Thursday, December 20

Setting an Example

I went to the gym last night, and while I sweated and ran and sweated some more, the Miss Universe pageant came on one of the gym televisions. And as I watched the opening bit, I saw young woman after young woman cross the stage. And it all felt a little bit disgusting.

There I was, working my ass off to maintain my size 8, a size that I haven't seen on my jeans tags since high school, a size that I'm very proud of and hope to maintain. Meanwhile, on TV, there are the supposed most beautiful women in the world parading across a stage, and not a one of them was likely bigger than a size 4. If that.

They all looked nearly identical. Tall, very thin, long bouncy hair, bleached straight white teeth, skin completely free of acne or freckles, high cheekbones. If it weren't for their sashes (and to be fair, quite a number of skin tones) I would have a difficult time telling these women apart. Hardly any women can  attain this standard of beauty. Is this really what we all should be trying to look like?

As the mother of a daughter, I am seeing things like the Miss Universe pageant in a way that I never have before. These women, the way they look—this is the look that my daughter will see in TV, movies, magazines, and the look that will probably make her question whether she's pretty enough. How do I tell her she's beautiful the way she is? And what kind of example should I be setting? I was missing family dinner last night so I could exercise (for the record, normally I work out at other times, but I was wanting to go to a class—that ended up being canceled). I exercise for my health, yes, but like I said before, I want to maintain my current size. With pregnancy, I gained a lot of weight, and it's something I do not want to fight my entire life. I don't want to gain then lose, gain then lose, gain then lose. Now that I've lost weight, I really want to keep it off. But how do I continue to strive for this in my own life while also assuring Olive that she's perfect no matter what she looks like?

I'm not the first mother to raise a daughter. With TV shows like Honey-Boo-Boo (a show I've never seen, by the way) and all those pageant shows with little girls, it seems like it's getting harder to let little girls just be little girls for very long. I see seven-year-olds wearing heels, ten-year-olds wearing slinky tank tops and booty shorts. I don't know how to navigate these kind of parenting waters. But Olive is young, and we'll just have to figure it out together.

I do know that no matter what she looks like, or how she chooses to live her life, I'll love her forever, with my whole entire heart. Even if she wants to be Miss Universe.

Tuesday, December 18

Updates


  • Milo continues to be adorable and awesome. He called my friend Stephanie "Snuffanie" the other day. I kind of hope he keeps doing that, because it's really hilarious.
  • I got a promotion! Say hello to Hallmark Books' newest senior editor.
  • On Sunday we had lunch with some friends, and Milo sat at the kids' table with two four-year-olds and they all had a grand time. Ate mac n cheese and oranges and drank milk (in a cup with no lid) and hardly a bite was spilled. So proud of that kid. I told him so on the way home, and he said "I don't want you to be proud of me." (In a very whiny tone of voice, I might add. In my head, I immediately took back my praise.)
  • Less than two weeks 'til Christmas and out shopping is not done. Sigh.
  • I turned 31 last week. How can that be? We went out for frozen yogurt after dinner to celebrate. Milo got his own cup of fro yo, and he picked out strawberry-banana and mocha, with mini M&Ms on top. Gross.
  • Olive is playing me like a tiny violin. She has mastered the art of shrieking to get what she wants. Hooray! Also, sarcasm!
  • Milo had started playing with Thomas the tank engine when he should have been going to sleep, so I made a bed for Thomas. The bed, which looks a lot like a box with some stickers on it and a blanket inside, is up on top of his bookcase (conveniently out of Milo's reach) and every night we tuck Thomas in. I can't believe I made a bed for a toy train. And that I say goodnight to the train every night and literally tuck that train in. And did I mention Thomas's nightlight? Yes, a battery-operated flameless candle also goes in the box.
  • Parents truly use tons of batteries. Not only do toy trains get nightlights, but other toy trains are left running when no one is playing with them, flashlights are left shining long after the kid has left the vicinity, and almost every toy requires some sort of battery. Before Milo was born, I honestly don't even know that I ever purchased a battery to replace one that had died. But now we actually stock up on them at Costco. Costco!
  • Olive has started shaking her head when she dances. Like she's saying no really emphatically. But while smiling. My favorite part of the head-shaking is that she'll even do it when I sing. No actual music required.
  • I joined Twitter. Follow me if you want, @lenexicon. Sometimes I'm interesting.

Sunday, December 16

Olive Walked Today!

Today Olive took two full steps completely unassisted. I know, I know, it's not much, really. But it's something. As I've mentioned, I think she's been capable of walking for a couple months now, but she's been too cautious to actually let go and move those legs.

Today I think her steps were more a matter of her being too busy thinking about where she was going to have time to consider her means of getting there. She was cruising along the kids' art table we have in the playroom, and she wanted to come over to me. I was sitting just a couple feet from her, so she had to turn and let go of the table to reach me. Pretty exciting.

I kept trying to get her to repeat her performance all day, but she wasn't having it. Maybe tomorrow we'll start to see the real walking begin.

Monday, December 10

Ten months? But that is only two months away from ONE YEAR.

Olive is 20ish, maybe 21ish pounds. She's taller than a month ago. No official stats from the doctor, but I can tell this girl is growing.

She is not yet walking, but at this point I think she's just teasing us. Or she's lazy. So, so close to walking. She even has started to try to stand up on her own without pulling up on something. Just in the middle of the floor, hands on the ground, she gets up on her feet. Can't make her way to standing yet, but it won't be long. She can also stand unassisted no problem. Exceptional balance (for a ten-month-old).

Her hair is coming in thicker, and it still stands up all over her head. I think it's amazing and the cutest baby hair I've ever seen. Some people look at it and say things like, "Whoa, look at that hair!" Then they pause, and go on to say, "It's okay, though, it doesn't look bad." And I'm like, I know. It looks awesome.

Olive is starting to say real words. She can say Mama, Dada, kitty, yum-yum, and maaayyyybe Milo. Oh, and she can clap her hands and say yay. She can blow kisses, wave, and give high fives. When Andrew kisses me goodbye in the morning, then kisses her goodbye, she then turns to me and opens her mouth, expectantly waiting for a kiss. I oblige. Sometimes she slips me the tongue. Hilarious and sloppy, all at once.

One of her favorite games is putting things into other things. She picks up toys and slams them into the nearest receptacle. Helpful at clean-up time.

When she's done with her meal, she starts dropping her food onto the floor. Thanks, kid.

She is finally getting good at holding her own bottles and actually tipping them back so she can drink the whole thing. Sippy cups too. I'm telling you, don't discount laziness yet.

Naps and her morning wake-up time are irregular. She's an early, early riser. Andrew and I are definitely not getting enough sleep.

Olive currently is fighting off her first ear infection. The poor thing was miserable the entire weekend, clearly in pain. Feverish, cranky, restless but exhausted. Got her to the doctor this morning, and she's on her first round of antibiotics ever. And so it begins. (I am somewhat comforted thinking about how when Milo was ten months old, he already had gotten tubes, so Olive's not doing too bad all things considered.)

Olive has two teeth, the bottom middle ones. Where are those top teeth? Why is she drooling so much, but dragging on the teething process?

She and Milo are starting to play nicely together. It's stinking cute, I tell you. This must be the reason people have more than one kid, because take it from me, it is not for all the hours of rest and relaxation that come with the territory.

Olive likes playing with cars and trains. Because that is the only kind of toy we have. Good thing Santa is coming soon so I can properly stereotypically genderize my baby girl.

Sometimes when I am holding Olive, she reaches up and strokes my hair. Guess who also does this? Milo. And it's perhaps my favorite thing he does when he's feeling cuddly, so to have both my children do this? Heaven.

Along those same lines, Olive is getting more cuddly. She often rests her head on my shoulder, and she nearly always wants to be held.

She's beautiful, funny, smart, smiley, ticklish, and amazing. And about a thousand other positive adjectives. I love her so much, truly.

Loves to dance. 
Loves her brother.

Really loves her brother.

Even when his feet are in her face, she loves her brother.

Thursday, November 29

Fun for the whole family

Remember that amazing new book line from Hallmark? The incredible Be a Part of the Story interactive storybook? Well. I bought two of them for Milo, a train story titled All Aboard and a Christmas book called A Visit to the North Pole. And Milo adores both of them. He loves answering the questions and hearing Santa or the conductor talk to him. Grandma and Grandpa were impressed, too.

Seriously.
Go buy one for the kids in your life.
They won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 26

Favorites

Yesterday, for the first time, Milo told me that something was his favorite. I've asked him before what his favorite color was, or what his favorite story was. And he has never been able to answer. I don't think he understood what "favorite" meant. So when he mentioned something about favorites, I decided to ask him about a few others.

"What's your favorite food, Milo?"
"B'nanna!"

"What's your favorite color?"
"Lellow."
"Really? I thought you were going to say blue."
(Oprah-like) "It's lellll-ohhhhh!"

"What's your favorite animal?"
"A bear."

So there you have it. Straight from Milo's mouth. A few of his favorite things.

Tuesday, November 20

Any resemblance?

Andrew took these pictures of me and Milo a month or two ago. They're not the most flattering, and the focus isn't perfect, but I like them. Milo and I kind of look a little bit like each other for once. Usually I think Milo just looks like Andrew. Sometimes I think Milo resembles my nephew, Austin. But rarely do I think he looks like me. What do you think? Any resemblance?






Monday, November 19

Good Timing

My blog hit 28,000 page views today. Kind of a nice coincidence, to get to such a round number on my blogiversary. (Would've been better to get to 30,000 or even 100,000 though. Maybe in another five years...)

Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is the five-year anniversary of the launch of this blog. In celebration, let's NOT go digging in the archives to see what sorts of things were on my mind way back in 2007.

Thanks, loyal readers, for continuing to read. I know you can't get enough information about my children, since that is apparently all I have to talk about these days. (Thankfully, about fifty percent of my readership is the children's grandparents, so they're probably still interested in their bathroom habits and whatnot. Or at least they pretend to be.)

Since I've been a little lackadaisical in posting lately, here are some quick tidbits to quench your lenexicon thirst. (Five of them, one for each year of the existence of this blog.)

  1. After pretty much eating whatever I wanted the last few weeks (Halloween candy, anyone?), I mysteriously (ahem) gained back a few pounds. So I decided it was time to get back on the Weight Watchers train. Good timing, what with it being Thanksgiving week and all. I wonder how many points are in pumpkin pie, because you better believe I will be eating some of that come Thursday.
  2. Milo just learned how to quote song lyrics in conversation. Daddy is so proud. If you're lucky, you will hear Milo say, "I'm so excited, I can't just hide it." (Yes, he reverses the order of "just can't." Give the kid a break, he's only two.)
  3. I ran my first 5K in September. This probably deserves its own post. Maybe it will get one someday. I am also running the Turkey Day run on Thanksgiving morning and the Jingle Bell Run in December. I can't believe it, really. I just started running a few months ago, and I will have completed three 5Ks before the end of 2012. I think that might make me a real runner, a title I never thought I'd have.
  4. Now that I've weaned Olive, I really want to go on a vacation. Just a few nights away from those early risers would be amazing. But we need a new water heater, a new roof, and exterior house paint, and we hope to complete the landscaping in the backyard next year. So a vacation isn't looking very likely. Sigh.
  5. Our bedroom is inching toward being completely decorated. I don't know why it takes me about two full years to complete projects like this. We now have a headboard and all the furniture we want. Still need to sew the curtains and hang the artwork. I just need about two kid-free days and I think I could finish it all. Any volunteers?

Wednesday, November 14

Hooray!

Milo peed in the potty tonight! First time it was totally intentional on his part. He stood, and I tossed a square of toilet paper in for him to aim at. And within 30 seconds, maybe, he peed! And it nearly all went in the toilet!

I cheered, and we called down for Daddy. Andrew came up and saw the pee, cheered, and gave Milo his very first "I peed!" Skittle.

Then Andrew asked him what we do after we pee. Milo said, "Put your penis down." Andrew said, "What else? We flush!" And Milo proudly flushed.

He was so proud. Smiling and cheering right along with us. After bath we called Grandma and Grandpa (left a message) and Nana. Got to tell Nana all about it. She was very excited, too.

I am so proud of him. Yay, Milo!

Monday, November 12

Hugs All Around

When I got to daycare tonight to pick Milo up, he was over in the corner playing with a pink car. I asked him for a hug. He said "This car needs a hug first." He pushed the car into my open arms, so I obliged, hugging that poor car. Then I handed the car back to Milo and said I needed a hug from him, too. He hugged the car tightly to his chest and leaned into me.

Group hug.

Unrelated to the story, but it's almost a group hug. That counts as being relevant, right?

Sunday, November 11

She's Nine Months Old

What is my girl up to this month? Let's start with the official stats from the pediatrician:

  • Weight: 19 lbs (75th percentile)
  • Height: 27 3/4" (60th percentile)
  • Head circumference: 17 1/2" (80th percentile)

Oh my goodness, Olive is cute as a button. She's bouncy and happy. She's smiley. She has the most stick-up hair you've ever seen, and it just floats around her head. She's just a lovely baby.

She is *thisclose* to walking.She can stand completely unassisted for maybe ten seconds. She can walk at a pretty quick pace holding just one hand. She cruises along like she's been doing it her whole life. And crawling can get her all over before you even know she's moving.

She got her first two teeth. They came through on the same day, and they're growing in enough that you can actually notice them now.

She learned how to wave a few days ago, and it is so stinking cute. I am actually bragging about this new talent to strangers. As if they care. But seriously, it's cute. She flaps her arm, and when she gets excited, she starts flapping both arms. Then she starts bouncing and flapping all at once, with a huge smile. Soooo cute.

She can also give high fives, which is another great party trick.

I am fairly certain she knows the words "Mama" and "Dada" and associates them with the appropriate person. She definitely recognizes her own name, though she can't say it yet.

She can climb stairs, and has now fallen backwards off her first stair. Sad. (She was fine.)

Olive has officially weaned. Or rather, I have officially weaned her. We went down to just nursing in the morning and before bed. Then just before bed. Then it was becoming increasingly clear that she wasn't getting enough milk from me. It was also clear that I wasn't enjoying the biting or the clawing. So I started supplementing the nursing with a bottle every night, and after a couple weeks of this, decided to quit nursing altogether. Last night was the first night without any nursing or pumping, and it's all going fine. Surprisingly, I'm not even that sad about it. A little sad. But I know I'm doing the right thing--the right thing for us, right now. I look back at Milo at this age, when I refused to give him any formula because I was so brainwashed to think it was bad for him. But his weight hadn't been increasing enough, and he had dropped into the 5th percentile. Olive is now 75th percentile, and while any number of factors could be at work here, I attribute the difference mainly to exclusively offering breastmilk vs. breastmilk + formula.

Olive sometimes has stranger anxiety. She cries when someone she doesn't know wants to hold her. She hadn't seen Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of weeks, and she didn't want to go to them at first. Thankfully, Grandma offered her a bottle and a snuggle and all was well.

What else is there to say? I adore her. And I don't know how the past nine months flew by so quickly. Can it really be time to start thinking about her birthday party? Better get a board going on Pinterest...



Monday, October 22

Good Night, Indeed

Tonight was Andrew's turn to read to Milo before bed. Instead of tucking him in like I usually do, I just went up to say good night.

I gave Milo a big hug and told him I loved him. He said, "I'm gonna have fun reading with Daddy!" I said, "We had fun earlier, didn't we?" He said, "Yeeeeahhh," in the perfect tone of voice that said, well, we did, and I will humor you by admitting it, but of course I will have much more fun with Daddy. I laughed and hugged him tighter. He laughed.

I said, "Can I have a kiss?" And he actually gave me a kiss. Not just put his lips out so I could kiss him, but he really kissed me. Then he kissed me a second time. And I melted a little, so I told him I loved him again. And he said, "I love you."

Such a sweet kid, so amazing. Such an easy thing, loving him. There is nothing in the world like this feeling.

Thursday, October 18

Here we go!

Breaking news: Olive got her very first tooth yesterday (when she was eight months old (future Me will be glad she didn't have to do the math))! And her very second tooth! Yes! Two! At one time! It's a phenomenon I have heard of but never witnessed for myself.

Perhaps this explains the 4:00am wake-up call the other day...

She's going standard teething style; her new chompers are the two middle ones on the bottom. They are very tiny and can be more felt than seen at this point.

And now you have more information on my baby's mouth than you thought you needed. You're welcome.

Monday, October 15

Eight Months + One Week

My dear sweet Olive is eight months old. She's very nearly old enough for me to start thinking about planning her first birthday party. Unbelievable. It's so very cliche to comment on how quickly the time is going, but my goodness, how quickly the time is going! Although I must say, it does seem like an eternity has passed since I was pregnant (amen).

No official weight/height stats this month; we're still a month away from the next checkup. However, I would guess that Olive is squarely average. She's skinny compared to some babies, chubby compared to others. Average height, probably. Her size, though, is probably the only average thing about her.

I've been saying that there's a good chance she'll be walking by Halloween, and now with Halloween just a couple weeks away, I stand by my guess. No steps have been taken yet, but she can stand there and balance unassisted for several seconds at a time. She can walk rather quickly when holding onto someone's hands. She has no trouble cruising the furniture, even letting go of one piece of furniture to move over to another. So we'll see. Maybe she'll even be ready for trick-or-treating this year.

Speaking of trick-or-treating, I still don't know what Olive is going to be for Halloween. I'm torn. I want her to be something adorable and awesome, but my cheap (and lazy, if I'm being honest) side is winning out, and I'll probably just put her in a costume we already have. That means a) kangaroo, b) pumpkin, or c) chicken. I'm leaning toward chicken; Andrew wants kangaroo. Feel free to weigh in on this Very Important Issue.

I think Olive has learned how to high five. At least four out of five times I hold up my hand and say "high five" she lifts up her hand to mine. I think she goes along with it mostly because I cheer ("woo!") every time she does it. Gestures she has not yet mastered include blowing kisses, waving, and flipping the bird.

She hasn't really said her first word yet, but I think she's attempted "hi" and "Mama." Also "byebye." I haven't gone on record yet with any first words. In my book, making the sound isn't enough; she has to attach some sort of meaning to it.

No teeth yet. Sigh. She is frequently in pain, we think, from teething. This mysterious teething, that does not seem to produce actual teeth. Huh.

Olive wakes up early. No, earlier than that. Yes, it is that bad. She does sleep through the night, if by "through the night," you mean "almost all the way through the night." Waking up at 4:00am is too goddam early. 5:00 is too early. 5:45 is too early, though we're getting in the ballpark now. Sleep until 6:00 (preferably 6:15), Olive, and I'll be a happy and less irritable mommy. Lately I haven't been handling the lack of sleep too well. I overreact to the kids' less-than-ideal behavior, and I'm just so irritated with everything and everybody (yes, you too). I can feel my brain processing things very slowly, like I'm in a fog. Andrew and I are both constantly almost sick, always fighting colds or something. Frankly, it's miserable. But I digress. Back to Olive. She wakes up early. Her naps are all over the place. Some good ones on days she's here with the nanny, lots of bad too-short naps.

She is pretty much over pureed foods and much prefers to eat chunky things or things she can pick up. Andrew and I joke that she must have her bread course after she's done being spoon-fed. She's definitely a second child: I made all of Milo's baby food, and Olive is lucky to occasionally get some mashed sweet potato or steamed cauliflower. It's all jars and pouches this time around.

I have also just weaned from daytime nursing, so she's getting three bottles of formula daily. This is another indication of my second child. The first time around, I would have freaked out at the thought of (gasp!) formula. But now... eh. Girl's gotta eat, and my boobs weren't cutting it. So I started to wean from pumping at work, going from three times a day to two, then down to once a day, then cutting back on the length of time I spent pumping. Today was my first day at work that I didn't use the moms' room at all. And let me tell you, I didn't miss it. I'm still nursing in the morning and before bed, and I plan to continue that for awhile, hopefully until Olive decides she's through.

Olive is happy. She adores her nanny. She smiles for anybody who smiles at her. She bounces with excitement when I get home in the evening, then again when she sees her daddy come home. She giggles at Milo, she is entertained by the cat, and sometimes she smiles for no reason at all. So Olive is happy...

...except when she's not. When she's feeling clingy/hungry/overly tired, you cannot get her off you. She claws at your legs and wipes her snot all over your pants. Shes screams until you pick her up, at which point she is suddenly totally happy again. She fusses, she arches her back, she throws her body around. She's a little maniac, an insane, unreasonable maniac.

She likes: blowing raspberries, blowing spit bubbles (slowly, so she can feel the saliva forming a bubble), graham crackers, Cheerios, cauliflower, knocking the puzzles to the floor, shoving food off her tray, drinking water that is dropped into her mouth via a straw, bouncing, being tossed in the air, falling backward, being tickled, smooches on her jawline, and pulling herself to standing.

She doesn't like: getting scratched by the cat (duh), beef stew, Greek yogurt, being tired, sleeping in, having her face wiped, having her nose wiped, reading books, and not being held.

She's a little spitfire, and I'm so glad she's mine.






Thursday, October 11

Be a Part of the Story

I'd like to introduce to you the project that has consumed me at work for the last year and a half. It's my "super-secret project," the "next big thing," and the work accomplishment I am most proud of. (It has only just shipped, so we are only beginning to see sales—but I'm so confident, I am going to go ahead and count my chickens.)

It's Hallmark's latest and greatest, the Be a Part of the Story Interactive Storybook. We are launching with three titles; the Christmas book, A Visit to the North Pole, is the very first to get to market. These books are very cool. They use "I Reply" voice recognition technology. When a parent reads certain phrases aloud, the main character speaks directly to your child with a question or comment about the story. The child's response triggers an appropriate response from the character. The experience is truly magical—for kids and parents.

In addition to the Santa story, we have two everyday books. I edited All Aboard, a superfun train story that I can't wait to share with Milo. A coworker of mine developed A Day at Fairy Grandmother's, which is full of surprises and silliness.

If you have kids ages 3–6(ish), I encourage you to buy one (or all) of these books. I honestly don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, October 5

So proud of that boy

For the first time ever, Milo went to bed last night without his paci. He didn't fuss, he didn't wake up during the night and cry, and he didn't get upset this morning when he didn't have it. He really is a big boy.

We've been weaning him slowly from the paci, talking up what a big boy he is and how big boys don't need pacis anymore. He no longer gets it during diaper changes or traumatic moments (like taking a big tumble or something). And we weren't giving it to him during pre-bedtime story time, either. He was still asking for (and getting) the paci before naptime and right as he was laying down to go to bed.

But not last night. It occurred to me as I was tucking him in that he wasn't asking for it. I considered giving him one, hoping to prevent a middle-of-the-night screaming session. But I resisted, wondering if this might be the night he left his babyhood behind. He did great. He didn't even know he did great, but I'm so proud of him.

We'll see if he goes paci-free tonight, too. Wouldn't that be something?

Friday, September 21

Uugggghhhhrrrrrrgggguuhhtthhhh

Let's talk about sleep for a moment, shall we? Oh, how I miss it. The last three nights, Milo has decided that going to bed isn't a good idea. He lays down initially, but five minutes later is up, out of his room, and heading downstairs.

We calmly walk him back to bed, kiss him goodnight, and leave. He wails. He gets out of bed, opens his door, and walks out.

I take his hand (which he very willingly lets me do), calmly walk him back to bed, kiss him goodnight, and leave. He wails.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

It has taken somewhere between one and two hours for him to give up and go to sleep.

Then 5:00am comes, and Olive is wailing in her crib. She's been waking up this early for the last couple of weeks. It's getting old.

This morning we had the added bonus of Olive crying at 5:00am, and either waking Milo up or letting him know it was time to get up anyway, and he opened his door, walked across the hall, and opened Olive's door. Just wanted to say good morning, I suppose.

I'm losing my mind, a little bit. Something desperately needs to change. I know you can't make kids eat or sleep. I'm over worrying about what they eat. I know they're doing okay overall when it comes to nutrition. But sleep? This is directly affecting me. And Andrew. And our relationship. Because when we don't get enough sleep, we get cranky, and when we get cranky, we argue. It's no good.

Any advice for me?

Wednesday, September 19

Olive: Seven Months (and Two Weeks)

No official weight/height stats this month, but I'm pretty sure Olive is growing. So at least there's that. Some babies are probably bigger. Some are probably smaller. Eh. Let's get to the good stuff.

My baby is turning into a big girl far too fast for my liking. She can crawl like nobody's business. She can pull herself to standing. She is beginning to cruise along the coffee table. She can hold my hands and walk for quite a long time before losing her balance or tiring out. And she just doesn't fall over that much. Don't most babies lose their balance a lot and go tumbling over? Olive just doesn't do that very often. She's absurdly strong.

Her laugh! Oh how I love it. At first I always think she's crying (when I hear her but can't see her) because it has this breathy quality to it. But then she squeaks out a high-pitched shrieky giggle and there's no mistaking her joy. Things that make her laugh? Tickling. Olive is ticklish, especially on her tummy and under her arms. Also the feeling of free-falling backward and tipping her head upside-down.

Physically, I think she's gorgeous. Big dimples, huge eyes. Her eyes aren't purely blue like Milo's, but sort of blue-gray. Her halo of fuzzy strawberryish-blonde hair that just sticks up enough to make things interesting. Her toothless grin and the way she imitates big smiles and mirrors her own back.

She is eating a lot of different foods, but doesn't so much care for purees. She would much rather pick up her own food. She's extremely selective when it comes to food. For the first bite, she'll tentatively open her mouth, just enough to get a taste. She'll taste, visibly moving her tongue around to get the full effect of the flavor. Then, when offered the next bite, she'll either open her mouth as wide as she can, or she'll clamp her jaw shut. And if she's decided she doesn't want that food, you absolutely cannot get her to eat it. No trick in the book works on this kid. She's a smart one, I tell you. Foods she likes (for now, anyway) include all breads, cheese, peaches, avocado, sweet potato, cauliflower, pasta, chicken, prunes, banana, and oatmeal, among others I'm forgetting, I'm sure.

I'm still nursing her, but she's now also getting one bottle of formula a day. Even though I've been pumping three times a day at work, it's just not enough and I'm only pumping approximately eight to ten ounces a day, whereas she eats about fifteen. I don't really have a plan for how long to pump. As long as it seems worth the effort, I guess. If I only were to pump six ounces in three sessions, for instance, forget it. Not worth the time and effort it would take. So we'll see how it goes.

Olive adores Milo still. He can get kind of pushy with her, sometimes literally. He shoves her over and takes her toys. He hugs her and ends up knocking her over. He yells at her for...being a baby, I guess. But still Olive can't get enough of him, and when he's in the right mood, he can't get enough of her, either. It really is fun to watch them play together, especially now that what they are doing can be considered playing.

During this last month, I have gotten in the swing of being back at work and Olive has gotten used to her new caretakers. First is Tara, our wonderful nanny. Olive adores her. Andrew and I adore her. Second is Kristin, Milo's current full-time daycare provider. She's wonderful as well, which of course we already knew. I will say that Olive has a bit more trouble napping at Kristin's, but that seems to be improving all the time. Bottom line is that Olive is happy and in extremely capable hands, and as her mommy I feel so fortunate to have found people who adore my daughter to take care of her.


Tuesday, September 18

A Major Accomplishment

My weight has now fallen below the weight listed on my driver's license. This has got to be the first time this has ever happened in the history of the world. And you know that when I listed that weight, I was at least ten pounds heavier than I claimed to be. Hot damn, I am a mere seven pounds away from my high school weight. High school! And let me tell you, my boobs are way bigger now than they were back then. I'm like a fine wine, continually getting better with age. Right?

Friday, August 31

So Far So Good

When I was in college, I had a couple of weird spots on my skin that I wanted a dermatologist to check out. So I made myself an appointment, stripped down, and bared my skin for the doctor. Because I'm a fair-skinned redhead, I asked questions about skin cancer, too.

Twenty minutes later, I left the dermatologist's office angry and embarrassed. "How old are you?" he asked me. "Twenty," I said. He huffed. "At your age," he said, "it is impossible to have skin cancer." He didn't even say "nearly impossible" or "very unlikely." He said "impossible." This idiot doctor made me feel like a fool for even considering the possibility that I was at risk for melanoma, and I left with no info on warning signs or anything. Yes, I was young, but that was no reason to treat me like I wasn't even worth your time.

Fast-forward ten years. Lately, I've somehow been reminded that skin cancer is out there. I went to a presentation on healthy habits and was reminded to get a skin cancer screening. I came across the blog of a 23-year-old who was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. I signed up for a long-term cancer prevention study. Lots of things have been reminding me that cancer exists.

I decided to get screened. I don't have any particular concerns. No moles or strange spots or anything. But I worry that I'm in the high-risk category for skin cancer because of my extremely fair skin and it kind of freaks me out. This morning I had my appointment with a new dermatologist, and it was a hundred times better than my college experience.

I explained why I was there, that I had no immediate concerns but just wanted to be checked, and the response was "Good for you!" So much nicer than "Um, why are you here?" After a thorough check, I was deemed clear. No concerns at this time. But they suggested I come back for yearly checks just to be safe. I made my next appointment before I even walked out the door.

And you better believe I will be wearing my sunscreen.

Thursday, August 30

Changes

When I was pregnant with Milo, I gained a lot of weight. I managed to lose all the baby weight, but I held on to about 10 extra pounds that had slowly crept on over the last few years. When I got pregnant with Olive, I didn't want to gain as much weight as with my first pregnancy. But morning sickness and the dreariness of it all got to me, and I basically had a completely lackluster attitude about it.

I ate whatever I wanted and somehow that translated into weight gain. I was mad at myself for letting it happen, but I made no effort to remedy the situation. I think I had already given up on ever being thin or even average. I was 30, I hardly exercised, and I never have had an athletic or naturally thin body type. I figured that baby weight was mine for good.

And then I had Olive, and a few weeks after her birth, I was feeling like a huge fat cow. I hated looking at myself. I had no one to blame but myself and it was depressing. On top of carrying around an extra 70 pounds, I had a ton of ugly stretch marks around my middle. Everything was saggy and gross. And moms, you know how it is, feeling bad about your post-baby body and being so hormonal and tired that everything is magnified a thousand times. It was not a good time.

A friend of mine had done Weight Watchers in the past and was planning to join again after her baby was born. On somewhat of a whim, I signed up. Didn't really think about it, just decided something had to be done about this weight. I wasn't ready to give up yet. I started tracking my food and making small changes. Less bread. Less cheese. Fewer random snacks. Smaller portions.

And the weight started to come off. Five months later, I am down 65 pounds from where I was the day before Olive was born. That's two Milos. I figure I have about five pounds to go before I'll start maintenance, though I have no idea how to do that. I'm very good at gaining weight, and pretty good at losing it, but never staying the same. So we'll see how that goes.

But it wasn't just Weight Watchers that has changed me. For some crazy reason, a few months ago I decided it would be a good idea to start running. And before I'd ever even tied up my laces, I signed up for a 5K. When I signed up, the race was in 12 weeks, giving me plenty of time to train with the nine-week Couch to 5K program.

I'm now about to start Week 8 of the program, and the difference in my body is incredible. My arms and legs are more toned than they've ever been. Ever. My face and neck look visibly thinner to me. Pants that have been too tight for years are suddenly baggy. My wedding ring slips and slides around my finger. I'm wearing skinny jeans and enjoying them, for crissakes. Even though my tummy still has the almost-faded stretchmarks and extra roundness that are the telltale signs of having recently had a baby, I feel better about my body than I have since I got married.

It's not just outside changes that I am noticing, either. I can run 25 minutes without walking. I'm sure my heart is getting healthier. I can walk up more flights of stairs before feeling winded. Never in my life have I exercised as much as I am right now. And it feels pretty incredible.

Sometimes I feel guilty for leaving in the evenings to go work out. I miss the kids' bedtime, and there are few things I love more than reading stories and cuddling with Milo. But I'm so glad that he gets to see me put on my workout clothes and head out the door. He is learning that exercise is important. I want to set a good example for him and pave the way for his and Olive's lifelong health.

To sum up, I'm proud of myself. If I can make these kinds of changes, anyone can. Because I really like eating and watching television. My 5K is in exactly one month. And I am going to finish it.

Monday, August 27

She's Mine

Sometimes a wave of love so strong for my girl washes over me that I am completely pulled under it. My heart aches and my eyes fill with tears. Tonight as I rocked her before bed I noticed, not for the first time, how her eyes don't quite shut all the way when closed, in her most relaxed state.

Just like mine.

I inspect her toes, trying to see if her second toe will end up longer than her first.

Just like mine, like my mother's, like my grandmother's.

I gaze at her hair, in the sun, in the shade, in all different lights. Just to see how very red it is. And are her eyelashes strawberry blonde?

Just like mine?

This baby girl has my whole heart. She is all mine.

Wednesday, August 8

Happy Half Birthday, Olive!

First, the official six-month stats from the pediatrician:

  • Weight: 15 lbs., 14 oz. (50th percentile)
  • Height: 25 1/2 in. (50th percentile)
  • Head Circumference: 17 in. (75th percentile)

Olive continues to impress me. She can now sit like a champ and is working on crawling. She can't crawl yet, but she can get up on her hands and knees and rock back and forth. She can scoot backward and all around. She can definitely scoot herself across a room when the mood strikes, though she can't very well control which way she goes.

She's started solid foods, though hasn't done super well with it yet. She tends to gag a bit, though not frequently anymore. She doesn't really open her mouth for food, and when I do get the spoon in, she pushes it right back out. A few bites have been swallowed, but not much. She has, however, enjoyed sucking on apples, peaches, and pineapple. The oatmeal and peas, not so much. Go figure, right?

She is such a curious girl. Always reaching, stretching as far as she can so she can touch and feel everything around her. She loves toys, and toys entertain her for much longer stretches than they ever did Milo.

No teeth yet.

She is starting to babble again. For awhile it seemed she sort of quit speaking, but now she's finding her voice. And it's an awfully cute voice. "Wuhwuhwuh," she says.

She loves LOVES bouncing and jumping. Nothing makes her smile more. (With the possible exception of her brother and other kids.)

She has a cute, shrieky giggle. When we were checking out our minivan, the kids there were kicking around a soccer ball, not paying any attention to Olive. But she was paying attention to them. And she thought they were hilarious. She giggled for about five minutes straight. No joke. She could not stop laughing. I really, really wish I'd had my video camera, or even my phone, with me, because that video would have been priceless.

She has begun taking a fairly regular morning nap, about two hours after she wakes up. But it's all still a crap shoot, whether or not she'll take good naps. Sleeping is not her strongest suit.

Olive's hair is getting a bit longer, though it's still awfully short. Same color, reddish. She's got terrible cradle cap. Still. The doc recommended Selsun Blue, so we'll try that. I don't mind the look of it so much, but I worry that it is itchy for her.

She has been waking up typically once a night, and I feed her then. But she often wakes more than that and murmurs to herself. We have been turning off the monitor then, and letting her fall asleep on her own. We just need to figure out how to cut out the middle-of-the-night nursing session and I'll be so happy.

And ohmygoodness, do I love this little girl. I'd do anything to make her smile. She's not a snuggle bunny, but when she rests her head on my shoulder my heart just fills up with her. I have a feeling she's going to be a little fireball and give me lots of trouble as she grows up, but I still can't wait to see who this wonderful, amazing little person becomes.

This outfit is one I wore as a baby. My mom made it for me and recently brought it over for Olive. Pretty cute.
And it's even cuter with the bonnet.

Monday, August 6

How can it be time already?

I go back to work tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. I bet if I looked at a post back around September 20, 2010, I'd be able to copy and paste it here, because I am feeling (almost) exactly the same way I did then. (Then being the day I went back to work after maternity leave with Milo.)

I'm ready. I'm not ready. I'm excited to be back among adults and people who have conversation skills. I'm going to miss my sweet girl so, so much. How can I make it through an entire day without smooching her soft cheeks? How can I stand being away from those dimples? What will I do without her giggle and sweet smile? Those big eyes and toothless grin?

This time is a little different for me. I have more confidence in her care. I have less guilt, because I know I'm a better mom for working. But still... Will she know I'm coming back? Will she miss me? Will she do okay with her schedule thrown off?

In a way, all the car stress of the last week was a good thing, because it kept my mind off my impending return to work. But mostly it was bad, because I didn't get to enjoy my last few days at home. Today's the last day, and I'm trying to make the most of it. Extra snuggles, extra kisses. And I'm trying to cement the image of Olive's big blue eyes looking right at me so I remember these moments forever.


Saturday, August 4

My Husband Is a Soccer Mom

Oh my. So much has happened in the last week; it feels like an eternity has passed. I think I'll sum it up with the end of the story first (but you know I am Wordy, so I'll fill in the blanks after): We sold the Prius. We bought a minivan. I am now driving the Mazda, while Andrew is taking the minivan. We're 30, have two children, have stable jobs, and live in the suburbs. Eight years ago, you could not have convinced me that this would be my life, but there you have it. And I've never been happier.

But this post is not really about my station in life. It's about an incredibly stressful week and the quick turn for the worse the Prius took. You may remember my very recent post about the brake issue? After spending so much money on a repair and discovering that hundreds of dollars of other repairs were needed (namely the leaking water pump), we decided it was time to start thinking about selling the Prius and fulfilling Andrew's lifelong dream of being a soccer mom. We figured we'd sell the car in a year or two, no rush.

Ha! Hahahaha.

It was not long before Andrew began scouring craigslist for used Kia Sedonas. We wanted one that was still pretty new (2010 or newer preferably) without a ton of miles. And lo and behold, he soon found a 2011 model with 24,000 miles. It was in amazing shape and was only being sold because the lovely family that owned it was dealing with some unexpected medical issues and the bills were piling up. When we went to check it out, it was obvious how much they adored the van. They bragged about its features as if they were talking about their children.

We decided maybe it was time to go for the van and sell the Prius now. Why wait a couple more years when more things might go wrong, right? Should have knocked on some wood.

We made an offer on the Kia and began moving money from various accounts into our checking account so we could actually pay them. And we set the wheels in motion to sell the Prius. Andrew took it in to the shop last Monday to get the water pump fixed and an oil change. We figured we'd have an easier time selling it if it was all fixed up. A couple hours after leaving it at the shop, Andrew got a call from the mechanic. "You probably ought to just come out here. There's a whole bunch wrong with the car, but it'd be easier just to show you rather than explain it over the phone."

Ugh.

As it turned out, the struts were totally shot. I am bad at routine maintenance, and they should have been replaced ten thousand miles earlier. Whoops. The bad struts were causing the tires to wear extremely unevenly, to the point where my non-car-guy husband could immediately see that there was a major problem. It was kind of a wonder that none of the tires had blown already considering the damage.

(Quick time-out: I am furious at Toyota, specifically Hendrick Toyota at 67th and I-35, for doing a "complete diagnostic work-up" and failing to notice to the struts or the tires. Did the trained mechanic really not notice something that even Andrew could see, or did the Toyota tech ignore the problem intentionally? I can come up with no reason not to tell us. And I am half relieved/half terrified that the tires were so close to exploding but didn't.)

Nearly $1000 later, we had a fixed water pump, changed oil, and four new tires. The struts were just going to have to wait, because our wallets couldn't take it. (Did I mention that we're doing a bunch of landscaping right now and found quite a bit of termite damage? Good times!) Selling the Prius quickly was starting to sound better and better. Quick, before anything else breaks!

The next day (I kid you not, it was really the next day), I was on my way to my mom's house and all these warning lights suddenly flash on the dashboard. Car silhouettes with bold red exclamation marks and codes I couldn't begin to decipher appeared. I stopped as soon as I could, at a nearby McDonald's, and looked in the owner's manual. The VCS, vehicle stability control, was having a problem. The manual told me to stop driving immediately and contact my Toyota dealer. Terrific.

I called Andrew in tears. He calmed me down. Yes, this sucks. But Olive and I were just fine, and we'll get through it. It's just money. A whole lot of money going out the door. When I haven't earned a paycheck in six months. But it's just money. Okay, calm. I called my mom to pick us up, called AAA to get another tow. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Sigh. (The tow truck guy commented on the tires. "Those look pretty new," he said. "Yes," I said. "We got them yesterday." He clearly pitied me.)

Turned out the coolant was low. May not have been as dire as the warning lights indicated, but could have led to an overheated engine which is never good. Especially in 100+ degree heat, I imagine.

Once again, Toyota, in their amazing diagnostic work, failed to mention the broken struts, which I complained about. I got a weak apology and a lot of empty excuses.

We decided we must sell that car. Forget listing it on craigslist, we couldn't wait that long or afford to make the required fixes. Or wait for a buyer who would take it as is. So we asked Toyota what they'd pay for a car already on their lot. First the offer was $3500. Then the guy discovered the car was driveable and offered $6500. We said we were getting a quite from Carmax too, and he went up to $7000. Sketchy, since all this was based on nothing, not having even checked out the car in question.

We took the Prius over to Carmax, and after a practically enjoyable experience, got a $7000 offer. I cleaned out all the junk that afternoon, and that evening, I drove my (formerly) beloved car for the last time. A bittersweet moment, handing over the keys and the title. That was my first grown-up car; it carried me almost 92,000 miles across the country. But I had become scared to drive it. Every time I turned it on, I drove with hands clenched on the steering wheel, anxiously anticipating the moment when something else would go wrong. And that's not any way to drive.

Two days later, we officially purchased our Kia. And so far, we're loving it. It still surprises me to see a minivan out on the driveway, but I must be the slow one to adapt. Even Milo is already used to calling the van "Daddy's car" and the car that was once Andrew's car "Mommy's car." I'm just glad the whole thing is over. I had enough to worry about this week before any of this car stuff happened. Did you know I'm going back to work Tuesday? But let's chat about that in another post. This one is clearly too long already. (Thanks to both my blog readers for sticking with it.)


Monday, July 30

A conversation with Milo

Milo: Olive can be a bear.
Me: Olive is a bear? Growl!
Milo: I can be bear, too!
Me: Okay!
Milo: You are flamingo. I am a bear. It cannot fly.
Me: Bears can't fly?
Milo: No. And flamingos can't fly, too. Ohnooo, da bear is goin get me!

Wednesday, July 18

Brake it Down

A couple weeks ago the brakes on my car went out. While I was driving. While I was driving with my two sleeping children in the backseat. Needless to say, it was one of those terrifying moments that, thankfully, happen so fast you don’t even have time to process how truly terrifying it is as it’s happening.

Spoiler alert: we’re all safe and nothing awful happened (unless you count the huge dent in our checking account).

The kids and I were on our way to my parents’ house. To turn into their neighborhood from a four-lane busy street, you have to be paying attention or you just might miss the street. My method is to watch for the street sign to know exactly when the turn is coming up. Apparently, though, the street sign was down for some reason. While I had slowed down considerably, when I realized the street was upon us, I wasn’t quite going slow enough to safely make the turn.

So I cruised on to the next turn, which goes into a parking lot and would let me wind my way over to the neighborhood street. No big deal.

But in an instant, my car (and me) started freaking out. Warning beeps screeched, dashboard lights flashed, emergency signals that I couldn’t decipher suddenly appeared on my screen. I tried to brake and quickly realized that was not happening. I needed to get off the road. Everything happened so fast, I’m not sure exactly how things went down. One of the lights that came on was my emergency brake light. I thought, “Did I manage to turn on my emergency brakes?” So I pressed the emergency brake pedal to try to turn it off, which turned out to be a good thing because it slowed me down. I think I put on my flashers, aware that things were not good and I should try to warn other drivers.

As I was attempting the right turn into the parking lot, another car was exiting the lot, and I briefly considered honking because I didn’t think I was going slow enough to control my turn. But somehow I controlled it. Maybe it was the fact that I was on an incline that slowed me down. Maybe it was because I had already been decreasing my speed for awhile. Maybe it was because I pressed the emergency brake pedal. But I cruised into the lot and pulled over to the side. I could tell my brakes were not doing what they were supposed to. Their stopping action was not related at all to my pressing on the pedal, it seemed.

My heart was pounding. I may have cursed a time or two. But we were stopped, and the kids were still asleep in spite of the beeping, screeching warning sounds. I turned the car off and tried turning it back on. The classic reset move. But that didn’t help anything. The flashing and beeping started the instant the car came back on. I considered whether I could make it to my parents’ house, since I was only a couple blocks away. No, bad idea. I did, however, decide to try to move the car about 20 feet forward to be in an actual parking spot rather than on the side of the parking lot entrance. Since I never went more than 5 mph, I was able to pull off this maneuver.

I called my parents and my dad answered the phone. I explained what happened and asked him to come pick up the kids. It was about 100 degrees out and I didn’t like the thought of them sleeping in the car in the heat. Dad came right away and we all loaded into the car, deciding that I could call AAA from their house and come back to the car when the tow truck came.

I called, the car got towed to my side of town, and we ended up paying close to $2200 for parts and labor. It was the skid control ECU that had malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. (While I’m sure all of you know exactly what that is, let me explain for my own memory. It’s basically one of several sub-computers in the car that controls a bunch of functions, including the brakes. And since the brakes in the Prius are tied to the whole hybrid functionality, it’s a complicated expensive thing to fix. And nobody but the dealer will fix it, so they can pretty much charge whatever they want for labor.)

In the end, everything turned out fine. And the brakes going out happened at about the best possible time. The day before, we were on our way back from my cousin’s wedding in Iowa and spent a lot of time on small roads in rural Iowa. With temps in the upper nineties and no shade to speak of, waiting for a tow truck in the middle of nowhere would have been a lot worse. Even just ten minutes earlier would have been worse, since we were driving on a 65-mph-highway. And having that street sign down was even a good thing, since it had me slowing down, but forcing me to miss the turn meant I ended up going up an incline. I’m not one to believe in miracles or guardian angels or any of that, but incidents like this make me feel pretty thankful to the universe for looking out for me and my babies.

Thursday, July 12

He rhymes

We have this book that is full of nursery rhyme parodies featuring trucks. Obviously, Milo adores it. We've been reading it pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks. Several of the poems have now been memorized.

We'll be in the car, and Milo will quietly start singing, "Three loud trucks, three loud trucks. See how they ZOOM! See how they ZOOM!" It's pretty awesome.

When reading that book, sometimes I stop and tell Milo that this poem was based on another poem. "This one goes 'Three blind mice, three blind mice.'" And he looks at me like I am completely crazy. I don't blame him, really. A little rhyme about trucks makes way more sense than one about blind mice who get their tails cut off.

I get this same blank stare when I recite the "sugar and spice and everything nice" rhyme, "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring," and "Peter Peter Pumpkin-Eater." But none of those are really that important, right?

Sunday, July 8

She's Five Months Old!

My, how the time flies, etc. etc. Olive is five months old and going strong. Literally. People are constantly saying how strong she is for just five months. And I'm starting to believe them.

Olive can sit up unassisted. She occasionally still flops over, but for several minutes at a time, she balances just fine and sits there like she was born to do it. She loses her balance when she reaches out for a toy or her paci or a sharp pair of scissors (ha! totally kidding! basically!). This new sitting skill only took hold a couple of days ago, so it's still pretty exciting.

She easily flips over in all directions. She easily rotates in a complete 360, on both her back and tummy. She can scoot herself backwards when on her tummy. When on her tummy, she can lift herself up so her arms are straight and her entire torso is off the ground. She attempts to get her knees up under her in a crawling position, but hasn't figured that one out yet. To sum up, the girl is on the move.

According to our growth chart, she stands about 24 inches tall. According to the breastfeeding support group I go to, she weighed about 15 pounds a week and a half ago. Won't have pediatrician-approved stats until her six-month checkup.

Olive loves her big brother. She giggles at him and watches his every move. She cranes her neck around in the weirdest positions to get a better view of him. If he so much as smiles at something, he can get her giggling. Milo loves her just as much. He likes to hold her hand and give her hugs. He still says, "Olive is my best friend." I'm sure she shares the sentiment.

She gets in talking moods and just goes on and on with an "Ahhhhhhhhhh" sound. Sometimes I hear a "guhhhhh" mixed in, but she's mostly staying away from consonant sounds at this point.

No teeth yet, but from her rampant chewing, I wonder if they're not far off.

She likes it when I sing. Sometimes that's the only way I can keep her from twisting around and trying to flip over during a diaper change. Distract 'em with singing, that's what I always say.

Speaking of diapers, Olive poops once a day. Is this normal for babies? In the words of Milo, "It's a beeeg one" every time. Almost always requires a change of clothes. (And you're welcome, Olive of the Future, for sharing your bowel movements with the world.)

Olive loves to bounce. She bounces just by bending her knees, but loves it most when you bounce her in the air. She enjoys her new-to-us jumperoo-exersaucer thingy too. I also love it, for it gives me up to 20ish minutes at a time where she is both occupied and happy. And safe, don't forget that.

Olive's special move is holding her arms straight out from her sides. Maybe it's a balance thing? I mostly notice it when holding her on my hip. I'm always banging her arms into doorways and such because I forget just how far they're sticking out from her body.

Bathtime is getting a little fun, though mostly she could care less. She is awfully slippery in there, though. I'm not a fan of washing babies who can't sit up yet, so I hope her sitting skills translate to tub sitting soon.

She's been in the pool twice now and doesn't seem to care about it. No squeals of delight, no cries of distress. Nothing. It's like she doesn't even know she's wet.

Olive is becoming more of a paci girl. I guess we've forced it on her enough times that she's giving up on her thumbs. The downside to this is that when we go on walks (like this morning) and forget to take a paci, she can end up crying for a loooong time (like this morning). It is not so fun.

Dimples. She's got them. It is her most talked about feature. I may be biased, but I think she's a beautiful little baby. Her eyes just suck you in. They're not as blue as they used to be, sort of green, maybe?

Let's talk sleeping. Or lack thereof. Grrrrrr. Naps are irregular and I often miss her tired cues and she ends of overtired and cranky. At night, she's going down earlier and earlier, typically ready for bed by 6:00. She wakes frequently needing to be soothed in some way. One big problem is that she's flipping over and hasn't figured out how to just settle down and sleep on her tummy. Swaddling works sometimes, but she can flip over when swaddled and that worries me. Andrew and I are both exhausted from all the night wakings and just want her to sleep already.

Olive is still nursing exclusively. But frankly, she's driving me crazy with it and sometimes I just wish she was on formula. She gnaws on me and smacks my chest and face, and she drags her sharp baby claws across my boobs. She yanks on my hair when I burp her. Her latest thing is to try to grab my lips (this one is not necessarily just nursing/burping related, I suppose.) with those same talons. In short, my well-being and sanity are at stake every time she gets hungry.

(We did try solids this morning (oatmeal thinned WAY out with breastmilk) but she wasn't into it. Made frowny faces, clenched her jaw shut, and spit it out. When she did get the food in her mouth, she gagged on it. It could not have been more liquidy, but it was too much for her. Perhaps we'll try again in a couple weeks.)

But in spite of all the ways she drives me crazy, I do adore this girl. She is happy and loves her world. She is so interested in things, so fascinated watching other kids. Though she has fussy days that seem to go on and on, she truly is rarely unhappy. After spending a weekend with my sister, Olive cried one evening. Courtney remarked, "That's the first time I've seen her cry." Huh. It's rare enough that it's worth commenting on. I don't know what I did to get so lucky with Olive. She's just amazing and I am so lucky to be her mommy.


Thursday, July 5

8,425 steps and counting

The last couple days I've felt so incredibly busy, but my according to my Fitbit, I've been almost completely inactive, managing only about 2,500 steps a day. Today, after holding Olive while she took the longest nap of all time, the inactivity was starting to get to me. Andrew encouraged me to go for a walk, and I took him up on his offer to put Milo to bed and stay home with the kids.

It was glorious. Hot and sweaty, but glorious. I listened to my Britney Spears Pandora station and headed down to the trails near our house. And get this: I jogged. I know, I couldn't believe it either. And I actually enjoyed it. My legs were feeling good and I wanted to jog further, but my kegel muscles were threatening to give out. And those are not muscles you really want to push to the limit.

Who knows? Maybe someday I will run that 5k I swore I was going to run six years ago and still haven't ever trained for. Crazier things have happened.

Tuesday, July 3

Best. Ride. Ever.

My sister gave me and the kids a ride home yesterday, and Milo got to ride in his cousin's car seat. A forward-facing car seat. (Yes, my two-year-old is still rear-facing. Some say crazy. I say crazy safe.) The entire 30-minute drive he just leaned over toward the middle of the car, looked out the front window, and glowed with happiness.

His eyes lit up with every truck, every digger, every overpass. "Whoa!" he kept saying softly. "Whoa, look at dat!" I could barely hear him, but he kept on talking. "Look at dat truck! Dat's a beeeg one!" It was truly the best car trip he's ever been on. Poor kid, it'll be awhile before you get that kind of excitement again. Mean old Mommy is going to keep you rear facing a little while longer.

Sunday, June 24

First play date!

Milo had his first official play date yesterday. Andrew and I had a couples' baby shower to attend (Andrew's first baby shower!), and with all the grandparents out of town, we needed to figure out something to do with Milo. So I asked one of the moms at daycare if she would mind having Milo over to play with her little guy while we went to the shower. Spoiler alert: she said yes!

Milo spent about two and a half hours there and had a great time. New toys to play with (including an electronic guitar toy, which is on Milo's hot list right now), movies to watch, snacks to eat, juice to drink, and  a new bed to jump on. Good times were had by all. And Milo's friend's mom said Milo was very well-behaved and nice and fun to have around. That's my guy.

We can't wait to return the favor and have Milo's friend over to play at our house. Can you believe my baby is old enough to have friends over? Wow, time flies.

Unrelated photo, but aren't posts with photos much nicer than the ones without?

Friday, June 22

Milo the Ring Bearer

Nearly a year ago, my dear friend JiaoJiao asked me if Milo would be the ring bearer in her wedding. Of course I said yes, but I must admit I was worried about whether or not he'd be able to handle it. He was barely a year old then, not talking much and barely walking. How was I to know what he'd be like at age two? 

I shouldn't have worried. He was great. Even on a day when he had so much going on, he handled it like a pro. We had a birthday party earlier that day, which meant he a) already had a lot of new stimulation to deal with, and b) crashed hard at naptime. When he woke up from his nap, he was... not happy. But we had to feed him his snack and get him out to the park for wedding photos.

Since we didn't want to mess up his tux in the car, he got dressed in the hatchback of my car. He could not have looked cuter in his little tux and little bowtie. He didn't mind the clothes, but took a little while to warm up to photos. Correction: he never really warmed up to the photographers or the whole idea of having his picture taken, but he did warm up to me and Daddy jumping around and dancing and making silly noises. 

We only ran into one snafu doing photos, when his boutonniere pin stuck him in his hand (because he was messing with it. Which I saw coming a mile away, because honestly, straight pins are just not meant for two-year-olds. I tried to tell him it was sharp and he shouldn't touch it, but somehow that didn't work. So he cried for awhile and got himself good and worked up, but Daddy's monkey impersonation made things all better.

We had some time to kill before the ceremony, so the tux came off for dinner and playtime. Then he got dressed again at the venue and ran around and played some more. With just a few minutes to go before it was time to line up, I put his tux jacket on and he freaked out. Did not want to wear the jacket. Jiao said he didn't have to wear it, but I knew it wasn't really about the jacket. I think he just felt that expectations were high and he knew he was supposed to go do something. Didn't want to disappoint. I talked to him, asked him if he was scared. He said yeah, so I just complimented the heck out him. Told him how great he was and what a good job he was going to do, etc. etc. And in a couple minutes, he was happy and ready to go, jacket on and everything.

And we lined up, and when it was his turn, he only hesitated briefly before practically marching up to the front. I was so proud of him. I still am so proud of him. He never ceases to amaze me.

During the ceremony, I showed him a book to try to keep him occupied. He knows this book so well, that even though I wasn't reading it aloud, at one point he said (out loud) "Horse says 'neigh!'" I looked down and yes, that was the text on that page. Such a smartie. I hope he wasn't loud enough for anyone else to hear.

Daddy and Milo both looked pretty sharp.
Milo even got a haircut for the occasion.
Suave and debonair.
"I don't like dat!" Took him a bit to get used to the bowtie.
I believe he was saying, "No, Mommy! Don't do dat!" I'm sure he could have been referring to any number of things.
Daddy had some trouble with the buttons. Not sure it was ever buttoned properly for the photos. Sorry about that, Jiao.
Running in fancy clothes.
Is he not just the cutest?
Not sure about smiling or saying cheese, but he did a stellar job of standing where we asked him to stand.
He did enjoy the sticks. Good job with that one, Jason. I'd say you're ready for fatherhood for sure.
Ahh, a bride and a baby. Such bliss.
And that is the face of a bride who was just spit up on. 
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Monday, June 11

The Aquarium

We took the kids to the new aquarium in KC last week. Milo had a great time checking out the fish, the sharks, and the sea stars. Fun was had by all. We didn't purchase the requisite Sea Life photo taken upon entering, but that's okay because we've got this, my favorite photo of the day:

I don't think he wanted his picture taken.
Thankfully, he didn't make that face in every photo. More fishy fun:




Proof that Olive was there. And I think she was really into the sting rays.




Friday, June 8

Olive: Four Months Old

First, let's see how Olive is measuring up these days.

  • Weight: 14 lbs., 3 oz. (60th percentile)
  • Length: 24 1/4 in. (50th percentile)
  • Head Circumference: 16 1/4 in. (75th percentile)

The pediatrician thought Olive looked great. I believe the words, "She's advanced for her age" were actually spoken (not that I'm a proud mama or anything).

She's practically on the move. She can easily roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. She can kick and twist and flip and wiggle until she is no longer even close to where she was laid down. No more laying her on the bed while I get dressed.

At times it almost seems like she's going to sit up on her own, and she can tripod for a few seconds at a time, but she quickly loses her balance and flops over.

Olive has excellent head control. When she's in her reclined highchair, if something catches her attention she'll hold her head up an inch or two from a resting position and hold it this way for a long time. Way longer than I could hold my head up at that angle.

Olive loves grasping things and bringing them to her mouth. She's getting good at it, too. She used to mostly bring stuff up to her eyes or her forehead, but now it more reliably goes to her mouth. She can move objects back and forth between her hands as well, and she has once or twice taken her paci out of her mouth, then put it back in again later. Not too shabby.

She smiles and smiles, especially if being smiled at. Dimples are still to die for.

She babbles and babbles. Lots to say, this one.

Lately we've taken to swaddling her for sleeping times. Not sure why Andrew tried it. I think he was just having trouble getting her to sleep, so he tried swaddling and it knocked her out cold. The next day we went out and bought a Miracle Blanket and another swaddler. She sleeps much better and for longer stretches. I can now do things during her morning nap besides sit there and hold her. Glorious. (Although I must admit that lately I've been using those naptimes to take my own nap. Which is also glorious.)

She adores her brother. Smiles at him and watches him. Sometimes I see her watching him run around and she gets this look in her eye, this sort of feisty grin. I'm pretty sure we've got a little firecracker on our hands. But let me tell you, I can't wait to see her running around with Milo.

She's amazing, and even when she's driving me completely insane, I am also completely wrapped around her teeny tiny finger. I love giving her smooches on her cheeks and her neck and making her giggle. I love blowing raspberries on her tummy and singing silly songs to her. She's an appreciative audience (unlike Milo who quickly tells me "My don't like that" when I start to sing to him).

I have two months left of maternity leave with Olive, and while I will be ready to return to work, I am going to miss spending all this time with Olive. There's really nothing like hanging out with a tiny person all day, for better or worse. But mostly for better.