Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sleep training...It's hard but it works!!

It's been exactly a week since Amy came over to sleep train baby Crosby and my life has improved a lot in the past week.  Things still aren't where I want them to be but we are well on our way...

When Amy arrived last Tuesday, Crosby had to be rocked to sleep for every nap and every night at bedtime.  Many times we would THINK he was asleep, only to get downstairs and have to race back up to console him and rock him back to sleep.  I knew it was a problem but it's SOOOO hard to listen to your baby cry for an extended period of time.  Crosby was also waking up 4-5x/night and I was breastfeeding him each and every time.  I knew that he wasn't that hungry but that it was a bad habit that I wasn't ready to break b/c I was SO tired that it was easier for me to jump up and feed him, knowing that he'd eat and go right back to sleep and then I could too.

The only perk that I can see so far of having a main-floor master with little kids is that if you want to be away from their crying at night, it's a good place to sleep.  So Tuesday and Wednesday night, Doug and I slept in our master bedroom for the first time in YEARS!  We literally haven't slept in there since before Carter moved to his crib, over 3.5 years ago!!  Amy got up with Crosby and we slept (I only heard him once in two nights!).  In just a few short days, Crosby is now putting himself to sleep for naps and bedtime, sometimes with no crying at all, sometimes 5 or so minutes and is getting up twice per night.  I am only feeding him once per night and hoping that he'll soon only wake up once and soon after not at all...The challenge has been trying to get him to eat more during the day, which is hard b/c if he's not hungry, there's not making him eat.

Crosby is definitely a much happier baby with better nighttime sleep.  I really feel like he grew up, just this weekend.  He is so alert and playful and he is happy to play on his own and roll around the floor for up to 45 minutes...My baby is growing up, FAST!!


Carter and Oliver have been giving me a serious run for my money lately...Carter is going through a yelling phase.  The more you ask him not to do it, the more he thinks it's funny and yells even louder.  We've started implementing time-outs...He gets one warning and if he doesn't have a "quiet mouth" then he goes into time-out for 3 minutes.  The two worst places for his yelling are at the dinner table and in the car.  At the dinner table, we will remove him from the table by pushing his chair into the kitchen where he can't see anyone, which he doesn't like.  The car is challenging...If I ask him to have a quiet mouth, he'll yell louder and there is no consequence b/c I'm driving.  We had an appt in Fairfax today and he yelled most of the way.  I ignored him.  It was hard.  :(  If Oliver is in the car, it's even harder b/c his yelling will sometimes make Oliver mad, which quickly turns to tears, which makes Carter laugh and yell even louder.  Talk about a vicious cycle!!  If I ask Carter to be quiet upstairs when we're getting ready for bed, since Crosby is sleeping, he'll laugh and yell louder and louder and I want to ring his little neck...Of course I wouldn't, but...

Oliver is being a typical 2 year old, which is driving me crazy b/c I've never been a big believer in the "terrible two's".  He's been visiting the time-out pack-n-play quite a bit too.  He is SUCH a tester.  He will push me until I move toward him to take him to time-out and then he'll say, "Oliver stop".  Ah, the joys...

On a funny note, I had all 3 boys in the car this morning and we were in the drop-off line at Carter's school.  Usually we can drive right up b/c drop-off for pre-K is after the rest of the school since it takes some kids longer to get out but on rainy days, like today, there tend to be a lot of late-comers.  As we're sitting there stopped, with at least 6 cars ahead of us, I hear from the backseat, "C'mon yady (Oliver's pronunciation of lady), MOVE IT!".  I had to laugh.  At least I'm careful to keep my profanities to myself.  ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A very busy HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY OLIVER weekend!!

We had a busy weekend at The Zimmerman's Zoo!  Yesterday was Oliver's 2nd birthday.  He woke up to a new cement mixer and dump truck (his requests) and a recycle truck.  His choice for breakfast - pancakes.  After breakfast, he became Mr. Fix-It when he tried out the tool set that Marta got him...Our Saturday mornings for the next couple of months are busy - activities started yesterday...Soccer for Oliver and Daddy and swimming for Carter and Marta (bless her!!).  After activities it was a quick bath and then lunch and nap.  While the boys napped, I went to a CAbi party at Margie's house and enjoyed some adult time and a glass of wine (or maybe 2, I'm not telling).  ;)  After nap, we road-tripped it to Falls Church to Kim and Amy's SIXTH annual dog BBQ.  I can't believe it was the 6th year.  We didn't bring our dogs b/c they're too crazy around a gang of other dogs, especially Amelia, and b/c we can't fit them in the car with the three of us and the three boys.  Kim's roommate Genevieve, made a birthday cake for Amy and Oliver; he was in heaven when everyone sang them happy birthday.  He had TWO pieces of cake (vanilla with chocolate frosting) and Amy sent him off with jelly beans for the car ride home.  Surprisingly, he went to bed when we got home at 8pm!

This morning Carter worked with Le-Ane, another of our awesome helpers, while Doug and I took Oliver and Crosby to Party City so Oliver could help pick out stuff for the goodie bags to take into school on Tuesday for his birthday.  After lunch/nap, we went over to a new friend's house for Happy Hour.  They have 3 kids, their son is 5 days older than Carter, their daughter will be 2 in February and their newborn is 3 weeks old.  They also have 2 dogs.  They said that when they saw us walking our two dogs with the boys in the wagon (and I was pregnant), they knew that we had to be "cool" too.  :)

Crosby was 4 months yesterday too.  He's rolling ALL over the place and I swear he's going to crawl in a few weeks.  He is so strong.  He lays on his stomach and propels himself forward, his arms aren't quite strong enough yet.  We've been working on sleep training with him, he's doing well!  Will write about that soon.  Took a photo of him in O's Pottery Barn chair this morning.  He's sitting up well too.  I told my mom that he's going to need his own chair soon (she bought C&O theirs)...

Another busy week ahead, leading up to Oliver's constrution-themed 2nd birthday party on Saturday...

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's POTTY time!!

It's early, this I know...Oliver will be 2 this coming Saturday, 9/17 but for a few weeks now he's gone sporadically on the potty and more and more he's telling us when he goes in his diaper and he wants to be changed right away.  So, I decided to "start" training him.  I say "start" b/c I didn't read anything, I just dug into my memory, back to all of the comments I'd tucked away from friends with kids Carter's age when they were training.  We were home most of the weekend and this morning so I left him naked from the waist down.  He's gone on the potty every time he's had to go, now, mostly without even telling me, he'll just go over to the potty and I'll hear the music play.  He even pooped in there once yesterday and once this morning.  Today was the 2nd day that he woke up with a dry diaper from his nap and for anyone who knows Oliver, he drinks A LOT!!  This afternoon we were going to a friend's house so I packed the potty in the car and I didn't put a diaper on him, just his shorts (this was a tip that I read when I finally googled, 3-day training, as advised by a friend).  I asked him a few times if he had to go and he said no.  A little while later he told me he had to go, I whisked him over to the potty and he went.  We got home and I stripped him down again and he stayed dry until bedtime.  Tomorrow he has school so I'll put a diaper on him but I did tell his teacher that we're in the early stages of training so I asked her to sit him on the potty during diaper change time.  I know that some of his classmates are also training now so I'm hoping they'll put some friendly pressure on him.  I'm not ready to send him in undies yet b/c I know he'll get busy playing and forget all about going on the potty.  I'm not a big believer in pull-ups, I think that they're just glorified diapers.  We'll see where this takes us...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Wood" you believe it's been 5 years?

Yesterday (9/9), Doug and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.  I look back at how much our lives have changed over the years since our beautiful wedding day and it's amazing!  I do wish that I could go back and do it all again, it was such a beautiful day all around, and our honeymoon was like a dream, in beautiful Tahiti.  We laugh when we think back to our lives before kids, we had SO much free time and we didn't think so at the time.  I'm not sure what we even did with all of that free time.  One thing is for sure, we went out to dinner A LOT more.  :)  To celebrate, we're going out to PassionFish in Reston for dinner tonight, Amy will be here with the boys.  We're going to Vegas in October (Doug's first time!!) for our real anniversary celebration.  I know it will be hard, especially for me, to be away for the kids for 3 nights, but I know that they'll be in great hands and we deserve a break and a full night's sleep!  The traditional gift for a 5 year anniversary is wood.  Maybe we should have gotten a new bedroom set?!  Nah, Vegas will be WAAAY more fun!

Kids definitely change things; a marriage has to be strong, having kids certainly won't improve a relationship, that's for sure...The statistics are alarming.  The divorce rate is 50% for parents of typical kids.  The rate for parents of children with special needs has been quoted as high as 75-80%.  That is a scary statistic.  Doug and I have had our share of ups and downs, especially early-on when we were in the process of getting a diagnosis for Carter.  Men and women are SO different in the way they deal with things, but we've worked hard to find a common ground, a happy medium.  Doug wants to see the big picture and fix things immediately, and I like to think through the process and take small steps in the right direction.  At the end of the day we work well together.  I tend to get wrapped up in the motions of everyday life, I know what's working for us and why it's working but at times I can't think outside the box when I should be.  Doug will swoop in and make an observation that will get us all back on track.  Sometimes I don't LIKE his suggestions but I have to respect his opinion and give "his way" a try. I can be hard-headed and I feel like I am the one that does my job the best but that's not always the case...

I look forward to continuing to raise our 3 wonderful boys together.  There are many more speed bumps ahead but we'll continue to cruise along and do the best we can to help our boys learn right from wrong and raise them to be respectful, honest and caring individuals.  For now, we just need to focus on getting baby Crosby to sleep through the night so that we have the energy and patience to get through tomorrow.  :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blending day...

Carter is tube-fed.  He was diagnosed as "failure to thrive" at 10 months-old and got a PEG tube at 11 months old.  For the first year-plus that he had his tube, he was fed high calorie (and high sugar) formula.  In the beginning it was pumped in slowly and continuously overnight.  I would hook the pump up to his tube around 10pm and he would finish around 6am.  This was it for the day, he received all of his calories in these 10 hours.  Eventually he started moving around more in his sleep and twice we went into his room to find the cord from the pump wrapped around his neck, loosely, thank God.  But, we knew it was time to change.  We met with a nutritionist to help us figure out how to get the calories that he needed during waking hours.  She told us that if we ever planned to have him eat "normally", which of course we do, then he should be on a more "normal" feeding schedule to teach his body about being hungry and full, which totally made sense.  As a side note - there is no medical reason why Carter CAN'T eat.  He has the ability to swallow (he breast-fed fine)...At this time, his sensory issues prevent him from eating.  As soon as food gets on his tongue, he tries to wipe it off.  We are working with a great feeding therapist, who, since the beginning of the summer, has made great progress with him.

Anyway, long story short, we moved to a more typical feeding schedule - breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner and we've stuck to that.  I don't remember where I first heard about a blenderized diet but when I did, it sure made sense to me.  I hated the amount of sugar in the Pediasure/Boost Kid Essentials that he was getting EVERY day.  Plus, I thought that Carter could only benefit from "real" food.  My mom bought us a Vitamix and I haven't looked back.  I joke that the Vitamix is by BFF.  The thing is amazing...And Carter is the healthiest toddler around.  Since he doesn't taste anything that goes into his tube, the sky's the limit as far as what concoctions we give him.  The blends are thicker with "real" food so we ditched our pump and we syringe feed Carter.  He gets 2oz of food at a time, followed by a 3 minute break, just to let his stomach rest.  His total meal is 8 syringes, or 16oz, followed by 2oz of water. 

Lately I've been blending every other Wednesday. I shop on Tuesday and prep the food Wednesday morning.  Blending and storing 8 batches (for freezing), which lasts for 16 days (lunch and dinner), takes me just about 90 minutes.  I do this during the boy's nap.  I make 4 days worth of breakfast at a time and this doesn't get frozen, I just keep it in the fridge.  These batches also double as Carter's afternoon snack.  A lot of my blending has been trial and error.  We've had clogs from which we've had food spray all over the table, chairs, floor, even ceiling.  We've had food all over ourselves and Carter.  We've used bobby pins and safety pins to try to remove clogs.  But at the end of the day, it's still all worth it.

Just as an example, today's breakfast and snack was a hemp milk base with oatmeal, walnuts, applesauce, honey, kiwi fruit and pineapple.  I would actually eat this!  Lunch and dinner are a different story.  Although I like all of the ingredients, I wouldn't eat them all together.  :)  Lunch was sockeye salmon, millet, sweet potato, avocado, almond butter, banana and broccoli.  Dinner was pork, quinoa, pumpkin, avocado, almond butter, blueberries and spinach. 

A blenderized diet is pretty time consuming but if I'm really organized I can shave a minute or two off of my time when I blend. :) I pretty much have an assembly line going and I have a certain order that I'll blend the ingredients to make sure that everything gets chopped up small enough to go thru the tube.  I am really, really proud of my hard work and dedication to Carter's nutrition. I know that he has to be benefitting from such a well-balanced and completely organic diet.  I look forward to the day when I only have to take my Vitamix out when we're in the mood for margaritas...But for now, I'll continue to blend to keep Carter on the right track nutritionally.  Chances are, when he does start eating, he won't want many of the healthy ingredients that he's consuming now...

We recently switched Carter to a "mini-one" button, I believe that it's the smallest one out there.  It's been working great for us.  There is a balloon that fills with water and this is what keeps it in Carter's stomach.  I change it myself every 3-4 months.  This is something that I will never get used to doing, but it has to be done.  I always need someone around for moral support, either Doug or Marta.  It's a quick switch and Carter really doesn't flinch.  When I'm doing the switch, I try not to think about what it actually is, b/c it's kind of freaky.  Here is a photo of the button (and some soap bubbles from tonight's bath), to give anyone who's not familiar with it, a visual.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My rock star

Oliver rocked it today...He LOVED school and is excited to go back on Thursday!  We talked school up so much over the weekend and told him all about how the day would go...Mommy would bring him in and he'd stay and play with Miss Ashley and his new friends.  He'd play with new toys and eat his snack.  Then Mommy would come back and get him and we'd go home for lunch.  He wanted to hear the story over and over and every time, he'd say, "yeah", in agreement.  It actually went as planned, which isn't always the case with a 23 month-old in a new situation.  :)  We walked in and passed by many crying kids.  A mom came out of his classroom (they keep the door closed) and said that everyone was crying, I figured that we were in for it.  We dropped all of his stuff in his cubby and I gave him a big hug.  I opened the door and saw the crying kids...Oliver gave them a once-over, said hi to Miss Ashley and headed for a toy firetruck.  I took that opportunity to sneak out.  I shed a couple of tears in the car and headed off to Target.  They're building a new Chick-Fil-A in the center where Target is and I always drive by with Oliver to see the trucks and check on the progress, but not today (they really are coming along on it though, I took a quick glance!).  I thought about him all morning and I was so happy to see him when I pulled up to the front of the pick-up line.  He was happy to see me too, he said, "MOMMY!".  He then got into the car and his eyes filled with tears b/c he wanted Daddy.  :(  We called Daddy and he told us how he cried a little but "the lady" picked him up.  The funniest part of his recap was when I asked him when he cried and he told me, "when I was in there" and pointed to the school. Okay, true, lol.  I got bits and pieces out of him throughout the afternoon.  It was funny b/c he didn't eat any of his snack, but he did drink his milk.  I could picture him, looking all around, taking it all in.  He's really never sat down and eaten with kids his own age.  My mom joked that he didn't know that other kids eat since Carter doesn't.  ;)  Needless to say, at lunchtime, Oliver ate like a truck driver!  I did make sure to tell him that it's ok to eat his snack at school.  We'll see what happens on Thursday...

I think that the hardest adjustment for me will be not having the face-time with his teacher that I get with Carter's (AWESOME) preschool teacher.  Miss Ashley will send home a "progress report" monthly but other than that, I have to rely on what he Oliver tells me.  I emailed his teacher last night to ask her for his classmates' names so that I can send in goodie bags for his birthday.  She emailed me back after he had left and she told me that he'd had a great first day, he was a good listener, a great helper and was eager to learn.  And he sure is a ham...Below is his "cheese" pose.

The funniest part of the whole day (and I'm still kicking myself for not taking a picture) was when I put his backpack on him for a photo-op before leaving our house and he literally fell backwards onto his butt in the kitchen.  Doug and I had a good laugh about that in the car after dropping him off, which took my tears away.  My sweet Oliver is growing up!! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A day of firsts

Today is Labor Day.  We had hoped to go to the pool for one last time before it closes but the weather just wouldn't allow it.  The weekend's weather was pretty crappy overall.  This morning we all piled into the car for a quick trip to the mall for new sneakers for Doug and I for the health-kick that we're on and a ride on the train for the big boys.  BUT, first stop was the barber shop.  Baby Crosby's mop HAD to get trimmed, it was WAAAAY overdue.  As it was with Oliver's first haircut, Crosby was NOT a fan...He pretty much screamed the whole time.  Doug said he felt bad for anyone who was in there thinking they could sit and relax while they got their hair cut.  :)  Attached are a couple of pics - before, during and after.  Crosby looks so much older now and his beautiful blue eyes really pop.

The second first of today...Doug and I took Carter and Oliver to the movies!  There is an old theater in downtown Leesburg, called Tally-Ho.  It's like stepping back in time.  Cars 2 was playing at 4:45.  Since they LOVE the original Cars, we figured that we'd give it a shot since the timing was good and Marta could stay home with baby Crosby.  We got to the theater, only to find out that the projector was broken so they couldn't show the movie.  They offered for us to see the original Cars for $1 each.  We figured we'd go in and see what the boys thought, especially knowing that they love the movie.  We were the only ones in the theater.  Oliver got his popcorn and sat in his own seat (Carter sat with Doug).  They both thought it was pretty cool.  About an hour into the movie, Oliver decided he was ready to go home, which was fine.  Carter would have stayed but at least we knew they could come home and watch the rest of the movie.  We will definitely go again, just not sure if Oliver would sit through more of a movie that he doesn't know so well or if he stayed as long as he did b/c he did know the movie so well...Here is a picture of the boys before the show.  Note that Oliver is wearing his Lightning McQueen Crocs.  :)

Tomorrow is Oliver's first day of preschool...We've been talking it up like CRAZY.  Hope he likes it when we get there as much as he thinks he likes it when we talk about it.  :)  We shall see...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Preschool rocks!

Tuesday was a big day for Carter...After a summer off from school, we returned to Newton-Lee for his first day.  I was a little skeptical because we had stopped by school the week prior to drop-off food for the teacher appreciation luncheon and as soon as we pulled up, he started crying.  I don't know what that was all about because no tears were shed on Tuesday.  He got out of the car, said hi to Ms. Sylvie and walked right in to school.  He had a great day Tuesday and yesterday and will go back tomorrow.  Below is a picture of him on Tuesday morning before his first day, rocking his custom t-shirt.  It even has his name embroidered on the back.  :)

I went to the back-to-school night at Oliver's preschool tonight.  It's a cute little school, we're really excited for him.  Since he won't be 2 until 9/17, I had been told that he'd have to start 2 weeks late.  Sitting there tonight, thinking about that made me sad so I asked the director if there was any way that he could start on Tuesday, with everyone else and she said that he could, since his bday is close enough to the start of the year!  I'm happy for him.  Tomorrow we'll go in for the meet & greet with his teacher, Miss Ashley and he'll get to check out his classroom (I took pictures of it while I was there so he could see it ahead of time.  There was a Fisher Price school bus on the table in one of the pics and he was really happy about that bus.  Hope it's still there tomorrow!)   I'm sure it'll be a teary Tuesday morning for both he and I.  My grandmother asked me tonight if he's excited and I said yes but he doesn't really know what he's excited about...He knows that we drop Carter off at school and pick him up a few hours later but I'm sure he hasn't even thought that his school will be like that.  For now, everything he does is with mommy or Marta so I'm sure he's thinking that school will be too.  It'll be great for him though...I'm hoping it'll bring him out of his shell a bit.  Once he's used to it, he'll stay for lunch-bunch.  The regular hours are 9:15-11:45 T/Th and lunch-bunch will keep him there until 12:15.