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?