Saturday, July 31, 2010

We Are Headed To...

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the beautiful Outer Banks in Corolla, NC! We are packed (probably over packed) and ready to leave first thing in the morning. We will be meeting this beautiful family when we get there...

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I cannot wait for week of fun at the beach and splashing in the pool. Many memories await us! Bradley is beyond excited for the trip! I'm not sure if he truly remembers the trip last year, maybe from looking through the pictures he does. But, he was telling me all about it. How he was going to ride the "bus" (trolley) over to the beach with Larken. So sweet!

It is amazing how much has changed in a years time. We went last year at almost exactly this same week. We are coming back with a new baby and living in a new house. Wow!

I am a bit nervous for the trip in general. Ellie HATES the car seat. I mean this little girl will put up a major fight in the car if you don't get to her immediately. We have had some major screaming just this week when she was stuck in the car. I'm sure part of the trip will be spent with me in the back seat between the two kids. Also, Ellie has been doing SO great at home, after a lot of hard sleep training. I hope this doesn't mess things up too much. She literally rolled over last night and went right to sleep after I nursed her. Just as content as can be. I never thought we would get here just a month ago.

I am sure overall things will go well! I always expect it to be worse than it is, and then they surprise us with how easygoing they can be (fingers crossed)!

Also thank you for all of the sweet comments, emails, and notes sent on facebook about my last blog post. These past four months have been a bit of an adventure for our family, and particularly hard on me. It is just nice to know I am not in this alone, and many of you have experienced the same thing. Thank you so much!!!

See you in a week!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Truth on Motherhood

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I have been waiting to do this post for a while, and I am finally taking the plunge.

Motherhood x 2 has been rough for me....It all started with the horrific birth that I can't get out of my mind. The week in the NICU separated from Ellie, worried sick about our little girl. And then coming home. I just thought things would be calming down and we would go about our merry little way as a family of four. THEN we got a phone call from the doctor that changed our perspective on how lucky we are. We had to wait and worry forever. Time seemed to tick by slowly wondering if Ellie was going to have some version of Galactosemia. After two weeks of hell, finally we got some answers. Ellie was going to be fine. She is a carrier of Galactosemia and has a lowered enzyme count than the average person. But she can drink milk, and she will live a normal life.

Ellie, oh sweet girl you have put us through A LOT in just the first two months of your life!! It is no wonder that through all of that I wasn't feeling good. Right around week nine or ten I started crying. I cried a lot. All the time. I wasn't even sure what the crying was for. Usually I was tired. I would cry because I felt like I couldn't do this, I couldn't be a mom to these two beautiful kids. Chris would call and check on me at home, and I would cry. Ellie would be crying in the car and I would call Chris crying. Saying this is too hard, I can't do it. I would nurse Ellie and sob. Chris and I would have long talks when he got home. I would say, I want to go back to work. I don't want to stay at home anymore. The more we talked about it, it didn't make sense financially. We would actually lose money each month if I went back to work. He said, look into it if you want. It is totally up to you. I knew I didn't want to leave the kids, but I also didn't want to be at home anymore either. I was losing my mind. Every day felt like a marathon to keep my head up, and try to do fun things with Bradley.

I started sharing how I was feeling with friends. I told them about the crying and the disconnect I felt towards Ellie. I loved her so much deep down, but I didn't want to be around her. I know that is so sad to share, but it is the truth. I couldn't wait for naps or bedtime. Just a break from holding the baby or nursing the baby. Once the babysitter started on Tuesday and Thursdays I got even more worried. I felt this sense of freedom to leave her at the house. When I took Bradley to the sprinkler park one morning I actually had a sick feeling while I was there. I was beyond happy to be somewhere without her. Bradley was so fun and so easy. She was so hard and demanding. It felt sick to admit it, but it is the truth. I told a friend at the park that I was so glad to be somewhere without her, and she said I am sure that is normal. This is comfortable with Bradley and familiar. Don't worry you will get back in the swing of things with her.

I started losing weight and feeling hopeless. We were getting ready to move and our life was in shambles. I had boxes around the house, Chris was crazy finishing the new house, and Ellie wasn't sleeping at night. Finally by week 13 I went to the doctor. I sat there and told her everything. The horrible birth, the health scares, and the crying. I was completely honest and open, and said, I need help. After a month of being on medication I can truly say I am a different mom. A better mom. A stronger mom. A happier mom.

Granted a lot has changed in the past month too. We have moved...whew. Ellie is sleeping better at night. I have some distance from her in our new house. In our rental townhouse our bedroom shared a wall with her nursery. Even with the door closed at night I could hear ever. little. thing. Now Ellie and I have some space. When she is sleeping, I am able to sleep better too. If she is crying to fall asleep for a nap, I can't hear her in the kitchen. It is much less stressful. I have also decided that I will not take on the world. We don't venture out to do all that much in the heat. We make little trips to the library or the new gym close by. We take LONG walks around the neighborhood in the double stroller. We play outside in the backyard. But, within the window of Ellie's naps. Everyone is happier and there are much less crying in the car. I wanted to be more "on the go" this time around. But, it just hasn't worked for Ellie or I. She was very portable in the beginning, but much less so now. I would try to run out to the park and stay for a few hours, but only to come home with a screaming baby in the back seat. She would be too worked up to eat and totally stressed out. It wasn't fun for anyone. I know my limits and I know her limits too.

Part of me found myself missing last summer. I missed the easiness of our days. I missed my friends. Bradley and I would go to the pool for hours on end. We would hit Bodo's Bagels on the way home for some lunch, or pop into the grocery store. He would take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon, and all was right with the world. Those days are over. Maybe next summer. Right now we are just doing what works for Ellie and I.

After a long talk with my good friend Debbie she said something that really stuck with me. She said, "clare it doesn't really matter what you all are doing as long as you are happy and enjoying being with the kids. they won't remember 'what' you did, or the museums you went to. they will remember the feelings they had when you are together." this really helped me. Bradley and I have had so much fun playing around the house. We started writing books together after he brought one home from school. He made an obstacle course in the basement with his old slide and tunnels. We really have had fun, and I have been much more relaxed.

A part of me wants to go and do things. Fun trips for Bradley. As much as I would love to do a repeat trip to Busch Gardens this summer. I'm not sure if it is in the cards. The thought of dragging her through the heat, or having her fuss all day, or nursing her on the benches. Ummm doesn't sound like fun. So we probably won't be going this summer. And that is OK.

I am sharing all of this because at first I was ashamed. I felt sick about how I was feeling. Especially how I felt towards Ellie. Here is the beautiful baby girl that I hoped, prayed, and cried for, and I wasn't enjoying having her. It was heartbreaking. But, Chris brought in the mail the other day and there was a pamphlet inside. It was from the insurance company, a standard mailing they send out to new moms. It was all about postpartum depression. It listed some of the factors that often contribute to postpartum:

difficult delivery....check
child in the NICU or monitored after birth.....check
health complications after birth.....check
past history of depression....check

As basic as the pamphlet was, it made me feel better. Out of the seven or so contributing factors, I had four. Well, I guess I wasn't crazy for feeling the way that I did.


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Motherhood I know is filled with many highs and lows. Tough times and easy times. Long days and fast weeks. Months fly by. I wanted to make sure that I was enjoying this time. This precious time with Ellie. I know I will blink and this will feel so far away. She will be walking, talking, running and playing. My days won't be filled with naps, dirty diapers, and baby squeals. These days will be long gone. I will blink and Bradley will be getting on the bus in a few years with Ellie looking out the window asking when is it her turn to ride the bus. I will probably go in my room and cry because it went by too fast. I wanted to cherish it, not wish she would grow up quicker.

I am getting there. I am a work in progress. I have already come a long way in the past month. I know I still have a long road to fully feeling like myself again. But, each day I am getting a bit better. Baby steps...literally.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From the Front

We have had an interesting week...Bradley has been sick and I was praying that Ellie wouldn't catch it! He woke up with a fever on Wednesday and was just out of sorts. Then it climbed up to 101.5 after a three hour nap (you know they are sick when they ask for a nap!). He battled the fever on and off for two days with no other symptoms. Finally he woke up today feeling great.

My friend was telling me that she calls it a "pool fever." She said the first summer that she started taking her kids to the pool all of the time they would run a fever for a few days with no other symptoms. Then it would just go away. Hmmmm, we have been up at the pool a lot, so it makes sense. Never heard of this, have you??

Since we have just been hanging out a home, I finally took some pictures of the outside of the house....

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view from the street

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view with the garage, chris' office is above the garage

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our view from the front porch

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Have a happy weekend!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's HOT Over Here!!

The past few weeks of summer have been HOT, HOT, HOT!! There isn't much to do outside besides go to the pool and take a swim. Bradley has LOVED having a great pool to go to in our new neighborhood. Can you beat a view like this while you are swimming??

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Just gorgeous! Luckily Ellie has been doing great with the babysitter, and we have been able to run up to the pool a few times with friends during the day. Then in the afternoon Chris or I will take Bradley up for a swim before or after dinner. He is getting more and more comfortable in the water.

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Here are the kiddos waiting for break to end


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The pool has a great graduated entry that is perfect for this age. The kids feel like they are "swimming" without having to stay over in the baby pool or on the stairs.


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Bradley hanging out on the side of the pool

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It is so amazing to see these kiddos growing up so quickly. Little Chloe decided that she was going to swim, and she hasn't looked back! Here she is swimming under the rope into the deeper section. She will even jump off of the side of the pool and swim under the water to Greta. It is awesome!


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Now Bradley is a little more cautious about going under the water. I showed him that if he closed his mouth and held his nose that no water could get in. He started putting his head under little by little. Maybe by the end of the summer we will get him totally swimming. I know it just takes time and exposure. Also, having friends do it around him has made him much more interested in this skill!

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Bradley has found lots of fun things to entertain him around the house these days. With a little baby sister and a Mom who has been an unpacking queen he has been making up lots of games himself. He was excited to see his old slide that was in storage. Well, he makes up different games and "jumps" to do on it in the basement. I didn't get a picture of it, but he made an obstacle course the other day, with tunnels and my exercise balls. It is so fun to see his imagination at work!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Three Months Old...Three Weeks Late!!

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Well, let's just say that life has been a bit crazy, and I am finally getting around to a three month post on Ellie. Even though she will be four months in just one more week! I really can't believe how quickly time is flying by with her. She is growing up fast. It seems like each day she is making a new sound or squeal. So fun!

We had her check-up last week, and Ellie is one chubby baby!

Her stats:
Weight: 14 lbs. 3 oz.
Height: 23 inches

That puts her in the 25% for height and the 75% for her weight! I don't think we have an eating problem over here. She did a get a few shots last week, and was a bit out of sorts for a few days. I had forgotten all about the lovely shots. She woke up with a fever in the middle of the night, and it seems like her belly was upset for a few days.

Since we have moved into the new house Ellie has had a lot of funny "playing" with all of her new toys. She barely touches the ground in the exosaucer, but she loves to kick her feet and look at the lights.

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Now that we are in a less hectic schedule I have been working hard on tummy time with Ellie. She isn't a fan, and will often spit up A LOT during tummy time. She is doing great with lifting her head, but hasn't shown any interest in trying to roll over.

Ellie is quite a social little baby. She is SO happy to see her brother, and will give a big smile to anyone who pays attention to her. When she is awake she is so fun to be around. When she wakes up from her naps or in the morning she is full of smiles and laughs. Just happy and talkative. Our babysitter comes twice a week to watch her while I run errands or do activities with Bradley. She is great for the sitter, and is starting to get really good at taking her bottles. I finally found some bottles that she likes (of course it is the cheap playtex drop-ins...)

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She has gone on some new adventures lately! It has been VERY hot here. So I feel like we have been stuck inside a lot. It is just too hot for Ellie to be out and about. She isn't old enough for sunscreen, and gets quite fussy when she is too hot. A few afternoons we have taken her up to the pool. She seems to really like it. The first trip she was so quiet the whole time. I think she was just taking it all in. But, on her second trip she was really excited in the water, kicking around and splashing a bit.

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Her most recent milestone has been grabbing objects. She just started doing that this weekend. She can grab a rattle and bring it up to her mouth. I am excited for her to be able to hold toys and entertain herself a bit.


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This little girl LOVES bath time. I must admit it is one of my most favorite times of the day with her. She is usually giggly and talkative. She will splash and kick, and it just so happy to be in the water.

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Here she is right before bedtime, so cute! We have been working really hard on establishing a bedtime routine from the beginning, and I think she is finally getting the hang of it. I always give her a bath, even if I don't wash her with soap, then a massage, nursing and then bed. I feel like I have had to work really hard to get this little girl to sleep through the night. It definitely didn't just come naturally for her.

I know I wrote earlier about "The Death of the Swaddle" a few weeks ago. Well, this little girl was seriously addicted to being swaddled for bedtime and for naps. We were running into some MAJOR issues because she was starting to break out of her swaddle right at 12 weeks. She would get one arm out and couldn't get herself back to sleep. Chris and I were going in her room 4 and 5 times a night to re-swaddle her or give her a pacifier. Then on top of all of that she caught a cold. So for 8 nights Chris or I had been up with her for hours on end. She was sick, breaking out of her swaddle, and just plain fussy.

Once she started to feel better, she still was having major sleeping issues. They all started at about 7 pm, which has always been her fussy window. Chris and I would go into her room 20 times from 7 to 9pm until she finally fell asleep. But, as she got older this was causing some major issues in the nighttime. She would wake up at 11 or 1, and want to be re-swaddled or want her pacifier. It was definitely taking a toll on me and Chris. I don't think I have ever been that tired in my life. I was literally sick because I was so tired. I lost over 10 lbs in just a matter of weeks.

So, I made the decision before we moved....NO more swaddle and NO more going into her room to help her fall asleep. One night I gave her a bath, massage, fed her, and put her in bed. Then I crawled into my bed with my ear plugs in, and turned the fan on in our bathroom and fell asleep. Do you know what she did????

She slept until 6 am the next morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She hasn't done it consistently, but we have had major improvements in naps and nighttime sleep. She no longer needs her swaddle, and has slept through the night a number of times. More often she will wake up at 4 or 5 and I will nurse her once and she will sleep until 7 or later. It really took a few days of major crying before she got the hang of it. Just recently this week she has been waking up at 2 and throwing quite a fit. I just don't seem to get the babies that "sleep through the night" on their own free will. Some afternoons she will refuse to take a 'cat nap' between 4 and 7, even though she majorly needs one. She will literally cry and cry. Sometimes I can get her to sleep in her swing, but not often. So, she is so exhausted that she will fall right asleep at 7, only to wake up at 8 in a crying fit. After a long talk with the pediatrician he suggested that we don't go back in. He said some babies are just more social than others, and they know you are just a room away and they can begin to manipulate you. It has been some tough love for this little girl in the past few weeks. I just keep telling myself, "I am giving her the gift of sleep." It does seem that things are getting better, especially around the 7 o'clock hour. She is much more mellow and will only fuss for a few minutes before falling asleep. This is what our typical schedule looks like:

7 eat
8:30-10 nap
10 eat
11:30-1 nap
1 eat
2:30-4 nap
4 eat
7 eat and bed
4 or 5 am eat

I usually feed her 5 or 6 times a day. I have found that she can stay up for 60 to 80 minutes. If she is awake for an hour and a half she is usually much more tired in her next awake time. I am still using the swing to extend her naps. She will only nap in her crib for 45 minutes to an hour. I can't wait for these naps to begin to get longer. I know it will probably be another month before that starts happening.

More pictures of the house coming soon!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Welcome Home

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The past few months have felt like running a marathon. Giving birth and all of the craziness that followed, planning and building a house, moving....It is so nice to finally be home. Chris and I have been crazy people trying to unpack, organize, purge, and clean up from the move. It seemed like I would make a ton of progress in one room, and turn around to see a million more boxes on the next floor. We have unearthed ourselves from the boxes, and are finally settling in!

I ran around yesterday and snapped some photos of the new house. I still haven't finalized every room and I still haven't hung up all of our pictures, but this is what I have so far:

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The gallery and front entrance

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The office...still a bit of a mess right now

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my new amazing craft space that chris designed!

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dining room

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bradley thought this photo shoot was hilarious and tried to jump in every picture!
the family room...still haven't quite figured out how I will arrange the built-ins, but I framed a bunch of new photos and this is what I have so far!

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kitchen

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amazing extra pantry space

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cubbies for the kids...i still need to find some baskets that will fit on the top and the bottom



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our room...i have some new bedding, but i am waiting to get a matching quilt for it. so we have some of our old bedding on for now


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an adorable picture of the kids!!

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bradley so happy hanging out in his room!


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sweet kiddos in ellie's room, probably my favorite place in the house! i haven't fully decorated her room yet either. i have a bunch of pictures that are going to go up...but this is what we have so far!


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Up and Running!!!!

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Finally after two weeks we are up and running!! I think I just have four or five boxes of crafts to go through, and we are done with unpacking. All of the rooms are set up, and Chris spent most of this weekend hanging pictures on the walls!! Here is sweet Ellie hanging out in her new kitchen. The move was crazy and hectic, and I don't plan on doing it again any time soon. Two moves in one year is enough with little kids to boot! Hopefully this week I can walk around and get some pictures of each of the rooms now that things are put away and looking organized.

I truly already feel really at home. We have had play dates, a BBQ, joined the pool, and even took Ellie up for her first swim. There is a lot to share!

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Ellie is going for her late three month check up today! I can't wait to see how big she is, and how much this little lady weighs. She is a cubby baby!! She has been enjoying all of the perks of the new house...a cozy room and LOTS of new things to play with. She has tried out the exosaucer and the jumperoo. So fun!


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Bradley has taken the whole move in stride. So easy going about being in a new room and a new environment. Either Chris or I have taken him up to the pool every afternoon, and he is loving it! The basement is packed full of toys he hasn't seen in almost a year. He has also been crusing the neighborhood in his old jeep.

Hopefully now that things have settled down, I can get back to blogging this week!