Thursday, August 9, 2018

Calvin, 6 Months

Bubba,
You are such a silly and happy little guy! This month you've been a bit extra fussy because you're growing so much and you're beginning to teethe. You don't have any teeth yet, but I'm sure they'll be popping through soon. Everything you can get your hands on goes straight into your mouth. You're still drooling a bit, but definitely not as much as you did last month. Your (night) sleep completely sucked for a couple weeks this month, where you were getting up every couple hours again. I'm hoping with school starting up again, the routine/schedule might help. I hate to put it in writing, but you've been down to only one nursing session overnight the last few nights, so we'll see if that continues....doubt it.

You have finally mastered rolling from your back to your belly! Of course, now you won't stay on your belly for tummy time very long, but that's okay. We're working on trying to get you to roll from back to belly, but you just want to stand that your legs don't cooperate. You LOVE to stand and want to walk so bad! Whenever you're on your back, you do these little crunches, where you lift your head as high as you can, usually touching your chin to your chest (you have very strong abs!). You don't want to lay on your back anymore! We've been working on you sitting up and you've gotten a lot better the last few days. You can sit by yourself for a little bit, but forget and then fling yourself backwards. I'm sure by the time you're seven months, you'll have it down. Daddy and I can't wait for you to sit on your own so that you can sit in a restaurant high chair, sit in a cart at a store, sit on the floor and play, and so we can switch you to a convertible car seat. You're so heavy to lug around in your infant seat, it'll be a lot easier when you can sit by yourself and we don't have to carry you in your seat anymore.

You have the best giggle and laugh ever, and you're very ticklish. You love watching Anna, you smile at her all the time, and I think watching her run around all the time makes you want to get up and go so bad. You babble a lot more, and of course say da-da-da all the time... and I think you're finally starting to recognize your name.

You've been introduced to several foods this month. I thought you'd be all about it, but you're quite indifferent. You're still learning that you need to open your mouth first, before the spoon goes in, but you do really well with the food once its in your mouth. You've tried: rice cereal, peaches, apples, pears, green beans, melted cheese, & ice cream.

Things you love: bath time (I can't wait to start swim lessons with you soon), jumping, standing, chewing on everything, your caterpillar toy, Hughes (toy), crunchy/crinkly books

Things you're not a fan of: laying down, sleeping through the night (ever), when you can hear me but can't see me

And yes, the mohawk is all natural (but I do stand it up after your bath when it's wet)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Calvin, 5 Months

To my big boy,
You're such a happy little guy! Every single person that meets you describes you as happy and I just love it! You smile at everyone you see and are totally a people-person. :) This month you've started making more noises (screaming, chatting, blowing bubbles a little bit), especially when you're chewing on something. You get very excited about a lot of things and throw your whole body back when you smile! For as much as you never stop moving, I'm really surprised that you're not rolling over all the time. On June 12, you rolled over 4 times, so I think it's safe to say you know how, it's just whether you want to or not. You've only done it once since then and it was probably on accident! You do really well on your tummy though and tolerate your tummy time for longer periods. You've also learned how to scoot in a circle while on your tummy, so that's just how you've been getting to things instead of rolling - whatever works. 

Your hair also makes everyone smile! It's grown in in stages and you can see it when you look closely. You still have about 5-6 super long hairs on top of your head that have been there since you were born. Everywhere else, its slowly filling in, but looked like a natural mohawk for quite a while. It stands straight up on your head, just like Daddy's. 

At your four month doctor appointment you weighed 14lbs 7oz (up from 12lbs at two months old), although seem to be thinning out a bit in your belly/torso. You're completely in 6 month clothes and some 9 month brands that run small. You're in your last pack of size two diapers and then I'll be moving you up to threes to help contain your blow outs. 

Since I've been home with you all summer, we've really been working on a more consistent routine for naps and bedtime. You've taught yourself how to fall asleep without having to nurse to sleep. You sleep in your crib really well, and seem to prefer it over being held to sleep. You typically take a really good, long morning nap and your others are shorter, but that's okay. We've had some really rough nights this month, and one night of you sleeping from 8:30-4:30! I've been doing a bit of sleep training with you and you're getting better. Until yesterday... you were pretty fussy in the afternoon and evening, and it looks like you might be in the beginning stages of getting your first teeth. Your gums look a little bit swollen on the bottom and you want to chew on everything! The amount of drool that has come out of you over the last week or so has been a little crazy. 

Things you love: people, being outside, seeing what's going on, chewing on anything you can get your hands on, your Mickey toy, baths, sitting upright, curling your toes (all the time!)

Things you dislike: When you drop your toys - you get really mad, when Mommy won't feed you every hour or two at night (we're working on this!), being on your tummy for more than 10-15 minutes at a time.

I have loved being home with you this summer! I love your outgoing personality and your adorable giggle! :)

Love, Mommy

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Big 3-0

That's right, folks -- I am 30 years old today!! I'm sure that when I was born doctors didn't think I'd live to be thirty years old. But here I am, still kickin', doing pretty well if I do say so myself... :)
To live with a chronic illness isn't always easy, but I've tried to live the last 12+ years with an attitude of not allowing CF to control the path of my life.

In the last 12 years, I've graduated from high school. Met the love of my life. Graduated college. Got married. Became a teacher. Bought a house. Became a mother (x4). Started grad school....just to name a few things :) I am proud of how far I've come, but know that I'm not even close to living life as full as I absolutely can. I hope that I can soak up every minute of the next thirty years and then some!

To help celebrate THIRTY years, I am not asking for birthday gifts or a big party. I'd love to reach my fundraising goal of $5,000 for our Great Strides team. Currently, we have raised $3,285 which means we have $1,715 to go. Any donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is GREATLY appreciated and helps go towards research for treatments to help improve the quality (and quantity) of my life!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Calvin, 4 Months

To my baby boy,
You're a third of the way to one year old and growing right before my eyes. I feel like this month has been the beginning of your many-to-come developmental milestones. This month you've found your feet, you've learned to fall asleep on your own without nursing, you're sleeping better at night, you're learning to grasp toys/objects and bring them to your mouth, you've started giggling, started sucking your left thumb, and you're making so many more sounds.

You are definitely a people-person and love to know what's going on (and that you can see me). You love riding in your carrier (as long as you're facing out), smiling at everyone (but you have a sweet spot for your sister!), and you always want to be sitting upright when you're awake. But I think the happiest you are is when you're in the bathtub! You get SO excited every single time, the whole time - kicking your legs fast and hard, flailing your arms, grinning with happiness - it's adorable! I can't wait for you to do swim lessons in a couple months! :)

Physically, you're growing so much, too. You're still in size two diapers, but they actually fit you like they're supposed to now. Your summer clothes are a mix of 3 and 6 months, and I'm guessing by the end of this month you'll completely outgrow your three month clothes. Along with your growth this month, your umbilical hernia has shrunk. You now have a regular sized belly button. :) You also have the longest eyelashes!

Sleep is something I've really been working on with you the last couple of weeks. Selfishly, I was over getting up a million times a night, and physically you're clearly not starving, so we're working on less wake-ups overnight. I know that four months tends to be a difficult time for sleep for babies, so I'm hoping this will help you. You've transitioned out of your swaddle and Love to Dream ("straight jacket or flying squirrel"), and now can sleep well in your sleep sack or just whatever you're wearing.

You're a drool/slobber mess, constantly chewing on your hands or anything you can get in your hands. Your hair stands straight up on your head and many people think we style it like a mohawk - it's all natural! :) You've rolled over, twice, from your belly to your back, but I'm guessing it wasn't intentional (or maybe you just didn't like the way it felt) because you haven't done it since. You love to be in your exersaucer and your in-between the door jumper because you can kick and use your legs.

Your adorable personality is growing daily. You're a silly boy who loves to smile at everyone. You especially like to smile and talk to me while you're nursing. Frequently, you'll unlatch just to smile or chat with me before going back for another drink -- it's super cute! This summer is going to be so much fun with you and Anna. You both adore one another and it's so sweet watching the two of you interact with each other. You love to smile and her while she talks to you or reads you books. This summer will be fun, but I know next summer will be even more exciting when you two can really begin to play together! :)

It's only going to get more fun from here and I'm looking forward to it. :)
Love, Mama

Monday, June 4, 2018

Ketchup

Hello out there! I'm still here, alive and well. I haven't posted in a while because I had been doing a lot of posting on my Colleen's Friends & Family Facebook page for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. Within the last month, I've finished my sixth year of teaching, did a two week round of Cipro, found out I've been approved for the Monarch Vest, and had an amazing turn out for Great Strides.

The last post about my health discussed how I was trying a not-as-strong antibiotic that was breastfeeding friendly. Well, I took it for two weeks and ended on a Saturday. By Monday, I was already feeling crumby again. I don't know if the antibiotic just didn't kick everything, or if I caught something over the weekend, but I just wasn't back to feeling how I wanted. I decided, despite the difficulties with breastfeeding, that I needed to go on Cipro. So, for the last two weeks of the school year, I pumped and dumped while at work, and Calvin got extra frozen milk I had pumped earlier while he was with the babysitter. Aside from the nasty case of sun poisoning I got on my legs, I'm happy to say that I'm finally feeling back to normal lung-wise since having Calvin almost four months ago. We'll see what my numbers look like at the end of this month.

Later this week, a Hill-Rom representative will be coming to my house to bring my new Monarch Vest and will show me how to use it! The Monarch Vest is a portable, battery operated Vest!! Which means anytime we go out of town for the weekend, I don't have to lug my machine, tubes and Vest!! I'll be sure to post pictures once I'm familiar with it and use it for the first time. I've been trying to get a portable Vest for a few years now, so this is really exciting for me. :)

Another really exciting thing to share is the success of Great Strides this year!!! Our team walked in the Champaign, IL walk at the beginning of May. This was a new site for us, but I was a little bummed to see the turn out wasn't as large as I expected. Although, our team was wonderful!!!


We had over 30 walkers and raised over $3,000!! I'm hoping we'll be able to reach our goal of $5,000 before the year is over. I want to sincerely thank everyone for making the trek to Champaign to show your support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, everyone fighting with CF and for me. It truly means a lot to me that you show up and walk with me & my family. :)

Last week wrapped up the end of my sixth year of teaching. This was my third year teaching third grade and working with my amazing partner. I'm sad to say that she's leaving our building, moving on to bigger and better things (she's going to be a kick-ass union president!), so I'll be getting a new partner this fall.

I'm also about half way done with my Master's program - woo hoo! This summer I'm taking my fourth class (research and statistics, ew!) and will only have three left (2 in the fall, 1 in the spring) until I'm done!!! So far, I've maintained a 4.0 GPA which I'm pretty proud of! I can't thank Lindsey and Alycia enough for doing this program with me; they're definitely helping me get through this!!

So now, here we are, the first week of June. I've already worked 2 days of my summer, with 11 1/2 days of professional development scheduled -- who says teachers don't work over the summer?! But in between PD and Master's assignments will be lots of time with my babies! I can't believe that at the end of this summer Anna will be four years old and Calvin will be six months old!
Today we signed up for the summer reading program at two local libraries, enjoyed a walk downtown, went to a new park and went to Steak n Shake for lunch. This afternoon, Anna and I created a Summer To-Do List, and we are slowly filling up our summer days. I love being able to spend this time with my kids because I feel like I miss out on so much during the school year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Calvin, 3 Months

To my baby boy,
You've become so much more interactive this month, I love it! You are usually so happy and have the biggest smile ever! You've finally learned how to use your voice, although smiling is more your thing. You've come to love your mat with the toys hanging on it, you'll lay on there for quite a while hitting, grabbing and kicking the toys. Hearing Anna's voice makes you smile and sometimes she'll sing to you in the car to calm you down if you're upset. Gone are the days where you lay on your belly across my chest when being held - you love to sit upright or stand, and look out at what's going on in the world. Anna's had her first t-ball practices this month and you have loved it! Being outside wears you out, but it makes you so happy. You're getting much better at holding your head up when sitting and prefer to do tummy time on a pillow instead of laying flat. You are slowing becoming less of a fan of your swing, too, unless there are some rings or toys to grab at.

You still nurse like a champ and are great at taking a bottle. Speaking of, you've now spent an entire month with the babysitter while I've gone back to work and you've done so well! You are happy while you're there and I think Anna enjoys having you there, too. Only 3 more weeks until summer break!

Nighttimes haven't changed much. You typically wake every two-four hours, just depends. One night you slept from 9:15-4:00...it was wonderful!! The next night you slept from about 9:00-3:00, which was nice as well. That was about it though....you usually go down around 9, wake sometime around midnight-1:00, then again around 3:00ish. The last few nights I've taken you out of your swaddle, because you kept busting your arms out, plus you're getting too long. Instead, you've been using your "Love to Dream Swaddle Up" which fits snuggly and keeps your arms bent up next to your head. It's taken some getting used to because you can now touch your face, but usually once I lay you down (sometimes you need the paci), you go right to sleep. I've started laying you on a special pillow, too, to help prevent your head from getting flat. You spend a good chunk of time in bed (on your back), so I'm hoping this will help a bit.

You've grown so much this month, that I've moved you up to size 2 diapers (still a little big) and you're outgrowing some of your three month clothes. Thankfully it has finally warmed up so you've been able to wear your t-shirt onsies (usually without pants because you get hot so quickly) before you grow out of them. Looks like you'll probably be in six month clothes this summer.

Just this week, you've also started unlatching while nursing just to smile and talk to me -- it's the sweetest thing ever! :)

You are such a sweet, happy boy. I can't wait to spend more time with you and your sister this summer. I love being your mommy!!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Antibiotic Update

My nurse and I finally got into contact at about 5pm last night. She said that her and my doctor had discussed a couple options for me, keeping in mind that I want to continue breastfeeding. The first option was to begin Cipro, but they were completely against me nursing at all while on it for two weeks. This didn't appeal to me, but I understood where they were coming from. The second option was to try a different, not as strong, but breastfeeding-safe antibiotic called Cefdinir.

I went with option two. I'm a little nervous to try a new antibiotic, but hoping for the best. I'm really glad that I'll be able to continue nursing Calvin while on it. I'll be starting my first dose tonight. I'm hoping it'll be strong enough to kick whatever is hanging out in my lungs. Thankfully I haven't had anymore lung pain since yesterday morning (I think my treatments helped that), but I can definitely tell I'm more junky than usual.

Yep, putting in a Great Strides plug because it's true -- this is why we need a CURE for CF! Although I've been relatively stable over the last four years because of Kalydeco, chest infections still happen and antibiotics are necessary to maintain my lung function. If you'd like to help us find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis (so I never have to do treatments again!!), click here. :)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Being a Mom with CF

Warning: Post ahead is not all rainbows and sunshine. It's reality.

Being a mom with CF is hard. Being a mom is hard. Being a mom and having a full time job is hard. Putting CF on top of those things makes it even more difficult. I'll admit, I haven't been 100% with my treatments for the last few months. At the end of my pregnancy I was so tired and uncomfortable. And now, I'm just tired! There have been evenings where I skip my second treatment to get to be a little earlier and at the time, I think that's okay. Sleep is hard to come by with a toddler and a newborn, so I try to take advantage, but it sucks that I have to skip a breathing treatment to do it.

I've been back at work for only two weeks now and I just texted my CF doctor about beginning oral antibiotics. Anyone with CF knows the defeat you feel when you have to "call in the big guns". Luckily for me, those "big guns" are still oral antibiotics and not IVs, but it still sucks. I feel like CF is winning and that I'm losing.

A week ago I didn't feel the greatest. I was having some sinus drainage along with a sore throat. But with snow one day and 60-70 degree temperatures a few days later, I chalked it up to the crazy weather and maybe allergies. Everyone in our house just seemed a little extra snotty, so I didn't think it was a big deal. But when I woke up and it hurt to breathe this morning, that's when I knew it wasn't just crazy weather or allergies. My lungs are not happy with whatever has been hanging around over the last week.

So now's the big debate - what to do? The typical antibiotic I go on when feeling this way is Cipro which is not the best for a nursing mother because it could be transferred to baby through my milk....or at least that's what I think I remember from when Anna was a baby. With her, she slept longer stretches at night, so I could wait until the medication wasn't at it's strongest point and then nurse her. While at work, I pumped and dumped and she was given bottles of extra frozen milk from previous weeks.

This time around, Calvin still wakes up every three hours at night to nurse, so I'm not sure how that's going to work with the Cipro. After doing some of my own research online (LactMed) and talking with other CF mothers, it seems like the Cipro is strongest 3-4 hours after taking a dose. I think I can swing it by continuing to nurse and then giving a bottle of previously pumped milk during the 3-4 hour post-dosage time. I'll also look into giving Calvin some probiotics to help keep his tummy happy while he's exposed to some extra medicine. Continuing to nurse him is really important to me. He's doing so well nursing and I'm not going to let this bump in the road stop that. I feel like nursing my kids is one thing that my body has been able to do right, so it's going to take a lot to get me to stop. If I have to be hooked up to the pump extra over the next 10-14 days, then so be it.

As of right now, I'm still waiting to hear back from my doctor, but I'm planning on starting the Cipro asap-- hopefully tonight or tomorrow morning. I know I need it before this gets any worse. My plan for the weekend is to rest as much as possible while trying to complete my Master's assignments for the semester (since we're busy the next two weekends).