Saturday, November 26, 2011

Four Months

Eli, you are four months old today!

This month we celebrated your very first Thanksgiving!! We spent the morning at Auntie Jill and Uncle Eric's house for brunch and presents and then went to your Great Aunt Pam's for dinner. Unfortunately, you were too little to participate in the feast, but you had fun napping while we all enjoyed dinner.
You have started rolling 3/4 of the way over and I know you will be going all the way anytime now. You are still getting getting stuck on your chicken wing just like you big brother! You have started jumping in your jumperoo and are even starting to tripod! I was shocked the other day when I decided to try and see what happened and you stayed upright, without any assistance, for about 20 seconds! You love playing in your bumbo seat and you laugh at everything Jacob and Grace do.

You are officially wearing size three diapers now that I sold all of our leftover size twos on Craigslist! You are also still sleeping through the night (on average 9-11 hours) and nursing exclusively. You are still wearing 6 month clothes, but I pulled all Jacob's 9 and 12 month stuff down and started washing it and putting it in drawers. You will be wearing them in no time! Unfortunately, most of Jacob's 6-12 month stuff is Spring/Summer even though you guys were the same age at the same time of year. Jacob was a peanut and you are a moose which takes me to your stats:

Weight: 16 lb 3 oz 63%
Height: 24.8 in 27%
Head: 42.5 cm 74%

At four months old, you are the biggest (and the shortest) of all our kids! Even Grace, who we nicknamed "Michelin Man", was only 15 lb 5 oz at this age and you are shorter than she was! You are a true roley poley!

You have the best personality and are so easygoing. Everyone comments on what a perfect baby you are. I can't wait to see what comes in the next month!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Before I had kids I worked in the financial industry. The only holidays we had off were the ones when the NY stock exchange was closed. Since they were open the day after Thanksgiving I always had to work, but I drove by one of the biggest shopping centers in the state every day on my way to work. Every Black Friday, I would notice the usually empty parking lot full when I drove by around 8 AM and think, "Those people are crazy! Who in their right mind would get up on their day off, at the crack of dawn, to go shopping with a million other people?"

Fast forward a few years and I am now one of those people!

The first year I went was shortly after we took Jacob home from the NICU. He was 7 months old and had been home for almost 4 months. He was sleeping through the night, but that night I just couldn't sleep and since everything opened at 4, 5 or 6 AM I decided to go to the Mall to check it out and see what all the hoopla was about. I wandered through the mall and picked up a few things at a few name brand clothing stores, but as soon as I entered Target I immediately backed away and ran for my life. That place was a MADHOUSE! The line snaked through the store and I saw two women almost attack each other over a DVD....A DVD!

Each year that has passed, I venture out a little earlier as the malls seem to open their doors earlier every year. This year, that large shopping plaza that I used to drive by every year was opening at midnight as well as Toys R Us! I thought how perfect! I will go at midnight, get what I want and be home by 2 or 3. Then I can sleep for a few hours before Eli wakes up. Well, I arrived at midnight, but the one store I expected (and heard) was going to be open at midnight never opened its doors. I was disappointed, but I hit up a few children's retailers that were open and one store for myself. I had driven by Toys R Us on the way up there and the line was crazy. People were camped out in lawn chairs with blankets and coffee and two carts each. All I wanted to take home was this:

which was on sale for $99!!! It is an interactive, 3 foot tall pony named Butterscotch. It whinnies, eats a carrot, you can brush her mane, she makes galloping noises when you ride her, etc. Jacob has the boy version, Kota the Triceratops, that I also scored for $99 a few years back and the kids play with it everyday! I knew Grace would love to have her own Pony version.

Once I left the Plaza around 2 am I decided to stop at Toys R Us on my way home. The line had to be gone by now since they opened at midnight. I drove by and the line was still WRAPPED AROUND THE BUILDING. Due to fire codes they were only letting so many people in at a time. Our local mall, which is rather small, also opened at midnight (select stores) and was right next door so I decided to stop there and see if maybe, just maybe, Gap had opened yet. Nope. I drove by Target and to my amazement it was empty! I guess everyone had come at midnight and left already (it was now around 4 AM at this point) so I decided to venture in and have a look around. Nothing spectacular and nothing worth purchasing and it was now almost 4:15. Gap opened at 5. Could I hang on that long? I had now been up for almost 24 hours. I was getting tired. I decided to go catnap in my car and figured instead of sleeping maybe I would drive by Toys R Us just ONE more time. I was sure all the Butterscotch Ponies were gone by now, but if I didn't check I would never know. That is the one thing I wanted to go home with.

To my surprise, Toys R Us had cleared out. I entered the store and approached the first person I saw who just so happened to be a manager. I asked her if there were any Butterscotches left where would I find them? She informed me that they were a ticket item and tickets were handed out to the first however many people in line that wanted them. They were long gone. I thanked her and was about to walk away when she stopped me. She explained that she had informed all ticket holders that if they hadn't turned in their tickets to pick up their items by 5 am they were being re-released to the public. Could I be so lucky?! She said if I wanted to hang around until 5 she would check with people already waiting in line and if there was one left out back it was all mine! Just as she was telling me this another employee walked by and heard her. She told us that someone had actually changed their mind and turned in their ticket for Butterscotch at Customer Service. Now I was getting giddy! She told me to hang tight and in 45 minutes to check back in. I sat myself in the corner of the store and didn't move for 45 minutes. One of the security guards commented that I was the calmest and most patient Black Friday shopper he had ever seen. I told him I would wait two more hours if it meant that I could get Butterscotch. I also explained that at this point I was way too exhausted to be anything more.

At 5:01 am (I went easy on them) I approached the girl who was supposed to help me. She paged the manager who went to check the stock room and everyone left in checkout line (which was STILL snaking through the store). Fifteen minutes later she emerged and shook her head yes. IT WAS MINE! I asked her where to go and the security guard who had commented on my patience let me skip the line and go right to the next available register. He said I had waited long enough.

As I drove home the sun came up. I couldn't believe I had been out that long and Eli would be up in an hour. I was so tired and ready for a nap, but I drove Butterscotch home, quickly assembled her head onto her body and waited for Grace to wake up. It was worth it when I saw the look on her face!

I am happy to report that Butterscotch has been a huge hit. I am happy I got the one thing I was hoping to get or I would've been seriously disappointed. Especially since I was out 7 hours and Gap was a huge letdown. I only bought one thing there!

I can't wait for next year! Maybe someday when Grace is older and likes to shop we can make it a mother/daughter tradition.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for my firstborn, Jacob. Born at 24w and weighing only 1 lb 7 oz he only had a 39% chance of survival. Thank you God for the precious miracle you have given us. I love you, Jacob!

I am thankful for my baby girl, Grace. She is a little spitfire, and at two years old, has plenty of sass and attitude to go around these days, but we love her more than anything and don't know what we would do without her. I love you, Gracie Girl!

I am thankful for my sweet baby Eli. I am blessed with the happiest, most content of babies and for that I could not be more grateful. He is definitely a "roll with the punches" kind of kid and being the third in line I think that is a good thing. I love his cuddles and how his face lights up every morning when he sees me. He makes my heart swell with joy every day (and secretly makes me want 10 more babies, but that is just between us). I love you sweet boy!

I am thankful for my husband who goes to work every day to provide for our family so I can stay home and raise our children. It has not been easy to run your own business in this economy and he has struggled, but has never given up. He pulls more than his share of the workload at home as well and I don't know what I would do without him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Each year in the US one in eight babies is born prematurely. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon every year. Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns and those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.

Today is the first ever World Prematurity Day!

For those of you new here, my son Jacob was born at 24w5d in 2008 weighing only 1 lb 7 oz and 11.5 inches long. He spent 4 long months in the NICU before he could come home to be with us. Those first few days in the NICU were numbing and I don't know what we would have done without our NICU nurses and the March of Dimes representatives. Until you walk into a NICU and see your baby attached to tubes and wires that are keeping him alive you will never quite understand. Those four months were the longest months of our lives and we lived in fear every day that we might never get to bring our baby boy home.

The March of Dimes uses campaign funds to research and find the causes of premature birth, and to identify and test promising interventions. Premature babies are at risk of many serious medical complications. One of the most common of these is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Babies with RDS struggle to breathe because their immature lungs do not produce enough surfactant, a protein that keeps small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. March of Dimes grantees helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990. Since then, deaths from RDS have been reduced by two-thirds. Jacob received surfactant at birth and would not be here today if it was not for the grant that was used to develop surfactant therapy.

Today we wear purple to honor all babies born too soon and to help bring awareness to prematurity. Please visit the March of Dimes website to make a donation or find other ways you can help!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A TV update

Well, you probably remember this post from back in May when we decided to haul our 46" LCD TV to the basement and subsequently decided to sell it at a yard sale. I figured I would give you all an update on how life is going without the TV in our living area.

When we first got rid of it right before Memorial Day weekend, I wasn't that concerned about the long term effects of being sans television. The weather was finally starting to get nice and we were outdoors far more than we were in so we weren't missing it all. Jacob was still wrapping up his first couple of months in the public preschool program as well so we were preoccupied with that.

Eli was born in July and we transitioned rather nicely. Unfortunately, work slowed down considerably for Ian due to the economy so he ended up having almost two months off with only a few small jobs here and there. I don't think he worked more than 2-3 days a week until the end of September. I have to say it was quite the luxury having him home that long as we transitioned from a family of four to a family of five. The first week and a half of school I didn't even need to pack up all the kids to bring Jacob to school since I had Ian at home to sit with the other two. Slowly but surely, his work has started picking up. He is now booked solid through the Spring and I am on my own once again.

When Eli first came home from the hospital my sole responsibility was recovering from my c-section and taking care of Eli. For the most part, Ian was wrangling the other two. He took them outside to play on the slide, took them for long walks around the neighborhood before dinner and helped them ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac. I don't think they even noticed the TV had disappeared.

Now that the new school year has started, Jacob is in school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and we decided that in order to get them into good TV habits now we would set a family rule that there is no television on school days. We go to church as a family on Sunday so we also decided that there will be no television on Sundays. This leaves Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. On Monday and Wednesday we take our time around here in the morning since we aren't rushing out the door to school so I let them watch one half hour show in the morning on our bedroom TV (which is now the only TV in our house) while I feed Eli and get him dressed for the day. We have shows pre-recorded on the DVR and they usually watch The Fresh Beat Band or Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Once that show is over they don't watch TV for the rest of the day.

About a month ago, we decided to try and implement "Friday movie nights" and eliminate Saturday TV since we were usually so busy on the weekends that they ended up not watching TV anyway. The first week we did this we decided to try out Peter Pan. I didn't have high hopes since Jacob isn't really into things he isn't familiar with, but we figured it was a good start since he is OBSESSED with Captain Hook and Smee from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I was blown away by the fact that he sat through the entire movie and laughed hysterically the whole time.

**On a side note, can I also mention how violent Peter Pan is? I don't remember Disney movies being so ruthless, but Hook was calling people "blithering idiots", smoking like a chimney the entire movie and shooting fellow pirates with his gun. I digress, but I think we're retiring Peter Pan for a few years.**

We have since watched Cars, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Cars 2! The kids love our Friday night tradition (we also order take-out) and start talking early on in the day about what movie we should watch that night.

Since selling our TV, we spend more quality time together as a family. We are reading more. I am a cleaning/organization fool and I have been baking and cooking more. I have also been going through all of our pictures and creating photo books with the 3,000 pictures I have taken in the last three years.

Most importantly, the kids are spending more time playing together, doing puzzles, reading books, etc. It was the best decision we made to eliminate the TV from the living area! I will say that I am happy that we kept our small TV in the master bedroom. The kids and I have been sick once already and we spent one whole day in bed watching movies and for that I was grateful. I also still rely on the news every morning and evening for weather updates and I still watch my DVR'd episode of CSI on Thursday every week, but if anyone else is considering making the leap I say go for it! As a former TV junkie, I thought it would be way too hard, but it has actually been quite liberating.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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