Thanksgiving 2010 (5m-1d)

After the first volley...What an incredible weekend.  We had a house full of family for Thanksgiving.  Aunt Juanita flew in on Thursday morning and joined her son Glenn, his girlfriend Katie and their two boys (from Sacramento) to surprise Grandma Cat for her 75th birthday on Thanksgiving.

We had a total of 13 adults, 2 toddlers (Glenn’s boys Glenn Edwin [2yo] and Greylon [1yo]) and two babies for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Grampa John, Great-Grandma Cat, Grampy Tom, Grammy Jeanne, Great-Aunt Nita, Uncle If Kieran at 16lb fits, the 21.5lb turkey should too!Oin, Auntie Cynthia, Aunt Cassie, Cousin Glenn + Katie, and our friend Sibyana.  There was plenty of food, and everyone seemed to enjoy dinner.  I made  good use of multiple crock pots once again and had everything served at 6:00.

Our turkey this year was 21.5 pounds, 5.5+ pounds heavier than Kieran!  Ridiculous pictures were had before I got to fooling around with the turkey.

Juanita stayed here with us, along with Dad and Grandma.  Oin and Cynthia Kieran's ready to start cooking!stayed at a timeshare, and Glenn and his family stayed at the Hilton.  (Oin and Cynthia will be here with us for their last night in Vegas.)  Kieran stayed with us in our room in the pack & play.  That went better than I expected, but I was afraid our squeaky bed would wake him up every time one of us got in or out of bed.  (Well, that and Paul’s snoring…)  Kieran’s (ah hem) schedule is mostly shot to hell, but we’re hoping we can maybe tweak things Surprisingly fun times with Great Aunt Nita!as we put them back to rights.  I’ve got him d0wn for his third nap of the day as I type this.  (We actually managed four by the time the day was over!)

We’ve enjoyed the rest of the weekend, just hanging around the house, talking and laughing – wherever Aunt Nita is, there is always laughter.  Kieran has Lemme taste your nose, Grampa!been such a great little guy – smiling and laughing for everyone.  I’ve been trying to take pictures with everyone, saving memories as best I can.  There have been many tears, most of them happy. I wish mom could have seen this, her kids and her grandson; her daughter as a mom and her son as an uncle.  But Dad (Grampa John) is enjoying Kieran to the max, Having a snooze with Great Grandma Catso that is really great to watch.   Watching my grandmother playing airplane with my son and then later taking a snooze with him in the recliner have been some of the episodes of happy tears this weekend.

What a difference a year makes.  Kieran will be 5 months old tomorrow.  He has been such a blessing to us, in what would have been a really tough year.  Things aren’t perfect for us, and we have a tough road ahead in a lot of ways, but we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  We’re looking forward to spending a family Christmas focusing on love and togetherness and starting the new year as a family.

Clicky the piccys to see more pics than you probably want to – but many of them are absolutely adorable.

Oh yes Mama, we need onions for the stuffing...A happy Kieran the morning after with Grampa JohnOh hi Mama!  I didn't see you there!There were serious tweets to be sent!Kieran modeling his new dinosaur hat from Auntie LisaKieran and Uncle Oin on Sunday morning

Milestones, or something (15w1d)

Lest is sound like we’re all work and no play around here…Outtake from 3 month self-portrait with Mama

Kieran is developing at lightning speed! He grows and changes before our eyes – every day he’s reaching farther, kicking harder, standing longer, cooing and giggling louder, and just astounding us with how enchanting he is, discovering his world.

Kieran reached out, grabbed Mr. Giraffe and held on to nom on his ears!  First time to grab a toy and hold on!In just the last few days, Kieran has started to reach out for toys and grasp them. He’s able to actually hold onto lightweight toys now, and is starting to bring them to his mouth. He’s starting to put things in his mouth (or try at least) and nom on them for a bit.

Paul's baby girl and his baby boyIn his several-times-daily baby gym time, he’s reaching for and *hitting* the dangling aeronautical vehicles far more often now. And with a little help from Daddy, he’ll grab and hold onto them as well! Oh, and since Kieran frequently shares his gym with Laurel Cat, we’re helping Kieran learn how to gently pet the kitty.

Om Nom hands!Kieran turns and looks in response to Paul’s and my voices. I wouldn’t say he responds to his name quite yet, but he’ll look around when he hears us – especially Paul. Daddy is Kieran’s bestest friend – but don’t tell Mr. Hand and Mr. Hand, they might be offended. Kieran still has regular confabs with them about everything.

Kieran is an absolute joy to us, especially before 7:00am, cuz WOW this kid wakes up in a good mood. How Paul and I managed to produce a morning person is beyond both of us. God apparently has a sense ofSweet little man. humor. At this rate, Kieran will be a total sports-obsessed jock too. Whatever he turns out to be, he’ll always be my little boy. My little angel. My little Prince.

Kieran has a cousin! (12w5d)

As of around 7:30am PST this morning (4:30pm Belgium time) Kieran has a cousin. No word on name and no pictures yet, but he arrived healthy and full-term. By all reports, Mama and baby are doing fine.

Paul and I thrilled for Cassie and her fiancee Kurt. We remember how we felt almost three months ago when our own son arrived. The overwhelming joy, happiness, fear and relief. And the love. Oh yes, the love.

What hit me most this morning when I woke up to hear Paul calling his grandmother to report the good news (delivered within minutes by Grampy via Skype) was the joy in his voice for his little sister. For all their squabbling and bickering, he loves her something fierce. He is so proud of her, watching her from half a world away, forge her life on her own terms. And now she’s made a little family for herself. We couldn’t be happier for them.

Reflecting (9w1d)

He wasn’t ever supposed to happen. I had given up hope long ago and hardened my heart as a way to dull the pain of what I wanted so much but could not have. But then my little miracle happened, and life took a completely new direction.

He’s growing and changing so fast. I swear, he’s bigger after every nap. He already knows I’ll do anything to make him smile. That increasingly drooly, gummy grin that lights up his face – and mine.

I know the sound of his cries and what they mean. I know the difference between half-lidded contentment and half-lidded sleepiness. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been pee’d on. I congratulate him on particularly epic diapers or hard-fought farts. We discuss the Adventures of Mr. Giraffe in the Strawberry Car and his travels to the Land of Poo while waiting for the inevitable on the changing table. (The folks at IKEA are smoking some good Comfy Couch before coming up with their stuffed baby toys.)

He’s talking to us now. Not really, but he’s starting to communicate with us in ways other than crying. He coos and gurgles – not quite laughing, but getting there. He hangs out with us now instead of just falling back asleep after eating. He has opinions and makes them known. We’re fairly certain he’s already Yelped us.

The feel of his hot little breath against my cheek as he voices his displeasure at how long the bottle warmer takes. That same hot breath, gentle now against my neck as his head gets heavier and heavier after he burps and collapses into sleep at his midnight feeding.

I never knew I could love someone this much. It’s primal, visceral. I miss him when he naps – the need to be with him is so strong. I’m tired, but I’m reluctant to put him back in his crib now in the dead of night. Kissing his soft little cheek for the umpteenth time as I carry him to his room, it’s so delicious, I have to kiss him again.

How on earth is it possible that I am this little boy’s mother? He wasn’t supposed to happen, and I will never be the same.

Returns… (8w3d)

There have been lots of returns recently. Mostly in the form of various types of formula as we struggle to find something that works for Kieran. We’ve tried regular formulas from Similac, Enfamil, Costco and Target. We’ve tried the “gentle” versions of formula from Similac, Enfamil and Target. Now we’re back on Soy, using the last of our sample from Similac. (I’m about to go out to Target to get a container of their Soy formula.)

I am SO thankful for easy return policies on formula, although I do feel bad returning an open container, knowing it can’t be used by anyone.

Initially we were looking for something to help settle the incredible amount of (apparently) painful gas Kieran has. He’s been gassy literally since he was born, so we’re trying to find a formula that won’t exacerbate the situation. It’s so hard to see him so uncomfortable. (The clothes we’re sending to Paul’s sister for her shortly-due baby all have worn spots from rubbing Kieran’s tummy so much.) But it seems that the “gentle” formulas actually made the situation worse by constipating Kieran. (I felt horrible when it dawned on me that 4 days of easy-clean poops were actually constipation getting worse and worse.) We’ve pretty much got him regular again with judicious use of prune juice (good lord, that stuff is powerful and unaffected in any way by digestion!) But we don’t want to have to constantly spike his bottle with juice, ya know? So we’re trying Soy formula again to see if possibly he’s lactose intolerant. It’s seeming to help the constipation, but not the gas.

And yeah, we’ve got (Little Tummies brand) Gas drops and Gripe Water… neither of which seem to help all that much. Suggestions on other remedies are greatly appreciated.

The other return this week was a hard one: the Breast Pump. I took it back 6 weeks early. (We’d done a pre-paid 3-month rental through early October for the lower fees.) It just wasn’t working. I was drinking my lactation tea, and taking my supplements (none of which were cheap, btw) and it just wasn’t seeming to help. Was it really worth it to spend the money on supplements and rentals, to spend nearly an hour each time hooked up to the thing to get less than an ounce of milk? (And the milk looked more and more like just foremilk anyway.) Seeing that pump on it’s little table next to the couch all the time was just a constant reminder to me of my failure. The guilt I had every time I sat down to do anything and wasn’t hooked up to the pump was really wearing me down.

So Paul and I talked about it (I cried about it, again) and we decided that it wasn’t worth the emotional pain to me to keep trying for such diminishing returns. I could barely get 2 ounces a day (most days it was 1oz or less total) for all my trying – and Kieran is currently sucking down 25-30oz a day. The little I could eek out was barely a drop in the bucket.

He got the colustrum at the beginning. He got as much milk as he and I could coerce out of me for the first 2-3 weeks. I have to believe that was enough, that he got the benefits from that little amount. I have to believe that, because I have to forgive myself, because I have to move on. I told Paul I needed his permission to stop trying, and after a long pause, he gave it.

End of an era, or something. I’m off to Target now to buy a full-size container of Soy formula so we can really see if Soy is the answer for us right now. Kieran seems to be over his constipation, but is still gassy as all get out. But he is thriving and growing like a weed. And in the end, that is all that matters.