Monthly Archives: April 2013

Day in the Life with a 7 Month Old

Here is a 24 hour snapshot of what life is like for us at 7 months old. I took these pictures on Wednesday, April 24th. It was a typical work day and we were in the middle of sleep training, so it looks much different than the last DITL post when I was on Spring Break!

5:30 a.m. Alarm goes off. I get up, shower, and get ready for the day. I also pump. Now that Kevin wakes up later and sleeps longer at night I need it to pump right when I wake up.

6:15 a.m. I finish getting ready and head downstairs. Kevin’s already down there making lunches and breakfast for both of us. Today I have cereal with blueberries and almond milk.

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6:27 a.m. I hear the baby wake up on the monitor, a little earlier than usual. Daddy goes up to get him and play for a few minutes before he leaves for work.

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6:45 a.m. Daddy’s gone, so I change the baby’s diaper and feed him a 6 oz. bottle of the milk I pumped earlier that morning.

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7:00 a.m. I put Kevin in the exersaucer while I clean spit up off my dress and drink coffee 🙂

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7:10 a.m. Breakfast time for baby! He eats apple cinnamon oatmeal and loves it.

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7:25 a.m. We go upstairs to clean the baby up and get him dressed for the day.

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7:30 a.m. My babysitter arrives and we chat for a few minutes. Then I somehow drag myself away from this cute face to go to work.

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7:35 – 8:05 a.m. Drive to work. There is traffic and I’m 5 minutes late for a meeting. Ugh.

8:05 – 8:45 a.m. Meeting 

8:45 – 10:00 a.m. Teaching

10:00 – 10:45 a.m. Planning period. I had to pump during this time since I had a meeting before school and  couldn’t pump before kids arrive like usual. I don’t like doing this because it messes with the timing of my regular pumping sessions and causes me to pump a little less overall.

10:45 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Teaching

12:20 – 12:50 p.m. Lunch and another pump session

12:50 – 3:30 p.m. Recess then more teaching

3:30 p.m. I eat a snack, take care of some things at work, pump one last time, and then I’m out of there.

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4:10 p.m. Leave work. Sit in traffic. Boo!

5:05 p.m. Finally make it home and our babysitter is in the middle of giving Kevin his bottle so I take over. I’m SO happy to see him!

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5:15 p.m. Baby finishes eating and we play together on the floor for a little while. After being apart from him all day this is one of my favorite things to do when I get home.

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6:00 p.m. Dinner time for baby! He is having pumpkin and banana. It was his first time trying pumpkin and he liked it! He devoured the whole pouch fast!

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6:15 p.m. Kevin gets home with dinner from our favorite Mexican restaurant. He goes to work early now (7-3) because he coaches middle school baseball from 3-5.  He loves it, but it makes his days really long. We decided to get dinner out tonight because we had no groceries and no motivation to cook. I got cheese and onion enchiladas with vegetarian refried beans and rice… and ate it all! My appetite is  out of control lately. Also, baby is tolerating dairy fine when I eat it these days. YAY for cheese!!! While we eat, baby munches on a Baby Mum Mum cracker. He loves them.

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6:45 p.m. Kevin takes the baby upstairs for a bath and I run downstairs to put the cloth diapers in the wash.

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7:00 p.m. Bath is done, now time for daddy’s special baby massage! Followed by a fresh diaper and PJs.

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7:05 p.m. I fed baby a little 2 oz. bottle of formula, then nursed him. I do this to make sure he’s full before going to sleep with the hope that he will sleep longer.

7:23 p.m. He’s starting to fall asleep after he finishes eating, so I quickly put him down in his crib. He didn’t cry at all and fell right asleep.

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7:30 p.m. I go downstairs to add detergent to the washing machine, then make bottles for the next day. I pumped almost 12 ounces between my 3 sessions at work. Big difference from only 7 weeks ago when I was only pumping 4 oz. total at work!

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7:50 – 8:35 p.m. My friend Cynthia calls and we talk for a while. As we are talking I sanitize the parts to my new manual breast pump and clean up the house. I bought this pump for times that I can’t have easy access to my electric one (in a car, before/after a race, etc.)

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8:40 p.m. After I hang up with Cynthia, Kevin and I start to watch Survivor.

8:49 – 8:51 p.m. Baby cries softly and then falls back asleep.

8:52 p.m. I run downstairs to put the diapers in the dryer. Then we continue watching Survivor.

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9:35 p.m. We go upstairs to get ready for bed.

9:50 p.m. I pump 3.5 ounces before going to sleep and make fun of Kevin, who is wearing a sleep mask since I keep the light on while I pump.

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10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. SLEEP! Without any wake-ups from the baby! I woke up SUPER full and leaking, so I pump and get 7.5 ounces!

5:15 a.m. I get in the shower and the baby wakes up. Daddy feeds him a 6 ounce bottle of the milk I just pumped and changes his diaper.

5:35 a.m.  Daddy puts baby back down in his crib while I get myself ready for work. He cries lightly.

5:45 a.m.  Baby falls back asleep for a little while longer.

What was baby up to while I was at work? Here are the notes my babysitter wrote down for me from this day.

  • 8:25 – Bottle (6 oz. breastmilk), diaper change
  • 11:00 – 11:15 – Super short nap
  • 11:15 – Bottle (6 oz. breastmilk), diaper change
  • 11:30 – 12:00 – Playtime, happy, really doing well sitting up!
  • 12:00 – 2:40 – Nap in swing, had a hard time falling asleep
  • 3:00 – Bottle (5 oz. formula), diaper change
  • 3:20 – 5:00 – Playtime
  • 5:00 – Diaper change, Bottle (5 oz. formula) – this is the bottle I finished giving him.

24 Hour Totals (5:30 a.m. – 5:30 a.m.)

  • # of feedings: 7 + 2 meals of solids (breakfast and dinner)
  • # of diaper changes: 7
  • # of outfit changes: 3 (in and out of PJs + the babysitter changed his outfit, not sure why)
  • # of hours of sleep for mom: ~7 hours
  • # of hours of sleep for baby: ~15 hours
  • # of hours spent nursing: Only 15 minutes 😦 the joys of being a working mom.
  • # of hours spent pumping: ~1 hour 45 minutes (6 sessions- 5:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m. 9:50 p.m., 5:00 a.m.)
  • # of formula ounces eaten: 12 ounces
  • # of breast milk ounces eaten: 24 ounces in bottles + a little more directly from me

Previous “Day in the Life” posts:

Adventures in Sleep Training, Part 1

Before I had Kevin and in my first few months as a new mom, I never thought I would be one to ‘sleep train’ with crying methods. I had nothing against those who did, but it wasn’t really the style of parenting that I envisioned myself adopting. Listening to him cry broke my heart and I hated when it lasted more than a few minutes. Plus we practiced a lot of attachment parenting things like co-sleeping, breastfeeding and baby wearing, to name a few, and attachment parenting isn’t usually associated with letting babies ‘cry it out’ in order to learn to sleep.

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Fast forward a few more months and Kevin is now 7 months old. He never really recovered from his 4 month sleep regression, and was still sleeping only 8-9 hours of fragmented sleep each night. He was VERY dependent on me for everything at night and became too attached. The only way he would sleep through the night was if he was in our bed with us. He wouldn’t take a pacifier anymore and only wanted to nurse to soothe himself. We all weren’t getting enough sleep, and my sleep deprivation started causing feelings of frustration, lack of energy at home and at work, and resentment towards my husband because I was the only one who could soothe the baby. I also knew that the baby should be sleeping 10-12 hours a night and I was worried that not sleeping enough would affect his health and development.

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And with that, we decided enough was enough. It was time to sleep train. I wouldn’t change the way we did things in the beginning at all though. I love the bond that we developed and I think I set up a positive, loving and nurturing relationship between the baby and us, but once he hit 7 months I knew it was time to try some sleep training. I knew he was old enough to be able to handle it, and at this age he understood that when I left I would come back eventually so he wouldn’t think I was abandoning him. I did my research by reading the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, reading a few blogs by moms who had sleep trained, and talked to my mommy friends about what they did. I also love the My Baby Sleep Guide Website. Between all of these sources we developed our own ‘plan.’

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I knew I couldn’t do the total extinction method where you are supposed to ignore all crying and never go into the room. I wanted a somewhat gentler approach, so we decided to do comfort checks, starting with every 5 minutes of hard crying. I knew it would take longer doing it this way rather than total extinction, but that was okay with us. If the baby calmed down or got quiet then started crying again, we would start the clock over. We planned to only rub the baby’s back, SHHH him, and tell him we love him during a comfort check- no picking him up. We would stay in the room for only 30 seconds then we would leave. We decided we would eventually increase the time from 5 minutes to 10, and so on.

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In order to keep myself calm and confident I kept telling myself that all he’s ever known since he has been born is that when he cries we will come to him. He doesn’t know any differently because we’ve never done it any other way. I had to remind myself that we are teaching him an important lesson in how to self soothe and sleep. And that this is something he will need to know the rest of his life. The teacher in me understood this, but the mother in me still had a hard time at first. There were many tears shed the first few nights, But it got easier with time especially when we realized he was learning.

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A quick summary: The first night we put him down (Sunday, April 14th), he cried for 18 minutes. Last night when we put him down he whined for about 5 seconds and then fell right asleep. He used to go to sleep around 9 p.m.- we were never successful at getting him to go to bed earlier than that- and he always woke for the day at 5 a.m, sometimes even earlier! Now, he goes to bed around 7:30 p.m. and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m (except for a couple days where he woke up a little earlier). He went from getting 8-9 hours of sleep to 11-12 hours. Yeah!!!

Here are all my notes from the nights that we have sleep trained so far. It’s a lot of information, but I wanted to remember the details of what happened.

Night 1 (the most detailed of my notes!)

  • 7:00 – did bedtime routine: bath (happy), massage (fussy), PJs, nursed (kept falling asleep while eating).
  • 7:40 – put him down in crib awake. He suddenly became hyper and was calling out, kicking, rolling around, and happy. Then he started whimpering/whining/light fussing. He flipped to his belly.
  • 7:52 – started crying harder.
  • 7:57 – I went in after 5 minutes for 30 seconds of comforting. I told him I loved him, rubbed his back, and he calmed down. When I left the room he started crying hard again.
  • 8:03 – went in after another 5 minutes for 30 seconds of comforting. When I left he cried even harder. This is when I started to cry too. It broke my heart to watch the monitor and listen to him cry.
  • 8:04 – 8:11 – crying, but had periods of time where he calmed down then started up again, so I didn’t go in again. Eventually his cries turn into soft whimpers.
  • 8:12 – and all of a sudden he FELL ASLEEP after 18 minutes of crying.
  • 8:13 – just kidding, he’s not. He cried again for 30 seconds and then he was out for real.
  • 8:13 – 2:36 – SLEEP!
  • 2:36 – light cries for less than a minute
  • 2:40 – little noises from crib and back to sleep
  • 4:35 – more little noises then back to sleep
  • 4:57 – crying. These cries sound different. I know he’s hungry at this point since it had been 10 hours since he had last eaten, so I fed him. I also realized his diaper had leaked and he was wet and I felt really guilty.
  • 5:30 – tried to put him back down in the crib and he was not having it. He was wide awake and ready for the day.
  • 5:55 – 7:30 – fell back asleep in dad’s arms and then in the lounger pillow. I guess he was still tired anyway! Live and learn.

Night 2… a TON of night wakings.

  • 7:40 – put him in his crib and he fell right asleep, no crying!
  • 8:21 – soft cry, back to sleep in less than 10 seconds
  • 8:30 – cried softly for 2 minutes then fell back asleep
  • 9:19 – cried for 5 seconds
  • 9:58 – cried for 2 minutes
  • 11:09 – crying hard. I went in every 5 minutes to comfort him, then moved it to 10 minutes after a little while. Crying started to slow down periodically so I only had to go in 3 times.
  • 12:10 – finally back asleep after crying for an hour
  • 3:15 – crying. After 5 minutes daddy went in to change him and I fed him.
  • 4:18- we both accidentally fall asleep together while I’m feeding him. Oops! I go to put him back in his crib and he cries.
  • 4:23 – asleep after 5 minutes of crying
  • 7:15 – woke up for the day!

Night 3… getting better.

  • 7:38 – put in crib, started crying, but became soft after 3 minutes
  • 7:43 – asleep
  • 3:40 – soft cries
  • 3:43 – back asleep
  • 5:45 – soft noise, started moving around, then fell back asleep
  • 6:30 – awake for the day

Night 4… waking to eat, or not?

  • 7:28 – put in crib, cried loudly for 3 minutes then got softer
  • 7:33- asleep
  • 3:53- crying, but it sounds like a different cry. I wonder if he is hungry.
  • 4:00 – decided to go in to change his diaper and feed him
  • 4:30 – put back down, cried hard
  • 5:00 – asleep
  • 7:20 – awake for the day

Night 5… same as the previous night.

  • 8:08 – put down later than usual because we were stuck in traffic after daddy’s baseball game, cried for a minute
  • 8:09 – asleep
  • 3:22 – crying, again it sounds like he’s hungry
  • 3:33 – crying hasn’t let up so I go in to get him changed and fed
  • 4:00 – put back down in crib, cried hard and long again for the 2nd night in a row. Definitely having trouble getting back to sleep after his feeding.
  • 4:33 – asleep
  • 7:45 – awake for the day

Night 6… started our weekend trip to PA.

  • 7:31 – put down in crib, cried for a minute
  • 7:32 – asleep
  • 12:00 – woke him up to get in the car to leave for our trip
  • 12:25 – fell back asleep
  • 2:30 – all of a sudden wide awake in the car right before we arrived. Fed and changed him once we got there.
  • 3:32 – put down down into the crib at my dad’s house, cried hard. I think he was unsure of his new environment.
  • 3:54 – fell asleep after 22 minutes of crying
  • 6:30 – woke up for the day

Night 7… trips away aren’t ideal in the middle of sleep training. DUH.

  • 6:50 – acting super tired so we put him down early, cried
  • 6:54 – asleep
  • 7:25 – awake and crying… already? Back and forth between hard and soft.
  • 8:05 – I pick him up because his crying is getting stronger, discovered that he pooped and is still hungry. Feel really guilty 😦
  • 8:18 – lay him back down dry and fed, cried for 10 seconds and fell asleep
  • 4:15 – awake and crying so I fed him
  • 4:51 – put him down, cried
  • 5:13 – still crying, change diaper and put back down
  • 5:25 – still crying, so I give up and bring him in bed with us. Fail!

Night 8… back at home and back at it again! 1 big step forward…

  • 7:43 – put in crib, cried for a few minutes
  • 7:46 – asleep
  • ALMOST 10 HOUR STRETCH!
  • 5:27 – woke up crying, fed him and was awake for the day.

Night 9… and then 2 steps back after a day of refusing to nap.

  • 7:51 – put down in crib, whined for a few seconds, fell asleep
  • 10:46 – awake and crying hysterically
  • 10:56 – go in to change diaper, won’t stop crying even when held
  • 11:00 – put back down and he continued to cry hard
  • 11:10 – went in to get him and tried to figure out what was wrong. He wouldn’t eat and wouldn’t stop crying. Wouldn’t even really open his eyes, even when we turned on lights. It was almost like he was having a night terror, probably due to sleep deprivation from not napping more than 25 minutes at a time that day. Finally got him to nurse and we both fell asleep together for the rest of the night. Fail 😦

Night 10… better, but still a lot of night waking.

  • 7:42 – put down in crib, no crying at all, fell right asleep
  • 10:10 – crying softly
  • 10:15 – asleep
  • 2:18 – crying, back and forth between loud and quiet
  • 2:40 – still crying. Is he hungry? I go to feed him and change diaper
  • 3:00 – put back down, cried for a minute
  • 3:01 – asleep
  • 4:20 – light cries
  • 4:23 – asleep
  • 6:27 – awake for the day

Night 11… getting back to longer stretches.

  • 7:23 – put down in crib, no crying at all before falling asleep
  • 8:49 – light cries
  • 8:51 – asleep again
  • 8.5 HOUR STRETCH
  • 5:15 – awake and hungry? I feed him, and daddy changes diaper
  • 5:35 – put back down, light fussing and crying
  • 5:46 – back asleep
  • 6:00 – awake and crying lightly, maybe he’ll go back to sleep
  • 6:25 – rolling around in crib wide awake so I go to get him

Night 12… more night wakings and more setbacks.

  • 7:20 – put down in crib, cried for less than a minute then asleep
  • 8 HOUR STRETCH
  • 3:33 – awake and crying, again not sure if he’s hungry or not
  • 3:38 – crying hard still so I go get him for diaper change and feeding
  • 4:06 – put him back down, cried for less than a minute and was asleep. Is he finally learning to go back to sleep easily after a feeding?
  • 4:15 – nope… he’s up again and crying.
  • 4:27 – dad goes in for a comfort check
  • 5:10 – finally asleep after going back and forth between hard and soft crying for 30 more minutes
  • 6:18 – soft whimpers
  • 7:00 – awake for the day

Night 13… rocky beginning, good ending!

  • 7:50 – put in crib, asleep after one little whine
  • 10:02 – crying hard and thrashing around in crib
  • 10:12 – dad goes in for comfort check, he calms down but is still crying
  • 10:22 – I go in for the second comfort check and discover that he pooped. I change him and hold him for a few minutes, trying to calm him down
  • 10:31 – put back down, crying hard
  • 10:41 – dad does comfort check, gets more upset. We decide to wait 15 minutes now, but his cries start getting softer so we never went in again.
  • 11:11 – asleep after an hour and 9 minutes of crying 😦
  • 3:03 – awake like usual around 3 a.m. I waited to see if he would put himself back to sleep, and he did!
  • 3:05 – asleep
  • 7:21 – awake for the day

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We are now almost two weeks into our training, and while we have made some good progress, we definitely aren’t done yet, obviously! As you can see from my notes, we have had some bumps in the road. It definitely hasn’t been a situation where it gets better every night. There’s been a few instances where I feel like we have taken 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I wanted to write this post now while we’re still figuring things out to get a snapshot of our progress.

According to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, using a controlled crying approach like we are could take anywhere from 3-14 days, and since our trip to PA was right in the middle of it we were set behind a bit. In hindsight, maybe we should’ve waited until after our trip to start sleep training. But we have so much going on right now that we don’t have a clear block of time until JUNE! I felt like I kept coming up with excuse after excuse for why we hadn’t done it yet… he was sick, he is teething, we’re going away for a bunch of weekends soon, we have visitors staying with us, etc. I knew we had to do it now or never, or else something would always come up. I also knew that 6-7 months is the ideal time to sleep train, and I didn’t want to miss our window before he starts being able to stand in his crib and things like that. So we are just making the best of it, doing what we can, trying to be patient and celebrating the small accomplishments and progress he is making with his sleep.

Happy boy in the morning!

Happy boy in the morning!

Positives

  • A consistent, predictable bedtime routine: for about a month now we’ve done the same bedtime routine- bath, baby massage, PJs, nurse, put down in dark room with sound machine running. I think he really is associating these things with bedtime and it makes him start to get drowsy.
  • Earlier bedtime: He used to fall asleep around 9 p.m., and now he goes down between 7:15 and 7:45 p.m most days.
  • Waking up later in the morning: He went from waking up between 4:45 – 5:15 a.m. to about 6:30 – 7:30 a.m!
  • Able to put himself back to sleep: This one is HUGE for us! Now he can fall back asleep within 5 minutes (most of the time.) It’s not perfect yet and there are still some nights he’s not able to do this, but considering before he only fell asleep if I held or nursed him, it’s a big improvement.
  • Meeting the recommended hours of night sleep for his age: He is now sleeping between 11-12 hours a night, and before he was sleeping only 8-9 hours.

Things We Still Need to Work On

  • Night wakings: I know it’s normal for children to stir a little bit at the end of their sleep cycles, but he’s doing more than just stirring- he’s actually crying a lot of the time. Hopefully with more time he will stop doing this and sleep for a continuous block of time more consistently.
  • Figuring out the nighttime feeding- should I or shouldn’t I?: I think one of the main issues is that I’m never sure if I should feed him or not when he wakes up around the 3-5 a.m. mark. I feel like 12 hours is really long for a 7 month old to go for a feeding, but there are some nights that he doesn’t wake at all to eat or falls back to sleep on his own. To me, that shows that he doesn’t necessarily need to eat during the night, right? I just feel guilty if he wakes up around the time crying, wondering if he’s hungry or wet and uncomfortable.
  • How to get him back to sleep afterwards: I wouldn’t mind getting up to feed him in the middle of the night if he went down easier afterwards. Even though I don’t stimulate him and keep the lights off, he has a hard time falling back to sleep after he eats. I feel like it ends up interrupting things too much and gets him too worked up.
  • Naps: My initial plan was to first work on nighttime sleep and then once that was better established work on naps. However, I’m starting to second guess that now. His sleep is noticeably worse when he doesn’t get good naps in during the day, which makes perfect sense because then he’s overtired. Should I be nap training too and trying to get him on a better schedule? He currently takes 2-3 naps, one between 8-10ish, one between 1-3ish, and sometimes one around 5. But these are very variable. Sometimes he sleeps for 15 minutes at a time, and sometimes he will sleep for 1 or 2 hours. It isn’t consistent at all.

So that’s where we are with our sleep training, 2 weeks into it. I will do another update after another 2 weeks or so to talk about where we are at that point. I am hopeful that things will improve once we figure out more about how to help our little man learn to sleep better.

Experienced mommies, do you have any advice for me? I would love to hear your input!

Kevin’s 6 Month Photo Shoot

On March 24, 2013, we had Kevin’s 6 month photo shoot. We finally got the pictures back and could not be happier with how they turned out. I just want to freeze time and keep him at this age for a little while longer. He is so much fun, and it is a joy to watch him learn new things every day. It’s crazy to look back at his newborn shoot and see how much he has changed since then.

Time for me to show him off, like I don’t already do that enough 🙂

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This little rocking chair actually belongs to my husband Kevin’s dad, Kevin Sr. Kevin III is the third generation of Spauldings to use it! It is a very special family heirloom.

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Thankfully he was in a great mood during the shoot, and warmed up to the camera more and more as time passed.

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I love how our photographer captured how expressive he is!

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We were told this photo shoot would focus on him and wouldn’t include us, so we didn’t bother getting ready and looking nice. Then the photographer told us she wanted us in a few photos. Surprise! But they turned out fine 🙂

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A few side-by-side comparisons. 4 days old vs. 6 1/2 months.

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These next few photos of Kevin with his daddy warm my heart.  I will cherish these forever!

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My little boy is growing up so fast…

Mom & Baby: 7 Months

Happy 7 Months, Kevin Troy! You are absolutely the funniest, sweetest, smiliest, cutest little man! Although I am kinda biased… 🙂

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This has been another month of great development. Probably the biggest one is that he has mastered the skill of sitting unassisted! We have been working on it for a while, and one day I sat him down and he just stayed there smiling proudly. Now, sitting is his position of choice. He’s not a huge fan of lying down anymore…

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Unless it’s on his tummy! Despite my anxiety, he has become a tummy sleeper. Even if I put him on his back, he will eventually roll over. He’s a great roller so I’m not worried about it. He actually sleeps much longer and deeper when he is on his tummy. In the picture below he was playing on his activity mat, then out of nowhere he rolled himself over and passed right out. It was hilarious!

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He’s in all 3-6 month clothing, size 2 disposables at night (although they’re getting snug), and cloth diapers the rest of the time. He is very close to moving into his 6-9 month stuff though. We actually went to the doctor a few days after he turned 7 months (for a staph infection I’ll talk about in his 8 month update), but he was 17 pounds and 1 ounce. That means he’s gained over 2 pounds in a month, and almost 4 pounds in the last 2 months. He’s packing on the pounds lately!

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See for yourself… Here are the monthly comparison shots: 1 month to 7 months.

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I think part of the reason he’s put on weight recently is that he loves to eat solid foods. This month he has tried a lot more new foods- mango, peaches, zucchini, apple, pear, peas, spinach, butternut squash, oatmeal, yogurt (that he vomited up- definitely still sensitive to dairy) and Baby Mum Mum teething biscuits. Right now we have him eating twice a day, at breakfast and dinner time.

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He gets really excited when it’s time to eat. I’ve done a combination of making my own food and giving him pureed food in those little pouches. He loves it all. Although he is very independent and prefers to feed himself. He even tries to steal the spoon 🙂

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We have really been trying to sit down and eat dinner together as a family and not like zombies in front of the TV. This is something we both did growing up and we want to continue it with our children.

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Another big step that we took this month was offering him a sippy cup for the first time. We put breast milk or water in it. The first time we gave it to him he knew exactly what to do. He grabbed both handles and stuck it right in his mouth. He does need some help tipping it up, but I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it eventually.

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No sign of crawling anytime soon, except that when he’s on his belly he will try to push his butt up with his legs. He doesn’t know what to do beyond that though. I know it’s still early for crawling and I’m in no rush to get him to become mobile. He’s going to be a HANDFUL once that happens, and we still have baby-proofing to do. He does love ‘standing’ and holding onto things. He can do even hold himself there without help for a few seconds.

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He’s also really active when it comes to playing with his toys. He’s very grabby and always trying to get something close to him, whether it’s my phone, a toy, my hair, my necklace, my face… whatever he can grab, he will. He has also figured out that he can ‘throw’ toys, and that when he drops them they make a sound. He will do it over and over again and thinks its hilarious.

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He’s still gnawing on anything and everything he can get his hands on and drooling a ton. His gums are swollen and red and I can see two little squares underneath them from the front. I have a feeling his teeth will pop through soon. He is also constantly playing with his tongue and running it over his gums.

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Drool!

With the teething comes a little bit of increased fussiness and the constant desire to be close to us. In order to get things done like make dinner, I have put him in the Ergo with little teething pads attached to the straps and he loves it.

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The other trick is taking him outside. He loves the fresh air and is instantly happy if we sit with him on our front steps, walk with him to the mailbox, or walk with the stroller.

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Sleep this past month was still not good and teething made things worse. He was sleeping 8 hours and it was usually broken up by him waking up a few times. When he turned 7 months we finally decided enough was enough and we started sleep training. We are on night 6 tonight, and it’s going SO WELL. I’m going to write a full post on it once we get a little further into it.

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One thing that has helped his sleep has been consistently making bath time a part of his nightly routine. He really loves it and it gets him to wind down and calm down at the end of the day. He also loves Daddy’s baby massages afterwards!

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One very exciting thing that happened this month was that Kevin’s new baby cousin was born! Austin was born on March 18th at the same hospital and with the same doctors and nurses that delivered Kevin back on September 12th. He is so cute and Kevin loves him already.

Showing Austin to Kevin for the first time.

Showing Austin to Kevin for the first time.

Although we are trying to teach him the difference between ‘grabby hands’ and ‘gentle hands’ 🙂

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Body

My body went through some good and bad things this month. First, the good: my milk supply has almost TRIPLED thanks to Domperidone. I went from pumping 4x a day and producing only 6 oz. total to pumping anywhere from 16-18 oz. from those same 4 sessions. We still use formula daily but the amount is much, much less, 1-2 bottles a day max. It is so exciting to have my supply back and has made me feel so much happier. My hormones feel more stable and my period has once again gone away. My last cycle started on March 1st and there’s no sign of another period in sight. We’re being SUPER careful just in case though. No brother or sister for baby Kevin quite yet… 🙂

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With my increased supply has come out of control hunger. I am so hungry. All. The. Time. I’m finding myself snacking a lot and trying to eat bigger portions at meals. Kevin will put more nut butter in my oatmeal and avocado on my sandwich and I’ll eat more at dinner. I’ve also done a ton of eating unhealthy food like cookies, chips, and candy (thanks to Easter!). Despite all this eating, my body is burning through it and I am below my pre-pregnancy weight. I don’t get it. I didn’t take a picture this month though, because I look basically the same as last month.

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I was also hit this month with ANOTHER stomach bug. This one happened the first night of my Spring Break. Kevin (my husband) got it first. I started feeling sick on my drive home from school the day after Kevin had it. I laid down and within a few hours I was vomiting, having diarrhea, and I had a fever of 102.1. It was horrible, but then within 24 hours it was over. Two of our friends got it too along with my dad and sister who came to visit a week later.

Finally feeling better after my stomach bug.

Finally feeling better after my stomach bug.

Running. Oh how I miss it. I have honestly not run very much between last month’s update and this one. Time with the baby is so limited since I leave for work at 7:30 and get home around 5, and I don’t want to leave him to run. By the time the baby goes to bed and we eat dinner it’s either too dark or too late. And I can’t manage to get myself up in the morning because I need sleep so badly. I’m basically only running on the weekends (if that). It’s okay though, because I’m not really training for anything until this summer. I have a few short races lined up but that’s it. I kind of like this no pressure attitude toward running right now.

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Mind

I am doing SO WELL mentally and emotionally lately. Spring break, a visit from my family, and a few random snow days (in March!!!) really helped me recharge and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon summer will be here and I will able to spend a lot more time with the baby. I can’t wait!

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We had a lot of good family time this month. We celebrated Easter and had some really nice, relaxing days on the weekends spent hanging out and just being together. I was able to put work aside and truly enjoy these times, and that made me feel so much better.

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I took a huge step this month and spent a night away from the baby for one of my best friend’s bachelorette party in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I love my friend to death and was super happy to celebrate with her, but I was also really sad to leave the baby for the first time overnight. I had a good time, but it’s kind of awkward to excuse yourself every 4 hours to go pump when the rest of my friends from high school and college don’t have kids yet. I accidentally fell asleep (a.k.a passed out) when I got back to the hotel and didn’t pump. So when I woke up the next day my boobs were rock hard and leaking everywhere.

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I bought these alcohol test strips to make sure all the alcohol was out of my milk. Those strips turned BLACK when I put them in the milk. I had to dump a good amount of it out, basically all of my first and second pumping session the following day. That hurt my heart 😦 No more drinking like that for me!

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Overall it was a good test for  me, but at this point in my life I am just not interested in being away from my family for long periods of time. I missed the baby and Kevin and they are my priority right now. Things have completely changed for me in the past year and I am just in a different place in my life than many of my friends. They are super supportive and understanding though, thankfully. I am looking forward to the day when we ALL have little kids running around 🙂

We love you Kevin! Can’t wait to see what month 8 brings!

Previous Post Partum posts:

Thoughts on Boston

I had to wait a few days to write this post. I needed to process my thoughts about what happened in Boston this past Monday. I still don’t think I have the right words to express myself so instead I’m just going to write from my heart.

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My stomach dropped when my coworker came to my classroom to tell me that there had been 2 explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. As a runner, I look forward to Marathon Monday and had DVRed it to watch when I got home. I stayed off social media all day so I wouldn’t see any results from the race, and I was excited to watch the elites and dream about someday running there myself.

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Even though I knew about the explosions, I didn’t fully realize the extent of the situation until I got home and turned on the news. It was then that it hit me and I started feeling a variety of emotions.

The running community is like a tight knit family. There’s a special bond and closeness that I feel with other runners when I see them on the road or at a race. I didn’t know anyone running the race this year and I don’t live in Boston, but I felt personally attacked by this seemingly random act of violence and terrorism. I felt so devastated about the lives that were lost and people that were injured. I was heartbroken for the people in Boston whose city was under attack. I felt sad for the people that had trained hard to qualify and run such a prestigious race, and then had that amazing feeling of joy and accomplishment stolen from them at the end of their marathon.

After my sadness I felt fear. I could not stop thinking about how this could have been any race. It could have happened anywhere. It could have been me crossing the finish line. Even more upsetting, it could have been Kevin and the baby at the finish line waiting for me. Just typing that brings me to tears. A friend of mine asked me how I felt about everything that had happened, and if I was going to continue having them come to my races. When she asked me that I immediately started crying. I don’t know the answer to that question. It scares me to death to think about it.

Finally I felt anger. Intense anger. I had so many questions running through my mind. Why did they do this? How can they do this? Who are these people and what gives them the right to try to put this fear into us as Americans and runners? Why do they feel they should have power over peoples’ lives? Why should they be able to rob us of the joy and accomplishment that comes from training and running races? I was, and still am, angry at the people responsible and the whole situation.

Next weekend I will be running the Nike Women’s Half in DC. I would be lying if I said I’m not a little anxious and scared about it. But I refuse to let this senseless act of violence keep me from doing what I love. Runners are a special group of people. Emily from Daily Garnish wrote a great post about 10 Lessons My Child Can Learn from the Running Community. I love every word of what she wrote. It’s all true. We are determined. We don’t give up. We are motivated. We are supportive towards others. We are passionate and fight for what we want. We know how to push through the hard times. We will keep running without fear.

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There is some positive in the middle of all of this violence. There is a feeling of pride among Americans and for the first time in a long while, we are united toward a common cause. Another positive was how many people selflessly came to help. I am thankful that during such a horrific tragedy, the best of humanity was also on display, thanks to all the first responders, runners, and spectators that came to help those who were injured. The police officers and the bomb squad that worked tirelessly over the last 5 days to find the bombers, protect the people of Boston, and put themselves into dangerous situations are true heroes.

As I type this I’m watching CNN and seeing that they captured the second bomber. I truly hope this means that it’s over. It’s time to start the healing process and begin to move on from this horrible, tragic nightmare.

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I hope to be able to run the Boston Marathon someday. When I do I will run with pride and honor, and for all those who aren’t able to due to what happened on April 15, 2013.

Day in the Life with a 6 Month Old (SPRING BREAK Edition)

It’s time for another Day in the Life post! This was how our day went on Tuesday, March 26th, when Kevin was 6 1/2 months old and I was home with him during my spring break from school. We had a lot going on so it wasn’t a “typical” day, but it is still a nice snapshot!

5:00 a.m. Both Kevins are awake. Kevin (my husband) gets in the shower and gets ready for work while I feed the baby.

5:20 a.m. I try to get the baby to go back to sleep but he refuses. He is full of energy and kicking his legs like crazy. Instead I go change his diaper and then hand him off to his dad so that I can shower. I like to get my shower out of the way while Kevin’s still home because it’s easier. After my shower I put on my comfy clothes and go downstairs. LOVE that I don’t have to get dressed for work!

6:00 a.m. Baby is sleeping on Kevin. So sweet 🙂

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6:05 a.m. I make myself breakfast: a bowl of cereal with bananas and blueberries with almond milk. Kevin and I talk to each other and watch the news before he has to leave for work at 6:30. He is now working earlier hours (7-3) because he is coaching middle school baseball every day from 3-5. Busy busy!

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6:40 a.m. Kevin is gone and I’m tired. The baby is still sleeping so I lie down and try to go back to sleep myself. Of course he immediately wakes up when I do this. He hasn’t been napping and sleeping well at all due to some teeth that are thisclose to breaking through. He hasn’t had much of an appetite either (due to teething again?) so all he has been wanting to do is nurse in quick sessions for comfort. After a short feeding he’s back to sleep and I pass out as well.

8:45 a.m. I wake up two hours later when I hear the baby start to make noise. OMG, long nap. It was much needed obviously. I reheat my cold cup of coffee. Then I put the baby in the exersaucer and run downstairs to start some laundry and get some from the dryer that needs to be folded.

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9:00 a.m. I fold laundry and watch the Today Show while baby plays. I g-chat with Kevin about the new Dopey Challenge that the Disney Marathon is offering. It’s 4 races over 4 days- 5K, 10K, Half & Full Marathon… crazy but so tempting! It costs $495!

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9:30 a.m. I nurse the baby and he is still hungry so I give him 2 more ounces of breast milk that I had pumped the night before. I waited a little while but he still seemed hungry, so I gave him one more ounce of breast milk. I’m paranoid about wasting my milk so I wanted to do it in small increments. He STILL wants more after that so I give him one more ounce. He’s finally satisfied after that! I change his diaper and put him on his mat to play.

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10:25 a.m. While baby is playing on his activity mat I go downstairs to switch laundry. When I come back he is on his tummy. Lately he does NOT like to be on his back anymore, and will roll over at any opportunity. I continue folding my huge pile of laundry on the floor next to the baby and talk to him as he plays.

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10:40 a.m. Baby is fussy again so I nurse him AGAIN! He is making up for not having much of an appetite for two days I guess. I don’t mind because when I’m home with him I like to nurse him on demand as much as he wants. He passes out right when he finishes eating.

11:00 a.m. I put the baby down to continue his nap and then get everything ready for the rest of the day. I hard boil some eggs, make myself an egg salad sandwich to pack for lunch, get the diaper bag ready, and get dressed while baby sleeps.

11:45 a.m. Baby has a poop explosion on our way out the door, so I change his diaper quickly and we head out.

11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. We drive north to go to see my sister-in-law and her new baby Austin! Baby Kevin sleeps on the car ride. He usually falls asleep in the car, so on days that we’re out and about it really messes with him being able to take longer naps.

12:20 – 1:30 p.m. We hang out at Kara’s house and visit with her, Austin, our friend Alicia and her baby Olivia. In the hour that we are there I nurse the baby, change his diaper, hold my new nephew, eat my sandwich, and take cute pictures of all the babies.

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Baby Austin

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Kevin- 6 months, Austin- 1 week, Olivia- 3 months

1:30 p.m. I have to cut my visit short to go to a dentist appointment 😦 Baby sleeps again on the car ride over.

1:45 – 3:30 p.m. At the dreaded dentist. I hate going there more than any other doctor! The baby did so well, and I found out that my hygienist also had a baby on September 12th at the same hospital that Kevin was born! What are the chances? Kevin came to the dentist when he got off at 3:00 since he didn’t have baseball due to spring break. This was great because the baby was starting to get fussy, so he took him and gave him a 6 ounce bottle of formula in the waiting area while I finished up.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. We all went across the street to go grocery shopping at Wegmans. While we are there the baby poops so daddy takes him into the bathroom to change him. Any place that has changing tables in the mens room gets an A+ from me! It is surprising to me how many places still only have them in the women’s rooms these days. While we’re there I am really hungry so I grab a Naked fruit smoothie to drink while we shop.

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4:35 – 5:10 p.m. We drive back home and once again the baby falls asleep.

5:10 p.m. Once we are home the baby continues to sleep in his car seat, so we put the groceries away and start dinner. We are having roasted chickpea veggie stir fry, which we actually had the last time I did a day in the life post!

5:45 p.m. The baby wakes up and is hungry, so I feed him after another diaper change. While I’m feeding him I get the sad news that my dad is heading to the vet to put my 16 year old cat to sleep due to kidney failure. I am so sad 😦

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6:30 p.m. Our dinner is ready so we eat while baby plays on his mat.

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7:00 p.m. Once we’re finished with our dinner I go back into the kitchen to make the baby’s. While the chickpeas were roasting I was also baking an apple in the oven. I let it cool while we ate and then I cut off the skin and blended up the rest, making applesauce. Baking the apple released tons of great flavor, and it tasted so good without any sugar or anything else added to it. I’m excited to see how the baby likes it.

7:10 p.m. Kevin feeds the baby and we Facetime with Mamaw and Papaw (Kevin’s parents). The baby LOVES the applesauce. Can’t get enough!

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7:45 p.m. Kevin decides he wanted to bake cookies while we were at Wegmans earlier, so he bought this cookie dough in the refrigerated section. Surprisingly it didn’t have any crazy ingredients like some other cookie dough brands, and they tasted really good! While he is baking them I switch laundry. Yup, still doing laundry. We produce a lot of dirty clothes I guess.

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8:00 p.m. Bedtime for baby! He has gotten used to going down around 9 p.m., and we’ve been trying to slowly move up his bedtime.  We tried to jump it up to 7:30ish but that was too much, so we’re aiming at 10 or 15 minutes earlier every day or two. This night we were aiming for 8:30. We do his routine: bath, baby massage from daddy, diaper, PJs, read a book, and nurse until he was almost asleep… and then he poops. So I changed him and he was wide awake again and rooting around for more food. Kevin makes him a 4 oz. bottle of formula. He’s super drowsy after that so I put him down in his crib and he rolls over and falls asleep at 8:45. He prefers tummy sleeping these days now that he rolls over like a champ.

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8:45 p.m. I go back downstairs to relax and fold laundry.

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9:35 p.m. And he’s awake. He has been waking up shortly after going down lately, before he falls asleep for his longer stretch. I pick him up and he falls back asleep after a few minutes.

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9:45 p.m. I go back downstairs to finish up laundry and cleaning up. Kevin goes to bed at this point.

10:45 p.m. I finally go up to bed. Later than I wanted to, but since I napped for so long in the morning I wasn’t as tired as I usually am in the evening. Before bed I pump 3.5 ounces, good for me since it had only been 2 1/2 hours since I nursed the baby.

11:00 – 11:55 p.m. Sleep

11:55 p.m. Baby is awake. Noooooo. We didn’t get as long of a stretch as usual. It is probably due to him not getting in a good long nap that day. Nothing works to soothe him back to sleep so I end up nursing him. I really try not to do this too often because I don’t want him to get used to needing it to go back to sleep.

12:25 a.m. He is refusing t0 go back into his crib. At this point I know he just needs to sleep so I bring him into our room. It’s a work in progress… Since this day he has slept all night long in his crib twice! He hasn’t done that since January when we were still swaddling him.

12:30 – 5:10 a.m. We all sleep.

5:10 a.m. I feed the baby and then we both pass out until 7:30. I love Spring Break!

And that’s a snapshot of our life at 6.5 months! Lots of broken sleep, eating, and teething.

24 Hour Totals

  • # of feedings: 9 + some applesauce… wow, hungry boy!
  • # of diaper changes: 8
  • # of outfit changes: 3 (in and out of PJs + poop explosion
  • # of hours of sleep for mom: ~8 hours
  • # of hours of sleep for baby: ~14 hours
  • # of hours spent nursing: ~2.5 hours
  • # of hours spent pumping: Only 20 minutes since I wasn’t at work
  • # of formula ounces eaten: 10 ounces… last month it was 23 ounces!!!
  • # of breast milk ounces eaten: 4 ounces in a bottle + more directly from me

Previous “Day in the Life” posts:

Spring Break

It’s the last night of my Spring Break. Both of my boys are sleeping and I wanted to do a little writing before I go up to bed too. I had the most wonderful 11 days off that left me feeling refreshed and like “me” again.  I wanted to share some of the best parts of my time off from work.

First picture with the Easter Bunny.

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My boys wearing matching outfits. When they came downstairs together and I saw that Kevin had put on an outfit to match the baby’s I cried. So sweet.

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Kevin III’s 6 month photo session… (more to come!)

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My boy sitting unassisted for the first time!

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Spending time with some of his friends. It will be so much fun to see all of these babies grow up together!

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Kevin, his new cousin Austin, and future wife Olivia

Babysitting Olivia while her mommy got a massage!

Babysitting Olivia while her mommy got a massage!

I was able to get in a few good runs, and even one as a whole family! I practiced my hill running- no joke with the stroller!

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We had a nice family day out, including a Starbucks treat, shopping, and cuddle time when we got home.

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Kevin tried some homemade applesauce, and decided he wanted to feed himself with the spoon. So independent!

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My dad and sister came to visit us for the first time since Kevin was born. We have seen them many times when we visit PA, but it was nice for them to come to us for a change. We had so much fun!

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We celebrated Kevin’s first Easter. I made him an Easter basket full of food pouches, Baby Mum Mums, baby sunglasses, his favorite baby massage lotion, and other fun stuff.  I also made a scavenger hunt for my husband that led him to his basket. He loved it! That evening we had dinner at Kevin’s sister’s house with her husband and kids and some other family. It was a nice, small, perfect celebration 🙂

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Easter 2013

I also was able to do a few things for myself, like finally go to the dentist and another amazing massage. I visited with my good friend Ashley who I haven’t seen in far too long. I also got to spend an afternoon catching up with Marisa, my Bradley method teacher and doula that helped with Kevin’s birth. Then a few days later we got together with her again, along with the other couple that took our Bradley classes with us. It was the first time we had gotten together since our babies were born, and it was so much fun!

Kevin with Leighton and Marie- Bradley Method babies!

Kevin with Leighton and Marie- Bradley Method babies!

Every day was special, even though my break didn’t go exactly as I had hoped. On the first day I got (another) terrible stomach bug, which caused me to miss a race and a visit from my best friend from Pennsylvania. I also received sad news that my family’s 16 year old cat had to be put to sleep due to kidney failure. But I was proud of myself for dealing with these issues and not letting the ‘all of nothing’ attitude ruin my break.

How can you not smile looking at this new pacifier from my sister?

How can you not smile looking at this new pacifier from my sister?

I am realizing lately how quickly time is passing. My baby is turning into a little boy right before my eyes. With the busy-ness of school and life it’s easy to miss. This Spring Break was a reminder that I need to slow down and take it all in. It was also a little preview of all the fun we are going to have when I’m off for the WHOLE summer in a little over 2 months. I think I can, I think I can… This face is my motivation.

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🙂