Sunday, April 5, 2015

Riley Turns ONE!

It is 11:48 pm and yes technically I should be in bed right now, but I place full blame on baby Riley who (except for tonight) usually keeps me up very late and then sleeps in.

However, tonight he actually fell asleep by 9:30pm, and so now my brain is twiddling it's thumbs trying to find stuff to do until I zonk out myself. I'm so bored with watching people's dogs and cats being cute on Facebook, and so I'm FINALLY blog.

I've actually been wanting to catch up on our blog for a LONG time, but I've let myself get so far behind that the thought often overwhelms me (my last post was Feb 4th, and it's now April 4th).

However, Riley just turned one a couple of weeks ago and I really want to write a blog about this little guy and everything that he is up to at this stage of his life.

So here goes...

(except for the one he had in the hospital)

First, he woke up.

And then he played on the stairs, like he usually does. Sticking the sharpie into dad's water bottle.

And then....

So we went up to Camano Island and met my parents are Four Springs County Park so that we could get some 1-year photos of Riley and some new family photos - via my Dad, who is amazing, and has taken all of our boys 1 year photos, including all of our family photos.

hee hee...he was a little tired.

I always have fun picking out outfits for our family whenever we do family photos.  I don't want everyone to be too matchy-matchy (I've made that mistake before), so I try to blend colors but have everyone have their own individual style.  Since Riley is a March 16th baby, I decided to do a green St. Patrick's Day sort of color scheme...

I picked up cute plaid shirts for the older boys at the GAP outlet, and Riley's outfit I got from Carter's.  Including the adorable boat shoes.

I also like to have all the boys matching too, but usually for church (not for family photos)...

ANYWAY...back to Riley's birthday...

So we got some really cute family photos.  It was nice to have some updated ones since the last time we took "official" family photos was.....hmmm.....

Oh wait, I take it back for Riley's 6 month photos, we did do these ones ourselves with a tri-pod...

BUT it was really really nice to have a professional photographer (thanks Dad!) take some of us with lighting and us not having to run to hit the button and get in the photo in time - haha.

It is always fun to compare with past family photos that are similar...

Some fun outtakes...

And then here are all 3 of the boys at 1 year of age...

So anyway...after we finished with photos, we headed to the state park on the beach and had a lovely picnic. Riley slept in the car for a bit and the boys played on the beach. Preston dug for buried pirate treasure, while Taylor picked dandilions for me. :)

We went back to G&G's house afterwards to do Riley's cupcake - as we didn't want to do all the mess on the beach. goes...

My friend Erika was awesome enough to make these cupcakes for Riley's birthday at the last minute.  So cute. much as we were hoping he would just smash his face into one....

He totally did not.  And had absolutely no plans to.

He would much rather play with cups.

Look Grandma! CUPS!!

No I will not eat it, Grandma.

However, Preston really enjoyed his cupcake.

And he was able to give Riley a small bite off of his fork.


All right, now for the fun stuff.  All about Riley and what he's up to.

Well, I can tell you he has 8 teeth. YES 8!!  It's crazy!  Preston and Taylor only had like 3 teeth when they were one.

He also has developed a personality.  Let me explain.  I would say for the first 11 months of Riley's life he was just a sweet passive little guy who we could take anywhere and he would adapt and smile and sit and coo. Everyone told us we had a perfect baby. And it was true.

And he is still perfectly awesome, but he has gotten feisty.  And LOUD (holy cow!).  If he wants something he DEMANDS it. He will thrust his chunky little arm towards something like he's trying to point and go "UHHHHHHHH!!!!!!".

He also can scream like a girl - haha. Like a super DUPER high pitched little scream.  It literally makes me momentarily deaf.

He is crawling all over the house - and at high speeds too!  He does pull himself up to things and stand, and lately he's also been walking along things (like the couch) while holding onto it.

He is still a TOTAL momma's boy.  And it does kind of make me feel super good :) Haha. I can walk into the room and he will see me and just go all goo-goo over me.  He will reach for me, and he always wants to be on me if I'm sitting.  If Will and I are going to bed and he's hanging out on the bed with us, he will fight for me.  Even if Dad is the most awesomest ever with a full bottle of milk, he will still lunge for me.

He has been shy around strangers lately.  Not fussy, but if I introduce him to someone new, he will lay his head down on my shoulder (or Will's) and that is a signal of "Don't give me to that stranger please." It's cute, but on the times we've had to leave him with a babysitter or something it does get a little dramatic for a few moments, but then he's over it.

STILL breastfeeding! (Go me!).  I nursed both Preston and Taylor until they were 14/15 months old, and so it's nothing new for me.  However, again...I've never had a 1 year old with 8 teeth.  And so sometimes it does hurt, and I've had to cut him off on occasion for biting. He doesn't do it on purpose, usually he'll doze off and his jaw will clench down and OUCH. That hurts.   He also does drink cow's milk now though - that took about 2 weeks and help from the mom in the gym daycare to get him to finally take it.  But he will still always prefer me over a bottle of cow's milk.  

He had his first overnighter at Grandma and Grandpa's last weekend and he did well. He took the bottle just fine and Grandma said he didn't even miss me. Hahah gee thanks.  This made me happy to hear because part of me has been wanting to wean him, but part of me also wants him to just wean himself when he's ready.  I think he could survive if I cut him off, but I also think it would be emotionally hard for him too when he grabs at me and I tell him no.  I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking this. But he is also my last baby and I want to hold onto this last part of the baby/pregnancy thing longer.

Let's see what else...

He has been somewhat of a picky eater lately.  He is very much OVER baby food. If it comes out of a baby food jar he won't eat it.  If it's baby oatmeal, he won't eat it.  But if it's off of our plates?  He's all over it.  Honestly though I can't even tell you what his favorite foods are at this point though because it changes on a daily basis.  One day he loves graham crackers, and the next he does the yucky face.  He DID really dig Will's spaghetti last night though - he devoured it.

He also really loves to play with his brothers.  If he hears them in the other room playing together, he will crawl towards them and join them. It's really cute.   The boys have been playing outside lately because of the Spring weather, and Riley has been pretty feisty and mad - hitting the window as he watches them because he wants to join them.  I'm just not crazy about letting him out without one of us with him, or him crawling all over the mud.  His time to play outdoors will come and PLENTY this summer.

Every night since he was born, he has come into bed with me on my Boppy pillow and we nurse, he falls asleep, I watch a movie or answer emails from my phone, Will is in bed usually too. I get baby snuggles and then eventually I put him down in his crib (or rock 'n play when he was smaller) in our bedroom.  

I have been so attached to this little guy and wanting to hold onto each "baby" moment as long as I can, and so I've been okay with having him in our bedroom for so long. With the other boys, they were out of our room by 4 or 5 months old.   I think Preston was out by 4 months, and Taylor was 5 months.  

But Riley only JUST started transitioning into his "big" baby crib in the boys room 2 weeks ago. So he spent the entire first year in our bedroom.  It was getting to the point where Will and I couldn't even have a conversation at night because Riley is such a light sleeper that he would wake up. Or we couldn't watch movies because it would wake him up.  We just wanted our bedroom back to ourselves. 

It was time.

But it's been rough.  Riley is NOT a good sleeper, at all. He fights it. He fights going to bed at night, he fights taking naps during the day.  He'll go to sleep and then wake up 30 minutes later again.  And he won't soothe himself back to sleep either, he'll stand up in his crib and scream until someone goes and fetches him.  And then he's done. A few hours later, we can try again to get him to sleep.

I personally feel that he is very wiggly in his sleep and he wakes himself up. I would actually prefer to swaddle him, but Will isn't crazy about the idea.  And knowing Riley he would throw an absolute fit and it would probably make the situation worse because he would get hysterical and then I would spend forever calming him down.  

The fact that the boys wake up early in the morning, and Riley goes to sleep late is an issue too.  Usually I will put Riley in his big crib after the older boys have already gone to sleep.  And I'll get Riley out of the room before they wake up (we still have his pack'nplay in our bedroom).  The problem is he still takes naps in our bedroom, but it would be ideal to do it in the boys room so he is always in his crib, but in the middle of the day the boys are usually playing in their room.

So it's always a fight to get him to sleep. I admit we are not super consistent with his schedule either. On the days I'm working on music and Will is in charge, he will do naps completely differently than I do them.  I would prefer Riley to go down the minute I see him getting tired. But I have the advantage of nursing him. But when Will is in charge, he prefers to wait until he is so past the point of being tired that it's easier for him to put him to sleep.  THe problem is it's not consistent either way, and Riley often goes WAY beyond the point of being tired - so much that it is even harder to get him to sleep.

Ahhhhhh this is turning into a novel.  But last night he did sleep in his crib from 11:30pm until 7:00am when I awoke to a "EHHHHHH!!" noise from Riley, and Preston and Taylor staring him saying "COOL!"  (they have never woken up to Riley being in their bedroom before).  I had to go fetch Riley and bring him back to our bedroom so he could go back to sleep because from 7am - 9:30am are prime sleeping hours for him.

THis little boy is a sweetheart though. We love him and are so grateful that he is part of our family.  Even though he is louder and feistier these days, he is still incredibly sweet natured.

Mommy Update

I feel like a baby's first birthday is also a milestone for mommy as well. It's bittersweet because your baby is growing up and while you're happy, you also feel like they were just born yesterday.

I thought I would do a little update on me as well...

So a little over a year ago, this was me...the night before I had Riley.

I was feeling pretty huge and uncomfortable and just ready to have this baby.  

He came...and was perfect.   The above photo was such a special moment for me.

Here is one of my favorite photos...from his blessing day actually after all the family left and we were getting ready for bed.

and another favorite...

Anyway, as usual my biggest challenge is always getting my baby weight off.  When I look back at my life, I've always been active and cared about keeping myself in shape. The only times I gained weight in my life were 

1) the college freshman 15 (but then got it off during the summer) 

2) I dated a guy with whom I went out to eat a lot with, and eventually wasn't the best relationship -gained a lot of weight. But then got it off afterwards once I was out of the relationship.  

and 3) The newlywed 10.   After Will and I were first married, we both put on 10 pounds because we were happy and cooking romantic dinners for each other like every night haha.

ASIDE from those times in my life, it was never like major weightgain. At most I think I gained 25 pounds over what my "usual" weight was, but like I said I got it off right after.  I am usually a pretty good maintainer of my weight, probably because as much as I hate to say it I have had self -image problems since I was a young teen and have obsessed a bit with my weight and feeling like I needed to be thin.  That is an entirely different topic for another day.

PREGNANCY...however, I did gain a LOT of weight.  And all 3 times too.  No matter if I pigged out, or worked out.  Seemed like my body just did what it thought necessary to make a healthy baby, and it took me until #3 to finally figure that out and be in a healthier mindset about it.  

Baby #1:  Gained 60 pounds, lost 45 of it then got pregnant again.
Baby #2:  Gained the 45 pounds all back. But then got it all off plus 10 more.
Baby #3:  Gained 70 pounds.

I have tried to not beat myself up too much about it, but just have peace and confidence that I can and will get it all off again. I know plenty of other women who gained 80 pounds even, and got it all each and every time - but their bodies gained 80 pounds for each pregnancy (like me).  I know someone who is an aerobics instructor, and with her 3 pregnancies she gained 80 pounds. You would not know it by looking at her.

So here is me...recently...

I've always tried to take selfies along the way.  I don't feel like the scale is a very good judge of weightloss and honestly it can make me pretty darn depressed, so I prefer to go off of pictures instead.

I like to look back at pictures of myself to compare and see how my progress is going. I keep a file folder on my computer called 'Postpartum pictures" and have sub-folders with the date of the photos.  It's always a huge help to have those, because there are definitely MANY days where I feel like I'm working super hard but not seeing any progress....but then I will go compare photos and realize that I actually am making progress.

Here is a comparison shot of me at 6 weeks post-partum on the left, and 12 months postpartum on the right (taken 2 days ago).  The left one was actually my first day back at the gym after having Riley.  So if you count 6 weeks as the starting point of losing weight, then my progress has been a 10.5 month progression, not a year.

So I've lost 40 pounds so far, which means I still have 30 more to go to get back to where I was before getting pregnant with Riley.  Yes I am proud of the work I've done so far, but it does still feel like I have a long ways to go.

My body has only just recently finally started to feel like the Relaxin hormone is finally almost gone.  My body overly produces it when I'm pregnant - which is why I've had so many dislocated ribs in the past during pregnancy, and why my hips hurt so much. Everything just gets super loose.  And each time, I've noticed, it takes about 10-12 months to finally return to normal.

For example, I know this might sound weird, but lifting my leg straight up from standing position (like you are lifting a sock with your toe) was impossible for me while pregnant. Putting pants on was so hard because having to lift my leg like that.  And I've been doing exercises for the past 10 months specifically to strengthen the hip flexer muscle there, but it's also just taken my body to just get the relaxin out as well.  

I also am starting to feel leaner even though I still have a lot of weight to lose. Part of that is because I am not nursing as much anymore and my body doesn't feel like it needs to hold onto the fat for nursing.

I have to say though, it is kind of weird knowing that the baby phase is over.  I see others getting pregnant, announcing they are pregnant, or having babies and there is part of me that aches inside.  Even though I never enjoyed BEING pregnant, I do however really really enjoy newborns and having babies and children...and there is a part of me that is very sad that I will now only get to watch that from others and not experience it again for us.

WHen I was pregnant and really struggling, so many women made the comment to me that they missed being pregnant, or they remember feeling the baby kick and how they missed that.  I NEVER could fathom that.  I hated pregnancy and only wished daily for it to pass as quickly as possible so I could be relieved of misery.  I did LOVE that I was making a baby and honored my body for that, but I did not enjoy it. It was HARD and painful and tiring and I was not myself.

However, I think in a couple of years from now, I will fully understand these women and what they meant.  I too, will probably "miss being pregnant" not for physical aspect of it, but simply to be in that phase of life, to know you are creating a life.  

The other day I was over at a friend's house for a luncheon.  She told me in mid-conversation that she was pregnant. I had no idea, but I kid you not it was as if all of a sudden she glowed to me.  And I admired her - as if I thought to myself "She is so beautiful, she has a baby growing inside of her."

Just like how I wish I would have listened to the older and wiser women tell me in my teens and 20's how I was beautiful and was NOT fat.......I think I too shall one day wish I had believed all the women who told me I was beautiful when I was pregnant, and how wonderful it truly is to create a life.


And with that, I bid you goodnight. It's 1:35 a.m. :)