Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Happy Halloween

A little belated, but here's our recap of Halloween. We had a ton of fun this Halloween. Lolli, G-Pop, Grandma and Grandpa were in town (for at least some of it). Arwen, Jen and Micah were out of town, then came back into town. People were coming and going, but suffice it to say we had lots of fun with everyone.

We had 3 different trick or treat outings. Roan (naturally) modified her costume slightly each time. At first she was a princess ballerina. Then she became a rainbow princess kitty. And finally she went as Rapunzel.

On our first outing the Saturday beforehand we headed down to Tennyson St and trick or treated from shop to shop. Roan and Camila...

Roan, Claire and Camila

Roan showcasing her spoils

Roan and McKinna. McKinna is Daphne from Scooby Doo. Love her costume!!!

Lydia, Pascale, Roan and McKinna

We stopped off at the playground before it was all over.

Maddox made it out with us on our second outing. He's a giraffe.

Here Maddox is a sad giraffe. And there's Roan in her rainbow princess kitty getup. I'm still not really clear on where the pink wings come into play.

And the here we are about to head out for nighttime trick or treating.

Here is a video just moments before we stepped out. That wig cracks me up.

Mama & Maddox

Rapunzel skipping down the lane. Literally the second we stepped out of the gate she said, "Daddy, my feet hurt. Can you carry me?"

Logan (Dash from the Incredibles) and Roan

It was such a perfect night. Cool but not cold. Clear. Fall leaves all around.

The Longs

And then after trick or treating, Logan got cozy with a book in Roan's dolly pack & play

Photo slideshows:


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

remember me?

Wow, hi there Blog. Oh how I've missed you. And oh how I've missed you, Dear Reader.

I compose imaginary blog posts in my mind pretty much every day, going about my normal routine and reflecting on the ordinary wonders. But for months on end, these fantasy blog posts are as far as I've gotten. It's just hard to get to the computer and get them in. I'm not going to bore you with the details of my mundane routine, and I'm not complaining about them either. Somewhere along the way I decided it was more important to be with my kiddos than to write about it. I hope the writing will find its way back in, little by little.

There are a zillion other things I should be doing right now. Making Roan's lunch. Organizing my posse of yearbook volunteers (I'm the senior yearbook advisor at Roan's school). Slinging code for the big project at work with the looming deadline. Cleaning up the mess of papers and yarn and odds and ends on my desk. I cringe at the thank you notes that have gone unwritten, the birthday and sympathy cards unsent. And just like on the Appalachian Trail, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, optimistic that somehow it'll all get done if I keep moving forward.

But I just had to pick up the pen, er, keyboard. We are closing in on a year with Maddox now and I am aghast at how the time has gone. I look at him and am in wonder how my helpless little monster baby has grown into a toothy, toddling little bruiser. And I think about where Roan is at now, making sense of the world and her place in it, and how this time with her has raced by so fast. And how I spent most of that time so freaked out about being a first time mom I'm not sure how much I was able to just relax and be in the moment.

That's something I've really been working on. Being in the moment. Being intentional with what I do and say. Surrendering to the overwhelming tide of What Is and letting go of What Should Be. And I think I'm getting better at it. Leave it to me to add "Chill out" to my To Do list, and then strategize about how best to accomplish that.

It amazes me how much kids cause you to reflect on and learn about yourself. Take your kids' nearly constant onslaught of wants and needs and combine that with school's and society's and the Jones' expectations about what you should and should not be doing as a parent. That little pressure cooker is like a crucible burning off all the fluff and distractions and distilling it all down to a core of truths about you as a person. I am relishing this experience.

But we all know you don't come here for my pithy witticisms about the condition of parenthood. You come here for pictures, right?! Here's what the kids are up to.

I guess the big news is Roan learned how to ride a bike, and Maddox is walking. See for yourself!

Roan is in her second year of preschool, in a mixed age classroom with 3, 4 and 5 year olds. (She's 4.) After stunning us by learning to read right off the bat last year as a 3 year old, she has grown progressively more resistant to reading at home. At the end of last school year she declared, "Reading every day is exhausting!" to which I wanted to reply "Good use of vocabulary!" I thought having the summer off would be enough of a break, but this fall she remained recalcitrant. I tried the tough guy approach, and watched it fail utterly. She began saying things like "I hate reading," which totally freaked me out. I unsuccessfully tried to Google a solution. And I was reluctant to talk to anyone about it because I thought people would be like, "Oh poor you, your 4 year old doesn't want to read. Whatever shall you do?!" But when I did finally talk to some other moms, one of them a school psychologist, they basically told me I needed to back off totally. Which is also, for the record, what Arwen told me as well, and naturally I was completely deaf to it coming from him.

So I took this advice. I apologized to Roan and let her know that I don't want her to read to me unless she wants to. And literally THE VERY NEXT DAY she made a total 180. After testing the waters of course. She wanted to see what I'd say when she resisted. And then, spontaneously, she read her book to me because she wanted to. Be tough, go easy on them, geez it's hard to know which card to play when.

She seems to be going through something though, breaking through to a new stage or something. She's very mercurial lately. One minute happy and fun and the next minute falling apart because she can't button her coat. Really. She got so upset about the coat and its nonconforming button that I couldn't drop her off at school this morning. We had to wait a half an hour for her to chill out. And then it was like a cloud had just cleared the sky, and she was herself again. I'm not sure what this is about. But I am noticing she seems to be somehow more mature and more capable, and I am dimly aware of my constant tendency to underestimate her. Periodically a readjustment of expectations is needed, and I think that's where we're at.

As for Maddox, oh my sweet little boy. There I go tearing up again. He is so wonderful. And I feel really badly that I have kept him all to myself, and I haven't shared him with you at all. Because he is a really lovely little person. So funny. So full of joy. He absolutely lights up a room. He's charmed all the gals at his daycare. Ugh, it's hard letting go of him.

I know, it's not exactly like he's headed off to college just yet. But the end of his first year is upon me, and that really is the end of something special. I have so enjoyed cuddling up with him, being close with him. And lord knows we've had a lot of those times, especially at 2, 3 and 4 in the morning. And as much as I do love a full night's sleep, I will miss those times in the night, holding him close.

He is still a big, chubby boy. Still has the double chin and chipmunk cheeks he was born with. And the fat little sausage toes I love so much. Still has his daddy's hairline. That cowlick can look rather dapper though. He's remained in the 95th percentile on height and weight. At 9 months (almost a month ago) he was 25 pounds and 30 inches. So far he's thrown himself at everything in life with all he's got. He's an enthusiastic eater (you knew that), crawler, banger of noisy toys, puller of dangly earrings, and even when he's hungry or sad it doesn't take much to get him to laugh. He's babbling lots of sounds now. A few times he's said "dada" and "mama" and meant it. He is curious about the way things work- likes to open them up, tump them over, make the wheels go. He doesn't like to stay still or be confined. Unless Mama is holding him. And then he doesn't want to be put down.

Ah, I love my little boy so. I look at him and think back to his 20 week ultrasound, when I felt so bewildered at the prospect of being a mother to a boy. Hard to believe I had a care in the world about that, given how natural he's made it all seem.

In other news, fall is beautiful here in Colorado. I'm always a little sad to say goodbye to summer. This was a great one. Camping trips, working in the garden, picnics, pools, even a cross country road trip to visit the Horrocks family farm in Utah.

We've had some lovely visits recently with Lolli & G-Pop, Feefa & Bubby and Gramps & K.

And of course we're looking forward to some spooky Halloween fun right around the corner.

I leave you with a couple more videos of the kids together.

And just one more of Roan on her bike, because I still can't get over it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

we have rolling!

I haven't managed to catch it on video yet, but yesterday Maddox rolled over from back to tummy three times right in front of my eyes. He's quite pleased with himself - it's cute.

So I guess this is the beginning of a new phase. The start of mobility. And I am thrilled but also a little sad. I'm not sure if you can tell, but we are completely smitten by this little boy. He's made for such an adorable baby, I'd kind of like to keep him that way forever. Even if it meant I never returned to normal sleep again. Really. I would make that trade. It's a good thing we're not endowed with the power to choose these things, because there's a chance I would just freeze Maddox right here at this adorable fat-cheeked, butter-skinned stage of his life.

But Mother Nature knows better. And it's a good thing too. As much as I'd like Maddox to stay just as he is right now for always and ever, I can't help but get excited when he learns to do something new. Like roll over. Or try to hold his bottle. Or cluck his tongue. Or make all manner of amusing sounds. One day soon he will be sitting up on his own, crawling, taking his first steps, running around wreaking havoc. All I can do is try to hold on to each precious moment as it slips right out of my hands.

Pictures & videos to come soon.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

happy 4 months Maddox... er, happy 5 months buddy!

... and Happy Mother's Day, and Happy Birthday to G-Pops, and Happy 5th Anniversary to the Longs, and Happy 12th Anniversary to us. Happy happy happy!

[Editor's note: I started this post a few days after Maddox turned 4 months. It's taken me until after he turned 5 months to post it!]

At 4 months old, Maddox is weighing in at a stout 19 pounds. He has dropped to the 95th percentile. (2 months ago he was off the charts.) He is such a happy little boy. Except when he's not happy -- and then he's REALLY not happy. But I think of him as my little Buddha baby. Fat, happy and easy going. He brings joy to me every time I look in his eyes. Except when I'm looking at them for the 2nd or 3rd time in the middle of the night. In all seriousness though, I feel like he has radiated a sense of calm and well being ever since he sprouted in my womb.

He is getting pretty good at holding toys in his hands. He's started to discover his feet. I love watching him. He will grab for and stare at his feet like "Woah man, check out these things. Far out!!!" He often assumes what is referred to as the "happy baby" position in yoga-- one foot in each hand, and a big dopey grin of accomplishment on his face. He hasn't turned all the way over yet, but when he's laying on his back he likes to stick his feet up in the air and flop them over to the side. He's happy for longer and longer stretches playing on his tummy and in the exersaucer. And sleep hasn't been too bad. He usually eats around 8 PM, midnight, 4 am and 7. A few times a week he may go for a 5-6 hour stretch but it's not so consistent.

We started him on cereal this week. His doctor said at this stage of the game it's really just about getting him comfortable with the spoon and working on getting over his gag reflex. His first two tries at cereal were pretty much what I expected: a cute, messy affair in which most of the cereal ended up on his bib, high chair or me. I was quite surprised on Day Three, however, when he ate 6 tiny bowls of the stuff. He would've kept going if I hadn't cut him off. I've set his daily intake at 3 tablespoons of dry cereal mixed with 4 ounces of formula. Sure seems like that should be plenty. And of course I was hoping that the cereal would lead to some longer sleep stretches at night, but I'll give you a guess at how that went. Funny how hope springs eternal, though past experience should dictate otherwise.

Roan is doing great. She remains an awesome big sister. She is learning to practice patience when both she and Maddox need something at the same time. The other day I had to make her wait to get a snack because Maddox was fussy, hungry and tired. She took her crying out in the hallway, helped herself to a graham cracker and cried to herself while she waited for me. It broke my heart and made me proud at the same time. I told her that I know how hard it can be to be the big sister sometimes, since a long, long time ago I was the big sister when Aunt Jen was the baby. We got a nice dose of mother-daughter bonding that day.

Things are starting to wind down at school. When we expressed concern to her teacher that Roan doesn't seem all that into homework and reading lately, she said not to worry about it. "Their brains are full this time of year. They're ready for a break." Roan seems to agree. We've been filling our free time with trips to the park, digging in the front garden, and baking cookies.

Since I've become such an infrequent poster, a lot has happened since my last post. For one thing, Roan celebrated her 4th birthday. Grandma and Lolli came into town to share some time together. We had a lot of fun. We had her party at a bouncy house place called Up Up Jump. She had requested a rainbow cake, so we whipped one up from scratch together. Since all the kids insisted "I want a rainbow on my piece!" for her birthday celebration at school I made rainbow cupcakes, so each kiddo could have their own. Grandma stayed with us for this trip, and she totally spoiled us by keeping Maddox every night. Every SINGLE night. She even taught us a few tricks that have made a big difference in getting him to sleep longer stretches. Thanks Mom!!!

Here's a slideshow of photos from Roan's birthday and the moms' visit.

A couple weeks after that was Easter. Josefa and Charles flew in and spent the weekend with us. The weather wasn't the greatest, but we made the best of things and had an egg hunt in the front yard for Roan and Logan. Here are some more photos.

One last thing. This pic of Logan sporting Roan's chef hat is just too cute not to post! Love my little nephew!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

happy 3 months, maddox!

Maddox turned 3 months old this past week. I'm posting a bunch of photos and videos of him, so you can see what he's up to.

These days he's
  • starting to make cooing sounds
  • finding his hands - especially to chew on
  • outgrown his swaddle blanket
  • kicking his legs a lot
  • loving hanging out in the "barnyard" toy
  • able to roll onto his side, though not get from tummy to back or back to tummy
Interestingly, I have no idea if he's ahead or behind the curve with these milestones. I haven't consulted the baby book regarding the subject of baby development. In fact, I can't even FIND the baby book. What can I say? Second child syndrome. I kind of like it this way though.

This past month saw Maddox fall into a better sleep routine. For a couple of weeks he reliably gave me a 3, 4 and/or 5 hour stretch each night. Then all hell broke loose. The past two weeks have frankly been a disaster. Arwen went on a 4-day business trip and I had the kids on my own. Which wasn't too bad. By the time he got home I was pretty pleased that I'd managed to get Roan to school on time, keep them fed and bathed, show up for work and keep the house tidy. It was a busy week and I was tired, but it felt good. Then he got home and promptly got sick. He was bedridden for 4 days with 103* fever. And Maddox stopped sleeping. And Roan had a friend stay the night who also is not a good sleeper. And work was going crazy with deadlines for me. Days and days went by and I only had sleep in 1-2 hour increments. My grip on sanity seemed to be slipping.

But then Arwen got better, Maddox did a little more sleeping, I finished up the stuff at work that was making me crazy, and life is good again.

Roan is doing great. She's reading up a storm. We have a parent/teacher conference next week, and again she got a glowing report. She is thriving at school, both academically and socially. It's great to see her in the photos her teacher takes, hard at work, surrounded by friends.

We are busy planning her birthday party. We're doing an indoor jumpy castle thing. She's pretty excited about it. We're having trouble figuring out what to get her for her birthday. She's obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake, so maybe one of those toys. She also is obsessed with her plastic dinosaur and insect toys. It cracks me up to see my self-proclaimed "princess," who refuses to wear anything but dresses, playing with her "baby" scorpion and tarantula. And her triceratop named "Cera" (pronounced Sarah).

That's the latest from us...Ciao!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

monster baby

You may be wondering how things are going at home with the new bambino. Given that it's 4 in the morning as I'm composing this, and you haven't heard from me in months you can probably guess. I'm sure you've all given up ever hearing from me. But since I couldn't fall back to sleep after Maddox's last feeding I figured I might as well make use of the time.

Things are going great. Sure, it's true I haven't been sleeping much. Maddox has had long stretches where he wakes every 2 hours - sometimes less - to nurse. The sleep deprivation was tough to get used to at first, but now I'm rolling with it pretty well. And the demands on my mammary glads have been astounding. This kid can pack away the ounces. Really the biggest thing this time around is the humbling realization that I don't have it all figured out. Much of the time I don't really know whether he's hungry or sleepy. I've tried all kinds of stuff and haven't found the magic formula for getting him to sleep longer stretches reliably. He had two heavenly nights this week where he slept for 5-6 hour stretches, and honestly I can't figure out what I did to contribute to that. And now tonight here we are again back in our more normal every 3 hours or so routine.

So I can't sleep, I'm nursing all the time and I generally have the sense I don't know what I'm doing. But what's great this time around is just the sense that it's all ok. So I don't have all the answers. Oh well. I do the best I can and don't stress over every decision the way I did with Roan. The thing I focus on is that sweet chubby face that's there to greet me every morning. It's impossible to feel discouraged looking at him. I just feel so happy and so grateful. I love this little boy. He's got me totally wrapped around his finger. We've got two fantastic kids, each other, and this wonderful house keeping a roof over our heads. Really I couldn't ask for more.

The one thing I've done that probably wasn't super smart is decide to start back to work. Maddox had this one week where he was consistently sleeping in 3 hour stretches and I felt so rejuvenated (how sad is that!) that I felt like I could do anything. So I was just going to start working a little. But it doesn't work like that. It's all or nothing. You talk to one client, next thing you know you have a meeting scheduled, then you've got quotes to prepare and deadlines and stress. Which is fine on the days after nights when I've slept. But I'm guessing tomorrow (well today really, in about 4 hours) may not be one of my better work days.

So Maddox is officially ginormous. He had his 2 month checkup last week, at which we learned he is 24 inches long (95th percentile) and 16 1/2 pounds. By weight he is 1 pound over the 95th percentile. He's already moving into size 3 diapers. And I don't expect his infant car seat to last him past six months.

He is a sweetheart. We of course are still getting to know each other, but so far it seems he has a sunny disposition and a good sense of humor. I hope so, because I think those will serve him well in life. There's a lot that a sunny disposition can get you through.

Roan continues to be amazing with him. She is patient and dotes on him. She squeezes his face and calls him "little Mr. Chubby Cheeks," a nickname she came up with entirely on her own. Although she does have a habit of shouting right in his face at him when he's crying, which is counterproductive. She's also been doing great at school. Her reading is progressing so well. The book she's on now doesn't even have pictures in it, if you can believe it. She's a sharp cookie with a good heart. We are very lucky.

She has become somewhat obsessed by rainbows. Getting dressed in the morning is usually interesting. It begins with her declaration that she has to wear a dress because she's a princess and princesses wear dresses. She is completely unphased by my argument that princesses can wear whatever they want, including jeans. And then she goes on to say she wants to dress "like a rainbow." Which sounds lovely but really involves pulling out a wide array of completely mismatched clothing. It is not uncommon for her ensemble to evoke "essence of bag lady," if you will. But you know, she's expressing her individuality in a completely harmless way. And if you saw the way she beamed pride over these horrendously concocted outfits, declaring "I look beautiful today," then you too could not help but agree.

There are so many photos and videos I want to post. Stuff from Christmas, from family visits with Lolli & G-Pop, Feefa, Papa & Poochie, and Gramps & K. Stuff from Logan's birthday. Hell, stuff from the last few weeks of the pregnancy and Maddox's birth. That may or may not ever happen. But I do have 4 lovely videos for you today.

Thanks for your love and good wishes.

This is a t 6 weeks old

These are more recent, 7 weeks to 2 months

Monday, January 17, 2011

oh my gosh y'all

If I had been more on the ball, or if I could have stopped the space-time continuum long enough to get a blog entry posted, you would've read several different posts from me, summarized as follows:
  1. This having two kids thing isn't as hard as I thought! Babies are so easy! They just eat and sleep...
  2. I think Maddox had his first growth spurt. I can't wait till his sleep patterns return to normal...
  3. Oh my god make it stop! It's not a growth spurt! He just eats and eats DAY and NIGHT, day in, day out. I haven't slept more than 2 hours in a row for 2 weeks.
  4. Wow man, check out the colors. Think of all the money I've saved on recreational drugs...
I kept thinking all I had to do was coax Maddox into the same 3 hour eat-play-sleep schedule Roan was on at his age. She was so regular I could set my watch by her. I kept scratching my head with Maddox, because I kept doing the same things, but he kept switching it up on me. And that was before his eating started to get crazy.

The first two weeks were admittedly pretty mild. But the last two weeks have been a trial by fire. The amount of time this child will spend nursing - and the quantities of milk he can consume in a single stretch - are absurdly mind boggling. It is not at all unusual for this child to nurse for the better part of two hours, suck down 4 ounces from a bottle, nurse again, and then wake up an hour and a half later to eat again! My body, mind, and soul have been pushed far past exhaustion trying to keep up.

[Editor's note: I think I may be living in a black comedy. Literally JUST as I was about to tell you about the great solution we think we've found to his long eat / short sleep cycles he WOKE UP a mere 30 minutes after the mega bottle we fed him, starving of course. Heaven help us!]

Our sweet little baby is already 14 pounds at one month old. And as sweet as he is - and he is such a sweet child - the poor thing is just plain hungry all the dang time. Yesterday we had some successful experiments feeding him a mixture of breastmilk with formula that includes rice cereal. After sucking down one of those, for the first time in weeks Maddox had this wide-eyed look of contentment before drifting off into a long nap.

You know it's bad when you feel like a new woman after getting a whopping 3 hours of sleep. But that is in fact where I'm at. Last night felt like a "gift" because he only woke up three times. Today instead of stumbling through the day in a stupor I actually got some things done - cooked a good dinner from scratch, did loads of laundry, even painted Roan's nails (two different shades of pink for the little princess) and made it to a playgroup.

But the truth is, we've been here before. Sometime back we thought we'd found the "answer:" Load him up on a breastmilk bottle right before bed. That got us a whole 4 hours of sleep one time. ONCE. And then he went back to waking up 30 minutes or an hour after each feeding. It's quite possible our latest solution won't have much staying power either. I guess we'll find out shortly.

If he would just let me get some sleep I might actually be able to get some photos posted!