Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oliver's First Solid Food

At a few weeks shy of six months, I finally caved and started Oliver on solid foods. I like to wait until I feel like my babies are ready for and interested in food. I'm in no rush, in so many ways it's honestly easier to just breastfeed and not worry about food. Anyway the last few weeks Oliver's interest in food has really peaked. He reaches for food now, tries to grab food in our hands, and has a mean lunge if he sees a fork. Taking his obvious interest into account, we broke out the rice cereal and gave him his first taste of solid food (if you don't count the sacrament bread someone tried feeding him a few weeks ago).

As always it was a mixed reaction to the rather foreign experience, though by the end I think he was enjoying himself. Madeline was my little helper, naturally, which consisted largely of freaking out every time he had any food on his face and running for a towel to clean him with. I guess it's time to break out the vita-mix and starting making some baby food!

Feeling like such a big boy sitting up.

Giving it a try.

Cutest post-eating messy face ever. Seriously I cannot get enough of this little guy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

The older two girls decided back in August that they wanted to do a Wizard of Oz theme for Halloween this year. Emily kicked it off with dreams of being Dorothy, and Hannah immediately jumped on Glinda. We easily convinced Maddie to be the Cowardly Lion, she's even been working on her ferocious roar for a good month now. Finally a baby Tin Man was created and the look was complete. Add in a witch and scarecrow of last minute minimalistic proportions and it was a full blown family affair.

My mom actually sewed Emily's costume and the tiny hat for the baby. The other two kids were courtesy of Old Navy and Etsy. I love internet shopping.

We went up to Daegu to go trick-or-treating on base on Saturday. I find the base to be the perfect size for kids our kids ages. We managed to hit up almost all of the base housing in just about an hour. The older two were seasoned pros, Maddie started off a little nervous, but quickly caught onto the fun of trick or treating, though she was always willing to sit out any house she deemed "so scary." It was fun to watch the kids tear around with their friends, what a fun holiday!

The four kiddos: Cowardly Lion, Dorothy holding Tin Man, and Glinda.

Headed off to the school Halloween parties awaiting. Maddie had to get dressed up, too, just not to miss out on the action.

Dorothy, complete with her Toto.

Glinda the Good Witch striking a post.

Cowardly Lion roaring.

Waiting for the bus.

Littlest Tin Man.

After trick or treating on Camp Walker in Daegu, Korea.

The whole family.

Tyler couldn't resist. . . . he had to steal our friends son's Mario hat and take it for a spin.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First Week Home

Our first week home with our sweet little buddy was honestly a blur, propelled entirely by survival instincts. Instead of the nice few weeks of paternity leave Tyler has taken with the birth of the girls, he returned to work Monday. . . a mere three days after Oliver's arrival.

Monday kicked off a week straight of almost 12 hours day for Tyler, as the G-20 Finance Ministers Meeting commenced in Busan. We probably could not have picked a worse week to welcome a new baby into the world, but we made the best of it! Tyler worked non-stop, and I muddled through in total sleep deprived stupor.

The G-20 meetings brought finance ministers from across the globe to a hotel a few blocks from our apartment. Security was tight, and Tyler spent the week shuttling back and forth between the airport and the hotel. He was in charge of getting people in and out of the country with as few hiccups as possible. By Saturday night, everyone had finally departed, and we all sighed a huge sigh of relief!

Despite all the craziness, it's been a fairly smooth transition to a family of six. Oliver is a sweet little guy who loves his cuddles, and loves to eat (really what more could you ask for?!). The girls all adore him and want to hold him every chance they get. Madeline is especially enamored with her new role as big sister, and loves to "holdja the baby."

It's been a whirlwind, but we are so thankfully Oliver is where with us!

First Day Home

Little Monkey

Madeline doing a "holdja the baby."

I love how huge Maddie's hands look. . . such a contrast!

Huge outpouring of congratulations from the community. Our little "White Tiger" was welcomed with style!

Sleeping on his own. . . only lasted a minute before he wanted to be held again.

Six days old.

Sharing some love.

Proud big sister!

Pensive look. . . . so serious!

More sleeping.

So far he's an Allen through and through. He looks a ton like Emily as a baby, and the resemblance to Tyler is undeniable!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oliver Pax Allen

Oliver Pax Allen
May 27, 2010
5:38 PM
Busan, Korea
6 lbs. 15 oz.
20 inches

Thursday I went in for my normal weekly check-up. Tyler was even with me, as we wanted to talk to the doctor about possibly inducing me by early next week if the baby hadn't come. Tyler was going into what was seriously the most busy week ever. The G-2o finance meetings were being held in Busan, which made for the most inconvenient time ever to have a baby. If I've learned nothing in this career, though, it's flexibility.

So Tyler went with me to my appointment right after we got the girls on the bus. I was looking forward to a relaxing day at home with Maddie. I had two blankets I wanted to finish sewing and was really looking forward to a long nap. . . possibly an episode or two of Alias (current obsession). I guess the fact that I did have plans was the first sign the baby would be coming!

We had chosen the Jeil Ladies Hospital in Busan to deliver the baby. It's a newer, really small hospital that only does OB/GYN stuff. Several friends had had babies there, and the most impressive part to us was the flexibility they seemed to show foreigners. It's kind of intimidating having a baby in a foreign culture. I have utmost faith in the Korean medical system, but honestly was pretty nervous about the cultural differences surrounding the baby's birth. It honestly turned out to be the best birthing experience of the four for me.

At the appointment he checked and found I was already 4 cm dilated. It was a total repeat of Maddie's birth. They wanted to admit me then, but I insisted on going home and getting some stuff taken care of first. We ran home, packed bags, and dropped Maddie off with friends. Back at the hospital I was admitted and left to rest for a few hours. Finally around 4, they broke my water and it went pretty quickly from there.

After a few crummy epidural experiences I was really worried, but opted to have one anyway. I was nervous enough about everything else, I didn't want to be stressing over the pain. The epidural went seamlessly, and proved to be fantastic. . . it was a light one so I was still able to move and feel things, just not nearly as intensely. With the epidural in place and my water broken, I was pushing within an hour and at 5:38 little Oliver Pax entered the world.

All in all it was a fantastic birth experience. The doctor was extremely kind, and listened well to what we really wanted. There were cultural differences of course, but the hospital worked really hard to work with us. They allowed me to keep the delivery room a comfortable temperature (Korean women like it 80+ degrees), allowed me to keep the baby in my room instead of the nursery, and allowed us to discharge as early as we wanted. I would not hesitate to have another baby in Korea, it was a fantastic experience.

After we were moved to the recovery room, Tyler went and picked up the girls to come meet their new brother. They were thrilled and loved holding him. Poor Maddie sobbed when she had to leave. The good news was by the next morning we were discharged and home by lunch. Coming home is always the best feeling.

We love this new little guy so much, and are so glad he came to join our family. We look forward to watching him integrate this way into our lives, and already cannot imagine what it was like before!

The girls meeting Oliver.

Maddie loves him.

Tyler and his brood.

Famous Korean-burrito swaddle wrap. It's amazing these babies wake up at all, they are so bundled up!

Getting ready to go home.

Oliver is, by far, our fairest baby.

So excited to be taking this little guy home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lotus Lantern Festival at Beomosa

As the baby's due date inches closer and closer, I had a short list of things I really wanted to accomplish. Near the top of my wish list was to be able to visit a temple to mark Buddha's birthday. Thankfully the little guy cooperated and we were able to take the girls to enjoy the gorgeous paper lanterns that cover the temples.

Each year during the Lotus Lantern Festival the temples in Korea are strung top to bottom with paper lanterns. People come to the temple and purchase a lantern, writing a prayer on the paper tied to the lantern. Each year we have been here for the festival we have made it a point to visit a different temple to appreciate the lanterns. While in Seoul we visited two temples and a gorgeous lantern parade. Last year we visited our favorite seaside temple in Busan, so this year we headed out to a different temple in Busan we had not yet visited, Beomosa.

I love the way the lanterns drape over the temple, creating a soft canopy of lights. The girls always enjoy these trips. Hannah has been asking all month when it would be Buddha's birthday. I'm just thankfully I was able to enjoy this last event I really wanted to take in. Now as far as I am concerned this little guy can appear anytime!