Saturday, January 28, 2017

Life lately...

January is such a tough month for kids.  Between holidays and snow and sickness, routines get thrown out the door.  We are, nonetheless, trying to establish one and get Merritt onto some sort of schedule.  Emma definitely needs energy outlets (school!), and I'm finding that she could also use more outside play time.  This is a challenge given that she has an 8 week old sister and that the weather is so crazy here.  One day it's snowing and freezing, then in the 60's.  Normally, if it is nice outside, the ground is really wet, which makes playing a nightmare for mom.  But, we are learning to deal with it.

I met my friend, Beth, our at a new boutique in Chapel Hill, Whilden.  I ended up seeing 4 other friends, and had the best time catching up with everyone and showing little Merritt off:)  Beth also made us some delicious enchiladas and threw in the Superfood salad from Whole Foods - it is amazing and I will be buying it myself!

Merritt and Emma both have colds this week.  Merritt's first....Emma's 9,000th.  Luckily, they seem to be handling it fine.  Merritt has been a little more needy and slept in slightly shorter increments day and night because of congestion, but we are hoping this is temporary and will go away with the snot.  Typically, she sleeps from 8:30/9:00pm to about 2:30-4pm.  One night, she went until 4:30....hallelujah.  But last night, she was up at 1:30. Lord, I need at least 4-5 hours before I am up, please.  Emma also has woken up more with nightmares or various aches and pains.  Lord, please let this go away too.  She's always been a great sleeper, ALWAYS.  So, let's not change it now.

I am getting more and more confident in mothering 2 children.  I know what to expect with Merritt - when she's tired, hungry, etc... and how to solve those problems.  And I'm learning how to be more patient with Emma and spend more time playing with her AND make sure things around the house get done.  Emma has been a big help, and I've learned that most times, if I ask the right way, she's willing to help me.

I have really worked on cultivating friendships lately.  I've really missed the fellowship of other women over the past 8 weeks, and have already lined up some very overdue coffee dates.  I know this season of kids will not last forever, so I am embracing bringing Merritt along while Emma is at school.  Besides...most of my friends are now out of the baby stage and LOVE to snuggle with little Merritt:)

Brent and I had had our parent-teacher conference this week, and many of our anxieties about the future were relieved.  Emma has a late birthday (June), so there has always been the option of whether we would send her to kindergarten or hold her back.  Her teacher was 50/50 on whether she was ready, which basically sealed it for me.  Truth is, I'm not ready to send her.  I hate the thought of her being gone all day, away from me.  And I hate our options for schools.  I don't want to drive all over Durham for Emma's school, but I'm not crazy about our districted school. Plus, I'm not convinced we are staying where we are for the next 13 years.  We are looking into sending her to a transitional kindergarten program, where she would go 9-1 everyday, then we can decide whether she goes into an all day traditional kindergarten, or skips and goes on to 1st grade.  I feel so much more at peace with this, and know it is the right direction.  Everyone has told me they have never heard a parent say "I wish I hadn't held my child back," but that the reverse is said ALL THE TIME.  So....I'm sold.  Another year with my baby girl who is quickly NOT my baby anymore at all:(

Emma had her first eye doctor appointment, because the pediatrician recommended it after she didn't do so well on her eye test there.  Luckily, Emma doesn't need glasses, for now.  She does have astigmatism in both eyes, but they wanted to wait to see if it went away in a year before they worried about correcting it.  I don't have high hopes though, because I believe I was only a year or so older than Emma when I got glasses.  Oh well...hopefully kids don't call each other four eyes anymore.......

I walked in just in time to see Emma attempting to climb this to get something she wanted on a top shelf.  SO NOT SAFE.  I do like her ingenuity though...

Two dear friends have lost a parent this week, and I am sadly reminded how fragile life is, and how this is not our home.  When I am up at 4am, I often pray and think about these people, and also about my own parents and how much I love them.  While death is always a fact of life, I am getting to the age where it is much more a reality.  And it sucks.  I keep reminding myself how lucky I am to have my parents close, and for the last 35 years.  I'm very grateful, indeed:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Favorites - on a Tuesday???

I have been keeping a running list on my phone of things that have made my life much easier the past 7 weeks.  It's not Friday, but I'm afraid if I don't post them I'll inevitably forget (like the last 2 posts!)
So....I'm hoping some of these might become your favorites too!

Babyganics Alcohol-free Sanitizer

This is a life-saver in the winter when my hands are already dry.  Alcohol is drying, plus I didn't like idea of handling Merritt with alcohol on my hands.  I've only been able to find this in store at Buy Buy Baby, but it can be ordered online on lots of sites.

Target Pick-up in store

This service was invaluable, especially the first few weeks.  All you do is shop online, choose a store near you (I'm lucky because there are 3 within 15 minutes of me), then go to customer service and grab your order.  You can add someone else to the order to pickup (great for when a friend says "I'm going to Target..need anything??").  And the prices online are usually cheaper:)

Andy McKee Pandora Station

Don't laugh at me, but I love this station.  It's relaxing, but not too earthy or slow.  I guess it's technically "New Age guitar" (maybe???)  Either way, give it a try when you just need some music in the background.  I love it when we are cooking, have people over, or just sipping coffee. 

Flannel button downs

Nursing has thrown a wrench in my outfit selection.  I don't really love wearing tanks and open cardigans right now.  And nursing wear is slim.....
But, Madewell and Target have some really great flannels on sale.  I love flannel because it's warm, soft, colorful, and functional. I've been living in these for the last few weeks.

These from Madewell are adorable and on sale:)

Target also has a great selection, and you can't beat their prices either.

Baby carriers - Ergo, Solly, and Moby

I knew I would want a baby carrier this time around, so that I could stay more active.  My great friend, and neighbor, just happened to have a few that I could borrow.  So far, the Solly is my favorite.  The fabric is dreamy - so soft, stretchy and it's really easy to use.  I thought it wouldn't be, but one try and I had it.  The Solly is also more portable and fits into my diaper bag.

But I love the Ergo too - a bit more support.  I use the infant insert, but think Merritt will soon be too big for it.

I recently came across a new Moby wrap on the Sodu sell page and snatched it up cheap, and while I love it, it's not as great as the Solly.  The fabric is stiffer, and is harder to wrap.  I do love the green color though:)

Foster's Family dinners

These are incredible! Two awesome friends gave us this as part of our meal calendar (also a lifesaver!)  It's a week's worth of delicious, home-cooked, ready to eat meals.  All I had to do was heat it in the oven for 25 minutes and then enjoy.  The hardest part was deciding what to heat up.  I can't say how great this was (and all the meals friends brought us).  Cooking with a needy newborn was impossible unless Brent was home...which isn't the case during the week as he doesn't get home until 6:45 or so.  I'm already planning on ordering these again this month!

I have tons more favorites on my list - including some great Trader Joe's finds, nursing tops that don't look like nursing tops, and a portable heater......but hopefully these are some great ideas for new moms that you may know in your life!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow and More Routine!

I can finally say that we are really settling into a good routine these days.  I am feeling much better, more confident in my handlings with 2 kids, and more aware of Merritt and her needs.  I am learning her schedule and what she likes, dislikes...which makes life much better.  She is sleeping well still - going down around 9, then only up for an hour to feed at around 2-3am, then sleeping until almost 7 most mornings.  She is much more alert and smiling...oh wow, what a blessing.  All this work and finally, a reward!!  It has been great to watch her smile and watch us more. 

Last week, we got snow and I was so happy Brent was off to enjoy it with us and also be home:)  The temps were really cold and it was icy, so I couldn't go out to play very much with Merritt.  That was hard...I love the snow and love being outside in the cold.  I did catch a quick walk without kids with my friend and neighbor, and had the best time being out together in the cold and talking.  Brent cooked up a storm (2 soups) and we made breads and cookies.  It was a bit tough being couped inside a lot, and when Brent had to go back to work and Emma didn't have school for 3 days...I about lost my mind.  but we survived.  Here's our week in pictures:

Merritt's first snow!!

Who can resist this bundle?!?!?!

We had a lot of fires!

We ventured out one afternoon to Target and then the McKethan's for some comfort food!  Emma loves to play with Jay:)

Emma loves to mimic me, and she loves her doll baby wrap.  I'm also certain that we did not get out of our pj's on this particular day.

Trader Joe's Beer Bread....just trust me...amazing.

Emma was left unattended for way too long one afternoon....#makeupfail

It actually warmed up to the 70's the rest of the week....ugh.  I love winter, so I'm not a fan of warm yet.  I'm hoping there's lots more snow in our forecast!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

1 month

*Once again....this post was started over a week ago.......(insert eye roll here)*

Like I mentioned before, I forgot about Merritt's one month birthday.  I actually remembered not one, but days, after the fact.  At our 4 week appointment, Merritt was 9 lbs 2 oz and 21.5 inches.  I believe she is already bigger than Emma was at the one month mark.  (Emma's one month post is here.)

Merritt is definitely a different baby than Emma.  For starters, she's a better nurser, and actually doesn't care for formula.  We've tried giving it to her twice at night to help her sleep longer and she'll drink it, but she doesn't love it.  She's also not as fond of bottles either, although she'll take them.

Merritt:  9pm....nurse and go down for bed - we swaddle her in an Aden & Anais easy swaddle.  Much easier for me to do with snaps than actually swaddle!  I may pump if she didn't eat a ton in the last hour, and then I'm out.  Brent is usually out too.  We are both asleep by 10pm.
1:30-2:30 - she wakes and I feed her.  She usually falls asleep fairly fast after feeding and I'm in  bed again within an hour.
4:30-5:30 - she only makes it 2 hours after her first feeding, so Brent gets up here and makes her a bottle.  She rarely finishes it and falls asleep quick.  He either lets her sleep on his chest or puts her in the swing and he'll start his day.  I get to sleep until 6:30-7.  If I get it together, I can get up and get ready for the day before both girls get up.  Merritt may want to feed before 7:15, so I need to make sure I'm up.
7-7:30 - Emma awakes.  Her routine is simple - out of bed, couch, TV, chocolate milk. 

The rest of the day consists of getting Emma to school by 9, feeding Merritt whenever (although trying to get her to go 2-4 hours), and figuring out life with 2 kids.  The first month was not typical because we have only really had school for a small part of it due to the holiday.

The pics below are my favorites - guess what cutie is on the left!!  I am so glad Merritt looks like me.  Emma was Brent's twin, so it's nice to know I had something to do with this child:)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life at home

Christmas break - a double edged sword!  No, we didn't have to scramble to get out of the house, but we did hang together ALL day, EVERY day.  I admit, I struggled the beginning of the week.  Emma had a lot of energy and I didn't do a good job of letting her get it out.  I wanted to throw myself into traffic a few times.  And wow...the word for the week for me was ISOLATING.  Newborn life and breastfeeding is sooooo isolating.  I felt so alone and couped up at home, but going places made me anxious.  From trying to get out of the house, find something easy to wear to nurse in (but also public appropriate), deciding whether to pump or not, gather all necessary gear, start and warm the car, nag Emma to get ready 300 times, etc....  Most days, the weather wasn't great either, so we stayed in and it made for some LOOONNNNNGGGG days.  To make it worse, Brent had a long week at work, so he was leaving early and coming home late.  So, I'll only highlight the fun parts in this post....
Somewhere, somehow...Emma has seen that using the potty and playing on electronics is a thing:)  Santa brought her this camera, which also has she's hooked now.  She will take your picture all day long, or a picture of the floor, or your thumb....whatever.

Out of the blue, Emma found these glass wipes and wanted to wash all the windows.  No complaints here!

Emma loves to snuggle with Merritt.  We are currently working on the concept of PERSONAL SPACE.

But she is oh so sweet to her:)

Brent had gifted us a spa day for Christmas.  I was psyched to take Emma by myself and spend some good time with her.  Nail Stop is awesome, Yall.

Juice for her, mimosa for me!

My parents gave Emma the game, Go Fish, and we have played 3,378 times so far!! 

New Year's Eve was cold, but I had to get out of the house.  Merritt and I ventured out for a walk in the neighborhood...all bundled up!

Then Emma decided she needed to carry her baby too.  I love that she wants to be like me...and hate it also (I really have to watch my words and actions - haha!!)

I totally missed Merritt's one month birthday, but I'll post more about life with her later this week!!  Happy New Year, all!!

Christmas 2016

Our first Christmas as a family of 4!

Christmas was low key this year, and I was glad for it.  We laugh about it now, because Emma's Christmas was great - I had made sure of that before the baby came.  but, unfortunately, everyone else got the shaft:)  I had a hard time scrambling for ideas for gifts for the rest of my family members and friends, so I am sorry! 

Christmas Eve Eve, we went to the Irons' house for some food, drinks, and singing around the piano.  It was wonderful - yummy and idyllic.  I was surrounded by the most wonderful friends, and Merritt slept most of the time, and Emma played with the other children, so I was kid free for a few hours!

Christmas Eve was spent together as a family - running a few last minute errands, lunch at Jersey Mike's, and then church.

Our first family photo with showers:)

Snuggles after sister is in bed, waiting for Santa!

Christmas Day was great - again, low key.  My friend, Laurie, made us a breakfast casserole so I didn't even have to cook!  It was such a nice gesture and so thoughtful.  The weather was nice out, so we headed to campus to walk around.  We took this photo in front of Wilson Hall....the classroom building where Brent and I met 16 1/2 years ago.  Hard to believe how much life has changed since then!

We celebrated with my parents the next morning, but I didn't take any pictures (probably has to do with the fact that I didn't get much sleep the night before!)  Either way, we had a great time, and it really isn't Christmas until you get to celebrate with all of your family!

I am taking away this year, that this season isn't about gifts or food.  It's about celebrating Jesus and his enormous gift to us.  But for me personally, it's about celebrating everything - the good and the bad.  It's about having a grateful heart, being willing for Jesus to change it with all of life's circumstances.