Monday, December 26, 2011


Believe it or not, Christmas has already come and gone! We stayed here for the first time ever and celebrated with just the four of us. Simon was excited and ready for Santa to come and bring presents, and once he learned that the presents would go under the tree, he was a big help in getting the ornaments up and the needles cleaned up. Nate chose to doze with me while the boys led the decorating efforts.

And here's the finished tree! I'm proud to say that it's toddler proof--not a single breakable ornament to be found. Of course that means that many of our favorites stayed in storage this year, but it was worth it for the peace of mind.

On Christmas Eve we opened a few early gifts, including a couple of favorites: a new Frosty "Talk" book from Aunt Karyn and Neville and an Elmo Christmas DVD from Aunt Donna and Uncle Paul that was a huge hit! Simon donned his reindeer antlers and we watched Elmo...several times throughout the weekend :)

Here's our tree after Santa visited...and this was maybe half of everything that these boys received from all of our generous family!

Simon was up at 5:20 on Christmas morning, and while he was very excited to see all that Santa had brought, he definitely took it in stride and just went directly for the new guitar he saw first under the tree...

He helped open everyone's gifts, not just his own, and was a pretty happy little guy when he saw all of the wonderful gifts that Santa and the family had sent. We spent the rest of the day checking out all of his new toys, and wound up "cleaning up" after us with the help of his new vacuum from Grandma and Papa, which was definitely one of the big hits for the year.

Simon is such a fan of the vacuum that he woke us all up at 4:15 this morning so he could vacuum his we had a pretty long morning. He and Nate spent some time together and Nate got a workout with some tummy time.

So that was our Christmas! We are lucky enough that in addition to our early Christmas with the Winstanleys and this big Christmas weekend, we will have one last hurrah when Grandpa Renehan comes out next weekend.

Thanks to all of the boys' cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and other friends and family for all of the generous clothes, toys and special ornaments--you helped make our holiday very special!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nate Update

Since it's the main thing on our minds these days, here's an update on Nate's situation. Nate has been diagnosed by our pediatrician with what seems to be a severe case of acid reflux. Since I posted on the 14th, we have seen the signs become a lot clearer and, unfortunately, a lot more pronounced. Nate isn't able to eat without pain, and just after starting to nurse or starting a bottle, he will arch away and just scream out in pain. But since he's still really hungry, he will try to eat again, which only makes the pain worse. We will go through this for maybe 20-30 minutes, with him barely nursing and only eating maybe 1/2 ounce and he will often doze off from all the exertion. But then he wakes up and is still hungry, still in pain and it all starts all over again. Feeding takes up to 2 hours and he sleeps in between, so all day and night he is either passed out asleep (restlessly) or awake and in pain. It's been terrible for all of us.

So we have been pretty aggressive with our doctor, making sure that we are doing everything we can for him. I began a dairy-free diet a couple of weeks ago and we switched his formula supplements to a hypoallergenic formula, in case this is a milk protein allergy. I took Nate to a children's occupational therapist and learned about positioning and feeding techniques that might help, and they also made us a couple of wedges that Nate needs to sleep and be changed on. Essentially, he shouldn't be horizontal...ever.

We started prescription Zantac a few weeks ago, with no improvement and we are in the process of weaning from that onto prescription Prevacid. I asked for a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist--our pediatrician was still thinking this might just be "colic", but poor Nate proved that incorrect yesterday when he had a full force eating/crying/refluxing session in the doctor's office. While I hate to see him go through this over and over, that's all it took to get our doctor to call the Seattle Children's Hospital last night and send an urgent referral to their GI doctors for us.

So tomorow morning we are taking him in for blood tests to make sure there isn't something we are missing as well as an upper GI, where he will drink a few ounces of a barium drink and then have his upper GI system x-rayed. There won't be a magic reflux fix from doing this, but it will help make sure that there isn't something else going on, since this is a really severe case of reflux. At that point we will mke an appointment to see the GI doctors, go through those results and make sure we are treating this correctly.

I'm hopeful that the Prevacid will help--we had a relatively good day today, he actually had a couple of feedings without screaming, which wasn't happening even yesterday. And I am looking forward to working with a doctor who is more familiar with the condition and potential ways to alleviate the pain, as there isn't much we can do to fix this--rather, we are looking for ways to make it easier on Nate as he just grows out of it over the course of the next 6, 12, 18 months or so.

So everyday is a roller coaster, and you never know what will happen when he wakes up. I will keep the blog updated as we start with this testing and see where it takes us.

On the upside, Nate is still growing well despite the feeding issues and weighed in at 11 lb 4 oz yesterday! Today was the first day in the last month that he had enough awake, non-crying time to let him "play" a little and he got interested in the bouncy seat and actually hooked a ring with his pinky! He admired his handsomeness in the mirror in his baby gym for a while too. Here are a couple of recent pictures of the little guy...please keep your fingers crossed we can take some of this pain away for him soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Simon is super excited for Christmas, and for Santa in particular. So when we told him we were going to meet Santa a couple of weekends ago...he was a pretty happy kid. And Nate took a nap through the whole experience, so we are happy to say we managed to get a good shot of both of them with Santa.

Thanks to Nana and Papa for the photo, here it is!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jingle Bell Jamboree

Simon's daycare did their annual holiday "pageant" and potluck last night and we managed to get there with Nate in tow. They sang three songs and the younger kids helped by adding the jingle bells. Simon, as he did last year, decided to make a run for it at one is a short bit from the beginning of this year's performance. (He did make it back for the rest of the songs)

And now time for a little nostalgia--here's last year's performance. He was just still learning to walk!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nathaniel at 1 month

Can't believe we have two kids to post about now...and speaking of, I will actually be doing just one monthly wrap-up rather than a Simon post on the 26th and a Nate post on the 14th. But I will be posting an "official" picture of Nate for each of his first 12 months, like we did with Simon. And since this is month 1 and it's been so crazy, here's a bit of what's been going on.

So it's already been a month since Nate was born. As with Simon, it feels like it's been both an instant and forever since he arrived. It's been a challenging month--aside from the obvious learning curve of having a newborn and a toddler in the house, Nate is going through something that we are still figuring out. He is crying, as if in pain, for up to a couple of hours a day, a couple of times a day. It's intermittent--he will calm and get relaxed, and then it will start up again a couple of minutes later.

The doctor is thinking either reflux or colic, but either way it's heartbreaking and really hard to go through for all four of us. We are trialing some medications for reflux to see if that's what it is and have seen some improvement over the last 2 days, so we are hopeful that we can diagnose and treat reflux. If it's colic, we just need to figure out some ways to manage through what will likely be a difficult few months.

But we have had some really nice times too, and he is eating and growing wonderfully! He has gained about 3 pounds since birth, and we have already moved past newborn clothes and diapers. Simon is still doing really well with him and continues to check up on, kiss and hug baby brother.

So without further ado, here's Nate at 1 month!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Visit from Nana and Papa Winstanley

Nana and Papa from Atlanta came in this past weekend to meet Nate and share an early Christmas. They gamely stepped into a chaotic weekend with Matt and Simon somewhat sick and Nate going through some pretty bad colic/reflux issues and helped us get some sleep and some good meals. We also did our Santa pictures (thanks Nana and Papa!) which I will post when we get them from the photographer next week. But I am happy to say that both boys were good and there were no tears or freakouts!

We got to open gifts together, and Simon in particular was pretty thrilled with his presents. Nate took a nap with Papa, so Simon helpfully opened his gifts too. And mine. And Nana's. You get the picture.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend...thanks for the great visit and help!

Simon and Dad waiting to meet Santa

Simon opening his first Christmas gift of the year

A firetruck!

Nana and Papa getting some good baby snuggles in

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


In addition to being able to climb out of his crib, Simon can now climb up and down from his changing table. check him out...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family Band (and more Dynamite of course)

Simon's new music obsession is Family Band...he hands out guitars to everyone and we all play and sing together. Simon always plays his ukulele, I usually get to play the "electric" guitar and Matt is often given Simon's small broom. Guests receive things like a water squirter, a dustpan, etc as their "guitar". And we play...and play...and play. ABC is the top song choice, but we have been known to do a really strong Bingo, Deck the Halls and Baa Baa Black Sheep too.

And one thing...if Simon doesn't think you're playing with enough fervor, he will not hesitate to stop the jam and have us start over. In this video, he's eyeing Lorie who dared to take a break from playing her broom to take a video...

And lest you think he'd given up break dancing to Dynamite in favor of Family Band, check out this video...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Simon at 27 months

For obvious reasons, this has been a big month for the whole family, including Simon! The biggest event is us welcoming his baby brother Nathaniel, and he has been such a trooper and a great big brother so far. He loves to hug and kiss the baby, although he isn't a big fan of the crying. He has even tried to help us feed Nate a bottle:

He has really enjoyed having visitors here to play with...he had lots of fun with Lorie this past week:
And pre-Nate, we did some fun stuff too...

Matt took him to a see some "diggers" nearby--he's really into trucks right now:

And with me huge and pregnant until recently, we introduced family movies on the couch with popcorn and his new favorite, chocolate milk:

We have also been doing a lot of dancing and "family band", and I will post videos of all of that soon.

All in all, it's been an exciting month and Simon has been wonderful through all of the changes and surprises!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nathaniel Benjamin's arrival!

Our second son, Nathaniel Benjamin, was born one week ago. Here is our birth story, some pictures from his first week and a link to more pictures on Shutterfly.

I was scheduled for a repeat c section on Monday, the 14th, at 12:30. Mom and Karyn came in the weekend prior, ready to take care of Simon while Matt and I were in the hospital. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a little off...and started having contractions that afternoon. They were definitely more intense and painful than the Braxton-Hicks contractions I've been having for much of my pregnancy, but because they weren't coming consistently, I figured it was false labor. They did get to about 5 minutes apart, so I gave Mom and Karyn a call to let them know we might need them earlier than expected.

The contractions spread out but continued without stopping overnight...needless to say, I was only able to doze for 5-10 minutes between contractions before giving up and getting up at 3:30 ish to deal with the pain. By Sunday morning, I was convinced I was in true labor, called Mom and Karyn and they came over around 6am ready to watch Simon. We packed up the car, but I still wasn't sure it was for real and we waited a bit longer...and the contractions spread back out. We spent Sunday hanging around the house, me dealing with labor and feeling generally terrible. Another sleepless night later, we said a teary goodbye to Simon and headed to the hospital for the scheduled c-section.

When we got there, they checked me and it turns out that I was in labor, and I was 5 cm dilated and completely effaced! The baby's head hadn't dropped at all, which was a slight concern, but there was every reason to believe my body was ready to have the baby on its own. After talking to my OB, I decided to give it a few hours to see if this was going to continue progressing or if we needed to do the c section after all. So we skipped the scheduled c section, got me an epidural (which took the anesthesiologist 4 tried to get right, grrrr) and settled in for a while.

The next 7 hours or so went quickly. Mom and Karyn brought Simon by to visit, which was great....I had one scare when my blood pressure dropped really low and they had to give me oxygen and ephedrine to get it back up. And we remained hopeful that with the pitocin I was getting and after having my water broken, I was making more progress.

But when my OB checked me at 5:30PM...I had made no progress whatsoever. And the baby's head hadn't dropped any further. So while we hoped for a bit to avoid the c section, it just wasn't in the cards. At 6:10, we headed to the OR.

The surgery took a little longer than the first one, but it went smoothly and Nathaniel Benjamin was born at 6:43 PM! He weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 20 1/2 inches long (although the nurse recorded it wrong on all his records as 21 1/2"...) He was healthy and screaming and after being cleaned up, they handed him to Matt and we all headed back to the room.

We spent the next 48 hours in the hospital, and Simon was able to come by the next day and meet his new baby brother.We have been home since last Wednesday and other than the conplete lack of sleep, we are doing well! Simon is very interested in Nate, and always wants to know where "Baby Brother" is. He likes to hold him and give kisses and hugs, which is wonderful. He also had a lot of fun with "Glama" and Aunt Karyn while we were gone. Nate is a sweet baby, he is a champion nurser and loves being held and cuddled.

Overall, we are thrilled to have Nathaniel here and become a family of four. We are excited for Christmas with the boys, and I will be home until Mid-March, which I'm looking forward to.

Here are some pictures from the first week, and here is a link to a bunch more.

Welcome Nathaniel, we love you!

Funny observation: apparently hairdryers were a reliable means of entertaining Simon while we were in the hospital...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nathaniel Benjamin is here!

I promise I will post Nate's birth story and tons of pictures from the big day soon, but I thought that in introducing him, I should start with his most distinguishing feature: his spiky hair.

It doesn't read well in photos, so here is a video:

Friday, November 11, 2011

bits and pieces

Just wanted to post a few pics and videos that I haven't had a chance to get to...

I posted a video of Simon breakdancing on Halloween, here are a few pictures from the holiday:

Simon at his daycare party in his costume:

Painting pumpkins (and hands) with Mama:

With a few of his PEPS friends:

And a couple of videos:

Simon the Strollersaurus:

A quick video of Simon wiping out. Disclaimer: No toddlers were harmed in the making of this video:

And in honor of the big day coming up on Monday (baby boy #2 scheduled to arrive!), a video of some belly movement. Ignore The Good Wife on tv in the background:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dancing to Caspar Babypants

We took Simon to a great event tonight, benefitting a group that promotes reading among at-risk kids. They had several local authors read books to the kids and in between each author, Caspar Babypants performed. Caspar Babypants is a local kids band, but most people know the lead singer, Chris Ballew, better as the lead singer from The Presidents of the United States of America.

This was a solo show for Chris Ballew...and Simon was loving it. His friend Lili was there too, she's in the teal polka dot shirt near Simon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breakdancing on Halloween

Simon showed us a new skill today...apparently he has learned how to breakdance! He entertained a whole room of people when his favorite song, Dynamite, came on!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Video Catch Up

A few videos from the past few days...

Simon and Daddy wrestling...note the realistic sumo costume Simon is in. OK, it's just his diaper.

Doing a puzzle with Mama this morning.

Playing drums at Best Buy this afternoon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

26 months

This month has been all about prep for baby brother's arrival. Simon is getting used to the idea, at least in the abstract, although we don't think he has any clue what it actually means to have a baby in the house. But baby boy #2 is scheduled to arrive via repeat c section on 11/14, barring any surprises, so this will be the last monthly update with Simon as an only child!

So what have we been up to this month...

We visited a pumpkin patch and Simon ran all over place of course.

He has learned how to use our iphones well enough to take (tons of) pictures of himself.

he is newly obsessed with the cats--he likes to "hug" Loki and feed Leia Nilla Wafers. She is happy to oblige him by eating them.

We are barely able to take a picture of him before he wants to see it, thank god the iphone camera takes pictures on the front too...he loves to see himself on screen.

Helping Daddy with the food shopping...

breaking out the raincoat

Mama and Simon were left to their own devices for dinner one night...somehow Simon ended up eating his dinner while sitting on top of the table. hey, give me a break, I'm 9 months pregnant!

And just for fun, here's my belly at 36 weeks and 3 days...we must be close!