Lakyn’s 4th Birthday

10 Feb

I have a 4 year old.

sniff

How did that happen?

She seems all grown up now.

sniff

*****

The last couple of years I’ve cut back a lot on the “production” of birthday parties. Honestly, the stress of it all was way too much, so this year we let Lakyn pick a handful of friends to invite, along with having our family over, and opted for a simpler party.

She was consistent in telling me she wanted a pink birthday party and to decorate cupcakes, so that’s exactly what she got. We had the table set up with cupcakes (dairy and soy free so little sister could partake), frosting (also dairy and soy free) in piping bags, and lots of sprinkles.  I was content to just have the cupcakes be it, but wouldn’t you know that Miss L told me a week before her party that she wanted cupcakes AND a cake! It was her special day, I wasn’t going to tell her no! We also had a little photo booth for the kids (and some adults) to have fun with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lakyn Kay, you are such a ray of sunshine! You make everyone smile with your sweet, hilarious personality. We love to listen to you read, sing, and tell stories. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if you were in musicals and plays growing up, as you love to reenact everything you see on tv or read in books, and you do not shy away from attention in the slightest! There is never a dull moment with you, and for that, we thank you. We love you, we love you, we love you, baby girl! To the moon and back.

 

Rilyn’s Diet/Weight Update – 15 Months

18 Dec

We had another check up with the GI earlier this week. Long story short, she’s actually lost weight since our appointment a month ago. While I’m trying to remind myself that it’s only been 10 days since she’s weaned from nursing, and that a drop in weight was expected, I’m worried. This is what I was afraid of happening before we weaned, why I was hesitant. She’s tiny already, incredibly picky about what she eats, and inconsistent in the foods she likes. All of those make for a difficult time in trying to get her to gain weight. Our plan right now is to continue on like normal for another 20 or so days, making it a full month since nursing last, and then we’ll re-evaluate her weight. Hopefully she’ll increase her food intake on her own. If she doesn’t, we’ll have to start her on a supplement called Elecare Jr. Dairy free stuff, but super high in calories.

I’m really hoping it won’t come down to that. Obviously. And I’m pretty sure we’ll have to take out a loan in order to afford it. (That’s only slightly exaggerated.)  I’ll be trying my hardest to get her to eat/drink more without just pouring sugar down her throat. So, I’m doing everything I can to add as many high calorie/high fat foods into her diet. I’m hiding avocados in smoothies, putting peanut butter on whatever I can, and using butter (dairy and soy free of course) on anything and everything. It’s incredibly difficult to give a toddler a high calorie diet without milk, real butter, cheese, etc, and it’s incredibly difficult to offer a variety of foods when you’re so limited in the first place. This dairy and soy intolerance sure has caused us a lot of trouble throughout the past year.

I have to say, though, all of this aside, I feel like weaning her was the right decision. She’s sleeping MUCH better and we have seen an increase in her eating, we just need that to translate to her gaining weight. Today she drank 6 ounces of coconut milk. Yes, for the whole day,  but that’s the most she has drunk from a sippy cup ever. Just a few weeks ago she was only drinking 1-2 ounces a day. So, progress!

If you feel so inclined, please pray that our baby starts gaining some weight, that she realizes food is uh-maze-balls, and that she just wants to eat all the live-long day! We’ll absolutely do it if we need to, but hopefully our bank account won’t have to meet Elecare Jr.

Rilyn’s 15 Month Update

21 Nov

At 15 months:
- weighing 19.6 pounds
-wearing 12 month clothing, size 2 shoes, some size 3
-wearing size 3 diapers
-walking EVERYWHERE!
-getting into EVERYTHING!
-3 teeth (top right middle, bottom right middle and the tooth to the right of that one. Still waiting on that bottom left middle and top left middle)
-saying dada, mama, uh-oh
-So stubborn! So strong-willed! So dramatic!
-Loves to dance!
-So smiley, such a sweetheart, but I fear you might be a bit of a bully. You already beat up your big sister. You love to pull her hair and then when I tell you not to pull hair, you just laugh.
-You pat our back when you give hugs. It’s the cutest!

I just can’t get enough of you! I love you so!

***********

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated about Rilyn’s food issues. So, here goes.

At 15 months, we’re officially just soy and dairy free. Eggs are good! We had a trial with soy a couple weeks ago; I ate chinese food. It was good but honestly, my soy free chinese food is just as delicious. So there’s that. Unfortunately, soy is a no-go for Rilyn. (Keep in mind she didn’t have any directly, just what she got from my breastmilk.)

Also, we’re still waiting for her diapers to return to normal.

Earlier this week we met with her GI doctor for a follow up. Before her appointments Brandon and I like to mentally list out any questions/topics we want to talk with the doctor about. Ry’s weight was one of the things we wanted to mention. We weigh her pretty frequently at home, so we’re aware of when and how much she’s gaining. For a long time I’ve felt like she hasn’t been where she should be. Her doctor beat us to the punch, though. He said that we’ll put the food stuff on the back burner for now, until we get her weight stabilized. When we went in 3 months ago, she was measuring in the 14th percentile. This month she was in the 7th percentile and has dropped on her growth curve. So getting her weight back up is priority number one. We’ve started working with a dietician and I’ve already begun implementing some of her tips/tricks at home. We’re hoping to see an improvement when we go back next month.

I felt so incompetent after that appointment. Not because of anything the doctor or nurses did. We LOVE them! I just felt like I failed at helping my child. I know that’s ridiculous, but I couldn’t help it. I can’t force her to eat, I am only in charge of when I offer food and what foods I give her. (She’s also battling an awful cold right now, so that’s not helping the situation.) I just feel like I should know what I need to do to get my child to eat, but I’m clueless. She’s so inconsistent in her likes and dislikes, and is the most strong-willed, stubborn thing I’ve ever met! Hopefully we’ll get some great ideas from the dietician and begin seeing her eat more and gain weight.

And for the biggie. Our doctor suggested that I wean Rilyn. He thinks that if I stop nursing her, she’ll start eating more. He mentioned that kids are super smart, even at 15 months, and she knows that she likes nursing. Whether it’s the taste of the breastmilk, the comfort, or the snuggly bonding time with me, she prefers to nurse and might be holding back from eating table foods because she knows she’ll get the “good stuff”  later from me. Brandon and I have talked about this a few times before, and we think the doctor may be right. Plus, I think I’m ready. Rilyn has 3 teeth now and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to nurse! Also, a change needs to be made. I nurse her before her nap, before bedtime, and whenever she wakes up in the middle of the night. In short, she nurses before falling asleep. She’s never slept through the night, and I’m always exhausted. Always. Maybe weaning will help with this?

Anywho, this is where we’re at. We’ll revisit the food intolerances when we get our girl a little chunkier. Until then, could you send a few prayers for Rilyn eating better, and for easy weaning (whenever we decide to start) our way?

Thanks, friends!

Pumpkin Patch 2013

31 Oct

Here’s our trip to the pumpkin patch this year, in pictures.

 

Diet Update

30 Oct

There’s a reason I don’t allow myself to get excited/my hopes up for the outcome of certain things. Its my way of sheltering myself in case its a huge letdown. I should have known better, but things were going so well with adding foods back into my diet and introducing them to Rilyn. I guess I just got carried away. Regardless, it all came to a halt tonight.

Rilyn reacts to soy. She hasn’t had any directly which means her intolerance is strong enough that she’s reacting to soy in my breast milk.

I’m on the verge of tears. It’s been 8 months since I’ve had any trace of dairy. No milk, no ice cream, no butter, no cheese. And up until recently, I hadn’t had any soy since March. This week we intro’d soy back to my diet and tonight Miss R’s diapers were back to the way they once were. If she’s reacting to soy, my hopes are not high for dairy. In fact, there is no hope. None. I’m 99% sure dairy will be a no-go.

Cue the tears.

I’ll be fine in the morning, but tonight I just need to have a good old fashioned pity party.

I miss pizza. I miss being able to make casseroles. I miss chinese food. I miss baskin robbins. I miss not having to read the ingredient label of every freaking single item I put in the cart. I miss not eating out at restaurants/date nights with my husband. I miss not having to shop at 3 different grocery stores every week.

I will NOT miss our grocery bill being outrageous.

I will NOT miss the constant worrying over cross-contamination, or about Rilyn finding foods she can’t have.

It’s been hard, but what’s another few months, right? Surely I can handle a year without Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and desserts. Right?

It’s been hard but I’m trying to look at the bright side: at least I’ve added fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, beef, gluten, and eggs back. And of course, I’m helping Rilyn. I’d do anything for that munchkin.

Obviously.

Eventually I’ll be able to enjoy all the previously mentioned, but until then there’s Enjoy Life brand chocolate and coconut milk ice cream.

And I’ll be avoiding the food boards on pinterest.

Rilyn is One!

19 Oct

*This post was written two months ago. Some things may be completely different now.

You’re a year old! You’re ONE! You’re a toddler!

This year went by fast. Every mom says that, but it’s so true. I feel like just yesterday I was BEGGING for you to come out of my tummy! This year has been an adventure, for sure. I thought I knew everything about being a parent already, but you quickly taught me that no two children are alike. In fact, you and your sister are polar opposites in a lot of ways. You taught me that what worked for your sister does not always work for you, that a momma’s intuition is usually always right, and that sometimes you just have to worry about making it through today. And you taught me that that’s okay.

You also taught me not to doubt myself, and that I’m a heck of a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.

Thank you for that.

I’ve loved watching you grow and learn new things. I love how happy you are, how giggly, how smiley. You are our affectionate one. I love that you’re a cuddler, but only for a few seconds and then you’re on your way to play. I love that you’re strong-willed and I hope you learn to use that for a successful future. I love how much you love your Daddy; how excited you get when you see him. That when you wake up in the morning, “dada” is the first thing you say while pointing to the door. I hope you always know just how much he loves you. I love that you are so fascinated with your sister and I hope that you always look up to her.  I love that you very much prefer to be held by me. I hope you always want me to hold you. Even when you’re 15, 22, 35, 47, 56. Because I’ll always be here. For you and your sister.

This year wasn’t always easy, but it’s always been worth it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We love you so very much and can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

At 12 months you are:
- 18 pounds, 11 ounces (14th%) and 29.5 inches (50-75th%)
-wearing size 3 diapers and 6-12, 9, and 12 month clothing
-you love chicken, turkey, carrots, sweet potato, blueberries, raisins, and cheerios, but sometimes you just pick at your food not really wanting to eat much.
-you do great drinking water out of a sippy cup. The second I put milk in it you want nothing to do with it.
-you love to dance to music
-you love to swing
-you love your bath, but HATE having your hair washed
-you hate socks on your feet. You must get that from me.
-you constantly pull your bows and clips out of your hair
-anything and everything goes straight to the mouth. I’m constantly finding you with a magnet, a piece of chalk, paper, toys, rocks, etc in your mouth. I’ve even found you with a roly-poly in your mouth. Yep, sure enough. Gross.
-your favorite place to play is sister’s bed
-you are standing on your own for 3-4 seconds before sitting
-you’ve taken two steps to me on three different occasions, but i still feel like it’ll be a bit before you’re walking. your feet are just so tiny that they don’t give you much to balance on!
-you are saying dada, ba for bye, na-na for night night, and uh-oh.
-you love to play with anything that has wheels, balls, and Lakyn’s dollhouse and play kitchen.
-much to my dismay, you are not a book lover. I’m still holding out hope this will change.
-you still sit with your ankles crossed. so ladylike!
-you love giving high-5′s and blowing kisses
-you play so well on your own
-i’m happy to say the “flapper” lives on with you. we called lakyn’s wave the “flapper” and you wave the same way. it’s my favorite! you wave when people leave and when I say, “it’s time to go night night”. You also wave when you’re tired, letting me know it’s time for bed.
-you sign “more” “eat” and “sleep/night night”
-you have one tooth

We love you, sweet Rilyn Ann!

 

Stressing

17 Sep

I’m a stresser. It’s what I do. It’s probably why I already have SO many gray hairs at the age of 28. Seriously, I have a lot. Maybe writing it all out will help me wrap my brain around it better and allow me to let go of a little bit of the stress. Maybe it’ll magically make those gray hairs disappear. No? Drat.

I’ve been stressing a lot about miss Rilyn lately. Things like her still not sleeping through the night, her needing to nurse before falling asleep, and her still not saying “mama”. She’ll say “dada” all day long, and also says “night night”, “uh oh”, and “that”. But no “mama”. Stubborn. Wonder where she gets that from.

Mainly, though, I’m stressing about the fact that this child is still refusing to drink out of a sippy cup! She’ll drink water here and there, but when I put breast milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk in the cup, she’ll take a drink and spit it out, or take one drink and push the cup away refusing to take another sip. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ll put 3 ounces of “milk” in a sippy cup in the morning, and there will be JUST under 3 ounces a the end of the day. I’ve tried several different types of sippy cups, including straws, and regular cups without a lid. Nothing. C’mon kid! You’re killing me here! I’m not sure she’ll ever be a child that will drink 4-5 ounces in one sitting.

When Rilyn hit 8 months, I moved my nursing goal to 12 months with the plan to start weaning her after that. After dealing with supply issues while Lakyn was a baby (that only allowed me to exclusively nurse her until she was 4 months old), I’m extremely happy and grateful that I’m still nursing Rilyn at 13 months, but in all honesty, I’m ready to wean her.

When she turned one I decided that I’d like to have her weaned by Thanksgiving so that I could finally partake in all the dairy-laden yummies that the holiday is made up of. So, we set out to start weaning. I started offering R a cup of coconut milk (the so delicious brand of unsweetened coconut milk does not in fact, taste like coconut milk. In my opinion, it’s the most neutral dairy free milk substitute. It’s also the milk that Rilyn has taken to the best. Obviously, the word “best” is used loosely here) with all of her meals and at various times throughout the day. All to no avail. During this same week I also cut out one of her feedings to get the weaning process started. She did pretty well with it, but she never did any better with the cup of milk and she’s also not the best eater. Some days she’ll eat table food really well, but mostly she just picks and nibbles at it. I can’t figure her out. Except that she loves pasta. Any time I give her pasta she downs it. During this same week we had her 12 month check up with her doctor who voiced her concern about her weight. She was at the 50th% for weight around 6 months, but is now measuring at the 14th%. The doctor said we’d see what she’s measuring when we go back in (in two more months) and talk more about a plan of action, if it’s needed, then.

Well, that doesn’t sit well with a momma, now does it?

After lots of going back in forth in my own brain, and talking it out with Brandon, I’ve decided that I just cannot in good conscious wean Rilyn right now. I need to put my own selfish desire of FINALLY being able to get off this diet I’ve been on for the past 7 months aside and do what’s best for my child. I keep telling myself that it’s just one year where I’ll miss out on Thanksgiving food. Surely, I can handle that. I just don’t feel right about taking her best source of nutrition away (breast milk) when she’s not eating table foods well, and not drinking a milk substitute, not even breast milk, from a cup. So, I’ll continue nursing her hoping that it will help with her weight issues. I’ll keep giving her sippy cups as well, and I’ll continue wishing and praying that she’ll miraculously start drinking “milk” out of those cups.

Will you please do the same for me? Also, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears over here!

**I should note that these events took place a few weeks ago and I’ve continued with the cup at every meal and throughout the day. The results haven’t changed.

Lakyn’s First Day of Preschool 2013

5 Sep

Before I start, can I ask a serious question?

Who decided that 1, 2, and 3 year olds need to go to preschool? I’m struggling with this a bit. I feel like kids should be allowed to just be kids, to play and be happy for those first few years before they HAVE to start going to school every day, every year. I only went to one year of preschool, Brandon didn’t go at all, and we turned out just fine. On the other hand, there’s so much pressure here in Johnson county. If you don’t have your 1.5 year old enrolled in THE best preschool in town, if they can’t recite the preamble to the constitution by age 2, or know the quadratic equation by age 3, they’re destined for failure. Puhleeze!

I wrestled with these feelings for months, literally, before finally coming to a decision. A compromise. I ultimately decided that me feeling like she needed to be in preschool was stemming from the idea that “everyone else is doing it” and that obviously isn’t reason enough. But I’m a parent and I needed to take my child’s needs in account as well. My reasons for getting her into something were that she’d greatly benefit from: social interaction with peers her age, a structured day, and learning to listen to adults that are NOT mom and dad.

Would she learn those things from preschool? Absolutely. But let’s face it, Lakyn already knows everything she needs to know for kindergarten (and in some areas, well past K). Then there’s the money issue. It’s kind of expensive, y’all, and when I’m already on the fence about preschool, this matters.

So what’d we do? We found a parent’s day out program from the recommendations of friends. She’ll do that this year and it’ll transition nicely to an actual preschool class next year. We still call this school, though, because we can. Because Lakyn is excited about school, because it’s simpler. L and I went to tour her new “school” a few months ago and met the teacher. She didn’t want to leave! So to be fair, this is not technically preschool, but it’s set up like one with a theme for each week, show and tell, and of course, recess. She goes one day a week on Thursdays. The only drawback for me is that it’s all day. 9:15-2:15. I have to fight the urge to go pick her up early because I miss her. I must remember that she’s having a blast and likely will not want to leave when I show up anyway. This is going to be great for her.

And I suppose it’ll do me some good, too. I know I’ve got to “cut the rope” eventually. I can’t keep her locked up with me all the time, she needs to explore the world on her own as well. I’m also looking forward to having one-on-one time with Rilyn, too.

So, enough about the technicalities, here’s our girl on her first day of school!

 

I cannot wait to go pick her up and hear about her day! Hurry up 2:15!

 

Rilyn’s First Birthday – A Picnic Theme

29 Aug

I’d had my heart set on a picnic themed first birthday party for you for a few months now. We used the traditional red and white picnic tablecloths, had blankets for the guests to spread out in the yard, and chowed down on typical picnic foods. The colors were the picnic red and white along with pink accents. I had fun with the details in this party. The favors were set out in paper bags tied with red and white string. There was a picture banner set up with snapshots throughout your first year, all strung on red and white ribbon and clipped with wooden clothespins. I had a table set up with bug spray (you’re welcome, guests!) as well as baby pictures of Brandon and me at one year old so everyone could see who you looked like most (your dad). There were toys in the yard for the kids to play with and paper decorations dotted the tree. My favorite was the picnic basket on the food table set up with plates and silverware wrapped in a white napkin and tied with red and white string. But, in true Afton fashion, my original game plan proved to be more than I could chew, leaving me scrapping things on the list minutes before the party. I’m happy with how things turned out, though!

My hope is that years from now, Miss Rilyn, you’ll look back at these pictures and say “Hey Mom, that looked like a great party! Thanks for doing that for me. You must love me a lot! Here, let me do all the laundry, and clean the kitchen, and bathrooms for three whole months to show you how much I appreciate you throwing me such a great party!”

No? Eh, a mom can dream!

We had your party in the backyard, and Mother Nature decided to remind everyone that, yes, it is in fact summertime. It was hot, but I think everyone enjoyed it regardless.

Happy birthday, Sweet Girl! We’ve loved this first year with you!

almost didn’t get a picture of the cupcakes before they were all gone! and of course, cake and cupcakes were dairy, soy, egg free, and delicious.

giving momma a bite

as messy as she got, folks!

oh, i die! this picture is the cutest!

don’t mind Lakyn. she’s going through an awkward smiling phase.

Thank you to everyone that came and helped us celebrate our precious Rilyn’s first year! You mean so much to us!

A Birthday Promise To Rilyn

25 Aug

My precious Rilyn Ann,

I’ve been sitting here staring at this computer screen for about 15 minutes now. I’ve got a lump in my throat and my eyes are teary.

You are 1 year old and it’s so very bittersweet for me.

This past year has been hard. There were weeks I was sure our life would never change from the screaming baby, needy toddler, and sleep-deprived, emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted parenthood that consumed it. Our transition to a family of four was difficult. Getting through your colic was harder. Then we found out about the food issues and I became completely absorbed in any and all information regarding them.

In a way your birthday snuck up on me. Of course I’ve always been aware of the date circled and decorated on the calendar, but when I really stopped to think about your birthday and reflect on the past year, I cried. Yes, for the usual reasons that you’re not a baby anymore, and that this year went by way too fast. I cried for missing your newborn babyness, your little baby chicken legs, your fuzzy, fluffy newborn hair, and those cute new baby grunts and squeaks. But mostly I cried because I feel like I missed out on a lot of it.

Yes, I was there. Every second of every day. But, I spent so much of your first few months wishing time to hurry up, to get us out of the rough time so we could be in the easier times. Then, I was so wrapped up in all of the food issues that any free second I had was filled with allergen research and information, cookbook and recipe hunting. Even though I was there with you physically, I feel like I dropped the ball on being with you mentally. I feel like I missed out on taking in so many moments with you, and living in those moments for myself, on really enjoying those baby stages. I feel like I missed out on your first year and the guilt I feel over this is unreal. Those reasons are why this birthday has been so hard for me to handle.

I want you to know that as hard as those months were, as much as we’ve gone through, I’d do it again in a heartbeat! YOU WERE/ARE WORTH IT! I knew it the second you were born. I knew it at 3:45 am. I even knew it during the 4.5 hours of you screaming non-stop. And it’s never been truer than now. I love you so much, sweet girl, and I promise to you and myself, to take in all of the moments from here on out. No matter how rough our current season of life may be. Because, c’mon! I can’t be this emotional for every one of your birthdays! That would make me the crazy momma, and we can’t have that.

I love you so!

Momma