Sunday, January 30, 2011

accomplished!

Sink is finally clean. Our keys will be forever found.

accomplished collage 1 copy

Diapers have been cleaned, dried, folded, and sorted.

Jay re-caulked our main shower which previously looked disgusting and grimy.

accomplished collage 2

And thanks to Grandpa Bill and his wide assortment of tools, we also have a newly installed kitty door going into our basement. We had to purchase the flap specifically designed for weight challenged cats. More on our new cat door next time.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

beyond belief

Even though I am exhuasted beyond belief, I did accomplish a lot today.

Not only did I tackle my mess of a sink and food encrusted stove with the help of my recent obsession (steam cleaner), but I also managed to wash (and dry and fold) the dirty diapers and spend some quality time with my two insomniac children.

Teagan is now up on her hands and knees in full crawling position. It will be any day now. She will sit unassisted for moments, if I balance her properly. I am still awaiting the appearance of her two top teeth. I am praying that once they do appear her previous sleeping habit of 10 hours straight through the night will return.

Nathan is getting an extra treatment midday for what I think is the cold my husband shared. I feel so bad for strapping him up to his vest and nebulizer for a total of 3 out of his 11 waking hours but I know it is for his own good. What kid would want to nap when his play time got cut short 3 hours?

I think I am going to be a real party animal and go to sleep now, 8 o'clock on a Saturday night. Aren't I the most exciting person ever?

Friday, January 28, 2011

{Gingerbread} House Hunting

I was bound and determined to find a gingerbread house for Nathan yesterday. He has been asking where his gingerbread cookie man and house for days and telling him that we ate it and it was all gone until next Christmas was not working.

So, I told him as soon as I finished feeding Teagan we would go out and find a gingerbread house. Apparently he didn't want to wait for me or Teagan so he told me, "I be right back, mama" and immediately walked toward the front door and started fumbling with the door knob. Good thing for the door knob safety cover.

When I finished feeding the baby, I got everyone ready hats to boots and opened the garage door to find what seemed to be 3 feet of snow surrounding my car. Knowing that it wouldn't be feasible for me to shovel our driveway with two young children inside the house I quickly worked on plan B...sugar cookie gingerbread men, I hate gingerbread.

Nathan had no clue what I was up to but I was shocked that he wanted to help. I don't think he was interested until I showed him the electric mixer. I stuck the butter on the mixing attachment and had him poke it off into the bowl with a spoon. I also had him scooping sugar and flour out of the canisters into measuring cups and then dumping them into the mixing bowl. We, or should I say he, made a mess.

sugar cookies-1

sugar cookies-2

While I snapped a few photos he sneaked a taste of the dough. I have to teach him raw dough is a big no-no, although it would be hypocritical of me because I love raw cookie dough.

Not wanting him to really know how to turn the mixer on, I told him to push this button...really the screw that changes the attachments.

sugar cookies-3

He really seemed to enjoy watching it mix the dough.

sugar cookies-4

After taking a break for the dough to chill in the refrigerator, we were ready to roll it out and cut the cookies. Again, he wasn't interested until I showed him the shape of the gingerbread man cookie cutter...which of course he thought was a toy.

sugar cookies-5

sugar cookies-6

But there was a problem with our sugar cookies. I have no clue what went wrong. Actually I probably do know what went wrong, see photo directly below.

sugar cookies-7

I am pretty sure our crumbling sugar cookies had something to do with putting that adorable little boy in charge of "measuring" the ingredients. Eye balling or approximating is something that definitely does not work with baking.

Perhaps there was too much flour, or maybe I should not have used our wheat flour mixture (1/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat flour, 1/3 ground flax seeds). Perhaps there was too little baking powder. I have no clue, but regardless they were and still are quite delicious.

The real problem is that Nathan wanted to play with the gingerbread men. And when their arms and legs were falling off left and right he was getting rather upset.

So I quickly moved on to plan C...cardboard. I printed out a photograph of the gingerbread man from Shrek, glued it onto a piece of cardboard, and cut around the edge.

sugar cookies-8

But the gingerbread man wasn't enough, he had to have the house too. Enter cardboard box, packing tape, and some paint. Initially I decided not to cut the door open because I thought he would get frustrated if something didn't fit right but he wanted it to open.

sugar cookies-9

The things I do for my son. Hope my husband doesn't miss his box.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My observations

Nathan is getting sick again. I think he is catching another one of his daddy's colds. He has 10 days left of Tobi treatments (for pseudomonas) and I am hoping this cold leaves Nathan's body as quickly as it came.

Teagan is working on cutting her 3rd and 4th tooth. She has not been sleeping more than 3 hours in a row at night. I'm tired. What does seem to make her happy recently is Moose and Zee


photo credit: NickJr.com

She laughs hysterically every time one of the Moose and Zee commercials comes on in between one of Nathan's Nick Jr. shows.

Another reason why Nathan's mail order pharmacy drives me insane.

I just received another automated phone call from Nathan's mail order pharmacy. The message says "Prescription Solutions has an important message for you, press 1 to speak with an operator". After pressing "1" and being transferred to a human, who wants to know why I am calling I say, "Uh yea, you guys called me...?". Then we go through the account verifications and I am told it is a reminder that a prescription is ready to be refilled.

Do you want to refill that prescription now?

Of course.

Ok I would be happy to assist you with that...Actually, this prescription is not eligible to be refilled until Saturday.

Ok, then why am I getting a call to refill it now?

Well because the automated refill reminder system makes call 5-7 days before the actual refill date. So I am just letting you know you can call on Saturday to refill that prescription. Is there anything else I can help you with.

Nope. I really should've said "How can you help me with something else if you haven't helped me with anything in the first place?"...but I'm only sarcastic inside my head.

Does this whole scenario sound silly to anyone else? Looks like I will forget to refill Nathan's Pulmozyme on Saturday. Why can't reminders be given when the medication is eligible to be refilled?

Now we are off to find a gingerbread cookie house because all of a sudden Nathan has been asking where his monstrosity of a gingerbread house went. Hopefully I can find one on clearance somewhere. I am sure he will be upset regardless when he opens the box and his friend, Ayden, doesn't pop out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Airway Clearance for Toddlers: The Kazoo

After Nathan's hair cut yesterday we stepped into the music store to look at the instruments and the owner of the store gave Nathan a kazoo. Immediately I thought, "Awesome, an airway clearance device!!!".

I didn't think about the headache thant would ensue. Like toddlers aren't noisy enough on their own. Ha! Nathan was thrilled that his already loud voice was amplified by this cool little instrument. My first goal was to get him to make any noise through the kazoo.

After we mastered the initial sound, I began to introduce different "airway clearance" exercises. To get a larger volume of air flowing I asked him to blow twice in a row, like a train whistle "choo choo". Since he loves his trains this was pretty easy. Now I am trying to get him to make a longer "choooooooo chooooooo" using one breath. This is all really important and is getting him ready for pulmonary function tests (PFTs).
PFTs are a series of tests that measure air flow and lung volume and are used to interpret lung function and diagnose health problems. Nathan underwent an infant PFT at 5 months. Infant PFTs require sedation because children cannot inhale/exhale on command. Soon he will be performing PFTs at every quarterly CF clinic visit.
Right before I began filming the video below, Nathan let out a couple of really good mucous loosening coughs so it has got to be doing something. Keep the air, and mucous, moving son!



Sorry, half the video is completely irrelevant. Toddlers and their short attention spans.

Monday, January 24, 2011

landmines

of laundry

laundry

If a picture were worth a thousand words these would be a few that the above photograph brings to mind:

no time
never-ending
not enough me
too much laundry
my wrist hurts too much
how do people do it?
overwhelmed
what a mess
no break
slacker

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Self Care is Important

Self Care is essential in the overall happiness of a family and to be perfectly honest I feel that I am lacking in this area. I give so much of myself to everyone around me (my husband, my children, my friends, even mere strangers) and I do it happily without regret. But the drawback of maxing myself out is that I am also burning myself out.

I try to make sure everyone's needs are met and if that means wearing my hair in a ponytail rather than taking a few minutes to blow it dry then so be it. In my opinion, it would be selfish of me to take a minute to look in the mirror and realize that a dab of blush might make me look a little more alive, that I should probably run a brush through that awful knot in my hair, or that I am leaking through my shirt in the wrong places. I could be using that time to get something else done. I can barely remember to take my daily pills (prenatal vitamin, vitamin d, iron, etc.) all of which are intended to make sure I am healthy to care for others.

But you know what, I often feel lethargic, depressed, stressed, and worn out. Nathan, always full of happiness and energy, usually wants me repeating everything he has to say, but sometimes it is difficult to "snap out of it". A body under constant stress is not a healthy body. I can't afford to get sick if my immune system is weak.

What I typically think about when I hear "self care" is doing things to make you feel good about yourself (relaxing in a bath, reading a book, wearing makeup, doing hair, exercising). I do bath, not daily, but when I do bath I usually have Teagan in the tub with me. Of course I can't just relax I have to accomplish something. And it's not that I couldn't escape and taking a bath by myself it's just that Teagan's hair needs to be washed.

One thing that has helped me tremendously in the past few months is my new photography business. Incorporating one of my greatest passions into my daily life sends a rush of energy through my body. I am always aware of what is around me, often seeing life as snapshots.

Nevertheless, there is room for improvement in the self care department. I need to snap out of my funk. Even if I spend the majority of my day going to bat for my family (someone has to negotiate between the doctors, insurance company and pharmacies) I don't have to be a grouchy pessimist while doing so. Last thing I need is to have my emotions impact my family in a negative way.

I really don't want Nathan to grow up wanting to marry a woman who is constantly stressed out. I don't want Teagan to grow up to be an all sacrificing, unhealthy mother. I need to be a good role model and make some time for personal time. I'm not sure if I can cut back on my load of responsibilites but I am sure I can incorporate more activities that would bring happiness into my life.

Man, that all sounded very selfish and unappreciative. I am very blessed. My kids and my family do bring me happiness but there is no time left for Christina to think about Christina on a personal level. Make sense?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20th in {Nathan's} History

It's been a busy day and therefore I am feeling tired and a bit lazy right now. I took Nathan and Teagan to play with the big brother and sister of the newborn I photographed just last week. A few other parents with kids stopped by for a visit as well. There was a total of 6 mobile kids, 1 soon to be mobile little girl with 2 brand new teeth, and 1 very immobile newborn baby boy. Who says kids that don't attend day care don't have the opportunity to socialize with other children?

It was loud. It was messy. There were toys everywhere. Nathan even copied his new playmate and ate some dry cereal with a spoon. Teagan was mostly irritable. Teething is rough, amber helps*. And in a few short hours there were many sleepy children. Nathan of course refused to nap. For dinner he {gasp!} ate an entire orange, a handful of Toy Story Cheez-Its and a few pretzels.

But since I don't really have much to say besides how excited I am that Nathan ate today, I am going to share some photos of January 20th in {Nathan's} History!

One year ago, today, Nathan was chowing down {or possibly nibbling} pizza.

IMG_7535

IMG_7536

IMG_7537

And two years ago, today, Nathan was looking pretty miserable. Poor thing could've used some amber of his own. He got his first two teeth, almost a month after these photos were taken, on Valentine's Day in Virginia, a week or so shy of 6 months old.

P1030605

P1030604

P1030603

*Although I am big believer in Hazelaid's hazelwood and amber jewelry, it's not the miracle pain killer. It doesn't eliminate pain altogether but it does alleviate pain. I don't even want to imagine how horrible Teagan's teething pain would be without the assistance of her amber necklace. I am not going to beat a dead horse so I won't be obsessing over amber in every single post {although I could} but just so you know I love the medicinal properties so much that I wear my very own {stylish} amber necklace too. If you want to read more about Hazelaid's jewelry there is a link on the left hand side of my page.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {Cuddling Cats}

Not exactly what I had in mind for Teagan's car seat.

cats in car seat

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A new shipment of Tobi

I refilled Nathan's Tobi this past Thursday. I was informed that the "earliest delivery" was today (Tuesday) because Tobi requires refrigeration and therefore is shipped in a Styrofoam cooler on ice. It couldn't be shipped any sooner because it would have to sit in a warehouse over the weekend and they don't schedule deliveries on Saturdays. Fair enough.

But I figured there would be no harm in at least requesting a Saturday delivery even though they don't deliver on Saturdays. I even offered to pay the additional shipping cost since it was my fault for not refilling the medication sooner. I was happy to get an override for a Saturday delivery but you could imagine what my reaction was when the Tobi arrived dry especially when the mail order pharmacy placed a heavy emphasis on the refrigeration requirements. No cooler, no ice, just a plain old box of Tobi.

My first thought was, "it is cold enough outside, I am sure the medication is fine". But could I really be certain? My second thought was to consult another more experienced CF mom. She confirmed that the medication should be still usable but there is still the problem that it was shipped improperly. Who's to say the pharmacy isn't shipping to warmer locations without ice?

When I called in a complaint to the pharmacy, the pharmacist informed me that Tobi is stable at room temperature for 28 days and if I was concerned that the package was transported through higher temperatures I should contact UPS directly. For the record she made sure I was very aware that she was in no way concerned about the stability of the medication. I, on the other hand, was very concerned and wanted to be 100% positive that the antibiotics my son would be inhaling to treat his persistent lung infection were still effective and stored in refrigeration as recommended by the FDA.

By the way, I don't recall reading "detective" in my job description. I don't feel it is my job to be contacting UPS to investigate the history of where a package has been. Furthermore, I doubt they would be able to tell me how long and at what temperature the package was in each location. Sure, the antibiotic is stable at room temperature for 28 days but how long would it be stable if it were stored in an above room temperature location in a processing or sorting facility overnight? It could be possible. Ever walk through the door of a Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's and get blasted by heat? It is not probable that the package was left directly under the heat but it is entirely possible.

After a lot of back and forth conversation and a surprise conference call, a new shipment of Tobi will be arriving today, thank you very much. It is fair to say that antibiotics are pretty important. They will be picking up the improperly shipped Tobi but I'm not handing it over until they give me the new ice cold box of Tobi. I guess you can say I'm holding the $4,000 dollar medication hostage.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nathan's Appetite

Could it be coming back? Is it possible that his lack of appetite was in some way tied to acid reflux? If not entirely, because I know toddler's are well known for being too busy to want to eat, perhaps his appetite is partially related to the acid reflux he was experiencing. Ever since last week, when I managed to get Nathan back on a regime of Prevacid, I have noticed an improvement in his vomiting.

The vomiting, once a daily occurrence, has disappeared entirely. Once in a while, we still notice him swallowing like he might be experiencing reflux but he has not vomited.

Almost immediately Nathan began tolerating sitting at the table with us during dinner and even voluntarily took one teeny tiny bite of pizza. This is HUGE!

He has always loved fruit and today he ate not only one but two oranges. I know probably the worst fruit in terms of acid reflux but he specifically asked for the orange twice. I couldn't deny his request since it was basically the first time he requested a food other than a bottle of milk or Pediasure. The orange did seem to upset the reflux but the McDonald's Quarter Pounder and French Fries seemed to help.


See that, an actual piece of the burger patty is missing!!!! Isn't it so exciting?! I'm praying that we are witnessing "The Return of Nathan's Appetite" part 2, or 3, or 4. I've lost count, his appetite is constantly appearing and disappearing.

Anyway, I want to be seeing a little more of this...

French toast-14-2

...and a little less of this around our house.

nbottle copy

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Teagan's Tooth

Can you believe it?! Teagan's first tooth emerged yesterday at 4 and a half months. Nathan got his first tooth during on Valentine's Day 2009 when we were visiting Jay's brother and sister in law in Virginia. He was 5 and a half months old.

But Teagan got her first tooth yesterday at Ayden's Mickey Mouse birthday party. He had the most amazing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake. I wish I had taken a photo of the cake but I didn't really take many photos of anyone or anything (for once). But as I was saying...we were at Ayden's birthday party and Teagan was chomping on my finger and drooling like usual. Suddenly I realized there was something sharp in her mouth. It took a second to get her tongue out of the way but once I did I saw her first tooth had popped through her gums.

Nathan was so miserable when he was teething, I guess the amber teething necklace is helping!! Honest, she doesn't seem to be bothered one bit by teething pain and if is then she surely doesn't know how to show it. I take her hazelwood-amber necklace off at night so it doesn't strangle her but many people wrap the necklace around their baby's ankle at night to prevent this.

untitled-143 edit

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ramblings

Welcome to my random disorganized thoughts. Please excuse the lack of coherence tonight, I am exhausted but I feel like my brain has something to say. Here it is, stream of consciousness style.

We rented Grownups last night at our local Redbox. Several people have recommended the movie but I couldn't tell you how it was, I fell asleep like usual. I fell asleep shortly after realizing we had two doses of Tobi remaining and I had yet to refill the prescription. I spent a good amount of time on the phone with the mail order pharmacy during Nathan's evening treatments begging them to get authorization for an overnight Saturday delivery. For once I remained pleasant while on the phone even though I wanted to bring my inner you know what out. For once it worked out in my favor. Back to Grownups, Jay is currently making a copy so I don't miss out.

Teagan slept close to ten hours straight through the night in her own cradle. Thought that was noteworthy. Moving right along.

I hate constant whining. I love everything about children, with the exception of whining.

I hate that my son has an OVER-abundance of energy and I have barely any energy. Curse the Epstein Barr Virus that made it self comfortable in my system three and a half years ago. I would love take a small fraction of Nathan's energy. I am pretty sure we could both benefit from this exchange. I've been told by many CF parents that Xopenex would be a good alternative to the Albuterol Nathan currently take 2-3 times a day. Again, I wouldn't be able to tell you first hand. Nathan's doctor shot me down saying it is not always as effective as Albuterol and doesn't always decrease the energy. I am getting pretty sick of fighting the doctors to get what I feel is the best and most aggressive care for my son.

Laundry, I do it every day, multiple times a day. I do dirty diaper laundry basically every other day. I don't mind dirty laundry. I wash it and I usually remember to dry it before it starts smelling funky. What I don't care for is, as odd as it may sound, clean laundry. The dirty laundry pile is nonexistant in comparison to the mounds of clean laundry spread across our bedroom floor.

Sometimes if the stars are in my favor, I can lay Teagan on a clean blanket to entertain herself with odd noises and spit bubbles while I fold and put away laundry. Occasionally I may get lucky and have 10 uninterrupted minutes of constructive laundry time before my helper Nathan decides to lend his destructive hand.

And one final thought before the boys return with my Chinese food. Yummy, moo shu pork. I love babies, I love how incredibly innocent they are.


My new job is the greatest. I'm still in the process of figuring out the technical aspects of owning and operation my own business but I am loving every step!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {Nathan, smile!}

Nathan, can you just smile? And look at the camera? With yours eyes open? And move your...

nathan smile

...Oh well, he is still adorable!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank you, McDonald's

Thank you, McDonald's, for introducing my 2 year old, impressionable son, to the world of Iron Man. He is now one happy boy.

nathan iron man

As soon as he fell in love with this Happy Meal toy

nathan iron man-2

he knew had to see the movie.

Although I am a big fan of the movie (Robert Downey Jr. in particular) I'm utterly unimpressed at the marketing of such a violent movie to such a young crowd. I would also like to sarcastically thank the toy manufacturers (Habro, Marvel, and the like) for providing my toddler with hours of imaginative and violent play.

nathan iron man-3

I guess it is no different than the G.I. Joes, Transformers, and Thundercats of the 80's. My brothers turned out just fine so I am hoping no harm will be done here.

nathan iron man-4

Sunday, January 9, 2011

gratitude

I am so overwhelmed, well, most of the time but I am so fortunate and blessed to have such an amazing group of people who "listen" to, or read, and respond to my daily frustrations and jubilations. This community, consisting of friends {in real life}, family, former coworkers, former classmates, adults with Cystic Fibrosis, parents in my position caring for a child with Cystic Fibrosis or another chronic illness, is invaluable to me. Community support is essential, without which I would still be thinking that vomiting on a daily basis is "normal".

THANK YOU!

Thank you to each and every one of you who responded to my previous post, my request for feedback concerning Nathan's reflux. My husband and I have read each comment or message together and so many of your stories and suggestions are making us realize that Nathan does in fact have a reflux problem. All the signs are present. I am especially grateful to have heard from adults who have experienced reflux being that Nathan is not yet to the point where he can verbalize what is bothering him. He is just beginning to tell me when something hurts and it breaks my heart.

Thank you for the comments, emails, facebook messages, and phone calls. I am feeling very confident that the vomiting, persistent hard swallowing, hoarse voice, lack of appetite, etc shall subside soon.

It is rather pathetic that one would grow accustomed to something such as vomiting to the point where it becomes "normal".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prevacid and Reflux

I am looking for some feedback from adult CFers, CF caregivers, or anyone with any experience with reflux.

Nathan began taking Prevacid at the end of April 2010. His doctor gave us a 90 day supply of samples because I mentioned he was waking up in the middle of the night crying, but basically still sleeping, and swallowing hard. Jay and I believe the Prevacid helped him to sleep better.

After the 90 days at our next clinic visit (end of July 2010), the doctor said we would see what happens if we discontinued the Prevacid. We didn't notice any changes immediately nor did we make any associations to the discontinuation of the Prevacid when the changes occurred. By the end of September 2010 the vomiting (that we experienced in the past) began again. He has been on several courses of antibiotics (Bactrim, Augmentin, Cipro) since October and is currently almost halfway through a 2 month course of Tobi for eradication of pseudomonas.

He basically survives on a liquid diet. He rarely eats anything solid and when he does it is only a bite or two. 9 times out of 10 solid food consumption is followed by coughing and gagging and is then promptly vomited up. I would almost rather him not eat anything solid because then he could at least have a better shot of keeping his real calories (Pediasure) down. We have also noticed a sore sounding/ hoarse voice.

My husband and I decided to give him the last two samples of Prevacid tonight and tomorrow night and call clinic first thing Monday morning to get a prescription.

Does this sound reflux related to anyone else? I am wondering if his "lack of appetite" may be related to reflux and discomfort related to reflux.

Just looking for some feedback, I'll be getting a medical opinion on Monday. I also posed this question on cysticlife.org. If you don't have a profile there, you should get one.

Sneak Peek {Baby Myles}

Not even two weeks old but wide awake already.

cms myles 2

He is a handsome boy for sure.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A high tech honey do list

My husband and I have the habit of making plans separately and then having to deal with the problem of our schedules overlapping. We tried to solve the problem by keeping a master calendar posted on the side of our refrigerator. This only worked if I remembered to transfer appointments from my personal weekly planner to the master calender and if Jay actually remembered to consult the master calendar.

To solve that problem Jay set up my Microsoft Outlook so that our seperate calendars would sync with each other. This worked great but I had to be at home and have my computer on and email open before I could create an appointment. Not to mention there was still the problem of actually transferring appointments from my paper planner to the Outlook calendar.

And then came the day when my husband and I both upgraded to Android smart phones. No more overlapping appointments because we have them set up so that our calendars are always in sync. Being that our cell phones are usually close by, it doesn't take me long to see when he schedules an appointment and vice versa. Best...thing...EVER!

For those of you who have Android phones and might be interested in having your calender synched with someone else's phone:

It doesn't matter that Jay has the Motorola 2 and I have the Motorola X. When you get a droid you need to have a Google (gmail) account. You typically set it up with your own Google account but you CAN add more than one Google account. To have my husband's calendar (I didn't want to receive his email or contacts) sync to my mobile phone all I had to do was add his google account to my phone. (Go to "My Accounts" - "Add account" - "Google" - and then enter his Google log in credentials) There should be check boxes that give you the option to only sync calendars. Jay had to perform the same steps to his phone in order to have my calendar synched to his phone.

But that's not what I am so excited about. The benefits of having our calendars in sync are tremendous! Oh, the possibilities are endless. Five simple words "high tech honey do list". I tried it today and it works like a charm.

This afternoon I wanted to perform an experiment. It was 2 pm. I created a new appointment for 2:20 pm and made sure I checked the box to create a reminder 15 minutes before the event. I knew as soon as Jay's phone synched he would get an annoying alert interupting his game of Angry Birds and would have to check the calendar which would then show something like "Jay, please take the garbage out". This could be very wonderful, I may or may not be grinning ear to ear while thinking about all the new "honey do" events I will be creating.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

When to introduce solid foods

Teagan is now four months old, 4.2 months old by the time I managed to find enough time to take the photographs below.

She now weighs 14 pounds, 2 ounces (50th percentile) and is 26 1/4 inches long (97th percentile).

teagan 4 month calendar-1

Her hair is thinning and getting lighter. Someone at McDonald's said it looked like she was wearing a toupee. I could've clocked her, but I didn't.

teagan 4 month calendar-2

She is constantly shoving her fists into her mouth and chomping on anything and everything. She still has yet to take a binky and I am not going to force it. I put it in her mouth and hold it until she gets some suction and then when I let go it pops right out.

She is also trying to grab everything I eat and drink. The other day she plopped her hand right into the center of my slice of pizza, her mouth wide open of course. I intended to wait until 6 months before introducing solids for many reasons.

Why do I agree with delaying solids until at least 6 months? Teagan is gaining weight steadily on breastmilk alone and is getting the greatest protection from illness. Not only that, but before 6 months the baby's digestive system is not mature enough to properly digest food causing unnecessary gas and possible constipation. Contrary to popular belief, solid food is not necessary for a baby to sleep through the night. Teagan is currently sleeping through the night at 6 to 7 hour stretches on a diet of breastmilk alone.

There are many other reasons why it is recommended to wait until the baby is 6 months old before introducing solids. You can read more about them here. That being said, I will be skipping rice cereal altogether, a popular and highly recommended "first food", because it is a processed food that can build up in the stomach and has very little nutritional value. Since she is attempting to eat everything that I am eating, including bringing my morning cup of coffee to her face mouth wide open, I am going to introduce her to avocado.

I am not replacing breastmilk with avocado nor am I reducing her breastfeeding sessions which is currently on her demand. It will not be a daily thing, just a taste here and there. Avocado is an ideal "first food" because of its smooth texture. If she pushes it out of her mouth then we will wait another two months.

In the meantime, I have a 28 month old cutie pie who gave his mama a big "CHEESE" this morning, thanks to Katrina's suggestion of showing him his own photo on the camera's display immediately. He also helped me get Teagan's attention for her calendar photographs by standing behind me and calling out "baby girl!". Maybe seeing Teagan beginning to eat food will inspire him to eat as well.

nathan 28 months

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Post-Pegnancy Belly Photos

Baby bellies are beautiful things, stretched skin containing life within. Each mark left behind is a reminder of what developed inside. Baby bellies are so beautiful that people chronicle their pregnancies with a series of baby belly photos, schedule maternity photo shoots, and even buy pregnancy belly casting kits to create 3 dimensional sculptures. Now I am not so sure I would publicly display a belly cast sculpture especially if it contained my breasts, which are often added to the belly cast to give it a fuller form. I doubt any {female} visitor would appreciate staring at this conversational piece during dinner. The point I am trying to make is that people often cherish their baby bellies.

39 week belly with name

So how come the moment the baby is delivered, the once beautiful rotund belly becomes something to be ashamed of and kept hidden? The belly, once full of new life, transforms into saggy skin covered with stretch marks. Every mother knows what a post partum belly looks like yet we like to pretend the body will someday go back to its "normal" pre-pregnancy/pre-baby appearance. The skin is very elastic so, over time, it will shrink a bit.

Stretch marks may also fade and become less noticeable with time but they will never disappear. Do you know why that is? The science teacher in me knows from anatomy and physiology classes that stretch marks are actually scars formed from the tearing of the skin. Therefore stretch marks will never disappear completely. Think about it, if you break a vase and then glue it back together you will still be able to see where the crack was. So don't waste your money on creams and lotions claiming to eliminate strecth marks. Keep your skin moisterized during the pregnancy to prevent tearing in the first place but once it happens the marks are there to stay.

I am going to embrace my post-pregnancy belly! Here it is 4 months post-partum in its unedited glory:

postpartumbelly

I will always remember that both of my children spent the majority of the pregnancy curled up on the right side of my torso when I look at my stretch marks in the mirror.

I am also going to embrace my husbands post-pregnancy belly, but will not be posting his photo. {smile}

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My toddler has selective hearing

There is one thing Nathan has mastered and that thing is tuning his mother out. I am sure I am not the only one that has a child that completely ignores her but it can be extremely frustrating. I can almost guarantee that he is hearing and paying attention to everything I say but you wouldn't think so if you were waiting for a reaction.

So when a close friend of mine asked if I pay attention to blog post equality, it made me wonder. Yes, I take {and post} way more photographs of Teagan recently, not because I am kicking Nathan to the curb or love him any less, but because I can easily get her to connect with me. She is constantly looking for me and face it, at 4 months old, she isn't running away from me yet.

Short of enthusiastically screaming, "Look, it's Santa Claus!", there is nothing I can do or say to even elicit a response from him. So if he does happen to look my way for a split second then I have to make sure all the settings on my camera are just right otherwise all I will get is a blurry photo of an active toddler. Flash would help if I weren't anti flash so I just have to shoot at a high shutter speed in daylight. But again, the moment he hears me remove the lens cap and knows I want to take his picture the more he resists. So this is the reason why I have given Nathan a mini break.

But don't worry, photographs of Nathan will be coming soon. He can't ignore me forever, can he? Don't answer that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ramblings

This is my 601th blog post since I became a blogger back in the Spring of 2009. This is what 7 month old Nathan looked like at the time.

He was such a pleasant baby. Nathan is now 28 months old, nearly two and a half. He has an overabundance of energy. He woke up wearing his Buzz Lightyear pajamas happy as could be, with a hoarse voice. His three favorite blankies smelled of vomit with vomit nowhere to be found. His lungs sounded full of gunky mucus, which rattles as he breathes.

Downstairs he repeatedly stood up on sofa and fell down saying, "Buzz fell down, Buzz arm broken". When he asked me to follow him upstairs and then reached for the balcony railing over the staircase I knew he was trying to reenact the scene from Toy Story where Buzz attempted to fly from the top of Sid's staircase and instead fell resulting in a broken arm. Good thinking for a children's movie, Disney Pixar. Now the stairway gates will be permanently secured.

We happily played with his Thomas Trains all morning. How he can properly identify all the trains {Percy, James, etc} boggles my mind. At least I can identify Thomas. Then a flip switched and Jekyl Nathan became Hyde. The toddler tantrums arose out of frustration that his toy motorcycles wouldn't stand up on their own. My patience is being tested hourly as a mother.

I hate wishing away the present in anticipation for the future but I have totally had enough of the Fall and Winter seasons. Sickness and lung infection have prevailed for three, going on four months straight. I sometimes wonder if Nathan would be a little less "terrible two" if it weren't for the mounds of medications antibiotics he takes on a daily basis. I love Nathan so much and it pains me to think of how his life could have been different, more normal, without Cystic Fibrosis.

Teagan is four months old today. She is a doll, literally the baby doll I've always dreamed of.


She is quite the chatterbox, constantly experimenting with all the different sounds her mouth can make including blowing raspberries. She is currently taking a break from chomping on her fingers and is playing on the floor, lifting her head, and grabbing her toes.

We have a birthday party to attend this afternoon. I am very excited to see some adult friends but am always concerned that Nathan will be exposed to other sick children. Of course, most adults look at Nathan like he has the plague not knowing the true reason why he is hacking up his lungs. I know the time will come when parents will try to keep their children away from Nathan thinking that his cough is contagious. Sorry, Cystic Fibrosis is genetic not contagious. Unless of course you are an offspring of my husband and myself then I guess depending on how you interpret genetics it could be considered as possibly contagious.

In regards to my own personal and professional development, I a looking forward to making CMS Creative Photography a legitimate and succesful business in 2011, scheduling more photo shoots, and attempting to lose 16 pounds in 16 weeks. I will be starting Jillian Michaels - 30 day Shred today. Selfish as it may seem, I have to set 30 minutes aside for ME. I believe I set a realistic goal and have a very awesome reward waiting for me at the end of those 16 weeks.