Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Conway family.

Colic Versus Acid Reflux

Around 3 weeks old, we noticed a change in Barrett's cries and the amount of time that he cried throughout the day. He was eating like a champ, putting on weight like a pro, going to the bathroom just fine so we were at a loss as to why he would be so fussy. We started searching online and found that the number one suggestion to his fussiness was colic.
He didn't cry at a certain time every was more like a constant fuss or cry throughout the days and nights. Some kids experience colic this extreme but most cases show children that are fussy at the same time every day for a period of 3-12 months, starting as early as birth. He didn't really fit this mold but we didn't really know what else it could be so we just assumed he had the worst case of colic.
At my 6 week post-partum, which was yesterday, I learned that he had all the symptoms of acid reflux. My nurse that checked me in also happened to be a lactation consultant (thank you Jesus) so when she started talking to me about Barrett, I expressed concern because he fusses all the time.
I listed out some of his symptoms to her:
-arching his back during feedings
-pulling away from my nipple or the bottle and then wanting to eat again almost immediately after pulling way but acting like he was super frustrated or in pain
-prefers his stomach over his back
-cries/screams when he burps

She said that he was a classic acid reflux case and that I should call my pediatrician immediately for an appointment and some medicine. I totally ruled out acid reflux because he doesn't spit up. I thought that babies that spit up a lot after feedings had acid reflux but I was wrong. My little man has been so fussy because he has a bad case of heartburn and every time he eats, he experiences pain. The milk soothes his esophagus, temporarily, so that explains why he is always acting hungry and also why he is putting on so much weight. The only way that we've been able to calm him down is to feed has been so sad!
We started the medicine yesterday afternoon and the doctor said to allow 5-7 days to see a change. I'm praying that the medicine works and our little guy gets feeling better. Along with the medicine we are also shrinking down the amount of milk that he gets in a bottle (smaller, more frequent feedings), having him sleep on his mattress at an incline, sitting him up for 15 minutes after feedings and giving him extra love and snuggles to help ease his pain.
I'm hoping that his medicine does wonders for our little guy and we can get him feeling better before our trip home in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Birthday Party Fun

On Sunday, Amelia went to her first birthday party for her friend, Beau. Beau celebrated turning ONE at a fun fall market with pumpkins, a petting zoo, hay slides and mazes and a hayride.
Amelia had so much fun running around and exploring the farm and all that it had to offer.
She wanted to go down this huge slide by herself but after seeing how fast other kids were coming down the slide, Jason decided he would go down with her. Hearing them scream and come out the other end like a rocket was so funny. Their smiles were priceless!

They had animals that you could feed beans, kale and apples to, so after we played on the slides and the other fun things, we headed to the direction of the animals. The very first animal we came to were the pigs and they were HUGE. They were about 600 pounds each and they were hungry! They started fighting over the apples that were being tossed their way and Amelia freaked out. The squeals, the chasing and all the commotion was enough to make our little girl run in the opposite direction.
She still gets a little freaked out when we start talking about the pigs and their big teeth...she immediately searches for my phone and finds the pig picture to tell Nannie all about the mean pigs.
Once we fed all the animals, it was time for the hayride to the pumpkin patch. We got to get a pumpkin as a party favor..such a great idea.
I thought she would be a little nervous on the hayride because we sat up front and the tractor made a lot of noise but she loved it. She was clapping and dancing on her daddy's lap. If you haven't been able to tell, she was a daddy's girl at the party. She wanted her daddy to help her do everything!

Amelia had a hard time deciding which pumpkin she wanted to take home. There were so many pumpkins that were just her size that it was a little overwhelming for her. She was running from pumpkin to pumpkin and wanting to bring them all home.
We finally found the perfect pumpkin and we headed back to animals, back to the party and back to Nannie and Barrett.
Once we got back, we wanted to take Amelia back over to the animals so we could give them one more try. She loves animals and we didn't want her to have a bad thought of them for future petting zoo experiences. I'm glad that we gave it another try because she loved the baby goats...the mama goat, not so much, but the babies were a hit!!

There were so many kids and so many fun things for Amelia to do that it was the perfect first birthday experience for her. She was literally like a kid in a candy store!

We got on the road before we got a chance to enjoy some birthday cake so we made sure to enjoy a whoopie pie on the drive home.
We had such a great time helping Beau celebrate turning's definitely a place that we will be considering for Barrett's first birthday. Perfect for kids, fall and fun!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Glow

Hershey offers so many fun things for families with small children and I love that Amelia is finally at the age where she will enjoy so many of these fun activities. This past weekend we attended the Pumpkin Glow event at the Hershey Gardens.
The gardens encouraged everyone to dress in costume, get generous amounts of candy and explore the grounds and the 100s of carved pumpkins. The event was from 6p-8p so we made sure to bundle up and make some hot cocoa for the walk. Barrett stayed home because we didn't think it would be a good idea to get him out in the night air.
We decided to just put a hot pink tutu on Amelia over her clothes so she still was in costume but was easier to bundle up and keep warm. How cute does she look?!  She was so excited to go to the gardens to go trick-or-treating.
The garden paths were only lit by small path lights and the pumpkins so we had to use our flashlight for most of the walk to make sure that we were staying on the path.
They had pumpkins floating in the pond, hanging from trees and sitting along the path. The pumpkins were hard to get pictures of but we managed to get a few.
At one spot, they even had a storyteller. She was animated and really good but we didn't stay and listen too long because it was so cold.
Right in the beginning was a carving station where you could watch a group of people carve out different sized pumpkins. They had all different kinds of tools to carve out their pumpkins and you could definitely tell that these pumpkins were made using all sorts of tools. Some of my favorite pumpkins were the ones that weren't carved all the way through but the pumpkin was so thin in certain areas that the light still shone through.
This kitten was one of Amelia's favorites because it has a mouse in its mouth and a bird in his belly. So cute and creative!
We had such a good time walking through the gardens and looking at all the pumpkins and getting candy.
Speaking of candy, the generous amount that was advertised was a little exaggerated. I think Amelia came away with 8-10 pieces of candy. She got one piece at each station that they were passing out at and she ate it before we made it to the next station.We were wanting to eat some of her candy along the walk but she was eating it so fast that we decided that we should save it for her. I guess that's a good thing since we are trying to limit our candy intake.
You'd think living in Hershey that there would have been a little more candy in her bag at the end of the night...oh, well! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Back To Work

The time has come (almost) for me to go back to work. How is it possible that six weeks has gone by so fast?? 
I'm sure most of you read six and thought I put the wrong number in the sentence but I didn't. You read correctly. 
After going back and forth with the pros and cons, we decided that if I felt up to it then I could return back to work after six weeks. I know there are a lot of people that have no choice but to return to work after six weeks so I am extremely blessed that I could weigh out the different options and make the best decision for our family. 
When Amelia was born, I took eight weeks of maternity leave and it was more difficult than I could have imagined to leave her that first day. I honestly think it would have been easier on me to go back to work around the six week mark because those last few weeks she started smiling and interacting a lot more and the guilt of leaving her increased with each smile or squeeze of my finger. BUT, as most of you know, the situation is a little different with Barrett. 
My mom lives with us now and she is here to help out with the kids (thank goodness for her help). Just knowing she will be the one looking after the kids when we are at work and when the kids aren't at Ms B's is comforting. This was one of the main reasons why we even started talking about me going back early.
Another reason that an early return was considered was a trip home. Jason has vacation the week before Thanksgiving and we purchased tickets for the family to fly home months ago, non-refundable tickets. I calculated my due date and figured that this trip home would be in my eight week maternity leave. Well since our little guy decided to come early, that trip was no longer in my maternity leave and I would have to cash in my vacation/personal days for that trip home. Boo!!
We talked about the different options and since my work only pays 60% of my salary for four weeks AND because Barrett (and Amelia) will be in great hands when I go back, we decided it would be best for the family for me to go back at six weeks. I would be accumulating more personal days and I will get a paycheck before heading on vacation and both of these are needed for the family. 
Did I mention Jason will be celebrating his 30th birthday in Missouri?!  That extra paycheck will come in handy, very handy!!

So there you have it...this mama will be back at work this Wednesday. Some days I dread going back because I'm getting in some great quality time with the kids and other times I can't wait to get back at the office. Establishing a new routine will take a little bit since we just got into a routine but once we do, I think we will all be okay. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Changes And Good Habits Update

While Jason was gone last week, we (myself and my mom) had a few things that we wanted to work in with the kids. You can find that post here.

Task One:
Break Amelia's bedtime bottle.
If I would have known it would have been such a smooth transition, then we would have broken it a long time ago. She asked and whined for a bottle the first couple of times she went to bed but did really well. We told her that only babies drink out of bottles and she gets to drink out of a cup because she is a big girl and she seemed okay with that answer. 

Task Two:
Create a new bedtime routine for Amelia that doesn't include rocking her into a deep sleep before laying her down. 
This one wasn't so cut and dry and to this day we are still tweaking our routine so it fits our family and it fits Amelia. We started out with five nights of turning the lights down low, reading three books and immediate putting her in her bed WIDE awake. This resulted in a ten minute scream, crazy kicks on the side of the bed, and one wile tantrum.  Not pretty! We decided to change things up a bit after our first attempt seemed to be backfiring on us. We are currently turning down the lights, reading a book and getting her drowsy before laying her in bed. Once we put her in bed, we either rub her back or her hair, tell her we love her and walk out.

Task Three:
Get Barrett out of his bassinet and into his crib in his room.
This was another task that went better than we expected and we're so glad that we made the change when we did. Thank goodness for a video monitor because the first night, the video was being viewed A LOT. The hardest part about the transition was, and still is, his preferred sleeping position. He does not like to be swaddle with his hands in but he still startles so easily. We finally started swaddling him but leaving his arms out and he does a lot better with falling asleep and not fighting against the swaddle.

Task Four:
Getting Amelia back into the routine of a daily nap.
At school, Amelia no longer sleeps in her crib during nap time and she has been doing great. We decided to keep the same schedule and routine that she has at school on the days when she is home. We've really been surprised with how well she is doing with this routine. Some days she will even ask to lay down and it has been AMAZING. We still have had a few days that she whines when we say it's nap time but she has been making great strides! Right now, we lay out her princess couch, turn on the classical music and I run her back until she falls asleep. Most days she sleeps 1.5-2 hours and it's so nice!

Task Five ( isn't one we are really pushing on Amelia but encouraging):
Working with Amelia to go to the bathroom on the big girl potty
She's still so young and I don't think she fully understands but on a good day, Amelia will have only one or two wet diapers. She says, 'potty' and we run her to the bathroom and cheer her on. Some days we make it in time and other days we are a little bit too late. Either way, she gets praise and encouragement. We've started a sticker chart that is hanging on the dishwasher that she gets to add a sticker to once she has a successful trip on the potty. Sometimes stickers that were earned get pulled off and worn throughout the house because the sticker she put on the chart is one of her favorites...HA. Like I said, she doesn't fully understand how the sticker chart really works.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Loves

These three complete me and make my life SO much better! I'm so thankful that God made me his wife and their, so thankful!


We had our first Trunk or Treat experience Friday night and by the smile on our girl's face and the amount of candy she got, I'd say it was a success.
There is a spouses organization, similar to what we had on the island, for residents and their families. This event was at a park in Hershey with a decent sized parking lot so all the cars could line up to pass out candy.
My mom offered to keep Barrett at home since the event was outside and it was windy and pretty chilly.  Jason got off early, since he was pre-call, and we figured a night out with Amelia would be great!  She needs some one-on-one time sometimes so she doesn't forget how special she is to our family!!
Since Barrett was born, the days have seemed to all merge together.  Well...I totally let Halloween slip my mind and didn't get costumes for the kids.  Barrett has a pair of pajamas with a skeleton on them and Amelia had a costume that her cousin gave her, so we went with that. Next year I'll do better, I promise!
We threw some Halloween decorations in the trunk of our car, along with some yummy snacks, and we headed to the park. Once we got there all the cars parked in a line and opened the backs of their cars.
We didn't put too much effort into decorating our trunk because we were running late. Thank goodness for Nannie because she threw some decorations we weren't using in our trunk and it was perfect for the event.
At first our little zebra girl didn't know what to think about all the kids running around. It didn't take too long for her to realize that each car had candy and all she had to say was "trick or treat" and she got candy in her bag.
She would walk up to the cars, say "treat" and hold out her bag like she was a candy collecting professional.
We walked through the car lineup two times so by the end of the evening, her bag was full of all kinds of goodies.
We had such a fun night with our little zebra!  I love that she's old enough to take trick-or-treating and to see the excitement on her face when she realizes that she's part of the big girl's club!
Here is our little family (minus one) at the truck or treat. I'm pretty sure that Amelia had just shoved a Milky Way in her mouth right before we took this picture...HA!
We have two more nights of trick-or-treating fun (next Saturday and Halloween night) and I know a little girl that is going to be so excited to walk around and get more candy. Depending on the weather, maybe Barrett can get in on the action a little bit too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Unexpected Doctor Visit

Friday when Jason got home from work, he noticed a few things that concerned him. Barrett's eyes and his belly button. His eyes still have a little bit of a yellow tint to them from birth. When he went in for his one week checkup, the doctor didn't seem too worried because she said the eyes are always the last thing to clear up when a baby has jaundice. Well...four weeks later and his eyes still haven't fully cleared up.
Since we wanted to make an appointment for his eyes, we also wanted to have the doctor look as his belly button. His belly button protrudes a little more than an outie belly button so Jason thought he might have a small belly button hernia. We also decided that since we were going to make Barrett an appointment then we should get Amelia in for her annual flu shot.  We thought that taking them in together sounded like the best plan.
I called the doctor's office late on Friday to make an appointment for the following week and was surprised to hear that they wanted us to all come in first thing Saturday morning. 
It wasn't really how I wanted to spend our Saturday morning but I knew we needed to get everything taken care of as soon as possible, especially since I'll be going back to work in less than two weeks. Yes, I'm only taking 6 weeks of maternity leave (I'll explain later).

We woke up and got ready for our 8:30am appointment. The whole family went, Nannie included, because we weren't really sure what to expect. Barrett was examined first and the doctor determined that he did have a small belly button hernia. She thought it would heal by the time he turned six months old, a year at the latest. If it doesn't heal by his first birthday then we will have to get it fixed. 
Once she finished looking at his belly button, she then focused in on his eyes. She saw the same yellow tint that we had been seeing and said that he did have a bit of jaundice that was lingering. The only catch was this wasn't the jaundice that most newborns have in the hospital or even shortly after they leave the hospital but his jaundice was because of my breast milk. Well, not necessarily my breast milk but breast milk in general. His body hasn't been able to respond correctly to the milk. Some doctors recommend to stop breastfeeding for 48 hours to formula feed and then resume the breastfeeding and others don't recommend any changes and to let the jaundice run its course. She said that this type of jaundice is so rare compared to the other one that not a lot of information is available. Because there isn't a lot of information available, she wanted to get some blood drawn so his liver function could be tested. The liver is what is affected when jaundice is present and since he's already 4 weeks old, it's better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately she wasn't able to do the blood work in the office, we had to go to the outpatient lab at the hospital. We definitely didn't want another stop after we left the doctor's office but we agreed to get it all done that morning.

Once the doctor was finished examining Barrett, it was time for Amelia's flu shot. She's older and more aware of her surroundings so when the nurse came in, she knew what was going to happen. As soon as it was over, the tears stopped and we got out of there as fast as we could. Shots are not fun...not fun for anyone!!
Once we finished with our appointment we had to take Barrett over to the lab so he could get his blood drawn. Talk about horrible...he was so upset and in turn got Mommy upset.
Once the lab technician finished collecting her vial of blood needed for the test, I immediately started nursing him. Research shows that nursing right after shots (or blood work) helps decrease the amount of pain.
I was surprised how well he calmed down...such a big boy. We left the lab and we were determined to rest and love on the kids the rest of the day.
The pediatrician called with the lab results later in the day and said his levels were elevated but they were in the normal range and we shouldn't be concerned. The jaundice should clear up by his 2 month check-up. Thank the LORD!
Our unexpected doctor's visit wasn't quite what we planned for our Saturday morning but I'm glad that we were able to get some questions answered and that the results came back with nothing serious for our little man.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monthly Updates: Month One

It's amazing to introduce our family as "a family of four" or to say "our kids"!  its even better that we have been able to say these things for four weeks, a whole month!  
You are the greatest little addition to our family...the perfect missing puzzle piece that we didn't even realize was missing until you came along. Your big sister loves you to pieces!  Sometimes she gets so excited to see you that she literally tries to love you to pieces.  We are working on gentle, soft touches with her. 
We have loved having you in our arms these last four weeks...can't wait to see how much you grow and change in the upcoming days/weeks/months/years. 

Here are some special highlights for your FIRST month:

Weight: 11 pounds 2 ounces (86%)-weighed in on October 19th
Height: 23 inches
Clothing Size: Newborn and 0-3 months. Most newborn onesies have already been taken out of your drawers...they are too difficult to get over your head.  You're still wearing some newborn sleepers but those are on their last days as well. Clothes 0-3 months are a much better fit right now.
Diapers: Once we finished up with the newborn diapers we bought the next size up because we didn't want to have a whole case of diapers that were already starting to get snug. You are wearing Pampers Swaddlers size 1 right now. We went with Pampers instead of Huggies because your Daddy likes how the yellow stripe turns blue when you need a diaper change. It makes diaper changes a little more easier for your Daddy.
Funny story about your diapers during your first week--we didn't realize that we had to push/point down your private area before securing your diaper.  Every, I mean EVERY, diaper change resulted in an outfit change.  It was exhausting, especially during the night because you'd get really awake from us changing you that falling back asleep was a chore. We finally figured it out, thanks to our pediatrician, and haven't had a leaky diaper since.
Feeding: You LOVE to eat!  We introduced the bottle pretty soon after you came home from the hospital. Mommy is going back to work soon and you have to like the bottle, no questions asked. Right now you are eating every 2-2.5 hours (we're trying to hold you off closer to 3 hours but it's a struggle) and you'll either nurse or you'll take a bottle and Mommy will pump.
Hair/Eyes: Your hair isn't the longest on top but you do have a little bit more around the back of your neck. The color of your hair right now is light brown/dirty blond. Your eyes are the prettiest blue and they get more blue with each passing day.
Sleep: You are finally settling into a routine at night. Your bedtime routine starts with a bath around 7:30p and then bottle, swaddle around 8-8:30pm. You sleep from then until 11:30p/12:00a, wake up around 3:00a and then wake up again around 6:00a for the day. Some nights are better than others but I would say this is a pretty standard night. Some nights you only wake at 12:00a and 4:00a...those nights are great!
-You love your swing and the animals that circle above you
-You are starting to track when someone walks past
-Your favorite place to lay is on the couch with the curtains opened so the sun shines on you
-You love music (classical on Pandora or country on the TV)
-You love to ride (sleep) in the car and in your stroller
-You love to hold on to clothes, your blankets and your lovies

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pumpkin Carving Time

Jason's schedule is a little crazy (home from CA on Wednesday, late call on Thursday, night call Saturday and Sunday and then a month at a hospital over an hour away with trips home only on the weekends ) so we decided that the best time to carve out our pumpkins was Wednesday afternoon.
Amelia's little pumpkin was first to be carved and she loved getting her hands a little dirty and helping out.
Brother Bear joined in on the fun too. My mom had him bundled from head to toe because she didn't want him to get too cold. Goodness...I love having her help!  Such an answered prayer.
Once the pumpkins were done, she wanted to hold them and take a picture. She was so cute trying to carry around her pumpkin...I guess it was pretty heavy for her.
Lighting the pumpkins has been her favorite nightly activity. Once we finish with dinner and she sees that it's getting dark, we light the candles under the pumpkins. We leave our curtains open so we can watch them before bed. There is something so festive about a flickering candle in a freshly carved pumpkin...I love fall!
We had so much fun carving out our pumpkins this year!  Next year we'll have two sets of hands to help scoop out all the seeds.