Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tis the season...

Bugman and the Dragon aren't getting a ton of stuff for Christmas this year.
No, it's not due to finances. It's not because the did or didn't make Santa's "nice" list. It's not a punishment.
It's about the meaning of the holiday season. That isn't gifts and food and toys, it's about spending time with family, it's about being kind and appreciative and giving (just like the rest of the year should be).
We don't want to spoil our kids.
So, what's on the list this year?
We'll be spending $20-30 on books, so we can spend time together, reading and learning. It's also got the added bonus of being a present you can open again and again.
We're buying Bug a play kitchen with food, because he loves to cook and he's wanted one for a year. He's definitely earned it!
We're getting Dragon two brand new cloth diapers, as he's too little to really want anything and that's all he really needs right now.
We're getting Bug a bunch of arts and crafts supplies because he loves to make things. Some for us, some for himself, some for aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends.
We're getting Dragon some wooden toys because they're great for development and some can even be customizable!
And lastly we'll get some stocking stuffers - candies, coins for their piggie banks, hot cocoa, candy canes.

But our Christmas doesn't end there. We really want to instill the spirit of giving in our children, and we took a couple of ideas from this blog.
I particularly like the drive thru idea, to pay for the person behind you in line. I also like the coin drop one, but to avoid a potential choking hazard with smaller children I've been thinking of just letting Bug hand them to kids at the playground. If we have the extra cash, I'd also like to get a few $5-$10 gift cards and drop them anonymously in mailboxes, along with a note explaining that yes, the card is for them, how much is on it, and happy holidays.

Bug is also super excited about the gluten free, dairy free hot cocoa mix that we're making and giving to close family and friends - even though I think he's pretty excited to have some himself as well. Hey, so am I!

We're already in the Christmas spirit here, are you? What are you plans for this holiday season? :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Life moves too fast.
I'm realizing this as I nurse my now 6 week old squish, his hand holding my shirt and the other on my side, looking up at me like he's as grateful for this bonding time as I am.
My soon to be three year old is napping next to me and I can remember him being so small. The sleepless nights made so worth it as I rocked him and felt him relax and fall back asleep, feeling safe and secure.
They really do grow up so fast - and my oldest isn't even three yet.
My pregnancy lasted forever, but it's been 6 weeks since the baby Dragon arrived and time is flying. His first Thanksgiving will be here in a few short days, his first Yule in a month.
In two months my Bug will be three - where has the time gone?
It feels like I was 16 yesterday, without a care in the world and no intentions of having kids before 24.
And the came the positive pregnancy test on April 27th when I was 17.
I can remember feeling terrified, a little upset, worried, but at the same time there was a bit of happiness in there. Scared as I was, I was thankful, because many women don't even get that opportunity. I remember sitting in the car that night, my mom was driving me home from my then-boyfriend's house. She looked at me in the dark and said, "it's been a while since I bought you pads, do you have something to tell me?" I remember struggling for a moment with the thought of lying and saying I was just stressed, but figured it was better to just come out with it. So I did - in the most blunt, smartass way ever.
"Yeah, I won't need them for about nine months."
She looked at me for a minute and I felt awkward, so I tried to remedy the situation by saying, "Well, I guess eight since this month already passed..."
She wasn't thrilled - who would be when their 17 year old came home, still in high school, and said she was having a baby of her own?
I stayed in school, and I worked my ass off to ensure there was no chance of being held back. That meant taking on extra classes because my guidance counselor had screwed up my schedule in the beginning of the year and didn't give me enough courses. I was originally going to take distance courses, but now I had to save up for the baby, so I worked my ass off and didn't leave early like the other seniors.
That June, I graduated. Class of 2010, 17 years old, and with great grades to boot. No one but my mom, close friends, boyfriend and midwife knew I was pregnant.
In August, I finally announced my pregnancy.

Apparently, no one else saw it coming either. Everyone was pretty shocked when I announced it.
A few months later, I told my dad. Yeah, I probably should have told him sooner, but what teenager wants to tell their dad that they're pregnant? I sure as hell didn't.
Le sigh.
It didn't go over too great, but he accepted it, and he does love Noah to death. He was there the day after I got out of the hospital to meet my little Bugman.
We had our baby shower November 6th, 2010. Lots of friends and family showed up, including my best friend of (now) 10 years and her family - who I consider a second family to me. Lots of pictures were taken, and it was a lot of fun. My brother had an abscess in his mouth and my mom had to take him to the hospital, so she missed some of it, but she was there for most of it. We had soy ice cream cake, and no one knew, but everyone loved it. I felt so smug when I told them it wasn't dairy ice cream and they liked it!
In December I decided that there was no more doubt about a home birth - it was definitely what I wanted. I talked to my midwife, we made a birth plan, I put my birth kit together - and that was that. I was ready for my home birth.
There weren't really many preterm labor scares. I went into labor at 38 weeks, and they gave me fluids to stop it. Again at 39 weeks, but my contractions stopped and I was progressing and I got sent home, dilated to a 4. After that, there was no indication of labor coming soon. I was okay with this. I was entirely content to go to 42 weeks and beyond as long as Noah and I were okay. January 25th came and went, still with no sign of oncoming labor. So he surely wasn't coming on his due date.
I started having contractions at 2am on January 26th. I sterilized bottles and pacifiers, I washed all of his clothes, I made sure I had everything packed neatly into my laundry basket for my home birth. I watched documentaries and took a bath. I made some tea. I had a lot of time to focus inward, on my contractions and on my baby. During the day on the 26th I played Monopoly with my cousin, her boyfriend and my boyfriend at the time. We watched a movie. I told them I was in labor and I distinctly remember her boyfriend telling me, "You're not in labor. You couldn't handle labor without meds. My mother had me with no epidural and she wasn't as calm as you."
A bit angered and hurt by the statement because he had implied (in my eyes, at least) that I wasn't strong enough to endure something many women endure daily with no drugs, I excused myself and went downstairs to make myself another cup of tea.
I called my midwife to let her know I was in labor.
Around 2am on the 27th, my contractions seemed to stop entirely. I called my midwife and told her they'd disappeared and that I would call back if anything happened. See, back then I had never heard of a rest period, and that's just what that was - a rest period, because the hard part was coming. The past two times I'd gone into labor due to snowstorms, and we were in the midst of another. I had a second due date of February 9th, so it seemed likely that my labor could have just stopped again. Anyway, the correct due date was January 25th because I got a positive test on April 27th and by my second due date I couldn't have conceived until May 5th.
My water broke at 2:30ish. The roads were closed except to emergency personnel and I didn't want to put my midwife in a dangerous situation, and I didn't think she'd be able to make it in time with the weather anyway. So we called an ambulance and yada yada yada, Noah's birth story is already on my blog haha. I had him 3 hours later, 2 days after his due date.

Well, you guys have been here since I got pregnant with Gage so you all know that story in lots of detail.
Ah, the point of this whole thing was just to hold your kids a little closer tonight, remember that time flies and you'll miss this moment years from now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Well-Baby & Signing

So today we had the Dragon Baby's one-month well baby check up!
He's now 21.5 inches long (his older brother's length at birth) and 9lbs, 15oz (just an ounce away from 10lbs!). His check-up went pretty well.
So anyway, Dragon is doing great. We need to get his newborn screening redone because we did it too early, so probably Friday, when we're also taking Noah to get his bloodwork done because in my state it's necessary to test their blood for lead before age 3. I think it's because so many buildings and structures here are so old... so lots of lead paint and such.

Noah knows how to sign milk, eat, drink, hungry, please, cat, dog, fish, moose, thank you, baby, hot, and more. Today he also learned how to say where, mommy, daddy, and brother :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I know, I know, I keep updating so sporadically. It's a lot busier with two! All I do is clean and nurse, haha. I finally straightened my hair and put on a little makeup today and I feel a bit better, a bit less stressed. The house is clean, and we're relaxing watching Law and Order while the kids nap.
I feel like my life consists of laundry, diapers, nursing, pumping, cooking and cleaning lately. I don't mind too much. Both kids love Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even Rebelution and lots of country music. So our morning rundown looks like this:

-Get woken up by Bugman
-Change Dragon Baby
-Nurse Dragon Baby while watching cartoons with Bug
-Make Bug's breakfast
-Make coffee
-Turn on music, sing and dance

We do that for a while, until it's time to make lunch around noon. So we make lunch, then I do a load of laundry or a load of diapers, depending on the day. We wash diapers one day, laundry the next, and continue that pattern. While whatever is in the washer I try to do dishes and straighten up the kitchen and living room. There's a lot of nursing and diaper changing and tickling in between all of this. Then  I either finish laundry or today I blog. The washer is currently being used so I can't really get any diapers in until close to 7 or 8. I cleaned the hell out of everything yesterday - two sink fulls of dishes, a couple loads of laundry, vacuumed all the rooms, made all the beds, put away some laundry, cleaned my disaster of a room, cleaned the counters and the table and the stove. Tons of cleaning, so now it's just maintenance, mostly. Later I'll nurse the baby, make a cup of tea and pump to freeze it.
Tomorrow I have to sage the room to rid it of (my) negative energy. I've been so stressed adjusting to two kids, and snappy and irritable and I can feel the negative energy piling up and filling every corner of my room. Maybe I'll sage it tonight. Just depends because I can't sage it while the kids are in here.
The cloth diapers are going great! I love, love, love my Alvababy diapers. They're cheap, but the quality is incredible, and they have super cute colors and prints. My favorite is probably his camo diaper. KerrBear Kids diapers are great, too. I keep hearing that they're rebranded Alvas - wouldn't be surprised, because they have some of the same prints, but who cares haha. They do work a bit better than Alvas, but that's to be expected. Most of my Alvas were $4.79 each and the KBK diapers are $8 a piece. My KBKs are both Spiderman though, and that's pretty rad. I also made cloth wipes and wipe solution to go with them.
For the wipes I just cut up old receiving blankets, and the wipe solution is water with 1 squirt of organic lavender baby wash and 1 drop of lavender essential oil. Works great, smells great, doesn't irritate skin! And it's conveniently stored in my peri bottle that I had no other use for anymore.

Aren't they cute? Personally I like the blue ones better, they're a different material, but I think the print ones are frickin' adorable.
I always thought cloth wipes would be a hassle, but it's the exact opposite. See, Curtis has a thing for wrapping the disposable wipes in the cloth diaper and then tossing it into the diaper pail, as if it's a disposable diaper. The washer tears the wipes apart and they get stuck in the velcro on the NB diapers. So I made cloth wipes. No extra work, really. Squirt a little wipe solution on the wipe, use it, wrap it in the diaper, toss it in the pail. They get washed together anyway, and these don't get torn up and stuck in the diapers.
Added bonus - I can wrap the wipe solution in a small blanket or towel and keep it warm instead of buying a wipe warmer for disposable wipes. Booyah! Happy mama, happy baby butt.
Dragon Baby is getting antsy and probably wants to nurse soon, so I'll leave you guys with this super adorable picture of the kids cuddled together on my bed last night: