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 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November Days

November is such a fun month. We spent November talking about the changing leaves (which were absolutely gorgeous this year) scarecrows and harvest time, and a very basic version of the Thanksgiving story. We also seasoned our days with songs and conversation about what we are thankful for. Occasionally we had fun activities on these subjects but we mostly just learn by reading or singing, she's only three after all. :) We sang "He Has Made Me Glad" almost every day this month and last Sunday we sang it in church and Kate was super excited she knew what we were singing and it was so sweet to hear her little voice singing along with an auditorium full! 

We spent time outside, though we had some pretty windy days plus colds that kept us inside. We also took adventures to the library and Cowboy Museum. I wish we went to both of those places more often but I'll use the baby as my excuse! 

Kate's really gotten interested in dress up and it's encouraged her to get better at putting on and taking off her clothes, which is great! It's pretty fun to see her enjoy something I enjoyed quite a bit as a young girl! 

Thanksgiving brought an opportunity to learn more about foods and help out in the kitchen. She is really getting better about following directions and she really pays attention to what we are doing. A few days ago we were making muffins and without any suggestion from me she was pointing out what ingredients were wet and which ones were dry. She even made a well in the dry ingredients for us to add in the wet ones. I was impressed! It's fun to see her learning. It takes extra work and patience to let a little one help in the kitchen but I'm always glad when I do! 

I never got a picture of all of our November crafts before I took them down but you can see them here in our Thanksgiving picture! We didn't do much, a turkey with her name on the feathers, a shape scarecrow, and a watercolored picture of the mayflower and pilgrims. She also made name cards for each person at the table and has been learning more about how to set the table. I'm pleased to say that I now trust her with our nice plates, and she feels special getting to use them! 

Everything is not "Mary Poppins" style all of the time. I'd say what I share in these posts is about 10% of life! There is the normal whining and defiance that comes with this age, and times when the TV is on too much, but life would be pretty dreary if that's what I focused on.  When we decided not to enroll Kate in Mother's Day Out again, I was a little remorseful thinking of the fun she would miss, but now I don't regret it at all! We've had so much fun this year and I look forward to more years of discovering at home together! :) 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Claire is 3 months!

Our precious Claire Lucille is 3 months old! She is more alert these days and so enjoys it when people are talking to her and holding her. Oh, it's such fun!  

Her eyes still look gray to me, her hair is lighting up, but still dark, and she looks so much like Kate! She's wearing mostly 3-6 months clothing now and size 2 diapers. 

She still wakes about 2 times a night to eat and usually will go back to sleep afterwards. Her morning swing nap is usually her longest stretch of sleep. All of this varies quite a bit so we don't have much of a predictable routine yet, but that's okay because I'm not very good at keeping up predictable routines anyways! 

She loves to smile! She's mostly a pretty happy baby but the evening times can bring their woes. She also has been struggling with sensitivities through my milk so right now I've cut out dairy and soy. We are still waiting to see if that alone will do the trick. Hopefully at 4 months we might have some more answers! In general she seems to be doing better but occasionally there are repeating signs. She also been fighting a very long cold with her sister but hopefully the congestion will pass soon.

Claire went to church for the first time this month! She does pretty good! It's fun to be at worship service as a family again! 

Claire also had her first Halloween! What a cutie! 

She also got to meet her great grandparents! We choose to continue on the family middle name of Lucille with Claire after her great grandma and great great grandma so that makes this 4 generation photo extra special to me! 

She loves to kick and talk and make little bubbles! She enjoy looking at the pictures in books and following the lights from screens. Her favorite to look at though is people! She is usually her happiest right after eating! 

Her big sister loves her so so much. Even though it's hard to share the attention of mommy and daddy, it's still pretty fun to have a little sister. :) 

It's not easy, and it's a lot different for me as well to share my attention. At the end of the day though,  no matter how hard it was, I still love my girls so much. 
I'm so thankful to be their momma! 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

October Days

October definitely has a way of showing off. The weather is just wonderful! Sure there are some warm days mixed in with very windy days but usually the weather is amazing. We have loved playing outside. We've taken lots of walks and visited the park quite a bit. 


There is always something interesting to discover outside. Mushrooms after a rain, piecing acorns back together, or finding a fun stick or leaf. We even took our toy rake to the park to rake some leaves! Kate has also officially graduated to the regular swing and it's been exciting to watch her grow stronger and more coordinated. 

There was lots to learn in our October books. We learned about bats as we read Setellaluna, and that owls stay awake during the night from Sam and the Firefly. We practiced expressing different emotions as we read It's Pumpkin Day Mouse! We learned about team work as we listened along to the audio to one of my childhood favorites, Big Pumpkin. Kate is memorizing a sweet rhyming book A Pumpkin Prayer. Of course my most favorite lesson comes from The Pumpkin Patch Parable. We learn not only how the pumpkin grows but also are reminded that Jesus fills us with joy to share with others. There are other stories, not pictured, but reading is always lots of fun around here and our favorite way to learn!

We got in a few fun crafts as well! A jack-o-lantern, a pretty fall tree, a pumpkin, a bat (that was made brown because we didn't have black paint- oops!), and a spider web, which is the water color picture. (The web didn't show up super great but we still had fun.) One thing I try to do is choose crafts that Kate can mostly do herself and that don't require off materials. I also try to mix it up so that sometimes she needs to follow instructions and other times she can use more of her own ideas. 

We had all kinds of fun in October! Kate worked on all kinds of important skills as she played and helped with chores. We even made a pumpkin pie! We took a trip to Orr Family Farm, which was an overpriced adventure, but still lots of fun. Kate got to feed baby animals, ride a train, jump on a huge bouncy pillow, and pick out a pumpkin that we took home to decorate. 

Of course, for Halloween we had to carve a jack-o-lantern! Even though Kate has seen the inside of a pumpkin before it all felt new to her. She was definitely not impressed with the smell or texture!! Thankfully we had daddy to help us out because it's not my favorite thing to do either! Oh how fun it was though to turn out the lights and see his smiling face and sing "This Little Light of Mine"! 

Such a fun month, fall is great! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Claire is 2 months!

Our precious Claire Lucille is two months old! Weighing in at a whopping 13 pounds she is definitely healthy and thriving. She is 22.25 inches long and just full of sweetness! 
We have been taking things pretty slowly the last couple of months and are savoring these days. Can we still call her a newborn? I'm not sure. In a strange way I wonder how it's already been two months yet at the same time feels like she's been with us forever. I suppose you can say we've adjusted! 

She is very alert during the moments she spends awake. She still sleeps quite a bit throughout the day but it's fun to catch her awake. She loves to gift us with her happy smiles and truly has many cute expressions. She gets very excited when she goes in her swing, her eyes light up as the the little mobile goes round and round. She is starting to hit the toys on her activity gym and bouncy chair and enjoys looking at the books we are reading. 

Bath time is still an enjoyable experience for her, it almost seems relaxing though I'm not sure how that's possible with her big sister splashing all about. She still has cradle cap and dry spots, I do believe that got worse this month. I began lathering her in coconut oil multiple times a day and it has cleared up quite a bit. 

We do occasional tummy time. I will admit, I'm not very diligent with this however her neck muscles are developing wonderfully- she is very strong! Her head has been shaped pretty roundly and there haven't been any flat spots so I'm not too worried about this! She's usually happy to play or nap on her tummy for 20 minutes (or longer if she falls asleep) when I remember! 

The weather is cooling up a bit so we've been enjoying lots of walks! She is usually quite content when we are out. I've started using my baby carrier in addition to the stroller and that works well too, and allows me to help Kate as needed. I love that my carrier has a little hood I can put over her head- that's especially helpful with all of the wind we are getting. 

Oh, this girl is so so snuggly! She loves to be held close. Thankfully she still sleeps well in her swing, rock and play, and where ever else we might put her. We are starting to introduce the crib during the day time, she will usually last 20 or 30 minutes. Hopefully within a month or so we'll have her in there at night. 

During the night she usually has a feeding around 10:00, 2:30, and 5:30. It could be any time within the hour of those times but usually I'm only waking up to feed her one time as I generally stay up after 5. Some days she gets a little fussy in the evenings and it can be really rough up until 10 or so and I wonder if we'll ever be able to sleep! Thankfully that's not every night! 

She went on her first trip to Bartlesville this month. We were able to not only spend time with Blake's parent's but also Pam's brother and sister-in-law from Kansas. It was truly a treat and very fun visit. On the way home we stopped in Ponca City to see our "Grandma" Genie. So Claire (and Kate!) had all kinds of loving that weekend. 

As I brought up at the beginning of this post, we have been taking things slowly. Truly, this has been the case for the last several months as I wanted time to rest and enjoy my time with Kate. This season of calm and still has been exactly what we needed. Blake has started his graduate classes again, and we are getting ready to soon bring Claire to church and I'm imagine I'll soon be getting involved with teaching and other things once again. Slowly things are headed to our new normal. In the rush of our culture it's truly an intentional act to take a time of rest, but oh, how we need it. It helps us appreciate our family more, our activities and responsibilities more, but mostly it gives us a chance to hear God. Mommas so desperately need that.  We all need that. To take a moment to be Mary, sitting upon the feet of Jesus, even though there is much work to be done. We all know the story... it was Mary who choose what was best. So friends, if you are a momma or not, take time to rest in his presence, soaking in his goodness, and listening for the quiet ways he is working in your heart.