Piper’s 5 Months

Tonight’s photo shoot for Piper’s five month picture was definitely the most eventful thus far. To start with, I’m miserably sick. I reluctantly started an antibiotic yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be good as new soon. Piper’s been sick for the past four days or so, but she is definitely doing a lot better now. I’d knock on wood and say she’ll be 100% by the weekend. Ellie seems like she might be getting sick and I think Brian is just sick of everyone being sick and sick of knowing he’s likely next to be sick. 

It took me about 20 minutes to find the dang SD card to shoot this picture, which was honestly a nightmare of a time. How is it that there are likely 6 SD cards somewhere in the house and I cannot find one that will work? There are worse things in the world, people, I am aware. But when your head feels like it’s waterlogged and you have the energy of a turtle, looking for an SD card and doing a baby photo shoot with a toddler on your tail is quite trying.

Alas, the photo was taken and all is well. After I took the photo of Piper, Ellie hopped in the chair and said “Mommy take a picture of Ellie now.” So I have a cute little picture of Piper, freshly bathed with a hot pink bow on her head and a fun picture of Ellie, sans bath with my least favorite (but her favorite) pajamas, with two headbands 80’s style – and she couldn’t be more happy!

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Ellie is such a little love bug. I can tell already the type of woman she is going to grow into and I know I’m going to be so proud of her. As a toddler it can be challenging. The most important thing for me is finding the right way to talk to her to get her little two year old brain to understand and respond accordingly. For the most part I think we do a good job, but there are definitely times I feel like a bad mom. I think I’m be pretty abnormal if I never had any of those moments. I just do the best I can and give myself a break when my best isn’t “good enough.” It reminds me of sports really, continually striving to improve, but accepting defeat when it happens. 

Piper is so crazy happy it baffles me. She’s been sick and all she does is smile smile smile. I love it so much; it just warms my heart to see her smile. She’s also very motivated. She’s been up on her hands and knees rocking like crazy. Sometimes she rocks so hard she falls on her face. And then she just gets right back up, excited to try again. She also does this thing where she gets up on her toes and her hands. I’m not sure where she thinks she’ll go like that, but I’m sure she’s having a lot of fun. She also has fun eating and constantly tries to grab for her spoon, thus flinging food in multiple directions. Piper loves grabbing her toes and putting them in her mouth and she’s now also grabbing her ears. I think Piper is going to grow into one of those people who’s super chill and relaxed, but when it comes to the things she cares about, she’ll throw a fit.

I like to make hypothesis about their personalities, but the truth is I don’t know how they’ll evolve. All I can do is love them and try as hard as I can to support them in becoming true to themselves.

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Natural Solutions Instead of Drugs

I’ve never been a fan of curing all my pains with drugs, but let’s face it, I went through my fair share of Ibuprofen in my ’20’s; I’m not sure how I would have made it through some days without it! As I’ve gotten older and become a parent I’ve learned a bit about moderation – and also a bit about medicine and medicine alternatives. Especially when our little babes get sick we want to find the quickest solution to make them feel better. I’ve learned over the past 20 months or so though that some things can be done without turning to Western medicine solutions. Below are just a few of the little tricks I’ve learned along the way. The big caveat is: I’m not a doctor and sometimes you just need a doctor. Hopefully some of these things help you need a doctor a little less though.

    1. Congestion/Cold:
      1. Elderberry Syrup: This has easily become my favorite natural immunity booster. When I feel a little dryness in my nose or soreness in my throat, I take a little of this. When Ellie gets a little runny nose we give it to her in the morning. I think it’s shortened her colds and prevented a few from coming about.
      2. Eucalyptus Oil: Our midwife told us about this recently. When Ellie gets congested we put a little of this in her humidifier at night. It’s a natural cold fighter. We just did this last night and Ellie woke up a little more dried out.
      3. Home-made “tea”
        • This Korean gal I used to work with told me about a tradition of honey and lemon tea. Here is a “recipe” – it’s pretty dang easy: http://catherineboley.blogspot.com/2009/08/preparing-for-winter.html
        • I made a tea once when Ellie and were sick and I swear it worked wonders. I minced about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, boiled water and steeped the garlic in it covered for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I strained out the garlic and added a bunch of fresh lemon juice and honey. It surprisingly did not taste like shit and Ellie actually drank some of it.
      4. Elevation: put a pillow under one side of the crib mattress and lay babe down with her head on the high side
      5. Bone Broth: I haven’t tried this yet, but a local naturopath recommends a homemade bone broth. It seemed a little time consuming for me to be honest, but I bet it works great. I also wonder if picking some broth up at your local Pho restaurant would work just as well: http://www.jadeinstitute.com/jade/bone-broth-health-building.php
    2. Fever:
      1. Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s a natural fever reducer. Put a cup in a warm bath or soak a washcloth in it and put in on the forehead or the feet.
      2. Calcium Lactate: This is what your body naturally uses to fight a fever. Using a supplement will make your little one recover quicker and not be as achy during the process.
      3. Egg Whites: Soak a pair of socks in them and put on feet. You can also soak paper towels and put them in the socks
      4. Garlic: Blend fresh garlic cloves and mix with a little olive oil or coconut oil. Smear on the bottom of the feet and put socks on over. Test out a small amount first to see if your little one experiences any burning sensation.
      5. Warm baths: Once when Ellie had a fever we put her in a warm bath and her fever dropped three degrees within 5 minutes. Cold baths are not the way to go, warm baths are.
    3. Ear Pain: Garlic Mullein: I haven’t used this yet because Ellie hasn’t had any ear problems since I discovered it. Basically this stuff is supposed to be put into the ears when babies have ear infections. I would recommend trying this very early on if you are suspicious of an ear infection.
    4. Baby Probiotics: I began taking probiotics myself during this pregnancy and then found out they’re actual great for little ones as well.
      • They’re great immune boosters, which help to fight against colds, flu, strep throat and stomach bugs.
      • They’re good for the belly, so they can either keep the digestive tract balanced or help to fight off things like diarrhea, etc.
      • They also help if your child has a dairy intolerance, which can cause Eczema.
    5. Teething: Hyland’s Teething Tablets: These are a good alternative to fever reducers when children are teething. The trick is really getting the babe to take them.
    6. Colic: With our newborn, our midwife recommended Dr.Ohhira’s Probiotics to address her apparent tummy discomfort. They are gel capsules so she recommends poking a hole in them and either trying to feed to the baby on a finger or rubbing some on the nipple for consumption during feeding. Baby should have some twice a day and a capsule should last about two days or four doses. 

These are just a few of the tricks off the top of my head. I’ll continue to update this as I hear more from friends, midwives and blog posts, as I think it’s super helpful for those desperate sickness times.  Good luck braving the winter with your little ones and remember, sometimes rest is the best cure for our mommy busy bodies.

The Rocky Mountains, and that they Are!

We planned our trip to Colorado back at the end of 2012 and we took into consideration many of the things we learned with our first traveling experience with Ellie. Yes, she can walk, so we figured a quick two hour flight wouldn’t be too bad and the fact that we were going in the opposite time zone direction would be good so she would fall asleep later and wake up later. We booked the trip with my mom and her boyfriend (Grandy) and thought we were smart to stay in Denver for a day so we could visit with our aunts and get Ellie acclimated to the altitude before going up to the mountains.

All good intentions, but unfortunately good intentions do not equal good outcomes. Tutu (my mom) and Grandy had to cancel the trip due to their impending living situation and new job. Long story, but nonetheless, we were coming to visit family, so not the end of the world. The flight was fine, Ellie was happy. We spent the next day at the aquarium with Aunt Jackie, which was a blast. Then we headed up to the mountain with Ellie. While only 3000 feet above Denver, Ellie did not acclimate to the altitude very well. 

The day after we got up there she seemed okay and the next morning we went for a snowshoe. It seemed to be all down hill from there – no pun intended. Ellie became really fussy and she developed a bit of a fever. Being the adequate parents we are, we had our baby Tylenol on us and gave Ellie a bit of that. She seemed to wax and wane, but at around 5 am she woke up with a temp above 103 and she vomited. With that, we were off to the nearest ER.

After a plethora of tests – a nasal swab, a chest x-ray – it was determined that she had altitude sickness and acute bronchitis. They put her on some oxygen and advised we keep her on it and get down to lower altitude as soon as possible. This was incredibly disappointing, since we were really looking forward to spending a lot more time with family up in Minturn. 

We got Ellie down to lower altitude yesterday and spent the entire day today in our hotel room. She seems to be doing better now, but oh my goodness, what a roller coaster ride. It is so incredibly difficult to see our baby have a difficult time getting air and not knowing when enough is enough. We were so grateful to talk through the situation with our nurses through the hotline at Ballard Pediatric. We felt so much better after that conversation. It’s just insanely unnerving to hear that our baby could start to turn blue and that’s a sign to go back to the hospital. I just want to be like “oh really, no shit!” Being a parent is so tough sometimes. But it’s so rewarding at other times and it’s always worth every minute. I’m so grateful to have such a great partner to work through these tough situations and such a trooper of a daughter. She could only be slightly more of a trooper if she didn’t try to spit out every drop of Tylenol we try to put in her body and freak out every time we put saline in her nose and suck out her boogers. We’ll take what we can get though! 

Videos Galore

Since the New Year, I’ve been a bad blogging mommy. Every time I think about sitting down and writing something exciting, other priorities take over. I took on a new role at my company, causing me to have to go back to five days a week at the office. I do miss my one day at home, but I’m grateful to have had it for at least a little while. 

For New Year’s, the three of us plus Max rented a house on Lake Wenatchee. We spent three nights and it was amazing. We went in to Leavenworth, went on a fun (and steep) snowshoe and generally enjoyed relaxing in a house with no cable, no wifi and no cell reception. It was magical.

Then we came back to the grind. We’ve just been working away and Ellie’s been growing growing growing and doing so many fun new things. She’s walking a ton now, clapping her hands all the time and waving. The clapping and waving she’s doing when we tell her to; it’s really incredible to see her develop and see her connecting new dots. She’s also been very talkative and I’m certain she’s saying words. Yesterday at her cousin’s birthday she saw Brian outside and I said “Dad” and she said it back.  

We did go through a bout of sickness, which has been going around. Last Saturday at 2:30 in the morning (of course), Ellie woke up throwing up. Why is it that babies always get sick on the weekend in the middle of the night? It’s never the middle of the day during the week when you could take them to the doctor if needed. The illness lasted for about 2 days and then she was back to eating and drinking normally. 

Since then she’s been quite fussy, clingy and a little snotty; I’m certain she’s got another tooth coming in. I can’t wait for that to happen so she’s not it pain any more.

Here are some fun videos of all the exciting action from the last month or so.

She was cracking up at Max and every time I said “dog”:

 

Showing off her mad clapping skills:

 

We went to the Children’s Museum and caught her walking away from the fish tank:

 

Ellie doesn’t want Brian or I to feed her lately and she’s gotten the coordination down to eat herself:

 

Sharing some beautiful music:

On the Move

Ellie boom has been on the move now for awhile and has started pulling herself up on things. Once she stands up, she gets a very confused look on her face because she’s not sure what to do.  It’s so exciting to see the wheels turn inside her head and crazy to know that she’s taking in every single little thing we do.

Ellie has been sick this week and I’m sick as well.  Thankfully Ellie hasn’t been as sick as me! I read online that breast milk commonly has antibodies specific to a mom’s illness and it helps prevent baby from getting as sick as mom.  Fascinating stuff! I was fortunate enough to get a nap in today while Brian took Ellie out for a little walk and to run an errand or two. When they got back we set up the new baby fence and Ellie could just play and play in the living room with all her toys. She pulled herself up on the fence; I had to hold the fence in order for her to accomplish this, but it was all her.

We’re heading to Hawaii on Wednesday and I think it could not come soon enough for Brian and I.  It will be interesting to see how Ellie fares on the plane – any tips anyone has are very welcome!

Here’s a video of Ellie standing recently:


We also started swim lessons last week and Ellie is NOT a fan of the water. Hopefully by the end of the session, she’ll be a little more excited to take a dip.