Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where to Begin?

It's been way too long on this blog. I was pretty good about documenting Zoe's baby life on here, but life with two changes things, as all of you more experienced parents know.

So for now, here's a short post with a picture of my sweet little guy. Zach is 8 months and full of love and smiles. He is such a laid back, smiley guy. Still not sleeping so well, but better. He's only slept through the night one time and his schedule is pretty unpredictable. But, more on that in another post. Here's a rundown of Zach at 8 months:

-Weight: Won't know an "official" weight until his 9 month appointment, but when I weighed him on our scale he was 21 lbs!

-Height: Again, no official height. But, probably still kinda shrimpy...I mean he is my and Jody's kid after all.

-Teeth: 6 teeth! Zoe got her first tooth around 8 months, Zach's gonna have a full mouth by 1 at this rate.

-Eating: I'm still nursing Zach and he still doesn't take a bottle...not for lack of trying. All he does is chew on the bottle. Somehow, some way, we've gotta get this kid to take a bottle or use a sippy cup or something. He's also doing pretty good on solids. He loves his baby food...mostly fruits. He rejects most of the vegetables we've offered. I'm thinking we've got another sweet-toothed baby here! We started giving him Cheerios in the past couple week and he's doing good with them too.

-Sleeping: Don't ask. He's still waking up one or two times a night. He goes back down pretty easily after nursing. He naps for 1-2 hrs in the mornings, but his afternoon nap is still just about 30 minutes. We went to see Dr. Weissbluth when he was 5 months and I will post about that later on. Needless to say, we are still tired. Not as much as before, but still really freakin' tired.

-Wearing: Definitely not socks. There are baby boy socks in every nook and cranny of our house. Zach loses socks like nobody's business.

-Likes: Pretty much everything...He is such an easy-going, life-loving boy! But, here's some top faves: Chewing on everything, trying to move, eating, babbling, flailing his arms and legs like crazy on the changing table, laughing, smiling, watching Zoe do just about anything (which of course leads to more laughing and more smiling), exersaucer, pulling on Charlie's fur, books (to chew on and to listen to), other babies

-Dislikes: Sleeping apparently, vegetables, getting buckled into his car seat. He's also started getting some separation anxiety. He's okay when I leave the house, but as soon as I come home he freaks out until I pick him up. A mama's boy in the making.

Moving & Grooving: Zach has been up on his knees rocking quite a bit for the past month and finally last weekend he figured out this whole crawling thing. He's still moving slowly and figuring it out. But he's definitely crawling. Two weeks ago, he also pulled himself in his crib. (We dropped the crib to the lowest level right away.)

-Looking forward: It's definitely time to start baby-proofing the house again. Now that we have stairs, we need to get some gates up pronto. And Zach is quiet about getting into things, so we need to keep our eyes on him!

-The rest of us: We've settled in being a family of 4 pretty well. We're still tired as hell. I truly cannot believe how long we've gone with such little sleep. We'll probably never catch up. But, watching our kids laugh, play and grow together is worth it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn

I have been so negligent to this blog since Zach's first month. We've had a whole lot of changes and things are pretty busy and in flux. Zach is an awesome baby. He's so smiley and happy. His giggle just melts my heart. He has the most squeezable cheeks and most smiley eyes ever. He truly has brought so much joy into our family.

But the kid won't sleep. Like ever. We're up every 2 hours with him almost every night. His naps are few and far between and usually only last 30-40 minutes. Basically, I'm just exhausted. Totally and thoroughly exhausted. Honestly, I've never been this wiped out in my entire life.

I've never been a big fan of change, either. But, these past few months have been one change after another in the Schirel family and we're all figuring out how to adjust. Here's a little rundown of what's gone down:

June/July 2011...Zach born. Joy! Love having a new baby. Running on hormones and adrenaline to maintain some energy despite the sleepless nights. Feeling guilty for not having as much time with Zoe, but so happy to see how much she loves her baby brother already. And then the end of summer and early fall rolls around and all of sudden the Schirel world is rocked...

About 1 month after Zach's birth, our nanny decided to move back to Poland. Talk about the worst timing ever. Zoe loved Basia and so did I. She was like another grandma to Zoe. I figured having another baby wouldn't be so tough as long as we had Basia around, as well. Well, that didn't quite work out. Basia's last day was Labor Day. Tears. Lots of 'em. For all of us.

On top the huge void left in Zoe's world with Basia gone, she started a 3-day-week preschool in early September. The school is great and Zoe seemed to be doing really well at first. But now, she's been struggling with some kind of delayed separation anxiety . So that's been really hard on all of us. She's gotten really quiet and withdrawn at school, which is totally unlike her. But, hopefully it's just another phase in this emotional toddler world.

We found a new nanny pretty quickly. But after two weeks, I realized she didn't mesh well with us. Not with Zoe. Not with me. And not with Zach. So we've actually been nanny-less since mid- September, which has made working challenging to say the least. I've cut back considerably on the assignments I am taking on. And somehow I am managing to write during short nap times, nights, weekends and at the gym when I drop the kids off at the gym's kids' club. Before having Zach, I hadn't planned on suddenly becoming a full-time stay-at-home-mom. I love that I have been able to work part time and be home with the kids part time. I really love working. I love writing. I love using my brain in ways that extend beyond motherhood. And yes, I like making my own money too. So, on top of major sleep deprivation, this has been the hardest thing to cope with for me so far. But, once Zoe gets more comfortable at school and we can get Zach sleeping a little better (and able to take a bottle...which he still can't seem to figure out), we'll get back on the nanny search. I'm guessing it'll be by the beginning of the new year.

And finally, one very exciting change has been that Jody got a new job! While Chase had been good to him for about 5 years, he was itching for a new challenge. He's now at the Acquity Group and really enjoying it. He still has a sweet 10-15 minute commute, so I am once again thankful that we decided to wait a little longer before moving out to the burbs.

So yes, life's been challenging lately. But it's also been wonderful. Every day, I am so thankful for this awesome family and for good friends and family who have really helped us out. We're planning to do some sleep training with Zach the minute he turns 5 months, so I am hopeful that some reasonable amount of sleep and structure are right around the corner. Oh lord, I hope they are anyway!

I'll try to get more posts up here. Although it sounds like we've been couped up inside as sleep-deprived zombies, we've actually managed to have plenty of fun this fall...and I've got dozens of photos to prove it! So stay tuned...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Although Zach was born with a relatively full head of dark hair, he's lost most of it quite quickly. Check it out: the top photo was taken at about 2 weeks, and the bottom pic was taken at 5 weeks. That's a whole lot of hair loss in just a few weeks! The strangest thing is that he lost most of the hair in front first, leaving just some peach fuzz up top. But he still has a little patch in back. It's like a very extreme mullet, I suppose. Regardless, I think our little bald peanut is cute as can be with or without hair. And, hey, this may just be a sneak peek at Zach's middle-aged 'do since my dad has most likely passed on the baldness gene!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monkey Business

Although having a newborn around has changed the pace of our household, Zoe hasn't slowed down a bit. She continues to wow us every day with some newfound talent, skill, sentences, etc. She is becoming such a big girl...and such a daredevil! Her favorite thing to do at the park these days is to hang on the bars and the rings. Whether she's hanging one- or two-handed or hanging upside down, she is so thrilled to be mastering more and more monkey moves. Her fearlessness may scare the crap out of me every time we go to the park, but it is pretty cool seeing how naturally all of the climbing, hanging, jumping, running, etc. come to her.

Friday, July 29, 2011

One Month...Already?!

Time really does fly when you're running on fumes, sleep deprived and falling in love with a new baby, doesn't it? Yup, Zach is already a month old! In some ways it feels like I was just pregnant yesterday, but in other ways it's hard to remember our (very predictable) family routine before Zach arrived.

We are all totally amazed and in love with Zach. I know many second-time parents wonder before #2 is born if they really will be able to love their second child as much as the first. It just doesn't seem possible. But then, boom, it totally is. Amazing.

Getting used to being a family of four has been an adventure. I'm not gonna lie, it's been hard. The lack of sleep, combined with dealing with a willful 2.5 yr old combined with a somewhat fussy newborn definitely takes its toll. But, we were kind of expecting that and it's exciting in its own way. I love that we are an expanding family and it's hard to explain but it just feels right. I know things will settle down in time. And I know how quickly these kiddos grow up, so I'm trying to enjoy all those awesome little things about having a newborn, like the endless cuddles, the middle of the night bonding time when nursing and the feeling of amazement at every new move and noise Zach makes.

I keep trying to remember things about Zoe's first month to compare, but I cannot for the life of me remember. So I am going to give some details here that I'm sure will be more than anyone else needs/wants to know, but I'd like to have a record of it. So here's the latest on our favorite little man:

-Weight: 11 lbs, 4 oz (75th percentile)

-Height: 20.5 inches

-Eating: He's been an awesome eater since he was born and caught on to breastfeeding right away. He has about 8 feedings a day with his last at around 10 p.m. During the day he goes about 2-3 hrs between feedings and lately he's been going 4-6 hrs between feedings at night. He's a totally noisy nurser and is sometimes a bit fussy after eating, but the boy does like his milk. We haven't given him a bottle yet, but we're going to try to introduce that in the next week or so.

-Sleeping: He's been a decent sleeper so far. The biggest issue we're having is after his last feeding of the night he is often fussy and we have to swaddle him and then walk around/bounce him for almost an hour before putting him into his bassinet. It definitely wears on us because we are so ready to just go to sleep by the end of the day. But, once he gets down, he's out for a while. He is also a noisy sleeper--lots of snoring and grunting.

-Wearing: As he continues packing on the pounds, Zach's outgrown most of his newborn stuff and is fitting nicely into 3 month gear.

-Likes: Being held, eating, bouncing up and down, tummy time, waving his arms around, kicking his legs, the Baby Bjorn, looking at his sister, looking at the wall next to his changing table (there's nothing really to look at but he sits there staring at that wall in particular for longer than most places), sleeping on his tummy (supervised, of course), sleeping over our shoulders, the double stroller

-Dislikes: The car and the car seat (just like his sister he is a total car screamer--no fun), sleeping on his back unswaddled, baths, getting his diaper changed (he's getting calmer on this, but still plenty of crying involved)

-So-So on: He will sit in his swing and his bouncy chair for a little while, but neither one has been a total favorite yet. Nope, Mommy and Daddy's arms are still the top place for him to chill.

-Looking forward: He hasn't started any real smiling yet but he has just recently started locking eyes with us and noticing a bit more around him. As our pediatrician said the first month is all about the baby being grumpy and gassy...and Zach fits that description. He's still pretty fussy during his waking time, but he is getting a little better and it should begin to subside in the next couple weeks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Welcome to the World Zach!

It's a boy! Welcome to the newest Schirel: Zachary Samuel! Born on June 29, 2011 at 2.25 p.m., and weighing in at 8lbs, 4oz. and 20.5 inches. He's pretty awesome already!

I ended up getting induced at 39 weeks and 5 days. My doctor was worried about him shifting positions again and about him getting too big, so I was okay with being induced. It was a little surreal going to bed the night before, knowing that I was going to have a baby the next day. Needless to say, Jody and I hardly got any sleep that night...or since for that matter!

All went smoothly with the labor. It was a 9 hour labor, with about 25 minutes of pushing. Really, the first four hours were basically just sitting around waiting for things to progress, so we were playing on Facebook, watching TV and just hanging out for a while. Once my contractions really started coming, things moved really quickly. I was worried that being induced would be a much longer and worse labor, but it was pretty much the same intensity as my labor and delivery with Zoe.

We've been home almost 10 days now and things are going pretty well. We're all trying to adjust to being a family of four. It's hectic and I'm pretty sure our house will never be clean again. Zoe has been having an okay time. She's been sweet as can be to Zach, but she has had her fair share of tantrums and breakdowns. Although we were expecting it, it is still hard to see her struggling, especially with these raging post-partum hormones. Honestly, just trying to make sure Zoe is okay and giving her enough attention and time has been the hardest thing for me. Every day is getting a little easier and once we get into more of a routine, I'm sure things will work themselves out.

Zach has been a really good boy for us. He's way bigger than Zoe was, and he caught on to breastfeeding right away. So that has been a huge relief. He's a good eater and as good a sleeper as any newborn. At first he was going just about 2 hours between feedings at night, which was rough. But in the past few days he's been going 3-4 hours between feedings at night, which has given Jody and I more sleep than we imagined. Of course, we're still totally sleep deprived and will be for a while, but, hey, a 3-hour stretch is better than nothing. The best part about being a secondtime parent is knowing how quickly babies change and knowing that we will get into a routine and we will eventually sleep again. It just may not be for another six months!!

Other things we've learned about Zach so far: he hates getting his diaper changed, like really really hates it; he loves being held at all times; he sleeps best when swaddled; and he totally konks out when being carried in the Baby Bjorn.

Even though it has been challenging, I love having a newborn in the house again. You forget how little they are and how totally new the world is to them. It's awesome seeing Zoe interact with her little brother, and knowing how special it will be for them to have each other to grow up with. Stay tuned for more adventures from our She-Z and He-Z.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Future Gymnast

Zoe spent much of the winter and spring in a toddler gymnastics class and loved it. She "graduated" a few weeks ago, and I was able to snap some pics of her action. She was a total daredevil on all of the equipment and, of course, wanted to everything all by herself. Her favorite things were the rings and the uneven bars. She started out just hanging and swinging and then worked her way up to lifting her feet all the way up and flipping over (with help, which she actually accepted for the move). Her being so fearless totally freaked me out plenty of times, since this gym used real-sized equipment. Sure, there were mats everywhere but I was still constantly on alert to make sure she didn't land on her head. Although Zoe figured out all the physical skills pretty quickly, she definitely had some room for improvement in the listening to instruction department. She never listened to the teacher, Mr. Matthew. Any time he would have the class do a group exercise, she would go off and do her own thing. Whenever the teacher said hi to her or would ask her for a high-five she turned the other way and ran away from him. Then, when we'd get into the car she'd talk all about Mr. Matthew. Although it was frustrating during class, it was kind of hilarious how much she talked about Mr. Matthew outside of class. But, I'm thinking this is yet another reason I'd like to get Zoe into a pre-school sooner rather than later. It's all good for her to be independent, but at some point she's going to have to learn how to take direction from adults other than me and Jody. For now, though, she's just happy swinging on the bars like the little monkey she is.