Thursday, February 23, 2012

Noah News: Week 15

Never a problem sleeping in the car seat!
Let's talk about sleep, baby - Holy moly what a week it has been. Up until this past week Noah was a great sleeper. Down for the night at 8, woke to eat at 3 & 6 and then up for the day at 8. Beautiful! Unfortunately, we found out about sleep regression this past week. It is a nightmare. The first night Noah was up every 1-2 hours. There was a lot of pacifier giving, tummy patting, rocking, and shhhhh-ing. I might have even slept on the floor next to his crib for a number of hours. Amazing where you can sleep when you are at the point of complete exhaustion. We decided that this shenanigan wasn't going to fly in our house and decided to lay down the law. AKA, Yikes. I never thought I would be doing any CIO this early on but for his sleep and our sanity it needed to be done. I don't have a need for him to sleep through the night just yet and feel like he still needs that 3am feeding so we decided that he needed to learn to sleep from 8 to 2 or 3. Last night looked like this:

7:30pm-6oz. bottle and down for the night (I read earlier bedtimes help sleep so we went with it)
8:15pm-Wakes up crying and we decide it is time to be tough (turn TV up a little louder)
9:00pm-Crying subsides (he wasn't hysterical the whole time)
9:01pm-High fives and congratulations on surviving without going in to get my little boy. It was HARD!
10:00pm-We head to bed.
10:25pm-More crying. BE TOUGH! (I said I would let him cry until 11 if needed and cracked open sleep book far this one is winning)
2:00am-Crying. He made it, time for a snuggle and feeding (oh how happy that made me to tell him that I didn't abandon him and give him kisses and comfort).
4:00am-More crying. Pacifier and tummy pats. Sleep on floor.
5:00am-More crying. Feed him again (he used to eat at 3 & 6 so 2 & 5 seemed fair).
6:45am-Crying. Send Scott in and he gets him back to sleep.
8:00am-Awake for the day. Big smiles in his crib! 

That is a lot of time stamps for one little boy. I am really hoping we can get that down to something like this:

8am-Up for the day.

Eventually we will work to cut out that 6am feeding but for now I will take the above schedule with open arms. Sleep regression is no joke but I feel confident that we have chosen the best solution for our family right now and hopefully we will see improvements night over night. 
This is what a breakdown looks like. This was the day after we returned home from St. Louis when Noah was hysterical at bedtime. We both ended up in tears!
Fresh Meat - Noah officially graduated from his 0-3 month "play" group to the 3-6 month group. He is now back at the bottom of the totem pole as we watch babies sit, roll, and even crawl a bit! The topic this past week was real food. I am taking it all in like a sponge and can't wait to get the ok to give our little guy his first bite. He loves to watch me eat so I am hopeful that will translate into him liking solids. I am considering skipping rice cereal...I have heard it has no nutritional value and constipates them...seems like two great reasons to stick with fruits & veggies.
This is one cool kid!
Breast is best - Since I don't have many headlines this week I figured I would give you my two cents on breastfeeding, as promised. Ok, it will be more like two dollars since I am feeling a bit wordy. In my opinion, there is a lot of social pressure to breastfeed. From the minute I found out I was pregnant, every website, class, and opinion seemed to be that "breast is best". I was weary of the whole thing and wasn't exactly psyched about breastfeeding but felt like I owed it to Noah to give it a shot. I can honestly say I am still not psyched about breastfeeding, BUT I also can't imagine giving it up. 

Let's break this down a bit...having to be available every 2.5 hours to sit down and feed my little guy is not exactly ideal in my book. There are times I wish I could just head out with a bottle and not think twice about how engorged I will get, what will it do to my supply to skip a feeding, where I will feed, etc... On the flip side, it is convenient to have food built in and not have to think about packing bottles. There is also the fun of bringing along a cover and trying to maneuver a shirt, bra, baby and nursing cover just to get started. It pretty much looks like a some kind of wild animal is trying to escape from under the cover until we get going. Nursing at home is far and away preferred.

I have made the commitment to do anything and everything to keep my supply up and steady until six months. This brings me to my next point; the pump. Pumping is not awesome. I pump twice a day to ensure my supply stays up, we have some to freeze, and enough to give a bottle a day. Pumping is a bit like getting your teeth cleaned. A necessity but a real pain!

I guess this isn't really getting to the point. A few weeks back I thought my supply was dwindling and that we were going to have to start giving Noah formula. I panicked. It was in that moment that I realized just how "on board" I am with breastfeeding. I want Noah to be exclusively breastfed until at least six months and now I wonder if I will still feel ok with whatever happens after that. My strong reaction to the thought of having to supplement was eye opening because I thought I didn't really care. I think some of my panic came from the idea that I had failed him. That my body couldn't provide what he needed and that was a tough pill to swallow. I think I am now in some kind of battle with myself to make sure that I can keep this up for as long as I want...anything less is not acceptable. Healthy, right?! Maybe the introduction of solids will help ease my freakishness about being his sole provider of food. We are hoping to do this at 4 months with doctor approval...fingers crossed!

If you are still reading, congrats and my apologies. If you skipped to the end, here is the summary...I don't love breastfeeding but wouldn't give it up for anything. The end.
I just want to gobble him up!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Past meets present

We all have a past. Sometimes it is hard to see why things happen the way they do in the moment but then you can look back and (hopefully) see that things do happen for a reason and they are all stepping stones to get you to where you are. 

Scott and I have an interesting past "together". I am not sure if I ever posted the story of how we met on the blog so I will give a rundown without all the mushy details (this got long but I needed it for Noah's baby book so I went with it):

Background on Steph: I was supposed to do the Vineman Half Ironman on July 20, 2008 in Guerneville, CA. I was engaged at the time I signed up and trained my tail off to get ready. By race day I had ended my relationship but my parents had already arranged to fly out to watch me race and I had my ticket to SF as well. We decided to still make a weekend out of it and all met in SF for a weekend of fun (I was living in Boulder, CO. at the time). I opted out of the race as my ex was still racing and his entire family would be there and it was just a bit too awkward for my liking. We ended up spending some quality time with Chrissie and Kyle (Kyle is my Dad's cousin) while in SF.

Lola & me in Colorado.
Background on Scott: Scott was living in San Francisco in 2008. A few years prior he lived about one block away from Chrissie and Kyle with his wife. When Scott's marriage ended, Chrissie and Kyle were beyond supportive and they kind of had a standing "date" with Scott each Friday night at their house for dinner.
Scott & Kristina cheering on the Giants
July 18, 2008: I flew into San Jose Airport and my parents picked me up and we were off to San Francisco. We had arranged to have dinner at Crick & Kyle's and so we set out for their house. En route, my parents mentioned that Scott would be there for dinner as well. You see, my parents had met Scott the previous year on a visit and my mom rambled on about how nice and what a great guy he was. Not in an, "I want to set you up" kind of way, just a, "We'll enjoy his company" way. I got all settled in on the floor playing with Kayla and a few minutes later the doorbell rang and Scott walked up the stairs. Love at first sight might be a bit strong but something in the universe came together in that moment. I was immediately attracted, but didn't want to let on to that so we just went on about our night.

July 19: We went out to dinner and Kyle made reservations for 5 just in case Scott decided to join us. He didn't. I must have asked Kyle 4 times if he was coming, but alas the chair was left empty and I was disappointed. Scott was interested but had previous obligations.

July 20: Dinner at Crick & Kyle's again. This time, Scott did come...after a little pre-dinner pep talk from his niece, Kristina. They decided that he had to make his "move" knowing that I would be returning to Colorado the next day. As I noted at the outset, I flew into San Jose for some odd reason (read:fate). My parents had planned to drive me down to SJ in rush hour traffic for my flight and then head back to SF to catch their flight. A-HA moment...Scott works in San Jose and so kindly offered to drive me to the airport so my parents didn't have to make the trek. I jumped at this opportunity and it was set...Scott would chauffeur me to the airport the next day. Of course, I was officially into Scott at this point and thought the world knew it so I didn't even give him a hug goodbye that night for fear I might be "found out". Scott was then completely confused because I was giving some serious mixed signals. 

July 21: Scott arrives to take me to the airport. I remember looking down from Crick & Kyle's condo and seeing him there looking as handsome as ever with a huge smile on his face (I was shoveling cereal in my, Steph). Crick made a comment about him wearing a new shirt (not having a clue about the crazy fireworks flying around in our heads) and Scott was ready to kick her for calling him out. Needless to say, we both had some crazy nervous/excited energy going on.

We played it cool all the way to the airport...chatting about our past relationships a bit, "joking" about a trip to Colorado for Scott, and just getting to know each other a little better. Once we arrived, Scott made his second move and gave me his card and said, "If you ever want to talk, call me". I gave him a hug goodbye this time. :-)

I made it through security and to the bar (yes, it was morning, but I hate to fly) before I sent off an email to Scott. I told him thanks for taking me to the airport and told him that he should, in all seriousness, come visit me in Colorado. And so it began...
Our very first picture together three weeks after that fateful drive to the airport.
Six months of flying back and forth between December I had quit my job and we moved me & Lola to San Francisco after Christmas in 2008. The rest is well documented on this blog! 

Phew...back to the actual purpose of this post. Pasts. Scott and I have a funny past "together" but not actually together. There were about 3 or 4 occasions where we should have met but didn't. It wasn't the right time for us. 

One such time was at Kyle & Chrissie's wedding in 2004. Scott was newly engaged, I was 20. While we never actually talked at the wedding, I have no doubt we had to "bump" into each other. I also have pictures from the same day with multiple people that were in our wedding party. Amazing how things come around.

Just for fun...Kyle and I at the big event. Look at those moves!

Exhibit A. If this picture got cut off, just click on it.
Exhibit B.
It is amazing the way things happen. If we had met at any other juncture other than that fateful July day, our story might be different. But here we are, on a Sunday morning, enjoying our home, dogs, and wonderful little boy. We are truly blessed.

The happy result of our crazy story.
And so that concludes my random boy-meets-girl post. Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane with us!

Three Months

While we were in St. Louis, Noah turned three months old. He also went through a growth spurt while were there and is now up to 12 lbs. 10 oz. Being with him daily it is hard to see how quickly he is growing but the clothes he has outgrown are piling up at a rapid rate! While he will always be my little peanut, he is turning into a little boy right before our eyes...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Noah News: Week 14 (part 2)

Part 2: Our Visit
My peanut and me.

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, 75 visitors...We had such an amazing time in St. Louis. While I love and am thankful for my life in California, it is hard to be away from my family and spending 7 days of quality time together was amazing. As usual, our time was jam packed, but it was very heart warming to see how many people wanted to meet Mr. Noah. 75 people might seem like an exaggeration but I assure you it isn't. From the time we landed until our return Noah met 77 new faces.

After our successful trek across the country Noah and I settled into life in St. Louis. Of course, my mom mad that transition extremely easy having everything set up in advance of our arrival. I made the decision before we left to keep Noah on his West Coast schedule which meant that bedtime was at 10pm each night. It wore the adults out but I truly believe it was the best decision for my little guy. 
This is the dry sink that my mom changed me on when I was little. Noah LOVED it.

A close up of the fabric on the top.
I failed to get pictures of all of our visitors (plus, I might crash the blogger server if I posted all of those!) but here are a few samples:
Great Aunt Toni (GAT) trying to pop Noah's head off :-).
Not technically a visitor but a pretty special person Noah got to see.
Noah is lucky to have 2 Great Grandmas. Grandma Smith and Grandma Koon.
Koon Family 4 generation photo.
Smith Family 4 generation photo.
I would have cropped this but decided Belle needed to be represented in our family photo. We'll take another one with Scott in April!
Noah was pretty much the center of attention for the week.
Great Aunt Lynne and Great Uncle Hot Rod.
Lauren and Noah. For a little persepective, I used to babysit Lauren when she was little (see below). They lived catty corner to our house and I pretty much spent every waking moment bugging Bobbi and Doug until they had Lauren and I had something else to focus my attention on! I have decided I need to find myself a 12 year old to come over each day at 3 o'clock and play with Noah.
Crazy how fast time flies. I need to remember to soak up every moment with Noah because before we know it he will be driving and looking at colleges!
Lauren, Jordan and Noah. Bobbi and Doug moved away shortly after having Jordan so I didn't get to teach her as many great habits (Oreo eating and screaming) as Lauren but hopefully some knowledge seeped in over the years.
A little love for Belle. She was a trooper through the entire 7 days but she had definitely had enough and was ready for us to go home!
Derry and Noah dancing
Scared the living daylights out of me - This is an anecdote that I am going to use to illustrate the truth behind the idea that babies pick up on your emotions. The other night I was rocking Noah back to sleep in the middle of the night and he was a fussing a touch. Scott woke up and wandered down the hall in 007 stealth fashion. All of a sudden I turned to see him standing in the doorway and I about jumped out of my skin. Noah immediately went into hysterics. My whole body must have tensed and reacted and my little boy knew that things were no longer ok. I tried to keep this in mind while we were flying this week. I don't like to fly and tend to get really jumpy and anxious when there is any turbulence. Luckily Noah didn't seem to mind my hyperventilating on our bumpy descent into SF as he just slept right through it!
This has nothing to do with anything but I like it so I am posting it here!
Overstimulation is a very real danger - We have dealt with a touch of overstimulation with Noah (a few too many people, a little too much playing, etc...). BUT, this weekend I found out just how bad it can be. Saturday we held an open house thinking it would be easier to have people come to us instead of toting Noah all over the greater St. Louis area. The verdict...good and bad idea. Good because we got to see a lot of people, bad because it left Noah reeling. He could not come down from all the madness and was pretty much a zombie for a good few hours and then couldn't fall asleep. It was pretty heart breaking to watch him struggle to recoup after the day's events.
He and Grandma walked around like this for at least an hour.
Grinning from ear to ear - I swear Noah smiles. I am pretty sure my parents didn't believe me until this week when they got to see it first hand. This week, we are even inching towards laughing! He gets so excited and is almost there. I can't wait to hear my little man giggle!
Not a smile but at least he doesn't look angry at the camera!
A matter of coordination - Noah's hand-eye-coordination took leaps forward this week. He is now becoming a pro at gripping and pulling anything/everything to his mouth. Watch out pomeranians! 
He sucked on that silly little toy for a good 30 minutes at the airport.
Be my Valentine - This year Scott and I weren't able to be together for Valentine's Day but I had two pretty special men in my life back in St. Louis. Every year growing up my dad would get my mom a dozen red roses and a single yellow rose for me. This tradition ended when I left the house but on Tuesday he surprised us both with our "usuals". Pretty special day indeed.
Just for me :-)
Climate change - Noah got to see his first snow while in St. Louis. I had grand visions of bundling him up and plopping him in the white stuff for a photo but I failed. We did get him all bundled for a trip to visit my mom's work though!
My little bear. He actually ended up too hot in this little get up!
This post is all over the map. A half way crafted recap, a few headlines, and a lot of pictures. If it is any indication of our trip, my one goal was to get a mani/pedi while I was there. It took me until Tuesday to actually make that happen. We were busy and as a result I am exhausted and apparently incapable of organizing my thoughts. 

Thank you to everyone who came to see Noah while we were in town. We enjoyed every moment and can't wait to come back soon! Next time, we're bringing Dad along though...we sure did miss him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Exciting news...I changed my settings to hopefully make commenting a bit easier. You no longer have to sign in to comment, BUT I will still be moderating them before they post to the blog. Hope to hear from readers soon! And...if you are nice and savvy and can sign in I would love that versus a ton (ha!) of anonymous posts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Noah News: Week 14 (part 1)

Part 1: Our Journey to St. Louis

Well, we made it! Wednesday morning we crossed off the final items from our extensive list and set off for the airport. Scott parked and brought our luggage in to be checked and saw us to security. It was a tough goodbye knowing we wouldn't be seeing him for a full week. In 14-week-old land, that is an eternity.

Approved for take off!
After Scott bid us adieu we were on our own! Luckily, everyone we encountered was extremely friendly and helpful AND I was obnoxiously prepared. Let's run down the events:
  • Security: Easy Breezy. I had all items that needed to come out (liquids, iPad, etc...) in the car seat bag so they were easy to pull out and into bins. This way the diaper bag could go straight through the xray without being pulled apart. TSA was super helpful and put me in the family line with no one behind me so we could take our time. Noah was patient and rolled with the in/out of car seat transition great.
  • Airport: Our flight ended up being delayed so we had a decent amount of time to kill at the gate (plus, we got there super early). Once again, my little boy was a rock star. He napped while I had some lunch and read a bit of a book and woke up just in time to board. We gate checked the stroller and car seat, plopped Noah in the bjorn and headed down the jetway.
  • Plane: Lucky us...the plane was EMPTY. I had a whole row all to myself. If that doesn't make flying with an infant easier, I don't know what does. I took full advantage of the extra space (after wiping every possible inch with Lysol wipes) and spread our stuff out. Of course once Noah woke up from his slumber he decided he was hungry...NOW. This didn't coincide with my plan to make him eat on take off but to avoid 20 minutes of screaming baby I went ahead and fed him. When take off time came, I just fed him again...
  • Seriously, three seats is ah-mazing!
  • Flight: "Make them suck on the way up and way down." I must have heard that advice 400 times and took it very seriously. As I mentioned I fed Noah for the second time within about 30 minutes on our ascent. He probably thought this was awesome until he realized he was over full when we leveled out and yacked. I'll take some spit up over screaming any day though! The flight was a dream. Having our row allowed Noah to be able to lay down, kick his legs, have a little snooze, play and eat without bothering a single person.                                                                                                                     

Noah sitting like the big man he is in "his" seat.

  • The only true airplane "adventure" we had was a sizeable blow out that required use of the airplane bathroom changing table and an outfit change.I would put this escapade at a 3 on a stress scale of 1-10. Clearly, manageable. One thing that made this go smoothly was the advice I got to pack a ziplock with just diaper changing essentials (2 diapers, wipes, pee pad). This was much nicer to haul to the bathroom than a huge bulky diaper bag.  After watching a bit of the worst movie of all time (new Footloose) it was time for us to descend. Noah nursed once again for about twice as long as normal but he had no ear trouble so I'll call it win.
  • Arrival: We got all packed up, back in the bjorn and headed off the plane. Being the last one off we ran into the pilots who were a tremendous help getting our stroller up the jetway and they even gave Noah a set of wings for his first flight. I cannot say enough about the United staff and just how friendly they were to me while traveling solo. It made me much more relaxed which in turn made the little guy a dream to travel with. I digress...we got all set back in our stroller and took off to find Grandma and Grandpa!
As expected, my parents were waiting right outside the security gates to greet me Noah. They helped me claim my bags while I did a quick interview for Channel 4. Apparently they heard I was coming back to St. Louis and sent a news crew to the airport to document my arrival. I am kidding, of course. It was completely random and it was for a story about TSA changes; but I did make the 10 o'clock news.
We made it!
And with that, we set off for "home" to spend a week soaking up time with Grandma, Grandpa, and about 75 visitors. More on that in part 2.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Noah News: Week 13

Ah, a day in the life of a Pomeranian!
Seeing Red - We have caught on to a little signal that Noah doesn't even know he sends us. Before the tired crankies set in, Noah's eyebrows turn red. If we are paying close enough attention it is the first sign that he is starting to get sleepy. He can be happy as a clam but when those puppies start to turn, the yawning and fussiness are right behind.
I don't have any pictures of his red eyebrows so this one of him relaxing on the lawn at Far Niente will have to do.
An ounce a day keeps the doctor away - As I have posted before, it took us a little longer than ideal to get Noah back up to his birth weight. After we got on track though we were cruising! Until last week. I did a few weigh-ins and realized that my little guy was staying a little guy. I freaked when I saw he only gained a half an ounce in 5 days and emailed our pediatrician. The verdict, "I don't expect an oz a day at this age.  If you are getting good wet diapers and poopy diapers and appetite seems good, then you can judge on that rather than on frequent weights". Someone should have send me a memo with that handy little piece of information. I had myself so spun up...BUT, the relief of knowing he is a-ok was a beautiful thing. This possible hiccup made me reflect on my true feelings about breast feeding. That is pretty much a post in itself so I will save it but suffice it to say I am more partial to BF than I thought. 
Don't stop till you get enough - This applies to me and my eating ability. I seriously feel like I can.not.stop putting food in my mouth. No sooner do I finish a meal than I am ready for a snack. This breastfeeding body is metabolizing food like crazy. It far exceeds the hunger I felt when I was pregnant. I wake up for our 6am feeding ravenous. Of course, so does Noah, so it is animal cracker city until about 10am when he is happy, full and playing on his activity mat. I won't bore you with the menu for an entire day but know I consume way too many empty calories (I really need to come up with better fast/handy snacks) and eat my actual meals like I have never seen food before.
Have to keep getting those calories to pass on to our growing little boy!
Only the Lonely - This might sound crazy but I seriously miss my little guy after he goes to bed. The first hour or so is a nice little break and I spend every moment relaxing but once 9 or 10 roles around I miss his presence. Noah and I rarely spend more than 60 minutes apart so those few hours all of a sudden seem really long!
How could you not miss this little face?!
There is no headline to sum up the love in these pictures - Last week I talked about Noah's amazing dad but didn't add any pictures. These two make me so happy.

After his nighttime bottle.
I think Scott wanted him to sleep like this all night. I finally had to be the one who moved him to his crib!
"But look at this hand!". I have to admit, it is hard to put him in bed when he falls asleep with those little hands on yours.

Naptime Update - This past week we have had some relative success in the nap department. Noah has been taking better naps in his crib when given the opportunity. HOWEVER, here is the new dilemma...I can't figure out how to get out of the house without inducing a car seat nap. If I take him as soon as he wakes up he still falls asleep and then I feel like I am depriving him of his happy play time. If I take him when it is actually nap time, he is getting away with naps in his car seat. It is pretty much a lose/lose situation. My solution: making outings at different times each day. In my head this makes sense so at least he doesn't get used to having his afternoon nap in his car seat every day.

The car seat nap.

Vino Bambino - We set off for Noah's second trip to Napa this weekend and it was much more enjoyable than our first trip. Everyone was much more relaxed and comfortable with the whole experience. Ok, maybe just me...the boys had a great time the first trip! A funny thing about taking a baby to a winery...everyone wants to be your best friend. Scott and I felt like celebrities! Noah was a huge hit amongst all the winery guests and we had a wonderful day basking in the sun and delicious wine!
Family wine tasting at Nickel & Nickel.
Noah looking thrilled (I swear he smiles!). He was probably mad because he and dad were dressed alike. No, I didn't plan it.
We discovered he can face out in the bjorn!
"Recreating" the below picture from our first trip to Far Niente (I'm impressed that neither of us has a drink in our for the record books).

And just like that, Noah will be three months old this week! We will be back late next week with a report on our first flight and visit to St. Louis.