Friday, December 18, 2015

Isabelle:4 Months!

Dear Leigh Leigh Lady,

Well, I just wrote your entire letter and somehow it deleted, so now I must begin again.  Ugh!  Computers drive me CRAZY sometimes.

Anyway, the past 4 months have been a total whirlwind.  You have had such a plethora of appointments and therapies, it's all becoming kind of a blur.  (The sleep deprivation doesn't help either.  More on that later.)  But between the pediatrician, orthopedic doctor, radiologist, occupational therapist, and craniosacral therapist, you have at least one (often two or three) appointments per week.  I am so glad at this moment in time that I am able to be a stay at home mom, so that I can get you to all of your therapies and appointments.  I have no idea how we'd do it if I worked outside the home.

OT and CST are working with you to help improve your feeding.  Your latch on both breast and bottle is poor, causing you to have tons of gas and general discomfort.  I wish I could say I've seen some major improvement, but I can't say that I have yet.  You nurse at night and take bottles during the day because you flat out refuse to nurse during the day.  I can't quite figure it out, but it's like you know when 6am hits and you WILL NOT nurse after that point in the day.  Despite the fact that it is still dark and quiet in your room.  So I pump and give you bottles of that during the day.  And it's exhausting.  Breastfeeding is hard, but in my opinion, pumping is way harder.  Or at least way more annoying and time consuming.  Yes you don't have to worry about latch with pumping.  And others can feed your baby.  But pumping for 20 minutes, then washing that stuff, then feeding the bottle for 20+ minutes, and then washing that.... only to do it all again in 2 hours.  Pure exhaustion.  I would choose nursing any day over all of those shenanigans that come with pumping.  But, you won't do it, so pumping it is.  At least you nurse at night so I don't have to pump overnight.  I am very thankful for that!

 But all in all, you still aren't gaining enough weight, and that fact weighs heavily on my heart.  There is little that makes a mama feel more inadequate than not being able to feed her baby well enough.  We have such a hard time getting you to even eat 3 ounces every 3 hours during the day.  After an ounce or two you decide that you are done and we have to walk around, bounce, distract, and in essence force you to finish your bottles.  Or at least take three ounces.  We make every bottle 4oz, but make sure you get at least 3oz before giving up.  Feeding you is so exhausting.

So at your 4 month doctor appointment I brought this up again, and we decided to set up a swallow study for two reasons.  Number one: to see if you do indeed have reflux.  You've been on Zantac for awhile and we don't even really know if you have reflux or not.  Number two: to make sure you aren't aspirating your feeds.  You have had a persistent cough for over a month and the pediatricians are attributing it to your reflux, so we want to be sure you are swallowing effectively.  Maybe the swallow study will give us more answers.

In the meantime we are going to start fortifying your milk with Neosure to increase the calories.  Because once again your weight dropped in percentile and you are now in the 14th percentile for weight.  You started life around the 85th percentile.  It's so frustrating.  If we could just figure out your latch I believe that all of these issues would correct themselves.  As it is right now, you swallow so much air, which makes you too uncomfortable to continue eating.  Hopefully one of these days something will click and things will get easier in that department.

Here are your stats from your 4 month checkup:

Length: 25.75 inches (93rd percentile)
Weight: 12 lbs 7 oz (14th percentile)
HC 42.5 cm (93rd percentile)

So you are long and lean... with a large noggin, just like your sisters :)

Here are your 4 month pics:

Let's talk about your hips.  They are getting better and developing as they should, so hopefully you'll get your brace off by Christmas.  Fingers crossed!  We were initially hoping to have it off by Thanksgiving, but that unfortunately didn't happen.  The older you get the more aware you are becoming, and the more you HATE having your Pavlik harness on.  You smile every time we take it off and cry when we put it back on after your measly hour a day of "brace-free" time.  You have a little bit of low muscular tone throughout, so once that brace is off we can really start to try to help your tone with some weight bearing.  You may need physical therapy in that department, we'll see.

OK, onto more positive things!  You are giving us some smiles lately, although no one gets more smiles than Addy.  She adores you and you clearly adore her.  Emma adores you too...perhaps a bit too intensely.  You tend to cringe when Emma comes close, ha ha!  But you are starting to smile whenever we look at you and it's fabulous :)  You have laughed a very few times (first time for Meemaw!), but you are still very stingy with your laughs and at times with your smiles too.  You make us work for it, ha ha!

Here are some recent photos of you:

Your first Thanksgiving:

A little late in getting these this year... but the pumpkin photos were finally taken!

No smiles, but no crying either, so I'll take it ;)

You love your activity mat, and I'll say that thing has been worth it's weight in gold to our family.  All three of you girls have LOVED it!  It's so nice to find things that keep you content so that we don't have to hold you all of the time!  It's tough to hold you all day while running after your older sisters.

You and Elliot under your mat :)

You've started to like the car, which is great because we spend a lot of time in it.  No more crying the whole time we're in car.  Now you save your crying for whenever the car is stopped, ha ha.  But you are even getting better about that, and you often fall asleep while we're driving, which is wonderful.

Speaking of sleep...Izzy what happened???  You were sleeping so well at night, getting up only once or NOT AT ALL.  And now we've reverted back to newborn status of getting up three times a night!  I thought it might be a growth spurt at first, but the problem is that you aren't eating very much during the day.  It's like your clock is backwards.  You eat all night and then once daytime hits, we have a hard time getting you to eat anything before noon.  I'm just not sure how to tackle this since your weight has been such an issue.  "Cry it out" just doesn't seem right when food is what you need the most.  So we will likely just persevere for another month or so and then re-evaluate.  We put you to bed around 8 and then you are up between 11-12, 2am, and 4-5am.  It is truly exhausting and I am sleep deprived beyond words.  So hopefully someday soon we'll figure this whole thing out.  Until then, coffee, coffee, and more coffee for this mama!

You are taking about 3 naps a day (sometimes 4) and I usually have to bounce you around your room for awhile to get you ready for your nap.  You aren't terrible at falling asleep, but you aren't Emma either.  We could just walk in the room with Emma, lay her down and she'd put herself to sleep.  You require a bit more of us.  Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.  But we seem to be getting into at least some semblance of a routine.

You are becoming more vocal and your noise of choice is growling.  You growl and grumble more than any baby I've ever met.  Especially at bedtime.  Your "sleepy song" is a low grumble that you sing into my ear until you give up and fall asleep.  One of these days I'll try to get a video of that :)

You've found your hands and they are now constantly in your mouth, with lots of drooling to go with it.  Your sisters did the same thing around this age and I was convinced that they must be teething, but it was several more months until either of them got teeth, so I'm sure it'll be the same for you.

You've also started grabbing for and "playing" with toys which is fun!  At first the OT was concerned that your hands were always fisted and you weren't bringing your arms to midline, but you've since proven them wrong, just like we knew you would.  Your hands have relaxed a lot and you've started grabbing for toys and shoving them in your mouth, which is exactly what you should be doing.  So we're giving you lots of toys of different shapes and textures for you to explore.

Your hair is as long as ever, and you still aren't losing it, but it has calmed down a lot.  It still sticks up and waves back in the back, but the top is pretty lame, which makes me kind of sad.  I loved your wild mane!  Your hair is also getting a lot lighter and taking a reddish hue, which reminds me of Meemaw and Aunt Lauren's hair.  I'll be curious to see if it keeps getting lighter.

November 14th: hair is still pretty wild....

December 6th: hair has really started taming down

This month we celebrated your baptism, which was such a joyous occasion!  The whole family came to church and then back to our house for lunch afterwards.  It was such a great day and I'm very glad so many of our family members could come and celebrate with us.  And you were soooo good during the church service.  You didn't cry at all!

Same baptism outfit that Grandma D, Mommy, Aunt Tina, and your sisters wore :)

Typical stoic Izzy Leigh ;)

Our crazy crew at church

Passed out on mama at church :)

Here are a few videos from this past month:

This first one is just a little glimpse into the zoo that is our house these days.  Brace-free time!  We were hoping you would be getting your brace off the next morning, but that didn't end up happening :(

And I love how you are just chillin' under your activity mat during this next song....

All in all, I'd say life is getting a little bit easier every day.  There is still a lot going on with you and a lot left to "figure out", but we're getting there.  The older you get the happier you get, which is such a stress relief in and of itself.  There is nothing like a crying baby to really work on the nerves.  I'm just so glad that we are seeing more smiles out of you and that you are relaxing more and seem more comfortable lately.  Once your brace is off I'm hoping things get even better!  As difficult as these past few months have been, you are such a blessing to our family and we love you more than you could ever know.  Your big eyes, your gummy grin, when you clasp your hand around my finger... all of these things melt my heart.  I adore you Izzy Leigh!  Happy 4 months!!



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Emma: 3 Years!

Dear Emma,

My sweet middle child, you are growing up so fast!  You are the sweetest, happiest, most carefree little lady and you warm my heart on a daily basis.  All of these years later and we still say that you live in your own happy little Emmy world.  (Although these days you don't let us call you Emmy because you have an Emmy in your class.  We are to call you Emma Jane.  Yes Ma'am.)  You are often kind of oblivious to what is going on, and I'm constantly telling you to look me in the eyes and focus on what I'm telling you, ha ha.  Because so often when you aren't following directions it's truly because you weren't even paying attention.  I'm telling you, you live in your own world and you're happy there :)

I have to include this video from your party.  You were loving everyone singing to you and your silly self came out in full force!  I love it!

What a difference a year makes!

     Your second birthday                                        Your third birthday

You are content to play alone, and you're able to entertain yourself for a long time, which is sooooo very different from your big sister who needs to be entertained at all times.  Sometimes when I'm home alone with you I forget that you are even there!

You love Paw Patrol and still adore all things Frozen.  In fact, the ONE thing you asked Santa for was "Frozen undies", ha ha.  You also like playing with girly things like purses, jewelry, and lipstick.  Pretend lipstick only.  You still have an issue with eating Chapstick.  Side note: Chapstick was the number one thing you asked for last year for Christmas.  So, Chapstick last year, underwear this year.  You are pretty easy to please ;)

You have fun at school, although you don't like when you are corrected for misbehavior, and you cross your little arms and pout.  And apparently you tell Mrs. Michalyszn that you don't like her and you're not coming back to school.  We'll have to work on that ;)  But then five minutes later you're totally fine and every day after school you run up to me and tell me that you had so much fun.  You are quite a sensitive little thing, and you're always concerned that people are mad at you.  The amount of times in a day that you look at me with those big pitiful eyes and ask, "Mommy are you mad at me?"'s heartbreaking.  Most of the time I'm not even mad... but even if I'm mildly irritated you get so upset.

And at the ripe old age of three you know how to turn on the waterworks and make a big show.  However, your tantrums have never even come close to matching those of your big sister.   You throw fits once in awhile, but they are short lived and not too bad.  But you have big shoes to fill in the tantrum department.  Addy throws fits that are so epic it would be hard to match.  Thank goodness.

Your demeanor is so different and dare I say, easier to manage than hers.  You're a pretty go with the flow kind of girl.  Sharing seems to come easily to you, and you still usually let Addy choose which thing she wants before you call dibs on yours.  For example, plate and cup colors.  Addy always picks one and then you shout out that you want the one she didn't pick.  Again, thank goodness.  You are a sweetheart through and through.  I never have to worry about how you'll behave when we're out and about because you are almost always just fine.

I do wish we could expand your palate a little bit and get you to eat better, or even just eat more.  You don't eat veggies and now you won't even eat fruit.  I mean, what kid doesn't like fruit??  And meat?  Forget it.  So it's carbs and dairy for you.  And Mommy and Daddy are as much to blame for that as you are.  We are admittedly a bit weary since your baby sister came onto the scene, and often dinnertime becomes just whatever we can throw together that we know you and Addy will eat.  But we'll keep working on it.  You deserve to be taught healthy eating habits.  And I will, I promise.  As soon as I can get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time, I will focus on healthy eating.  Until then, be glad you're being fed ;)  Just kidding...kind of.

Speaking of baby sister, you were a little unsure about her at first, but you have come to adore her.  You aren't always the gentlest with her, but you love to be with her and help her feel better when she's crying.  And you beg to hold her, lasting all of 30 seconds once you do.  Then you're ready to pawn her off so that you can go and play.

Let's talk about sleep for a minute.  Sigh, you and Addy both fell asleep so quickly and easily when you had your own rooms.  But now that you share... it has been rough.  You two refuse to go right to bed and YOU are often the one to blame.  You immediately get up and start jumping on the bed trying to get Addy to talk to you.  I keep telling myself that one day the novelty of sharing a room will wear off, but that hasn't happened yet.  At least once you fall asleep you sleep like a rock.  You and Addy both wake up for the day in the 7:00 hour once your clock turns green (Greatest purchase ever, by the way.).

 And you are a girl that loves your naps.  Give you that precious purple blanket and your thumb and it's off to snooze land.  And you have been known to nap for over 3 hours if you're really tired!  And then sometimes when you wake up you just sit in your bed sucking your thumb.  I'll ask you via the monitor if you'd like to come downstairs and you'll respond that your clock isn't green, ha ha.  Still haven't quite figured out the difference between nap time and bedtime.

Potty training-wise you were such a breeze.  You were potty trained during the day before you turned 2.5 and then by the summer you were potty trained at night as well.  All before you even turned 3.  We had a blissful few months with no one in diapers or pull ups... and now we're starting over with your baby sister ;)

All was well at your 3 year check-up and here were your stats:

Weight: 29 lbs (31st percentile)
Height: 38 inches (71st percentile)
BMI: 14.1 (7th percentile)

You are a tall, skinny little thing :)

You love to sing and dance and your smile truly lights up my heart.  Whenever I'm leaving you say, "Kisses and hugs!!!" and you run over to me on your little twinkle toes, throw your arms around me and say, "I love you mama!"  My sweet little Emma Jane.  Speaking of twinkle toes, I wonder if you'll grow up to be a ballerina?  Because you walk and run on your toes 90% of the time.  So much so that it concerns daddy.  He's afraid you're going to end up with shortened calf muscles and you'll need surgery to correct it one day.  He's forever telling you to "walk on your flat feet".  But you remain our twinkle-toed princess :)

Here are some photos from the past few months:


The first of what I'm sure will be many bunk bed injuries

Happy-go-lucky girl during your little 50 yard dash races.  You often come in dead last, but you don't care at all.  You run the whole thing waving and smiling :)

Park bench sitting :)



You and Addy both love to play restaurant at your little kitchen.

Last day of school.  You have started to love being silly for photos :)

Oh my gosh the Wonder Woman outfit.  You used to wear this thing every day.  When you started your obsession with it, it came all the way down to your toes (See the first photo, when you weren't even two yet.)  Now it is calf length, and before I know it it'll be above your knees!  You are growing up right before my eyes!!

Watching Addy's soccer game.  (That bunk bed injury stuck around for awhile.)

I love the way you are looking up at Addy and holding her hand.  Precious moment :)

Fun in the preschool parking lot while Addy learns to ride her bike

Playing in our new and improved backyard :)

Beach Bum!

Fun on the Ferris Wheel!

A day at a polo match

Swimming Lessons

Picking blueberries... or dumping them ;)


A weekend at the lake :)

Picking flowers along our walk :)

Bowling!  I love the expressions on both of your faces!

We love Chik Fila!

Pool fun!

Love this one too!  Our little impromptu family beach weekend will always hold a special place in my heart :)

Nothing better than a nap on the beach :)

Hershey Park Happy!  (This photo was taken before you fell off of the seat as the ride was moving and you were crying so hard they had to stop the ride to let you off!)

Our new swing set!


Your flea market scooter

Meeting baby Izzy

You and "Bell Bell Lady"

Soccer... I think you could take it or leave it ;)

Silly girl :)

Right before you got your hair cut!


Ride em' Em

Your new do!

First day of 3-year-old Preschool!

Happy third birthday to my silly monkey!!!

Emma, you are such a ray of sunshine and I thank heaven for you every single day.  I can always count on you for a hug and a smile.  You are a silly little girl who loves to make everyone laugh.  The days can be long sometimes, but you make each and every one a little sweeter and I love you for that :)  My little monk monk, I love you to the moon and back!