July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Linking up again for What's Up Wednesday!

What we're eating this week
Nothing too exciting.  We had left over barbecue from my brother's birthday Monday night.  Then last night we pulled some taco meat from the freezer for tacos.  Tonight is grilled chicken and vegetables.  And then I've got stuff to make sweet and sour chicken in the crockpot.  I'm also loving strawberries with a little splenda for a snack along with a piece of string cheese.  And I can't get enough of the Skinny Cow or Weight Watchers Chocolate Ice cream bars!

What I'm reminiscing about
Cooper turns 4 months next week and he is finally getting big enough that we are starting to notice a difference in how he fits in things.  He looks so much bigger in his car seat and David noticed how much bigger he looked in the K'tan the last time we wore him to church.  We laugh because he can still fit into the same onesie that we brought him home from the hospital in--it was obviously too big on him then and he now wears it a little differently

What I'm loving
Footie Pajamas!  Cooper still sleeps in a swaddle sleep sack, but he has started getting his arms out sometimes in the middle of the night so we are trying not to reswaddle him so we can start to wean from the swaddle.  But we don't want him to get too cold so we've been putting him in pajamas under the sleepsack and it's always so fun to see him in his adorable PJs

What we've been up to
Cooper and I have been going to a Bible Study at a church near our house for the last 6 weeks.  It is geared toward first time moms of babies 5 months and younger and we've been enjoying getting to know some new mamas and babies.  Tomorrow is our last day, but we're hoping to keep up playdates with our small group.

What I'm dreading
Nothing that I can think of!

What I'm working on
Just finished up all of the decorations from Yali's shower.  This week's agenda includes sewing the bibs we made at her shower.  I also need to finish up our dining room!  We got a new entry table and some shelves to hang so I need to work on that.

What I'm excited about
Cooper is finally starting to like our Lillebaby carrier a little more so we took it for a test run to Walmart yesterday and he did well.  We definitely got good use out of the suck pads I made for it!  It's fun to be able to wear him more when we go out!

What I'm watching/reading
This is our Book Club book for our next meeting in early August so I've been working my way through it.  So far it's been very interesting!

American Ninja Warrior is back and David and I have been enjoying watching that together.

And I'll admit that I've been watching this season of The Bachelorette.  I haven't watched it in several seasons, but for some reason have been back at it again and enjoying it!

What I'm listening to
Still a lot of Podcasts.  Risen Motherhood, Journeywoman, Extraordinary Moms, Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and The Popcast.

What I'm wearing
Anything I can to try to stay cool!  Still a lot of workout shorts and pants and tank tops around the house.  I usually wear a tank top around the house and then will throw on a tshirt over it if we go out.  I also am loving dresses.  This one from Old Navy has been easy and fun to wear lately!

What I'm doing this weekend
We don't have any specific plans right now.  Probably continuing our breakfast taco dates and enjoying some time with my 2 favorite guys!

What I'm looking forward to next month
Cooper and I meet our MOPS group next month.  I'm excited to get started with this program and meet some new friends

What else is new
We've moved to more bottle feeding for Cooper as we're tweaking his feedings to make sure he gets enough.  He has always enjoyed his bottles and he is doing really well.  And look how cute he is
Love that sweet boy of mine!

July 25, 2017

Wild about Baby Boys

This past weekend I had the pleasure of throwing a baby shower for our friend Yali.  Yali's husband Lucas is one of the first Chinese students David met through the International Friendship Partner Program and he has been a great friend to us over the past 6 years.  Lucas was a groomsman in our wedding and about a month later he and Yali started dating.  They are currently settled here in the US and we are so glad we get to continue to live life with them!  They are due with their first baby boy in October so I offered to throw a baby shower for them and we got to planning.

Yali wanted to be involved in the planning and wanted to host the party at her house so her friends could see it.  Everything came together really well I think and we had a lot of fun! 

 I didn't get any pictures of the actual shower, but I was able to grab a few before everyone showed up.
Yali wanted to use elephants for the theme and I found this idea for making an Elephant out of Watermelon.  So I decided to attempt it for the centerpiece of the fruit tray and I don't think I did too bad of a job.

Yali's friend Estelle was in town visiting from China and she made this adorable cake with the elephant on top.  It was delicious!

 We stole the idea from my shower of having a bib decorating station.  I used some of the same iron on ideas with ties and bow ties and added in a few animals for the bibs.  We also had fabric markers if people wanted to draw or add a message.

We used this awesome printable for the guest book.  I cut out blue circles for people to sign and we added them as a balloon bundle.

We also had a name game where everyone tried to think of a baby boy name for every letter of the alphabet.  Then Yali picked her favorite suggestion and that person won a prize.  It gave them lots of name suggestions to mull over as they decide on Baby Boy's name!

It was a fun afternoon with friends, but of course it was good to come home to my boys too.

Cooper hung out with the guys that afternoon and went out for a late lunch with David and Lucas.  He was napping when I left and napping when I got home so it had been several hours since I'd seen him.  This picture is right after he got up from his nap and he heard me talk to him and turned and saw me.  That smile melts my heart every time.  We can't wait for Cooper's new friend to arrive this Fall!

July 19, 2017

The Magical 3 Month Mark

From the very beginning this guy has been a pretty easy baby.  Even though I had a somewhat difficult delivery, we bonded quickly and he did really well from the beginning.  He was a great sleeper his first month and was pretty go with the flow.  We were able to get out a lot and continue at a pretty good pace.  Our one difficulty from day one has been feeding.  But I knew a lot of people struggle with feeding in the very beginning.  And I'd had several friends tell me it gets a little better each day/week and then  around 6 weeks it seems to be pretty effortless.  So I held on to that and we pressed on.

Then we hit 6 weeks and feeding was still pretty much a disaster.  I remember feeling a little frustrated because it was supposed to be better by that point.  And I even questioned if we needed to make changes to what we were feeding him at that point.  But I just figured that due to the extra supports he had needed, it would just take Cooper a little longer to get it.  And he was getting better slowly, so we kept at it and he seemed happy.

And then we kept hearing about this magical 3 month mark.  Almost everyone we talked to--whether we talked about any struggles with Cooper or not--would say that at 3 months things get so much easier.  Sleep is better.  Feeding is more efficient.  Everyone just made it seem like 3 months was the magical point to get to.  Obviously, it didn't mean everything would suddenly be easy then, but we just kept hearing "wait until 3 months, it gets so much better."

Well we are 19 days into Cooper being 3 months.  And he's still struggling with feeding.  And his sleep is actually worse than it was for his first 2 months.  I was up in the middle of the night with him a couple of weeks ago and I was having a rough time.  I didn't understand why things were still so hard when everyone made it seem like they should be better.  What were we doing wrong?  Why wasn't he getting better?  I cried and then I promptly fell back asleep (because it was 3 in the morning).

Then a new day dawned.  And as is usually true, things looked a lot better in the daylight.  I realized I was holding so tightly to these ideals that I was placing unrealistic expectations on us.  Parenting is so hard.  And people want to be encouraging and a lot of times one of the most encouraging things to hear is "you're not alone.  this will get better."  But then there are the moments when that "encouragement" actually makes you feel more alone--when things don't get better the same way they did for everyone else.  And I realized that had I not had this idea in my head that things should be better by now, then I wouldn't have cared as much what Cooper was or wasn't doing.  Remember the very first thing I said in this post?  Cooper is an easy baby.  And it's still true.  Even though he doesn't sleep as much as is recommended.  And even though he may not be getting enough to eat (we're working with some professionals to figure that out).  He is so incredibly happy.  And so very easygoing.  And such a delight to be around.  And I was missing that because I could only focus on what he wasn't doing.  So then I had to let go of this idea of a turning point coming soon and just focus on where we are now.  I have so much to be grateful for.  Top of the list?

The fact that my hope is not in this guy.  Because if all I did was turn from one ideal to focus on how well he's doing, then it can all easily fall apart when he has a bad day.  I am so thankful that my hope is in One who is greater than either Cooper or I.  That we have a loving Father who holds us both in his hands-- during the 3 am wake ups when we're both crying and during the giggles and kisses.  And that no matter what Cooper does tomorrow, I don't have to fear because God is in control.  So instead of hoping in Cooper meeting the next milestone, I hope in Someone more eternal.  And it takes a lot of pressure off of me and Coop.

So maybe that's our magical 3 month mark.  When I let go of some of my expectations and tried to let go of my sense of control.  And remembered the daily surrender of trusting God with our family.

July 10, 2017

Cooper's First Road Trip

We kicked off July with Cooper's first road trip!  David took a few days off work around the 4th of July, so we decided to take a trip to Oklahoma to see some of his extended family and introduce Cooper to his Grandnanny.
All packed up and ready to go.  I thought this was a good representation of the silly faces you're willing to make to try to get the baby to smile :)

All smiles in his car seat as we were ready to back out of the driveway
 We stopped in Denton for breakfast/lunch at Chiloso.  We love Chiloso so very much and they opened one in Denton last year, so it's been a good place for us to stop on our way to Oklahoma.  We fed Cooper a bottle and then got back in the car.

By the time we made it to Sanger (not very far from Denton) the little guy was pretty out of sorts.  He was sooo tired, but couldn't fall asleep.  So we decided to see if me sitting with him would help.  He immediately grabbed on to my hand and proceeded to fall asleep not long after this picture was taken.

First stop was to spend the afternoon with David's best friend from college, Dean, and his family.  The last few times we've been to Oklahoma we've missed them, so we hadn't met their little boy yet.  It was a fun afternoon of playing and enjoying dinner together.  Then we headed to Oklahoma City for the rest of our weekend.  We got in late that evening, so we talked with family a bit and then headed to bed.

The rest of the weekend was full of resting and hanging out with family.  Cooper got lots of snuggles with his Grandnanny and gave her lots of sugars.  He also took a 3 hour nap 2 of the 3 days we were there, so we had quite a bit of down time while he rested from his big trip

On Monday, David and I took Cooper for a walk to the park in Nanny's neighborhood.  He promptly fell asleep when we got to the park.  All snuggled up with his blanket and his hat :)

When Daddy gets Cooper dressed they sometimes wear matching Rangers clothes (they sported these same outfits Memorial Day weekend.)

An afternoon chat with his Grandnanny!  David's Nanny is our only grandparent who is still living, so we are so glad that Cooper got to spend time with her and we look forward to future visits!

All decked out for the 4th of July party at Uncle Marshall's house!  This is actually Cooper's swimsuit because it is the only one I've been able to find in his size, but it doubled well as an Independence Day outfit!

We went over to David's Aunt and Uncle's house for dinner on July 4th.  We enjoyed delicious food and a good evening with most of his family.  After dinner, we spent some time in their backyard while Cooper's second cousin swam with her uncles.   Love snuggles with my little guy!

Sweet memories with David's Nanny!

Wednesday morning we got up and got on the road.  During this trip we were finally able to position the mirror above Cooper's car seat at an angle where we could see him!  We had installed the mirror in the Explorer and then again in the Pathfinder, but it would never stay at a good angle.  We finally found something to wedge behind it to keep it pointed down enough.  This seemed to help Cooper some as he was able to watch himself in the mirror and he could see us, but he still needed me to sit with him for some of our drive back.

Cooper did so well on our trip!  He was happy and content most of the time, he did well being held by all of the family, and he slept pretty well too with only a few extra wake ups.  We are so glad we were able to spend a long weekend with family!  

First road trip is in the books and now we're already talking about where we're going to go next! :)

July 1, 2017

Cooper's Cubbyhole: 3 months

3 months old!

Weight: 11 lbs 10.6 ounces
Diaper Size: 1
Clothing Size: 0-3 months
Things you Love: Your playmat-- specifically your giraffe.  Being held.  Mommy and Daddy.  Your cousins--you started showing a bigger interest in them when you guys spend time together this month, they had you smiling and cooing a lot!  Talking and cooing and smiling.  Your hands-- you’ve definitely found them and like sucking on them and have even been able to sometimes calm yourself down if you can get to your hands.
Things you Don’t Love: Being in your car seat when we are stopped--you are fine when we’re driving but as soon as we slow down to a red light you lose your mind a little and then you are fine once we’re going again!  You also are not as content to be in your car seat when we go out to restaurants or other places, you’d much rather be held.  Formula-- I've been trying to offer a supplement to some of your feedings to help with your weight gain. We usually use pumped milk, but I decided to try formula a few times and you will not drink it.
Milestones: You rolled over from your stomach to your back a few times this month.  You also giggled for the first time, but we’ve had trouble figuring out what makes you laugh to get you to do it again!  You also are doing so much better at holding your head up when you’re on your tummy and you’re turning it both ways now MUCH better
Memorable Moments:  You had a frenectomy on June 12 to get rid of your upper lip tie and a posterior tongue tie and it was a game changer!  You were instantly so much happier (and you were already a happy baby!), you started sleeping longer stretches during the day and you started eating better (somewhat).  It was crazy what an immediate difference it made!  We also celebrated your first Father’s Day with your daddy and Pappaw.  And we had your baby dedication at church.

Sweet Cooper, it's been a crazy month for you!  Your first round of shots, a laser procedure to cut your lip and tongue ties, an OT evaluation to look at your neck and head control.  Our biggest challenge continues to be feeding-- your frenectomy helped eliminate the reflux symptoms you were having and definitely improved your latch, but it still takes a long time for you to eat and your weight gain continues to be slow.  But you are so happy and content all day long and you have started napping better during the day.  You give smiles to us so easily!  And when you are fussy we have a hard time because it happens so rarely.  Even with the challenges of this month, it has been so much fun hearing you talk and coo more, watching you smile and begin to laugh, and spending my days with you.  One quarter of your first year is behind us which is a little sad, but I know we have so many fun days and months ahead!  I can't wait to continue to see you develop your personality and learn more about you!