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.