Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Appears

At every change of the season, I get excited.  I'm tired of heat and humidity, and I'm more than ready for the crisp fall air.  I adore fall for a number of reasons: The changing foliage, especially on drives to Central PA via the Turnpike; high school football; Halloween, and the candy that comes with it; and the approach to Thanksgiving.  This year, everything is more exciting because it is all "Elliott's first."  He has a sort-of Halloween costume.  It's a Halloween themed onesie and a pumpkin hat.  I don't know where to go trick-or-treating, and I can't go home because our area does it the Thursday before, and that's obviously not possible.  Perhaps near-by friends will take us along.  It's not that important, since he can't eat the candy anyway!

I started decorating, but I'll finish with the Halloween stuff in a week or so.  It seems like jumping the gun to put it up in September.

I'm also so busy with a number of projects.  I'm applying to graduate schools to hopefully enter a Ph.D program next fall.  I have a number of crochet projects to finish and start.  Because I'm teaching a seminar this spring, I need to plan for that, as it is a brand-new class.  Finally, I have to keep up with work and grading.  It's quite exhausting!

We have a few things to look forward to in the coming weeks.  Two good friends are getting married, and my parents are coming up to babysit over night, giving Jason and I a night away.  Other friends are visiting, my dad's birthday is in a few weeks, and my sister comes home at Thanksgiving.  Hopefully, Elliott will be baptized in the next few months, but it really depends on when my sister (his godmother) can be here from Raleigh.

What kind of fun fall things do you have planned?

- J & M.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Busy week!

We Yingers have had quite the busy week!

Last Saturday, my parents came up to visit.  They like to see Elliott about every 2 weeks, so we've been lucky enough to see them more than ever.  They helped me get our apartment in order because it's hard sometimes between work and Elliott to really get cleaning done the way I want.  If I have someone here to entertain E, it's much easier.  Afterwards we went to Main Street at Exton, which is a pretty extensive outdoor mall.  We also met up with my Aunt Chris, who lives nearby, and my dad watched Elliott while the ladies looked around and shopped.  I found some really neat stuff at Pier 1, and I actually can't wait to go back before Christmas.  We ended the day with soup and sandwiches at Aunt Chris (I'm still wishing I had more homemade chicken noodle soup).

On Monday, Elliott and I ventured across the Delaware to the Allen's for a jewelry party.  While I really didn't look at jewelry much, I did get to catch up with Sara, and Elliott got passed around between her parents.  It was a successful little trip.  It was the longest trip I've gone on with just Elliott, so I feel much more confident that I can do things on my own.

Elliott had his two-month appointment on Thursday, and it turns out we have quite the big boy.  He weighs 12 pounds and 8 ounces (12 1/2 pounds!), which is in the 75th percentile.  He's 22 3/4" long, and his head is 16" around.  He had to have his bellybutton cauterized because something wasn't healing as well as it should (he didn't feel it, as your bellybutton has no nerves!) and he did pretty well for his shots.  Granted, he cried, but he didn't stay upset for long and was just sleepy afterward.  Otherwise, he hasn't seemed to have any side effects.  Yay!

Today we are waiting for Jason's parents to come visit.  They haven't seen Elliott since Labor Day, so I'm sure they'll be fascinated by all the changes he's made over time.

Right now, the "year of babies" is really ramping up.  One friend just had a baby on Thursday, and my friend Nancy is ready to pop.  I know no less than 17 people who either are pregnant or have a child under the age of one.  Elliott will have lots of cousins and new friends around his age.  I'm totally OK with this.

Here are some new pictures of our guy:

Playing with Grandma Tay-Tay.

Just being sweet.

Look at that grasp!

Hanging out with Aunt Chris.
 - J & M.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2 Months Old!

Happy 2 Month Old.

Today, September 15th, Elliott Zachary is 2 months old.  I'm amazed at how much he has changed, but also how much he has stayed the same.

He is still the happy, adaptable boy we brought home from the hospital.  When we took him to Mom and Dad McGee's over Labor Day, he was happy to sleep in the Pack 'n' Play away from Mommy and Daddy.  He let the cats sniff him and anyone who wanted to hold him was greeted with a smile.  He still looks like a baby version of my dad, which almost everyone who knows my dad comments on.  He's still the easy little dude we love.

On the changes front, he has really started to enjoy playing with toys and following them with his eyes.  He is happiest watching his mobile go around and around.  He's sleeping like a champ too.  He goes down usually between 9 and 10 and wakes up between 6 and 7 for a bottle or nursing session, then he's down again until about 9 or 10.  Bathtime is another favorite of Elliott's.  He is also growing hair on the top of his head to match the hair on the sides.  He looked like a man with male-pattern baldness until this week.  It's so fuzzy and cute!

This weekend we're looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Grandpa and possibly a little trip to my aunt and uncle's.  It'll be nice to get out of the apartment for something other than work.  When I'm home after work, I don't go anywhere because Jason has the car.  Therefore, I have to rely on friends to come and visit me.  Meg and Em visited on separate occasions, which helped break up the week.  We're also still working on getting the house in order.  I'm purging stuff like crazy because we just have so much that stays in boxes with each move.  It's nice to have the extra storage space.

I wonder what month three has in store for us!

- J & M.

Monday, September 12, 2011


In my last post I discussed Elliott's sleep issues.  We took the advice of many of our friends and family, and we seem to be finding success.

We now have a pre-bed routine.  It sometimes includes a bath (other times he gets a bath before a nap...either way: bath = sleep).  It always includes a story, then a bottle with just a nightlight on.  The last three nights he has fallen asleep pretty easily that way.  Tonight, though, since I was the one putting him to bed, he wasn't happy until he nursed again.  He's asleep now, but he's stirring...

Saturday into Sunday he slept 9:45p to 7:40a, and Sunday into today he slept 9:00p to 6:30a.  It's awesome and I hope it lasts for a little while.  :)

- J & M.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sweet Sleep

Sleep has been on our minds a lot this week.

We spent the Labor Day holiday with our families, staying at my parents' house.  Elliott got carried around by everyone, especially my dad.  It was wonderful to see our families and friends, since this was the first time we had gone to Harrisburg since Elliott was born.

However, since this weekend, Elliott has not been sleeping as well as before.  His naps are all over the place, if he even takes one, and getting him to sleep at night is difficult.  Jason generally takes bedtime duty, although I've been trying to get E to sleep earlier (Jason doesn't get home until 11pm certain nights!).

Someone mentioned to me that around 8 and 9 weeks, babies have what is called "a wonder week," in which they are making a huge developmental leap forward, and may exhibit regressive behaviors to deal with the new skills or stimuli.  If this is the case, we'll just keep on doing what we are doing and wait for it to pass.  Otherwise, I'm not sure if we need to change his bedtime routine.

Tonight took hours.  We think gas was the culprit, but we're not sure.

On the plus side, once he does get to sleep, he stays down for 6 or so hours.

- J & M.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lessons Learned

Here we are about 7 weeks into Elliott's "time on the outside," and I would like to think that I've learned some things.  I can survive and thrive on the same amount of sleep that I did in college, I can balance things better than I thought, and I love sitting in rocking chairs.

I'm sure every mom looks back at the things she "had to have" and thinks "how silly."  Granted, certain things won't be useful until Elliott gets a little older, but other things have already proven to be either life-savers or space-wasters.

1. Bottle brush: Because my dishwasher leaves a lot to be desired with my bottles, I love using a bottle brush.  Mine even has a hidden brush in the handle for a small brush to clean tight spots.
2. Boppy: What would any nursing mom do without this wonder pillow!  My arms would probably give out before Elliott was finished with each session.  Also, it's a great way to prop him up to play with him. Could they make adult Boppys?
3. Pack 'n' Play: We use this so E can sleep in our room.  It's portable, so we can pull it from one room to the other if need be.  It's great for traveling, although we've only used my mother-in-law's so far (she bought one from a friend to have at her house for her and my mom to use).
4. Medela pump / bottles: I've had great luck with this pump (I use the hand-model...I wasn't impressed by the electric model in the hospital).  The great thing is that any bottle or container from that brand is meant to work with the pump.  I can pump right into bottles!  Silly, I know, but nice to only dirty one container.
5. Hand-sanitizer: All babies have less-than-awesome immune systems, so it's always a good rule of thumb to scrub up before you touch a little one.  However, after having an ICN baby, and having to literally scrub up when we entered the nursery, we are really into keeping our hands super clean.  We have little bottles in every bag and purse, and we have larger pumps in the living room and our bedroom.  I even keep a little bottle in the dresser / changing table so I can wash up without walking away.
6. Baby tub: Some people can deal with a sink or tub and freestyle it; we can't.  Ours has a little shelf built in for his little bum to rest on.  Plus, it's a whale and has little toys to attach to it when he gets a little older.
7. Glider: He's soothed by it, so it's awesome.  Ours has a gliding foot rest too.
8. Diaper bag: This kinda goes without saying, but we love our diaper bag.  It's perfect.  We have the Skip Hop bag, which has a lot of pockets that are easy to access with one hand, as well as a cell phone pocket and a holder for a water bottle.
9. Dry Erase Marker: I use this to temporarily mark bottles after pumping so I remember which one to use first.
10. Water Bottle: I used one to death (literally...it eventually cracked) when I was pregnant, but I use this just as much now since I'm nursing.  I have a 25 oz Camelback, which doesn't spill and is easy to carry and clean.

1. Dishwasher rack: I think it's the quality of my dishwasher, but all my bottles come out spotty and the nipples don't really look clean.  I just use my handy-dandy bottle brush instead.
2. Mittens / socks: Elliott doesn't keep these on, and it's pretty hot out to boot.
3. Diaper holder: It's not super close to the changing table, so we don't really use it.  It's holding the Luvs diapers that we don't use right now.  Luvs leak for Elliott.  Lame.
4. Changing "table" & mobile on Pack 'n' Play: The mobile is not being used because for a while, we moved the PnP all the time.  I guess we could put it back on now that we don't move it.  The changing table on it tilts, making diaper changes interesting.
5. Baby powder and oil: Perhaps I just haven't found the reason for baby oil, but I just don't use it (and I have two GIANT bottles of it).  I registered for these massive containers, thinking they were baby care staples...not so much.  I did the same with Vaseline though and that was a good decision.  Apparently baby powder is also no longer en vogue, but it's lavender scented, so I'll just use it in the summer to keep dry.

1. Burt's Bees Baby Bee products: These smell so good and they work just wonderfully.  Elliott smells like lavender and honey when his bath is over.  :)
2. Wipe Warmer: Right now, it's a wipe holder (we just buy wipe refills), but in the winter I'm sure it will be nice for him not to have cold wipes.
3. Moby Wrap: I use this a little around the house, but because of the heat, I have held off.  He likes being in there and being close to me.  I used it on vacation only once, which was to go to breakfast.  The rest of the week was too hot.
4. Diaper Genie: It's a glorified trash can.  We got it for free, so no complaints.  I also made a diaper pail out of a kitty litter pail (they are huge and air tight).  I covered it with fabric, but it's not the best looking thing in the world.  Oh well.

There you have it!

 - J & M.