Friday, December 31, 2010

The best of the best

Someone I know starts her blog with saying sometimes the detours are the best part of the trip, and that sums up how I feel this year has gone by-lots of detours, definitely never a dull moment. Here's a brief round up of the most interesting aspects of this year, my own top ten. It has given me food for thought.

To my friends and family, May this year be filled with more happiness than sorrow, more peace than fighting, and more love than you can ever imagine.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas, as a family of six

Christmas Eve was mellow at home this year. Rebecca and I hung out with the boys, and we supervised while they made sugar cookies for Santa and his crew. I took these pictures of Rebecca that morning, and it strikes me just how tiny she is-this is a 0-3 month outfit, and its huge on her. I cannot get enough of her tiny toes-so precious!

The boys really enjoyed making cookies this year, and we enjoyed eating them :)

During the night, Santa appeared...
Christmas morning, all four children were up at 5:40 am! Let me say, I was thankful for my make ahead breakfast casserole and crock pot hot chocolate-it kept me from falling asleep at the stove! The boys dove into their treats-Matthew loved his pen from one of his brothers.

Elijah loved the candy canes from his stocking.
Robert showed off the reindeer ring that one of the boys bought for Elijah.
Rebecca has the right idea-she slept!
Gabriel and Mommy enjoyed hot cocoa.
Granda MA and my dad made these travel book kits for each of the boys-each kit had two reading books, and a nature activity book that they could bring with them in the car when we travel. It was a thoughtful homemade gift :)
Matthew and Gabriel also received a puzzle to share from Grandma MA and my dad.
Santa brought the boys one gift for them to share this year-an electric train set. The boys dove right in and started to play with it.

Rebecca received a stuffed lamb from Grandma MA and my dad.
Looking at Rebecca later on Christmas day, I see her looking like Gabriel :)
Happy faces all around
It wasn't long before the 5:40 wake up finally tuckered everyone out.
I cooked our annual Christmas dinner-and was proud of how it came out.
The kids wanted me to have a picture of us parents eating our Christmas dinner-I feel like this photo sums up the combination of exhaustion and elation we feel from expanding our family. I don't mind it-because I know we'll cross over the hurdles of sleep deprivation soon enough, and Rebecca is totally worth it.
Our beautiful sons and daughter :)
We took the family to the zoo on the day after Christmas. I was so happy that the sky had cleared up, since it had rained consistently through Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Rebecca snug in her seat.

I wonder how tall Gabriel will be-especially when I see his dad's height when standing in the same spot.

Gabriel and mommy
Joy ride anyone?
It was definitely more laid back and relaxed this year, but still spiritual and heartfelt- a holiday to remember.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life as we know it...

will never be the same-in the most positive, complete sort of way. It has not been the easiest of months, nor has it been the hardest. I've learned more about myself as a woman and a mom since having Rebecca-she's not even a month old, and already has me and her dad wrapped around her finger-or maybe just on our toes. Since this fourth pregnancy felt so different, I braced myself for life with this child to be different. I didn't know how or why, I just had a hunch. Sure enough, having another baby-let alone a baby girl-has been different. She's mellow like her brothers, loves to be cuddled and wrapped, and has just the slightest of wave in her hair. The only problem we've experienced with her, which by itself wouldn't be problematic, but combined with the result-has us concerned. Rebecca loves to sleep-a bit too much. Her feeding pattern has been off, sleeping 3-4 hours or longer without eating. I've never been sure if the feeding issue caused the sleepiness, or vise versa; either way it has given us concern for her future development.

Initially, the concern started after her week old check up-Rebecca didn't regain her birth weight, and the pediatrician was concerned about it. We started bringing her in for weight visits, it seems like every other day, if not every couple of days. We tried pumping, giving her bottles of formula, offering her BM and then formula, different scenarios. They all had the same result-little to no weight gain. Yesterday was the seventh weight check in three weeks.

I'm all for breastfeeding, formula feeding, whatever works for one may not work for another. I have gone both ways since being a mom six and a half years ago, and I know that the first couple of months are the hardest. However, this time it just wasn't working-and I finally felt like it was time to find out what's going on. I love my husband, backing me up, voicing his concerns, and our pediatrician for supporting my concerns-and never hesitating to voice her own concerns too. We were seen by a GI specialist this morning, and there's a plan to bottle feed Rebecca pumped BM and formula and/or high calorie formula by bottle. The specialist supported my desire to continue BF, but also said too that doing this will allow us to see if its strictly a nutritional/calorie issue or a metabolic one. I'll take Rebecca back in two weeks, and we'll go from there. I'm optimistic that we'll get answers, one way or another. In the meantime, here are some pictures of my peanut (she's so small, almost feels better calling her that than my little turkey (from coming before Thanksgiving ;) )

Rebecca ready to head out for the K Christmas parade :)
Grandma MA w/ Elijah and me at the K Christmas parade
E loves Smokey the Bear
Daddy and Rebecca bonding time
Rebecca's first bath
Rebecca bonding with Grandma MA
My first attempt at using the Moby Wrap (and one of the last pictures of me in maternity clothes!)
Rebecca out and about at one of the boys holiday programs.
Daddy and Gabriel decorating a gingerbread house at school after the holiday program.
Gabriel and daddy with the finished gingerbread house-mmm good!
Hillcrest Christmas Tree Farm (can you tell we're in CA with a palm tree in the background?)
Family of six :)
Love my husband-and a great dad to our children!
Our traditional steam train ride had all the boys ready to cut down our Christmas tree.
Mmmm love the scent of pine!

Miss Rebecca fell asleep while we were out at the farm.
However, she has been more alert in the past week, about three weeks old here.
The boys have baked Christmas cookies, some with mom and some with Grandma MA.

Mommy supervising with Rebecca.

Rebecca and her Uncle Brian, who drove down from the Bay Area to see her.
The Allen kids, all four of them-and they are the best gifts under our tree :)
He has been over the moon with our baby :)