January 31, 2013

Back to School, Back to School for Brandan


It has been a very busy time in our lives since our baby was born at the end of November. I think the highlights have been: baby blessing, end of Brandan’s internship, Christmas, moving back to Iowa, Brandan’s birthday, moving into a new apartment, then having some of Brandan’s family, my family and friends stay with us for a whole week (though they weren’t all here at the same time!).

Brandan had the privilege to bless our sweet baby Kaiya when she was a day shy of 3 weeks old. It had to have been THEE most awesome spiritual and emotional experience we have had since we got married, feeling the spirit so strongly as Brandan (voice cracking and tears streaming down his face with happiness and humility) spoke words of blessing upon her. It was the only time I’ve seen him come even close to crying and by the time he was done, we were all tearing up (of course I had tears pouring out, but ever since I got pregnant, that’s fairly normal and easy-to-happen for me ;)). It was so sweet to have Brandan’s dad there to support him in the blessing, along with my stepdad and brother-in-law. My brother-in-law Tyler actually blessed Kaiya’s cousin, Emerie, right afterward. Emerie is my sister Hayley’s second baby girl and she’s 7 weeks older than Kaiya to the day. It was so fun having so much family and in-laws around that weekend to celebrate the new babies and Lyndi’s (Emerie’s big sis) birthday!
(Emerie on the left, Kaiya on the right, in their beautiful dresses made by my mom)
(Hayley and I with our newborns)

The internship in Pittsburg was over just before the blessings so for the rest of December, Brandan got to spend lots of time with Kaiya and I and our families. We took Kaiya on her first big outing with Brandan’s dad and stepmom; we went to Pittsburg and ate at the Hardrock Café (I’d never been, but Sonja is basically obsessed with getting t-shirts from there, so we had to stop in and get some!) where Kaiya got her first Hardrock Café onesie and bib, I got my first t-shirt, and Brandan added to his little collection. Afterward, we explored Pittsburg in the rain and ended up at the botanical gardens which were gorgeous! We could have walked around looking at all the tropical fruit trees, flowers, and other unique shrubs and greenery for hours.
(Ready for her first adventure in the baby booties made by Brandan;))

Christmas came around really quickly for us, especially with so much going on. Brandan and I had a very little budget to work with, so we basically got a few things we’ve been needing and called Kaiya our big present for the year (or two! haha). Hayley, Tyler, Lyndi and Emerie came to visit for the holidays also and we made holiday foods, played games, watched movies, and held/fed/burped/changed the babies for a week or so. It was nice and relaxing, despite the fact that everyone in the family, and I mean every last person, ended up sick with some winter bug. Christmas morning was actually quite comical with Steve, mom, Spencer, Alyssa, Hayley, Tyler, Lyndi, Brandan and I all groggy, coughing and blowing our noses with eyes barely able to stay open. Luckily, the babies didn’t seem to catch any of it (can I hear a woot! woot! for mommy’s milk?!? woot woot for antibodies!!!)
(our 'present of the year' in her stocking)
(the babies sure loved their aunt Alyssa!)

(when we'd go out, Emerie and Kaiya had their matching car seat covers, winter suits and binkies!)

(Kaiya's cousin Lyndi was such a good big sis' to both her and Emerie while she was with us)


The last 2 weeks we were at my mom’s, it was a little rough feeling like a good mommy to Kaiya. Basically, she started becoming really irritable, which was very abnormal for her since prior to this time she had been the most easy-going baby ever, and developed a nasty, acidic, skin-eating rash on her bottom. We tried everything to take care of it – several types of diaper rash creams and powders, different diapers and wipes, changing her more frequently, etc. but nothing seemed to help for very long. We finally took her to the pediatrician and found out she is really sensitive to both lactose (anything with even a little bit of milk product in it) and sugar (yeast). I stayed away from breads with milk powder in them or high yeast content, all the dairy products I love, the Christmas goodies, chocolate, and anything else with any sugar or lactose in it. I’m surprised I didn’t lose 20 lbs in those couple of weeks as I lived off of peanut butter and carrots, meat and mayo sandwiches on Italian bread, rice chex and plain soymilk, and v8 juice! It was hard, especially being around my family who LOVE their goodies and milk, but Brandan helped me a lot since he’s also a bit sensitive to those things (I shouldn’t have been so surprised that Kaiya ended up with those problems…).

I can say with much happiness that Kaiya’s rash cleared up fairly quickly and has only had a few little yeast rashes that last a day or two if I have splurged and eaten very much sugar. I have also figured out a trick where I feed her stored milk I have in the freezer after I have more than a little bit of dairy or sugar and then pump out the “bad milk” so she doesn’t get it in her system. Thank goodness for modern-day pumps and for so many food choices we have so I don’t feel like I’m struggling to nurse my baby girl with such a sensitive body J.

The drive back to Iowa from Pennsylvania went surprisingly well. Kaiya slept almost the whole time, minus a few pit stops to feed her and walk around a bit. She even slept the whole night after we got here! Ever since we got to Iowa she has been sleeping almost all the way through the night. I fully believe in not sharing a room with your baby, no matter how young they are, and in the book “Baby Wise” that taught us how to set a flexible schedule with feeding and napping to obtain an earlier full night’s sleep for our baby. She has been sleeping through the night almost every night since she was about 6 weeks old. I think the nights she has a harder time have been when friends and family have been visiting and staying at our apartment – she just wanted to stay up and party!

Well, Kaiya is now 9 weeks old, going on 10 weeks, and everything is going great. We finally got moved into a new apartment where she has her own room and we have our own laundry appliances. We got to hang out with Brandan’s mom, youngest brother Nicholas, and little sister Aundrea for a few days, then visited with my mom and sister Alyssa for a day or two, then had our good friends, Tyson, Jackie and their 9 month old son Logan come stay for a while. It’s been fun seeing everyone and getting settled back into a schedule and we look forward to finishing up graduate school for Brandan in a year and a half, getting back into shape, and seeing if I can be a content stay-at-home mom instead of working or being in school for a while (which I have been loving so far by the way!, and having winter clear up so we can get out and have more adventures as a little family!
(nothin' like snuggling up in a blanket and watchin' a good show after a long day at school)

(yes, we take our baby in a baby bjorn disc golfing in the winter...don't worry - she was bundled up well!)