Eli at 3.5

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My little dream of a baby boy is quickly growing up. I have never really regretted or been able to get behind the heartbreak of our kids growing up and gaining more independence- until this summer. Perhaps it was the new baby making my first baby grow up so quickly, but I think it’s just that he IS growing up! Eli and I have conversations, his imagination has exploded, he has become my little buddy. The way his vocabulary has grown, matched with the help he offers and the fact that he can get dressed and buckle himself into the car, is just a blinking marquee shouting that my little guy is leaving behind toddlerhood.

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Sleep: This summer sleep has been all over the place. Eli needs 12 hours of sleep for every 24 hour period, but he resists naps in every capacity. He goes to sleep between 7 and 9 most nights and takes a nap every couple days.

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Favorite Foods: Goodness gracious, this boy is beyond picky! We are starting to introduce a “no thank you” bite rule, but it is slow going. He still loves the same basic foods he has always loved, but I would LOVE to get him to a much wider rotation.

Likes: Swimming, playing outside, Despicable Me, Transformers, riding his car around the block, “hanging out with daddy”, chicken nuggets, books, playing ghost, showering, play-doh, trains, being the boss, his family, saying “amens”, “playing with kids”, being naked, snacking, adventures.

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Dislikes: Naps, being quiet, cleaning up.

Eli is friendly, kind, snugly and everything I could hope for. He makes an effort to include other kids when we play. He makes an effort to follow through on his chores and responsibilities within our house and says please and thank you constantly.

Eli throws normal, epic 3 year old tantrums, exaberated by lack of sleep and feelings that are generally too big for his body to handle. He is emotional, sensitive and big hearted.

He is loud and wild, preferring to jump from one spot to another rather than walking. He wants to dance fight, loves to listen to music and can’t walk by one of the animals without bothering them.

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Zoë Four Month Update

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Weight: 14 pounds!

Feeding: Zoë has moved to formula completely. We started transitioning and introducing formula about 2/3 weeks ago. It took about a week for her stomach to settle with the new addition and now she seems good with it. On one hand, I would prefer her to be getting the extra immunity and stronger nutrition of breastmilk, on the other, I love having my body back to being MY body.

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Naps: We are about to enter into some serious nap time jail at the house and I am not looking forward to it. She naps throughout the day, but there has been a lot of time spent on the floor of her bedroom trying to get her to take longer than a 45 minutes nap.

Sleep: If we were to base all of her delightfulness on sleep, I doubt any other child would come close! Zoe goes to bed between 6-7 and sleeps 11-12 hours. Lately she has been waking up a little too early (5:30) and I have really been working with her to learn that that will not fly 🙂

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Clothing: Solidly into 3-6 month clothes, but in the size she’s all over the place. Some are just stretching over her body and some she is swimming in. There are lots of repeats in a single week.

Development: Zoe has discovered her feet and it is hilarious. I don’t remember Eli being quite so fascinated with feet and she just zones out on them. I’m also working with Zoe to get her to hold her own bottle(!), she has started trying to grasp toys and put things into her mouth. Still no rolling, but she also doesn’t spend a whole lot of unassisted time on the floor.

Likes: Zoe really likes her people: mom, dad, Eli. Loves the be in the shower or bathtub and to be talked to. Also a big fan of being jiggled! While it may seems early, she’s pretty into the television- fast moving pictures, what’s not to love. She lays still and seems interested when I read Eli stories, but that is probably more just about her enjoying us talking.

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Dislikes: Clothing being pulled over her face, a bottle being readjusted for a half second while she is in the middle of eating, getting out of the tub or shower, being denied her sleep more than a minute after she first squawked her exhaustion. She has no problem expressing her  opinion.

Sibling Update: Still so much love. I’ve been expecting some sibling rivalry to come out soon, but so far, nothing but mutual love and adoration.

Mom and Dad Update: it’s just good, the kids are good- dare I say easy. We try to get out and do big family adventure days and it’s been wonderful to be able to learn to adapt to everybody’s needs and get them all met.

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Zoë Three Month Update

IMG_1220.JPGWeight: 13 pounds, once again this girl is the same weight as Eli at this age. She still seems so much bigger than Eli did; I’m guessing it’s her height that is lagging, making her a bit more round 🙂

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Feeding: Zoë is still exclusively breastfed as of right now. At about 7 weeks I started feeding Zoe a bottle for her last feeding because she was too anxious and psychotic about getting food into her before bed that is was not a pleasant experience. She has been slowly burning through my freezer supply and I don’t think breastfeeding will last much longer than 4 months. That being said, while I had high hopes of feeding longer with Zoe that I did with Eli; I don’t hate having a baby that is gaining weight on schedule and is such a tremendous sleeper.

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Naps: Zoe is the quintessential second child. She goes with the flow beautifully, taking 4-5 naps a day. She usually takes shorter naps in the morning and around noon and then takes one big long nap in the afternoon. She is a dream to put down as long as we pay attention and do not let her get overtired- girl needs her sleep!

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Sleep: Still beautiful and glorious! Zoe goes down for bed anywhere between 7 and 8 depending upon her last nap and sleep for an average of 11 hours. We have had a couple nights where she has woken up in the middle of the night, but typically if she is wrapped tight enough, she stays asleep. She is also a dream to put down, ocean sounds, miracle blanket, binky: walk out the door.

Clothing: Moving into her 3-6 month clothes right on schedule! She is a bit of a spit up baby, so we go through way more clothes with her than we did with Eli.

Development: She chats a lot with us in the mornings, clings to us when we hold her. She rolled over on accident one day, but hasn’t done it since. She has started watching toys and really chewing on her hands; basically she is about to get really really fun! She has really started to show her personality. Zoe likes to be given some space, if she is held for too long or not held facing out, she lets you know!

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Likes: Zoe loves baths, kisses, Eli, eating and sleeping.

Dislikes: Clothes going over her head, not given her space, tummy time.

Sibling Update: Still loads and loads of love between these two. Eli loves to “carry” her from one room to the next and anytime she fusses, he runs in to let me know I’m needed. Zoë gives him the best kisses and is just so content to watch him run circles around her.

Mom and Dad Update: Things are going really really great. We just celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary and I couldn’t get over what a perfect time in our lives this is right now. I’m officially back at work now and it has been nice to be out and gain some independence back. Being at work is made especially easy by having such a chill baby at home that I don’t need to stress about.  For my part, I’m loving having more than one kid so much that I want four. For Kenny’s part, he is quite content with our two littles 😀.

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Zoë Two Month Update

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Weight: 11 lb. 45th percentile! I for sure thought she was going to be 12 pounds, she seems so much bigger than Eli did at this age. However she actually gained just as much as Eli did from birth to 2 months- twinners!

Naps: She takes several naps, all day long. Super, super consistent in needing a nap every hour and 15 minutes. We are trying to work on condensing her naps into 3 long ones instead of 5-6 40 minutes cat naps.

Sleep: 🙌🙌 It’s hard to brag about this, because we haven’t done any sleep training and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their non sleeper- BUT! This girl sleeps like a freaking champion at night (knock on all the wood). She sleeps for an 8-11 hour stretch every single night! I am soaking it in as much as possible because I know that 4 month sleep regression is right around the corner and going to ruin me!

Clothing: She is solidly in 0-3 month clothes. Zoe does so many more things than Eli was doing at this age, because I have a three year old to entertain. It’s crazy how naked Eli was compared to how many times Zoe gets changed- in other words, thanks for all the clothes everyone!

Development: Zoe is super chat and we all love listening to hear talk to us and start to smile! Zoe has made her first trip to Redding and thankfully is a champion traveler.

Sibling Relationship: These two love each other like crazy. Eli is so sweet and gentle and helpful with her. For her part, Zoe lets him dote on her 🙂

Mom and Dad Update: I’m telling you, once this girl started sleeping everything became roses and rainbows! We are starting to learn about her and it has been amazing. I’m so happy with our little family bubble!

Zoë: 1 Month Update

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Weight: 9lb 4oz

Naps: Her naps are all over the place. She is not an amazing sleeper so she is a bit too fussy to sleep well during the day. She is great about sleeping in her car seat and falling asleep while I wear her. It means that I’m getting plenty of snuggles! Once we get some good nighttime sleep we will start tackling naps.

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Clothing: She is out of newborn and into 0-3 months. However to be clear it is mainly due to the cloth diapers that add so much bulk to her little body.

Bedtime: hahahaha! There is no bedtime with this one. Some nights I’m able to put her down for bed and walk away, other nights, the only way she is falling asleep is on me. It has been slow going my friends.

Development: She has started trying to shove her binky back in her mouth and her neck is getting stronger and stronger. Very exciting stuff happening over here!

Sibling Relationship: Goodness gracious! These two are going to kill me with how adorable they are. Eli LOVES Zoe, he constantly wants to hold her and tries to calm her whenever she fusses. It’s so sweet to listen to him tell her “I know, I know, I know” in the same tone that I use to calm her down. In return, she tracks his face and doesn’t seem to be bothered by him constantly mauling her.

New This Month: um everything? She started cloth diapers and got moved into her room about a week ago.

Mom and Dad Update: It has been a rough and full transition. We are getting our footing, but man, parenthood is not for the weak!

 

I Thought It’d Be Easier

By all accounts this 2nd time around should have been easier. I’m taking more time off. Family is in town for 6 weeks to help out. It’s my 2nd time. This baby was planned. I’m recovering after a much shorter labor process. I don’t have a bakery I’m running in the garage. The list of reasons why it should have been easier goes on and on. Only it’s not easier. It’s much much harder. Every other day I’m pushed to a breaking point. Every other day I feel like I see the light at the end of the newborn tunnel, and then reality hits me in the face with a child that refuses to go to sleep and I have no tricks, no cues and no ideas for what to do for her.

I’ve waited for the huge rush of peace and joy, unadulterated happiness and exuberance at the wonderful life I am so lucky to lead. It happened with Eli and I have felt shortchanged that it hasn’t happened with Zoe. Maybe it’s because the first time around I got a baby that was nearly 2 weeks overdue. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have a toddler around to also care for. Or I was younger and needed less sleep. Maybe it’s that Zoe has some tummy issues that make her fussier than Eli was. It could be the ignorance that I went into parenthood with or the amnesia that occurs after that first year with a baby causing us to procreate again.

 

The love bubble that we inhabitated with Eli never went away. It grew and changed, allowing reality to live in there with us. It allowed sleeplessness, frustration had anger to weave their way in. Tantrums and disobedience have layered in between back scratches and bear hugs. With every screaming fight in a grocery store checkout line, it’s been covered over with storytimes and walks around the block. For every challenge that boy threw out at me, he has followed it up with 20 impossibly wonderful moments. Enter Zoe. Our love bubble has opened up and made room for her. But she is messing up the balance of moments. Do you remember the newborn time period? Grasping at straws trying to figure out what will make this child sleep. Waking up several times to feed and soothe. Inviting someone in to disrupt your quiet time and make it impossible to hang with your spouse alone. Spending about 3 hours on a daily basis breastfeeding someone that constantly falls asleep and therefore is constantly eating. Dealing with someone else’s bowel movements. All while dealing with a body that is both foreign and doughy, sore and bleeding.

The good moments are equally the challenging ones right now and it’s ok. Not easy, but okay. There is a little boy that loves his sister so much, he wants to cuddle her constantly. A husband that takes our kids so that I can get an extra two hours of sleep. The little girl that tests me snuggles up to me nuzzling into my body and groaning with every breath. Our love bubble is growing again and soon the balance will shift once more. We will get a nap schedule and smiles and coos. We just have to wait a bit. And that’s okay.

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The only consistent way to get her to nap…

Zoë’s Birth Story

The week leading up to Zoë’s due date, I had contractions for a couple hours every night that eventually dissipated, leaving me disappointed, just like with my son, Eli. At 39 weeks, 5 days, I started having contractions at 11:00 that night. I decided to go to bed and try to get some sleep just in case these were the start of the real deal. At 3:00am I woke up with the start of contractions. Not a big deal, but enough and at a strange enough time to make me think this could possibly be it. I made sure my bag was packed and pulled out the excercise ball to labor on. My contractions continued, but didn’t increase in frequency or intensity. My husband woke up at about 6 and I told him what had been going on. I showered in the hopes of discovery if these were here to stay or Braxton-Hicks like before. No change. Our washing machine was waiting on a part to repair it and on my list of things to do that day was laundry. The decision was made to load up the car once Eli woke up and get the laundry done.

Once in the car, the contractions seemed to slow and taper off. Laundry was started and we decided to drive around for the half hour the washing machines take to complete their cycle, thinking this would kill the contractions. For the first 15 minutes, it worked! The contractions began to ramp up in intensity, but not frequency. Our roads are in bad shape after the exceptionally heavy snow load we got this year and driving over bumpy roads while contracting is awful. I was laughing at how painful they were, trying to lift myself off the car seat to relieve the pressure. We returned to switch the laundry and I had three quick and intense contractions within 5 minutes, signaling that it was time to drop off our boy and head to the hospital. We brought Eli to my in-laws and headed home to grab the hospital bag.

Once home, contractions slowed once again. I waited on the excercise ball, bouncing around trying the get things going. We decided to take a walk and get things going. As we were about to head out the door, three quick and intense contractions within 5 minutes once again. We headed to the hospital instead.

In the car my contractions held steady at every 5 minutes, for about 45 seconds. As we entered the hospital parking lot, I began to get nauseous and felt as though I was going to vomit. We rushed into the hospital, got checked in and immediately seen into labor and delivery. A nurse checked my cervix and I got the disappointing news that I was dilated a 1/2 centimeter. I continued to have intense contractions and asked to go to the bathroom. Once I emptied my bladder, I didn’t have the strength to get up and called for my husband to help me. After he helped me up, I immediately threw up. Our doctor came in and checked me again (which I was very unhappy about, getting my cervix checked is always excrutiating). We discussed my options. She remarked that with the intensity and frequency of my contractions, my cervix should really be opening up (no kidding!). While I had initially asked for an epidural right away, I was told that administering one this early was not advised. My main reason for wanting an epidural immediately was Knowing that from my previous experience the vomiting once started would not stop. We discussed how my body would do with an epidural versus without and what my cervix could do in the epidural timeframe. We took into account that my parents were on their way, but not there yet. It was a hard decision with plenty of tears, in which my husband reminded me that I grow beautiful, healthy babies but my body doesn’t want them to leave :).

The prepping for the cesarean began! My veins were collapsing and I continued to have intense contractions making it difficult to stay still for the iv. I threw up a couple more times and finally headed to the operating room, exhausted and terrified. This time around, I was getting a spinal instead of having the epidural, and I was once again freaking out in the delivery room. My anesthesiologist was so kind and wonderful, explaining to me that I would feel quite a bit more pressure this time around. He wasn’t joking! It felt as though they were punching my stomach and pulling so much the whole time. He continued to pump me full of various meds and I tried to focus on witnessing my baby girl’s arrival. My husband tried to calm my nerves and was so gentle with my fragile emotional state. Our little girl entered the world at 1:05pm on April 22nd. We got to do skin to skin right away and I felt much more coherent and aware this time around. She weighed 7lb 4oz and measured 19inches long. Zoë looked like a twin of Eli’s and I was just so happy to have here outside of me!

We spent a couple hours in the recovery room, snuggling up. She was just the most chill and mellow baby, not bothered by her exam and being passed around, just content to be snuggled up. We can’t wait to get to know this little one!

Eli’s Birth Story

One my all time favorite things to read or hear about are birth stories. They are all so unique and gloriously different and full of hope. Before I posted Zoë’s birth story, I wanted to get Eli’s out there to get some context for how things went the second time around.

After having Braxton-Hicks contractions each night for a week and having them dissolve into nothing, our waiting family gave us a night to ourselves. Lo and behold, without people watching me for every sign of labor, those contractions started back up around 6:00pm. And they didn’t stop. I got in the tub at about 8:00 to see if I could make them go away or if this was finally the real deal. After sitting in the tub for about 15 minutes, I decided this was it. Finally, after a 41 week and 5 day pregnancy I was in labor! And, that labor seemed to be progressing quickly!

I moved out of the tub and to the excercise ball, rolling my hips and trying to “lean” into the pain. I had my husband squeeze the back of my hips to try to relieve the pressure. I tried to distract myself by watching the Olympics. My contractions continued to progress, becoming closer together and more intense. When I was having trouble talking through them and my contractions became 4 minutes a part (about 11), my husband put a call into our midwives. They had my husband put the phone on speaker and listened to me go through a contraction, trying to determine if I should go in or not. The decision was made to go in.

Once we packed up the car with my bag and snacks for the staff, we headed to the birthing center. Once we started driving my contractions started to slow down a bit. My husband remarked that it was odd how I could converse with him just fine during the break in my contractions, despite how in pain I seemed during them.

Upon arriving at the birthing center, my contractions started to pick back up again. We went into the room and began to practice those labor coping techniques again. Things were progressing quickly and I got into the tub to labor. That’s when things took a turn. About 2 minutes into laboring in the water, I began to feel like I was going to throw up. And I was excited. I had researched unmedicated birth a lot and a common theme had been people vomiting when they were in transition. I couldn’t believe of quickly things were progressing! After throwing up, I got out of the tub to get my progress checked for the first time. It was not great news. Eli was head down and at zero station, my cervix was dialated to 2 centimeters. And I was vomiting with every contraction.

This is where things start to get a little blurry. We opted to start IV fluids and my husband and I tried to get some rest in between contractions. I remember constantly trying to go to the bathroom and being too weak to get off the toilet. Nothing has really humbled me quite like all the reproductive stuff my husband has visually witnessed. I continued to get sick, so much so that I began to vomit up blood. After several hours, we checked my progress again. My contractions were starting to slow down and labor seemed to be headed towards a stall. I was at a 3, but not progressing how the midwives would like. My husband and midwives started to discuss the next step. I was offered two options: take an ambien to try to get some rest and sleep or head to the hospital to get an epidural. We opted to leave and get the epidural. My husband told me that once we made the decision to go to the hospital, that I begged him to take the pain away every time I had a contraction and that waiting to get transferred to the hospital took about 2 hours.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was a mess. A massive, teary mess. They immediately got pain meds in me while I waited for an epidural. I had the sweetest nurse talk me through getting my epidural. Big accolades to the anesthesiologist that managed to get that needle into my spine despite the intense shaking. Once I got my epidural everything got so much better. I finally stopped throwing up and got some rest. My husband was able to look less terrified and also get some rest. The doctors and I chatted and we discussed a game plan. We opted to try pitocin and see if my body would open up. After a couple hours of pitocin, I managed to get up to 4 centimeters. I had to stay flat on my back or else Eli’s heart rate went a little nuts. We discussed options with the doctor yet again. After looking at how strong Eli had been throughout the whole pregnancy, we opted to up the pitocin and see if we could get things moving.

After extra pitocin and 2 hours of waiting, there was still no change in my cervix and I had been in labor for 28 hours. We made the decision to go forward with a cesarean. My husband was sent to go get scrubbed up and I was led to the operating room. Once again, massive, teary mess! I began sobbing once we got into the operating room. While waiting for my husband and being prepped for surgery, I kept asking every person that came by me if I was going to be ok, if they had done this before, if anyone had died during their cesarean. I was losing my mind. When Mr. Seashell finally got in the room I was able to be much much calmer. They started my cesarean and I didn’t feel a thing. It was this sleepy, hazy time where they presented me with a baby (at 9:16) and then swept him away and I started throwing up again; happy, but utterly exhausted.

Eli and I got to know each other right away in the recovery room, snuggled up and feeding my new baby boy, I felt an immediate surge of energy and love. It’s interesting, when other people hear about Eli’s birth, they remark that it was traumatic. I don’t feel that way though, Eli’s birth is just Eli’s birth and I just feel grateful to be apart of it.

Baby Zoë!!

FullSizeRenderIMG_1353IMG_2533IMG_1344IMG_3798IMG_1354IMG_3794IMG_3791IMG_3783IMG_3775She’s here, she’s here, she’s here!!! Our sweet, snuggly little Zoë girl is here! She listened to my wishes quite well and allowed me to go into labor 3 days before I was scheduled to have my c section. Zoë entered the world at 1:05pm on April 22nd (Earth Day! Perhaps I’ll have a little granola girl on my hands) weighing in at 7lb 4oz and measuring just over 19 inches. She is a sleepy little nuzzler that loves to curl up into the neck of whomever holds her. Eli is over the moon in love with her, constantly coming over to snuggle and kiss her. He holds her hand when she gets her diaper changed and wants to be near her all the time. She has the tiniest little feet and is so very very floppy compared to Eli. Our lives feel so full and wonderful. I love this time after a baby when all the love in the world is radiating around your family.

The end of the only

I’m 2 days out from my due date with baby #2- the sibling, the long awaited girl, the sister that turns my baby from our child into a brother. It is such a bittersweet moment to bare witness to him changing his roles and being asked to grow and develop a new part to play in our family. I find myself focusing on all of his little quirks and habits, wanting to hold on and not miss a moment of them.

Last night while driving home from dinner, Eli and Kenny sang songs from Moana, alternating lines.

Every night Eli and Kenny lay together talking and I love to eavesdrop, hearing him talk about how mommy can go to work and daddy can get Eli chicken nuggets 🙂

He always wants more kisses- there are never enough kisses.

Telling us about Halloween: Eli will be a witch, Zoe will be a ghost, daddy will be a Halloween house, mommy a vampire.

The way he pronounces girls: guwulls and adorable: adorafull.

Every morning he crawls into bed for snuggles. It is one of the absolute best ways to start the day (you know aside from sleeping in and doing whatever you want all morning long.)

Just in case I may be falling too much in love with him, he does allow a glorious 3 year old attitude to shine through complete with shushing us when we tell him “no”, throwing emotional tantrums from lack of sleep when refusing to nap and telling us just a minute every time we tell him to do something.

This boy has been my world and completely transformed our lives. These next couple weeks are going to be an extreme stretching of self and I just want to hold on to the singleness of him a little bit longer- which means extra snuggles tomorrow morning!