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.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Just a few pics

Just a few pictures of our boys from the last week or two. We are loving hanging out with these guys so much, spending lots of time at home. 


Will: We took him for his 4 month immunizations last week, and he was a champ. He is in the 90th percentile for weight and height. He has been really into his feet lately, and he just mastered rolling from back to front. He is pretty feisty and always wants to be doing what his brother is doing. He also refuses a bottle now. So we are back to me nursing him in the parking lot halfway through my shift at work, which is actually so easy for me, and my coworkers are pretty used to me disappearing for ten minutes when Will shows up.

Love that little guy, and also excited that the doctor gave us the OK to start solid food at 5 months. I really do like breastfeeding, but I also love the idea of having a bit more freedom to leave Will for more than two hours without worrying he will get hungry. For me, breastfeeding will end around Will's first birthday, so I am celebrating that I am 1/3 done now.


Cohen: We just passed his half birthday, so he is now 4.5 years old. He is getting so independent, which is cool to see, and sort of necessary now that we have a baby in the house. He can now take a bath all by himself (with me in the bathroom, but busy with Will), including washing his hair, checking water temperature, filling the tub, etc. He sets the table for supper and helps clear the table after (on a good day). He is growing so fast! Every time he gets dressed I realize that another pair of pants is too short. He weights around 38.5 pounds, and we are excited for the 40 pound mark because it means we can switch him to a booster seat in the car.

(tummy time)

(sliding)

(love)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Will is 16 weeks old

Will is almost four months old, which is crazy because he was just born. I love the weird little milestones like now he can sit on our lap at the restaurant and look around. So much easier. Also, yesterday Cohen was pretending his water tasted bad, and had Will laughing hysterically. Jon and I basically both started crying because it was the coolest moment ever. Also, I busted the crotch in TWO pairs of stretchy jeans. I may have jumped the gun on switching out of the maternity jeans. 

(This was right before we dismantled Will's cradle. He is growing so fast!!) 



(This is a really good look at my normal life right now. Holding a baby, trying to get Cohen and myself ready for daily life)

(love a baby in overalls. Also, that face)

- Will's sleep is kinda all over the place right now. He is still sleeping beside me in the basket bassinet, but he is pretty much touching the ends. He wakes up maybe three times per night and at least once he is wide awake and chatty. I'm not sure if I'm ready for him to be in his own room yet-we will see. 

- We are still exclusively breastfeeding and he is taking a bottle of my pumped milk when I am at work. I am doing ten hours at work this week- I am taking my return to work super slowly. I feel really lucky I can do that.

- Will gets super frustrated these days because he seems to want to crawl when we put him on he floor. He also loses it when he can't get a toy to go in his mouth. He loves chewing on his fingers too.

Monday, 8 January 2018

The rest of our holidays

When we got home to NB on Boxing day, we had planned to dive right into our usual Christmas stuff with my sister and brother and my niece and nephew. And then we each got so sick. It started with my sister, then my niece, then my brother, then my dad, and then me. It was bad. Vomiting, etc. IT knocked each one of us out for two full days. So the rest of the holiday was spent just doing the best we could, hanging out, and relaxing a lot. 

(my brother turned 29 on the 28th) 

(we got through one huge puzzle. This is a tradition whenever we all get together) 

(these cousins. Graycie is pretty much obsessed with Will) 

(the attempt to get that cousin pyjama pic) 

 (I mean. The sweetest)

(we did one sleepover night at Nan and Gramps) 

(these two could not be more different. They get along better and better as they get older)

Being super sick over the holidays was not awesome, but it did force me to slow down. We did not do much at all. I even had to cancel our New Years party because I was throwing up. Jon and I are looking at 2018 as a year to slow down, stay home more, travel smaller (like maybe just Moncton and PEI a few times), and just hang out with family and friends. No huge purchases, no big decisions. 2017 was crazy for us, so we could use a quiet year. 
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