Anthony’s 9 Month Checkup

This morning was Anthony’s 9 month checkup. He was a whopping 20.5 pounds, which is hilarious considering Gregory was only 18 pounds at 12 months! Just goes to show how different these two really are! Anthony is also very tall for his age– 30 inches! For comparison, Gregory was 36 inches at his 2 YEAR appointment, and they said he was above average.

So…yay! Tall boys! Bring on the basketball scholarships!

I haven’t talked much about what/why we’ve been feeding Anthony the way that we have. Basically, after my first experience with Gregory, I made breastfeeding a huge priority this time around. I took refresher classes, read tons of literature about the possibility of tandem nursing, and got prepared with all new pump parts and only the best bottles. I got ready to save tons of milk in the freezer, just so I could have a huge backup supply.

I think that I can contribute 99% of our success this time around to a few key things: 1. ON DEMAND feeding, 2. Less hectic work schedule, allowing me to be around him most of the day (I’ve read that just the smell of your baby can help your milk production!), 3. No pacifiers, 4. No solids until 7 months, and 5. No bottles. The last one was kind of an accident, because we had no need for bottle feeding and we didn’t introduce it more than twice. As a result, he rejected them all together. I had to throw away the 5 or 6 feedings I had frozen because they were so old!

But it’s amazing how easy breastfeeding is compared to anything else! No bottles to wash, no pumping sessions, no formula to buy. Just 5-8 minutes of nursing, 5 times a day. That’s less than an hour!

Also, I think it is greatly helping his immune system. Other than Jesse, all SIX people in this house got sick with an RSV infection last week. Gregory’s was pretty bad– high fever for a week, puking every time he coughed (every.time. so.much.mucous!). My dad stayed home from work for 3 days. I had to stay home for 2 days. My mom, Janelle and Caitlin felt sick and congested, but struggled through their everyday routines. I was really worried about Anthony, since it can be really dangerous for babies (my sister was hospitalized with it at 9 months old!).

Instead of ANY of that, Anthony got by with a 1 day runny nose! I find that amazing, to be quite honest, and I had pretty high expectations to begin with.

I’m also grateful that whatever hypo-thyroid issue I had seems to have resolved itself. After the first 20 pounds (those are always the quick ones right after birth!), I lost weight gradually and naturally, without any drop in milk supply. I fit back into my size 2/4 stuff within 6 months, which was definitely a nice plus. Also, no period for 9+ months (19+ months, if you include pregnancy!)= definite advantage!!! Yes, I’m excited about that last part, because mine are pretty much more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced (other than childbirth).

The ONLY downside, and I really mean ONLY, is the night time. Anthony’s still waking up twice a night to eat. He has a hard time “agreeing” to go back in his crib at the 4am feeding, plus he’s usually over-saturated his diaper and wet his sleeper at this time (lots of nursing= LOTS of pee).

Our saving grace is that we’ve introduced a bit of “self-soothing” (aka, crying it out) at his naps and first sleeping session of the night. He’s been able to put himself to sleep within 5 minutes, so at least there’s that!

Overall, I’m so incredibly grateful that things have worked out this well thus far. I feel as though I went through such a difficult time with Gregory (9 months of fulltime nursing, 2 more months with supplementing due to pregnancy) that I didn’t believe nursing could be a wonderful and easy thing.

Now, I’ve seen the flip side and know why it is people make such a big deal about it. I know that everyone’s situation is different, but having seen both sides of the equation, I would pick 100% nursing every time.

misc. and all that…

I'm sure we all feel like this, at one time or another

I’m sure we all feel like this, at one time or another

Here’s to the start of a new week. Last week kind of sucked. I threw my back out on Sunday night and had to attend two rounds of electro-therapy at my chiropractor in order to get it back in order. On top of everything, Gregory and I both got sick. Runny noses, fevers, coughing, sneezing, massive headaches from congestion? You name it, we got it.

We thought for sure that Baby Wee was going to get it, ushering in his very first illness ever (I’m pretty much in shock about his lack of illness, seeing as he lives in a house with teenagers, teachers and a nurse, ALL who bring home a variety of germs! Plus he crawls around sucking on EVERYTHING). But he didn’t! Not even a fever, just a clear runny nose for a day.

He did have a couple of really rough sleeping nights, where both Jesse and I were at our wits end. One morning, it took me a few hours before I fully “forgave” Wee for the night he gave us…I am pretty sure that his chunky lil’ body was fighting off the bug we all had. Btw, I am so thankful to have a husband who will get up with the baby at night, just so that I don’t have to 100% shoulder (literally, this kid is large!) the responsibility! His help enabled my sprained back to heal itself quickly.

Adopting a foster child is hard guys…hard hard. HARD. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and this is coming from someone who had two babies au naturale. And it’s not even hard in the ways I thought it was going to be, most of the time. I thought that all the “acting out” due to attachment issues would be the hard part, but, turns out, all of our training prepared us for that. We have a plan for the various scenarios, and it’s comforting (plus, all the knives, razors and drugs are locked up…).

What I didn’t realize would be so hard was the emotional pain. Not mine, hers. Watching someone have to go through that journey, finally coming to grips with the fact that they will never be with their biological mother and father…it’s heartbreaking. This experience has given me a whole new outlook on depression, pain, and sympathy towards others who are going through something that’s unconscionable for my experience. It’s a very exposed– a very RAW feeling– to suddenly realize that you don’t know what the other person is going through, you actually NEVER will, but you’re still supposed to be their main rock and support. Parents are “supposed” to have all the answers, and it feels like being on a stage where you don’t know your lines.

Gregory is such a little chatterbox right now! He knows all of his shapes, letters and colors, and loves to point them out. He even drew a triangle last week! He knows about 6 songs: “O Theotokos”, “The Eyes of All”, “Gladsome Light”, “Close Your Eyes” (James Taylor), “You are my Sunshine”, and, of course, “Happy Birthday”. His little versions of all these are adorable and priceless….when we can get him to perform, that is!

Anthony crawls around the house like a bandit, grabbing everything in sight and chewing it to death (teething?). He still barely eats any solids– around 1 serving a day. I try to go for 2 servings, but he’s just not that interested. He still nurses 6-8x/day though…sometimes I can get him to go for a 4 hour stretch, but he’s screaming and turning purple with rage by then, so we try not to let things come to that. Good grief, the kid is almost 10 months old. We have to get on this solids thing!

Anthony is also very very attached to me, which is adorable and also slightly annoying. He cries and follows me around the house and the kitchen when he wants something. Sometimes, if I’m in the kitchen, trying to make food, he literally goes in circles chasing after me. There are times where it drives me mad and I NEED my space, so I hide to eat my cereal, or I get another family member to distract him while I make an escape to another room! He always seems to know, though….

We should have a house update coming soon. Until the appraisal goes through, I am going to remain suspicious. We have purchased and delivered a new fridge to the place, so I guess we’re feeling semi-confident, but we’ve been hurt too many times to get too excited just yet.

School-wise, we’re reading some really fun books right now. In my 8th grade class, we’re reading Red Badge of Courage, which is one of my favorites to teach Junior High. We also have a “Castle War” coming up once we have all of my moving boxes at our disposal. Dr. Kleist taught me well, I’m afraid…In my Honors class, we’re reading Crime and Punishment at a break neck speed. The kids almost mutinied when they got their first two reading assignments– about 80 pages of reading a NIGHT! Muhahaha….now, I think they are finally numb to the pain and anguish ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have more piano students than I can reasonably teach in a week, so I will be off-shooting my business and getting a “partner” of sorts! Stay tuned for that ๐Ÿ™‚

What else…my dad and I did our 2012 taxes last night, hoping to get some $ back so we could buy Jesse a nice car…turns out, we OWE $28. No fair. I guess the government doesn’t see us as poor any longer, har-har. My dad pointed out that we did make quite a bit more this year, so I guess I shouldn’t be too mad…but it was nice getting several thousand back last year. I also kind of hate Turbotax. Watching that number at the top go UP and then DOOWWWWWN and then back up again definitely raised my blood pressure.

Not much more to report, other than I’m in the middle of a painting project. More on that later!

The "before"-- this bad boy just a major update.  MAJOR UPDATE! (yes, that I was a "how I met your mother" shout out...

The “before”– this bad boy just got a major update. (salute): MAJOR UPDATE! (yes, that was a “How I Met Your Mother” shout out…)

Cambria Day Trip

Due to our 3 day weekend (teaching holidays=awesomeness!), we decided to head to Cambria for the day. Being only a 30 min. drive away, it really is a shame we don’t go here more often, especially since it’s known as one of the prettiest places in all of CA.

Also, the day could not have been more perfect. 66 degrees and sunny!

First, we went to Moonstone Beach and ate a picnic.

The view from our picnic bench

The view from our picnic bench

Once we were done eating, we hiked down to the rocks, babies and all!

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We finally learned how to use the panoramic function on our iphones. About time!!!

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We found a little crab

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It was low tide, so we were able to walk all over the beach and rocks

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Our gorgeous girl

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Gregory could not stop talking during all of this. He was so thrilled with all the scenery!

After our walk on the beach, we took a small hike/walk into the trees and to another lookout point.

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Again, isn’t this function on the iPhone AWESOME?

After we tired the boys out, we went in search of a hole-in-the-wall cookie bakery that we’d heard rave reviews about. It’s the oddest little place, tucked into a STORAGE facility, of all places, but it was beyond worth it. For $12, we got 8 of the BEST cookies I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. They are already starting to franchise the business after just 2 years because they’ve been so wildly successful!

The label on the side says it all

The label on the side says it all

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Didn’t believe me when I said it was in a storage facility?

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He said that often, they have so much business that they have to hide their signs! And people still come!

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Red Moose Bakery Mascot

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These cookies definitely lived up to their name!

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We also got lemon…oh man, were they good!

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Caitlin could not believe how amazing they were!

All 3 kids fell asleep shortly after we left the bakery, so Jesse and I decided to drive 15 minutes up the coast to the place where he proposed!

7.5 years since he gave me my gorgeous ring!

7.5 years since he gave me my gorgeous ring!

Kelly's ring 2013

I like remembering the day he gave it to me ๐Ÿ™‚ Today, I got to tell Caitlin all about it and walk her to the very spot! She claims she wants to have her wedding here someday.

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It’s easy to see why people love to come here!

Cambria Trip 1

One more shot out the window as we drive

Family Photo Shoot– The Favorites

The photos are finally in! I had around 60 favorites, but I had to choose just a few for this post. Here is aย linkย to the rest of my favorites!

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This photo was definitely Jesse’s idea

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Just the girls

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The official Cone Family 2012 pic!

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The two cutest boys in existence

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My beautiful boy

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Baby Wee!

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If you’ve ever seen a family photo shoot of ours, we have to have a jumping picture. Always.

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Married for 28+ years!

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He is so beautiful. I can’t believe he’s my kid!

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Or take this ball of sunshine? What did I do to deserve him?

Family Photo Shoot Part 2

Here are some more previews of our photo shoot yesterday (btw, anyone got any ideas for how to get babies/toddlers to smile???).

Family Photo Shoot 2 Family Photo Shoot 3 Family Photo Shoot 4 Family Photo Shoot 5 Family Photo Shoot 7 Family Photo Shoot 8

Family Photo Shoot

Since my brother Keith came home from the Navy for the first time in 1.5 years, Jesse’s and my gift to the family for Christmas was a photo shoot with our lovely photographer, Melissa Jean (we’ve used her many times, including for Anthony’s newborn photos, my maternity shoot, my friend’s wedding, Gregory’s first birthday, and Gregory’s baby photos).

In just an hour, we got all sorts of great shots! Here’s the teaser preview she sent me.

Family Photo Shoot 1

The whole family! So blessed to have us all together for the last time in years ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

10 New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never posted about my New Year’s Resolutions, because there’s a big part of me that’s superstitious and thinks that somehow, voicing my goals will ensure that I never reach them. But 2013 seems to be a kinder, nicer sort of year already, so I am willing to take the risk, in the hopes that writing them down will help me to accomplish them.

1. Buy a House. This one’s a biggy, folks. I’m still to superstitious to go into all the particulars, but I believe that we’ve finally settled on “The One”. Truly. The paperwork all went through yesterday, and we have our inspection scheduled for next Tuesday morning and the appraisal shortly thereafter.

The best part? It is,ย by far, my favorite house of all the ones we’ve looked at. Not a short sale or an REO either– in fact, we know the guy, and it never even made it onto the MLS listings for the general population to SNATCH away.

All signs point to YES! But it is still one of my New Year’s Resolutions. We just know that now is the time to get into the real estate market, especially on the Central Coast, before things get too expensive. If we’d bought at this time last year, we could’ve already made $50,000 on our investment. Hurts to think about. Hello, CA market, I officially hate you.

Conclusion: Goodbye, savings!

2. Workout Consistently. It’s hard for people to believe, looking at me now, but I used to be a workout fiend. I went to the gym every single day. My favorite thing to do at the Biola track was to get into a handstand for pushups. I went to gymnastics 2-3x/week, and had almost re-mastered my back handspring.

Now? I went to the gym last night, ran for 30 minutes and lifted weights for 5 minutes. OMG, it feels like I’ve been hit by a bus. Apparently, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to walk funny, all hunched over like Gollum.

My realistic goal would be to make it to the gym three times a week, for at least half an hour. Can I accomplish it? Not sure, but that’s why it’s a goal!

Conclusion: Sweat it off!

3. Sleep-Train Anthony. I’m all for breastfeeding on demand, but we’re dying of sleep deprivation over here. I don’t want to give my Baby Boo trauma by letting him cry it out, but he is NINE MONTHS OLD next week. My goal is that he will only wake me up 1-2x/ night from here on out. That would be heaven. There are trade-offs, to be sure (another post on it later), but with 3 kids and a part time job, I CANNOT stay up all night nursing this kid anymore.

Conclusion: Zzzzzz

4. Potty-Train Gregory. We are not in some huge hurry to get him out of diapers, but he is showing lots of signs of being ready. We’re also about ready to move him to a toddler bed! Where did the time go?

Conclusion: Invest in some floor cleaner

5. Buy a Second Car. We’ve been a 1 car family for about a year and a half now, and while I’ve LOVED it, Jesse has not. Although CA has the best of conditions, 90% of the year, walking to school every single day isn’t manly enough for him ๐Ÿ˜‰ Luckily, even once our downpayment has been paid, we will still have enough $ to buy him a “beater” car. And, considering our new house is about 7 minutes away from school instead of around the corner, a second car would be a good option.

Conclusion: Zoom zoom

6. Eat Healthier. I joke that you can usually tell my general state of mind by examining my car for fast food bags. I am a closet stress eater, folks, and when the going gets rough, McDonald’s finds its way into my life. This summer, before all the craziness of of the semester was upon us, Jesse and I were eating very mindfully, and I would like that in my life once more.

Conclusion: Bring on the Protein Smoothies and quinoa!

7. Teeth. Let me tell you the story of a girl who had braces for THREE YEARS, then neglected to wear her retainer until it became too small. Jesse and I have both wanted to get braces (he would need them for longer since he’s never had them) for a while now. Once our savings has been replenished, we’d like to get a consultation and go for it! Kind of a weird resolution, but it is one, none the less.

Conclusion: Say cheese!

8. Play more, work less. I’ve loved having my own piano business. It’s been something that I can take pride in because I’ve developed a clientele base in two different cities, without any actual degree in piano playing (it’s just something I love to do!).

As much as I love piano teaching, however, I love my kids more. I love family time more. It’s hard on Jesse to get home from teaching for 6 hours and immediately jump into babysitting all 3 kids. Even though I’m only gone 1-2 hours in the afternoon, it’s the busiest part of the afternoon, and the crankiest time of day for the kids. By the time that we both get dinner done and the kids in bed, it’s time to grade papers and prep for class, then time for bed.

For our first few months in CA, before I had developed any clientele for my piano business, Jesse and I got to experience what life was like with every afternoon and evening free for the taking. We went to the zoo or the park every other day and had a blast as a family. Sometimes, the kids and I would go in another room and play while Jesse finished up his grading by dinner time.

Having experienced that, I know that life is much better when I work less. Once we move into our house, replenish our savings account, and start investing (basically, sometime this fall), I have considered quitting piano teaching altogether, at least while we have young kids.

As far as teaching English goes, it is a part of me that piano playing never will be. In fact, teaching English is as much a part of my identity as motherhood. I am also a better mom when I am reading and writing regularly, and it does a world of good for my sanity when I am bringing income in.

So, for the foreseeable future, I still plan on teaching English part time like I have been. Since it looks like (again, fingers still crossed!) we will be living only 5-7 minutes from the school, we have talked about making my schedule 12:30-3pm every day, instead of 10:30-2:30 three days a week. This would mean that I am only teaching during the boys’ nap times– they won’t even know I’m gone!

Conclusion: Money isn’t everything.

9. Enjoy. I really want to learn how to be in the moment. I have 3 wonderful kids, each with such wonderful and enjoyable qualities. I want to learn how to be mindful of the moment and savor everything about them before they grow up and move on (even thinking about it gets me teary!).

Jesse and I also love to be around each other and, despite all the stress in our lives (grad school, moving across the country twice, buying a house, and adopting a teen, to name a few!) are still great friends. We are resolving to make more time for each other this next year, possibly instituting a weekly date night once Mr. Anthony complies with resolution #3.

Conclusion: Soak in every moment.

10. Make Friends! I am notoriously HORRIBLE about making friends. I never pictured myself as being anti-social, but then I started looking at my life.

In High School, my best friends were the ones I went to church with as a child.

In college, my best friends (with the exception of two) were also my friends from High School, or were already friends of Jesse’s.

I MARRIED someone I grew up with.

It didn’t feel like “home” in Dallas until we convinced 3 of our CA friends to move with us.

So….I don’t have many friends here on the Central Coast. Time to change that, especially considering my best friend Tess is looking into moving on to grad school, as is my good friend/sister-in law.

Conclusion: Hello, my name is…