zero point five

It's hard to believe we've come to the time where Theo has been with us for half a year already! Some days I feel like we just brought him home last week. Most days I don't remember life without him and feel like he's been with us forever.

Two days ago we went to his 6 month well visit and I was hoping to get the miracle answer for making him sleep longer. Apparently the miracle answer is that I need to feed him more. Wait, what?! Feed my already chunky monkey even more?! Dr. Brown said I'm starving him. I'm sorry, what?! The kid is 19 pounds and is in the 60-75%-tile. He already weighs more than Anna weighed when she was a year old! When the pediatrician says I need to be feeding him more she means I need to be feeding him solids and 3 times a day! So much for baby led weaning! I tried that for a few days and it didn't seem like he was eating anything--which I guess is how it works at first. I'm totally conflicted because everything I read online tells me babies under a year mainly need milk, solids are experimental, and baby led weaning is how the rest of the world feeds their babies. However, the pediatrician seems to be saying the exact opposite. Guys, I felt like she was going to call social services on me right then and there when I told her I'm not even feeding him solids everyday. I'm pretty sure at this point with Anna she was eating 3 times a day and loving it. For some reason with your second kid it's just not as exciting to jump into solids and I didn't feel rushed to start.

So we've taken starting solids slower with Theo. I would love to think that's exactly the reason why he's not sleeping through the night. But my motherly instincts are telling me otherwise. Even if he had been eating solids 3 times a day for a while now I believe he'd still be waking up throughout the night because it's not like he used to sleep through the night and now he's not because he's hungry. He's never slept through the night and by feeding him solids he's just going to all of sudden start? I just don't see that happening. Regardless, now that he's 6 months, I probably should get a move on. I'm going to try both purees and baby led weaning. Maybe spoon feed him oatmeal with bananas while he gnaws on a steamed apple slice. At least that way he's getting the calories the pediatrician said he so call needs and he's still practicing feeding himself.  I guess I got to go dust off the ole Ninja and de-ice the ice cube trays because, baby, we're going to be chowing down!

Oh so close to crawling!
Well hey there, Mama ;)

And just for fun let's compare my twins babies:
Anna at 6 months; weighed 15 pounds and was eating solids like a champ.
Theo at 6 months; weighs 19 pounds and would be happy drinking Mama's milk and that's it.

Let's not forget those awesome stats:


We're singing in the rain

Because that's all that's been going on over here.

Rain, rain, go away!

I'd usually exclaim but when all your daughter wants to do is go jump in puddles you let her because she's only two for one year and you can only jump in puddles for so long before it's just not cool anymore.

...Wait, is it ever not cool?

Someone's pretty proud of her little puddle. All in a day's work, Momma. 


All work and no sleep makes Jess a dull girl

You would think we took another break from social media but that is not the case. I really don't know how you mothers of more than one actually have time to sit down and write. It must be the fact that your babies are actually sleeping through the night. And if that's the case, oh, how I do envy you.

I really believe God gave mothers extra energy. He had to have. There is no humanly possible way someone can get by on multiple nights of only 2 hours of sleep at a time. And when I say multiple nights I mean five months. Basically since we've been a family of four. I can count on one hand the number of nights I've been able to sleep longer than 4 hours at a time. Does it sound like I'm venting? Yes, it does, and yes, I am. I feel like this is a safe place to do that. And you may say, "that's what you've signed up for in being a parent" or "get over it, we all go through tough times". And I don't want a pity party. I just want to hear an Amen! that parenting is hard as crap! After people ask if Theo is sleeping and I just laugh they ask me how I do it. I just do. I've learned to love coffee again. So there's that. I get by just getting what needs to be done and some days not even that (hence why the blog has been put on the back burner). Baby books are still sitting empty, pictures are still on my phone and camera and have yet to be uploaded to Shutterfly to make beautiful photo books, and projects around the house are being left incomplete. But those things can wait right? Even though every time I think about them I get a twinge of guilt because I want to work on them, I realize at least the most important things are being tended to. My kids are being fed, the house hasn't totally fallen to shambles (it may have taken me a week to finally fold 3 baskets of clothes but hey they eventually got done), and since I took a fast from social media for a month I've been able to find time to fall more in love with Christ and find a new hunger for the Word.

Speaking of sleeping, or lack there of, we tried putting Theo in his crib for the first time two weeks ago. Travis and I were both so ready to move him over to his and Anna's bedroom. Travis has been wanting to do it for a long time but I just didn't want to keep getting up every 2 hours to feed Theo and I was afraid he'd wake up Anna every time. After I realized he was waking himself up because he was outgrowing his bassinet I finally relented. The first night was awful! Theo was up every hour. But since then he's been sleeping so much better. Not 9-11 hours like Anna was at this age (I just can't even. I hate my former self for ever complaining about anything!) but between 3-4 hours and that's better than what it was when he was in the room with us. Anna's doing great! She sleeps right through his crying. And so does Travis. He's all "I didn't hear him last night. Did he even wake up?" Yes, Travis, like every other night he woke up at least twice. You'll know when he sleeps through the night, I'll throw a huge party. Naps have been really good. They nap together and it'll usually last 2-3 hours so I'm able to catch a quick nap or get things done around the house or finally finish that blog post I've been trying to write for the past month. Nap times make up for the rough nights for sure. In the next month or so we're going to try dropping the middle of the night feedings by letting him cry it out a bit. Since Anna already sleeps right through his cries I'm hopeful he'll be able to learn to soothe himself without bothering her. **fingers crossed**

Yesterday was rough. Theo was very clingy. I told Travis he's going through a growth spurt because he seems ravenous, he's teething, or he's super tired because he hasn't been sleeping well. Travis reminded me that unfortunately at Theo's age he could be experiencing all three! At one point during the day while he was inconsolable I was trying my best to stay calm and tell him he was ok and in the midst of crying he gave me a huge smile. I had to stop and thank God for my sweet little guy. In that moment I was reminded that time is fleeting. My kids won't always be vying for my attention like they do now and one day I'm going to miss that. So instead of getting upset that I couldn't console him, I held Theo even tighter in that moment. He eventually calmed down and fell asleep in my arms. Usually I'd lay him down in his crib. Instead I let him sleep on me while I took a little snooze as well because, again, time is fleeting.

So maybe I'll be back in a few days or maybe it won't be for another 6 weeks. In the meantime please grant me grace while we try to catch up on sleep over here.


As of Lately (and a 4 month old Theo)

We've taken a little break from Social Media, a whole month in fact. And while I'd like to say so many crazy things happened with the Joneses, I have to admit, life continued on as usual. I think the biggest thing that happened was that Anna pooped in the potty after going on a little hiatus and continues to do so. Which, if you're a parent of a toddler or ever have been, then you know this is major news! Travis continued playing soccer with the boys on Mondays and Tuesdays, my girls nights continued as usual, we went to the mountains for our staff retreat while Anna stayed home with Mimi and got spoiled rotten--that's what Mimi's are for ;) And the kicker to end it all: we all got sick AGAIN!!! complete with double ear infections, pink eye, upper respiratory colds, sever sore throats, and RSV for the second time in less than a month. We've been to the doctor so many times in the last 7 weeks that any time we leave the house Anna asks if we're going to see Dr. Brown again. A majority of the time the answer is yes. She doesn't seem to mind. She loves Dr. Brown.

Taking walks on warmer days. Somehow as February has gone on it's gotten colder.
That's not how it's supposed to work--doesn't it know that?
Staying warm inside taking bubble baths.
Proof that bibles are being read! They're falling apart. What a beautiful sight. 
Mrs. and little Mr. Sickie. 

Our first, and hopefully last, snow and ice storm came through the other night. While we only got a few inches (if that) of snow, the ice was pretty thick so they called school. I'm sure they would've called school even if we didn't get the ice because that's just how it goes down here. I didn't mind like I usually do because we were stuck inside being sick anyway. Anna and Travis got out for a bit though and played with the other kids who turned cardboard boxes into sleds because that's just what you do in the south. At one point Travis said, "I wish we had a sweet sled!" And I'm all, "what would be the point?!" Plus sifting through the dumpster to find the perfect piece of cardboard is the cherry on top. 

My mountain man and sweet little eskimo

In other big news Theo turns 4 months old today. I remember when Anna was 4 months old. We were in Ohio while Travis was in SE Asia. She was getting over RSV too. We were excited about starting solids with her. Starting solids with Theo really hasn't crossed my mind. The first time we tried with Anna we decided to wait a few more weeks because we knew she just wasn't quite ready. I may wait a few more weeks for Theo too. Besides being twice the size of his birth weight he hasn't really shown any other signs that he's ready for solids yet. I'm pretty sure he started a growth spurt a few weeks back. He all of a sudden started waking up every two hours at night to eat like he was a newborn again. The first few nights weren't too bad but by the fifth night I was becoming exhausted and a little annoyed. At almost 4 weeks later he's still waking up every 2-3 hours. My body is finally get used to it again but that doesn't mean I don't long for the nights when I'll be able to get a consecutive 4 hours of sleep! His day schedule isn't any better. I feel like with Anna at Theo's age we had a pretty good schedule going but when you've got a toddler who has her own needs too the second child tags along for the ride. He naps 3 to 4 times a day and thankfully takes a long nap while Anna naps in the afternoon which means I can catch a shut-eye every now and then. It's been extra difficult with Theo being sick twice in one month and going through a growth spurt but we know we'll eventually get in the groove, it's gotta happen at some point. Plus he doesn't seem to mind getting the extra cuddle time at night.

Who needs Christian Bale when I have this little guy as my Batman?
Big Boy
Yup, I went there. It needed to be said and I'm just trying to be honest.


I blinked

Little man turned 3 months yesterday. I'm scratching my head wondering where the past three months went. I'm realizing the more kids you have the faster the time goes. If I ever had a reason to stop at two, there it is right there. Time s.l.o.w. down! I feel like so much has happened in the last 13 weeks and not just with Theo. This past week I caught myself looking at Anna and just blown away by how much she's grown too. Since Theo's been here Anna has transitioned from her crib to her big girl bed, is counting to 15, singing her ABCD's (as she calls them), holds lengthy conversations (some of which are still questionable if it's English), and is currently potty training. I blinked. I told myself I wouldn't and I did. I blinked and my baby girl has officially become a kid. It even feels different to carry her. She's so long now. It breaks my heart. But at the same time it brings me joy seeing her grow so beautifully.

And then there is my sweet Theo. A mama's boy if I've ever seen one. He can't be away from me for more than 10 minutes. Even if I try to put him down for a nap or nighttime in his bassinet, our bed, his swing, anywhere where I am not, he senses my absence. I've gotten pretty good at baby wearing and I can tie that Moby Wrap around me in less than five seconds. We've also been co-sleeping a lot more than we did with Anna. I always told myself I wasn't going to be that parent but when you and your baby aren't getting any sleep unless he can feel your breath on his face you do what you gotta do. If you read my previous post than you know he had RSV this week, but despite being sick his smile never faded. His smile is the best. His whole face smiles. His big eyes all of a sudden disappear.  I just can't get enough. We can already tell Anna and his personalities are completely different. He's easy to get to smile, a big flirt. With Anna you had to work for a smile from her, and you still do. Which I don't mind one bit. I love that about her. And I love that my little man is so easily entertained especially by his mama.

Yes, you read that last line correct. He is going bald--and it's not just the balding that happens from his head rubbing while he's sleeping. I know babies who have lost their hair after a few months only to have it grow back much lighter. Fingers crossed Theo will be a little blondie like his daddy was :)

I can't get enough of these two together. I love to imagine how they'll interact as they get older. I can already tell Anna's going to be miss bossy britches and Theo will be at her beck and call. He looks at her with such fascination. He loves her so much. She still pays way more attention to her own baby dolls than to Theo but when she does it's the sweetest--except when she's "disciplining" him in which I have to remind her that Theo is a baby and he "wistens 'n obeys" just fine. Sometimes, if her play is innocent, I don't stop her because it's just too cute.

My two littles. The most joy comes in teeny-tiny packages, am I right? How did we get so blessed? Hopefully the next three months don't go by as fast as the previous. I'm not betting on it. This time I'm going to use toothpicks to keep my eyes open so as not to blink.


2015, I dislike you already

We can't seem to catch a break. We've been sick since before Christmas. One right after the other. I guess we should've assumed it'd go that way. If one person is sick in the house the rest are soon to follow. I kicked it all off by coming down with the flu. The day my family was planning on joining us for the week of Christmas I got a fever, chills, cough, the whole shebang. I took ibuprofen like it was my job and sucked on cough drops until my throat was numb. I was bound and determined to be well while they were here. Travis insisted he wasn't going to get sick. His persistence didn't stand a chance and neither did my determination. He came down with a fever on day 3 of my family being here and my fever returned after being dormant for a few days. Having my family here was a huge help. I was sad we weren't able to do as much as we wanted to and I really wanted to be a good host while they were here, but really that's what family is for, to take care of you when you're down, to take care of your kids when you feel crummy. They couldn't have cared less if I was a good host. Even though Travis and I were both sick we ended up having a wonderful Christmas and as long as Anna and Theo were around to entertain I'm pretty sure my family had a happy Christmas too. 

First time in over a year all four of us were together. I couldn't let the flu keep me down. Thankfully Stef didn't get sick after I bit her ;)

Not even a week after my family left we were expecting Travis' mom, his brother, and sister-in-law. We were super excited to spend a few days with them watching Buckeye football in the Sugar Bowl, showing them around Charlotte, and again we wanted to be good hosts. Well, what do you know, the morning they were to arrive I woke up with a sore breast and fever which ultimately turned into mastitis later that day. Awesome. So I had to spend the next few days, while Travis' family was here, massaging my breast, taking hot baths, nursing as often as I could, and taking antibiotics and more ibuprofen to keep the fever at bay. Again, having family here though was a blessing. 

I recovered shortly after Travis' family left and we thought the kids might be in the clear. The flu had been out of our house for over a week and of course I wasn't contagious with mastitis. But then last week Anna started coughing. It was the exact cough I had before I came down with a fever. I called the doctor right away. Sure enough she had the flu AND strep throat!!! You'd never be able to tell though. She is a trooper. Her cough wasn't too bad and she didn't really ever get a fever. The worst part of her sickness was giving her Tamiflu. We had to get creative in how we gave it to her because the first few times she threw a fit and one time she vomited it up. It was awesome. After bribing persuading her with stickers and at one time a cookie (insert emoji with hands over eyes) she mustered up some courage and took her medicine like a champ. 

I was praying really hard and with my eyes closed really tight (not that that really matters to God) that Theo would stay healthy through it all. Then this past weekend a little cough started to rear it's ugly head. That sweet little cough. Poor guy. I took him to see the doctor this morning, and not surprising, come to find out he has RSV. Flashbacks of Anna from two years ago flooded my mind; memories of breathing treatments and humidifiers and suctioning snot. Then Anna exclaims "my turn, my turn!" So Dr. Brown played along and listened to Anna's heart with her stethoscope, and for good measure checked her ears. "Anna has an ear infection." You've got to be kidding me! She is still taking amoxicillin for her strep throat, how the heck does she get an ear infection!? Off to the pharmacy we went for the third time in three weeks for a stronger dose of meds for Anna and albuterol for Theo. 

Maybe this is how the sickness is spread. Just a guess.

My tough guy. That smile tells me the RSV isn't getting the better of him.

While 2015 didn't begin how I would've liked I'm hoping all the sickness we've had to endure isn't any indiction of what the rest of the year holds. But I've got to look on the bright side. Family was a huge help and great company over the past few weeks plus two really big things happened: Anna is potty training (wahoooo!!!) and our Buckeyes won the National Championship, so we're not too down in the dumps over here. 

We're so proud of our big girl! Look at all those stickers behind her. I'd say she's pretty proud too!

Raising them up right.


The Baby Boy Without a Name (Theo Shepherd's Birth Story)

Remember when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I posted how we still hadn't pinned down a name for our little boy and how we'd better figure it out before we arrived at the hospital because we're not like those people who can just wait to see our son and know his name? Well God has a huge sense of humor and wanted to keep us on our toes because that's exactly what happened. I mean we were driving to the hospital exclaiming to one another, "what's his name?!" We were still mulling over it between contractions. We continued to repeat our options over and over after he was born and nothing sounded right. One of us would say "I think it's ____" and the other would say "but I like ____" and it'd go back and forth like that all the way up until we finally arrived at Theo Shepherd 12 hours after he came into this world!

It all started on Thursday, the 16th. Up until this day Juice Drop's back had favored my right side, which according to spinningbabies.com is not an optimal birthing position. I should know because Anna was not in the optimal birthing position and I didn't want to have another labor and delivery like hers! He was on his way to giving me another back labor so all week I had been doing exercises to help him flip. The evening of the 16th we went to a friend's art show fundraiser. While there I started having contractions pretty frequently. Nothing too consistent yet and no pain but I knew they were different than regular braxton hicks. He also felt different. I felt his back on my left side! We walked around the show, admiring all the beautiful art, talking to friends, and every now and then I could feel a contraction come on, and every time I thought this could be the start of something. As we left I told Travis what was going on and he insisted that the baby stay inside of me until we come up with a name. I said, "yeah, ok, I'll let baby boy know". I got through the night still having contractions but again no pain and they were about 10 minutes apart. The next day I had my midwife appointment. I was hoping she'd confirm that he was in the right position and I was also hoping she'd say I was in the early stages of labor because I was still having contractions. Well double bonus, Juice Drop was in the optimal birthing position and I was dilated 3 cm! Being the on-call midwife she said she'd be surprised if she didn't see me back that weekend! Woo HOO! We started letting family and friends who were on standby to watch Anna know things could happen pretty quickly since my contractions were picking up speed after I got home. (Side note: we soon discovered that this would be the worst weekend to have a baby. Travis' mom who was planning on coming down as soon as we told her I was in labor said she couldn't arrive until Sunday--it was Friday. Our friend who lives in our neighborhood who was on standby for a middle-of-the-night trip to the hospital was out of town. Thankfully our dear friend Susan offered to watch Anna for most of the weekend but was unavailable for a few hours on Saturday, along with everyone else! We finally found a family we were just getting to know (so Anna didn't know them) to watch her for those few hours--we were making phone calls just an hour after Theo came and thankfully was able to find this gracious family! We were starting to realize the joys and challenges of having more than one child!)

Later that evening, on the 17th, my contractions started to get more frequent, 5-7 minutes apart. I decided I didn't want to make dinner so we went out for pizza. The whole evening I caught myself staring at Anna. I just knew this was going to be our last night as a family of three. I tried to cherish every moment with her that night. As we went through her bedtime routine we made sure to take pictures and video of her kissing my tummy and talking to her baby brother. We let her know how proud of her we are and how excited we are for her to be a big sister. I continued counting contractions and they got to be 3-5 minutes apart but still no pain. I asked my friend of five children her advice and she said she'd call the midwife if she were me because if she would've waited until her contractions were painful she'd have had 2 of her 5 kids at home! Well I definitely didn't want to have an unplanned home birth, nor did Travis want to deliver our baby so I called my midwife. She told me to come on in! After Susan arrived 15 minutes later we were off to the hospital, still without a name for our son.

After being admitted and getting settled into our room, my midwife checked me. I was hoping she'd say I had progressed to at least 6 cm...but I was barely 4. Well, shoot. I was afraid she was going to send me back home since my contractions didn't hurt either but instead she told me to walk around and try to get something started. I walked for a bit, we put on the movie "Brave" to try and pass the time, and I told Travis he might as well get some sleep since I knew we'd be there for a while and at that time I didn't need him. Around midnight I finally started feeling the contractions. They still weren't too painful. A nurse came to check shortly after and told me I was 9 cm dilated!! We got so excited! Only one more cm to go and my contractions weren't too bad! ... However, my bubble was soon deflated because my midwife checked me just 5 minutes later and she said I was closer to 7. Well shoot (again). She decided to break my water (which I still don't understand why since I was progressing fairly well and my contractions weren't terrible so why couldn't we just keep it that way because as soon as my water broke all hell broke lose!) But seriously, it was like night and day how different my contractions became. And I wasn't ready for them. I figured since he was in the optimal birthing position the pain was going to be more manageable than the contractions I had with Anna. I was wrong. It was difficult for me to focus, relax, and breath like I needed to, and they were coming so fast and strong that some weren't even a minute apart. I didn't even have time to rest. Unfortunately during this labor I didn't want anyone to touch me. With Anna's I needed Travis to push his fist into my back with every contraction and hold my hand with his other. This time Travis felt helpless. At one point I told Travis I didn't think I could make it to 10 cm without relief. I felt so exhausted and I couldn't imagine having to go through another contraction. After slapping me and yelling "get your act together!"--no just kidding ;) he told me I could do this, I was so close, and encouraged me to breath correctly. Up to that point I wasn't breathing how I had learned, and after he reminded me of this it was like a totally different labor. The pain definitely didn't go away but it was more manageable.

Finally, a little before 7:30 am, I felt pressure and asked the nurse to check me. She told me I had a little bit of cervix left but I could try to push through it. Hallelujah! I got myself into the position I wanted to push and within 3 contractions we met our baby boy! He was out and on my chest by 7:44 with me exclaiming, "I love him so much!" and he still without a name. I was hoping as soon as I saw him I would just know his name. However, that didn't happen. And it didn't happen for Travis either.

We decided to give ourselves a deadline. By 7 pm that evening we needed to decide on a name. So for the next several hours we repeated our options. We had two names we were mulling over and both had different middle names to go along with them. We would stare down at him and say "are you a _____? or a ______?" We would switch up the first names with the middle names and see if those worked too. And then right before 7 o'clock something clicked. We decided on the name we originally had chosen for him all along (since before I was pregnant) with the middle name that Travis thought of just a few weeks before. It wasn't like we hadn't tried these two names together before but in that moment it was like "Yes, this is it! This is his name!" We finally had a name for our precious baby boy: Theo Shepherd. The name just fit him perfectly. He even looks like a Theo Shepherd. The meaning of names means a lot to us and we pray that as he grows his name will become more than just a title, it'll become who he is in Christ. Theo, a divine gift--that he is. Shepherd, a guide and protector--our prayer is that he is a guide and protector to all those around him and he will lead the lost to Jesus just as Jesus, our ultimate Shepherd, leads us to our Heavenly Father.

It's been almost three months since Theo entered the world. Every day I fall more and more in love with this sweet boy. His contagious smile, his precious coos, his sweet smell, I can't get over him. His personality is starting to shine through and I'm realizing the name we picked for him is just perfect.