I've never been very good at sending out Christmas cards. I enjoy receiving them and want to keep in touch with folks, but Christmas cards never seem to make it on my to do list. Maybe it's sheer laziness, maybe it's the environmentalist in me not wanting to contribute to more paper use, maybe it's my inner scrooge...I don't really have a good reason why. It's nothing personal, it's just not something I typically do.
So instead I've pulled together a collage of holiday photos that would be great for our Christmas mailer (if one actually existed).
Grayson's eyes have started changing color over the last week. We're anxious to see if he'll become brown-eyed like Michael, a hazel/green like me, or something totally different. Guess we'll just have to watch and see.
Grayson has begun teething just in time for all our family Christmas parties and house full of overnight guests. At first, I was hoping his increase in drooling and addiction to gnawing on his hands was the natural progression of development for his age, but we've now moved beyond that to decreased appetite, increased fussiness that at times seems inconsolable, and a love for chilled teething rings and pacifiers.
Over the weekend, Grayson was more interested in chewing on his bottles than actually eating which I'm told is also a sign of gum soreness, so I'd say we're officially into teething. Just shy of four months old, Grayson is on the early side for this milestone which I'm really hoping means he'll cut teeth early (instead of us having to endure this phase for months on end until his first tooth finally pops through at 8-12 months).
Michael and I can feel two places on his upper and lower gums that seem swollen and a little harder like they are anticipating the arrival of teeth, but no tips poking through just yet. I can now identify with my friend and fellow blogging mama Cara that All I Want for Christmas are Two Front Teeth!
Grayson has been very vocal lately and loves when you mimic his sounds. He looks at you like you're having a real conversation and he understands every word.
Other vocalizations include fake crying and coughing which is so obvious he laughs or smiles afterward if you call him out on it. He's also said his first word and it was actually two words, "Al Gore."
I tried to explain to Michael that this was probably just a version of "ah gooh" but he's convinced it was really a reference to our Nobel Prize-winning former VP. You be the judge.
Today marks Grayson's first sick day. A parent never wants this day to come, but I honestly thought it would happen sooner than it did since he's been in daycare for more than a month.
He's had some nasal congestion practically since birth, but over the last day or so it's gotten slightly worse and added some sneezing and coughing. After a bit of a restless night, he woke up this morning with a fever of 101. Even though his eyes revealed he wasn't 100 percent, he managed to crack a few heart-melting smiles.
The pediatrician prescribed amoxicillin for the cold symptoms and also found the beginning of an ear infection in Grayson's right ear. Apparently our son is a serious ear wax producer, but after the doctor removed some relatively large pieces of wax, he said Grayson's right ear canal was slightly inflamed and the build up looked a little infected. So we are now giving him ear drops three times a day as well.
He seems to still be eating and napping as normal, which I hope continues into tonight. I'm just thankful we were able to get in to the doctor quickly so he can begin his road to recovery.
I just realized I haven't written about Miss Roxy in a while. It's so bad I didn't even take the time to upload a new picture of her. Instead, I just used an old one that was already on our computer. So sad.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure how Roxy is doing these days. She always wants to be near the baby or anyone holding the baby, but then she gets bent out of shape when Grayson flails his limbs and accidentally hits her.
If we have company, Roxy gets super excited and refuses to stop bouncing around until the guests give her a proper greeting. I try to provide ample love and petting, but she isn't interested in what I have to offer.
If she could talk, I think she would tell of a plight similar to a human teenager. Trying to play coy yet secretly seeking attention to reaffirm the fact that she is loved. Luckily, she isn't acting out in defiance at this point but I wouldn't be surprised if that were in our future.
I'm not sure what to do. No matter how much we try to love on her she seems to still hold a grudge against us, while at the same time showing affection toward Grayson and even being a little protective of him. Maybe this is just the natural process for grieving the loss of her only child status. It's hard to live the life of a diva when someone else demands your parents' attention.
Thanks to Popper (aka Michael's dad) there are lots of new pictures posted in the photo gallery (see link in left margin). Most are from our Houston trip over Thanksgiving. They sort of have a "Where's Waldo?" effect in that Grayson can be spotted in every picture, even if someone different may be holding him.
In yet another mommy confessional, I must admit I have been lax about keeping up with Grayson's baby book. I guess since I capture timely anecdotes in this blog I get them off my mind and move on before capturing it in his baby book.
I've decided that since we're not really doing Christmas gifts for Grayson this year (because he won't really know the difference), I'm going to give him the gift of memories instead by taking the time to catch up on recording his milestones and experiences.
I may even get motivated to complete the family tree section of the book which is a challenge considering he has six sides of family between Michael and myself. They just don't make enough branches on those things to accurately capture our family.
...okay, that title may be a bit dramatic, but I do have good news. A spot finally opened up at the downtown daycare we've been waiting on so Grayson will be starting a new school for the New Year.
This may seem like no big deal, but it really is an answered prayer for us. I like the teachers at his current daycare, however it is so incredibly difficult to get from downtown OKC to Norman by 6 p.m. during rush hour. We cut it close every day with literally less than five minutes to spare.
On top of the challenge that rush hour alone poses, the University of Oklahoma basketball pre-season has begun, making traffic even more ridiculous. Our daycare is located just north of the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot where the games take place.
I'm sure making the switch will include a few hiccups, but right now I'm enjoying basking in the thought of cutting an extra 40 minutes off our commute and less stress all around.
Today is Day 1 of Grayson's introduction to baby formula. This day arrived a few weeks earlier than I had hoped, but is necessary due to a recent growth spurt Grayson is experiencing.
My personal goal for breast feeding was originally 6 months. Then, when I started back to work and realized how difficult that would be with the travel my job will soon require, I reduced my goal to four months which would be January 1.
I've been on track to reach the four month mark until this past week. All of a sudden Grayson's appetite has blossomed. He went from eating 4.5 ounces per feeding to 6 ounces practically overnight. Needless to say my milk supply was quite overwhelmed and could not meet this immediate demand. I thought my body would adjust after a few days, but I'm still barely able to keep up with a 5 ounce per feeding capacity.
After much thought, I've decided it's time to introduce Grayson to formula now so I can do it slowly and deliberately just in case my milk supply suddenly takes a nose dive. I'm planning to give him one feeding a day with formula for several days and, if that goes well, will increase it to two feedings and so on.
His first-ever formula meal was this morning at 10:30 a.m. He gulped it up like a champ and so far hasn't seemed to have any allergies or digestive issues as a result. Fingers crossed this continues. I did notice he wasn't as hungry at his next scheduled feeding which I think is probably typical because formula babies tend to be able to go longer between feedings than breast-fed ones.
With this plan, I'll continue breast feeding for several more weeks (if not longer as needed), but am proud to have sustained our son solely on food I've produced for 15 weeks while he's doubled in weight. It really is amazing what our bodies are capable of doing.
I'm not a fan of the term work/life balance. To me, they are one in the same. Not in a way that means your work is your life, but more like your life includes your work as well as other things you choose such as family, hobbies, etc.
Now that I'm learning my new work/wife/mom/individual interest balance that makes up my life, I've been thinking about long-term goals. Part of my individual interests include environmental issues and even before I became a mom and a wife I sought out opportunities to stay connected with the environmental community and find ways to use my skills to try and make an impact.
My involvement with a group called Sustainable OKC recently got me to thinking about if my current life pace is sustainable. Not necessarily in a "green" way (although that is important), but more along the lines of, "Can I balance all the areas of my life without causing burn out over time?"
I think this is important because when you stop making time to nourish your passions, it tends to impact other areas of your life. While I realize that life's balance is an ever-changing target, the attempt is just as important as the end result.
So I'm hoping you will hold me accountable to stay committed to my personal interests like my book club, blogging or cooking classes, even when I may not have the energy after working all day and taking care of an infant at night. In the end, these hobbies feed my brain and life in different ways and ultimately energize me so I can be a better mom and wife. Hopefully, they will some day also provide an example for Grayson as well.
There is apparently a new labor trend that I missed out on when I gave birth to Grayson...the designer hospital gown.
Yes, I realize the words designer and hospital gown do not go together, but I've recently discovered an entire industry dedicated to "making mom feel chic" during labor and delivery.
Really? Is this a joke or what? How will mom EVER feel chic while pushing out something the size of a watermelon after enduring hours of contractions and sweating? Not to mention if you have to have a C-section. Seriously, this is so ridiculous my fingers cannot seem to type fast enough for my brain.
There's a reason they haven't shown the "after" picture of this mom. I doubt she's looking chic after more than a dozen hours of labor. But wait, it gets better. Check out these catchy slogans the labor gown marketing folks have come up with to sell their posh product:
"Look chic when family and friends come to visit." WeberWear
"Having a baby is an extraordinary experience - why wear an ordinary hospital gown?" Amazon
B.Y.O.G. (you guessed it, Bring Your Own Gown), offers mommies-to-be "a stylish hospital gown that will make you look great no matter how your body feels."
Too bad beauty doesn't come cheap. These gowns range from $60 to even $100 for something you'll wear once and probably get dirty if you really wear it during labor. I guess you could put it on afterward to receive visitors, but trust me, nobody is looking at the mama. They only have eyes for the baby.
I'm sorry if I've offended someone who has used one of these (that is certainly not my intent), but I just can't keep quiet about this idea. I thought the baby products industry had gotten out of hand, yet I only knew the half of it.
Today you turn three months old! You have changed in so many ways since we brought you home from the hospital. There are physical changes like nearly doubling your birth weight at just over 12 lbs., while also adding more than five inches in length. Plus there are personality changes like smiling and chatting so much these days.
You've already become a very good traveler, making the trip to Houston for Thanksgiving to meet all of your Texas family. You charmed them with your captivating smile and fun little personality.
Now that mommy is back at work you seem to be adjusting well to our morning routine and your school. Daddy is in charge of dressing you for the day and has fun getting you all bundled up in one of your many jackets. Your teachers have gotten to know you and report on how much you love to swing and look around at the other infants. You don't even use your pacifier that much anymore except to help you go to sleep.
Your Grandmother Carol thinks you're going to be rolling over soon since you're so strong and active. I think you may be showing early signs of teething because you've started chewing on your pacifier more than sucking it and you really enjoy biting on cold pacifiers or teething rings. Teeth are probably still a ways off, so we'll have to become pros at soothing your aching gums.
Other favorite hobbies include lying on your changing table smiling up at the picture above, kicking in general, and watching the little ladybug on your bouncer chair light up and play music. These activities seem to entertain you for hours.
Your parents have changed a lot in these last three months as well. In the beginning, Daddy was nervous about carrying you and supporting your head. I was worried that breast feeding wouldn't go well. Now we've both become pros at toting you around, feeding you, and changing your diaper in a flash. Together, we give you a bath and get you ready for bed. Your furry sister Roxy is also adapting well. She is always close by and tries to kiss your head when mommy and daddy aren't looking.
Overall, we just love you to pieces and are so thankful for your health and happiness. The months seem to fly by. Daddy is already planning his 15-year car project for when you're able to drive. It will be here before we know it, but for now I'm enjoying the toothless grins and babbling conversations.