30 December 2012

Four months

We survived our first xmas as a family of three. Next year has to be better and more fun. Especially since I won't have to have Paxlet on my chest in the Snugli while eating (I hope). I didn't want to lay him down on the floor/couch as there was a rambunctious untrained dog present and we left the monitor at home so Paxlet couldn't be put upstairs on the bed.

I thoroughly enjoy watching this little being grow and learn. How often does one get to see the world through the eyes of an infant where everything is so new? Sure some days are harder than others and I do get a bit frustrated at times, but those moments are thankfully fleeting, especially when Paxlet gives me a huge slobbery grin.

Weight & Length: We won't be heading in for a check up until the 8th of January, so the only figures I have are old ones. Paxlet's length from last month is 62,5 cm (24,6 in), but I do have a slightly more updated weight figure from December 12th. When we went in for his vaccinations, I asked for them to weigh him. He weighed 7 kilos 455 grams (16,4 lbs).

Sleeping: Paxlet sleeps well, once asleep, but he still isn't falling asleep on his own. While it is sometimes frustrating that he won't go to sleep on his own, he is ONLY 4 months old just now. We'll work on it and it will happen. Naps are easiest to get him down, because if all else fails, I can put him in the stroller and take him for a walk and he zonks out almost immediately.

He has also taken to needing a boob in his mouth most of the night. He isn't eating the entire time, but he needs the boob there or at least accessible when he wants it. I get more sleep too when the boob is readily available. I don't mind it so much, but my hips get sore and the position is just uncomfortable to be in for that long.
I've recently come across the term "4 month sleep regression", which I guess is what Paxlet could be going through. We don't have all the symptoms of a sleep regression, but enough and in Paxlet's own way, that I'm sure that this is what it is. My understanding of it is that due to infants going through a lot of changes right around 4 months (learning new things, new experiences, growth spurts, teething, etc.) that the sleep gets messed up. Not that ours was the greatest before, we don't get those fabled "all night sleeps" of 5 or so hours much less true all night. It doesn't bother me so much, as I can take a nap during the day if I want because I still don't have to be at work, but it sure would be nice to start getting a bit more regular sleep at night.
These two links explain quite well, in my opinion, about what is going on around 4 months regarding sleep:
Troublesome Tots - The Thing About Sleep Regressions (This is a great blog!)
KellyMom - Wakeful 4 Month Olds (good breastfeeding info)

Eating: He's a great eater! I'm planning on exclusively breast feeding until 6 months of age. I know things can change and if they need to, I'm ok with that.

Not quite eating, but it involves the mouth: Paxlet chews on everything! Toys, spit rags, clothes, towels, my hands, his hands and more. He has chewed/sucked on his hands so much that part of them are getting quite dried out. I'll need to remember to put lotion on them at night (and maybe some hand covers) to try and get them baby soft again.

Diapers: I think we're just going to be a disposable diaper family all the way. I'm too lazy and disposables are just to easy.

Clothing: He's still wearing size 60-68, although several 60's don't fit anymore and some others are getting tighter. I think I'll get to go second-hand shopping again soon!

Hair: This little boy is still pretty much bald. He's got some blond as can be short hair, but from farther away he still looks quite bald.

Personality: Paxlet is such an insanely happy baby! I know we, as parents, are quite biased, but many others have commented on this also. He's just always ready with a smile (unless he's just woken up...just like his momma). Paxlet will also let you know when he feels he's been wronged or something isn't to his liking.

Milestones & Firsts*: Not only is he following objects held in front of him, but he is noticing the entire world around him. This little boy just won't hold still. He wiggles and wiggles and turns his head to look at everything. Especially if daddy is holding him and momma is elsewhere. Paxlet has a mom-radar.

Paxlet loves it when he looks at someone and that person notices him back. But momma's attention is the best of all.

...should be able to:
on stomach, lift head up 90 degrees - this has only been happening the last week or so and not all the time

laugh out loud - this is so last month, but it doesn't mean I love it any less!

...will probably be able to:

on stomach, raise chest, supported by arms - this is a bit hit and miss. He can do it, but not consistently

reach for an object - Before and while my dad and sister were here, Paxlet was grabbing things if you gave them to him. He was also sometimes reaching out in the general direction of objects, but it was very hit and miss if he actually grabbed something. But immediately after they left, Paxlet's concentration changed and he went from haphazardly grabbing things and sometimes getting them to focused attention on what he was aiming for and more often than not grabbing what he wanted. His movements are still a bit jerky, but he's grabbing at everything!

pay attention to an object as small as a raisin - we've not tested this one, but I'm sure he could, as his attention to objects is much more acute these days.

squeal in delight - and screeching! High pitch sounds are great fun right now.

...may possibly be able to:
keep head level with body when pulled to sitting - This has been possible for some time, but nowadays it happens all the time and his head control is much better.

roll over (one way) - This has been happening for a week or two now. He rolls from his back to his front (towards the right). In the last two days he's started half rolling to the other direction. In addition to rolling, when he gets on his tummy, he can scootch forward some. He puts his butt in the air and with his face in the blanket, pushes forward. He can also push himself sideways (as of just now for the first time as I was writing this while Paxlet was playing with Mr Siili).

...may even be able to:
bear some weight on legs when held upright - he's been "standing" for some time, but he definitely has more power and strength lately. He's really pushing with his legs and standing. He'll be sofa-surfing in no time. Eeps.

object if you try to take a toy away - Oh, yes! Although, it isn't so much toys that he objects to being taken away yet as it is boobs. Toys rate on a lower scale still.

Likes: Paxlet loves going upstairs. Anytime Mr Siili or I take him upstairs, for whatever reason, he gets very happy and wiggly. I'm not sure why, but I guess he must like what is up there: showers/baths, diaper and clothes changes and bedtime.

Dislikes: Getting shots. Last time he got his vaccinations, I held Paxlet on my lap and the nurse gave him a shot in his thigh. I turned Paxlet around for the next shot, but in the mean time Paxlet told the nurse, quite vocally and angrily what he thought of that shot. It would have been cuter if he wasn't hurting from it. Then he got his second shot and really cried. I quickly got my boob out and let him eat. Paxlet would take a few sucks, then stop and tell me what he thought about the shots, drink again for a few sucks and again explain his displeasure. After a couple of times of this he finally had a smile and nicer words for me (and the nurse). We're going to have a handful with this guy!

*I've been using the What to Expect - The First Year by Heidi Murkoff for a majority of the milestones, in addition to adding events/things Mr Siili and I have noticed not mentioned in the book. I'm mostly only sharing the ones that are new this month and not repeating everything, or this post will get very long!

26 December 2012

Now that that's finally over, we can get back to normalcy

Finally, xmas and all this 'merry making' is done and over with. This year's christmas has just left me in a bad mood. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that affected me so, but I'm just feeling bleh and a bit BattleFish-y. I could make all sorts of excuses as to why I'm not in the cheeriest of moods, such as:
I didn't get any candy for xmas,
We were horrible first time parents and didn't take any "baby's first xmas" photos,
I'm missing my mom,
I only got a couple of gifts,
We left our cats at home for the night so that there wasn't dog drama,
Mr Siili and I argued more than I'd like (over mostly stupid crap) and
the whole trip to the in-laws was rushed and stressful.

But really, those are just sorry excuses, well, all except for missing my mom. What I really should be thinking and remember is the following:
I have the happy and healthy baby I've been wanting for years!,
My dad and sister visiting earlier this month was a wonderful early xmas gift. Not to mention the brand new laptop and other items they brought for Paxlet and I,
I have my health,
I have a great husband (most of the time),
We spent time at my in-laws, who made wonderful xmas food and even sent some of it home with us, including candies, brie and blue cheese!,
Paxlet inched his way across the bed by himself for the first time (butt up in the air and then pushed himself forward, face down leaving a "snail slime trail") and
I Skyped with my entire family in the US this evening.

Tomorrow's just another day and for that I'm very thankful. I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays, whatever it is you celebrate. I'm just read to go back to my normal everyday life, starting right now, by going to bed.

21 December 2012

Winter solstice

Happy winter solstice! The days can only get longer and brighter from here on out!!

Being that today is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, it's an important day to remember up here in the north where the winters are long and dark. Thankfully where I live, we still see the sun for a few short hours each day, unlike way up north where they haven't seen the sun for a while and still won't see it for some time. Today, on this shortest day of the year, the sun rises at 9:42 and sets at 15:03 (that's 3:03pm) giving us 5 hours and 20 minutes of the sun above the horizon.

On that note, Paxlet and I are going to get dressed up, it's cold out (-14C / 7F), and head out to enjoy a bit of this rare daylight. We won't be seeing the sun as it is cloudy and snowy, but the lightness will be nice anyway.

19 December 2012

All I want for Christmas...

...is my two front teeth. No wait, I have those. Then there isn't anything I need or want for Christmas this year. Honestly! I received my Christmas present early this year, August 30th to be exact. Yet, Mr Siili insists on getting me something to open Christmas eve. Isn't that sweet?!

I've given him a few ideas, but he doesn't like them because,
1. he doesn't dare buy me jewelry, I'm way too picky (very true, even though I don't think he can go wrong with a Nomination link for my bracelet),
2. he doesn't want to buy me household machines as he's sure I'd be happier if I picked it out myself (I need a new handheld mixer) and
3. he won't even approach the subject of buying me clothing (although, I've not mentioned this, ever, but he is correct that I am very very picky about my clothes).

So, I'm curious to see what Mr Siili comes up with. As I said, in all honesty, I don't need or want anything more than what I already have. I wouldn't turn down a massage, though. But, if someone insists, some well spent family time and love from my two men would be great!

What's on your list this year?

16 December 2012

What a difference a year makes

I've been trying to write this post all day long, but due to my little boy, he's kept me busy and away from the computer. Which is exactly the point of this post: One year ago today, little did I know my world was going to change, for the better. It was exactly 2 weeks after my 3rd (and final) IVF protocol that I peed on a stick, two to be exact, and got a faint second line.

A year ago, I had some psychologist appointments to help me come to terms with my mom's death and more pressing the fact that I may not become a mom myself. While I didn't care for the psychologist much herself, she did raise a few good questions and help me start processing things in my head. I am so thankful that my life didn't end up that way. I'm lucky, I know it.

I am one of the very fortunate ones. Not only did I finally get the long awaited BFP, but I had a very easy pregnancy that went full term (41 weeks and 2 days), the delivery was fast and uncomplicated and Paxlet has been a wonderful child without colic or major screaming fits. I know I have it good and I never forget it.

13 December 2012

Family was here

Paxlet and I put them on a bus this morning headed for Helsinki to catch their first flight towards home and I cried for over 30 minutes after that. I think the only reason I stopped when I did was because I started cleaning as soon as Pax and I got home. Hey, when the boy is sleeping, it's the time to get things done!

Phew, what a week! This past week with my dad and sister was great! It was a long week, yet it was very short. Before they arrived, the weather forecast said it was going to be quite cold (-15C) the first couple of days they would be here, but the coldness came early and it wasn't that cold (-8C to -2C) during their visit. They even said it was "warm" the last couple of days they were here. Thankfully it wasn't that cold, as it allowed us to wander around downtown and be outside without freezing too badly.

We didn't really do too much while my dad and sister visited. The first day they were here was Finnish Independence day and no stores were open. So, all of us just took a walk around the neighborhood and let my family recover from traveling a bit. The rest of the time we spent downtown at the open air Christmas market, the stable yards (another open air market), in a few regular stores and then at home hanging out. Mainly we just wanted to spend time together, especially with Pax, which we did!

Paxlet seemed to enjoy the time with his Grandpa and Auntie. Lots of talking, smiles and laughs all around. Pax didn't have any problems with them holding him from day one, which is great because my family is just in love with our little guy. It was great seeing my dad with Paxlet. So sweet. gentle and loving. Paxlet looks (and is) so small when compared to my dad. I probably should have gotten some pictures that better showed their differences, especially the hands. My back was very thankful to have had other people holding Pax a lot of the time this past week. I hope this bit of respite for my back will continue.

My sister spent most of her money she brought with her to buy Christmas gifts. She made it clear when she arrived that that was her intent: she was going to spend as much as she wanted and how she wanted. The reason she stated it so clearly is that when she was here the first time (12 years ago), she was only 16 and my dad and I sort of controlled her the small amount of money she had and what she could or couldn't spend it on. This time around, she wasn't going to let that happen. LOL. She definitely spent it this time and had lots of fun doing it.

In typical male fashion, our dad's not so good about shopping. So my sister and I helped our dad with ideas for his Christmas shopping. To give him credit, our stepmom and one of our brothers aren't the easiest people to shop for. My sister and I do think we did a good job in helping him out though.

An added bonus to my dad and sister visiting is that they brought me and Pax tons of stuff! (Mr Siili didn't really want anything, but might benefit from some of the items, at least indirectly.) The biggest thing they brought me was a brand new laptop!!! Now there won't be any issues with Skype-calls with family whenever, not that there was issues before, but my stepmom felt otherwise. Other things that my dad and sister brought were:
- two sheepskins (they were our mom's) that we can use in Paxlet's stroller during the winter to help him stay warm,
- some toys (wooden stacking boxes, giraffe finger puppet, wooden balls, driftwood blocks) and costumes (frog & dragon/dinosaur) for Pax,
- food and candy (brewer's yeast, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, food coloring, Reese's pieces trees & bells, (American) Smarties, grits, some cake mixes, tapioca pearls, Skittles & Starbursts, Lifesavers...),
- some paintings,
- a knitted lion my mom had made (it found it's way to me after all!!),
- toys that I ordered from Amazon for Pax (stacking cups, Boomerings and Rock-a-stack)
I am sure there is more stuff I'm just not remembering right now. I know for a fact that their suitcases are much lighter going home now.

My smiling baby boy has awoke from his nap so it is  time to go play with him. I hope to write up a few stories from my dad and sister's visit. In the meantime, I'm wishing my dad and sister a safe and pleasant trip home! And happy birthday to my only sister!

05 December 2012

just a few more hours

I'm getting more and more excited as the minutes tick by and it gets closer for my dad and sister to touch down in Helsinki. It will still take them a couple of hours more to reach us by bus, but if they make it to Finland on time, then the rest is easy! They will have 3 flights, 1 bus trip and approximately 27 hours of total travel time, door-to-door. Fingers crossed that all flights are on time and no luggage lost.

On a random note, as I was waking downtown on Monday to a play group, I stopped to take some pictures of the beautiful snow, ice and steam cooking off the lake. On the trees there was some hoar frost. Which got me thinking about the word "whore", only I stooped couldn't figure out how it was spelled. Only hoar and huora (whore in Finnish) came to mind. So, as I'm enjoying this beautiful scenery, I'm thinking of whores.

02 December 2012

beating loneliness with mom & baby groups

Sitting at home day in and day out with my lovely little boy is not something I can do. I'd go cabin fever crazy! I NEED to interact with other people, especially those who can actually talk. During the first 2 months of Paxlet's life, I was content with making trips to the store, meeting a friend or co-worker for lunch downtown and on the rare occasion, hooking up with a friend to hang out, Paxlet always in tow. But I still needed a bit more than that.

Close to Paxlet's 2 month birthday, neuvola scheduled a group neuvola meeting where the moms who had approximately 2 month old babies got to meet up. I mentioned this event back when it happened and I'm still of the same opinion of it: not much will come out of it in terms of meeting other moms that might become friends to hang out with. As such, I've taken matters into my own hands.

Paxlet and I started testing out different mom & baby clubs/groups this last month. There are many places and organizations that offer weekly events for moms to attend with their babies, toddlers and young kids (under school age). Each of these places are slightly different from each other, but generally with the same idea. So far, we've tried out a few of these groups. We've been to some at the Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliiton (MLL) (Mannerheim Children's Protective Services), the local Lutheran churches, from the city and an international group (privately run, but open to anyone). If Paxlet and I want, there are enough groups happening during the week (Monday through Thursday) that we can go to a different group each day, sometimes more than one each day, if we want.

There are two MLL groups we have gone to so far and one more that I am thinking of checking out. The first MLL group is for moms and babies under 1 year old. It lasts for 2 hours, but you don't have to stay the entire time. I like this group quite a bit for the main fact that all the kids are under a year. It is also quite nice to be with other moms who are on their first kid; the same situation as me. The second group I tried out just this past week for the first time and I'm not too sold on it. It is closer to home, but it is for kids of all ages and not very organized. Also, there is no sort of program, so everyone just runs around as they wish. Not that that is bad, but it is a bit crazy.

We've been to two different church groups, one a 5 minute walk from our home and the other a 45 minute walk (although, we go there by bus). The church groups are more meant for slightly older kids, but everyone is welcome. These groups are quite organized with an opening prayer, a couple of songs/hymns, a biblical story and then one more prayer before the older kids run off to get some juice and cookies. Then the kids either have a craft to do, especially if there is a holiday or event coming up, or they can play. During snack and play time, the adults (mostly moms, a couple of dads, grandmas and nannies) get a snack of their own and a chance to talk. Then the last 15 minutes, of the hour and a half, is spent with everyone together again singing and acting out some songs. I like these groups decently well, even with the churchy stuff.

The international group is the only one where I speak English, as some of the mom's are from other countries (and might now speak Finnish) or their partner is from another country. I like this group, because I can speak English, but there is no program whatsoever and some of the kids are a bit unruly, not to mention LOUD.

Now that we've tried some of the groups, I thinking of which ones I would like us to go to regularly. I also hope that by attending some of these groups a bit more, I will find a couple of moms who would like to meet outside of the groups for some play dates. I just worry that many of the moms will shy away from me because of my less than native Finnish speaking skills, even if I do speak and understand the language quite well. In any case, these groups are definitely helping to get us out of the house, give me some adult conversation and beat loneliness.

30 November 2012

Three months

My little boy is 3 months old today. People have been warning me that time flies by quickly and I have no doubt about it, especially now. It is amazing how much he has changed in these three months, much less the amount of changes in just this last month!

I'm thoroughly enjoying watching Paxlet grow, learn and discover new things. I am truly content to experience the here and now and to see what happens as he progresses at his own pace. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'll be happy when we sleep a bit longer at night and the boy's a bit more interactive (sitting on his own, baking with me, coloring, etc). But for now, I'll continue to enjoy the gorgeous smiles from my beautiful boy.

Weight & Length: We had our much waited for 3 month check up today and boy, oh boy! has Paxlet grown. He's up almost a kilo in weight: 7 kilos 175 grams (15,8 pounds)! And he's also grown 5 centimeters this month: 62,5 cm (24,6 inches).

Sleeping: We're still constantly only getting 2-3 hours of sleep at a stretch with the occasional longer stretch thrown in. It's usually not so bad, because most wake ups are Paxlet being hungry, for which I can give him a boob and we can both fall back asleep.
Also, Paxlet generally falls asleep either on the boob or by being so tired and walked to sleep. I know I need to start teaching him to fall asleep without either of those, but when I don't have to go to work for a while still, I'm not so rushed yet.

Eating: Paxlet doesn't choke or gag while eating as much anymore. I believe it is because he is older and can handle it better when my milk lets down, although we do get the occasional chocking fit. He also hasn't had a cold since that first one at one month of age.

Diapers: I've tried cloth diapers once in the last month. The first attempt was fine. He wore it and dirtied it without any issues. I put a clean diaper on him right after that and he fussed to no end. We took it off and all was rosy again. I think it had to do with the lining of the 2nd diaper. It was a bit rougher and I think that is what Paxlet didn't like. I should try diapers again...

Clothing: He is wearing size 60-68, although mostly 62s and 68s (2-4 months). I prefer clothes that don't have zippers or buttons. Or, rather I wouldn't mind zippers so much, if they used snaps for the last inch or two at the top. I just hate the way zippers bunch and bulge on saggy little baby bodies shoving the clothes up into their chins.

Hair: Paxlet's hair is growing, slowly. It still looks like he doesn't have much hair, but there is more than before.

Personality: He's such a happy baby! Not only does he let us know how happy he is with his smiles, coos and talking, but he also lets us know when he isn't happy with something. Thankfully there isn't too much crying, but he is verbal with his desires.

Milestones & Firsts:
laugh out loud - I think we might have gotten a giggle/laugh on the 19th, but I am very sure that we got a full on laugh this past Monday night (26th). He wasn't staying asleep when I tried to put him down, several times, so I figured we'd try a bath with the new "bath support" I'd just bought earlier that day. Previously he hasn't really liked being in the bath and preferred showers, but after a few seconds hesitation, Paxlet decided he loved this bath support, grinned and then laughed! A real laugh! I can't wait to hear more of those.

Paxlet has been practicing the Finnish vowels: o-o-o-o, ah-ah-ah and he finds if funny when his dad goes through all the Finnish vowels (a, e, i, o, u, y, ä, ö). Paxlet gets a big grin on his face.

smile spontaneously - This has been happening for quite some time. Paxlet smiles when he wakes up from a nap, when he looks at one of us and we turn our attention to him and even more recently, he has started smiling at strangers (when we are at some of the baby & mom clubs).

roll over (one way) - We're only getting a half of a roll at the moment. By this I mean that Paxlet will go from his back to his left side and no further.

grasp a rattle held to backs or tips of fingers - Paxlet is grabbing things, like our fingers and clothing if it comes to near, but especially his spit rags! Spit rags are fun to chew on and coo into. He isn't grabbing things 100% of the time yet, as I still don't quite think he realizes those phalanges* at the end of his arms are his.

bear some weight on legs when held upright - This little boy couldn't be any happier when he is in a standing position. Paxlet does NOT want to passively lean back like we've seen many other babies do. He would rather be sitting up, with help. But even more-so, Paxlet would like to be standing! He's even pushed himself up to his feet a few times, with us supporting him of course. He gets the biggest grin on his face each time he accomplishes standing up.

keep head level with body when pulled to sitting - This is something that he does quite often, but not always. When he's tired his head will just loll back.

turn in the direction of a voice, particularly momma's - Paxlet does turn to my voice and even towards Mr Siili's at times. I think he is slowly taking notice of the cats too.

Paxlet and I started testing out different mom & baby clubs this month. We've found a couple that we like (more accurately, that I like as Paxlet is too small to do much yet). The first few times we went to one of these clubs, Paxlet just stared at people, furrowed his brow or looked like he was contemplating something serious, if he wasn't sleeping. The last couple of times he's actually smiled at people and talked with me a bit.

*We've been calling his fingers 'phalanges' after we saw Dr Temperance Brennan, in the TV series Bones, wiggler her fingers at a baby in one episode saying "look, dancing phalanges". Mr Siili and I giggled and have been doing it ever since.

24 November 2012

Paxlet's grandpa and aunt coming to visit

I can't remember if I've mentioned it or not (and I'm too lazy to go look), but my dad and sister are coming to visit at the beginning of December! That's right, Paxlet is going to meet his grandpa and aunt on my side of the family for the first time! I'm so freaking thrilled that they are coming! They'll only be here for a week, so we're going to have to pack a lot of stuff into that short time.

This will be only the second time anyone from my family has come to Finland in the 13 years I've lived here. The last time was 12 years ago when my grandma (dad's mom), dad and sister visited. My mom said she would visit if I ever got a child, but she didn't live to see this happen. So, having my dad, and sister, visit is the closest I'm going to get to that. This makes their visit all the more important and exciting.

I knew that when I moved half a world away to be with Mr Siili that it would be harder to see my family. I also knew my family doesn't travel much and that it would be and has been up to me (and Mr Siili) to go visit them. I've known this all along. But, now that Paxlet is here this reality is hitting me harder than I thought it would be. I'm coming to realize just how little Paxlet is going to see my side of the family, other than via the video Skype chats we have. And as my stepmom pointed out not too long ago, we'll mostly only be faces on a TV screen/computer monitor to each other.

There are some thoughts jumbled in my head and I'm not sure I'll be able to get them out in a way that conveys what I am feeling and thinking, but I'm going to try anyway.

In the past, my stepmom, mom and I had some issues. I feel that my stepmom and I have worked through some of them, at least enough to be civil and on decent terms again. With my mom, I feel we worked through things more, but nothing is ever perfect. My mom had told me that the one thing that would get her to travel and visit me in Finland was if I had a baby. Then my mom had a heart attack and died 6 months before I got pregnant. I never got to have my mom come see my life here and see that I am truly happy here. Before Paxlet was born, my stepmom and dad were excited to get their first grandchild. We were even Skyping most weekends and it was great. My dad even said he'd come visit once Paxlet arrived. Then, a few weeks after Paxlet was born, my stepmom wasn't so enthusiastic anymore and said that she just couldn't handle only seeing Paxlet via Internet. She needs to smell, hold and snuggle him, as she is a very hands on and 'irght in front of you' sort of person. It was also suggested that we (Paxlet, Mr Siili and I) travel to the US instead, my parents would pay. For several reasons, that's not happening, at least not for now. I was feeling extremely disappointed because I knew if my mom was here, she'd come visit. And when it looked as if my dad might not come visit, I was hurt. Immensely. It was just important to me that some part of my family make it here so see my boy and the idea of it not happening just left a big emotional hole in me. So, having my dad and sister! come visit me is so unbelievably cool! I would love it to be longer than a week, but I'm not going to complain!! We'll just have to make the most of the time we do have together.

In a nutshell, even though I have moved away from my family, they are still very important to me and I still need them. I'm just waiting until we have "beam me up, Scotty"-technology to make the trip 'home' a quick and painless one.

23 November 2012

Thankful Friday (a day late, sort of)

I say "sort of" because Thanksgiving seems to be the day where people express their thankfulness, en masse. But, really, there shouldn't be just one day a year in which we express that we are thankful.

I hope everyone had a great Turkey-day. Here in Finland, it was a Thursday like any ol' other regular day. Except, it wasn't quite a regular any ol' day for me. Thanksgiving is my second most favorite holiday, after Halloween. And I totally miss Thanksgiving. I miss the food and the family getting together. Even after 13 years of being away from it, I still miss it dearly. So, I spent the day thinking of my family and not feeling very grateful.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for and generally I think I am grateful for what I have (most of the time anyway), but yesterday, I just wasn't feeling it. So while I read many blog posts and FB statuses about what other people were/are grateful for, I just couldn't bring myself to write anything. Today's another day and I'm in a better frame of mind and feeling much more grateful.

I'm grateful for...
...my wiggly, drooling all over me & everything else, grinning, cooing, wanting to sit up-not leaned back little boy. He is the joy of my life! I am so thankful for him, even in the moments when I want a few minutes to myself.

...Mr Siili. I know I don't tell him enough that I am grateful for him. I will do better. He has put up with me and loved me for so many years and I know he'll continue to do so for many more.

...living in Finland where I am given the right to take at least 10 months of paid maternity leave. When I think about it, I already dread going back to work next spring, yet I know I am so lucky to have this chance to be at home with Paxlet for this long.

...my family and Mr Siili's family.

...my dad and sister coming to visit me next month. I've got a post partly written up on this subject and hope to post it this weekend.

...Rusty and Mansi. While I don't pay as much attention to the kitties now that Paxlet it here, I love them just the same and I'm glad they are in my life. Although, sometimes it's a love-hate relationship with Mansi, the spazzy and energetic youngster.

...the interest rates being insanely low for our home loan.

...every single person I've met online, face-to-face or not. You have all left a warm spot on my heart and in my life and helped me through some of the darkest days and rejoiced with me during the better ones. Thank you!

...being able to get around town by bus, with the stroller, for free.


...momma & baby groups that I've been testing out to see if I can find some other moms that I might have something in common to hang out with.

And the list could go on forever, but I won't.

21 November 2012

I knew better than to eat an entire chocolate bar

But, I did it anyway! And now I'm paying the price. The price being Paxlet crying because of an upset tummy. I've done it once before in the 3 months since he's been born, with the same results.  Doh! I really should have been better about not eating the chocolate. We were out and about today and I got hungry with only chocolate on hand. Bad me. I did have some rye bread with cheese and some carrots with me, but I ate them! And then I was still hungry. I need to remember to bring more food with me or buy some proper snack until we can get home.

There really isn't too much in the way of foods that I eat that seem to bother him. We're lucky, I know it. So far we are sure that too much chocolate does it (eating a bit of chocolate doesn't seem to do it), onions might upset his tummy and the tandoori chicken I made at home from a pre-made sauce REALLY upset his tummy. Also, the one time I ate sweet potato, it gave me gas and it seemed Paxlet had issues too. I know some of the gassy, fussy issues a baby has can be just due to an immature digestive tract. But for the time being, I should definitely remember the few things that bother my boy and try to stay away from them for everyone's sake.

19 November 2012

Update - Movie night with the girls

The movie Breaking Dawn part 2 was great!! I am so glad I got to see the movie and I definitely want to see it again, but I'll wait until it comes out on DVD.

I was definitely nervous and apprehensive about leaving Paxlet home alone with Mr Siili. They did survive though. I was informed that Paxlet cried for 2 of the 4 hours (30min + 1,5hrs) I was gone. Mr Siili says he thinks Paxlet's tummy was bothering him. At least both were sleeping (for 20 minutes) when I got home.

Paxlet seemed a bit clingy the rest of that night and all of the next day. He was eating every hour to couple of hours. My breasts didn't feel like they had any milk (very flaccid and empty feeling) in them for the next 36 or so hours after I fed and pumped before going to the movie. Having Paxlet feed so often made me concerned about leaving him "alone" again so soon, so I decided to not go to my work christmas party. Even if Mr Siili did threaten me with no christmas gifts if I didn't go. Honestly, I don't need any christmas gifts this year, I have my little boy!

About the movie itself...
There were sweet/romantic moments, sappy moments, funny moments and some exciting and scary moments. My emotions were all over the place! Without giving anything away, I do want to say that I was very surprised by one part of the movie. I mean, I was very! surprised! At first when 2 things happened, I wasn't happy with it and a bit (ok, a lot) shocked, but when the third thing happened I started crying. The tears just started flowing and nothing could stop them. It was my momma instincts kicking in and all I could do was think of my little guy and I was heart broken. Thankfully that feeling didn't last long during the movie, but it sure shook me up.

15 November 2012

Movie night with the girls

Tonight at 5 minutes past midnight,  I'm going to be watching the last Twilight movie with some girlfriends. I'm excited and can't wait to see the movie! I'm also a bit nervous as this will be the first time I'm spending any significant time away from Paxlet. And this will be Mr Siili's first time really watching the boy (not counting the couple of times I've ran to the store alone, very quickly).

I'll pump before leaving, change Paxlet's diaper and hopefully have him in bed asleep. I am sure I can do the last two and Mr Siili can always walk/rock the boy to sleep.

I know it is only a couple of hours, in the middle of the night.Let's see how it goes...

Oh, and then Friday evening is my work's xmas party... I plan on attending!
- JustHeather

14 November 2012

The holiday season is upon us

I know this by several ways. The days are shorter and nights darker. Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is near. All the stores have christmas crap stuff in them and christmas songs playing over the air. And I'm getting stressed and sad.

I love Halloween, but it isn't really celebrated here. Sure, in the last few years, you can find more Halloween costumes and related stuff in stores. Some daycare centers, kids clubs and schools have a day where kids get to dress up and adults go out to bars to drink. But there is no trick-or-treating and I get strange looks if I do dress up for the day. Even if it is only my devil's horns or cat ears. I miss Halloween.

And then comes Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving doesn't exist at all in Finland. And I miss turkey-day! I love the food! The getting together with family. And especially the food. But, the night before Thanksgiving, when I was 14, my grandmother (mom's side) passed away. Every year around this time of the year I think of her and everyone else who has moved on. Starting last year, that includes my own mom. I started thinking about my grandma and mom today. It made me cry.
This has nothing to do with the post, I just felt like putting a picture here.

After Thanksgiving comes christmas. Finnish christmas is different than what my family does in the US. I do like the Finnish christmas, it's just different. I especially like the food. It makes up for not having Thanksgiving.  I do love the family time and being together. I also love baking cookies and other holiday treats. I'm very thankful I have Mr Siili's parents and that we spend christmas with them. It has definitely made the holidays easier.

But christmas itself, is still the same. I'm not a religious person, so the whole meaning of christmas doesn't really do anything for me. I've struggled for years to find meaning in the holiday. Something more than people just wasting money on gifts that people don't really need and also people being greedy for gifts they get. I hate the stress of gifts! Which is why for the last few years, and most likely this year too, I've taken to baking goodies for most everyone. (I have no idea if they like them, but I haven't heard any complaints.) As I said earlier, I like baking and I figure most people will like the treats, plus after the holiday season is over they won't have more junk laying around that they don't really need.

Once again, 'tis the season for me to think of family that is no longer with us. 'Tis also the season to stress once again what to do about christmas gifts. I know I'll feel better once I get a bit of sleep.
Until then: Bah, humbug!

08 November 2012

The post where it's all roses and rainbow, unicorn farts

Yes, this is going to be one of those sickeningly sweet posts. Life is definitely not perfect, far from it actually, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about how after 4 years and 4 days of waiting for Paxlet to be in my life, he is here and how it couldn't be any better.

Paxlet is such an easy baby. And it all started once I got pregnant. (Getting pregnant was the nightmare.) The pregnancy itself was easy and so was labor & delivery. Paxlet was born healthy and full-full term, 8 days over the EDD, in fact. All of this 'easiness' has just continued in his life.

Paxlet doesn't cry that much, I can't remember a single episode going anywhere near an hour. We haven't had to deal with colic, reflux, or major upset stomach issues. Even when he is fussy or won't sleep, it's only for a night or two and I am still able to get some sleep, just not as much as I would like (pre-baby style).

Waking up next to a baby boy whose sparkling eyes light up when he sees me, giving me the biggest grins and smiles while cooing to me, makes up for any tiredness. I've come to look forward to the times he wakes up, because I know there are lovely baby grins waiting for me. It just melts my heart.

As Paxlet is getting older (he's only 10 weeks), his interactions with me and the world are growing. Not only does Paxlet have long (and meaningful) conversations with me (and Mr Siili), he also regularly 'talks' to his bunnies hanging from his bouncy seat, giving me a few minutes to make tea and breakfast or get a little something done. It seems every day I hear new sounds coming out of this sweet boy. In fact, just yesterday I heard a piercing squeal of laughter that he hadn't done before. All I could do was laugh at his cleverness.

There are so many little things I just love to watch Paxlet do. Such as seeing him taking notice of the images on the wallpaper next to his changing table, to sticking his tongue out in response to me and daddy or him licking everything he can get his tongue on. There's not much I don't love about Paxlet.

I can't wait to see what else the future brings us. I'm excited to see how he develops, what sort of person he becomes and learn just how smart he will be. In the mean time, I'm more than content to just be here, right now, with my little boy and see what he does.

Yes, this was a post about a mom who is head over heels and totally in love with her baby boy. He just melts my heart in ways I never dreamt of.

05 November 2012

Unexpected kindness is the best

Recently, a fellow blogger went to Paris for part of her holiday. In her comment section, I mentioned that the one thing I wished I had done while there, but didn't, was buy a piece of art work from one of the artists on the hill near the Scared Heart church. Much to my utter surprise and delight, she bought a little something and sent it to me!

Thank you so very much, Sometimes!

02 November 2012

Vaccine study participation

In Finland all children have the possibility to get vaccinated, free of charge. These vaccinations are offered and given during routine check-ups at neuvola visits. All vaccinations are optional, but in Finland only 1-4 children out of 1000 aren't given any vaccinations as per the guardians' wishes. So the vaccine rate is quite high here.

When Paxlet was a few weeks old, Mr Siili and I received some information in the mail about participating in a vaccine study, to which we agreed to participate. This study will replace the series of vaccinations that are given in the neuvola visits. Paxlet will get all of the vaccines he would normally get, but he'll get them via this study instead. This study will have two groups for the vaccinations: one group will get the same thing as you would from neuvola (commercial vaccines) and the other group will get the test vaccines (deemed to give as good as protection against diseases as the neuvola vaccines), plus both groups will get Hep B, which is not routinely given to children in Finland in the course of the routine vaccination series.

The diseases being vaccinated for are whooping cough (hinkuyskää), diphtheria (kurkkumätä), tetanus (jäykkäkouristus), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Hepatitis B. In addition, the babies in this study will also get a vaccine for the Rotavirus, which they would normally get at neuvola. Although through the study the vaccination that will be given has a wider range of protection. So, over the course of the next 11 months, Paxlet will get these vaccinations.

At the first visit, they (the people running the study) explained what would happen during this study and that we could stop participating whenever we wanted, if we chose so. They checked Paxlet over and took some blood, which he hated as they prevented him from moving his arm when he wanted to move it. (How dare they take away his freedom of movement!) We also received a thermometer, thermometer protection slips, a bag (cool!) and a booklet to record Paxlet's reactions, if any, to the vaccinations.

In the booklet to follow his reactions, we were to follow his main potential reactions for 5 days. The things we were to observe were his temperature, any possible change in sleep, eating or temperament along with how the injection area looks (swelling, pain, lumps). And if Paxlet gets sick or something changes within 14 days of when the vaccination(s) was given, we need to write that down too.

This time around, Paxlet was given a shot in each thigh, which he didn't appreciate, thank you very much. He was a bit fussy the first day and had soreness in both thighs for a couple of days. He might have puked a bit more than normal, but I didn't really think so. He did get a lump from one of the injections and we're following that to see when it goes away. Thankfully our baby boy wasn't too affected by it all and life was pretty much back to normal quite soon.

We go back for our next vaccination(s) in December when he's around 3,5 months old.

31 October 2012

Two months

And I'm a day late with this. Paxlet hasn't been the best sleeper for the last couple of nights so we were totally exhausted and went to bed early last night. Or rather, earlier than normal, I still didn't crawl into bed to sleep until around 11pm.

Weight & Length: Last week's Thursday measurements were: 6kg 180g (13,6lbs) and 57,7 cm (22,7 in).

Sleeping: At the beginning of this month we had one night where Paxlet slept about 5,5 hours straight through! Talk about getting some much needed sleep. The last few nights Paxlet has been sleeping for only 1-2 hours at a time and then sometimes he's awake for an hour or two. He does take quite good naps though, usually. He has started waking up around 7am, so that is some routine. Other than that, it's still hit and miss for sleep, but I know it will come together eventually.

Eating: Breastfed all the way. Doesn't even like binkies (pacifiers) and only sucks on his knuckles, not his thumb or fingers. 

Diapers: We're still using disposable diapers. I just haven't bothered to worry about disposable. I feel sort of bad about it, but taking care of Paxlet is concern enough.

Clothing: Paxlet has outgrown all newborn stuff, most size 50 and 56, with exception of a couple of items that seem to be on the big side. We're now using mostly size 60 and 62 (3 month).

Hair: He still looks like his grandpa (my dad), i.e. not much hair on the top and only a bit around the sides.

Personality: Paxlet is such a sweet and cheerful baby. We've only had a few fussy days with him and for that I am ever-so-thankful. I can tell he's going to be stubborn (just like mom and dad), as he doesn't like his hands covered at all! Most mornings he wakes up all smiles, cooing and laughing. It's great! (And definitely helps with the sleep deprivation.)

Milestones & Firsts: Along with smiling at us, he also shrugs his shoulders to show just how cute he is. It works like a charm and we just melt.

Responds to noises - A week or two ago, Mr Siili sneezed when Paxlet was asleep on my lap and Paxlet startled badly. Poor thing even cried for a few minutes he was so scared.

Vocalizes with coos, goos and gaahs - Oh boy is he a talker! I love it when Paxlet talks with us.

Says ah-goo and other similar consonant combos.

Lifts his head 45 degrees when laying on his tummy (on the floor).

Bring both hands together - clasping one on top of the other

Follow an object (rattles, stuffed toys) held about 6 inches above his face and moved 180 degrees (from left to right) and he follows it all the way.

Paxlet got his first cold at the beginning of the month. It isn't really a runny nose, nor is it a stuffed up nose but rather a mixture of the two. Mostly he was gurgley sounding and he had post nasal drip which caused him to cough/choke unhappily. He didn't get a fever and he was still happy and quite smiley. For that I am thankful.

First vaccination for the Rotavirus was given at the 6 week check up.

Within the last couple of days he's noticed the Moomin cartoon characters on the wall paper and he just stairs at them. This little boy is becoming much more aware of his surroundings.

Also withing the last few days, raspberries to his tummy have become funny and something to laugh and grin about instead of frowning.

More recent developments are that Paxlet stays awake longer between naps. Nowadays it is between one to two hours before he gets tired again.

Likes: Boobs, staring at mom in the mirror when we wash his bottom, cooing and smiling at mom and dad, nose being suctioned, showers, snuggling on mom and dad's chest

Dislikes: nose being suctioned, arms being covered or trapped under a blanket and boob not given to him quick enough

29 October 2012

First snow of the season

Thursday afternoon we got our first smattering of snow bits on the ground. They weren't really snow flakes, but rather snowballs or light hail. We didn't get much of it, but it did turn the ground grey-white. And then during the night we got more snow!! This was enough to turn the world white and beautiful! It was also Paxlet's first snow.
The 'funny' thing about first snow or ice here in Finland is that it always sends people into a panic. Most people don't have their winter tires on yet and no one seems to remember how to drive in these sort of conditions. Even though these winter conditions happen around this time of the year: Every. Single, Year. Because of these two factors, there are almost always quite a few car wrecks during the first day or so and a mass scramble to get winter tires put on cars.

This year, it so happens that we are part of the group that doesn't have their winter tires on yet. But, there is no scramble or panic coming from us. For one, Mr Siili doesn't drive the car unless absolutely necessary (like when he took me to the hospital to give birth) and two, I don't really need the car because Paxlet and I can get downtown, or wherever we need to go, by bus (for free). In addition, we won't be changing to winter tires until the snow melts and the roads are clear, because we need to drive 1,5 hours away to my in-laws where we store our tires. It looks like this trip will happen this coming weekend, if the weather does warm up a few degrees like predicted.

This trip to my in-laws will be our first "long distance" trip with Paxlet. I'm looking upon it with enthusiasm and maybe a bit of dread. It'll be exciting to really get out of the house, but I also worry a bit having Paxlet in the car. Also, I hope Paxlet will sleep through the trip, he most likely will, so we don't have a screaming baby in the car during that time.

26 October 2012

Yesterday's pictures

I was so tired last night when I hit post that I forgot I wanted to add two pictures from our day.
All you can eat sushi for lunch!
First snowballs/hail (definitely not flakes) of the season, in front of our place.
First snowballs/hail (definitely not flakes) of the season, in our back yard.

Ryhmäneuvola ja rokotetutkimus

Two posts in one today: Group neuvola and vaccine study

The group neuvola visit was... uneventful. There was 7 of us moms with our approximately 2 month old babys. We went around the room and introduced ourselves. For everyone else, this was their second or third child. I was the only one on the first child.

Then the neuvola nurses facilitated the discussion by asking questions to try and get us moms talking. Getting Finns to talk is no mean feat, as they are generally quite quiet, especially in groups (without alcohol). After an hour or so of chatting, it was time for individual baby weigh-ins and length check. Then people headed off to where ever they were going.

It might be to early to tell, as all of us mothers have just met, but I already feel as if the group neuvola won't come to much and I won't find other mother friends from there. I did at least get some info of other places where I can meet adults to talk with (mostly in Finnish, it's a good thing) and potentially other moms.

At 8 weeks, today, Paxlet weighed in at 6kg 180g (13,6lb). That's up 302g (664oz) from last week's Tuesday, only 9 days ago. Paxlet's such a good eater!

Then we headed downtown to our next appointment, the vaccine study*, where Mr Siili met us. This was our first visit there so blood was drawn, Paxlet's temperature taken, details & information explained and of course vaccinations given.

Paxlet did NOT like the freedom of his arm being restricted, nor did he like blood being drawn. He cried so hard and unhappily that I started to tear up myself. After the blood was taken and I was calming him down, Mr Siili asked Paxlet if it was a big mosquito or vampire that took his blood. Paxlet responded at the vampire part.

Paxlet was given one vaccine injection in each thigh. He did not like that at all. Thankfully the boob helped calm him down quite quickly. Although, he did have to let go for a sec to reiterate how unhappy he was about the shots.

Afterward, Mr Siili went back to work. Paxlet (sleeping the whole while) and I went to lunch and then headed home. On our way home we were treated to our first snowball/snow-hail fall of the season.

This evening, Paxlet's thighs are sore, he's a bit fussy (not normal for him), but no fever. However, it did take me just over an hour to get him to sleep. Poor baby boy. Such a traumatic day.

*Mr Siili and I have given our consent for Paxlet to take part in this vaccination study. I intend to write a separate post about the study.


25 October 2012

Savored moments

I love my baby boy. I love him more than anything. But some times it is nice to do things on my own (while Mr Siili is at work and isn't able to help). Such things as:

- going pee alone or without Paxlet fussing/screaming in the other room or bouncy chair,
- eating food while it is still hot/warm,
- eating food while both hands are free,
- sleeping in my bed sans Paxlet (yes, I know this is totally dependent on my choices),
- cleaning or doing any household chore in full without Paxlet in my arms or attached to me,
- take a shower longer than 3 minutes,
- go to sauna with Mr Siili, at the same time.

I know these things are minor and Paxlet is growing so fast. (It's already noticeable!) But some days, it's just a bit frustrating.
On the flip side, I love having my baby boy close for some of the following things:

-Paxlet snuggling and falling asleep on my chest,
- waking up to a smiling and cooing Paxlet,
- carrying/wearing Paxlet around so I can share everything with him,
- seeing his smile and being the cause of his laughter.

I'm loving it all, even when I'm a bit frazzled at the edges. If it weren't for Paxlet, I'd never get to know or experience any of these things.


22 October 2012

What did the green grape say to the purple grape?

- Breathe, just breathe.

Yeah, stupid joke I know, but my dad told it to me. Twice, because he forgot he told it to me the previous week and I forgot I had heard it.
I realize it has been a week since I've posted anything. I have thought about my blog and felt like I should write something, but nothing more than a sentence or two at a time has come to mind. In short, life with Paxlet is wonderful and he keeps me busy.

To keep myself from going stir crazy, I've been trying to meet up with a few friends and co-workers to go out to lunch. It's been nice to get out of the house, enjoy some fresh air and have a walk. Plus, the adult conversation is wonderful! This week, I'll be attending a meeting at the neuvola office with other moms of approximately 2 month old babies. I hope I'll hit it off with some of them and can meet them for play dates.

Paxlet's mostly over his cold he got almost 4 weeks ago, but he still has a bit of a runny/stuff nose. And then last week's Sunday, I got my first cold of the season. Nasty sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, cough and now just the remaining junk in the back of my throat that won't come out. Poor Mr Siili then got it from me.

My dad and sister have finally purchased their tickets to come visit! They'll be here at the beginning of December for a week. It's a short time, but I'm thrilled to have them here. Now I just need to figure out what items I need want from the US. Deodorant (Queen Helene), toothpaste (Toms of Maine, wintermint) and some candy (Lemonheads, Reese's Pieces PB cups) are already on the list.

Have you found and submitted your best post of the year yet? I have!
The Best of the Adoption/Loss/Infertility Blogs of 2012

Melissa at Stirrup Queens has opened up the 2012 submission post and form for this year's Creme de la Creme list. Find your best post and submit it soon. The hard deadline for this year is December 15th.

15 October 2012

6 week postpartum check-up

Before I go into my appointment this morning, I've got a question: How do you write a blog post with a baby on your lap? Sure, it would be easier if said baby wasn't on my lap, but the last few days he won't stay asleep unless he is in my lap or arms. So, I've got my legs propped up on the desk in front of me, the keyboard just above my knees and me typing OVER Paxlet who is sleeping on my upper lap. In other words pictures, like this:
The things I do to get my blogging fix.
My six week postpartum check-up went just fine. Not that I had any doubts, but it is always nice to have confirmation that all is well.

As with during my pregnancy the neuvola nurse checked my urine, blood pressure, hemoglobin and weight. There was nothing to be found in my urine. My blood pressure was normal. My hemoglobin was at 135, which is much better than at any point during my pregnancy or any other time that I can remember. And I haven't been taking any iron supplements since I gave birth. My weight is down to 73,1 kilos (161 pounds) from the 88 kilos (193,6 pounds) I was at a week before giving birth. I still have 7 kilos to lose to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight.

The doctor asked how the pregnancy was (I am now going to a different clinic because we moved) and how did my labor go. I was also asked about birth control. I told both the nurse and the doctor that because it took us 4 years to get Paxlet, I'm not going back on birth control. If we somehow manage to get pregnant on our own, it will be a welcome event.

Once I hopped up on the exam table, the doctor checked where my stitches had been and said they might be a bit tight or uncomfortable in the beginning (when we start to have sex again). My uterus feels normal and like it has shrunk back down to where it should be and my lady bits look just fine. The doctor also asked if I've had any infection or swelling in my breasts (nope) or any other pains (nope).

And that was that. There wasn't much to be asked from me and I didn't have any questions for either the nurse or the doctor.

09 October 2012

Weekend food

This last weekend Mr Siili and I didn't do much, but we did make some yummy stuff in the kitchen.

On Saturday, we made some peruna rieska aka unleavened potato bread. This is the first recipe I shared on this blog back in 2008.

While the breads were baking, we made chicken soup for dinner. There was enough for us to have dinner for the next couple of days. I'll be thankful when it is gone today.

See the broccoli that I put in the soup? Well, that is about all the broccoli there was. This piece of broccoli, shown below, was the last one at the store and it was itty bitty. It only cost 0,16 cents! I just couldn't pass it up like everyone else had because I knew Mr Siili would find this lone piece of packaged broccoli as funny (and cute) as I did.

Then on Sunday, I made oh so Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes and Mr Siili helped me cook them. I've asked a co-worker to bring me more canned pumpkin and I think I'm going to have to ask my dad to bring some when he comes to visit too. These pancakes are that yummy!

05 October 2012

Oh, For Fuck's Sake - Friday

This week has been one of those weeks and I feel the need to let it out. So, I'm linking up with Sarah's For Fuck's Sake Friday over at Dear Baby G. It just so happens to be the one year anniversary too.

Without further ado, here are some things that have chapped my hide this week.

Paxlet got his first cold at the start of the week. FFS

I think one of his cousins gave it to him. FFS

This cold has Paxlet's nose stuffed up and therefore he doesn't sleep too well at night. FFS

It also means I don't get much sleep either. FFS

Last night was particularly bad and I ended up in tears from my tiredness and frustration with Paxlet's crying/screaming. FFS

At our housing council meeting this week we learned that the nice little forest across the road from us will be turned into a 5 story apartment building sometime in the near-ish future. So much for the peaceful view and mushroom picking. FFS

My right ankle still aches from my fall on Sunday. FFS

I didn't get an appointment with the doctor until Monday. It's my fault for not calling before today. FFS

There was a notice in the mail today that a package had arrived for me. I went to pick it up and it was from my cousin. She passed on the knitted items my mom made for her oldest boy. No FFS

Now along with being tired, I'm also consciously thinking about my mom and missing her. FFS

Dear Baby G

03 October 2012

Banned Book Week (Sept 30-Oct 6)

I can't remember how I came across this tid bit of info that this week, September 30 - October 6, is Banned Book Week, but I somehow did. And as I checked out a list of banned and/or challenged books, I realized I've read a few of the books on the list, but not nearly enough of them! I need to read more banned books.

I even own a few of them:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey*
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

But the book that I always think of when I think of banned books is the children's book Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman originally written in 1899. I have had this book ever since I was little and have always loved it! It took me years to understand, even if I don't fully agree, why this book would be banned. I always just saw it as a story of a little boy who saved himself from being eaten by vain tigers. And when the tigers let their vanity get the best of themselves and turn into butter, the little boy and his dad took the fresh butter home to mom, who made lots of pancakes with fresh butter for them to eat. Ok so that is an over simplified version of the story, but to me, it was all very innocent.

Do you read banned and or challenged books?

*My little claim to fame is that I got to meet Ken Kesey a couple of years before he died when he was in town for the opening night of his play in my hometown.

02 October 2012

One month

This is a couple of days late, but I only just found this 'format' on another blog and I love it. I'm thinking I'll keep Paxlet's updates as monthly things from now on.

Weight & Length: Paxlet is growing like a weed. At the last neuvola appointment, which was actually just after 3 weeks, he weighed 4718 g (10,4 lbs) and was 54,5 cm (21,5 in) long.

Sleeping: There are the occasional nights where Paxlet stays awake anywhere from 2 to 3 hours at a time, but most often he will wake up, eat and go back to sleep.

So far, Paxlet has been sleeping in the bed with us. Neither Mr Siili nor I worry about rolling over on him or anything like that as we have 12 years experience of sleeping with cats and never had any incidents with them. In the last few days, I have on occasion tried putting Paxlet to sleep in his little bed right next to our bed, but he almost immediately wakes up as soon as I put him down. I think it has to do with going from a warm embrace to a cold bed. In any case, I did managed to get him to stay a sleep exactly one time so far for about 45 minutes. It was blissful to have our bed to ourselves! Actually it was so great that I almost couldn't sleep because of the giddiness I felt.

Eating: This, not so, little boy eats like a champ! I'm so grateful to have plenty of breast milk for him to eat. Even when my nipples are a bit sore at times.

Paxlet does seem to choke quite often when eating. I am sure some of it is happening when my milk lets down at the beginning of a feed, but the other times I'm not sure. I find it quite scary when he chokes and gasps for air. As I'm patting his back to get the milk out, I find myself fervently thinking "breathe, breathe, just breathe" and then a big sigh of relief when he does breathe easily again.

Diapers: We're still using disposable diapers. I still want to use cloth, especially since we now have quite a few thanks to MIL. I just need to figure them out and start using them. The one time I tried a cloth diaper, it got completely soaked through and leaked everywhere!

Clothing: He's already grown out of some newborn clothes. We wore a couple of them on his one month birthday, photographed them and then retired them. I'm sad that he's outgrown them already as they are so cute, but I am loving seeing him grow.

Hair: He's still quite bald on top and short dark hair around the sides and back. Just like his granddad (my dad).

Personality: I like to think we're already seeing Paxlet's personality shine through. We're sure he's going to be a stubborn and determined little boy. He already frowns at us if we bug him while he's eating. And he definitely doesn't like his hands to be covered by a blanket or held by my hand, especially when he's eating! He'll fuss and flail his hands around until they are free to move where he wants them too. Once the hands are free, he settles down immediately. He also makes raspberry sounds when he fights waking up.

Milestones & Firsts: It's amazing how one month or even 10 days makes such a difference in a baby's life. Looking at pictures, I can already see many changes in his looks and growth. He's definitely not going to stay small for long.

One evening, around 3 weeks, we were changing the sheets on the bed when Mr Siili was laying on the bed with Paxlet talking to him. Mr Siili stuck his tongue out and Paxlet copied him. Not just once, but many times.

A day before his month birthday, he smiled at us! And he hasn't stopped smiling since.

Paxlet's head is already quite steady when he's up right. We've has several people remark how strong his neck is.

01 October 2012

It has been done

We have finally stated Paxlet's name* publicly. I am glad to be able to call him by his name and not Paxlet and BabyBoy, although I think I'll still call him BabyBoy for some time, as that is what he is: my baby boy.

We finished cleaning, cooking and getting the house ready in the morning. Mid-day, Mr Siili and I took Paxlet for a walk. Just as we crossed the street to start our walk, I fell down. I have no idea what happened. One second I was walking and pushing the stroller, the next I was on all fours in the gravel. Because it happened to quickly, I even took the stroller down with me, but thankfully Paxlet was snuggled up in the stroller and was only scooted down to the bottom half of it. Me on the other hand, I'm quite sore today. I bruised both knees, scraped up the left knee, have a bruise on my left arm and the outer edge of my right foot hurts quite badly and is half bruised. After a bit of rest, cold and putting my foot up (but not nearly enough) yesterday, it is feeling a bit better today. I'm still walking slowly and carefully and limping. Doh!

When Mr Siili's family arrived, we chatted, ate, told the name and then had dessert and chatted some more. Everyone seemed to like the name. At least no one openly spoke against it.
Flowers from Mr Siili's parents.

A few hours later, I Skyped with my family and told them the name also. My sister and aunt liked the name. My dad didn't say much and my stepmom just got the spelling correct and left the room without having said much. It seems I've pissed her off again. I have no idea if it has to do with the whole naming ceremony (and it not going as she has tried to plan it) or if she is upset that Paxlet and I are not traveling to the US for a week in the next couple of months. Although, that's another post in and of itself.

After sharing Paxlet's name with friends (on FB), I have learned that two friends have also given their son the same middle name as our boy. Doh! I had no idea! AND I found out my good friend R's husband's brothers first and second name are exactly the same. I knew about the first name, but not the second. I guess we've got good names, eh?

*As I said earlier, I don't feel comfortable revealing our boy's name here on my blog. I will continue to refer to him as Paxlet, but if someone would like to learn his name, I'd be willing to share it with you privately.
Shoot me an email at jsththr at gmail dot com.

29 September 2012

What's in a name?

Tomorrow is the big day. The day Mr Silli and I reveal Paxlet's real name to family (and friends)*. We're having a small "naming party" with Mr Siili's family and my dad & stepmom via Skype.

In Finland, it is common to not tell the name of your baby until you have the naming ceremony (ristiäiset / nimiäiset / kastajaiset), which happens 1-2 months after the baby is born. Yes, in Finland, we can and do leave the hospital without giving the baby a name. The baby's social security number is generated when the baby is born and the parents are informed of it via snail mail soon afterward. It's the physical social security card you don't get until the name is officially chosen, subsequently notified to the officials and approved.

Yes, in Finland, names can be rejected by the magistrate (board of people?) and there are laws about how and what you can or cannot name your child.
  • Every kid will have at least a first and last name (sorry, no Princes or Madonnas here).
  • Up to three (3) "first" names can be given, not including the last name. Hyphenated names (Juha-Mati, Niina-Maria) are counted as one name.
  • Inappropriate names or names that can be used in a harmful way and swear words will not be accepted (Ima Pigg, Heli Kopter)
  • Last names cannot be given as first names, but more so mom or dad's last name can't be given or formed into a first name.
  • Boy's names cannot be given to girls and vice versa.
  • Siblings cannot have the same first name, but similar forms of a name are accepted (Kris, Krista, Kristian, etc)

It is possible to work around some of the above mentioned laws based on, for example: religious reasons or if the mom/dad is of foreign origin. Although the names still have to be accepted. It is also possible to petition denied name choices if you don't agree with the decision. As Mr Siili states, the above items are more guidelines in which names are checked against just to make sure kids are not being given something that can/will haunt them growing up.

*As I said earlier, I don't feel comfortable revealing our boy's name here on my blog. I will continue to refer to him as Paxlet, but if someone would like to learn his name, I'd be willing to share it with you privately.
Shoot me an email at jsththr at gmail dot com.

26 September 2012

Last weekend's baking

This last weekend I tried two new recipes: Crusty Bread and Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Glaze. Both recipes turned out great, but I think I'll only be making the bread again in the future. Don't get me wrong, the Pumpkin bread was good too, I'd just rather use my coveted canned pumpkin for other things, such as Pumpkin pancakes or pie.

The Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread recipe came from Eat Cake for Dinner. I've tried some of her recipes before and they always turn out great.

The recipe called for a glaze on it, but I was too lazy to make it. I still think it turned out great. Mr Siili liked the bread well enough, but he said he preferred the pancakes I made earlier. So, I think I'll be making pancakes with the rest of the canned pumpkin.

The Crusty Bread recipe I saw on a friend's FB wall from Pinterest, which came from a blog called Simply So Good. This bread was insanely easy to make and yielded quite yummy bread. Mr Siili didn't believe it would turn out to be any good, but was very surprised with the results. I didn't take any pictures this first time, but I should the next time I make it. The bread comes out of the oven just looking so beautiful!

I made the very basic recipe this first time around, using only plain flour. Next time I'm going to switch it up a bit and add some graham or other flour too. I want to make dried cranberry and orange flavored bread (as suggested on the blog), but Mr Siili is against it. I think I'll make it at some point anyway, when I have somewhere to take the bread. He doesn't have to eat it.

Let me know if you try either of these recipes and what you think of them.

The rest of Paxlet's hospital stay (after birth)

A few days after I posted Paxlet's birth story, I got to thinking that maybe I should also post about the rest of our hospital stay. There was some interesting stuff that happened there too. So, here is the rest of Paxlet's story in the hospital.
After Paxlet was cleaned up, weighed and measured and I too got cleaned up (took a shower), Mr Siili and I got some tea and bread before we walked (were shown) to the maternity ward. As we started walking, very very slowly, to the maternity ward I started crying. These were hormonal happy tears. Tears of it slowly setting in that I finally had a baby. This little boy that I was pushing down the hall was mine!

Once in the maternity ward, I shared a room with one other lady and her couple of days old baby girl. (This lady was there longer than myself because she had a c-section and I believe some other complication.) I got the window bed. *grin*

Mr Siili helped Paxlet and I get settled into the room. Then we sent out messages that our baby boy had arrived. (Phones aren't allowed in the admittance area or delivery room.) The two of us just couldn't believe that this little bundled boy was ours. After a bit, Mr Siili headed home to get himself some sleep.

Dinner was brought to me at some point in the early evening. The hospital food was pretty decent. Us mothers had breakfast, lunch, dinner brought to us. There were yogurts and juices in the fridge whenever you wanted one. And an evening snack, along with tea or coffee, was left near the fridge/kitchenette area for those who wanted it.

That first day with Paxlet, I tried nursing him off and on all afternoon and into the night. He acted as if he was hungry and I tried to give him what he wanted. Unfortunately, I wasn't producing much milk at that point and he continued to act hungry. Also, my nipples just got sucked to soreness. When I asked a midwife what I could do, she said that if I wanted, we could supplement with some donated milk. At first I was reluctant and said I'd try some more on my own, but after another 30 minutes on each breast and a still hungry baby, I asked for help again. Paxlet gulped the bottle (20 grams, couple of teaspoons) down in no time! He also didn't act hungry anymore. Relief!

Paxlet's tummy might have felt better, but he wouldn't go to sleep and it was after 1 am. I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before and labor was exhausting. Thankfully, the same midwife said to me that it was a slow night and then asked if I would like to leave Paxlet with her for a few hours during the night? Yes, please! I did feel a little bit guilty about handing my less than a day old baby over to someone else, but I also knew that I really needed some sleep. I got about 5,5 hours of sleep and Paxlet got another bottle of milk (with my permission).

We got our first visitor Thursday evening. My friend R brought me some Toffifee candies and some pretty flowers from her yard. Friday was just spent hanging out with Paxlet, learning the ropes and spending some time with Mr Siili too. Mr Siili's parents came to visit in the evening. They were excited to meet our little guy, especially grandma.

Friday also saw a blood draw from Paxlet's foot to check his bilirubin levels, for jaundice, as the machine the hospital had said the levels were a bit elevated.Paxlet did not like having blood taken, but it thankfully didn't take too long and his blood work came back normal.

During this whole hospital stay, I've been wearing socks, gowns and a bathrobe provided by the hospital. In addition, there are towels for taking showers and there is an endless supply of disposable panties and pads. The clothes and blankets for Paxlet were also from the hospital, along with diapers and any other items he might need while there. We did not need anything from our hospital bag until the day we left for home and needed to get dressed in our own clothes. Another bonus is a bag of goodies every baby/mom is able to take, if they want. I, of course wanted! It had 10 or so diapers, some baby wipes, pads for me, a pair of disposable bra pads, a toy for the baby and some pamphlets (promoting products from the company who donated this stuff).

Saturday came and I was mostly ready to go home. The idea that we would soon be taking home this little human that is totally dependent on us was a bit daunting, even if exciting too. Before we left the midwives tried testing Paxlet's hearing. Each time they tried the test, he either wiggled too much or his ears were still too wet and filled with 'gunk' (my word) to get a passing test. This wasn't something to be concerned about, as it didn't mean he couldn't hear, it just meant that they weren't able to get a clear reading. I had no worries, because I could see Paxlet reacting to sounds already (for example, when the other baby cried). An appointment was made for us to come back to the hospital at the end of September to get his ears re-checked then.
(The appointment was on Monday and Paxlet's ears passed the test immediately without any problems this time.)
Midwife checking Paxlet's ears.
The last thing we needed before we could go home was to have Paxlet weighed once more and for the doctor to check him over. The doctor was running late, as is normal for weekends we were told, so I thought I'd check out the breast feeding info-session. During that time, Mr Siili decided to take a quick walk. Unfortunately, the info-sessions are only during the week, so there wasn't anything for us to learn there. But, just at that time the doctor arrived and we were taken to be checked out. Paxlet's skin coloring, eyes, body, etc all looked great. Then the doctor listened to his heart and thought she heard some extra heartbeats. She informed me that this is very common in newborns and that it generally goes away on its own within a couple of days.. There was nothing to worry about. But, just to be on the safe side, they would order an EKG that day and another on Sunday to make sure everything was normal, before we could go home. I asked her if she could also explain all of this to my husband, as I want to make sure I understood it all and that Mr Siili hears it correctly from the source. I was totally fine with this news, they reassured me it was ok. I then poked my head out to see if Mr Siili had come back from his walk yet (with the car seat). He was just heading into our room, so I called him over to the doctor's room. And that is when I broke down and started sobbing. Hormones, I tell you!! I could barely eek out the words, "Paxlet is ok, I'm just hormonal". Poor Mr Siili! Thankfully the doctor was able to immediately tell Mr Siili what was going on and I could calm down. We stayed in the room as they took a blood sample from Paxlet's head and then we went back to our room to wait for the EKG.
Paxlet being hooked up to the EKG machine.
The EKG technician came quite quickly on Saturday. She hooked him up with 10 or so leads and wires. She then needed Paxlet to hold very still (hahaha) so she could get a reading of only his heart beating. Apparently this machine is very very sensitive and records any sort of hand wiggle, crying, cooing, etc. After running the test a few times, she was able to get enough evidence to show to the doctor. The EKG technician told us immediately that she didn't see any evidence of extra heartbeats. But we still had to wait for one more night and one more test on Sunday. Sunday's test went along the same lines as Saturday's test and no extra heart beats were heard! We were free to go home.

In some respects, I was a bit relieved to stay in the hospital another day, as my milk didn't come in until Saturday afternoon. We had supplemented at least 3-4 times with donated breast milk on the first and second day. And then on Saturday morning we used some formula once. It was nice to still be at the hospital and check that my milk had come in and that we were going to make it with my milk alone.

Sunday we were discharged after being weighed a final time and looked at by the doctor. Everything was good and we were ready to go.
Mansi was glad we were home too.