Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finnegan: Six Months

Well, well, well, look who is six months old!! This guy!!

Our little guy is a bundle of energy and always seems to be grabbing or scooting towards something.  He wants to crawl SO badly, but just hasn't quite figured it out.  I wouldn't be surprised if month seven is the month though! He loves to smile at people as he rides in the stroller and has had so much more success with solid food.  He was a huge help (note the sarcasm) in helping us unpack our furniture and is just as much of a help making dinner or lunch while sitting in his Bumbo.

Eating: We retried solid foods, starting with rice cereal and then moving on to sweet potatoes and apples, all of which has been met with much more enthusiasm than before.  Sweet potatoes, rice cereal and apples have all been a big hit!  Everyone is happy about that!! We are still breast feeding every three hours though, which is exciting.  My first breast feeding goal was to make it to six months and here we are! Our next goal is Christmas, so fingers crossed we can make it until then. 

Sleeping: We have good nights of sleep and bad nights of sleep.  The other night, he woke up every two hours and I was having flashbacks to our pre-sleep training days, but then last night he slept for seven hours straight.  Generally, he will wake up somewhere between 12:00-1:00 and then again between 4:00-5:00.  Not too bad! I'd like to eventually get down to one feeding a night, which I think will happen with more solid foods, but for now, we're waking up at least twice.  

Noises: Finn isn't the most talkative guy, but when he starts, he doesn't stop! He has also discovered how to blow raspberries/spit bubbles, which is just a whole new level of noise.  He had a week where he where he learned how to shriek and therefore did it all. the. time.  I did not enjoy that week.  Occasionally, we will get a laugh at something he finds really funny, but it's rare.  Usually, we are just greeted with a big smile!


Milestones:  Getting up on all fours is pretty common around here.  He will get up and then rock back and forth, but he's not quite strong enough to move forward.  His core strength isn't that strong and he's still not sitting up on his own, so I think that we have a month or so until he is crawling. The other major milestone is that Finn is grabbing EVERYTHING in sight.  It's a two step process.  Step one: grab object.  Step two: Put in mouth. He definitely has a sense of the world around him and it's fun to watch him learn.   

We love the bumbo!

I finally broke down and bought a cart cover so that he could ride in the shopping cart and we could buy more than five things at a time. 

Likes and Dislikes: Finn has decided that he will tolerate the car, on a few conditions.   He can't ride for more than like twenty minutes and heaven forbid he wake up from a nap in the car.  That is just unacceptable. But, he has gotten a LOT better at our trips around town.  He usually is pretty content just looking out the window or playing with a toy.  He loves his jumperoo and being able to move around.  He also likes to look around at what's going on, so he prefers to be on his stomach and will roll over almost immediately when we put him on his back.

Nicknames: Finn, Finny, Finnster, Finneman, Big Guy, Bud, Buddy Bear

Clothing Size: We packed up all of his six month clothes this week and are completely transitioning into nine month and 6-9 month clothes.

Diaper size: Three

Weight: 17.7 lbs

Height: 27 inches

Travel: Finn went to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and then he and I traveled to Virginia for this weekend!  He also spent the day in Newport, RI

We're adding this to the wedding slideshow

So many new friends!

Finn and Xander are almost exactly a month apart and are quickly becoming best we think.

Sick babies are no fun, but snuggles make it better

Go Navy! Beat Chairforce!

Mike and I are happy to have a couch.  Finn's happy to have his hands.

We love you Finnegan Michael! You light up our life and we have had so much fun these past six months!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hanging with the Hogans: October 2017

Now that we have a more "normal" life and our day-to-day routine is not quite as exciting as our European lifestyle, I've noticed that I don't blog quite as much, even though small and important things are happening. I also tend to take pictures randomly and then they never get shared.  So, with that in mind, I'm going to periodically try and do a photo dump called Hanging with the Hogans so you can see some of the less exciting, yet still important parts of our life.

Without further ado, here is October's edition of Hanging with the Hogans!

Pumpkin spice ice cream!!

Alright so I always kind of judged moms who use the cart covers at the grocery store because I was always like "I survived and didn't have a cart cover when I was a baby."  But then I could only buy like five things at a time at the grocery store since Finn can't sit up on his own, which means no cart.  So, I found a cart cover that comes with a  little support cushion, so here I am being that mom with the cart cover.  Karma's a bitch.  

Finn living his best life and enjoying the 85 degree October weather. 

Hanging with his bestie Adaline while her mom's at the doctor.  They never got more than five feet apart.

We got our household goods finally!! Insert all the praise hand emojis!! I bought donuts for the movers as a bribe to PLEASE BE CAREFUL when unpacking our stuff.  I'll be doing this again in four months when we pack up our stuff because it is $15 well spent. 

Someone enjoyed sweet potatoes.

 One of the wives from Mike's class hosts circle time on Fridays for all of the little ones.  She has eight month old twins and then Xander is almost five months old, so Finn is right in the middle of all of them!

Xander's mom and I really want them to become best friends!

We went to Cape Cod for Columbus Day Weekend and stopped at winery as we were driving back to the hotel.  Best. Decision. Ever.

They also made their own rum, so I got a painkiller.  I have no regrets!

Poor Finn spent the weekend with a stomach bug.  While we felt SO bad for him, we definitely soaked up all of the snuggles from our normally not-so-snuggly guy!

Mike bought Finn some Navy gear and we broke it out for the Navy/Air Force game, which was a little too close for comfort, but Finn looked super cute.  I think Santa will be bringing him some purple and gold though ;)

We were all sitting on the couch (so thankful to finally have this back in our lives!), so I snapped a quick selfie.  This pretty much depicts our lives.  Mike and I smiling and paying attention and Finn just focused on his hands. 

As much as we miss our European travels, life in Groton, CT is not too shabby, especially now that we have a couch.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Newport for the Day

One of the nice things about being in New England is that nothing is terribly far away.   There are lots of sights to see that are within a couple of hours of driving, Newport, Rhode Island being one of them.  Since we had a weekend without any plans and the weather was still warm, it was the perfect opportunity to drive over to Newport to check out the historic mansions and have some good seafood. 

Mike had been to Newport before, but it was my first time and I can see why Mike described it as "Annapolis on crack."  It's got that old, small town feel with lots of little shops and restaurants that you can pop in and out of and an amazing water view.  There is a 3.5 Cliff Walk along the water that is perfect for seeing all of the historic mansions on one side and having the waves crash on the other.  

We opted not to go inside any of the mansions, mainly because we didn't have a ton of time and didn't want to pay the entrance fee, but I've heard they're as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. I can't imagine living in one of these huge houses.  I would definitely get lost a time or two!

I wouldn't hate having this view as my backyard though!

There are the 40 Steps on the Cliff Walk which allows you to get lower down and a great view of the coast line.  We didn't walk down the 40 steps because that would have meant walking back up them (#lazy), but we took a picture of them from the top, so we can say we saw them ;)

After walking for a couple of hours, we were ready to stop for lunch.  We settled on Midtown Oyster Bar.  Neither of us ended up getting oysters, but my Crab Melt and Mike's Fish and Chips were well worth it.  We also split a cup of Rhode Island clam chowder and both agreed we prefer the New England style, even though this cup had us reaching for more.  Mike's dad later told us that we should have gone to the Black Pearl, but I can't imagine that we would have gotten a better meal to end our time in Newport.  We headed back to Groton with a full belly and a sleepy Finny, which made for a quiet car ride home.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Day in the Life

I've seen these posts on other blogs and always enjoy getting a look into the everyday life of other people.  Plus, I'm always curious as to what people who don't work do all day and now I know! There's always stuff to get done around the house and I'm always surprised at how I can fill my day. So, without further ado, here is a day in the life of the Hogans!

Last night, Finn woke up at 11:00pm and then again at 4:00am to feed.  This seems to be pretty normal.  Sometimes he will sleep a little bit longer at the front end, not waking up until 1:00am or so, but he generally wakes up twice in the night to feed.

6:00am Mike's alarm goes off and he jumps in the shower and gets ready for the day.
6:35 Finn wakes up , Mike gets him out of his crib and brings him downstairs to hang out while Mike drinks his coffee and finishes getting ready for the day. I generally wake up too, but I don't head downstairs for another few minutes.
6:50 I wake up and head downstairs

7:05 Mike leaves
7:15 I get Finn dressed because of a minor diaper leak. Generally, we stay in our pajamas longer, but today that was a no go. Since we were already upstairs, we hung out in his room until it was time to eat. He loves to look out the window.
7:30-7:45 Finn eats and falls asleep. I don't like for him to fall asleep while feeding because I think that's a dangerous habit to create, but this happens about 50% of the time with this first morning feeding. While Finn is feeding, I empty the dishwasher and look up the Wonder Weeks chart. I realize we are approaching a "leap," which explains the fussiness of yesterday, so I check my bank account to see how many bottles of wine we can afford. I also research Finn's baptism, which is just getting more and more complicated.

A beautiful sight.

I see you looking at me!

8:25 Finn wakes up
8:28 Finn spits up on me as I get him out of crib
8:29 Finn spits up on himself as I'm cleaning myself up
8:30 we snuggle and I forgive him for spitting up on me.
8:40- 9:25 I fold laundry with lots of help from Finn, we spend some time looking at the baby in the mirror, we change another diaper and then I decide it's time to go for a walk.

Since we still don't have our furniture, our clothes have just been in piles on the floor.  This is somewhat organized, even though it looks like just a bunch of clothes on the floor.

My little helper!

Finn's best friend, the baby in the mirror and his mom!  Funny how similar they are to us!

No kids allowed on school grounds.  Ironic....

My view of our walk
9:25-10:05 Go for walk around our neighborhood and stop at the playground to go on the bucket swings, which are always a big hit with Finny!
10:05 Feeding time for Finn. Since he fell asleep before the first feeding, the time works out that he's tired when he feeds again and, subsequently, falls asleep while feeding again.
10:20 I transfer Finn to his crib and quickly workout and shower while he's napping.
11:05 I hear him starting to cry as soon as I get out of the shower, so I get dressed and grab him out of his crib. We head downstairs so that I can make and eat lunch. Finn hangs out on his playmat and in the Bumbo seat because he doesn't seem to want to be very far from me (it's endearing until it prevents me from eating my lunch....). While we're making and eating lunch, we get a get phone call from Mike, who is also on his lunch break.
12:10 I change Finn's diaper and we read a few books in his room.
12:45 I put Finn down for nap. It takes him about 10 minutes to stop crying and fall asleep, which is a little longer than normal for nap time, but he eventually falls asleep.
1:35-1:50 Finn wakes up and eats
2:20-3:30 We drop off Mike's uniforms to be dry cleaned and go to Target to return some things.
3:30 Arrive home to a poopy diaper explosion. It was bound to happen since we left the house. Never a better time! At least this time didn't require a bath to get him clean! :)
I let Finn play downstairs while I eat a snack
4:05 put Finn to sleep  
4:30 Mike comes home. We chat about our days.
4:43 Finn wakes up. Mike gets him. I feed him
5:00-6:00 run to grocery store for onion....get onion, blueberries and Reese's (this is why I try not to go more than once a week!). Cook dinner
6:00 Mike and I eat dinner while Finn hangs out in his high chair with some toys.

Peppers, potatoes, kielbasa and onions! Yuuuummmm!!
6:20 Finn gets fussy, so Mike takes Finn upstairs to get pajamas on and read a story. He ends up being so fussy, we skip the story and I feed him.
6:30 I wanted to feed Finn before bed because it had been an hour and a half and I wanted to make sure he wasn't going to wake up in an hour and want to eat. Plus, he felt a little warm and seemed really fussy, so I figured it would help calm him down.
6:45 I finish feeding and put Finn to bed while Mike cleans up the kitchen
7:00-8:00 clean up kitchen/hang out
8:00-8:30 Mike works out and I work on this blogpost.
8:10 Deebot goes (bonus points to the person who can figure out why Mike chose 8:10)
8:35-9:10 Finn wakes up and is crying. Mike and I go up at ten minute intervals to try and calm him.
9:10 Finn finally falls asleep
9:15-9:25 I pump
9:25 Peruse the internet/watch Parks and Rec/hang out
10:10 We head upstairs to bed to read and watch tv for a bit before falling asleep

That's a pretty normal day around here for now. On Mondays and Fridays, Finn and I go to a story time at the library or with some of the other moms. We usually see our friends Katy and her daughter Addie for some reason or another. And last but not least, usually Finn doesn't wake up until about 1am. Neither of us are sure why he woke up at 8:30pm, but he slept well after that little episode. Other than that, it was a pretty average day. It's amazing how much time everything takes when you have a 5 month old sidekick! It's also amazing how much fun you can have with someone who doesn't talk. That being said, we both get veryyyyyy excited when we see Mike walking up the sidewalk at the end of the day.

Hope you enjoyed a peak into a day in the life of the Hogans!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Finn's Sleep Training

I know sleep training can be a sensitive subject, especially when it comes to Crying It Out.  I know that every.single.parent. is doing what they believe is right for their child, despite what sleep training method they choose or don't choose. 

Two things you should know about me:

1. I don't drink coffee.  I just cannot get past that bitter taste.
2. I don't do well on lack of sleep.  Some people can (ie my husband), but I am not one of those people.

Therefore, I know I need to get a solid eight hours of sleep at night to be a pleasant, functioning person. This was literally my biggest fear about having a baby.  I knew that, even though we had NO CLUE what we were doing, we would figure it out and Finn would make it.  We'd definitely screw up a time or two, but he'd be okay in the long run.  Instead, I was more worried about how we would all make it if we were running on so little sleep.

The first six weeks were a fog.  We were waking up every two to three hours and feeding, which was tough, but Finn napped so much during the day and Mike was home, so I was able to nap and catch up on sleep.  Survival: check!

Then, a miracle happened and Finn started sleeping for longer stretches of time! Most nights we could count on him to sleep a solid five or six hours when he went to sleep and then wake up every three hours for the rest of the night. We were in heaven! Not only were we surviving, we were thriving!!

I think we got cocky and someone wanted us to have a nice little reality check because right around three months, Finn decided sleeping was for the birds.  There were nights where he would wake up every hour and other nights where he wouldn't sleep anywhere except my arms.  He also decided that I was the only one who could put him to sleep, which was exhausting.  Add in that we were traveling abroad and then in the United States and we were a HOT MESS.

Image result for tired meme

We asked the doctor about it at his four month appointment and he said that it's normal for babies his age to have a sleep regression, but it was probably also all of the moving preparation that added to his poor sleep performance.   Unfortunately, our first month back in the United States was as chaotic as our last one in Berlin, bouncing around from place to place.  I know people are understanding when it comes to babies crying, but I was so self-conscious about waking up our hosts every hour that Finn woke up, I began feeding him, just to keep him quiet.  There were some nights where we nursed five times over an eight hour period.  Guys, I was struggling.

I knew once we got into our house in Groton, we were going to do some serious sleep training with Finn.  Mike and I spent HOURS researching how to get Finn sleeping for longer stretches.  I knew that he probably couldn't last all night without eating (which was fine!!), but that he definitely didn't need to be waking up every hour or two.

After hours of research, we knew that Crying It Out or the Ferber Method was what was going to work best for us.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy and that Finn might not be the only one crying, but that it would be worth it in the long run.

So, one night we were FaceTiming with my parents and Finn had gone to sleep for the night.  About 45 minutes later, he woke up and I sent Mike up to try and console him, knowing that it was probably a lost cause (remember, no one's allowed to put him to sleep except me, according to Finn).  I was frustrated because I just wanted to talk to my mom and dad. That's when Mike came out of Finn's room and suggested we start sleep training that night. I agreed out of desperation and so it began.

That first night was rough.  In hindsight, FaceTiming with my parents was the perfect distraction because we had some extra support to keep us going.  The first night, we started out "easy."  After Mike went in to console him, we waited one minute before going back in.  Then, three minutes, then five minutes, then seven minutes and then ten minutes.  After we reached ten minutes, we just kept going back in every ten minutes.  We'd alternate who went in to try and keep it neutral and we tried to only stay for a minute, which is hard when he's still crying.

At some point, Mike was ready to give in (he's secretly a softy!), but everything we had read said that once you start, you have to stick it out.  Let me tell you, that wasn't easy.  Mike and I were struggling and my parents were, too!  Luckily, they've done this three times (although, I'm pretty sure my dad blocked it from his memory because he didn't remember doing it at all.  My mom, on the other hand, definitely remembered it, especially when my brother flung himself over the crib!) and knew that it's worth it.

After an hour and a half (!!!) at 8:30pm, Finn fell asleep!!  Guys, that moment was maybe as exciting as the moment we returned to the United States.  Mike and I sat there in silence wondering if it was really true.  And, believe you me, it was! He had fallen asleep on his own!! Hallelujah!  We went to bed and hour and a half later wondering how long he would sleep.  We had told ourselves that, if he woke up before the four hour mark (so before 12:30), he would need to go back to sleep without feeding.  Guys, he slept five and half hours!! I felt like a whole new person!  I fed him and he went straight back to sleep.  He did wake up once in the middle of the night and cried for about twenty minutes (we went in after ten to comfort him) before falling asleep again.  I did end up feeding him once more that night, but overall, it was a complete success.

An hour and a half later and this is what we got

Since then, we've been met with nothing but success! I was worried about nap time since crying for twenty minutes for a thirty minute nap is hardly worth it, even according to the experts, but he usually only cries for about five minutes before falling asleep for a nap.  Bedtime takes a little bit longer, but we rarely have to go in more than once to comfort him before he falls asleep. He still wakes up twice during the night to eat, which is completely fine at this point.  He's still only five months old, so asking him to go twelve hours without eating is a lot to ask. We've watched him (on the baby monitor....we don't DARE go in his room when he's sleeping) wake up, cry for a minute or two and then fall asleep.  Guys, this is what I dreamed of! I know letting your baby cry it out is tough and definitely isn't for every mom or baby, but it worked for Finn and us and we're all sleeping better and are happier people!

Pure Bliss!

Sleep on Finny, sleep on!
Sweet dreams, everyone! This mom and dad are off to (hopefully) get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Finnegan: Five Months

We have enjoyed every month with Finn,  but I think this past month was my favorite.  I know I say that every month, but it is truer and truer every month.  That being said, month five was exhausting.  We traveled, did some sleep training and (unsuccessfully) introduced solid foods. It's definitely been a month of trial and error for Finn, but we're still loving each new phase.

Eating: Breastfeeding is going well and we're back to having no issues.  The kid likes his milk!! We tried to introduce solid foods this month with no real luck.  We started with sweet potatoes and he seemed indifferent.  Then, we introduced avocado, which he turned his head away from. Butternut squash and bananas brought basically the same reaction.  He also became really constipated (TMI? Sorry Finn!), so we decided to take a week or so off and try again. I'm in no rush to get him eating solids, especially since breastfeeding is going so well still, but I figured we'd give it a try and see how it went. 

Sleeping:  If I was writing this post ten days ago, it would have been completely different. I would have been bleary eyed and probably not wanting to talk about Finn's terrible sleep habits.  A combination of traveling, a sleep regression, and me not wanting to wake our hosts in the middle of the night meant that we spent many nights awake every two hours, often with me feeding him to get him back to sleep quietly.  Once we moved into our house in Connecticut, we bought him a crib, dresser and rocker and kicked him out of our room.  We also began the Cry It Out method, which, despite many critics, has been a Godsend.  After the first night where he cried for an hour and a half, he's been a great sleeper.  Our little guy slept EIGHT hours the other night and consistently will sleep from 7:00pm when he goes to sleep until 1:00am or 2:00am. I think he still needs to wake up once or twice in the night to eat, which is fine.  I'll take that over waking up five or six times!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and outdoor

Noises:  He's still a big talker and will often shriek if he's having fun (mainly in the bath!).  We've heard a laugh once or twice, but it's rare.  The few times we have heard it, our hearts have melted. 



Milestones: Rolling has become extremely common here, but almost always from his back to his stomach (the harder one).  He can roll from his stomach to his back, but he struggles with it and can't always do it when he wants.  Just today, he pulled himself up onto all fours and started rocking back and forth like he wanted to crawl.  It lasted a few seconds before he fell flat, but it was still another step in the crawling direction!! He's reaching and grabbing for anything and everything to put in his mouth, which means everything from my sunglasses to the lobster on our boat is a possibility.  Still no teeth, though.  Speaking of going in his mouth, he's definitely back to sucking his thumb.  Ever since we started the cry it out method, he's been using that to calm him. Whatever works, dude.  

Helping Mom cook or distracting Mom from cooking? You decide.

Likes and Dislikes:  I had been dreading our drive up to Connecticut ever since Finn decided he didn't like the car because I was worried he would scream for the entire drive.  I was reassured that even if he started out the drive screaming, he would eventually calm down and learn to tolerate the car.  Well, that never happened and he screamed the entire drive up there.  Despite that horrific experience, he seems to tolerate small trips (to the grocery store, Target, etc) better after that. His other major dislike this month was solid foods, but I think he'll enjoy them once he gets a little bit bigger. He's discovered lots of fun things this month, as well, his two favorites being the swing and the bath.  We kept waiting for him to realize that he could splash around in the bath and it finally happened! Hooray!  He also loves the bucket swing! We have a playground near our new house, so we usually go on the swing at least once a day.  So much fun!!

Nicknames: Finn, Finny, Big Guy, Dude, Little Dude, Bud, Buddy, Buddy Bear

Clothing Size: Still in 6 month clothes, but some of them are looking a little bit tight.  I think we can get another month out of them before we have to pack them up and move completely in to nine month clothes. 

Diaper Size: Still size three!!

Height: Who knows.

Weight: A lot. :)

Travel: Finn traveled to DC, saw his first Major League Baseball game, met his great grandmother and ton of his parents' friends.  He also traveled to Maine and spent the weekend with his new friend Addie, as well as moved to his new home in Connecticut.  Travel wasn't always easy (still recovering from that car ride up north), but we did it!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, people sleeping and baby
Meet Finn and Addie, the newest members of the Smogans!

Four generations of Hogans

Finn was so inspired by his time in DC, he decided to run for president.  I'd vote for him over the guy we have now!

Sometimes I have to catch my breath because I'm so overwhelmed with how much I love this little guy.  His smile when I come down the stairs in the morning is the perfect way to start the day and watching him discover new things every day is always an adventure. We love you, Finny, and are so thankful to be your mom and dad.