Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gracelyn: 9 Month Update

A cuter baby never lived - said every mom. I know I felt the same way about Lucan, but I really do believe that my kids are exceptionally cute. Of course, I'm exceptionally biased. I know that if I only comment about how adorable Gracie is, I'll give her some sort of feminist complex about a woman's value only being in her appearance, but for now I'm going to go with it. My baby is adorable. 

Sleeping: Two naps and to bed around 7:30 PM every night. Naps can be a little sketchy, especially the morning nap because I try not to let our lives be dictated around nap schedules. Because we have a set "routine" on preschool mornings (Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri), I have to make sure that you sweet sister are up by 7:40ish to nurse and be out the door no later than 7:58 AM. As a result, most mornings you are ready for a nap by 9:30ish. This translates to a couple of errands in the morning before a quick nap, another nursing session and then back in the car to pick up Lu from preschool. Afternoon nap tends to be a bit longer, which is great because it ensures me some time to get a few things done while I pray for the golden unicorn - "two kids napping at the same time."

Eating: I'm still getting you up around 10:30PM to nurse once more even though month after month I say that I'm going to stop. Each grandma asks about that too. I know. But it's hard to feel like I should drop a nursing session when you are such a tiny peanut still!
We nurse around 5 times a day. Solid food is your friend. At 8 months we implemented a schedule of prunes every other day and it has greatly improved your digestive system. We typically feed you 6 ounces of food at lunch and anywhere between 6-8 ounces for supper again. I've done a mix of store bought food and homemade baby food, really whatever I have time for.
You aren't interested in feeding yourself. Period. I'm sure that some would say you are "lazy" but I'm just going to accept it and be fine. You'll feed yourself at some point. There is no baby-led weaning in this house.

Wearing: 9 month clothing and some 6 month stuff still. Baby girl has short legs so they don't seem to be outgrowing pants all the fast.

Milestones: No 9 month shots! Wohoo! But you do babble and you are starting to pivot, roll and do what we affectionately call the "butt wiggle." The butt wiggle entails you getting up on all fours and trying to unsuccessfully crawl. People ask me if you are starting to walk and I very promptly tell them NO! You are barely crawling. You also scoot - but only backwards. If that counts, then yes, you are crawling. When I change your diaper, you delight in being diaperless. You throw your legs into the air and kick, kick, kick. Lucan spazs out when you roll around on your changing pad and he thinks you are going to fall off. Thumb sucking seems to be dissipating a bit. I like to think it's because I'm there for you and as a result, you don't have to self-soothe as much because you aren't at daycare. This could be wishful thinking, but I'm going with it. You very much love your tag blanket I made for Lu - it's your lovie.

Social: Some mom anxiety. I've started dropping you off at the nursery for Bible Study and surprisingly, you do very well. You spend a lot of time looking at the other babies and being very watchful and observant. I just think that might be your personality. You are quite ticklish so if someone does fish nibbles on your back or anywhere really, you giggle madly. Baby giggles are simply the best. They really are.

Physical: Your peach-fuzz hair is growing longer. Not really thicker, I'm being truthful with myself, but definitely longer. I can really tell this around your ears after I've taken one of your headbands off. It's all flat and wonky.
No teeth.

Height: 2 ft, 2.25 inches (6th% percentile)
Weight: 16 lb, 1 oz. (14th% percentile)
Head: 44 cm (51st% percentile)

Fascinated by her Bannor Toys Tree Rattle. 

Standard solemn expression.

Little smiles :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

True Confessions from a Work from Home Mom

1. Holy crap, I'm exhausted. This is way harder then sitting in my cube.
2. My employer is demanding and mouthy. Apparently they didn't get the memo that I'm entitled to a peaceful lunch break in which they have to leave me alone.
3. My house is totally destroyed. Like seriously messier than it's ever been. NO ONE warned me that being home meant that my house was going to be infinitely messier because we would be home making messes all of the time.  
4. I'm famished and thirsty. There is no time for silly things like food and hydration.
5. I had to negotiate with Lucan in order to be able to watch 30 minutes of tv that is NOT PBS kids. (I think there might be power issues here)
6. Somewhere I became the paper product nazi. "Lucan you can't have another napkin. One per meal." "Nope, you aren't done with that Kleenex. Put it in your pocket and use it again later." "This is how you properly use toilet paper to wipe your butt." (Good gravy. It sounds just as ridiculous typing it here as it does when I listen to myself saying it.)
7. I get nothing done. Really. I know that Lance has these expectations (and I had the same expectations) that laundry would be done and put away on a regular basis and that our bathrooms would be cleaned more frequently too. I get it, I would think these things would happen too. But if I work on cleaning the house, my actual DMMB (Des Moines Moms Blog) work doesn't get touched. If I work on work stuff, the house implodes. It would probably help if Gracie would nap for longer then an hour.
8. Sometimes I just need a little time for me. But inevitably I feel bad that I'm not cleaning or doing work. I need a lesson in balance.
9. People think that I'm a stay-at-home-mom now. Not so. Somewhere during the day I have to get work done. Except now I have no daycare or quiet time to get my work actually done.
10. Lance comes home, takes one look around and asks me if I had a nice nap. It takes everything in me not to want to hit him.

Lest I sound ungrateful (because I know that I sound ungrateful) I am completely thankful for the opportunity to work from home part-time and be there during the day with my children. I know that positions like this are golden unicorns and only come through fervent prayer and luck. I have the nicest and most understanding employers. But this is a reality check that the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence. In actuality, the grass is more like spray painted astro-turf that was used to cover up the decidedly dead grass underneath. I digress.

This is the job that I've prayed for for four years. But just like anything you hope for, it's never all it's cracked up to be.

Friday, September 11, 2015

8 Month Update - Gracelyn

Eight months old means you are right in the midst of my favorite age - you have (somewhat) of a schedule and you are sleeping more but you don't move much and aren't too vocal about your opinions of life :) I'm savoring it here folks!

Sleeping.  We are still doing a dream feed around 10:30 or so and then you'll sleep through the night until 7 AM or so. We've got to cut this dream feed out, but kay-sa-rah-sa-rah. August was my first full month of being home so we worked on improving naps. At daycare you were napping a total of like an hour a day, which is completely unacceptable for this mom who works from home and depends on a little quiet time each day to get things done! We're slowly improving but it's taking time. We try and squeeze in a morning nap if we aren't out and about and then an afternoon nap around the same time as Lu. The "both kids napping" is like the mythical unicorn. You know it's out there, but it's almost impossible to find. There were several times we'd be coming home from a busy morning out and Gracie would fall asleep in the car for 10 minutes and then refuse to nap at home. Life was NOT okay. We're averaging about 2 -3 hours of naps a day. Sister does not nap like her brother who still will pass out for 2 hours in the afternoon. Someone missed the sleep memo. 

Eating. Little Miss is eating solid foods at lunch and at supper. She really likes her purees and will pretend to cough and choke on the foods that she doesn't. Such a faker. I'm nursing her about 4-5 times a day. 

Wearing. Upgraded to some 6-9 month clothing. It's about time. Sister has some cute thigh rolls. Thigh rolls are only acceptable at this age. Not adult age.

Milestones. Language: You like to chat and let us know when things are not all right with the world. For example, you seriously lift your voice when you've decided nap time is over. I try and let you sit a bit in your crib to ensure that nap time is indeed over (very wishful thinking) but you start hollering like 50 seconds after nap is done. So much so that I have to run into your room for fear that you're going to wake Lu up. It's a good thing he sleeps well because YOU are a sleep goddess. You like to say "da da da da." Where's "ma ma ma ma" ? Lots of bubble blowing.

Social: I'm your favorite. I'm just going to say it. Lance always says you perk up and start to look around when you hear my voice but don't see my face. You get a lot kisses from everyone because of those big brown eyes. When we went to the State Fair people exclaimed over you a lot. Not that I blame them, I would too. 

Physical: rolling like a homie. Getting up on all fours and doing a lot of butt wiggles. No forwards crawling, but pivoting and getting stuck in corners. Soon enough. You are kind of a wuss. If you even slightly get bumped on something, you wail. 

No teeth. 

Lots of jumping in the bouncer. She is LOUD and loves it.

Sis is still lacking in the hair department. Her baby fuzz is growing out, slowly but surely. She's rockin the headbands though!

Sleeping ballerina.

Serious face.

A little teeny tiny grin :)

8 Months on August 1, 2015!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ways I've Ruined my Children

Everyday I think that I’ve ruined my child.

I don’t think there is any job that comes with more self-doubt or criticism then being a mom. With the exception of being the POTUS (President of the United States – Lance asked me what that meant so it occurred to me that it’s not just a standard acronym that everyone knows) or some other world leader, I don’t think there is a job that has more of a personal stake.

Today’s self-doubt? My oldest is four and has yet to participate in any organized sport or some sort of musical endeavor. I have friends whose children have been dribbling soccer balls as long as they have been walking. Clearly my child will suffer the social repercussions of not participating in a group sport at the age of four.

I am not doing baby-led weaning in any form. I make purees for my little and thought I was finally doing something right because I was making food for her. Now I’m fairly convinced that she’ll never feed herself or eat “real” food.

We don’t always brush my eldest’s teeth in the morning. I just don’t have the time. Yes, I know.

He also knows the order of the PBS kid show lineup.

Just the other day he asked me when he is going to get to take swim lessons. Crap.

I can’t bear to her my daughter cry, so every time she cries, I pick her up. Yep, I’ve ruined her.

Lucan told me last time at Chick-fil-A that we eat there a lot. To his point, we did eat there twice that week.

He also told me tonight that “supper smelled funky.” To his point, yes, fish sauce does smell a bit. He also likes my MIL’s cooking better than my own. This is probably due to the fact that she doesn’t hide zucchini in her spaghetti sauce.

I fall more on the path of helicopter parent than free-range parent. If you read enough articles, helicopter parenting with MOST DEFINITELY ruin a child. Looking at who I am with baby #2, I acknowledge that I’m definitely more relaxed this time around but by no means am I a chill mom. Yes, I worry that my hovering will ruin both of them but it outweighs my fear of them being taken out of my backyard while I’m not watching.

My point is that motherhood is hard. There’s no instruction manual. There are more moments I care to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m second guessing myself. The only thing I can do is follow my instincts and ask everyday for God to cover all the mistakes I’m making with His grace.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lucan's 4th Birthday - Construction Party!

Themed parties are fun. To date, we've had: a crabby party, a Hungry Caterpillar party, a milk and cookies party and now a construction equipment party. Yes, they're work but because we don't do much throughout the year I don't feel bad about throwing Lucan a cute birthday party. Besides, you only have one birthday a year and you deserve to be celebrated!
Thanks to my friend Molly, this was by far the easiest party I've thrown for Lu so far. She gave me the digital printable files and lent me the construction tape wreath and signs. I utilized Lu's construction toys as decorations and did a party first for me: tackled the cake instead of buying one. I priced themed cakes and just had a hard time justifying spending $50+ on one. My momma threw me a bone and baked the cakes for me and then I (along with Lance who I proceeded to tell he was doing everything WRONG) decorated the cake the night before.
I also had party bags for all of the kiddos which contained a swirly straw, silly string and some other little party favors. But it appears I forgot to take a picture of that!

This will probably be the last time we have the main birthday party at my parents' house. I imagine Lu will want to have a friends' party at some point and we'll have to have that in Des Moines. It's been nice having them at my folks' house because then I don't have to clean!
Molly's caution tape wreath. Lu told me "mommy what a pretty spring wreath!"

Dirt and Worms. Because if you are having a construction party and will be digging, of course you'll encounter dirt and worms!

I placed Lu's construction toys randomly around to be used as d├ęcor. No heavy lifting on my part :)

Molly's "Happy Birthday" sign. Again, thank goodness for Molly.

My mom was a bargain shopper and found plates, hats, napkins and party blowers on clearance for me at Wal-Mart. Yay mom!

This cake was a hot chocolately mess. But because it was a "dump" cake that was okay. We layered chocolate cake with LOTS of chocolate frosting and added crushed oreos as dirt pieces and cut up snickers and mini kit kats as bricks. We also used malt balls as rocks. The finishing touch were the mini construction diggers we placed on to complete our construction site.

Lots of chocolate.

Construction bears AKA teddy grams.

I cleaned out Lu's dump truck and poured chex mix into it to act like it was dumping it into the bowl.

I called the chex mix "nuts and bolts." There were ZERO nuts in it. Details.

Molly's signs.

Singing happy birthday and eyeing the lit candles.

Successful blowing of the candles.

My mom also found a construction table cloth for the present table.

Lu loves Paw Patrol. I think if I would have left it up to him, his party theme would have been Paw Patrol themed.

Happy birthday buddy!

We are lucky to celebrate Lu's birthday every year and make it special for him!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gracelyn: Seven Months

Seven months old means we’ve officially passed the scary six month SIDs mark. Yes, that doesn’t mean I’m letting you sleep on your stomach with a blanket over your face but there’s overall less paranoia.

Sleeping.  All wise parents will tell you that it’s going to better for everyone if you phase out sleep props sooner rather than later. Yes, I know. I KNOW. It’s my second child and I should know better, but Gracelyn is still sleeping in the rock and play. She sleeps better and longer and I’m just not willing to deal with 4 am if I don’t have to. For example, I made the adult decision to put her to bed in her crib last night. She woke up at 5:45 AM. Lance ran into her room and put her in her rock and play and she went back to sleep. We have her nap in her crib but we’re still putting her down at the night in the rock and play. I know. Please stop shaking your head at me. 

I’ve been nursing her before bedtime and then putting her down awake around 7:30 PM. Around this age we phased out Lu’s dream feed but I don’t think little miss is ready. I’m ready to be done with going to bed after 11:15 pm every night, but these are the sacrifices we make! Getting Gracie to finally accept and eat solids has been the key to her sleeping at night.

Eating. We are still sending three, three ounce bottles to daycare. Solid food is going much better this past month. Here are the things in your present diet: pears, applesauce, avocado, bananas, oatmeal, blueberries, yogurt, peas, roasted carrots, and squash. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get you to eat fried rice. You’re Asian! You should love rice! Lance predicted that it wouldn’t go well. We are just doing an evening meal but I’m sure enough we’ll introduce lunch too. Add on another 30 minutes to mealtimes. 

Wearing. 3-6 month clothes. My darling peanut, you have the most adorable chunky baby legs that appear to just be growing sideways and not longer. 

Milestones. Language: you are getting more generous with your smiles and your laughs. Big brother is still the funniest person in the household. You also appear to have found your voice. Sometimes when you nurse you make the oddest grunting noises. You have to lift your voice to be heard over that brother of yours. I don't blame you, I have to lift my voice too!
Social: Selfishly, I think I'm still your favorite. I'm not discouraging it. Object permanence seems to becoming a thing. I used to be able to hand you off with no repercussions but you will occasionally get sad when you don't recognize a mommy or daddy face. You get a lot kisses from everyone. We love your squishy face.

Physical: after much time spent hanging out on your side, you finally rolled over. Both ways! One day it just happened. You had been laying on the floor and then I heard you squawking and lo and behold, you were on your belly! Since then we have to pay attention to make sure you don't roll off of things - case in point, you rolled off the couch under daddy's watch. You love to throw your legs against the changing pad - just like Lu.

Your thumb is your source of comfort. I get mixed reactions from people about it but I'm not going to sweat it. If it makes you happy, great. You don't have much hair yet. At this point Lu had already had two haircuts, so I'm not sure why God does this to little girls and boys. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gracelyn: 6 Months

Six Months – half a year gone already! You are really just a chill little thing. Such a sweetie always watching and seeing what crazy things your brother is up to.

Sleeping. Is there such a thing as a six month sleep regression? Gracelyn your parents are tired, tired, tired. Please stop getting up two times at night. Please? Sleep is so tricky because you don’t nap very well at daycare and 4 out of 5 times you fall asleep in your car seat on the way home. I mean, I don’t blame you – one 50 minute nap wouldn’t cut it for me either. I feel so unaccustomed to this continual sleep deprivation because if you are getting up two times a night, each of us takes a turn. On the weekends you’ll take one good nap during the day, like around two hours. Sometimes I try for the mythical “both kids sleeping so mom gets a nap too.” Like I said, mythical. You seem to have an uncanny knack for knowing when I want to nap. For the most part, you don’t like being put down for naps or to bed at night. You wail and make me feel very, very tired and like I don’t know what I’m doing. But isn’t that being a parent – as feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing? We are half swaddling you. You get very upset if you don’t have your thumb to suck. Is thumb sucking hereditary?

Eating. We are still sending three, three ounce bottles to daycare. You cry quite profusely if your tummy is feeling empty. We started solid foods too, very gradually. Having you as a second child makes me realize there’s not a lot that your brother did that I can count on you doing too. Lu loved eating solids and I think that attributed to his better sleep habits. Gracie, you are so-so on food. I started off giving you avocado. You gave me a look like I was trying to poison you. Homemade applesauce was only marginally better. I proceeded to oatmeal which you promptly drooled out the side of your mouth. #notwinning.  I’ve been trying top you off at your dream feed with a bottle too in hopes of getting you to sleep at night. It’s not working.

Wearing. 3-6 month clothes but some 0-3 month leggings. You have short little legs girly. Similar to your momma. I’m still squeezing you into size 1 diapers. Only two more giant sleeves of size one diapers left. Opps. I sewed my first baby headband for you and made myself a matching scarf. Twinsies!

Milestones. Social: everyone says what a good baby you are. It’s true, unless you aren’t feeling well, you are a happy little baby. You had your first ear infection after battling a cold for weeks. People always tell me “oh ear infections are nothing. But it certainly is something when you have working parents who have to take vacation time to stay home with a sick kiddo. You have the best smiles, especially for brother.

Physical: you don’t appear to be any closer to rolling over. Okay… You love sucking your thumb; it is your main source of comfort. Up until this point you’ve slept primarily, at home, in your rock and play. We’re trying to get you to sleep happily in your crib, but it’s not easy. You have just the sweetest, fuzziest head. Lucan had twice the amount of hair you do at his age. Even for being petite you have adorable leg rolls. Language: bubbles. I’m not sure if it counts for language, but it’s your baby language. Your face is sometimes covered in spit. It’s pretty funny.

Height: 2 ft, 0.5 inches, 2nd percentile
Weight: 14 lb. 12 oz, 16th percentile
Head: 43 cm, 60th percentile

And finally, a poop update! At six months of age, you are starting to get on a better poop cycle. Like every two days! We did have to give you a suppository after we first started solids, but ever since then poop has been better. (I know everyone was dying to know!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When God Answers Prayer

The secret prayer of my heart for the last four years has been for God to provide some way for me to stay home with our kiddos. If you would have asked me in everyday conversation if I wanted to stay home I would have shrugged off an answer and said “sure, maybe. I don’t know.”  I didn’t allow myself to dwell on the possibility because it was just mostly a silent hope. 

It took having our first child for me to have a reality check that our lifestyle did not match the life we wanted to have for our family. But at that point we were too far in to be able to change things. Lance was the only person who really knew that I was no longer finding fulfillment in working full-time. It took major commitment to paying off our debt (minus the house, I always feel compelled to add that so people know we still are paying off our house) to be in a place where I am able to walk away from my 9-5 job. Four years, one major budget overhaul, two children, one bout of unemployment and two jobs later, life is about to take another radical turn. I’m leaving the full-time corporate world and starting my dream job. I’m going to work for Des Moines Moms Blog as the Sponsorship Coordinator and will start the challenge of being a work from home mom. 

Truly, this job is a God-thing. I feel like the phrase “God-thing” can be a cop-out but in this instance it really is a God-thing.  I was approached by Des Moines Moms Blog with this position because I had been on their hearts and minds. I had applied to be a contributing writer and they really only knew me through the blog and a through a mutual friend. The timing was perfect. We had just made the final payment on my student loans and were ready to explore the possibility of me finding part-time work and staying home with the kiddos. I had applied for a part-time job earlier that I thought would have been a good fit too, but it had some aspects that we would have had to figure out. But it wasn’t the job God wanted for me and He didn’t grant it to me. At the time I was disappointed but I accepted this wasn’t where God wanted me. Then this job came along and it truly was God’s hand at work.  I can’t imagine a better fit – being able to write, use my marketing knowledge and spend time with my family. God’s perfect plan.

So we are taking this leap of faith and we are going to see where this is going to go. Both Lance and I are nervous (any new job or big lifestyle change is heart stopping!) but we're hopeful. Hopeful, cautious and thankful. Thankful to be given this opportunity.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Top Ten Reasons Why Having a New Baby is AWESOME!

1.       Obviously newborn cuddles. Obviously.
2.       Still a little chubby? No problem, you just had a baby!
3.       Do you need to excuse yourself from a mind-numbing conversation? Sorry, I need to check on my baby now. I think I hear her crying.
4.       Late everywhere? Oh, diaper blowout just as we were leaving …
5.       Need a nap? NO ONE should fault a new mom for needing an afternoon nap.
6.       Compliments about how cute your child is. (I know that vanity is not healthy. But sometimes when everything else in your life is upside down, a stranger’s exclamation over how adorable your daughter is helps)
7.       Husband wonders why supper’s not was crying and had to be held!
8.       Stupid, obvious mistake at work? Baby doesn’t sleep. My brain is filled with cotton.
9.       Need to disappear for 45 minutes around 7:30 PM? Just give the excuse that you need to feed the baby, rock them and put them down to sleep. Never mind the fact that it takes approximately 15 minutes to do that. Spend the next half an hour hiding from your spouse. No one opens a closed door when it comes to baby’s bedtime routine.
10.   Rocking the two day old hair? Showering can be somewhat sporadic with a new baby. Haters are only allowed to hate if you are obviously smelly from ten feet away.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How to take 2 hours to eat supper in 31 easy steps

I totally get why my friend Erika can eat her supper in 4 minutes flat. It’s because she has three kids and if she doesn’t eat fast, she’s not going to get to eat. Here are 31 easy steps to take two hours to eat supper:

  1. Be a naturally a slow eater.
  2. Have this weird food thing where you  refuse to eat anything until everything on my plate is exactly how you like it.
  3. Have one child. Automatically tack on an extra 45 minutes.
  4. Cut your child’s food into minuscule pieces otherwise your oldest child will try and take a bite the size of their face.
  5. Blow on their food. It’s too hot.
  6. Eat one bite of your own food. Retrieve sippy cup that was accidentally knocked off the table.
  7. Try and convince your child that kale is delicious! Not poison.
  8. Give your husband a dirty look when he mutters under his breath that kale actually is poison.
  9. Have a second child. Tack on another 45 minutes.
  10. Get your eldest more milk, a glass of water and juice. Because sometimes you’re really thirsty.
  11. Realize that your food has gotten seriously cold.
  12. Reheat it in the microwave for two minutes.
  13. Start feeding your youngest the delicious homemade pear sauce you made for her. Watch her drool it out the side of her mouth.
  14. Hand your eldest child a napkin as he’s spilled all over himself.
  15. Oh! My food’s done reheating, retrieve it from the microwave.
  16. Spoon another bite of pear sauce into your daughter’s mouth. Get excited when it appears like she’s actually eating and enjoying it!
  17. Ack! Your own food is REALLY hot now. Must wait for it to cool.
  18. Sigh when you realize she’s actually just chipmunking it in her cheeks to spit back at you in one momentous blow.
  19. Get up to get your husband’s seconds on the soup. Because everyone eats soup year-round.  
  20. Eat another bite of your own food now that it’s cooled down.
  21. Slice up a pear for your eldest because if you start with fruit, he won’t eat anything else.
  22. Force feed your daughter another bite of pears. Spoon the pear dribble back into her mouth.  
  23. Your son has announced his need to use the restroom. Get up to move the stool so he can wash his hands.
  24. Eat another bite of food.
  25. Mom: 2 Daughter: 1. #winning
  26. Eat another bite of food in relative quiet.
  27. Realize that your son has been gone for a really long time … and go to investigate.  Stop him just in the nick of time from throwing copious amounts of toilet paper in the toilet.
  28. The come to the realization that he has poop EVERYWHERE. Spray him off in the shower as damage control.
  29. Finish his bath. Remember that his sister also needs a bath. Retrieve her and give both of them a bath.
  30. PJs & lotion.
  31. Finish eating your ice cold supper. But consider it a win as both kids are bathed and in pjs by 7:30 PM!