I’m sitting here on the living room floor at 5:40 am next to a baby who thinks it’s a great time to play, and I’m tired. I’ve been awake since 4 (though the Nugget didn’t wake up for an hour after that) and I have a feeling that by the time he’s ready to go back to sleep my bigger Baby Guy will be ready to party.

But this early morning time with Baby A is pretty much priceless. He’s fresh and happy because he sleeps 6-7 hours straight at night pretty regularly now. I’m almost fresh and very happy because at three months old his brother wasn’t even close to sleeping like this. In fact, when E was this age, I’m pretty sure I would’ve desired (just a little bit) to punch anyone who told me that their baby slept this well. If you’re in the same predicament that I was, though, please console yourself with the knowledge that I’m still not sleeping 6-7 hours straight because I can’t shake the habit of the waking up and waiting to hear him breathe or wiggle before I can fall back asleep. Still, my rest level is pretty high considering that I have a two-year-old and a fresh little tiny one.

There is much for which I am thankful.

My list is long, but here are my top 3:

  • My God, who loves me, has provided everything I have and gives me comfort in times of pain
  • My husband, my partner, who is my best friend and most ardent supporter and an amazing dad
  • My little boys who are awesome. They are sweet, funny, and adorable (if I do say so myself).

Really I have thanksgivings without end, but Baby A is back asleep, and Mr. E is not up yet, so I’m going to go add a few extra minutes of sleep to my Thanksgiving list!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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nugget in the house

The Nugget is more than a month old now, and he’s been home for a few weeks. We were blessed to only have him in the NICU for ten days, but what a blessing the care he received there was to our family! We do not miss the commute, the wires, or the separation from our boy, but we are truly grateful for the excellent people who watched over him day and night when we could not.

Nugget with his NG tube in the NICU

Things at home have settled a bit, but let me just say that the presence of a sibling has made its mark on my Baby Guy. He loves his baby brother immensely, but the increase in naughtiness seems exponential. This is exacerbated by my inability to pick him up. Right after the new Nugget came home I went to my first postpartum appointment, foolishly hoping I’d be granted permission to lift my underweight eldest son, but alas, I was informed that no toddler lifting would be permitted until six weeks after surgery. I was pretty bummed (and still am) about that. It’s not easy managing a crib-sleeping, potty trained, defiance practicing almost two-year-old without picking him up. So, we have designated a special orange cushion in his room as the time-out cushion (instead of imprisoning him in his crib, which was customary). I have explained to him that he needs to sit for two minutes because he is almost two years old, and then I set the timer on my iPhone and tell him to wait for my phone to make a noise before he gets up. Well, today we realized that time-out is making some kind of impression, anyway, when Baby Guy picked up my husband’s phone and told Siri, “Set timer for two minutes.” She obliged. Then he informed us (in a slight panic) that he didn’t want to “go sit on his orange fing.”

No, it’s not all sunshine and roses with a new sibling in town, but it’s not all tantrums either. Baby Guy is still pretty sweet. He’s been singing a lot lately, and he loves playing with Lincoln logs. “Conversation” is one of his favorite new words…he overheard his dad say it. He loves giving his brother kisses, high fives, and fist bumps. He can’t walk by the Tiny One without saying “He is so cute!” or “He is so tiny!” with a proud smile.

‘Building Lincoln Logs’ with my boys

The little Nugget is doing well. He sleeps fairly well at night, and is gaining weight fast, as is evidenced by his generous chins. He naps pretty much all day, and is very easygoing. He is even usually content to do his tummy time, and very impressively rolled over from his belly to his back once before he was two weeks old. Only the one time, but still, we were impressed. Even more impressively, he has already given us two consecutive nights with only one waking between 10:30 and 6:30 am, which is pretty awesome considering his older brother’s unfortunate sleep history. I have high hopes that this one will keep up the good work with the overnight sleeps. So far I have been in tears zero times in the middle of the night with this one, so I’d say we’re miles ahead of where we were with Baby Guy at this point in the game.


Please take note of his glorious chins!

As for me and my husband, we are tired but having a great time with our two little boys. Last week when, on the morning my mom was heading back home and we would be left to fend for ourselves for the first time, Baby Guy woke up with croup and an ear infection, we felt a bit overwhelmed. But he’s doing better now and the Nugget hasn’t shown any signs of respiratory distress, so hopefully we have made it through the worst of that. I’m not going to claim that we have the hang of parenting two children at once quite yet, but I’m optimistic that we can figure it out well enough to hold on one prayerful day at a time.


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a second-time mom


I’m not a first-time mom anymore.

Isn’t that a weird thing, though? When people talk about first-time parents they mean that the parents only have one kid, right? But, is anyone ever really a second-time parent?

On Sunday I went to the hospital because I was concerned about some bleeding I was having. As it turns out, the bleeding (coupled with some contractions I’d been having off and on since Friday afternoon) meant that I was actually in labor. This was an unexpected turn of events, so I called my husband and let him know that he’d need to get Baby Guy ready for a day at our friends’ house. Of course, I was still laboring (ha!) under the false impression that the medicine they gave me to stop the contractions would work. Well, by the time the mister had our son all squared away with our amazing and kind friends and was en route to the hospital, I was being denied transport to the nearest hospital with a NICU and found myself asking the doctor if the c-section would wait a few minutes for my husband to make it to be with me in time.

He did.


We felt like first-time parents, as, for the first time, we were welcoming a second son into a cold, bright operating room, buzzing with a surgical team for me and a whole fleet of pediatric specialists for our new little one.

We felt like first-time parents as we watched the transport team wheel our baby out for his ambulance ride to the NICU an hour away from us.

We felt like first-time parents with our Baby Guy spending his first night away from both of us.

It wasn’t supposed to feel like this. We were supposed to have a better handle on the whole thing this time. We’ve done this having-a-son thing before, so we knew to expect the unexpected, but we didn’t know just how unexpected things would be.

I wasn’t ready. The house isn’t clean and organized. The baby’s room isn’t decorated. His hand-me-downs aren’t folded neatly in his dresser, and we haven’t decided on a carseat.

I wasn’t ready for a c-section. I can’t lift Baby Guy for another week and a half (at least), which means I can’t take him out of his crib when he wakes up in the morning, and I can’t put him in at night. I can’t lift him onto the potty, and, worst of all, I can’t hold and comfort him when all he wants is a mommy snuggle.

I wasn’t ready for a preemie. There’s no way to prepare yourself to have your baby be away from you from the moment he’s born. Mommies shouldn’t be visitors, it’s just not how we’re made.

But there’s a first time for everything.

I know I am blessed. My little one is a trooper. He was big for his age, and he was 33 weeks when he was born, so not nearly as far from being ready as many premies. My husband is awesome and has been caring for Baby Guy with the extra love and attention that he needs right now. My mom started driving immediately and is here now, helping us care for our home, our sons, and ourselves. My dad flew in today, bought some groceries on his drive from the airport, and washed our dishes while he was waiting for us to come home from the hospital. Our friends and family all over the world are praying for us and for our new baby boy.

Thanks. Seriously.

Thanks to the nurses who not only cared for my physical needs while I was in the hospital, but who kept asking about my new little one even though he wasn’t with me there, and let me know that they were praying for him. Thanks to the NICU nurses, doctors, and other staff who have been caring for my son around the clock since he was born. They are genuinely interested in his progress, and have been so patient and welcoming with Baby Guy (who is not always a quiet, well-mannered visitor). I am so thankful for each of them.


The baby is doing really well. He’s been free of his IV for days now, and free of his breathing mask even longer. He’s out of his isolette and his labs are consistently coming back looking great. He still has a feeding tube, but he’s eating well enough for many of his meals that it doesn’t always have to be used. He is still struggling to wake up long enough to eat the calories that he needs, but that’s to be expected for a 33 weeker. He is perfect and precious and he is loved.

Keep the prayers coming, but know that we are okay. We’re tired and eager to bring our baby home, but we’re trusting that he is in God’s hands and we are glad that he is getting the care he needs.

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father’s day

Lately, nothing has gone according to plan around here. Last week, my husband was supposed to leave for campmeeting pitch Monday afternoon, and actually he did…but I called him back home (he hadn’t even arrived for his supper yet) to tell him I was taking myself to the hospital because of less than ideal pregnancy symptoms I was having. Thankfully, we have kind people in our community, and our good friends took Baby Guy on short notice (and without complaint) so I could go get checked out before the mister drove all the way back home. 

Here I must interrupt myself to relate the sad reality of motherhood vs. fatherhood (in my house at least). When my husband had said his goodbyes to Baby Guy and I earlier that afternoon-he was planning to be away for a couple of nights-our son clung to him as if to be left alone with his mother was the most horrifying and tragic thing that could be perpetrated against him. Weeping. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. “Sad! Miss daddy!” he sobs. Fast forward two hours and I’m dropping him off with our friends (who are lovely people by the way, but who are not his mother), and he refuses to shed one tear and doesn’t even look back at me as he holds their hands and walks willingly away from me. Really?!

Anyway, everything is fine with baby-boy-to-be (and me), so I came home and we commenced preparations for campmeeting. Of course because my husband had missed so much campmeeting prep by this time we decided we’d all go together so he wouldn’t have to come back and get us. That meant that I’d be heading out a couple of days earlier than expected, and we’d be spending 11 consecutive nights in our tent.

Well, we’re 4 nights into it and I think there’s been a thunderstorm in every one of those, so far. I like camping just as much as the next girl (possibly more), but rain and camping are not my favorite combo. Yes, the pitter pat of raindrops on the tent do make for a nice sleep situation, but torrential downpours with deafening thunder and wind that periodically flattens the tent walls into your face do not. Also, please keep in mind that I am a giant pregnant lady, deep into the second trimester. My choices are dehydration or middle-of-the-night bathroom visits. The bathroom is approximately a billion feet from our tent, so the (much closer) outhouse is a necessity in these dire times. So far I have managed to only make these wee hour trips between downpours, but with 7 nights to go, time is not on my side. 

Our trusty tent does keep us dry, though, as long as we stay inside, so when we woke up this morning and the rain had stopped we became foolishly reckless. We chose to make breakfast outside. Pancakes with strawberries for Father’s Day! Here I’m just going to breeze by the awful truth that my husband made his own (as well as the rest of our) pancakes. They were delicious and we enjoyed them in spite of the sprinkles starting. However, by the time I’d begun gathering the dishes to wash, things were taking a turn. The rain was incredible and the wind was crazy. 

After pancakes, but before we fully comprehended the fury of the wind and rain.

In no time, my right pant leg was soaked and my left was beginning to follow suit. My husband was drenched and it was all we could do to keep our little boy from getting soaked too. I decided to go for the van, which we’d parked away from our campsite just in case we’d needed to leave the grounds on Sabbath. As I was walking the short distance down the road, a car came barreling through the huge puddle I was slogging through and left me dripping with mud all the way down my left side. I will admit to feeling some road rage as the car continued on its merry way without a look back. I wallowed in my misery as only a persecuted noticeably pregnant woman in a bright red raincoat (read highly visible to oncoming traffic) could. 

I drove up to the campsite where my husband buckled the boy in, grabbed the ever present potty bag, and hopped in the passenger seat. We escaped to a nearby Target, wherein mama got a brand new pair of maternity pants (and the dressing room attendant wrote me a note to give the cashier, explaining that I’d be wearing the new pants out of the store because my “original pants were wet.” I had a brief internal struggle with the ignominy of that incomplete and suggestive phrasing, but I let it go. 

Now dry and itching to celebrate, we headed to the grocery store to buy lunch fixings for our son, having neglected to bring any of his food with us when we made our break for it. Then, after a little walk around town we went out for some Chinese food, which I passed off as the Father’s Day gift for my man (since I’d gone to the hospital instead of shopping for Father’s Day while he was gone). 

If you ignore the fact that we came home to a mudpit and a wind that kept blowing our tent vestibule and cooking shelter down, it was a very nice day. 

My husband says he had a great Father’s Day, and I have to believe him, even though it was terrible in so many ways. I had a wonderful time with our little family this morning, and what makes my husband such a great dad is that he just loves spending time with our little boy, even if it means entertaining him in Target while I try on pants or carrying Baby Guy in one arm and pounding tent stakes down with the other because he’s too much of a softy to ignore the plaintive “hold you!” demands of our son. 

I’m blessed to have married a great dad. Happy Father’s Day to my little boy’s hero. We love you, Mister! Maybe next year we’ll get you a gift. 

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potty time

Alright, here’s the thing: thanks to the lovely first trimester I had, I’m still running at least 3 months behind on everything, so writing life updates hasn’t been at the top of the priority list lately. I’ll try to catch you up briefly, but I can’t make any promises.

On the FPIES front, Baby Guy is doing well. We’ve just finished a 14 day trial of almond butter, and he has passed almonds (we think…the GI will make the final call on that pretty soon), which means that ditching formula for homemade almond milk is on the horizon! Assuming he will drink this almond milk, we’re thinking it will be a real win for the grocery budget.

The boy’s vocabulary has exploded, and although I had almost despaired of him ever learning his colors, he has made great progress in this area in the past week or so. He can count to eleven, and is beginning to recognize his favorite letters on signs all over town.

The big thing, though, is that about six (maybe seven now?) weeks ago-right around the eighteen month mark-Baby Guy decided he wanted to start using the potty instead of diapers.

He was really serious.

At first, we just sort of gave him opportunities to use the toilet in between diapers, but he began protesting diapers more often, so when we were at home I’d let him run around with no diaper on and he was pretty consistently using the toilet (with frequent reminders) and a few accidents here and there. I’d put a diaper on him anytime we’d leave the house and of course during nap and bed times (and anytime he wanted one). He wanted underwear pretty desperately, so I started putting a cotton prefold on him with no diaper cover once in awhile. It was the best I could do because training pants generally don’t come smaller than 2T, and my son’s waist and hips are not even close to 2T.

One day, about 2 weeks in, I got brave and took him to the store (right here in town) with no diaper on. I did stick a prefold under him in the carseat, just for a little bit of insurance, but we were out of the house successfully for about 30 minutes with no accident, so I started to get even braver. I bought an inexpensive toilet seat topper so that we could set him on the potty without fear of him falling in, and he loved it. We started taking it everywhere, and I quit forcing him to put a diaper on whenever we left the house. I gave him a choice every time, and just tried to trust him to tell me if he had to go.

I found some relatively inexpensive underwear on Amazon that actually fit a tiny little person like my son (I ordered the 6-12 month size, no joke). They’re nothing fancy, but he is so proud to wear them and they’re pretty adorable.

Honestly, about 2-3 weeks in he was successful even outside of the house almost all the time. He didn’t like public bathrooms at all, because they are “yowd.” But I could usually distract him from the loudness by getting him to count the tiles on the bathroom floors or something or other, and he’d get through it usually. There were a few times he was just too scared of the public toilets (even with his special seat topper), and he asked me to just put on his diaper instead, so I did. We figured that there’s no reason to force an eighteen month old to use the restroom constantly if he wasn’t comfortable doing so.

About 3-4 weeks in, he started choosing underwear instead of diapers for nap time, just once in awhile at first, and then every day.

Now, the only time he wears a diaper is overnight, and it’s dry in the morning more often than not. So far, we’ve never had a naptime accident, and we spent all day Monday out and about in Grand Rapids with no changes of clothes necessary.

I have read about a bajillion things about potty training at 18-19 months, and some people say it’s a horrible thing to do to your child and will lead to a certain horrible future of chronic constipation and constant UTIs, but please rest easy–we have not potty trained baby guy. This was his idea and we are pretty much letting him tell us what he’s comfortable with. Also, I consulted his GI about it and the good doctor assured me that my son was not being harmed in any way by this gentle “method” (if you can even call it that) of potty learning. He also assured me that regression is not out of the question, especially once baby number two makes an appearance.

This new stage has its pros and cons, of course. Onesies are not as convenient now that he’s in underwear, so we’re increasing our stash of toddler t-shirts for the summer. I’ve pretty much ditched the diaper bag in favor of the “potty bag” (a large wet/dry bag that I store the potty seat and extra clothes and snacks in). I have to always have an idea where the nearest bathroom is, or be willing to plop the potty seat out on the side of the road if there’s not a restroom handy. We have campmeeting soon, as well as some road trips that will be exciting, I’m sure. But, I no longer have to seek out changing tables, and instead of washing a load of diapers every other day, I can do it once a week (and only that often because I don’t want to wait longer than that). The dirty diapers we do get are only ever wet…I haven’t had a poopy diaper since the first week he tried the potty. That’s good enough for me. My biggest challenge at this point is finding pants that are long enough and will stay up around his teeny tiny waist without the aid of a diaper. Seriously guys, he’s wearing his 6 month shorts from last summer.

Just out mowing in his 6 month size shorts…

We are not discounting the possibility of the boy losing interest or just plain old regressing, but for now we’re basically diaper-free and loving it.

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you say cookie, I say bread

This morning my husband made my son one of our tried and true breakfast recipes for him: banana blueberry fritters. Baby Guy loves these things, and lately he’s been rebelling against his daily oatmeal regimen, so we’re shaking things up a little. Unfortunately, in the month or two that we have exclusively breakfasting our little man on oats, he has apparently lost his taste for banana fritters, so the giant bowl of batter we thought would take us through a few breakfasts looked like it would be going to waste.

Until, that is, I thought of the brilliant idea of turning it into banana blueberry bread. I mean, Baby Guy will eat anything bready. He loves muffins, biscuits, naan, pizza dough, pancakes, and (obviously) bread. So I whipped up a loaf of quick bread this afternoon and it was all ready when suppertime came and my husband walked through the door.

Baby Guy drawing as I bake

He asked me what the bread was, and I told him. I did make a disclaimer about it not tasting like my usual banana bread because I’d decreased the amount of sugar in the recipe (yeah, I’m that kind of mom). Then, after he tasted it, I remembered that I’d also replaced half of the all purpose flour in the recipe with white whole wheat (not because I’m that kind of mom–I am–but because I was too lazy to open the brand new bag of all purpose flour that I’d gone out to buy this morning). I confessed my whole wheat flourings to my long-suffering husband, who assured me that the bread was good, though more “healthy granola” than my typical banana bread. He was eating a second piece at the time, so I believe that he enjoyed it even if you don’t.Upon further reflection, I have realized that I neglected to mention a number of other modifications I made to the recipe, which include using ground flaxseed and water instead of egg (Baby Guy can’t eat eggs, if you’ll recall), and subbing coconut oil in for vegetable oil (soybeans are in everything). Plus, this batch has blueberries in it (but I’m thinking he realized that without me having to say so).

All in all, the recipe is fairly unrecognizable, and I guess it’s just a hazard of being a healthy granola FPIES mom.

Now it’s confession time: My son ate the bread during supper with great gusto. The only thing that made me feel a little sorry for him was the fact that, although I kept correcting him, he insisted on referring to his bread as a ‘cookie.’ This sent me on a little bit of a guilt trip because on this very morning I received a package from my own mother with a real life chocolate chip cookie perfectly unsullied by flax, whole wheat, or any coconut products at all whatsoever, which I ate while the little man was napping. It was awesome, and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?

And tomorrow I’ll be happy to feed him another ‘cookie’ for breakfast.

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in which she gets off the couch

Today I rejoined the land of the living. I’m hesitant to say that this is a permanent change, because after a day of light to moderate activity I am feeling pretty tuckered. But, it was definitely the best I’ve felt in a long time.

I went to two stores today. Two!

I went to the school today to talk to people, and I stood up while holding my son for a whole one of the conversations!

I didn’t take a nap when Baby Guy did, because I was working on stuff. This, admittedly, was all work done on the computer, so I didn’t technically have to move anything except my eyeballs and my fingers, but still. I stayed awake and accomplished something so it counts.
It’s good that I’m at least beginning to make my recovery from morning sickness doom, because my son is gaining energy exponentially every day, I think. He runs, he spins, he carries laundry from one place to another, and though he is pretty snuggly (a fact for which I am truly thankful), he doesn’t settle in for long term cuddles unless I’m reading (we did 192 pages straight on Monday morning!). In short, he is a normally functioning toddler who requires that his mother move from place to place and it would be best if I got with the program sooner rather than later.

In other toddler news: Baby Guy is starting to feel heavier (which may just mean I’ve lost muscle mass in my recent decline). I’d like to think, though, that he’s actually gaining weight, as he’s been eating very well and sleeping quite well, too.

As far as FPIES goes, we trialed eggs with him again, since before his diagnosis we’d tried them too close together with other new things, and weren’t sure which food/s he was reacting to. Though he didn’t have any typical FPIES reaction to the eggs, he did develop a horrible diaper rash–think open sores–a couple of days after we started trialing them. Consulting with the allergist about it (and with other FPIES families in the Facebook group I’m in) led us to quit eggs (again). Just like that, Baby Guy is back to being vegan, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

We healed up the rash as well as gave his little belly time to heal, and then we started our peanut butter trial just last week. This time we made it almost a week, but his diapers were getting grosser and then the open sores appeared again, so peanut butter is off the list, too. This wasn’t horribly shocking, since he’s reacted to multiple legumes already, but it was pretty sad to lose both eggs and peanut butter as protein sources for our little soy and dairy-free vegetarian boy. It’s been a few days since we cut out the peanut butter and his little buns are looking better already, so once that rash is gone we’ll give him a full week to heal his intestines and then we’ll probably move on to almonds. It’s pretty important to me to find a versatile protein as soon as we can because, as awesome as it is to feel like a protein ninja, adding secret flaxseed to everything the poor child eats is probably not going to cut it for his entire childhood. Plus, it would be nice if he could drink something other than $39 cans of formula.

So, my heart is a tiny bit broken over Baby Guy missing out on these new foods, especially peanut butter, since he LOVES it. But, that little bit of sadness is nothing compared to the joy the kid brings almost every single waking moment. He doesn’t ever complain about not being able to eat things, so that helps. And he has taken to loudly proclaiming, “YUM, NUM, NUM!!” when he’s eating something he particularly enjoys (naan, “pizza”, anything with blueberries). It’s awesome. He’s also repeating after us to say prayers now, which is a whole new level of amazing. The other day he even started adding in his own stuff, making sure we pray for him to be “friendly,” which is of great concern to him lately. He says “I love you” back to us when we say it now, too. And, tonight when I asked him his memory verse during family worship time he told me “obey,” which obviously isn’t the whole thing, but he definitely got the main idea. It helps that the lesson for this month is about David, who is Baby Guy’s greatest hero (after Daddy).

Anyway, my mama heart is full tonight. I’m thankful for a better day. I’m thankful for my precious boy. And I’m thankful for a Sabbath to enjoy God, family, friends, and endless renditions of “Only a Boy Named David.”

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