bear update

Bear went from 16 lbs 8 oz at our last GI appointment to 17 lbs 4 oz yesterday! He went from the 3rd percentile to the 6th, which is awesome news. As it turns out, the message left on my voicemail from the nurse was a mistake, and it’s Bear’s inflammatory marker and not his insulin that is extremely high. He had a cold at the time of the blood draw, so it’s possible (and likely) that is the reason for the inflammation in his body, although it could also be due to an unknown condition that might be causing him to burn more calories than usual. Our doctor would like to test his inflammatory marker again in about week, just to be sure. We need to wait a week because Bear’s caught a touch of the respiratory infection from Preacher Man and Bug. He thankfully only has some coughing and a runny nose, but we don’t want another illness to skew the results.

I’m so grateful his insulin levels are fine. I’m still keeping myself away from googling about elevated inflammatory makers in babies, but I think you’ll agree that it just sounds much less scary than elevated insulin levels. Hopefully we’ll find out soon that Bear is absolutely fine and just needs more calories. We’ll continue thickening his milk until we’re told to stop, and we’ll continue loving the mess out of him while we’re at it.


on the homefront

Preacher Man: It took Preacher Man longer than usual to recover from camp, but that’s because he got a respiratory infection that made his already tired body feel like death. We’re thankful that a Z Pack knocked it out though, and he’s pretty much back on schedule. He’s been busy working on programming details for Jr. High VBS in July and is looking forward to the move of the Student Ministry to a building across the street.

Since Preacher Man was at camp for Father’s Day, we celebrated on Monday after his work day. Because I know how much he loves experiences together, I checked into tickets to Rangers games and tickets to the Cars 2 movie. Both would have been an awesome option for Bug and Preacher, but Bear is still a bit young. Instead, I surprised Preacher Man with our inaugural Family Movie Night! I loaded up on his favorite snacks (Twizzlers, chocolate covered Macadamia Nuts, and A&W), some popcorn for Bug, and got Gnomeo and Juliet to watch. We spread blankets and pillows on the floor and were pleasantly surprised that the boys made it about 2/3 through the movie before getting restless. Family Movie Night is one of those things we dreamt about as a young married couple, so it’s exciting to start those traditions with our sweet little family.

Jen: My time is mostly spent taking care of cute boys, working out, and managing our home right now. I love Serwa Chic, but I’m really enjoying the break I’ve been able to take from sewing for the summer, and how much that’s increased my quality time with the boys and the cleanliness of our house. Preacher Man and I got to have a double date night in Dallas last night, which was so great for us. I’ve been on a prescription medicine for PMDD, and have actually noticed a big difference. I’ll blog about it at some point, but I’ve been encouraged to feel more like myself again.

Bug: On the heels of being sick a week ago, Bug caught Preacher Man’s respiratory infection. Two nights ago, he woke up with a seal cough and wheezing when he breathed. I was very close to taking him to the ER because it sounded like he was having a really tough time breathing. Preacher Man told me to wait, so instead I slept with Bug in our guest bed so I could monitor his breathing. I hate when he’s sick, but man – I love those cuddles! His breathing is better, though he is running a fever and still doing the seal cough. For the second weekend in a row, it looks like I’ll be house bound with the sickies.

Bear: After tracking his calories for four days, we realized that Bear is getting 750-800 calories a day. Our GI doctor has us thickening his formula to give him that extra 250 calories he needs. His blood tests came back normal, except that his insulin levels were, “extremely high.” The nurse has told me that it’s nothing to be terribly concerned about, and that the doctor would go over with us what that means at our appointment this Wednesday. They’ll also check his weight to see if increasing his formula calories is working. Even though I was told not to be terribly concerned, I’m finding that I am in fact – terribly concerned. I’ve banned myself from googling the issue and am just waiting until Wednesday to discuss the issue with the doctor. Beyond that, Bear is developing just fine and is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen.

mother of a fit

I can’t remember how old I was, but I’m going to guess somewhere around 6. It was apparently time for some kind of vaccine, and I just decided I wasn’t having it. To be fair, I was scared (and continued to have this fear until high school) of needles in general…but it’s a little possible that my 6 year old self might’ve taken things a bit far. I distinctly remember screaming at the top of my lungs and my flailing limbs having to be held down by two or three nurses plus my Mom in order to receive the vaccination. In fact, I actually remember not even feeling the shot itself because I was so focused on the fit I was throwing. I’m not sure how my Mom didn’t kill me on the spot, but she didn’t. So really, it’s her fault. Do you like how I’ve found a way to blame this all on my Mom…on her birthday? That’s right. Daughter of the Year, right here.

You see, if she had killed me that day, I wouldn’t have been alive to experience the utter humiliation that is The Toddler Public Tantrum. Dun dun dunnnn. I took the boys to the gym pool yesterday, and the three of us were having a ton of fun. I brought a train bath boy for Bug, and he was having a blast throwing it and then “diving” after it. He was in shallow water the whole time, but it was cute to see him mimicking the big kids diving after their pool toys. After about 20 minutes, Bear started to wear down and get cranky. He’s still recovering from being sick, so I decided it was probably best to get him out of the sun and down for a nap. When I told Bug my plan, he was not a fan. Not. A. Fan.

After telling me, “no” several times, I put him in time out on one of the chairs. Bug fuh-lailed himself backwards on the chair and started the wailing. Slowly, people began sneaking sidelong glances to see whose kid was getting their finger sawed off – or at least that’s what it sounded like. I took a deep breath, sat in the chair next to Bug, and told him that throwing a fit wasn’t going to change my mind, and he was in time out until he was finished with his fit. I truly believe he would’ve stayed on that stupid chair- wailing his heart out- all night had I let him. Alas, Bear was quickly wearing down in the hot sun. After about ten minutes, I told Bug he needed to hold my hand while we walked into the locker room, and I swear you would’ve thought I told him I wasn’t really his Mother.

He threw his body onto the concrete and screamed like he had swallowed a demon. I don’t think it’s normal to weigh less than 30 lbs and have lung capacity like that. I could feel every single eye on me, so I scooped Bear up on one hip, and picked Bug up onto the other. While still screaming, Bug started pushing against me and kicking my hips, so I tightened my grip (and had to set him down several times to readjust my grip), stared straight ahead, and kept repeating, “Throwing a fit will not change my mind. We’re going home.” Apparently my logic wasn’t making a difference, he only got louder.

We made it to the locker room before my grip on him loosened entirely, so I let him flail onto the floor and cry while I held Bear and packed up our stuff. A few parents gave me a knowing smile of, “I feel ya, girl. Keep strong!” but I mostly noticed people watching with a mixture of annoyance and curiosity. Naturally, it would have been too much to expect Bug to walk out to the car, so my choices were to either carry him or drag him out by his arm. I won’t pretend that the dragging option wasn’t tempting. Instead, I slung my gym bag over my chest and my purse over one shoulder. I propped Bear up on my left hip, and held a still flailing Bug on the other. I had to stop at least three times to readjust as my grip on him loosened, and ended up carrying him out length-wise…like a football. Let’s not forget that he was gutturally screaming this entire time. As Bug literally spun his entire body in a circle in my arm, Bear was looking at him with mild concern, and I was running through all the ways I was going to pay him back for this as an adult. Despite his attempts to nose dive onto the sidewalk, I managed to gently set Bug down while I started to buckle Bear in his car seat. Apparently ticked off at being given exactly what he wanted – to be put down – Bug screamed, “NOOOOO!” and threw himself backwards into a row of bushes. I raised my eyebrows, took a deep breath, and reminded myself that I was morally opposed to the beating of children.

After a ten minute wrestling match, I got him buckled into his car seat and we headed home. He was still wailing away, and literally went from screaming to sleeping within three minutes. It was tempting to just keep driving North ’till I hit Indiana…just to hear that sweet, sweet silence.

It turns out that Bug woke up this morning with a fever and has been battling what Cohen just got over since. I still don’t consider that an adequate excuse for how he acted, and let him know in no uncertain terms that it’s unacceptable. He’s tried twice since then to unleash his inner scream-o band, but I’ve been able to curb it with a couple of spankings and a firm tone. In the meantime, we’re doing a lot of cuddling and medicine – so hopefully he’ll be back to himself soon. And by “himself,” I of course do not meant the child who screams like I’m trying to abduct him. If you’re going to throw a fit, it really should be over something truly worth it – like getting a vaccination for example.

The more I see myself in Bug, the more I realize how much I owe my Mom. Happy Birthday, Mom. I know you’ve sacrificed so many of your years in raising us, and I want you to know that I not only truly appreciate it, I also model my mothering after you. Thank you for your seemingly infinite patience and wisdom. I now know what a feat of self-discipline that really was.

bear update

I took Bear to the GI Specialist today, and the answer is that there really isn’t an answer (yet…). She ordered a round of testing to be done to check for things like celiac disease, and asked me to track his calories for the next three days to see if he’s really eating enough. Apparently kids his age are supposed to be eating 1,000 calories a day. That’s a mere 200 calories less than I’m supposed to eat on a daily basis. Does it seem thoroughly unfair to anyone else that I’m allowed just about the same amount of calories as my ten month old? Hmph.

He cried, but otherwise did really well when the nurse was filling up two vials of his blood that seemed to be a big as his arms. I was holding Bear in my lap (and pinning his legs and arms down), and was only really affected when I saw that his hand and arms were turning white. The sweet boy has been pretty worn out – it’s been a rough week for the kiddo.

I’ll start tracking his calories tomorrow, and will be sure to update again when we get the test results back.

In other news, I feel it’s my duty to inform you that I’m Super Mom. Not only did I keep Bear amused and calmed while the doctor was checking him out, I also managed to keep calm myself when the nurse was sticking a giant needle into my son’s arm. And during all of this, I likewise managed to make sure that Bug was behaving, distracted, and quietly busy. No fits were thrown, and I heard several exclamations of, “What cute kids!” “They’re so well behaved,” and “They look like they’re best friends.”

I hope it makes up for the gym yesterday when Bug yelled at the top of his lungs as we were leaving every. single. step. of the way. My text to Preacher Man read, “gym=miserable failure. No work out, huge embarrassment, and cranky kid. Awesome.” Even Super Moms have an off day, after all.

just randoms


We’re still working on potty training. I think Bug is actually doing great, although he’d probably do better if we weren’t on the go so much lately.

Bear woke up with a fever this morning. At 6:00am. This was after I’d gotten up at 3:00am because Bug fell out of his bed. He thankfully fell back asleep as soon as I laid him back in his bed, but it unfortunately took about an hour and a half for me to do the same. Bear’s fever seems to be controlled well with medicine, so I’m hoping he gets past it quickly.

Preacher Man and I both got new glasses this week. Exciting stuff, huh? We should get them in a couple of weeks. Okay, okay – I’ll take photos of us in our fancy schmancy new eye wear when we get them. Geesh. It’s embarrassing when you beg.

After months (really, years) of thinking something is going on with me and my crazy hormones, I’ve been diagnosed with PDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). It basically means I have PMS on crack, but the more important part of the diagnosis is that I’m abnormally sensitive to hormone changes in my body. Huh. You guessed it – being pregnant, postpartum, and nursing for three years straight was quite the treat. I’m debating whether to devote an entire blog post to this subject (I highly doubt anyone really cares that much about my hormones), but suffice it to say that I’m grateful to feel a little less crazy.

Notice I said a little. I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old. I think a little is about all I can hope for at this point.

Preacher Man is heading to Jr. High camp soon, and it looks like the boys and I will be going with him. This camp has a lodge for families of camp staff, so we’ll be able to follow the kids’ schedule AND enjoy time with the students. As long as the boys sleep okay with the three of us in the same room, I’d say that’s a win-win!

And finally, some phrases I’ve been trying to teach Bug. I asked him if he could say, “No way Jose” the other day. Doing his best to repeat after me, he said, “No hosey, hosey!” I’m also teaching him to say, “BOOM shaka laka,” when he falls and “awesome-sauce.”

If my main conversation of the day is with a 2 year old, it may as well be amusing.

a letter to Bear

Dearest Bear,

Well, kiddo – ten months have passed since we first held your sweet black and blue face. Daddy and I have been honored to discover your tender-hearted and hilarious personality, and we’ve loved seeing you relish in the world around you. You have a smile that is a mile wide and a giggle that’s downright infectious.

This has been a big month for you developmentally, as you’re inching ever closer to walking. You’re all about pulling up and cruising around right now, and I can see that you’re working so hard to walk like your big brother. You’re still not able to stand by yourself for longer than a second or two, but that doesn’t stop you from trying your best to get those little feet a-moving! You’re still flop-scooting and don’t seem to be in any big rush to change your method. We don’t mind though, it’s pretty stinkin’ cute.

In true Bear fashion, you continue to love table food and are adventurous enough to try anything we put on your plate. You especially enjoyed the onion we gave you the other day – just like your cousin Emily ate when she was a baby! Your favorites are anything with peanut butter on it, grapes, and graham crackers. Regardless of what it is, you eat whatever we put on your tray with vigor. 🙂

What I love about this stage with you is that you’re definitely recognizing Daddy and I, and you love to give me cuddles and sloppy kisses. It’s fun to play games with you – not only to see your sense of humor, but also to have those precious little giggles and smiles from you. I love watching you see new things for the first time, and I love (absolutely LOVE) how joyful your little heart is. I’m also really loving that you’re a pretty consistent sleeper now!

My not-so-favorite things about this stage of yours are that you’re in a weird phase of wanting so much to be independent, but not being physically able to be. You would spend all day cruising around the coffee table, but as it happens – I’m not able to steady you all day long. A Mama needs some bathroom breaks every once in awhile, you know. You’ve also learned to scrunch your face up and screech in frustration. I’d be okay if that face is just a phase. Just so you’re aware.

You and Bug continue to grow as best friends, though he’s not a fan of you getting bigger and wanting to play with his toys. Don’t worry – he’ll get used to it. You guys make each other giggle and you’re so great at imitating him! When you’re asleep and Bug is awake, he makes sure to let me know that he misses you and wants you to “wake wuk.” In fact, I have to watch him or he’ll run into your room screeching, “WAKE WUK, BABY! PLAY!” I know, I’m sorry. You two only continue to play together better and love each other more as each day passes, and I’m so excited to see that bond continue to form.

As the Texas summer heats up, our little family has done quite a bit of swimming in the past few weeks. It’s evident that your big brother and Mommy are both little fishies and love the water. You and your Daddy…notsomuch. You seem to tolerate the swimming only because it makes Bug so happy, but you look around at everybody splashing and playing as if it’s such a bother to you. Still – you are downright adorable in your little swim trunks and rash guard, love.

It amazes me that you’ll be turning one in just two short months, kiddo. I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing up!  You have such a joyful, tender spirit that I know God’s given you for His purposes. I pray daily to have the wisdom, strength, and patience to be a good steward of your sweet life, and to show you how patiently and unconditionally He loves you. Your life is so precious Bear, and you are a bigger blessing to our lives than you’ll ever know. We love you, we cherish you, and we treasure you.


Mommy & Daddy (and Bug)


It seems like I have so much to update about, but I want to dive right into the most important thing. We took Bear to the pediatrician for his 9 month well check this week, and he weighed in at a whopping 15 lbs. That means he hasn’t gained any weight since about a month ago. His height is in the 10th %, but his weight is even further off the charts than it’s been.


He’s taking more than enough formula per day and is a little piggy about eating table food. He’s developing perfectly on target, he’s sleeping fine, and his demeanor is pleasant. But he doesn’t appear to be gaining weight.

The pediatrician told us to switch from lactose free formula to soy formula on the off chance that his body was digesting it weird. He also referred us to a GI specialist (appointment is on Wednesday if you happen to be in the prayin’ mood that day), and since a finger prick showed that he was borderline anemic, recommended we started giving him Poly Vy Sol vitamins with iron. Those drops have a nasty smell that – judging by the face Bear makes when he takes it – is only rivaled by the nasty taste. I’m just waiting for the day when it causes him to refuse medicine altogether.

My mind hasn’t stopped swirling since the Doctor showed me Bear’s weight curve. I’m really worried about Bear and am heartbroken that I didn’t see it. At the same time, I can’t get over the fact that nothing else seems wrong. Maybe he weighed less because he was weighed at the end of his feeding cycle, the scale was off, or any one of a hundred other reasons? I tried telling the Doctor that we went through something very, very similar with Bug and that he’s still not on the growth chart but is developing just fine, and perhaps we just have small kids who level out around 6-9 months – but he didn’t seem to want to hear about Bug and brushed me off. I’ll be honest – this is a sucky part about moving. The fact that our pediatrician only has a 6 month history with our kids and our family is sometimes a distinct disadvantage.

And then there’s the fact that I stopped breastfeeding under the assumption that my milk didn’t have enough calories. It looks like Bear is having a tough time putting weight on even with formula. A simple calorie test of my breastmilk would have shown us that it most likely wasn’t the issue (a test I only know about because of you, dear blog readers). I’m trying to not focus on that aspect of this entire thing, but I’m feeling a little bit frustrated. A lot frustrated.

So we’ll go to the GI specialist on Wednesday. I’m interested to see what they say and have been praying for wisdom and answers. I have so much more to blog about, but Bug is demanding I read him a book about dinosaurs (and far be it for me to deny the boy some quality book-reading time) – so it’ll have to wait!