Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 In Review: Felicity and Clare

Name: Felicity
Age: 2 years 10 months
Height: 36 inches
Weight: 35 lbs
Clothing Size: 3T

Favorite (Felicity is very resistant to the idea of choosing a favorite of anything, which I find sort of endearing, so I ended up answering these from my perspective so you didn't have to read "all of them!" 5 times in a row)
Food: peanut butter
Show: Paw Patrol
Activity: playing with mama
Book; any Berenstain bears
Friend: probably our 5 year old neighbor, Marshall (I actually did ask this one and she said "all my friends" followed by "my buddy Marshall").

In 2017
I want to learn: a wipey (clearly she was confused by this one lol).
I want to go: to the museum (she said a dinosaur museum... not sure where she got that from but we will do it!). 

Name: Clare
Age: 9 months
Height: 27 inches
Weight: 19 lbs 2.5oz
Clothing Size: 12m

Food: Shepherd's pie and sweet potato casserole
Show: Not currently interested
Activity: Eating inedible things
Book; Good Night book with animals you can pet
Friend: her sister

In 2017
I want to learn: to walk! (I'm guessing.)
I want to go: wherever my sister goes (again... guessing :) )

Friday, December 23, 2016

Goodbye, My Sweet Kitty

Yesterday we said goodbye to our cat, Buttercup. It was awful. Horrific. But blessedly fast. Yesterday around 4, when Felicity was napping and Steven was out running errands with Clare, Buttercup came up beside me on the couch, which she normally does when she knows both kids are out of the living room. But, she couldn't settle which I thought was just the slightest bit odd. She jumped down and went over to the Christmas tree and I just watched her for a second. I realized that her sides were moving a LOT when she was breathing, like she was having to work really hard. I decided to call the vet and hopefully get an appointment for today so that we didn't go into a holiday weekend with a potential issue. The vet tech asked if she was open mouth breathing. I stood up to look at her and, not only was she breathing in with her mouth open, but she then tried to hide under the Christmas tree skirt which is entirely unlike her. The vet tech said if I could come right then, they could see me, and that she was showing signs of pain or distress. My heart sank immediately and I just had this feeling that it was the end.

For the past 6 or so months, Buttercup has been showing her age. She's always been very kitten like, playing with her beloved fuzzballs, playing at night, coming up to me for love, but that's all slowed down. She's 14, so it didn't surprise me, but it's been a bit of a sad realization. After I noticed her breathing funny, I remembered that she hadn't eaten much of her wet food for 2 days in a row, and had missed the litterbox a couple days ago. Adding all that together, I just knew it wasn't good. I tried to get a hold of my neighbor to come sit at my house while Felicity napped until Steven got back (I immediately called him to head back), but couldn't get her. So I woke Felicity up and rushed her and Buttercup into the car. I text my mom and sister and a couple friends to pray for me to make the right decision. I tried to keep it together as I drove, for Felicity's sake.

As soon as we got to the vet, they got us right in... another sign that this wasn't good. Thankfully Steven got there about 5 minutes later and I sent Felicity with him and told him to come home. I didn't want her to see/hear anything just in case. The vet came in and was able to draw fluid off her chest cavity, which he said is what was causing the breathing issues. He analyzed the fluid and said there were cancer cells, likely lymphoma. He offered treatment to reduce the fluid, but I knew that didn't make sense for her. Obviously the lymphoma would take her at some point, and I didn't want her to end up in a ton of pain, or have some horrible episode while I was home alone with the kids and I'm trying to drag all of us to the vet and, worse, put her down with the kids there. I knew that for all of us it was best for it to happen then. I of course started crying and the poor vet gave me a hug. Even though I was prepared for this option going into the appointment, I just couldn't shake the feeling that in minutes my sweet cat would be dead.

I got Buttercup in 2007 when she was 5 years old. I wanted a persian really badly and she came up on my petfinder search at the shelter near my mom's house. I called my mom who went to visit her, and the first thing she saw when Buttercup looked up at her was her tongue. Mom said to me on the phone "you HAVE to get her!" and then jumped through hoops for me (I was an hour and a half away at college) getting the adoption rolling. I drove up a couple days later and my mom and I went together to pick her up. She lived at my mom's house for a couple months until I moved into a pet friendly apartment for grad school. Buttercup somehow knew I was her person and would stay with me any time I came to visit. When I moved into my apartment, she was my companion, my buddy. She kept me company for many years, moved with me to Raleigh, got to know Steven with me, and welcomed my babies into our house... well, at least tolerated them ;). I had her for 9 and a half years, which is so hard for me to believe!

After I paid and signed paperwork, the vet took us into the room where they euthanize. They try to make it comfortable and non clinical with art work, tissues, comfortable couches, but I felt like I was walking her into a chamber of death. The worst part of it, and the part that will probably haunt me for quite some time, is that Buttercup fought the medication. The first shot was supposed to slow her heart rate and lower her blood pressure so she'd relax, and the second one would stop her heart. They give the first one, then the second one like 5 minutes later. He gave her the first shot and walked out, I guess so I could have time alone holding her, but she began to fight, then her jaw was making some awful grinding noise that is etched in my mind, and she began to dry heave on my arm. It was awful. So awful. I felt like I was torturing the poor cat who spent her life loving me and keeping me company. Thankfully he came back in pretty quickly and, once I told him, gave her a bit of a shot that almost immediately made her go limp. I held her while they shaved a spot off her leg for the final shot, and then held her for just a minute or two after he said her heart stopped beating. I cried into her fur and told her she's been such a great kitty, and thanked her for loving us.

Going through that experience, I'm not sure how people open their hearts to love another pet again. I'm sure it will happen for us eventually, but right now I can't even fathom it. She was such a special girl, in a way I can't even explain. Buttercup seemed so different than other cats, with this quirky little personality. We knew each other so well. I keep thinking I see her around the house, and realize it can't be her. I see where her food dishes were, that is now just an empty spot. I expect her to come up to me meowing for her canned food, and she doesn't. I miss her "doing her rounds" where she'd walk into our bedroom and our bathroom before circling out multiple times each day. I went to wrap presents today and realized I could use tissue paper, because she wouldn't be there to consume her favorite 'snack'. I cleaned up all of her supplies today to donate to a lady at church. It was too hard seeing it all and I just want it out and to let someone else benefit from it. I think the worst part, besides the awful grinding noise playing over and over in my head, is thinking about her body just waiting to be cremated. I know it's just a body, but I hate the thoughts of her being alone. The whole thing just stinks. I've been spending intentional time today looking back at old pictures of her and talking about memories with family and friends. I've actually had fun finding pictures from certain events and texting them to people :). I'm going to try to focus on the memories and get yesterday out of my head. I miss my matty girl.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Clare Sophia: 9 Months

Let the birthday prep begin! Well, not really. Felicity's birthday comes first, and we're just doing something simple at home for both of them, but wow, 3 months until my baby is 1!!! It's been a very, very busy month for her!

Weight: 19.8 lbs... she is starting to thin out!

Height: Not sure

Medical issues: possible food sensitivities... she's often super cranky but I haven't been able to link it to food (ie isn't always after eating or nursing). Clare is like that more with me than anyone else, and often will cry until I pick her up, and then cry and push away when I do pick her up. It can be exhausting! She has a slight bug currently, and had pink eye a couple weeks ago. Basically someone in our house has been sick for almost a month!!!

Sleep: Clare is all across the board on sleep. Some nights and days she sleeps great, others she wakes up a lot or after a very short period of time. But I roll with it because I make her roll with our schedule and don't plan around her naps. She IS on more of a schedule which is nice. She does a short nap about 2-3 hours after waking up and a longer nap around 1 (which is awesome since that's when Felicity goes down). Her bed time is later, around 7/7:30 where it was 6:30 until about a month ago. She is an early bird, waking between 5:45 and 6:30 most days. Some days she actually gets less sleep than her sister! I find it funny that she seems to change preferences on going down from week to week. For a few days or a week she wants to be rocked to sleep, then switches to being nursed to sleep.

Clothes/diaper size: 12 months and size 4 diapers

Likes: Rubbing her head/face on soft things like stuffed animals or blankets, getting whatever toy her sister is playing with, yogurt drops, crackers, drinking water from a straw cup, being held, 'wrestling' with Felicity

Dislikes: mommy putting her down, being at the table after her food is gone, bumping her head (she does it a lot!)

Nicknames: Clare Bear still, and I call her Clara as her alter ego when she's getting into trouble or super cranky

Nov 21 Began sitting on hands or knees after nap (vs still laying down)
Nov 26 Bottom middle, left tooth officially through the surface
Nov 29 Pulled up to standing on me, now can pull up and stand holding onto a surface with one hand
Nov 30 Gives kisses to her reflection
Dec 1    Says "mama"

I don't want to forget this:
The day Clare said mama, she had been crying a lot. I ran an errand to home depot and she screamed the entire way there and back. I was so frazzled and over it. I pulled up to our house, went around and opened her door to get her out, and she happily said "mama!". Now I know she had no clue what it meant, but it was the perfect moment because I was feeling so DONE and all those feelings of love and happiness came flooding back in. I went in the house in happy tears to tell Steven.

I love her pure innocence and joy at discovering new things. One day she found a ziploc bag containing yogurt raisins leftover from Felicity and began shaking it. She never expected anything to come out, and when it did AND was food, she was so thrilled with herself!

Clare has an amazing laugh. She is kind of reserved with it, but it is the best thing to hear. I often tickle her belly because it's an almost guaranteed way to get her to giggle.

Clare generally has her mouth pursed. Looking back at her newborn pictures, she has always done that. I wonder how long it will last! I consider it her trademark :).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Enjoying the Baby Days

Maybe I knew this when Felicity was an infant and just forgot, but I really struggle with the baby stage. I enjoy toddlers so much more. I can somewhat reason with them, or at least distract them with a snack or tv show. Their personalities really shine, and it's fun watching them take their own interest in things. On the other hand, you can do every single trick in your book with a baby and still not come close to figuring out what it is that they want or need.... multiple times a day. Felicity was a pretty difficult baby, and Clare has turned out to be harder than I thought she would be based on her super easy first few months, but part of me wonders how much of that is me and not them. I know my anxiety and lack of patience plays a big part.

Parenthood is a constant lesson in patience for me. I pray ALL the time for God to make me more patient, and I'm pretty sure he just chuckles and gives me more opportunities to practice. Clare cries a lot these days. Crying is supposed to bother us as a survival technique for our babies; I get that. But it revs up my anxiety and then I find myself doubting everything I'm doing and being so short with Felicity when she probably needs even more grace because she's stressed by the crying, too. Once Clare is over it? We're all fine again. I feel completely different within minutes. Constant work in progress, I tell you. I have to work on not letting it overshadow an entire good day, because I do that. We can have a really wonderful, or at least ordinary, day together and then Clare cries from 5-6 and I find myself thinking all kinds of spiraly towards self doubt thoughts, and texting Steven to complain about how hard it is and how horrific the day is.

 I guess the progress is that lately I've been able to say "wait a minute... what about the nap they took at the same time, the quiet time I had, the laundry I got put away, and the fun play date we went on? This sucks but it will be ok". Sometimes I find myself wishing away babyhood to get to toddlerhood, and then I feel horrifically guilty because it's going entirely too fast (Clare will be 9 months next week!!!), and I already have an awful memory so add that to how fast it's gone and OH MY GOSH I WON'T REMEMBER HER BABY DAYS AT ALL. And then I spend 30 minutes going through her birth photos and feeling sappy. Hormones, man. Babies. All of it. I remind myself that these are the best days of my life. Everyone may not feel that way and that's totally fine. But this is what I've waited my whole life for and I'm living it right this very second! How incredibly lucky and blessed am I to have these two, precious baby girls to love, form, protect, raise, and influence? It's ok for them to not always feel like the best days of my life, but I'm practicing being still in them, absorbing them, and not wishing for any next experience. So quickly these baby days, and toddler days, will be gone and I will miss them so so much. So much that it aches even just thinking about it!

 Clare is already thinning out and so physically active. There's not a shred of baby-baby left. No stillness in her, no laying and looking around the room. She is full on headed towards toddler. I have just a few months to relish holding her everywhere we go, who knows how long to snuggle her against my skin to feed her, and not that long before she runs off to play with the big kids (she already crawls off to play with them!). I'm going to continue to work on being still in these days, even the hard parts, and enjoying being the majority of her life while it lasts. Her day starts and ends around me right now, and what a privilege!! Felicity is at the point now where she is imagining things and will run off with friends to play instead of staying near me, and is totally happy to be dropped off with friends. That is beautiful, my friends, and I've been waiting for that. There is a joy, but also a sadness, in knowing that her sun doesn't rise and set around me anymore... that she can have experience outside of me now! And Clare is headed that way so quickly.

There is a lady at church who takes care of her husband and it floors me to watch her. He needs probably 90% of his care provided for him and she does it lovingly, willingly, never seems exasperated or put out. I get pissy when my husband has a man cold. And short with my children when they're having a hard day. I am now working on reminding myself that these hard days of motherhood are building my patience, tearing apart my selfishness, and building perseverance, so that I can one day have the honor of providing care to someone outside of my children, whether that be a parent or my spouse. What love it must take to give of yourself day in and day out like that, and these precious babies are giving me the chance to practice that. As maddening and as exhausting as it can be, it's also really beautiful. I love these girls so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Felicity at 2 Years 9 Months

My big girl is rounding the bend to 3! In a quarter of a year, we will say goodbye to 2. It is so fun to watch Felicity grow and change. Her personality has really come out in the past year, and it is fascinating for me to see just who this little person is going to be. I love seeing her develop her own interests and relationships, even if it is kind of hard to not have her under my wing all the time. Felicity is such a tender little soul. She can be rough and tumble when playing, but when she is wronged, her face crumples, her heart hurts, and her cry is loud. She feels injustice very strongly which, though painful as a mother to watch, I hope never fades for her. Felicity is a fairly good rule follower, with an age appropriate dose of impulsivity. She knows and repeats things like "we don't play with doors" and "appies are just for bed". When she sees a child in public with their pacifier, she is very quick to tell me "but mama! Appies are just for bed!". And we discuss, again, how all mommies have different rules.

Felicity continues to pick up on words and concepts very quickly. She is really into rocks... collecting and sorting, and loves any show that talks about rocks, planets, and outer space. Her imagination has exploded in the last month or so and her favorite things to play are pirates, princess, and family. She loves playing with my neighbors boys (3 and 5) and her best imaginary play happens with them. They need very little oversight or redirection these days and can spend hours making up their own story lines. Felicity likes pirates because of Jake and the Neverland Pirates which we had to cut her off of as she was picking up unkind phrases from the show. But her love of finding 'treasure' (aka leaves, rocks, sticks, flowers) and dressing in her pirate costume continue. She dresses as Princess Sofia the First, too, which is the first princess she's taken any interest in. I find that kind of funny since it's not one I grew up with, but I'm sure she'll be into those soon eough :).

Felicity loves music, with her favorites being Old McDonald (also what she calls the fast food restaurant), Hail Mary, and Five Little Monkeys. She is happy with just about any children's music and is really into the library story time, especially since they've added a song at the beginning about a letter of the day. Felicity still likes letters but is really into numbers right now, often calling out address numbers she sees when we're in the car, or letting me know what number gas pump we're at when we stop to fill the car up. She really likes the number 100.

Felicity is still really into reading books, but we read a bit less than we used to because she's finally playing more. She still needs help playing when we don't have other children here, but will usually play for a bit if I get her started or if I resist long enough (ie getting chores done, cooking supper), which is a nice change. She does gravitate towards non-toys though, which I find really interesting to watch. She took the belt from my bath robe the other day and pretended it was pixie dust for about 30 minutes. She very rarely plays with any actual toys for that long! She also likes these 'coins' I have that have saints on them and pretends they're treasure. When we were building shelves in our bedroom, she would rearrange the wood boards or use them as a balance beam. I always remind myself that *every* thing is a toy to them!

Behavior wise, Felicity does pretty well. In fact, I think, she does impressively well for her age. She is generally pretty good at please and thank you and is currently learning to say excuse me when she wants to talk to me and I'm already talking to someone else. I struggle with her being super silly sometimes when I just want to get something done, like dress her or brush her hair, but that's probably more a problem with my impatience ;). I have to remind her that it's not a silly time and then I try to fill that need for her when we're done with the task. She will sometimes refuse to do something saying she's shy or scared, neither of which I think she's using in the correct context, but I try to honor her feelings and comfort her, and then redirect to the 'lesson' once she's had a snuggle or a chance to gather her emotions. I think she mostly uses them as an avoidance technique, ie saying "I'm shy" when she needs to apologize to someone, but clearly was not shy with that same person 5 minutes before. I try hard not to force apologies because I don't feel she is learning anything if I'm making her apologize (meaning she's clearly not really sorry!) but I do talk through empathy with her and ask her to take a break from the activity until she's ready to say sorry, which usually happens pretty quickly. She struggles a lot with Clare, mainly because she's jealous of the time and attention Clare gets from me. However, Felicity has actually improved over the last month or so, probably as Clare has gotten a bit more mobile and able to do her own thing a bit more. I try very hard to give Felicity one one one time in planned times of the day so she knows it's coming, like special read and cuddle time after Clare goes down for her morning nap, or snuggle and singing time at bed.

On the flip side, Felicity is super protective of her sister, which I find so adorable. If another child comes up to Clare in public, which happens often since babies are preschooler magnets, Felicity will either try to stop them or tell them that Clare is her baby. She also loves introducing Clare to people like Target employees or even our neighbors who have known Clare her whole life ;). She is starting to want to play with Clare more and more, crawling with her, cheering for Clare when she crawls, building towers for her.... I love it! She also is a little mommy and takes things away that Clare shouldn't have (or at least, things Felicity thinks Clare shouldn't have), and telling her "it's ok" or "shhhh" or "baby! what's wrong?" when Clare cries. She's a great sister, even if she is rough around the edges :).

Steven and I are hanging onto the words Felicity says incorrectly, because they are few and far between, and SO CUTE. Old McDonald, mentioned above, is one of our favorites. We also enjoy Sofia the Purse, chino (frappucino), chocolate beans (what she thinks yogurt raisins are), and the fact that she still can't say her name correctly. We are holding onto the few shreds of baby left in our big girl!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Clare Sophia: 8 Months

Weight: I meant to do these when she was awake. If I remember, I'll come back and update once I weigh/measure her.

Height: see above

Medical issues: Clare was sick last week and it was so sad and pathetic. She kept laying her head down on me, falling asleep a few times. The cuddles were really nice, but I hated that it was because she felt so badly. I think she caught it from me, and who knows where I caught it from. It felt flu like, but we both only had it for a day, thankfully.

Sleep: Clare's sleep has started to improve a bit at night, just as of a few days ago. She's nursing a little less, so MY sleep is improving, too ;). She is also sleeping longer periods before needing help to re-settle. Her naps are still hit or miss... you never know when she'll go down or for how long. I love car naps with her as much as I did with Felicity. It takes so little effort!

Clothes/diaper size: She is wearing some 6-9 and some 12 month clothes, and is now in a size 4 diaper for the front to back length (she would have been fine in 3s width wise for a bit longer).

Likes; casserole type foods, music, her sister's shows, clapping objects together, watching children play, animals, Felicity's leap frog Violet stuffed animal, drinking out of straw cups

Dislikes: being put down at all, ever!, having things put on her head, namely by her sister; being put down for sleep by me if I'm not nursing her.

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Chunka Monk

Milestones: On October 30th, Clare started clapping. She can now clap on demand (well, if she wants to haha!). She can sometimes sign "nursie" and we are working on other ones. Clare said her first "word" and first consonant all at the same time. She proudly proclaimed "dada!" out of nowhere on November 9th. Today, the 14th, she celebrated by crawling more than just 1-2 paces. She has crawled a few more, probably 3-4 paces, 4 or 5 times today. Clare has been INCREDIBLY cranky for weeks (mama is so worn out!!!!) but already today I saw a little break in the fussing with her newfound mobility. I remember something similar happening with Felicity so let's hope the more she crawls, the happier she is!

I don't want to forget this: Clare does this bizarre and precious little move where she puts one arm up, one arm out, and leans her head to the side all while smiling. It reminds me of a move someone would do when saying "superstar!". She sometimes does it when she's happy, and sometimes the smile is fake and she cries after. It's so funny to watch!

One day in the car, Clare started pulling her blanket over her face. I would say "oh no where's Clare?!?!!?" in a super alarmed voice and Felicity was in hysterics. Clare played for probably 5 minutes!

I *do* want to forget this... this is how she has spent the better part of every day for the past few weeks. So ready to have my happy baby back! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Clare Sophia: 7 Months

Weight: Guessing 18 lbs because 12m clothes (which start at 20) are just the tiniest big on her, and some of her 6-9mo clothes are just a bit small on her. 

Height: I meant to measure her today and totally forgot!! 

Medical issues: I thought Clare was allergic to mandarin oranges (and maybe she is), but what started as, I thought, a food allergy diaper rash became a full blown yeast rash complete with skin break down :(. Rashy babies are the saddest! However, a week or so of lotrimin and desitin, and it's gone! Other than that, she's been doing great. 

Sleep: Clare is going through a developmental leap and possibly teething, so her sleep has been very messed up. She's taking more naps than usual (4-5 a day!), and waking up a ton between our bed time and hers. *yawn*

Clothes/diaper size: Some 6-9 months and some *sniff sniff* 12 months!!! Size 3 diapers but I will switch her to 4 as soon as we run out. Her 2.5 yo 90th% sister is in a 5 lol! Soon they may be sharing. 

Likes: She still loves spoons! Clare likes taking things in and out of boxes/bins. She enjoys baby teething biscuits, bell peppers, and slices of fruit. Clare of course enjoys nursing and cuddles. She likes walks in the stroller and watching bigger kids play. 

Dislikes: She doesn't like her sister man-handling her which, of course, I can understand. Clare doesn't like being worn unless we're on the go or she's sleepy. She doesn't like when we go to a different room. 

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Chunk

Milestones: She is trying SO HARD to get into the crawling position! Clare will be sitting and then push her top half forward with one leg in place, but the other leg stays stuck under her. I am nowhere near ready for a 2nd mobile child so I'm hoping it takes her a while to figure out. She's learning object permanence so she's sad when I walk away, but she happily plays on the floor much longer than she used to as long as I'm in the room. 

I don't want to forget this: 

The other day Steven took Clare out to run errands. He really enjoys being out with her, and has done it quite a bit recently. After one particularly long jaunt, he came walking in the kitchen with her, she smiled huge and I swear signed "nursie". I died of cute and of course fulfilled her request right away. 

Every time Clare wakes up, I know she's up for the day/til the next nap because she coos in the sweetest voice. She doesn't do it if she wants to go back to sleep. 

Clare has started to snuggle on me and it is THE BEST. She will put her arms against mine and lay her head right down on my chest. Pretty sure it will never get old!!!

*Blogger will not let me upload a picture right now :(. Major sad face. I'll try again later!*

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Clare Sophia: 6 months!!!!

My baby is half a year old already!!!! This past month has been especially fun and exciting, but slow down, sweet baby!

Weight: 16 lbs 12.5 oz as of a week ago

Height: 26 inches as of a week ago... she's "tall" compared to Felicity at 60th percentile!

Medical issues: the reason I have such accurate weights before our well check is that we had to go last week for a persistent rash. It started under her neck at the beach, so I assumed it was heat rash. Well, two weeks went by and it was still there plus she broke out in a full body rash. It didn't seem to bother her but it was bothering me! The NP determined it was an allergic reaction of some sort, but we couldn't exactly figure out to what. Her best guess was that using a different detergent at the beach set something off, so for me to wash clothes in 2 cups of vinegar until it all cycles through and can get out any residue. Otherwise, she said it could be a food allergy from something I'm eating. It's much better now, but not completely gone. We're holding back on starting food with her until we figure out what's going on which is hard because this girl grabs for everything! :)

Sleep: She's starting to take longer naps and has cut down to 3 a day and occasionally even 2 a day. Most days she doesn't need me to lay with her at all for the long one anymore, which is really nice for me since it coincides with Felicity's nap again, so that gives me some "off" time. Although the days she does need me, I really enjoy it because I know they are numbered. She's a sweet little snuggler. At night she is waking up earlier and earlier but she still sleeps well as long as she has free access to nurse, so it works for us for now. She generally goes down between 6:30 and 7:30 and wakes to nurse/get in bed anywhere from 9:30 (when I'm not in bed yet!) to midnight, then nurses a couple more times through the night until she wakes around 6:30. Clare's naps aren't really routine at all yet- sometimes she will take one 90 min after waking up and other times it could be 3-4 hours!- but honestly I think that makes our lives a bit easier because we just do whatever and she naps around our schedule... which is probably why she hasn't developed one of her own lol.

Clothes/diaper size: 6-9 months for clothes and size 3 for diapers

Likes: SPOONS! Spoons are seriously Clare's favorite thing ever. She spends most of our mealtimes gnawing on a spoon. Anytime we go somewhere to eat, I give her a spoon and it usually keeps her happy. She loves her sister laughing, smiling, or bouncing/jumping. Clare likes to be held and loves nursing, of course. She likes almost any baby toy that's put in front of her, and likes swinging at the park.

Dislikes: Oddly, she does not like swinging at home, even though we have the exact same swing at our house as they do at the park! She doesn't like being put down for more than 10 or so minutes, and doesn't like going down for a nap. Clare doesn't like anyone tending to her at night besides mommy (because she wants to nurse!).

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Chunk

Milestones: On August 6th, Clare drank breast milk from a straw sippy. As of about a week ago, she is also accepting it through a regular sippy. She doesn't take more than .5-1oz at a time, but it's enough that I don't have to race against a clock when I leave without her. She also had her first non-family babysitter this month... twice! Our friend Natalie kept her while I dropped consignment stuff off last week (and got her to take a bottle!), and our neighbor Karen kept her Sunday while I went to the consignment sale to shop. She did pretty good both times! Clare started rolling back to front on 9/8, though she doesn't do it often (same with front to back- she did it months ago and now has no interest). I thought it might never happen but Clare started solidly sitting around September 4th. It has changed our lives, haha! She went from a wobbly mess to overnight being able to sit for 20-30 minutes without falling most times. Felicity began sitting 2.5 months earlier, but was wobbly for quite some time, so it's interesting to see her literally master this overnight. As you can see, it's been a big and exciting month for milestones!

I don't want to forget this: So much!!! Right at the end of August, Clare realized that if she looked up in the stroller she could see me. She spent the next few walks with her head craned, gazing up at me. So sweet! She also grew more hair and it's kind of like a faux hawk... thicker and longer down the middle :). Last week, I sat in a chair outside while Felicity pushed Clare in the swing on the swing set. Then we came inside and Felicity watched a show, Clare played on her blanket for almost a half hour, and I read a magazine in peace. It was so nice!!! One of my favorite parts of the day is when I first wake up to Clare kicking and moving. As soon as she wakes up, she wiggles and coos. When she sees me open my eyes, she breaks out in a big smile and her little mouth starts moving all over the place. It's such a fun way to wake up every day!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Date Night with Jesus

I really, really love Adoration. Though I struggle through it sometimes (what will I do with an hour of quiet???), I always leave refreshed. My first time at adoration was when I was a teenager. We had it yearly at the youth conference I attended. I had never heard of adoration and didn't know that's what it was. Honestly, I'm not sure how long after that it was that I learned the term and realized that's what I'd been doing... some time in college or maybe even after that?? It wasn't something I was ever exposed to until high school and then it was just a part of the retreat, so there wasn't much conversation about it. But, for me, it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I remember standing there as a teen thinking that I hoped that was what heaven was like. I would be surrounded by friends singing praise and worship music and hoping that the moment never ended. For someone with anxiety about eternity, feeling like I never want something to end is a big deal! I also usually got pretty emotional during adoration, which probably isn't unusual being that I was present before Jesus in the flesh, but is fascinating to me now since I didn't really "get" adoration. Even without understanding what I was attending, it was hugely powerful for me. The mixture of emotions, humbled before God's son, feeling unworthy and yet so incredibly loved, and the music flooding me. Man, those were the days :).

Before Felicity was born, Steven and I tried to get to adoration every month or every other month. Thankfully there is a church about 20 or so minutes away that has perpetual adoration, so we could work it into date nights, which was always nice. Since Felicity was born, I'm not sure that I've been at all! Though clearly the point of adoration is being before Jesus in the sacrament, I struggled with the silence of "grown up adoration". I would pray a rosary or bring my Bible or other spiritual reading and, every now and again, attempt to just sit and be open. I struggled with that part the most. Anyway, imagine my delight when I saw a friend post something about a praise and worship holy hour at a church near me!!! I immediately let Steven know I wanted to go (meaning he would be on bed time duty for the girls) and made plans to do so. It was last night and it was everything I hoped it would be! The musician had a beautiful, almost Adele-like voice. The priest was young and so full of life (welcoming the small children who have no clue how to be reverent and were laughing and playing at the foot of the altar), and had great reflections for us. The incense, the monstrance, the prayers, the music... it was exactly that feeling I used to get at the youth conferences in high school. There was only 10 minutes of silence in the whole hour which was just enough. I did struggle to get my rosary prayed because I knew all but one song and couldn't pray while also singing along (I mean, I was praying by singing... but couldn't pray the rosary!), but I was able to get it finished and then just let the music wash over me. I think it was actually better than it was as a teenager because my life doesn't include optional periods of quiet/still/darkness anymore. The church was dark except for some candles, and very quiet besides the guitar and singing, and that both relaxed and energized me. It's a welcome break to the loud chaos of parenthood! Thankfully the priest said he is planning on doing this monthly. And though my husband likes adoration, praise and worship is not his thing, so this is all mine :).

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Big Girl Cuteness

I really love Felicity's baby book over all. It's from Target, and is WAY better than the one I purchased for Clare from Aldi. But one thing that bums me out a bit is that the only thing it has for ages 2-5 is a page to talk about their birthday/birthday party. I really wanted somewhere to write about favorite things, funny things, and milestones. Now that she's 2.5, I realize how quickly this year is going so I figured I would document some here, even though it will be a bit hodge podge.

Likes: Daniel Tiger, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, reading and being read to, playing with "mom/mama" or "dada", entertaining "sissy", rocket ships and all things outer space, collecting rocks, getting mail, doing crafts, counting and recognizing numbers, Leap Frog shows and products, her appy (paci that she gets for nap and night time), most any type of cold treat

Dislikes: time to go to nap or bed, not being able to do things herself (she MUST be the one to clip her chest clip in the car seat), having to take a break when she's wild/not listening/making bad choices, potatoes and sweet potatoes, diaper changes

Cute Words: Felicity has so many words and advanced language skills that I really hold onto the ones she says wrong because they are so cute and remind me how little she really is!
"Kickly" is quickly, haw-sih-bull is hospital,
Captain Hook is said like the oo in boot, and she calls the doubloons "the balloons". The female pirate Izzy is "Eezy".
She says maggots for magnets, and it makes me laugh so hard every time she says "But I want to play with my maggots!!!!!".

Cute Memories:
Felicity has been into having a rock collection since she saw a Daniel Tiger episode where Prince Wednesday has a rock collection. My mom started it by getting her a little velvet bag of polished rocks. We added to it at the beach by doing gem mining. Felicity constantly tries to add to it by trying to take gravel from gravel roads, rocks from landscaping, and, most recently, carrying a heavy patio paver from our friend's patio up to the deck doorway to the living room where we were sitting to show us "her rock".

She has a really odd obsession with smelling things. The only thing I've told her no to was a decomposing fish at the beach. It's particularly funny when I tell her she can't take a landscaping rock, so she then decides to smell it and proclaims to everyone around us "it smells good!". Everything smells good to her.

Felicity loves to make Clare happy. She will fake laugh or sing or smile just to get a smile out of her sister. If Clare is cranky, Felicity will sometimes sing her a song- either the Daniel Tiger sad song or a lullaby because she assumes Clare is tired. She MUST be the one to throw away dirty diapers and give me a clean one. She really eats up her big sister role :).

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Special Sundays in our House

For a while now, I've struggled with how to approach Sundays in our house. I wanted it to be set apart from the rest of the week, but that's hard for us. Steven almost always work Sundays so, for us, Sunday in a way is "just another day". It's another day of just the girls and me, of our normal routine. For a lot of people, both parents are home that day, they go to the same Mass and church each week, and may even have a tradition of making a big breakfast or going out to breakfast, or something else like that. We haven't had any of that so far, but I had been thinking that I wanted to incorporate some small ways of making the day feel special. I reached out to some Catholic friends of mine and heard all kinds of ways they set the day apart. I found it fascinating that people had opposite things they would do but for the same reason, showing that what works for one family might not for another. After hearing some ideas, such as not running errands, trying to avoid chores, either not watching any tv or watching extra, more family time, a faith based activity, a big family meal, I sat and thought about what I wanted for the day in our house.

A big priority for myself was that the day feel more restful for me. Obviously I can't avoid cooking or chores since I'm the only adult home, but I figured I could certainly find ways to make the day more enjoyable. I don't really watch tv through the week, and never in front of Felicity (mostly because I find it impractical... she talks too much!), but I grew up watching CBS Sunday morning so I put that on on Sunday mornings. It feels really comforting to me and I like that it's generally "happy" news, and not even really news. It's just such a feel good show for me. Felicity knows that it is "mommy's show". For the most part, I don't have to worry about what she's seeing when she watches it, the way I do with 'real' news, which she's very sensitive to. She plays or reads, and I drink coffee and watch bits and pieces of the show. I recently started going through the Starbucks drive through right beforehand so I don't even have to make my own coffee. It's a treat I look forward to any Sunday morning that Steven is working (if he's off, we go to morning Mass; if he's working, we go to evening Mass).

I also wanted it to feel special to Felicity. Because we are celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday, I want our day to feel a bit celebratory, too! I want the day to feel more fun than the average, which I think is a nice balance to our quiet, more focused hour in Mass later that day. So my tv rules for her are very lax on Sundays. On normal days, the tv stays off until 5pm. I find 5pm on to be the hardest on me, mostly because I'm making dinner and juggling two kids alone, then doing bed times for both often by myself as well. So I save her screen time for that so that I can get dinner made and put Clare down with little interruption from Felicity. On Sundays, however, I put shows on for her here and there throughout the day which certainly makes for a more restful day for BOTH of us ;). I'll often give her a "picnic" where I put her lunch on a blanket in the living room and she can have lunch while watching one of her shows. I have made it a point to begin talking about the fact that it's Sunday and that we get to do special things to help us to both enjoy and rest on God's day to try and make a connection for her.

I know for the next family, drive through coffee and extra tv might not remotely help their Sunday celebration. For us, it has been a great way to unwind and have a calm day leading up to our hour in Mass. We do usually go outside to play or go to a playground at some point so I can make sure Felicity has gotten some energy out before Mass, but most of the day is pretty low key. I eventually want to add in some type of religious activity that relates to Mass, like Holy Heroes, but I will wait until Clare is a bit less needy. For now, this is working for us to differentiate the day.

What do you do in your house to set apart Sundays?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Clare Sophia: 5 Months

Weight: I've decided I'm taking height and weight out for the next baby because I never know! My guess is 17 lbs since she was 15 lbs a month ago and is putting on about .5 lb-1lb a week.

Height: Taller than the last time? I think she was 25 inches so maybe another half inch or inch. 

Medical issues: None! We enjoyed an issue free month. 

Sleep: Clare's sleep has changed a lot. She went from 90 min between naps to 2 to sometimes 4 hours between! On average, it's about 2-2.5 hours between. She has started going to bed later and waking up earlier, and napping a bit longer. We're still trying to figure it all out, and then I'm sure it will change again :). 

Clothes/diaper size: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothing. She's so long and those thighs are so chunky!

Likes: being held, playing with toys (the O'ball is her favorite), watching her sister play, short stroller rides, being tickled, being smiled at/smiling, playing with toys in the exersaucer.

Dislikes: Felicity jumping near her or (obviously) hurting her... which has happened a LOT more this past month, being laid down, having to take a nap, the car seat.

Nicknames: Clare Bear is still her main nickname. 

Milestones:Clare hasn't done any of the traditional milestones yet. She's still not sitting, even in the tripod stance, and hasn't started rolling front to back, though she's trying, and really hasn't rolled back to front in quite a while. But! She had what I will call a milestone when she accepted a straw sippy of breastmilk I offered her. I've only tried it once (I left another time and had a sippy ready but Steven ended up not needing to give it to her while I was gone), but I consider it major success for the baby who refuses all bottles. I'm hoping to try it again next week at the beach to see if it buys me a bit of time by myself!

I don't want to forget this: I don't want to forget her being small :(. Steven and I had a talk the other night about enjoying her more. We both feel like we spend so much time doing things with Felicity, since she needs to much one on one attention and is so engaging, that we end up basically just managing Clare between naps. I don't want to waste this time of her being a little baby and then regretting it. So we are making a concerted effort to really enjoy her more, to make Felicity wait a bit if we're playing with Clare. Their naps haven't been lining up as much lately (sniff, tear) and I've used that time when Clare is awake but Felicity is asleep to really dote on and play with Clare. It has been really nice! I also don't want to forget Felicity jumping or running and Clare dissolving into a fit of giggles! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

In the Middle

I feel all over the place these days. Some days, I sit back and look at my life, feel very contented, and just breathe it in. Other days, like yesterday, I feel like the chaos will never end, the littles will be little and needy forever, and my head may burst. But I spend most of the time in the middle... days that are equal parts frustration at toddler shenanigans and baby diaper explosions, and joy at 2 year old hilarious phrases and infant smiles and giggles. I am enjoying life with two children more than I did just with Felicity simply because I know now that the hard times will pass and the tough stages won't last. It doesn't mean that I don't get stressed ever (I'm stressed a lot!), but I feel like I lived in a constant state of stress with Felicity; I stressed about her sleep, about behavioral things, developmental things. And stress didn't get us anywhere or solve anything, of course. This time, with Clare, I'm able to brush off more and, therefore, enjoy more.

After Felicity was born, I think I sort of counted down until we'd try again for another because I really wanted a sibling for her. Right now, though I don't feel our family is complete by any means, I'm just enjoying the 4 of us. I'm happier in this stage of infancy, knowing how fleeting it will be- how fleeting it IS!- and I'm also enjoying watching my big girl grow up before my eyes. I'm not thinking about future things, or more babies, or anything much besides tomorrow, and it's nice. I've thought toward the future for as long as I can remember. Is it graduation yet? Is it time to move yet? Is it time to start my job yet? Get married yet? Have a baby yet? Have another baby yet? I kept wondering to myself, when will I just stop and enjoy? And I didn't know the answer until now. I hate that it took me that long to get to this place (and it's a flaw within myself, I know), but I'm so glad to be here for a while. I want to soak in the baby snuggles, the nursing sessions, the finger painting, the never ending book reading sessions, the play dates with my friends, the family "date days" we have.

Each day, I have a loose plan. My days are similar to each other, but different enough that it doesn't get too boring. I'm sure to some my life is incredibly dull. But that dullness to me looks like watching children grow up, learn, and explore. It looks like creating new friendships and furthering old ones. It looks like constantly working on and improving my marriage. And it looks like experiencing things through the eyes of a child. There are things in life I'd love to do... travel the world, eat at nice restaurants, spend money without thinking... but right now my focus is on my family; I'm working on myself, my marriage, my home, my kids. And I find a sense of happiness and security in that. I often hear people talking about "losing" themselves in their kids, especially in regards to being a stay at home mom. Right now I'm happy to "lose" myself to motherhood. If all I do is produce people to better the world, then I think I've done plenty. If I lose myself for the betterment of another human being, then it was a worthy cause. I don't mean to say that one shouldn't have things outside of their children. Everyone's calling and desires are different. But I do think it's perfectly fine, and a beautiful sacrifice even, to pour yourself into your children for a time. I honestly think I've found myself more in the past few years than I had in the 28 before that.

I've found that a few friendships help sustain my sense of "me". I don't need much outside of my family right now, but friends are certainly helping me in this journey. I love having people to talk about faith, family, parenting, and deeper issues with. I walk with a neighbor of mine most days of the week, have 2-3 play dates with another friend each week, attend a Catholic mothers' group once a month, and will begin MOPS again soon. The common theme there is motherhood and I love it. My days aren't really pretty. I don't live in a pinterest worthy house or have neat and tidy kids. I can't tell you how many times I text Steven to vent or complain about my day- a toddler who hurt the baby or a baby who won't nap. Life is messy and exhausting. But when I take a step back, I realize how absolutely blessed I am to be able to raise and guide these humans. It is such an honor to know them, to help form them, to be the person to comfort them. Motherhood is such a beautiful experience, even on the hard days. I'm ok with, and happy with, "just being a mom" right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dating My Husband

Marriage is hard. Marriage after a baby is harder. Steven and I had a really amazing talk the other day. One of our "takeaways" was that he felt we were more disconnected after Felicity was born, while I felt we mostly struggled with baby related things, where as I feel more disconnected now, and he feels we're mostly struggling with baby/toddler related things. I find it fascinating that two people living the same experience can have completely opposite feelings on it. Just goes to show how different we are as humans with unique personalities and perspectives, and how important it is to communicate. My neighbor and friend recently told me that she and her husband have an "unplugged" date night once a week. In a time of our lives where dates outside of the house are rare to nonexistent (Clare doesn't take bottles), I thought this was a fantastic idea. Especially since Felicity is going to bed a little later, Clare is a bit of a wild card, and by the time they're both down, we're so exhausted that we both hunker down to our computers happy to not think or talk to anyone for the rest of the night. Well, that may be relaxing but it hasn't been great for our marriage. So we decided to jump on board this unplugged date night. I found the unplugged part so important because I could see us easily picking a movie night many weeks which, while fun, isn't really face to face time. I wanted to be sure we were really interacting. We've decided to take turns planning it each week and it has been fun to do and also a lot of fun to plan! We did this early in our marriage as well, except the dates were out of the house. But we took turns planning and it had to be something new each week. It really helped us get creative and branch out, and was a ton of fun experiencing something together each week. Anyway, I thought I'd share our first 3 weeks in case anyone is doing the same thing, or wants to, and might need ideas. Thankfully pinterest has quite a bit, too!

The first week was my week and we decided kind of last minute so I put together some games for a Game Night. I didn't want it to be all board games so I reached back to my youth to think of some things. We played "dots" (where you have a sheet of dots and take turns drawing lines, the last one to connect a line to make a square gets to initial that square, whoever has the most squares at the end wins), hang man, and one card game. I planned for us to have a word search race, but I left the word search books in the room with a sleeping Clare so that got cancelled! We had some snacks and talked while we played, and it was really enjoyable!

Steven's date night was next. For the first part, he decided we'd sit on the porch and talk. Honestly, I was kind of thinking we'd spend a lot of time just sitting. Lately we suck at conversation because, like I said above, we're just so tired at the end of the day. He said he would look up some questions if we needed to. But we didn't! We sat on the porch for almost an hour, by the light of a citronella candle, and just talked. The conversation flowed to the point that we lost track of time for the second part of his date! He had bought 2 Dollar Tree journals and had us each write a page of a story that we made up, then switch journals and write a page based on what the other had written, then switch again. It was fun seeing how differently our stories started out, and frankly being a bit ridiculous together.

This week was back to my turn and I decided to be a bit more creative. I settled on a carnival theme and had a lot of fun! I made up 5 activities: ice cream sandwich sundaes, face painting, kissing booth, animal ring toss, and tossing balls into a bowl to win a goldfish (cracker). I made signs with pictures for each activity and hung them around the living room and kitchen so we could make our way through the 'carnival'. Besides the fact that the cat jumped up beside me and puked during the kissing booth, it was a ton of fun. My favorite activity was face painting. I'm not artistic at all but it was a lot of fun! And we realized we're both very ticklish with a paintbrush near the corner of our eyes, so we used that to torture each other during painting. We enjoyed it so much that we ended up both painting each other's faces twice. And ice cream... I mean, how can you go wrong? The date was a bit faster than I thought, especially for having 5 activities, but neither of us minded since we'd had so much fun. I wonder what Steven has planned for his turn! 

Does anyone else do this? I'd love to hear date idea if so!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Things Done

I think all the time that I don't do enough. On some days, I really don't do enough. But on most days, I consider keeping 2 children alive and relatively happy and the household running mostly smoothly to be a lot. The days I do more than that? Bonus! But it's easy on a day like yesterday to look around at toys scattered on the floor, a greasy feeling kitchen floor, and dishes in the sink and feel like I'm not doing a very good job at this whole homemaker thing. Then I took a step back to really assess the situation. Toys were scattered because my child was playing (no easy feat in our house... Felicity struggles to play independently), the floor was greasy because I spilled butter but I tried a new, complicated meal that my family loved and the floor had previously been clean because I had swept and mopped that morning, and the dishes were out because I was rushing to get everyone fed before bedtime. If I look at it in a list, even a small portion of what I did yesterday looks like a lot:

  • cleaned up toys after bed time
  • swept and mopped kitchen floor and guest bath
  • deodorized and vacuumed living room
  • made a new recipe for supper 
  • 3 loads of laundry
  • 2 mile walk with the girls
I did more than that, of course, but the point is that it's easy to look around at what didn't get done and beat myself up over it when, in reality, I've done quite a bit! I was telling my mom the other day how much more frustrating housework is now that I'm a SAHM. When Steven and I were both working and had no children, I'd clean a room or vacuum and it would be done for a week. I would do laundry and be done for 3-4 days. I had a sense of accomplishment because I would get a task done and then have multiple days to enjoy the fruits of my labor until it needed doing again. Now, however, I mop the kitchen and a mess is made an hour later. I do a load of laundry and another one is waiting right behind it. I vacuum the living room and crumbs have accumulated by the next morning. There's no feeling of ever being done with anything, and more of a sense of a vicious cycle of chores. Two + years in and I'm still struggling with that reality!

 I ordered a planner today that I'm really excited about. When I was choosing, one of the options had a "to do list" section that I was drawn to. Then I thought, "that list will be full constantly and I'll never make much of a dent" so, instead, I chose one that has graph paper. I can write anything in that section but I've decided to track what I get done, at least every few days. I think that seeing what I've done, rather than what's left to do, will be way better for my morale!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Clare Sophia: 4 Months

I'm 1 day late, but basically on time ;). My little bear is becoming such a baby and has pretty much lost all the newborn-ness! She laughs and smiles, watches us, loves watching Felicity and her friends play, and is grabbing toys all the time now.

Weight: I'll come back to this after her appointment next week

Height: I'll come back to this after her appointment next week.

Medical issues: I tested her dairy intolerance yesterday with a large ice dream cone from Chickfila and it went pretty well so I may try the things I know bothered her soon... like cheesecake. 

Sleep: Clare is sleeping more predictably these days. She is only up about 90 minutes between naps,

and takes fairly short naps (which is probably why she's only up 90 min!). It actually works pretty well for me because she wants to be held most of the time she's awake, so it gives me more frequent breaks to get things done or interact with Felicity. She will do one long nap in the middle of the day if I come lay with her when she wakes up, which I do so that she'll sleep longer. And I can't say I hate the cat nap that I get either! Then we get up when Felicity does. She goes to bed between 6 and 7 and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30. We are definitely in the 4 month regression but it's not too bad... it has just been the addition of needing me for her nap and now needing me most of the night, but since I sleep through most of it, it hasn't been a huge deal. I mostly just miss being able to flail around in my sleep :). 

Clothes/diaper size: Clare is in in the same as last month... 3-6 clothes and size 2 diapers. 

Likes: watching kids play, snuggling mommy, sitting upright, grabbing things, being tickled, any type of motion- seeing people jump, swing, run, often sends her into giggling fits.

Dislikes: being in the stroller (our walks have been rough lately), being put down.

Nicknames: Clare Bear is still her main nickname. 

Milestones: Clare is getting toys to her mouth now. She can sit in the tripod stance for a few seconds at a time before falling to the right. She found her feet which is one of her favorite "toys". And probably Clare's biggest milestone was rolling front to back, which she does approximately every time I try to get her to do tummy time. 

I don't want to forget this: I mostly just don't want to forget her infancy in general. It's so crazy how quickly they change. She's a bit easier than Felicity and I'm a bit more experienced, so I really want to hang on to this age a little longer, even though it's somewhat more demanding. I love watching her smile at Felicity and hearing Felicity exclaim "she's smiling at me!!!", and seeing Felicity run in first thine in the morning to say good morning and kiss her. Clare is so loved! I love that she beams a huge smile every time I smile at her or talk to her. She is so easy to make happy! All it takes for her tears to go away is for me to pick her up. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Nursing My Clare Bear

It *almost* feels normal enough now that it's only once or twice a week that I sit back and think wow, I'm nursing this baby with no supplement. My body is making enough milk! It's so crazy how different this experience is. Between Clare nursing a ton from the very beginning, getting the tie more effectively dealt with right away, my knowing more, and taking Domperidone, Clare is getting enough from me without my needing to pump, supplement, or seek out and drive to the ends of the earth to pick up donor milk. It is AMAZING. Honestly, I don't know that I could have kept up with all of that with 2 kids anyway, so thank God that my experience has been different. I mean, I know Clare would have been fine however she was fed, but this has been such a huge boost in my morale and makes life so much easier!!! Things that are new for me: not having to take a pump with me if I will be gone longer than 2 hours, not having to pump in the car, not having to pack bottles, not being asked a million times "what kind of bottle is that??" because of the weird bottle we used to make Felicity work harder, being able to feed my baby wherever without anything but myself! It is so crazy convenient to breastfeed and I never realized how much crap I had to prepare, take with me, and clean until I didn't have to do it this time around! The only thing I miss about bottles is that it was easier to feed while doing other things (wearing, walking, would be easier dealing with Felicity) because nursing is still a 2 hand event for me. But everything else is just so much easier. I love that Felicity is getting to see me nurse in a more normal way. She brings me the boppy which she's dubbed my "nursie pillow". When Clare cries, she often says "I think she's hungry! She needs nursies!". I just love it.

I tried to wean myself off domperidone a while back and went about a week before suspecting it was affecting my supply, so I'm back on. I figure I will re-evaluate at 6 months, then at a year. I hope to nurse longer than that but also hope to be able to stop the medication since Clare will be on solids, too. The medicine is not a big deal, but also medicine carries risks, however small, so I don't want to be on it longer than I need to be. A lot of people struggle with weight gain while on it but, with the help of My Fitness Pal, I'm down 11 lbs! Woohoo! Still 8 to go to reach my pre-pregnancy weight and I don't want to nor need to stop there, but hey, progress! :) I'm pumping once in the evening, most nights, which is probably silly since Clare has no interest in bottles. But I don't think I want to do to cow's milk with her (a whole other post!), so I figure I can use this eventually in sippies.

Anyway, it's amazing how different and... normal?... nursing Clare has been. Such a sweet experience!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Clare Sophia: 3 Months

Isn't this the point where a baby goes from newborn to infant? I can't say I have a newborn anymore, can I? Excuse me while I sob like a.... well, baby. *Sniff, sniff* While older babies and toddlers are my preference, it still makes me sad when my tiny babies grow up! 

Weight: My guess would be 13 lbs.
*edit* We went for her dtap shot on the 23rd and she was 13 lbs 7 oz and 24 inches :).

Height: At her 2 month appointment, she was 22 (and a half?) inches. So I don't know... maybe 23? I should really quit including weight and height since I never know the actual measurements!

Medical issues: NONE :). Healthy baby!

Sleep: Well you still never know exactly how Clare is going to want to go down, but she's easier in that we have about 3 things up our sleeve that usually work... nursing, walking, or car seat in the car or stroller. At night she almost always prefers nursing to sleep and then we move her to the rock n play (otherwise she wakes up a lot). In the past week, she's been going to bed early and waking up early. And by early I mean as early as 4:45am. NO, SWEET BABY! So I've been trying to make her stay up "later" again... all the way until 6 or 6:30 which sounds easy until you have a newborn, I mean infant, screaming her head off because all she wants to do is sleep and it's only 5pm! She's also super fussy in between naps which I'm assuming is developmental. But hey, we've had 11 easy week so I guess we were bound to have a week or two where she's difficult, right? Let's hope next week she's back to her chill self :). 

Clothes/diaper size: Clare is in 3-6 months clothes, although some are pretty big on her, and solidly in size 2 diapers. It's funny to me when people comment on how big she is. To me, she IS big, because she's wearing clothes that Felicity was wearing at 6 months. But she's still just 50th percentile, so very average, and I find it funny that people comment on her size. 

Likes: nursing, being sat up, smiling, seeing her sister and her mommy, classical music (I kind of love this!), being outside... these have all stayed the same from last month. New ones are being tickled under the neck or on her ribs, warm baths, and occasionally her little rocker seat.

Dislikes: being laid back, being put down for more than about 10 minutes, cold water

Nicknames: Clare Bear, of course, and sometimes Steven and I refer to her as "other one" because Felicity use to say "other one" for anything that had a pair, like leg and other one leg or shoe and other one shoe. So Clare is our other one daughter :).

Milestones: She's done a lot just in the last week. Clare did her first unprovoked (ie not because of being tickled) belly laughs while watching the neighbor kids swing a few days ago. She laughed for a solid 3-5 minutes and I was laughing so hard at her that I had tears. It was the cutest!!! She also is grabbing toys on her activity mat, often with both hands. Clare is very much like her sister was in that she's already trying to sit up! Any time I put her in one of her seats or lay her back on the boppy she starts straining to sit up and gets very mad. Work those abs, baby.

I don't want to forget this: Well definitely the laughing thing I wrote about above. Her laugh is SO joyful and she doesn't laugh much yet so it was music to my ears. I also love how quickly I can make anything better for Clare. She could be crying out of boredom, hunger, pain, etc and she stops seconds after I scoop her up. I love the feeling of that connection and how easy it is to make it better just by loving her! I have the most fun seeing her in clothes Felicity wore and some of my favorite outfits are in the rotation now, like this simple yellow and white duckie dress I got for a dollar. Something about a sweet little baby in a white, summer dress just melts me! Felicity is still in love with her and now likes to say "I love my baby sister. My baby sister loves me!". Both very true :). She introduces Clare to everyone, including her grandparents and friends who see us often lol. Ok... I guess those were more about Felicity, but I don't want to forget how much Clare is loved! She fits so well in this family. Our adjustment to her, though she's been fussier recently, has been so easy. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Clare Sophia: Two Months

And.... time continues to fly. Two months! My baby still seems so tiny but also growing incredibly fast. She's chunking up, getting really strong, and beginning to show more of her personality. Clare is such a sweet baby! But aren't they all? :)

Weight: I weighed her on our home scale the other day and she seemed to be about 10.6lbs. Her appointment isn't until the 27th so I don't know for sure.

Height: Not even going to try to guess!

Medical issues: Thrush. Always thrush. We've done about every treatment under the sun except gentian violet, since there's now a possible connection with oral cancer. But that's next because I'm OVER it!

Sleep: Clare is a bit easier to get down during the day now that I'm learning her. If we're out, she goes to sleep easily. At home she's more work and sometimes prefers to be put in the rock and play vs me trying to rock or nurse her down. Although you never know if that's going to work until you try it! She likes to nurse to sleep at night. Though she sleeps really well over night (1-3 wake ups to eat but she eats while we doze and doesn't cry at all), she struggles to stay asleep between when she goes down and we come in. Felicity did that, too, but not until she was much older!

Clothes/diaper size: 0-3 in clothes and size 1 in diapers but I'm wondering if she's getting close to needing a size 2. Her legs, though they're getting chunkier, are proportionally smaller than her tummy so her tummy almost needs a bigger size while her legs would drown in them.

Likes: nursing, being sat up, smiling, seeing her sister and her mommy, classical music (I kind of love this!), being outside

Dislikes: being laid back, being put down, her swing for more than 5-10 minutes

Nicknames: Pretty sure Clare Bear is it for life! Felicity and our toddler neighbor both think her actual name is Clare Bear :). Felicity says her name is "Clare Bear Cash" and frequently refers to her as "Baby Clare Bear".

Milestones: Clare is definitely holding her head up a lot more! She's tracking items a bit. When she smiles, she coos and "talks" like crazy.

I don't want to forget this: the cooing!!! It melts me every time. We "talk" back and forth and her little noises are just the sweetest. Felicity is still so in love with her. Tonight at church she kept begging to see her, then laughed hysterically that Clare touched her face, and was placing her face against Clare's affectionately. Clare smiles so big when she sees Felicity up close!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day Interview

Happy mothers' day! I'm so blessed to have the title of mother to my two precious girls. I will remind myself of that often today as I take care of my sick toddler and sleep refusing newborn while my husband works a long day :)... If I can remember to do it, I thought it would be fun to do these interviews each year on mothers' day. If we do end up homeschooling, which is the current plan, we won't have teachers to put this together and I've always thought it was a really cute idea! I like seeing how the answers change over time.

I feel like I should throw in there that I really do not prefer "mama". Since that's naturally the word that children learn, we went with it for a while. But for about the past year, I've referred to myself often as "mommy" since that's what I'd rather be called. But for whatever reason, it hasn't stuck and Felicity prefers mama. I'll probably still continue my passive mommy indoctrination regardless! Felicity's part of the sentences below is bolded. I enjoyed hearing her answers!

Mama likes to read books. 
Well, yes, but I do wish I had time to read MY books sometimes. Currently I'm reading a lot of Daniel Tiger and Little Critters lol.

Mama's favorite song is Daniel
From Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Not really... except for when Felicity sings it <3.

Mama is big years old.

Mama's favorite animal is a elephant.
No, but I do like them!

I like it when mama does noses go boop boop.
We've done this for a while where I "boop" her nose by tapping it, and then we have to boop everyone's nose around us. 

Mama's favorite food is dippy and strawberries.
I like both, though Felicity is the one obsessed with dippy (basically any sauce).

What I love about mama is no I don't like the mama.
Felicity is sick and was crying by this point. She was over it!!

So incredibly blessed to mother these sweet babies!