Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

These posts have been going around the blogosphere lately and I felt compelled to jump on board. Here is Team Flip's 2012 in review:

January
My college roomie, Angela, came to visit us in Ohio! We also announced our first pregnancy to the world.

February
Jon and I celebrated dating for five years. I also felt the baby move for the first time.

March

April
Shared pictures of the fixer-upper we were trying to purchase.

May
Closed on the house! I also graduated with my Master's in Biomedical Engineering from Cleveland State University and our friends, Nikki and Jim, took some maternity pictures for us.

June
Celebrated 2 years of marriage, had some baby showers, and made progress on fixing up our house.

July
I got huge.
Made more progress on the house, finished the nursery, watched my belly creepily move before my eyes, and made some stuff for the baby. 

August
Elden Andrew came barreling into the world on August 3rd (his due date!) at 9:35 am at a whopping 8 pounds, 15 ounces. I dealt with the aftermath of childbirth and we ultimately moved him into his crib before the month was up.

September
We got Elden's newborn pictures and I realized that I wouldn't be able to protect him from everything. We also made more progress on the house.

October
I turned 24, got a smart phone, we made more progress on the house, and celebrated Elden's first Halloween.

November
We got rid of the swaddle, Jon turned 25, we got our first pictures as a family of 3 taken, and put up Elden's first Christmas tree.

December
Sent out Christmas cards, Elden rolled over for the first time and got his first teeth, then we celebrated Elden's first Christmas.

This year has had its ups and downs--I never knew I could experience so many complex emotions within such close proximity. However, I would take the stresses we experienced due to finances, the house, a crazy colicky baby, and our school/work schedules any day because the joys of parenthood, home ownership and our marriage make it all worth it. Tonight we'll be ringing in the new year with our eyes closed, fast asleep in our beds--the same way we've rung it in the past two years--followed by a small New Year's Day brunch tomorrow with some of our friends. Stay safe tonight and happy 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

twenty-one

At 21 weeks, Elden is getting his 2 front bottom teeth. He is still finding his voice and has been pretty squeaky lately. He has also been giggly on and off. We did get him to sleep in his crib last night (praise Jesus!) but it was quite the feat. He also fell asleep on his own on the floor for a nap for the first time ever today while Jon was warming up his bottle. He is down a few ounces from his 4-month well visit, but given that he's been sick it makes sense. Love this little man!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

christmas recap

Things still aren't settled in our house. Elden is still refusing his crib and is generally unhappy. His pediatrician checked him out on Wednesday and said there was no clear reason for the vomiting but since he seems happy (that boy is ALWAYS smiling at the doctor's office. Makes us look like we're lying when we say he's sick!), is producing mass quantities of drool and is obviously not dehydrated the doctor wasn't concerned. Elden did just cut his two front bottom teeth (too fast!) this morning so that could have something to do with all of it. We have been giving him baby acetaminophen at night the past two nights and that has definitely helped him with the restlessness/discomfort, but he still much prefers being with us at night. Once we're certain he's no longer in pain/sick (still has some congestion/very minor cough) we will attempt crying it out to get him back in his crib. The reality is, none of us are getting enough rest with him cosleeping. He stirs throughout the night and wants to play with us/is engaged with the environment in a way he wouldn't be if he was in his room. Not to mention it isn't remotely healthy for our marriage for Jon and I to literally never have one second of alone time.

We celebrated Christmas with my family on Saturday and even though he was sick, Elden handled it pretty well. Homeboy got a ton of cute clothes, a few really fun interactive toys, etc. Among other gifts, Jon and I received a pot and pan hanging rack for our kitchen and a nice hobby train set (for Jon/Elden). Jon already has big plans to expand this thing and hang it on its track in our attic-soon-to-be-playroom. We had a delicious dinner, a ton of dessert, and most importantly quality time with my family that I wasn't expecting since Elden had been so sick.
Tuckered out at my parent's house
On Christmas Eve we started a new family tradition and went to IHOP for breakfast. Elden was seriously the model child and was smiling, quiet, and content the whole hour and fifteen minutes we were there. He started to get restless as we were getting ready to leave and did go from 0 to fiercely angry pretty quickly, but was otherwise okay. We cracked up because a few ladies told us how lucky we were to have such a "perfect baby." If only they knew....
Then it was Jon's family's turn. The three of us headed over there early because dinner wasn't until 6 and Elden's bedtime is (supposed to be) 7:30 so we wanted to make sure they got some quality time in. He slept in his car seat the first 2 hours we were there so Jon and I got to spend some quality time with his parents. Elden was definitely not in a good way the rest of the day and spent most of his time in our ERGObaby carrier (I cannot sing that thing's praises enough). Despite the cranky little guy, Jon and I had a really great time. Some of the neat gifts we received were a video baby monitor for Elden (love this, even if so far we haven't been able to use it much...) and power tools for our yard. Then, as you know, Christmas Eve was a nightmare and therefore Christmas day wasn't so great either. In fact, we still haven't really shown Elden the toy we bought him for Christmas or opened his stocking...
On our way to Granny and GrA's
Needless to say, we forgot to take pictures or bring our new-to-us digital video camera Jon got me for Christmas. It also wasn't a very cheery one for someone less than 3 feet tall who shall not be named. Maybe I'll get around to writing a post about our experiences with colic and an overall difficult little guy. Or maybe I'll take a nap instead.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

mum

Things have been pretty mum over here because the last 5 or so days have been far from ideal.

All those glorious visions of a charming 'Elden's first Christmas' filled with warmth, homemade croissant French toast, and cheer? In true life form, that's so not how things played out.

Elden's still sick. He's puked at least once per night--but only at night--every night since Wednesday. I have a call into his pediatrician's office about this matter as we speak. He's been refusing to sleep in his bed which means we've been *gasp* cosleeping since Wednesday, not by choice but by necessity. Oh, except Christmas eve. Christmas eve we attempted to cosleep but it was really just lots of crying by two of us and general unhappiness. We gave the poor kiddo baby acetaminophen last night and that generally seemed to help him sleep through the night, but he's still very clingy and generally not himself. Starting to be troubled by this fact and hoping his doctor can glean some insight. Perhaps it could be teething, or perhaps Dr. Google is wrong again.
blurry--but his current sleeping position
Suffice to say, fatigue and frustration run high in our house at the moment. Meanwhile, we are under blizzard and winter storm warnings. This culminates in the perfect exhausted storm (pun intended) that yields little time or energy for blogging. Not to mention the loads (literally) of laundry that need to be done thanks to two puking episodes in mom and dad's big bed last night, and the numerous sleepers and crib sheets that have been soiled this week...

I hope to return to you soon as that will mean my baby is feeling better, I've actually gotten some sleep, and life has returned to relative normal.

Friday, December 21, 2012

twenty

This week brought a few firsts--first time rolling over and first ER trip. The plague got worse and Elden's pediatrician told us to take him in to be checked out to be safe. After 7 hours, 1 ridiculous deep mucus extraction, and 1 very unhappy little boy, we were on our way home. He sounds better today and I think the extraction helped a ton so we are grateful for that. Up until yesterday, Elden had been pretty smiley the duration of this illness but you could tell he was REALLY feeling it Wednesday night and Thursday all day. He's still fighting it and we're hoping he's better by Christmas. So proud of how he's fought through it, though!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

plague

The littlest member of team flip is currently battling the plague, or more specifically, RSV. The two bigger members of team flip are both showing signs that they soon will also be battling the plague.

It ain't pretty. Boogers and boogers for days. Elden is miserable. We had a pediatrician visit last evening and she said so far his respiratory tract seems to be doing what it's supposed to but gave us the red flags that would warrant an ER trip. We're praying it doesn't come to that. In the meantime, I have been feeding him on demand when I am home, Jon and I did 1.5-hour shifts throughout the night last night, and in general the only times he slept were when he was inclined against one of our chests. We've got the humidifier on high, bulb syringe locked and loaded, and Vaseline with shea butter spread thick on the skin surrounding his nose.

This doesn't bode so well for Christmas. We just had to wave the white flag about our small group Christmas party that's supposed to be at our house tomorrow (and that we've been looking so forward to for three weeks). I've called my mom to warn her our family's Christmas celebration on Saturday may go unattended. We need to do the same with Jon's family. If it's RSV, his pediatrician said we're looking at about a 7-14 day battle. So please be praying for rapid healing and for a little man that doesn't require more invasive medical attention. Even though last night was a rough, sleepless one, I ate up every second of having those chest to chest cuddles with Elden. I also suppose I get used to this--sometimes life happens at the most inopportune times. We just have to deal with what we face as it comes. What better time to start than at baby's first Christmas celebration?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

rolling

Elden (intentionally) rolled over for the first time yesterday.


We knew it was a matter of time--he went from rolling to his side consistently to me finding him on his side but face-down consistently. He just needed to figure out the placement of his left arm and his giant melon.

For the sake of Elden videos, here's another from yesterday of him petting Marsala:

I'm one proud mom today.

--

In other great news, Lee is out of the hospital! They still have a long road ahead of them with intensive home-care, so if you could continue to pray for them that would be greatly appreciated. Praise Jesus!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

hobbies

Jon has many hobbies that change anywhere from every few months to years. His longest hobby since I've known him is cycling. Previous hobbies, some of which have come and gone more than once, include music, sewing his own bow ties, shaving, and recording music. Around gift giving times, he always tells me I need a hobby. Truthfully, I've never really had a hobby that stuck. I'd say the longest one was competitive diving which I participated in from 3rd through sixth grade, then dabbled in again in high school and very briefly in college. Diving was hands down my favorite activity as a kid, but a bout with walking pneumonia and then recurring bronchial infections every time I got in the water in the months thereafter led me to cut back during middle school. Once I picked it up again in 8th grade, middle school had ravaged any thread of self confidence I had and I was suddenly petrified of doing all my favorite dives. But I digress.
Does taking copious amounts of pictures of Elden count?
I've put a lot of thought into it and I realized that I do have a hobby that I absolutely adore: blogging. I know many bloggers who are trying to use their blogs as a main source of income/job, and others who have a true gift for writing that have been offered book deals. Do I think it would be awesome to make money off something I enjoy doing? Absolutely. Do I see myself turning this into any form of significant income? No way. I would equate being required to meet blogging deadlines to summer reading in school--I love reading books, until you tell me what books I have to read or when I have to read them by. Since writing in this space is an emotional outlet for me, I genuinely think being forced to write a certain post by a certain time in order to make money would ruin everything for me. That's not to say if I'm asked to review a product I really love for compensation or am asked to advertise someone else's blog on my sidebar I won't. But I won't ever "sell out" and write about random things that I have absolutely no interest in. I also probably won't go to extensive lengths to advertise my blog in other areas. The reality is, this blog is essentially a boring scrapbook of our lives that I write in to keep family and friends updated and to keep track of memories for my own sake. If I were a stranger I don't know if I would read it. Witty humor is not one of my fruits of the spirit.
How about snuggling him?
So then what could my darling husband get me for my hobby for things like my birthday or Christmas? Considering money is stupidly tight for us right now, we're only doing stocking stuffers for each other this Christmas so I'd say this post is not applicable for a long time. We've also avoided giving gifts to each other on our anniversary or Valentine's day because we just don't have expendable income right now. Last year for a combined Christmas/birthday gift, he bought me our camera so I could use it on the blog. Since then, he's had a hard time coming up with ideas and I've not been any help because my honest response is "I have everything I need, what I want is money towards bills." But should we ever desire to exchange gifts and JP needs some ideas (wink wink) to buy me towards my hobby, I would LOVE to have someone design a new layout for me, or perhaps walk me through some code how-to's so I could make it more original/me. Along the same token, I would be thrilled if he would give me something that I could give away on here (weird, right?) because I've been blessed by the blog friendships I've formed and always want to give more to my readers but just can't find the funds to do so right now unless someone essentially donated it to the cause. Beyond that, I'm out of ideas. So my fellow bloggers, what would you recommend as nice/helpful to have that relates to blogging?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DIY baby's first christmas ornament

When I was pregnant with Elden, I fell in love with Young House Love's first ornament for their daughter, Clara. However, I wanted to do a different spin on it. After we had Elden and Christmas approached, I envisioned a floating silhouette in a clear globe. We snapped a picture of Elden on my cell. Being completely inexperienced in the art of photo editing, I whipped out my trusty Microsoft Paint and painstakingly attempted to mimic his silhouette with the eraser and then black paintbrush. It literally took hours. I'm sure you could do it much more quickly in Photoshop. But alas, that's how I did it.
I then picked up an ornament. Once I knew the diameter of the ornament, I resized the silhouette and printed it on white cardstock. I also made a LOT of silhouettes because I wasn't certain how well I'd do at the cutting out of the silhouette or how I was going to get it to float in the globe. Better safe than sorry I say!
 Once printed, I busted out my trusty Exacto knife and cut out the silhouette.
Since my goal was to have this float, I knew I needed to have the backside black as well. I used a ginormous marker to color the back of the silhouette.
Next, I used clear packing tape to essentially "laminate" the silhouette. Once I taped both sides, I used scissors to cut closely to (but not right up to) the edges of the silhouette. At this point I used a third, narrow piece of the packing tape to attach some clear fishing line vertically up the back. It is important that you make sure the length of the fishing line extends well above and below the silhouette because you will have this sticking through the edges of the ornament when you first place it. Once you have it taped down, use a dab of super glue on each end of the tape to hold the line in place more permanently.
Next, I played around with the centering of the silhouette with the ends of the fishing line extending through the top and bottom of the ornament. The nice thing about these ornaments is you can have it snapped together while still being able to manipulate the placement of the silhouette. At first I thought I would need a second set of hands to snap the ornament into place around the silhouette but that ended up not being the case.
Finally, I used some super glue and ran it around the perimeter of the seal to hold the ornament shut. Be careful with this step--the glue dries somewhat cloudy so you want as little on there as possible. When it's dry, trim the fishing line.
One finishing touch I added was I used a paint marker to write Elden's name and the year around the top.
When done, hang it by a ribbon around your tree!
I thought this project would take me a really long time, but from start to finish it really only took me about 20 minutes so I loved that. I'm sure I could have done a better job creating and cutting the silhouette, but it gets the point across and I am so happy with how it turned out.

Friday, December 14, 2012

nineteen

19 weeks old: 16 lbs 12 oz, 27.1", exclusively size 3 diapers, and if his head shape doesn't correct itself by mid-January homeboy is going to get a helmet to do it for him. Elden found his screech this week and has been happy to whip it out on us at the most ridiculous times. I've also had a cough and for the first few days when I'd cough he'd promptly stop nursing, pull off, and look up at me with huge concerned eyes. As soon as I smiled at him, though, he happily grinned back then resumed nursing. He's also gotten much better with the spoon and his rice cereal and discovered his feet. Naps are getting  a bit more consistent/easier, especially his evening nap. Goodness gracious we love this little man!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

new baby valley

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for a few weeks now because I'm all sorts of mixed up inside. Marriage is a wonderful thing and it has blessed my life tremendously over the last few years. Even though it is wonderful, it is also incredibly difficult at times and has been one of the biggest challenges I've faced. The fact is, living sacrificially for another person is tough. Selfishness and greed have a tendency to creep in, and their timing tends to be the worst. High stress project at work? Hello, selfishness. Financial problems at home? Hello, greed. You name a high-stress situation and I can almost guarantee feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration will suddenly appear within your marriage. It's one of the tricks of the deceiver.

Having a baby is hardly an exception to the unwritten rule.

Becoming parents together was by far one of our most incredible marital peaks to date. Seeing the way Elden looks at Jon and the way Jon loves on our son melt me to a giant puddle every time. This has brought us much closer as partners and given us new levels of time management and problem solving we didn't think attainable. Along the same token, though, becoming parents for the first time has also been one of our bigger marital valleys. It's not that our marriage is in jeopardy--neither of us have any semblance of a desire to "get out" of it--but it's definitely been one of the more difficult times we've faced. I recently saw this comic. Let me tell you--truer words (at least in Casa de Flip) have never been spoken. If you take that sentiment with a baby who, on the whole, cries much more often and much louder than most (although getting better each week!), that roughly translates to lots and lots of fightersations (see what I did there? It's a fight conversation!). It's not even like we've been having 1 unending fight since Elden's birth. There have been lots of little stupid fights over ridiculous things (that escape me now, natch).  We always come to a resolution relatively quickly. We learn more about how to fight appropriately each week. We try and try not to get short or defensive with the other. But if you couple lots of little stupid fights with general life stress, sleep deprivation, lack of intimacy and the fact that our work schedules are dead opposite so Jon and I get less than probably 15 quality hours of time together just the two of us each week and it is a recipe for a honkin' ole marital valley. We're working our way through it. Some days are better than others. We were told having a baby would be hard, but I never considered how taxing it could be on our relationship with each other. It's just such a weird experience because it has also brought us so much closer and appreciative of the fact that we have the other to lean on when financial stresses are taking over or Elden is refusing to sleep through the night. I am beyond grateful for that support even though at times I just want to be left entirely alone to process my emotions. I know we'll climb our way out of this rut, I just don't like knowing how long that will take. And for all you new parents/new parents-to-be: brace yourselves. It will be hard--feeling darn near impossible at times. But if you are both committed to working through it, you will be even more madly in love with your partner than you were before.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

mlfDesign giveaway

Marcy has one of the sweetest little shops on Etsy that I've ever encountered. She has items that include children's beanies, netbook or tablet pouches, women's scarves, infant mittens, and more. So when she offered to give away one pair each to two lucky YNP readers, I was thrilled. One of the things I love about these mittens is they have the classic string where you can lace them through your child's coat so you don't have to fear the dreaded lost mitten. This was a major selling point for us because Elden is definitely a mover and a shaker. 
Are these things adorable or what!?

So now for the good stuff: two lucky readers will each take home a pair of Marcy's infant mittens. I will draw for the blue first and the yellow second using random.org.
To enter: head over to Marcy's shop, pick out your favorite item from her store, then come back here and leave me a comment with that item and your email address (mandatory). To earn up to three additional entries, share this giveaway on Facebook, your blog, or Twitter, then come back here and leave me a comment telling me how you shared it and include your email address. Please use separate comments for each entry.

The giveaway closes this Sunday at 11:59 PM EST and is restricted to the U.S. and Canada. I will announce the winner on Monday! If you see an item you like and want to make sure it fits your little person, make sure you send Marcy a message through Etsy with your baby's hand dimensions. She is incredibly accommodating and helpful! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

christmas card 2012

Now that I mailed the majority of our Christmas cards (yes, I am slacking and need to send out a handful more still), I deemed it appropriate to post the final design(s) we chose.

I wanted a different one than Jon, so we compromised and got both.
Jon's pick
My pick
We ended up getting them through Walgreen's and I found a 50% off coupon at the time with 1-hour pick-up at no extra charge, so that was a major win. I'll probably use Walgreen's in subsequent years because it was so little hassle and I was very pleased with the quality. I also used a 50% off/free shipping coupon to CanvasPeople and got that first picture in a 16"x20" canvas for our living room. Once we hang that I will provide the living room photo update I promised a few weeks back.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

number of kids

Every now and then I get bouts of baby fever. This is intensified by a baby who sleeps through the night (usually) and gives me nothing but smiles first thing in the morning when he wakes. Here's the answer to how many kids Jon and I would like to have:

My response before we had Elden: At least 5-6 (a mix of biological/adopted)
My response after my Virginia got PTSD (be tee dubbs, totes not back to normal in that department still): 1
My response once Elden began sleeping through the night: Maybe 4-5, still a mix of biological/adopted
My response when Elden had those bad nights last week: Yeah, definitely just 1
My response when I see itty bitty babies being born to coworkers and friends that I can give back when they start to cry: 400 babies (gratuitous amounts of energy!)
My response when I think about how broke we are: We shouldn't even be allowed the one we've got

So, in a nutshell to those who have asked, I don't really know how many kids we're going to have/when we will add to our family. If money was no object, I'd say we'd easily attain the 5-6 our hearts initially desired. That being said, we have a strong sense of fiscal responsibility and we don't want to bring tiny people into this world that we can't afford. While we definitely agree with the notion that one can never be "totally financially prepared" for a baby (unless, of course, you are one of the privileged who have money at your disposal), we definitely believe you can have some awareness of your preparedness. For instance, before we started trying to get pregnant with Elden, I made spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of estimated baby expenses. I talked to friends with babies to find out their monthly expenses between diapering and whatnot each month. I even called daycares before we started trying so I knew how much that would be--knowing this would be our greatest expense should we become parents. We crunched the numbers, added these expenses to our budget, and waited until we felt like we would generally be able to financially do this parenting thing on our own without any outside help (barring any major life changes such as me losing my job).

Would we love to have our kids crazy close in age so that 1) they have playmates that they can relate to, even as they age into the dreaded teenage years and 2) we can get the last one out of the house while we're still young enough to enjoy empty nesting (hello marital selfishness). So should we find ourselves in a situation where we have enough money to support two babies in daycare / to feed / to diaper / to pay labor & delivery bills, you bet your face we're going to jump back into the trying to get pregnant bandwagon as fast as we can. That being said, given our current dire financial situation (buying a house was something we had NOT budgeted for when we did our initial baby expense/budget calculations) and Jon still facing likely several years of school ahead, don't count on the addition of Baby Flip Numero Dos in 2013. Should God surprise bless us with another, we will obviously be thrilled and make it work. But we are currently (and plan to continue to) taking preventative measures until we feel financially good and ready!

Friday, December 7, 2012

eighteen

18 weeks / 4 months old. Where has the time gone? Elden is predominantly in 6 (and some 9) month clothes and we will be transitioning to size 3 diapers as soon as we run out of the 3 packs of size 2's we have--if not sooner. He loves being cuddled against our chests in his ERGObaby carrier and I am SO stinking glad we got that. We are still getting random giggles out of him but any time we do we have a hard time re-creating it--apparently he's very much been there/seen that. At this point in time he loves his car seat and traveling to new places. His naps are crazy inconsistent during the day so we mostly just lay him down when we notice the tell-tale 'I'm sleepy' signs. Still no rolling over but he is a chatty little guy and still going to his side.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

elden's health update

Elden's well-visit went okay yesterday, with the exception of the fact that it wasn't a well-visit because his pediatrician turned it into a sick visit and had us reschedule the well-visit for next week.

By the time we had gotten to the doctor, Elden's fever had broken. Naturally, despite probably getting a collective 10 hours of decent sleep over the past 48, he was a smiley and happy baby. His doctor even said, "I'm having a tough time believing you haven't been feeling well!" Alas, his pediatrician couldn't find anything specifically wrong--he doesn't think it's teething--other than a slightly red throat (strep culture was negative). At this point I asked if we could start introducing solids because when we first started bringing Elden to this office they told us nothing until 6 months. I had read online that you can introduce between 4 and 6 months, and given Elden's insane 9-oz-every-3.5-hours appetite, I figured the time had come. When I told his ped the amount he drank he promptly said, "yes. Definitely start introducing solids." So last night, we gave Elden a bottle with breastmilk and some rice cereal mixed in before bedtime. He didn't seem to know what to make of it--eyes were wide, milk/rice mix dripping down his chin--but he drank between 1/2 and a full ounce. It didn't seem like much to make a difference (I offered the breast after that) but Elden mostly slept through the night! I heard him at 1:30 and when I went to get him I realized he was mostly chatting and not crying so I waited outside his door for a few minutes and he got quiet so I crawled back into bed. Aside from that he didn't stir much again until 5:30 but fell back asleep soon after until we went to feed him at 6.

So the moral of the story is he was either feeling better, was finally too tired to stay awake for long drags of time, or finally had enough food in his belly to sleep through(out) the night comfortably. Or a combination of 2 or all of those things.

All I know for sure is that I was singing praises this morning after having a decent night's sleep in what felt like an eternity. That, and that we've probably got a future basketball player on our hands as he's currently 16.5 lbs (75th percentile) and 27" long (97th percentile). Next week he gets his booster shots and I'm dreading that...

And for the family, here is a video of Elden's first interaction with semi-solids and the spoon from this afternoon:
Some stills:

--

A few of you have asked, so I wanted to give a quick update about his seizure-like episodes. He hasn't had one in about a month now and about 10 minutes after the last one he had a massive poo. This leads me to believe it was gas/GI-related so if it happens again I'm going to gauge the proximity of the episode to his next bowel movement. But luckily he seems to be doing just fine--thank you for all of your prayers!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

some updates

1. Lee had his surgery on Friday. While he made it through the procedure fine (praise Jesus!), there was the disappointing news that they had to remove a lot more intestine than they had hoped. That being said, because they removed it, they are hopeful this was his last surgery and that Lee will have a normal life eventually, however it will be a much longer road than previously thought. The doctors predict that Lee will be receiving IV nutrition that should mostly be supplemental while his intestines adapt to absorbing all he needs, but it is somewhat stressful because IV nutrition is a lot of work and is hard on the liver. Here's what Laura is asking specifically for prayers on right now: "Pray for: his intestines to begin working, his remaining intestines to remain healthy and be able to absorb all that he needs, his liver to remain healthy while it is being somewhat overworked, wisdom for us and for the doctors in the myriad of decisions and steps forward, for the blood clot to dissolve, for no setbacks or complications- This is really important!"

2. Night 2 of marathon sleeplessness continued last night, except worse. Sunday night he gave us an hour between wake-ups. Last night it was 30 minutes. For the record, I HATE cosleeping. My sleep is probably just as crummy as when I have to get up every 20 minutes to attempt to soothe Elden since I'm hyper-vigilant of my surroundings, namely not rolling onto him and/or kicking him in my sleep. But alas, Jon wasn't getting any sleep either so I sent him off to the guest room and I brought Elden to bed with me. Jon and I were both up by 4:45 am. Mama's tired.

3. Related to #2, we have been taking Elden's temperature the past few days to make sure nothing troublesome is afoot since this sleep change literally came out of nowhere and overnight. This morning we measured our first official fever à la the bum--100.6F. Luckily, we have Elden's 4-month well-visit this afternoon so we will get confirmation that the fever is due to teething (our suspicion) as opposed to some sort of infection.

4. Mad props to my friend, Lauren, for posting this on her Facebook and helping me feel a little less crappy about my exhaustion. That link is Jon-approved which is saying something because he's quite the critic when it comes to humor.

5. Elden is learning risky behavior a tad early in my book:
monkey French kisses
5. Can someone please tell me when December happened?

Monday, December 3, 2012

the gratitude/angst balance

Let me preface this post by recognizing the fact that Jon and I have been blessed with the gift of a child. We did not struggle to conceive, and my heart genuinely goes out to those that do. We also haven't experienced the loss of a child. I can only imagine what either or both of those things must feel like--terrible--and I'm not trying to pretend like I know the heartache those two situations involve. I'm also not trying to discredit said heartache.

But lately I've found myself struggling ever since we became parents when it comes to public acknowledgement of our 'bad days.' In other words, I usually complain and whine and go all 'woe is me' to Jon/close friends and family. Occasionally that will spill over into a blog or Facebook rant (trust me, we tend to have more 'bad days' than you would believe). Any time it reaches that level, I feel guilty for complaining because of the fact that we were able to conceive and have a low-risk pregnancy and a healthy baby boy today. But at the same time, I'm hardly a bottle-it-up-inside type of person, and one of my coping mechanisms with stress is to discuss it: to put it out in the universe so I can acknowledge its presence in my life and begin the steps of fixing it.

Take last night, for instance. We have been blessed with a great sleeper. For over 2 months Elden has slept 8 pm - 6 am (or at least entertained himself somewhat quietly in his crib as he'd wake throughout the night--we'd hear him smashing his feet against his mattress) without a fuss. No crying when we put him down, no crying in the middle of the night, and often times we'd have to wake him at 6 am to nurse. Yesterday while Jon was at work I recognized that I was rapidly coming down with a cold--congestion and a sore throat. I knew that a good night's sleep would likely work wonders on me. Bedtime came and we did the usual bath/nurse/put down routine.

Except, instead of happily laying in his crib, Elden began to cry about 5 minutes after we laid him down. Knowing this is unusual for him, and also that when he cries a particular cry at a particular decibel he won't ultimately cry himself to sleep, we went in and got him. After a few soothings by both of us, he was down by about 8:10. We didn't think much of it... until 9:45 came around and he was crying again. We attempted to soothe but nothing worked until I ended up nursing him in our bed. Once he was out enough, Jon transferred him to his crib. He slept like a baby... until 1:30 am. At this point we were at a loss. I began to think either his teething was reaching its climax or perhaps he had/gave me the cold that was now raging in my head. We attempted to soothe--no dice. I attempted to nurse him in his room--no dice. I brought him back into bed with us and nursed him laying down. It was at this point that I realized this pattern would continue. Exasperated, I broke all of our own beliefs/rules and enacted a cosleeping measure for the night. Jon got out of bed in protest and was awake the rest of the night. I barely slept throughout the night as Elden would wake up every hour or so and fuss so I would re-insert his pacifier (I suddenly despise the thing) and rub his tummy until he fell asleep again. At 6 am, I nursed him and when we changed his diaper he was his usual smiley self. He felt warm so we took his temperature but it was normal. We still don't know what caused it, but we also know he has been hating to nap during the day (yesterday he would only nap in our ERGObaby carrier on my person) and instead of going back to sleep from 6:20-8 like he normally does in the morning, he woke up several times and Jon ultimately got him up at 7. I anticipate a night like last this evening. I'm exhausted. I'm also concerned. Luckily, we have his 4-month appointment tomorrow so I will bring it up to his ped if it happens again tonight.

I genuinely try to remind myself of the abundance of blessings being a parent is. What a joy (usually) a child is. I don't ever want to come off as crotchety about my fate when I know so many others anguish over their desire to become parents but difficulty becoming one. I've seen/heard comments on other blogs and in daily conversation along the lines of "I would give anything to be up every hour throughout the night with my baby" so I try to remember that sentiment any time I display my angst over parenting publicly. But that being said, one can't understand how difficult it can be to be a parent sometimes until you've experienced it. This is just the same as I can't understand how difficult it is to have lost a child, to struggle with infertility, or to have a child with a serious health problem. I try to remind myself that sometimes it's okay to publicly rant about a tough situation but to try to be delicate in the words I use because at the end of the day I wouldn't trade Elden for anything. That balance can be tough though. I hope that if I ever step out of line on Facebook or in my blog about things I'm struggling with/appear to be insensitive or ungrateful, that someone would (lovingly) rebuke me and remind me of my blessings.

Friday, November 30, 2012

seventeen

17 weeks and consistently rolling to his side, as is evident by this weekly photo. He's still sleeping through the night and is now up to four 8- or 9-ounce bottles ( / boob) per day. He is toeing the line between size 2 and 3 diapers, but will probably be in his size 2's for another month or so. We've gotten more giggles out of him. In addition to checking out his surroundings and bath time, we can add reading (or rather, us reading to him) to Elden's favorite things list. He will happily sit through 3-4 books at a time and just quietly check out the pictures as you read to him. We officially see a little tooth on the front/bottom/left side of his mouth but it hasn't cut through the gums yet. We're hoping that explains the resurgence of cranky that seems to have reared its head the past few weeks. Other than that he is as fun as ever and I could smother him with kisses all day, every day.

guilt

Over the last several weeks, work has entered crazy territory. I find myself going in early, staying late, and putting in additional time at home at night/on weekends in an effort to meet ever-growing deadlines. As it stands lately, I see Elden for about 20 minutes in the morning to nurse him before I rush out the door, then again at 4:30 pm to nurse him (although lately Jon's had to give him a bottle as I've been leaving work after 4:30 with a 40-minute commute home). Usually after he eats in the evening, Elden goes down for a nap that lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on how decent of a day he had. When it's all said and done, I'd say best case scenario I get to spend somewhere on the order of 2.5 hours with him in the evening on weeknights, so maybe 3 total hours per weekday. If you do the math, that means I spend about 16% of the week with Elden.
We broke our own rules and nap-cuddled in bed while daddy was at school
Since Jon usually works weekends, I am typically alone with Elden on Saturdays and Sundays. Two full days of uninterrupted time with my baby? Yes and please. Which leads me to my next dilemma: I never want to take a date night to nurture our marriage or any "me" time to help ground myself because I feel like I already spend so little time with Elden. I am well aware of how detrimental that can (and at times, has been) to our marriage. But when I'm away it's nearly impossible for me to enjoy myself because of the ever-growing feelings of guilt. And truthfully? I'm beyond burned out. During Elden's naps on the weekend, I am running around like a madwoman attempting to do the laundry, cook for the week, and tend to other areas of the house that are in dire need of some TLC. I feel like I haven't been able to slow down enough to take a deep breath for myself, no less connect with Jon, in over a month. But how do I let the guilt subside when I choose to be apart from Elden more than I already have to be to support our family?

The things I already have and will continue to miss due to being away from him so often during the week haunt me. What I probably need more than anything is a few hours to genuinely relax--no housework, no crying baby that refuses to be consoled, no looming deadlines hanging over my head. But then reality smacks me in the face and I realize I will never have all three of those things--at least not at once--and I want to crawl into my bed, pull the comforter over me, and pretend like real life isn't hard. But then the baby cries and we run out of clean pajamas for him and there's nothing to heat up in a jiff in the fridge and I find myself hungry, flustered, and despondent.

So how do I deal with the guilt? How do I nurture myself and my marriage when I often forget to brush my hair (don't get me started on my teeth), don't view cosmetics as enough of a priority on my constantly growing list, and don't have the energy to carry on long conversations to reconnect with my best friend at the end of the day? I don't. I bury my chin into my chest and I push forward through each monotonous day, cycling between guilt of being away, exhaustion of being home, and fear of not being present.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

prayers for lee [3]

I can only imagine the thoughts racing through Laura and Josh's minds right now. I thought a good way to encourage them might be to show them just how many people are praying for them.

I created an interactive Google map that allows you to add a placemark to your town to physically display where prayers are coming from. Would you take a minute (seriously, that's all it takes) to add your name or city to the list? Here's how:

1. Click here
2. To add your location, click "EDIT" in the left bar.
3. You will see 3 options appear on the top left of the map to select/edit map features, add a placemark, and draw a line. 
4. Click to Add a Placemark.
5. Drag and drop it (it will appear on your mouse) on your city.
6. You can then enter a title (but don't have to) - feel free to enter your name, your town, etc.
7. Click "OK". 
8. Make sure to click "Done" on the left sidebar to save your changes.

And please keep praying for Lee's surgery tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

prayers for lee [2]

Baby Lee had his contrast study done today.

It is with a heavy heart that I'm here to report he needs surgery again this Friday. They will likely be in the hospital for another 3 weeks following surgery.

Please continue to pray for healing, comfort, sustenance, and peace for the Scheutzow family.

elden's first tree

Elden is typically mesmerized by lights so I was beyond excited to put our tree up. I had this scene in my mind where we'd light 'er up and his eyes would get as big as saucers, in complete awe of what was in front of him. Aaaaand here's what actually happened:
Anyway, we continued with our Christmas tradition of listening to old Nat King Cole Christmas albums on our record player while decorating the tree. We had Elden in his bouncer seat for the whole process. On the whole he seemed most amused by his hands and watching his daddy. Here are some pictures:
2012 annual new ornament
2011 annual ornament - was kept a secret at the time (because we found out we were preggo the day after Thanksgiving)
be still my heart
We need to get some sort of a tree topper and once that's done I will post an official tree/Christmas decor picture.