Monday, May 23, 2016

The Life of an Almost 3 year old...

I've been so terrible about updating this blog. Life has gotten so in the way, it is very rare I find time anymore to sit down and let my thoughts flow.

However, lately, I find myself watching Adly and wanting so desperately to hold on to so many moments in this stage. There is no doubt that there are days I want to pull my hair out from the incessant "why" questions and the non-stop talking. But there are also some really crazy moments that happen right now that have made me stop in my tracks and really try to soak them in.

The other day, Adam had taken the girls to the park when I got home from work. I went over to meet them and found Adam walking Ellie trying to get her to nap. Adly was off running around so I went over to meet her. I was immediately struck by how much she had grown over the winter. Here was this confident, outgoing girl who was running here and there, climbing with ease and giggling like crazy. When she noticed I was there, she happened to be sitting up on a ledge, about 3 feet off the ground. She motioned for me to come over to her.

When I got there, she explained she needed to get down but was scared. I told her she could jump, it wasn't that high. She immediately went into her shell, got all quiet and said she couldn't do it. So I told her I'd "help" her. My version of help was that I was going to fake hold her and let her do it on her own. I'm that kind of mean mom. Sure enough, when she jumped and I failed to hold her, she survived! And what's more, she realized she really could do it. What followed for the next 15 minutes was Adly excitedly climbing up, asking me to watch her, saying she wasn't sure she could do it, jumping, and then giggling and beaming with pride at her accomplishments.

I, of course, couldn't stop tearing up. It was such a small moment of confidence building that for whatever reason, has stuck with me since it happened. These moments are so fleeting, and it just so happened to capture innocence of my first born that is quickly slipping away with each day.




This past week, we closed on our new house and on the same day looked at preschools. I have literally been counting the days to preschool. Adly so desperately needs social interaction with other kids, and I know it will be a great experience for her. However, at the end of the first tour, I started tearing up and then could not stop the tears! I know. I was that mom! And to think, I work in schools! But I can't even begin to explain the rush of emotions that overcame me when I realized my baby girl really is growing up. Soon she will be one of many in a class, listening to a teacher, learning social norms, and having to problem-solve, all without her mama there to help. (Cue the sobs!)

She has recently started telling me she loves me. Like, really telling me. For the longest time, you'd tell Adly you loved her and she'd reply with "thank you." Now there are days when I come home from work and she looks me in the eye and says, "Mama, I was worried about you today. I want you to know I love you." She'll watch me leave in the mornings and Adam will text me saying she said, "Mama is so pretty. I'm really going to miss her today. I'm going to pray for her." She doesn't only do this with me. She's also begun telling Adam she loves him, as well as other family members. And the best, my favorite, is when I say goodnight, she always says, "goodnight mama. I love you!"

Her imagination is running insanely wild. These days, she wakes up as anything ranging from a gazelle to a pony to a doggie. She always announces in the morning what she is by saying things like, "the gazelle is happy to see you today!" And from there on out, for the rest of the day, you will be informed on what the gazelle is doing and what the gazelle would like.

While Adly's speech is quite amazing, there are a few things she says incorrectly that I don't want to forget because it is so gosh darn cute.
-pur-rayers (prayers) "Mama, can we say our pur-rayers tonight?"
-spice (slice) "One spice of pizza for you!"
-seer-e-up (syrup) "Can I have more seer-e-up please?"

Adly thrives on the moments when just her and I get to have alone time. Her favorite thing is when I can time Ellie's nap with Adly's and can usually get Adly first. This gives her and I some much needed one on one time. I'll climb into bed with her and we'll pretend (for as long as I can take it), to cook cupcakes, pancakes, bacon, and ice cream cones. We take orders like we're in a restaurant and then bake the foods and serve it to each other. She never wants these moments to end and oftentimes, it leaves me realizing how little she gets all of my attention any more.

Having two is hard. I don't know how moms have more and where they find the energy to cater to all the kids. I feel stretched thin on a regular basis and no doubt have major moments of stress, anxiety, and frustration. Sometimes, all of the above at once. But these memorable moments help make it all worth the hard times. I'm really trying hard to hold on to the meaningful moments and move on quickly from the tough ones. Sometimes thats easy, sometimes it takes a lot of complaining and wine.

Adly turns three in July and I just can't even wrap my head around how we got this far so fast. I feel like I'm going to blink and she'll be six. For now, I'm continuing to try to slow down and soak in all the greatness that this age brings. (And take deeper breaths when all the craziness of this age wants to make me disappear to a foreign country). 

Love you, my sweet pea. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

6 months!


Every month I shake my head in disbelief how fast time has flown...but here we are. Halfway to a year. I cannot believe my littlest is now 6 months.

The last two months have been big ones, for all of us. Mama and dada are now both back to work and we have a new nanny watching the girls. Everyone seems to be adjusting well to the changes for the most part. Figuring out how to balance a job that is draining and then putting on my mom-hat each night has proven to be a challenge for sure. I tip my hat to all moms...working or staying home. Both require so much energy!

Mother's Day at the park with my girls. 
 
Ellie has grown leaps and bounds in so many ways. Her favorite activities these days are flinging herself forward and then backwards as she tries to work on her core. She also loves diving forward for objects while being supported and sitting. Just before six months she started rolling this way and that, working her way towards an object. She is still not a fan of bearing any weight on her little legs, so we practice getting used to that as well. This is an area where she is so very different from Adly.

At her 6 month checkup, we did learn that Ellie falls into the low-range of tone for her legs. From what I can gather, this means she may need physical therapy in the coming months to help her along and strengthen her legs. She still has no desire to bear any weight on them and turns into a big flop when being prompted to do so. She will likely hit all of her milestones regarding crawling and walking later (just as she has rolled later). Hopefully my little peanut can keep up as she grows.

Happiest baby I know (with the coolest rooster tail).  

Her favorite location to play is in front of our closet door mirrors. Here is where Ellie and I can sit and she can giggle in awe at the fact that she can see me in the mirror....and when she turns her head. She consistently does a double take, almost saying, "wait...there's my mama...but then she's here too!?!" Here she also practices making all kinds of noises, her most recent favorite being something like a growl.

Eating. That's so 4 months! The last two months, Ellie has spent her time in the high chair making the most horrendous faces, full of pure astonishment that I would even fathom the thought of feeding her things like applesauce and sweet potatoes and cauliflower. I know, I know. I'm a horrible person. But  she loves to watch her sister and I eat. And then she tries to grab at the spoon. Then she shoves the spoon in her mouth and we all applaud and say, "Yaaaay! That's how you eat, Ellie!" And then come back the looks of pure horror of the god awful food she just tasted. Some day, just not now.

We got her first giggles this month. I love baby giggles. Of course, the one person who can get the most giggles is her big sister Adly.

Adly is still Ellie's number one lady. As she's getting more mobile, Adly is loving being Ellie's punching bag. She will lay face to face with Ellie and laugh hysterically as Ellie smacks and pulls Adly's hair. Now that Ellie can sit up with assistance, she loves to face Adly and grab at her clothes and feet, then lean in for hugs. Let's hope Adly's patience for her little sister continues as the years go by. They are also starting to interact with smiles and their own little ways of communicating. It sure warms the soul. 

Walked in to find these two having their own moment. 

Finally, naps. Regularly scheduled naps appear to also be so four months for Ellie. Gone are the days when she would consistently nap two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. Every day seems to be a crapshoot for naps. My only saving grace is that she is seriously the happiest baby ever--unless she's tired. And when she is tired, she will nap. When she's not, she's just ready to party.

A rare nap in mama's arms. 

In other, much bigger news, our family as a whole has made some life changing decisions in the last two months.

For starters, we are moving to the suburbs! Honestly, suburbia has been calling since we had Adly. However it really took the last three years of stair climbing, parking spot finding, and baby carseat carrying to make us realize its time. I long for a driveway, a basement, and a backyard. This winter, having all four of us at home was the final straw. Adly is a toddler and has so much more energy that needs to be burned off and requires the space to do so. We both grew up with a backyard and a basement to play in, and began longing for our kids to have the same things.

And so, we finally pulled the trigger and will be heading out of the city at the end of this school year.

This decision also means I have to leave my job that I love. There are laws requiring teachers to live within city limits that I was not willing to mess with. I am so unbelievably sad to leave my work family and all the students and families I've come to know and love over the last 7 years. My school is such a special place and I am forever grateful I learned from the best during my time here. Starting the next school year, I'll be in a new school, new grade, and totally new environment.

We are honestly so excited and sad at the same time to leave the life and friends we've known for the better part of 11 years. But there will be so many more opportunities for our little family and the girls out that way, so we think it is the best decision we could have made. Wish us luck, in all the upcoming adventures for B-way, party of four!

Until next time...

 Checking out the big kids at the park.

 Those smiles!

 First time on the swings, compliments of her big sister.

 A moment with my oldest.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

4 Months


During the last month, Adam and I celebrated 6 glorious years together and then we headed off to Arizona for a two week long family vacation. It was a good, long vacation for all of us and we certainly enjoyed the weather. Our trip took up most of February, so the month went by fairly quickly. 

This month was definitely Ellie's most difficult time so far. We spent a lot of it trying to figure out who this screaming child was, and what happened to our sweet, quiet, always sleeping baby!? After a lot of trial and error, it appears that poor Ellie was being underfed.

I'm sorry to out you Ellie....but this was literally what most of our month looked like. 

Ever since she arrived, my milk production has been much lower than it was with Adly. All I can gather is that Ellie slept so much in the beginning, that she didn't eat as much as Adly did, which lowered my production. And because I didn't pump to keep production high, it quickly tapered off. Therefore, especially in the last month, any time I've even tried pumping, I've only gotten 1-2 ounces. In the last week and a half, we've been using frozen milk and slowly switched over to formula. And since then, the difference in her demeanor has been night and day. It makes me feel terrible for letting it go for so long. And is just another reminder that even the second time around, these babies are a constant mystery!

I remember when I weaned with Adly I had a lot of sentimental moments and felt guilty and so on. However this time around I was more than happy to make the switch. There wasn't an ounce of sadness for some reason. I think it was because I saw how much more she needed and I just couldn't provide it. We are still nursing at random times, and I'll likely continue that as long as my body will allow. But for the most part she is on formula at this point. 

Ellie has also completely scheduled herself as far as sleeping goes. I throw my hands up on this one. I worked so hard with Adly to make it happen...and I have no idea how, but Ellie just fell right into it. Maybe it was because Adly is already so routined it just naturally forced it. But whatever it was, I am so grateful for it. Throughout the last month, she seemed to be working out the kinks with sleeping through the night. There were some occasional wake ups and some occasional screaming fits at bedtime, both of which I now believe came from hunger. Either way, she's been sleeping 7am-6am for most of the month. And she is like clockwork. Being minutes off creates a screaming banshee. As soon as nighttime fell into place, naps followed right behind. She now naps two hours in the morning, one to two hours in the afternoon, and then a little hour long catnap in the early evening. I'm not kidding, and I don't know how it happened. It just did. Adly took months and months to nail down naps. I do think I probably naturally implemented a lot more routine than I did with Adly because this time around it is now second nature. So that likely helped.

We also officially dropped the pacifier this month. While it was so helpful to calm her in touchy situations (most of the time), she really prefers her thumbs way more. Somehow, both of my girls are full on thumbsuckers. I have mixed emotions about it. I know it by far has helped them become really good sleepers. But I also know, getting them to stop will be an uphill battle. I just hope that as they age, they don't hold onto it as I know some kids do.

She has found her voice in the last week or so and it is really the cutest thing I've seen. Before she came, I was already worrying that the poor girl would never be able to get a word in with her big sister running the show. Thankfully, so far, I appear to be wrong in my worries. She loves to "sing" at the top of her lungs and experiment with different sounds. She does this the most when she's laying on her play mat. She has also taken an interest in toys. She swats at them and tries to pull them into her mouth. Her big sister has had a REALLY hard time seeing all these new, tempting baby toys come out of storage. We've definitely had our share of "sharing with sister" talks...although Ellie could really care less that her sister constantly steals her toys from her.

Big sissy helping little sissy with tummy time. 

Ellie has little interest in rolling over so far, although she will sometimes attempt it when on her tummy (I think only because she wants off of her tummy). I am, self admittedly, terrible with implementing tummy time. However when we do it, I roll her over so she can get the sensation of it and man, does she HATE it. So I'm not going to be surprised if she's late to the party on that development.

Our winter wonderland of family time is all too quickly winding down, and I will soon be faced with the dreaded return to work. We were unbelievably lucky that our timing worked out just as we had hoped. I don't know how I would have survived had Adam not been home to tag team with me. I know, it sounds spoiled rotten. But I maintain that I was just not mentally equipped with the tools to handle newborns on my own. It is, to me, the hardest job on the face of the planet. Especially in the first three months.

While I'm having a hard time mentally preparing to leave little Ellie with someone else, Adly is desperately in need of a new person to come in to play with her. She is definitely bored with mom and dad and ready for some different interaction. There is another part of me that is also ready to get back to work and see my kiddos I left what now seems like light years ago. It will be interesting to come in at the end of the year and see how much they've grown as students and little people.

My girls. 

For our last month at home, I'm headed to Nashville for my future sister in law's bachelorette party and we are busy planning "lasts" to do as a family before Adam heads into his crazy busy season. This last month for Ellie was such a big one of growth, I can't wait to see what March brings for us.

Six years...so many memories! 

Ready for my first flight!
 Family selfie in Sedona. 
 Happy girl, poolside.
 Another happy girl in the sun. 
She was happy...some of the time!  
 Dada and his girls. 
 Tucson to see uncle Chris and aunt Cole!
 Papa and Tata came too!
Love you to pieces, Miss Eleanor. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 Months



Ellie's third month was a big one, for all of us a family. Lots of changes and big girl things happening around here.

For starters, Ellie gained a lot of neck control this month. I'm not sure how, as I just can't stand tummy time. Meaning, I can't stand when she screams her way through it. Therefore I'm just not that good at implementing it. Thankfully, she appears to have gained excellent neck strength by the power of her own will. She is now lifting that head up like a little superwoman, as she pretends to soar on the couch. I remember this change with Adly as well. There is something about seeing your little one pop their head up when laying down to get a new view of the world that is so exciting!


This month Ellie also gained her lungs. For the first two months, she slept a great deal and was always cool as a cucumber. For the life of us, we could not figure out where she got her personality from. But man, were we ever enjoying it. However, she recently appears to have found her inner voice and boy does she love sharing it. When she is mad...she is MAD. When she is tired....she is TIRED. Adly was always, and I mean always, calmed by the boob. The girl loved to eat. Not Ellie. Nothing works to calm her down when she gets herself into a rage. Oh...look what I did there without even thinking about it....a rage. Yep, she's my daughter. This has been a teensy bit scary and frustrating for us as parents, mainly because there's nothing that can be done at that point besides to let her scream. This has largely come to light in the last week as she's been working on figuring out her sleep patterns, so I hope all of it is interrelated. 

As far as sleep goes, this past week I reached my breaking point as a tired mama. I swear I just can't wrap my head around how mommies everywhere do nighttime feeds for months and months. I commend all of you! We had gotten Ellie down to one feeding a night for the most part at around 3:30am, which isn't terrible. The problem for me has been I've definitely suffered from some postpartum anxiety this go-round. So while Ellie would wake up and feed and so wonderfully fall right back asleep, I would stay up the rest of the night stressing myself into a panic over anything and everything and never falling back asleep. Weeks and weeks of not sleeping makes people crazy, and I was just about to that point. In the last week, her sleep patterns became worse, waking starting around 12am, multiple times throughout the night. This meant mama got no sleep whatsoever. And that meant mama was falling off the rails. 

Out of desperation, I called my pediatrician for advice on Saturday. New moms, if there's any one piece of advice you listen to from anyone, it's find a good pediatrician and follow only their advice! I love ours and she has counseled me through many a crazy time over the last few years. Anyways, she suggested first of all getting Ellie out of our room. And also suggested that most likely, she wasn't getting enough rest during the day, so it was interrupting her night time sleep. Sorry, one more piece of advice (or a mantra really): sleep begets sleep! The more they sleep, the better they sleep. It's so simple, yet can seem so ass backwards when you're exhausted. 

Anyways, the second I hung up with the doctor, I took apart Ellie's bed and kicked her out. Adly was kicked out of our room by 8 weeks because she was NOISY. She still is, she talks and sings in her sleep. But Ellie hardly ever made a peep. That and, the big reason was, her room is downstairs from us. Going back to the anxiety I've been dealing with, I was convinced that having her down there I'd still wake up and stress about something happening to her on another floor...so what was the point of moving her out?

Let me tell you, that at 11 weeks, 4 days, Eleanor Farrell slept through the night for the first time. Straight through. From 7pm until 6am. And when she awoke at 6am to eat, she promptly fell back asleep until 8:30am with her big sister chomping at the bit to get in and wake her up. This was also her first night in her own room. One can not explain the gloriousness that is a full night of sleep until you've been deprived of it for months on end. Of course, I didn't sleep the whole night. But I did sleep until almost 5am which was a hell of a lot better than what had been happening. And then the next night she slept even longer. Please, please let this trend continue! I honestly think she was actually having a hard time sleeping with us, as she appears to be a pretty light sleeper.

The pediatrician had also said to stop swaddling at this point. Her basic reason was in a month, Ellie will be starting to roll over and we'll have to unswaddle at that point, starting over this whole process of figuring out how to sleep. I had thought that swaddling was our savior with Ellie. But I think it was another thing that was hurting her sleep cycles. She's a wannabe thumbsucker at this point, and all the swaddling did was keep her from being able to suck her fist and self soothe at night. So it appears both things together were all she needed to finally get a full night of sleep.

Passed out in her new room while mama impatiently waits for her to wake up. 

My thumbsucking girlies.  

While Ellie has made some big leaps and bounds this past month, I cannot leave out the big accomplishments from her older sister. Adly has become a "big girl" this month by learning how to go potty on the big girl potty. This was a big accomplishment for not only herself but for me as well. I've thought for a while she might be "ready" but man is it a big undertaking to get your child to relieve themselves on a toilet. For many reasons, I was dreading it. But when other littles around us started jumping the diaper ship, I knew it was time to at least give it a grand ole try. Thanks to the constant on-demand advice of many other very wise mommies, we trudged through a few days at home buckled down asking the question that still comes out of my mouth consistently and probably will for the next few years "do you have to go potty!?" 

Adly has done amazingly well with the training. I am so unbelievably proud of her. My good friend (and personal life coach) Laura had passed on the wisdom from her own daughter's big girl events: that she felt it clicked for her when she could actually be proud of herself. And I think that's so true. Adly is truly proud of herself. Not only that, she gets how proud all of us are for her. And that in itself has provided so much intrinsic motivation throughout this process.

SO proud of herself at papa's house! 
(Girl moms: this jammie dress was a life saver for quick trips to the potty in the early days!)

But lets be honest. Adly is one smart cookie. The girl cannot only be motivated by confidence boosting applause and praise. No. She wants the goods. So, I will admit, for almost a week she lived off nothing but suckers and skittles and she received some presents as well. Whatever works, I have no shame. And two weeks in, we are still getting the occasional "I'm going to go pee-pee so I can get a sucker." (I mean, she had fully figured out she could pee a little, get a sucker and then when the sucker was gone, go back and pee some more to get another one.) However, as time goes on, I can see she is starting to understand the process of how going potty works and that you don't get a sucker every time you go. And while we've had complete success with number 1 on the potty, number 2 is still a major work in progress. I honestly think that before 3 years old, it just takes a good amount of time for everything to fully click for them when it comes to potty time.

Another big girl moment for the month was me going away for a girls weekend, leaving dad in charge for two whole days! This is something that was long overdue for all of us. I hadn't actually gone away on my own once since Adly came into the picture. Meaning, it had been almost 3 years. Far too long! My job has allowed me to cultivate some of the best friendships a girl could ask for, and for that I am forever grateful. Together, we enjoyed a quiet weekend away in Lake Geneva with a whole lot of lounging around, wine, and good girl conversation. I can't begin to explain how awesome it was, and how amazing it was to have Adam take the reigns and really let me relax. I can assure you it will not be three more years before I do that again.


So there we have it. Month three as a family of four had one little girl figuring out the gloriousness that is sleep, another little girl taking her biggest leap into the world of "big girls" and a mommy getting to also be just Kelly for a few days. And with that, I'm going to go hide in the corner and shed a few more tears for my sweet baby girls who are growing up too fast.




Ok, one more bit of celebration for myself this month. My second kid somewhat looks like me! I found baby pictures while I was home and immediately saw Ellie. It's about time I got a little something back for all that hard work called pregnancy and labor. However, I am happy that Ellie still carried on her father's plentiful locks and eyes, as I was bald until almost two.



Saturday, January 16, 2016

2 months!


This past month flew by pretty quickly as the holidays came and went. Ellie had a great time getting to see all of her family in Michigan and Chicago over the various holidays. Turns out, as expected with her relaxed personality, she's a rockstar traveler so we are grateful for that! 

The best part of the past month was the development of smiles, which came on the first day of her 6th week here. Those smiles came in with a gusto and haven't stopped since. She is 100% a mama's girl and tends to give her best smiles for me. It makes my heart burst with love every time she erupts into another smile. Lately, she's been smiling to much she appears she's going to burst from excitement. The best thing ever. 


She's developing an interest in toys, slowly. She loves her playmat with dangly toys and usually spends her evenings there, with big sister Adly snuggling right next to her. Adly was very excited to see the infant toys come out and quickly commandeered them for herself. Sometimes she shares them with Ellie.


Ellie is still hard at work on her thumb. For now, the pacifier is still much needed. On occasion she'll figure out her thumb and suck away. I'll be interested to see how this continues as she gets older and more controlled with her hands.


Ellie continues to be a total blessing in our life. She is so easy going (I have no idea where this came from!) and pretty much goes with the flow every day. We are so grateful she completed our family!

Friday, December 11, 2015

1 Month


In her first month here with us, Eleanor has done a LOT of sleeping, which has led to a lot of growth. She spent the majority of the month in only newborn sized clothes, which was new to us. Her older sister was so much bigger from the get-go (and she never looked back). However Ellie started out big, then lost quite a bit. Therefore, we spent a lot of time oohing and ahhing at how teeny tiny she was!

From the start, she's been pretty generous when it comes to nighttime sleep. I can't possibly be more thankful for that, since sleep definitely makes my world go around. For the most part, I can rely on her having a longer stretch to start (4-5 hours) and then we drop to 2-3 hour stretches. Once, I was lucky to have two five hour stretches in one night. It was glorious. Sometimes, she likes to mix it up randomly and have a feeding frenzy every hour on the hour. She just likes to keep mama on her toes. 


The connection between Adly and Ellie has been amazing to watch. Adly's voice was definitely the one Ellie recognized first, always responding by looking around for her when she'd hear her. Watching Adly adapt to her little sister, or "baby Ellie" has been tear-inducing for me. She loves her so much and has right from the start. It's an incredible thing. She is constantly concerned with where Ellie is, if she's awake or not, and is always making sure to include her in our life. She likes to have Ellie join her for meals and go with her whenever she leaves the house. Adly is also an expert at calming down Ellie when she's crying by singing to her or talking to her. Her best magical lullabies are Twinkle Twinkle and Tura-Lura-Lural. Whenever Adly sings to Ellie, she always stops crying. Its incredible. 

I forgot how little newborns really do, so there's not much to report other than she loves sleeping, her sister, and eating. However there is one thing Eleanor is killer at already (besides rocking some awesome spiky hair)...it's facial expressions. They are hilarious and appear to be very on-point with how she is feeling at any given moment. My favorite is her wide-eyed "you've got to be kidding me right now" irritated stare.


In her first month, Eleanor has made her way into our family seamlessly and its now impossible to imagine how life was without her in it. Looking forward to the holidays with these two cuties, especially with her big sister Adly because her imagination is running wild these days. She CAN'T WAIT for Santa to shimmy down the chimney on Christmas Eve.


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