raising a mommy

raising a mommy
my little family

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

small changes

Today's blessing:
Wool socks. Because, as my husband says, I have dead people feet.

You may notice some small changes taking place around here. Husband pointed out that I share a lot of personal information. I mean, a lot. Anyone reading this blog wouldn't have to dig too far to learn the full names of our children, what they like and dislike, and generally where we live. Also, there are tons of pictures. I realize that nearly everyone who reads this probably already has all of that information anyways, but it only takes one crazy person to stumble upon my little family and do bad things. That said, I'll be spending the next few days taking down many of the bigger identifiers, meaning names and specific locations. Pictures will remain.

Big sister P and Baby M are trying to raise a mommy who is not paranoid, just careful!

thankful day twelve

Today's blessing:
Herbal tea.

So there's a tea store in the mall in my town, and boy is it dangerous. They always have tons of samples, and you can't expect me not to try free samples of tea, can you? It's just so wonderful...
Some people might call me a health nut, but I'm really not. For a snack before bed tonight I had a piece of homemade chocolate chip raspberry bread. (Jealous? You should be...remember, I do have the best husband ever.) I'm all about desserts and splurging when appropriate. I'm not a fan of the unnecessay sugar and salt that comes in pretty much everything. Like juice. I understand that you can get juice that is 100% juice with no sugar added, but there is still a ton of sugar in it! I never really realized that until I began shopping for P and started reading labels. Is it really necessary to add salt to frozen veggies? And why can't canned mandarin oranges be canned in water or their own juice rather than syrup?

Now, tea...there is potentially my new superfood. If you get the caffeine free kind (which I realize isn't actually tea, but that's another can of worms) then what's wrong with brewing some for a kid? I tried a delicious blueberry tea that any kid would be lucky to have in their sippy cup!

Then I got to thinking...if I won't feed something to my baby, why am I allowing myself to eat it? 

One thing I'm learning...this baby is raising a mommy who is much more aware of what she allows her family to put into their bodies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

day one: setting boundaries

Today's blessing:
Listening to my husband sing to our baby girl during bath time.

I'm guessing, for most people, setting boundaries with the computer would mean getting away from the screen and into real life. Not so much here. I love to write and have thoroughly enjoyed what little time I've gotten to spend in this little corner of the internet. I am going to be more intentional about making sure I set aside time to spend here. It's good for my spirit, and maybe I can connect with someone who needs it, too. Who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself and have some little nugget of wisdom to share!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

an update on our family of four

It's been quiet around here as we get used to being a family of four. The Baby is now six weeks old, so I thought it was time for an update!

Paige still loves being a big sister, which is such a relief. The novelty of having a little one around hasn't worn off yet, and she's still eager to help whenever she can.

I recently decided, out of respect for the teenager that she will be someday, not to share about bathroom habits online.

Some of Paige's favorite things to do recently include playing with the neighbor girls and going to the park. If we can get both at the same time, even better! She's a bit timid at the park - she likes the little kid swing where she sits inside it and can't fall out, but she doesn't like to swing too high. She also doesn't usually like to go down the slide. Every now and then she'll hold our hands and slide down. Baby steps!

Until now, Paige has been a self-inflicted vegetarian. She wants nothing to do with anything meat related. Then today, we were playing with the neighbor girls, when I told her it was time for lunch. She didn't want to leave, so I said that she could stay and eat chicken or go home and eat noodles. So we stayed and ate chicken. Peer pressure and the desire to continue playing with someone else's toys are very strong motivators!

As for Mark, here's how he's doing so far at six weeks:
Mastered Skills (most babies can do)
Lifts head: Yes indeed. We haven't been great about getting him tummy time, but he's still getting strong. When we hold him up on our shoulders he can hold his head up for a good 30 seconds before he needs a little break.

Responds to sound: If being soothed whenever he hears "Your Song" by Elton John counts as responding to sound, then yes. And he sometimes seems to react to our voices a little bit, too.

Stares at faces: Yes he does, and who could resist staring back into those beautiful steel blue eyes? He's a charmer already!

Can see black and white patterns: Um...probably, but how can you tell?

Emerging Skills (half of babies can do)
Follows objects: Maybe a little bit. He would rather stare and Mommy or Daddy.

Oohs and ahs: Not yet, but he sure is working on using his voice!

Advanced Skills (a few babies can do)
Smiles: Only when he's gassy, though I swear she smiled at Paige the other day for real. Big sister can have the first smile - I'm okay with that!

Laughs: Not yet, but with as dorky as his father is, it's only a matter of time.

Holds head at 45-degree angle: Not yet, but again, he needs more tummy time!

This boy is a chunker! He is currently wearing a 6 month sleeper (he's only 6 weeks!) and it's big, but not comically large! I guess the fact that he nurses almost constantly is paying off!

Mark likes to take baths. And by likes, I mean he may be crying and fussy, and when I get him in the tub, he stops crying. He just kind of looks around and kicks his feet and resists my attempts to clean his chins. (There are at least two of them. He's working on a third.) He doesn't even mind getting water dumped over his head. It's pretty remarkable to me.

I think we're past the stage where Mark wakes up every hour or two to eat, so that's helpful! The other night, I think he even let me sleep for a little over four hours! Amazing!

Other than constant tiredness, Nate and I are doing well. Nate's back at school and giving tours for the admissions office while eagerly awaiting the start of basketball season, while I'm at home playing with babies and trying to crochet every now and then. I started running about a week and a half ago, which has dramatically improved my mood!

Paige discovered a love of black olives. That's mommy's girl!

So little! This was Mark on his due date. We are so grateful for an "extra week!"

Snuggling with Daddy!

Three generations of Van Luongs

My aunt included these as a gift for Paige when they sent a baby gift for Mark. She absolutely loves building with her Legos, and she gets so creative!

Shortly after this, we stopped swaddling him.

So here's a great story for you. We took a walk one day up to Daddy's school. We were walking around one of the main buildings, when Paige heard music - a brass ensemble practicing for chapel that day. She asked if we could go in the church and see the instruments, so we did. Then she didn't want to leave. So we stayed for chapel. She found this teddy bear in one of the "quiet" bags at the back of church, and spend the second half of the service baptizing it. She would stick her hand in the font, make a cross on its forehead, and say "Jesus loves you very much." I am not making any of this up.

Matching diapers! Excuse the blurriness - it's hard enough to get a decent picture of one moving target, much less two!

How sweet is this? Paige loves little brother. We think she'll grow on him as soon as he's old enough to defend himself from her well-intentioned attacks.

Nothing like a little snuggle time in the morning!

Click here, scroll down to the last picture, and read the caption. I'll wait.
Did I call this, or what? I'm not even kidding.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

thankful: day three

Coffee coffee coffee. We had a rough night last night, and so, today, I am thankful for coffee. Nothing more needs to be said on the subject.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

thankful: day two

So I may have missed a few days, but that's okay. To be honest, I'm really not in the mood right now to reflect on things I'm thankful for. I'm pretty crabby. We've been fighting a potty training battle with Big Sister for the last few days, the Baby has been extremely demanding this morning, my allergies are acting up, I can never seem to have a counter free of dirty dishes, and I just want to run. Seriously, I think if I could just lace up my running shoes and have 20 minutes on the trails, I would be in an exponentially better mood.

But this is where I am in my life right now. I am grateful for the amazing family and friends who have surrounded me. I am grateful for the fact that the Baby only woke me up twice last night. (Sort of. That's twice between midnight at 7 am, but I'll take it.)

But you know what I'm most grateful for right at this moment? The fact that I have been able to nurse my children. Not all women have the desire or ability to do this, but I have been blessed with both. It has not always been easy. There were times with Big Sister that I woke up every two hours at night to pump just so I would have enough to send with her to day care the next day. When the Baby was brand new and nursing every hour...well, you can imagine how that felt!

However, I have been blessed with abundance. In fact, I am excited to be well on my way to making my first donation to Mother's Milk Cooperative to help babies who wouldn't otherwise be able to reap the benefits of a mother's milk. Not only have I nourished my own sweet Baby, but I've got a store of about 50 ounces taking over my freezer - only 450 to go before I can send in my first donation!

Well, friends, I now have coffee in my system, my Zyrtec is kicking in, the Baby is napping relatively peacefully, and Big Sister is babbling in her bedroom. Hubby should be home in about 20 minutes, and then, as soon as the Baby is fed, I'm free to head outside for a nice relaxing walk. With maybe a few intervals of jogging thrown in, just for sanity's sake!

Friday, October 3, 2014

thankful: day one

I did this awhile ago, but thought I'd have another round. It's never a bad idea to spend a few minutes a day reflecting on something for which you are grateful, right? And November seems like such a cliche month for it! I was going to do this whole "31 days" link up deal this month. I even have some of the posts started. Then I realized that it was just too much commitment for me right now, and I should think smaller. So here goes.

Today, I am thankful for my healthy legs. They get me up and down the four flights of stairs to get to my apartment multiple times a day. My thighs may touch, and they may be pale and not as toned as they once were, but they can do laps around the living room carrying an upset infant at 3am if that's what I need them to do. Aside from a few stress fracture incidents in college, my legs have never let me down. (And let's face it, those were really my fault anyways!)

What are you thankful for?