Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Arizona Adventures

John, Jack and I recently spent a long weekend in Arizona... and it was wonderful! We used to live in Arizona, and to be honest, we often miss it quite a bit. It was fun being able to introduce Jack to our friends, eat at our favorite restaurants and even do a day trip to Sedona for some hiking.

This was Jack's first time traveling out of state and overall he did quite well! Jack's first flight went better than I expected... which is a good thing because I wasn't overly positive going into it. To be honest, Jack is follows a pretty consistent schedule which makes him great and very predictable at home, but he's a little less flexible when we are on the go since he is so used to his normal routine. He has trouble falling asleep while being held (which is crazy since it seems like most babies only want to sleep while being held!) so he didn't sleep much on either leg of the flight, but we were still able to bounce him and keep him entertained and happy.

Jack really enjoyed people watching while traveling throughout the airport and he had no problem staring people down... no shame in his game! He would totally mean mug people that walked by, but as soon as the person smiled at Jack he will flash them the biggest smile ever! We kept our stroller with us throughout the airport (and then gate checked it) and it was quite handy to load all of our things on it so we weren't managing a million different bags. I know everyone says to wear your baby in the airport, but in the end this just seemed so much easier.

We weren't quite sure what baby gear to pack, but we were quite happy with everything we had. We brought our travel pack and play (which was amazing... highly recommend the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib - I've heard scary/gross stories about hotel pack and plays and wanted to make sure Jack used his own), his car seat and base, stroller, Ergo, and a hiking pack (this was the piece that John was most excited about!).

Jack had many firsts in Arizona - including his first time going swimming in a pool! He absolutely loves bath time so I expected that he was going to love swimming. And although he didn't hate it, he wasn't too sure what to think... totally his dad's son - I'm sure he is still "processing" it all. Jack was pretty serious about the whole experience, but he definitely loved the pool side lounging with his mom. ;)

Along with pool time, we had lots of early morning walks. We stayed right next to the Cub's spring training stadium and would walk the perimeter a few times with Jack in the mornings. You can't beat spring (or fall!) mornings in Arizona - a bit chilly, but super sunny. The weather warms up pretty quickly throughout the day so the time change (with Arizona being two hours later than Texas) worked in our favor for morning walks with Jack.

Most of our time in Arizona was spent visiting friends, eating at our favorite restaurants, spending time by the pool and doing a little shopping, but we didn't want to miss out on introducing Jack to hiking. Since it was too hot to hike in Phoenix (especially considering there isn't tree coverage) we wanted to take a day trip to Sedona. It was still a bit hot in Sedona, so we hiked the West Fork Trail at Oak Creek Canyon which had some nice trees to keep us shaded (and streams to dip Jack's feet in!).

Jack really seemed to enjoy his hiking pack and was awake for the majority of the time just looking around at things. Near the end I could tell he was tired and couldn't figure out how to comfortably sleep in the pack so he got pretty noisy and did raspberries (which he does when he starts to get really tired!) until we were able to get back to the car. After our hike we went to lunch in Sedona, enjoyed the views, and explored the shops a bit.

We had our Christmas card photos taken in Sedona a few years ago, and we hiked the same exact spots in Oak Creek Canyon that we took Jack to this time - it was funny being back there several years later with a baby in tow... how quickly things change!

We did a lot of exploring in Arizona, and near the end of the trip Jack was getting a bit tired of being in his car seat, stroller, hiking pack, etc. The kid had some serious energy to burn! And I could tell he was looking forward to getting back to his play mat, bouncer and other toys. Once we got home he was so happy to be there... he slept amazing in his crib, enjoyed playing with his toys, and just being in his own space again. Perhaps I'm projecting some of my feelings on to him, but I swear, he really did seem happy to be in his own space again!

All in all it was a very successful trip, but we were all thankful to be home... hotel living with a baby ain't easy (especially when you don't let them touch or lay on anything!!).

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jack: Six Month Update

Jack is officially six months old... HOW and WHEN did this happen?!

He is growing so quickly, getting teeth, he knows and responds to his name (when he wants to...), and is absolutely as sweet and cute as can be. Here's an update on his sixth month of life!

Jack turned 6 months old on April 25th at 11:23PM!

Jack weighs 20lb 5oz and is in the 90% for weight; he was 8lb 6oz when he was born.

Jack is 27 inches long and is in the 65% for length; he was 21.5 inches long when he was born.

Jack eats 5 times per day and still gets exclusively breast milk. Who knows how I lasted this long nursing him... I really didn't expect it if I'm going to be honest, but I am so thankful that it has been pretty easy for us.

In addition to milk, we have started Jack on some solids. Last month he had oatmeal and sweet potatoes, and this month we tried peas! I was expecting a strange face when giving him the peas (since it was his first green vegetable), but he seemed to enjoy them right away. He actually really loves food, and I am so surprised how well he does actually eating (and not just getting it all over his face!). He leans into the spoon and grunts wanting more if you take too long... The boy has a very healthy appetite!

He is so interested in food and is always reaching for ours. I feel a bit bad because this month it has become more and more clear that he is interested in and ready for solids, but we have just been so busy that I haven't had the time to really start going full force... that is on my list of things to do for month six! He is also really starting to communicate with us in other ways too - he had a bottle of milk, and he started reaching for it and grunting trying to get it. It took me a second to realize what was happening, and it was the first time that I have ever seen him really communicate (in a way that I could understand) and ask for a bottle... lots of brain development this month!

I still have a ridiculous amount of breast milk frozen (around 800oz) so this past month I started the donation process to donate some of it to make room for other things (like more milk... or actual food!). I'm donating through the Austin Mother's Milk Bank and they require you to donate 150oz to start. I'm sure I'll end of donating most of everything that I have, but I want to hold on to some it until it is all closer to expiry just in case I may need it. The process to donate was quite extensive and took about a month (a paper application, a phone interview, blood work, OB and pediatrician forms, etc.), but it is a worthy cause - all of the milk is given to infants in NICU who are prescribed the milk from their doctors.

Jack continues to be a great sleeper! John and I joke that Jack has been sleeping so well for so long that we should probably start working with him to gain other skills besides just sleep. ;)

About half way through the month he started to really fight his naps. It took us awhile to adjust (since I first thought he was fighting his naps due to teething), but we extended his wake time between naps from 1.5 hours to 2 hours and he has been going to nap much better ever since. We still are doing two good naps and a cat nap in the evening, but I bet that in the next month or so we will be transitioning down to only 2 naps.

Jack's sleep cues have become more and more obvious this month. When he starts to get tired he gets very loud with screams (not crying, just being silly with shrills and shrieks). He then will move to non-stop raspberries. It's all super cute and we think it is the funniest thing, but we know that when it starts to happen it is our 15 minute warning that he is going to start getting frustrated and upset if we don't start getting him ready for a nap or bed.

Jack has been loving sitting up, and I am so impressed with how well he has been doing! He could hang out in his Bumbo all day and loves the new views that he has when he gets to sit up. He still can't quite balance unassisted (he's pretty top heavy with his sweet cheeks!), but I think in only a couple more weeks he will be sitting up by himself.

Jack also loves peek-a-boo. I'm unsure if it is the hand motion he likes or the sound of the "peek-a-boo!!", but he really thinks it is pretty fun. We also Facetime my parents pretty often and Jack loves to hear their voices over the phone. I don't think he can really see them on the screen, but he can definitely hear and reacts to them. He is constantly reaching and grabbing for the phone too... it's pretty cute!

This month Jack has also been loving to show off his new raspberry skills... one day he realized he could do them, and he hasn't stopped since! Sometimes I think he forgets how and will start playing with his tongue until he can figure it out again. It is super funny, and I love seeing him do it.

Jack got his first two teeth this month, and he very much dislikes teething... poor guy (and poor momma too!). Jack's first tooth broke through only a few days after turning 5 months old. I swear, he was fine one day and then the next day he had a tooth! I bought him just about every teething toy I could find on Amazon Now, but he was still pretty upset. His second bottom tooth broke through a few weeks later.

Although Jack doesn't mind one bit, he is still spitting up quite a bit (which I dislike!). Without fail, any time you put him in his car seat you can count on him spitting up - you've got to have a bib ready! The doctor has assured us that it is nothing to be concerned about because Jack does not express any discomfort when he spits up and he is gaining weight wonderfully. 

I'm happy that it is nothing to worry about, but I am so ready to not have spit-up all over me (or him!) every single day. Jack and I basically hang out in our pajamas all day since we don't want to risk getting our nice clothes dirty! I am very much looking forward to this phase passing so both he and I can start to wear "normal" clothes.

Jack got to ride on John's shoulders for the very first time this month. Despite me telling John that Jack was a bit too young, John insisted and basically demanded that Jack ride on his shoulders. Jack had fist fulls of John's hair and very much enjoyed taking big mouthfuls to try and taste it.

John also took Jack on his very first hike this past month (in Arizona), and John said several times that it was a weight off his shoulders to take Jack on his first big adventure. John loves to get outside and it was important to John to start sharing that with Jack right away... doesn't get much sweeter than that. :)

Scout and Lily
Jack still doesn't pay much attention to Scout and Lily (our dogs), but he really lovesss our kitty, Winnie. It is the sweetest thing ever... I will bring Jack up to Winnie, and Jack will reach for her with his hands open to grab her fur. Winnie doesn't mind at all and is a really good sport about it. 

Since Winnie sheds and Jack is reaching to pet/grab her with drooly little fingers, he always ends up with his hands covered in hair which is pretty gross to clean off - but oh well, they seem to like each other and it is fun to watch Jack bonding with my (almost) 16 year old cat that I had growing up!

Jack is wearing 9-12 month clothes. He hasn't had to wear anything past 12 months yet, but I'm sure it won't be too long before we start picking up an outfit or two in a larger size.

As far as diapers, he is wearing size 4 and will probably be staying in them for awhile longer... they fit him well and he's got a bit of room to grow.

Favorite Moments
Jack lets out the cutest screams ever. After he screams he will look at me, and then I scream, and then he screams, and then I scream... and we repeat and repeat (yes, this is the kind of fun we have at our home)! I find it the absolute cutest thing ever, and although I'm sure it won't always be cute (like when we are at a nice dinner or something), I am absolutely loving our "conversations" in the mean time.

This past month Jack also took his first vacation! We went to Arizona for a long weekend, and he had so many firsts... first time leaving Texas, first plane ride, hotel stay, hiking, swimming pool, and meeting so many new baby friends.

Another favorite moment was celebrating Jack's first Easter. Both John and I pray that as Jack grows older that he will understand what this day represents and the life in Christ that he can have because of what our Savior did for us; John and I want to live lives that point Jack to Jesus.

We also sent out a six-month update card to friends and family. So many people love on and have invested in Jack's life, and we are very thankful for that. We want to keep friends and family up-to-date with Jack's happenings, and we thought this would be a fun way to share printed pictures... and who doesn't love snail mail?!

Looking Forward To
Baby babbles with more vowels! Jack does lots of grunts, shrieks, and screams, but he doesn't do much vowel babbling yet (ba-ba, etc.)... and I can't wait for this type of "talking!"

I'm also looking forward to my first official Mother's Day. Nothing big is on the agenda, but I'm looking forward to celebrating with my cutie(s)!

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