Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eli's Food Adventures

Yesterday Eli tried carrots for the first time! He sneezed halfway through his meal, so I just pulled off his clothes and let him feed himself the rest! Haha! Needless to say, he made quite a mess!!

My boy definitely takes after his Daddy; he loves food! He is now eating about 8 ounces a day, four ounces for lunch and four for dinner. As soon as he swallows his mouth is open and waiting for the next bite! It is the cutest thing! So far he has had Apples and Bananas (his favorites), Sweet Potatoes, Avocados, Pears, Carrots, Squash, and Prunes. This week I will be making my second batch of purees to throw into the freezer. We bought some more apples and bananas, squash, pears, carrots, peas, and mango! I'm guess Eli will love it all! The only thing he has completely rejected so far is Avocado, which I was not surprised about because Avocado tastes nasty!

We also got a mesh teether and threw a frozen piece of banana into it! Eli loved it, but of course got his face, hands, and chest all sticky!

Here are some pictures of Eli v.s. Carrots:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Essay From a Mother

A friend showed me this and I read it while Eli was draped over my arm sleeping soundly. Have I mentioned that I LOVE being a mom??

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there some thing wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, 'Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame.' The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pick up. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, 'What did you get wrong?'. (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get onto the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

First and foremost, I live for God. But man, I love these boys... they are my life.

I can't wait to look back on our journey together, but for now I hope to cherish each moment. I am blessed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

4 Month Appointment

I took Eli for his 4 month check up today! I woke him up way too early, at 7 when he usually wakes up at 10:30, and he was not too happy!

We were seen right away, after Eli got to flirt with the receptionists! He now weighs 15lbs 5oz (between 50th and 75th %) and is 26 inches (between 75th and 90th %)!! His head is 16 inches (50th %). The doctor said he is perfectly proportional! Hooray! I can't believe he gained a half a pound in less than 2 weeks!

I told the doctor about this "rash" I have been battling for almost 2 weeks now. It is red and bumpy. I have changed diaper brands, changed wipe brands, used only a wet cloth for wiping. I didn't want to take him in for a RASH, so I had tried everything in my power to make it go away. Well the "rash"is actually a yeast infection! I felt like an idiot. I should have brought him in to the doctor WAY sooner instead of trying to deal with it by myself. Anyway the doctor prescribed him Nystatin, so I have been slathering it on him all day!

Aside from the rash and being woken up too early, Eli has been perfectly happy all day! He has been "talking" non-stop! I don't know where this came from! He is usually only talkative in the morning or right after naps... but he has been yappin' all day long!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Update on Eli

17.5 weeks/4 months

I am simply amazed at how fast my sweet boy is growing! It seems like only yesterday that we were coming home from the hospital with him...
Here are some updates on his milestones:

Head control: AWESOME! He keeps his head and neck level with his body when I pull him up by the arms/hands from laying down. He has this mastered now at four months, but his head control has been pretty great ever since he was born!

Talking/cooing/laughing: He is a big time laugher. He giggles all the time and coos, but doesn't talk a lot! Although we do have our morning conversations! He's more of a listener and is intent when you talk to him!

Batting/grabbing/bringing things to his mouth: He has become so good at holding things/grabbing things and has great aim when putting them in his mouth! Everything goes straight into his mouth! I can hand him a toy now and he doesn't drop it! Here is a funny picture of him holding two toys at once:

Sitting/Standing: He sits with support and has been doing this for a while now. He loves to sit up straight and sometimes when he is laying down he tries to pull himself up (like he is doing a sit-up). He also LOVES to stand while holding onto my fingers or leaning against something!

Rolling over: He just mastered this last week! This past weekend we went to mom and dad's and almost every time I laid him on his back, he would play for a while and then roll onto his tummy!

Grabbing feet: This is another recent accomplishment! He constantly staring at his toes and occasionally grabs them.

Teething: Yep! I'm hoping his teeth don't come in for a while though! He likes to knaw on my knuckles and basically anything he can get into his mouth (like his WHOLE fist!). His cheeks are red and he has been rubbing his ears too!

Solids: Loves them! We started at 3.5 months and he just LOVES his food! I made a whole batch of food for the month - pears, apples, bananas, avocado, and sweet potatoes.

Sleeping through the night: I really can't complain here because Eli is such a good sleeper, but just recently he has stopped sleeping through the night consistently and I have been told that this can happen when they start teething :(

Its crazy how fast babies can grow and change. For example, today I put Eli in his jumparoo and I was sitting there watching him simply amazed by how much he has developed in 3 weeks!!!
We got the jumparoo for Christmas and when I used to put him in it he would stare at his toys and sometimes accidentally turn the music on by hitting the keyboard. I was watching him today and he was GRABBING onto a toy, pulling it towards him (its on a spring), gnawing on it, and laughing when it sprung back up!

I just LOVE my son :)

Eli's First Football Game!

Two weekends ago (wow, I am so behind!), on January 8th, we went to see Kentucky play in the BBVA Compass Bowl and it was so much fun! We had awesome seats on the 30 yard line, row 29 (and we got our tickets for FREE - which made it even better!).

I was a little bit nervous about taking Eli, but he did AWESOME! Despite the cold, wind, crowds, and crazy loud cheering he took a nap during both the first and second half! He woke up just for intermission

Daniel was SO proud to bring Eli to his very first game!!
Here are some pictures!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Second Round of Shots

Today we went in for Eli to get his second round of shots, sounds simple right?? No.

Apparently if you are a "splitter" (what they call people who do an alternative vaccination schedule) you have to see the doctor first because he has to okay the shots you request. It makes sense to me for safety purposes and they are actually really supportive/accommodating for those who don't want to follow their schedule, which is nice.

However.... the person who made the appointment didn't schedule us with the doctor and the receptionists/nurses were all confused (I found this out later) and we ended up sitting in the waiting room for 2 hours! It was so frustrating to watch people come and go -- all while I sat in the same chair -- smiling as they recognized me when they passed by!

Eli was fine in the waiting room! No fussing at all and he even took a nap! But I knew that by the time we left that he would be hungry and crying -- this made me mad more than anything.

When I was finally called back, both Eli and I were tired and cranky. The doctor was really upset too -- he thought that we had already been seen and left over an hour ago. He had no idea we were there. He apparently told the nurse that she could give me the shots I requested because he knew the schedule I was following... but everyone was confused so we got left in limbo land. He really is a great doctor and he ended up yelling at the staff and telling him this was "unacceptable" three times!

So Eli finally got his shots over two hours later and he was a champ! I found a great way to distract him afterward and to settle him down -- all I did was turn the faucet on in the room and let him listen and watch the water! He was in a trance!

Oh yeah, he was also weighed! 14 lb 13 oz!! My boy is growing!!

Eli Eating!

The day after Christmas we decided to try Eli on some solids!
He seemed ready for real food. Nursing just didn't seem to fill him up. He went from eating every 4-5 hours to eating every 2 hours.
So on the 26th, mom bought him a jar of Sweet Potatoes and we gave it a try. At first Eli seemed unsure. But once he got over the new taste he went to town!! It was so cute... He would open his mouth and wait for another spoonful! He even started to fuss when I wasn't feeding him fast enough!

He is still loving his food! We have given him sweet potatoes, apples, and bananas so far -- he loves all of them! Yesterday I went on a cooking spree and made a whole bunch of baby food; Apples, Pears, Bananas, Avocados, and Sweet Potatoes. It was so much fun! I'm hoping to make all of his food from here on out!

It's a New Year!

I'm a little late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I can't believe it's 2011 and how much can change in just one year!
In 2006 I graduated high school and met Daniel.
In 2007 I went to France.
In 2008 I got engaged.
In 2009 I got married.
In 2010 I had a baby!
This time last year I didn't even know I was pregnant!
What will happen in 2011?! There is just something so exciting about the beginning of a new year!

This year we celebrated the new year in Tennessee with Daniel's family. And poor Daniel was sick the whole time!

It was also Daniel's mom's birthday (New Years Eve), so that day we went and did portraits of all her grandsons! They turned out so good! We also went to Olive Garden. We rang in the new year with fireworks in the backyard and it was so much fun! Of course Eli was passed out as 2011 rolled around (but don't worry, he celebrated at ohhh around 1:30 am!).
Here are some pictures...

This first one is Eli ringing in the new year :)

Christmas Part Two

Wow, I have gotten behind on my blogging! Now that the holidays are over (and Eli is napping) I can finally sit down and do a recap!

Christmas weekend was spent at my parent's house in Georgia! We left on Thursday and it took an HOUR to get out of our town and on the road thanks to last minute Christmas shoppers who were all at the Galleria!

On Christmas Eve (Friday), we spent most of the day hanging around the house and playing with Eli. I feel like that's all that we ever do when we go home... but hey its fun! Eli is smiling and laughing a lot more! It is so much fun to engage him in a "conversation" full of babble! That night Grandma came over and we had our somewhat traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Penne ala Vodka and Steak (Daniel always LOVES this meal -- actually I think he just likes my mom's cooking in general!). That night we also opened our Christmas Presents! Eli got a bunch of clothes and small gifts from both of his great grandmothers, but the gift he loved the most was his Jumparoo from Nonna and Pops! It was so funny to see him in it because his feet don't reach the ground yet! Now whenever he sits in it he gets a very serious face and concentrates on his toys!

You'll never guess what Daniel and I got from mom and dad... another CAMERA!! Haha! I guess everyone knew that we were in serious need!
On Christmas Day my family never really does anything special. Growing up we would wait til Christmas morning and then gradually as we got older this changed. First we would open one present on Christmas Eve night and then wait til Christmas morning for the rest. Then dad started working on Christmas so we started opening everything on Christmas Eve night. Now we don't even exchange gifts (or at least we aren't supposed to... cough momanddad cough). But if we did we would open them Christmas Eve night and save our stockings for Christmas morning. Confusing I know, but that's how the McNichols do it. After all, its not really about the gifts is it?

Daniel and I have our own special Christmas tradition that we started in 2008. In 2008 we celebrated our Christmas engagement with dinner and a movie. However, the only restaurants open on Christmas were all Chinese places! So now every Christmas we pick a movie to see (that we later buy when it comes out on DVD) and go out to Chinese. We also save outr ticket stubs and fortunes! We plan on continuing this tradition as our family grows over the years! There is just something magical about being the only two people feasting on rice in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas! Lol! This year for our movie choice we saw Tangled and it was SO good!
We stayed at mom and dads for an additional 2 days after Christmas and had a blast! We played games, watched movies, and just sat around talking. Here are some pictures from that weekend: