Cora: Seven Months

14 Mar

At seven months, Cora…

:: has fully embraced the joy of food. It’s such a mess, but it’s also so much fun to watch her try new things. I’ve been giving her lots of bits and pieces and also still letting her enjoy some purees. So far there hasn’t been anything she’s made crazy faces about or seemed to not like, which is pretty nice when your other children are squarely in the “picky” phase.

:: has mastered crawling and is now working on standing, sometimes unsupported save the grasp of a blanket or someone’s shirt. Her balance is getting better and better and she is always thrilled by her ability to steady herself on two feet.

:: is such a cheeseball. She is so happy, especially if someone is holding her and she has people to watch. She also loves to come around the corner to see me while grinning and making excited inhale/exhale noises (not sure how else to describe it, but it’s great).

:: grunts/growls when she is tired or is going to sleep. So funny, but pretty much her standard settling technique is rocking her head back and forth while growling. I need to record it for posterity.

:: has started to get a little nervous when Oliver is super close. He is currently going through a “I’m going to yell as loud as I can if I don’t like something” phase, and also a “whatever Cora has is the Thing I Desperately Need” phase. So there has been quite a lot of loud noises directed at her. She still loves him (and he loves giving her hugs and making silly faces to make her smile), but I’m a little more aware when the two of them are on the floor near each other.

:: is beginning to explore the great outdoors. I’ve let her crawl around on the grass a bit when it’s dry and not too sandy, and she will sometimes sit for up to five minutes before she starts trying to eat the grass.

:: finally enjoys bath time. She has definitely taken longer than her brothers (they were water fans from the beginning), but now as long as she isn’t too tired, she loves to sit in the bathtub and splash the water. Eventually she tries to drink it and tub time is over, but until now baths were quick and further between.

:: is probably going to have another tooth or two pop in soon. She’s been doing a lot more chewing on various things and drooling a bunch again. I’m hoping it won’t be too drawn out!

:: has such sweet squeals and giggles. I love making her crack up — baby laughs are the best!

Cora: Six Months

1 Mar

At six months, Cora…

:: Is a speed crawler. Once she figured it out, it took her all of a few days to start racing across the room.

:: Sits up with total control, and goes back and forth between sitting/crawling with ease.

:: Loves being out on our front porch to watch the trees and chew on Duplo blocks

:: Is somewhat ambivalent about food. She’s mostly just tried purees so far and she’ll eat a few tastes from a spoon, but gets wiggly after that. I think she’ll enjoy holding on to pieces of food but I’m not ready for all that mess yet!

:: Loves to roll balls across the room. She’ll push it forward, watch it roll, crawl to catch up with it…repeat!

:: Continues to be fascinated by ceiling fans.

:: Has two (very cute) teeth. I know more are coming but I’m hoping she has a little break from teething.

:: Has started to consolidate her naps a good bit, which has allowed our days to have a stronger rhythm. The boys and I are both glad for that.

:: Is beginning to have a bit of separation anxiety. She gets nervous when I give her to someone else, especially if it’s someone she doesn’t see every day.

:: Is so much more content in her car seat when we are driving. Whew.

Cora: Five Months

7 Jan


At five months, Cora…

:: is basically crawling. She gets up on all fours and then ooches or launches herself forward. She also will get up into a sortof downward dog position where her knees and elbows are off the floor and just rocks back and forth. It’s hilarious to watch and she’s moving faster and faster.

:: Loves to chew on everything, still. Although now I think it is more about teething (but still enjoying textures).

:: is going to sleep on her own for naps. !!! Amen and hallelujah. The boys NEVER did this. Never. She’s just got a different personality. After we got back from our Christmas trip, she would go to sleep without me holding her at bedtime, but for naps she still needed to be bounced to sleep–and then half the time she’d wake up as soon as I set her in the crib. I knew we needed to change something because we were both exhausted, so last week I told her that she was going to start going without bouncing for naps. She wasn’t stoked about it, but she never got hysterical and after a bit of grumping, she figured it out. Now I can turn on her white noise, turn off the lights, sing her a song, set her in her crib and leave. AND she’s taking at least one hour plus nap a day. It has made both me and her SOOOO much happier.

:: did great on our road trip to PA. We had do stop a lot because she would nap for about an hour and I could only keep her happy with toys and distractions for about an hour after that, but it was so much better than her screaming car seat hatred of past months. It was still exhausting but that’s just how things are when you have that far to go with three littles. But thankfully she is now generally happy in the car and has enough interest in toys and objects to be entertained.

:: had a great first Christmas. It was a lot, and she had a cold, but she had a lot of fun with all the attention from her relatives. She only tried to eat one piece of wrapping paper and even saw a tiny bit of snow fall from the sky!

:: is looking forward to trying some food. She’s started watching us eat and I can tell she’s wondering when she can get ahold of what’s on our plates. She’ll be six months before I know it and I’m curious to see what she enjoys.

:: loves to roll all over the place. Both directions, diagonally, everywhere. Combined with the pseudo-crawling, she’s gotten a pretty wide range of movement!

:: loves to smile. After being so particular and grumpy in her first few months, it’s hard to believe what a happy, sweet baby she is. So many things make her laugh and she is so curious about the world around her.

Cora: Four Months

10 Dec


At four months, Cora…

:: Rolls and rolls. She finally rolled from her belly to her back last week and has now been rolling across the house. I have to be more careful about how I set her down and make sure her trajectory isn’t going to head towards anything hard on the floor (she only rolls in one direction, lol).

:: Is now focused on scooting. She’s got a bit of scooting going on but also goes into “skydiver” mode and just growls because she isn’t moving forward. It’s pretty entertaining.

:: Enjoys playing peekaboo (and thinks it’s hilarious)

:: Chews on everything. I think at this point it’s less about teething and more just exploring the textures of whatever she’s holding.

:: Hates the car seat again. Boo. Especially because we have a 12 hour (broken up over two days) road trip coming up at Christmas. I’m still praying she will be better used to it at that point!

:: Has been going to bed a bit better but is also consistently waking around 5am most days (along with her other few nighttime wakings). At that point I can only get her to go back to sleep by bouncing her, which is not ideal that early, and usually I can’t fall back asleep. Please let this be a phase…

:: Loves watching the leaves fall. We have a few trees in our front yard that have been shedding their leaves over the last few weeks and Cora really enjoys being on the font porch, watching them float to the ground.

:: Still smiles and laughs more for her brothers than for anybody else.

:: Loves being held by her dad, unless she thinks he is trying to get her to sleep. In which case she will scream with the fury of a dragon.

Cora: Three Months

22 Oct

At three months, Cora…

:: just got past the 12 week growth spurt. Whew. That was a doozy. There was a week where I thought I might never sleep again, but thankfully the past few nights have been much more normal.

:: went to Nashville! A friend of mine (and her one year old) went with me and Cora to the Wild + Free Conference in Nashville. It was a blast, although not relaxing by any means thanks to the babies. They did really well though, even on the late night flight back!

:: is insanely fast at rolling over (from her back to her belly). Just a couple of weeks after I posted her 2 month update, she figured it out (at the tail end of our trip to Nashville). She hasn’t worked out how to roll back yet but is propping herself up super far on her elbows.

:: backward scoots. She loves to dig her heels into the carpet and ooch herself backwards. One morning she scooted all the way from the rug by our dresser, to our bed. If I hadn’t picked her up, she definitely would’ve scooted UNDER the bed!

:: loves her brothers. They really make her smile, and both of them have continued to be so sweet to her. I’m sure there will be some changing emotions once she starts getting more active and “into” their stuff, but I’m glad that right now they are really adorable with each other.

:: has quite a bit of hair. More than Ollie or Charlie did at this stage!

:: looks SO much like her dad. It’s almost comical, especially when he is holding her.

:: is having longer periods of happy awake time.

:: loves watching ceiling fans. It’s like her own personal mobile, and since we have quite a few in our house, she’s a lucky girl.

:: is big enough to go in the Ergo (with the extra lift cushion). I’m glad, because it’s definitely more comfortable for my back than the soft wrap.

:: finally (whew) doesn’t HATE the car seat. It’s still not her favorite place to be but at least she doesn’t spend the entire car ride screaming at the top of her lungs.

:: is content enough to let me sit and hold her in my lap. I know, shocking! But up until a few weeks ago, she would generally grump if we weren’t standing while holding her.

:: loves to grasp her hands together. She figured out how to do it pretty early on and it’s usually her default when someone is holding her.

Cora: Two Months

24 Sep

At two months, Cora…

:: Has chilled out a bit (a little bit). We had a pretty grumpy patch from about 6 – 8 weeks but now she is generally happier, thank goodness.

:: Enjoys much more time lying on the floor, watching things around her and moving her arms and legs. Oftentimes if I lie next to her and let her hold on to my finger, she will pull herself over onto her stomach.

:: Wants to roll over by herself. Like, REAL bad.

:: Does not like being in the car seat unless she is sleepy and can fall asleep in it. Car rides when she is fully awake mean a crying, angry baby!

:: Laughed for the first time! It was really sweet and I actually caught it on camera, which I am super happy about. Baby laughs are my favorite.

:: Smiles if you get very close and say her name and talk to her about her day.

:: Loves to be carried facing out, in football hold. Which means she will drool all over whatever arm you’re holding her with, but at least she’s happy.

:: Has started rotating. When I lay her down and go help the boys with something, she’s in a different position by the time I come back.

:: Sneezes in fours. I’m pretty sure Charlie used to do double sneezes and Oliver sneezed in threes, so this is pretty amusing to me.

:: Likes when Charlie rubs her head. He is super sweet and gentle with her.

Cora: One Month

26 Aug

At one month, Cora…

:: has rolls on rolls on rolls. She’s following after Ollie in the chunk department, and I can’t get enough of her sweetness.

:: weighs 10 pounds!

:: Is a very light sleeper. She has a hard time falling asleep in the car seat or if I’m walking around holding her. But she’s finally able to go to sleep on her own in the co-sleeper at least a few times a day (which, oh my goodness. Is amazing. Neither of my boys could do that and I have been SO thankful she is able to sometimes.) She does love being in the wrap and sleeps well there, but the heat makes that not the best option most of the time.

:: Speaking of heat, it remains to be seen if it’s because she’s a Florida summer baby or if it’s just how she is, but man, girlfriend is sweaty. I feel like she’s going to slide out of my arms if we go outside for more than ten minutes.

:: Is not a fan of the sun. She likes to be outside late in the evening, but otherwise it’s definitely not her favorite place right now.

:: Loves watching her brothers make faces at her. Charlie likes to “pet her head” and is convinced that it will always make her stop crying. Oliver is always asking where she is if I’m not holding her and doesn’t at all understand the concept of being a little quieter when she is sleeping.

:: Sleeps like a standard baby at night. Some nights are better than others, and most of the time she’ll eat and go right back to sleep. Hopefully I’ll start getting some longer stretches soon.

:: Has just started to make sweet little cooing baby noises. It’s been so much fun to see her wake up more and more to the world.

:: Loves laying on her changing pad during diaper changes. I’m always so glad to get past those first few weeks when every diaper change is filled with screaming. Now she kicks around happily and makes fun faces.

:: Has smiled once or twice but that’s about it so far. I think we’ll see more of that this coming week.

Oliver: 12 Months

1 Jul

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A little late, this is the last monthly post I will be doing for Oliver. The next one will be at two years! At 12 months, Oliver…

:: Is walking! Not for very long, as crawling gets him where he wants to go much faster, but he is venturing further and further on two feet.

:: Makes the best noises when he and Charlie get all silly and “tackle” each other on our bed.

:: Has six teeth.

:: Enjoyed celebrating his first birthday at the park.

:: Was very serious about his first birthday cake. He ate the entire thing like it was his job.

:: Wants to be outside. If our front door opens he is bolting over to it like a cat.

:: Wants to eat ALL the rocks.

:: Is a huge fan of smoothies.

:: Figured out how to play Charlie’s bongo drum.

:: Figured out how to climb up on (and sit on) Charlie’s tractor.

:: Figured out how to climb up on the rocking chair and rock back and forth.

:: Figured out how to make me paranoid that we are going to end up in the hospital before the month is out because oh my goodness this child climbs.

:: Is fascinated by dogs and cats. I think he wants to ride them.

:: May also say “dog” as his first real word (possibly already has).

:: Has a new favorite bathtime game of handing things to whoever is on the outside of the tub, grinning, and then waiting for you to drop it back in the water.

:: Has more curls. They are super cute.

Oliver’s Birth Story

8 Jun

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A year ago today, I gave birth to Oliver Michael Jones. It took me a year to share Charlie’s birth story, so why would it be any different this time around? To be honest, in the craziness of having two kiddos now, I’d give myself complete permission to wait until Oliver’s SECOND birthday if it weren’t for the fact that my mind would probably have completely forgotten every detail of his birth at that point. So instead, I’ll go ahead and make this happen!

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Oliver definitely kept us guessing. When I was 37.5 weeks along (trying not to expect it but hoping that I would go into labor at 38 weeks just like I did with Charlie), I started having major contractions. All the signs were showing up, to the point that we took Charlie to a friend’s house to spend the night and Caleb and I began getting everything ready at home. Then, we waited. And things tapered off. Late that night, we finally went to sleep, and when I woke in the morning everything had stopped.

We picked up Charlie that morning, went to the park, and when we got home, there was a message from Caleb’s brother. We called him back and he told us that the night before, Caleb’s Grandfather, Pap Pap, had passed away. Pap Pap was incredibly special to all of us and while he had been dealing with health issues as he got older, it was still a shock. We knew then that God had nudged Oliver that it was not yet time for him to arrive, so that we could have some space to mourn the loss of Pap Pap and celebrate the incredible life he lived.

As the next couple of weeks passed, I would get hit with random bouts of intense contractions, but every time I would decide that maybe this was it, they would slow again and space out. Everything was looking good, thankfully, Oliver just couldn’t decide what he wanted to do!!

Finally, on Saturday (June 6th), contractions started again and this time, something just seemed different. I tried not to get my hopes up but I was pretty certain this was it. I would be 40 weeks that Monday and couldn’t believe I was still pregnant. Things were fairly quiet that day, but I cleaned a bit to try and distract myself. I went to bed early, not knowing what to expect.

On June 7th, I woke up at 4am, with things feeling a bit more consistent. I was excited because June 7th was Pap Pap’s birthday, and Caleb and I had talked about how crazy it would be if Oliver waited until that day. I rang the midwife and she came around 5am, checked me, and agreed that this was probably it! She was about to finish her shift and told me she would send another midwife in a couple of hours. Right before the second midwife came, I was timing contractions and they were getting really close together. But in a perfect example of how environment and people can affect the progression of labor, as soon as she came in and started checking me, they stopped. I had never met her before, she was super matter-of-fact (which was fine later but initially came off as a bit rude) and I didn’t feel totally at ease with her. She told me to give her a call when they got closer together again and get some rest in the mean time.

Charlie went to church with a friend of ours and Caleb and I went for a walk. It was a beautiful day and it was really nice to be outside, even though I would end up majorly leaning on Caleb every time I had a contraction. When we got back, I started using the birth ball and some of the exercises on Spinning Babies to try and get Ollie into a good position and hopefully speed up the labor. It worked, and around 7pm, Caleb left to get Charlie from our friend’s house (I was so thankful he was being looked after and having fun) and I called the midwives again. This time, they sent two midwives to stay, along with a midwifery student who happened to be on call for observation. They arrived while Caleb was still out and helped me get the TENS machine wires on. I had never used one before, but they are popular here and I was really glad I had rented one. It’s about the size of a remote control, and has electrodes that are attached to four thin adhesive pads, which you stick to your lower back. When you turn it on, it causes a slight buzz, and when a contraction starts you can push a button to intensify the buzz (kind of like a bunch of grasshopper wings going super fast, if that makes any sense!). It’s a really nice distraction when contractions get intense.

Caleb called to let me know that he and Charlie were on the way, so I had the midwives go “hide” In the kitchen so that Charlie wouldn’t be confused. I sat on the stairs and was able to give Charlie a hug goodnight between contractions, which I was really glad for! I think it helped him settle for bed a lot faster. Once he was asleep, Caleb and the midwives started filling the birth pool. I spent most of the time in the living room on or near the couch, relaxing and going back and forth between the birth ball, or leaning onto a pillow on the couch. I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting in the tub because I felt like I got in too early with Charlie and that was part of what slowed things down with his labor.

Things were getting SUPER intense around 10:30 and I laid on the couch with Tycho turned up really loud in my headphones. I was definitely in the zone, and it was only later that I realized I was definitely in transition at that point. I came out of it a bit, had some popsicles and vitamin water, and when the midwife checked me, I was at 9cm! I was elated and so glad that it was time to get in the tub. I took off the TENS machine pads and got in the water (which Caleb had worked incredibly hard at filling, between using our tiny sink tap and carrying down bins of water from the bathroom). It felt AMAZING. Seriously, hydrotherapy is a wonderful thing. I relaxed in the water and then stood and held onto Caleb in between contractions. It was almost midnight, and I was really hoping that Oliver would be born that day so he could share a birthday with Pap Pap.

The midwife explained the gas and air to me just in case I wanted it. I hadn’t necessarily planned on using it, but had agreed to have it available just in case. She set it up and showed me where to inhale. Then, I had a contraction and my water broke—all of a sudden I was in a totally different zone. I asked for the gas and air, mainly because I wanted to trust my body and not overthink pushing. It worked really well and I was able to relax and let the contractions do all the work. It’s hard to describe, it didn’t really change the pain but just made everything a bit fuzzier around the edges when I was breathing it (probably for a total of 10 minutes or so).

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I had Caleb hold my hands/wrists to support me. I couldn’t not push, I felt completely out of control and driven by instinct. After two or three contractions, it was the most intense and I reached down to feel Oliver’s head. Within seconds his head was out! I knew there was a flurry of activity all around me preparing for him, but I just listened to Caleb and to my Midwife. I took some breaths, exhaled slowly and let his body turn while the next contraction came. And just like that, he was out! I kept saying, ‘You’re here! You’re here! You’re finally here!” It was so incredible; he was so soft. It was 12:23am. The student midwife took photos and later I saw that his eyes were open in the water, and he had one hand up to his face (he still loves being able to suck on his hand). I spent some time with him in the tub before they cut his cord. After I got out, I delivered the placenta and then I got all cozy on the couch and nursed Oliver. He latched on perfectly and was so sweet and snuggly. He weighed 6 lbs, 13 oz. Charlie only woke one time; right after I had given birth and there was some commotion, but Caleb was able to get him right back to sleep. He was so excited to meet his brother in the morning and kept saying, “Ol-i-ler came out! Ol-li-ler is out now!”

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I was so thankful to be able to have Oliver at home. I felt so comfortable and relaxed the entire time, and I’m so glad that the NHS is supportive of home birth. Taking a shower in my own bathroom and cuddling up with my new baby in my own bed was pretty amazing (although Caleb did all the hard work of putting away the birth pool and getting our kitchen back to normal).

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As much as we had hoped that Oliver would share Pap Pap’s birthday date, I’m really happy that he was born on June 8th. He has is own special day, but since he was born in the UK, it was still only 7:23pm in the US. Which means that technically, at the moment he was born, it was still Pap Pap’s birthday. I can’t wait to tell him all of our favorite stories about Pap Pap and how lucky he is to share in his legacy.

 

Oliver: Eleven Months

4 Jun

11month-omj

At 11 months, Oliver…

:: Has started wanting to carry things around with him, meaning he will either hold them in his mouth like a puppy, or do this side-scoot crawl so he has one hand free.

:: LOVES oatmeal, bananas, curry, chili. Still does not like eggs…that’s about it. Everything else goes right in.

:: Wants to eat rocks. And also to tip over the bucket of water that catches a leak in our back yard. Because of this, his outdoor time in our back yard is fairly limited…

:: Has started to really enjoy being tickled.

:: Does NOT enjoy being tossed up into the air (as some babies do). I tried it again recently and he nearly burst into tears.

:: Has decided that he’s a little bit more ok with this whole “sleeping” thing. Not completely, but a little bit.

:: Has four teeth and the beginnings of two more on top (Incisiors I think) poking through.

:: Is getting thicker hair, with a little bit of curl to it.

:: Could spend an entire day chewing on clothing tags. Or eating all the paper, if I would let him.

:: Wants my phone and the laptop more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD if it is within his reach.

:: Has started actually caring when Charlie takes things that he is playing with and expresses his displeasure while trying to take said things back.

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