Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10 months

Wow! A little girl can reach a lot of new accomplishments in just a month.

Nora is now waving! And she even waves bye bye when I'm getting ready to tell some one good bye on the phone. - As in,  "hurry up mom, i've waited long enough for your undivided attention." She is also very proud to give high fives and is working on the art of the fist bump.

She said her first word " banana" - this of course in addition to mama and dada.  She let go a roar of a Banana when I was getting breakfast together and I gave Elijah a banana after first offering it to Nora.  It was if she was saying, "NO! Give it back! That banana is Mine!"  We've also heard the occasional "spoon"

Other words she can say "Bye bye" and "Uh-oh"  My favorite is when she purposely hurls objects to the floor, leans over and says - uh oh.  I knew my girl was going to be a talker.

She's becoming more able to communicate all around.  And is picking up on some baby signs we've been using - most regularly she'll sign "all done" when she's in her high chair.

She's still not a big eater and prefers to scavenge for her food under the table once she's signed "all done"

She got her 3rd tooth this month.  She's pretty steady in that once one makes it's way to the surface she starts on the next.  Teething has been no fun for this girl and she makes it well known to the world that she is not happy.  I recently bought a food mesh thing that we put an ice cube in for her to chew on.  It's been a life saver and great invention.  Along the same note, I now understand - fully- the term "cry baby." Though I am thrilled that the screaming phase is over and greatly prefer the crying to the screaming.  She gets really frustrated when she's tired and sometimes cries when her brother scares her.  We really can't blame the girl - she just wants to be known and protected from brother induced falls.

She's gained so much control of her body this month - She's on and off riding toys, in and out of our outside play car, and is standing up and cruising around furniture.  I saw a commercial recently that said something about your baby only being a baby for the first year- that's not true, right? I get at least a solid 18 months of baby-ness.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

9 months

Mom, why am I holding this bag of cat food? Are we getting a cat?

We are absolutely not getting a cat.  I need no more mammals to take care of at the moment.

Nora has a second bottom tooth.

Finally she has mostly stopped the screaming! One very smart lady suggested baby signs and we've started using some.

She's also recently realized how great her dad is and enjoys daily daddy hang out time.

She is totally not into solid foods, which is way different from her big brother by this time.  She's holding steady around 18 lbs in the 50% for weight and somewhere in the 90% for height.

After some wavering she's back to 2 naps a day usually though sometimes she'll sneak in a 3rd around dinner time.

She'd lost interest in standing for awhile but now back to it thanks to a standing toy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

8 months

So, I'm a month behind in posting her 8 month accomplishments - but that's only because I got behind in taking her monthly photos.  So below are Nora's happenings when she turned 8 months.

She's crawling! fast! She began 1 week after turning 7 months.  So a full month earlier than Elijah.  We discovered her first tooth July 19th, the day before we moved.  She began pulling to standing days before turning 8 months.  She is a big drooler and puts everything in her mouth.  Elijah did neither.  She also has an affinity for electrical plugs....  She's still screaming and screeching and some days our ears ache from the pitches she hits.  Right now it's her mode of communication and we're still working with getting her to express herself in (ANY) other ways.

She crawls with one leg tucked under her and when she gets really scared she flies like lightening into our laps.  Once when she was in the bath tub I turned the faucet back on to add some warmer water.  she basically crawled up me while in the bath tub.  She moves fast even in water :)

She does not like baby food as she has a delicate palate- She's not really big on solids in general.  Now she gets what the family is eating either in bite sized bits or ground up in our food mill.  I still have some jars or bananas on hand in case we're eating, say, peanut butter honey bread... She loves yo baby yogurt, grahams crackers, and egg yolks.

 She's a big moma's girl. 

Eli & nora are becoming big pals.  They'll chase each other (eli crawling around too of course) and love to play in his room together.  This is good because it will eventually become their room in about another year or so.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

7 months

Nora girl is oh so close to crawling as of reaching her big 7 month milestone.  She rocks back and forth and back and forth revving her engine.  I know when she finally starts moving she's going to fly!  She's already doing this sort of semi scoot to get where she wants.  And we can no longer leave her in one spot and return to find her there moments later.  Now we often wonder - "How did she get there?"

She's pretty regular with her self-imposed 9:30 bedtime and is still taking a good long afternoon nap with brother from 1-3 or 2-4.  She always seems to sleep longer and better if I nap with her which is an added bonus for me twice over.

She's eating some solids.  She's not to fond of much yet.  Except she will eat bananas and avocados.  I've tried a little bit of lots of jarred baby food with her like carrots, squash, etc since we're moving this month I've not been as on top of making her baby food like I was with Elijah.  But I'm hoping to return to that once we get settled.  We're pretty big on baby-led weaning and table foods anyway as opposed to billions of baby food jars.  Another thing that is different with her is that I am not to concerned with introducing x before y or only 1 new food every few days.  Eli never had a problem with any foods and food allergies don't really run in our family - we've been doing just fine with this new laid back approach.

We've got 2 new games - she loves playing peek a boo with her brother.  And, she is quite the vocalizer (still screetching and screaming to my chagrin) so to encourage her to lower her octave I will cover her mouth so that she makes a babbling sound.  She loves this and will root for my hand if I stop our game too soon.

We've had a fun couple months and attended two weddings; one with/ one without kids.  Childcare was a hassle to work out, but I must say attending a wedding without kids is way easier and will be my preference in the future!  We also spent a good part of this month vacationing with Rob's parents in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and also packing up our lives and house in Knoxville, TN.  Poor girl,  I know we moved a lot when Eli was little, but I'd love to be giving her more attention than we've been able to lately.  The good news is she's always close to us.  Even though we may not be playing with her as much as I want to, she still stays quite attached to us as she pretty much spends her waking hours in the Ergo with either me or Rob toting her around.

This is a very late 7 month pic after we moved into the new house.  She's in her farmer overalls and pictured with the jams and preserves that my mom brought me and my 2 boxes of tomatoes that we canned later that day.

Eli at Two and a Half

This little boy is amazing.

All in all he had a stellar transition into our new home and surroundings.  We worked hard to talk often about the new house and Lexington.  When we first started talking about the new house, he thought we were saying "blue" house.  So we began talking about life in the "red" house and leaving the "yellow" house.

He did grab onto the concept of new eventually, however.  Now whenever he sees kids he doesn't know he'll look at me and say, "mom, new friends?"  He also has talks about "new big house" - our new church and "new baby book" - our new library.

We left some great friends of his in Knoxville.  The ones he talked most about seemed to be Ruyi, Jordona, Ellie, and Granny & Pop.

The evolution of my name over the past year or so has gone something like - Ma, Ma -ie, Ma- My, and currently I am MomMom.

He did not really talk much at all before this summer.  But now I hear, MomMom followed by whatever happens to be on his mind at the time all. day. long.  Friends said that's how it would go with a late talker.  Overnight changing from maybe a word here or there when prompted to 4-5 word sentences. He concentrates very hard and deliberately chooses each word as he forms it.  If we decipher his tonal language correctly - he smiles and gives an adorable half nod.

For awhile it's been a tradition that when we go grocery shopping Eli will get a free cookie and milk.  These are affectionately known to him as "Moo-Na" (drink with a cow on it) and "Dobie" I have no idea where the name dobie came from, but it refers to all cookies.

I've tried to be the type of mom that does not limit sugar.  Seriously, we don't have a lot of sugary snacks in our house anyway and I never wanted it to be an issue or fight.  So when people ask if he can have a cookie or candy or whatever, I always say yes and get Eli to say Thank you. But I've had to start monitoring sugar intake and he has become addicted  to chocolate milk since a recent visit from a certain Grand ma (you know who you are mom)  and I've had to start denying poor pathetic pleas at bedtime for  "ya-co-lat milt"

He plays great with sister and they are good buddies. Though when she first started learning to sit up Eli's cry of "baby down" sometimes wasn't entirely by accident....

Elijah loves, dinosaurs, diego & dora, Hops (rabbits) of all kinds.  Rides in the stroller.  ADORES stuffed animals and insists on sleeping with ALL of them (20ish) in his bed.  Sometimes I check on him and he is completely covered in stuffed animals.  He HAS to be ouside or "Outyide in the Yard" as much as possible.  Loves to "wing" in the "bu wing" or "geen wing" at his new house.  He's not big on coloring - but loves to read books.  He gets REALLY excited when he watches TV and shouts out the names of all the characters and jumps as they pop up in the opening credits.  This is especially fun when he's watching Sesame Street or Dora.

He calls his carseat the Black seat.While we drive he points out "ers" (cars) and "yucks" (trucks).  And tries to describe them by whatever his vocab will allow - mostly color or animal pictured.  My favorite combo was shouted with glee a few weeks ago, "nack yuck" a little debbie truck went wizzing by.

He knows his colors and shapes really well.  Can identify lots of letters and can count pretty well, though it goes something like 2, 3, 1.

He knows right feet from wrong feet most of the time and is very pleased to announce to me.  "Mommom- Mee shoes on wight feet".  Mee shoes being of course his Mickey Crocs.

He has now learned how to talk about his first emotion which is cool.  he'll ask, "Mom? Happy?"  yes, mom happy - I'll reply.  "Me, Happy!" he'll exclaim often.

He pretty much refuses to say his name or age .... to anyone.  If you ask his name you'll receive the answer, "ME!"

He's about to start preschool 2 days a week. Tues/Thurs from 9:30 -2.  He's very excited to "do stool day" - Go to school today.  Especially since he knows that Daddy goes to school everyday. And now asks me frequently, "mom, Daddy stool day?"

He still loves being loved on.  My boy will let me give him tons of kisses as he fake protests.  He loves to snuggle and be hugged.

I would say he has 3 favorite places - the library (story time), church (playing with kids in the nursery) and the play ground.  My guy can run, jump, belly swing ("MomMom, I'm flying yike Ming Ming"), slide, crawl back up the slide, scale the spiderweb rope thing, and climb up the toddler equivalent of monkey bars - which makes my heart race and my head light.

I'm going to give potty training a go next week since we are settled in our new "red" house and we'll see what comes of it.... I think he could have been ready long ago but I was lazy and feared regression with an upcoming new baby and impending move.  With that out of the way we're ready!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

6 month update

The 6th month picture out on the deck!  

Whoo hoo - this big girl is 6 months old already!  At her 6 month check up she registered 15 lbs7 oz and 26 inches long.  Little girl is tall!  Her weight is in the 50% (much smaller than big bro) but she is in the 95% for height.  Her 6 month blood test revealed a bit of an iron deficiency but that is no surprise 1. because I often have low iron and 2. Very little iron gets through in Breast milk.  So, we're going to pick her up a multi vitamin, but probably the introduction of table food alone is solving the problem.  She'll be checked again at 9months for anemia.

She is staying strong with her 3 naps a day.  One morning, one during Eli's nap time, and another inconvenient one as I'm trying to get dinner on the table.

On her list of accomplishments, as is evident by the above photo, Nora is sitting up!  And very well balanced at that.  She began sitting up the week that I worked at VBS a week before turning 6 months.  She smoked all the other babies in there with her mad sitting up skills.  She and Eli both really enjoyed VBS.  I think Elijah would definitely benefit from a mother's morning out program.  That is first on my list once we get to Lexington.

About a week after she turned 6 months we started offering solid foods.  Her firsts were banana and avocado.  I completely skipped the cereal this go around.  Nursing is still going strong.  We've tried giving her a bottle a couple times, but she most adamantly refuses - so I hear.  She'll take a few dramatic sips so as not to starve to death I'm sure.  And then, hold out until I get home.  She also completely ditched her pacifier around 4 months as well.  I really tried to get her to like it.  Especially offering it on car trips, but she rarely took it - preferring to scream instead.  I'm not sure how we're failing on this point.  I've heard of only a few other babies that have refused these things all together like my two seem to have.

She's still screeching.  We tried to curb it as much as possible and redirect her to lower octaves.  But, I can already tell, she's going to be a talker and a playground squealer.  She's begun clinging to us when we pick her up.  Wrapping her arms and legs tightly around our necks and waists.  I love this little monkey stage!  I now can wear her on my back in our Ergo.  I love this because I can function more normally and she, as always, enjoys being along for the ride. 

She's also learned that she can sometimes muster toys out of big bro's hands and also pull his pretty blond locks.  With her new sitting ability the world is opening up to her and she is playing better than ever.  Sometimes Eli gets a bit too rough with her and accidentally knocks her down.  After which, he'll run over to us pointing and yelling - "baby down!" "baby down!"  Unfortunately, sometimes her downfall is caused by brother as well.  Other times, I have to ask.  Needless to say, the word "push" has entered Elijah's vocabulary.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

5 month update

5 months have flown by.

Little girl is an awesome player, as she gets more control over her body movements she is able to reach for and oogle toys more and more.

Along with this new stage, she seems to be taking shorter and shorter naps and waking more to nurse at night than before.  She is however, settled herself into a 3 nap a day schedule.  With her first nap just about an hour after she first wakes in the morning.  You're right little girl, Elmo is exhausting! 

She's now out of the bassinet and into the crib and she has broken her way out of the swaddle for good.  Oh my how I love swaddled baby's.  Poor Eli cried too much before we learned the power of the swaddle.  Thank you "5 S's" for saving our lives these past 5 months.

One new aspect of Nora's behavior is a bit troublesome - she screeches, shrieks, high pitch squeals.  However you put it - it hurts our ears...literally.  We haven't figured out yet if it's teething, separation anxiety, or just her.  We're trying our best to nip it in the bud for the sake of all our ears, including Eli's.  He'll walk over to her and say, " no, baby."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4 month update

4 month mug shot - sorry no smiles today

she's 4 months old, folks!

Accomplishments this month:
Little girl can roll over both ways!  She surprised us all by rolling over one way and immediately flipping her self over and rolling the other way.  She doesn't prefer to roll, mind you.  It still surprises the heck out of her each time she does. 

As we hit the 4 month marker I can't help but start to think about how soon 6 months will roll around and we'll be introducing solid food.  So far this girl's growth is all me - and I can't help but think how cool that is.

She is super sweet & she already shows so much love for big brother.  She is a talker and she tends to use her voice and babbles as a way of joining in on brother's fun since she can't get up and over to him all the time.  As the second baby, she know's nothing of controlling our day or schedule - that is still all brother.  Sister tags along only.  She goes everywhere Elijah and I do whether she wants to or not - Baby bookworms, park, zoo, grocery.  This however is making her quite the easy going traveler.

At her 4 month visit, she weighed 14lbs 3 oz and was a bit over 25 in long.

We celebrated Easter this year with some neighbors & a low country boil.  Nora mostly slept through the entire party swaddled in a scarf on the screened in porch floor amongst all the hustle and bustle.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life's Happening

So I took a little break from blogging.  If you hadn't noticed.  I think mostly it was only my mom who did!  We've been busy actually living life not so worried about documenting it.  However, weeks (and months) began to pass - and as we all know babies KILL braincells and this blog is my only hope of remembering anything about my babies lives or ours together.  (Seriously, Rob has to remind me about things from my own wedding and even babies births')  Awful awful memory I have.  It's a blessing and a curse :)  So when I'm old and gray, snuggled under a blanket I've made out of eli & nora's old baby clothes (don't even think I'm joking - I'm already saving my favorite onesies), I can remember all the funny pronunciations and developmental victories and long long days of sweeping graham crackers and scratching dried banana off of doorways with my finger nail - ahh, memories.

Before I begin posting the onslaught of drafts of nora's 4-5-6 months of life and a very grown up 2 1/2 year Elijah post, I hoped to catch up family and friend-family on our own lives.

Welp - I guess the biggest news is that we are moving to Lexington, KY at the end of the month.  Rob is beginning a PhD in Economics in the fall at the University of Kentucky.  UK was a great choice for us as it hosts the Center for Poverty Research.  Rob hopes to influence through writing, research, and teaching how poverty and justice issues are handled at the community and national level through an economic lens on the poor and marginalized in our society. We are so ready and excited to begin this next chapter of our lives which we didn't anticipate beginning for a few more years.  The program lasts 4-5 years, so it's very likely we'll be leaving Lexington with a rising kindergartener and second grader!

Along with this move, of course comes the grind of actually - physically moving.  Ugh, I hate moving.  I hate it with a most intense passion.  Some well meaning innocent acquaintance recently asked me, "do you like moving?"  After she heard how much we'd moved in the past 5 years.  To which I replied, "no - but we're good at it."  And, it's true.  This move has been a bit easier so far than the past ones.  The ease of this move coupled with Nora being so little and Eli freaking out whenever I pull out another box; however, has pretty much cancelled out any noticeable gain from our mad packing skills, though.  Several friends have given us boxes, and we've got a truck reserved for the 20th of July.  Our house is sold and we've bought a beautiful home in Lexington.  We'll close on both the same day.  All in all, we're taking care of business.  It's tough, but I keep telling myself, the worst will be over in a month.  And not to over-dramatize or spiritualize, but we feel like God is continuing to call us out and down our path to learning how to love like Jesus and bring his Kingdom closer.  I'm more excited about Lexington and the work God has for us there than I have been in a long time.  That makes the move, the stress, and then transition all worth it.  Or, worth it most days.

We've held several jobs between us over the summer.  Rob worked at Lowe's for a little while and became the reigning Lawn and Garden Specialist in our family.  We really both enjoyed him working there, the only tough days were when he closed and missed our bedtime routine.  But, I saw him more while he was working there than I had in awhile - It was awesome for our family.

Meanwhile, I've continued with teaching Bradley Classes and doula-ing with Open Heart Doula right up to the end of our time in Knoxville.  I am awaiting my 27th Bradley baby's arrival having taught 54 Bradley students while in Knoxville just over a year and a half of teaching.  Our whole family was quite busy recently with my last two doula clients giving birth just days apart from one another.  I am so thankful for this role serving moms and families.  I'm still hoping to attain DONA certification and possibly IBCLC certification to become a lactation consultant.  With our young family, however, this is a long term endeavor that I'll chip away at slowly over time.

I've already scheduled my first few classes in Lexington and am excited to begin again there.  I don't expect to take doula clients right away after our move.  I really feel like we need to settle in a bit first and get used to our new surroundings and schedules before adding the unpredictability of birth to the mix.

We're really going to miss our neighbors and friends.  A lot of the couples I had in class became good friends and we couldn't have asked for better neighbors in our neighborhood.  We became a part of peoples lives in really cool ways here and we are praying that God has more things like that for us in Lexington as we use our gifts and abilities there.  I've made Eli a shutterfly photo book entitled, "Eli's Big Move - from Knoxville to Lexington"  It's full of all his favorite things and people in Knoxville.  I'm hoping to take some of the confusion and anxiety of moving out of the equation for his 2 year old brain.

Below is a sneak peek of our new home in Lexington.

Front porch and yard

Back yard chicken coop and fire pit

Swing set for Eli and Nora Cate

Monday, April 2, 2012

How Deep The Father's Love for Us

( Holy Week 2012)

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Sunday, March 18, 2012

3 month-date

We have arrived! Officially 3 months old and out of the newborn phase. It is bitter sweet, but oh man, you really can tell when you've turned a corner. And these brief periods of respite before challenges of the new age arrive are so restoring.

I recently packed away the kids winter clothing and Nora's layette. It is really difficult to say goodbye to this phase, everything certainly is moving too fast the second time around.

Baby girl is a mover and shaker. She kicks, squirms, wiggles and is even trying to sit up - that or do baby crunches. I believe she has discovered her feet, or at least that she can move then and reach toys with them. She is constantly in motion. She also is entirely vocal. She adores being talked to and enjoys coo-ing back. She makes the best faces and sounds.

She has recently begun to love her toys and takes her time at the baby gym seriously. The sun in one hand, elephant shaker in the other. She's getting a real work out these days. She is also even more into following Elijah around. She's seeing pretty well these days and can follow his darting movements a little better than when she was a younger gal. She has also developed an affinity for TV. It doesn't matter what's on- though she prefers Cat in the Hat.

She's still an awesome sleeper. And I credit a reprieve in gray hairs to my getting more sleep than I ever dreamed possible with two little ones. It also seems that she is settling herself into a bit of a daily rhythm which is also cool. She's pretty flexible and easy-going; she's my "take along baby".

We had a short battle with thrush and a momentary stall in weight gain that spurred worries in me of my pediatrician wanting to supplement. He, however, was not at all concerned with the stall. He said she looked perfectly healthy and let's just wait and see. "But she's supposed to gain an ounce a day" I shouted. Turns out babies do grow in fits and spurts - she gained a whole pound last week alone and all worries of a skinny baby are over.

She remains a completely different nurser than Elijah. She does not linger over her meals and often does not want to nurse to sleep. When she's done - she's done and if I try to coax her to eat a little bit more, she screams. She wants to eat and then go about her business.

How I love toothless baby faces!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nora's two month update

The little girl turned two months yesterday. She is a smiling, coo-ing body of wonderfulness.

Seriously, I don't know if she's just that different of a baby than Eli, or if Rob and I were just clueless with him. Nora is a super easy baby. She is sleeping about 6-7 hours at night, which honestly makes anything and everything during daytime hours with 2 little ones much much easier to handle.

Nora began coo-ing and smiling about 2 weeks ago - and it is as wonderful as I was anticipating. She loves watching big brother. I like to think it's because she loves him already and is interested in what he's doing. Though, it is probably equal amounts of self-preservation as it is adoration. She's been hit with footballs (foam - but still I know it stung) and had matchbox cars driven over her face. She's going to be one tough preschooler one day.

I can tell very easily now that she recognizes her immediate family and is more than happy to see Ma's face when she's hungry.

She is an absolute dream.

Some things that have made this time around easier. A pacifier. I swore Elijah would not have one - and he didn't. By the time I realized there may be something to baby's having pacifiers he would not take one. This time, it was the first postpartum baby product we bought. She doesn't take it often and she doesn't sleep with it at night, but it comes in handy when she does want to take it.

Second thing, A book called, "The Happiest Baby on the Block." I so wish I had this book when Eli was a newborn. The doc's 5's work magic on Nora and our lives are all the more peaceful for it. His whole premiss is that baby's need a 4th trimester - I've read about this idea before by other authors - and the 5's mimic the environment of the womb. Swaddling, Shushing, Swinging, Side and the icing on the cake suckling. She's no match withstanding all 5 at once, she'll calmly fall asleep in minutes. It's like a party trick going from screaming baby to ... silence. Third thing, her cradle swing. If grandma lived next door, we may not need this baby item. But it was a consignment store steal and provides hours of contentment when there aren't extra arms to rock in the rocking chair. Some days she's in it a lot, other days not at all. But the days that she does need the extra attention it is very helpful.

4th thing, my electric steamer I got for Christmas. I love clean floors. 2 year olds hate clean floors. It has been an epic battle which I lost. hard. I considered getting a dog, just to keep my floors slightly less than gross. But now, I can save myself the vet bill and the hassle of a 4th living creature to care for with this contraption. It is amazing and makes my floors sparkle in about 10 minutes. It's has perhaps surpassed my love for my dust buster with it's ease of use and quickness.

modified tummy time - the only way my little ones will do it. Also they apparently need to be wearing chic french hats.

*Update- Nora Cate weighed 12lbs9oz at her appointment on Feb20

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elijah is 2!

Oh man, life is good. I think I understand bible verses now that talk about how children are a reward and gifts from God. 2 year olds - aside from temper tantrums - are wonderful creatures.

Elijah is way cool to hang out with. He feels like a little family member and is great company for me. I enjoy being around him.

He has about 30ish words - though he uses them quite sparingly. In fact, it took Rob and me a few days to compile the list and we stretch what we counted as a word. For instance, err is car. Sometimes it does feel like we live with a foreign exchange student who is trying to learn our language, but mostly just points and uses the same words for pretty much everything. Some of his favorite words are -

naa - horse
baa - sheep
nink - drink
noyunk - "oink" pig
Mee - Mickey Mouse
bye - in a sweet southern 2 syllable accent
grrr - bear, lion, tiger, etc. or play with me
i stuck - Eli's only phrase and his most useful one at that.

He loves Mickey Mouse, as you'll see from his birthday party pictures and has learned or perfected some things from watching the show. He can "tip toe tip toe tip toe" like Mickey and at the end of the show he gets up and does his own version of "The Hotdog Dance." His interpretation is skipping in a circle. Mickey also gets him to jump up and down a lot somehow.

Eli loves music of any kind, especially live music. He immediately starts dancing around and even has different types of dances to fit different music styles. He really enjoys our nightly jumping on the bed time. This ritual began when Nora was born as a special sister free zone for Elijah. Now he often gets on our bed when he wants to play with us or get extra loving. We'll wrestle him on the bed, let him bounce around, and rough house as much as he wants. Usually we do this before bedtime, but often we'll be in another room of the house and hear, "GRRR" coming from our room as an enticement to come and play! He also really enjoyed all the outdoor lights at Christmas and now gives a play by play during drives. He'll point out other cars (or errs) and say, "wheee" or "bump."

He still enjoys baby sister and doesn't seem to remember a time when we weren't carting her around with us as well. Now, he really likes to put his face in the way of her flailing arms and hands. Once contact is made he'll exclaim, "Oww!" and laugh. Yeah, right brother - no way that hurt! He kind of accidentally jumped on her a week or so ago. He was jumping and tried to Evil Knievel his way over lil sis. Luckily, he angled his jump and all but cleared her feet. I was right beside her and have no idea how he moved so fast. It startled her and I learned to stay between them, being right next to her is not enough to protect newborn Nora. Besides that instance, he's doing really well with gentle touches and learning to touch little sis with an open hand. Previously, he liked to knock knock on her head or torso. (it's a bad idea to play the pretend sleep/wake up game with a toddler if you're expecting a baby) He liked to knock knock on little sister to try to wake her up. He also loves to kiss Nora, though I also have to watch that. He seems to come in a little forcefully. yikes. little sister's going to be tough.

His favorite game is probably the book pointing game. He loves to look at points and either I'll point to an animal and he'll say what the animal says. Or, he'll point to a picture and I'll say what it is. He could (and does!) play this game for hours..... He also has started to interact with other kids even more. He still largely plays independently during play dates, but we see him starting to play with other kids. That is really neat. Last Sunday, Rob heard Eli laughing in his room from down the hall. When he got to the door, they told Rob that Eli and a little girl had been engrossed in a game of chase for the entire morning. Elijah loves his Sunday school class and skips down the hall on Sunday mornings to class. He loves that they go out to the playground pretty much every Sunday and tries to talk us into taking him back after church. A playground, by the way, is known as Wee. We found this out after walking to our car after church one morning. As we approached the play ground Elijah's cries of "Weee!" got louder and louder. As we passed the playground, his cries got sadder and softer and quieter, "weee..."

Below are some pictures from Elijah's birthday party last Saturday!

Our attempt to recreate a picture of Rob and his mom and Rob's 2nd Birthday which was also Mickey Mouse themed

Even though it's blurry, this is one of my favorite pictures!

A close up of my first (great) attempt at a birthday cake. I impressed myself.

our only picture with Nora - she slept through the party with my mom watching her

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nora Cate is 1 month old!

This past month with Nora has been wonderful. We love our sweet baby girl.

One of the best parts of having a newborn again is remembering Elijah at that age through Nora's expressions and sounds. Some of her same cry faces I remember vividly as Eli cry faces. It was hard in some ways to go back to newborn days though. I looked at Rob one night and held Nora up and told him, "She doesn't know anything!" "She can't do anything cool, yet!" Her kind daddy took up for her and said she knew a lot... and she'll do fun stuff with us one day. Rob also says her cuteness is a survival instinct. I tend to agree. I think I actually heard that in a college sociology class.

I am shamelessly waiting so impatiently for her first real smiles. Oh, toothless grins send my heart over the edge and make all the work of a newborn more than worthwhile. Her little flutter smiles help me bide the time until then.

She is a strong girl - holding her head up for small bits of time since she came home from the hospital. I'm guessing she'll be close to 10lbs by her 1 month appointment. (Update! Turns out Nora was 10 lbs 12 oz at 5 1/2 weeks!) Sadly, she's already grown out of her teeny tiny newborn clothes and is into the 0-3 month ones. She is a WAY WAY easier baby than Elijah. And, I think a good bit of that is Rob and I are at least somewhat smarter...

For instance, little girl has to cry longer than Elijah ever dreamed of. After 2 secs of merely a "wha" with him, he was in my arms and I was feeding him, changing him, or soothing him. This girl is told many times a day as I attend to the needs of both babies, "hold on, little sis", "reign it in sister", or "get in line baby girl - mama's moving as fast as she can." I also allow my self the opportunity to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, or pour a glass of water, whether baby girl is crying or not. I don't think I went to the bathroom until Eli was 5 months old. I'd hold it all day until Rob got home just in case Eli started to cry. I was sure he'd suffer from some awful disorder if he cried longer than 1 minute - With Nora, I've relaxed a lot. It is for sure, little sister's growing up in a different world. Often times by the time I do get to her, (which let's face it may be an eternity in newborn time - but in the real world it's only a couple minutes while I change Eli's diaper or get him a snack) Nora will many times have worked it out.

This girl can also sleep through the biggest of Eli noises and patiently suffers his good-natured smoother kisses, wake-up pokes, and hand holds. Can't fault a brother for loving his sis. Poor girl can't keep a hat on her head. Hats draw in Eli like moths to a flame. He gets a crazy look in his eye and darts over to her and yanks off the hat like it was offending him. I'd love to know if it's some sort of capture the flag game in his head.

She sleeps like a champ and I am following my mother's advice to, "Never wake a sleeping baby." When I told her I was waking Nora Cate up every 3 hours to eat, she said, "Girl, you're grandma would tell you to leave that baby alone and let her sleep." After the first 2 weeks, I've stopped waking her up at night and Nora's gone for a good 5 hour stretch for a couple nights. This is vastly different from our experience with Eli.

We did have a rough week, week and a half of sleepless nights. Nora Cate seemed to be having some gas, reflux, colic tummy troubles. I thought, oh dear, here we go again. But, we discovered a homeopathic remedy called Colic Calm. It changed our life.

It's seriously the best product in the world as far as I can tell.

It was so much fun to have a Holiday Baby. We really enjoyed Christmas festivities in a different way. We put a low priority on cooking and baking, i.e. we did none. We ordered a honey baked ham picked up sides from Kroger and called it a day. Done and Done. We focused on taking care of babies and having fun. We went to the train exhibit at UT gardens Christmas Eve, church Christmas morning, and to see lights one evening. We bucked current tradition and opened presents Christmas Eve so we wouldn't be so rushed Christmas morning. We also played a rousing game of find the belly button stump Christmas Eve, eww.

Baby girl may dislike having her birthday so close to Christmas in the future, but for us this first year it was a blast. We were able to have so many family and friends come and see us over the holiday weeks. There was a relaxed, cheerful, holiday spirit all around: at the mall, on tv, and the people around us. We really enjoyed our new tiny baby during the Holiday Season

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

StomachBug 2012

Our family is just getting over being ravaged by StomachBug 2012.

Elijah got sick Thursday of last week. It took me down Saturday morning. And Rob fell victim Saturday night. Nora Cate, thankfully, made it through unaffected. This was the first time Elijah was aware of his sickness. Poor guy didn't like having a bucket shoved in his face at the first sign of a gag. At one point Rob carried him from the bedroom into the living room holding the trashcan. Elijah started gagging and Rob held the bucket in front of him. Eli said, "no no no" turned his head away from the bucket and into Rob's arms. The end result wasn't pretty. It was nice that Eli had a clear tell of when sickness was about to strike, though. Right before getting sick, he'd come over to me and say, "Ma?" in a sad little sweet voice.

This virus also marked my first real time of having to significantly split my attention between 2 very needy little people. It was really difficult and at times heartwrenching to see Eli feeling awful and wanting my comfort so much and also have little girl crying with her many needs as well. Ugh, I'm glad this past weekend is over.

Monday I spent clorox-ing, lysol-ing, airing out, and washing. I'm determined we won't pass this nasty bug back and forth. So far - so good.

If I wasn't before, I'm now completely exhausted. There should be some marker for over the door which keeps viruses out of homes which contain newborns.

Things I've now learned :

-2 year olds don't like to throw up in buckets.
-Gloves are a must for cleaning up after 2 year olds who don't like to throw up in buckets.
-Sprite, gatorade, and pedialyte should live in our basement for easy access.
-It's not pretty when we all drop like flies.