Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Pajama Party

Well, well, well.  How is it possibly already the end of October?  I'm still shocked it's not August every time I look at the calendar. I'm linking up today with some lovely ladies to show off our Halloween PJs.  Pardon the crappy iPhone pics - these definitely aren't the greatest photos in all the land.  I took an obscene number of photos of the kids in their Halloween PJs on my "real" camera (separately because the toddler refused to get anywhere close to the baby without throwing a massive effing tantrum so I put her safety above getting the ultimate Halloween duo picture), but there they shall stay until probably next year because there's no way in hell I'm going to have my shit together enough to get to them until at least then.  And our pumpkins are not carved. And we have yet to purchase any candy.  And we didn't put up a single decoration.  And we don't have our costumes ready yet.  I'm drowning. There are just not enough hours in the day, y'all.  Please send booze.  And candy.  And costumes.    


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baby Mim - 3 Months

Dear Mim,

Another month has passed and you are one step closer to becoming a kid and not a baby, which simultaneously breaks my heart and fills it with excitement.  I know that at only 3 months old the thought of you growing up and leaving me sounds silly, but the days/weeks/months are just passing so quickly right now, I can barely get over the fact that I'm not still pregnant.  Next thing I know you'll be raiding my closet and asking to borrow the car keys.  I'M NOT READY!!  
You have changed so much over the past few weeks, right before our eyes.  It's been amazing to see you get bigger and watch your personality emerge.  You are such a sweetheart and a very easy-going happy baby.  Thank you for that.  You have really started smiling like crazy over the last couple weeks and nothing makes me happier these days than to elicit one of your big gummy grins.  You save them for those you love and we all feel pretty honored when we get one out of you.  You're still on the quiet side, but have recently started talking/cooing back to me when I talk to you.  You don't have much to say yet, but I'm sure that will change soon.  I have a feeling you're just letting Mac do all the talking for now, but will soon catch up and give him a run for his money in the verbal department.  He's a genius with words and I have no doubt you will be even quicker.  
You are becoming much more active and playful during the day too.  You love spending time on your playmat and looking at your friends, the elephant and monkey.  You also still adore the ceiling fan and shamelessly flirt with it anytime we're in the kitchen.  You love looking out the window at the changing table and can spend an incredible amount of time there, very content (Mac was the same way).  You love to kick like crazy and are becoming very good at standing and stomping.  Your little hands are no longer always in tight fists and I've noticed you reaching for things now.  Your head/neck control is really coming along.  We should probably do a bit more tummy time with you (you don't mind it at all) so we can work on getting you to push up and roll over.  That's all coming soon enough, so there's no rush.    
For the most part, you are so happy and content.  You love to be held (mainly outward, so you can see what's going on), but you also don't mind spending some time alone, either in your crib watching the mobile or in the bouncy seat in the kitchen.  That's really great, since your brother tends to require a LOT of hands-on attention at times.  We are so grateful that you're so easy-going and happy. However, you spend the majority of your day being held because you are so snuggly and loveable. Even though you don't mind being put down, we all have an incredibly hard time actually doing it.  
Unfortunately, right after I wrote your 2 month update on how our breastfeeding struggles were getting better, you completely stopped nursing.  I even had a (very expensive) lactation consultant come over and do an in-depth consult to figure out what was going on.  Other than determining that you were a very strong-willed baby and did not want to nurse, we didn't come up with any solutions that fixed the problem.  Every feeding was a battle and we were both stressed to the max, so I stopped.  Even the lactation consultant agreed with that choice.  It was becoming too hard on both of us and got to the point where it just wasn't worth all the tears (from you and me).  I'm sad that it's over and didn't work out for us, but we had 9 wonderful weeks of breastfeeding and you're thriving on the bottle.  I'm still pumping, so you're exclusively getting breastmilk and we're doing alright.  I still have a lot of mixed emotions on the subject, but maybe I'll save that for a separate post.  For now, you are doing great with the bottle and feedings are so much more enjoyable when we're both happy, and that's what's really important. 
In addition to being gorgeous and happy and easy-going, you're also a top-notch sleeper (yeah, now I'm bragging).  I hate to EVER put this kind of thing in writing (because as soon as I do, it'll all change), but you have been doing so well at night.  We start your bedtime routine at 6:00 p.m. with a warm bath, which you love.  Then we swaddle you tight and you kiss everyone goodnight.  You and I go up to your room, where it's dark and cool, with the white noise playing and we snuggle up in your rocker.  You usually suck on a paci for a few minutes until you're nearly passed out, when I give you a bottle.  You take your sweet time eating, while I talk and sing to you.  Sometimes you stare at me, like you're trying to memorize my face.  Sometimes your eyes are closed and you just coo while eating.  But every night, you wrap your fingers around mine and we hold hands until you fall asleep.  It's my absolute favorite part of the day.  
By 7:00 p.m. you're usually completely passed out and sleeping in your own crib.  Yes, I usually rock you completely to sleep (because I love it and I want to, dammit!), but you are capable of putting yourself to sleep if you're not completely passed out.  It's impressive.  This past week you've cut down your nightly wake-ups to only one.  You have been sleeping a good 8 solid straight hours before getting up for a quick diaper change and bottle and then right back to bed.  Then you usually sleep until about 7:00 a.m., when you wake up for the day.  It's a freaking miracle!  Believe me, we are not taking this for granted and know that it could change at any minute, but we are LOVING this schedule and pretty much thank our lucky stars every single day.  You are amazing.  Mac wasn't even sleeping this well at a year.  I know this is all too good to be true, but we're enjoying it while it lasts.  
In other big news, I'm back to work full-time now and I have serious mixed emotions about it.  While I really like my job and know that I have a great thing here, I'm really sad that I'm missing out on so much during the day.  Going back to work this time around is much harder for completely different reasons.  When I went back to work with Mac, I was so nervous about leaving him with the nanny - would she know how to soothe him, would he bond with her, what if something happened?  This time around, I'm not worried about those things at all.  She's wonderful with you and you adore her. You've had three months to get to know each other and I imagine that the transition has been very smooth for you.  What's hard this time is knowing just how quickly these "baby days" go by and not being there all the time.  I just don't want to miss anything.  You are probably (definitely, according to your dad) our last baby and I just want to soak up as much of you and your "babyness" as I can.  I blinked and your brother is basically a teenager.  I know the same thing will happen to you and I'm struggling with how to make the most out of what little time we have with our "littles," before you're big kids.  Oh, if I could just freeze time.  
With me back at work, we're still trying to figure out our new normal routine, which I'm sure will take us a while.  Right now everything feels crazy.  Mornings are hectic and chaotic, with trying to get you and Mac both fed, having to pump and trying to get two parents showered, dressed and out the door at a decent hour.  Evenings are hard because we're all so tired at the end of the day.  I miss that we no longer get to all sit down to dinner together - Ryan's feeding Mac, while I'm putting you to bed and then Ryan and I take turns eating alone while Mac's bathing and going to sleep.  I hate that I don't get to see very much of you after work, since you go to bed early.  And I hate that your dad sees even less of you because I'm selfish and refuse to set you down or share you in that time.  I need to be better about letting him rock you to sleep every now and then and giving him a break from the tornado that is your brother.  I hate that I don't get to spend much quality one-on-one time with Mac these days, as he only really wants daddy and monopolizes his time.  I feel like just when we were getting settled at the end of my maternity leave, everything changed again.  It's just hard adjusting to a new routine.  I know we'll get it figured out eventually.  Until then, we're just really enjoying the weekends.  Why are not more weekends?
So that's our life right now.  Crazy and busy, but fun and wonderful.  We are just so happy to have you as part of our little family and don't know what we ever did without you.  You bring us so much happiness, so many smiles, so much love.  We just can't get enough of you, sweet pea.  Thank you for being you.  I'm so grateful I get to be your mama.
Likes:
- baths
- ceiling fans
- sleeping
- being tickled
- standing
- playmat
- being naked
- bottles
- being outside
- kicking
- sucking on your fingers
- daddy singing
Dislikes:
- being in the car
- being cold
- dirty diapers
- hiccups
- eating in the morning
- loud noises
- 2:00 in the afternoon
Firsts:
- first pumpkin patch experience
- first full-day with the nanny
- first 8 hour sleeping stretch

For comparison:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mr. Schuey

Meet the newest member of our family...
This is Mr. Schuey.  
He was about to be roadkill until my husband stopped traffic and rescued him on a busy street near our house in the middle of rush hour traffic.
He'll be spending the next few months with us over the winter and splits his time between the playhouse in our backyard and the most elaborate turtle enclosure ever conceived in our basement.
And by elaborate, I mean a fenced in, hot rock, multiple tunnels, a water feature, a forest corner, a stone hill, lights on a timer to simulate day/night, etc.
Basically he's now be the most loved and spoiled turtle in all the land. 
I don't know any other turtle that gets fresh fruit and veggies daily, along with a gourmet meal of chopped up worms.
We even have a viewing area, so Mac and daddy can sit there and watch Mr. Schuey.
Apparently he's incredibly entertaining.
Welcome to the family, Mr. Schuey!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sad Cardinal

It's a sad day in Cardinal nation. 
Mim really wanted to go to a World Series game before she turned 4 months old.  
She's been waiting her whole life for this.  
Her dreams are crushed.  
#STLCardinals

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anatomy of a 3:00 A.M. Wake-Up

Was that her?
Is she up?
Please tell me she's not up already.
I feel like I just went to sleep.
What time is it?
Nearly three?
Yep, it's been almost three hours since she last ate, so she'll be getting up any minute.
Go back to sleep baby.
Please go back to sleep.
I'll buy you a pony if you go back to sleep.
Five more minutes.
Hell, make it fifteen more minutes.
Thirty minutes, baby, please.
Thirty minutes will get you a pony and a fairy princess castle.
Thirty more seconds?
Fuck.
Ok, I'm up.
I'm up.
I swear I'm up.
Really, I'm getting up right now.
I'm up.
Don't cry.
Please don't cry.
Shhh.
I'M UP!
Quiet baby, there are other people sleeping.
Please don't wake up your brother.
I cannot handle him up too.
Feel free to wake up your dad though.
You're going to have to cry a lot louder than that to do it.
He didn't wake up any of the five times you or your brother woke up last night.
Yeah, five times.
Five.
That was ridiculous, by the way.
Don't do that again.
But really, how is it possible that he can sleep through all of that?
And that accidental kick I accidentally landed on him when getting back in bed for the third time.
Men can sleep through anything, it's not fair.
It's also not fair that they don't have to do any of the baby growing or feeding.
I mean, I understand that they don't have uteruses.
I'll give them that one.
They could never handle childbirth anyway.
Women are so much stronger.
But they do have nipples!
Seriously, why can't they lactate?
They should be able to breastfeed too.
Two parents, two food suppliers.
That seems only fair.
We should both be able to feed the baby we both created.
Men couldn't handle it.
One cracked nipple and they'd throw in the towel.
Nevermind.
Let's go downstairs, baby.
Don't want to wake the boys.
Or the dogs.
Fuck, just tripped over a sleeping dog.
Why do these dogs have to sleep right in the middle of where I need to walk?
They have dog beds.
Really nice expensive dog beds.
I'd sleep in those dog beds, they look really comfortable.
Hell, I'd sleep in a dog house.
Outside.
Where it's dark.
And cool.
And quiet.
Oh, sleep.
I'm so tired.
Don't fall down the stairs.
Don't fall down the stairs.
Don't fall down the stairs.
Made it.
Alright love, diaper change.
Try to stay relatively calm, baby.
I'll make this fast.
I'm sorry it's so cold down here.
Although your mama is sweating like crazy.
When do the night sweats end?
It's been two months and I'm still sweating like a pig every night.
My spot in bed is going to be damp when I get back up there.
Gross.
I need to wash the sheets again tomorrow.
And do the rest of the laundry.
And the dishes.
And vacuum.
And straighten up.
And upload photos.
And work on Mim's baby book.
And write a blog post.
And unload the dishwasher.
And play with the kids.
And go to the grocery store.
There are seriously not enough hours in the day.
How does anyone with kids ever get things done?
We are never having any more children.
Ok sweetheart, new diaper.
Thanks for not crying.
Oh, a smile!
You're the best baby ever.
I love you so much.
I want more babies!
Are you hungry, honey?
Here you go.
Please eat a lot so you'll sleep longer.
You must eat, tiny baby.
Come on, baby.
Eat, dammit!
Alright.
TV on.
Pick a show.
How about some Friday Night Lights?
I do love me some Tim Riggins.
I think I may be slightly obsessed with Tim Riggins.
This is probably not a good thing.
But oh, he is something.
The hair and the sweat and the smoldering.
All those terrible choices and bad life decisions.
Totally not my type.
And yet, totally inexplicably perfect.
He's really not 17 years old, right?
Man, this show makes me feel like a dirty old cougar.
High school boys should not look like this.
They most certainly didn't look like this when I was in high school.
But that was like 20 years ago.
Maybe all the preservatives and crap in our food makes them look like this now.
What are they going to look like when Mim's in high school?
Mim, you're going to an all girls high school.
With nuns.
Lots of nuns.
You will never date.
You will definitely never date a Tim Riggins.
You will never even look at a Tim Riggins, ok?
Boys like Tim Riggins cannot be trusted.
They can't even keep their clothes on.
No one in high school can keep their clothes on.
It's disgusting.
Please take your shirt off, Tim Riggins.
Alright!
Are you finished eating, love?
That was not enough to get you through the next 6 hours.
That's the absolute minimum amount of time mommy needs to recharge.
I haven't had more than 4 straight hours of sleep in two months now.
And that's only happened a handful of times.
You should eat more, baby.
Lots more.
And no spitting up.
Stop it.
Keep it in, baby.
Ugh.
Now we're both drenched.
Hope you don't mind sleeping in damp clothes.
Definitely not going to hurt you.
Although you probably won't smell all that great tomorrow.
Join the club.
I'm not sure I even showered today.
Or yesterday.
What day is it anyway?
Who cares.
Let's get back to bed, baby.
Mama's tired.
Don't fall up the stairs.
Don't fall up the stairs.
Don't fall up the stairs.
Tiptoe down the hall.
Super quiet now, baby, we're passing your brother's room.
Crash.
Damn dogs!
Shhhh!
Back to bed.
Sleep little one.
This is me casting a sleep spell over you.
Sleeeeeeeeeeeep.  Sleeeeeeeeeeep.
You are so beautiful when you sleep.
Oh, this bed is lovely.
I wish it wasn't so damp.
Is that the toddler I hear?
I'm ignoring it.
If I ignore him it'll stop, right?
Please go back to sleep.
I'll buy you a pony if you go back to sleep...
Ok, he's quiet.
All's quiet.
So peaceful.
Except for the snoring dogs and husband.
And the cat running up and down the hallway chasing nothing.
And the monitors buzzing with white noise.
Well, it's almost peaceful.
And it's almost 4 a.m.
How did that happen?
Closing my eyes...
Was that her?
Already?!
It's 6 a.m.!
How was that 2 more hours?
I just fell asleep!
I didn't even get to have a Tim Riggins dream.
I told you to eat more, baby.
I thought we had a deal.
Screw the pony, I'll buy you a BMW.
Five more minutes...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Out and About at the Pumpkin Patch

Is anyone else in total denial that summer's over and it's already fall?  I just don't know how that happened.  I'm not really complaining about it being fall (it's my favorite season and the weather is lovely), but I'm just shocked and confused about how the summer went by that quickly.  You'd think that when you have a new baby and a toddler and haven't slept longer than 4 hours in a row for weeks that time would feel like it's creeping by, but the opposite is true.  I blinked and three months disappeared in a blur of diaper changes, midnight feeding sessions and Goodnight Moon on repeat.  
Fall has come on fast and furious around here.  The weather this past weekend plummeted into the forties, causing us all to break out those hats, jackets and scarves a bit earlier than anticipated.  Although again, I'm not complaining.  I love those first few weeks of cool weather when all your warm sweaters and boots resurface, feeling like you have a whole new wardrobe to play with.  And of course, fall weather also means a whole host of new activities and things to do outside.  There's something about the slight crisp chill in the air that makes me want to get out of the house and explore.
This past weekend we (and everyone else in St. Louis county) decided to head out to a local pumpkin patch.  I was dying to get some beautiful photos for the blog of our family with a backdrop of orange and green.  I mean, is there anything that bloggers love more than pumpkin patches, cute kids and boots?  I had grand visions of a perfect day playing in a sea of pumpkins, family hayrides, carmel apples and hot chocolate. However, reality with two kids is VERY different than what I daydreamed about.  Yes, I did manage to take a few pretty pictures, but life is not quite so pretty behind the scenes.  So, this is the true story about how our outing really went.
First of all, it only took us 45 minutes to pack a bag and get the kids in the car - that's significantly less time than it took a few weeks ago.  Perhaps by Christmas we'll be able to leave in under 30 minutes...but I'm not holding my breath.  Mac had two tantrums about which shoes he wanted to wear (Crocs with socks was NOT an option I was going to let him get away with) and Mim decided to nap (but only on me) instead of eat, which I knew we would all pay for later.  And then my husband thought it was the perfect time to search for his favorite shirt, which has been missing for months and was turning our house upside down looking for it.  Perfect time for a man who cares nothing about clothing to have a wardrobe crisis.  But I was determined not to let any of that stop us...I was excited to get out of the house and show Mac all the fun stuff to do at the pumpkin patch. Of course, I underestimated the overwhelming chaos of it all and the fact that babies do not care about pumpkins and toddlers' only mission in life is to ruin everything and possibly cause you to have a heart attack at an early age.  
Once we got there, it was only slightly less intense getting out of the car than getting in it.  After 10 minutes of screaming bloody murder in the car, Mim finally passed out, only to wake up ravenous from not eating earlier.  Mac insisted on being on daddy's shoulders (he doesn't get more than 2 feet from Ryan at any given time on weekends) and Mim stayed in her carseat, covered by the JJ Cole BundleMe.  I actually received the BundleMe from the company to review here on the blog and have already fallen in love with it.  So yes, this is partially a product review post and partially a reminder to the future me about how impossible it is to do absolutely ANYTHING with a baby and toddler, just in case my hormones get the best of me and I want another baby in a few years.  Refer back to this post.
Anyhoo...I never registered for anything like the BundleMe with Mac, since he was born in May and cold weather was not on my mind at the time, but I'm kicking myself now for not getting this sooner and saving myself a lot of hassle.  It took about 5 minutes for my husband to get situated on the car seat before we left  the house and it saved us so much trouble with making sure Mim was warm enough while we were out and about.  Being a July baby, all Mim's 0-3 month clothing is summer stuff.  I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking (hello pregnancy brain), but I don't have hardly any warm clothing for this child until she's 6 months. Seriously, she has about 75 short sleeve onesies and a couple dozen sundresses for this age, but only a handful of items with sleeves.  She's actually wearing Mac's old pajamas here, because I couldn't find anything warm and clean for her to wear.  I need to get my act together.
Anyway, the JJ Cole BundleMe was a lifesaver.  It was a cold morning and thankfully I didn't have to put a bunch of clothing on her, which of course you have to take off to put her in the car seat so the straps are tight enough, then put back on when you arrive.  With the BundleMe, once she fell asleep in the car on the ride there, we didn't have to wake her up to put clothes on her when we arrived or worry about covering her with blankets that always fall off the stoller and get run over and drug around on the ground.  We just popped the car seat out of the car and onto the stroller and she was nice and toasty warm in there the whole time we were at the pumpkin patch.  So thank you, JJ Cole for sending me this product to review.  I was not expecting to love it as much as I did.
Mac was pretty apprehensive at first and it took him a while to get used to the place (just long enough for us to get to the goats) and get off of daddy's shoulders, but as soon as he did, he was his usual 100 mph self.  We kept running into people we knew (with significantly more well-behaved children) and attempted multiple adult conversations to no avail as Mac kept dragging us away by running through crowds and straight into mud puddles and Mim cried nonstop unless she was moving in the stroller so we couldn't stop for even a minute.  I mean, such a relaxing trip! Now I remember why we've been mainly staying home on weekends.  Seriously, does it get easier?  The only saving grace was that they sold beer in the refreshment tent.  We were not above being those parents drinking at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.  Don't judge.
About 10 minutes after getting there, Mim decided she needed to eat immediately, but took her sweet time eating.  It takes girlfriend about half an hour to finish a bottle, so we took turns feeding her while the other person chased Mac around.  Divide and conquer. Some day I have hopes that we'll be able to do something (anything) all together as a family of four instead of in pairs. How in the world do people have more than 2 children?  Any why isn't it more socially acceptable to have a sister wife?
Once she'd eaten, Mim was in a much better mood, allowing us to explore the pumpkin patch.  We hit the playground, picked out pumpkins, checked out the garden, played on the tractors, etc., which took a whole 5 minutes before Mac declared he was ready to go home.
Mac was in a mood.  He wanted nothing to do with me, so it was like pulling nails trying to get him to be in a few photos with me.  Only daddy would do.  And God forbid if daddy got anywhere close to Mim - cue the waterworks.  However, he did really like the pumpkins.  He wanted to take home every pumpkin he saw.  He walked around trying to lift up each one and saying, "I like this one. I love this one. I want this one."  It was adorable...right up until he got a splinter in his hand from the stems and realized that we would not be taking all the pumpkins he picked out home with us.  Worst parents ever. 
We finally made our way over the big pumpkin field, where I wanted to get a family photo of the four of us. This was really my only goal for the day (other than just survive).  I wanted just one single family picture. ONE.  Unfortunately, that's not as easy to do as it sounds.  First of all, you have to find a willing bystander to take your photo. You make sure all the settings on your camera are perfect and just hope and pray that they can figure out how to focus on the people and not the background.  I try to find someone carrying around a DSLR, but you can't really trust anyone, even if they're carrying around a fancy camera.  90% of people with a nice camera do not know how to use it.  Second, you have to wake the (finally peacefully sleeping) baby up and pull her out of her nice warm car seat and into the bright sun, making her majorly unhappy.  Third, you have to convince the toddler to stand still for just a few seconds while someone takes the photo with mommy's camera while he's screaming "MOMMY'S CAMERA!!!" at the one kind soul that offered to take the photo.  Expecting him to actually look at the camera would be going above and beyond and you have better odds of winning the lottery.  Lastly, you quickly jump back in the photo, suck in (with hopes that you do not look like you're still 4 months pregnant) and worry that you don't have spinach in your teeth from breakfast.  And by "spinach," I really mean Lucky Charms.
Nailed it.
Of course, what you don't realize from this semi-decent family photo (nevermind the fact that Mac's hand is in his face, our legs are chopped off and we have a giant white warehouse in the background) is the fact that while I was trying to get this all set up, the toddler has been running through a field of mud (and maybe some manure) and climbing on (and falling off of) rotten pumpkins and now smells so godawful that you start looking for a hose to spray him down before you put him back in the car.  
And then he brings me a beautiful giant stinkbug.  "Look mama!  A beetle! Take him home?" As he's putting the bug in his pocket.

Toddlers are so much fun!!!!!!!!!!
Here, we attempted to get a photo of each of us with the kids.  Valiant effort, but not the greatest results.  At least one of us is looking at the camera.
The kids were getting tired (and so damn whiny), but on our way back to the car Mac spied the mini train and insisted on a ride.  By insisted, I mean threw himself on the ground kicking and screaming until we told him yes.  I got to ride with him because Ryan wouldn't fit in the little car, which Mac was not happy about, but tolerated.  Seriously, I am chopped liver if Ryan's around.  
We rode the mini train two times and Mac was insisting on more.  Fortunately we were able to quickly high-tail it back to the car (with bribery) and get the hell out of there as fast as possible before anyone had a meltdown.  So there you have it. The real story of a pumpkin patch outing.  So please know, that just because the photos are pretty, doesn't mean that it wasn't a total shit-show.  This is life, folks.  Just keeping it real. :)


Anyone else have pumpkin patch drama?


*I received the JJ Cole BundleMe free for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own. The product pictured is the Urban BundleMe in "Ice" color.  The BundleMe is available at buybuyBABY.com and BabiesRUs.com.