Saturday, September 27, 2014

California Adventures: Celebrating Four Years...

Since our actual anniversary celebration was pretty low key, we decided to take advantage of having built in babysitters and being back in the city where we met, to have a belated anniversary date.

This was the first time we left Evan alone for longer than an hour, and to be honest, I was a bit nervous. He'd never been put to bed by anyone but me, and I wasn't sure how it'd go. 

Luckily, my parents had it under control, so it wasn't too hard to leave behind responsibilities and head out for a night of fun.

We headed to Gabriella's, a little place that we went on a couple dates back when we were first dating. 

For our appetizer, we got deconstructed bruschetta. It mentioned bone marrow, but we were still shocked when a huge, split bone was brought out! We were a little unsure at first, since we've never ordered bone marrow before, but it was delicious! Such a fun treat!  

We shared a bottle of wine, which was the first real serving of wine I'd had in a very long time, and was lovely.

The food was excellent, but even more so was just spending some quality, stress free time with my husband, reflecting on our wonderful year. With the pregnancy, and then the birth of Evan, it's been, quite possibly, the happiest year I've ever had. 

After dinner, we headed for a walk on west cliff. Watching the waves roll in with moonlight reflecting over the water, I couldn't help but feel that it was the perfect way to celebrate our 4th year of marriage.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Hour

As I've mentioned, we get one hour each day where Evan gets a break from his band. Unless it's swim day or physical therapy day (where we lose most of the hour to those activities), we use our hour up right before bedtime.

I thought it might be fun to share our evening :).

We take the helmet off between 6 and 6:15, depending on when he woke up from his last nap. He woke up at 4:45, so we waited until 6:15.

Evan's helmet drying in front of the fan

While I clean the helmet, scrubbing the inside with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush, Evan gets some more play time.

He's really into rolling from his front to back lately, and has been getting a kick rolling onto his play piano, so that it plays music whenever he wiggles.

I take this time to check his head for red spots from the helmet, and to check out his head progress. This picture makes me excited, because it's already looking so different!

 Flashback to what it looked like when we started!

We have tummy time until Evan starts to lose it, usually until around 6:30pm.

Then, we do any more stretches that we need to get in before bedtime. We were slacking a bit, so we still had to do the last sets of all three stretches. Evan was a good sport and we got them done!

After stretches, it's time to head into the bathroom for bath time. We're supposed to carry him sideways like this to work on the neck strength on his weak right side. He's been making good improvement!

We always (well, almost anyways) have a fun bath, making sure to get his head scrubbed nice and clean, and then it's time to dry off on the changing pad.

Then, it's time for a clean diaper. No onesie, since the helmet keeps him toasty warm, so I get to enjoy cuddling with my almost naked baby.

Next, we head over to the nursing chair for story time. Usually, it's around 6:45pm. Every night, I read "Guess How Much I Love You." It was a good night, and we got through the whole book!

After the story, it's time to do the final readiness tasks - put on the sleep sack and turn on the fans, glow horse, humidifier, and dim the lights.

The view from the nursing chair

Our final 15-20 minutes of helmet free time is in almost darkness, as Evan has his last meal of the day. Lately, he's been a bit fidgety during this feeding, but tonight, all was calm. This is when I get to really "soak in" his little, uncovered head. I love running my hand over his little peach fuzz, and enjoy the feeling of his bare head in the crook of my arm. Tonight, after 15 minutes of eating, Evan pushed off and smiled at me. Lately, he doesn't always try to fall asleep while eating, which is definitely a good thing, even though it makes it feel like he's growing up :(. 

After eating, we put back on his helmet, give him his pacifier, and say goodnight. The goal is to go into the crib awake, which we definitely did tonight. All told, his helmet free break was about 50 minutes, a little shy of the "goal" time, but since we had a little extra free time yesterday, due to swim lessons, it all works out. 

After I place him in the crib (well, pack n play) a little after 7pm, I go back to the family room, turn on the monitor, and hope for the best.  

Evan just after he goes down for the night.

Beginning his nightly "rotation." Tonight, Evan makes two full circles before he finally settles down.

After about 15 minutes, he starts rolling onto his side, a new thing that seems to help him sleep.

At one point, Evan starts "disappearing" from the camera. Luckily, he comes back :)

About 25 minutes later, he is finally out. After lots of tears the night before, tonight was amazing. A couple minutes of fussing about 5 minutes in, but otherwise, silence as he settled himself. 

Fingers crossed that the good sleep magic works all night long!

So, that's our evening right now, one of my favorite times of the day. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five Months!

Weight - 20 lbs 11oz (in clothes) (+ 11 lbs l oz from his lowest). 
Height - Not known. Last month was 26 (+ 6 in from lowest; 90 %ile )
Head circumference - Not known. Last month was 17.25 in (+ 2.75 in from birth 85%ile)
Now wearing 12 month clothes! Cannot believe he's no longer in "baby" clothes :(


playing with his new piano, making tummy time a bit more exciting

This is such a fun age. Evan has grown by leaps and bounds in his abilities this month, and we are having such a great time watching him learn. He loves his toys, especially ones that makes sounds. One of his new favorites is touching faces. He loves sitting on my stomach and reaching out to stroke my cheeks - sweetest thing in the world. Ed also discovered that Evan loves playing patty cake. He also has suddenly started rotating when he gets ready for bed, until his head is touching one side and his feet touching the other, 90 degrees rotated from where he started. He also has been sleeping on his side. 

Everything is still going in his mouth, even more than before. The world has become such an exciting place, so eating has gotten a bit more challenging, since Evan always wants to stop and look around. He also uses his mouth to show how much he loves us, sometimes in unexpected times. Lately when we try to put him down for bed, he'll start to fuss when we walk away, and then we we come back, his face lights up with a smile. Nothing makes me happier than seeing that smile. 

He continues to be a very observant little boy, listening carefully when people are talking to him (or to his parents). He gets so many compliments on being such a lovely little boy. 


The biggest dislike by far, that we've discovered this month, is this little gem. 

Evan came down with his first cold (sniff, sniff). No ideas where he got it, and it was thankfully super mild - just a runny/stuffy nose. We saw the doctor, who recommended some better saline spray and using the aspirator when necessary. Evan didn't like the saline spray, but he hated the aspirator. He sounded like someone was torturing him every time we used it, poor little guy. 

He is also too wiggly, now, to sit calmly at the cafe with Ed, so that phase is over. He likes to be able to move around more often than not :). On that note, he seems to have about a 20 minute limit in our Ergo carrier. Hopefully that will grow. 

A last dislike (though it's getting better), is swim lessons. Namely, putting his ears under water. The first two swim lessons, we only got about halfway through before this little boy was wailing about the horrors of getting his ears wet. Luckily, the third class seemed a good turning point for him. He had a few sniffles, but no full blown crying. Hope that this moves to the like column next month!

Important Events:

This was a huge month for Evan, with his diagnosis of plagiocephaly and torticollis, getting his docband, and starting physical therapy. As I wrote about before, it was definitely emotional for us (me more than Ed. His response? Helmets look pretty cool :) ). It's funny, though. A week and a half in, it's our new normal. Evan actually looks odd to us when he doesn't have the helmet on. Our our each evening is the perfect amount of time to soak in baby snuggles and stroke that soft little head. Evan doesn't seem to mind it at all, and is still his wonderful, usual self. He is doing amazing in physical therapy, already making lots of progress. So proud of our little trooper. 

We took Evan on his first hike in Arizona, which was not entirely a success. We made it about 20 minutes before he got super fussy, and so Ed ended up carrying him, out of the carrier, for the rest of the hike. Still, it made us more excited for doing outdoors activities as a family. 

As I mentioned, we also started swim lessons, and Evan went all the way under water for the first time this month. I was definitely nervous, but got to see lots of other babies do it first. Evan was a champ, and went under a good 8 or 9 times at our last lesson. So proud of our little boy. 

We also celebrated him turning 5 months on my 29th birthday - so fun to share our day together! Evan helped me celebrate by being my "date" to the Tucson Art Museum and out to lunch while Ed had to work - couldn't have asked for anything nicer. 


Swaddle No More!

Evan is no longer sleeping in a swaddle!!! This was huge for us, and ended up being less painful than I feared. Evan really was ready. We had been sort of half heartedly trying to transition away from it for a few weeks, but as soon as we knew Evan was getting the helmet, I knew the swaddle had to go (the helmet is like wearing a super thick hat, which means it's easy to get overheated). So, we went cold turkey and stopped all swaddling. It took about 4 days for sleep to get back to normal, which is, admittedly pretty sucky right now. Still it makes it so much easier now that we just use the sleep sack. 

Happy to be on a date with my loves

Another huge success was being able to have a romantic birthday dinner with my husband. I had the brilliant plan to have dinner at the hotel we were staying at in Tucson (Ed had a work trip that we tagged along for) around Evan's bedtime. Ed gave Evan a bottle while I headed over to the restaurant and got myself a glass of wine. They joined about 30 minutes later, Evan sufficiently tired. He stayed awake for another 15 minutes, just quietly sitting, and then fell asleep, and stayed that way through our whole 2 1/2 hour meal. It was lovely. 


I'm so cute sleeping here. Too bad I won't do it for long stretches any more!

Sleep. That 4 month sleep regression is definitely a thing. For Evan, I think it's mostly been because he's been so distracted during the day that he hasn't been eating as well, so he's hungrier at night. He used to just wake once a night, but now we're lucky if it's only 3 times (when we go to bed, around 1am and around 4am). We had a particularly bad stretch where it was like having a newborn again - hour of sleep between all the wake ups. It has been getting better, so hopefully we keep heading in the right direction :). 

I've also been struggling a little to fit in all of Evan's physical therapy. We have a good sized list of things that we need to practice every day, so that Evan can keep improving. It's important, but it is a lot of extra work and sometimes it's hard to find the time. We're making it work, but sometimes it is still a little overwhelming. 

Mommy Successes:

Enjoying a weekend away from responsibility

I think just balancing everything. Between doing a workout group 3 mornings a week, swim lessons, physical therapy, helmet adjustments, and all the normal errands and chores, it's been busy. But, we're starting to get a routine down and figuring out how to make things work. 

Daddy Successes:
Daddy and baby selfie at the turn around. Evan was not in the mood for picture taking, evidently. 

Evan went on his first run with his dad! Ed wanted to give me some alone time, so took Evan to Sabino canyon for a 6 mile run. Technically, funs aren't supposed to happen for another month, but Ed promised to take it easy and keep an eye on Evan and all was well. He did great!

Best Moments:

Celebrating my birthday definitely topped the list. It was just about the perfect day from the beginning to end. What I think made me happiest was that, at the end of the day, after getting a lot of "me" time, getting to indulge in some wine while Ed was taking the feedings, I missed my little boy. I went 10 hours without getting to hold him in my arms and I missed being the one to care for him. I'm not sure I've ever been more happy for that 4am feeing, feeling that little boy in my arms with his arms wrapped around me. I am so thankful to be a mom to the sweetest boy imaginable. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recipe Round-up

I enjoyed doing this last week, and since I'm getting almost all from pinterest, it's easy to share them here :). So, here are some winners from this week!

These were super yummy! Instead of buying ground chicken, I threw three chicken breasts in a food processor and it worked great. I also added cherry tomatoes to the guacamole, and paired it with grilled zucchini.

Herb and Pecan crusted Salmon. We're apparently on a "top salmon with nuts" kick. I wish we had thought to make salmon like this before. With all the basil we have growing in our garden, and pecans from Costco, so it was easy and convenient, and oh so tasty. 

6 Ingredient Slow Cooker Pot Roast | (grain free, paleo)
This one was a little "meh" but entirely due to user error. Our crock pot is very bare bones (I'm hoping for a new one for my birthday/christmas) and doesn't have any lights or anything to let you know if it's on. So, I made the meal, plugged it in, and turned it on, then went about my afternoon. I checked on it about an hour and a half later, only to find it completely cold. Ends up that the outlet needed to be reset and wasn't working. So, I replugged it in, but the damage was done. Dinner wouldn't be ready until 10pm, so I had to go to a plan B. That meant that we cooked this almost completely the first night (we couldn't quite stay up until 10pm), and then finished it the following. Unfortunately, this meant that it got a bit dried out. It was ridiculously easy though, so I definitely want to try it again with an outlet that actually works :). 

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops and Polenta Recipe
Balsamic Pork. This was a "freezer meal" I made a few weeks ago that was perfect for the night of the failed crock pot meal (I'd already been defrosting it for the following night. It was due to be grilled, but since this was the night Ed gets home late, I opted to pan fry and then finish in the oven. Great flavors on this - easy and as a freezer meal, the marinade really had time to soak in. 

All in all, a great week for food. That said, I'm looking forward to our standing happy hour date and leftovers on Friday nights. Such a great way to celebrate the end of the week. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Little Helmet Boy

It's official! Evan is officially a helmet (or, to be precise, docband) wearing boy!

Yesterday was the big day. We had gotten his final scan last week, and luckily it's quick turn around time since the company is actually based here in Phoenix, with the bands made in Tempe. Ed was able to sneak away from work so that we could all be together for this important event.

Somehow, regardless of our appointment time, Evan always arrives tired, and today was no exception. He was only able to get a handful of "power" naps beforehand, which made me a little worried for how he'd do. 

As soon as we got to our room, our Orthotist, Barb, came in with the band and strapped it on. Evan didn't give any real indications at first that he even realized he was wearing it. He wore it for about 20 minutes, to see how the fit was and what needed to be adjusted. After Barb left, Evan kept turning his head left and right, probably trying to figure out this new sensation on his head. 

The band was a little low along the eyes and made his face look a little squished (something they took care of!).

Looking down on the top, you can see the big gap on the back left. The band works by placing light pressure on the parts of Evan's head that stick out further (his back right and front left). It's about the same amount of pressure his head gets from sitting in his carseat. Since it is "holding" those parts of the head in place, when Evan's head grows, it will grow into the gaps of the band, rounding out the flat spots.

He did start to get a little fussy, but it wasn't really the band's fault; he was just so tired. Ed did a good job trying to keep him entertained. 

After the time was up, Barb came back in and made some marks where the band needed to be cut. Then she took it off and looked for red marks. She would come back in about 30 minutes to see which marks were still there, which would tell her where the foam inside needed to be shaved/softened. 

I soaked in a few last minutes with my helmet-less boy, cuddling his sweet head. Then, it was time for much needed nap. 

He only got about 15 minutes before he had to wake up for his final fitting, but his mood was much improved afterwards! We checked the fit a last time, learned care instructions (23 hours a day, hour off to clean baby and band for probably about 8-9 weeks) and we were off. 

Walking back to the car, it was so odd to see our little boy with this white thing on his head. He honestly just didn't look like himself, which was weird. Carrying him, I had to be careful of not bopping myself in the face, and I couldn't lean down to kiss that sweet head anymore. We'll have to get used to some new norms. 

Last night, after he went to bed, I immediately jumped into action to get his helmet decorated, so that it would look less medical and more special and fun. I painted the whole band white, then applied decals I had gotten designed for me by a company that specializes in band decorations. Three plus hours of paint and modge podge later, I was finally able to go to bed. After feeding him at 4:30, I got back up to add some more modge podge so that he could wear his band today like he's supposed to!

I'm tired, but it was well worth the effort. He does look awfully cute. Here's a little 360 degree tour :)

 After putting the band on, came the real test.

Nap time.

Verdict? All is well. Hopefully the rest of his band journey will be just as easy.