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 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)'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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Eleanor Farrell

Bringing Eleanor into this world was vastly different from bringing Adly into the world. Enter lesson 1 for mama: Eleanor is not Adly.

Beginning around the start 36 weeks, I went from having regular Braxton Hicks to having some big contractions. Just a few, and not regular. It is crazy how quickly you remember "that old feeling" of a good tight squeeze from back to front. At 36 weeks, 4 days, I spent the better part of the day dealing with contractions. Of course, I was teaching so I had no time to count them. All I knew was they were consistent. By the end of the day, I called my doctor who ordered me straight to hospital. Adam and I headed in around 4:30. When I got in, I was 2cm dilated and still contracting regularly. They had us walk the halls for 2 hours to check for any changes. After two hours of walking my behind off, there were none. So we were sent home. I was grateful. Having an early baby can bring a whole host of complications and if we were able to avoid it, I was ok with it. By then I had started my weekly checkups, and when I saw doc the following Monday, there were still no changes. Nor had I experienced anymore powerful contractions, just your usual Braxton Hicks.

Counting contractions at home. 
Ready to head in. 

During the next week, I experienced my bloody show, mucus plug loss and more sporadic contractions. I didn't experience any of this with Adly so it continued the rollercoaster of "is this it?!". At my 38 week appointment I had progressed to 4cm dilated without much effort. My doctor was convinced I wouldn't make it to 39 weeks, but in the event I did, she allowed me to schedule a voluntary induction. I figured at that point, my body had been progressing through labor for a few weeks, it would be ready by 39. Contrary to everyones beliefs, little miss Ellie hung on for another week. She even gave mama one last scare of thinking my water broke. But that turned out to be just another form of liquid leaking from my body. (Pregnancy is the sexiest time in a woman's life EVER!) 

So on Tuesday, November 10 at 6am, we packed our bags and headed to the hospital one last time, ready to have our sweet little girl. 

I was happy to end up with an induction because I was induced with Adly. While it can take a while, I was so far along already, as soon as I was checked in I began hearing "oh, this will go fast" from all the nurses and doctors. I was also happy to be scheduled so I could ensure I didn't go too fast to get the necessary drugs to not feel the birth. 

I know drugs aren't for everyone, but they're for me. I don't deal well with pain, and thanks to medicine, I was able to "enjoy" my delivery of Adly (despite the exhaustion for pushing for an hour and fifteen minutes). I wanted that same (hopefully shorter) experience with Ellie. Soon after starting pitocin I was also hooked up with anesthesia and then began the waiting game. 

At noon, I was still only 4cm but my contractions were ramping up and becoming more regular. So doc broke my water. Soon after that, I began noticing I could "feel" my left side and move my left leg, while my right side was completely numb. I began asking the nurse what could be going on, she called in the anesthesiologist to check it out. She couldn't figure it out either, so she began moving the needle in my back to try to realign the insertion. They also had me turn on my left side to see if the drugs would naturally take to the left side. By now, my contractions were STRONG. So the left-sided-laying-experience involved me curled up in a ball, crying my way through each awful contraction. 

The anesthesiologist came in once more and tried to readjust the insertion point. That still did no good. By this point I was full on sobbing yelling to the nurse to get the anesthesiologist in there again and do her f*%*ing job! (I mean come on, hell hath no fury like an in-pain-Kelly). 

In that time, I suddenly felt that old feeling. "Oh my god I'm going to poop. I have to push!" I yelled. The nurse asked if I was sure and I yelled yes. She dashed to call the doctor in, and she came in no time. With Adly, we had 5-6 people delivering her. This time, it was so quick it was just Adam, the nurse and my doctor. The doctor immediately told me to get on my back because Ellie was crowning! I panicked and began crying and yelling, "I can feel everything!! I don't want to do this without druuuugs!!!" But it was too late. Doc yelled for me to push, I pushed my hardest and then she was yelling for help. I panicked and she said she couldn't get baby out. She told me to push harder than I've ever pushed before. I screamed screams I never thought possible, and pushed harder than I ever thought possible and then just like that, Eleanor Farrell was on my chest. She came so fast, the assistance the doc needed, which was because her shoulders were stuck, came in after she was already on my chest. Crazy, right? According to Adam, when the doctor came in, she had looked at him and said he was going to have a baby by 3:15. When he looked up at the clock, it was 3:10. She arrived at 3:14pm. 

I spent the next 15 minutes with Eleanor on my chest sobbing my eyes out because I was still so upset over "feeling everything". It was not the way I had wanted it, and I was still reeling from it all. Not to mention she came SO FAST I was in complete and utter shock. 

As soon as the shock wore off I realized no matter how painful it was, SHE WAS HERE! At last. I had waited 39 loooong weeks to get to meet her. And she was perfect. 

They do things differently now from the 2.5 years it's been since Adly. They allowed Ellie on my belly for what seemed like an hour. It was a good chunk of skin to skin. I'm grateful for it, but it was a long hour of Adam waiting excitedly to get his own hands on his baby girl. When they took her to weigh her, she was a very healthy 8lbs, 9oz.

I have to note, I later found out the anesthesiologist was actually doing her job. The problem was, Ellie had dropped down so fast and far down the birth canal that she was blocking any of the drugs from reaching my left side. In hindsight, that would've been a big clue she was coming, but it's ok. It's all a guessing game for the most part. Also, in hindsight, the pain wasn't that bad, it just wasn't what I had in mind. So those of you drug-free mama's I applaud you. But I also applaud all mama's for going through the act of childbirth in general. What an incredible act of strength it is, no matter which way you go about it!

We are so very thrilled to have this beautiful addition to our family. She, like her sister, has already begun writing her own story, from the very start of her sweet little life.

Welcome to our family, Eleanor! We love you to pieces.

Family photo. 

Dada getting some time with his girl. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

So I Made A Quilt.

I am not a quilter. Nor am I necessarily a sewer. I'm a find-a-project-and-doer. I just decide I'm going to do something and then spend some time convincing myself I totally know what I'm doing. Sometimes I may stop and take an extended break along the way due to fears of what's next, but I always find a way to finish. Call it whatever you like, it's probably mostly crazy.

Last winter, I saw an idea for a baby onesie quilt on a super beautiful blog. And I was all like, "wow that is so cool. I think I could totally do that. I kind of know how to sew." So the idea spun around in my head for the better part of six months. I just couldn't let the idea go no matter how much it intimidated me. I procrastinated when we found out we were pregnant again to wait until I found out the sex. That way I'd know what onesies to use and what to save.

In hindsight, it really didn't matter if baby #2 was a boy or a girl. This project was truly a walk through a boxed up time capsule. The bottom line is, there were a lot of outfits that Adly wore that would always remind me of, well, Adly. And I wouldn't necessarily ever put them on her future little sister. Some blatantly had her name on them, others were just special from an experience we had or pictures I took that I now treasure from various moments in time. 

I wanted to share the tutorial I followed and my experience of making my first quilt. However, I also really wanted to encourage other moms to try it. While it was labor intensive and took a few months to complete (because my only work times are 2-3 hours during nap), I think it was so worth it. And totally doable for beginner sewers! You just need to know how to sew a straight line (or make it look straight). I can't begin to say what a special keepsake it turned out to be. The outfits included in the quilt likely would've always remained boxed up for I don't even know what. Now Adly will have them out in her room and anytime the moment strikes we can walk down memory lane talking about each square.

The first step for me was picking out the clothes I wanted to use. Like I said, it's a literal walk through a time capsule. I loved looking through and reminiscing about the days when Adly was itty bitty and the cutest clothes she had. The blogger from the tutorial had suggested I'd need a lot of onesies, and she was so right. First I pulled out all the ones with Adly's name on it, obviously those wouldn't be reworn. Then I pulled my personal favorites. Next I pulled some I thought were just cute or reminded me of a certain memory. Lastly, I went for soft fabrics that would be comfy to snuggle with. I used outfits ranging from 0-3 months, up to 18 months. Some weren't onesies but super cute outfits I just couldn't see on our next daughter because they reminded me too much of Adly. And, I'll admit, the frugal side of me pulled a few specifically because I knew the seasons would be off and little Ellie would never be able wear it.

I was honestly most surprised by how easily a color scheme came together. The author of the tutorial had found this in her case too, but I seriously thought that was just a coincidence for her. In order to keep with my theme, I did have to put back a few I really wanted, like her first Thanksgiving and first Christmas outfits. The orange and red just didn't fit with the other colors I had going.

Here is the list of materials you will need, once you have your pile of 50-60 onesises (See! You need a LOT). I ended up making a quilt that was 7 squares by 7 squares, so I used 49 in the end.

Onesie Quilt Materials List:
-Pile of 50-70 outifits (the size of quilt you decide to make will determine this).
-cutting mat
-5.5"x 5.5" square guide for cutting squares (I used cardboard measured from a box I had)
-rotary cutter
-Pellon 911FF (backing for onesies to make them stiff. I tried both kinds she suggests, and this was my favorite to work with as a beginner).
-Batting. I used Pellon Natural batting. Make sure it is thin enough to be used in a home sewing machine. Also, I would honestly buy this by the yard. I bought the bag and it was WAY too much. 
-Post-Its (for labeling your piles and rows)
-Spray Baster
-Painters tape
-Bias tape or Binding fabric. (I googled how to do this and used binding fabric. There are excellent YouTube videos out there showing how to do both.)
Let me warn you, the first cut is seriously the deepest. I may or may not have shed a tear when I cut into the first little teeny onesie. Just remember you would've just left them in a box otherwise. Although, cutting into the onesies does mean you have to follow through and finish the project. Motivation at it's finest! Another tip I have is that if it is big enough, and it's an outfit or pattern you really love, cut a few squares from the piece. Adly had a sleep sack that was so soft, and had her name embroidered on it. She wore it for months on end, but it was still in great condition. I was able to cut three squares from the sleep sack and they are all in the quilt.

Finally, the last part, the binding of the quilt was definitely the worst because I had to do it by hand. I looked for ways to do it by machine, but by hand seems to be the way of the road. So be prepared to spend some nights on the couch sewing like you're Betty Ross, only by the dim light of the TV and a lamp. This is actually the perfect project for a boring pregnant lady. Besides all that intensive labor, that's true love, right?!

I'll leave you there. The tutorial comes from the blog, Coconut Robot and she honestly does an excellent job explaining how to put the quilt together, especially for beginners. Click on the link to go to her tutorial.

Again, I seriously recommend trying this if you have a sewing machine, a little guts, and sentimentality. Even if it's not the most amazing, perfect quilt, it will have all the meaning in the world to your little dear one day. Maybe even more so to you. 

Lay out your squares and play around with different placements. I left this, walked away and came back a few times to ensure I liked it. 
First three rows sewn together. 

All rows sewn, with batting and backing cut larger. 
Using painters tape to sew the lines to sandwich the quilt was a genius tip!
Back of the quilt with lines sewn in.
Finished quilt waiting for hand sewn binding. It waited a few weeks. 

Close up of binding. I chose to use the same fabric from the back because I really liked it. Many people use a different style of fabric.

Finished quilt!

Friday, July 31, 2015

24 Weeks!

This week we slid into the 24 week mark, or what is known to most as 6 months along. 6 months! Only a few more left to go.

This pregnancy is, for the most part, continuing to zoom by. While I'm definitely bigger than I was last time, my belly isn't in the way too much yet (although this week I definitely started noticing the annoyance of bending over with a bowling ball in front of you). I am having a beyond amazing summer with my only daughter that is here. So far I've been trying to savor every minute with her being the one and only for the last time, and do as much as we can together without passing out from exhaustion. Our days have been filled with visits to the park, zoo, farm, play dates, and walks to just about anywhere. She is so fun right now and such an unbelievable trooper no matter what we do. I don't know what I'd do if she were giving me a dose of that business called the terrible two's

While Adly has been amazing, the last month of pregnancy has been filled with annoying aches and pains unfortunately. While I really can't complain much about this pregnancy overall, these new pains suck. Additionally, raising a toddler while pregnant is just not that fun. When you don't have a toddler, you focus all your energy and time on this little beautiful being inside you. This time around, I'm spending most of the day entertaining and running around with my kid that is already here. She's got a lot of energy these days and really needs to be out of the house for at least a few hours daily. This does not coincide with her mom who would much prefer to lay on the couch, relaxing with headphones on her belly talking to her princess all day. Let's just say, every day I am counting the minutes to nap time AND bedtime so I can get a break and/or go to sleep myself. 

As far as the aches and pains go, they are all in my hips. I swear to the heavens above, WHERE ELSE CAN MY HIPS GO?!?

These girls will destroy whatever pre-baby skinny-hipped images you had of yourself. My hips hurt constantly when getting up from sitting, laying down or bending down. It sucks. I went and complained to my doctor hoping she'd subscribe me some awesome drugs. Ha. Ha. Juuust kidding. No, but really, let's be honest, preggos get no kind of fun like that. Instead, she informed me that the second time around, you're more likely to feel the aches and pains of pregnancy, and they usually begin earlier on.  Oh, and I can expect them to continue for the remainder of the pregnancy.


She was kind enough, however, to suggest I take a warm bath and relax, or even a hot shower to help them ease the pain. To which I laughed out loud. Because honestly, baths?!? Who has time for such luxuries? The only way I'd get to experience that gloriousness would be with my toddler who, bless her heart, loves talking non-stop and hasn't yet discovered the bliss of a few minutes of peace and quiet. Thankfully, the other day she was snooping through my things as usual and somehow she dug up a heating pad I forgot I had. See? Those nosey toddlers are good for a lot of things. Although she thought it was something she could use to "shock mama at the doctor" (I don't even want to begin to think about what she was referring to),  it has helped quite a bit to ease some of the pains at nighttime and in the morning. 

Let me tell you something else that's not awesome about the second time around, especially at this point. I'm entering the final hump. The third trimester. And now I know. I know what's coming. I know how big I'm going to get. I know how hard it is going to be to walk. I know how tired I'm going to be.  Let me say it again: I know how big I'm going to get. And this time, I won't be able to be sprawled out on my couch in the heat of the summer like a beached whale awaiting the impending birth. No. This time, I'll be working all day, then coming home to work job number two with my 2 year old and then trying to spend time with my husband without too much complaining until I pass out on the couch like an exhausted beached whale.

I can't even wrap my head around how I will survive?

Ok, I know I'll survive. I'll be fine, because millions of hard working women do this all the time. But seriously, how am I going to do this?!

These are the thoughts that are swirling through my head at this point and time. 24 weeks. Only 16ish more to go.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I don't have words to say how I can even fathom that my child is now two. It has flown by so fast. I am regularly reminded each year of this as a first grade teacher, by misty-eyed moms, just how fast they grow. I just thought it would never apply to my own life.

At two years old, Adly is a beautiful, awe-inspiring, loving, and spirited child. Here is Adly in a nutshell of the last year. 

-She learned to sing this year. It is the most precious thing, and literally music to my ears. Her favorites are You Are My Sunshine, ABC's, Rain, Rain Go Away, Taxi, Taxi and a song her grandma Shalagh taught her I'll call, Beautiful Adly.

-She loves to dance! And I will admit, it is terrible. Just like me. But I couldn't be more proud. She may not look a whole lot like me, but she sure does have my dance moves. 

-She is funny- and knows it! Seeing her develop a sense of humor and comedic timing this year has been fun to watch. She laughs a lot at jokes- and herself when she thinks she's funny too.

-She is so kind. She adores taking care of her "babies" and making friends at the park. Twice this year, she became a victim of mean kids at the park. Thankfully I wasn't present either time. But the after effect was her saying things like "that boy not nice" (after being slapped in the face by some random). It broke my heart, but I was most happy to see it not become a learned behavior, rather something she knew was wrong and not the way to treat others. She prides herself on sharing with others and making new friends, whether it's a newborn or a "baby" (any child up to 7 years old).

-She is also very sensitive. While she is very comfortable with those she knows well, I'm noticing she's definitely more shy and apprehensive when around groups of kids she doesn't know well. She still kind of likes to play on her own more than anything, unless she knows the person/people well. She is learning to navigate social relationships and definitely leans on me a lot to guide her. She's unsure of other kids a lot and definitely struggles with how to voice her feelings. As Adam and I say, she's a totally girlie girl, very sensitive and definitely not rough and tumble or leader of the pack. 

-Adly loves to bake and cook with mama. While she enjoys taking what she learns and cooking with her imagination in her kitchen, Adly most loves to cook for real. Her favorite thing to bake is banana muffins (mostly because she can eat the sugar topping as we work). But any chance she gets, she's dragging the big chair into the kitchen for her to stand on and help mama. I have to admit, it's one of my favorite things too.

-She is going to be the best big sister. In February, our friend Eileen had a beautiful baby girl named Stella. Stella has become Adly's pride and joy. She looooves "playing" with Stella, touching her hair gently and holding her hand. Stella has introduced Adly to the world of newborns and Adly is obsessed. She seeks them out at parks and loves pointing them out anywhere we go. She talks about "baby Stella" regularly and always wants to visit. This has also led her to taking care of her own babies doing things like changing their diapers, putting them down for naps and feeding them. It melts my heart. 

-She LOVES her little red car and walking to the park in it. She calls it "Adly's Red Car" and jumps at any time she can ride in it. It was given to us by a friend of mine and I am so grateful for it! Speaking of the park, there is no where Adly would rather be these days than at the park, in a swing. She loves to swing and also enjoys trying out every swing available.

-In her last week as a one year old, she began stringing together actual sentences, in conversation style. Typically, until this point, she has responded in more stilted, or short sentences as her little brain worked hard to string the words together. This week, as I was putting clothes away with my back turned to her,  I could hear her grunting trying to get something. More or less talking to myself, I asked her what the struggle was all about. She responded, "Mama I'm trying to reach these books!" I can't tell you how weird it is when your child starts talking to you like an adult. I had to do a double take on that one. In the days following, she's begun doing this more and more.

-For the better part of the last few months, Adly has only spoken in 3rd person. Meaning, everything she says about herself includes "Adly". "Adly going to the park", "Adly likes books", Adly wants to get down" etc. It has also been in the last week that she has begun to use pronouns like "I" and "her". Now I'm starting to hear "I want to get down", "I'm hungry", etc. When talking about other kids, she calls them all her and says things like "her want a snack", "her running". While it is a small shift, it has been a big milestone to watch. I just love hearing her talk about anything and everything.

-She loves to narrate while driving in the car. We recently turned her forward-facing and this has made a big change for Adly as she rides. She loves to talk about what we are doing, where we are going, and what she sees out the windows. There is no longer such thing as a quiet car ride in our house. The most common question of the day is "What we doing today, mama?" and "Where we going mama?." Even when it's been answered 100 different times and ways. 

 -One more note on the talking, she has learned to memorize books. Some of her most favorite books at the moment are, Corduroy, Pocket for Corduroy and One Fish, Two Fish.... She has memorized the better part of the entire book for each of these and can "read" them on her own. I tell you what, spoken from a true teacher nerd, nothing can warm your heart more than the sound of a child quietly reading. I am so happy she appears to have a total love of books instilled in her. 

-Her favorite TV show remains Peppa Pig. She still has no interest in movies, becoming bored after 5 minutes and asking for Peppa. However, recently she has started to enjoy watching Bubble Guppies too. It has been nice to switch it up every so often! Peppa is a British show, and Adly has learned some pretty funny phrases from the show such as "off we go!" and replying with "certainly!".

-She loves, loves, loves electronics. What child doesn't these days? If she gets her hand on any phone or iPad, she knows how to work it and get into everything on it immediately. I have been able to find some great apps that are actually great with helping her to count and read books on the iPad, which she enjoys, so that has been a good addition. For now, iPad use is limited to long car rides. Phone is limited to whenever mama needs a 5 minute break.

-Heading into two, Adly knows how to count to thirteen and say the alphabet.

-She still loves cows, but has definitely taken an interest in many other animals too, especially doggies. Unfortunately, we've recently discovered she is allergic to pretty much every dog, so her affections have had to turn into waves from afar.

-My little diva hates having her picture taken these days. Most often, the camera is met with a scowl and a "noooo picture!". In order to get the very few smiling pics of her that I have it has to be hidden, or some serious monkeying around and laughing at myself has to take place. Someday, child. I will get you back for this. Someday. 

Here are some answers Adly had about what she loves at the age of two:

Favorite Food: pasta....pancakes (she also loves cooking these in her kitchen).
Favorite Color: purple and red
Favorite TV show: Cubs? Ok. (Cubs were on when I asked her this. I would say Peppa Pig).
Favorite Thing to Do at the Park: swings
Favorite Animal: cow
Favorite Toy: umm my refrigerator 
Favorite Book: umm...The Big Animal Book.

Weight: 29 lbs
Height: 35.5"

One was a very big year for Adly. She learned to walk, talk, and run. She had a first trip to the ER. We moved to (another) new home. We learned she was going to be a big sister- and have a little sister! Her hair grew long enough to put pretty ponies in. She turned forward facing in her car seat. 

Looking ahead, two is also going to be a big year for Adly. We have potty training and moving to a big girl bed as the biggest hurdles for the next year. Adly will also have to learn how to share mom and dad with a new sibling. However she handles these transitions, I have no doubt that two will be a GREAT year. 

Mama and Dada love you so much my sweet little girl. You light up every moment with your smiles and silly laughter. Thank you for making every day of our lives together truly amazing. 

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