Thursday, May 28, 2015

Superhero Babies & Cuddling Babies


James like many boys (and men alike) is big into all the Marvel Superheros. And his sisters get incorporated into his plots as he plays superheros at home. His current favorites have been Spiderman and Batman. But it seems he has liked all of them at one time or another. 


He spent a few hours one day making himself a Batman costume because I wouldn't immediately
 take him to the store to buy one. He then proceeded to make each sister a coordinating Batman headband.



Bat Babies!


And Bat-Bum!


After the girls ditched the Batman gear, Christina found Claire to cuddle with. It seems that Christina always makes her way over to Claire no matter where we put her! The other day, both girls were hanging out on the floor and Claire got upset and was crying. Before I had a chance to tend to her, Christina had made her way over to Claire and began softly touching her face and hands with hers. I can only assume it was to help soothe and give loves to Claire. Christina is such a sweet, big sister! 






Saturday, May 2, 2015

Claire at 6 months

What they say about the third child is true (Who's they anyway? I never know). We hardly take pictures of Claire, she gets dragged out of the house during her nap time, we put her on the floor for diaper changes, we give her things from off the floor, and the list goes on. I'm sure Claire is not the only third child to fall prey (We've been watching a lot of Planet Earth lately) to "neglectful" parenting. I was the fourth child of my parents, so who knows that they did or didn't with me and I turned out relatively okay. But seriously, does anyone actually buy those wipe warmers? Like even for their first child? I was never that nice of a mother!

And in case you are worried, we do feed her (like you couldn't tell from those thunder thighs!) She loves breast milk, sweet potatoes, and pinto beans (and apparently Diet Coke -- you can ask Brian about that one. Let's just say desperate times calls for desperate measures!) We do hold her and give her developmental "tummy time," etc. (Even though I think it is silly that doctors prescribe it because all healthy babies naturally do this anyway and learn to roll on their tummies whether or not you give them the prescribed "tummy time." Even Christina figured it out on her own!)

In all my picture taking of Christina we have managed to snap a few of Claire. But seriously, only a few!



I wouldn't say that Claire and Christina play together but Christina does like to climb all over Claire like a jungle gym and has been caught gnawing on her feet. (Claire is okay with the climbing, not so much the biting!)


Oh man, that ham hock is so yummy! And she loves her little lamb lovey!


I can see some resemblance between Claire and me in this photo (Yep, that's my dad). I think it might just be the big, chubby cheeks and turned-up nose though!




Friday, March 20, 2015

Weight Loss 2.0

Brian believes that I have little guile -- scratch that --  no guile. This is evidenced by his most recent post on Facebook in which he quoted me saying, "I'm not being critical, I'm just telling you that you are doing it wrong." Which by the way, I stand behind and do not renege. But I digress.

So back to my point, Brian thinks I have no guile and that I am slow to embarrassment. These traits are arguably bad traits, but at times can help others. I hope in this instance they can be helpful! Which brings me to Weight Loss 2.0. Three years ago I blogged about losing weight after my pregnancy with James but since then I have had two more babies which have caused weight gain. (I linked the previous blog posts about my weight loss if you're interested.)

Part 1
Part 2

So I am now entering my second edition of weight loss and I thought it might be interesting and hopefully helpful to some to bring you along on my journey as I start. I tried not to worry about weight loss for the first few months after Claire was born, but she is now 4 months old and I am ready to start! And back to me having no guile, I am not at all embarrassed to admit my weight, size, what I eat, etc. So I will share real numbers and figures and what I really am doing and eating to lose weight; my struggles and achievements. For me, it is helpful when people talk about starting and ending weights, achievable exercise plans and real-life eating (gluten and dairy filled, non-vegan, non-paleo diets). Enjoy this video! (And no offense meant to the few 1% of people that actually have diagnosed Celiac Disease.)


Weight Gain since 2012:

Before I got pregnant with Christina I weighed 130 pounds. During my pregnancy with Christina I gained 39 pounds. At her birth I weighed 169. I quickly dropped 24 pounds to 145 (15 pounds shy of my pre-pregnancy weight). But I quickly got pregnant with Claire, at 6 months postpartum, having not lost all of the pregnancy weight. During my pregnancy with Claire I gained 40 pounds, weighing in at 185 day of delivery. (Interestingly, I gained 39-40 pounds exactly with all three pregnancies, regardless of what I did!) So now I am 4.5 months postpartum and I have lost 25 pounds without actively trying to lose weight, but my weight loss has plateaued for about the last two months at 160 pounds. Which means it's time to start making it come off! I don't know if anyone else has had similar pregnancy weight gains and losses. I essentially gained 40 pounds and easily lost 25 of them before plateauing, just my starting weights differed.

Starting numbers:

160 pounds
5'5'' (I obviously don't think this is going to change, this for reference to my general size)
BMI 26.6 (considered overweight)
Size 10 in clothing

And here's a few awkward before pictures. (I always feel so weird when I pose for a photo.)






Goals:

To lose 1-2 pounds per week
Lose 30 pounds by beginning of August
My end goal is to reach my pre-pre-pregnancy weight of 130 pounds

I am trying to be realistic and not too hard on myself about losing the weight. But I know I feel better when I am eating well, regularly exercising and of course fitting nicely in my clothes! I will do updates periodically with my progress!

Wish me luck! And if you want to join in with me, let me know. I love weight loss buddies!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Little Bouncer

My dear friend gave us this bouncer and my little Christina has loved it! Claire likes it too, like any other 4-month-old baby would! But for me, it is extra fun to see Christina enjoy things since finding things she likes and responds to are hard to come by! For those that knew my brother James, I'm sure you remember how much he loved music. Especially opera music preformed by male vocalists. He would tolerate Lawrence Welk, church music, female opera singers, and a few others. But male opera singing was his absolute favorite. If you ever came over to our house, the music would be blaring in his room. Thinking about this makes me nostalgic for those times and also so happy that he had such joy in something. I pray that my sweet little Christina will find something she loves in her life. And seeing her play in this bouncer the past few days gives me hope that she will find joy in her sweet, diminutive life. 




And I thought I'd share a video clip of her playing, especially for those who haven't met little Christina so you can see just how cute she is!


video








Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Milestones, Surgery, and a Positive Feedback Loop

Christina has been so clever lately! She is so motivated to do "normal things" like sit up and stand up. Because of her mental retardation and low muscle tone, these milestones have been delayed. Also we believe that her hatred of the light has impeded these developments, to an extent, because she avoids lifting her head to shade her eyes. But even with all of these disadvantages, she still has a strong desire to reach normal physical milestones.


She uses the bed frame to hold her head up against for support. She did this all on her own! She's brilliant!


In conjunction with the downward dog yoga pose to which she is partial, she also likes this sitting position. From this position, she will put her hands on the ground and push up -- lifting her head as high as she can, and holding the position for as long as she can. You can see how much she is straining to be able to do this! She is so motivated and hard working! When I work out at the gym, I always quit before it gets that hard for me! 



This is her version of downward dog. Her balance is amazing! She is balancing on one foot and her head and putting that other foot in her mouth! She recently had another eye surgery for the glaucoma in her right eye. Both eyes have glaucoma, but her right eye seems to be the eye that struggles the most. (The right eye is also the eye that my brother James ended up having removed. Clearly a trait of our Trisomy 2q.)


She's not always fond of her stroller. It helps her develop core strength and sit up right. 


Brian got her to calm down and enjoy her stroller! 



This was a huge milestone. She was able to stand a few times! We placed her here against the ottoman and got her legs stable underneath her and then she held this position for about 30 seconds.


Christina's grin with double dimples is just so delicious. I could eat her up! 


I love these two together! Since Claire was born it seems that Brian and Christina have created their own positive-feedback loop with each other. Before Claire was born, Christina preferred me over Brian. It wasn't that Brian did anything wrong or wasn't attentive, but more like how a nursing baby clings to their mother. But once Claire was born, I actually had a clinging, nursing new baby. And Christina must have realized that the attention I could give her was much more limited. Because of this, it seems she started to take more of a liking to Brian. And in turn, she became much more fun to Brian. Who in turn could get her to laugh more, and then Christina would be even more adorable and Brian would then find her that much more delightful and the cycle continues! They have become such peas in a pod!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Claire from 1 to 3 months



We feel so blessed to have sweet Claire in our family. Her personality is already shinning through at just a few months old! She is a very content and happy baby. She does, however, cry more than James and Christina ever did. But on the other hand, those two like never, ever cried, so I think we had abnormal expectations! She loves to be in the Björn like her big sister, but Claire likes to face outward and look all around (unlike Christina who burrows her head into my neck to hide her eyes). Claire loves to be held, but not really cuddled. She likes to be held facing outward, like in the Björn. She only cuddles when she's nursing. And nursing is also something she really loves! (As you will see by how progressively chubby she's gotten in the photos below!) Claire is such a chatterbox and she squeals and sings like she has very important things to say! She must get her chattiness from me! She is an amazing little sleeper, I almost hate telling other new moms when they ask about how she sleeps because she sleeps so well! She averages between 10 and 13 hours of continuous sleep in the night, which has been such a saving grace for me because I get especially crabby (crazy) on little sleep!



Is that a double or a triple chin?


We got Claire's ears pierced! I knew I was going to get them done, since I love little pierced ears. I was planning to wait until she was about 6 months old, but we had her in this super frilly dress at church and I just kept looking at her in this dress and all I could was James in a dress. And I felt she needed some feminizing! 



Oh that grin just kills me!


And that belly! But surprisingly, she is slender compared to James as a baby. This is James and Claire both at three months. They look awfully similar! James was fatter of course!






Thursday, February 5, 2015

We're too Poor

Several months ago I wrote a blog post about our finances, so I thought I'd try out another one! Since we are forging our way toward being debt-free (and/or moving and buying another house) money is a common topic in our household. And lots of these conversations have been teaching James about money and it's value. What started off as partly a joke and also a matter of convenience was Brian and me telling James we were poor and that's why we can't buy "x". It made it easy when we'd be at Costco and he wanted that cool new toy and we'd just say, "Oh, that looks super fun, but we're too poor." And it worked, James would nod and move along. But as time went on James would tell other families we were poor and even go as far as to ask my mom if they were poor too, like his parents! Part of me was so proud for our successful indoctrination of our child! But this also got me thinking.

Along with teaching James we are poor, we have also been trying to teach him about work. We talk about how work allows us to buy things that we need and want. We talk about how working harder and longer equals more money. We talk about how dad goes to work and works very hard to provide for our family. We ask James about what he'd like to do when he's older to make money. We give James chores to help him develop a work ethic. (This still needs a lot of work on our part! He whines a lot about chores!)

So my point in all of this is that I am now a little worried that we are teaching him mixed messages. James sees how hard Brian works at his job as well as with his church assignments. I try to make a point of this to James so that he appreciates what Brian does and to explain why Brian gets home late or has to leave again to go to church after getting home from work and so on. By showing James how hard Brian works and then saying we are "too poor" are we showing him a negative correlation between hard work and money? Am I overreacting and this is going over his head since he's only four years old? Is it a bad idea to trick your kids into thinking you're poor to help them not be spoiled? Brian and I are by no means rolling in the dough. We make a comfortable income where our needs and some (if not many) of our wants are met. I do think that being spoiled and entitled is more a matter of gratitude that can occur at any income level, rich or poor. So are there better ways of teaching children an attitude of gratitude rather than just telling them you can't afford it?

As a funny aside, there is a quote from Napoleon Dynamite that we say all the time in our house. To set the scene, Napoleon and Uncle Rico are shopping at some sort of grocery or corner store. Napoleon tries to get a box of assorted chips. Uncle Rico yaps, "Napoleon, you know we can't afford the fun pack. What, do you think money grows on trees in this family? Take it back!" Brian and I have abridged the quote to be, "We can't afford the fun pack!" when referring to anything that is out of the budget, whether it's a nice handbag I want or even more serious things like a house that is too expensive!