Friday, 22 June 2018

Will is 9 months old!

I just need to preface this by saying I am absolutely sick about what is happening on the border in the states with immigrant children and their parents. I am so lucky to have won the geographical lottery that is being born here in Canada. Being separated from my two boys for any reason is truly my worst nightmare and makes me physically ill to even think about it. 

Anyway, Will. He is such a sweet little angel. He is 9 months old now, and such a joy! We have a very laid back baby. 

(at family day on Base Gagetown) 

(at the Killarney Lake beach) 

What's happening with Will lately:

- He had his 9 month checkup with the doctor the other day, and he is totally average for height, and a little but less than average for weight. The doctor said is is probably a little light because he is mobile.

- The doctor also told me I can feel free to quit breastfeeding and switch to whole milk if I want. I was so thrilled when I heard that! I had decided fairly arbitrarily that I wanted to breastfeed long enough so I could avoid buying formula. I am now planning to slowly wean Will over the next month or two.

- Sleeping is kinda wild these days. Some nights he wakes up only once for a few minutes, and other nights he is up for hours ready to party. He starts every night in his crib at around 6:30 pm. Some nights (most nights?) he ends up in bed with Jon and I. I am so focused on making sure Jon and I get decent sleep that I can't be bothered with any kind of sleep training/learning right now. Eventually we will get 8 hours of consecutive sleep again (I hope!). Will is up for the day around 5 am most mornings. For some reason I find 5 am sooo much harder than 6 am.

- And naps are kind of a joke right now. We get maybe 45 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes in the car in the afternoon. It doesn't help that our days are jam packed right now, so Will rarely gets the opportunity to nap in his crib in the afternoon. I think the summer will be a little slower and better for the sleep schedule.

- Will just got his two top front teeth. Omg they seem so huge in his little mouth! It felt like the teething went on for days if not weeks. His sweet little gums were red and inflamed and he was drooling like crazy.

- Will's new favourite things to do: crawl into the bathroom and put his hands in the toilet water (uggg!) and climb up our super steep stairs. He keeps us on our toes for sure.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Will is 8 months old!

Will turned 8 months old the other day. He is such a happy little dude. Some things about him lately:

- He got two sweet little teeth last week after months of crazy drooling and chewing on his hands and my hands and every single thing he could. Cohen got his two first teeth around this time too. 

- I am still breastfeeding and also pumping for work. I'm still hoping to make it to his first birthday. He takes a bottle easier these days when I am working, which is nice. 

- He eats everything. We never buy him baby food anymore, and I never make him purees. He just eats whatever we are eating. Tonight we had fish and rice and broccoli and he had all of that. Our family physician told us to feed him everything, and it felt so freeing and way easier than dealing with baby food. 

- He is the fastest crawler! He pulls himself up on everything, so I am constantly catching him trying to eat soil from our big plants, pull garbage out of the garbage can, and dip his sweet little fingers into the toilet water. In that way, he is such a handful! We tried to use the same high chair set up we used for Cohen at this age, but Will kept climbing right out of it and onto the kitchen table. Such a strong little guy. 

- We start the bedtime routine around here at around 6:30. Will is usually in bed in his crib by 7 pm, and sleeps until 6 am or so. He sometimes sleeps through the night, and sometimes he wakes up a couple times for a quick drink. I am hoping to phase out those night feeds really soon. I feel like I am getting enough sleep these days, which is great. 

- Will is allergic to peanuts, so we feed him peanut dust mixed with applesauce every single day. They increase the dosage every two weeks, and we are slowly building up to him being able to eat an entire peanut. At this point, I find the whole allergy thing pretty routine. I don't even pull the epipen out of the cabinet when we feed him the peanut dust anymore. Between Jon, myself, and my mom, we take him to the allergist every two weeks for a few hours. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Library list

I'm reading a little less now that Will is sleeping (mostly) through the night and I am working a little more, but still loving the books.

The Alice Network: This is about lady spies in German occupied France and is historically accurate, which I love. It wasn't a life changer or anything, but I enjoyed it.

small great things: This one was pretty intense. It's about the cultural racism that happens when you say that you are "colourblind", and also the obvious racism that is happening in the states all the time. I really liked it.

The Power of Moments: Omg. This book. I love this one so much, and I am trying to think of ways to live by this book. One part talked about how we mostly remember big transitional moments from our life. So we need to make an effort to celebrate little things more. This book pretty much gave me permission to make a really big deal about birthdays and holidays. I was reading this book when I decided we needed to have a piñata at an Easter brunch I was doing. No regrets! The piñata was a hit.

Feel Free: This is a bunch of essays. I am skipping around reading a few, and pretty into a couple. I love reading essays about life in New York, for some reason I can't explain. I want to hear about busy sidewalks and tiny apartments and corner bodegas. So this book is for me for sure.

Jon just finished When Breath Becomes Air and he is plowing through 12 Rules for life, so those are next for me.

Monday, 7 May 2018

34 years old

I was lucky enough to have my birthday fall on a Saturday this year, so I got to sleep in (until 7:15, but still!), have a day date with Jon, hang out with the family. I was super spoiled this year with two cakes (one ice cream cake with the kiddos, and one normal cake with work), and some really thoughtful gifts. The best for me was getting to go on a nice long lunch date with Jon while my sister and mom watched the boys. 

(May 5 downtown Freddy)

Jon and I talked a lot about the past year. To be honest, 33 was kind of insane for me. The past year has definitely been the worst year of my life. I am at a point where I can feel myself getting over it, and sometimes I think I need to get over it faster because in the end nothing actually happened. It was almost exactly a year ago that we got our diagnosis and we went to Moncton for the weekend. Mother's day was a totally write-off last year. I remember my sister and I trying to celebrate a little for the kid's sake and also to keep me occupied so I wouldn't just cry all day. We forced ourselves to go to the zoo even though it was cold and we were the only ones there. We went to the pool, which was so not fun for me because my bump was visible. It's weird, but I feel like I didn't even get a summer last year. It was like that whole season was so consumed with my worry and stress and grief that it didn't even exist. So right now I am just looking so forward to doing normal summer things and being 34.

(Jon and I took a walk downtown to check out the water) 

(Love him so much)

Goals for my 34 year old self: Keep working hard and learning more about owning the practice. Stay in the moment with these two little boys of ours. Don't buy any new clothes! I am going to try to keep mostly buying secondhand, which is something I have been doing for a year and a half now save for the few nursing shirts I bought. Read and write a lot. I read constantly and write pretty often, so I want to keep that up. Stay active. I want to run a few 5Ks this year, and do pilates in the winter. Nothing crazy, just enough to feel good. I am also going to try to shop in person a little more. I LOVE online shopping for everything from shampoo to sofas. But it is SO much packaging. I am sick of the packaging. So I am going to make more of an effort to try to find what I want in stores. This is going to be the hardest thing for me for sure.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Will is 7 months old!

So obsessed with this sweet little guy. What's happening with Will lately:

- He is crawling super fast now, and tries to grab a handful of soil from our potted plants every chance he gets. I have caught him with a mouthful of soil so many times! I am actually debating just bringing all the plants to work for a while.

- He can pull himself up on the furniture and is just starting to be able to walk around the coffee table while holding on. He gets really frustrated when he can't get into whatever Cohen is doing.

- He eats what we eat. I started out with purees, but he would just grab what we were eating and shove it in his mouth. Jon and I have to watch him closely though, because he will fill his entire mouth with food before swallowing. He is a very aggressive, happy eater. Tonight we had pizza, and we just gave him his own super thin slice. He ate it all, no problem.

- No teeth yet. He is wearing mostly 9-12 month clothing.

- He has recently started what I can only describe as shrieking. I feel like he wants to talk, but he can't, so instead he just screams excitedly. He is such a happy baby, and so quick to smile and laugh.

- He is so into his brother. He loves to climb all over Cohen, and also pull his hair. It's the cutest.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Pics from Easter weekend

We had a great Easter weekend with lots of family this year. My brother usually only makes it home once a year if we are lucky, but he was here for Christmas and then Easter. I had absolutely no voice for most of the weekend. It was so hard!!! I was actually just whispering the whole time. 

(Will tried Pavlova for the first time. I think he liked it) 

(We did a brunch for 20 people on the Saturday so we could all meet my friend Jenny's new baby. She was the sweetest.  And I made a piñata*)

(These cousins are the best) 

(My friend Jess did a scavenger hunt for the preschoolers, and the bunny ring pops were the clear winner. These kids are pretty lucky) 

(Bathing Will. Graycie LOVES helping out with Will, which makes me so happy) 

(My dad is loving that the kids are getting old enough for his scavenger hunts. When I turned 16, our Easter scavenger hunts started to involve driving around this town collecting stuff. So awesome)

(My sister whipped up these bunny pancakes. I mean, come on. So cool) 

(My mother has a tea set that is exclusively for Easter. Seriously, these kids are the luckiest!) 

(My mom did some baking with the kiddos. She was cool with the batter going all over her couch. Haha) 

(We did this impromptu photo session with little Will. Pretty cute!) 

(Sweet Graycie feeding Will)

*Making the piñata was actually pretty easy. It just needed lots of drying time, so you need a place you can hang it and leave it for a few days. I did two layers of newspaper and flour+water mixture. And then I used tissue paper to decorate. The kids had a difficult time busting it. It was filled with lindt bunnies and kinder eggs. This kids seemed for sure more interested in the rice crispy squares I threw in to fill things up. I am learning that kids seem to always prefer the cheaper candy/snacks/toys. 

Easter a few years ago with less family here.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Swimmer's ear + our week

I have always kind of prided myself in being not busy. Like, I always try to say no to doing extra stuff because I value down time and I am so not ambitious in a lot of ways. Anyway, being parents of two and business owners and the million other hats we wear these days is intense. This week has been crazy. 

On Sunday, after a super busy but awesome Easter weekend with family, I started to have a little ear ache. Nothing crazy, but I've had a few ear infections before (like everyone), so I felt like that's where it was heading. By midnight I was in tears calling 811, talking to a registered nurse. On Monday, a holiday, I went to the ER (we have slim picking for clinics in our area on holidays), where the doctor diagnosed me with swimmer's ear, gave me ear drops, and told me I could take tylenol, and sent me home. I had never heard of swimmer's ear, but it sounded like no big deal, and I was kind of embarrassed to have wasted the time of the ER for something called swimmer's ear.

I was useless all day Monday, just laying on the floor of our living room in so much pain. By the evening, I was a mess. I was like, Jon, I can't go on like this for one more day! So dramatic. The pain was 10/10 for sure. I called 811 again, and the nurse was so good and calming, and told me to start taking ibuprofen too and use a hot compress on my ear. I was like, ok, I can do that. The ibuprofen took my pain down to a 4/10 with the tylenol, and I was relatively ok. I booked in with my family physician for the Friday. I was like, ok, I can make it three more days. NOPE. By Wednesday I was a mess again. The tylenol + advil at the maximum dose was not doing much for my pain, and I just could not imagine living like this for another day. I hadn't slept in two days and I couldn't chew anymore. I also couldn't hear from that ear. So crazy. Jon called our doctor and was like, I think you need to see Jess now. My amazing doctor got me in right away, and he said he couldn't really see in my ear because it was so swollen. He got me booked in to the ENT the Thursday morning (two days ago). He gave me naproxen to get through the night, which was AMAZING. I have never had that stuff before, but it helped so much with my pain.

At the ENT he looked in, told me there was lots of gunk and pus, and vacuumed it out. I felt nothing because the naproxen is just so good. I felt really numb. Today, I have only a little pain (maybe 1 or 2/10). Miracle. I feel so bad for people who live with chronic pain. This week is such a blur. So the ENT has to see me again next week to make sure things are ok, but I am cured. Swimmer's ear, I am done with you. PS: The ENT said we will never know why I got it. It's not always due to being in the water.

Then on Friday our little Will had his first oral immunotherapy appointment at our allergy clinic. The allergy doctor first went over the blood work, which showed that Will was allergic to peanuts but not so crazy that we can't try to desensitize him. I think his number was 0.15 and the number above which they can't help is 0.34. So They mixed the applesauce I had brought with peanut dust, fed him some, and sent us back to the waiting room for a while. We did that three times, and the only thing that happened is he got a rash on his back which is no big deal. He also coughed twice, which had the nurse running over to us, but I think it was just a coincidence.

We were hanging out at the clinic for a few hours, which is pretty long for a 6 month old. He did great, and impressed all the other people in the waiting room with his crawling skills. Now we have to feed him the peanut dust/applesauce combo each day and watch him carefully for 30 minutes with the epipen right there. My nerves!!! The doctor thinks it will probably take 6-12 months, during which we have to feed him the peanut dust every day, and we have to increase the dose at the clinic every two weeks. Basically our schedule looks crazy every week now with all these appointments.

So grateful to live in this place that has specialists 15 minutes away. And I'm so grateful for pain medication. And that this week is over.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

A March long weekend on PEI

We had another awesome long weekend on PEI a few weeks ago. This one was extra special because Jon's sister and her kids were able to join us, since they were on march break. This was our third visit (our Christmas visit here) to PEI since Will was born, which is pretty impressive I think. We absolutely love renting an AirBNB while we are there so we can have plenty of space and enough bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone to be comfortable. This time since I knew there would be three adults and four kids, we rented a full house (we usually book apartments in downtown Charlottetown) in a more residential area. 

(This place had tons of toys. The boys were loving it) 

(we especially liked the selection of board games) 

(Will spent a lot of time in the Ergo. No complaints from this momma) 

(both Jon's parents live really close to this AirBNB, so they were over each day. So convenient) 

(I love these people so much. I have the best sister-in-law) 

(Cousins. She is pumped to do some babysitting for us in the near future. I love it) 

(I am a tall person) 

(Cohen loved running on the super quiet flat roads)

We really had the best time. I have known my niece and nephew since they were really little, and it has been such a treat watching them grow. And my sister-in-law is one of the warmest, kindest people I know. Basically I feel like a better person just hanging out with her. So yes, it was a great weekend. We took walks, had picnics, had drinks (obviously), played games. To keep things easy, we ordered food one night, and my mother-in-law did her signature dish of curried chicken one night. Will did not sleep much at night, which I remember happening sometimes when we travelled with baby Cohen. But it's so worth it. On the flip side, Will slept perfectly for the almost 5 hour drive there and back, which allowed Jon and I to drink coffee, chat, listen to podcasts. Life is about focusing on those moments that you get to listen to a podcast with your husband while your boys sleep in the backseat of the car. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Will is 6 months old!!

These last 6 months have moved pretty quickly. Will is the best. My hormones are for sure still all over the place, which is probably what is making me feel soooo HAPPY most days. Actually joyful. 

(elevator pic) 

(first time at the pool) 

(eating/messing with avocado) 

(twins, basically) 

(playing with Cohen's toys)

So the big thing with Will right now is he is crawling! For about a month he has been traveling across the room with this bunny hop army crawl type thing, but a few days ago he finally figured out how to legit crawl. Cohen wasn't doing that until he was at least 8 months, so I'm kind of surprised. I'm thinking the main reason he is crawling so early is to get to Cohen's toys. He has zero interest in his baby toys, and all the love for Cohen's little paw patrol characters. Other things about Will:

- We started trying out solid food around 5 months old, as recommended by our family physician. Will is pretty into banana, and also loves sweet potato puree. Less interested in avocados, meat, berries. We have so far been doing the spoon feeding thing mostly, but we are slowly heading in the direction of Will feeding himself little bits of whatever meal we are having. I completely forgot what a huge mess baby eating is. 

- Sleep. Uggggg. We did a version of gentle sleep training around 5 months, and it worked so well for maybe two weeks. Then a bunch of things happened: Will got a cold, we travelled to PEI for a long weekend, and Will learned to crawl. We have not had a decent night for a few weeks now. The exhaustion can be so hard!!! Last night the only way Will would sleep is with his little head resting on my open palm, and his hand on my face. It's so sweet I can't even believe it. I know that one of these nights he will sleep well. Hopefully soon

- I am up to working 15-20 hours a week. I work a maximum of five hours at a time, so I am not pumping at work anymore and Will hasn't had to visit me in the parking lot for a drink for a few weeks now. Will and Cohen both love their days at my parent's house while Jon and I work. My parents are the single most important tool I have as a working mom. Jon and I rely on them for so much, and not just childcare. Some stuff they have done for us lately: make us meals (sometimes we go there for supper, and other times mom sends me home with takeout), get us groceries (mom works at a grocery store, so she often calls me if she sees something I might want), carpentry/decor work (they both have done so much to improve our 30 year old clinic). I don't know how people do this parenting thing without a lot of help!

- Will is so quick to smile all the time at everyone. He is such a happy guy. He is cooing all the time and laughs super hard at his brother. Jon and I are so happy with our two little guys. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

Will is 5 months old!

Will is 5 months old now! This is what he is up to these days:

- He is able to get himself across the room if he sees some of Cohen's toys that he wants. I might not call it crawling, but it's kind of this downward dog then bunny hop that he does. It's pretty cute. 

- He is very interested in food. Our doctor told us to go ahead and start solids at 5 months, so we have been letting him have a taste of whatever we are having. I am still exclusively breastfeeding, though these days it's only every 3.5-4 hours or so. 

- He giggles the most for his brother, and basically wants to be doing whatever Cohen is doing all the time. He is also so smiley. He smiles at strangers everywhere we go. People are constantly talking to him when we are out and about. Strangers love to comment on his hair. He has so much of it! 

(see Cohen's 5 month update here)
(see more pics on my instagram @jrnielsen110)

Friday, 16 February 2018

Our allergy journey continues....

When Cohen's peanut allergy was extinguished (is that the right word? I'm not sure), the allergy doctor told us his little brother would almost certainly need allergy testing when he was born. So, I brought him in for his first appointment today. 

(chilling in the waiting room) 

Will is almost 5 months old, and we have been letting him taste our food once in a while for the past few weeks. Last week I let him taste a smoothie that had peanut butter in it. And his face broke out in hives. So stressful!!! So today, when the nurse did the allergy testing, I wasn't surprised that one of the dots got really red and angry. So he is allergic to peanuts. Apparently younger siblings of allergic kids are 7 times more likely to have allergies.

I feel like I am learning more about allergies all the time. The doctor told me that dry skin is so so so bad for allergies. New studies show that if you keep your baby super moisturized, the allergies are on average 30% reduced. So crazy. So we are supposed to be coating Will in a moisturizer like Vaseline all the time, especially when he is eating, but actually all the time. And we have to keep him away from peanuts now so that he can start the allergy extinguishing process every two weeks for the next year or two or however long it takes. He has to get bloodwork next week to find out exactly how crazy the allergy is.

I feel like I am able to handle this so much better this time around. With Cohen, we just felt so strongly that there was something going on with him, and his physician kept telling us it was normal for a baby to have super red cheeks and dry skin. This time, we are starting much earlier with an allergist, which feels much better. Love this little guy.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

142 days

So Will is 142 days old. The days have flown by of course, but also they have gone slow and been super intense and emotional. It's been about 9 months since our whole ordeal started, and I find myself so not over it. 

(one day old)

I'm not really sure what is normal when it comes to getting over something traumatic. What I know is I think about it every single day. Even though it is the worst thing that Jon and I ever went through, it seems like my brain doesn't want me to forget a single bit of it. So I replay the whole thing over and over, and sometimes I remember some little detail (like something a nurse said) that makes me want to go through the whole over again.

I'm so, so grateful. Will is the absolute best, really a dreamy smiley happy baby. When we go to the store, people come up to us constantly to tell us he is the sweetest baby they have seen. He is so friendly and outgoing. I feel so much joy when I look at him. And there might have been a parallel future without him in it, and that thought makes me sick to my stomach.

I don't ever want to forget about what happened but I don't want it to define me or Will either. I'm finding that balance.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Will and sleeping lately

Will is over 4 months old now, and he has basically been the dream baby when it comes to sleep. But last week, he officially became too big for the bassinet he had been sleeping in beside me, so we figured we would try him in his crib in his own room which is right beside our room. Well, it's been a mixed bag, but mostly, I am getting no sleep. I think I'm averaging maybe 3-4 hours altogether per night. I've started recording the wake ups, for some reason I can't remember, which just makes it worst. 

Getting no sleep is so hard!! I feel tired at first, but then I feel like my body adjusts to it somewhat. So basically where we are right now is Will does not want me to put him down ever while he is sleeping at night. I did a bit of googling and discovered he is exactly 19 weeks, which puts him in a wonder week/sleep regression which has apparently been documented extensively.

Jon and I also recently listened to a This American Life about how sleep deprivation is so common in the Navy. So crazy what lack of sleep can do to you.

My mom friends and I often talk about how isolating and lonely being a mom of a baby can be, and I think that whole thing is compounded when you are tired. I really am loving spending lots of time with this sweet little face, and also I find it super challenging. I am really lucky because Will is in a good mood most of the day and Cohen is super helpful. I feel for all the tired parents out there.
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