Brynn is One!

It’s hard to believe, but this little girl is a year old! Brynn turned one a few days ago but I’m just now getting the chance to write this.

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GROWTH: She had her one year check-up on Friday morning, where we found out that our peanut is still a peanut. I really thought she’d move up further in the percentiles since she loves her solid foods so much, but not really. She is 17 lbs, 4 oz (up to the 3rd percentile) and 26.5 inches tall (off the chart). I was glad to hear that we have a healthy girl, but I hate that round of shots and that it’s then followed by a blood draw. Poor thing was not a happy camper and has had her first vaccine reaction – a 103 degree fever yesterday followed by a rash on the lower half of her body today. We also had some additional testing of her blood since last week a tiny little cut on her nose bled for 20 minutes. Thankfully the blood draw didn’t show an indication of a clotting problem, so the cut must have just been in a bad spot.

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SLEEP: Baby girl is still sleeping great. It was a perfect month of night time sleeping. Her naps are still about two hours at home and about 30 minutes at school. Her new school seems to be an even brighter classroom than her old school, and she just really needs a darker environment for sleep! It is a bit of an adjustment now with putting her to bed with a cup instead of breast or bottle, but she has done well for two out of her first three nights during this transition period.

IMG_4931FOOD/DRINK: Well, we’ve officially weaned off of the breast as of today. I really didn’t think we’d make it to a year without formula but we did, and we actually still have a bit of frozen breastmilk left. She’ll be getting straight whole milk from a sippy at school starting this week, and at home we’ll mix in the breastmilk with her sippy cups until we run out. The sippy cup transition isn’t going great, but she’ll at least drink out of it when she’s really hungry. Hoping she starts drinking better out of it within a week or so. Her solids intake is still great. Her new teachers are thrilled with how she eats and we are too. She still likes basically anything.

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GROSS MOTOR: Still not a walker yet, but now she is at least trying to stand up from sitting. She pulls up and cruises like a champ, but doesn’t seem super interested in walking if she isn’t pushing her walker. She can climb full flights of stairs and makes a beeline for the stairs from the second to third floor whenever they are in her sight.

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IMG_4880FAVORITES: Waving “hi” and “bye” to everyone in sight. Clapping her hands. Playing with her big sister. Any sort of outdoor playtime. Eating. Being held. Roaming around her playroom.

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Being a mama of two for a year now has brought out so many feelings that I didn’t know I had. I just love watching their relationship grow. As long as Bella isn’t stealing something out of her hands, they play really well together. Bella loves playing “teacher” and Brynn makes for the perfect student.

We’ve been blessed with another easy baby, and for that I am so thankful. If she’s cranky, its usually solved by being carried for a bit. Independent play is happening more frequently now, so that I’m sometimes even able to make meals when its just the three of us at home.

The road to completing our family was filled with lots of heartache, but now that it is complete, I can really appreciate and be incredibly thankful for these beautiful children. They’ve changed our lives in countless ways, and watching them grow and change will bring us joy for many, many years to come.

Happy 1st Birthday Brynn. We love you so very much!

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Bella: 3 Years Old

Bella 3 YearsIt’s been almost a month since my first baby girl turned three years old.

I’ve thought about writing this post so many times, but each time I get overwhelmed with the idea and end up not writing. So today I’m going to try jotting my thoughts down.

It is hard to believe that it has been three years since Bella burst into the world (errr…was yanked out into the world). She is our miracle baby – the rainbow after our first miscarriage, and after the weeks and weeks of fear as I laid on bedrest with an impossibly short cervix.

But now that she has spent three years making our lives better (and noisier), I don’t even remember what life was like without her.

Over her past year of life, we have seen SO. MUCH. DEVELOPMENT. It is crazy. I thought the leap from a one year old to a two year old was something, but this leap from 2 to 3 is even better. Now that she can fully communicate it is almost like she is a little person.

The one thing that really, really gets me is her memory. I swear she has an adult memory now. She is constantly bringing things up that were only mentioned in passing months ago. It astonishes me every single time. While there are still occasional tantrums, we can (usually) get her to talk us through them now. Yes, she still will sometimes throw herself on the floor and start crying, but at least now after a minute or two she’ll actually tell us why she is mad.

The girl loves being a big sister. She loves holding Brynn, “helping” to change her diaper, feeding her, and pretty much anything related to being near her little sister. She loves sharing her old toys, and in the car when my comically bad car mirror falls out of position, she’ll excitedly answer my “is Brynn asleep or awake?” questions.

At school, she is the queen bee. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because of her short hair she looks much younger than she is, or because she is one of the only kids in her class that has been there since she was 3 months old, but I constantly have parents coming up to me and telling me that their child always talks about Bella, or loves Bella, or something of that sort. Even parents of kids that aren’t in her class! In the past few weeks, she wants to walk herself into her class, and I don’t object. She has gone from being extremely timid on the big kid playground, to biking all over it on “the blue bike” each day. Such a difference from when she first changed playgrounds with her new class in May.

She has handled all of the crazy transitions that we’ve thrown at her this year with ease. Just this year she has moved from a crib to a big girl bed, been given a sibling, and mastered the potty (during the day). While bedtime has certainly grown more challenging since she gained the ability to get herself out of bed and tell us “I don’t wanna go night night,” she seems to be doing just fine with the change. We followed the 3 day method for potty training back in September, and while it took her closer to a week while we banged our heads against the wall, she eventually got it. Minus one short regression in October, she has mainly been accident-free and we all couldn’t be happier.

In the past 2 months or so, she has started to really resist naps. I think it is more testing her free will than not being tired, but some days it just seems easier to let her stay up than to really fight her on it. Besides, if she is sleeping in until 8:30, it seems hard to force her to go to sleep, even at 1:30.

Bella still wants to eat all of the time and can now get her own food out of the refrigerator. Thankfully she is usually helping herself to an apple or a container of cottage cheese, but if the girl is near the kitchen she wants to eat! She is becoming a little pickier now with dinner. We used to just feed her whatever we were eating, but now she’ll do things like pick the cauliflower out of her cauliflower pasta. She’d eat any kind of fruit anywhere, anyhow, and has also developed a sweet tooth whenever she is given the opportunity. Thankfully we don’t keep cookies or cake in the house, but if she sees them at a party or at school, she is begging to have some.

She is definitely still a daddy’s girl. Daddy puts her to bed on most nights while I’m working on getting Brynn to sleep. She wants to read “5 books” every night, and is currently favoring showers over baths.

We’ve seen more of an interest in drawing this year, with a vast improvement there as well. Amazing to watch the art go from scribbling indiscriminately to actually attempting to make shapes. I can’t wait to continue to watch this develop. We’ve also introduced scissors recently and are working on that skill.

Her physical development has really come along as well. Bella was late to crawl and late to walk, but it seems like she has finally caught up with her peers. We were so proud the day that we first saw her ride one of the big kid bikes at school (with training wheels). As a baby, she didn’t have the interest in climbing that many of her friends had, but she is recently wanting to climb on everything. Better late than never I guess!

I love this little girl’s smile and laugh so much. She definitely has some of her mommy’s stubbornness, but I love watching her little brain work. She certainly loves to push us in the ways that most two-three year old’s do, and its hard to both marvel at how wonderful it is that she is growing up, and also how sad. When I look at pictures from her 2nd birthday to her 3rd birthday, it almost seems like she has gone from a baby to a kid in such a short timeframe. We love you so much sweet Bella boo. May you keep making us smile and laugh for many, many more years to come.

February 2015

February 2015

March 2015

March 2015

April 2015

April 2015

May 2015

May 2015

June 2015

June 2015

July 2015

July 2015

August 2015

August 2015

September 2015

September 2015

October 2015

October 2015

November 2015

November 2015

December 2015

December 2015

Her third birthday

Her third birthday

Six Month Stats

Brynn’s six month doctor’s appointment was yesterday! What did we learn? Well pretty much that she is looking great…other than her lack of weight gain.

As I guessed, she still hasn’t reached 13 lbs. She is 12 lbs 12 oz which is only the 2nd percentile. At least she is short too, at 24.41 inches (4th percentile). Her doctor is less concerned about the weight issue since she has now had three straight plots on the growth chart at the 2nd percentile, but I still hate to see her so skinny!

I wish I made more milk, or that she liked to eat more now that we have started solids.

Overall I’m glad she was looking good and that the wheezing is gone. Now its time to gain some weight!

On blogging…

It has been almost four years since I started this blog, and for the first time, I find myself having trouble finding the motivation and desire to keep up with it. Here we are, less than a week until Brynn turns four months old, and I haven’t posted anything since she turned three months old.

Life has just felt like a whirlwind since I returned to work a little over a month ago. I’ve been swamped with work, caring for two girls, and trying to have some social time with friends and Lance. In reality, I’m only finding time to write this tonight because Lance is out at a work dinner.

I have so much to write about and now that I’ve fallen behind, I’m not even sure its possible to go back. So instead of full blog posts about everything that has happened, how about some bullet points?

  • We went to the beach. It was great. For the most part. Except that we bought a cheapo portable swing from Walmart and Brynn refused to nap in it. So instead of the 2-3 hour post-lunch nap we had been used to, we were maybe getting 45 minutes. Pop Pop spent a lot of time holding her and walking with her until she fell asleep. But Bella had a blast playing in the sand, going to the aquarium, and spending lots of time with her grandparents.
  • We potty trained. We tried the 3 Day Method. It took about 7 days. There were many, many, accidents. But now we are pretty much done. She still has occasional accidents but they are very limited. So when at the time we thought that this was the worst method ever, it did in fact work – it just took a few extra days.
  • We’re all adapting to the new normal of being a family of four. It has been hard, but overall, the girls make it pretty easy on us. The toughest part is just getting out the door in the mornings. It takes much, much longer for me to wake up, eat breakfast, get myself together, wake Brynn up, nurse her, get her dressed, wake Bella up, convince her that its time to get out of bed, get her dressed, get all of our crap into the car (its ridiculous…purse, laptop, pump, lunch, Brynn’s diaper bag, Brynn’s bottles, and usually some extra clothes for both of their cubbies…that’s 6-7 bags in the car every day!) When both of us are home in the evenings, we divide and conquer bedtime now but by the time both girls are asleep, we are usually drained!
  • I’m back to work. And thankfully, I’m enjoying work more than before maternity leave. I’ve got a lot of interesting stuff going on that has been fun and challenging, but it has also been very busy. I love my lunchtime breaks to go nurse Brynn, but its likely that things will be this busy through next August. I’m also going to be traveling a lot this fall. I’ve already been to Pittsburgh, and have upcoming trips to St. Louis, Nice, Philadelphia x2, and Las Vegas. Since I hate being away from the girls, I make the trips super short which just makes everything even more tiring.

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Does that cover everything? I’ll try and get a Brynn post up for her 4th month birthday on Sunday that will update everything that has been going on with her.

I can’t really tell the direction things are going to go from here. I’m already thinking that my blogging may come to an end once Brynn turns one, so its possible there won’t be much here besides her monthly posts. It’ll all depend if the motivation returns I guess. I have really enjoyed being able to look back at everything, so maybe I’ll be able to keep it going. But if I don’t, just know that its because we are too busy having fun. Or sleeping. Yeah, probably sleeping.

Bella’s Language

I mentioned a while back that Bella’s language has really been developing over the past few months. It has been so much fun watching her go from single words to being able to express pretty much every thing she is thinking. She often refers to herself in the third person so you’ll see a lot of that below.

Here are a few of our favorite Bellaisms at 2.5 years of age:

  • “Bella no I see” (I can’t see)
  • “Catch dat school bus”
  • “No do dat” (don’t do that)
  • When talking about fire trucks (we pass by a fire house on the way to and from school every day) she says that they need to eat. I ask her what they are eating and she says “chicken”
  • When we have the GPS on in the car, she always repeats the right and left directions, i.e. “exit right daddy”
  • “Ms Tina eat dinner my house?” – asking almost every day if her teacher is coming over to eat dinner at her house
  • “Bella has gas”
  • “Bella no have no more” (I don’t have anymore)
  • “Doodin?” (what are you doing?)

And her funny pronunciations:

  • “ollipop” (lollipop)
  • “buttbo” (dumbo)
  • “I know” with a certain intonation (I don’t know)
  • “ooze” (use)

We’ve been having so much fun with this age. There is definitely less crying and less frustration now that she can communicate what she is thinking.

Brynn’s Newborn Photo Shoot

When Bella was born, we opted out of paying for a professional photographer to take her newborn photos. Instead I used my new-at-the-time Canon lens and did them on my own. They turned out pretty well, but I knew when Brynn came along I was going to be more focused on getting family pictures of the four of us.

So this time I turned to the internet in search of an affordable newborn photographer (and one that includes digital rights without paying hundreds of extra dollars). We were pleased to find someone who is relatively new to photography and thought she did an outstanding job. We tried to keep everything very natural with the poses and were thrilled with how everything turned out!

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The hardest part of doing this at 5 days postpartum was finding a shirt that would fit me! I of course stuck with the maternity jeans but I was looking for a flattering shirt that didn’t hug the bump remains. I picked up this flowy shirt at Target the day before but of course woke up that morning super engorged and could barely stuff myself into it. So thankfully we got some decent shots with me in them that weren’t as unflattering as I worried that they would be. And the really unflattering ones were not included here and will never be printed ;-).

Overall it was a fun experience and we’re thrilled with how everything turned out. I’ve already printed two of the pictures for our new staircase gallery wall and plan on doing another big print in our bedroom.

Brynn’s First 2 Weeks

Geez. It is hard to believe that Brynn is already over two weeks old. Today is Lance’s first day back to work. Bella is at daycare and Brynn is snoozing in her swing (in the off position…she seems to like it better that way!). So I may have a few minutes to write something before she wakes up to eat again.

I definitely have a lot to write about, newborn photo shoot pictures to share, etc., but I think for now I’ll just give a brief recap of our first few weeks at home.

Things got off to a very easy start. Brynn has been so much better at nursing than Bella was at this point. Her latch has been good from the start and after about a week of major pain, my nipples remembered how to work, the engorgement went away, and things have just been way better in that department. A few days ago I even added in one pumping session a day to start building a supply for when I go back to work and I’m happy to say that I’m definitely getting more milk than last time as well. Today I even pumped the most I ever have getting near 6 oz in 15 minutes (towards the end of Bella’s first year I was only getting 2-3 ounces per 20 minute session). So it has definitely been a relief that things are going better on that end. We were in shock when at her first pediatrician appointment they said they’d see us again in a month. With Bella, since it took her 20 days to regain birth weight we were in the doctor’s office multiple times per week for 3 weeks.

We did have some of the sleepy newborn “issues” that we had with Bella, where I had to wake her to eat after 4-5 hours some nights. Unfortunately, this has now passed and she is waking every 2-3 hours at night. Thankfully at this moment she nurses pretty quickly and falls right back asleep, so I’m not a total zombie.

The days go by quickly! With Lance home, he took Bella to and from daycare each day. That was one of my bigger worries since I really didn’t want to expose Brynn to all of the germs at daycare this first month considering drop off and pick up are each 20 minute ordeals with Bella not wanting us to leave in the morning and not wanting to go home in the afternoon. For the next two weeks our parents will be in town to help with this process as well, and then after that Brynn will be a month old and she and I will start making these trips. Its times like these that I wish daycare was near our house instead of near my office, but with a week of vacation it should only be 7 weeks of lots of driving.

It was so nice having the extended paternity leave this time around. It gave both of us time to get some rest, bond with our newest addition, and even get some things done around the house. Lance managed to seal our deck and screened porch, we put up a staircase gallery wall, and he finished his tall crawl workshop floor. I’ve also been enjoying at least two Brynn naps a day on my chest. Love those sleepy cuddles so much even if it confines me to the couch!

We literally haven’t cooked since we’ve been home from the hospital as we’ve had friends and neighbors bringing us dinner almost every night! All of the pasta probably isn’t great for losing pregnancy weight but its certainly nice to not have to worry about cooking for a few weeks. I’ve also decided that starting next week I want to do some mommy-Bella baking time once or twice a week. She loves to help with everything right now and I think that is the perfect activity for her and I to do together.

nursing is hard work!

nursing is hard work!

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loving the sleepy snuggles

loving the sleepy snuggles

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For the most part, big sister Bella is doing a great job. She comes in every morning to check on her baby sister and is known to drag a pillow over to her swing and sit next to her while she is sleeping. We let Bella “hold baby” in her chair every night before bed, and while she doesn’t quite grasp how to hold her, she loves it for a few short minutes.

We do have a few issues with Bella either trying to steal my nursing pillow and saying “Brynn no eat” or as in the photo above, stealing Brynn’s gifts, but for the most part, she is happy to look after her sister at this stage.

I know this post has been all over the place, but that is a little look into life so far as a family of 4!