Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Little Levi (at 16.5 months)

Levi has been growing up alot lately.  It's hard to believe he's only 16.5 months and not at least 18 months.  He's such a bundle of energy and joy (unless he's teething, but that's another story).  He adds laughter to our days and sleeplessness to our nights.

Levi at 16.5 months is...talkative.  He's starting to say actual words and works very hard to get those words to sound right.  In his vocabulary so far are: Mama, Daddy, more (mmmmmore?), snack (nnnnak?), wow (more like WOOOOW), night-night (na-na?).  He also tries to say things like: downstairs (his favourite place to play), and Lennox (our puppy).  But sometimes he just can't get across everything he's trying to say as quickly as he'd like so he just babbles on and on using whatever sound is intriguing him that day: didi!, giggle/wiggle, dub-a-dub-a-dub.  It's been fun to hear him trying to put words to life but even more exciting is the fact that he's starting to realize that making an effort at communication is to his benefit.  He very clearly lets us know when he wants to come out of his high chair by waving his arms in the air and will often steer us to whatever it is that he wants/needs with pointing or leading us by the hand (this often results in us standing in front of the pantry where his snacks are kept and Levi reaching for the doorknob).

Speaking of snacks, Levi isn't the greatest eater but he's not the worst either.  He far prefers snack-type food to "real" food.  He'd eat Gerber Graduates fruit snacks ALL day.  He also loves the Gerber puffs.  And marshmallows, cheerios, Life cereal, puffed wheat, goldfish, chocolate chips and graham crackers.  Oddly, he will not eat Teddy Grahams.  He does have a fairly healthy selection of foods that pass for real meal foods including peas, corn, scrambled eggs, fish sticks, oranges, apple slices, bananas, and pizza to name a few.

Levi thrives on routine.  Every morning before his nap, we go for a walk with Lennox to get the mail and often stop by the library, Credit Union, and/or grocery store before heading home.  People around town definitely know us!  We walk everywhere with a red and yellow bike trailer/stroller (or red wagon) and Lennox.  We stand out a little bit in this small town.  But I love it!  I love seeing the women who work at the post office getting to know Levi and the ladies at the bank and the grocery store commenting on how big he's getting.  This is a huge reason why I hoped that we'd find a job in a small town!  After our walk it's snack time then nap time.  As a small baby, Levi was a short napper.  I remember clearly when 45 minutes felt like a long nap for him.  But now that he's down to one nap a day, it's usually close to 2 hours.  He isn't the greatest sleeper but he's finally (in the past two weeks) stopped crying himself to sleep every single time we put him to bed.  Let me tell you, this is a huge relief for my nerves!  I would be wound tight as a ??? (what do you wind tight?) whatever.  I would just be tense as Levi would scream in his crib at both naptime and bedtime for up to 30 minutes before falling asleep.  I hated hearing him cry and scream and yet trying to console him only made it worse.  He just simply did not want to sleep, and yet he needed to!  It seems we are finally past the worst of that battle, praise the Lord!  He sleeps around 12 hours a night, 8pm-8am which is a decent stretch.  He doesn't regularly make it through the night without waking, though, but hey.  What can you do?  Eventually he will sleep through the night more regularly than he's up but for now I'll continue to go in, offer him a drink, give him Tylenol if he's teething, recite a few of his books to him from memory until he calms down, put his blankets back into his bed, wrap him up and hopefully go back to sleep until morning.  We tried the sleep training thing (cry it out) when he was 7 months old and it did help, but I just don't think it's worth the fight for us to try again right now.  After sleep training, Levi hated his crib and we're actually at a point again where he enjoys his bedroom and his bed so I think I'll take this and pray for restful nights again soon.

What else is Levi doing?  He's running, jumping, dancing, all the time!  He loves to "fall" off things into our arms, though sometimes it results in a face-plant off the living room chairs when we're not ready for him or when he gets too excited and throws himself off the edge randomly.  Levi likes to play with his Chuck the Truck toys, his Little People Barn, and his mega blocks right now.  He also loves books; he always has (hence me having a few of them memorized to be able to recite them in the wee hours of the morning).  Levi loves to stand on a stool or chair at the counter and play with whatever is within reach.  Fortunately for me, he hasn't figured out how to get down yet so it comes in handy when I'm cooking and need him contained for a while. : )  Levi loves babies and always makes a bee-line to the nearest baby carrier when we're at church - and believe me, there is quite the selection to choose from these days in church!  He's not quite sure what to do once he sees the baby, especially if its crying, but he sure likes to look and see what/who he'll find inside!  He also LOVES Winnie the Pooh and often watches a bit during his night snack on Youtube.  When it gets close to 7pm, Levi will go to the laptop and try to open it and make his "I want some!" noise where he moves his tongue in his mouth and kinda hums so it makes a really funny noise.  Strange kid... :D

Levi loves to play outside and often after our morning walk, I'll leave him all dressed and let him go out on the deck and just play.  He hates getting his jacket/boots on so if he's dressed already, I may as well make use of it!  He always begs to go outside so why not just let him outside when he's already good to go??  He doesn't know the difference.  It's also handy that it's a covered/screened/carpeted deck so I can just leave the door to the house open on warm days and he can just go in and out as he pleases.  I can't WAIT for summer when he can play out there all the time!  He is going to love it, I'm sure!

Levi is small for his age, coming in at just over 30" tall and around 21 lbs.  It sure makes carrying him around alot easier.  He's a typical first-born and loves to be picked up and carried.  I get WAY too many comments when we're out about how he's almost as big as me and how I won't be able to carry him for much longer (though I have muscles in my left arm like you wouldn't believe!).  I'll admit, I get pretty sick of hearing people say that, but I usually just smile and say, "Yup, he's getting big!" and carry on with my business.  It's really not worth getting upset about and certainly not worth trying to reason with them or blowing up in their face about it (not that that's really my style anyway!).

So that's our boy!  He is cute as ever and we love him to bits!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fresh Diapers!

I am officially glad that I bought my $500 diaper stash from bumGenius!  As I mentioned in an earlier POST back in December 2011, I was disappointed that my diapers had holes along the sides and in random places on the lining.  They hadn't lasted very long at all.

Well, I wrote in to Cotton Babies in early January (the makers of bumGenius products) explaining my frustration, linked my blog post so they could see the pictures, and asked if there was anything they could do for me or any suggestions for fixing the diapers or helping them to last longer.  A couple emails went back and forth and in the end they offered to replace ALL of my diapers!  All I needed to do was fill in a form and ship my diapers to them, and in about 6 weeks I received a package with 18 brand new bumGenius Elementals! 

I am so pleased with the customer service I received from Cotton Babies!  Communication was excellent, I was very happy with the service I received and, ultimately, I'm thankful for a brand new stash of cloth diapers that will see Levi through potty training and hopefully provide for the rest of our babies!  I would definitely recommend bumGenius diapers to anyone looking to cloth diaper.  They are a trim-fitting, easy to use diaper and come from a great company.  Plus, they're just adorable!  But what cloth diaper isn't??

Thank you Cotton Babies! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

little rant

Ok, so sometimes facebook is wonderful and sometimes it is just plan terrible.  I was just on facebook, seeing all these people who have gotten married in the past year and are already pregnant, and I was getting really discouraged.  I'm sorry if this is you and you got pregnant in your first year of marriage or as soon as you started trying to have a baby.  This rant isn't against you's just that when it takes SO.MUCH.TIME (and EFFORT and TEARS and WORK and PRAYER) for some to get pregnant, how is it fair that others just get pregnant as soon as they decide that they'd like to start a family?  WHY?  Why can't everyone who so desperately desires to be a parent just have it happen like it does for others?  Why couldn't it either be hard for everyone or easy for everyone?  Why can't we all be on a level playing field here??  I guess I just don't understand.  And I guess I'm still a bit bitter that we had to wait THREE+ years to welcome Levi into our lives, four years and one month from the time we started to try until the time we met him face to face.  Don't tell me that God has a plan.  Don't tell me that things turned out better this way.  Don't tell me that we waited this long to have Levi and that if we'd had a baby right away it wouldn't have been the same baby as we have now.  Don't give me pat answers because this isn't a simple issue.  It isn't a simple issue.  I still deal with the effects of having struggled with infertility for over 3 years.  I still hurt because of it.  I still have questions.  The pain and wondering doesn't go away with the positive pregnancy test...with the baby's first cry in the delivery room.  It's easier to forget about the road that it took to get here, but the road is still there.  The memories are still there.  The scars are still there.  And every once in a while, like when I'm stalking around facebook, it hits me like a truck.  It's not gone.  It still hurts.  And it's not fair.  IT'S.NOT.FAIR. 

turning corners

Levi has been sick this week.  It seems that every time he hangs out with his little buddies who have even a hint of sickness or a cold, he gets it.  This is quite the opposite of his first year of life as he wasn't sick at all.  I guess the antibodies that come from a mother's milk really do make a difference! 

Speaking of sickness, the other night Levi was up coughing and crying.  I offered him water and he refused.  I tried snuggling and rocking him.  He just arched his back and screamed louder.  He kept reaching for the door (which he always does when he doesn't want to sleep) so finally I just went with it, like I have before, and left his room.  He kept crying and reaching so I just kept following where he led.  Once we reached the fridge, he reached for it and I opened it and gave him his milk.  He GUZZLED.  Like, the world is ending, guzzled.  And stopped crying.  And then, once he was finished chugging back his milk, he snuggled into my chest and reached the other direction.  Seeing as he had led me to what he wanted in the first place, I thought I would just follow his lead again.  He led me to our bedroom (the only light on in the house at this point) and I lay down in our bed with him.  He just lay there on my chest, perfectly calm and happy (though still the occasional cough).  Three minutes earlier he had been a screaming, inconsolable mess and now he was laying on me as though nothing was wrong.  I still needed to do a few things before coming to bed so I asked Levi if he could snuggle with Daddy for a few minutes.  He shook his head, but he often shakes his head when he hears the "question" tone.  He shakes his head 'no' to everything.  So I handed him over to Nathan while I went and got ready for bed.  He screamed the.entire.time.  Apparently he meant what he said when he shook his head 'no' to Daddy.  I got back and he calmed down as soon as he was in my arms. 

Now, this whole scenario isn't so much about the details of what happened, as about turning a corner in communication!  For months, Levi has been whining and having melt-down after melt-down because he couldn't communicate.  He would try and I would try to understand and help him, but often the melt-down would come before he really got across what he was trying to say.  But since that night, it has been a complete turn-around!  I think I might actually enjoy being a mother of a toddler now! (not that I didn't enjoy most of it already, but it certainly wasn't shaping up to be my favourite of life stages...those tantrums are something else!)  Now, even if Levi is in melt-down mode, I can ask him calmly to show me what he wants, and he'll make a honest effort, and most of the time he feels understood!  And when he feels understood, even if I say 'no' to him because he can't have what he's asking for, the tears are fewer and he moves on to something else more quickly.  Aah.  We turned a corner with that one!  Whoo-hoo!

In other news, I got a huge stack of crochet magazines this week from one of the women who works at the local post office.  She has seen my packages of yarn coming in and my scads of product going out and thought I might be interested in these.  The magazines are from the years 1988-1993 and I must say, I had some good laughs.  There are a TON of patterns that I want to try (at least a variation of), but some of them...well, why don't I just show you?

I offered to make this for Nathan (so he could wear it in case his body was cold but arms were not).  He's considering it.

Full crochet suit, complete with hat?  Yes, please.

Aren't we all hoity-toity, reading a book with perfect posture and shawl tied just so? *hem hem hem*

Ugly Christmas sweater!!!  I might just have to make this'll notice that I have it "marked" for future consideration.

Stylish blazer...and bun netting thing...*shudder*
And last but not least...the old becoming new again!  Doesn't this vignette look quite "now"?  Aside from hanging an afghan on the wall (today it would be wall-paper, another nod back to the 90's).  But couldn't that be an Ikea lack table there in front?  I may very well make this one.  It wouldn't be for our house, but is anyone else interested?  As a side-note, I'm pretty sure my dad has those very same book ends...

And that is that.  What an interesting day I had yesterday looking through all these magazines, marking all the patterns that may be of interest.  And with that, I'll leave you to carry on your day!  Have a good one!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

clean and tidy

Tonight as Levi has been falling asleep, I've been tidying the house.  Not cleaning, per se, but just putting things back into their place.  I've been working my way from one end of the house to the other, top floor and basement, just straightening and organizing and setting things right again.  And here's what I've realized:

I've become way too accustomed to seeing things out of their place.  

For example, I tidied the basement rec/family room and thought, "There.  That's pretty good." And then I stepped back to look at it again and saw that there were still two or three remotes laying around, one right there in the middle of the floor.  There were still a couple of alphabet blocks scattered along the walls.  And I hadn't even touched my desk!  Wow.  I came upstairs and there was still a pair of Levi's socks in the hall that I'd meant to take to the "too small" box downstairs.  Levi's belt was still sitting beside the dryer where it fell as I did laundry today.  I just have gotten too used to seeing random things around the house in random places.  Now, that is partly due to having a son who loves to carry things around the house and drop them wherever he sees something more interesting to pick up.  It brings me great joy to find some of these treasures (broom in bedroom, hairspray in living room, cup at the end of the hall by the deck door).  But I bet that's not the whole reason.  I think I've just become a bit lax when it comes to keeping the house tidy. Instead of putting things away when I'm finished with them - like my mom tried to teach me over and over again growing up - I've gotten into the habit (anyone else tend to spell "habit" like "hobbit" with two "b"'s?) of just moving on to the next thing and leaving my project sitting on the floor for days or putting something in a pile to be dealt with later.  I still have Christmas cards/letter sitting on the microwave from December for crying out loud!  It's been two months!  And yet, I am just so used to seeing them there and have no idea what to do with them, so there they sit.

Today I was watching Levi play, like I often do.  He was playing with his Little People Barn that he got for Christmas.  It is interesting because, when he plays, he is very intentional about all his animals standing on their feet.  If he puts the goat in the barn and it falls over in the process, he'll carefully reach in and set it back on its feet.  Seeing this got me thinking about whether this will be a life-long characteristic of his...will he always be particular and want things to be proper and in their place?  I have had phases in my life where I have been like that.  Everything had to be in its place, facing the right direction, and no clutter piles whatsoever.  (My dorm rooms at Bible college, both first and second year, were amazingly clean and tidy ALL.THE.TIME.)   And you know, life is alot less stressful like that!  I enjoy having a place for everything and putting things back where they belong as soon as I'm finished with them (or at least at the end of the day).  But it's easy to get lazy when there is a house full of people (and animal) who don't necessarily have the same vision as you.

Well, all this is to say that yes, my house can get untidy.  It is usually clean (enough), but the clutter builds up.  I'm human.  I admit it.  BUT, my goal after this evening, is to designate a place for everything and then, instead of just getting lazy and making piles everywhere of things to be put away, I think I might actually try putting stuff away right away!  Could you imagine?  Putting something away as soon as you're finished with it instead of just setting it aside to be cleaned up later?  Oh, what freedom the evenings would bring!  haha.  Well, it's been nice to dream.  Back to tidying the house...!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February - A Month of Promise

February will always mean a little something extra to me.  It was never a particularly special month to me growing up.  It was shorter than the rest of the months, even on a leap year.  It had Valentine's day, now also Family Day.  But it was still winter and just meant another month of winter routine. 

Eventually I got married and, just over a year later, we started trying to grow our family.  Years came and went and still we weren't pregnant.  I remember one day as I was praying and pleading with God to give us a child, I heard God say, "Expect a baby in February."  That was it.  No details other than that. 

This statement stuck with me and one or two February's came and went with still no sign of a baby.  I had pretty much forgotten about this promise until February 13, 2010.  I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.  As soon as I saw that positive, I remembered God's words from years earlier.  And I knew that this was God fulfilling his promise to me: "Expect a baby in February."

I still find myself doubting that God actually speaks.  That He actually answers our prayers and can be trusted.  I find myself knowing in my head, but wondering in my heart.  But when February comes, it will always be a reminder to me that God does speak.  That He does answer prayers and keep His promises. 

I am humbled and amazed...God you are good and your mercy endures forever...