Thursday, May 31, 2012

... of science

I am doing an experiment. Selah has been a really amiable baby so far. Really, she has just been sleeping and eating.  A few times she has done some very sad crying during her few awake moments.  The fact that the vigorous pumping of her legs combined with incessant pacifier sucking has produced some very lovely little farts in those moments, I have figured out that there is something happening with her eating that is sometimes making her gassy.  Hence the experiment.  I can't hold all variables constant (as I learned was necessary in 10th grade Chemistry), but I am trying.  So I eliminated what I thought might be the culprits: broccoli, tomatoes, and eggs.  Those might not be the problems, but it's my best guess and so I'm starting there.  I took them all out.  She was fine for a few days.  Then I added eggs back in; and she had a hard day.  So I'm pretty sure eggs are at least one of the problems.  The fact that they may be making her gassy now, doesn't mean that it will stay that way, so I'll keep returning to them every once in awhile to see if she's over it.  In the next few days I'll try tomatoes - I'm hoping we'll get those cleared. I really like marinara and ketchup.  I'm pretty sure I'm just going to cut out the broccoli for good. I don't like it anyway and it gives me a good excuse to not have to eat it.  The gas might also be caused by my over active letdown.  There are times that she has a harder time than others when nursing and she may be getting more foremilk at sometimes.  But she's not like that all of the time, so it's really not all that bad.  She's definitely a lot less fussy than Abram at this point in her life. 

Here are some nice comparison photos of the kiddos at the same age (give or take a few days):
Selah is definitely more... round :)  She's a better eater and I have a LOT more milk to give her than I did with Abram, so that's not too surprising.  His nose is more like mine.  Maybe hers is going to get more pointy and less round over time, who knows (or nose, if you are punny!)

On a side note, I wanted to record here that we were having a really hard time with her bottles at night.  We were using the Playtex nursers that worked so well for Abram, but she was choking and gagging and there was milk everywhere and lots of burping and gas.  One of the times we figured out that it was because Quinn had forgotten that we warm up breast milk before giving it to a newborn (it had been awhile!), but the other times we just couldn't figure it out.  Until I realized that it was probably because the single stream of milk was going straight to the back of her throat and gagging her.  So I tried over tipping the bottle so that the nipple was a little pinched and the hole was pointing more toward her tongue that the back of her mouth.  SUCCESS!  Two feedings of almost no gagging or anything at all.  Just a perfect 10 minutes of 3 ounces and a single, awesome burp at the end.  

Burping/snuggle time.

So this is my view for, let's see, 15 minutes of burping, 7 feedings a day, that almost 2 hours a day.

Sometimes I put her in the homemade Baby K'Tan to keep her upright after feedings so that I can do stuff.
  Also, if she won't go to sleep I just have to drop her in there for 5 minutes, max, and she's out.  But getting her out without waking her up is not always successful.

I told Quinn he has to put it on sometime so that he can get the closest feeling he might ever have of what it's like to be pregnant.  

Abram is still loving giving Sissy kisses.  Thankfully, he always goes for the top of her head since that's where we've encouraged it to be given since the beginning.  It feels the most sanitary and the fact that when he's done giving her those kisses, her head is sopping wet, leads me to believe we need to try and be as sanitary as possible.


And a cutie face picture of "Brother".

On a final note, both our computer and our car have decided to slowly stop working at the same time.  The computer's keyboard and mouse stopped working awhile ago, then the speakers, and this is after a fan stopped working and it started overheating and shutting off every time we watched video or skyped.  So we figured it was time for a new one.  It was four years old, which is about the normal lifespan of a laptop.  Now I am finishing my first post on our ENORMOUS new laptop!  Quinn wants to be able to use Photoshop on it.  Because that's what he does all day long, he has some pretty high standards for what he needs.  This includes, but is not limited to, a 17" screen.  Woah.  It's huge.  But really nice, I have to say.  

The car was bought used right before Abram was born.  It has been in the shop for various issues more than any car either one of us has ever owned.  Most recently, it has been dying in the middle of driving it and then picking back up where it left off.  Sometimes it really does die and has to be pulled to the side and restarted, usually with success.  That is scary enough when I have two small children with me most of the time, but today, the breaks started going out.  I mean, they basically went out at one point, but the rest of the time it's like they aren't catching at all.  I have to mash it all the way to the ground and use the emergency break to get it to stop.  Scary.  It's going into the shop on Tuesday, but I'm fearing that it just might be done for.

Anyway.  There's a lengthy update on what's going on in the Smith home lately.  It's 12:30 and I need to go to bed.  I tend to stay up too late because it's the only time that I get any just me time any more. And me time apparently means blog time, but I will be woken up by a lovely little girl in about 2 hours, so blog time is over.  Happy Friday!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

... of Quillness

 Quinn is not feeling well.  We are on the verge of more Quillness in this house.  Pretty much every time we get sick here, it starts with Quinn or Abram.  Right now he has a sore-ish throat, a 100 degree temperature, and body aches.  This means that he will sleep in the guest room tonight, I will have no help with the baby (pouty face), we will wash our hands a lot, and we will see what tomorrow brings.  I am just now realizing that it might be/probably is what Abram just had.  He had a fever for about four days and refused to eat much (because of a sore throat, maybe?) and then it went away, so the doctor thought it was just a viral infection.  If it was, it is definitely possible that Quinn has it now.  But hopefully his adult immune system can fight it off better than Abram's baby one.

Some day...

Some day we will all be well for longer than a month...


Today, even with Quinn feeling a little yucky, we went to a super cool new park in Round Rock.  It's a "Play for all abilities" park, which essentially means that it's handicap accessible.  Well, not just accessible, because they have special swings and seesaws and merry go rounds for kids in wheelchairs and with disabilities.  They also built this mini town with stores and little streets and crosswalks and stop lights.  It's super cool.  And it's also huge. And new.  And nice (like one million dollars nice - literally).  Unfortunately for Abram, we were only able to spend about 30 minutes there before the raging heat chased us back to the comforts of our air conditioned car.  Selah had to eat and Abram had to have a rest, anyway, but it was crazy hot.  Anyway, we got some pictures of the afternoon.
Driving a fire truck at the fire station.
And a car at the mechanic.
Doing an eye test at the medical center (with a random kid).
Crossing the "street" by himself.

Playing the drums and the bells on the rock band stage.

As you can see, he is wearing a very special shirt.  You may have gotten to see the video show casing his love for the letter "B". I saw a t shirt at American Apparel the other day that just had a big T and a little t on it and I thought: "Abram needs a B shirt!"  I actually found the ones on the American Apparel website and they were $8.  Not bad, but I didn't really like the color of the B shirt (white with periwinkle letters.  So I made my own last night using a $3 Hobby Lobby shirt and fabric paint I already had.  I did a freezer paper stencil and since the letters were so big, it was super easy and took no time at all.  I did three layers of paint in perpendicular directions and it came out looking really good.  Almost exactly like screen printing!  Way easy.  I think I'm going to make him and A one too, since his name starts with A and that makes more sense than him wearing a B one.  But he loves it and says "B!" even more when he's wearing it - which means that's pretty much all we hear all day long.  We tried to get a picture this morning, but he was in a bit of a mood and this is all we got: 

Selah had her hardest night yet last night. We don't know if it was because of the lasagna we ate for lunch (tomatoes are known gassy baby culprits) or the eggs we had for breakfast or my overactive let down and over supply problem.  When Abram was a month old I was having to squeeze out 2 ounces when I pumped just to get enough for the next bottle.  Last night I pumped and I got 5 ounces in 7 minutes.  I'm not doing anything to increase my supply (not even lactation cookies!!) and I'm not pumping except at night after we give her a bottle and I do it for as short as I can.  So, we have to figure out what causes her to have such bad and painful gas.  She doesn't have it all of the time or every night.  She's had a bad night, maybe, three times so far, so I am pretty sure it's food related.  Plus (TMI), I was a little gassy myself last night, so that supports that theory.  Here is a video of some of the awesome faces she was making early last night.  If we only knew what those faces were telling us about what was to come.

All of this was really to say that I really hope tonight is better.  I am going to give Selah her bottle tonight and Quinn is settling down to fall asleep on the couch so I can enlist his help if she has a rough few hours like last night.  She's been sleeping for a few hours and I hope it doesn't take her long to fall asleep for the night.  Once she goes to sleep after the 9pm ish feeding she usually makes it until about 2am, which is great.  But we are all tired and need some good sleep tonight.

...One hour later...

Well, the bottle was a fiasco, but she burped quite a bit and went right back to sleep.  Abram was crying about something hurting him about an hour after we put him down, but I couldn't figure out what it was, as he just kept saying "da da!" and whining but not pointing at anything.  We gave him a little bit of medicine (more for the placebo effect) and he finally fell asleep.  Quinn is passed out on the couch, so I have to get him to move to the guest room, but praise God, everyone but me is asleep - hopefully for the night - and I am on my way there right...


Friday, May 25, 2012

... of speaking too soon

Apparently all you need to do to have a photogenic baby is have an amazing photographer friend named April Morales!

She came to take some pictures of our new little fam when Selah was just a few days old and she just gave them to me.  I am so excited about them (especially after sharing some not so amazing pictures of this lady) that I thought I would share them with you immediately.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Again, these were taken by the uber-excellent - or I guess I should say "uber-ausgeseichnet" - April Morales.  If you are in Austin and you are having a baby and you want the nicest, most wonderful person to beautifully capture your newborn, let me know and I'll send you her way.  

We just sent out Selah's birth announcement today, so it should hit mailboxes very soon.  But I'll go ahead and share it here.  I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted it to look like, so I went ahead and designed it on my own in Photoshop with only minimal help from Quinn!  That's all to his credit, anyway, because he's taught me everything I know about Photoshop.

Get it?  Celebrate Selah Christine?  We are hoping it helps with pronunciation questions, but I have a feeling it may be lost on most people.

So how's that for a photogenic baby?!

And just so Abram is not completely un-talked about today, here is a video of his newest skill:

... of photogenic

I guess most newborn babies aren't photogenic in the typical understanding of the word.  I mean, they don't even smile yet - unless they have gas.

Tangent: So, very early, unprompted smiles are thought to be caused by gas, right?  That's why they are called "gas smiles".  This confuses me since gas also causes an absurd amount of crying in children the same age.  I know my child gave me the most adorable, sleepy, long "gas" smile yesterday and followed it by an incredible yelp of pain.  What the what?

Anyway, Selah is no exception to the not-incredibly-photogenic newborn phenomena.  You know, where you are staring at your baby thinking how utterly adorable they are and decide that their cuteness needs photographic documentation, only to take a picture and think "that doesn't look like the cuteness I'm staring at with my eyes right now".  Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that my baby's good looks come across much better in person than in pictures.

Case in point: I put her down for a photo shoot on her awesome ABC quilt that Quinn's work gave her (with her name and birthday monogrammed and everything!)  And this is the best picture I got.
She makes some pretty funky faces and the camera seems to catch them all at just the right moment. 

Then I changed her out of her jammies and into an outfit given to us by her Aunt Jan (I love these "creeper" outfits - but we hate the name).  I flipped the quilt over and added a letter "S" given to me while I was pregnant by a former student of mine (thanks, Tara!) and this is the best picture I got.
These are the best outtakes. 
She must think she's a boxer.

Then I flipper her over for some tummy time and got some evidence of her strong little neck. 
She is entering the phase where she wants to lift and turn her head when she's being burped, but she can't control it for long enough and she ends up bashing her head into the burper's jaw.  And those baby heads are deceptively hard.

So there are some cute - but not as cute as if you were here with me looking right at her cuteness - pictures of my Lady Baby (which has become my nickname for her, apparently).

Aww... a post completely devoted to Selah with no mention of Abram!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

... of tough times

This week has been much harder for me that last week.  There are a few reasons for this:

1) Abram has been sick this week.  Starting on Sunday he was running a fever that was topping out at night at around 104.  This is really high for him, since his and my normal body temps are around 96.8.  It was traumatic for all of us.  Fevers are usually worse/higher at night (I hear) and so Sunday night and Monday night were pretty hard.  He was crying a ton and shaking and was overall uncomfortable when his fever was high, so until the medicine would kick in and bring it down, Quinn would lay with him on the couch in his room.  I've mentioned this before, but really the only time that we get Abram to snuggle with us is when he is sick.  So even though it's sad that he doesn't feel well, we kind of relish the stillness and snuggliness of our little man.  I tried to get some picture of those moments, but I didn't want to wake anyone up.  What resulted were fuzzy, strangely lit iphone photos, but you get the idea.

The doctor said that it could just be a viral infection that will usually runs its course in four days or so.  But he took a urine sample just to be sure that it wasn't a UTI or something.  The initial result was negative, but there were some other tests they were going to run on it and we were supposed to hear back today.  We didn't, so I'm assuming that no news is good news.  Meanwhile, Abram's fever seemed to start to go down today, but he's whining and kind of squeezing his legs together randomly the last day or so and I'm pretty sure it's when he's peeing.  So it could be a UTI, I guess.  We'll talk to the doctor again tomorrow and see what he's found out.

2)Selah has been pretty fussy the last few days.  Hers are gas/poop related issues.  She's down to about one BM a day and it's a tough one to get out.  She didn't even have one today, but she tried all night to the point of being awake and crying off and on from about 3pm to 10pm.  I took her to a friend's house for "Craft Night", but I did not end up doing any crafting because I was rocking/feeding/burping/pumping/shushing/changing a very upset baby the whole time.  Luckily everyone was very gracious and understood.  I know that fussiness peaks around 6 weeks, so I think she might be ramping up to that goal.  She had to try and give her brother a run for his money, I guess.  Quinn's dad will be visiting next weekend which is just about the same time in her life that he came to visit Abram when he was born.  So he should be able to tell us which kid was worse by the time he heads back home. 
She does like to sleep on people, which doesn't lend itself to much productivity.  But I did get a few moments the other night to knock off a Baby K'tan baby carrier and that has allowed for a bit more stuff getting done, since she falls asleep within about five minutes of being in it.  It's really comfy and she seems to like it. 
I need to take a few more minutes and finish the edges.  The raw edges are a little too stretchy and she's not as snug as I'd like her to be, but it definitely works.  It's so much easier than deal with and wrapping the Moby.  I'd like to try and do a tutorial for it sometime soon, since I completely knocked off a Baby K'tan, which means I definitely won't be selling them or anything.  So maybe you can benefit from my frugality!

Overall, it's been a harder week that last week, for sure.  It's all because of things that I know won't last and are already resolving, though.  Pretty soon we will be on the other side and may not even remember these tough few weeks.  I keep calling my mom and asking her what she did in certain situations with my sister and I (we are 16 months apart and Abram and Selah are 17) and, for the most part, she doesn't remember many specifics.  That is encouraging in and of itself.  It means that when Selah is calling me for advice with her kids, the only thing that will make me remember this "rough" week (which is causing me tears and heartache right now) is this post.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

... of one month!

So I guess the only way that I am going to be able to get a post done is by doing it at 4am.  So here it is.  Hopefully it won't take me too long...

Selah is a month old in two hours (that's how I justified the "on the verge" part).
That went by really fast.  She is still really good, overall.  We've had a few instances of bad gas or needing to go poop that have kept her from going to sleep and made her uncomfortable.  But when she is upset - with the exception of being hungry and me not remedying that immediately - she doesn't cry for extended periods of time.  When she has a tummy ache, she'll look at you kinda concerned until it hits her and then she cries out in pain until the moment (or the gas) passes.  Poor dear.  But it hasn't been nearly as bad as Abram's gas.  His fussiness really peaked at 6-8 weeks, so I'm still expecting her to get a little worse.  I think she might have reflux sometimes, too and she makes the saddest, most painful looking faces.  Praying that stays rare and sporadic.  But I can always put her to sleep in the Moby wrap.
I like the way the Moby carries, but it's the craziest thing to put on and carry around.  It's just an absurdly long piece of fabric.  There is another carrier that made the Moby carry simpler to put on.  I knocked it off tonight with a fabric that I'm not sure will be the strongest thing ever.  But we'll see if it works tomorrow.  I'll let you know.

(Abram got to be carried in the Beco the other day.  I didn't want him to feel left out and I wanted to get some stuff done in the kitchen.  It worked out really well.)

I think Selah's getting a little chunkier, too!  She' is still wearing newborn clothes and diapers.  I'm glad she's not growing too fast, because we have some really cute newborn clothes that people have given us.  She hasn't lost any of her hair yet and there have been moments when I thought I could tell that her hair was getting lighter, but I'm not for sure yet.

We had quite a few little visitors last week.  They all brought really yummy food and really cute kids.  We actually used the second high chair I've been saving for no real reason in the garage three times.  Our friends Tim and Christine brought food and their 10 month old, Cohen, who loved Obie.  Then Shanda and Dave brought food (and brownies) and their 15 month old, Ellie.  Ellie was born almost 3 months premature, but you would never know it now!  She is a healthy girl who just started walking.  She and Abram had some pillow fun after dinner.

Then Danny and Abby brought their 10 month old, Zoe.  Zoe just started taking steps, too!  Pretty amazing.

Abram has decided that he doesn't really like his highchair, sometimes.  So we got out the Bumbo and put it on a "big boy chair" and let him eat at the table with us.
This pictures make it look like he's already a teenager or something.  

The poor bug is not feeling too well tonight.  Yesterday he had a fever (about 102, when we caught it) and tonight he had a 104 fever at bedtime.  It came down with Tylenol, but went up to 104 at around 1am.  It's back down now and he's been sleeping on Quinn's chest on the couch in his room for most of the night.  I'm thinking that it's teething.  His nose was a little runny today and he's drooling a ton.  He also doesn't want to eat anything except for milk, yogurt, and oranges.  We got him to eat some sweet potato tonight.  He really wanted a cookie, but took one bite and didn't want it anymore, which is why I think it's teething.  He has 16 teeth already, so all that's left are the molars.  I think it's possible for molars to cause higher fevers, even though doctors say that teething shouldn't do that.  We will see how he's feeling in the morning and take it from there.

Also tragic, we lost Abram's favorite letter today.
The B was on the floor with the rest of the letters this morning, but after clean up, we couldn't find it.  He isn't upset, but he kept looking for the B in the tub today and saying "B?! B?! B?!".  When he couldn't find it in there, he proceeded to wander all over the house looking in and under things chanting B's name.  I joined him in the search, but we have yet to find it.  Here is the video, proving his love of B.

Alright friends and family!  30 minute, 4am blog post: DONE!  Back to bed and hopefully not up with Selah for another 2 hours or so.

*Just as a side note, I did not get up just to blog.  Selah woke up to eat at 3:00 and I realized I was really hungry, so I came out here to eat something and I felt pretty awake, so I decided I'd finally write, since I've been meaning to for quite some time.  It's amazing how taking care of a newborn and a toddler can really eat into your blogging time :) *