Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life with Lana today (3 years, 3 months)

Sleeping: It is so bizarre, but always true, that the later we put Lana to bed, the earlier she wakes up.  So, since it’s been getting dark earlier, we have been putting her to bed earlier….around 7:00.  She is most often asleep by 7:30, and doesn’t wake up until 7:30 or 8:00 the next morning!  When we were putting her to sleep at 8:00 or 8:30, she wasn’t falling asleep until 9:00, and up at 6:30 or 7:00.  It’s just so strange, but putting her to bed earlier has helped me manage Tucker’s nighttime routine better, especially when Dan is at work.  *our biggest discipline struggle this past month has also been around bedtime…more about that below.*
Eating: Lana’s new favorite food this month has been fried okra!  For some reason, she calls it “cornstarch.”  Who knows?  In any event, she loves fried okra.  Shamefully, the only kind she’s had is from the deli at wal-mart.  I can’t wait until we go home for Christmas and my mom can cook her some REAL fried okra.  She won’t know what to do with herself!  I wonder if she is so in love with fried okra because we rarely eat anything fried. Come to think of it, when we fried up fish, she loved that, too.  A true southern girl at heart, loving all things fried.  Too bad her mama hates cooking with grease.
Talking: Just the past week or so, she has begun “reading” books, even if she doesn’t know the words.  For a long time now, she’s been memorizing her favorite books and reciting them as she turns the pages.  However, lately, she’s been opening books that we haven’t read yet, and telling a story by looking at the pictures.  The teacher is me is just overflowing with joy!!  Using illustrations to predict text is a great pre-reading marker, not to mention the fact that she’s exercising her imagination.  I love hearing the stories she “reads” out loud to us.
Discipline: The big discipline struggle for Lana this month has been around naptime/bedtime.  She is pitching fits, calling for outlandish things, and just in general trying to control what goes on when we are putting her down for bed.  So a couple of weeks ago, Dan & I took some time to come up with a new plan.  Then we sat down with her on the couch and laid it out for her.  She can call us from her bed for “potty, throw up, or blood.”  No other reasons.  Anything else has to be handled before the lights are off.  If she wants a band-aid, a sip of water, chapstick, etc. – she better remember before we turn the lights off.  If not, she has to wait until it’s wake up time.  She may not pitch a fit if one of us is laying her down, and she wants the other one – instead, she should be grateful for whomever is with her.  These were the major issues we wanted to address, so we kept it simple.  The consequences were that the first time she cried or pitched a fit or called out for something she shouldn’t, we take all of her “guys” out of her bed (baby, stuffed animal, blanket).  The second time, she goes to our room gets two spanks with the wooden spoon.  *note – this is the first time we’ve used a spoon to give spankings.  Always before, we’ve used our hand, but we were finding this becoming ineffective.*  It is taking a lot of consistency and patience, but it’s paying off.  She’s giving Dan more difficulty than she is me, but we’re not giving up.
Playing: As I’m writing this, there is a perfect picture of what Lana loves to play with right now.  Our living room floor is covered with baby dolls, strollers, books, puzzles, and dress up shoes.  I just asked Lana what she loved to play, and she said, “Baby dolls. My dollhouse.  And I love playing with you, Mommy.”  And on that note, I’m publishing this and am going to play with my girl.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Silly girl has had us cracking up this week.  Here are a few of the funny things she's said:
  • When we ask her what song she wants to sing, or what book she wants to read, she'll often answer us by saying "It doesn't matter to you," when she means "It doesn't matter to ME."
  • While we were driving up and down the mountains, our ears would pop.  Lana would tell us, "My ears won't come on!"  "Are your ears coming on?"  "Oh, there they are!  They turned back on!"  Such a cute way to describe that weird feeling.
  • We walked outside this afternoon to check the mail, and it was dreary and drizzling. She said, "Mommy, this weather is SOGGY!"
  • While we were roasting marshmallows for s'mores, the wind changed and blew smoke right at Lana.  She started coughing and said, "Oh!  My breath hurts!!"
  • Her new favorite food is fried okra.  (I can't WAIT until we get home so my mama can cook her some REAL fried okra...she is going to think she's died and gone to heaven.)  But...funny...she doesn't call it okra.  She calls it cornstarch.  Seriously.  And we have no idea why.  So, Sue Sue, when she asks you for cornstarch, you'll know what she means!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adjusting to life as a family of four

Tucker is 6 and a half weeks old, and we are all learning our "new normal."  

Lana has probably been the BEST at adjusting!!  We have not seen one bit of jealousy, she is always eager to help, and she just adores her little brother without trying to smother him.  

We have been so proud of her!  She has been a bit needier at bedtimes, and has been pushing some discipline issues since we can't always drop everything and handle them right away as we did when it was just her, but truly - those are the only issues that we are having.  She loves to lay with Tucker on the floor and talk to him, she pats him if he gets fussy in his carseat, and she loves to make suggestions about what he needs if he's crying.  (Lots of times she's right!)  We've obviously been spending a lot more time at home than we did before Tucker's arrival, and she has handled that remarkably well.  The only trouble she's had with that is when we missed several weeks of church and small group...that was HARD on her!  So precious to see how much she loves the local Body we're a part of.  

Dan took fewer classes this semester, in anticipation of this adjustment period.  He was so kind to know that the itty-bitty baby stage is difficult for me, and he wanted to be available to me as much as possible.  We're glad that he made the choice to lighten his class load this semester!  I can't imagine how we would have kept up with reading and writing papers for a full-time load.  He's having to learn how to balance loving his family well, helping me, spending time with Lana and Tucker, getting the reading done for his internship, making it to all the required meetings, finding time for accountability with his friends and mentors, working on his internship project, etc.  Just a new normal, and we know it'll all change next semester when he goes back to taking a full time load!

(With that in mind, please be praying for some of the MAJOR leadership opportunities the Lord is opening up before Dan: being at the head of beginning a recovery ministry, possibly helping lead a foreign mission trip, and helping to birth a small group.  We are so grateful for the way the Lord is growing Dan and helping him to develop his leadership abilities.)

I am getting adjusted to being the mommy of two, also!!  Besides dealing with the lack of sleep, the major adjustment for me has been in the reduced amount of time that I have with Lana, especially on the weekends. Before Tucker was born, if Dan was working, Lana & I stayed busy with lots of fun activities and outings.  That has obviously changed, and sometimes I miss that a lot - for both Lana & I.  I have really been praying through the discipline of contentment...I want my heart to rejoice in this stage of life!!  The Lord has been good to grant me peace in this area.  I could tell how He was working tonight especially.  Dan called from work just two hours after he had gone in and told me that he had the opportunity to VTO (voluntary time off) and come home early if I needed him to.  Tucker was crying, and I was in the middle of disciplining Lana, and would you believe that I told him NO?!  I felt confident that I had it under control, and that we were okay, so he could feel free to continue working.  A few weeks ago, I would never have done grateful for the new rhythm we have gotten into! 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our first middle-of-the-night trip to the ER

Lana was "off" all day yesterday.  Just very teary, wouldn't nap, needed lots of extra attention, etc.  Naptime was really a nightmare.  She kept calling over and over, and I was fed up.  I even fussed at her.  *sigh*  In hindsight, not a shining moment of parenting, considering she was sick and we didn't know it yet.

Because she didn't nap, we put her to bed early.  She woke up shortly crying her heart out, but couldn't tell us why.  I resettled her, and she went back to sleep. A  little while later, she woke up hysterical because she had pee peed in her bed, just the tiniest bit.  

She has not had an accident in I don't know how long, and she has only had one or two bedtime accidents in the 10 months she's been potty trained.  

I knew something was wrong.  As I put her on the potty to finish, that mama-instinct really felt like she might have a UTI.  When I pulled her off the potty, there was blood in the water, immediately confirming my suspicions.  I cleaned her up while Dan changed the sheets (thank goodness he was home!), and settled her back in bed while I called the nurse advice line at the pediatrician's office.  

While I waited for a nurse to return my call, she had another accident, with more blood in her urine.  At this point, I knew we would have to do something immediately, so I put her in a warm bath to relieve the burning.  As I sat there with her, a nurse from WakeMed called me back, listened to her symptoms, and advised us to bring her in immediately.

Super cool fact: WakeMed has a Children's ER.  Strictly for kids, with pediatricians on staff...we don't have anything like this in Alabama, so I didn't know what to expect.
Around 10:30, Lana & I headed to WakeMed, while Dan stayed at home with sleeping Tucker.  She was SO SWEET.  Just wanted to chat with me, asked lots of questions about the hospital, etc.  I have had UTI's before, and they are miserable.  Her sweet little disposition made me want to cry.

The Children's ER was amazing.  I can't say enough about it.  Really clean, kid-friendly, the staff was wonderful.  Lana was so excited that she got to watch Fox and the Hound while she waited!  The wait was thankfully short, and I was able to catch a urine specimen from her while we waited.

As we headed to a room, we ran into a parent of one of the children in my class at preschool!  I almost cried at the sight of a familiar face.  She was so good to Lana - turned a movie on in our room, bringing her popsicles, giving her a pillow to take home with her...just spoiled her rotten.  As she left the room after bringing Lana a popsicle, Lana said, "Purple popsicles in the middle of the night!  This is crazy!!  I'm so glad your friend is here, mommy."  

They got lab results back quickly, confirming that her urine was "dirty." They gave us a script, and told us that the hospital pharmacy could fill it, but it would be another two hours.  No thanks!  They discharged us quickly.

Going home was a bit of a fiasco...we almost ran out of gas, couldn't find a gas station, couldn't find an open pharmacy, had to wait 20 minutes to have it filled, Lana had to pee pee while we waited in the drive through.  Whew!  She was such a trouper - amazing what a little apple juice and some vanilla wafers from Walgreens can do!

We got back home around 2:30 a.m., which is really good considering all things.  She slept until 9:30, and took a good nap today.  She is back to her normal self, and says it doesn't hurt when she pee pees.  We'll follow up with Dr. Dirk this week, to talk about why this might be recurring.

We are so grateful to live in an area with such wonderful medical care!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tucker's 1 month check-up

Today we went to see Dr. Dirk for Tucker's one month check up.  It is so hard to believe that he has been here for an entire month.  I hope this is not an indicator of how fast time will continue to go - I can't bear it.

He weighs a whopping 11 pounds and .5 oz. (80th percentile), and is 24 inches long (off the charts)!!  Such a healthy, growing boy.  Maybe growing too fast???  Evidently right now he's eating the maximum # of ounces per day that he should be eating for the next MONTH.  Dr. Dirk advised putting some rice cereal in his bottle?!?  I couldn't believe it - he told us NOT to do that with Lana.  What made it even funnier was that just a week ago, my Mom told me that I should think about it, and I was horrified - "MOM!!  The doctors say never to do that."  She was so gracious, and just said, "Well, ask your doctor about it. It may help him feel more full."  So when he said that today (totally unprompted by me!), I almost fell out of my seat laughing.  God has such a sense of humor - I tell my Mom that the older I get, the smarter she gets.  I'm going to get some rice cereal tomorrow.  (FUN FACT: At Lana's one month check up, she weighed 10 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 23 inches long.)

On a more serious note, Dr. Dirk heard a heart murmur when he was listening to Tucker's heart today. He's sending us to a pediatric cardiologist at UNC. I know that these often resolve themselves on their own, and he is a thriving, happy little boy, but it destroys me to think about something being wrong with that precious little heart. I just well up with tears everytime I think about it. Really having to pra y through it tonight....this deal of trusting God totally with your children is easy when everything is okay...something like this really causes me to search deep.  In the face of my fears, I've spent some time reminding myself of WHO God is - LifeGiver, Trustworthy, Faithful, True, and Sustainer...He is so good, and can be trusted with all things.  Including the health of my children.  Praise Him for Colossians 1:17 - "He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together."  Including my sweet baby boy's heart.

He is also sending us to Duke to see a dermatologist.  When Tucker was born, he had a small circular wound on the back of his head.  It looked like something caused by an electrode, except that they didn't monitor him by electrode.  Dr. Dirk has been watching it.  It healed over, scabbed up, and the scab fell off.  However, the wound is still there, and looks a little funny around the edges.  So we'll go have that checked out, too.

Just two of the reasons I love Dr. Dirk: he's thorough, and covers his bases; he can tell a mama that her baby has a heart murmur calmly, without being an alarmist.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tucker's visitors

We are so grateful for everyone who has prayed, called, emailed, visited, cooked, helped, and loved on our family!  Tucker has had a steady stream of visitors - so wonderful to us!  We didn't manage to get pictures of everyone who came, but here are some:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Life with Tucker today (3 weeks)

Sleeping: Oh, what a difference a couple of weeks make!!  With some gentle encouragement from Mommy & Daddy, Tucker has put himself on a routine of sorts.  He is eating every 3 hours on the dot during the day - we could set a clock by him!!  7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.  We try to stick to this loose routine in preparation for when we'll return to preschool - it works perfectly around our arrival and departure times.  It also means that he & Lana take an afternoon nap at the same time - heaven!!  After he eats each time, he spends a few minutes awake - some times he's awake longer than others, but at the first sign of drowsiness, we swaddle him up & put him in his bed!  
Oh yes, that's right - his bed!!  He lasted in the bassinet for about a week.  Dan & I just cannot sleep well with a child in the room with us - we hear every little noise, and are constantly jumping up.  We have a video monitor, so it gives us enough peace of mind to be able to see him at night.
Speaking of nighttime - for the past week, he's been sleeping from the 7:00 p.m. feeding all the way to the 1:00 a.m. feeding.  However, that means that we were getting up at 1:00 a.m. and then again at 4:00 a.m., so although he was going a long stretch from 7:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m., it didn't mean we got any more sleep.  So last night, we woke him up at 10:30 p.m. and fed him, and we didn't hear anything else from him until almost 4:00 a.m.!  That was a gooood stretch of sleep.  Dan did the 10:30 p.m. feeding and got to sleep until 7:00 a.m.  I went to sleep at 10:00 and got to sleep until the 4:00 a.m. feeding, and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Perfect!  I hope this pattern continues.
He's been doing really well with us laying him down drowsy but awake.  Sometimes he just drifts right off to sleep by himself.  Sometimes he'll let out a couple of "yells" - not crying at all - just letting us know he's irritated.  If he does truly cry, we immediately go in and settle him...pat his tummy, pick him up and shush him, whatever it takes until he's calm again.  Then (while he's awake!), we lay him back down and repeat as often as necessary.
Several times we've tried to give him a paci, but he is not interested.  Every once in a while, if we're in the car and he's upset, he'll take it, but if he's in his bed, it's a no-go.  We've decided we think that's a good thing!!  With Lana, she did that whole routine of her paci falling out when she fell asleep, and then she would wake up and cry until we gave it back to her....ugh.  Up and down, up and down.  We're relieved to not be doing that again.
We're using a white noise machine in his room now, not because he was having trouble with the noise, but so that we felt like we could move around the house.  His room is in the very dead center of the house.  It has wood floors and wood walls, and you can hear every single noise in there!  He seemed to be sleeping well through the noise, but it was making me anxious, and I felt like I was constantly telling Lana to be quiet.  We turned on the white noise as a buffer, and I think we've all relaxed about it.
Eating: "They" say that, at 3 weeks old, Tucker should be eating 2-3 ounces each feeding, with 8-10 feedings per day.  However, he's eating 4-5 ounces each feeding, with 7 feedings per day.  He's getting in all the nutrition he needs, so we're not bothered by it.  The switch to GentleEase formula seems to have helped him, too.  He still has a tendency to want to fall asleep during and right after eating, but we work hard to get in a full feeding, and keep him up for at least a few minutes after.  He's also still projectile vomiting after eating about once a week, but it's nothing like it was before, so hopefully the reflux meds are making a difference for him!  He weighed 10 pounds at his two week check up.  We go back next week for his 4 week check-up - I can't wait to see how he's grown!  I think his little cheeks are fattening up already.