the grumpy toddler. i always dreaded two in my mind because everyone always talked about how awful that year was. although i sort of feel like now people are onto how much worse three is than two so maybe we have a lot to look forward to. :) anyway, know that a's more than two and a half (do not forget that half!) i feel like we're solidly in two year old territory and i actually haven't found it that bad! i mean she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to tell you about it, she is starting to be a bit manuplitative, and she's just getting into the world of having a sibling who she can't always boss around, so there are definitely challenges but there are also some good changes too. she knows what she wants which means that she can actually tell you why she's upset. this is huge. and she's also getting good at identifying feelings so she can tell us if she's frustrated or excited or mad and why. this is one of my favorites. lots of times we can't do much about the reasons behind why she feels something: i get that your frustrated that you have to go to bed but uh, you have to go to bed. BUT sometimes just talking about those feelings and acknowledging them makes a huge difference in her world.
i'm so interested in seeing how her relationship develops with her sister over time. ellie is now at the stage where she will yell if she doesn't get what she wants. not putting her fast enough into the bathtub? she screams. took the mail that she was eating away from her? she cries. and what this means for avery is that if avery takes a toy away from her (something she does all the time) then ellie cries and avery's quick fix of giving her something else no longer works because ellie knows that she wants that toy, not just any toy. the whole concept of sharing is sort of strange to me because i get that we want kids to play together nicely but i don't feel like it's fair to expect them to hand over their toys because it's the nice thing to do. so we're trying to teach avery that if ellie is playing with something than it is ellie's to play with until she decides that she is done and likewise if avery is playing with a toy she doesn't have to hand it over just because someone else thinks it looks cool.
a is also having a hard time lately with charlie traveling. i noticed this happening back in may when he was gone a lot and then i forgot about it because he was home for a month and then we went on vacation but now we're back into our normal routine of him being gone maybe 50% of the time and avery is having a hard time sometimes. this past week she actually got upset before he left for the first time, which was hard to see. but what i've noticed is that when he gets back from a trip she's extra clingy to him (totally understandable) but to the point of not going to bed because she 'won't let him leave the room'. when it's just me with both kids her bedtime and naptime routines are pretty short and sweet because i have two kids to take care of and therefore she knows: she gets two books and one story and one kiss. always. sometimes she cries about this and tries to drag things on but this is always what she gets from me so she gets over it pretty quickly. unfortunately when charlie travels a lot it seems like she is just getting back into 'normal mode' when he leaves again and she has a hard time again when he gets back. i actually think she could use a later bedtime but i can't figure out yet how to put ellie to bed (this usually takes about 20 minutes) before avery goes to bed without letting avery either play on the iPad or watch tv, something i don't really want to do. when charlie's around it's not a problem since he can just hang out with her but if it's just me i'm not sure what else to occupy her with during that time when i need her to be occupied, safe, and quiet.
and because i can't end this on a negative note i have to talk about how sweet she can be. she says 'i love you' unprompted to charlie and i and ellie and the dogs. she always tries to comfort ellie when she's crying. when ellie was crying the other night because she was having a hard time going to sleep avery was visibly upset. she kept saying "mommy go get ellie and bring her downstairs". she wants to feed ellie. the other day she fed her yogurt and a few days later a banana. pretty sweet. she's nice and polite to other kids at the playground and is really warming up to people she doesn't know. she holds ellie's hand in the stroller and will ask me to put ellie's song on if she starts to cry. she can feed the cats on her own and usually does this if i ask her. she loves to bake and cook and craft. we made cookies the other day and she kept saying 'i'm so excited to make cookies'. she also loves to FaceTime and talk on the phone. it's actually getting difficult to have an actual conversation with anyone when she's around because she wants to monopolize the phone. the other day she corrected charlie when he said shit, "shoot daddy". and she is so excited for the holidays this year.
since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.
sort of hard to imagine anyone ever hurting these two, but i'm sure the day will come all too soon. i get upset when kids are mean at the playground these days. but here's to fairy tales, and underdogs, and brave characters: may they be more than just entertainment.
some things take time.
i will say that it took more time than i thought to adjust to being a family of four. but now, i cannot imagine life any other way, and i'm so happy we were gifted with this adventure. i hope these kids will be making silly faces at each other in 30 years.
... i love summer. seriously i cannot say that enough. i think i could happily move somewhere where it never got below 50 degrees. it's actually been hot here (for my standards anyway) and we've actually had the ac running. we usually keep it off if it's below 90 but we've been in the mid-upper 90s these days. we've been playing in the water table a lot. both avery and ellie are big fans. ellie can't really hold her self up yet for long periods of time but she loves splashing away and avery usually does a pretty decent job of sharing with her sister. she only dumped a bucket of water on her head once!
... blueberries were on sale the last time we went grocery shopping. i feel like this never happens so i bought a bunch and we made blueberry pie. and then we ate it for breakfast for the next few days.
... sleep. oh infant sleep. this is just about the only part of parenting in the first year that i don't like. sleep is so amazing when it's good and so awful when it's bad. i'm trying to transition ellie to her crib after 8 months of cosleeping and i'm not sure if it's harder on me than on her. i physically miss her when she's not in our bed although i do love not sleeping in one position all night long and waking up with my arm asleep. there's been a bit of crying involved in this transition and i hate listening to her cry. i just feel awful. and guilty. but, i think she'll sleep better on her own and honestly she's waking up after every sleep cycle if i'm not physically next to her so i know she needs to learn to put herself back to sleep. this is just a hard topic for me and i'm hoping she makes the transition okay.
... i gave the kids their first dual bath the other night and it was amazing. i don't know why i didn't do this months ago. they both really enjoyed it. well, avery didn't enjoy when i washed her hair but she never does. i'm hoping this will make bath nights a little easier on all of us, especially when charlie's gone. the non-slip mat made a huge difference for ellie in the tub since i didn't have to worry about her falling all over the place.
... avery wanted to try on halloween costumes the other day. ellie's going to be a bear this year since we have the costume from avery's first year and i'm not about to buy another one since i'll be lucky if she wears it for 10 minutes. she hated it but we're hoping she'll warm up to it come october. in her defense it was about 85 degrees and that costume is pretty hot! avery loved her leopard costume from last year and has been asking to wear it again but she keeps telling me that she wants to be a purple butterfly this year. i'll have to try and come up with something since she's been pretty consistent. we've been reading halloween books since june so she's pretty psyched for the holiday already. she also was insisting that i get out henry's costume, too, but i managed to talk her out of that one. i can only torture him one day a year.
... we've been doing a few things around the house this summer, too! after not doing anything for a solid four months after ellie was born we've had the outside painted (something it needed very badly), our deck restained, replaced our storm door, replaced a few lights (4 and and more to come!), rearranged some furniture, and hung some lights on our deck. i need to do another house updated post just to keep track of the things we've done.
... we took the kids to heritage square last weekend. charlie was excited because avery actually wanted to ride the rides this year, unlike last year when she would only get on the merry-go-round. but it was really hot and we got way too many tickets so we decided to play put-put since it required a bunch of tickets. we did this last year, too, and avery basically just ran around the whole time while charlie and i played the course. but this year ellie was over it by the time we went to play golf so i left avery and charlie to play on their own while i went to go feed ellie. apparently avery was hot so she only wanted to play the holes that were in the shade, which was sort of a problem since there were other people who were actually trying to play. she came back and told me that "daddy said we have to go home because i didn't listen". funny, only because apparently he never told her that at all. i think basically she just wanted to eat ice cream and then head back to the air conditioned car at this point. after lunch we headed out and both kids slept for over an hour in the car while we drove home and packed their pool stuff, stopped at target for a few things, and then headed to the pool.
8 months feels like she's almost in toddlerhood. a little too soon for that but wow has she changed in the last month. i feel like from 6-7 months there wasn't a lot happening for her but from 7-8 she's just grown bigger and gotten older. i can really see the one year old she'll soon become. and as always, these ages remind me so much of how i love the second half of the first year. some of my sweetest moments with avery were in those six months and this is proving true for ellie, too.
... she isn't crawling but is about as mobile as she can get without being able to crawl. she rolls all over the place and goes from sitting to laying down and back to sitting easily. she can get pretty far between this and inching and scooting her way around and it's no longer safe to put her on the couch or bed and walk away. she wants to crawl badly and is so very close.
... she is really into standing and pulling herself up. she's not quite able to pull herself up on anything yet. she'll do it all day while holding your hands and has even let go a couple of times! woah kid, too soon! but i caught her successfully pulling herself up in her crib on the monitor the other night and had to drop her crib down the next day.
... between the two things above this has been a very frustrating month for her. she wants to badly to be fully mobile but just can't quite figure it out yet and there is a lot of crying in frustration because of it.
... she had her first plane ride (three actually!) this month and did great.
... she also spent the night away from home for the first time and did pretty well. thank you cosleeping.
... she definitely prefers to be in my company but doesn't seem to be dealing with the same separation anxiety that avery was at this age. she is happy enough to go to other people or be held by other people and she absolutely loves charlie. he picked us up at the airport the other night after we were away for a week and she gave him the biggest grin and squeals as soon as she saw him. it was pretty cute.
... she really isn't eating that much as far as solid foods go. with avery we did a mix of baby led weaning and purees and i think because of that she was eating a lot more at this age. ellie's usually eating once a day 1-2 ounces of food. i would feed her more but she's had some trouble adjusting to digesting it and honestly she refuses it a lot. i know she'll get there eventually and i'm just glad she's breastfeeding well enough that i don't worry about her getting enough to eat.
... she plays really well on her own especially if someone is in the room with her. lately avery has been playing with her, so long as ellie plays along with whatever game avery's dreamed up, and it's both cute to watch and nice because it entertains them both!
... she had her first successful pool trip this month. we've tried a few times before but we finally were able to get her in the water without her screaming so that was nice. she loved just sitting in the shallow water and splashing around.
... she also had her first beach trip but she didn't do much other than lounge on the blanket and then fall asleep in the ergo. i even forgot to put her in the sand and i'm so mad about that!
... she's usually napping twice a day. her morning nap is pretty short. longer if she's in the stroller or the car but i can't usually get her to sleep past 20 minutes at home. the afternoon nap is usually 2 to 2.5 hours and the longer the better or else she's pretty cranky by bedtime.
... nighttime sleep has been interesting. we've still been cosleeping mostly but a few days ago i decided that for both of our sakes she needed to start sleeping in her crib for at least the first stretch of night time sleep. i know she'll wake up to eat in the middle of the night and i'm fine with that. the crib adjustment has not been easy (or successful) for either of us but i'm trying to keep at it because i know the longer i wait the harder it will be for her. also, i could use a few hours to myself in bed and i know charlie is over the tiptoeing into our room when we're ready for bed. so, we're trying but it's not easy.
... i'm not sure how much she weighs. charlie and his mom both mentioned that she looked like she went through a growth spurt but she's still pretty tiny. she's wearing mostly 6-9 month clothes but some 3-6s still fit and she has a few 12 months that she wears, too. no doubt she'll be a small one just like her sister.
happy 8 months, elle. i cannot begin to explain how much i love you and how happy i am that you're a part of our family. life is just so much better with you in it and i love all the time that i spend with you, even those 3 am snuggles. especially those 3 am snuggles.
i have a bunch more pictures that i wanted to include even though we didn't do a lot more things. i'm always amazed how jam-packed my days can feel when i'm taking care of kids even though i don't actually accomplish that much and the same was said for our days visiting family. my dad and charlie were only in town until the sunday after the fourth and the kids and i stayed until the next friday. we took them to cabin john park, which is right by my parents house. it's such an amazing place for kids and always makes me wish we had a great park like that by us. the playgrounds are amazing and the train is, of course, a huge attraction for avery each year. i saw a few friends, and we visited my aunt's house were avery rode her first pony. i was way more excited than she was about this but i was just excited that she actually got on this time. we spent a lot of time at home, no complaints here, those are always some of my favorite moments and they seem especially nice since they're some of the most peaceful moments of the day.
ellie's first time in a swing!
grandma made her a frog and toad and bought her the books to go along with them and avery insisted on sleeping with them.
i have an almost identical picture to this from 4 years ago. i'll have to dig it up.
this little lady really liked her grandpa marcus. he even taught her how to stick out her tongue.
getting ready for the train ride at cabin john.
charlie was psyched.
my mom dug out a few dolls and avery pushed them up and down the driveway approximately a million times.
this little lady was happy enough to watch all of the sidewalk chalk, baby doll playing, and wagon trips up and down the driveway.
my mom made some amazing food as usual. i'm still at shock that i actually have to meal plan and grocery shop again. i really enjoyed a two week break from all of that.
all the babies! we made a trip to southern maryland to see one of my best friends from college. i cannot believe we have four kids between us. it was so nice to spend the day together, especially because we parent pretty similarly and it is always somewhat a relief to be around someone who parents the same way as you do. bonus points if they don't mind that your toddler runs around naked.
a sleeping baby. adorable.
this picture looks cute but really they were not into sharing with each other. two year olds don't believe in sharing.
and more babies! this little dude is three months younger than ellie and managed to survive her smacking him repeatedly on the head.
as much as it was nice to see everyone we are really happy to me home. the kids never sleep all that well when we're traveling. they always seem to not adjust to the time change at night and yet adjust pretty quickly in the morning, which means they basically lose 2 hours of sleep a day from waking up so darn early. i can't complain too much because avery slept in my mom's room while we were in town so she had to deal with her early morning shenanigans, while ellie and i got some extra sleep. we all shared a room in ny and avery was pretty horrible about actually going to sleep. odd because at home she puts herself to sleep just fine. i was a little worried that when we got back home she would be asking for 'snuggles and hand holding' but as soon as we got back she went back to her usual ways, thank goodness. although she is waking up really early, at least she's going to bed before 9 pm.
oh look, a semi-peaceful plane picture. both kids were actually amazing on all three plane rides. so thankful for that!
whew. we just got back from two weeks of visiting family back east and it was so, so nice to see everyone but it was also a bit of a whirlwind and we are all glad to be back home. we first flew to new york to visit charlie's family. his cousin was graduating from high school and his whole family was in the area. there was a bunch of us staying at his aunt and uncle's house and it was really nice to see people that we hadn't seen in a while. one of the things that i don't love about traveling is that avery always has a hard time with the changes and doesn't always act the best. add that with two kids attempting to adjust to a time change and it can be difficult at times. totally worth it but challenging. i have practically no pictures from our new york trip (i'll have to steal some from family so i actually have some pictures of the trip). we visited a lot of family, celebrated graduations, and even managed a short trip to the beach one day, which is the only thing i actually took pictures of.
i've never been to the beaches in new york so i wasn't sure what to expect. this one was pretty nice although the water was a little chilly but it didn't seem to bother charlie and avery. i didn't go in because i was either taking pictures of them or trying to get ellie to sleep but we had a really nice day and his mom and aunts came to so it was really nice to just spend more time with everyone.
i temporarily lost avery's hat so i tried to get her to wear mine for a bit. she didn't last too long before taking it off.
this kid loves getting buried in the sand!
a sleeping e.
i really wanted a family picture but of course avery refused to join in.
after 4 days in ny we flew down to maryland to see my family. we spent a lot of time just hanging out, playing on playgrounds, and attempting to convince the kids to sleep. my parents had a party for family on the fourth and then charlie won the 'fun parent award' by taking avery to see fireworks after the party. i stayed behind to put ellie to bed but i was told she really liked them but she kept trying to hold them. silly a.
a pre-party nap.
again. really wanted avery to join us for a picture but she wasn't having it.
e and her aunt.
we spent a lot of time hanging out in the driveway!
a post-party nap.
waiting for fireworks to start.
aaaand crash. love the sunglasses that she insists on wearing in the car even when it's dark out.