Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

8 Months

Dear Kyle-

You are full of personality these days! I love seeing the little person you are becoming. You are very interested in the world around you. You are very detailed oriented and will just sit and explore a single toy for long periods of time trying to figure out how it works. Maybe you will be an engineer like your Grandpa Bill.

You are still very content to sit on your play mat and explore your toys. I have moved them farther from your reach to motivate you to crawl to them and instead you have found ways to scoot closer to them on your bottom or pull the mat with your toys on it closer to you. Needless to say, crawling is still not a high priority on your list of things to do. We practice tummy time every day and each week you get stronger and have started scooching yourself around a little bit on your stomach but have not got up on your hands and knees yet. We looked at your dad's baby book and he did not crawl until 9 months, and your Grandpa Mike and I never crawled so maybe you will skip this milestone all together and go straight to walking. You can pull yourself up if I give you my hand and can stand for short periods of time if you have something to lean up against. I love seeing your little body standing upright and can't believe that sooner than later you will be walking.

Baths and playing with your puppy are still some of your favorite activities. You love playing with your bath toys and splashing in the tub. You are still very verbal and say mama all the time. I think you associate it with me. Whenever you want to be picked up you say mama so I am assuming you are calling for me. We are still working on dada. Whenever I say "dada" you just get a big smile on your face and start saying "mama". You also figured out how to squeal and you get quite a kick out of yourself when you do it. Your tongue is also always moving in and out of your mouth. You love to curl it, especially when you are thinking about something.

Another favorite part of your day is chow time. You are still a great eater and will try anything. You tried your first "puff cereal" and really enjoyed the snack. I was worried you might not know what do with it when I put it in your mouth, but your gummed it until it got soft and then swallowed it. You are also pretty good at feeding them to yourself if you can get them in your mouth before they get stuck on your hands and face.

We took our first trip to the park and you got to swing and try the slide. You loved swinging but were a little unsure about the slide experience. I am excited for summer when we can go to the park regularly to play. You love to be outside too! We also had our first Skype date with daddy. He was so excited to see his little boy and you were excited to see him. It was fun to watch you interacting with the computer. You definitely recognized him and gave him lots of big smiles. I am so thankful for technology! I think Skyping will help you remember your daddy while he is gone and make reintegrating with him when he gets home that much easier.

Another not so exciting first was your first round of antibiotics for pink eye and a double ear infection. You and I both caught nasty colds this month. You took your medicine like a champ and were very patient while Grandma Shannon and I while we put your eye ointment in your eyes. I hated seeing you so miserable and am happy you are back to your normal healthy, happy self. I am also happy you are sleeping through the night again. We had a few rough weeks of sleep and I was getting up with you ever few hours! It made me thankful that you are generally a pretty good sleeper when you are healthy.

I want you to know that you are being a very brave and understanding boy and already learning sacrifice at a very young age. Not having your daddy home is hard and it means mommy only has one set of hands most of the time so you have to learn to be patient. While most little babies get to have play time with their dad when they get home from work, you get to play with a mommy who is pretty tired and counting down the hours till bed time. I do my best to keep life exciting in the evenings, but I know I am not nearly as much fun as your dad would be. Hang in there though, you are being such a good boy and you don't know it, but your smiles and laugh are what keep me going when I am really missing your dad. I see glimmers of him in your facial expressions and hope you grow up to be just like him. He is a pretty awesome guy! :)

I love you so very much! I can't wait to see what new and exciting things you learn next month.

I'm Back

I wish I could say that I have not been blogging because I was off on an awesome vacation, but unfortunately, my absence was due to taking care of a sick mommy and baby. That is right, Kyle and I spent that better part of March battling nasty colds. I came down with a really bad cold that resulted in a nasty lingering cough and then shortly after I started feeling better, my little man got sick. It started with pink eye and then landed in a double ear infection. Thankfully, with the help of some antibiotics, Kyle is doing much better and we are both back to our happy, healthy selves.

I have learned two things (1) being a sick mom is the worst and (2) taking care of a sick baby is heartbreaking. I know being sick is part of growing up and he needs to get sick to build his immune system, but it does not make it any easier to see him so miserable. It also makes you realize how we take our good health for granted. Hopefully, with the warmer spring weather and summer approaching we are nearing the end of cold and flu season and we won't have to deal with doctors visits for awhile!

Other than playing nurse mom, I don't really have too much else exciting to update you all on. We are starting to get in the groove of not having Matt home. It has been nearly two months since he left and taking care of Kyle by myself has become the new normal. We have been fortunate to communicate with Matt fairly regularly via Skype and the telephone since he left. We love our Skype dates and Kyle's face always lights up when he sees and hears Matt on the computer. I can tell that he definitely still remembers his dad and that make me happy. Other than being insanely busy, Matt is doing well. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for him and his soldiers. Afghanistan is still a very dangerous place and soldiers are still being killed and injured every day.

Well, now that our house is healthy again, I hope to be back to my regularly blogging. Stay tuned for Kyle's 8 month update...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Single Parenting

Whew! It is 7:00 at night and I can finally sit on the couch and catch my breath for the day. Kyle usually goes to sleep around 7 and as soon as I give him his good night kiss and lie him in his crib I let out a big sigh and congratulate myself on yet another successful day raising this little boy by myself. No lie, being a single parent is handwork. I am so thankful that this is not a permanent status!

Matt and I's relationship operates on the cornerstone of teamwork. We share responsibilities around the house. If I cook dinner, he helps clean the dishes, we both do the housework, the laundry, etc. I did not realize how nice it is to have a second set of hands around the house until those hands got shipped across the country. On a typical night, I would make dinner, then Matt would help do the dishes while I got Kyle's bath ready. Then we would both watch Kyle take his bath because it is one of the happiest times in Kyle's day and we both get a kick out of watching him splash around. After bath time is over, I get Kyle ready for bed while Matt fills the humidifier and empties the dipper pail. And while I nurse Kyle and put him to bed, Matt takes out the trash and cleans up Kyle's toys from the day. Then we both settle in for the night with either a good book or our favorite TV shows until we are ready to head to bed.

Now, after putting Kyle to sleep I get to come downstairs to a sink full of dishes from dinner, Kyle's toys strewn about the living room, and trash that needs to be taken out. I have to say by the time I get to sit on the couch and enjoy a glass of much needed wine, I am exhausted! In addition to Matt's help around the house, I miss his company. Instead of unwinding with some good conversation and snuggles on the couch, I have a date with my TV or my computer, and hopefully some phone calls to my family. This is my new normal for the next nine months. Luckily, I have lots of family near by to lend a helping hand when I need it and I will definitely never take for granted coming downstairs to clean dishes and empty trash cans after putting the little guy to sleep.

Well, I am off to bed, time to wake up and do it all again tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Deployment Goals

One of the silver linings to having Matt deployed is it usually motivates me to accomplish things in my life that I have been putting on the back burner. During the last deployment, Matt and I's relationship grew so much and I was so proud of all that I accomplished both personally and professionally while he was gone. I hope for the same thing this time around. In order to help hold me accountable, I decided to publish my goals for all to read and I will revisit the list in December to see how well I did.

1. Run a half marathon: When Matt deployed to Iraq I made it a goal to run a full marathon. It was an experience I will never forget and the sense of accomplishment was indescribable, so was the pain! I have yet to get the itch to run another marathon, but I do want to regain some of the endurance I had before Kyle was born. My two best friends from high school and I have decide to do the Philadelphia Half Marathon/Marathon in November. I have lots of little races I have signed up for in the Springs and in Denver over the next 9 months in preparation for the big race and I can't wait to accomplish this goal with my two best friends...#1's all the way!!!

2. Cook dinner twice a week: When Matt is gone it is easy to slide into a dinner menu consisting of cereal, cheese and crackers, Subway, and Chipotle. While I plan to enjoy my fair share of Subway and Chipotle during this deployment, I want to cook two meals a week and hopefully have left overs from each of those meals for one night, making four home cooked meals a week and three take out meals. I am really good about cooking at home when Matt is here, but cooking for one is not so exciting.

3. Read one non-baby related book a month: Ever since getting pregnant I have stopped reading for pleasure. While I was pregnant, I was busy with work and in my free time I would read books about pregnancy and parenting. Now that I have Kyle, in the little free time I have, I choose to watch TV, blog, read blogs, or sleep. I really want to get back into reading, even if it means reading tween novels like the Hunger Games :)

4. Learn how to use my SLR Nikon camera in "non-automatic" mode: Matt bought me a fancy camera for Christmas under the condition that I would take some photography classes and learn how to actually use the camera off the automatic mode. I am really excited about this goal, I love photography, and I have the two cutest subjects to photograph.

That is all I have for now, and if I come up with anything else I will post it. So far, being a single parent has been going pretty well for the most part. I truly have an incredible support system. I have an amazing family who have already helped out a ton with Kyle. I also have the best friends! Between my college friends, friends from previous duty stations, and fellow wives in Matt's unit I feel so loved and not alone in this challenge. Thanks again to all of you for your love, prayers, and support!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 Months

Sorry for the lack of blogging these past few weeks. We said good bye to Matt last week and things have been a bit crazy around here. We are settling into a routine without him around and I just keep telling myself that each day is one day closer to his return.

Dear Kyle-

You are growing so fast! I can't believe how much you grow and change from month to month. This is by far my favorite stage in your life. You are so happy and can entertain yourself so well with your toys, but you are not yet mobile so I don't have to baby proof the house and watch your every move. Daddy and I started calling you Pip this month as a nickname. I am not really sure where it came from but it seems to have stuck for the time being.

Like I said, you LOVE to play with your toys. Your favorite thing is to take stuff out of your various baskets. You still love your blocks and I recently brought out a "barrel of monkeys" that you got for Christmas that has become a new favorite. While you are not yet crawling I can sense that you are getting close. You are very wiggly when I hold you and can pull yourself up on me when you sit on my lap. You are also enjoying tummy time more and more and are starting to move your legs and arms in a crawling motion, you just don't get anywhere. You also started rolling from your front to your back regularly.

Eating is also one of your favorite activities. You kick your arms and legs with excitement whenever I put you in your highchair in anticipation of food. You pretty much love everything I give you, especially fruit pouches. It amazes me how fast you suck down the food inside them! You still have not cut any teeth, but I can see that they are close. The bumps get more pronounced every time I feel inside your mouth and you continue to drool like crazy so hopefully they come through soon.

The torticollis in your neck is getting better every week. We started physical therapy last month and it basically consists of positioning everything on your right side so it forces you to stretch the muscles on the left side of your neck. We also do a variety of stretches which seem to be helping as well. Both your doctor and physical therapist are pleased with the progress you are making and have a feeling that it should be cleared all the way up in no time. It really is amazing how malleable the muscles are in babies.

We also said good bye to Daddy this month. It was one of the hardest things mommy has had to do in a long time. Knowing that he is going to miss watching you grow these next nine months breaks my heart. You and him are best buddies and I know you will miss your daddy time. Mommy really needs to work on her comedy routine. Daddy can make you laugh so hard and I just can't quite get the same giggles out of you. I am hoping he has the same effect over Skype. You love to go on horsey rides around the house and playing peekaboo. The good news is you won't remember this time without your daddy around so hopefully you will pick up where you left off quickly once he gets home.

You are such a joy in my life little man. Thanks for keeping me company while Daddy is away. I will do my best to be the same happy energetic mom without my second half to help, and seeing your face when I wake up each morning reminds me how much I have to be thankful for each day.

I love you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reality Check

The deployment ceremony for Matt's brigade was last week and as they started casing the flags to ship them to Afghanistan, it hit me, this is really happening. While we have been preparing for this deployment for the past 18months, I have tried my hardest not to think about the actual "good bye" and just live in the moment, or maybe live in denial. There is always that glimmer of hope that maybe it might get cancelled, but as the soldiers stood at attention as we sang the Army song there was no turning back, I really am going to be saying good bye to Matt for 9 months.

While I am anxious about what the next 9 months as a single parent will bring, we are ready, and we will not only survive this deployment, we will thrive. It is all about having a positive outlook and while I am sure I will have my bad days, I plan to stay in the positive as much as possible and make the most of our time apart. Most importantly, I have a little man who needs and deserves a happy mommy!

We are all holding each other extra tight these next few days before the official good bye, but I am ready to start counting in the opposite direction.

*On a side note, we made the Colorado Springs Gazette. Check out our photos in the slide show at the link below.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hungry Hungry Hippo

I blogged a few weeks ago about Kyle's introduction to solid foods and I am happy to update that his pallet is beginning to take a liking to just about everything I have given him. I read in one of my parenting emails that it take 8 tries of a food before children can make a decision if they like something or not. With Kyle it takes about two tries. The first time I give him a new food he sort of crinkles up his nose but still begrudgingly eats it and then the second I introduce it to him he is a huge fan. It is almost like his taste buds have to get used to eating food with flavor as opposed to the blandness in rice cereal and breast milk. So far we have tried avocados, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, green beans, pears and bananas. He eats all of them with ease but I think his favorite is pears. I have been giving him two tablespoons of rice cereal twice a day and adding two tablespoons of a fruit in the morning and a vegetable in the evening so he is eating about four tablespoons of solid food a day. In addition to the solids I have still been nursing him about every 3 hours. The man definitely has an appetite.

I have been doing a mixture of making my own baby food and using organic jar baby food. It just depends on what is in season as to whether or not I decide to make it or use a jar. He does not seem to have a preference to the texture so that is good. I am relieved that he has become a good eater. It seems as though Kyle likes to throw a little challenge into most new things we introduce to him, i.e. a bottle, but eating from a spoon does not seem to be a problem at all. We have also not had any issues with digestion or allergies. I will note, that changing diapers has taken on a whole new level of grossness, it is always a surprise what color and texture the poop is going to be the next day.

He is also doing really well with his sippy cup. We give him about 2-4 oz of nursery water a day and I think I am going to try putting some of my breast milk in it soon so I have the option to leave him for longer periods of time. This will be very nice once Matt leaves and mommy needs some much needed "me time." I also know the grandparents are dying to watch the little guy so I am going to take full advantage. I am crossing my fingers that as he gets older he remains open to trying new foods, neither Matt or I are picky eaters and I love to cook new things and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or mac and cheese every night is not going to fly in our house.

*I meant to take a picture of him eating breakfast this morning for the blog and totally forgot so I will make an edit to this post tonight after I get a "dinner" photo. He actually does a fairly good job of keeping most of the food in his mouth!