He is Risen!

Our Easter weekend was spent in Palestine with my dad's family and we had a great time.  Jack somehow remembered that we go fishing with Grandpa and had been talking about it for weeks!  Unfortunately, the fish in Crystal Lake aren't red gooey fish (thank you Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) and don't magically attach themselves to the laughing worm at the end of the fishing pole....but all was made better when he got to do "fast" donuts in the middle of the lake with the trolling motor.  Ah, the life of a 2 year old!  Enjoy the pics!

 I wear my sunglasses at the lake....
 New Spider-man life jacket!  Pretty cool...
 If only Owen would look at the camera!
 Getting ready to fish with Grandpa!
 This picture slays me.  Can you say slide show material???
 The boys heading out!
 Trying oh so hard to convince Aunt Kat that it's time to go swimming.
 The boys.
 The hunter!  In his Woody pajamas. 

 My loves.
Family pictures!!! 

Easter Party Time!

Jack had his first Easter egg hunt today at school and he was so stinkin' cute, I just had to share!!

God is Good

5 traumatic formula changes in 5 weeks to alleviate a possible soy/dairy allergy - check!
reflux sonogram - check!
prevacid  - check!
zantac  - check!
rectal suction biopsy - check!
painful Cdiff bacteria since day 1 (which was more than likely diagnosed as a soy/diary allergy), discovered at 2.5 months - check!
antibiotics that caused constipation - check!
rice cereal in formula from 1 month to help with reflux - check!
realizing at 3 months that rice cereal gives O terrible painful gas and switching to oatmeal cereal - check!
double frenectomy to correct a tongue tie and lip tie - check!
double ear infection - check!
another round of antibiotics that caused gas and constipation - check! 
screaming as if someone was poking him with hot needles any time he was put in the car for the first 3.5 months of his life - check!

Owen's life has been full....FULL of drama.

At this point, today, for now, things are settled.  Owen's a happy and smiling 4.5 month old, who doesn't quiiiiiiiite laugh (the doctor said it's nothing to worry about.....it's just a personality thing......well, that makes me feel better) but is thinking hard about it!  He's doing a great job of learning to fall asleep on his own, and he's adorably flirty!

Owen has required so much patience (sometimes more and sometimes a lot more than I've got) and I've learned about being a parent of a difficult baby.  Jack was healthy and easy.  I knew it in theory, but now I know it in practice. 

I can't tell you how excited I am that we've made it this far!  Where I don't fear leaving the house, or decide not to go to church because I'll just be in the hallway with O the whole time anyways, or saying no to any invitation out, knowing that it would be a disaster waiting to happen.  In the past 4.5 months, our jokes have been about finding a baby boarding school to ship O off to for a few months, leaving him on the front porch until the other parent comes home, and dropping him off at the fire station.  I can look at him today and have feelings of love instead of decisions to love, and I LOVE that, and am so glad we're here. 

This season has been stretching and growing and revealing weaknesses.....and realizing how often I try to fix it on my own instead of requiring the Lord to do it.  Oy.  I'm hard headed.  

God is good, all the time.  He was good when Owen was screaming for all of his awake time.  He was good as we walked into Cook Children's for testing.  He was good when my sweet boy was so frustratingly uncomfortable due to gas pains.  He was good when it would take 1.5 hours to get him to sleep.  He was good when he lead us down the right path to find a correct diagnosis of the Cdiff.  He was good when there was very little happy time in our house.  He was good when we had to decide to love Owen instead of feel it.  He was good when the car was filled with screaming from start to finish. He was good when I was reciting the fruits of the spirit out loud as O was screaming for hours on end to keep myself from falling apart.  He was good when we were kicking trash cans, muttering how annoying O is, and wondering if we'd ever love him as much as we love Jack. And He's good now, when things are easier.  Owen's happier, and God is good.  We're all happier, and God is good.

It didn't always feel like He was good, but he was.  And I know that.  I know that he will use our experiences to walk along side other parents who are starting a walk that we've been down.  I know that he has and will continue to reveal to us ways we are weak in order to remind us where our strength is found. 

The problem with not blogging for a month....

is that there's waaaaay too much to catch up on! I'll try to be concise...

Owen's feeding problems have turned out to not be so much feeding problems but that he had C. Diff bacteria in his intestines!  Fun, right?  Who knows how long it was in there before we found it, I'm just so thankful for the string of events that lead us to our GI clinic where our nurse practicioner ordered a stool sample.  So, Owen was on an anti fungal for 10 days, which took care of the bacteria and.....tada!  Gave3 us out smiling 2 month old tha we knew was in there somewhere!  Thank the Lord.  The second month of Owen's life was quite a struggle.  We changed bottles AGAIN to Dr. Brown and ended up EleCare, which is a hospital grade formula, based on neither soy or milk, to make sure that wasn't what was making him so uncomfortable.  I'm really hoping that in the next month, we can transition off of that onto something milk based, since I'm convinced the C.Diff was the problem, not an allergy.  It's only been in the past few days where we've actually been able to enjoy our little man, and I'm just beyond thankful for that.  Don't get me wrong, he has his baby moments, but he's just not screaming constantly.  So there's that.  
Watching the Bachelorette with Daddy

Owen is a huge fan of the sling, and most of the time, so am I.  It's great to be able to tote the boys around with Owen tucked in and taken care of!  Honestly, how do you shop at Target with two kids?  Especially with one in a car seat that takes up the whole basket?  No idea.  I did it once and you see how it turned out....Jack was packed in! The times when it's hard is when he will NOT go to sleep unless he's in the sling.  And then it's only a pain because I can't do exactly what I want to do.....which is basically the whole premise of motherhood.  Right?
 All tucked in while Mama makes chili

He's also really liking the Bumbo lately!  And so it Jack.  :)

Jack is hystarical still, and I'm loving the two's.  This month was tough on him with Owen being so high maintenance.  Still, every time I pick him up from somewhere, weather it's school, church nursery, or one of the grandma's, first thing he asks me is, "Baby Owen sad, Mama?"  But he's a trooper, and has made it through.  Again, watched WAY too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but survivde.  In fact, about 90% of all of the adorable catch phrases he uses are from MMC!

 Saaaaad day when Jack's first guitar broke.

I think it might need to be framed.  I mean, it was a $15 guitar from World Market, but it was his first love!  Don't worry, it's already been replaced and Jack didn't skip a beat.  He loves to direct his band....which included anyone in the room.  If you're here for a visit, go ahead and assume that at some point, you will have an instrument in your hand and you will be directed to play.  One morning we got home from church and I was getting everything ready for family dinner when Jack grabbed his guitar and started singing this:
It took us a while to figure out that he was singing I Am Bound For the Promised Land, which we'd sang in church that morning!  Little sponge.

Jack also started saying "I love you, too!" whenever we say I love you, which is absolutely heart-melting.  Seriously.  I die each time.

There are many more things I'm sure I would have blogged about if I'd been keeping up, but those are at least the high points!

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 all....it'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 always....ie 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 learned....is 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.  :).