Must. Have. Sleep.

Well, we are 7 1/2 weeks into living as a family of four, and as thankful as I am to have a new, sweet baby boy, I am very ready for a full night of sleep! When we first brought Liam home from the hospital, he quickly adjusted to a 2 1/2 to 3 hour feeding schedule during the day, and a 3-4 hour feeding schedule at night. I was waking up around 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. to feed him; however, Liam quickly moved to wanting to eat only once in the middle of the night, typically around 4:15-4:30 a.m., which was 6 hours after his last feeding. I was very excited and thankful for the extra sleep! Then, we hit his 6 week growth spurt, and he was eating every 2 hours for a few days. I was hopeful that after the growth spurt ended that we would move back to going 6 hours between feedings at night. Instead, Liam has been pretty inconsistent. He eats around 10:30 p.m. and has woken up anytime between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. I think the sleep deprivation is starting to catch up with me, though at the same time, I know I'm pretty lucky to only get up once per night.

I know you shouldn't compare your kids, but of course, I do it all the time. I think most people probably do! It's not that I'm really comparing Noah and Liam to each other but rather my experience with each one. While Liam adjusted quickly to a consistent night routine initially, Noah was up all night long for the first 3 weeks. Then, Noah starting going 8 hours between feedings at 7 weeks, and Liam is still stuck at 5-7 hours between feedings. We use the Babywise scheduling method (Eat, Awake, Sleep) with Liam just like we did with Noah, and by 9 weeks of age, something like 96% of boys start sleeping through the night. I am PRAYING that Liam is in that majority because I am ready to sleep all night! When Noah was little, it wasn't as big of a deal if I didn't sleep all night because I could nap during the day or just take lazy days here and there. Because Noah is 3 years old, I can't just take naps or be lazy when I'm tired from a long night with Liam. I have to give him my best effort and be engaged to play games, go fun places, and be silly with him.

This won't last forever, and I am hopeful that most of my sleepless nights are behind me. Even when I'm frustrated by getting up at 3:00 a.m. for a feeding, I am thankful that 1) Liam is still alive (SIDS is a scary thing!), 2) breastfeeding is going well, and 3) I get to snuggle with this precious gift. I started letting Liam cry a bit more to put himself back to sleep. I know he is not hungry, his diaper is changed, and he has burped, so Last night, he woke up at 3:30 a.m. to eat. After I finished feeding him, he fell asleep, but he woke back up crying. I let him cry for 5 minutes to start. I picked him up, tried to burp him (b/c he swallows air with all that crying), calmed him down, and he fell asleep right away in my arms. I put him down, and he started crying again. This time, I let him cry for 10 minutes. I again tried to burp him, told him he was ok, and put him back in his crib. That time when he started crying, it only lasted about 3 minutes, and he fell asleep. By this time it was 4:40 a.m. Liam then stayed asleep until 8:15 a.m. - thank goodness!

The boys are both napping now, but I need to wake Liam up to eat because it's been 3 hours since he last ate. I was able to take a shower, get ready for the day (yes at 1:15 p.m.), cut out coupons/organized grocery trips, pay bills, talk the people at AT&T into lowering our phone and internet bills, and talk to the owner of a preschool about Noah possibly attending there for the 2012-2013 school year. I'd say that was a pretty successful use of my time during their naps! Now if only my dishes were done, and the carpets were vacuumed...  :)


Happy 3rd Birthday, Noah!

Lemongrass Photography
I don't know how it happened, but Noah turned 3 years old on May 15th! I can't believe my little man is growing up so quickly. Sometimes I feel like I blinked my eyes, and 3 years worth of laughter, cuddling, and conversations flashed before my eyes.

One of my favorite things about Noah is how he has such a gentle soul. He is a really thoughtful, sweet, and caring little boy. He's really at an age where we can have pretty decent conversations, and I find myself laughing all the time when I'm with him!

When I saw this picture (above), I had a huge flash forward of him getting his senior pictures taken! I know we have a long time until we're there, but I know it will happen much faster than I'm prepared to experience. Noah continues to be an awesome big brother. He is very sweet to Liam, calling him his "best friend." How adorable is that? It is my heart's desire for the boys to grow up being very close, despite their age difference. I also want to raise Noah to be a man that someday a wonderful girl will want to marry. I want him to be kind, compassionate, respectful, responsible, and committed for his future family. I want to raise a boy who can cook, do his own laundry, mow the grass, etc. I'm hoping that Ryan and I can model what a healthy marriage looks like so that he can someday have a happy, healthy marriage himself.

Ok, enough of the serious stuff! I think I'm just realzing how quickly this foundational time where we can shape and mold him is passing by. At some point not too far away, I know his friends will have just as much if not more influence on him than we will. Gosh, if turning 3 makes me think about the future this much, imagine how I'll feel when he goes to kindergarten!

For his birthday party this year, we kept things pretty simple because we had only been home from the hospital after Liam's birth for a week when it came time to celebrate! Noah wanted a Word World birthday party theme, which was such a great idea! If your kids have not seen this cartoon, you'll have to turn on PBS for them. It's such a cute cartoon! Noah learned all of his letters so quickly just by watching it. We cut out letters and pasted them around the house for items like the radio, window, mirror (below), door, porch, and "fireplace" (below).

We invited just our immediate family members, had lunch and cake, and then opened presents.

Cake created by Wanda Henderson
I was really sad to not make Noah's cake this year because it's been something I've really enjoyed the past two birthdays. However, with Liam's birth falling so close to Noah's birthday, I didn't really have a choice. In fact, I was making last minute cake preparations just a few hours before leaving for the hospital. :)

After singing Happy Birthday, we enjoyed some cake, and it was - as Noah says - DEEELICIOUS!! He opened his gifts, and as usual, everyone picked out very generous, wonderful gifts. The timing was perfect. He had lots of new, fun toys/games to play with as we adjusted to life with a newborn.

Happy birthday, sweet boy!! I love you to the moon and back!!


One Month Later...

Happy one month birthday to Baby Liam today! I can't believe we've already spent 31 days together since he was born. To be honest, I think they have been the happiest 31 days of my life. Ryan took a week off work right after Liam was born. Then, his work's paternity leave allows him to take 5 half days but be paid for the whole day. Nice,  huh?! We spent some much time together those two weeks as a family of four, and we LOVED every minute of it! Check out some of our adventures below:

Soon after we got home from the hospital, Ryan's parents brought by Noah's birthday present - a crab sandbox! It was the perfect gift, and Noah has enjoyed hours of fun in that sandbox!

We spent some time in the sprinkler on some of the earlier hot summer days! However, if we're going to be completely honest, Noah rarely goes through the sprinkler, so the grass just gets a good watering.

We also bought a small pool for Noah to play in on days when I can't get the boys over to our neighborhood pool. Ryan had the brilliant idea of putting it on the porch so the bugs would stay out, and so that we could stay in the shade while he played. The only downside is that the water doesn't get very warm. Noah and Ryan have played in the pool a lot since Liam was born!

Snuggle time with Daddy - always a favorite around our house. I look at this picture and know that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have these three guys in my life. LOVE IT!

Yay, a picture of Noah and I together!! I'm usually the one behind the camera, so there are few pictures of me. I told Ryan that if he doesn't start taking more pictures of me with the boys, they'll never believe I was around. Can I get an "amen," moms out there?? Here is a picture of us enjoying some snuggle time, too.

Look how bright-eyed Liam is! He has always had good awake time during the day where he just looks around and every now and then makes eye contact with me and smiles. He is a such a sweet baby and a mama's boy for sure already. If I hand him over to Ryan, he immediately gives his daddy the stink eye. HILARIOUS!

More snuggles with Liam - one of my newest favorite activities. He likes to cuddle in right there against my neck. I am enjoying each and every minute of this time because I do realize how quickly it goes by. I'm not sure if we will have more kids or not - time will tell - so I especially want to savor these moments because Liam might just be my last baby (tear).

Ahh...jumping off the wall with a ballon tied to your wrist - always a good time and crowd pleaser, especially when you're not wearing any pants (haha!). He keeps waiting to float around in the air once he jumps, but so far, no luck. Guess we will have to keep trying!

Liam's first bath - I thought we'd never get there! His umbilical cord didn't fall off for over 2 weeks, so we had quite the wait. The crazy thing was, I never saw it after it fell off. I was changing his diaper and noticed it was gone. Then, hours later I saw Kya munching on something crunchy and couldn't figure out what it was. We really think she might have eaten his umbilical cord!! Liam loved his bath, especially if I kept putting a warm wash cloth or pouring warm water on him. Love the hammock bathtub...so much better than the one we had with Noah.

Ryan and Noah got to give Liam his first bottle soon after he turned 2 weeks old, and I had pumped enough milk. He took the bottle like a champion - 2 1/2 ounces - and then I topped him off. :) Ryan loved this time with Liam. I think it's hard for daddies to feel bonded to newborns when the moms breastfeed because they have so much less time with the babies. Having a chance to feed him gave him some much needed time with his new son! Isn't Noah a proud big brother?!

Snuggle time again - we're doing this a lot these days. Liam looks so much like Ryan to me, so when I take pictures of Ryan holding Liam, I feel like Ryan is holding himself 30 years ago. :)

Here's a typical picture of Noah and me playing in his playroom. I tried to get him to open his eyes for a picture, but he prefers the squinty ones...likes to tease me like that! His new favorite playtime activities include his computer and a spelling game that he got for his birthday.

Call me a huge geek, but I love community events! By this I mean that I scour the newspaper and internet every chance I get to find out what fun festivals, concerts, and other events we can attend as a family. This picture above is from last Friday. We went to this free concert in the park where they provided free hot dogs, chips, cookies, and drinks. Our friends Jessica, Matt, and Bryson (their son - age 3) joined us there for the evening! Liam and Cohen were born 3 weeks apart, and we finally got a picture of the two of them together. Hopefully, they will be great buddies like their older brothers! It was such a fun night. The boys played all evening, while Jess and I had some uninterrupted girl time.

Here is another community event from Saturday! Mallow Run Winery does Bazbeaux Pizza and Wine nights twice a month, and we decided to meet up with our friends - the Bauermeisters, Tolles, and Wards - and all of our kids. I enjoyed my first glass of wine in almost a year, and it was everything I hoped it would be! The pizza and knuckles were delicious, too! I loved the time with our friends. Here is a picture of my beautiful friend, Dalia, trying to get Liam to calm down. He woke up early from his nap and was giving us a hard time. I ended up feeding him, and all was well again!

Liam has started playing under his play gym recently and seems to like it quite a bit! Noah lived under here for the first few months of his life because he loved it so much.

Our friends Jill (below) and Tommy came over Sunday night for a visit! Jill was my very first girlfriend, and we have quite a history of friendship together that dates back to 1st grade all the way through high school and also our time at Hanover College. She made the most delicious brownies, so we enjoyed a fun dessert that evening. Isn't their son, Kellen (above), so beautiful?? He was full of energy and life, and we loved every minute of their visit!

Our lives have forever changed with Liam's birth, and now that he's here, I can't imagine life without him. My heart has grown twice in size with all the love that I have for my two beautiful sons. For the past week, Liam has been consistently going 6 hours at night (10:15 p.m. to 4:15 a.m.) between feedings, but on two occasions, he made it 8 hours (10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.). It's amazing how much better you feel with some sleep! Noah has made this transition without missing a beat. We are having all kinds of fun during my time off work! We spend most days at the park or the pool and get really excited when Ryan comes home from work. Liam is very laid back and seems to be plenty happy as long has he has his meewks (milk) every 3 hours, sometimes sooner though. I love my family and feel a real sense of completion. I'm not ruling out having more kids in the future...I think we'll know for sure in 2-3 years...but for now, I'm just enjoying these beautiful blessings from God! Every day Ryan and I look forward to Noah's bedtime so that we can have some uninterrupted time together to just talk, watch TV, or watch a movie. We have also done really well with this transition, working like a well-oiled machine. I love my family and don't know why I got so lucky in life, but I count my blessings every single day.

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