Big Girls

20161123-054327.jpg

Time is so funny, isn’t it? The entire time I was pregnant with F, it seemed so bizarre (in a good way) that she’d be nearly seven months old by Christmas. I’m not sure if that seemed significant because M was just little at her first Christmas (only two months old) or if it’s because Christmas always seems to come around so quickly, and how could I possibly have such an “old” baby by then? Anyway, it was a good “eyes on the prize” kind of thing to imagine while waiting for my due date and all during the newborn months. And now we’re almost there.

F started sitting up right after she turned five months old. Just like M, she began one week by being able to sit for only a few seconds, and by the end of the week, she was more or less rock solid. Maybe that’s just how babies are? I was really looking forward to F being able to sit on her own, because it’s easier for a sitting baby to play with toys and therefore to be content. As soon as she started doing it, though, I felt like she was growing up waaaay too fast. And now she’s able to hold herself in a crawling position, rocking back and forth a little. She’s going to be a (lovable) menace once she learns to crawl! M will have no idea what’s hit her — and I know I’m not ready!

Preschool

20161105-063438.jpg

Because M has an October birthday, she’ll be nearly five before she can start (public) preschool. Almost six by the time kindergarten starts. If she does, indeed, wind up going to public school. I’m still on the fence about homeschooling, mainly because it depends so much on M (and F). Her willingness and ability to learn from me, her desire to be in a regular class, etc, etc.

But, for now, we’re doing preschool at home. She’s a smart cookie and interested in everything — and we’re together at home, anyway, so we have to do SOMEthing. I bought a Timberdoodle curriculum, which has been a great leaping-off point. M got a little workbook-ed out early on, so we took a break from that stuff. Now I’m trying to let her choose more activities, which means sticker books! (Usborne makes great ones that actually teach her things.) Although she also chose her moveable alphabet today, and I helped her spell words while working on matching letters and their sounds. We looked at some big maps and talked about where various animals live (the most important part of geography, of course). And, while we colored in her new Paw Patrol book, we also did a few of its counting and “which one is different” activities. Not terribly strenuous stuff, but it’s fun to see how it all comes together for her.

M is Three

2016-10-24cake

2016-10-24decorations

2016-10-24bouncehouse

M turned three on Monday. Can you believe it? She’s still so little — I know I’ll look back at this age when she’s a tween and think, “She was just a baby!” — but she’s also becoming such a big kid. A year ago, she was JUST starting to talk. And last week, one of the preschool teachers (who we see when we go to ECFE) said she always forgets that M is just turning three because M is so verbal. She’s definitely become a chatterbox. It’s so interesting to find out what she remembers and the connections she draws between things now that she can verbalize it all.

I haven’t done parties for M except when she turned a year old; we had donuts for breakfast, lunch at a restaurant, and then my parents came over for presents and cake. M really remembered her second birthday, so she was very excited about this one. I had the dining area all decorated when she came up in the morning, and this year she had a special surprise — a mini bounce house! That’s been lots of fun already. M had told me she wanted a Daniel Tiger cake, and made Trolley. It was my first time using fondant, so I’m just glad she recognized it! She got a few Playmobil sets as presents, some Play-Doh, pajamas… lots of stuff, but I think all things that will get used / played with. She seemed excited about everything, at least!

Life with Two

2016-08-16fries

Look at that baby, trying to steal one of my fries. She spent almost all of lunch attempting to get her hand to connect with a fry, but the best she could manage was brushing them with her knuckles. How unfair to be only 2.5mos old!

F is a pretty funny baby, and compared to M at this age, fairly easy, too. I’m currently going through a period of feeling TIRED and TOUCHED OUT, like, doesn’t anybody else want this baby for a few days? While I float in a sensory deprivation tank? But I haven’t experienced that panic of second-guessing myself and feeling like having a second child has ruined everything. It’s more just that I know life will be so much easier in another four months, but the only way out is through. If M was a typical baby (and I think she was), this is kind of the hardest part, for me, anyway. The sleepy newborn phase is long gone, but it’s still a while before naps become organized and life returns to some level of predictability. At least everything (feeding, sleeping, health) is MUCH simpler this time.

M has been a real star as we’ve adjusted to our new life as a family of three. She’s at a challenging age herself (she’ll be three in October), and when she’s pushing my buttons, it’s hard to see her as my original baby. But she is, and thank goodness she’s so good at saying, “I need a snuggle!” when her emotions get away from her. Now that F has (some) control of her hands, and batting at toys can keep her happily occupied for a short stretch, I’m able to get M back on my lap for hugs or tickles or whatever she wants (except I canNOT “play with [Paw Patrol] pups” anymore!).

I want to enjoy every minute of F’s babyhood — and I’m sad when I think about her turning into a big kid before I know it — but right now I’m fixated on 6mos. That was when M really started to feel like more fun than hard work. Plus, it’ll almost be Christmas by then, and I can make the girls wear their matching Christmas sweaters!

More Outdoors

20160718-172113.jpg

20160718-172132.jpg

20160718-172156.jpg

20160718-172210.jpg

20160718-172254.jpg

20160718-172307.jpg

20160718-172329.jpg

20160718-172344.jpg

20160718-172401.jpg

20160718-172416.jpg

20160718-172431.jpg

Here’s another big bunch of photos, since I’ve been going Instagram crazy the past couple of days. I managed to get the brooder pen fixed up for the two-week-old chicks yesterday morning. I just had to put chicken wire on top (so the big chickens won’t jump in an harass them) and then bring the food, water, and chicks out, but it took a while with sleeping F strapped to me! Once the guineas and these little chicks get big enough, they’ll go over to live at the neighbors. And my plan is to get a coop built inside the barn (right now, the chickens have the run of the barn and are in there at night, and it gets… messy). But for now, there’s the chicken nursery, with poultry of all ages and sizes, each needing their own food and water. Whew.

After playing outside this morning, we went into town and came across a few good finds at the thrift store. An Aquadoodle mat (with pens and stampers, even though the box said there were none) for just a quarter, some puzzles, and that set of Melmac cups and plates. They’re for M’s playhouse, should it ever get finished. I had been imagining cups JUST like these and figured I’d never find something so cute in person, but there they were, waiting for us at the thrift store. So you never know!

Graham Crackers

20160714-110549.jpg

20160714-110608.jpg

These days, any time I manage to think of and execute a special project for M, I temporarily feel like Mom of the Year. She’s pretty happy doing her puzzles and playing with her pup toys most of the time, but I can tell she gets bored after a while. So a few days ago, we made these graham crackers. M loves using cookie cutters, but we really didn’t need any sugar cookies. The graham crackers are still fairly sweet, but at least there’s whole wheat flour in them?

I’ve been baking with M for quite a while now, and it’s amazing how much more capable she’s become in that time. She wanted to help with every step of the process this time, and she was really able to do a lot. Such a sense of accomplishment for her! And way more fun than watching another episode of Paw Patrol.

Second Baby

20160608-151124.jpg

Thank you for all the kind congratulations! I like what Anna said about hearing mundane birth stories (it seems like everybody has a traumatic story these days, which is unfortunate) — aside from the drama of the timing, F’s birth really was run-of-the-mill, just what I was hoping for. When I had visualized my “perfect” birth, I imagined contractions starting early in the morning (I was so worried about things kicking off in the middle of the night) and then comfortably laboring at home, arriving at the hospital further along than the nurses were expecting. Which was exactly what happened!

To answer Melissa’s question, I didn’t have any pain meds. I didn’t when M was born, either — just Pitocin for her induction — and when the intensity of labor came rushing back to me this time (in the car, on the way to the hospital), I thought, “Nope! No need to be a hero — I’m getting an epidural this time!” I told the nurses that when I got there, and they kindly informed me that it was a LITTLE late for that option! Being able to move around definitely helped in pushing out a 10lbs+ baby, so it was for the best.

Everything is going so well this time around. I sort of “missed” M’s first weeks because she was in the hospital, and we couldn’t snuggle and bond. So I’m double-enjoying how sweet and simple a brand-new baby is now. I was always so eager for M to hit milestones in her first year, but I wish I could just slow everything down this time around. I guess that’s the gift of a second baby — being able to savor all the best moments, knowing how quickly they pass by.

Baby F Is Here!

20160604-154330.jpg

She’s here! Baby F made her entrance two days ago, on the afternoon of June 2nd. I woke up that morning with mild but distinct contractions, and when I called L&D, they said to wait until contractions were a minute long before heading in. So I did, but once things got going, they REALLY got going. The hospital is usually an hour away, but Rob drove like a superhero and got me there in record time. I was trying not to push as they wheeled me up to L&D, and the midwife had to sprint over from the clinic.

I was really looking forward to one of those “three pushes, and the baby was out!” type second deliveries, but I wound up pushing for about an hour and a quarter (still nothing compared to how long it took to push out M!). Afterward, the midwife said she was surprised/confused that I wasn’t doing a better job pushing the baby down, considering this was my second labor. But when the baby finally started to come out, she thought, “WHOA!” and understood — Baby F was 10lbs3oz! With a 15″ head! I had figured Baby Sister would be bigger than M, but I thought maybe 8lbs, perhaps 8lbs8oz — I would have been surprised by 9lbs. So I was REALLY surprised that she was over three pounds heavier! Same length (21.5″), though.

She’s perfectly healthy, and we were able to come home after 24hrs, thankfully. M says that Baby Sister is “sooo cute” and has been very gentle so far. We’ve got a long transition in front of us, but it’s off to a great start!

(Like with M, I won’t be writing out F’s name here or on Instagram, and I won’t be sharing more photos of her face here. But I know some of you have been waiting to meet her!)