Friday, November 30, 2012

Julia is two!

I did write this right on her second birthday... Just taken me awhile to get it posted! (Apparently I've run out of storage space for photos, so that's been confounding me... Unfortunately, no photos but here's the long update on my big girl!)


My dear, dear, sweet baby girl,

You are TWO years old! Every month, I think, “This is my favorite age yet!” This past year, you have grown in so many ways and astounded your father and me.

You went from saying and signing a few words, to signing up a storm, to talking nonstop. The constant stream of words babbling from your mouth is darling, exhilarating, and exhausting. You signed for a long time; you had about a hundred different signs and sounds and combinations, and it let you communicate with us while you weren’t quite ready to start speaking. “Food,” “water,” “frog,” “octopus.” You know, the important things. Then, around 18 or 19 months, you suddenly embraced verbal communication. You rapidly picked up more words than I can count, and you started putting together sentences almost immediately. “Mommy drive Daddy’s silver SUV.” “Mommy change Lana’s dirty diaper.” “Julia lick doggie.” “Lana poop everywhere!” When you were learning, you would throw together a string of words and let me sort it out: “Mommy Julia pick up school black SUV every day lunch.” Now, you pick up a different idiom every few days, and each new one is more adorable than the last. “Now what?” “Um… maybe?” “I LOVE IT!” Or your latest: “Move!” I’ve suspected you’ve always understood us more than you ever let on, but now it’s clear you get almost everything that someone says to you.

You started school this year. The first two weeks were pretty rough. You cried, I cried, and then you caught on that I always picked you up for lunch and you started to like it. Now, some mornings you actually get upset with us if we’re not getting you ready for school quickly enough. You’d run out without clothes or breakfast if we let you. (Yes, without clothes… we’re working on that.) It’s really neat to watch you learn new things from other people. Two days a week for a few hours is perfect. You sing songs, play on the playground with your friends, and do art projects. And you absolutely make my day every time you see me come pick you up. You drop whatever you’re doing and run towards me with your arms wide open, with a pure joy, “Mommy!!!” Don’t ever grow out of that, ok?

Another big first for you this year was your first baby sister! Lana was born a day after your half-birthday. At first you thought she was pretty neat, then you were seriously over her, then you ignored her, and now you’ve settled into a rhythm of mostly gentle tolerance. Lana, on the other hand, absolutely adores you. Just seeing your face makes her break out in a huge grin, and it only takes one “peekaboo!” from you to make her belly laugh. She watches you, which is tough because you’re constantly running from one thing to the next, and you are her favorite person in our family right now. I can see the beginnings of clashes between you two – mostly over toys and my attention right now – but I can also see the very tender beginnings of a loving sisterly bond.

Other big firsts for you this year:
·      Your first trip to the beach. You loved it, you fearless little thing you - right through the sand into the waves. Your favorite part was asking Daddy to dig you a hole in the sand, then sitting in it while we poured buckets of water around you. “More?” you’d sign.
·      You learned to count. You can actually count up to three, but can recite your numbers up to ten.
·      You learned the alphabet. You can sing it (although sometimes you get caught in a loop at the end: “Now I sang my ABCs…. D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K….”), and you know some of your letters. I don’t know how many, since you’ll never identify them on command, but you frequently come up to me out of the blue, hand me a letter from your alphabet puzzle, and tell me which one it is.
·      You’re slowly learning colors other than green. You like to sort things by color and match colors together, but you’re again very coy on which colors you actually know.
·      You’ve gotten almost all your teeth! We’re waiting for you to finish your last four molars (as of now you have two so far), and we’re done with teeth for a few years!
·      You (very reluctantly) kicked the bottle habit, and now you’re eating solid food and drinking drinks like a real little person. We ditched the high chair and you’re in a booster seat at the table. It’s wonderful. You smear food everywhere and you’ve probably ruined my nice, wood table, but it’s lovely sharing meal times with you. And it’s lovely that you sometimes will bring me a cup and ask for a snack. Or bring me a cup and ask me for juice. It’s so much nicer than you standing in the kitchen, wailing, while I guess what you might want.

 You started the “terrible twos” at about a year and a half. You started having meltdowns over things like wearing socks (we have a lot of meltdowns about socks, actually), or getting in the car, or sitting down to eat, or generally doing things that weren’t really on your immediate agenda. And you went through quite an adjustment when Lana was born, too. But, you’ve evened out a bit and I’ve done my best to respond appropriately when your feelings just get too overwhelming. And really, it’s just that you’re SO passionate about everything right now. While wearing the wrong colored socks (PINK socks are for NAPTIME!) feels like the end of the world, it also feels like you’ve seen the sun for the first time in your life every morning when I get you out of your crib. You can be unimaginably sweet. You love to “snuggle,” where you throw your arms around my neck, burrow your face into my neck, and hold on for dear life. You give kisses and say, “sweet dreams!” to your dad every night before bed. You giggle absolutely uncontrollably when your dad or I chase you around the house and “get you!” You love to sing and go on “adventures.” (Although it better be good if I promise you an adventure – you should have heard how upset you were when I brought you to an ordinary playground on “an adventure.”) You sit in the back seat of my car and sing along hilariously to my music. You like Dixie Chicks and Red Hot Chili Peppers. You love hugs, kisses, and tickles. It takes almost nothing to get you to break out into a grin, any time.

You are a delight. You are pure maple sugar candy right now and I wish I could keep you at this age forever. Your light shines so brightly, and I love being your mom. Hugs and kisses to you on your second birthday, with wishes and prayers for many many more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A day in the life...

A Day in the Life with Two Under Two:

I've been meaning to do a post like this for awhile now, mostly just to document it for myself, so I can read back over it two years from now and think about how much nicer life is with older children.

Context: Lana is almost five months; Julia is almost 23.

Lana's been starting to show readiness for a real, actual nap schedule, instead of four 30-minute catnaps every day, so I'm trying to push her for longer morning and afternoon naps plus an evening catnap. I've also realized she's incapable of falling asleep unless she is attached to the boob, which is easy when I'm with her 24/7, but not a good long-term plan. So I'm also trying to create some new sleep associations for her, so she can put herself back to sleep (and stop waking all the way up after each 30-minute sleep cycle). Right now, we're trying to swap the boob for a pacifier and a stuffed puppy.

Julia goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and usually goes to my mother-in-law's house on Wednesdays. Today is Friday so we're together all day.

5:24 - I hear Lana start to fuss on the baby monitor. I go into her room a few times but I'm trying to resist helping her get back to sleep, and she's not crying, so I just stare at her for awhile then go back to bed. Robert is sleeping in the guest room, since it's my night "on duty" and he needed a solid night's sleep. I was pretty hacked at him about this last night, for no rational reason except I was tired too and I was jealous of him, but both girls were quiet all night so I'm in a much better mood. Even though it's 5:30 in the morning.

L - Lana. R - Julia. 

6:20 - Robert comes in to wake me up. I've been just dozing for about the last hour. Normally we'd be up about 15 minutes earlier. But today, my friend A is planning to hike at a park nearby and she generously offered to take Scrappy with her, so we're off the hook for a walk. And, R is leaving about 20 minutes later than usual for an appointment before work. I'm NOT a morning person so I tell motion R to get in the shower and leave me alone.

6:45 - Lana is up for good. I bring her into bed and nurse her. Unusually, she falls back asleep and I get my chance to shower.

Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby in your bed?
7:15 - Julia is up, abruptly announcing herself on the monitor with, "Julia! Awake!" I go get her and the first thing she says to me is, "Milk? TV? Nurse?" Third request is the charm and I nurse her on the couch, while R empties the dishwasher and L and Scrappy chill on the family room floor. Then it's a diaper change for all. R gets ready for work, Scrappy gets picked up for her hike, and Julia watches for school buses and garbage trucks. (Who knew I'd learn to love garbage day so much? Julia is fascinated with the garbage trucks and it just makes her morning.)

"Where's Julia?"
"Julia? Juuuuliaaaaaa, where are you?"
"Julia! There you are! Behind the curtain!"
"heeeeheeeeeheeeee! more!"

8:15 - I sit Julia down for breakfast. Running a little later than usual today, probably because R left a little late, but we have nothing on the agenda so it's no big deal. Lana is getting fussier by the minute. She spends some time in her Jumperoo and some more time on the floor while I'm dealing with Julia's breakfast, but ultimately ends up in my arms at the table, while I stare at my out-of-reach coffee cup.

Psst. Come here. $&%!

8:45 - Time for Lana's morning nap. I use the iPad to lure Julia to the couch in her room. I don't love giving her daily screentime, but it's the only way I can make sure she stays in one place (i.e. safe) when I need to devote most of my attention to Lana. Lana nurses briefly and goes in her crib. I finally take my first sip of that coffee.

"Are you ok Julia?"
"Do you need anything before I go clean up?"
"Alrighty then. Carry on."
In an ideal world, I'd be playing with Julia now, but unfortunately I end up doing morning chores while she's happily occupied with the iPad: clean up breakfast dishes, make lunch, throw in a load of laundry, take out the trash, make beds, etc. I get Julia and myself dressed for the day, take away the iPad to Julia's tears, and do puzzles with her for a little bit.

I make waffles and all she does is lick the butter off of them.
But I did not end up scarfing down those pre-licked waffles straight off the table.
Absolutely not.
Because that'd be gross. 
Life goes much more smoothly when I pre-package lunch ahead of time.
By the time she needs bagged lunches for school, I'll be a pro.
Post-tears puzzles.
9:30 - Lana wakes up from her nap. Forty-five minutes isn't great but it's better than the 30 minutes we were getting before. She's clearly not going back to sleep now so I get her up. She nurses, gets a diaper and clothing change, and we're ready to head out.

Some puppy love.

10:20 - Actually get out the door.

10:25 - We go to PetSmart and Carter's, both just a two minute car ride away and right next to each other. Julia loves the pet store. We walk around and look at all the animals before picking up some treats for Scrappy, totally forgetting to get dog toothpaste, the only reason I planned this errand in the first place. Lana is in the Baby Bjorn, facing out, so I'm assuming she's having a good time but I have no idea. Carter's is a zoo and it's too much to keep both children happy and within eyesight AND shop, so I grab a bunch of clothes and check out. Brilliant plan. I'll sort it out later and maybe come back this weekend to return my mistakes.

The closest she'll ever get to having a cat.
Like she owns the place.

I don't know how there isn't anyone else in this shot. Every time I looked over at the table, there were like 12 kids all fighting for legos and chairs.
And 12 adults nowhere to be found, not supervising their children.

11:25 - We're back home. Lana's looking sleepy and cranky, but doesn't want to rest or eat, so we all play in the basement a little.
Julia has some ham to go with that cheese.
This one's finally getting interested in her exersaucer.

12:05 - Lana loses it. Time for a nap for her and lunch for Julia. I debate what to do with Julia while I put Lana down: whether it's best/safest to leave her playing happily in the basement or put her in her seat for lunch. I opt for the basement choice and periodically upset Lana's pre-sleep routine to check on Julia. Julia's happy as a clam in the basement, and Lana's getting more and more upset. She won't nurse, she doesn't want to be held with her pacifier, she wants nothing to do with anything so after 15 min of trying to soothe her, I finally just put her in her crib with her puppy and paci, and she passes right out. Huh.

This dollhouse keeps her entertained longer than any other toy.
Probably if I buy 75 of them, she'll be able to entertain herself all day. 
I get Julia from the basement and sit her down for lunch. We both eat. I check email on my phone while she eats a yogurt with her fingers.

Before she ditched the spoon.

12:50 - Lana's fussing in her crib. She's got to be hungry by now, so I nurse her and put her back down, wide awake. Julia gets the iPad again for this, much to her delight.

1:15 - Shockingly, Lana's still quiet in her crib. I can tell she's not sleeping but she's not upset either so I take the chance to put Julia down for her nap. I do my best to avoid putting Julia down while Lana's awake, because it just doesn't ever go smoothly, so I hustle us through a book and a quick nursing session. As I'm putting Julia down in her crib, Lana starts to holler.

This happened at some point around here, and I thought it was adorable so I'm posting the pic. I don't know when or why or how it happened though. I just have this photo right here in the series of shots I took today.
1:25 - Lana's acting sleepy and fussy but isn't going back down on her own. I give her the puppy and a paci, and finish cleaning up from lunch. Then puppy and paci again, and throw in a load of diapers. Then puppy and paci and check my email. Every time I go in, her eyes are shut but she's crying, so I think she's trying to get back to sleep but she's just struggling.

2:00 - I finally nurse Lana again and she passes out in my arms. I put her back in her crib. She hollers a little, but with her eyes shut, so I decide to leave her alone. Ordinarily I'd be folding the load of laundry that's been sitting in our family room for two days, or getting dinner together, but I work on this blog post instead.

2:20 - Julia's awake. What? She used to nap for two solid hours in the afternoons but lately that's been getting shorter and shorter. I ignore her babbles and hope she falls back asleep. I spend the next ten minutes laying on the couch with my eyes shut, doing absolutely nothing. Then, it's clear that Julia's awake for good so I go in to get her.

2:30 - I walk into Julia's room and Lana's monitor chirps. But, she's being quiet enough that I can get Julia some milk and turn on Curious George. Then, I go outside and talk to the tree-trimming guys who are going to be working on the forest in our backyard. I get nervous about leaving Julia inside by herself, so I grab her and head into the backyard. Lana's getting worked up but there's only one of me. Finally, the tree-trimming guy (or, "tree man" as Julia called him) is gone and I grab Lana, who is surprisingly sweet as pie and delighted to see me.

2:45 - Diaper changes and costume changes for all. I talk to Robert and decide to head out to the mall for the afternoon. I need to grab some things for the girls and I've been thinking about CPK all day so I'm hoping that works out for dinner.

I don't know when this happened but she was cute so here ya go.
Same here.

3:15 - Curious George is over and I herd everyone downstairs to the car. I'm putting Lana in her carseat and smell something. The next twenty minutes are a blur of poop and snot and tears. (Like blood, sweat and tears, baby-version.)

Everyone looks okay right now...
3:40 - We're all in the car. One of us is in a new outfit, one of us is crying, and one of us is yelling something like, "JUST WAIT ONE FREAKING SECOND AND I'LL GET YOU YOUR FREAKING APPLE SLICES AS SOON AS I FREAKING CAN."

3:55 - We're at the mall. I get what I need to get for the girls (tights and a hair clip for an upcoming wedding, in case you're wondering), and Robert calls to say he's left work early (hooray!) and will come meet us (hooray!). He meets us in the shoe department at Nordstrom (wait how did we get there?).
The lady in front of them was all, "I can see you're taking a photo. I don't know why so I'm going to purposefully look into the distance and appear nonchalant."

Robert takes the girls to the germy mall play area while I run into the Children's Place to see if there are any fall clothes on sale for the girls. There are. :)

4:58 - Lana's fussy, so R and Julia go to Barnes & Noble to play with their Lego and train tables while I try to find a quiet spot to nurse Lana and hopefully put her in her carseat for an evening catnap. While I'm looking for a quiet spot, she dozes for four seconds. Then, I feed her in between her shrieks and hollering (so much for a quiet spot). I walk her around the mall some more to try to get her to nod off, which worked exactly five minutes ago but apparently the four second doze was all she needed.

5:15 - I meet R and Julia in CPK (hooray!). R takes Lana out to walk her to see if he can get her to sleep, and I color with Julia while we order. He comes back, unsuccessful, and our food trickles over to our table. Julia is done eating in about 8 minutes and spends the rest of mealtime standing on the booth, staring at the family behind her. Not my favorite behavior but I'm gonna let it slide as long as she doesn't try to touch them. Lana sits sleepily in her carseat or our arms while R and I scarf down our food. No one melts down until we hit the parking lot - success!

Julia enjoys her dinner while Robert gives it the Death Stare.
6:35 - We're home. Julia's become unhinged by the fact that R drove separately so he isn't home when we get home. Eventually, after screaming about being outside, flip-flops, and a few other very important things, R takes her out for frozen yogurt (and possibly also a pit stop at the store for some wine for me) while I put Lana in the tub.
Yeah in retrospect I feel pretty awful for taking this photo instead of comforting her.
But at least she'll have ammunition when she's in therapy in 20 years.

This one clearly doesn't know what an awful mom I can be sometimes.
I love 'em when they're so sweet and innocent.

7:15 - Lana's clean and cute. She's also way tired and it's a struggle to get her to latch on for her last feeding of the day. Finally, I succeed, laying down on the floor with her, with her puppy on top of her. Whatever works.

And totally not right next to Julia's toilet.

She eats briefly and falls sound asleep. I put her in her crib and head out to see R and Julia, who have just gotten home. We connect briefly and then R takes Julia back to do her bath. She melts down because she thinks she's never going to see me again, despite this being the routine. That we do every. single. freaking. night.

But she recovers swiftly with a pair of shoes. Atta girl. :)

8:00 - Lana wakes up again. Despite it going against all the "sleep training" I've been attempting, I pick her up and let her nurse again. Mostly, I'm concerned that she didn't eat well before bed because she was so tired, so I'm hoping to get a little more into her for the night. She falls asleep almost immediately so back into the crib she goes, hopefully for good this time. Robert's giving Julia a bubble bath and gets her into pajamas.

8:15 - I head into Julia's room to do bedtime with her. She's like, shocked and thrilled to see me, despite the fact that this happens every. single. freaking. night. But she's sweet. It's not like it's bad having your little girl be delighted to see you. We read a few books together, she nurses, she drinks some "cup milk," I brush her teeth, and into her crib she goes.

8:45 - I work on this blog post until Lana hollers again and scares me. I decide to head away from her room and prowl for that wine.

On my way to wine, I end up doing laundry, restocking diapers, and a little bit of housework. Normally R or I would do some general picking-up around the house, but it's Friday and we're both beat so not much happens in that department tonight. I show Robert all the clothes I got for the girls today. (Upon evaluation, I did better than I thought, so I probably don't need to make a separate trip to return anything. Score!)

9:15 - R and I finally make it to the couch, drinks in hand (and fro-yo for me too!) to watch tv. We end up chatting until almost 10, then watching some stupid tv.

All sorts of win and my favorite part of the day.
11:02 - We've finally closed up the house and we're in bed. I'm sleeping in the guest room tonight (hooray!) and Robert's on duty with the kids. I'm a night owl so it's a struggle (every. single. freaking. night.) to get to sleep at a reasonable time. I finish up this blog entry and look through some photos (Lana is looking more and more like Julia the older she gets!). And finally get my sleepy self to sleep.

A good day. I'm pooped, but that's the norm. Overall, it's constant crazy, but I like it. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I can't stop....

Oh my goodness I can't stop taking pictures of this baby! *love*

She has her hands in her mouth for 90% of my photos from this session.

I'm actually holding them down below this shot.

Ah! They escaped!
Maybe we'll try this position...

Hands: win.

Mom: fail.
It's so funny when Mommy fails.

Hah hah hah.

If the hands can't reach the mouth, then the mouth will have to improvise.

"Thank goodness you took off that headband!"

She can still look plenty sweet without it.


Lana Pics

Yet another photos-only post. Lana almost has the hang of the jumper so maybe one of these days she'll let me type for more than 30 seconds at a time. In the meantime, here are some pics to make my family smile. 

She's getting expressive. Not especially verbal, but she did just realize she can gasp and wheeze, which is awesome for Mom and Dad.

Yes I know you have cradle cap, dear.

Girl rolls over back to tummy like she's been doing it all her life.