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Friday, June 26, 2015

{Luke} Four Months

Our Luke boy is four months old now! I can't believe how fast his infancy is flying by. Almost every night, when I am dressing him for bed, I find myself talking to myself. "Don't blink! It's going too fast! Don't miss a moment! Look him in the eyes and talk to him!"

I missed Luke's three month update so I will try to fill in the gaps.

Luke's schedule is he is:

6 am- Up for the day, feeds.
7:15- Nap
9:30- Wakes up, Feeds
10:30- Sometimes naps but most days we run errands in this time and he cat naps in the car
12:30- Feeds
1:00 pm- Nap
3:30- Wakes up, Feeds
5:00- Naps
5:45- Wakes up
7:00- Bed time!
10:30- Dream feed

And that's it! His days are very routine. Occasionally he wakes up in the middle of the night for a feed but that is usually in growth spurts or when my milk is low. He has much longer awake times then the girls ever did! Both Grace and Sophia were ready for sleep at the 55 minute mark but he can often reach 80-90 minutes.

He's a super fast and efficient nurser.

He has started drooling like crazy!

He loves sucking on his hands or his thumb and pointer fingers.

He loves diaper free time.

Luke loves eye contact and smiling.

When sleepy, he likes to burrow his head in mt stomach/crook of my arm and falls swiftly asleep.

He is unswaddled now and just sleeps in a sleep sack.

He found his voice around fifteen weeks.

Luke wears size 3-6 months clothes and size 2 diapers.

He can roll onto his left side but that is all he does unassisted.

We love you, Luke!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Coffee Cup Ramblings

It's mid term break here in Abu Dhabi, which means the kids are home from school and I am trying to keep us cool inside. Temperatures are around 110 most days and outside is simply not an option. And, seeing as losing your mind shouldn't be an option, indoor survival is where we are at.

We have no plans to travel this summer, which is quite the opposite for the average expat who lives and works here. Most people leave for 1-2 months of summer and the mass exodus that happens as soon as the last school bell rings is a bit depressing. It does mean less traffic, less mall crowding, and easier lines at the grocery store, so there is always that!

The kids are doing great. They are all growing and developing so well. There's always a niggling in the back of your mind that your kid will be a little messed up from being a TCK (Third Culture Kid,) but I think, for the most part, they are doing well. Except for the fact that they think America is a city and the only thing they know about Florida is there is lightning storms and alligators, they are very well rounded and well traveled. There's always time for geography and culture lessons later, right?

Grace shows her British English influenced language by asking why we are not going on "holiday," and when all of her friends are returning. Throw in her frequent use of the word toMAHto (tomato,) and references of putting the rubbish in the bin and she keeps us rolling on the floor with laughter. Poor thing also has some serious Southern twang to her vocabulary. We were practicing clapping syllables and the word was "Whale." She kept drawing it out to a three syllable word, "Way yuh luh," and couldn't understand why I was making her do it again and again!

Her schooling is still up in the air right now. We got some not great news about the school systems here yesterday and feel backed into a corner. She just finished All About Reading's Pre reading program and we will be starting the Level One soon, even though I swear we aren't doing formal "homeschooling," this year as she is only four.

Then there's Sophia.

She's a HOT. MESS.

A beautiful, sweet, hot mess with squishable cheeks. She says the funniest things it just makes me fall out of my chair most days. Ask her who her best friend at school is and she will answer "Jumaa. There are two Jumaa's in my class." And when you ask her which one is her friend, she will almost always answer "The naughty one." She climbed out of her crib for the first time last night and just started to cry when she realized she couldn't get back in.

She is currently running around the house in a red tutu, cowboy hat, and masquerade mask while yelling "He-Haw!" I'm thinking that's what a cowboy donkey would say.

Luke is all smiles and cooing. Not much to say about our adorable little chunk of a boy. He's a real joy to have and as long as he is fed and clean he is a happy little man.

Ian's work is just that. Work. He's surviving it and it is a great plus to his resume but not the best overall situation. Long hours. Stressful situations. Little else happens during the week and the weekends are just recovery times. He's still my sweet man who gets up with the baby in the middle of the night and read to the girls each night before bed.

And me? I'm smack in the middle of motherhood. Trying to maintain my own sense of identity in conjunction with motherhood (which is obviously a large part of my identity now and forevermore,) and have real, meaningful conversations with other adults on a nearly regular basis. You know, other than explaining a million times in a day what we will eat next, where we will go next, and why it is wrong to lie/hit/put chewed food on the table. And trying to main my sanity amongst the variety of repetitive tasks- wake, shower, feed kids, clean, feed kids, wipe bottoms, clean, feed kids, bathe kids, collapse onto couch/bed. Repeat.

Part of this stage is trying to hold onto my hobbies. Right now I'm really questioning what my hobbies really are.

Blogging? I've really fell off the bandwagon. I want this one to take root again.
Photography? I love taking pictures of my kids but hate that so much of our time is inside.
Reading? What's that?!
Exercise? I don't think so.
Travel? Not enough funds in the bank to make that a hobby.
Baking? LOVE it. But if Exercise is not one of my hobbies then perhaps neither should Baking.

The real question is what do I have the energy for at the end of these long busy days.

That's really it! Our family at the present time.

Monday, May 4, 2015

{Luke} Two Months

Happy Two Months, Luke James!

This past month has been slow and quiet for our little man. Would you believe I actually had to look through my phone pictures to figure out what happened? It was a great month, just not superbly memorable. The girls started back to school and we just were finding our routine as a family of five.

Around five weeks he turned a corner and just started sleeping better and his own schedule fell into place. He feeds every three hours from 6:30 am until 9:30/10:30 pm and then once during the night between 1:30 and 3:30. He is usually up for one hour and then napping for two.

For most of this month he hated being in the car and had a "witching hour," between 3-7 pm. Grace can still settle him with his Wubanub in the car, which is nice.

Luke smiled for the first time on April 2nd, Grace's birthday.

Luke went to the waterpark for the first time (and got sunburn on one side of his face!)

He celebrated Grace's birthday party by sleeping through the entire thing.

He celebrated his first Easter, was a third wheel on a disastrous date with Ian and I, got his passport pictures made, and had his first trip to the US embassy for passport and documents.

I guess there were some memorable things thrown in there after all!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Newborn Pictures

About two weeks after Luke was born a friend contacted us about a local photographer who was looking for newborns to practice on. She had been doing various other types of photography but wanted to branch out into newborn and family lifestyle photography. I volunteered us as the kids had never had professional shots done for the pregnancies or newborn. I knew that we were past the optimal 10 day old window but thought we would be close enough to make it work. I really wanted the classic sleeping newborn shots.

Sadly, the minute we pulled up to the photographer's house Luke started screaming. He screamed while I changed his diaper, nursed him, unchanged him, positioned him for shots, cuddled him, burped him. He continued screaming for the next 12 hours. It was a bit of a disaster.

Fortunately, the photographer was great. She just worked with what she could get. Most of the shots don't show his precious little screaming face for that very reason, ha!

A big thank you to Lacey Sexson Photography! We are so thankful for these pictures that capture such a special time in our lives!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

{Luke} One Month

 Luke is one month old! ONE MONTH! The first four weeks absolutely flew by but I loved them oh so much. His newborn days may be the least documented out of all three kids but they were the most cherished!

After being released from the hospital, Luke came home and ate, slept, and snuggled the week away. The girls never let us hold them while they slept but Luke was perfectly content to eat and then drift off to dreamland in our arms.

At his one week appointment the doctor sent us straight to the lab to check his jaundice levels, and, when they came back extremely high, sent us to a different branch of the hospital to be admitted. It was a very traumatic time for us. When we got to the other hospital, we had our packed bags with us, prepared to spend a night or two in an uncomfortable hospital room while Luke slept under the lights. Instead, they admitted him to the NICU and there was no place for us to even sit, nonetheless sleep.

The doctor said that I could nurse him 1-2 times in 24 hours but that they wanted him under the most intense lights for as long as possible and to be undisturbed. I was heartbroken. We had to drive the 45 minutes back to our house that night without Luke and I think I cried the whole drive home. We returned first thing in the morning, sat in the hallway of the hospital for over 12 hours, and I was able to nurse him several times throughout the day.

As the end of the day approached we were expecting him to be discharged but found out his levels still weren't low enough. Though his time in the intense bed drastically lowered his levels, the lower level bed went at a much slower rate. We returned the next morning and he was ready to come home.

Right after he turned two weeks old, my mom returned to the States and we had newborn pictures taken. The day his photos were being taken was the hardest day with him! We pulled up at the photographer's house at noon and he started crying. He did not stop crying, nor did he really nap for twelve hours. TWELVE HOURS!

A day or two later I realized that he was showing all the same symptoms of silent reflux as Sophia had. We debated it for a couple of days but finally started him on the same medicine and saw instant relief wash over his whole body. Sweet baby boy.

Honestly, week three and four are a bit of a blur. The girls were in school, Ian was at work, and I was on my own with Luke. I tried to find a bit of a groove with him and do some loose scheduling. Most days he fed every 2.5 hours from 5 am until 9 pm. He was sleeping in our room because my mom had been in the guest room/nursery and we had guests coming at the end of week four so we just kept him in the pack n play. We were ready for him to be in his own room though! The reflux makes him really sniffly/congested sounding and he makes choking sounds (though not actually choking,) or gags all night.

Around week four he started to put on weight! He started being a little more regular in his sleep patterns this week.
Luke, Your first month has been such an adventure. I have LOVED all of the snuggling and sleeping on our arms. You love to be held until you are done being held. You love to nurse and your sisters, especially Grace, love you! It breaks my heart that you are struggling with reflux but I am so glad we were able to catch it early and get you some relief. Love you sweet boy!
Love you Momma.