Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Levi is One Month Old!

Levi is one month old already!! I swear I was just at the hospital the other day having him. Life is flying by faster than ever now. He won't be back to the doctor until two months, so I had to collect his one-month stats myself. I measured him at 11 lbs even (80th percentile) and 21 inches (24th percentile). That means he has gained about 2 oz per day since his two week visit! Of the four boys, he is the heaviest and shortest at one month. He's definitely an adorable little ball of chub. Haha!

Levi has been a pretty great baby so far. He does love to be held at any hour of the day (and sometimes insists on it), but here at the end of the first month, he's getting pretty good at sleeping without being held, too. He actually gave me his longest stretch of sleep yet, the night before last, at just shy of 5 hours! Woo hoo! But, he followed that up last night with a pretty crappy night, so we're not quite there yet. :/ He has been averaging about 16 hours of sleep a day this first month. He nurses about every 2.5 hours for around 15-20 minutes. The first 2-3 weeks, Josh tried to help out when he could by giving him a bottle around midnight, so that I could get a longer stretch of sleep. Lately, I've been able to get him to sleep from at least 10 pm to 2 am, so he's been getting fewer bottles.

He is quite the noisy little guy. If he isn't squeaking out one end, then he's squeaking out the other! Haha! I know the others made little noises as newborns, but they were nothing like this guy! Some nights he can be quite loud, so he may be making his way to his own room soon. He'd already be there if our bedroom was on the same floor, but I don't feel like making multiple trips up the stairs at night yet. He's also pretty gassy. Not as much as Noah was, but a close second. It's hilarious to listen to him sit there and keep tooting for minutes at a time!

Below is a pic of Levi at one month, wearing a 12-month onesie. I will be taking a pic each month in this onesie to show how much he grows each month, just as I did for all the others. We'll see if it still fits at a year! The others all have, but it does get pretty tight by then.


And here is a comparison of all four at one month, just for fun. It's hard to say who he'll favor more at this point, because they don't really look the same at a month as they do a couple months from now. But, judging by these pics, I'd say he favors Amos or Noah the most.


Accomplishments this month:
  • Holding his head up
  • First bottle
  • First bath
  • First blowout
  • First trips to grocery store, restaurants, shopping...
Our boys have all had freakishly strong necks. So strong that they have all been able to hold up their heads within a week after being born. It's pretty crazy. If you remember from his birth story, Levi actually held his up within an hour of being born! Insane.

While Ethan was pretty good about taking a bottle, we did not do a great job with Noah and Amos. If you miss that window of opportunity the first couple of months, it's really hard to get them to ever take one, which guarantees I am chained attached to them (literally) 24/7 for that first year. Ha! It took a bit for my milk to come in this time, though, so Levi actually got his first bottle at just a couple days old. For the first 2-3 weeks, we continued to give him at least one feeding with a bottle, while I pumped, or just got some extra sleep. This was fun for the boys, as they each had an opportunity to feed their new little brother! That was something none of them had ever done. 


Levi lucked out and had his first bath much sooner than Amos had his first! Oops! He wasn't a super huge fan, but he tolerated it. Of all four, this one has probably peed and poo'd on me at changing time more than the other 3 combined did. So, his baths have been a necessity! I'll spare you the pictures of his first blowout. I can happily say that it was on Daddy's lap though, and not mine! ;) I'd just say we lucked out that it wasn't in his carseat. Fun times.


Levi has made lots of trips already to restaurants, Target, the grocery store, mall, etc. He's not a big fan of shopping and usually ends up screaming his head off halfway through a shopping trip. I think Daddy has been coaching him when Mommy isn't listening. :( Fortunately, he normally stops if you just get him out of his carseat and hold him, but that makes it interesting. I guess he just wants to be a high-maintenance baby outside of the womb as well!

We'll hopefully be settling into somewhat of a routine with this little guy soon as he starts to be awake more during the day. Hopefully he'll be good about going with the flow as he accompanies me as "taxi driver mama." ;) I'm looking forward to what the next month brings and trying to soak up all of these last firsts!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Levi's Birth Story

It's time for a final birth story. Our little family is now complete. It's been four weeks today since the birth, so I want to try to get all the details down in print before they are fading memories! For a look back at the others, you can find Ethan's story here, Noah's here, and Amos's here. This will be pretty detailed, so read on at your own risk!! ;)

As I posted in my last bump update, at 36 weeks, things were getting crazy, as we discovered that I had extra amniotic fluid and would require weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests to monitor the baby. I was spending a lot of my time at the doctor's office! Then, just before 38 weeks, the ultrasound revealed that baby had turned and was now positioned frank breech, instead of head down. Ugh, not good. To avoid scheduling a C-section, we set up an appointment to go to the hospital the morning I was 38 weeks to try an external cephalic version, or ECV. They like to do those by 38 weeks at the latest, so that was going to be my one chance to get baby turned back around. Since baby was frank breech instead of completely breech, and given the extra fluid I had, it should have had a better likelihood of being successful. In we went at 6 am to wait for the doctor to arrive. We discussed everything, then he started the ultrasound to check baby's position that day. Wouldn't you know that stubborn little booger had turned again and was head down again?!? So yeah, that was quick - we got to go home without needing to do anything after all. Sigh of relief. At that point, I needed to try to do what I could to keep baby head down, which meant a lot of sitting on my big exercise ball, and trying to bind my belly with a maternity support binder. That was not fun.

At my next appointment the following Tuesday, at 38.5 weeks, we discussed induction. As much as I wanted baby to come on its own, I was absolutely miserable, in pain, and with the extra fluid, ok'd for an early delivery. So, we set up the induction for 39 weeks, on Friday the 13th. Yes, Friday the 13th. I wasn't thrilled about the date, but my midwife was on call that day. I had reached the point where I just wanted baby out, and I didn't care what day it was going to be anymore!! So there we were, one week later at the hospital, checking in again to head to labor & delivery.

I gowned up and we started the party. Pitocin was started at 7:30 am, at which time I was dilated only 3 cm. I was having fairly regular contractions, but they weren't really getting closer or more intense. My midwife broke my water at 11:45 am, at which time I was dilated just 4 cm. That was fun thanks to the extra fluid!! No, no it was not. I just kept leaking and leaking and leaking, which made things interesting for trying to get up and walk around when I was tired of sitting.

Things were still moving super slowly, so I got an epidural at 1:45 pm. I was hoping to relax my body and speed things along a bit! Like the epidural I had with Amos, it took pretty well, with no feeling on the left side, but enough feeling on the right side to experience some of the pain of the contractions. It also caused my blood pressure to drop super low, but we were able to get it evened back out within the hour. By 2:30 pm, I was dilated 6 cm and by 5 pm, I was still dilated just 7 cm. Sigh. I was starting to think this baby may not be born on the 13th after all!! And then things started moving really fast. My epidural was wearing off and I had called to get more medicine, but they were really busy on the floor by that point, and I never did get any, so by the time they came in to check me again, it was go time and I was feeling everything! Yikes! Fortunately, it only took about 5 minutes of pushing and baby had arrived...

Born at 6:12 pm was our FOURTH BOY!!! I kind of thought maybe Josh was joking when he told me it was another boy, haha! I was seriously convinced this one was a girl after how different everything was with this pregnancy, but alas, I was wrong. At 8 pounds, 4.1 ounces, 20 inches long, with a 14-inch head circumference, he was our second biggest baby. Born earlier than the rest though, he would've been the biggest had he cooked another 2.5 weeks like Ethan did! ;)


He was perfect!!

Sadly, Josh and I had actually agreed on a girl's name that day as we hung out all day at the hospital, but we were still struggling with a boy's name. It's hard when you're on number four! We had narrowed it down to two choices and decided to put it to a family vote once the boys arrived to meet their little brother. :) After a 3-2 decision, Levi Frank received his name. Frank is my maiden name, and had been the plan for the middle name all along, so that part was easy! We require many things when picking a name for our children though (must be a two syllable first name and a one syllable middle name, can't start with the same letter as a sibling, and must be biblical; I also love that they all have different ending sounds, so when I'm yelling their names, they can better hear which one I'm yelling - haha!), so it was rough finding one that fit the bill! Also, the name had to fit into our scrabble board (preferably in order of arrival), which was harder than I thought it'd be! Ha!


I got to snuggle the little guy for awhile and feed him before they took him away to get him all cleaned up. It was nice that at this hospital, I was able to stay in the same room from beginning to end, instead of needing to move rooms after delivering. That was a first!


Check out that dark hair! We'll see if it stays that way, or falls out and comes back blond like the other three. Another strong Seeley boy to join the bunch though! Like big brothers, he was holding his head up on his own a mere hour after being born! Our boys seriously have freakishly strong neck muscles. Levi is all-around strong though. He sucks so "ferociously" (words of the lactation consultant that first week) that he can hold up a bottle without his hands, just by sucking. It's quite impressive. Hopefully it will help him hold his own in a couple years when he has to defend himself from his big brothers! ;)


Once we were all settled back in, my mom brought the boys to the hospital to meet their new sibling! Unfortunately, their reaction to the gender reveal (I had them open packets with blue confetti) wasn't as exciting as I had anticipated. Ha! They were happy, though, to meet their new little brother. I was unsure how Amos would react to having a little brother. He's been the baby for 4 years! I couldn't have been more happy about how excited he was to have a new little brother though. He absolutely adored him from day one!


That evening, and then again the next day, on Saturday morning, Levi was checked out by the on-call pediatrician from our peds office. He looked great and was given the go ahead to head home after his bloodwork was checked at 24 hours. We had to wait around until nearly 7 pm for that, but then we were finally able to pack up and head home around 8 pm that evening. It's always nice to be back at home and the boys were super excited to have us all back there.

The Monday after coming home, we were scheduled to visit our pediatrician's office to be sure that he still looked good, with no signs of jaundice. He looked great, but they wanted to see him again in a couple days to be sure he was gaining enough weight. He was discharged from the hospital at 7 lbs, 12 oz, and had dropped again to 7 lbs, 7 oz at the Monday appointment. My milk hadn't come in yet, so he had lost almost a pound since delivery. So, we supplemented with some formula that day while I pumped, and my milk came in by the end of the day. That Wednesday, he was up to 7 lbs, 15 oz, so we were headed in the right direction. By his 2-week appointment, he was up to a whopping 9 lbs 4 oz! They like to see them gain an ounce a day, so putting on 21 ounces in just 12 days was amazing! The boy likes to eat!


We're now adjusting to life as a family of six. It is definitely an adjustment! I think the hardest part is having two of them in school now. When Amos was born, Ethan and Noah were still just in preschool. When you roll into the parking lot late there, it's no big deal. Getting the big two on the bus daily, on time, and keeping up with homework and activities makes things a lot harder now! We'll manage, and I'm sure it will get easier, but it's definitely a team effort. Super thankful for the school cafeteria and their "grab 'n go" options, which my boys will eat daily if they need to! Ha! Fortunately, the boys have been great with helping out and mostly understanding when I need to tend to Levi first.



Welcome to the family, Levi! You complete us.

Me and my very own "five guys!" ;)

Like the "four seasons," I have my four "See(ley) sons." ;)


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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Baby Bump Update: Week 36

Week of Pregnancy: 36 weeks, 4 days

Baby size: Baby is about the size of a head of romaine lettuce this week!




Baby is now around 18 1/2 inches long from head to heel and weighs almost 6 pounds! In the funnier, Dad-to-Be Edition of How Big is Baby? that I discovered, our little one is as long as a ukulele this week!

A fun website, babysizer.com, also states that the baby is the size of a footlong sub, a 2L bottle of pop, or a power drill!



Fun times getting a NST this morning!
Appointment Notes: So I went for a check-up last Tuesday, at 35.5 weeks. Since they needed to do a Group B strep test, my midwife went ahead and checked for dilation and I was 2 cm dilated, but just at the opening. Sigh. Baby's heartbeat sounded good in the 130s, but my midwife was afraid that baby was lying transverse, instead of head down, so she wanted to do an ultrasound to check. Fortunately, the ultrasound revealed that baby was indeed head down, but the tech discovered that I had a lot of extra amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios), which can become problematic. The doctor decided he wanted me to have weekly biophysical profile checks, which means ultrasounds and non-stress tests (NST). So, I went back today and the ultrasound looked good, in that the fluid had remained stable, instead of increasing, but we'll continue to check it for changes. If it gets worse, they will want to induce at 39 weeks, but if all stays ok, I won't have to unless I want to. Also today, I had what should be a 20 minute non-stress tests (NST) to check baby's movements and heart rate to make sure things look good there, too. The test today ended up being more like 45 minutes since baby decided to take a nap halfway through, but they decided everything looked ok with that, too. Whew! What a high maintenance baby! I guess that's what I get for having a baby in my elderly state and all. ;) So, back I go this Friday for another NST and check, and again 2 times next week for a NST, ultrasound and check! Hopefully all remains ok and this little one hangs in there a bit longer. I definitely want to make it until October, but the idea of inducing at 39 weeks (which would be around the 14th) this time is quite enticing. I was measuring at about 37 weeks at the 35.5 week appt and ultrasound was measuring baby at around 6.5 pounds already, so maybe he or she will be early regardless!
Before and after!

Symptoms: Back and hip pain have actually not been too terrible lately. Weekly chiropractic adjustments have probably helped with that! Trying to turn from side to side at night brings much pain though. Mainly my belly is just so big at this point that it's hard to do much of anything. :( Fortunately, we have finally resolved my heartburn!! I'm now taking Nexium 24 hr, twice a day, and I haven't had a single issue since starting. What a relief! I've had some Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing too terrible, or concerning, yet. The nurses at my appointment today said I had a few during the NST, but I didn't realize it! Ha! I did experience some really bad swelling last week - something new to me. My poor feet looked like sausages and bending my ankles to go up and down stairs actually hurt a bit. I was just overdoing it though. After some much-needed rest and elevation this weekend, they are looking much better again! :)

Food cravings: Food? Ugh. Back to nothing sounding good because there's no room left for food!

Food aversions: I finally enjoy hot coffee again! Woohoo! I don't want it every day, but definitely drinking it on a fairly regular basis again.

What I'm excited about: The end is in sight!! Also, a couple of weeks ago, I toured the hospital I will be giving birth at this time. It looks fantastic. Unfortunately, I couldn't go there when I delivered Amos due to insurance company issues, but those have since been resolved, and this hospital is back on our plan again. Yay! I love that everything is done in one room (labor, delivery and recovery) and they are really big on getting as much skin to skin contact as possible at the beginning. They don't whisk baby away after birth like other hospitals, but instead do as much as possible bedside, in the room.

What I've done to prepare for baby: Yeah...I have bought some newborn clothes, but haven't gone through the boxes of old clothes yet, nor have I washed anything up. :/ I also need to think about things like diapers, a swing, bouncer, etc. On the plus side, we did purchase a car seat, so we can at least get baby home from the hospital! ;) I'm hoping to accomplish a lot next week while the boys are on fall break. The nursery hasn't been painted, but I think at this point, Josh will be doing it after the baby has arrived and he is off work for a couple weeks.

Funny moment: Though he was sure baby was a boy before, Amos has been referring to the baby as "her" for several weeks now. Does he know something we don't?!? Also, a big surprise we discovered during my ultrasound last week...this baby has hair!!! All 3 of my boys were born bald and remained that way for their first year, like I did as a child. I was informed by both the tech last week and this week that the fuzzy white stuff you see in the photo below is indeed hair. I can't wait to see it!! I also got a look at baby's face in 3D today. So sweet!!


So here I am at 36 weeks with each of my pregnancies. Definitely bigger each time! Haha! I do think I am carrying different this time though, and much lower already. I'm wearing the same top for the last 2 pics and it is definitely getting too small to adequately cover my belly this time!


It's been an interesting couple of weeks, but hopefully things will calm a bit before the storm. I feel like I am ready to meet this little one, but I know it will be quite the adjustment for all of us having a newborn again!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Baby Bump Update: Week 28

Week of Pregnancy: 28 weeks, 4 days

Baby size: Baby is about the size of a large eggplant this week!




Baby is almost 15 inches long from head to heel and weighs around 2 1/4 pounds. In the funnier, Dad-to-Be Edition of How Big is Baby?, baby is as big as a kid's lunchbox this week! Wow!

A fun website, babysizer.com, also states that the baby is the size of a 1 pound basket of wings, a Nintendo, or a baseball cap!




Appointment Notes: Everything looked/sounded great at my OB appointment on Friday. Baby's heartbeat was strong at 148 and I was measuring right on target for 28 weeks. Now it's time to start bi-monthly appointments. It's starting to get real!

Symptoms: Back and hip pain are still probably my biggest complaints. Trying to turn from side to side at night brings much pain. My back is also getting worse again, with sciatica kicking in - pain shooting down my left leg (funny that looking back, it was my right with Amos!), and making it difficult to walk at times. Ugh. Also a big complaint, heartburn. I'm taking maximum strength famotodine twice a day right now, and that sometimes isn't enough. :( One of the midwives at the OB office suggested her home remedy of a shot of 1 part baking soda to 2 parts water. I've tried it once. Whew! It was rough, but is now my back-up plan if the OTC meds can't keep up. I guess it's comforting to know that I was experiencing these same things at this point in my pregnancy with Amos, nearly 4 years ago. So, I may be "elderly" now, but apparently not any worse than I was at that point. ;)

Food cravings: I have been wanting fruit and salads! Say what?? Yep, I often find myself reaching for a bowl of cherries when I'm hungry now. I've also been wanting salad more as a dinner option. As my belly expands, my desire for dinner decreases. How much longer now??

Food aversions: I can't believe that I still don't want hot coffee in the mornings, but I guess it's probably better that way. When I do get my caffeine fix with an iced drink, it unfortunately doesn't help to keep me awake during the day...just at night, when I'm trying to sleep!!

What I'm excited about: The boys heading back to school this week, so hopefully I'll manage to start tackling some baby projects around the house!

What I've done to prepare for baby: Still nothing, but I think I've finally decided on a color for the nursery walls. Yay! And, I think I'm going to risk it and use a beautiful fabric that I have to make the curtains, bedding, etc. for the room. It's a girly print/colors, so I guess my backup plan will be to purchase an alternative set if it's a boy, and sell the girly items!

Funny moment: The other day, Amos noticed my belly button sticking out under my shirt and he pushed it and called it my baby button! He wanted to push it to make the baby come out. Oh how I wish! He also informed me today that the baby is a boy. Because "Ethan is a boy, Noah is a boy, I am a boy....the baby is a boy." We shall see!!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Noah's {Mad Science Themed} 6th Birthday Party

I'm pretty sure this is the quickest I have managed to post about a birthday party!! I'm so excited to share this one though - it was so fun!! When I asked Noah what he wanted for his birthday party theme for his 6th birthday, he told me he wanted a mad science party. The inner geek in me squealed with delight!!  Away I went planning an adorable mad science party for my little guy. I tend to go "all out" for Noah's parties. I think this is because 1) they are in the summer, so I have more time to plan and execute, and 2) having a summer birthday myself, I know what a bummer it is to not be able to celebrate at school like most kids do. So, all out I went! ;)

First on the agenda, the invitations. We needed to pass these out before school let out in May! I actually found inspiration from some party balloons and test tubes that I found on Etsy, from NerdyWordsGifts. Noah picked three colors he wanted for the balloons (aqua, blue and red), and I based the rest of the party design on the design printed on those! I also couldn't resist a few of the "Helium" balloons that she offered as well. Too cute! I ran with the element theme for the letters and used these for multiple aspects of the party. Since we were handing out the invites at school, I made labels of each child's name like I did Noah's on the invite. So fun!!  I had the invites printed at my local Office Depot store. They have a nice thicker cardstock that looks great printed on their laser printer. I also printed "Come have a BLAST!" labels to seal the envelopes on Avery's 2" glossy round labels. Those print beautifully right at home!

After the invitations were delivered, I started brainstorming (aka, browsing Pinterest and Google) ideas for the party. I made a custom banner that read "Happy 6th Birthday Noah" using the same element letters.


Here's an example of the banner letters, close-up. Each letter was an element, except for a couple letters that I combined because it worked out ("Ir" and "Th"). I used tiny clothespins to hang the letters on jute rope.


My friend, Sarah, made Noah's birthday T-shirt. It was perfect! Check out her shop on Etsy - All in Good Font!


For the dinner menu, we chose:

  • A HOT DOG bar, where guests could create their own style of dog:
    • All American Dog (ketchup + mustard)
    • BBQ Dog (BBQ sauce + peppers)
    • Chili Dog (chili + cheese)
    • Fiesta Dog (salsa + cheese)
    • New York Dog (spicy brown mustard + sauerkraut)
    • Surf Dog (pineapple salsa + teriyaki sauce)
  • DNA pasta (homemade white cheddar mac 'n cheese using rotini pasta noodles)
  • Fruit molecules (grapes + berries)
  • Petri dishes (strawberry Jell-O with "bacteria" sprinkles)
  • A BEVERAGE lab, where guests could mix their own creations:
    • Cranberry juice
    • Blue Hawaiian punch
    • Lemonade
    • Pineapple juice
    • Sprite
  • Bottles of H2O
  • An ICE CREAM SUNDAE bar, where guests could choose their own toppings:
    • Salted caramel
    • Hot fudge
    • Maraschino cherries
    • Peanuts
    • Sprinkles
    • Strawberry syrup


I used mason jars for the beverage lab and added kraft paper straws with some cute, personalized straw flags to complete the look. This is a great way to "label" drinks when you have 15 kids at a party and don't want to mix everyone's drinks up!! ;) I love Avery's water bottle labels. They print beautifully and don't smudge as the bottles sweat! What better way to label water than by using it's chemical name? ;) The kids had a blast using funnels to fill their jars with their own drink concoctions!


After everyone filled up, we moved on to the experiments. I browsed through a couple kids' science books (365 Awesome Science Experiments and Pop Bottle Science) and picked 6 experiments that I thought would be fairly easy and fun for 5/6-year-olds to do:
  • Drop It: will a full bottle fall twice as fast as a half-full bottle?
  • Metal Boat: can you make a metal boat float?
  • Acid or Base?: make colors change as if by magic!
  • Gas Balloon: an acid and a base make gas
  • Corny Goo: make a goo with strange habits
  • Squishy Ice Cream: make your own ice cream!
I created my own science lab notebook that included detailed instructions for the experiments we were conducting. Each child received one of these. For Noah's party with friends, I had the kids pair up and work together, making 7 groups. Each group had a pan full of the supplies they would need to conduct the experiments.



I think it went pretty well, aside from most of the parents having to complete the ice cream experiment for the kids by the end of it. ;) In their defense, they were distracted by the large amount of ducks in our backyard, and they were all more interested in feeding them at that point. Haha!




Noah requested a Reese cake this year for his party, so to tie in to the theme, we made it "explode" with Reese's pieces when you cut into the cake! I made a cake topper to put in the top.


I also ordered these adorable cookies from my friend, Amanda, of Sweet Hadley B Cookies. She is the best!!!


For the party favors, I bought plain white paper bags at Michaels and assigned an element that represented each child attending (i.e. Ra = Radium = Rachel, Am = Americum = Amos, Lu = Lutetium = Lucas, etc). I made a personalized ID badge for each child to wear, using these badge holders and lanyards. Each child also received a pair of safety glasses for the experiments, the notebook with instructions for the 6 experiments we conducted at the party, a pen, another Science notebook (from the Target dollar spot!), an atomic bouncy ball, and a test tube full of sixlets candy.



Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his parties!! :) 

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card to go with the theme. Because who doesn't love getting something sweet in the mail instead of bills? ;) 



It was an adorable, FUN party! Happy 6th Birthday to our little middle!

If you're interested in purchasing any of the Mad Science printables, please visit my website at www.kreationsbykristydesign.com, or contact me via my Etsy shop. Don't forget to check out Sweet Hadley B Cookies (she ships cookies all over the U.S.) and custom vinyl t-shirts by All in Good Font!

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