Friday, June 28, 2013

Evelyn is 11 Months!

Evelyn is now 11 months old.  She is a little ball of energetic cuteness.

Her most interesting recent development is certainly her crawling.  She is crawling very fast now, and she is into everything.  She loves to get into the trash can by the changing table and the bathroom.  We have her pretty well quarantined from major hazards, but she still manages to get herself into trouble every now and then.  She doesn't yet pull up to standing, but she seems eager to figure that out.  It may take a while yet.  Just recently, she starting stepping her feet a bit when we hold her up standing.  I don't see her walking anytime soon.

She has probably about 7 teeth now, though they aren't all poking all the way out.  She loves to show them off when she wrinkles her nose to give you a huge smile or belly laugh.  She has beautiful, dark skin and one heck of a baby tan.  The sun has also made her hair a little lighter in color, so there is less contrast between her skin and hair color now.  She's my little chocolate chip!

Evelyn eats pretty much everything.  She loves scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Her favorite foods are probably blueberries and strawberries, but she also has a special place in her heart for avocado.  She eats chili, curry, barbecue, roast beef, chicken, sweet potatoes, and almost any fruit.  We don't puree anything or spoon feed her much.  I also realized that she basically never wears a bib.  I guess I'm just too lazy for that kind of thing anymore.  With the warm summers here, we usually just strip all the kids down for dinners.  I guess you could say that we're our own little nudist colony.

She loves to chatter up a storm, and is particularly fond of squealing and just any kind of screaming in general.  There isn't much crying from her unless she is very tired or one of her siblings takes something from her.

Miles and Vivienne seem to love having a baby sister and interact with her a lot more these days.  They will read to her or hand her toys or make faces to make her laugh.  Miles sometimes gets frustrated when she is taking his train tracks apart or disassembling his lego creations, but he has more patience for her than I expected he would.

I can't believe that my next developmental update for Evelyn will be her first birthday.  July is going to be a big, big month for birthdays around here!

No More Maya

Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later.  For the longest time, Vivienne would call Miles "Maya."  Over the past couple of days, I have heard her calling him a distinct "Miles" with the "s" and everything.  I am hoping that when Evelyn starts talking, she'll call him "Maya" for a while, because, let's face it, it's just pretty adorable.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Family Photo Shoot at Bond Park

A couple months ago, we had a family photo shoot at Bond Park, where we are frequently found at the playground or "hiking" around the lake.  The images that the photographer captured were gorgeous.  Here are our favorites.

The Evasive Triple Nap

Up until pretty recently, I have been lucky enough to get all three kids to frequently nap at the same time.  But as of the last couple of months, Miles has been difficult to get to sleep.  The problem is that he can't nap in the same room as Vivienne (the room where he sleeps at night), so he has to nap in the front bedroom.  Instead of napping, he spends a lot of time looking out the window and repeatedly shouting, "I wake up!"  I still use a baby gate to keep him contained, and this seems to work fairly well.  Last week, he finally fell asleep just inside his door with his foot up against the baby gate.

I really, really hope we don't reach the "no nap" stage with him anytime soon.  Mommy needs at least an hour to myself to recharge mid-day.

Pig Racing and Blueberry Picking

We had a very southern Saturday here in North Carolina.  We started the day by taking the kids to the Farmer's Market to pick up our eggs (and if you know us,  you know we eat a lot of eggs around here - like about 8 or 9 a day).  After that, we headed to the Apex Pig Fest to watch some pig racing.

A great view from Daddy's shoulders

They also had duck and goat racing.

You can just sense the tension of the race in their eyes, can't you?

After the pig racing, we headed to a blueberry farm for some picking.  We picked an enormous bucket of blueberries, and the kids had a blast.  It was much easier than strawberry picking, because it was easier for the kids to tell which ones were ripe and it was much less muddy in between the rows.

While the rest of us picked, Evelyn rode along in the Ergo.  I would pick a few berries for the bucket and then stick one in her mouth.  This kept her quite content.  She was very serious about this picking business, as you can see from the photo.

Our little blueberries with their huge buckets of blueberries...

Miles insisted on carrying his bounty back to the car himself.

 This will make for lots of great snacking and some delicious blueberry crisp!

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Hill Valley Railway

I took the kids to the New Hill Valley Railway to ride the train with our friends.  It is only about 15 minutes from our house, and the country is absolutely gorgeous out there.  The train ride is on a full size train, so that was an extra special treat for Miles, who is in love with all things mechanical.

After we purchased our tickets, the kids really enjoyed climbing around on the full size railway cars.  They especially liked climbing up in the caboose to look out the high windows.

After exploring a bit, we got onto our train for the 10 o'clock departure.  The train car was an open air car, and the weather was just perfect - warm and breezy and fresh.

The ride was about 20 minutes out and then 20 minutes back.  All along the way, the engineer (or "little man" as Vivienne calls him) told us all about the railway and the train cars.  Unfortunately, I couldn't listen very well because I was baby-wrangling, as I am so often doing these days.  The kids really enjoyed the trip.  I brought along some fruit for the kids to snack on during the trip.  We soaked in the North Carolina summer with watermelon juice dripping down to our elbows - just the way it should be enjoyed.  It also made for some fun outtakes.

What a fun morning!  A huge thanks to Julia and Quinn for inviting us to spend the morning with them!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lake Johnson Sprayground

I took the kids to the Lake Johnson pool to enjoy the baby pool and sprayground with our friends.  They had a blast.  These kids love to spend time in the water.  And it made for some really fun photos.

Miles mostly likes to stand behind the water gun things (what are those called?).

Vivienne prefers to run back and forth in the shorter spouts of water (with Mommy holding her hand and running alongside her).

Evelyn did join in the fun, but this was the only picture I got of her, before she got wet.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nursing Strike

Nursing strikes suck!  (Get it?  They SUCK.  Hardy har har.  How do you spell "hardy har har" anyway?)

Evelyn has been an easy baby to nurse up until a few weeks ago.  My theory is that she was getting about 4 (maybe 5?) teeth at one time, and her little gums just hurt too much.  In addition to the teeth, she also started crawling, which opened up a whole new world of scooting around the house and exploring.  I sensed that she was easily distracted and always wanted to try to crawl away to some new toy or room or new thing that her brother and sister were doing.  I frequently find myself asking Vivienne to not tickle Evelyn while she's nursing.  Also, Evie starting drinking from a straw cup (skipped right by the whole sippy cup phase completely), so she was getting a lot of hydration that way.

She gradually started nursing less and less, which is typical for a baby that is eating solid foods, but it was getting a little too infrequent.  One day I realized that it had been about 48 hours since she had actually nursed well.  (This may seem crazy, but, believe me, with two almost-three-year-olds running around the house in addition to my baby, it's hard to even notice if one of the children cuts off their hair or goes missing for a few hours.) 

I was worried about my milk supply with her lack of nursing, so I borrowed a friend's pump.  After 20 minutes of pumping, I had about an ounce of milk.  NOT GOOD.  I don't know if my supply had been going down for a long time and that's why she was nursing less or if she was nursing less because her gums hurt/crawling was novel/the world was just too fun to stop and breastfeed and therefore my supply went down.  Either way, I really wanted to fix this.

I called my pediatrician.  He said that Evelyn needs 16 ounces of breast milk or formula a day to get the nutrients she needs.  It seemed very clear that she was not getting 16 ounces from me, even when she was nursing. 

With my friend's pump, I started pumping a few times a day and taking fenugreek.  I also started trying to nurse Evelyn in a quiet spot (which is hard to find in this house!) more frequently.  It has been about a week now, and I can pump about 7 ounces a day in addition to the 2-3 good feedings that Evelyn seems to be doing.  My supply is clearly much higher than it was just a week ago.  Also, Evelyn's teeth seem to be through the gums now, so I suspect that any pain she may have been experiencing from teething is gone (or at least lessened).

I was worried that Evelyn was trying to wean herself, but after some diligent pumping and help from my friend, things seem to be back on track.  Instead of giving Evelyn water in her straw cup, I'm giving her the milk that I am pumping.  For now, things seem to be heading in the right direction.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

North Carolina Zoo

We decided to play hooky from church and take the kids to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.  We get free admission with our membership to the Fort Fisher Aquarium, so we wanted to take advantage of that and take the kids on their first real trip to the zoo.  We took them to the Cleveland Zoo when they were about 18 months old.  They weren't very aware of the animals at that time, but this time was definitely different.

It takes a little over an hour to drive to the zoo from our home, and we were all eager to stretch their legs.  The zoo gives ample opportunity for this, because everything is very stretched out.  We definitely got some good use out of the Ergo and the double BOB that day.

We started out in Africa and really just touched on many of the exhibits.  We knew that our time was limited due to nap times, but we wanted to get a good taste of the zoo before we headed back for the van.  Our first stop was the elephants.

The kids really liked the helicopter that would be used for observing and tracking elephants in the wild.  Miles is very, very into all things mechanical - diggers, dump trucks, helicopters, airplanes, lawnmowers.  He loves them all.

Vivienne is really into carousels right now.  She thoroughly enjoyed riding her zebra with Daddy at her side.  Miles was all smiles.

Over on the North America side of the zoo, we enjoyed watching the polar bear play with his ball and enjoy a swim on a hot day.

The kids were also enchanted by a neat little playground on this side of the zoo.  Of course, we wanted to move the show along, because we have playgrounds in Cary but not exotic animals.

Our little Spiderwoman climbed all the way to the top of this net.  She is very coordinated, and she is fearless.  

And apparently she inherited my calf muscles...

By far, the biggest hit of the day were the otters.  The kids were pretty exhausted by this point, and they laughed uncontrollably at the playful otters who swam by the window again and again.  Even when their laughs are more from their delirious exhaustion, it's still fun to hear them cackle.

Evelyn spent most of the day in the Ergo or in the BOB.  She was very patient and seemed to enjoy more exciting surroundings.  She was also glad when we finally got back to the car.

We left the zoo around 1 pm.  Surprisingly, the kids (including Evelyn) stayed awake for the entire car ride home.  We stopped to get gas on the way back, and I bought them each a milk shake, which was a rare treat (at least from me... Grandma keeps them well supplied with sweet treats).

It was a fun day exploring a new place, and we look forward to returning soon so that we can see all the animals that we missed this time.