Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Grant's 5 Month Update

Dear Grant-man,

I'm catching up on 3 months of updates but at least this one is almost on time!  And by almost I mean only 2 weeks late!

You such a delightful baby.  You rarely fuss or cry and you always have a smile for everyone.  I call you the jolly fox.  Your "little" cheeks are the cutest thing I've ever seen and your siblings are constantly squeezing them to evoke a grin from you.  You rarely disappoint.

You are a great sleeper, usually going to be around 8 and waking up around 6 to eat.  You still sleep in the Rock N Play beside our bed and I'll probably keep you there until you move.  Mama sure doesn't want to rush through any milestones with you sweet boy.  I am enjoying them all.

You are in size 3-6 month clothes and still in size 1 diapers.  I think I'll move you up soon.  You are built like a tiny little rugby player.  Short and stout.  It will be interesting to see if you grow taller or stay the same size.

You love to be swaddled.  As soon as I wrap you for a nap or at night you get a huge grin on your face!!  You aren't very consistent with naps because we are usually on the run but you can sleep most anywhere.

You almost always have your fist in your mouth.  Your skin is actually kind of chapped on your left hand because you are always chewing on it!  If we lay you on your belly you just stick your hand in your mouth and go to sleep.  You still aren't rolling over either way!

Grant you sure are a joy to have around.  Your sweet smile lights up the room and you make our family happier.  We love you so much!

Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Grant's 4 Month Update

Dear Grant,

I can't believe you are four months old already.  Time seems to be flying by!  We went for your checkup and you were 15 pounds and 8 ounces.  You were 24 inches tall.  You are short and stout!  In comparison Reed was 15lbs1oz and 26 inches at the same time!  You are still in size 1 diapers and you are wearing 3-6 month tops and 0-3 bottoms.  Your legs are so short that the 3-6 hang way below your feet!

You are starting be such a smiley little guy!  We love making you giggle and laugh.  Your cheeks just seem to go on for days!  You always give your siblings a smile.  You've also started giggling when I kiss your neck.  I love making you smile!

You've starting sitting up in the Bumbo occasionally but you are in no hurry to move around.  No rolling over either way and you do not like to be on your belly!

You are a great sleeper and I think I'll keep you in our room for a while.  As soon as I put you in bed you just peek out over your blanket and smile if you catch my eye.  You never cry in the middle of the night or if you want to eat.  You just talk until someone wakes up!

You are the sweetest little guy and we are so incredibly blessed to be your parents.  We love you Grant-man!

Love,, Mama & Daddy

Grant's 3 Month Update

Dear Grant,

3 months!  I can hardly believe it! This was the first full month that you were nursing.  Such a miracle!  I am so thankful because I enjoy that sweet time that I get to have with you!

You've started cooing at us and are especially talkative at night.  I love wrapping you up for bed and then having a little conversation with you.  Those smile and coos....I could listen to them forever. You are starting to want to sleep early.  You are usually ready for bed between 7 and 8.  Your Daddy has been gone this month and you get so excited when you hear his voice on the phone!  

You are starting to become a little chunk!  I think you are going to be shorter than your brothers.  You are wearing size 0-3 clothes and size 1 diapers.  

Your smile is my favorite.  It's so easy to make you smile.  You smile so big your eyes disappear.  I hope you always smile so big!

We love you so much Grant man.  Just grow a little slower!

Mama & Daddy

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

its rare that I read a book and can relate so well to the author. Having struggled with an extreme love of food my entire life it was refreshing to know I'm not alone and that there is hope! The author's genuineness had me cheering for her success and certain that mine was attainable as well. If you have a love/hate relationship with food this book will inspire you to look at food in a new way. 

Highly recommend joining in her journey!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Grant's Nursing Story

I went to pay a bill today and realized I hadn't chronicled our nursing story.  It's funny how something that is on the forefront of your mind all of the time can quickly fade into the background once it becomes second nature.

Grant was born on November 15.  After struggling to nurse Kelsey I was relieved when he latched immediately at the hospital.  He was however, very sleepy, and we had a hard time waking him to even attempt to nurse.  When you have a baby they are ready for you to leave as soon as you are ready and being a seasoned Mom, they let me go after one full day in the hospital.  They were concerned however that the base clinic would not see us for 2 weeks.  Two weeks is desperately long in terms of newbornness and so I promised I would visit the hospital that weekend for a weight check.

Our first night at home was uneventful.  Our second night we were up until 4:30.  Grant would cry and I would try to nurse him.  He would fall asleep and then wake up soon after and cry more.  Finally it dawned on me to pump a bottle and try feeding him that way.  I did so and he immediately gulped it down and went to sleep.  I was devastated.  I knew something was wrong.

I went to the lactation office the next day and we weight him before and after a "feeding".  Because what looked like a feeding (perfect latch, suck etc) actually was nothing at all.  He was simply using me as a pacifier and was getting no more than 3 ml of milk from each side.  The nurse instructed me to pump and bottle feed and to supplement with formula if we needed to. What a blessing we caught this. If I hadn't gone in I might have continued to let him go hungry, thinking he was just a fussy baby!!

I went home immediately and made a batch of lactation cookies and started eating oatmeal.  If possible I wanted to be able to pump to feed him.  I also ordered a new pump (thanks to our insurance).  The company I worked with was amazing.  They delivered it to my door the next day.

Looking back we probably should have planned better, but Peter went back to work almost immediately after I returned from the hospital.  It was only 3 or 4 days but they were stressful.  Full of weigh-ins, pumping sessions and trying to keep the other kids out of trouble.  I was exhausted and sad and frustrated.  I hated sharing the baby with others during feedings.  I hated that this was probably our last baby and I wasn't getting to nurse him.  I hated that awful sound the pump made....8 times a day.

After about 4 weeks of this the lactation consultant at the hospital admitted to me that she just couldn't figure out what was wrong.  She gave me the name of a local IBCLC certified lactation consultant.  Our consultation was 3 hours long.  And she was clearly a breastfeeding jedi.  Although I didn't really leave with any answers, we at least had a game plan.

The lactation consultant wasn't sure if Grant had a tongue tie so we started working on a referral for that.  In the meantime she suggested a therapy called Cranial Sacral.  I had never heard of this but because it was our only option I was on board.  This is from an article by an IBCLC

"After working through all of the usual avenues of information and resources that can help in this kind of situation, some Leaders have found a new therapy, called CranioSacral Therapy (CST), can be helpful. CST is a light-touch manual therapy used to encourage the body's self-correcting mechanisms. Generally using about five grams of pressure, or about the weight of a small coin, the practitioner evaluates the body's craniosacral system. This system plays a vital role in maintaining the environment in which the central nervous system functions. It consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord as well as the attached bones-including the skull, face, and jaw, which make up the cranium, and the tailbone area, or sacrum.
Since the brain and spinal cord are contained within the central nervous system, the craniosacral system has powerful influence over a wide variety of bodily functions (The Upledger Institute 2001). The extremely light touch used in this therapy means that at no time should CST treatment cause damage."

After our first appointment we saw immediate results.  Grant was unable to stick his tongue past his gumline before his appointment.  Afterwards he could stick his tongue out of his mouth.  I would catch him almost playing with it, trying to figure out what this new range of motion meant!

We visited a local chiropractor 4 times and after that visit Grant began nursing almost exclusively.  I still pumped at night for a couple of weeks since it was hard to keep him awake, but by the middle of January I was able to put my pump away.

I am so very thankful for all the support I received when going through this.  I know not everyone understand my heart desire to nurse.  And I certainly would have been more than find bottle feeding Grant or formula feeding him if I didn't produce enough milk.  But I had such a deep longing to nurse him.  And selfishly, with 3 other munchkins running around it is much easier!  I'm grateful for the three lactation consultants.  For the honestly of the ones at the hospital who were willing to admit they could no longer help me.  To the local IBCLC consultant who has made a living out of helping desperate Mamas like myself.  To Peter and family and friends who prayed and supported me!!

God cares about the little things.  I see his care and tenderness for me as I care for my ba

Monday, January 30, 2017

Guilt Free Pizza Crust

I don't know about you but I pretty much think pizza makes the world go round.  Peter's family ate it every Sunday growing up and we have continued that tradition.  While I was pregnant with Grant the smell of pizza made me extremely ill so I've had a hard time getting back into the pizza groove.  I'm also trying to avoid carbs.

I can't remember where I ran across this but I've had Sassy Southern Yankee pulled up on my phone browser for weeks.  I finally remembered to get ground chicken at the commissary this weekend and this recipe did not disappoint!

Ground Chicken Pizza Crust
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix well.  Roll out on parchment paper and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Add pizza toppings and bake until cheese is melting.

You guys.  This is a game changer for me.  It was SO good.  SOOOOO good!  I ate leftovers today and honestly I could barely tell the difference between this and regular thin crust pizza.  Thin crust is my FAV so this is the best of both worlds for me.  I topped mine with turkey pepperoni, Hunt's tomato sauce and cheese.  

Ground chicken is officially my new favorite food and I'm dying to figure out what else I can make.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Grant's Two Month Update

Dear Grant,

You are officially two months old now!  I just can't believe it!  We had your 2 month appointment this week and you were 22 inches and weigh 12 pounds and 1 ounce.  You were our smallest baby at birth and our biggest (and shortest) at 2 months.

This month was a hard month.  We started out the month with a visit to a local lactation expert.  I kept hoping you would make progress with nursing on your own but after 5 weeks we weren't seeing a difference.  After working with her and a local expert in cranio sacrial therapy we've gone from exclusive pumping and bottle feeding to nursing day and night!  I can hardly believe it.  You were still just over nine pounds around 6 weeks so you've gained over 2 pounds in the last month!  Hurray!!  

We just switched you out of newborn clothes this week and you are still in newborn diapers.  So far you've been such a good sleeper.  You sleep a lot.  Day and night.  I'm looking forward to your personality as it starts to emerge.  You like to "talk" at night after you last feeding but before you are put to bed.  You sleep in the Rock N Play beside our bed and have given us a few great stretches in the last week or so.  Generally you eat between 8:30 and 10 and then sleep until 4:30-5:30.  

You took your first road trip this month to visit Kentucky and did a great job in the car.  Everyone loved getting to meet you!  

Grant-man the five of us love you so very much.  We are so thankful you are in our family!  we pray for you everyday that you will grow up to serve Jesus and love others!

Happy happy two months!

Love, Mama

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What's In A Name?

It's kind of a joke to anyone who knows me.  I have a major thing with names.  I love them.  I love what they mean.  I love finding the perfect name.  One of my dreams is to have a business where I help people choose names for their children.  There is just something magical about hitting on that name that fits your baby that I love!

I've been asked before to share how and why our kiddos got their names.  We're kind of a teachers worst nightmare.  All three boys go by their middle names and KJ goes by...well, she goes by a lot of things.  

I'll start with the S-man since he is the one who started it all!

I've been naming my "kids" since I was a kid myself.  Favorites have come and gone but the one name that has been on the list since I was way too young to have babies myself is Stafford.  My dream was to have a little girl named Anne Stafford.  Double names are a big deal where I come from and I thought this one was beautiful.

Alas our first baby was a boy.  And I started to think....what if we decide not to have any additional children?  We had to use Stafford.  Peter liked the name Nathan because it meant "Gift of God" and so there we had it. Nathan Stafford.  We chose that order because we didn't like how it sounded the other way around.  Thus setting an unplanned precedent for our boys!

Reedster was the next to join us.  Peter was deployed my entire pregnancy and I spent most of it emailing him thousands of name options.  One of the options for Stafford's first or middle name was August.  We both loved it since it's a family name on both sides.  We thought it was a little odd to use it with Stafford since his due date was in August.  So we put it on the list for the future.

One night I was up late, unable to sleep.  I remember going through names in my head and all of the sudden I had the perfect name.  My paternal grandfather's name was Reed and I've always loved it.  August Reed seemed like the perfect fit for our newest little guy.  And I can't imagine the Reedster having any other name! 

KJ was by FAR our hardest to name.  Things I think about when naming my kids are name meanings, name origin (all of ours are Anglo in origin), family names, syllables, and how common they are.

Most of the girls names I liked Peter did not.  We tend to have tastes on the opposite ends of the spectrum and have to meet in the middle.  Kelsey was going to be Allegra for a few months but after trying it out on a few people the allergy medicine was the first thing that came to mind to everyone I told.  Allegra was off the list.  Peter wanted to name her Ariel, which I liked but didn't love.  It seemed like every name we liked didn't work well with our last name.

We knew we wanted to use Jane because that was one of Peter's Mom's names.  We already had names from each of the other grandparents sides of the family (Stafford from my Mom, August from Peter's Dad and Reed from my Dad.)  We also liked Jane because it means "Gift of God" just like Nathan.  Stafford was so excited about having a sister and predicted she was a girl from the beginning so I loved that they had a shared name meaning.

We made a last minute decision in the hospital room and named her Kelsey after my great-grandfather.  Knowing her now, I can't imagine her as anything else!

I THINK that the Grant-man's name was the easiest to come up with.  We each had a LONG list and none of the names matched.  But we liked Grant.  For the longest time I was set on using a family name somewhere in his name.  I liked Pierce or Pierson because it means son of Peter.  I thought that was fitting for the 4th baby of a 4th baby! We also considered version of Donald because both of our Dad's are named Don.  This didn't quite seem like the year to name a baby Donald regardless of political affiliation or family history so we nixed that.  Most of the names we liked were one syllable.  One syllable for both first and middle didn't work for me.  So it was back to the drawing board.

According to one website the name Callen meant "rock", which is what Peter means.  So for a few weeks he was Callen Grant.  Then one day I was looking through a babyname book and saw the name Ruston.  The meaning was "red headed, fox colored".  Reed means redhead and I loved it that the boys would have names with the same meanings.  Reed was THE most excited little boy while I was pregnant and I loved tying them together this way!  

During our time in Tacoma we spent hour and hours on Ruston Way.  It was our favorite way to spend the evenings.  Walking, playing on the playground, looking at Mt. Rainier towering over the city.  Ruston.  It was perfect.

So Ruston Grant it was.  And it's the perfect name for our sweet boy!

I still have a few names on my list.  We'll see what the future holds for our family!

Grant's 1 Month Update

Dear Grant,

Buddy, you are officially a fourth child.  Mama is 1 month (plus a few days) late in posting this, although I did get your photo pretty close to your 1 month birthday!

It's pretty hard to imagine life without you little man.  This first month has flown by, as I expected it would.  The most discouraging part has been your ability to nurse.  I had hoped it would be something that would fix itself but we've had to consult the lactation services multiple times and so far we aren't seeing any progress.  You are however gaining weight like a champ now that you are taking a bottle.  You eat 3-4 ounces each feeding.  

You are sleeping well and a lot.  During that night you usually give us 3 hour stretches which is great for such a little guy.  You nap well during the day and don't seem to notice all of the noise that goes on in our house.

You are still in newborn clothes and newborn diapers.  I have to admit you are my first child that I don't dress each day.  Sometimes you have PJ day all day long!

Your hair is fabulous and you are the sweetest baby I can remember.  Your eyes are starting to turn a beautiful blue color and you have charmed everyone in our family.  What a sweet blessing you are Grant-man.  We love you!

Love, Mama


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