Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Caleb is SIX!

I seriously can't believe that Caleb is a whole six years old!  That just seems so old to me!  Here is what Caleb is like at 6 years old:

  • He weighs 33 lbs 5 oz.  That's 5 ounces less than he did on his fifth birthday.  :(  He got up to 34 lbs 15 oz in February, and we tried an informal tube wean during the summer, since he went through a phase where he cried every time we needed to give him formula, saying he just wanted to eat by mouth.  He is doing a fantastic job eating orally, but even with a bolus of formula when he's asleep at night, he just can't eat enough to grow.  So now we're stuck with the perpetual dilemma of tube-feeding: trying to give him enough formula to grow, but not so much that he's always so full of formula that he's never hungry.  I hate having to pick between a kid who eats or a kid who grows.  It seems that we just can't have both.  :(
  • Measures 42 inches tall.  I don't have a record of his height when he turned 5, but he seems to be a whole lot taller!  
  • Wears 4T and barely started wearing 5T clothes.
  • Makes friends easily at school.
  • Has a hard time handling frustrations.
  • Loves to sing.
  • Wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up.  I made him this paleontologist cake for his birthday, with a dinosaur and dino eggs hidden between the layers.  He loved it!  It was also gluten-free (this recipe, but I subbed in an all-purpose gluten-free flour) and dairy-free, to accommodate Caleb's dietary needs, and also happened to be free of the top 8 most common allergens!  And it was actually pretty fast and easy to make and decorate!  Win-win-win-win!

  • His favorite color this week is red.  He has never been able to decide on a favorite color, so we'll see if this sticks!
  • He is very indecisive.  Whether it's picking a favorite color or a piece of Halloween candy to eat, it takes him forever to decide anything!
  • He is coming along well with math.  The other day, after being tucked in bed, he called me back to his room to tell me that he had counted to 300.  Just yesterday he asked me what 6+6+2 was.  I asked him if he knew, and he thought for a minute, then gave me the correct answer.
  • He is doing quite well with reading, too.  He can read a lot of things by sight, but he doesn't feel confident enough to sound out words (even though he knows all of the sounds of the letters).  He can sound out words, but most of the time he just figures out what the words say based on the context and pictures on the page.  I don't see any problems with that!  Although it would sure help if he would just start sounding them out.
  • His teacher said at parent teacher conferences that he is doing great in school.  He is nice to everybody (which is what's most important to me!) and he scored as high as possible on the testing she has done (basic stuff, like being able to identify all uppercase and lowercase letters).  She also said that his attention span is completely normal, hallelujah!  
  • He has started spelling and writing his own words:
     "Russell: I
    love you Caleb.  To Caleb." (He was writing a note from Russell to himself, having Russell tell him he loves him.)
"[Cat picture] your a a god bhyr," when interpreted means: "Captain Hook, you're a good behavior."
(Looking back at this, I should have let him finish putting on the "ll" at the end before taking the picture.)
  • He has a curl in the middle of his forehead that's so stubborn and prominent that he even includes it when he's drawing pictures of himself.

And in keeping with tradition, here is an interview with 6-year-old Caleb!  He was in a somber mood, which made it easier to record him, but it doesn't accurately show his crazy personality.  Still, he's got some good stuff to say!  It's a bit long, so if you don't want to watch it all, the best parts are the beginning and at about 6 minutes.

Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that my life turned upside down when you came 13 weeks early at 2 lbs 7 oz, and sometimes it feels like another lifetime.  You are the most positive, energetic, forgiving, clever, silly person I know.  You test my patience every day, and I'm sure I'll thank you for it some day.  You've always been my inspiration and my example and I cherish you and the chance I get to be your mom.  We love you, Crazy Cal!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

6th Annual Pumpkin Patch

2010, 2011, & 2012

This year we had six adorable little boys in the pumpkin patch.  Two 5-year-olds, two 3-year-olds, a 7-month-old, and a 5-month-old.  Perfect best friends!

 The mandatory picture with this jacket on.

 Betcha can't tell which ones are brothers!  ;)

 My boys and me.  :)

 The weather was unseasonably warm this year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


We all know how my body hates pregnancy.  This time (and last time, too), I've been diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis, a temporary condition in which my thyroid overproduces, causing hyperthyroidism.

I've had hypothyroidism for 10 years now, and my thyroid levels have been stable that entire time with me taking 88mcg of levothyroxine.  Without that tiny green pill every morning, I'm very, very sick.  Thyroid function sometimes changes during pregnancy, so I've always had my thyroid checked during each trimester and 6 weeks after delivery.  My numbers have always been fine except for after delivering Russell and Zachery, when my thyroid goes into overdrive.  With Russ, the doctor just wanted to watch it with extra blood tests  and see what would happen.  It normalized after a few months and all was fine, although I suspect that had to do with my postpartum depression and awful milk supply.  This time around, my OB wanted me to cut my thyroid pill in half and follow up with an endocrinologist.  What did the endo find?  We are grossly under-treating my thyroid and he wants me to go back on my full dose and get my blood checked again in two months.  Also, I'm very vitamin d deficient and need to take OTC supplements religiously.

I haven't felt that tired lately.  Only as tired as I would expect to be with three small, crazy boys and too many 8AM doctor appointments.  I have felt an unhealthy amount of anxiety lately, so hopefully that will improve when my thyroid normalizes.  And maybe I'll find out how it feels to be able to hop out of bed easily in the morning, and keep up with my kids all day!  One can hope....

Also, the endo ran some tests to see where I'm at with my PCOS.  I'm glad to report that I'm NOT pre-diabetic (which is a common concern with PCOS).  Not even close.  Whew!  And my liver and kidneys are happy, which is good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Zach is 4 months old!

Mr. Zacher-bee is 4 months old!  This is what he's up to these days:

  • He weighs 14 lbs 8 oz, which is in the 24th percentile!  That's a 20 percent jump from his appointment at 2 months old!  WHOA!
  • He measures 25.6 inches long, which is in the 63rd percentile!  That's a 2 percent jump from his last appointment, and it's the highest any of my kids have ever been on any chart!  (Except for maybe their birth weights...my kids are on the bigger side when they're born.)
  • Has a head in the 59th percentile.  That's a 21 percent jump from his last appointment!
  • Wears size 1 diapers, but needs to be moved up to size 2 at night.
  • Wears size 0-3 month clothes, but is just about ready to be moved up a size.
  • Is still doing great at nursing (and I even pump at the end of the day to get him an extra ounce or two for the next day).
  • Formula.  Where do I start?  Zachary had enough donor breast milk to last until he was about 3 months old, which was seriously awesome.  When we started running out, we slowly weaned him onto formula, and he did fine with the transition.  As soon as he was completely on Costco brand formula, he started having problems.  Increased spitting up, diarrhea, lots more mucus in his poops, eating slightly less, spitting up 2-3 hours after eating (which was a huge concern to me, since his tummy should be empty by that time and delayed gastric emptying has been the worst of Caleb's health problems), diaper rashes, and he even had two diapers with blood in them.  So we switched him to our GI's favorite, Gerber Goodstart Gentle.  Same symptoms, minus blood and diarrhea, plus his poop looked like curdled milk.  Normal for breast fed babies, not for formula fed babies.  So we switched him to soy and he started spitting up all day long.  One time I counted, and in two hours he spit up 9 times.  Literally every 10-15 minutes.  So we switched him to Alimentum, the most hypoallergenic formula you can get without a prescription, and he started eating less and less.  Over the weekend there were two feedings where he would only eat one ounce.  ONE OUNCE.  So I got serious about getting more donor milk for him, and he has already done better after just a day and a half!  In the last week (since switching him to soy, then alimentum) he has lost an ounce.  And suddenly he's reminding me way, way too much of his brothers and their refusal to eat as babies and their really poor weight gain (and often weight loss).  But now we've got a few weeks of donor milk on hand and I'm hoping he'll go right back to being my healthy son.  But if anyone knows of any donor milk available, let me know.
  • He is proficient at rolling onto his tummy, and has decided to be a tummy sleeper.  He still can't roll back onto his back, and he gets frustrated by being stuck on his tummy too long, but thankfully he has a few flippin' friends.  
  • He's a chatty baby, just like his brothers.  He gurgles with the g sound and cries with the n sound, but he's not exactly babbling yet.  He's also a great giggler.
  • He sleeps pretty much all night.  Usually we put him down around 10pm and he wakes up around 8AM.  I'd like to get him to bed a little sooner and sleeping in a little later, but he doesn't eat his last feeding until after his brothers are in bed, so that keeps him up a little late.  And when he wakes up in the morning, I bring him into bed with me and we snuggle for an hour or so while he eats and we sleep.  I actually really enjoy that time with him.  :)
  • Zach is super great to put to bed.  I literally lay him down, give him his lovey, turn on his mobile (which he loooooves to watch) and walk out.  Sometimes he wines a bit, but sometimes he doesn't.  He rarely cries, and if he does, it's pretty light-hearted and doesn't last more than a minute or two.  Only a few times have I needed to go comfort him.  I can always tell when his cry is sad enough that he needs me, so I really don't have that moral dilemma of "do I let him cry?  Does he need me?"  I read Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old and took what I liked from it, and I attribute that book (and his easy-going personality) to his great sleep habits.  I hope to blog about it at some point!
  • His nicknames are: Zach, Zacher, Zacher-bee, and Zachey-pants.  I probably call him Zacher more often than anything else.  It all started with Russell--he said one day we could call him Zacher (take off the "y" at the end) or Curry (take off the "Za" at the beginning).  We prefer Zacher.  ;)
  • Zacher has a seriously hard time staying sad if you talk to him.  He's just too good-natured to stay sad for long.
  • He's more than happy to spend an hour or two laying on the floor while life takes place around him, or lounging in his bouncy chair while everyone plays.
  • He's pretty darn good at grabbing things (like the toys hanging from the bar on his bouncy chair...or my hair).
  • Zach is a really big fan of chewing on his fists.  He's also a big fan on chewing on burp rags.
  • He doesn't use a binky much any more.  I still pop one in his mouth when he's too sad to patiently wait for me to mix his bottle, but it's more of a distraction than a source of comfort.  I can honestly say, I'm glad he's already pretty much weaned from it.  I just wouldn't know when and how to wean an older kid from one!
  • He loves to chew on his thumb, but rarely do I find him sucking on it.  He does often fall asleep with his thumb in his mouth, though.

  • He's pretty darn drooly, and chews on everything, but doesn't seem to be all that close to getting teeth.  Russ already had teeth by this age, so I check his gums often!
  • It is so easy to make this happy guy smile, but it's so hard to capture a smile on camera because he's just mesmerized by looking at gadgets and things such as cameras and phones.  
  • He's a HUGE fan of baths.  He never cries and just splashes and splashes.  He loves water in the bath or in the shower, and he has even been swimming once!  He was very relaxed in the pool.
  • He has great skin.  It's flawless!
  • Zacher is seriously a little ray of sunshine in my life.  When everything else feels so overwhelming or monotonous or unfulfilling, I just look at my little baby and his smiles fill me with joy.  His life is so simple.  His needs are so straightforward, and as long as they're met, he's happy.  Unlike slightly bigger kids, who often feel that life is unfair, Zach is happy just to be loved.  And he's so easy to love!  I never would have thought that life with three kids would be easier than it is with two, but with the amount of joy that Zachary brings into my life with his smiles and snuggles, it's much easier to face the day.  We love you, Zacher!
And now for about a billion pictures from the past two months, in order of most recent to oldest:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

School 2015

My boys are growing up!  *tear*

 Now that my big boys are in school (Caleb in half-days kindergarten and Russell in preschool 2x/week) this little guy and I get four hours a week with just the two of us!

[Also, you'll notice that our front door has undergone a transformation between Caleb's first day and Russell's first day.  You're looking at Minwax gel stain in Hickory.  It went on evenly, even though I didn't remove the old, patchy finish from the door.  It certainly brings out the lovely details and makes the entrance to our home feel much more clean and welcoming!]