Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sleep? What sleep?!?

So, we're not getting much sleep around here lately. Well, Camden is. Good for him. GREAT for him. The rest of us? Notsomuch.

I've mentioned recently that we're trying a few different things to get Aiden to sleep longer in the mornings. He goes down just fine, going to sleep on his own. He usually doesn't wake up throughout the night, and if he does, all we do is lay him back down, and he goes right back to sleep. BUT the problem is him waking up by 5am. At this point, we feel we have done EVERYthing to try to get him to sleep longer. I mean everything.

We're at the point where we have NO clue what else to do.

Now, I know that I have always had trouble with sleep. My mom will tell me that I didn't hardly sleep as a baby, and it got to the point where the dr had to prescribe some heavy medicine to help me sleep some, probably because my mom also wasn't getting any sleep! Baby isn't the only one that needs it! As long as I can remember I've had problems falling asleep. I've been to doctors to try various medicines, all of them only temporarily working (as in a couple weeks). I still have insomnia, and I have found one medicine that actually works...but I won't take it with a baby in the house. It's supposed to be a good one for moms (and dads, right?!) b/c you are supposed to be able to easily wake up if needed, but I would rather not chance it. Besides, the other parent has that habit of turning off the monitor in his sleep.. And I'm still nursing Aiden, so that's another reason not to take it. BUT I've never had an issue with waking too early! Ha. Just the opposite. I truly think it's because it takes so long to GET to sleep, but I am nearly impossible to wake up. Always have been.

Apparently Ryan also had a hard time sleeping. His does involve waking way too early, but, as his mom has said...he just didn't need more sleep! He would be ready to get up and play!

The thing is...Aiden is NOT ready to get up and play. Yet he can't get back to sleep...or stay asleep past that early time. It's clear that he's not getting enough rest, and that really worries us. It's also becoming very clear that the parents aren't getting enough rest. I haven't had a good night's sleep in more than two years (I know, Aiden's not two years just yet, but, come on - you do not sleep all that well while pregnant!). And Ryan's been dealing with too little sleep for a few months now, too. We do worry sometimes that there is an underlying cause that we aren't aware of..maybe something with allergies or who knows what else! It's so hard to know the causes for things sometimes.

So....since we seem to be at the end of our ropes and still know we need to find some way to get more sleep...we're reserving to getting up when Aiden does. At 5. Yeah, we're kind of giving up and giving in. At this point, we're letting him come in to nurse before we get up for good. In order for the parents to get more sleep, we're trying to go to bed even earlier...as in 9:00pm! Ugh. This is really hard when that's the only time we get alone or to do certain things (many things) around the house. And it's hard for me to fall asleep even earlier, when I already struggle with it at 11 or 12. But we're trying. If we can manage to keep it going, Ryan might be able to go into work earlier and then come home earlier. We still are struggling with how to get Aiden to sleep more, too, though. Today he woke up at 4am (nice....), which happens occasionally, and he's on his second nap (which is not common). We're not sure if he needs to go to two naps a day again, and that would really mess with our other commitments during the week, as they ALL are at the time a morning nap would occur. But if it's needed and it works... I'm just not convinced it will work.

EDITED to update... Two naps didn't work so well today. Slept for one hour in the morning - going down was hard b/c he nurses before his afternoon nap and so wanted to nurse this time, as well. We haven't nursed in the morning for a few months now, so he did not like not nursing before his morning nap. Nap 2 only lasted an hour, as well, and he woke up very cranky, still clearly tired but refusing to go back to sleep. Not a great day for us, and I think we're both still pretty frustrated over it all.

Now - if anyone thinks they can come up with a solution, please, feel free to post away!!! No need to suggest letting him fuss some or having one of us stay in his room overnight or having just Daddy go to him or moving his bedtime earlier or..... When I say we feel like we have exhausted all possible solutions, I mean it. But if you think you have some other idea that might make a difference or that we might not have considered, we would love to hear it! I would love to say there is some prize for a winning idea because getting this child to sleep until 6am even is worth the world! I'm just way too tired to come up with something...

Busy Few Days

We had a busy few days recently. Lots going on! Fun stuff...but busy. :)

I took the boys to one of Camden's favorite museums on Earth Day last week. We took it slow and didn't rush through anything - and didn't worry if we missed seeing something, either. It was a nice change. Don't you hate going to the zoo or somewhere that has SO much to see and then feeling like you rushed the entire time just so you could see it all?? What's the point? (If you really think about it...) We realized we would much rather miss some stuff and really get to enjoy what we DID see. We had a great time! Aiden loved just about everything, too. He didn't nap, which I was prepared for, but he did really well...and did fall asleep while walking in the parking lot to the car at the end of the day! Of course.

The only bad part of the day was the hives that mysteriously showed up on his cheek during lunch. I brought our lunches from home and we used a roll-up placemat that we take everywhere (love this thing!), so he didn't eat anything he shouldn't have. When he was out of the stroller walking, we made sure he didn't touch any plants, etc. (There's a huge outdoor component to the museum - it really is an awesome museum with TONS to do!) The hives were on his cheek close to his ear, and we couldn't figure out where they might have come from. We even talked to someone at the museum... Hives are kind of new to me still, so we wanted to check to make sure it wasn't a bug bite or something from a plant he may have touched. They confirmed it looked like hives and even went as far as to give the whole family a free pass another day (which I totally did not expect). We're still not sure what it's from, and they ended up spreading down to his chin over the next hour. They never seemed to bother him at all - just me and Camden! And then they went away... It's still a mystery!

Museum of Life & Science - Earth Day 2010

When I asked Camden what his most/least favorite parts of the day were... Favorite: Two butterflies landed on him in the conservatory. Least favorite: Aiden's hives. Aside from the hives, it was a GREAT day, though. Aiden slept in the car on the way home, and we stopped to say hi to Daddy, since we passed his office going home. We quickly realized that was a mistake. Ryan opened the car door, realized Aiden was asleep and we weren't getting out, and closed the door. It woke Aiden up, and he screamed the next 30 minutes it took to get home. That part wasn't so much fun for any of us.

Then Saturday, Ryan threw me a 30th Birthday cookout with some friends. He bought way too much food, and we didn't get many pictures b/c we were so busy talking with everyone. It was a lot of fun, though. :) We don't normally do much for our own birthdays, but he decided to do a little something extra since it was the big 3-0. The rain held off until just after the cookout, too, which was really nice.

Pictures... (Ok, this album has ALL the April pictures, not just ones from the cookout.)
2010 April

Sunday... Aiden went to the nursery at church for the very first time. He did really well. That's because Mommy stayed in there, though. ;) He's very attached right now and has a difficult time being away from me, so we're trying to transition him as easily as possible. I just signed up to be the extra helper for that service, and I tried to stay out of his way as much as possible. Every now and then, he would realize I wasn't right next to him and would start turning around, looking at all sides of himself, saying "Mommy...? Mommy...?" in the most pitiful voice possible - until I reassured him I was right there. But for the most part he was fine. We've put off doing this for a few reasons...mostly b/c of how easily he gets sick (and being around more kids in this kind of setting might increase some colds at first, especially if we did it during cold/flu season) and also b/c of his food allergies/intolerances. They sit very closely together when having snack, so we do worry about him getting the snacks served, even though we always bring his snack (wherever we go!). He can't have any of the things they have on the snack menu. So, next week, Ryan will go in with Aiden and stay as the volunteer. If that goes well, Ryan will attempt to drop Aiden off in there the week after...leaving him while we both try to sit through the service, sans baby. We'll see how it goes!

So, after church, Aiden ended up falling asleep on the way home (we went to the 9am service, and the drive home is about half an hour). We thought we would let him take a short nap and put him in bed...he miraculously slept a total of three hours! This is UNHEARD of (he did wake up extra early, as in around 4am or so, but even when that happens...a three-hour nap never happens!). After the long nap, we headed back to Cary (close to church, actually) to go strawberry picking!! They're in season here and they are soooo super sweet. There are also TONS, so it took us no time to get four full buckets. It was a lot of fun. I think even Ryan had to admit it wasn't so bad. ;) Aiden and I went back yesterday with some friends and got a bit more, too! I have a feeling we'll be back a couple more times before the season is over. Our freezer will be FULL of strawberries to last us until next season!

Pictures of the strawberry pickin'...
Strawberry Picking! Spring 2010

Enjoy all the pictures!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Twenty months

Finally. Here it is... Later than usual. But as I mentioned, we've had a lot going on. Regardless....

Aiden is growing in SO many ways lately...language, development, abilities, personality. Attitude. It's a fun age, busy, and challenging at times.

  • Leo's horse. We had a playdate at our friend Leo's house, and Leo has this rocking horse. If you press the horse's ear, he plays music. Aiden could not get enough of the music!! He wasn't sure about the actual rocking on the horse, but the music was fun enough for him. (The rest of us were ready to stop hearing the music, I do believe.) Not only did he love the horse while at Leo's, but when we got home, he kept signing horse and asking about it. After nap, he kept asking about the horse. The next day when he woke up, still asking. This went on for about a week. He did NOT forget about that horse. It clearly made an impression on Aiden!
  • His bicycle! Aiden wants to ride on this thing all the time. He doesn't do much on it...he can go forward a little bit, he can more easily go backward. He mostly just gets on and off of it, though.
  • Hats and sunglasses. He's been ok with hats for a while, though sometimes we had to put the hat on, distract him so he wouldn't pull it off, and it would remain on for a while. But suddenly he always wants to wear hats! And where he never would allow sunglasses on his face, he now loves them! He'll put both on when we go outside, but if we're running errands, he'll often want them left on even while we go into a store. I'll ask him a few times if he wants them off, and he'll shake his head no. Of course, everyone that sees him thinks it's so funny and cute. It is.
  • Dumping anything with liquid in it once he's done and before you can take it from him. If he's done with his cereal and there is still some milk in the bowl... If he's done with his drink in an open cup... If he's got a little bit of soup left and doesn't want anymore... He dumps it on his tray before you can grab it from him. To give him credit, he will often pick up the bowl/cup and hand it to one of us when he's done. But if you don't get it QUICKLY, he will then dump it. And sometimes now, he doesn't even do that first. He just dumps it. Once that happens, though, he's definitely done...because WE say so. I'm not sure how that will work as a deterrent, though, because he does it WHEN he is done...
  • Cars. Just about any kind. He especially likes his two larger trucks that he got for Christmas from his aunt Rachel and family. And matchbox cars. Those are big winners! (Grandparents...please do not take this as a hint to buy him any! We saved all of Camden's - and he has a LOT - so Aiden gets a few here and there and thinks they are so awesome. Trust me, we have plenty. Way more than enough. And he does not care that they are hand-me-downs. Even if he understood that, he wouldn't care because he wants anything that is Camden's!)
  • New favorite song: Hush Little Baby. You know, the one with the mockingbird... He mostly wants it when he's getting ready for bed or a nap or nursing. He'll sign "bird" and "sing" to let me know he wants me to sing it. Recently, he's been using the potty some, and I was doing some silly songs to celebrate when he actually did something. He loved it. I would dance around and act really goofy. Then suddenly, instead of wanting that...he would request Hush Little Baby. When he pottied!! I would ask if he was sure...and yep! To celebrate using the potty he didn't want an exciting, fun song. He wanted a lullaby.
  • His 4am nursing session... Ok, so we took this away for a while. Two months really. I think that's long enough to see if something is going to work. And it didn't. Aiden would still wake at 4 or so...and then stay awake! Whereas before, he and I would both be awake a lot from that point on, this way...the two of us, plus daddy, were up from then on with basically no more sleep. It was not working. Sleep deprived and not knowing what else to do just yet, we have recently went back to nursing him. We all at least get a bit more sleep. And we're trying to figure out what else to do at this point b/c we all need more than what we're getting. But Aiden is happy that he's getting his milk at this time again. Of course.
  • Animals. Aiden really loves things that are about animals. His favorite Signing Time videos are the ones about the farm and the zoo. The Zoo Train is his most favorite, and he'll ask for it by signing "animals" and "train." What is most funny is this game he made up, all by himself. He comes up to us and does the gorilla sign, grunting while he does it (the sign is simply taking your fists and alternating thumping your chest with the fists...just like you would do if you were acting out a gorilla). After we say "gorilla!" he does another animal sign and so on. He usually does (in this order) gorilla, crocodile, kangaroo, hippopotamus, tiger (and the rest in any order) monkey, penguin, bat, rhinoceros, lion, and then some of the others if we mention them. He thinks it's so great to do the signs and have us "guess" the animal.
  • Fresh pineapple. Loves, loves the stuff.
  • Big Bird and Elmo. He has a couple books with them and knows them this way. (Yes, I'm still the mean mommy who really only lets him watch a couple Signing Time videos here and there...) He was watching tv when we were at my dentist the other day, since he was having to sit in the stroller for so long. Sesame Street happened to be on, and his face just lit up with so much excitement and surprise when he realized that Big Bird wasn't just in his book! It was a priceless look.

Being silly

Least favorites
  • Dirty diapers. Not that he doesn't like dirtying them...he doesn't like that if he does, he has to be changed.
  • Throwing up. No fun. After his nasty virus, you know, the one where he threw up between 25-30 times in ONE DAY...he really doesn't like it.
  • Stopping nursing sessions. He is going through some phase where he wants to nurse and nurse and nurse and just not stop. It's not that he nurses more often. He doesn't. He just doesn't want to stop during the times he typically nurses. I've asked other moms about this, especially after finding out that most toddlers usually are quick nursers b/c they're so busy playing, and apparently it's not all that unheard of. Hard to tell if he just wants the extra comfort after he's done actually drinking for milk or if he is teething and this helps or if he needs the extra milk due to all his developmental growth...or if he's just being a toddler and wanting what he wants. It's just so strange to me because as a baby, he was an extremely quick nurser. My let-down was so fast, he would get all the milk out in no time and be done. I noticed a few months ago, he might nurse for 20 minutes, which was long for him. Now...he could probably go for an hour if I let him!
  • Going down the stairs. He's fine if you carry him, but he is terrified of going down them on his own. He won't budge and will turn and cling to you if you try to get him to even stand on a step at the top. If you ask him about walking down (or if you even hold him so that he is looking down instead of facing you), he will absolutely freak out.
  • Going to sleep quietly. Not that he fights going to sleep, but lately he plays more and makes more noise, taking longer to go to sleep once he's in bed. We're not sure why exactly, but he just is taking a bit longer lately.
  • Coming inside. This kid loves being outside and hates having to come in.
  • Having the lid on his snack cup. The lid is made so that kids can reach through it to get the snacks out, but the snacks won't fall out and make a mess. (Someone made a fortune from that idea...) Aiden does not like having that thing on there anymore. We have been letting him have snacks in open containers when at home, so he learns not to spill, etc. He will sometimes be ok with the snack lid on when out and about, but lately he's less and less ok with it.

New developments
  • Saying "no." He just started saying no, and he doesn't yet yell it at us or say it in a mean way. It's still cute. (I know...we'll get there.) He did take a while to say "no," but we really don't say it a lot to him (we try to use other ways of telling him what not to do or what TO do, etc), but he's been able to communicate it in other ways, as well. It is so cute, though. He sticks out and curls up his upper lip and says no in this little voice that comes out as if he has a Spanish accent.
  • Going on the potty. He's done #2 quite a number of times and has peed a couple times. It's harder to know about peeing b/c he's on the big potty and I don't stay right next to him, so I might not hear if he does that. He's more likely to go if I am busy with something else and not sitting right there watching him, so we let him do his thing while we are nearby. He usually sits on the potty right after waking in the morning, before and after naptime, and before bedtime (and occasionally he'll ask at other times). Like I said before, we're not pushing potty training right now, just working on awareness and following his lead. If he says no, he doesn't want to sit, that's fine.
  • Grandparents... Aiden is becoming more aware of the roles these folks play in his life, even though we don't see them often. After seeing Pappaw Gene (Daisy's stepdad) on the webcam one day, he would continue to make a gesture that Gene often makes toward him..it's where you pop your finger out of the side of your mouth, making a loud "pop" noise from pushing out the air in your cheek with your finger (if that makes sense...hard to describe). Aiden will do this ALL the time, also signing and saying "Pappaw!!" Pappaw was the first grandparent's name he said. He now also talks about "MaMaw" (Ryan's mom) after her visit at Easter and "Mammaw" (Daisy's mom). I'm sure the rest will follow very soon! (Visits definitely help, grandparents! After that, using the webcam does, too.) ;) He brings up grandparents fairly often, especially Pappaw, and does so out of the blue; it's not just after seeing them, talking to them, or hearing them mentioned.
  • Talking more and more. Just as I suspected, once he started... ;)
  • This isn't so much a development as something Aiden is interested in and is working on... Like I said before, he loves playing with cars. Well, he loves being outside and seeing real cars, too. Whenever we are out walking, he will point at EACH AND EVERY vehicle we pass. He'll either say "car" or "truck" or will ask if that is what it is (by adding a question mark). I name every vehicle (car, truck, van, SUV, etc), as well as the color of it. He can't get enough. I mean every single thing he sees, he points at for me to tell him what it is - or he will say what it is if he knows for sure. It can be exhausting sometimes because that is what our entire walk around the neighborhood ends up about, but he's learning new things, and it's fun to see him so excited about it. It's interesting when there is someone in the car he is pointing to, as well... Usually they just think it's cute and wave back.
  • Aiden is definitely becoming more aware of what HE wants and how to let you know. He can be rather insistent, whether it's about something he wants to do or something he doesn't want to do. He's also starting to get more into wanting to have his way or doing things on his terms lately, letting you know what his preferences are. That personality is starting to really shine through!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Playing Catch Up...

Yeah, it's been a while. We have good excuses. Don't we always??

After Aiden got that nasty stomach bug, he passed it onto me. How would I not get it when he threw up all over me about 20 times? All over meaning sometimes...it went into my shirt. You wanted that visual didn't you? He had it worse the one day, but he continued to throw up at least once each day for the next few days. It took a while for him to recover and go back to eating normally, probably for fear he would keep throwing it all back up. Poor guy. :(

Then it was Easter and we had family in for that next week. Ryan's mom came to visit, which is always fun. Aiden had a blast with her especially and would ask for her when he was supposed to be going to sleep or doing other things he might not have wanted to be doing. I think he knew she might rescue him... ;) When she left for home, she took Camden, who is now visiting with his dad for the week. And since, Aiden and I have been running like crazy doing all the things we couldn't do while sick or entertaining company. So, we've been a tad busy.

Easter... We went back to our "home" church, where the service was actually held at an amphitheater in town instead of the actual church. (Another post for another time, but we've been back and forth about what church to attend, as we have moved farther away from our old church, and for other reasons. But we keep finding ourselves drawn back to it... More later. I hope. If I get time. For the many posts I keep wanting to put up...) Anyway, the service was HUGE, and it was incredible to see so many there celebrating together. I haven't heard the final count, but there were thousands. Back home, Aiden got a new Bible and a puzzle with animals. He adores both. He carries his Bible everywhere he can, saying "Bi-bi" and "Jeeees" (Bible and Jesus). Camden got some new books, too, one being his first daily devotional, and a t-shirt. We try to keep the Easter baskets full of things that represent what the holiday means to us. True...the puzzle might not seem to fit...but there were animals on the Arc, right? ;) And wait...no mention of candy?? Yep. No candy this year. Nobody noticed, either. Camden didn't ask or seem to care or even realize it was missing. He also got the new Toby Mac cd from MaMaw, and he was too thrilled about that to care for candy anyway, even if there had been some!

We have eaten out a couple times over the last week. (Eating out isn't a common occurrence for various reasons. Money. Food allergies....) We discovered that P.F. Chang's has an awesome gluten-free menu. And after ordering but before being served, we also discovered that all of their meats are marinated with eggs the night before, meaning Aiden couldn't have anything with meat, meaning that the only thing on the g-free menu he could eat was veggie stir-fry. He did not seem to care and loved it! Another discovery...their chocolate cake is probably THE best chocolate cake ever. Then last night we went to The Melting Pot for my birthday (well, mine and Ryan's, since we're just a week apart). Don't tell Camden!! He might not be so happy to find out we went without him... They also have a ton of gluten-free options and have a good menu telling you what you cannot eat. Only one meat has egg in the marinade, but it wasn't even one they had with the Big Night Out this time around. We had to make few substitutions so that Aiden could eat...leaving out the pot-stickers and getting extra chicken. And we almost forgot there was beer as a base with the Fiesta Cheese (the one we almost always get), so we just subbed with white wine, and it was fine. No chips or bread for the little guy, only two of the sauces (one of which he just loved with everything)...and for dessert he was stuck with fruit. But he was just fine with all of that. He ate fairly well!! And I'm very pleased that more places are getting on board with gluten-free menus and are actually aware of what all it involves!

Aiden turned 20-months-old. I'll get to that post next. Soon, I hope.

And today...today I turn 30. Most of all, it's just another day. It's not such a big deal that I am the big 3-0...but it just sounds strange to say I'm that age. It's like I am officially an "adult" now, even though I've been an adult for quite a while. I mean, I do have a husband, two children (one of which is about to turn 11!), a house, etc, etc, etc... But for some reason, being 30 seems to make it official. Not sure if that makes any sense.

Last night, after getting Aiden to bed, Ryan and I turned on Friends. We have the entire series on DVD and watch it every now and then. We start from the beginning and watch through to the end. And then do it all over again. So, last night, the next show for us to watch just happened to be "The one where they all turn 30." No kidding. Pretty funny, in a way. Some of them were talking about what they had or hadn't accomplished by this time. In a way, I've accomplished a heck of a lot. A bachelor's degree, a master's degree, I'm married, I have two kids...that's a lot. But I do feel that there is a ton that I haven't accomplished. I still don't have a career or know what I want to be "when I grow up." And here I suddenly am "grown up." I often go through the day just getting through the day...running errands, taking care of the kids, making dinner...and sometimes wonder what I'm not doing that I should. Is there something more profound I should be doing, too? Thanks Friends, right. (No, I wonder this all the time. With or without Friends to throw it in my face.)

Aiden has made the day so nice and easy...waking at 5am and refusing to go back to sleep. Taking over two hours, with plenty of yelling at me, before he would finally go to sleep for naptime. And the day is not over!! What more should I expect, right? He doesn't know it's mommy's birthday! ;) And now I'm going to go outside and do some yard work. BUT tonight...there will be cake. After our yummy and very filling (too filling) meal last night, we made a stop by P.F. Chang's and grabbed some of that chocolate cake to eat tonight. I'm still deciding if I'm going to share....

PS - Pics of everything in the April album online:
2010 April