Thursday, February 27, 2014

project 52: 4

let whatever you do today be enough.

today we read books, we built towers for our monkeys, we all napped, we played and imagined, we danced, we FaceTimed with the people we love, we ate cookies, we all rocked and read books tonight, we spilled cereal all over ourselves and ran around without clothes on, we showered and pretended the shampoo bottles were babies, we colored and stuck stickers everywhere, we hugged dogs and chased cats, we smiled at the baby a lot, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner, we sang songs, we hugged and kissed each other and said i love you for no reason, we learned to make a heart with our hands, and we practiced counting to five with our fingers.  today was a good day.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ellie: three months.

wow, three months!  that always feels like we're almost out of newborn territory.  for me that milestone seems to be around four months but i've noticed that there have been a lot of changes this month, too. 

... the biggest thing is that you no longer scream your way through the evenings.  this has been huge.  i love to see those smiles all day long now and i no longer dread the 5 o'clock hour. 
...  you still are sleeping in the rock 'n play and our bed at night.  i have a feeling i'll attempt to move you to either your crib or the cosleeper for that first stretch at night in the next month or so.  i would love to get our bedroom back for that first nighttime hour so i can read books in bed.  
...  you're still spending a large amount of time in our bed after that first wake up.  whatever.  it seems to be where we all sleep best for right now.
...  you got sick for the first time.  your sister came down with an upper respiratory virus and you got it about a week and a half after she did.  considering she was coughing and sneezing all over you, despite my best attempts to keep you both separated, i'm not at all surprised that you got sick.  i took you to the doctor to make sure that you were okay.  you were really stuffy, miserable, coughing a ton, and had a low grade fever.  but he didn't seem concerned.  
...  you just took your first ride in the stroller without your carseat.  you seemed to like it a lot better and slept most of our walk.  
...  you have really bad cradle cap on your eyes. it looks terrible and i think is pretty itchy and painful for you.  you rub your eyes all the time and this makes things even worse.  i've been putting coconut oil on it to help but i'm hoping this goes away for you soon. 
...  you weigh about 11.5 pounds and are wearing almost all 3-6 month clothing.  you feel huge to me but you're around the 25% for weight.
...  you're still napping in the moby.  as much as i like having you close to me and i don't mind you napping there i think we'll need to start getting you to nap in your crib soonish.  i think you'd sleep a lot longer stretches if you weren't being woken up by avery's screams or my constant movement.  if you fall asleep in your carseat then you can sleep for hours and then wake up much happier then you do from a 45 minute nap in the moby.
...  you smile all the time.  anytime anyone looks at you they're rewarded with a big smile.  you and avery spent a good amount of time separated this month because at least one of you was sick most of the time but even though you're still sick i've started to let you guys hang out together more and you're definitely a fan of your big sister.  she loves you a lot, too and is always telling you that.  she'll try and comfort you when you cry, pat your head and squeeze your thighs saying "chunky, chunky".  she calls you elle belle all the time and is really into you having "tummy time" (something we are terrible about doing), and helping you roll over.  
...  you're beginning to laugh.  we're not really at the belly laugh point yet but we get a lot of little laughs.  i love to see you happy.  
...  you're eating about every 2-3 hours during the day and will go longer at night.  you've had several nights of 7 hour stretches but your norm is probably 5-6 hours for that first stretch.  you've also had several nights of just waking up once to eat, which was amazing.  but you normally wake up at least 2-3 times during the night to eat.  this isn't usually too bad since you're right next to me but i could get used to the once a night wake ups.  :)

happy three months, elle.  i love watching you grow up and learn new things.  i cannot wait to watch you explore your world as you get older.  and i'm really looking forward to all of the outside time that we'll get once the weather warms up this spring.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

a bit of randomness.

... i have really enjoyed these past few days.  ellie is still sick BUT doing much better and avery is now completely better.  it is amazing how much easier life is with healthy kids.  avery is really, really whiny when she's sick and it is really hard to be patient all the time when everything in her life is cause for an epic meltdown.  there were a few times when she was sick when charlie and i asked ourselves, is this our kid or is this our kid when she's sick because i really hope this is all just because she's sick.   luckily it looks like the latter because there were a few days when i was checking our beer status at 10 am.  anyway, i have really enjoyed time with her lately since she's been back to her sweet self.  she says thank you for everything:  thank you mommy for the shirt, thank you grandma for the blanket, she is so, sweet to ellie and has been exclusively calling her sister which i find funny, she's back to wanting books read to her all the time, and happily amusing herself for long periods at a time.  now i just hope that she stays well the rest of the winter. 

...  we took the side off of avery's crib this past weekend.  there was no real motivating factor behind it, she wasn't attempting to climb out and we didn't need the crib for ellie.  i took it off saturday morning and she was so excited and then when i had to put her down for her nap she got scared and asked me to put the side back on her crib.  i probably would have indulged her but charlie was out for a run and ellie was screaming and i couldn't deal with putting her down while trying to reassemble the crib so i talked avery into giving it a try for that one nap and she did great.  i finally put some sheets on it today (i just used her fitted crib sheet and a twin flat sheet folded in half) and we folded a twin quilt in half on top.  she's been doing great with it and if she's rolled out of bed in the middle of the night she's gotten back in without us noticing.  charlie put pillows on the floor when he put her to bed but i haven't bothered because i figure we have carpet and she'll be fine.  we were sort of hoping that she would wake up in the morning and start playing with her toys, instead of yelling for us, but now she gets up and bangs on the door until we come and let her out.  charlie's suggested that we leave her door open so that she can just walk into our room in the morning but we'll see.  clearly we're mostly concerned about the amount of sleep that we're getting more than anything else.   

...    we had amazing weather yesterday.  it was in the mid sixties, of course today it was 40 degrees colder and snowing, but yesterday was fabulous.  we went for a long walk and then to the playground.  funny story, we were headed towards one of the playgrounds that we walk by and that we sometimes stop at to play and there was a mom and three kids in front of us.  when avery realized that they were headed to the playground too she started screaming "NO BABY! THAT'S NOT YOUR PLAYGROUND, THAT'S MY PLAYGROUND.  NOOOOOO!!".  i tried to explain to her that it wasn't actually her playground but she then decided that she didn't want to go to that playground anymore.  clearly we have some work to do on the concept of sharing.  on the positive side i put ellie in the stroller without her carseat for the first time and not only was that so much easier for me but she slept the whole walk.  i'm really looking forward to warmer weather when we can get outside more often. 

...  i have given up on cloth diapers for avery.  the original ones that i had are all leaking and i cannot figure out why and i also cannot deal with changing her diaper and pants every half hour during the day.  and the 7 new diapers that i got for her in december are too small.   so i've given those 7 to ellie and i'm getting rid of the leaking ones.  i'll probably buy a few more for ellie in a month or so (maybe a dozen) but for now we are still using disposables for her that we had from when avery was a baby.  i actually would like to switch completely to cloth for ellie during the day but i want to use up the disposables we have before she outgrows them.  

...  i really, really like where the wild things are.    avery does too and we read it all the time these days.  she even has some of the pages memorized.  she's also into the bearenstein bears as of late and we read them all the time, too.  we have them scattered throughout the house in various rooms.  

...  avery's really been into sleeping with weird objects lately.  there's this old remote that she insists on sleeping with, taking with her in the car, and carrying around the house all the time.  it is not a good bedtime if we can't find the remote.  tonight she also insisted on sleeping with two toothbrushes.  and all of her stuffed animals have to be on the bed.  she also insists on hearing the wheels on the bus before we leave the room and get's very demanding about which verses we sing.  the engine, the daddy, the mommy are all ones that have to happen before we can leave.  she would drag that song on for hours if we let her.    

... charlie's been traveling a ton lately.  i think we'll hit four weeks in a row next week and that trip is 7 nights and includes the weekend.  i'm not looking forward to that one.  avery misses him so much when he's gone.  any time that she hears the dogs bark or a strange noise she gets so excited and says, "daddy's home!".  it's sort of sad.  last week when he came home she was so, so excited.  it was the middle of the day and he still had work to do but was doing it at the kitchen table and so she insisted on 'working' right next to him.  so cute. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

lately ...

everyone's been sick so we've been in survival mode but let's catchup. 

... we celebrated valentine's day!  my favorite holiday.  the kids were pretty lucky and got lots of presents from their grandparents.  lots of clothes for ellie, which she really needed and a few toys for avery.  our present for avery was a lego set.  i went with the small ones because she has pretty good fine motor skills and they take up less space.  unfortunately, i picked a set that has really tiny pieces.  i think it's supposed to be a farm set with tractors, etc..  she does really like them though and plays with them every day.  i think i'll try and get her some 'plain' legos to go with this set in the future.  charlie's had a lot of fun building with them although he gets mad when avery destroys his creations. 

burt's bees makes clothes! i didn't know this.  and they are amazing.

...  ellie has been sick.  she definitely got what avery has/had (she's been sick for 14 days now!) and i took her to the doctor since i was worried about her.  he basically said that it was some virus and to be worried if she doesn't get better in 3 weeks since it could mean a sinus infection.  ugh.  we got the nose frida the other day.  i actually meant to get it before ellie was born but never got around to it and it's been amazing.  i hope she gets better soon because it's so sad to see her sick whimpering.  and also i want some sleep.  

...  we also got avery a toilet of her own.  side note:  i cannot stand the word potty.  i'm not sure why but i have always hated it.  anyway, she wants to sit on it all the time now.  i suppose this is good and i really am sick of changing diapers.  the assembly line of diapers gets pretty old with two kids.  BUT i am really not into potty training.  it just seems messy and boring.  my original plan was to wait until the summer and then attempt the 3 day method so that she could run around naked outside and we could spare our carpets but we'll see if she decides she's ready earlier.  

...  the weather has been pretty amazing the past few days.  we've tried to get out and enjoy it a bit although it's been hard with ellie being so sick.  all she really wants to do is sleep in the moby wrap and cry. anyway, we took avery to the playground on sunday and as soon as she got there she said "i want to go home" so we turned back around.  she then refused to ride in the stroller and wanted me to carry her (of course).  it was a pretty long walk so i let her ride on my shoulders and ever since then she's been asking to ride on my shoulders all.the.time.  especially when she doesn't feel like moving on her own.  

...  my in-laws sent us some flowers for valentine's day.  i love tulips and have been meaning to plant some bulbs somewhere in our yard.  maybe i'll do it this year and have some for next year. 

i miss spring.

...  charlie and i talk all the time about how long we want to stay in this house for.  there's a long list of things that we'd like to do if we end up staying here but most of them won't actually increase the value so we won't do them unless we end up staying.  the biggest thing that we've talked about is turning the master retreat into a fourth bedroom.  obviously this is one of the things that would boost the value of the home but i wouldn't invest the money unless we're going to stay.  charlie also really wants a third bathroom in the basement.  i do not, because i hate cleaning bathrooms and 2.5 is more than enough for me.  but we'll see.  we also would really like to change the deck in the back.  the back of our house is south facing and it get's so hot back there.  we have an awning that we use a lot in the summer months but it's a pain because we can't use it if it gets too windy.  so we've talked about building a permanent covering for the deck.  we've also talked about tearing the deck down.  i'm really not into the constant maintenance that decks require and i would much rather have a larger patio area.  obviously none of this stuff will be done in the near future, we've talked about getting a quote for the fourth bedroom just to see what ballpark it would be in.  our big project for this year will be painting the outside.  we want to change the color scheme of the house to something lighter with dark shutters and trim, but we'll have to see what the 'approved colors' are.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

11 weeks.

ok, i'm done complaining.  yes, everyone's been sick and yes, we've missed out on a lot of sleep these past few days BUT i think everyone's on the mend and as of last monday i have a happy baby.  

the first month with ellie was pretty easy.  we had lots of visitors to help, charlie was off for the holidays, and she was that super sleepy newborn that fell asleep anywhere and everywhere.  and then around 5 weeks she started to get really, really fussy in the evenings.  and by fussy i mean screaming baby.  and nothing really seemed to help.  she didn't want to nurse, she's refused every pacifier that i've tried, and she didn't want to be put down.  the only thing that sort of helped was holding her and walking around the house.  this didn't really stop the crying but it made it quieter crying.  

i'm not one of those people who can be all relaxed about my baby crying.  it stresses me out and once the pattern was established i started to dread the evenings.  especially when charlie wasn't around and i found myself trying to feed and take care of a toddler with a screaming baby.  and then we had a few days where she just didn't sleep at all during the day.  and therefore was very, very unhappy all day long.  i figured out that her daytime sleep was linked to that first morning nap.  she was usually ready for it about an hour after being awake in the mornings and if she got it then she would be okay and nap the rest of the day but if she missed it then the rest of the day would be awful.  so now i make sure that no matter what she get's that first nap when she's tired.  she's still napping mostly in the moby wrap because it's hard to get her asleep with a rowdy toddler in the background and she does the awesome trick of waking up immediately after i put her down but we'll deal with that later.    

onto the good news.  it's now been about a week and ellie's been pretty happy in the evenings.  she still wants to be held constantly but i can so deal with that as long as she's happy.  let's keep this up, ellie.  no more evening scream sessions, okay?  

Monday, February 17, 2014

ellie's birth story.

ellie was born on november 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm.  i was induced.  a decision that i agonized over.  her birth was quick, easy, and really sweet.  i was shocked that she was a she.  the experience was everything i wanted from a birth experience (except for maybe avoiding that epidural) and it was a thousand times better than avery's birth story.  

the month leading up to her delivery was a bit dramatic.  around 33 weeks she flipped from head down to a transverse position.  it happened overnight.  i woke up in the morning and immediately knew that she had flipped.  she stayed mostly in that position with her head digging into my ribs until 39 weeks.  i used to ice my ribs at night.  both to encourage her to flip around and also because they were so sore from her ramming her head into them all day long.  she was never a true breech baby and actually flipped back and forth for a while until settling head down at 39 weeks.  because she wasn't head down i had a version scheduled twice throughout those last few weeks to flip her.  the first got cancelled because i had eaten breakfast that morning and the second was cancelled because she flipped around just in time.  we went ahead with the induction because my mom was in town and was able to watch avery.  

we went into the hospital monday morning.  we kissed avery goodbye, told her we were going to the doctor to have a baby, and drove to the hospital.  i was very thankful my mom was in town and was staying with avery, which meant that charlie could be with me.  avery's induction was horrible.  and with that experience in my head i cried on the way to the hospital.  when we got there my midwife was already there.  i got into a gown and freaked out a bit when the nurse wanted to start an iv.  during avery's labor and delivery i was given over 7 bags of iv fluids and was so, so swollen from it all.  it was not good.  thankfully this time they just placed the line for access, gave me 300 mL of fluids, and then capped it off.  i felt much better.  i was about 3 cm dilated when we went in (yay!), they gave me cervidil, which i was actually comfortable with because i had it with avery and i knew my body would respond well to it.  i had to stay in bed for two hours and i started having irregular contractions almost immediately after i got the cervidil.  2 hours later, around 9:30 i got out of bed and started walking around.  this was something i never got to do with avery and it was so nice to be up and walking.  my contractions got more regular and by 1 pm i was 6 cm dilated and they were getting much stronger.  at this point i had charlie rub my back during contractions, which seemed to help a lot.  my midwife offered to leave me alone or break my water to speed things up and i took her up on that since i wanted everything over as quickly as possible.  as soon as my water was broken the contractions got much more intense and i asked for the epidural.  this part sucked as the contractions were much stronger, i had to stay in bed, and they had to place the epidural twice since the first one got messed up.  it actually took an hour (between 1 pm and 2 pm) for the whole thing to be done and that whole hour was pretty much a blur for me.  i believe i may have used a few curse words at this point.  one thing that was awesome was that my midwife stayed with me the entire time.  i loved having a midwife instead of an ob this time.  she was wonderful.  

after the epidural, which was a much better one than the one i had with avery, i progressed pretty quickly.  by a little after 3 pm i was completely dilated and ellie was ready to come out.  the nurse had me start pushing and called my midwife.  i pushed maybe 5 times and in less than 5 minutes she was out.  i saw that she was a girl before they announced it and honestly i was really expecting a boy.  i remember saying, "oh it's a girl.  i wanted a girl" and my midwife said, "really?".  they laid her on my chest and she nursed pretty immediately.  about an hour later they weighed and measured her right next to me and then gave her back to me.  she was 7 pounds 8.8 ounces and surprised everyone with her size.  most of the predictions were around 6.5 pounds for her weight.   charlie and i weren't 100% decided on her name.  we actually had a few others picked out for her but didn't officially decided until after she was born.  but ellie alex seemed right once we met her.  although i must admit that i call her elle at least 50% of the time and avery calls her that just about all the time.  we actually went into the hospital not having decided on whether to circumsize if it was a boy or knowing what we would name a girl and so all of her hospital paperwork said "baby girl" on it.  

my mom and avery came to visit that evening.  avery was interested in meeting her little sister but was a little weary of me being in a hospital bed.  we went home 24 hours after she was born.  both charlie and i wanted to get home, sleep in our own bed, and see avery.  the hospital staff was great there, but being in the hospital is exhausting.  i know some people really love it but i am not one of them.   

i'm so happy that she's here, that avery has a sister to grow up with, and that everything went smoothly with her arrival.  after avery was born i always thought that i wanted three kids, but somehow after ellie got here things just seemed complete.  we'll see if that changes at any point in the near future but for now i think that our little family of four is more than enough to keep us busy.  love you baby e.  life is better with you in it.    

Monday, February 10, 2014


this winter has been rough.  avery now has the flu (which is the fourth time she's been sick this winter), both charlie and i had it earlier, and i'm just praying that ellie escapes it.  our pediatrician is not above attempting to scare me into flu shots for all (i refuse!) but it doesn't help my worry when one or all of us fall sick.  anyway, add that to subzero temps, a baby who can start screaming at the drop of a hat (for no apparent reason), and a husband working around the clock with lots of travel thrown in and things have not been easy.  

i feel bad for my kids.  it's always sad to see a baby cry and cry and not be able to figure out why and i hate seeing anyone i love get sick, but i'm not going to lie, i also feel bad for myself a bit.  ellie seems to do better when we get out of the house and that's not possible when a is sick.  so housebound we are.  there are moments of peace.  usually in the middle of the day but the evenings are really rough a lot of the time.  even if ellie isn't crying i'm always on pins and needles just waiting for it to start.  if charlie's around i don't worry as much because if she does start crying i can just go take care of her but if he's not around then it's so hard because i still have to feed avery, clean up dinner, get her ready for bed, etc. etc. when all i want to do is stop the baby from crying.  i think ellie's pretty sensitive to light and noise (i thought second children were supposed to be immune to this stuff) so come 6ish she's ready for a dark and quiet room and avery doesn't go to bed until 7.    

the one saving grace has been that avery sleeps well, both naps and nights, and even when she's sick.  and ellie actually does really well at night.  it can take a while to get her to sleep but that first stretch is usually around 6 hours, which is pretty good in my book!

i've been reading the long winter to avery at random times.  she seems to like it even if she's way too young for it and it's been fairly appropriate as we've been feeling trapped in our house staring longingly at the playground.  i don't know how people in colder climates do it!  are they just hardier and therefore they brave the cold and everyone survives? or do they just stay indoors?

last week we had a few doctors appointments and we also made a trip to the bookstore to read books and play with legos.  avery had a great time and then got the flu 2 days later.  poor kid.  we have so many makeup gymnastics classes to do but i see no point in attempting to make them up until the flu season is behind us.  

yesterday i spent hours slaving over a soup that was dinner for that night but also supposed to be dinner for the next three nights for avery and i.  i cannot cook in the evenings unless charlie's around to soothe ellie and he's gone this whole week.  also, this is my soup that i like to make when people are sick since it has all of those good-for-you things in it to help fight off germs.  anyway, i came downstairs this morning and found the pot of soup sitting on the stove.  i had forgotten to put it in the refrigerator.  and so i started crying.  avery was in full blown whine/cry mode because she wanted juice, no not that juice the other juice, and then she wanted a paper towel from mommy NOT daddy, but mommy was busy crying in the corner.  

we will survive.  i am counting the days until spring.  and i know ellie can't be this volatile forever.  i still love her a lot.  but man, the constant crying sort of breaks my heart.  when she falls asleep i just stare at her, trying to freeze the image of a sweet sleeping baby and save it for those evening hours when i need it most.    

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

lately ...

so much time has passed and yet not much has changed.  winter is one of those hard seasons for me.  and we all got sick two weeks ago, which basically meant two weeks of being housebound.  not fun.  but i'm glad everyone is well and we escaped and survived without doctor visits, which i hate. 

...  i cannot get enough pictures of sleeping babies.  even when i take them and she immediately wakes up.  this child is not the easiest sleeper.  well, she's actually not bad as long as she's in direct contact with me.  who can blame her?  charlie (as always) is a fan of cry it out but man as hard as it is to have no time to myself i just can't do it.  at least when she's this little.  talk to me again in 6ish months and things may be different.  avery and i used to nap together all the time and i wish i had that same opportunity with ellie.  not only do i love naps but i think that they're some of the sweetest moments that i will forever cherish.

...  my birthday present this year was a stand mixer.  and while i didn't actually get it until after christmas i still hadn't used it.  i really like baking but i've found even cooking to be hard with two kids unless charlie's around to help right now.  anyway the other day we finally got it out and made some muffins.  avery loved the mixer and has been asking to use it every day since.  

...  last weekend we had some really nice warm weather (like high 50s) and so on saturday we all got out and took a long walk to the playground.  avery's really into playing games with henry these days where she'll say "cars coming henry" and then grab his tail.  she insisted on walking back from the playground and wanted to hold his tail the entire time.  this didn't last too long as henry's not the biggest fan of her.

...  i keep thinking that ellie is so much bigger than avery was.  she's wearing clothes that avery didn't wear until she was about 4-5 months.  i was so excited to find out that ellie was a girl since i thought it meant that we wouldn't have to buy any more clothes but it looks like we'll have to get a few things since ellie's already moved into the 3-6 month clothes.  when took ellie to the doctor she weighted and measured around the 25th percentile and actually wasn't much bigger than avery was at this age.  i guess i just didn't remember how big avery was or wasn't.  and avery?  is now in the 3rd percentile for height and weight.  so tiny that one.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ellie: two months

happy 2 months, ellie!

... you smile all the time now.  you have the biggest, best smiles and sometimes i think they make up for those fussy moments you have.
...  you 'talk' all the time.  you're actually pretty chatty at times and it's fun to talk back and forth with you.
...  you're a champion sleeper at night.  you typically go down around 7:30ish (after big sister goes to sleep) and while it takes you a while to get to sleep you'll usually sleep for 5-7 hours that first stretch before waking up to eat and then be good until 6 or 7 in the morning.  you sleep that first stretch in your rock 'n play and then after you wake up you'll sleep the rest of the night in our bed.  if i put you back in your rock 'n play you'll wake a few more times than if i let you sleep in our bed.  obviously i'm a fan of cosleeping as it's gotten me a lot more sleep than moving you in your crib, but we'll be looking to making that transition in the next month or so.  
...  you nap almost exclusively in the moby wrap or in our arms.  honestly, you hate to be put down and seem to wake up the second i put you down, which means some days i rarely do.  i think that having a toddler in the house has made this more challenging as it's harder to devote the time to getting you to sleep (since i'm trying to take care of avery, too) and it's also a lot louder in the house making it harder for you to stay asleep.
...  you like your carseat well enough.  both walks in the stroller and rides in the car will usually put you to sleep and even if they don't you're happy enough as long as we're moving.
...  you had your first two trips to the aquarium and slept through them.  :)
...  you are pretty fussy in the evenings, although this is getting better.  i'd say that maybe weeks 5 and 6 were the worst, where at times it seemed as if you were screaming for hours and nothing would really make you happy.  but you're much less fussy now and if your dad's around then evenings can actually go pretty smoothly.  
...  you have this new move at night where after you're done eating you'll wiggle yourself until you're snuggled up against me and your head is in the crook of my arm.  and then you drift off to sleep.
... you hate pacifiers.  point taken. 
...  i'm not sure how big you are.  we haven't had your 2 month appointment yet.  you're in sized 3-6 month clothes and size 1-2 diapers and you've outgrown your newborn cloth diapers.  you seem so big to me compared to your sister but my guess is that you're probably somewhere in the 50th percentile for height and weight.  we'll find out soon.  

i love you little e.  even when you're crying and i can't figure out why.  most of the time you're pretty happy, you just prefer to be held by us all the time and i suppose that's not a crazy thing for a baby to want.  happy 2 months.