Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Here is my Trunk.  It's a lot of work to bring the kids off somewhere to eat, supplies, decorate etc.  I had all intentions of bringing the orange blanket to make it more 'halloweeny' but I couldn't find it.  Oh well.
So there's our pirate pumpkin Nolan and I made (Mr. Potato Head Pumpkin decorating- super cute, easy as pie).  And here's Emily munching on an apple, banana pancake one of the moms gave out as a 'treat'.   
 She munched on that and pizza crust most of the two hours we were there.  Happy as can be, gumming away on that stuff.  And what was Nolan doing?  Running.  Everywhere.  First he found a ball and kicked it chasing after it for about a mile.  Then he discovered the giant leaf pile.  
 He looks a bit like an alligator in this photo below, doesn't he?  An Alligator Knight.  He was running through the leaves having such a great time that it ended up being a giant leaf fight.
Kids ampped up on sugar throwing leaves at each other-seems like a great idea.  There was lots of laughing, lots of leaves ingested, lots of pushing and lots of parents yelling.  All a really great sign of an excellent time had.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloweenie

We are going to a Trunk or Treat tonight.  It's a really wonderful activity planned by the Mom's Club where you decorate your trunk, put out a bowl of treats and kids can trick or treat car to car.  
So Emily will be a bumble bee.  She loves the costume and so do I.  Not too bulky and warm.   
 Nolan will be a knight in shining armor.  (why do kid costumes have real weapons?  This is his friend Libby's weapon, she's the girl from the movie Brave).
 Happy Halloween!  (these photos are from the costume parade at our local farmers market last week).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Picnic

One of the toys we bought for Emily is a picnic basket.  This is a really cute toy for anyone to enjoy.  While it's pink and purple, it should be more primary because Nolan really enjoys to set up the picnics too.  At any rate, Emily seems to enjoy when Nolan arranges for a picnic.
It was so cute how he set up the laughing penguin (a favorite toy with Emily as well as Nolan) and Emily to enjoy a picnic.  What is really fun is Emily will sometimes laugh and giggle at sounds toys make- something Nolan never did.  So when the penguin makes the sound as if he's falling then laughing it can get Emily giggling which is so much fun.   
And whenever penguin is having a picnic with Emily he doesn't steal her food like her big brother does.  She loves that kid no matter what he does.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday again, already?

God, these weeks fly by.  This week was exceptionally crazy for me.  Doctor appointments and events and activities and tech issues leave me feeling TIRED.  Unfortunately for this guy it doesn't. 
While we have been blessed with a really superb sleeper, I always assumed it was based on how much/fast/erratic he moves when he's not sleeping, it also is a little bit of a curse.  You see, he's 3.5 years old now and most days he still takes at least a 2 hour nap.  Sometimes I'm even waking him up at 4pm.  This sounds awesome, right? 
 WRONG.  Most nights he's not falling asleep until 9pm or sometimes even later.  We pushed back his bedtime to 8pm but even still he flops around in bed (or drives us insane coming out of his room 10+ times a night).  He also plays toddler games- 'I don't want to be tucked in' and as you shrug and say okay, he freaks the hell out until you either a) let him scream, pound, slam, wail, sob until 9pm or b) you go back to him and tuck him in resulting in a generally quiet bedtime (except for the multiple times getting out of bed).
This kid is so strong and has so much energy that he pulled this wagon with all pumpkins on it the entire way through the pumpkin patch and to our car.
 For a while we've been trying different things to make bedtime less stressful and have less meltdowns.  We've tried taking a hard stance on rules which resulted in lots of tears, crying, holding a door shut, screaming under the door etc.  We've tried just going with the flow and doing whatever he wants when he wants it.  All options just don't work.  It all sucks.  It has been about a full year that bedtime is absolute hell in our house.  It sucks.  We hate it.  We don't know what to do.  
view from our car to the pumpkin patch evidencing how far Nolan pulled that heavy wagon
Except the nap.  We haven't addressed the length of his nap.  Do you know how damn hard it is to cut back on my downtime (which is, on a good day, 60 minutes) and wake this kid up earlier from his nap?  Because that's what we think he needs, less nap.  I don't think he's ready for no nap since he goes to naptime willingly and easily, I do think he is still tired.  But his nap needs to be shorter.  

Who would have ever thought it would come to this?  I wish I could teach Emily how to nap.  At this point Nolan and Emily get about the same amount of sleep.  Emily should be getting 4 hours more than Nolan.  She doesn't.  In fact most days her two naps are fewer minutes than his one nap.

Sigh, we need to do something about this and it's not fun.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Six Month Stats

It's impossible not to compare your children, especially when you have two.  There are SO many ways my kids are different.  So many ways. 
So Emily had a doctor appointment today.  Her official weight is 15lb, 9 ounces.  How does that compare to Nolan at 6 months?  Oh, she's 5 pounds lighter than him at 6 months.  FIVE WHOLE POUNDS!  Isn't that crazy?  She is also 26.5 inches, 2 inches shorter than Nolan was at this age.  If you like percentages, she's 75% in height and 38% in weight.  
All in all she's fine.  After 4 shots and an oral vaccine (so cruel!) she's doing just fine.  The doctor said it's probable she will need surgery for her umbilical hernia at around age 4-5, perhaps earlier.  I guess we'll see about that.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Six Months

Emily is half a year old today.  Wow!  I can't even put into words how that feels.  It feels like yesterday remembering that frantic rush to the hospital and all those bumps along the road.  And yet it feels like Emily was part of our world for much longer than a mere 6 months.
She's come a long way.  She's napping, although quite irregular with the length she is napping about the same time every day which I consider a wild success.  She's happy and smiling and sometimes laughing.  She seems very independent.  After experiencing Emily I finally understand how other people could, for example, take their child to the mall shopping etc.  Nolan would not have it.  That was way too confining for him but Emily seems content to observe and take it all in.  She seems happy just chewing away on her toys or playing in her exersaucer.  
We do see glimpses of crazy from her but it's not constant like it was with Nolan.  She does have a silly streak in her but generally speaking she seems calm and content these days.  She even snuggled with me this morning for a minute or so! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Corn Pit

We went to Fair Weather Acres again this year for the Fall Festival.  I love this stuff.  It's hokey and great and fun and something to do when the weather is gorgeous- sunny but crisp.  
This year they seemed to have expanded the corn pit.  Behind Nolan in the picture above you can see a little platform and bales of hay under it.  The corn extends through there and onto the other side. Also (and somewhat scary) there is a little maze under the platform so when Nolan went under and didn't come out either side for a few minutes I totally panicked.   
 He seemed to be hesitant at first and then literally dove right in.  It was very dusty but a lot of fun to watch.
Even Dave got in on the action! 
I'm feeling like I'm at a place right now where I am exhausted by trying to do everything but then feeling left out when I can't participate.  So when Nolan and Dave were having a bunch of fun in the corn pit I was feeding Emily with a spoon.  I know this time doesn't last and next year she'll be diving in the corn maze too but Nolan has been my sidekick for the past 3 years and I've been his.  I miss being able to have conversations with him, I miss hugging him without another little body in the way.  This doesn't have anything to do with Emily, she's been fun and delightful the past few weeks, it's just that I miss the time with just my buddy.  I think Dave and I might need to split up and have one-on-one time with the kids sometimes so I can get some really great Nolan time.  I miss that guy and I miss being able to connect with him.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fuzz Head

Here is our little fuzz head.  
She loves putting things into her mouth.  She's not aggressive about it, rather picks up an item and seems to contemplate bringing it to her mouth and then sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly puts it in her mouth.
 We are FINALLY figuring out life with her.  Her naps are very short, sometimes just 20 minutes but she does ok getting to her next nap.  Sometimes her nap is very long, like when we woke her up after 2.5 hours this weekend.  I know she'll fall into a routine, what's more important is she's not screaming so much.  She's been happier lately, she seems to prefer playing with Nolan more than me.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad.  We've signed up for a library class but it's been a challenge getting to the class with preschool drop-offs and naps but we try each week.  She loves Sophie the Giraffe, a little snail toy and riding in the swing.  
Emily examining the block before inserting it in her mouth

Monday, October 14, 2013

Big Girl Bath

Now that she can sit up, Emily can take a big girl bath.
This makes for a less relaxing experience for her and for me but is otherwise a lovely new little milestone for her.  She does still slip around a little bit but she was getting too big for the recliner.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Two Little Tigers

Don't they look like they are roaring at us? 
I couldn't believe I captured almost the same image of Emily!   
Or is it two little monsters?  Whatever they are, they sure are cute!  My goodness!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wondering

It's so hard not to compare two kids.  I mean, they have the same parents so you'd think they'd be similar.  So in some ways we're grateful they are different.  Emily plays better than Nolan did.  Nolan napped better than Emily did.  Emily sleeps at night WAY better than Nolan did.  Nolan was more crazy/goofy than Emily is.  Emily does some giggling but mostly is a single deep intake that sounds like a laugh.
 And now that this girl is napping she seems a WHOLE lot happier.  This morning she giggled a few times which was very very funny because it was simply because I walked into the room.  We weren't dancing or jumping around (things that generally make her chuckle), it was self-induced.
So we're figuring things out. The evenings are tough and we're trying to smooth them out but all in all things are feeling ok.  Things are looking upward.  Things are feeling positive.  Let's keep this drive going!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Surfboard

Emily is officially an eater.  This girl eats a lot!  She eats cereal and a whole container of fruit or veg 3-4 times a day.  And at dinnertime we give her a surfboard.
And she goes to town on this thing.  I think it's called a Yum-Yum or something like that but it basically dissolves in her mouth.   
 It's funny to see her eating something like this.  I confess I forget when they can have cheerios or finger foods but I think anytime.  We were so hesitant and cautious with Nolan, giving him the same food for a week at a time.  Emily has already tried bananas, apples, pears, peaches, prune juice, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans.
She doesn't seem to like the peas and peaches (which we personally picked and made so we have a giant bag in the freezer...) but we'll keep trying.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Grampa's Beard

Emily forgot all about her separation anxiety once she found GaGa's beard.  She must have really found the feeling fun or ticklish because she sat with Grampa and ran her hand over his beard for about 30 minutes.
This is really sweet.  I love when she's intrigued by something like this.  I bet Grampa loved it too!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The End of This Week


Is she flipping me off?  It feels like it some days
 So this week we've come to a complete 180.  Thank God.  Our family has found a rhythm that works.  Emily has taken at least 2 naps every day and one nap was even 75 minutes!  She is so much happier.  She sits up now, loves playing with toys and putting things in her mouth.  It does seem like every single hour Emily has some need but for right now, BUT if she is happy, I can handle it.  And life feels a million times better than it did last weekend.
This week we kept our life as simple as we could.  I do not normally put headbands on Emily's head.  it seems like it's just one more thing to 'deal' with.  So you can judge whether or not we're having a good day/time based on if she's wearing a dress and/or headband.  As for right now, we're trying to keep things as easy as possible (onesie and pants, no accessories (including socks).  Have you ever tried to hold a soft wiggley baby wearing a dress?  Yeah, it's not easy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fun for Everyone

It thrills me that the very first toy I bought Nolan is one that they both seem to enjoy.  What thrills me even more is that it's a book.  We read a LOT less to Emily than we did to Nolan.  And we read a lot less to Nolan now that we did before Emily came along. 
So when we find Nolan like this, it makes me feel really happy that he loves books as much as we do.  And yes, that's a headlamp.  The kid loves his headlamp.  I won't be surprised if he uses that headlamp his whole life.  If your toddler doesn't have a headlamp, may I suggest one for you.  I've heard it's awesome for nighttime walks.  For fun on a rainy day.  Fun for when the power goes out.   Fun to wear when a worker comes to the house to help out. Fun to use with tools.  Fun for all.   
And yes, they are playing with the same toy in these photos.  I almost always need to remind Nolan that the toys Emily is playing with are not to be grabbed out of her hands while she is holding them.  He seems to be more interested in the stacking cups than his cars these days.  That's ok.  Just wait until she can start crawling.  Brawls will ensue.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Truth Be Told

Truth be told, we are having a really hard time over here.  Emily has been struggling with napping and separation anxiety.  I'm not sure if she's having separation anxiety during naps or if we just can't get a routine that works with her natural sleep needs.  Regardless, she's miserable (and its possible our babysitter may not return).  The days she actually gets two 45 minute naps she's a completely happy and joyful little girl.  The days she screams for 2 hours and naps for 10-20 minutes here and there she's a mess.  It's been hell, to put it mildly.  She's tired so she's more needy.  Nolan gets less of our attention so he starts demanding more or acting out and we're frustrated and can't figure out what to do or how to make our house run smoothly so we're angry at each other.  
A really tired girl
And we keep tweaking her world.  We have tried giving her a bottle instead of nursing.  We've tried napping at different times, we've tried napping 'on-the-go' with no schedule (that just doesn't work for her because she wakes up at the transitions).  We've tried giving her back the pacifier (she just cries with it in her mouth).  We've tried so many different things I can't see straight.  I am not enjoying this time, I feel so helpless.  It's really awful to see your baby so so tired and not be able to do anything about it.  She just cries or whines, no matter what we do.  And everyone offers advice and I can't sort through what people suggest and what we've tried and what is right and what we think might work.  I refuse to believe she 'just won't nap' which is what a lot of people have said.  I have the ability to create the ideal sleeping environment.  I have the ability to put her in that ideal sleeping environment when she needs to be there.  I just can't quite figure out when or what that is and it's heartbreaking. 
A well rested girl
So I decided to hire a sleep consultant.  They can put us on a schedule and give us tips to help find her sweet sleep spot.  But the past two days have been pretty good (two 45-minute naps) so I cancelled the appointment thinking I might be onto something.  Sadly this morning she is still crying, after 40 minutes (and the morning nap is normally the only consistent one!).  It's a long time until our next attempt at a nap.  But I am excited to play with her!  And I know she can go 9 hours without sleeping.  She's really fun right now, she is playing with things and putting them in her mouth and waving them around and pressing buttons.  She finds Nolan to be hysterical and tends to grab my cheeks (or earrings) to pull me closer so she can bite my face while making a growling sound.  It's funny.  She's getting a little personality which is beautiful to see.  And having some time, sleep deprived or fully rested, to play with her while Nolan is napping or at school has been really wonderful.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Picnic

Look who is sitting up all by herself?!  
She's having a little picnic.  It was really cute for her to sit and play with this especially since everything is going into her mouth these days.   
 When she's not miserable from not sleeping she's becoming quite a goofball.  She's a lot of fun, very interested in toys and just joyful.  That is, when she's not sleep deprived.