Top10 things I've learned in the past 6 weeks

1.  Having two kids is.....HARD.  Seriously.  It's hard.  Jack is at the wonderful (and I'm not being sarcastic here) age of 2.  I love him being 2!  He's adorable, curious, sweet, mischievous, helpful, naughty and just straight up hilarious.  Mix that up with an uber needy newborn battling reflux (which is of the devil) and you've got one heck of a chaotic household.  There are days where I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it.  And that is WITH all of the help of Jeff and our parents!  On days when Jack 's at Grammy or Nana's all I can think of, the whole time he's gone is....having one kids is easy!!!  I don't know how people do it alone.

2.  Whoever named the store Buy Buy Baby was a genius.  I have spent more money on pacifiers, bottles, bottle nipples, formula....all to just find something that works!  My pantry and closet is full of half used formula cans....formula with soy, formula with rice cereal, advanced formula....and pacifiers.....Avent pacis (the ones Jack loves and I was sure Owen would, too), Soothies, Nuks, Mam's.....and bottles....Avent bottles that Jack used, every size of bottle nipple under the sun.  We have finally settled on the Playtex Drop-Ins and using the large nipples due to needing to mixing in  rice cereal in Owen's bottles to help with reflux.  FINALLY!!

3.  Two children are never the same.  At all.  From the paci's to the bottles, to the swing, these boys have been complete opposites.  Owen's reflux has been a beast and I think it is what has made the biggest difference between the two boys as newborns.  It's made him really difficult to soothe and over all not happy.  I read in my babycenter email this week that he could be smiling by now.  Ha.  Haha.  Hahaha.  That would mean he'd have to be awake without screaming, right?  We're getting there...finally settling on a bottle/formula/cereal/nipple combo that seems to work, and after trying Prevacid (which didn't work) and starting Zantac (I keep wanting to say Xanax, which is maybe a Freudian slip of what I need these days!), I think we're on the upswing of all of this.  I can't wait to have a happy baby....

4.  Jack is all kinds of able to entertain himself...if he wants to.  His new favorite toy is...wait for it...his stool.  Now, he has several stools.  One brown stool (which is probably his favorite), my nursing stool (which weighs a ton but he totes it around anyways), a pillow that he calls his "soft stool" which gives him about a 2 inch lift but somehow makes it into the stool rotation, and his learning tower that we keep in the kitchen.  Jack's stool toting has gotten him into all kinds of "fun"!  One afternoon, we were sitting on the couch and Jack runs in and says "Tylenol fall out!  Tylenol fall out!"  One of the other ways Jack entertains himself is to put Monk to bed in Vincent's bed in Owen's room.  He puts him in bed, covers him up, says, "Sweet dreams!" and shuts the door.  Precious!!!  Anyways, he decided Monk needed Tylenol before he went to sleep.  Naturally.  So he dragged his stool into his room where we keep the Tylenol and took it into Monk.  Well, the cap wasn't on and you can guess what happened next.  A whole new bottle of liquid Tylenol everywhere!!!  I mean, all you can do is laugh!  One other stool story....I walked in the den the other day and Jack was snacking on a big bag of pretzels.  I thought it odd Jeff would give him the whole bag, but whatever.  We're still in survival mode around here.  Jeff walked in the room and come to find out, he didn't give him the bag of pretzels!  Jack got them himself, off the counter.  Obviously he's being neglected and about to die of hunger!  Not likely.  :)

5.  The best part of having 2 kids is the sweet interaction between them.  Now, I won't say that Jack's ennamored by him, but he does love him.  Already!  He loves it when Owen's laying for a brief non shreiking moment on the playmat and he rushes over to lay with him.

Every time Owen cries, Jack urgently informs me that, "Baby Owen's sad!"  He loves when people ask him about his baby brother.  It's sweet, and I love seeing them together.

I'd planned to do a Top 10, but it's 7:50 and I'm exhausted.  So, Top 5 is all I can muster for the moment....the life of a mom of 2!

Owen's Newborn Pics

Get ready for a picture barrage!  Sabrina did it again....

1 Month!

Today's Owen's one month birthday!  In some ways it seems like he's been here forever and I was pregnant years ago!  In other ways, it seems like we're just getting started.

I've learned a lot about Owen in the past month, just like you do every newborn.  First of's possible to love two children.  I wasn't sure, but it is!  The amount of love I feel when I look at them is overwelming.  A little more insight into how God can love each one of us!  He is easier to coax into sleep that Jack was, which is a God-send.  Jack took quite a bit of maintenance to get to sleep.  Didn't like to be rocked, only liked to be seemingly violently swung in a parent's arms for minutes on end.  But Owen?  He loves to be rocked and usually (not last night between the hours of 11pm and 1am) goes right to sleep.  And I love it.  :)  He loves to be in the baby carrier!  I went to Jack's Christmas party at Mother's Day Out yesterday and Owen slept the whole time in the baby carrier!  Jack was not a fan, and I was worried, thinking how much easier it would be with Owen if I could stick him into a carrier and chase Jack around.  And I'm so glad he loves it!  It's wonderfully freeing.

The biggest thing I've that all babies are NOT the same.  Quick learning curve on that one!

Jack loved....LOVED the lamb swing.  He was in it from day1 and was falling out of it at 6 months.  Loved it.  Well, Owen hates it.  Like, loathes it with every bone in his tiny body.  He shrieks as if a thousand needles were poking into his back when laid in the swing for just a hot minute so mama can go to the bathroom.  What do I do with a baby who doesn't like the swing?????????????  

Jack loved....LOVED his paci.  And who am I kidding?  Still does.  Yes, he's 2 and he loves his paci still.  And I'm ok with that.  It soothes him, it's his comfort, it's actually quite amazing and I love it almost as much as he does.  The first paci we popped in his mouth was a big fat winner and ever since then, it's been absolute love.  Owen?  Well, he's not a fan.  I stocked up on 1-3 month paci's, same as Jack's, but different enough so that Jack wouldn't get them confused.  Even got some glow in the dark paci's so that I could find them in the middle of the night!  I was ready.  Ready, I tell you!  Well, Owen wasn't a fan of this magnificent paci.  What?  WHAT?  What do I do with a baby who doesn't love his paci??  Seriously.  What do I do.  Finally this week I accepted the fact that Owen wasn't loving this paci (he spits it out, gags like it's the grossest thing he's ever had in his mouth, and would actually cry more if the paci was in than when it was out.  Not the idea.).  So I went to Target and dropped another load of cash, picking up one of every single paci that they carry.  I mean, seriously.  What do you do with a baby who doesn't like a paci?!?!?!?!  Well, Owen latched onto the 4th package of paci's I popped open.  FINALLY!  I'm not saying he loves it, but I'm saying he'll hold it in his mouth for more than 3 seconds.  So there's progress. 

I'm also not convinced that Owen loves the swaddle.  Now, we're swaddling because of the whole startle thing and the fact that I really think it makes him sleep better, but I'm not sure he loves it or how long it will last.  Jack?  Oh he was swaddled contently until 5 months. 

Now, for all the ways that Owen has been different (ahem....more challenging) than Jack, I know...KNOW that when Jack was 1 month old, I didn't know how much he loved the swing.  I didn't know he'd latch onto his paci past the age of 2.  I didn't know that the swaddle would be so great for him.  So the challenge of number 2 is remembering that you simply don't know them as well as you do number 1!  I have had 2 years to get to know Jack.  Know his loves, know what sets him off, know how to calm him, know how to love him.  So I need to allow myself some grace when it comes to Owen.  I might not know him as well, but that's ok!  It's about challenging what I know as a mother, and finding that God surely did make them different, each and every one.  And to keep and open mind, not stuck in a rut of this worked for Jack so it MUST work for Owen or he's high maintenance or difficult.  One day I will know his favorite food, his favorite TV show, his favorite books....all in time.  These first few months are all about learning about my new son.  And that's ok!  That's God's design, for me to be forced to engage and bond with Owen and to begin to learn him in a way that will make me yearn to know him as I know Jack.  And really, that's so exciting!

We went to our 2 month check up today and Owen weighs....wait for it....7lbs 3.5oz!  Rockstar eater.  That's up 2 lbs in 2 weeks!!!  Yay for my tiny little boy!!  With chubby, chubby cheeks.  :).

Feeding the Babe

Like I said before, when Owen was born, he was so tiny, that they advised me to nurse no longer than 15 minutes at a time.  And the reason was that with any nursing done after that, he was burning more calories than he was taking in.  Poor little guy!  So from day 1, I nursed and then supplemented to prevent him from loosing any of his birth weight like most babies do.  Initially I supplemented with formula.  Then my milk came in and I was able to pump enough so that we could supplement with breast milk, which was great.  With Owen being early and small, I really wanted to be able to give him my antibodies and all the other wonderful things that goes along with breast milk.  

If you remember from before, nursing Jack was not a good experience for me.  Or for Jack!  My supply was low, my nipples are not the best for breastfeeding, and Jack didn't want to latch because it was hard and he wasn't getting much. It was terrible.  I dreaded our nursing sessions, because I knew they would end in my being angry....angry at Jack and angry at myself.  Not healthy at all.  But I knew the benefits of breast milk, I'd been to the breast feeding classes, I'd heard people say, in not so many words, if you don't breast feed, you're pretty much not a good mom and don't care about your baby.  So I stuck with it, even with our struggles, I was planning to nurse for 6 months.  I was blind to what our troubles really were and didn't know I was making this plan even to the detriment to my son.  At our 2 month appointment, Jack had lost weight and looked like a string bean.  I proudly announced that I was still exclusively breast feeding and was a little dismayed when my doctor said to nurse him and then just offer him a bottle of formula.  If he doesn't drink it, he's getting enough!  If he does, he's still hungry.  He downed 4oz the first time I did that.  That's a full feeding for a 2 month old.  My pride and determination to stick with it had been detrimental to my son and I hated it.  So we changed the way things looked, I pumped and bottle fed, supplementing with formula.  And Jack did great.  

This time I went into nursing with a completely different attitude.  What nursing did to my relationship with Jack in those first few months was terrible.  I didn't like him.  I didn't like me.  And I didn't want that to happen again, in any way shape or form.  A nurse friend once told me that the first 2 weeks of breast milk were the most important, and after that, it was icing on the cake!  So this time, my goal was 2 weeks.  I wasn't expecting Owen to be early, I wasn't expecting to supplement with formula so early, I wasn't expecting to need him to gain weight so quickly, I wasn't expecting the lactation consultant to say that he would probably always be on a bottle and that I would always pump so I could supplement my nursing with breast milk.  But you know what?  I was ok with it.  Because this time, it had to be about Owen, not about me and my hopes and wishes for what our feeding routine would look like.  I'm so much more peaceful about feeding this time...and it's wonderful.  Another added bonus to the bottle?  Only one of us has to get up to feed him in the middle of the night...and that one of us doesn't always have to be me!  :)

Owen is doing GREAT with what we're doing!  In the first week alone, he'd gained 3 ounces and in 2 weeks, he'd gained a full pound.  And we're doing great with our feedings!  I dropped the nursing part of our routine, simply because I couldn't nurse for 15 minutes, bottle feed, and pump every 3 hours all on my own.  Especially with a toddler running around.  I just couldn't do it!  So now I'm pumping to bottle feed, and supplementing here and there with formula.  Owen's over 3 weeks old now so I've met my initial goal of breast milk for 2 weeks! 

My new goal is to make it until Christmas.  Woohoo!

Christmas With a Toddler

It's been interesting to have a new baby and still really wanting Jack to be able to enjoy the Christmas season.  We put up the tree (unbreakable ornaments, duh),

and got out our nativity, and I really wanted to do some kind of Advent calendar for Jack.  Of course, I went to Pinterest and found exactly what I was looking for!  Something really cute and super easy.  And here it is!

Dollar Spot socks, a piece of ribbon, clothes pins, and voila!

Each sock has either a treat or a holiday activity, and every day Jack gets to open a sock.  Now, I know my child, so the treat or activity is put in about 2 minutes before we open it.  :)  And Jack loves it!  

So far, this has been one of the funnest activities we've done.  Decorate Christmas cookies!  Knowing my son and his attention span, we just did slice and bake (See the one with a bite out of it?  He was just taste testing!)

and I iced while he decorated...which lasted about 15 seconds.  But he loved every second of it! 

And tonight, he opened the sock with new Christmas pajamas and there was definitely a need to snap a pic of both boys in their holiday finest!

And yes, that is my purple pajama-ed knee in the shot.  Mamma's gotta be close to prevent any head snatching or "hugging" from big brother. 

Being the Mom of Two

What a whirlwind, crazy, few weeks it has been.  Today is actually my due date.  And in celebration of that, I actually hung a picture on the wall in the nursery! :)

When thinking about how our life has changed in 3 weeks, it's hard to even verbalize it!  There have been super sweet times, when Jack gives Owen a kiss, or when I get a brief moment to just gaze at my new baby.  And then there have been absolutely CRAZY times when Jack is crying because he's in time out for doing whatever he shouldn't be doing for the 75th time in 10 minutes, and Owen is shrieking because he's gassy.  And then Jack, in his truly toddler way, starts soliciting help, hollering from the time out corner to everyone in the room...."MammaDaddaBabyOwen, MammaDaddaBabyOwen, MammaDaddaBabyOwen, MammaDaddaBabyOwen...and then you just have to laugh!  

I feel like life is truly hectic right now.  And I can't believe I'm saying that, honestly, because I feel like all Jack has done for the past 3 weeks is watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  But I guess I can believe I'm saying that, because as soon as an episode is done, it's back to toddler antics, which, in and of them selves, are pretty cute and funny.  But combined with a baby, is just stressful.  

Owen's a pretty good baby, we've had some gas issues, which Jack had and I was hoping to avoid it with Owen, but I think we've gotten that under control.  With Jack, the most stressful thing for me was breastfeeding.  It was just such a struggle for us, and it really affected my feelings for him.  Thankfully, we've avoided that with Owen, as he started supplements in the hospital since he was so tiny.  I nursed for 2 weeks while Jeff was home, and have now transitioned to pumping, which has been great.  We're still supplementing probably 1/4 of the feedings, but I'm so so happy with where we are in the feeding game.

So, life is crazy, but another good thing about your 2nd is that you know the tough newborn days won't last forever, and eventually, they will smile, they will laugh, they will be as sweet and adorable as your other one.  And sometimes that's just what I need to remember to make it through the nights!

And what I also need forever is the help of those around me.  Let me tell you.  I could not be functioning with out the help of my friends and family!!!  I love you all!

Owen's Newborn Pictures!

A little over a week after Owen was born, we had Sabrina come and do newborn pictures and they turned out so stinkin' cute, I just had to share our preview!!

Check it out here.

Isn't it funny how crazy and difficult newborn shoots are, with the fussy newborn, the screaming toddler, the frazzled parents....and then the pictures portray such a peaceful and sweet time?