Monday, August 30, 2010

Nearing the end of Summer Weekends

It is the last day of August and the weather is already starting to feel colder here in Seattle. Today it is gray and soggy. I sure hope that fall hasn't arrived early because summer is so short here and the months of gray seem to stretch on and on. On the bright side, the promise of cooler temperatures managed to lure my grandpa (D-daddy) and uncle up from Alabama for a long weekend. We haven't seen them since we visited when Jillian was just six months old, so between her growth (she couldn't even crawl then), the arrival of Hayden, and the expected great granddaughter #3 in a couple of months there had been a few changes.

Despite the cooler temperatures, the rain held off long enough for a BBQ at my Aunt's house on Sunday. It was sure good to catch up even if it meant that Jillian only got a 5 minute nap all day long (ugh). The highlight of the evening was when Jeramy delivered the enormous bottle of scotch that D-daddy bought from our friends who were moving. He loves his scotch, and this bottle was so big that it required a cradle for pouring.

Hopefully we can visit again before all these girls have graduated high school!

D-daddy and his scotch

Hayden napping on Aunt Jaime with cousin Lily kicking her from the inside

My Uncle Bob and the girls. Jillian wasn't too cooperative about pictures but if Hayden does it, she often will too.

Hayden and her great Uncle Bob

Hayden and D-daddy. Well to her maybe he is "great D-daddy"

Jillian and D-daddy

Jaime and her practice baby Hayden...a deceivingly easy practice baby

Jaime and D-daddy

She's getting big!

A tired Jillian looking to watch some Elmo

She loves herself some ranch dip.

Once we got home we caved and let her watch Sesame Street before bed

Friday, August 27, 2010

4 Months

Dear Hayden,

No matter how many times I witness it, I will never get over the growth trajectory of a newborn. It is truly amazing how much you have grown and changed over the past four months as the below picture with your newly arrived friend Michael demonstrates. It is true that you had a few pound advantage from the beginning. But still you look like an absolute giant compared to him. A completely adorable giant that is.

This past month you have continued to prove yourself to be the most easy-going baby that ever lived. You rarely fuss and share your huge gummy grins often. You think daddy is funny. You think I'm funny. You even sometimes think your big sister is funny. When your smile breaks out, your eyes light up with indescribable happiness.

Now the next part I hesitate to say out loud. And really, if any other baby mommies are reading, I suggest they skip the next paragraph. It seems that you have decided that sleeping through the night would be a great thing to start doing. So great, in fact, that I don't remember you waking up between 9pm and 7am at all this past month. In fact, if you could train your older sister to sleep as well as you do it would be much appreciated. I can even put you in your crib sleepy but awake, and you *gasp* fall asleep. At not even four months old you have attained the holy grail of baby sleep. In truth I expect this to blow up in my face any second now. It just doesn't feel normal for a baby to sleep as well as you do. But for now I will just count my blessings, keep my fingers crossed, knock on wood, search for a four leafed clover and quit speaking of this on my blog.

I owe some of my thanks for your good sleep to your thumb. Yes, my dear, you are quite the thumb sucker. You seemed to show a penchant for your thumb from the time you were in the womb with your head crammed up against my cervix and your hands always in your face. Upon your exit, I noticed that you possessed the ability to bring your hand to your face, which was very impressive for a newborn. At first you sucked on your hand. Now it is your thumb. I'll often see you wiggling on the video monitor when I'm up in the middle of the night with Jillian, and then a while later I'll see you sleeping with your thumb in your mouth. I'm sure that my excitement over this habit will change years down the road when the orthodontic bills arrive. But really, genetics were not on your side in that teeth department anyhow.

Daddy does complain to me that you do not nap very well for him during the day. It is true that you are a bit of a cat napper at this stage. Certainly no real pattern has emerged in your daily schedule. It doesn't bother me much though because (1) I'm at work all day so it is his problem and (2) you are happy and pleasant to be around no matter how much you do or do not nap.

I think you will be rolling over from back to front soon. When laying on your play mat, you can get all the way up on your side to play with a toy. I suspect that you might be capable of rolling from front to back now, but you dislike tummy time too much to find out. Despite the lack of rolling, you have found other ways to move. A few weeks ago I noticed you were off the play mat, and I reprimanded your sister for moving you. Five minutes later it happened again. I reprimanded her again. Then she went outside. Five minutes later it happened again. That is when it finally clicked in my brain that you were using your legs to propel yourself backwards. Oops! Poor Jillian. Getting in trouble for the things her sister did.

Hayden we are truly lucky to have you for our little girl, and in closing I will share this parade of your smiles so that people can see just how much you light up our lives.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Hate this Guy

Why do little kids think Elmo is the shiz-nit? For the life of me I cannot figure this out. He is the most moronic monster on Sesame Street, can only refer to himself in the third person, has an unhealthy obsession with his goldfish and yet he is like toddler crack. About a month ago, the Elmo addiction invaded our house. Prior to this Jillian could care less about TV unless Wheel of Fortune or the Sleep Country USA commercial was on (she seriously loves that commercial for some unknown reason). Now, at least a dozen times a day, she brings us the TV remote saying "Elmo, Elmo!" Smart kid. She knows that we have episodes recorded. The second we start directing the TV to the DVR screen showing Big Bird she screams with delight. Then it's "Elmo" this and "Elmo" that. Until Abby the flying fairy comes on. For some inexplicable reason Jillian detests Abby. She'll say "No! Abby no! Arrrghhh! Abby no!" and then she'll bring you the remote again demanding that you fast forward past the Abby segment.

We only have about a dozen episodes of Sesame Street recorded so Jeramy and I know them all. We can sing along with the songs. We know the words, numbers and letters of the day. We know the names of all the monsters. Even worse, we know the names of all the people too. We know all the different segments (personally, I like Murray Had a Little Lamb). My God...I didn't even get this much SS watching in when I was three.

Being such responsible parents and paying close attention to all that research admonishing TV for children under two, we have tried widening her television show repertoire to no avail. Any time the TV is on she wants "Elmo" and we either need to distract her, ignore a fit or cave. How about Clifford? Or Dora? Or Sponge Bob? But all I hear is "No, Elmo!"


This is one phase I could do without. At least Hayden is happy to watch whatever I want to see on TV.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not Enough Hours in the Day

I'm looking at the date on my phone at work and it says 8/24/2010. Seriously? Late August? When the hell did that happen? Life is moving at a frantic pace. I have been back at work for a month now. New projects are invading my weekday hours; chasing, feeding and bathing two small children consumes my evening hours; while friends, family, birthdays and BBQs take over on the weekend. Summer time is busy in Seattle. We must take advantage of the sunshine before the endless months of gray skies and drizzle arrive.

So yeah, it is back to being a working mom for me and a stay at home dad for Jeramy. We had three months of togetherness as a family of four which will probably never happen again in our lives. We went to two zoos, met up for play dates, and enjoyed a multitude of Costco runs. And on weekends there still were the friends, family, birthdays and BBQs. Plus I spent the better part of my leave at the dentist getting a root canal and two fillings and the vet for Cujo's endless ear problems. I sort of thought of it all as some quality "me time".

Upon my arrival back at work, people emphasized with me about how excruciating it must be to have to leave my girls every day. I nodded my head, smiled and thought of Jeramy at home dealing with the diaper blow-outs and temper tantrums. Perhaps I could be a stay at home mom, but the lot of working mom isn't necessarily so horrible either. Nobody ever laments over new fathers when they go back to work. Can't a woman be happy to return to work and still be a good mom? I get mixed messages from society on that one.

We celebrated Jeramy's 32nd birthday at the beginning of the month and then our 12th anniversary on Sunday. Soon it will be Jillian's 2nd birthday and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then Hayden's 1st birthday. *sigh* I just wish time would slow a little bit.

Until the next post, I leave you with some highlights from our summer...

Monday, August 9, 2010

22 Months

Dear Jillian,

It is hard to believe that it is already time to start planning for your second birthday. It seems like such a short time has passed since I saw that first positive pregnancy test. And now you have already been in our lives for not one but two years. The acceleration of time that has occurred since your birth is downright frightening.

That is not to say that this whole parenthood thing has been easy. On the contrary, I often find myself thinking that you have been sent into my life to develop my much lacking patience with your increasing independence. You certainly think that you are the boss of all of us these days with your constant orders to me, your dad, your sister and especially the dog. Just yesterday you brought the TV remote to me and commanded, "Elmo, Elmo" and cried when I left it on Hoarders. It isn't that I don't love you sweetheart. I really do. I just can't stand to watch that annoying red monster and his idiot friend Mr. Noodle over and over again.

I must admit that there are days I fear you will turn into the most ill-behaved demon child to walk this earth. This is not to say that I think you are bad. It is just that you have so much personality and so much energy that I really must limit my battles with you to pinching, biting, hitting and maintaining a bedtime that keeps me sane and you reasonably well rested. So when we stayed in a hotel the other night I let you jump from bed to bed (and yeah maybe you bonked your head). And it does seem like you spend more time in Hayden's swing and bouncy seat than she does. And I pretty much ignore your ear piercing screams, because really you might have a future in horror movies someday given the pitches your voice is capable of reaching. And it seems that nearly every day I wind up ignoring at least one all-out twenty minute long temper tantrum caused by reasons completely unknown to me. Can we just agree to disagree sometimes my dear Jillian?

Luckily for you, it is universally agreed that you are one of the most adorable toddlers in the universe. Which means you can get away with a lot. Plus you are extremely social and meet everybody you see with a "hi", "bye" and best of all "thank you". Everywhere we go I am told how sweet you are. And when I respond "try living with her" all I receive are skeptical looks.

But if I am to be serious for a moment, no matter how trying the tantrums and crying can be, you are completely worth it. The hugs, smiles and cuddles I get from you make me smile from head to toe even on the worst of days. Your exuberant personality is encompassing. I just try to remind myself that all the traits will lead you to become a strong and independent woman down the road. Obstinance will develop into persistence. The "no's" and "stops" will become firm opinions.

In the meantime I will keep watching you learn. Whether it is making our first batch of cookies together (your "tank you's" whenever I let you pour a cup of something in the bowl were adorable) or reading book after book after book or singing "itsy, bitsy spider" for the millionth time, it is so exciting to watch you grow and see your face light up with excitement. You and your sister and your daddy are and will always be the best things that ever happened to me.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Aaaahhhh! They look so cute together. And yet there is contention in the ranks these days.

Jillian has reached an age where she cannot say very many words but always has an opinion. She has discovered that while her verbal capabilities are limited, she can couple words with physical action and pointing to express herself. There have been some rather amusing incidents lately where she has used this approach to show us her dissatisfaction with our attentions to her little sister. For example:

This morning around 7:00am at work, I received a call from Jeramy. He had just gotten Hayden out of bed. Apparently Jillian did not think this was a good idea and pushed him with the baby back into Hayden's bedroom and demanded that he put the "baby" back into bed. When he set her down she pulled him back out into the living room. Obviously he had to get the baby who was hungry, so Jillian's demands could not be satisfied for very long. He called me so that I could hear the complete meltdown she was having over it. I'm sorry Jillian but we cannot leave Hayden locked away in her bedroom forever. I hope you understand one day.

One evening after work I was alone with both girls. Jillian patted Hayden's play mat and said "baby, baby". I set Hayden down on the mat and Jillian proceeded to take my hand and had me sit down in the recliner where we feed the baby. She climbed into my lap, gave me her sippy cup, and laid down wanting me to feed it to her like I do with her sister's bottles. I must admit that I was too cute not to.

So yeah, she is a little jealous. It doesn't bother me much. Given her personality, it is probably a good thing for Jillian to get used to sharing early in life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aunt Jen

I'm pretty excited because I'm about to become an Aunt very soon. Technically, I am already an Aunt as my SIL has a daughter and my stepbrother has children. However now that my sister is pregnant, I'm really going to be an Auntie, and I must say that I'm more than a little excited about Lily Marie's impending arrival in late October.

Growing up, Jaime and I did not have cousins our own age. At family gatherings it was just the two of us, which was a bit boring as we already had our fill of playing with each other. When my brother came along he had cousins his age on both sides of our family, and we were just a tad jealous. Being only a couple years apart in age, I always hoped that Jaime and I might have children around the same age, but for a while that was looking unlikely. So now that it is actually happening, I am over the moon. Between us we will have three little girls who I can't wait to see growing up together.

Right now I am planning her baby shower along with her best friend. I think I might be more excited about her shower than I was my own! Oh and I did I mention she is the cutest pregnant lady ever?

I love you Jaime! We can't wait to meet Miss Lily in a few months!