Singing Our Hearts Out: Asa Made Us Sing All the Way to 8-Months

We took a short family vacation to the western slope of Colorado to visit family over New Year’s weekend. Maybe it was the hustle and bustle of travel, or maybe it was all of the new faces… but I had a very hard time getting Asa to nurse for the time we were away from home. I was sitting on my best friend Vicki’s bed, trying to get him to nurse once again, and she was helping me trouble shoot. And then, out of desperation, I just started singing. Asa’s eyes locked on mine and I heard him begin to knock back the good stuff.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Anywhere music is, Asa lights up and pays rapt attention. And he often likes someone to rock with him and sing a bit before bed. He loves these little castanet seashell baby music toys we have, and he loves to jump in the jumper to the (pretty annoying) music built into the device.

This month, Asa also became more enamored with the baby in the mirror. He smiles and chats at that baby any time he can catch a glimpse of him, and even gives him kisses. He also loves to drink water from a glass, and he often offers up a chuckle for such moments. As he is rolling around on the floor, any glass-shaped object he finds, he tries to bring to his mouth and drink from it. Also found while rolling around on the floor nearly everyday: lint balls. Where all of these lint balls come from, I have no idea. I think the lint balls know how much he loves them, and they smell him as he rolls into a room, and then jump into his mouth. I have found Asa chewing on lint nearly every day this past week. And watch out for your shoes! Nana put out a pair of crocs (that she had only worn once inside somewhere and then washed for him) to chew on. But no, he bypasses them nearly every time and heads straight for the stinky ooey-gooey shoe offerings scattered around the living room. Sigh.

The first week of January, Asa moved from supported sitting to sitting all on his own. Here he is, surveying his jungle, waiting to make his next move. Asa also loves to chew on the rubber orange giraffe with the perfect ears for munching pictured below. That toy was also one of daddy’s favorites as a baby!

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And can we mention big sister? We took the kids to the big camper van show (a.k.a. an RV and camper show) in Denver at the big convention center the first weekend of January. Elleanna and Asa laughed and loved exploring all of the different RVs. As we were walking back to our car, Nana was holding Asa and Elleanna was ahead of us all with Grandpa. A daddy and his daughter (strangers) walked by and Asa got very excited. It took us awhile to figure out that he thought the little girl with Elle; this other little girls was a bit bigger than Elle, but was totally decked out in 50 different shades of pink (just like Elle often is). Asa absolutely adores that big sister. Just last night, we had Asa in the jenny jump up (yes… it is pink… the consequences of having a girl first). He was tap dancing and squealing and spinning and he stayed in there for at least a half hour as Elle brought him toys and talked to him and showed him the world. Asa also loves to sit with the big kids any chance he can get, tucked into his high chair at the kitchen counter while they all sit on stools surrounding him. And just today, Nana was brave enough to take the older boy cousins, Elle AND Asa to the neighborhood park. As she placed him in the double stroller, I heard them all come around him and excitedly say “Asa’s here!” as Asa grinned and grinned.

Asa is laughing in anticipation of tickles and surprises these days, although he isn’t all about the smiles right now. Asa is currently cutting his first two teeth, so we are getting ready to wave farewell to that cute toothless grin.The pictures below were taken as daddy was trying to help Asa smile via burp jokes. It was hard to find a time to take these eight month photos, as Asa has been pretty fussy the past few days. However, I keep telling him that he needs teeth to eat steak someday, so he just needs to hang in there. Meanwhile, we will keep rocking and singing and jumping and dancing and making silly faces to try and help him keep the mind off of those mean teeth!

 

 

Ho Ho Ho: Asa Belly Laughs to Seven Months of Sweetness

Gah!

Asa Everett Robert is seven. months. old. I can barely believe that time is flying this fast. Asa is rolling around the entire house, always looking for something to chew on and continuing to chat very loudly to his toys. And the best find ever? Magazines. To crumple and spit on and roll on and… oh… then mommy takes it away… every time. I’m sure Asa keeps plotting how he can finally get those magazines all to himself with no one watching, and also take over the world.

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December happenings were stamped out a bit by all four of us trading colds. Oh and all of Asa’s cousins (and his auntie) had colds. But we still managed to get in a lot of family time and holiday cheer. I’ve been off from school and teaching for the past two weeks, so the kids and I have mainly been hanging at home, trying to catch up on housework and playing together. I have to say, I was so nervous about having two kids… but the rhythm we have found and the joy both Elle Bell and Asa bring to me create grace for me in this season of having little kids. Although some nights, when the kids both get up at different staggered times through the night definitely, push the limits of that grace…

A few other December happenings Asa has enjoyed:

  • Smiling as his big sister played Mary in her preschool Christmas play
  • Finally achieving the feat of getting Cherrios into his mouth by his own amazing skills!
  • Unwrapping presents with people, especially the ribbons and bows that are shiny and fun to play with and chew on
  • Laughing when we tickle his tummy
  • Increasing his appetite and getting to try lots of new foods

We spent Christmas day at home, making crafts and pancakes and coffee and watching movies and talking about the Christmas story. Leading up to the day, we celebrated on many occasions with family and friends. We also spent several nights driving around Longmont to find the best Christmas lights that we could. Elleanna’s exuberance for Christmas lights was quite catching. I really am enjoying Christmas with my kids, and sharing the joy of the season with them.

Asa surrenders to the Lego Siren Call: 6 months old already!

Okay. So that one time, my second child turned 6-months old… about 17 days ago… yikes. But I sure do have a ton of pictures and memories to share of my sweet boy!

Just today, I was overwhelmed by how he smiles for me. His Nana had him for an hour or so while I was working on some cleaning, and when I came downstairs, he welcomed me like I hadn’t seen him in weeks. Heart = MELTED!

Asa has become quite vocal over the past few weeks, and he will let you know right away when you leave the room (he always notices). He is now wiggling across any room you lay him down in, including burrito rolling feats of wonder from one side of the living room to the other. He is trying to sit up, but so far he needs the support of our knees or arms to do so. And he loves to walk with us supporting him! Asa also spins around in circles, squawking at the toy he is holding (usually rather loudly).

Speaking of toys… Legos are already clearly a favorite (the big toddler ones, of course)! He likes to find one and hold it close and burrito roll it from one point of the room to another point of the room, chewing on it as he goes, and of course talking to it. And if he happens to hear the legos clink together while he is nursing… forget milk. And don’t take a lego from that boy! He instantly screams. Like real, big tears screams.

Asa’s first crush? His puppies. He often giggles when he sees his white and brown dogs, especially if they land a lick on his hands (or…er…once and awhile on the face…just being real here). Asa is also expanding his palette, and sitting in his little high chair very well. He expects a few Cherrios to play with (and of course pitch a few to the dogs) right when he sits down (he rubs his hands all over the tray and intentionally stares at the blankness until he finds his treasures). He is doing great with all sorts of foods, and usually eats continually from 4 p.m. until bedtime. At which point in time he totally crashes at 7:45 or 8 p.m. And I am happy to report that he is finally putting himself to sleep in his bed most nights! And then sleeping most of the night.

One of the best parts about right now? Elleanna LOVES to make Asa laugh. And often. And the two of the laughing is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. Sigh.

Asa also thoroughly enjoyed his first Thanksgiving and a trip to visit great grandma in the mountains! He is already a much better traveler, and slept most of the way there and back. Whew. I am so thankful to be coming out of the newborn days. There’s challenges with each phase of kids (at least as far as I have experienced), but right now is such a sweet time with both of my kiddos. I’m trying not to blink too much, and to store up their sweetnesses in my heart.

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Asa’s smiley, roly-poly 5-month anniversary!

We seriously can’t get enough of our smiley boy! This month he has started vocalizing a lot more by talking to his toys and to us. A lot of mornings I wake up to him in his bed singing out baby scales from low to high.

The week before month five brought Asa’s first cold… lots of sneezing snots, sleepless nights and extra nursing later… he finally got better. He really did keep smiling pretty much all the way through though.

Asa loves to wiggle around nearly 24/7… but don’t put him down for very long! He enjoys family trips to the grocery store in his carrier where he can watch and be-bopp around. I’ve also gotten very good at doing nearly everything one-handed style. And Asa has finally figured out how to roll back and forth…sometimes. We often have to swoop in and rescue him. He also squeals for books and loves to tap the pages!

Asa and Elleanna’s friendship continues to develop. When we hear him over the monitor waking up from his naps, Elle will often go up there and talk to him so sweetly (she has started saying “Hi baby!” in a very high pitched voice, just like the rest of us do). She brings him toys and loves to help us give him baths. And he lights up very brightly when sister is around. It reminds me of when Asa was in the womb, and nearly every time Elle would walk by my pregnant belly and say something, he would kick. I hope they continue a great friendship.

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After at least a month of staring us down when we eat, we decided to introduce Asa’s first food: avocado! He has taken to eating like a champ, and knew pretty much from bit one what to do (sister was the same way, and I’ve heard from friends with babies that this isn’t always the case). Mema and papa were there for that first bite, just like when Elle took her first bite. I’m so glad our family is around to help with such traditions!

Most of all, Asa Everett Robert, you bring buckets of happiness and joy to our lives. We love how you welcome people into your life, and how you fiercely always want to be with your tribe. Now excuse me while I go shed a few tears and pull out his 6-9 month clothes because he is growing too long for his 3-6 month pjs and pants.

 

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’: Four months of wiggly goodness

Oh that little boy is so cute!

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Asa Everett Robert discovered rolling this month, especially from his back to his front, but also from his tummy to his back. Also from month three to month four, he gained a lot more control of what his hands do (and subsequently has stopped hitting himself in the face so much). He reaches for objects and achieves his goals at least half of the time. He also continues to want to be held nearly all of the time… and there are enough people around to oblige him in these desires.

Asa continues to fill our home with joy. He laughs when daddy tickles him with his beard. Also, a friend gave us this amazing full-body coverage broncos fleece just in time for football season. Asa sported the outfit at the Farmer’s Market this past weekend, and people couldn’t get enough of his orange-ness and his smile.

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Big sister has really gotten into playing more with Asa and entertaining him. Nearly everyday she tells Asa it is his birthday and she brings him pieces of her play food to grab. She also reads to him. And oh how he lights up for her. There’s definitely some hard moments, like when Elleanna wants me to hold her instead of nurse brother, but we are doing our best to teach her how to share and feel loved and accept brother into our family.

This past month has been a hard one for us, as we are still facing job change struggles and upheaval with nearly every area of our lives. I hope to look back on this time with trust in God and hope for the future. Exhausting nights with not very much sleep (as both kids often wake up) can lead to some pretty grumpy days for me, but I also catch glimpses of goodness along the way. Like yesterday, when Elle came home from Sunday school and learned about Moses and the bush that was on-fire and how “God is always with us.” We all needed that simple reminder. And I am attempting to focus on the love and moments of joy my kids bless me with instead of the heartache and mountains we are looking at right now.

Summer Dreaming: Three months of Baby Love

The hot days of summer found our little Zlaten clan settling into more of a regular routine. As Asa grew out of the “fourth trimester” and into the baby phase, life has become a little more predictable. Asa’s sweet spirit brings us all such joy, and for me personally, his companionship has been anchoring me through some stressful times in other realms of our family life. We are in upheaval again; grad school starting up for the fall, job changes, etc. I am learning more and more to lean into the grounding of my family, and finding peace here at home and wonder in seeing my kids thrive.

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We took Asa on his first road trip to the western slope at the beginning of August. Yep, the road trip part was a little torturous. For our first leg of the trip, we decided to break the time up by going to Buena Vista first and spending a night there at the Cottonwood Hot Springs. Literally 10 minutes outside of Buena Vista…with the towering gorgeous mountains in sight… we were stopped for 1.5 hours of road construction waiting. There was no way I was going to keep the kids in their car seats for all of that time at a standstill, so we got out with all of the other temporary parking lot travelers to chat and pick roadside flowers. We were ever so thankful to climb into the hot springs after that incident! Asa took to the water immediately, leaning into our chests and kicking as much as possible. Needless to say, the kids slept very well that night; hot relaxing water will work miracles. Actually, the kids rocked sleeping the whole trip! At our second stop, a hotel in Delta, Elleanna actually tried sleeping like a big girl in the second queen bed in the room. It was one of those moments where I was intensely aware of how much she is growing up. And, at the end of it all, I am very thankful for kids who sleep well in hotels, even if the car rides can be rough. On the way home we stopped for an hour each in Glenwood, Avon, Idaho Springs and Boulder before we rolled home… Asa likes to stress eat I suppose.

The day after we came home from our trip, I came down with Strep. On Elle’s first day of preschool. So I lost a week in there somewhere. It is amazing how the kids keep growing and life keeps moving on through my states of sickness.

Asa keeps chatting more and more, and he is getting very wiggly, and any day now I expect him to roll over.

Life is sweet, and moving fast, full of hard times, mundane work and moments that stop me in my tracks, filling me with wonder. Like a few nights ago: I was hustling to get a few things done before Asa needed me to put him to sleep. Matt placed him in his bouncer chair, and I heard Elleanna come over to bring him toys. Then she opened a book and started telling her brother how much God loves him. These are the moments I keep living for, the times that balance out the whirlwind of raising two little lovies.

Asa Everett Robert: The Two-Month He-Man

When week 6 happened… Asa became all smiles!

He started sleeping 5-7 hour chunks at the beginning of the night, followed by more sleep (and in his bassinet!!!). And week 8, a beautiful thing happened… my milk supply increased. Matt and Elle have been praying on their daily walks for my milk. For those of you who know my story, with Elle, I had a horrible time with breastfeeding and I was only able to give her about 1/3 of what she needed, and it devastated me. Not because I am against formula by any means, but I had really set my heart on breastfeeding, and for it to be such a frustration and a struggle was difficult for my heart. This time around, I prepared myself; possibly, the same issues could happen again. And when we had to start supplementing for Asa at two weeks, I thought we would walk the same road. But this time, I wasn’t as hard on myself. Sure, I mourned and had some anxious days about how we would handle it all.

But I also knew I couldn’t be a slave to the breast pump. I knew that letting anxiety eat up my day and rob me of being able to really take care of my children was not worth it. So, I continued taking my placenta encapsulation, taking some herbs recommended by my acupuncturist and my chiropractor, and I continued acupuncture and chiropractic work consistently. I also rested, and let Asa demand feed. Around week 6, Asa’s latch also became noticeably stronger… and by week 8, we’ve been able to go down to only 2-3 supplemental bottles a day (about 2 oz each), usually given after he eats the late afternoon and early evening feedings. And he is thriving and gaining weight just like he needs to; he is content. I have felt a lot of joy and peace and thankfulness. Again, this account is written not as a condemnation, but as a hope; I walked down the extremely low milk supply road last time, and I have to say that either way, my babies are healthy and thriving. But I am attesting to the wonder I have felt that God answered a desire of my heart (one that in the grand scheme of life is seemingly insignificant). I have been blown away by the truth that he takes care of even the little things we long for, not just big gigantic cares.

Also around 6-weeks, Asa started taking swing naps 2-3 times a day (God bless you, nap swing!). I don’t remember how to transition a baby from swing naps to real naps… but, I suppose we will figure that out eventually. He is also perfecting his one eye brow raise of curiosity.

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July also found us traveling up to Estes Park a few times with both kids. Asa actually slept most of the time. When my friend Rachel was here, he even slept the whole way through a put-put golf game in the carrier. Oh what sweet delicious days.

P.s. Asa still has a really deep man cry when he gets really upset. It is so cute. And it makes me sad at the same time until we can fix whatever ails him.