Friday, March 2, 2018

Winter Days with Kate

This winter we took things slow. Between lots of doctor's appointments, holiday gatherings, and occasional colds, we had to! We had fun doing some activities that I had prepared last summer, and of course reading and playing.

December was all about Christmas, naturally. We have more Christmas books than we can fully enjoy. They are not all pictured here! Our favorites to read this year were Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett, Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton, as well as a couple of our books that tell about the birth of Christ.

 I took Kate to see a local production of The Nutcracker. She didn't have just a lot of interest in it but she did enjoy reading a story book we had. I hoping that when she's older she'll enjoy performances more.

Jingles bells with our magna tiles were a lot of fun! Probably won't happen next year since Claire will be on the move but it was fun to do it this year. 

We had some different math activities themed around the story of Christ's birth. She enjoyed doing them and it gave us something fun to do on days where it was hard to get out. 

Her favorite thing to do it play! We got out her Christmas cookie toys and she had a lot of fun with those this year! 

She got to make real cookies too. :) 

We didn't do a lot of crafts, but we did keep up with our advent pictures. Love doing those, and I think they will make an appearance for years to come. 

January brought routine again. We worked a little bit in our ABC book but we really haven't kept up with it. I haven't wanted to push it because she's still young, but when she's interested it's but to see how her skills are improving. 

January brought books about the months of the year and winter. Anno's Counting Book was a favorite as well as The Mitten, and our Alaska books. 

We had a lot of fun doing this sweet craft to go along with The Mitten. I found it on Jan Brett's website. 

We made some snowflakes with play dough. I was really hoping for a snow day in January, but no such luck. We did have some nice sunny days though. 

Melted snowman and snowflake name painting along with our mitten craft. 

Mid January I brought out transportation books. Go, Dog, Go! and Red Light, Green Light were the favorites. We also played Red Light Green Light quite a bit. 

We had some really wonderful weather in January. One Saturday we were able to go out to the nature park in Edmond. So fun! 

We've been having lots of family bible time. Here are the girls as we sing the "Peter James and John in a Sailboat" song. :) 

February! Love month! The Giving Tree and Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea were the favorites this month. Both books of my childhood so I enjoyed those! 

We made some Valentine's to send to family members. 

We also made a love bug. 

Candy Heart letters. 

We made some veggie pizzas on Valentine's Day. 

February also brought a trip to the Cowboy Museum. I'm trying to stop her more and have her look at the pictures. I'll ask her questions such as, 
What colors do you see?
What do you see in this picture?
How does this picture make you feel?

She's in a hurry to get to the kids stuff, but I really want to cultivate an appreciation for art so we will continue to stop and admire. :) 

And what do you know?! We got some snow! Just a bit, we pulled on the snow clothes from last year and she got to explore it a little bit. 

This has been a season of learning for me. Habit training is not easy and I often feel overwhelmed with all the good habits I wish we had but don't. One step at a time, though. Routine is difficult with a baby in the house, you know? Anyways, all of these fun activities and what our Kate likes most is reading, playing with her toys (with mom or dad), and family bible time. So as long as we do that, I'd say the day was pretty successful. After re-evaluating our priorities, I've got some new plans coming up for the spring, and I'm excited to see how things work out. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Claire is 6 months!

Our Claire Lucille is 6 months old! I didn't realize it until the 20th, one day late. I was actually at her well child visit this morning wondering why her appointment was before 6 months. Poor second child! Or poor mom with the "mom brain"? I'll let you decide. 

Our girl weighs in at 18 pounds and 4 oz (89%) and measures 25.25 inches long (32%).  

Health wise, she's making much improvement! Her digestion issues are cleared up and her skin, while still suffering a bit, is better than it was. Her liver enzymes are still a little high, but they are going down to almost normal. She'll get tested again in a week or two and hopefully all will be well! We did have an episode of GI upset after I ate some hummus- it could have been the chickpeas (related to peanuts) or sesame (a common allergen.) The incident seemed to be only related to that though. I'm now starting to introducing things to my diet that I've eliminated that she did not test allergic to. I tried some wheat through eating some fresh bread. She seemed to do okay. I found myself to do well while off of it though, and there is a lot of research showing better thyroid function when off of wheat so I am choosing to stay off of wheat most of the time. It is nice to know that I can occasionally have something like fresh bread or a pie made with regular flour if I want to though. I tried something with soy today and I'm not sure how she will do, but I felt awful after eating it, so I will probably choose to really limit my soy intake from now on even if she does okay. That's all I have to report on that end! We are waiting to introduce foods directly to Claire until I also try eggs. 

This is Claire's Auvi-Q, it is similar to an EpiPen in that it injects epinephrine, but is a different brand and style. It's scary to hold this, but we now carry it with us everywhere, making sure anyone we leave her with knows how to use it. We are taking careful precautions at home to make sure Claire stays safe. Kate is in the habit of washing her face and hands after eating. We are not eating any peanuts or nuts around her and we are extra careful about wiping things down and washing our hands. I say this just to say that if you are around us, please be mindful of her allergies to dairy, nuts, and coconut. Please don't kiss her or snuggle her if you've recently eaten those things, and please use clean hands to hold her! :) And please don't be offended if I ask you about it, I'm just scared of what could happen, and I'm trying to be careful!! 

On to happier things... oh she's a joy! She loves her bath time and can kick some big splashes! She also enjoys her saucer that she can bounce in. She loves to move around! She also likes to sit in her Boppy chair. She is holding on to some of her toys more and chews on whatever she can. She enjoys looking at books, listening to us talk and sing to her, and yes, I'll admit, Daniel Tiger. 

Her clock is one of her favorite toys. The musical chime it plays usually calms her down if she's fussy. I love it!! 

We hit a couple of milestones this month! The first being that she is now rolling over! Both ways... and over and over again all over the place. It's so funny to watch her. She is also consistently sleeping in her crib at night from about 7:30-7. The morning time can vary a bit. She usually wakes up 2 or 3 times to nurse,  but she goes back to sleep. Woo hoo for being on the same schedule as Big Sis! We are not on a consistent nap routine yet, but we are transitioning to napping in the crib. Big changes over here, y'all! She sleeps so much differently than Kate. We could lay Kate down and she stayed in the same spot all night- she still does! Claire is rolling all over the place in that crib, but usually settles on her stomach. Whatever works, right? We took the bumpers out of the crib just to be safe. 

First Valentine's Day is in the books for Claire! Blake has always gotten Kate a rose on Valentine's Day and he is continuing the tradition with Claire. She had fun looking at it and it's been on our table all week so she looks at it during meal times- which brings me to another milestone. She is now sitting in her high chair with us (most of the time) during meals. She isn't eating, but she plays. So fun to all be together! 

She is a happy thing, full of sweet smiles for us. Of course she has her moments, like any baby her age would, but she is really pretty content. She loves her sister so much, and is always interested to see what she's doing. She loves being held and snuggled but she also needs/enjoys time to be on her own to kick and move around. 

It's hard to believe it's only been 6 months with this girl. It just feels like she's always been with me. At the same time I wonder, how in the world she's growing up so fast. This time around I'm not rushing any of it. "Take your time reaching all those milestones, sweet one, I'm in no hurry." I feel a unique bond with her. I think it's because when I'm tired with my older girl I usually have this one grinning at me. It's like she's saying, "You got this, momma, I know you can do it."
And to be honest, sometimes it feels like she's saying, "Hee Hee, Sissy is being naughty and I'm being good." Ha! Mostly when I look at her though, I feel like I'm looking into an old soul, a little one, wise beyond her years. I'm so excited to see her personality develop. I pray that as her momma, I am her teacher, her trainer,  her friend,  her confidant, and her cheerleader 
all throughout her precious life. 

"Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." 
Hebrews 10:24 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Claire is 5 months!

Our Claire Lucille is 5 months old. Weighing in around 17 pounds and close to 26 inches long, she is still a little bit bigger than her sister was at this age. We've officially moved into size 3 diapers and 6-12 month or 9 month clothing! Though she is still hanging on to some of her 6 month clothes. 

Still has such a sweet smile. 


She loves bath time, especially with her sister. It doesn't seem to bother her that Kate is loud, splashing all over the place, and not very careful. She is just so happy to watch her. 

She loves to be upright and so she is really enjoying the exercise saucer. She is holding her head up well and loves playing with and chewing on it's toys! 

Of course, big sister is still so in love with her. We love having our "shine time" each morning. Kate is always on top of things- making sure that we sing nursery songs for Claire. Our favorites are "This is the Bible", "God gave you two little eyes" and, "You're a Pretty Little Girl and God Made You". 


Claire is awake more these days and wants to be around Mama (as does big sister). I so remember this time with Kate. It felt so hard. I think I'm a lot more relaxed about it this go around. Just embracing it and enjoying it. There will be a time when all the chores are kept better, but I'll also be missing my girls because they will be all grown up! 

Sleep. How I wish it was easier. We've really been trying to put her to sleep in her crib but it is not going well at all. She loves her rock and play. (see below) She's still waking up 2-3 times at night and by that I mean approximately between 10pm-5am Thankfully Blake is helping me through it because it's HARD! Her feedings are always sporadic and cluster oriented. Like I said before, I'm trying to just embrace it. I'm just thankful I can stay home and have slow mornings. (Nobody ask me to be anywhere before 9, okay?) 

This month brought 2 special family visits. Claire got to visit her Aunt Mary from Texas for the first time and "Grandma" Genie came to see as well this month. I wish Claire was a happy camper for them but, like her mother was as a baby, she is a bit more temperamental. (-;

Which brings us to our next topic- an update on her sensitivity/ allergy situation. We really were not seeing improvements. A couple of weeks ago I took Claire to Children's for a blood draw. I assumed it would be a prick from her foot- I had no idea they would need 4 tubes of blood from this little one! They had an extremely hard time finding her vain- it took 4 people and some heavy prayers but they found it. It was not very fun. Anyways, her iron and electrolytes were a bit low and her liver level was a little bit high. It will take more time to see where she is on that. Our Gi suggested we try the elemental formula to help her out a bit. We gave it a good try but she refused it, who could blame her it smelled so terrible. So after talking with both her GI and pediatrician, and doing personal research through scientific studies, we felt comfortable continuing with breastfeeding. 

This past week we had an appointment with her allergist where they did some testing for all of the 8 major allergens. She showed she has an allergy to milk, peanuts, coconut, and pine nut. Allergy testing on babies is not 100% accurate and of course, we didn't test for everything so there could be more, she also could have had a false positive. Only time will tell. Also the testing they did doesn't always tell you much for GI issues, unfortunately only diet can help with that. We are getting an epi pen delivered to us this week, and I suppose we have officially entered the great big world of food allergies. It's not fun but God is in control. We are hopeful that she will outgrow some of these allergies. 

In the mean time I am continuing to eliminate the 8 major allergens, including coconut. (milk, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts.) Even though she didn't have a reaction to all of those, it's possible one of those groups might be affecting her GI system.  Once she stays clear for a couple of months we can start reintroducing some of the things that she didn't have a reaction to. It was hard at first, but it's honestly getting a lot easier. People always ask me, what do I eat, and our allergist said I must not be eating very much, but I'm actually eating quite a bit! Our creative God has filled this world with good things to eat and instead of filling my body with processed junk I am developing a preference for the food of this earth that is really good. I've never felt better. I have an incredible amount of energy for the poor sleep I'm getting. While I hate that there are foods upsetting my daughter's body, I'm thankful God is blessing us through this. He is so good. 

I had already been eliminating everything except for coconut, that was a big change for us. I love using coconut oil- most of our personal products contain in, including her soap and ointments I've been using on her. My prenatal vitamin contained it and I've been enjoying coconut ice-cream, plus we cook with coconut oil. So I'm hoping to see some improvements for our little girl in the near future. We meet with her GI and pediatrician in February and I'm hopeful that things will only improve from here on out! 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Claire is 4 months!

Four months, y'all! How have we only known this sweet one for such a short time? It feels like she's been in our hearts forever. She lights up our days, truly. The other day Kate told me, "I'm so glad I have my sister." These heart warming moments happen every day. As cheesy as it sounds my heart just might explode with all of the cuteness in our home. It's a good things too, because it's not been easy. There have been some hardships, and that's what I want to share in this post today. 

Food sensitivities. That is our burden right now. Claire has been showing signs that she is sensitive to something I'm eating. This is more than just crying or colic, in fact she is actually a pretty happy baby. Blood in her dirty diapers is our biggest concern because it is a sign that there is inflammation in her digestion system and to ignore it means it only gets worse. I began with focusing on my milk supply trying to make sure she was getting a balanced supply of fore milk and hind milk. This did not solve our problem so I eliminated dairy and soy. This gave us improvement but not complete. So I eliminated gluten. After meeting with a GI I am off of dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, and fish. 
These are the most common sensitivities for breastfed babies and so I'm to give it a few weeks and then we will go from there. 

It is so much more than just switching to almond milk, buying GF bread, and skipping the scrambled eggs. Most of these ingredients are in SO much, even vitamins and medications. Even finding a gluten free bread is hard because it is bound to have eggs, dairy, soy or buckwheat. But food is just food. Yes it's a bit stressful adjusting my diet but the worst part is wondering if it's doing any good. So far we've yet to see the blood go away for more than a few days before it returns. Every time she cries or heavily spits up or her cradle cap begins to ooze I wonder what in the world I'm eating that's causing these things to happen. It means I cry in the evening when nothing with calm her down or at 2:30AM when I thought we were getting better but I see more blood in her diaper. It means I'm embarrassed when I have to pass on someone's homemade treat because I'm not sure what's in it. It means I'm hesitant toward every single thing I eat, wondering if it's the culprit. This has not been easy on my momma heart. 

At the end of the day though, our girl really is doing good. So many other babies who go through this have much worse symptoms and have trouble gaining weight. So as I lay my burden down before the Lord I am also quick to find thankfulness. This experience is opening up my eyes to struggles that so many parents face with their kids and I have a new understanding and sympathy for families dealing with food sensitivities and allergies. If you would though, please lift us up in prayer. Pray that we soon figure out what is causing this and that God would use his mighty hand to heal our Claire. 

Claire is a happy little thing full of expression. She delights us all with her smiles and sounds. She is enjoying small toys and still loves her pacifier. 

She is sitting up quite well, with her head held steady and strong. She still needs some support but enjoys sitting in her boppy chair and is entertained for a little while in her bouncy play space. She also can sit in the table at bible class! 

Sleep wise there isn't much routine yet. She continues to wake up 2 or 3 times in the night for short feedings. We have her in her rock and play right now because she's had some trouble with spitting up and congestion and she sleeps better in there. We did experiment with naps in her crib though and the few minutes she would spend in it were precious. ;)

Our little "bringer of light" is bringing me closer to HIM every day. Be it the happy way she looks at me or her cries. I'm filled with gladness for this sweet one. Christmas time with a young baby brings me to one of my favorite passages in the bible, Mary's song. Though I did not give birth to Christ, I can relate to Mary's humble thankfulness and joy so I'll end with a portion of her words. 

"And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." 
Luke 1:46-50