Friday, August 26

Friday Photos - Flying

I caught Brock and Blaine in a fun game this week. Now that Brock can hold his head up well, Blaine loves holding him in his arms and flying him around the house like Superman (one of Blaine's favorite superheroes as a kid) while singing the Superman theme song. Yesterday they were in the floor together playing and Blaine decided to try flying him on his legs. Brock really seemed to enjoy it, and I have a feeling this won't be the last we see of that game.

Wednesday, August 24

Five Months

Ok, I won't say I can't believe he's already 5 months because I think I say that every month, but it is pretty crazy that our teeny, tiny baby is getting so huge so fast! We didn't have a doctor's visit this month so again we don't know for sure exactly how fat or tall Brock has gotten this month, but I did weigh and measure him with our very scientific method and from what I could tell he was about 18 pounds (which is about the 80th percentile) and about 27 inches long (around the 87th percentile). He's a giant now! If those numbers are right then that means he's gained about 1.5 pounds since last month and about 1 and 3/4 of an inch. (I could be a little off on my measurements though). I've been really surprised at his growth rates, but as long as he's healthy I'm happy. Interesting note: People are starting to think Brock is older than he really is because he's so big, so we're starting to get questions like, "Oh, he's not crawling yet?" or "Can he not sit up by himself now?" to which I have to respond as un-defensively as possible, "Not yet; he's actually only 5 months old." Then we get the replies, "5 months! Oh, wow, he's a big boy."

Here are some of Brock's patterns and accomplishments between the fourth and fifth months:
  • He can sit up pretty well now, with a little support, and I think he likes the new view he gets sitting on the couch with us.
  • He's holding his head a lot steadier these days and likes to look all around him. It's still a little wobbly especially if he's tired, but it's much more stable than it has been.
  • When he hears sounds and noises, he now turns and looks in the direction they came from. This is fun when you're trying to get his attention, but not so fun when you're trying to feed him and he's acting like Captain Distracto every 2 minutes (consequently, it now takes him about twice the amount of time to eat than it did before, up from like 15 minutes to at least 30 minutes).
  • He started eating rice cereal once a day at 17 weeks. Dr. Smith told us at the 4 month checkup that it wasn't nutritionally necessary for Brock to have anything other than breastmilk/formula until he's 6 months old, but he gave us the go ahead to start introducing stuff between now and then if we wanted to. I figured I'd slowly add new things in, just so he could start getting accustomed to the spoon and trying new flavors. He did pretty well with rice cereal and basically just eats whatever I put in his mouth.
  • He still nurses about 5 times a day and we had tried to drop the 6th latenight (9:30 or 10:00) feeding but he sleeps longer in the morning with it so we put it back in. A lot of the books say by 5 months babies may have moved more to a 4 hour schedule, but Brock still wants to eat every 3 hours (which may explain why he's such a hoss) so we're still on the 3 hour schedule for now.
  • He started sleeping without his swaddle at 18 weeks. One night that week he rolled over onto his stomach and woke up crying which kind of scared him and me both, so we quit the swaddle cold turkey the next day because I didn't want him getting stuck and not having the use of his arms. Naps were rough for two or three days but he slept perfectly through the night, and after a few days he got used to being unswaddled. His naps are definitely shorter without the swaddle but he's at least sleeping (and sleeping safely) so that's all I'm concerned about.
  • A couple of times during the month we saw him roll over from his stomach to his back, but he only did it a few times and never seemed to really know what he was doing so I'm still thinking he hasn't figured that one out yet.
  • He has, however, been rolling from side to side with ease and at 21 weeks he figured out how to roll from his back to his stomach. I would have thought he'd figure out stomach to back first because he hates being on his tummy, but one day in his crib he rolled right over to his stomach and kept doing it when I tried to put him on his back. It has messed up his sleep a little and caused him to wake up during the night a few times (which he hasn't done in a long time and which reminds me of the crappy newborn period) because he gets upset when he finds himself on his stomach and can't roll back over, but I think he just needs a few more days to get used to it.
  • Whenever I am putting him to sleep, I usually sing a little song with him in the rocking chair. He now occasionally will sing with me, and it is probably one of my favorite noises ever! He'll lie back and just let out a series of long "ahhhhh, ahhhh, ahhhhs" and I like to think it's him singing along. But maybe he's really saying, "Would you please be quiet and just put me to bed already?!"
  • He's starting to get a little too long for 3-6 month clothes and has outgrown a few outfits but still fits in most of them for now.
  • He outgrew the size 2 diapers at 20 weeks and is now wearing size 3. Hopefully those will last a while, since they go up to about 25 pounds I think. At this rate, he's going to need a new car seat before too long!
  • For the most part, Brock rarely cries now when we lay him down to sleep. Sometimes he has to get a good cry out during his evening nap and he may whine a little for some of them, but a lot of times he'll just talk himself to sleep now. He lays in his crib just babbling and then a few minutes later it will be silent. Until he started rolling onto his stomach and waking up crying, he would wake up talking to himself too. I wonder if he was picking up the conversation where he left off when he fell asleep.
  • At about 18 weeks, he started really liking the little activity mat his aunt gave him and uses all his limbs to hit, grab, and kick the toys hanging down from it. He really gets a lot of exercise with that thing. I only recorded this because I thought it was interesting that some of the toys you get at first, you think you'll never end up using because your baby doesn't do anything, and then all of a sudden they come alive and like to play with things.
  • He now puts anything and everything into his mouth and loves chewing on rattles and teethers. Around 19 weeks I thought he might have started teething because he was really irritable for a couple of days and all he wanted to do was gnaw and suck on my fingers, but I haven't seen any teeth and he seems to be over it now.
  • He doesn't take a bottle as easily anymore as he once did. I've tried a couple of different nipples and he seems to like the latex nipples best, but he still isn't crazy about the bottle.
  • At 21 weeks we introduced sweet potatoes. He was still eating rice cereal only once a day after his afternoon feeding, and I gave him a tiny taste of the sweet potatoes during that feeding then gave him a bigger serving after his next meal in the evening. He was a little freaked out at the first taste but when I gave them to him again that evening he had become a big fan and would open his mouth wide for each spoonful. We're working on learning "No spitting" now because he thinks it's fun to spit the sweet potatoes, and I do not think it's fun how sweet potatoes stain everything.      
  • One last thing I observed about Brock this month is that he really is kind of a "go with the flow" baby. He doesn't get his feathers ruffled too often and if he does, there is usually a valid reason why. He doesn't really complain about too much and he is fairly easygoing. If he does get upset, it doesn't ruin his entire day and he is able to get over it pretty quickly. I learned this one day when I was zipping up his pajamas and accidentally pinched the skin on his chest with the zipper (Mom of the Year right here). He screamed for literally like 2 seconds and had finished crying before I could even get the zipper zipped and pick him up. I told him right there what a champ I really think he is. He definitely gets his personality from his dad which I am very thankful for (we don't need another OCD crazy person in this household).

Friday, August 19

Friday Photo - Feed Me

I was going to just post Brock's monthly update in place of the Friday Photo this week since he turned 5 months old today, but time got away from me (Translation: I got an urge to rearrange the setup of our living room this afternoon) so I'll just have to save that for another day. Anyway, I figured I need to get some pictures up of Brock eating from a spoon while it's still kind of new to him. So that's what I chose for this week's Friday Photo.

My three favorite things about these pictures:
  1. How redneck my baby looks with just a diaper and bib on and his fat belly hanging out in that top right picture.
  2. How I'm holding his hands down in every picture. I have a strong aversion to messes and cleaning them up (mostly the cleaning up part).
  3. How my skin and Brock's skin are about the same sunless, white color. We're going for the "less wrinkles in 30 years" look, thank you.

Monday, August 15

My O.C.D. Life

Ok, I don't really have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) but I am very obsessive about certain things in my life and, as I've confessed before, my personality fits the multi-tasking, high efficiency, competitive traits of the Type A individual quite well. One thing I've noticed about myself throughout life is that I do really well when I have a schedule, a plan, checklists, and organization. When I don't have some kind of routine or order, I feel chaotic and out of control (did I mention I like to be in control of things... another slightly annoying personality trait). So in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I would share some of my neurotic tendencies techniques that I use to keep my life organized.

Daily Planners:
This is probably the single most effective way I keep myself organized. At some point when I was in high school, the administration started giving students "Agenda Mates" to use for planning and organizing, and this was one of those "your life will never be the same" moments for me. Ever since that point I have had to purchase a planner every year and use them week by week to schedule events, remind myself of to-do's, and just keep up with important dates. I love my planner and cannot live without one! It would probably be more cost-efficient if I bought one of the binder style planners that you can just get refill pages for every year, but I like the portability of the spiral bound ones and I like the particular format of the ones in the picture where each week has two pages and each day has large spaces to write in. The four planners in the picture are from the years 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011. I'm sure I have 2008 and probably every other one since high school somewhere in my house because for some reason I have saved them all (that's the pack rat part of me that wars against my organized side and leaves me with the nagging thought that I shouldn't throw anything away because I might possibly need it again someday; and now I sound a little like a mental case with a split personality).

I'm very passionate about lists. Open up any given notebook in my house and you'll probably find a list I've made at some point or another. There is something so gratifying about writing out all the things that need to be done and then checking them off one by one (see list #1 in the first picture... that is a list that makes me happy). I've noticed list-making is kind of like a stress reliever for me. Anytime I start to feel overwhelmed I find that creating a list lessens my anxiety and worry. You should see all the lists I was making just before and after Brock was born. The before lists were things I needed to get done prior to his arrival and the after lists were things like how many poops has he made today, what times has he eaten, etc. I took pictures of a few lists I randomly found laying around. The first one, the happy list, is just one of those daily to-do lists that I generally make on Saturdays when I'm trying to catch up on all the chores that didn't get done during the week. The second list on the little post-it is in my checkbook ledger and helps me remember what bills we generally have to pay each month and around what date in the month they are due. The third list was my Christmas list from last year. I usually start making this list sometime in October so I can slowly buy gifts over a couple of months rather than have it all come due at one time. I make "packing lists" when we are going on trips, "weekly meal lists" before heading to the store, "planning lists" when I have an event (like a party or baby shower) that I'm in charge of, and "future lists" that outline all the things I'd eventually like to do to or in our house. Clearly, I love me some lists. But it just helps me break things down mentally and visually and develop a gameplan so I can more easily get stuff done. Nothing fancy, just a list (Excuse the not so great photos; I had to take them with my phone because my camera battery was dead; Guess I should've had "charge the camera" on one of my lists).


Daily Goal:
My final organization technique is a recent (as in, post-baby) development that was a sweet piece of advice passed on to me by my sister-in-law. It's as simple as this: Make one goal for yourself each day and do it. I sometimes have a tendency (see my lists) to let things pile up until I get overwhelmed and have to spend an entire day marking things off the list just so I can get my head above water. One day a couple of weeks ago I was talking to my sister-in-law (who keeps a super clean house and never has clutter or messes laying around and who I will refer to as Lee from now on) and she was mentioning some project she was going to do that day, like spreading new mulch in her flower bed, or painting something or other in her house, or something along the lines of what I would view as "I'll get to it next year if I have time." I think I made some remark like, "I hate how clean you keep your house and how organized you always are and how you have extra time even with a 9 month old to do projects like whatever you just mentioned" or maybe I just thought those things and said something more like, "How do you do everything?" And then she imparted to me this golden nugget of wisdom: "At the beginning of every day I come up with just one thing I definitely want to get done that day and I make it my goal to find time at some point in the day to do that one thing." My first thought was, Yeah that sounds like a good idea, maybe I'll try it. But after implementing the Daily Goal for just one day, I was a believer! Now, I must say my Daily Goals are generally less ambitious and tend to be things like Change the sheets, Straighten the living room, Finish the laundry but they're still goals nonetheless and they have allowed me to enjoy my Saturdays for the past two weeks rather than having to cram all my weekly chores that didn't get done into that one day. Occasionally when I'm feeling a little superwoman-ish, I'll have Two Daily Goals, but I try to stick to just one so that I know for sure it will get accomplished. It really does create a sense of empowerment to know that you completed the thing you set out to do that day and one completed goal each day leads to seven completed goals in a week, 30 or so completed goals in a month, and 365 completed goals in a year! That's a lot of completion and a lot of gratification, and I'll take it!

My Personality + A Baby =
So what does all this have to do with a baby since my blog is supposed to be about my baby? Well, the short answer could be that when you have a baby, it's really nice to have helpful organizational tips because you generally have less time but still have just as much (if not more) that needs to be done every day. Unfortunately, I'm typically not satisfied with the short answer so I have to give a little more detail about how I see my personality meshing with my baby.
  1. One thing about having a routine, structured, organized environment is that the baby learns the order of how things happen and knows what to expect next. Brock pretty much knows now when he wakes up from his naps that he's going to eat and after he eats he knows it's playtime and after some playtime he knows it's time to wind down and go to sleep. He doesn't have to feel uncertain about his daily activities and doesn't need to be anxious about whether or not his needs will be met because he knows we have a pattern of doing things. It may change occasionally and we can be flexible, but for the most part he has an idea of what is going on.
  2. Probably my favorite part of the organized baby routine is that it helps me to be in tune with what my baby needs and respond to his cues correctly. Because we had Brock on a consistent but flexible schedule from the time he was born, we were able to more quickly and more easily learn what he was trying to communicate to us. Certain cries mean he's hungry, others mean he's sleepy, one cry means he's hurting, and another cry just means he's irritated or bored. Since we have learned his language and we have a routine, when Brock is tired and fusses I generally know exactly what to do. I don't have to wonder if he's hungry or if it's his stomach hurting, I see the yawn, I notice how long he's been awake, and when he complains, we get ready for a nap. Most often the result is that I lay an awake baby down in his crib and he looks up at me and smiles, rolls onto his side, talks to himself for a few minutes and then goes to sleep. I like to think the smile is his way of saying, "Hey thanks Mom, that's exactly what I wanted." I think understanding babies' needs can help them feel secure and like they have a little bit of control over their environment and prevent them from feeling powerless and always at the mercy of someone else's plans. 
  3. Finally, having a baby on an organized schedule allows me to be able to plan my own schedule because I generally know about what time I'll have an awake child or an asleep child. If I need to get groceries that day, I know about when would be the best time to do it. If company is coming over, I can have a good idea of what time Brock will be waking up so he can enjoy the company. It doesn't always go exactly according to plan (does anything ever?) but I can work with generalities, and it helps me keep my sanity. Granted, there are days when I have felt like I'm living life in 3 hour increments and don't have a clue what I'll be able to get done that day, but thankfully those are not the norm.
So I think that's a little glimpse of what you get when you combine a day-planning, list-making, goal-setting crazy lady with a baby. There are negatives; we might not have a ton of spontaneity, we might miss out on a few events because they just don't work with the schedule, but the overall picture is that I'm happy, Blaine is happy, Brock is happy so I think it's working out all right for now. Now I need to go accomplish some daily goal or something.

Friday, August 12

Friday Photo in Motion & Comparison

Instead of pictures, I have another video to share this Friday, which I personally think is better than a photo but that's just my opinion. Brock got a little tickled (in more ways than one) when my mom was visiting him this week. She was getting some good laughs out of him for several minutes before I thought to get the video camera, then he was over it for a few minutes before she changed up her methods. I do love those baby laughs, but I'm a little peeved that he never really laughs for me regardless of how ridiculous I act. He has pretty much only done this for the grandparents so far, but I guess it's better than nothing. Honestly though, I'm not sure who was getting a bigger kick out of this, Brock or my mom?

And on another note, I do actually have a photo to share, but I'm not going to call it the Friday Photo because it's the same picture I posted of Brock last week. As I was going through some of my picture albums on my computer though, I found some of mine and Blaine's baby pictures that I used in our wedding slideshow. I came across this one of me (at Showbiz Pizza, woo woo) and thought there was quite a resemblance between me and the babe. I'm a few years older than him in the picture but I definitely see some similarities in the eyes, nose, cheeks, and of course the mouth. Just an interesting little discovery I wanted to post.

Friday, August 5

Friday Photos - Cute Kid

The school that Blaine will be teaching at this year provided all their teachers with iPads to use for the classroom. Blaine has been fiddling with it all week to find relevant and helpful apps that he can use for teaching and to plan his lessons and important things like that. Then I got a hold of it.

Anyone who has used a Mac computer is probably aware of the Photobooth program where you can take distorted and generally hilarious pictures. Blaine and I sat on the couch one night taking picture after picture of ourselves and laughing until we both had tears streaming down our faces. It's really only that funny in the moment because when we look back at the pictures, they didn't make us laugh as hard as when we were taking them. The next day I couldn't help but see what kind of images I could get of the baby. They really aren't too flattering, and he looks mostly like an alien, but we've put up plenty of pictures of him looking cute and perfect so I had to post these for the Friday Photos this week. My favorite is the blockhead one in the center. I might just have a warped sense of humor.

Ok, but since I'm a little worried that these pictures are not going to satisfy some of the grandparents who read the blog (and since I don't want any potential first-time readers to think that's what my child looks like), I probably need to post a real one too. This is him in a little crocheted beanie hat that I bought for him off of Etsy and can't wait to have him wear when it gets cold. I think he looks pretty handsome in it. :)