Business is Good

 

Today was my favorite day of the week.  It’s my day off work and I get to hang out with my monkeys all day long.20130731-202548.jpgThis is our resident cardinal.  She starts tapping on a window in my bedroom about 0630 every day.  She makes my “sleeping in” slightly less luxurious.  She does this all day long, and she has a friend who desperately wants to come in the door to our living room from the back deck.20130731-202556.jpgShe sits on the ledge, taps, then launches herself into it with her wings spread from a nearby lilac bush, then flies back into the bush to do it again. I’m seriously considering just leaving the door open to let them in because I think they want to be our pets.20130731-203121.jpgWhen this guy hears it at the breakfast table, he says: There’s our cardinal!  He helped me make muffins this morning.  He loves to help in the kitchen.  Sometimes helping means dumping lemon zest all over the counter.  He’s awfully cute though.20130731-203134.jpgAfter Jordan took her morning nap, she would not leave her car seat alone and kept trying to get into it.  This girl loves to go go go.  So I said, Great! Let’s go to the park because it finally stopped raining! (it seems far more likely to rain if I am off work.)20130731-203146.jpgWe are in the picnic business, and business is good.20130731-203217.jpgUm, hello Momma.  It’s about time we moved along, don’t you think?20130731-203159.jpgOkay, Boss Baby.  To the swings it is!20130731-203501.jpgI pretty much feel like the luckiest mom ever whenever I get the chance to push them both in the swings at the same time while they laugh and smile.20130731-203227.jpgThen we came home, took naps, I tried to clean, had dinner, made cheesecake, and soon it was time for stories.  Eli actually tries to tell the stories to Jordan. It’s so sweet.20130731-203537.jpgFollowed by a rousing chorus of Two Little Monkeys, Jumpin’ on a Bed.  This photo is actually from a couple of nights ago, but you get the picture.  Jordan is just thrilled to have a guest in her crib.

20130731-204724.jpgAll in all, a pretty great day off.  Now to clean that kitchen….

Baby Gravy

Woah. Super long time, no post. That work life balance I’m trying to achieve is kicking my tail lately. Does it matter that I have unfinished posts in my draft folder waiting for me to upload photos? No, I know better than that.

Basically, there’s just been a lot of stuff that’s been requiring my attention, and this is pretty far down on my priority list at the moment.

Anyway, no time like the present to do something. So I’ll tell you what makes me feel better about serving Chinese takeout for dinner tonight instead of a home cooked meal:

1. I’m eating dinner with my kids
2. Eli made me realize what fun we could have with chopsticks! On his own, he placed two together and said, “This is a Y”

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So I said, What other letters can you make? (open ended)

X!
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T!

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I!

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V! (upside down)

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So then I said, Can you make a K? and he said, “I need one more.”

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“Now I can make an A!”

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I was having so much fun, I accidentally fed this one a few spoonfuls of Springfield style cashew chicken gravy out of the tub I was dipping from in place of the homemade organic baby purée I had prepared for her. Yup, mom of the year, right here 😉

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She LOVED it.

4 Months

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3 months

Month 3 was the month of vocal development!  This girl can coo and ahhhghh and goo her face off.  She loves to talk with people.  She truly tries to have conversation and is much more enthusiastic about it than her brother ever was.  I guess it’s the female thing.  Whether at the breast or bottle, she will interrupt her meal to rattle off a string of noises as she stares into the eyes of her dinner companion and smiles.  She uses various intonations and volume, as if she’s really trying to emphasize a point.  She even bats her little lashes at the end of a “sentence”.  Skills.  Ladies are born with them.

4 Months

4 Months

In the fourth month, she became even more “talkative” and much more interested in what her brother is doing.  She’s also become more interested in reading books and has started smiling at the pictures.

Speaking of sibling interest, Elijah has taken a lot more interest in her since she became able to do more than eat, poop, and take attention away from him.  It’s not perfect, and he has spells of jealousy to be sure, but overall it’s much better.

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Can you believe there are only 22 months between these two adorable specimens?

Can you believe there are only 22 months between these two adorable specimens?  What a difference it makes!

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This is what you have to put up with when you have an older brother. Robots on your head. This passes for parallel play at my house.FebMarch2013 570 FebMarch2013 589 FebMarch2013 590

Miss Jordan is just really getting to be a lot of fun.  It’s hard to capture her smiles on camera, but she gives us plenty of them.  She seems to be a very good natured, happy little lady, and for that I’m very thankful.  I tell her, “pretty is as pretty does”.  By that old saying, she’s very pretty.  She loves to talk, to listen, and to cuddle.  She just wants to be a part of whatever is going on, and is happy to sit in a lap or in a bouncy seat and take it all in.

One of my favorite little things about her right now is the way she acts when she wakes up.  She is sleepy when I go in to get her, squinchy eyes, etc. as anyone does in the morning. A bit of drowsy confusion.  What I love is that she launches directly from this state to one of excitement with a huge smile on her face as soon as she sees me.  It’s absolutely the best.

Sleep Progress Weeks 9-12

Though a bit delayed in posting, I thought I’d update on sleep progress.  Life is pretty good right now in the arena of baby sleep.

Week 9

During the latter part of this week, I felt like Jordan was outgrowing the 2.5 hour meal interval thing, so we went to a combo 2.5/3 hour routine, which she settled into well.  For the previous 2 weeks, it seemed her metabolism had regulated to eat about every 2.5 and she was waking happily on her own, pretty much like clockwork.  When she started sleeping through and needing to be woken for meals again, I thought she was probably ready for a change. During this time, her last meal of the day was at 1930, then she was waking pretty consistently at 0100 and 0430-0500 to eat at night, then waking at 0700-0730 to start the morning and eat.  She would sometimes wake around 0300 also.  What this translates to for me: 2-3 night wakings before I get up for work.  Doable, but not ideal.  I’m glad I took notes because this already seems so long ago!

We went to go see Meghan, James, and Hunter for 2 nights this week!

We went to go see Meghan, James, and Hunter for 2 nights this week!

Week 10

My last week at home.  Bittersweet.  I tried to enjoy every last drop.  Got in lots of cuddles with Jordan and made 2 batches of cookies with Eli.  Marcus was gone this week so he could be in Columbia for my first week back.  Jordan seemed ready to go longer between meals, but I didn’t want to change too much because it was my last week at home.  We went to a solid 3 hour routine.  I had this feeling that she would do a 4 hour just fine, but I didn’t want to mess with what we had going on, which was predictable (predictability is kind of the whole point, in my opinion).  I was also hesitant to change up the day when she wasn’t sleeping through the night yet.

How did he get to be big enough to sit on the counter and eat apples?!?

How did he get to be big enough to sit on the counter and eat apples?!?

Momma, are you *sure* you can leave me?

Momma, are you *sure* you can leave me?

Week 11

My first week back at work.  Jordan’s naps went well and she fell asleep easily for them, with just a couple of exceptions.  In general, repositioning, patting, and singing helped her settle in.  When the naps required some intervention, it was always 45 minutes after falling asleep.  When she did sleep again, she would sleep till the next meal, often needing to be woken, and I felt confident that all was well.  Her routine as follows:

0500 eat –> back to sleep

Eat again at 0800, 1100, 1400, 1700, 2000 with wake times progressing from 40-65 minutes throughout the day.

Waking 1-2 times at night before 0500

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Week 12

This week, Jordan was waking up happy at 0700. The rest of the days went well, going down easy for naps and sleeping and eating well.

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Week 13

Things started to go a bit awry this week.  She was more often waking up mid-nap and needing a lot of patting and rocking and so forth.  She gets more and more “conversational” every day, and I think it’s really a social thing for her.  Rather than letting her get up and socialize, if she doesn’t calm easily with patting, I move her to the swing in her room to finish her nap.  This seems to work out well.  On my day off, I just start her out in the swing during the nap that coincides with Eli so I can nap too.  Score!  I needed it.

So...you think you can get me to sleep?

So…you think you can get me to sleep?

Night wake  ups became more frequent, and she was not interested in eating.  Sometimes, she would wake and just “squawk”, making noise, but not really fussing.  Sometimes it would be more of a fuss, but then she would go back to sleep if I didn’t go in the room.  If I didn’t go in, it didn’t progress to crying, and she would go back to sleep.  She never acted super hungry when she did nurse or otherwise gave me reason to later think that food was the issue.  So she was going from 2000-0500 without eating, but rarely sleeping solid for that whole period.

Week 14

Feeling confident that food was not an issue, I decide to play hardball at night. Here’s the deal:  Jordan got to a point where she would fuss or cry, and nothing would make her happy in the middle of the night (nursing, rocking, holding, singing, swinging, cuddling in my bed) except getting to leave her room, have the lights on, and stare at me or her daddy.  She’s kind of always been this way.  Well, social hour at 0300 is just not going to work for us long term.  Plus, the up at night business was beginning to cause issues with daytime sleep.  She was waking early but still tired, and having more trouble settling into sleep.

I finally decided that if she was going to cry even if I was holding her and rocking and trying to nurse her, that there wasn’t much point into going in to hold and rock.  She’s old enough and smart enough at this point to know to cry in order to get the result of leaving the room. At least that’s what it seems to me.  So, we didn’t leave the room.  For 4 nights, she would wake and I would either walk in to make sure she was okay or check the video monitor, but would not pick her up and walk around.  I would pat her bottom, tell her it was time for sleep, and leave the room.

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Then, she slept.

The wakings became less frequent, the fussing became less and less, and then she stopped altogether.  After 4 nights, she began to sleep through the night consistently, and so could I.

The days got better too.  She began waking up happy for her meals, settling easily for naps, and sleeping through them well.

Week 15

The only real change this week was that since she was needing to be woken for meals again, we switched to a combo 3/3.5 hour routine.  She was very happy with that, and so was I because I didn’t have to be quite so rushed after work for her 1700 meal because it’s now at 1730, like this:

0800, 1130, 1430, 1730, 2000

Still sleeping at night, with my waking her at 0500 to eat before work.

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Week 16

Started out okay, and became another lesson in wake times.  On Monday, the day went well, but started with 90 minute wake time (whereas she had been tiring after 40-45 minutes in the morning).  The rest of the day continued to have progressively longer times, but went relatively smoothly, according to Kathy’s notes (which she is AWESOME for keeping, by the way.  One of the MANY reasons I love her).  Jordan was fussy that evening and slept poorly that night.  Tuesday was a little hairy.  Kathy said she’d never seen Jordan so tired and fussy and upset (she’s generally very happy).  Wednesday was my day off and I tried to get things back on track. Things got progressively better through the rest of the week and by Friday evening, she was settling down easily again and I felt like my baby was back to herself.  Hooray!

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Currently…

So that’s that.  Since then, things have been pretty smooth sailing and I get to sleep at night.  We’ve entered the era of “sweetness and light”, as I like to say.  Baby sleeps, things are easy, and there’s just nothing but love there.  Life is good.

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I probably won’t be doing another detailed series like this because I feel like things have stabilized and there’s not a lot to say.  I don’t know if anyone will find it helpful, but I did it as much for my own information in the future as much as anything else.  It’s truly amazing how much you forget!

I’ve had a lot of people comment about how happy, mellow, and content both my kiddos were, and I’m often asked what I did.  So there it is.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  That’s what works for me.  I don’t know if it will work for you, but it’s worked for me twice now on two very different babies.  If you are struggling with baby sleep, I hope you find what works for you, too.  I welcome any questions or comments.

Snowy days with Eli

That stupid groundhog was right. This winter has been a doozy. Last week and this one have been challenging due to the weather, and have left me longing for the days when “snow day” applied to me.

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See, now that I’m a grown up, I still have to go to work when it snows. I also happen to have a job that while awesome in many ways, doesn’t accommodate for weather. I really lucked out by having last Thursday as my scheduled day off. Had I been working, I would have been stuck and had to sleep at the hospital. Not fun. I’d rather snuggle my babies.

Around midday, the streets in my neighborhood were awash with pedestrians who left their stuck vehicles and continued home on foot. Many cars were stuck on our street. Stadium Boulevard was littered with abandoned vehicles, and snow plows were stuck in ditches. Pretty crazy. I wanted to be able to help the stuck cars I saw, but I had two little ones to attend. So I did the best I could by making hot chocolate for E and myself and watching the thundersnow blizzard happen.

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I got great ideas about all the fun we we would have in the snow. However, my little man did not like the idea of putting on snow gear. Not being one to force the issue on optional recreation, I let it go and thought that if he saw me outside playing, he would want to join in. No go. I ran and jumped and threw snow for his amusement as he watched from the front window. He was delighted by my antics, but still refused to come outside. Stubborn little booger. I like to think he’ll be resistant to peer pressure because modeling play behavior has no effect on him whatsoever. Go your own way, my Fleetwood Mac child.

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Here is the snow pile I walked past on Friday morning on my way into the hospital. This is serious stuff.

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This week: Enter Daddy.  Daddy takes no prisoners.  Daddy wrangled him into his snow outfit and we all went outside and played in the snow.  Whether we liked it or not.  We mostly liked it.  “I like it!” is one of Elijah’s big phrases right now.  Has been for for several weeks.  Recently though, we’ve been experiencing the closely related, though less pleasing, “I don’t like it.”

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Love through food

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Eli was lying on the floor of my bedroom, reading the letters at the bottom of this poster. When he was done, I told him what it said.

He replied, “that’s momma’s picture! She hanged it on the wall!”

I said, yes, what do you think is going on in that picture?

“It’s two people! They like each other.”

What do you think they are doing? (It’s a self portrait of the artist and his wife. Presumably, he is sketching while they cuddle together)

“They are eating. Two people who like each other are eating. They are snacking!”

And there you have it. Wades give and receive love through food. From the mouths of babes.

2 months

Two months go by so fast with a newborn.  Much like how I felt I after welcoming Eli to the family, I feel, in a way, as if we’ve always had Jordan.  I know it sounds strange.  Believe me, life is different with two.  Things are a lot different than they were 2 months ago, but it just kind of feels like she was always meant to be a part of our family.

Merry Christmas from the Wades! 12/25/2012...Jordan's due date.

Merry Christmas from the Wades! 12/25/2012…Jordan’s due date.

She’s a smiley, happy little girl.  She’s very social, and wants to be a part of the action.  She just loves to look around.  At times, she has this soul-penetrating stare that I never saw in Eli when he was a newborn.  Even when she was brand new and very sleepy, she would look at us with a very direct gaze for an extended period.  The term “old soul” has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  It’s seriously like she’s been here before or something.  Then, just when you think the tiny creature somehow knows all your secrets, she’ll bust out one of these:

sleepysmile.jpgand seems like a totally normal baby.  She was smiling before we left the hospital, and had me convinced of a social smile in under a month.  What a treat!  She smiles a lot, but it’s hard to catch it on camera.  I mostly just try to soak them in in person.

Christmas dressShe’s pretty laid back about most things.  This is her Christmas dress.  She was precious in it, but the glitter was unfortunate.  It did NOT shed in the store, or I would not have purchased it.  But it did shed on her and she had glitter bits stuck in her neck rolls for a week.  I promised her I would not put her in a ridiculous dress again until she requests it.  I had my baby doll moment, and it’s been soft cotton jammies ever since.

One distinct difference I noticed between her and her brother: a certain ambivalence.  I don’t know if it’s a male/female thing, or just a two different babies thing, but she’s much harder to read.  When Eli was hungry, upset, tired, or overstimulated, I felt like I had a very good read on his cues at two weeks.  With her, sometimes I’m not sure what she’s telling me at two months.  I’m not sure if she knows!  She’s more like, “oh well, yes, I guess I could eat….okay.  If you insist….on second thought, I’ll just smile at you and then stare into your soul.”  It’s awesome, but it’s definitely different.

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She’s also MUCH more cuddly, which is wonderful.  I’m guessing she’s going to be very friendly and social.  She’s just very interested in other people and what they are doing.  Physically, Jordan is pretty strong, I think.  She can raise her head and shoulders up off the floor and wiggle around a fair amount.  She will turn herself 90 degrees in the crib when she’s on her back.  She’s just much more mobile than I remember E being at this age.  We think she’s a pretty awesome little girl.  Okay, on to the picture progression:

1 week

1 week

1 month

1 month

2 months

2 months

2 months

2 months

Isn’t it amazing how fast they grow?

2 years

2 years ago, Marcus and I welcomed this sweet little guy into our family.

Our first photo together.

Our first photo together.

I used to say that he was the best thing we’ve ever done, but I can’t do that now that he has a sibling 🙂  BUT, I will still maintain that having kids is the best, most exhausting, and without a doubt rewarding thing I will ever do.

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4 months

Elijah is such a blessing to us.  He is so sweet, smart, fun, and active, and I just continue to enjoy watching this amazing little person develop before my very eyes. I feel so fortunate to be his momma.

16 months.

16 months.

To see his face light up when he figures something out, to hear him laugh at something he loves, to listen to him read stories to his stuffed animals, and talk to his “lovies” –which he calls “lubbies” (break.my.heart) before he settles into sleep each night.

13 months

13 months

To hear him say, after bedtime prayers, “nigh nigh, see you ‘morrow.”  To meet his many requests for stories about a variety of characters and activities.  So blessed.

reading

4 months

He still loves to count.  He also loves to read books, play with letters, play peek-a-boo in all forms, and be thrown in the air, hung upside down, spun around, you name it.  Selfishly, I love the extra opportunities for cuddles that reading books allows.

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With Great Grandma Wade, 6 months

Though not much of a cuddler, he is very friendly and affectionate.  He gives hugs readily and sincerely.  He is excited when we see people he knows.  He’s quite the flirt with anyone who will humor him 😉  He’s very logical and reasonable, in a 2 year old way.  His face looks serious much of the time, but he will break into a megawatt smile at the drop of a hat.

10 months

10 months

grad

My MNA graduation, 15 months

Eli was born on a Friday, and as the nursery rhyme goes, “Friday’s child is loving and giving.”  Don’t get me wrong, he’s a toddler and he has his moments, but this kid likes to share.  With everyone from his family to children he’s just met on the playground or at the library.  It warms my heart to see what I think are the beginnings of a generous nature.

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With Daddy, 13 months.

I adore hearing his voice calling me if he is looking for me in the house.  I don’t think he said “mama” (or much of anything, really) regularly until last August, so it’s music to my ears.  Although he was a little late, once he started talking, it was leaps and bounds.  I know his pronunciation is not the most clear to people who don’t know him, but I’ve been amazed at the range and depth of his vocabulary, as he’s really only been talking for 6 months or so.  Lots of words, including articles, prepositions, and multiple verb tenses allow an increasingly complex sentence structure.  It’s amazing just to watch language develop from the ground floor.

Eli's baptism, 6.5 months.

Eli’s baptism, 6.5 months.

I love hearing new ways he’s come up with to express a thought, and I’ve been touched by the occasions on which he’s expressed empathy for his little sister before he was even 2 years old.  Despite my best attempts, there is clearly (and understandably) some jealousy there, but I think he’s already shaping up to be a good big brother.

Holding Jordan's paci, 22 months.

Holding Jordan’s paci, 22 months.

My boy, my sweet angel, my first born…Thank you for making me a momma.  I wouldn’t trade it for all the late nights, sleeping in, and pre-baby body features in the world.  I love you!

9 months

9 months