. I love Wednesdays! I get precious one on one time with my little boy without the hassle of the car pool. The preschool car pool is complicated by the fact that Caleb often cries while he is in the car. Sometimes we have no problems, but other days are awful. Ideally, Emily naps two hours in the afternoons usually from 3-5pm. Sometimes I can time it so that both kids are sleeping at about the same time and I have an hour or so to do something besides taking care of them. However, we also have days when I'm going back and forth between their rooms and getting nothing done at all. I just cringe when I finally get Emily to nap only to hear Caleb's waking up cries.

Favorites:

Caleb is now enjoying his new monkey mobile--both the sound and the moving objects. He likes his activity floor mat. Sometimes when he is fussy and I know he isn't tired, hungry, or "poopy",  I just place him on a pallet on the floor to let him stretch out and kick around. He loves his floor time! Caleb still enjoys bath time so long as I get the temperature perfectly warm. He loves faces. It makes his day to have someone talk closely to his face and then wait for him to "talk" back. We are getting big smiles and lots of coos these days. My Aunt Rita swears that she got him to say, "I good." Actually, it really did sound like he said that! :) Also, I would have to say that nursing at mom's breast is probably his favorite place in the whole world to be. He loves to cuddle and loves milk!




11/27/12
Height: 23 inches 
Weight: 12 lbs, 12 oz.
Head circumference: 15 3/8" 




Thanksgiving at Memommy Meisel's house 



New Discoveries and Accomplishments:

We saw that first real smile at 5 wks of age. He now has much better head control (can raise head 90 deg. and hold it when on stomach). He now can tummy scoot in the bed. Recently at Nan and Pops' house, he scooted himself all the way to the side of the crib and was kicking the rails which woke us up!

Big Sis Reactions:

Emily still LOVES her brother. She calls him "Bubba." I love it when she says it although I have always disliked the nickname "bubba." I have noticed that when friends or family are holding Caleb and making a fuss over him, she will run up to him, plant a huge kiss on his cheek or head and say, "I call him Bubba!" I think she gets attention when she does this because everyone thinks it is so funny and cute! Then, she runs off back to whatever she was doing. 

A couple of times I think she may have had an intentional poop accident. It is hard to say whether she didn't get to the potty on time or if she did it on purpose because I was busy trying to get Caleb to sleep and she wanted my attention (even if it was negative attention.)

Everyone told me that eventually Emily would try to breastfeed her baby dolls because she obviously sees this modeled to her many times a day. She didn't really do it the first month, but she has a couple of times this month. One conversation went like this:

Emily: Baby (her doll) is hungry. I think she needs milk.
Me: You're probably right. Better feed baby.
Emily: (Lifts shirt and begins to nurse doll.)
Me: How are you feeding baby?
Emily: Well, actually, my boonies make milk. First she takes this one, then this one (as she point to her left and right chest)

Boonies are one of her baby words that I can't bear to correct just yet. She still calls breasts boonies! How funny! I just love that she said "actually." I find myself saying that a lot and it is funny that she picks up on those words.

And finally a note for my sweet boy--

Caleb, this month has flown by! We are so happy that you are showing us a bit of your personality now. We love to see your smile! We love watching you try to coordinate the movements of your mouth and tongue to talk to us. We laugh at how you tolerate your sister kissing you all the time as her long hair falls all over your sweet face. You are a good baby. You rarely cry unless there is a reason (sleepy, hungry, bored, or wet/dirty diaper). You look a lot like your Daddy did when he was a baby and your dark eyes are exactly what I imagined my little boy would have. We love you more every day.

Love,

Mommy

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caleb: 1 month

Caleb's first month has passed by in a blur! We have been busy adjusting to life with a newborn again and life with two kids. Case in point: this first month I think I left the house without Caleb's diaper bag twice and forgot to pack wipes on our first outing.  I haven't had to pack a diaper bag in a long time!

The first week was rough on Mom. I was recuperating from the delivery and adjusting to all of the discomfort that comes when the milk first comes in. The engorgement wasn't as bad this time as with Emily, but I also knew how to handle it better. Also, it took about 10 days or so before nursing was consistently good and comfortable. 



Emily frequently comments that Caleb has "a lot of hair!" Here she is having fun brushing it! 


Caleb looks so tiny in Poppy's arms!


This is how Emily likes to hug Caleb. She usually says something like,
"he's so adorable" and then gently places her hands all over his little head!


When Caleb was five days old, the whole Lee-Burnham clan came to visit us! We had a house full of people. We enjoyed our visit although the toddlers did get a little rowdy at times. Everyone got to see Caleb and we also did a belated first birthday celebration for little Hudson. He'd already had his first birthday party, but the aunts and uncles hadn't seen him yet to give him our presents.


I finally got a photo of Aunt Laura holding Caleb.


Big sister was very proud to hold her little brother.


Love how cute and little they all are in this photo! Wish Stephen and Becca's two little ones were also in it. 



My Dad has rocked three children and six grandchildren. He's a pro!




Emily and Hudson played so well together the whole day. Here they are playing "Monkey, Preschool, Lunchbox" on their Dads' i-pads!


Hudson is ONE!


Maddie at 9 months.


I love this photo even though I hate to see him cry! Hudson was upset that the big kids blew out his candle.




This is how we chill--with a big ol' paci in the mouth.


Sweet time with my kiddos.




Here's one of Memommy Meisel and Caleb. She's still got the touch. She will be 90 in March 2013.

When Caleb was three weeks old, we made our first trip to Bowling Green and stayed the weekend at Nan and Pop's. We were reminded that traveling with a newborn takes longer. I think it added about 45 minutes to the trip since we had to stop once for a poopy diaper change and once to try to settle Caleb down. It was a beautiful fall weekend. We said our good byes (for now) to Laura and Will and the boys as they are moving to Vancouver for three more months of missions training. We are hopeful that we may see them again in January while they await their visas, but if they are approved quickly, we may not see them again for over a year.








Emily, Cooper and Hunter were quite adventurous with peddling down hills with their trikes. (Only a few tears were shed)














I had high hopes for a good photo of Emily and Caleb together in their fall clothes, but posing a newborn who has so little head control is a challenge. Also, it was a VERY windy afternoon. Caleb's face kind of shows what he thinks about it all!



ONE MONTH STATS: HEIGHT 21 1/4 IN. (50%) WEIGHT: 10 lbs 8.5oz (75%) 






We are thankful to God for the blessing of our healthy, beautiful, son. It has been a joy to see Emily love on him. So far, she has not seemed particularly jealous of him. We make every effort to give her plenty of attention, too! I try to remind her every so often of all the benefits of being a big girl instead of a baby (e.g. eating food and not just milk, being able to tell Mom and Dad what she wants, playing on the playground, getting to watch the "Beauty and the Beast" musical, etc.) She agrees that it is better to be a big girl! We are thankful for all the help that our parents have provided during these early days. We are thankful for our friends and family that brought over so many meals to us. I didn't have to cook dinner for a month! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Caleb's Birth Story

I haven't blogged in almost two months. The last weeks of baby prep were very busy and now Caleb is already three weeks old!


39 weeks and 5 days


During my last weeks of pregnancy, I started talking with my primary Ob-gyn, Michelle Johnson, about a possible  induction. Emily was a big baby at 8 lbs 14 oz, and I figured Caleb would be just as big or bigger (I was right). At my 38 wk. ultrasound, they estimated his weight at 8 lbs 10 oz. Ultrasound measurements aren't exact with weight. My doctor said it could be +/- 20%, but still I was getting a little worried about his size. However, there was really no other need to rush into an induction. My blood pressure was good; the baby was moving well. Other than being VERY pregnant, things were fine. However, I finally decided to go ahead and plan an induction for convenience with our plans for Emily and because he was full term and only getting BIGGER by the day! Also, I was 4 cm dilated already so I was "favorable" for an induction as they say. We had a difficult time setting the induction date due to a lot of back and forth with the doctor's office. Originally, Dr. Johnson said she could induce Saturday September 22nd three days before his due date, but then her on-call weekend changed. She later offered to do Sunday, but we had already told family that we were waiting. We finally decided we would try to induce on Monday the 24th if the baby didn't come on his own before then. Jeremy and I were looking forward to one more weekend to get some things accomplished and a nice quiet Sunday.

Or so we thought. Baby boy decided to come on his own. Early Sunday morning at about 1:30 am, my water broke while I was in bed asleep. The same thing had happened with Emily so I was sure of what I was feeling. However, it was not as massive of a gush as I had had with Emily. (Gross, but true.) It was a small amount and so Jeremy and I were left thinking, should we head to the hospital or wait for contractions to start? We called the on-call service and of course she told us to head to the hospital. Yuck. Neither of us had slept for more than an hour or so. We knew we were in for an extremely long day and night. Jeremy's parents came over right away to stay with Emily until she woke up. We called my parents in Bowling Green to tell them we were going to the hospital, but that they didn't need to rush. I stayed in bed for awhile longer and ordered Jeremy around as he ran all around the house picking up the last few items I needed for my hospital bag. (I was afraid to walk around too much because I didn't want my water to break some more and mess up my clothes and house!) We finally got to the hospital at around 3 am or so. 

Right away the nurses did all of the check-in stuff and gave me orders to stay in bed. After the bag of waters breaks, they don't want you walking around at all for fear of cord prolapse. (This is extremely rare and there is little evidence that bed rest prevents this anyway, but whatever.) Also, they don't want you to eat anything and you can only have ice chips to drink or popsicles. After several hours in the hospital, my contractions were getting strong enough to be uncomfortable, but my cervix wasn't dilating much more. When I checked in, the nurses wanted me to start a Pitocin drip, but I was hesitant. During my first labor, Emily arrived 12 hrs. from the time my water broke until she was delivered. With this being my 2nd child, I was thinking that he would come even earlier, right? What's the hurry? I didn't want to start the Pitocin if nature would take its course anyway in a few hours. To everyone who said that my second child would come faster, this is a lie! :) After hours of no further dilation and fairly intense contractions, I decided to get my epidural at 9:15 am. We started the Pitocin at 12:15 pm. Apparently, my bag of waters didn't completely rupture and they kept saying they felt a "fore bag" that was preventing the baby's head from naturally placing pressure on the cervix to make it open. However, they felt confident that the rest of it would rupture once my contractions got strong enough which is exactly what happened. By 3pm, I was 7-8 cm dilated and fully effaced. It was amazing how fast the cervical dilation happened after starting the medicine to get my contractions stronger. 

I have great appreciation for natural childbirth, but I knew that this wasn't in my plan. Give me the epidural! It was perfect with Emily. I could feel pressure and touch, but no pain. This time, the epidural was a bit stronger than before and made my left leg feel very numb and heavy, but I could still move it. For some reason, when I would try to change positions, the baby didn't like me lying on my right side and his heart rate went down too much. So, I had to keep turning to the left and more of the medicine went down into my left leg. Let me just say that I HATE all of the monitors they put on you in the hospital--IVs, BP cuff, fetal monitor, catheter, epidural in the back, etc. It is A LOT. But, I guess that is the price you pay for a relatively pain free delivery in a safe environment. However, I think a lot of it is unnecessary. If I was allowed to walk and move around, my labor would have progressed faster on its own. Taking a BP every 30 min. is overkill if you ask me. I had to have a catheter because I simply could not pee into the bed pan. I kept feeling intense pressure on my bladder, but couldn't go. No joke--when I finally got a catheter, they drained off more than 1200 cc of urine. Crazy! I felt a ton better! 

I started to feel emotional at one point during the labor. All of these emotions are building up inside of you and you are about to give BIRTH for crying out loud! I had been worrying earlier that day about what if my labor stops progressing and I need a c-section? It wasn't the actual procedure I feared as much as the recovery. My little girl needs me so much. My house has tons of stairs and I had no one that could stay with me to help all the time. (Jeremy was only taking 5 days off from work.) I knew that the baby was probably big. I needed a vacuum extraction with Emily and I REALLY didn't want that again. My labor nurse, Heather, was great. She just said, "Let's pray about it." So, Mom, Jeremy, Heather and I held hands and she said the sweetest prayer. I immediately felt better to have someone intervene for me. 




Sweet baby boy!

I had teased Mom all day about if she would be granted permission to stay in the delivery room while I was pushing. I wanted her to see at least one of her grandchildren being born. However, I didn't want her to witness any complications. I couldn't help but think that it would make our baby boy special because even though he was the 6th grandchild, he would be the only one she saw come into this world. I decided she could stay and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't regret it! I pushed for about 40 minutes and then he was here! Dr. Terassa was great. I really liked how she instructed me. Her cues and encouragement really made me feel focused and empowered. We used a mirror which allowed me to see him come out. I was way too scared to do that with Emily, but it didn't bother me this time and it actually helped. Our "nameless" baby boy was born Sept. 23rd at 5:44 pm and weighed 9 lbz, 3  oz. He was 20 3/4 in. long. He had a head full of black hair. I was so happy and proud that I delivered this big baby boy!

We introduced Emily to the baby first. She was quite hesitant and kept asking me to get out of the hospital bed. She didn't cry, but she looked like she wanted to. Then, we brought back the rest of the family that had been waiting--Jeremy's parents, my parents, Laura and Stephen. Everyone got to see him, but they couldn't hold him just yet.  (He still hadn't been cleaned up that much and was resting on my chest for his "kangaroo" time.) 

Normally, you get moved up to mother/baby unit pretty soon, but they kept me in the delivery room much longer. I had a lot of bleeding after the baby was born. I won't go into details, but it was enough to make my nurse kind of nervous. Also, my blood pressure and heart rate plummeted. I was asymptomatic and didn't know there was a problem. I got pumped with more fluids and was given a shot to help my uterus contract faster. The bleeding was monitored and I got to wait around for several more hours until I was given the all clear.  Finally, I got to eat and drink something at about 10 pm that night. There is nothing that tastes better than a cold soft drink after hours of labor!

We didn't name our baby boy until the next day. We had narrowed it down to two names, but it was very hard to decide between them. We didn't think it would be wise to to make a final decision while we were so exhausted. So, we went to bed and didn't talk about it much until the next day. Jeremy and I really didn't know what to do or how to come to a decision. We literally had to make a pros/cons list about our two names and we talked for a long time about how each name made us feel. While praying very intently for direction, Jeremy felt led that his name should be Caleb Oakley. This was one of the names we had been thinking about for a long time, but had difficulty committing to it. We picked it because Caleb is a strong, faithful man in the Bible. We liked the sound of it. We liked that the name had history and had stood the test of time. It wasn't trendy. While this name is gaining in popularity, Jeremy and I know only one Caleb and none of our friends had used this name for their boys. We picked Oakley because it is a family name--Jeremy's mother's maiden name. I liked that it was the last name of Jeremy's Poppy (Nancy's father) who was the only one of Jeremy's grandparents that I ever got to meet. I knew how close Jeremy was to his Poppy. As a coincidence, we found it interesting that I grew up in "Oakland" and my maiden name is "Lee." How cool! I feel more at peace with his name, but after months of calling him "brother," it has been hard to make the transition. Emily and I still call him baby brother most of the time!




A little present for the Big Sis from baby brother


Dad gets to hold his 4th grandson!


Mom and Dad didn't waste any time driving up from Bowling Green for Caleb's birth. They even slept in their car for a few hours out in the hospital parking lot once they realized they had plenty of waiting time left. 



New family photo


Emily was a great big sis and posed for lots of photos while holding Caleb.


Jeremy looks pretty proud to hold his boy.


Joyce, our children's minister at church, visited us while at the hospital.


Poppy holding his first grandson. Caleb carries on the Reiss name. 


Dinkney and Caleb 



Getting ready to go home.


Caleb's sweet "going home" outfit


It is hard to overestimate how much Jeremy is going to love teaching his boy about baseball.



 Emily LOVES her brother.





First bath at home


Look at those cute little piggies!