Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall Fun

Our friends Mikey and Kacy were kind enough to invite us to go with them to her parents' lake house this past weekend to enjoy some fall fun.  Our other friends the Thompsons came too, and it was wonderful to have some time out of our dark diaper cave of a house with some great people.


On Saturday, we went to a local farm in South Carolina (Denver Downs) where they have a giant corn maze, hay ride, and other such fall fun.  The other two families went last year, so we were excited to go too!  


It was your typical Southern October day - 85 degrees and sunny.  That little baby was a sweat machine inside the carrier! 
The farm was great - the only problem for us was it's not exactly the best for a 2 year old.  Harper is at that irritating stage where she can run around and have fun with the older kids, but isn't quite big enough to safely do all of the other things they are doing.  She just wanted to join in on their fun, but her paranoid mama wasn't quite ready for that.  I did let her go down the giant slide by herself, and luckily Mikey caught her here or she would have busted her face.  I was taking photos.... #parentingfail




 So there were lots of meltdowns and stroller screams while I fed the baby and sweated to death.  BUT it was still a lot of fun!  And it was fun watching the older kiddos in our group have a blast!

hi pumpkins.

The pumpkin patch was a safe activity, and we spent a lot of time there.  I loved how many there were.



We went on two horse carriage rides and one hay ride. 







Harper got to play in the corn box.




After that we had lots of time back at the house, where the children all played together and the adults counted the minutes until bedtime.  Kidding.  Not kidding...


I never want to wish the time away, neither daily or with each stage, but man.  This toddler.  She is such a handful right now!  A beautiful, mind boggling, wonderfully crazy handful! 



She knows the word "share" - and uses it by screaming it in the face of another kid whose toy she is snatching.  It's bad.  There were plenty of ugly screaming fits and redirection.  We are trying to figure out the balance between ignoring tantrums that will fizzle quickly and time out and actually disciplining.  Ugh.  We just don't want to have "that kid" who everyone is wary of! Harper really is such a sweet, social girl, so I know this phase will pass as long as we're consistent and diligent about it.  And I know she's just 2.  But hey, the positive is weekends like this are great practice in working with her!  And our friends are awesome and understand.  

We got to go on an evening boat ride (thanks Barb for watching Quinn!) which Harper really liked.


We forced the menfolk to swim with the insistent children (cold.).




Oh yeah, Quinn was there too. :)   Man, babies are easy.  As long as you can feed them and give them a safe place to sleep, they are the easiest thing ever.  Remind me to go back in time and tell Claire that 2 years ago. 


 The weather was perfect for sitting outside and staring at the water.


  

It was a great weekend and we were so glad to be invited!  I'm a sucker for all things fall, so this was a great way to celebrate! 


All of the kids, none of whom are looking at the camera.  Typical.  :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quinn: One Month



My Sweet Quinn,

You’re one month old!!  How did this happen so fast?  One minute, you were a squishy little newborn and the next you are our big girl who is growing so much each day!


I felt like the first two weeks of your life went by slowly in a way – I would be going about my business and realize – wow! I had a baby only 12 days ago!  The thing is, I felt good and you were doing so well and it was amazing to think that you had only just been born.  There was a bit more of a learning curve when we had your sister!  And that’s the thing – your birth was such a blessing – we had been waiting on you for so long!  But when you were born, life still went on.  Your sister went to school and there was a schedule to keep up with and dinner to cook and messes to clean up.  We didn’t have time for life to stop, but I think you’ll be better off for that anyway. 




You fit into our family so perfectly.  From the minute you were born, I felt a confidence with you I hadn’t felt last time.  I knew how to hold you and feed you and stop your tears.  Sure, I haven’t gotten it right every moment, and sometimes I just don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, but this mom thing the second time around is so much easier.  And you’ve made it even better by being such a wonderful baby. 



Your first two weeks, it took a little bit to get you settled to life as an outside baby.  We had you sleep in our room in the pack and play, and every 10 minutes, it seemed, you would wake up and cry out and I would feed you just to settle you.  I was in and out of bed so frequently, that by one week old, we decided it was time to start a schedule, both for your sake, and mine!  It took only one night of letting you cry through these little outbursts in your own bed for you to learn how to settle yourself - really you just cried for about 20 seconds before drifting right back to sleep.  After we began in earnest to have you sleep most naps and all night in your own bed, you did so much better and we felt human again with a bit of sleep!!   And ever since then, you cry when you’re hungry – and that’s pretty much it.  You haven’t had one time where you were inconsolable or crying for no reason.



You’re on a 2.5-3 hour feeding schedule, depending on what time of day it is.  We have your schedule matched up to your sister’s, so we can take her to school and pick her up, and you both nap at the same times in the afternoon (yay!).  At night, you can go from a dream feed at 11pm until 4 am, when I have to wake you up to eat again.  Then you sleep until 6:30am, when I wake you up to eat before the Harper tornado wakes up and I can’t focus solely on you.  You’ve been eating so well from the beginning, with a sharkbite latch just like your sister (ow.).  Once again I am so grateful to have a big baby who is a good eater.  That makes life so much easier!



You’re a smiler!  



From about 3 weeks old, you began socially smiling sometimes when you were wide awake and really focused on my face.  It’s the best!  I had no idea it was possible so early, but you’re doing it!  You like to be propped up on our legs where you can look at our faces.  You get a happy look on your face when we clap your hands or move your arms around.  You’re starting to make eye contact more and more and even turn to the sound of our voices in a room.  You’ll stay awake for about an hour each time, including your eating time, then it’s back to bed.  



You’re really laid back and go with the flow.  Harper loves to dote on you, which can sometimes mean pats that are a little too hard or pokes to the eye, but so far you’ve been very tolerant.  The only things you seem to not like are being swaddled (I do it anyway) and your car seat.  Just like your sister, you seem to not like to be pinned down – you like having your arms free to wiggle away. 



You’re growing!  Your face fills out more each day, and already some of your newborn footed pajamas are too short.  You haven’t lost any of your fine, jet black hair that you were born with, and I love running my cheek across its softness.  You have squishy little cheeks but your arms and legs are long and skinny.  You have two tiny little red spot birthmarks at the very top of your little butt.  You love to wrap your long fingers around mine.  When you’re waking up, you stretch and yawn in a way that makes you seem like a tiny little adult.  You snort when you’re hungry and squeak when you’re in that stage between waking and sleeping. 




We love you so very much already Quinnie.  We can’t wait for you to keep growing and becoming more and more active and alert.  Harper is ready for you to come chase her!  But I will relish this newborn stage.  You won’t be in this tiny, sleepy body much longer, as I now know all too well how fast babies grow up.



One Month Stats:
Weight: 10lbs (72%)
Height: 21.75 (84%)
Eats: 8 times a day, for about 30 minutes
Sleeps:  After every feeding
Play:  Looking around!
Clothes:  Newborn mostly, 0-3 are a bit big on you

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Things I'm Liking Right Now

This is mostly an update dump of sorts, of things that I have been rolling around in my brain lately (with what little power there is left in there - sleep deprivation is real, y'all).

Things I'm liking right now:




  • My Babies

This one is a given.  Sweet Quinn is 4 weeks old as of yesterday - which is astounding.  I felt like the first two weeks stretched out forever (not in a bad way - in a good way actually - I felt so good and kept thinking to myself - I just had a baby two weeks ago!) but now it's almost been a month and I can't believe how the time is already flying.  It's hard for me to believe sometimes that I have two children - two daughters!  I don't feel old enough or capable enough or grown enough - but oh they are such a blessing.




Harper continues to be a great big sister!  Not once have I seen her act anything but sweet to Quinn.  Yes, I watch her like a hawk and often have to pick Quinn up to avoid her getting kicked or love squashed ala Lennie's mouse in Of Mice and Men.  Harper calls her Quinnie, which comes out a gutteral "kwunnie" and loves to help me wake her up or change her diaper or any other thing.  She gets upset when she cries and shouts "kwunnie cwying!" and says "Is ok is ok" over and over.  She loves to pat her back and help me by bringing diapers or toys or to "share" food with her sister.  I love that she loves this baby so fully, so quickly.  I know they will fight but I really hope this is the start of a best friendship.


  • Big Girls


Harper is really showing us how grown up she is lately.  Undoubtedly, it's the comparison factor, but she astonishes me daily by how much she is growing and learning.  Each day she will randomly say a word that I haven't explicitly taught her or identify some object or string words together in phrases and I squeal in my proud mom voice "that's right!!!"  Then she smiles a very proud smile and runs away, a temper tantrum likely right around the corner as she is at that oh-so-fun mercurial age.  


She loves school and gets so excited running through her litany of school related words when I tell her we are going - school! friends! church! (she uses that word for school interchangeably) backpack! share! fun! slide! paint!  When I drop her off, she runs right up to others to play (she is very social) and doesn't want to leave when I get there (although she is quick to sprint to me to say hi).  


She is imaginative and creative and is still absolutely in love with reading.  I created a little nook in her closet where she can read, and when I notice things have gotten suspiciously quiet, I usually can find her in there, intently staring at a book (or playing in the trash, one of the two...).  Harper is up and down, for sure, but the ups are starting to win out and she's such a sweet, funny, happy little thing.  

  • Sleep Schedules

I'm going to try to write up monthly updates for Quinn like I did with Harper, so I'll save my details about her for that.  But this week I'm very much appreciating sleep schedules and the sanity it gives me.  I understand that this is a hot topic and everyone has an opinion and a preferred way of raising their babies - we all do what works for us, right?  We did Babywise with Harper and loved it and she responded so well - she's an excellent sleeper and is mildly well-adjusted now ;) It took work at the beginning and some sacrifices so she could be home for most naps in her own bed, but we think it certainly paid off very quickly.  She nursed great for nearly a year and was happy and active and thrived on a schedule. Win win win.  

So we started things off pretty quickly with Quinn as well and I love the peace that scheduled feedings and naps bring - to both us and baby.  It's also helped me coordinate the two kids so I get a little quiet time during the day!  Quinn's doing so well on a loose 2.5-3 hr schedule and is waking up once during the night at about 4 am (ha but that means feeding her at 11pm and then again to wake up at 6:30am so...).  I am pretty exhausted but I think it's just the past 4 weeks catching up to me.  Otherwise, I can't really complain about getting a good 4 hour chunk of sleep each night!

We are so very lucky too that she (so far!) has been a very easy baby.  She cries if she gets hungry, but that's about it!  We are so grateful! 


  • Baby Smiles
(ha! she looks like a gopher here)

Call me crazy, but Quinn is social smiling.  I put this on Instagram and a few others said their babies did as well this early, even tho the internet says it won't happen for a while.  These aren't gas or poop smiles - these are real-deal smiles when she's alert and focused on my face.  She even smiled at Harper's Minnie Mouse doll.  It's maybe the best thing ever.  I wouldn't believe it were possible myself if it hadn't happened so many times now.  Of course, I can't catch it on camera since she is distracted immediately once I pull the phone out! 






  • Modern Medicine
It's official.  My body hates being pregnant.  While I have been blessed with not having any serious pregnancy complications either time, I have been blessed with numerous little pregnancy annoyances that have ranged from 20+ week morning sickness, gallbladder issues, gestational diabetes, kidney stones, and other things that I don't care to mention on the internet.  

Well, I can now add to the list - ridiculously itchy and all-consuming full body rash.  I had this one itchy spot on my chest the last few weeks of pregnancy, and about a week postpartum, it bloomed into a full out rash that is literally everywhere on my body with the exception of my face.  Seriously, it's terrible.  It's insanely itchy, leaving little hives everywhere.  I'm covered in bruises from scratching too hard.  The dermatologist thinks it's hormone related.  My consultation with Dr. Google leads me to believe it's something called prurigo of pregnancy.  They gave me a cream, which is helping... slowly but surely.  It's drying it out, which is making my skin feel burned.  I've had to wear fully-covering clothes, since the cream can't touch the kids' skin (and I look scary!!) which is awesome in 90 degree heat! It's been miserable and I'm ready for it to be gone.

AND THEN I came down with a high fever and body aches, only to discover I have a pretty significant kidney infection!  Yay! At first, the doctor told me the only antibiotic they would be able to give me was not compatible with breastfeeding.  I definitely was upset about that - it would mean a week plus of pumping and dumping, not to mention how it could affect our nursing relationship for the long run... I was pretty bummed - but the alternative was possible sepsis.. so... ok.  But luckily they figured out a penicillin/pill combo that seems to be working and is ok for nursing.  THANK goodness.  Yay medicine.

Baby 3 is gonna be a hard sell.

  • eBook Rentals
Our library has had eBook rentals for a while, but I only checked it out (get it?) recently.  I have nursing time on my hands lately, and I was sick to death of refreshing facebook over and over again.  I've already read three books on my phone in less than two weeks, which is so exciting since I hadn't read anything at all lately and missed reading.  There aren't a lot of great choices yet, but it's better than nothing.


  • Phones

Speaking of phones, Tony and I lucked out in that our phone contracts always line up with the release of the new iPhones, which was how I got my new 5 two years ago right when all of the cool kids were getting it.  (I am so not one of those people who has to have the newest greatest thing - when I first got a smart phone I purposely got an Android so I wouldn't just be following the trend... and then I realized it wasn't that great... but you get the idea.)  This year was no different, and we were able to get a good deal on a new contract and technically get the new phones for free since we are sending in old ones.  I was having major battery issues with mine, so I am so glad to not have it die on me at 11am.  We preordered them and they showed up at 10am at our door the day they came out, so my question is why do people stand in line any more??  Also, Tony is excited to have his first smart phone ever (I don't count our short stint with Blackberries... because... they weren't that smart).  He's used his work flip phone this whole time (and gets teased for it often) and now he finally has a personal phone (and emojis!  the world is a better place).  I'm just glad we can fit it in the budget for him. We've always understood that phones like this are a luxury - a want, not a need - and would cut them if we had to pare down our budget if things got tight.  But I'm glad he finally gets to be spoiled a little.

  • Food!
All I've done is eat since having this baby.  I'm constantly starving/possibly bored.  Despite eating all of the things, I'm actually down 5 pounds under where I started prepreg.  Again, gestational diabetes, you were the worst... but thanks!  


  • Actually Cooking Said Food
I've been so domestic lately!  I meal planned last week, trying a few new Pinterest recipes.  I even prepped/cooked most of the meals!!  If you know me, you know that's something.  Tony does the cooking around here.  I am the worst at it.  But mostly I crockpotted, so that was helpful.  :)  It was kind of fun to plan out meals and try some new things and actually feel like I wasn't dumping so much obligation on Tony when he got home from work.

FYI, here are some things that were good!
-Potato Soup (not healthy, but good!)
-Greek Chicken Gyros (really good!!  and super easy!  we bought a dill/cucumber dressing instead of making the tzatziki sauce, but still)
-Lemon Chicken Skewers (great marinade recipe - and will be Whole30 when we do that again)

and not meals but
-Berry sauce (easy, and great on waffles or in oatmeal or yogurt)
Pumpkin yogurt cake (mine came out more wet than cakey since I made some minor substitutions, but it was great)

Hooray for actually doing something with some things I pinned.  This will probably get its own post, but I'm really proud (?) of myself post-baby this go-round.  Last time, I really struggled to adjust, especially since I was newly SAHM and didn't really know how to move into that role... and did next to nothing helpful at home.  This time I'm cooking and cleaning and getting things done - woo!  

  • FALL!
Yes, me and the rest of the world.  I'm a sucker.  And today it actually felt like fall, which was incredible.  The sky is clear, it's a balmy 82*, and I've got the pumpkin candle burning nonstop.  And of course, I've had a few PSLs.  (and duh people, who really thought it had pumpkin in it before that viral article about it spread all around?)  I even got out my fall decor today - which is saying a lot, considering I've totally slacked in the decorating department over the past few years.  I've got high hopes for this season - it better not let me down!


Anyway, just a taste of what's in my head these days.  Enjoy your week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quinn's Newborn Photos

It's All Quinn, All the Time around here lately.  But what did you expect? :)


We recently got newborn photos done with Quinn, and added some family photos in there too.  Harper threw the biggest fit ever of her life that morning while we were there (she had a bit of an adjustment period after the baby was born...), so it's a miracle there are decent pictures of her!!  Quinn was a week old and decided to be awake and screamy for most of it, even though she had until that moment never been awake for more than a few minutes at a time.  It was funny - Harper was the same way - wide awake in most of her newborn photos.  While you can't get those squishy sleepy baby pics as easily that way, you do get lots of wide-eyed shots, which I love just as much.


For you local folks, we used Jill Childs Photography. She was excellent and patient and timely and great - I'd definitely recommend. 

Call me vain, but this might be my favorite: 



There are 20 and I'm subjecting you to them all.  


 This is the smile of a kid trying to roll a wagon and her sister away.



This one cracks me up.



Quinn was screaming while Harper ran rampant through the poor photographer's house.  But the picture is pretty!


I love this one.  Real life.  Harper trying to console her crying sister.




Those lips!!



I love this one too.  This kid makes some funny faces.








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