Friday, July 12, 2013


All this focus on Ashy Boy and someone else has been getting older too.  No, not me and Bear... well we have, but we try not to think about it.  I'm talking about my main man River.  My heart breaker.  The boy who single-handedly turned my life upside down and changed my heart forever, turning me into a stronger, yet softer and a whole lot weepier version of my former self.  

 At 3 and a 1/2 years old, River loves his little brother more than anything.  When he gets sick, overly tired, sad or upset from getting in trouble, he begs for Baby Ash.  He wants to be right next to him and by that I pretty much mean, sitting on top of him.  Ash is his lovey, soothie, comforter.  More than anything, I want my kids to be the best of friends and be close to one another for life.  It melts my heart they are off to a good start.

He still sucks his thumb, or as my dad would say... "That boy has the cleanest thumb this side of the Mississippi!

Any word that has the letters BR in it, he pronounces with a BL instead.  Instead of correcting it, I find myself asking him where his blown (brown) blanket is and telling him I will be right black (back).

He also pronounces the word girl as golo and thinks it is really funny to tell me that I am a boy and daddy is a golo.  He loves opposite jokes and has been doing them since he could sign hot and cold.

River loves riding his trike, or as he calls it, his bike.  He only rides with bare feet and likes to stash his shoes in the back compartment.  He can make every walk last a ridiculously long time and on a super hot day, it really tests my patience, but children are what God gave us time for, so I suck it up and watch him pedal, stop, pedal, stop, pedal, stop, pick up rocks, store them in the back, pedal, stop, pedal stop, pick a dandelion, store it in the back,  pedal, stop.... you get the picture.

He has a sweet tooth that could rival anyone on the planets and right now we are doing our best to get some healthy food in his body too.  It has been a challenge, to say the least.  Sweets make him so happy and veggies so grumpy, but as much as we love being the one who makes him smile, we are learning to say no.  Well, I'm already good at it, but Bear is learning to say no, or at least getting better about sneaking him ice cream behind my back.

He has major attitude and finding that perfect parenting spot of teaching him, without breaking his spirit is going to be a quite the process.  He has a forgiving heart, so I'm sure he'll let go of the times we don't get it right.

He loves to act things out and watch the playback on the camera.  He is pretty shy in primary, unless they are role playing and then he is all in.  He loves to sing and he does it under his breath almost all the time.  Right now the songs I hear him sing the most are; Never, Never, Never Give Up (from Thomas the Train) The Books in the Book of Mormon and This Girl (Golo) is on Fire.  The last one he picked up from his friend Alyson and it cracks me up.

He loves his friends and ask me about them often.  "What is Hutch doing Mom?"  "Where is Rocky and Sofia right now?"  My answer is usually, "In bed River.  Uh, oh... better hurry up, so they don't beat you to sleep."  I think that tactic worked all of two times.

He will ask you the same question over and over again.  Be prepared if you come and visit.  He also loves to play repeat, where he repeats what you are saying.  No one ever taught him this game, he just figured out this jewel all on his own.  It probably stems from his love of playing follow the leader with the kids on the playground.  I've never seen some one so observant of others.  He will copy the slightest move.  It's kind of ironic, but I think his ability to observe and copy others, is going to help him lead others one day.  I don't know why, but it is just a bit of mother's intuition.

He literally makes me pull my hair out... Not joking... I've actually grabbed my hair in frustration, as I've tried to figure out an appropriate consequence, in a timely manner and come up with nothing and then, in the next instance, he's melting my heart again.  "Oh Mom, you look so handsome."  "I love you Mommy."  "Mom, what's wrong?  Are you fluster-ated at me?  I so sorry mom."  Ladies, I will do my best to make sure all this charm comes wrapped up tight in accountability, responsibility, sincerity and compassion.

He loves baring his testimony in church, which is pretty hushed and mumbled till he gets to the part where he says, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

He has the worlds best laugh.  It chimes like the bells on Santa's sleigh.  I'm not lying.... it is magical.

He loves to go swimming and can hold his breath under water for a few seconds.  He is super brave on water slides and especially loves any outing that Daddy comes with.

On walks, he points to people and says, "Let's go get that human." and "Mom, a human!  She's not going to get away this time."  I think he gets it from Hotel Transylvania and that just goes to show that a love of Adam Sandler is genetic.

I love my boy!  I love how big and fast and brave he is getting with everything and I love how sweet and soft and tender he can still be with me. Oh... if only every child was loved the way I love River, the world would be a very different place.  Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

*By the way, all these photos are by Marianne Wiest Photography.  She makes me love my kids even more, because she captures all the best things about them and then at the end of hard days, I look at their photos, while they are sleeping and all the bad melts away.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Whoop! Hair it is.

It's been hot here.  100 plus for weeks on end hot here.  Still, I am opposed to the standard little boy buzz cut that everyone seems to adhere to during the summer months.  Boys have the rest of their lives to be bald.  I say let them have hair while they can.  The thing is, my River is a sweater and he has been a red-faced, dripping faucet for the last two weeks.  So when my husband said he was going to shave River's head, I couldn't muster my usual furor.  I weakly brought up the fact that we wouldn't shave his head, just because he was hot, if he was girl and when that didn't work, I said, "Your hair is long and you're not shaving it."  Major backfire people!!!



Screech!  Wait!  Hold the phone!  What is happening here???

Oh the stubbornness of the male species.... flaunting their shorn heads and shirtless exteriors while I roast away.

I have known Bear since 2001 and I have never, ever seen his hair this short.  I think I might have a few scare moments where I think there is an intruder in my house, but both my guys are still handsome devils.  Now excuse me while I go cry into Ashy Boy's beautiful blonde locks.  I kid.  I kid.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lucky Number Seven

Because sometimes the fuzzy hair photo has to win, even if mommy couldn't get the lighting right.

A lot has changed in this seventh month.  The most important being, Ash can stay sitting up.  This is pretty much my favorite milestone.  (I consider sleeping through the night more of a miracle than a milestone.)  Shortly after he turned six months old, we took a road trip to Montana, home of the amazing photographer Marianne Wiest.  My Ashy boy still had zero interest in sitting up, but I had a heartfelt conversation with him about how much cuter his six month photos would be if he could sit up and then this happened...

and this....

and as if my heart could take much more, this too...

High five Baby Ash!  You did it just in time and Marianne Wiest, I am in a hurry to buy a home, just to have a place worthy enough of these awesome photos!!!  Thank you.

So what else has been going on this seventh  month?

Well sometimes my little boy's eyes look like this...

Blue with little earthy, brown continents in the center.

And then twenty minutes later, they look like this...

Sort of a wet stone color?  Then one day he had one blue eye and one very green eye, which was awesome, but I didn't have my camera and they changed before I could get home.  So the jury is still out, but I won't be one bit surprised if they turn out brown after all this.

Since I am posting about eyes, I need to give a shout out to his long lashes.  Little boys always get so lucky.

Oh wait... and what's that bib and orange goop all over his face?  That's right, we started solid food this month.  Which is kind of a funny name for super liquidy, pureed baby food, but whatever.  Ash was not as interested in at as River was at this age, so I probably could have held off, but I was hoping the extra calories would curb the appetite of my Super Nurser!  Slowly... meaning it took from the beginning of the month, till the end of the month... it has.  Gerber and Beechnut, my nipples and my sanity thank you.

A picture of Ash's first meal... hmmm... maybe pears weren't the best choice for a photo op?  Well, he seemed to enjoy them at least.

Well, carrots show up better in the pictures, but don't seem to be as big of a hit.

We timed the solid food introduction right before our Montana trip.  This helped tide things over in the car, so we could make it a little further between nursing breaks.

Which reminds me... Ash got to go to Montana this month, meet his friend Cable, sneak some bites of ice cream, attend a movie premier and go hot-tubbing for the first time.  He randomly also decided to sleep for five hour stretches while we were there, but stopped as soon as we got back home.  I think he was letting me know his moving preferences in a not so subtle way.

Andrus, Cable and Ash

 Hot tub first!

Fun fact about Ash... he has an indented tongue.  (Like his earlobe)  Someone told me this means he is tongue tied.  I don't know about that for sure yet, but I think it is so sweet.

So about the sleep, here's more detail then you'll ever want to know, but since we moms forget these things so quickly, I want to document it for my own sake, should I be blessed with more rugrats.  (Is there some kind of run-on sentence competition I can enter?)

Have I mentioned that I decided I am not bad at sleep training, just really excellent at nursing!!!

Sleep has been a doozie, but we finally made some progress this month.  After returning from Montana, Ash was up to his old habits of waking every 45 minutes to nurse.  I was hoping solid food would be the magical cure, but it wasn't going to be enough by itself.  Clear back when Ash was two months old, I stopped nursing him to sleep before naps, but every time I tried to stop nursing at all before naps, he just stopped napping.  I would hold out for two weeks and finally cave.  I decided to try to cut the nursing before naps out again, since I could feed him solid food and know he wouldn't be hungry.  I thought this was an important step in breaking the sleep/boob connection.  The first two days he didn't nap at all, but then.... he did!  Miracles do happen.  This was step one in my sleep bootcamp.

I also tried one more time to reintroduce the binkie.  Then this happened...

Not exactly what I was going for.

After wrestling it away from River, this was the best I could get from Ash.  Oh well.

Moving on.... I decided that if I was going to go through the ringer of sleep training, I was going to unswaddle him now and not have to redo everything in another month or so, when he was more of a roller and then I HAD to stop swaddling him.  I put him in a slumber sack and his arms are free.  Since the binkie was a no go, I introduced a couple lovies instead, hoping he would take to one and he actually did.  He picked River's first stuffed animal Kiss Kiss.  It is so cute seeing him light up when he holds it.  That was step two and three.

Now for the tough part.  I didn't feel like I could go from feeding him every 45 minutes, to not nursing him at all through the night, so I took away a feeding every three days.  I would stay up with him, right by his bed and pat him softly soothing him, but I would not pick him up.  It was a real leap of faith, because after the previous crying it out fail ended after three hours and me finally giving up, I didn't know if he would stop crying.  It sucked.  He let me have it, but I stuck with the plan and he stopped crying after two hours and all at once, gently fell asleep.  It was still a rough ride, but it felt better being in there with him and loving on him, then leaving him alone to cry in the dark.

*Please note crying it out worked super well for River, so I am not opposed, but every baby is different and Ash has no self soothing techniques, so this worked better.

The next night he cried for an hour.  He still let me have it, but it didn't feel so long and since I had witnessed the miracle of him sleeping without nursing the night before, it was easier to stick to my guns.  The third night he only cried for 30 minutes.  I was worried about what would happen the fourth night, since I was going to make him give up another feeding, but thankfully he started stretching things out on his own and quickly went down to just two feedings a night.  By the end of this month he could sleep unswaddled.  He would only wake four times a night, with two of those being soothed back to sleep in about ten minutes of soft crying and me rubbing his belly and the other two being nursed.  It might sound like a lot, but it is a huge improvement.  Phew... sleep training makes me tired.

Ashy loves TV.  This is his locked in face the second anyone turns anything electronic on... including the apple insignia when the ipad is loading.  He can't turn away.

Ash had his first day at a water park and I made him wear River's hat, since River refuses to wear it anymore.  It was super big on him, but ADORABLE!  Notice River then decided he would wear a hat.

Ash weighed 19 lbs 9 ounces and was 28.5 inches.  The weight gain has started to slow a lot.  He didn't even go up a whole pound this last month.

I swear he has retractable teeth.  No teeth have officially broke through, but he bites me so hard that I promise you they are in there.  Plus, have I mentioned his patented move, The Nipple Iron?  Any time he is frustrated while I nurse, like say my milk is a tiny slow at coming in, he clamps my nipple between his gums as hard as can and then pulls his head back as far as he can till it slides and snaps out.  Fun times.  He's been pulling this number since he was born.  He really is Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.  He has a temper and I'm afraid I will need reconstructive surgery when his teeth do come in.

How could I forget my most favorite thing... Ash gives super hearty backslaps when you pick him up.  It is so cute.  It will make your whole day, I promise.  They aren't tiny baby taps.  If you pick him up and have him balanced on your hip, he will reach his arms around your shoulder and give you good-game back slaps.  They are the best.

He loves being part of the group.  Don't think you can set him down and walk away.  He wants to be with you and on whatever level you are on.  If you are on the couch, he can't be on the floor.  If you are standing, then he must be held.  He has a temper screech that demands it.

My chubby boy still won't put any weight on his legs.  At this age, River loved being in his bouncer and it would buy me some much needed hands free time, but Ash is not a fan.  To bounce, you must extend those dangly things below your bum and that is just way too much work.  This is the number one difference between River and Ash as babies.  River loved "standing" at just a few weeks old and by seven months, could stand up, if he was leaning against something.

Another difference between River and Ash, is that Ash lets me read to him.  At this age, River just wanted to eat the books, but Ash sits and listens to the whole story and gets excited by each new page.  This is helpful for the ocd tendencies I have about finishing a book you start.  River nearly killed me.

Well I love him, I love him, I love him...

This post is getting long.  I'll wrap it up by saying that Ash at seven months is pure JOY!

Here's my River Boy at seven months for comparison.