Saturday, January 25, 2014

Third Trimester and Calvin's 16-Month Update

Things have been going well at our house lately... most of the time, that is. Calvin has been sick and teething, something I'm discovering is very unpleasant. He took so long to teethe, I was ignorant as to how disruptive teething can be to Calvin's sleep rhythms. His first four teeth (two top, two bottom) came in with some fuss, but these next four teeth seem to be making him super miserable. I have been giving him children's Advil and children's Tylenol to help ease the pain, which seem to be working so-so. Calvin's sleep has been so predictable for the last year, all these new disruptions have really thrown me. He's transitioned to one nap each day, but that nap is rarely consistent. While he goes down at the same time each day, he wakes up anywhere from an hour to three hours after falling asleep. It's stressful not knowing how long he'll sleep each day when, for almost a year, he slept two good naps exactly 1.5 hours long each. Even so, he was still sleeping quite a while at night, so I tried to not worry too much about it. Until this week... He is waking more often in the middle of the night and not knowing how to soothe himself back to sleep while he's in pain. He's waking earlier in the mornings, too, and still isn't napping well during the day. Boo! I am going to pin it on teething, I think. It's so unusual for him to act like this. Two nights ago, he woke up at 11pm and couldn't fall back to sleep until 1:30am. I was going nuts! Normally, you put this kid in his crib and he knows exactly what to do. He doesn't need a binky, blanket, or any toy to fall asleep (though he does sleep with his Hobbes stuffed animal - although he doesn't seem attached to it). He rejects any soothing item I try to get him acclimated to. Sweet Grandma Nicholes gave him a blanket and a monkey as a fun present, and while we use the blanket and toy on our walks or during playtime, when I try to put them in his crib, he throws them out. I wish he would attach to a toy because I think it's so cute, but he's too independent for that now, I guess. Anyway, I wish he had an item to help him self-soothe when he cries at night, but since he doesn't, TJ and I take turns rubbing his back while he's in his crib until he settles down. Poor little guy. His teeth seem to take forever to break through, so I think this may be a phase we're going to have to get used to. I just hope he's not teething when the baby comes! 

Calvin is still a pretty happy kid during his waketime, though. He really is a sweetie pie. It's very cute to hear him babble more and more. He likes to follow me wherever I go! We cook together, get ready together, eat meals together... it's so fun. He still gives me hugs and kisses when I ask for them. He's very ticklish and giggly, especially with TJ! They love to roughhouse. It's adorable. :)

 Our routine has changed a little bit, but is still pretty consistent day-in, day-out. We get him from his crib at 7:00 or 7:30 am, depending on how long he's slept. If he wakes up early, we usually let him play in his crib until 7am anyway. I feed him breakfast while we listen to and read scriptures, and then he has some playtime while I get ready for our jog (which is more of a walk these days, as I'm getting more and more round ligament pain). I bundle him up nice and snug and we head out around 8:30 am. Before we go, TJ and I have breakfast and prayers. After Calvin and I get back, he goes into his playpen with some toys for independent playtime while I get ready for the day. After I'm ready, we head out and do an errand or activity. Our ward is great about having playdates on Tuesdays at the church, so Calvin and I have been going to that and he has a good time. Calvin needs to get out each day, otherwise he goes a little crazy. This kid needs lots of new stimulation all the time! He gets bored easily and whines when he wants something new to look at or a new place to explore. Sometimes Calvin and I go to storytime at the library, although he still has a hard time sitting still and would much rather run around and explore. If we get to the library early, I let Calvin roam around to his heart's content and he's so happy just toddling through the entire library and discovering all the toys in the nooks and crannies.
After we get back, we have lunch and he goes down for his nap (usually between 12 and 12:30pm). He will sleep until 3pm on a good day and 1:30 or 2pm on a bad day, but he still gets a good nap in and usually wakes up happy. Then we have "Mom and Calvin" time. I pull out his blocks, toys, puzzles, and letters and try to demonstrate how to master new skills. We also read stories and watch "Meet the Letters" in the background. I'm hoping he catches on to some of it, although he's still not really talking yet. He will sign a few words for me, and he babbles and communicates in other ways, but I am not noticing super consistent speech yet. I am confident it will come later, though. :) After our hour is up, I get dinner ready. We have family dinner when TJ gets home and then fight Calvin on eating his vegetables. :) It's not fun. TJ is much better at getting him to do it than I am. We are always able to get Calvin to eat his broccoli, peas, or whatever else, it just usually takes some fussing and crying first. I want Calvin to get used to eating things he doesn't like - or at least trying them. I still want his hunger to be his ultimate cue for when to stop eating, so we do veggies first, and then he can eat to fullness on his favorite foods. He loves eating whole wheat bread with either peanut butter or jam, yogurt, any fruit, avocados, any cheese, turkey, applesauce, pasta, etc. It's really just the veggies he can't handle, but we're working on it! :) 

I do a green smoothie every day, for both myself and Calvin. It's healthy for my pregnancy (although I would be ashamed to show you all what else I consume each day) and it's a way to sneak vegetables into Calvin without him knowing it. I also puree freshly steamed vegetables and mix them with yogurt to get those vitamins into him, and he'll take that just fine. 

Dad getting him to eat his broccoli. Yay, Dad! :)

Calvin then plays with Dad, has bathtime, a story, and then goes to bed around 7:00pm. He will go to bed earlier if he's had a bad nap. Except for the instances I discuss in the beginning of this post, he usually goes to bed within a few minutes and sleeps peacefully all night. 

We went to Kevin and Kyla's house to watch the Seahawks game last Sunday, and it was fun! They are nice for letting TJ invade their house when he wants to watch the NFL, since we don't have cable. :) 

I caught Calvin playing with these toys at the church during our play group. Haha. This made Dad worried, but I explained to him that I think Calvin gravitates toward those little brushes and fake flat irons because he often plays with those items while I'm getting ready for the day in our bathroom. :) TJ still insists we need to get him some Tonka trucks or something. Oh, Teeje.

Here I am at 28 weeks. I am already done being pregnant. I am beginning to feel pretty uncomfortable! Sleep is becoming elusive again. I get very restless legs and am not sure how to treat it. I've tried more iron, magnesium, exercise, water, lavender oil, etc. Nothing seems to really work. I know it'll just get worse as I continue in my pregnancy! Boo. Maybe I need to do more strength training to get my muscles more tired... who knows? It's annoying, though. My round ligament pain has been acting up, too, especially when I go for walks/jogs with Calvin. I just got a maternity belt from Amazon and it makes a huge difference! I feel a lot less pressure and pain in my lower abdomen when I wear it. It was suggested to me by my OB. Drinking a ton of water each day has really helped with my headaches. Other than the sleep issue, I really am feeling good. A little back pain, but not a lot. No swelling or puffiness yet. Even with the discomforts of the third trimester, I know a baby is much easier in than out! So I will gladly stay pregnant for now. :) 

Here I am at 27 weeks from my last pregnancy. I look pretty much the same, I think! I guess my body really does know what to do each time around. The only difference is possibly that I'm carrying higher this time around. I'm trying to be kinder to myself about my growing belly. Pregnancy is beautiful! (If I keep telling myself this, I will believe it, right?) :)

Here are some cute pictures I stole from Jamie's blog. :) She takes great pictures! I always like how I look when she takes my photo, something that is rare for me. She has a great technique. Look how cute Calvin is! I just love this kid, even when he's teething.

Stop looking grouchy! Haha. He is soooo camera shy. Wonder where he gets that... (anyone who knew me at Belmont might get that inside joke).

Calvin loves his Great Grandma Smedley. She's an angel. :) Little cousin Avery is too sweet for words. I love this pic of them together.

Shout-out to how much I love these ladies. Varci, Casey, and their beautiful little angel babies are just the sweetest. They've become wonderful friends. I really love everyone in TJ's family! I'm so lucky they've welcomed me with open arms. 

This is right after (or before?) our family photo shoot. That's why I look especially put-together. :) Isn't Calvin adorable in his little tie?? I could die. So cute. My skin is so gross during pregnancy (breakouts, wrinkles, dryness, flaky skin... ew!), but I'm wearing "The Present" by Philosophy and it makes your skin look flawless. It's a collagen skin primer you put on your face before applying makeup and it just smooths everything out. It's pricey, so I only pull it out for special occasions. :) Go get some! 

Sweetie pie!!

Hey, handsome guy. :) Holding sweet little Avery. He's such a good dad. TJ is so great with kids. Calvin is sure lucky to have such a fun, interactive dad. No matter how stressful TJ's day has been, he comes home happy, smiling, and playful, ready to wrestle with Calvin and play all kinds of games. He was really sweet tonight and let me rest while he fed Calvin dinner and put him to bed. I'm blessed. :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Calvin at 15 Months and Pregnancy at 6 Months

This is one of the family photos we got while everyone was here for Christmas. If it looks like it was cold that day, it was!! We were freezing! Still, I think the pictures turned out well. Remember, I am approaching 6 months of pregnancy in this picture so cut me some slack. :) I think my belly is disguised pretty well, though. 

Calvin is doing very well! He is a pretty mild and easygoing kid. He's not hard to please these days - just let him roam around the house with something in his hands, and he's a happy camper! He does a fast trot but doesn't really run yet. He walks everywhere and has very good balance. Occasionally, he'll trip or fall over something, but for the most part, he's pretty steady on his feet. I think it's due to his low center of gravity because he's so heavy and so short. He is solid! Almost everyone who picks him up says, "Whoa!" because they aren't expecting him to be as heavy as he is. He has a big head and a solid frame, this kid! I swear he only eats healthy foods... I think his body must just be more on the dense side, at least for now. We truly are all genetically made differently! I remember being told the same thing when I was a kid - I looked small, but I was heavy to hold. Taylors are not willowy or petite, that's for sure. I'll bet he gets it from me. :) Sorry, kid. Many people do not know this, and I don't know why I'm admitting it here, but I set my high school's female squat record at 200 lbs. Boo-yeah! Haha. Not the most feminine of traits, but whatever. I think my family's genes are naturally strong and that, in addition to all the work I did at my family's restaurant in high school, contributed to lots of muscle.  Maybe Calvin will set his school's squat record to maintain Mom's legacy. :)

Calvin and I still go on jogs most days. We stopped during the holidays, of course, and we don't go out when it gets below 25 degrees, but we still try to get out and jog as often as we can. I go absolutely crazy when I can't go out and do my walk/jog. Not only does it make it harder for me to sleep at night, it makes Calvin really restless to be cooped up all day. I bundle him up in double layers of fleece, a snow suit, a hat, and two blankets to make sure he's extra warm. He does great! When I take him out of the stroller after we're done, his hands and feet are still warm. I also have a clear jogging cover I use to protect from wind and snow. 

Speaking of snow, I'm not sure Calvin is the biggest fan. :)  

We went out once and he didn't seem too happy. We'll try sledding in a few weeks and see how he likes that.

Calvin loves books and especially loves his Moo book his Aunt Amy (Clement) got him! It's his favorite, along with the I Feel Happy and I Can Share books Grandma Smedley got him. He also LOVES his Pride and Prejudice book Aunt Melissa got him and we read it during Sacrament Meeting when he's getting a little fussy. He points at all the pictures and seems to point to faces most of all. I hope with all my heart he continues to love reading. 

This is a funny story. I was getting Calvin's bath ready one night and turned around for one second to get the bath soap when suddenly he had disappeared! I wandered around for a little bit before finding his little naked bum exploring his favorite toy in the house - the dishwasher. Haha! I couldn't help taking a picture. So cute. My little explorer.

His other favorite toy? The washer or dryer. He will sit here for literally 20 minutes and just stare. It's better than the TV! 

Dad loves playing with Calvin! He made a tall tower out of all of Calvin's blocks. It's always fun to see them playing together. I'm so lucky to have a husband who's as interactive as TJ.

Calvin has moved to one nap per day, but it doesn't always go very smoothly. Some days, he will only take a one hour nap! It makes me really miss the days he would take two 1.5 hour naps. Most days, though, his one nap will be at least 2-2.5 hours. Today, I gave him two naps, and he did fine with that. Maybe I need to do two naps every few days mixed in with one nap on the other days. When he takes a short nap, he is so grumpy the rest of the night. It could all be a teething phase or due to the sickness he got during Christmas, who knows? On our good days, though, he wakes up at 7 or 7:30 am, takes a nap around noon after lunch, wakes up at around 2:30, then plays until his 7:00 bedtime.

He is getting pretty picky about foods. It takes a lot of praise and encouragement for him to eat his vegetables. I cannot force him to eat broccoli, as hard as I've tried! I think I've made the mistake of fighting him on his vegetables too much. I have found when I place the vegetables on his tray and kind of leave him alone for a little while, he'll look at them suspiciously and then attempt to take a bite. When I catch him bringing the food to his mouth, I give him a lot of praise. Ridiculous amounts of praise. He smiles and looks really pleased with himself. When he takes a bite and also swallows it (rather than spitting it out; a common habit), I praise even more and give him hugs and kisses. If he absolutely seems resolute about not eating his vegetables, I mix them with a little whole milk yogurt and that seems to do the trick. He will eventually eat what is on his tray, it just ends up being quite a bit of hard work to get there. When I present him with whole wheat bread, peanut butter, fruits, cheeses, or meat, he is happy! He will eat all those. He will usually eat the dinners I make, too, so that's good. We just need to focus on the veggies. I'm trying not to worry about it too much - as long as I don't make food a huge battle and keep presenting these foods to him, I hope he'll develop healthy eating habits. 

Speaking of food, I made this yummy pizza the other night on our new pizza stone (ie: our terra cotta pot from Home Depot that we got for way cheaper and accomplishes the same thing). It's a caramelized onion, goat cheese, smoked gouda, mushroom and rosemary pizza on homemade pizza dough. We loved it! I got the idea from a restaurant I like in Park City called Cafe Terigo. I have resolved to make more of our pizzas at home this year rather than go to Papa John's on a whim.

Doesn't he look cute in his little bow tie? Thanks so much, Jamie! Calvin still uses a paci when he gets fussy, although he never uses it for sleep. We only pull it out when we need him to be quiet, like at church or at a restaurant. He giggles and laughs all the time and loves to surprise you when you're not looking by patting your back with his hands. He loves open doors and will walk as fast as he can to get to one before you close it! He is lukewarm about his toys and only seems to play with them for a few minutes at a time. He still does his independent playtime every day, and that seems to help him focus a little more on one activity at a time. We just love this little cutie pie!! I think this is the most fun phase yet. He has his fussy days, and I definitely get frustrated with his short naps or picky eating, but he's so expressive and so sweet, it's hard to stay upset. He gives hugs and kisses so readily. He gives me big sloppy kisses on my cheek before I put him down to sleep. If I crouch down and hold my arms out, he'll usually barrel into me with a big smile on his face and give me hugs. He still doesn't have stranger anxiety and seems content with almost anyone, though maybe not as expressive as with me or TJ. He is in nursery already for one hour and does great. I just couldn't love this kid any more.

Here I am at month six. This pregnancy has gone pretty well lately! My sickness is gone, my headaches are less frequent, and I am sleeping pretty well at night. One thing that has really helped with my headaches is drinking tons and tons of water all day. My doctor recommended a full gallon every day, which seemed like a ton at the time. When I made a concerted effort to do it, though (using reminders on my phone), I noticed a big difference. My appetite has increased exponentially, though. I cannot seem to eat enough. I could eat an entire meal and then eat another huge portion without breaking a sweat. I try to control my cravings but am pretty unsuccessful, especially around the holidays. If I don't watch out, I am sure I'll be mistaken for a manatee pretty soon. This is why I'm pretty determined to get out and jog each day! Hopefully, now that the holidays are over, I can return to my normal routine and eating habits. Knock on wood. :) Now that I have experienced pregnancy before, I know what to "look forward to" (more like "dread") in the coming months. Lots of discomfort, zero sleep, and hippo-like grace. I'm trying to soak in as much of the second trimester as possible before the third hits in a couple of weeks. I am hoping the prenatal workout DVD I'm doing a few times a week, along with the jogging, will help me feel less discomfort this time around. We will see! 

Christmas Festivities

Christmas this year was extra special because the whole Nicholes family came to our house for the holiday. Luckily, since our basement is fully furnished with 3 bedrooms, a full bath, and a spacious living area, everyone had room to move around and still have personal space. It was really fun having everyone here! Calvin especially loved all the attention from his grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He had so much fun! The family was even kind enough to babysit Calvin twice during their stay. TJ and I jumped at the chance to have a couple of dates! We rarely get this kind of time together, so we took advantage of it and saw a couple of the movies we have been wanting to see. I feel bad, though, because Calvin was sick with a cough and cold while we were gone one night. He usually never wakes up for our babysitters when it's after 7 pm, so it was very unusual for him to do so that evening. He couldn't have been in better hands, though. Everyone knew exactly what to do to make him feel calm, happy, and better. Uncle Brandon cleaned all the boogies out of his nose (so sweet of him!), Grandpa walked with him and helped calm him down, and Grandma used her essential oils to help him feel better. The whole family pitched in so TJ and I could have a little alone time. It warmed my heart! I sure love all the Nicholes & Smiths! You guys are the best. :)

I had fun decorating the house for Christmas this year because I knew more than just our little family of three would be enjoying it. Unfortunately, I don't think I got a ton of pictures of all our decorations, but here is our dining table setting (courtesy of Target).

It was fun to finally have a real tree in the living room! The house seems so empty without it. It's a fake tree, so we just packed it up and put it away for next year. 

Before I get to Christmas day, I wanted to share these fun pictures of the gingerbread house competition TJ and I went to a few days before Christmas. These houses were incredible! I am glad we didn't participate - I would have come in dead last for sure. We had a great time casting our votes. The first house shown was my favorite, while the third house was TJ's favorite. I can definitely appreciate all the detail that went into these houses because I remember how much work my little house from last year was! The winner got $1,000 and an additional $1,000 to go to the charity of their choice. The last house pictured ended up winning first place - a total scam, I think! :) 

This house (above) was just incredible. It was so cute how they did a BYU/Utah rivalry as their theme. 

This one (below) was TJ's favorite. He appreciated the artistry and architectural prowess. 

This sewing one (below) was just too cute!! I thought it was really creative. I think they got disqualified, though, because the swing made of string was not edible. :( Sad!

This one (below) was the winner. Hmm... I think some Facebook voting scam had to be going on. It's cute, but to me, it doesn't compare to some of the others. 

We went to Grandma's and Aunt Mel's for Christmas Eve and loved every minute of it. It was so fun to visit with all of the cousins and have Calvin play with his little second cousins (if that is the relation... not sure). Grandpa was so kind and watched over Calvin for me and TJ so we could spend our time eating and chatting rather than chasing our little guy around all night. I think Calvin and Grandpa developed a special bond over this trip. :)

 Anyway, back to Christmas, here are a few pictures for you. My phone's memory got full and I didn't have the time or foresight to empty it, so I only have a few random pictures. I'm sorry I missed some group shots of the family! I will have to count on Jamie to cover those for me :) She's the far superior photographer, anyway. 
Uncle TJ with sweet little Avery. 
Isn't she the cutest thing?? I fell in love with her at first sight! She is such a sweet angel baby. So mild and easygoing. She put up with whatever was going on at the house, no matter what the noise level. I sure hope my little baby will be just as sweet. Calvin was not as easygoing, unfortunately. Haha! I think the noise and stimulation was a little overwhelming for him. Christmas and the day after proved to be his fussiest days in a very long time. Oh, well! He still had fun with everyone and everything going on, I just think he didn't quite know how to process it all.

Mandy spent hours and hours making these gorgeous cards for us! They all had a sweet note inside and were personalized to our tastes. Mine had a "U" on it for the U of U and a flying, baking angel. :) Haha! So sweet! Mandy is so thoughtful. We will treasure these cards for years to come. Thank you, Mandy!

Dad got Calvin something he'd really love for Christmas. He packed a box full of ribbon, bubble wrap, toilet paper, and cords. Haha... oh, Teeje. Calvin did love those presents, I must be honest. Those are the kinds of objects he goes after in the house all the time!

Mom got him a toy, though. He loves this little Dino ball popper thing! I also gave him Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs because it was my very favorite book growing up. I hope he loves it one day, too. :)

It was quite a hit with Calvin's cousins, too! At least for a few minutes. :)

Unfortunately, those are all the pictures I took. I should have planned ahead more! We had a really fun Christmas, though. It was full of love, laughter, and happiness. Thank you to everyone who helped make it so special!