01 December 2014

brother bear

I'm in love...

Morning cuddles.

Baby Vanilla, almost always all smiles. His sister however wakes up grumpy 9 times out of 10. Sees her brother and she instantly lights up, "Aww...Dane, buddy!," as she loving refers to him.

Uncle Alex

A sibling is priceless. My own brother knows nothing about kids (hence him holding a not-so-baby like a baby :-). But he still is willing to help with mine. Literally, he has to ask LE how to use a paci. I'm pretty sure it's the three year old babysit and Uncle be "the adult supervisor," but I'm grateful. Grateful for a sibling. For the one who shares life from beginning to end with you. Who knows all the weird quirks of your family, who you can say "so and so is being cray cray, you deal with it today." It's invaluable. And I have no doubt the best thing we did for LE is Baby Vanilla, and vise versa.

Your welcome kids.

28 November 2014

go, be spoiled

Breakfast sans LE. (Yes, the boob cup is most coveted in our house, as it holds the most coffee. Would you expect any less?)

Baby Vanilla - 4 months (makes me want another...)

So much changes when you add another little person to your family. LE used to stay with her grandparents, no problem, on a regular basis - like we joked they-had-joint-custody-often. Then Baby Vanilla came and she wouldn't even get into their car. We chose to give her time to adjust and after almost 5 months she decided on her own that she wanted to stay with Mammy and Papaw. "You can leave now!" was the phrase we heard over and over on thanksgiving day, while preparing and eating dinner. We wanted to enjoy family time, but were reluctant to pass up LE's rediscovered independence. We were all shocked when she followed through and the Engineer and I were elated to have an evening with just the baby. Only half the wake ups, more nap times, less entertaining, time to squeeze in a full movie! She explained to us daily how she would go, cry for a bit at bedtime, and be comforted by her puppy. So interesting to see her insight and understanding of the situation. We reassured her she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to, but she insisted she wanted to stay.

Smothering her brother, per usual.

One thing we have learned: Personality does matter! LE is not a kid to be rushed or forced into situations. I know some think we baby her, coddle her, what have you. But really we are just learning her and she's complex. She needs to feel safe, in control, and in her own time she comes around and shows you this unbelievable brilliance. I can't wait to see her future unfold. She is going to be amazing, this is for sure.

Love you, sweet LE!

06 November 2014

cuddling babies

It's an overload of cuteness that must be documented...

30 October 2014

trick or treat

Today at COSI there were a pumpkin and cowgirl running lose...

Tonight for trick or treating, one turned into Elsa...

I know so creative, but hey she's 3. We oddly enough had ZERO Elsa's show up at our door (minus our own little queen)... Good thing we weren't playing the Elsa costume drinking game, because that would have been lame.

Happy Halloween :-)

27 October 2014

car pals

Fell asleep holding her baby brother's hand. LE is a dedicated big sister :-)

24 October 2014

picture catch up

Cozy Fall snack.

Just a cowgirl on her horse. She's famous for rescuing leaves.

Morning "Ka-tea" (aka chamomile tea) and cartoons.

I understand if you want to gooble this face up. I do.

Enjoying a family walk to our neighborhood Fall Festival.

I think it's safe to say we are finding out stride and it's starting to feel like we have always been a family of four. LE is loving preK, she actually asks to go everyday. Mama is loving it, too. I sit and adore Baby Vanilla's smiles and coos most days ignoring the never ending housework (telling myself future me will be grateful for these choices).

I'm happy to be soaking in a more boring life again. The Engineer seems to crave adventure these days, so I sense boring shall soon be out the window. My how the tables have turned.

08 October 2014

lets play a game

Is it LE or Vanilla?

Double the squishy baby!

Hand me downs :)

LE, Vanilla, LE, Vanilla, LE and Vanilla :).

Their personalities may be day and night, but their faces sure do tell a different story. Minus the fact he's huge, Baby Vanilla is just like looking at a baby LE with his own unique crazy hairline.

We make little old man babies, Engineer. Cute as can be.

(P.S. Happy 6 years, love! We made it out for a Thai dinner sans kids to celebrate our anniversary. I sadly only have pictures of our kids to show for our special day... I'll have to fix that!)

14 September 2014

sunshine and rainbows

I seriously just sit this little man on my knees after every nap and soak in these smiles. Baby Vanilla is the sweetest!

Sister adoring him, too.

I can't wait to watch your happy-go-lucky personality unfold, Baby Vanilla!

03 September 2014

obligatory first day picture

Our little preschooler!

She's too cute to not highlight.

I totally got "parented" today. The teachers of our preschool assured be prior to today that I could stay and help LE transition for as long as needed. Sit outside the door, whatever it took. They held my hand.

Then the first day comes and they shoed me out (in a good way) and reassured me they'd call me, if needed.

They knew what they were doing. They were going to do this all along, to me and the other 9 anxious mamas hovering over their kids, sneaky teachers.

LE cried a little, but mostly was inseparable from her new bestie, Molly.

This is all so much more difficult for me and I now realize why all moms post first day of school pics and dwell on this moment - it's more their moment than the kid's!

Happy first day of preschool, LE. I couldn't be more proud!

01 September 2014

labor day ramblings

These two kept our holiday busy and happy! I'm so grateful for smiles. It feels great to have passed the 6 week mark (a huge feat in baby time, right fellow parents?), finally getting some positive feed back instead of crying baby blobness.

Baby Vanilla is the sweetest little guy. I hate to even talk about the good things going on in fear of jinxing them, so I will just say at the moment he's been giving us some longer stretches of sleep. He sleeps and smiles more than he cries (something I never dreamed possible after my sensitive LE). He even doesn't seem to mind his sister smothering him with her love these days.

I'm still struggling with some PPD, although it has been easier this time around - we get wiser with experience. With Baby Vanilla being easier it was frustrating to have PPD symptoms again, but I'm realizing it's more adjusting to change than the temperament of my babies. It's like the first week of a new job...but it takes weeks, months, maybe years to adjust to this new job. And that's ok. By bestie, and fellow anxiety case, told me "Anxiety is like the waves of the ocean. You can't stop it, you just have to ride the wave out." I'm letting myself be imperfect and feel what I'm feeling for as long as this adjustment takes, because I can't control it. In time, this too shall pass; and I've decided I can simultaneously be anxious about change and sleep and insanely in love with my new addition and grateful for late night cuddles. I'm full of contradictions, extreme highs and lows, and I need lots of tools to help me through this, including medicine at times (I share this, because I know there's a mom out there struggling who needs to hear it's ok to need help.)

I leave you with an interesting post with happy pictures of moms suffering with PPD and my happy picture, anxiety and all.

25 August 2014

touched out

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to scream "Stop touching me, just stop already!" And maybe I did snap a time or two and say something along those lines to my poor LE. It was a hot and sticky day with a strong sprinkle of fussing by Baby Vanilla and smothering by LE (she just wants to love him...literally to death some days...and it's always a convenient time like say when I'm nursing).

On days like this I wonder, "What on earth am I doing staying home with these kids."

Then some sweet moments pop up amidst the chaos and give me a glimmer of hope. I hear LE tell Baby Vanilla how impressed she is that he will let her give him a (pretend) shot and bandaid. Later Baby Vanilla completely relaxed into my arms as he fell asleep for the night, so trusting and innocent.

In these moments, I have come to realize that they are both so perfect, even with their fussing and smothering, and that maybe this gig is worth it after all... The Engineer may get to escape it all a few hours a day, but really I'm the lucky one.

Beginning to social smile.

Proud big sister!

12 August 2014

our many wraps

Baby wearing helps me maintain a good milk supply and gives me my hands back when my babies are clingy. It's a staple at our house!

Daddy was the first to wrap up Baby Vanilla.

Even LE can partake in the fun.

This is my favorite - she made her own puppy carrier out of a baby blanket. Very resourceful, LE!

Even Uncle Alex baby wears (or maybe he's afraid to say "no" to me in my hormonal state :).

Baby wraps make it possible for me to (sorta) keep up with this ball of energy!

This one is my homemade wrap from plain linen fabric purchased (with coupon) at Joanne's for $6 and tye dyed.

I've been extra grateful for baby wraps, slings, and carriers while Baby Vanilla has been recovering from his tongue and lip procedure. It helps soothe my cranky baby and keep us close while we stay in the go!

Happy baby wearing!

08 August 2014

when a lactation consultant breastfeeds: round 2

Yesterday I learned how to be a more empathetic lactation consultant. I experienced my first bout of mastitis and watched Baby Vanilla have both his lip and tongue ties lasered.

We haven't been having any breastfeeding issues per se, Vanilla is gaining weight and my nipples are fairly comfortable. However, he made a clicking noise with his sucks and would come on and off my breast. Partially he's overwhelmed by my overactive letdown and supply (good problems, I know, especially for those of you who struggle with making enough milk) and his tight tongue snaps back as he sucks. Breastfeeding felt like a necessary source of discomfort for my sweet baby. There was rarely falling asleep at the breast or fluttery eyes and big gummy smiles. It's tough as a mother to feel like your body is agitating your baby instead of bringing comfort.

It took 3 weeks to get into the dentist who is considered the best in our area for tongue and lip tie procedures. The mom in me almost cancelled the appointment a bazillion times, but the LC in me told me to go through with it. I cried as we walked back to our little dental room. The dentist greeted me with a big hug and said "You must be first time parents." Maybe it was my achy, mastitis body or hormones or maybe I'm just overly sensitive, but it did break my heart to inflict pain on my baby.

So far, I have seen some improvement in Baby Vanilla's suck and latch. He's been extra fussy and we have to do post-op exercises that are no fun. I have an antibiotic for my mastitis, but I'm trying to nix it the natural way (rest, water, vitamin c, raw garlic, echinea, ginger, ice packs, and massage/hand express on infected breast) - it's still to be determined if this will be fruitful or not.

In the meantime, we are enjoying extra cuddles with our little man and I'm excited to have him actually fall asleep on my breast.

Breastfeeding, in my experience, is an up and down journey. It's constantly changing, but overall good. I would consider it one of my biggest accomplishments in motherhood, thus far. I am grateful my roads bumps have been ones I can overcome and respect that this is not always the case for all mothers.

Happy Breastfeeding, fellow mamas and friends! Hang in there, all this motherhood stuff gets easier in time.

(FYI, I again called an LC friend/colleague to come check my latch and baby's suck. Even a LC needs to just be "mama" when in the trenches :).

LE's journey:

When a lactation consultant breastfeeds

Part 2

06 August 2014

i love you and a bushel and a peck

And a hug around the neck.

Cracking up after Baby Vanilla had an explosion mid-hug :)

Awww...sibling love!

04 August 2014

wbw: take 4!!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, friends!

I'm excited to be celebrating my 4th year in a row as a breastfeeding mama (and a little exhausted). I'm still in the trenches with my little man, so I didn't get as involved as I normally would like, but we do have photos to share (courtesy Auntie Sarah - big thank you for making pics easy for us!)

Breastfeeding is both beautiful and exhausting...if you're with a new little one like me, hang in there mamas - you won't regret it!!!

Previous WBW posts:

Last years WBW

2012 and this one