Happy Father’s Day

Gosh, we sure do love this guy!  I’m so grateful he’s ours.  Happy Father’s day to my love and to all the great dads out there!

Categories: celebrations, family, kiddos, Married Life, Matt Tags: , , ,
The Weekend Is Almost Upon Us

Hope you have a great weekend!  It’s Father’s Day so I plan on calling my own dad and letting him know that I love him.  And of course the girls and I are planning on celebrating Matt – because he’s a great dad and we’re grateful to call him ours.

Lately I’ve had relationships on the mind, specifically romantic relationships (marriage in my case) and friendships.  Both have such a special place in our lives and go through seasons, would you agree?  Here are some great posts I’ve read lately in regards to both kinds of relationships:

Friendship:

How to Make Plans With Friends:  The comments in this post are good.  Making plans with friends as an adult is hard.  So many things come into play now that we are no longer young carefree college kids.  Now we have our own kids, husbands, families, and careers to deal with, which makes trying to schedule a dinner between 5 people damn near impossible.  I’ve decided that I’m going to try a new approach.  Usually if I decide to invite a group of girls out for dinner I’ll send out a text that says, “Are you girls free any night this week for dinner?”  It’s chaos.  One will say yes, another will say no -but maybe next week, and then another says they’ll get back to you…but then they forget to get back to you.  Two weeks later it’s “so what about that dinner?” and the entire process starts over again.  It wears me out!  I feel like the entire thing should be simpler and why didn’t the two people who were free originally just go to dinner?!  From now on, when I decide to do the inviting my text will say something along these lines: “Hi I’m free this Wednesday for dinner!  I’d love if some or all of you could join.  Let me know if you are free!”  Boom!  That way if anyone is free the plans will happen, if someone’s not…sorry hopefully you can join the next time!  What do you think?  Do you find that it’s hard to make plans with your friends these days?

Marriage: Now that we have two kiddos it takes extra effort for Matt and I to get some one on one time.  I really cherish our times with our sweet babies but I still really enjoy the times when it’s just Matt and I too.  Also I think it’s important.  We’re still taking turns planning out  monthly dates and during the week we’ll sometimes meet up for impromptu lunch dates.  Every little effort counts!

+ This anniversary post.
This post about showing your kids your relationship

What are your tricks for connecting in marriage when you’re short on time?

Categories: friends, M + M, Married Life Tags: , ,
Denver in May

Last month Matt and I took both our girls to Denver.  It was our first vacation as a family of four.  It was the first time either of the girls had ever been on an airplane.  Which means it was the first time we travelled as parents with two kids on an airplane.

We survived.  Barely.

I’m kidding.  It was fine and worth it! I won’t say it was easy because that would be a blatant lie.  Is anything “easy” when traveling with little people aged 2 years and 9 months?  (Two car seats, luggage, a back pack, a carry on, strollers, one person stays with the kids and luggage while the other parks the car, waiting for the strollers at curbside check for 30 minutes with two tired kids, changing diapers in an airport bathroom, etc, etc…you can imagine).

I will say that this trip was the “easiest” it could have been as far as family vacations go.  We stayed with our close friends at their lovely home in their awesome neighborhood.  (By awesome neighborhood I mean incredible neighborhood with the friendliest neighbors.  We seriously had the itch to go home pack up our house and move in next door.)  We had two bedrooms to ourselves, which is amazing when you have kids in tow.  The direct flight from Oklahoma City to Denver is just a little over an hour, so relatively short.  Our friends have a little boy, Alice’s age, and they played together perfectly.  All those factors made it an ideal first family vacation.

We did a lot of relaxing.  Eating at home, playing basketball, hanging in pj’s, drinking coffee, drinking cold beers outside, riding bikes, going on walks.  We went out to eat, maybe once or twice, and then our friends hosted a cook-out one afternoon.  The entire trip was low key and awesome.

The best part about vacation, besides the location and the break from the daily grind, are the people you’re with.  I’m pretty sure our friends, Adam and Marie,  are our family vacation soul mates.  We always seem to be on the same page and enjoy each other’s company so much.  Before we left we were already making plans for our next family get together.  Can’t wait!

And just like that, our five day trip was up.  One rough late afternoon flight later and we were back in Oklahoma City.  I will forever love vacations but there’s something about returning home after some time away.  It’s literally like slipping into your favorite pj’s and sighing in contentment.

Categories: family, friends, kiddos, M + M, Vacation My Love Tags: , , ,
E at 10 months

This was the post I meant to write the other day but somehow wound up a little more sentimental than I intended and went off on a bit of a tangent about babies not being babies anymore and a mention of hormones and what-not.  SO, back to what I originally meant to write which was an update on Elaine and her monthly photos.

I have been keeping up with Elaine’s monthly photos despite the fact that the last time I shared them here was just before she turned 5 months old (see months 1-5 of Elaine here).  So let’s catch up shall we:

 

Which brings us to 10 months:

Now for some real talk.  Elaine’s ten month photo was really hard to take.  She’s busy.  As in all over the place.  Matt’s standing right out of the frame and she still almost dived right onto her head.  Perhaps a blanket laid on the floor would have been a much safer back ground option.  Hindsight is 20/20.

 

Elaine is a joy and LOUD.  So loud.  And I don’t mean she’s loud when she’s upset (which she is) but that she’s just loud in general.   She’s definitely her father’s daughter ;)  She is happy and affectionate.  She loves to cuddle anything soft and she loves to give kisses.  She actually puckers up and leans in for a smooch right on the lips.  It pretty much melts your heart every time she does it.

She has been sleeping solidly through the night for about 2.5 months now. (HOOOORAY!)  She’s a long girl and easily wears 12 month clothes.  Elaine has blue eyes and blondish hair (WHAT?!) She’s a good eater.  She’s mobile, curious, and not overly cautious.  She’s been pulling up and crawling all over the place for the past several weeks.  Walking, I’m sure, is right around the corner.  I guesstimate that she will take her first steps within the next 2-3 weeks.

Our little surprise baby is loved dearly.  She completes our little family of four and we cannot imagine life without our sweet baby Elaine.

Related:

Elaine’s Monthly Photos 1-5
Alice’s Monthly Photos
Six Practical Tips for Taking Monthly Baby Photos

Categories: baby girl, kiddos, motherhood, pictures Tags: , ,
Babies and Nostalgia

This past weekend Elaine turned 10 months old. Which, of course means, that in two months she’ll turn one. One! Let me say that I have not been that mom who actively wishes for time to slow down – willing my girls to stay tiny forever. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the time with them as sweet and perfect tiny babies because of course I have!  Sniffing their warm bald heads, stroking their perfectly smooth skin, cradling their sweet and round bodies in my arms, feeling the weight of their heads heavy with sleep on my shoulder… what mother doesn’t relish all those wonderful things?

It’s just that, despite all those sweet tiny moments, I’ve gladly watched and cheered as they met each milestone. The first smiles, the first laughs, the first time they sat up, stood up, clapped, and of course, OF COURSE, the first time they slept through the night.  I may have over celebrated that particular milestone. Sweet, sweet sleep for everyone. (Okay, sweet uninterrupted sleep for Mama – someone cue up the band!) Seeing them accomplish and discover something new has been so fun that I haven’t really ever been… sad. In fact, I’ve been the opposite. Happy!  It’s been so fun to watch them grow.

Then this weekend I felt an unfamiliar pang. Let me back up and say that in addition to realizing that Elaine would turn one in two months there’s also Alice, my firstborn, settling into two. Sweet Alice is finding her way, experimenting with her independence and slowly but surely shedding her baby fat. Her legs are getting longer and leaner, the dimples in her knuckles are fading away, and that sweet round belly isn’t quite as pronounced.  Also I’ve weaned Elaine completely off of breast feeding which is an entirely different subject with so many thoughts. Perhaps another time I’ll talk more about that, but for now I will say that I’m pretty sure my body is going through a huge transition.

For the first time in three years I am neither pregnant or breastfeeding. For the past three years I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding. Oh, I already said that? I felt like it was a huge statement worth repeating because three straight years of being pregnant or breastfeeding seems worth mentioning three times in a row. (See what I did there?) Plus when I found myself on the verge of bursting into a full on ugly cry in my office last week for absolutely no reason at all, it came to me that perhaps my hormones are a bit whacked out.

So. With all of that, this past weekend when Elaine turned 10 months old and I realized that she would be 1 in two months and as I thought about packing up my breast pump that I loathe for a friend expecting a baby in October, I got sad. Or nostalgic. However you want to describe it, it hit me like a ton of bricks that we are quickly leaving this particular phase of our lives. The phase of tiny babies and all the sweet tiny baby moments are fleeing. And now that I think of it, I think sad is exactly the right word. It makes me feel sad. Matt and I both agree whole heartedly that our family is complete with two kiddos and so unless something crazy happens the tiny baby phase is ending for us. I know that I’ll still continue to celebrate all the milestones that growing up brings, but gosh, sometimes it takes your last baby to turn 10 months old to make you realize that those brand new baby moments are going to be missed.

To my fellow moms, how has it been for you? Were you always clinging to those newborn days wishing they felt small forever? I’d love to hear your experience.

Categories: kiddos, memories, motherhood Tags: ,
A Wheels on the Bus Birthday Party

Earlier this month we celebrated Alice’s 2nd birthday by throwing her a small Wheels on the Bus themed party.  We kept it small again (see her 1st birthday party here) and just had family in attendance.   To say that Alice loves music would almost be an understatement and the ever popular Wheels on the Bus song has definitely been one of her top favorites.  The idea to throw a Wheels on the Bus themed party for Alice this year, came to me several months ago.  In gathering some ideas, most of the ideas I found on pinterest were either gender neutral or decidedly boy-ish.  Not that it matters too much, but I wanted to add some girly pink to her decor so that’s just what we did.  Overall I think it turned out simple and cute.

Matt’s mom made Alice’s cake again this year and it turned out perfect!  So grateful for my mother in law and all she does for us.

What a difference a year can make!  The best part of the day was seeing Alice take it all in and really enjoy herself.  This time around she took notice of her cake, enjoyed the “happy birthday song,” and tore into her gifts.   She’s certainly well loved by so many people.

p.s. Here’s Alice’s 1st giraffe themed party (please excuse the blurry pictures, apparently all my old posts prior to the WP transition have blurry photos – maybe one day I’ll get around to fixing them…)

Also my Kiddo Birthday Pinterest Board where I file away ideas and inspiration for my girls’ birthday par-tays.

Alice’s Wheels on The Bus Bday invitation here.

Categories: celebrations, family, home sweet home, kiddos, Matt, memories, motherhood Tags: , , , , , ,
Our Typical Weekday

I seem to be on the 4-5 month track for writing these “typical weekday” type posts. Although the basic outline of our weekdays have remained the same, the change in so many of the details amazes me. When I looked back on my last weekday recap, I immediately felt a huge sense of relief. Everyone is definitely getting a lot more rest these days and a full night of sleep makes allllllll the difference in the world!

Here’s what a typical weekday looks like for us right now: Alice age 2, Elaine  9 months, and Matt and Melissa married 4 years and 3 months

610 am: I wake up 10 minutes before my alarm. This is what happens when babies consistently sleep through the night!!! (!!!). I debate snoozing for another 10 or getting up. I decide to get up.

Quiet as a mouse, I head into the bathroom with the monitor after letting Penny Lane outside. Everyone is still asleep. Today is one of Matt’s work from home days so he and Alice will sleep in till 8am before he drops her off at daycare and returns home for a morning at his desk.

620 am: Still trying to be as quiet as possible, I exit the bathroom with makeup and brushed hair. I get dressed in semi darkness so as not to disturb Matt too much. Although Elaine has been sleeping through the night (CAN WE SAY, HOORAY!!!) she wakes very easily in the mornings and I would really like for her to remain asleep till 7am.

630 am- 7am: I head into the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. The bean grinder is super noisy, but a necessary evil. Elaine squawks. I check the monitor. She doesn’t appear fully awake and I watch her pop her paci into her mouth and lay her head down while she strokes her lovey. Sweet girl. I hold my breath. She’s quiet, so I continue with my routine and make myself breakfast. These days I’ve been having scrambled eggs and cheese on toast. A breakfast sandwich. Elaine makes more noise but luckily doesn’t become upset. I’m able to finish my breakfast. I make sure my pump bag is properly stocked with enough bottles to pump twice during my work day, I fill up my water bottle and pack it into my enormous work bag.

7am: Elaine is officially up and wants everyone in the house to know it. I head into her room and scoop her up into my arms. I sniff and kiss her sweet little head. She is happy, giggly, and bouncy! I immediately settle into the glider in her room and nurse her. She acts like she hasn’t had any nourishment in days. This is a sweet time, just the two of us. While she nurses, she grabs my hair, my shirt, anything she can get a hold of. I stroke her hair and marvel as I do everyday over her golden highlights and bright blue eyes. She gets both these traits from her grandfathers. Matt, Alice, and I all have brown eyes. Alice’s hair is reddish but Matt and I both have dark hair. (Although Matt had blonde hair when he was boy and so did my dad.) Genes are a funny thing.

710-730 am: Once E is through nursing she has a diaper change and is dressed for the day. She panics, as she does everyday, when I slip her onesie over her head. I assure her that it’s just a shirt and she’ll be okay. She believes me and calms down. Fully dressed I set her on the floor of her bedroom with a few toy options. They entertain her for a few moments before she pokes her little head out of her bedroom door to see what I’m doing in the kitchen. I’m busy making myself one more cup of coffee and blending up a smoothie for my mid-morning snack. I finish packing my work bag, grab E’s bottle bag that I packed the night before as well as my pump bag. I load all three things into the car along with my coffee. I scoop Elaine up, she’s made it to the living room and is being chaperoned by Penny. I buckle her into her car seat and we’re backing out of the garage by 730 am.

730 am: Summer traffic means that 5 minutes is shaved off our commute to daycare. It takes us 10 minutes to get there today instead of the usual 15. I decide to take a break from podcasts (I’ve been listening to lots of Joy the Baker lately) and we listen to music on our drive.

753 am: I pull into the parking lot at work.  I’m early!  I scroll through social media feeds and listen to more music before heading into the office for the day.

8am – 1 pm. Work.

750ish – Matt gets up, dressed, and makes coffee. He gets Alice up and dressed. They’re out the door somewhere between 8-815. Breakfast is served at 830 am at Alice’s school. On days that Matt has to commute into the office, he and Alice get up much earlier. On commuter days, he wakes up sometime between 630-640 am. Then he and Alice are out the door between 7am and 715am. Basically an hour difference.

Alices’ daycare day consists of three hot meals and a snack. Her daycare emails us a menu every week and I’m pleased with the hot and healthy meals they serve.  She has art and music time. Indoor and outdoor playground time. Spiritual time (she’s attends a Christian daycare) that includes either scripture reading or music. Of course there is also nap time. Just recently she graduated from her one year old class to the two year old class.  Several weeks before the official move, she was spending several hours a day with her new class so that the transition wasn’t a shock in at all.  In fact she was consistently asking to play with the two year old class.  I’ve been so pleased with Alice’s “school”.

Elaine’s daycare day consists of three bottles that I send and meals that they provide and feed her. She also has a light afternoon snack. They read stories, play, listen to music, and occasionally make little art projects. Elaine takes at least two naps while at daycare, she seems to have dropped her third nap. There are around 8 babies in Elaine’s daycare, all under the age of 15 months. The caregivers are a mother-daughter team and do a great job caring for our baby girl.

10am (and 3pm): I’m still pumping for about 20 minutes twice a day. I cut out the lunch time pumping session when Elaine was around 6.5 months for my mental health. I send her to daycare with both breast milk and formula. I nurse her when we are together. When we are apart, she takes formula for Daddy and for grandparents. I’ve adopted a no guilt policy and it’s working out well for all involved. :)

1pm: Lunch time. Normally I would head home for lunch and eat something we have on hand. During that hour at home, I also try to do a chore like unload the dishwasher or start a load of laundry.  However today was a treat because Matt picked me up for a lunch date. One of the perks of his work-from-home days. With two small ones, dates are pretty infrequent. So any kind of date is a treat. We go to our favorite lunch date spot for authentic Mexican food.  So good.

After lunch I had a bit of extra time before I was due back to the office so I decided to go for a quick walk.  I wear a fitbit and my short walk afforded me some extra steps. #NerdAlert

2-5 Work.

5pm: I leave to go pick up Alice. Normally I take and pick up Elaine because it makes sense for Matt to take and pick up Alice in relation to his office. But twice a week, when Matt works from home, he picks up Elaine and I pick up Alice. I like to be familiar with both of my girls’ care providers and set my eyes on where they spend so much time. I feel like this makes me sound controlling… but it’s just something that’s important to me.

510 pm: I spot Alice playing with the other kids in her class at the same time she sees me. She runs into my arms. The. Best. I chat with her teachers about her day. We grab her sweater from the morning, her daily report sheet, and the artwork she’s made.  Once she’s buckled into her car seat we make the drive home singing and chatting the whole way.

525-600pm: Pulling into our driveway, I spot Matt and Elaine rocking on the front porch awaiting our arrival. Hugs and kisses all around. Matt has picked up my favorite BBQ! I change out of my work clothes, Matt helps Alice wash her hands, and then we all settle around the dining table for dinner. Elaine is in the highchair and Alice is in a booster seat. Probably doesn’t need to be said, but dinner with a baby and a toddler is busy. In between my own bites of food I feed Elaine. Alice pretty much eats whatever we have for dinner and is mostly self sufficient. Elaine has cheerios, half a banana, and I spoon feed her a partial organic baby food pouch. Today it’s creamy chicken and veggies.

6-ish pm: We’re finishing up dinner and as a treat we’ve let Alice have a little bowl of icecream leftover from her birthday party. It’s nice outside and I suggest we go for a walk. Afternoon walks with my family is my favorite. Getting out the door takes a few minutes and meltdowns (the kids and the dog’s). Shoes are pulled on, the leash is taken out, the stroller is set up, grab a pacifier for Elaine, it’s slightly chilly so the girls are wrapped with lightweight blankets. 10-15 minutes later and we’re finally out the door.

6:15ish: We walk around our neighborhood for about 30 minutes. Matt likes to push the stroller and hold Penny’s leash. (Super Dad ;) We listen to music through a jambox. 
Elaine’s pretty quiet with the exception of a couple times when she has dropped her pacifier. Alice sings and repeatedly says “Hi Mama! Hi Daddy” while holding her hand up to be squeezed by each of us respectively. Matt and I chat about what we like in the houses and yards we pass, making mental notes of what we’d like to do in our home and/or future home. Ultimately we’d both love to live on a cul-de-sac. Did I mention that family walks are my favorite?

650-730pm: Back home we unload the girls. I immediately roll into Elaine’s bedtime routine.  It’s a bath night. We’ve been giving the girls a bath every other night lately. The daily bath was just too harsh on their sensitive skin. While I bathe Elaine, Matt and Alice hang out in the living room. Tonight they are looking at her new set of markers and coloring pad that she got for her birthday. Post bath, I lotion and put E in her pj’s. She’s quite mobile and doesn’t make it easy because she keeps trying to roll over and crawl off the edge of her changing table. Once she’s dressed in her pj’s and sleep sack I switch off her bedroom light, shut the door, and turn on her sound machine. She yawns in anticipation, she’s got this bedtime routine down. I nurse her for the last time of the day. Once she’s full she’s looking for her paci before plopping her head down on my shoulder. Baby cuddles are the sweetest. I hold her close and we rock for a few minutes. At that moment, Alice pushes the door open and yells out “Mama!” Ooops! I forgot to close the door all the way. Matt grabs Alice, shuts the door and I rock Elaine a little longer to settle her back down. It doesn’t take long and I lay her in her crib with her lovey. We don’t hear from her till the morning.

725 pm: While I’m finishing up with Elaine, Matt starts Alice’s bedtime routine. Bathtime, pj’s, and lotion. I give her a hug and a kiss before Matt puts her down for the night. It’s not unusual for her to sing and talk to her lovey and Suzette for about half an hour. During this time I make Elaine’s bottles for the next day and put them in the fridge.

8 pm: I check the baby monitor. Elaine is fast asleep. Alice is still chatting away. I open the door to her room and am greeted by her small voice “Hi Mama.” It’s like she’s expecting me.  She stretches her arms to me and requests “Rock a bye baby.” I give in, of course. I rock her back and forth and sing rock-a-bye baby. She requests it three times and each time I say “Okay, but this is the last time.” She’s satisfied and I lay her back down in her crib and tuck her in. She holds up Suzzette and her Lovey “kisses!!” I give them both kisses and have them kiss her – three times. I tell her “goodnight” and shut the door. Just before the door completely closes I see her roll onto her side with her thumb in her mouth. She’s quiet for the rest of the night.

8-9pm: Matt and I sit in the living room, chatting, watching TV, and playing on our ipads. I get in the shower around 9. I still like my evening shower because helps me wind down for the night.

945 pm: I’m tired. I kiss Matt goodnight and go into each girl’s room to check on them one last time. They’re both asleep. Elaine is still wearing a sleep sack and Alice has once again kicked her blankets off. I cover her back up before climbing into bed. On my phone I check the weather and scroll through social media. This is probably not the best habit because before I know it, 1020. I make sure my alarm is set and I turn off the lights. Matt usually makes his way to bed sometime between 11 and midnight. With both kids now sleeping through the night I find it to be … awesome!

I’ve written two other “Typical Weekday” Posts and although the basic outline of each day is fairly similar, the details are so different! I love having these logs of how our days rolled out at these different stages in our lives. If you’re curious I’ve linked them below:

Typical Weekday # 1: I was 9 months pregnant with Elaine and Alice was 14 months old

Typical Weekday #2, Alice was 19 months and Elaine was 4 months (Whew! This makes me tired to just read!)

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Categories: kiddos, life, Married Life, Matt, motherhood, yours truly Tags: , , , ,