16 December 2013

Five Months

Time is just flying by and our littlest Rich kid is

 Miles weighs about 19 pounds these days
and measures around 26 inches long.

He's still in size 3 diapers (size 4 at night) and 6 month clothes,
though I've noticed that quite a few outfits are getting tight.
So I guess we'll be hitting up the after Christmas sales!

Being at home so much over the past month has really improved his sleeping.
We're back to 3 regular naps and sleeping from bedtime about 7:30-8:00 until 7:00am!
(I do a dreamfeed about 10:30, but I'm hoping to drop that soon.)
Miles regularly rolls to his side to sleep, and this month has started flipping over to his tummy.
Seems to sleep better that way, so Mama and Daddy are happy!

Miles has recently learned to blow raspberries,
a skill he loves to practice at the most random times:
in the middle of church, during naps, while spitting up...

He is so good at pushing up, and is now scooting/ rolling everywhere.
Max's toys are quite the motivation. :)
Miles can even push his rear up off the floor too.
(You don't need to start crawling any time soon though, buddy!)
He can sit up if spotted, but even then he topples over after a minute or two.
Now that Miles knows he can move, even if only inches,
he does not like being still! The snuggly days are coming to an end.
*Sniff sniff*

This kiddo is still drooling like crazy
and chewing on everything he can get to his mouth.
He still spits up quite a bit too, but I am hoping that tapers off soon -
I have to do at least one load of laundry a day to keep up!

I tried feeding him sweet potatoes a few weeks ago but he was NOT interested.
He much preferred chewing on the spoon!
A few days later I offered him a Mum Mum, and he didn't care for that either.
I thought for sure he was ready - he's been eyeing our food
and grabbing for my drinks for weeks!
Oh, well. I am in no rush :)

Miles is so much more observant now.
It is fun to watch him focusing on things and trying to figure them out.
He especially loves to watch Max and try to figure him out.
(Good luck with that one, kiddo!)
And for all the "tough love" that Max gives Miles,
he sure gets some of the biggest smiles and giggles!


 Miles is SUCH a good-natured baby.
He brings so much joy to those around him.
Those smiles are contagious. :)

A Very Merry Half-Birthday

There was a half-birthday in our house this past Friday.
Hard to believe Max is two and a half years old!

We celebrated by going to see the miniature trains at NorthPark on Friday.
Then a mini cupcake and a little present after dinner.

It is absolutely crazy to think about all the changes
that have taken place in the past six months.
You became a big brother, had open heart surgery, AND were potty trained!
This post could be pages long describing what you're up to these days,
but I will try to keep it to the highlights. :)

Clothing you these days is a challenge.
Between your strong opinions and your growing body,
there isn't much you can/ will wear.
Usually you are wearing 2T or 3T (mostly 3T) clothes and size 8 shoes.
You are also wearing big boy underwear now! 

You sleep from about 8-8:30pm until 6:30-7:00am in your toddler bed.
Some nights it's more peaceful than others,
but between all the disruption your hospital stay caused and then potty training,
you have done really well.

Eating has always been your strong suit.
You eat a good variety of foods, but still turn up your nose -
in typical two year-old fashion. :)
Some surprising things you eat these days include
salad (spinach or romaine lettuce, usually), sugar snap peas, tomato soup,
eggs (for the longest time you wouldn't touch them) and pomegranate arils.
We always ask that you take one bite of everything on your plate,
and you are usually pretty good about that!

Hats have become a recent fascination.
You must be wearing your navy baseball cap at all times!
Good thing it is multi-purpose: you call it your "singing man hat"
or your "guitar man hat" or your "golf hat" or your "work hat"...
or pretty much whatever you are pretending to be at that moment. :)

You also LOVE to sing.
Grand Old Flag, Jingle Bells, and the Thomas theme song are current faves.
If you want Mommy or Daddy (or even baby Miles) to sing along while you play your guitar,
you will go get them a hat and microphone. 
It is so sweet to hear you singing at the top of your lungs! (Usually.)

Thomas trains and Hot Wheels cars are the primary toys you play with right now.
I have contemplated just putting all the other toys and puzzles and games away
because trains and cars are all you want to play with!

You also love to color, especially with Mommy's pens (aka Sharpies. Yikes!).
Black and red are your colors of choice - and you usually like to scribble
on the faces of characters in your coloring books. Weird.

Helping is one of your favorite things to do.
You love to help Daddy with projects around the house
or in the yard, and you are pretty good at helping with laundry.
You usually take your own plate and cup to the sink after a meal,
and often want to set the table.
(It is funny what you think that means sometimes!)
You especially like to help Mommy cook,
mostly because that means you have a good chance of getting a snack. :)

You are getting better about being gentle with your baby brother.
Now that he is slightly more mobile (scooting himself towards your toys),
you are starting to realize the realities of this sharing business. :)
But many times you will share your toys without me even asking!
You can't wait for Miles to get bigger so he can play with you.

Since we needed to limit your activity after your heart surgery,
you've been watching more TV than before.
Movies are your new favorite - even over Thomas!
You love to watch Finding Nemo 
(I think we had it on loop while you were in the hospital),
Monsters Inc, A Bug's Life, and Cars.
We also got some games for the iPad to help keep you occupied,
and you've gotten pretty good at Letter School. :)
It is pretty amazing how quickly you caught onto this technology!

It amazes us how smart you are.
You are constantly telling us about the things you learn,
and sometimes we wonder where you pick this stuff up. :)
You can say the alphabet and recognize all the letters,
sometimes spell your name,
and count to about 15 reliably.
Your vocabulary is crazy and you just love to talk,
and will even strike up conversations with strangers!

You definitely have your moments, though.
We have our share of toy-throwing, leg-thrashing,
girly-screaming fits around our house too.
There are times of disobedience and outright defiance, stubbornness even.
(You had that coming atcha from both sides of the gene pool.)

But when your Daddy and I think about 
all the craziness you've endured these past few months,
we are amazed how quickly you've bounced back
to the sweet boy we know and love.
God has taught us so much about His faithfulness through you.



 "Maxwell" means great spring,
and we think that name fits you so well -
you overflow with words, laughter, energy, and joy.
You are one of our greatest blessings, Maxwell James!

11 December 2013

Cabin Fever

The ice is melting!
We couldn't be happier this crazy ice storm
that kept us inside for the past four days is finally behind us.

We'd been mostly staying indoors anyways 
since Max is on sternum restriction (or what I'm starting to call fun restriction),
and having absolutely NO options to get out due to the slippery mess -
not even a short walk through the neighborhood - was torture.

By Monday night we were on the brink of insanity:

This morning we ran some errands,
and even Miles seemed glad to get out of the house for a bit.

Thank goodness it didn't come to flipping bandanas! :)

22 November 2013

On the Mend

We survived.

I'm not going to lie, though:
Those six days spent at Cook's were full of so many decisions.
Tears well up just thinking about the choices we had to make,
the control we had to relinquish,
the constant trust we had to put in someone else.

We experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows that week.
But we were surrounded by so much love and support
that helped to carry us through the days we were completely drained -
emotionally, physically, spiritually.
Thank you doesn't even begin to express our gratitude 
to all the people who came to sit with us in the hospital,
who watched Miles while we were with Max,
who brought (and are bringing) us meals,
who have texted, called, or emailed words of encouragement.
Wow - that pretty well sums it up. :)
Build-A-Bear with Aunt Rachel after pre-op

Get well cards from playgroup friends

Visits (and presents!) from the grandparents
 Lots and LOTS of wagon rides :)

Leaving Cook's to go home!

Max most likely will not remember any of this.
He will only know of his surgery by the stories we tell him and the pictures we share.
And of course by his scar, which we've told him 
is where the doctors fixed his heart so it can grow big and strong.

But really, it wasn't the doctors who fixed Max's heart.
The Great Physician had His hands in this from the beginning.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
 PSALM 103:2-3

Praise the Lord our little man is on the mend!
Of course, we realize there are still many challenges in the weeks ahead
(anyone got a toddler-sized straight jacket we can borrow??!!),
but we have seen God's faithfulness over and over,
and I'm pretty sure that's not going to stop anytime soon.

21 November 2013

Four Months

Our littlest man hit the four-month mark last week. Craziness!

At his well-check on Tuesday,
Miles weighed in at 18 pounds 10.5 ounces 
and measured 25.5 inches long.
He is not taking this growing thing lightly. :)

He wears mostly 6 month clothing and size 3 diapers.

Miles nurses 6-7 times a day. 
He takes 3, sometimes 4, naps and sleeps a good 7-8 hour stretch at night,
although he still occasionally wakes at night wanting to eat.
I think the craziness of the past few weeks has something to do with it,
so we'll see how things go this next month
since we'll be mostly homebound. :)

The pediatrician cleared us to start solids if we want,
but this momma is in no hurry.
We may try some sweet potatoes in the next few weeks
and see how Miles likes it.
This kiddo is on the move!
Doc helped coach him to roll from back to tummy,
so now he can go both ways.
If he's got the proper motivation (Max's toys???),
then he will scoot himself around too.
He can also reach his toes and is pushing up well during tummy time.

I finally packed away the swing as Miles is just too big for it. Sad day. :(
We may pull out the Johnny Jump-up soon, though!

Gotta make sure Miles is wearing a bib
because he is a drool factory these days!
His coordination is really improving
and he can grasp chew toys or teething rings
and bring them to his mouth.
He also likes to suck his thumb but doesn't do that regularly
and still takes a pacifier at naptime.

He is also so much more aware of things.
Miles will watch Mommy or big brother from across the room,
and gets easily distracted by loud noises (ie: Max) while nursing.
He is drawn to the glow of the phone or iPad screen,
so I have to be careful when I check the time during his evening feed. :)

Miles is so generous with his smiles,
which has been a blessing for both sets of grandparents
who helped watch him while big brother was in the hospital.
In fact, Mini found this cute little sign
which I think describes MCR so well:

We've also gotten a lot more coos and laughs out of him this month.
Baby laughs are the best. :)
Miles is the sweetest baby in the whole wide world. (Nope - not biased.)

 We are so glad this little nugget is part of our family!

01 November 2013

Thomas and His Friends

I had envisioned several adorable costumes
for the Rich brothers this Halloween:
Harry Potter and Hedwig.
Mario and Luigi.
Fireman and fire dog.
Kid and ET.
Oh, I could go on and on...
Then I realized this "holiday" is not about me
(even if it is my birthday), so I let Max pick.
And he chose Thomas the Tank Engine.
 So, naturally, Miles got to be Sir Topham Hatt. :)

For the sake of convenience, I was just going to buy 
one of those printed smocks for Max to wear,
but Clay refused and decided a three-dimensional costume was more appropriate.
He spent hours each night the week before our small group Halloween party
to create the perfect Really Useful Engine for our toddler.
I have to say I was a little skeptical he could get it done in time...


But in the end, he pulled it off. :)

Here is Thomas with his small group (girl)friends:
TOP:  Thomas, Agnes, a minion, Doc McStuffins, and two ladybugs BOTTOM: Sir Topham Hatt, Mr. Stay Puft, and a giraffe

This was as close to looking at the camera as it got. At least no one was crying - yet!

Max and Miles also got to showcase their ensembles
at our annual playgroup Halloween party.

He was so sweet to console Miles,
who was apparently very concerned we scheduled playgroup during his naptime. ;)

We got some additional mileage out of the costume
when Max wore it to Thursday school. (Oh yes, he did.)
I didn't get a picture of that cuteness because, well,
it's kind of hard to push a stroller,
carry a backpack, napmat, and giant train costume (with blustery winds, mind you)
plus wrangle a toddler on sugar high to the car AND get a photo.

After that, it was about all the Halloween excitement this 30 year-old could handle.

We opted out of the trick-or-treating craziness this time,
but I have a feeling there are many years ahead of us.

Now to start planning the costumes for next year... :)