Monday, November 12, 2012

Seth: Seven Months Old

I never posted about Seth turning half a year old.  :-(  Poor third child... I try so hard, but there just isn't as much of me to go around as there used to be.

Sleeping Patterns: Seth has had an ear infection for for about three weeks now, so his sleep has been disrupted.  Unlike Cora, who used to wake every 2.5 - 3 hours with an ear infection, Seth only wakes once a night.  Anyway, we are on our third antibiotic in an attempt to get rid of the infection.  I'm really hoping this one does the trick because I'm tired of interrupted sleep, worrying about hearing and speech development, and changing dirty diapers a hundred times a day (courtesy of antibiotics).

Eating Habits:  Seth has milk about five times a day, but he has had no interest in baby food for a month now.  Foods that he used to like now have no appeal for him.  In fact, when I come at his mouth with a spoon, he clamps his mouth shut and refuses to eat.  It is upsetting and disturbing for me as his mom, even though I know that baby food for the first year is just "practice" and not a main source of nutrition or calories.  We don't know if this change in appetite is due to the ear infections and just feeling bad, or if there is something else going on.  For right now, my doctor said to just keep offering the food and we'll focus on getting rid of the infection before we tackle the food.  (I will say that last night I got Seth to eat 3/4 of a container of carrots, so I am very hopeful that the new antibiotic is taking away ear pain and he'll start wanting food again.)

Baby's Weight Gain:  This is a real area of concern.  Not eating baby food is a worry because we don't understand why he doesn't want it, but milk is an even bigger issue.  My body just isn't making enough, probably because Seth doesn't demand it.  In other words, when I only have three ounces to give him, he happily stops eating and waits until the next feeding, which has taught my body to scale way back.  At birth, Seth was in the 75th percentile for weight.  At his three month appointment, he was in the 50th percentile, and at the six month appointment, he was in the 25th.  When I brought him in for his ear infection after the sixth month, the downward trend had continued.  Since then I have started supplementing with formula once a day, and this past weekend our pediatrician told me that I successfully stopped the downward trend, but now we need to work on trending back up.  So, I need to give Seth formula 2 - 3 times a day.  I am sad about it because I have actually enjoyed nursing this time around, and I could pump every few hours, drink water like a fish, and even take some herbs to try to build my supply back up, but honestly, I don't have it in me.  If I can continue to give Seth some breast milk for a couple more weeks, I will have lasted for eight plus months, and I feel really good about that.  Right now all I care about is making sure my baby is healthy, strong, and gaining weight, and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Accomplishments:  Last night Seth army crawled / face planted his way across the floor a few feet to get a toy that he wanted.  He is now up on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth before thrusting himself forward onto his face.  It won't be long before he is all over the house, and it scares me!  It is so convenient to set him down and know that I can walk away, but all of that is about to change!

Places We Went:  We went on vacation to Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge.

Memorable Events or Holidays:  We celebrated Halloween, and Seth had several cute outfits to wear in the days leading up to Candy Day.  Other than that, it was like any other day for him since he is too little to partake.

It is fun to see Seth coming into his own.  He is smiling more spontaneously, reaching for everything around him, and showing some independence.  He is still crazy laid back, but that just may be who God designed him to be.  If I could describe Seth in one word, it would be patient.  (It will be fun to read this post again in five, ten, and twenty years and see if that is still the case.)  He is such a love.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Homemade Halloween

Halloween was more fun than ever this year!!  For the first time, we had a very homemade Halloween!

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, we enjoyed some fall activities, including a trip across the street  to Hicklen Farm to buy our pumpkins.  (I made Cora's dress and was really pleased with how it turned out.)

I also got a little crafty when it was my turn to provide snacks after the soccer game a few days before Halloween.  We had Hershey bars left over from s'mores on our vacation, so here is what I did: (Thanks, Pinterest!)

For costumes this year, I made two out of the three.  (Seth's $6 penguin costume was a no-brainer.)

Cora had a costume parade at school, and she was a little unsure of herself, but she came around and ended up having a good time.

We also went trick-or-treating at Dave Ramsey's office (daddy's work), as always, and that was a lot of fun, too.

I'm not a fan of the ghouls and goblins, but as long as we can keep Halloween focused on candy, costumes, and creative fun, we are golden.

(This is my second post for today.  If you missed the post on our vacation, be sure to check it out!)

Mountain Magic: Our 2012 Vacation

Last month we had an amazing trip to Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge for a family vacation.  Jim and I went with the kids, my in-laws, my sister, and her fiance, and we rented a big cabin in the mountains for five days of non-stop fun and adventure.

We have never had a real family vacation before, but last Christmas, Dave Ramsey gave all of his employees money to be used for a vacation in 2012, as well as two extra vacation days.  Since I was pregnant for the first part of the year and then had a newborn for a while, we thought that an October trip would be the perfect time to go.

And it was.  It was perfect.

The weather was stunningly beautiful!   I recently had a friend say, "Of all of the Melissas I know, I think Fall Melissa is the happiest."  I don't think I have a split personality, but I would definitely agree that I am the happiest in October.  :-)  Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year, especially when I am in the mountains with my family and the trees are at their peak and the weather is textbook perfect and I get to see my kids laugh and play and try new things.  (Yes, my joy is worthy of a run-on sentence.)

On the first day we left early in the morning and drove straight there, stopping at Ripley's Aquarium before heading to the cabin.  Gatlinburg, though a tourist town, was ridiculously charming with all of the fall color.

The kids had an awesome time at the aquarium.  I am not a huge aquarium person myself, but it really is a great aquarium.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly just watching my kids have so much fun!

After we left the aquarium, we headed to find our cabin.  When we finally located it, we walked in the door, and the view straight to the back looks like this!

The kids had a blast running around and checking out every room including their room with bunk beds and their own bathroom!  Between that, the theater room, and a pool table, Brennan was in heaven!

On day 2 we went hiking.  We decided to go check out Laurel Falls, and it was the perfect hike for our family.  It was by no means a leisurely stroll, and although I could have handled more without kids, it was as long and hard as we dared let it be with three little ones.  They had a ball.

I wore Seth the whole way up while everyone else took turns with Brennan and Cora.  On the way down, Cora got "sleepy" and I carried her the whole. way. down.  :-)

I enjoyed the hike tremendously, and if we had been able to spend another few days in town, I would have gone on another one without the kids.

We had planned to spend the third day fishing, but we weren't sure about getting separate licenses and trying to find a place to fish.  Jenny and Kenny had suggested a place they saw advertised with a stocked pond because it did not require a license, and we thought it sounded like a good idea.  We had no idea what a good idea it would turn out to be!  This place was fantastic!!  We spent the whole day there, and it was positively glorious.

For the first hour or so, we fished.

After that, Jim, Jenny, and I went on an hour-long horseback ride up a mountain while the kids stayed behind and "mined for gems" (sifted a pre-purchased bag of stuff), played on a playground, enjoyed the lake, and even played in a stream.  It was like a slice of heaven on earth.  It was beautiful, it was tranquil, it was quiet, and it was back-to-basics fun.  I would highly recommend Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa if you are looking for a quiet, beautiful escape in the middle of Pigeon Forge.

Our last day was spent at Dollywood.  I was looking forward to riding some roller coasters, but I did not dream that I would have so much fun!!  Dollywood is the best family amusement park I have ever been to (well, besides Disney, obviously).  First of all, it is so, so pretty, nestled in the middle of the mountains.  Plus, there is something for every age!  The kids started out in the children's rides, and both kids really gained courage with each ride.  By the end of the day, Brennan had gone on almost every ride in the park, including upside down roller coasters!!!!!  My little boy, who is so afraid of everything new, was so excited, so confident, and so willing to try new things, it actually brought tears to my eyes.  It was one of my proudest moments.  I never wanted the day to end.

On the last morning, Jenny and I stopped on the way out of town to purchase cowboy boots.  There was a store that had a "buy 1 pair, get 2 pairs free" sign, so we split the cost of two pairs and got Cora a pair as a bonus.  I have always wanted cowboy boots!

The trip wasn't without its share of meltdowns (mostly due to overstimulation, exhaustion, and adjustment to life in a different place), but for a trip with three small children, it was truly perfect.  I sent Dave a thank-you note, and I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  Of all of the Christmas presents he could have given to our family this year, this one will stay with us the longest.  It was very special.

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