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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Cow, take 2

As some of you may remember, when it comes to breastfeeding I compared myself to a cow when I was breastfeeding Evelyn.  It should come as no surprise that as far as feeding Vivian, I'm still cow-like.  It's a little sick actually because it has come to the point where when I send my family an adorable video of Vivian being all cute and smiley, the response I get from my sister and mother is this:

 
I'm not nearly as crazy about pumping this time, especially considering Vivian will not be going to daycare anytime soon.  No need to make sure we have a huge stockpile of milk.  I've just been pumping once in the morning, mostly because when Vivian was first born she struggled so much with how quickly the milk came out.  Pumping in the morning helped slow down the milk flow and allowed her to feed at a pace that was more comfortable for her.  It also helped make feeding a little less stressful for me because the gagging and choking was just really scary.  Pumping is still a pain in the butt, though.  I still feel like something of a mad scientist as I combine milk from various days to make full bottles for freezing.  I also think I may have gone just a little crazy a while back when I decided to start documenting different milestones and events on the milk bags: 

 
 
Because Vivian struggled with feeding a little due to getting so much milk, I was kind of nervous to introduce her to the bottle.  I figured she would like the bottle more because the flow of milk was a little slower and she could control it more.  But the desire to be able to get out of the house without the baby outweighed the fear of her preferring the bottle, and at a month old we decided to give it a shot.  As it turned out, my fears couldn't have been farther from reality.  She absolutely refused the bottle.  When we gave Evelyn her first bottle she took it like a champ, and I guess we were expecting the same thing.  What we got were huge baby meltdowns from a baby that is generally the most laid back, easy going little thing.  The only person she seemed to care to take a bottle from was me, which defeated the purpose of the bottle to begin with.  Awesome. 

I became convinced for quite a while that I would now have a freezer full of milk that she would never use.  The milk would just sit there for ever and I would never be able to leave the house without my child.  My infant has been to four bridal showers with me already in her short life because I couldn't leave her at home.  That's more than I had been to by the time I was 25.  Even though I was never going to be able to use the milk I had been working so hard to pump, I still dreaded the thought of losing it when we lost power during a crazy thunderstorm.  I packed that stuff up in cooler bags and drove myself over to my parents' house at 10:00 at night to make use of their generator.  (Also, the quickest way to get the power back was to take the milk somewhere it would be safe I figured.)

Luckily, after a few weeks of some serious work, Vivian is finally taking a bottle.  We have about a week's worth of milk stored in the freezer, which is about all our freezer can hold.  I can leave the house finally without worrying that my baby is starving, and I've been able to make trips to the gym, grocery store, and doctor's appointments without baby. Oh, and Steve and I have been able to get out a few times, too...
 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Seasons come, and seasons go...

As usual in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the seasons have changed.  We went from winter to pollen to summer in a matter of a few weeks.  The changing of seasons means changing the wardrobe of my girls.  It's a time of emptying out the drawers, refolding much of what got pushed around in the search for the perfect outfit, getting things organized, and packing it into bins for storage in the attic.

As I pack the bins I try to be aware of the clothes I'm putting away for whoever might use it next.  Is it too stained to be used again?  Was it too cumbersome to get on and off?  Was it ever worn at all and why?  The changing of the seasons is a great time to purge the stuff that I know won't ever be worn again for whatever reason.  I find myself being even more aware of what I'm packing away with Evelyn's clothes now that I know that there is definitely the potential for future wear.  Luckily for Vivian, her big sister is a sloppy eater and her favorite condiment is ketchup, which stains so badly there are many shirts that have meet their untimely end one chicken nugget or French fry at a time. 

Then, I make Steve pull down the bins of Evelyn's old clothes from the attic and start the process of unpacking them.  I remember thinking that it would be so easy having a second girl.  We don't need ANYTHING I foolishly thought.  I did not factor in that they were born in completely different seasons.  So as I begin to unpack those bins I find myself one season behind.  We are entering summer, and Vivian is just entering the 6 month size.  Evelyn's 6 month clothes are winter/spring.  I suddenly understand why Carter's sells almost everything for infants in 3 piece sets... long sleeve, short sleeve, and pants.  It basically works year round.  So if I want my baby to wear nothing but a onesie for the next few months, I'm all set.  But she's a baby girl, and baby girls need to wear cute clothes!  And there is so much to choose from!  Little sundresses and rompers and things with frills!

So we get new stuff.  And with the new stuff comes the unholy chore of cutting off all of the tags.  For those of you who haven't done it in a while or who have never had the experience, here I document for you in pictures the task of cutting off the tags from new kids' clothing...


First you spend an absurdly long time in Carter's picking clothes out.  Do you want the jammies with kitties or birdies?  Long pants or shorts?  When you get home you find that you have completely by accident (I swear!) picked out things for your daughters that fall in the same theme.   

Next you start cutting tags.  And everything has a tag, and sometimes a tag and a sticker.  And the hats have little cardboard inserts to make sure they keep their shape. 

And when the clothing is for infants everything has a little plastic hook connecting it to the hanger.  Every. Single. Thing. And the little plastic hooks are also connecting every piece of clothing to the other pieces of clothing.  So a two piece set has at least two plastic hooks, a three piece set has at least three hooks, and don't even get me started on a six piece onesie set. 
 
So when you're finally finished you have a pile that looks like this.  And when you go to throw it out inevitably you drop one of those little plastic pieces on the floor.  And when they are little, you worry about your kids finding one of those pieces and putting it in her mouth.  So you get out the vacuum. 
 
Amid the pile of trash are warnings like this.  Oh great, because now on the off chance that my house catches on fire I need to be really worried about how snugly my child's jammies fit. 
 
And finally, there is the pile of new clothes.  That has now turned into a pile of clothes that need to go in the laundry.  Because that sensitive skin can't possibly wear an article of clothing that hasn't been properly washed and dried in fragrant free, sensitive skin appropriate detergent and dryer sheets. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Making Friends

As I am looking at a full school year home, I am trying to figure out what we will do with ourselves.  The idea of being a stay at home mom for an extended period is both very exciting, and a little intimidating.  And actually, I don't like the term stay at home.  I think I'm going to start saying on the go moms because I very rarely stay at home!  Evelyn is used to being around kids regularly, and she doesn't do well at home for days in a row.  I like taking her places, but I don't really like doing things alone all the time.  It's nice having other adults and kids around to interact with.  Unfortunately, I don't know many other on the go moms. 

As a result I have been trying to meet other moms anywhere I go.  It's a little hard for me because, while I am very outgoing with people I already know, it's hard for me to take the first step toward meeting someone new.  I often think after the fact about how easy it would have been to strike up a conversation with someone I was sitting next to at the playground or smiled at in church, and potentially made a new friend.  My mom assures me that when Evelyn starts preschool in the fall I will start to make friends with the moms of the other kids in her class, but I don't want to wait that long. 

So, I have started forcing myself to be more outgoing.  I have become completely relentless in making connections with anyone I come into contact with who also have kids in Evelyn's general age range.  I have left notes in mailboxes at her daycare, I have struck up conversations with moms and babysitters at the playground, and I think I totally scared a woman in church with what I remembered about her and her family from a conversation months ago.  I have mentioned trying to make friends with a family that lives in our neighborhood so many times that every time we drive past the house Evelyn says something about making friends.  I just talked to Steve over the weekend about planning a neighborhood playdate and putting invitations in the mailboxes of any house we know that has kids. 

This weekend, my attempts were rewarded!  We met a mom and her daughter at the playground who live a few minutes away from us and we hung out there for about an hour.  I gave her my phone number and she texted me about planning to get together again.  And the woman from church?  She texted me this weekend, too, about getting together!  I'm really proud of myself, and can't wait to continue to get to know these families and meeting others! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

10 Things About Evelyn

At 2 years, 5 months there are a ton of things about Evelyn to love.  Her little personality (which actually isn't little at all...it's in fact quite large!) cracks us up daily.  I want to use this post today to document 10 thinks about Evelyn...

10. She's starting to get really into movies, especially Disney.  We have instituted Friday movie night at our house, which has really become something Steve and I look forward to.  We do early jammies, make some popcorn, and pop in a movie of Evelyn's choice.  Her current favorites: FROZEN, Tangled, Finding Nemo (which might possibly be the LONGEST. MOVIE. EVER!), Cinderella, and the newest favorite is The Lion King.  I hope this tradition continues for a long time!

9. Speaking of The Lion King, the way she sings "Hakuna Matata, it's our problem free, 'losophy" is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever heard. 

8. Evelyn has realized that many people nod their head when they answer yes to a question, a practice which she is trying to implement herself.  Her nod starts at her waist, though, resulting in the funniest looking upper body bob I've ever seen. 

7. You will never get to see this awesome move because she refuses to let me take a picture or video of her.  The minute I try to get out my phone to take a video or picture she instantly wants to watch Marshall videos, which is what she calls any videos on the phone because they originally all featured her cousin Marshall.  When she's doing something cute I have to go stealth mode to try to get a picture of her from the side or back. 

This is actually starting to change with the arrival of Vivian though, and she has actually started to ask for a picture to be taken of her and baby sister.  If I really want to take a picture of her I employ the fail proof tactic of...

6. Bribery.  She will do anything for a "treat."  The treat should preferably be in the form of beans (of the jelly variety) or chocolate.  And the treat must come in pairs.  "Two Mommy!"  I kind of blame her love of chocolate on Frozen, which is mentioned at least 3 times in that classic.  Steve has a different theory as to who is to blame for her love of treats, particularly the chocolate. 

This beauty cost me a handful of goldfish. 

5.  She is absolutely fearless.  She climbs up rock walls at the playground, goes for the big slide, and jumps from heights that seem just way too tall to be safe for a two year old. 

4.  She is the friendliest kid I know.  She calls out the window of the car to people passing by, walks down the paths at Longwood Gardens saying hi to everyone she sees, and when she sees other kids she wants to go over and "make friends." 

3.  Every morning she asks us if we want her to make us coffee.  She then proceeds to bring us a toy cup with a play tea bag in it.  Not sure how the connection between the tea bag and coffee started, but I'm wondering if Steve and I discuss coffee too much?  Because there are 4 cups, she also proceeds to indicate who her favorite person of the day is because she gets that fourth cup ready for someone (usually Grampy, Poppop, or Uncle Jeff). 

2.  Speaking of Grampy, Poppop, and Uncle Jeff, her favorite people are boys.  She mentions Uncle Charlie, Uncle Andy, and Uncle AJ often, too.  Every day when I pick her up from school I ask her who she played with.  (A great example of how I am totally turning into my mom, every day for my entire school career she asked me who I sat next to at lunch.  This continued through college.  I apologize in advance, Evelyn.)  She only mentions boys when she tells me who she played with.  I know the names of all the boys in her class, but really have to dig deep if you would ask me who any of the girls are.  And I'm often just guessing by pulling from some of the most common girls' names these days (anything that ends in the letter A is fair game it seems...). 

1.  She says everything three times, especially questions.  She would drive Will Ferrell's character Mustafa from Austin Powers totally crazy.  Everything she has to say is so important that it warrants being said three times.  And when she gets her little pointer finger going with what she is saying, watch out because she means business.  And after that third time, she usually punctuations what she is telling you with, oh-KAY?

So there's the top 10 things I want to remember about Evelyn at almost two and a half.  :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mommy's Adjustment to Two


My last post was about how Evelyn has been adjusting to being a big sister.  I figure I should also include a post about how I am adjusting to life with two, as that is the second most common question I get these days.  I actually was asked by a friend who just told me she is expecting her second.  This is my reply to her.  Now you're all trying to guess who is having a baby.  I'll never tell... 

It's funny because in many ways going from one to two has been easier than from none to one.  I guess it makes sense because you have done it once before, so you have an idea of what to expect as far as caring for a baby.  Don't get me wrong, Evelyn and Vivian are different babies, and Vivian has her own little quirks that we are working to figure out.  The basics of babies stayed the same though, and that made getting used to having two a little easier.

 I think another reason getting used to having two is easier than getting used to one is because of Vivian's delivery.  It was much easier than Evelyn's, and the recovery was faster.  I was up and moving around much quicker and when I could rest, I was actually resting comfortably.  I remember with Evelyn I was exhausted from the very beginning and stayed exhausted for a very long time.  I'm still tired this time around, but not to the extent I was with Evelyn.  With both of them I am also trying to be very good about sleeping when they're both asleep, particularly at night.  I would often stay up after Evelyn went to bed for a while, which wasn't the best idea.  Now, as soon as they are both asleep, I'm asleep. 

 What has been difficult as far as sleep is the napping.  Evelyn still takes about a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, but Vivian does not.  She tends to take her nice long nap in the morning, usually in the carseat or stroller while I am running an errand or doing something with Evelyn.  I try to catch up on a little rest during Evelyn's afternoon nap, but that gets harder with a baby that doesn't want to sleep much during that time.  I will admit that in order to get a little more quiet time in the afternoon, or to make some dinner, Evelyn watches an episode of Sesame Street every day.  It's the only show she watches, so I don't feel bad about it.  (Unrelated... any parents out there who have seen Sesame Street lately, what's the deal with Abby's Flying Fairy School???  Can't stand it, and neither can Evelyn!)

The other thing about having a second that is making things a little easier is that I'm paying closer attention to any "schedule" I can find in Vivian's day.  I really didn't do that with Evelyn this early on, so it never felt like we developed any kind of schedule.  But with having a two year old, I have been forced to be more aware of any schedule there might be.  Vivian is making that a little difficult though because she hasn't developed a consistent feeding pattern yet.  I think part of this is my fault though because I tend to start feeding her, but then Evelyn needs me and I don't necessarily finish a full feeding.  As a result I feel like Vivian needs to eat all the time, which is not the best situation, but it's reality right now.

In general, adjusting to having two just happens because it has to.  There isn't time to be tired because you have to be on your A game for your older kid.  As my wise Nanny always said, "You can sleep when you're dead!"  I think she was usually implying go out and have a good time, make memories, that kind of stuff.  But it works for having kids, too.  It's making memories, right??  You just might not remember the memories in your sleep deprived state.  :) 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Transition to Becoming a Big Sister

When you have your second baby one of the most common questions you get asked is how is the older sibling dealing with the new baby.  So, how is Evelyn dealing with the new baby?  Well, it has been a roller coaster of a month.

For the first couple of days Evelyn was interested in this new little person and asked to hold her often.  Now, when Evelyn did hold Vivian, her attention lasted about 5 seconds before she was ready to move on to something better.  She also was more interested in all of the presents that were being thrown at her pretty much every day for a few weeks. 


As to be expected, the desire to hold and be near her baby sister lasted about three days.  She suddenly was a little resentful and every once in a while came out with "Me no like baby sister!"  Of course this was immediately followed by giving the baby her own nickname: Little Cutie.  Also to be noted, Evelyn refers to herself as Big Cutie. 

After resentment and nickname giving, came the desperate need for attention from Mommy and Daddy, resulting in one melt down after another and tons of whining.  We tried to do as much one on one time with one of us as possible.  When we could Steve and I tried to do things like bed time with the three of us.  The constant melt downs and whining lasted a few weeks, but have started to decrease in the past few days. 

The tantrums could also be attributed to the fact that we have had no kind of schedule for the past few weeks as we try to adjust to being a family of four, which has resulted in bed times that change almost nightly and no real morning routines either, both of which we used to have down to a science.  Also, Evelyn went from full time daycare to two mornings a week.  As we begin to settle back into a routine and she gets used to having baby sister around, it seems that Evelyn's general mood is improving.   
 
We have also moved onto the "helper" phase of being a new big sister.  I can't change Vivian's diaper myself anymore, and when Evelyn helps she HAS to be the one to open the new diaper and pull up the tabs for me.  This results in each diaper change taking about 5 minutes, and more times than not Vivian manages to poop again before I can get the new diaper under her because I am waiting for Evelyn to pull up the tabs (and we're back to the posts about poop, how I've missed the posts about poop!)*.  She's also really good at finding a burp cloth to clean up all of the spit up.  This is probably because spit up totally freaks her out, so she wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible.  There was a projectile spit up incident the other day which actually caused Evelyn to start crying.  I tried desperately to control my laughter. 
 
Although she wants to help with everything, she also has become incredibly selfish.  Everything that is Vivian's she considers hers.  She is willing to take turns with everything, but her turns are quite a bit longer than Vivian's.  In particular she loves taking her turn on the Boppy pillow for tummy time. 
Evelyn "sharing" the play mat.
Luckily with each passing day life seems to get a little bit closer to "normal" for Evelyn, and I think she has fully accepted Vivian as a member of our family.  When Nanny asked her if Vivian should stay at their house while she goes home with Mommy and Daddy, Evelyn replied "NO! Vivian goes to our house!"
 
 
 
*Side note: Since becoming a parent, I have made up rules.  One of the newest rules since Vivian was born is "always put a diaper on the baby as soon as she gets out of the tub, even if she is screaming for food like she hasn't eaten in days."  This rule was the result of a lap full of poop immediately following a bath.  I didn't remember this until I was writing about poop.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Morning Out

We all have those days where it just feels like nothing is going to go right.  It's just one thing after another.  Generally you deal with it and move on the next day, but when you're having one of those days with a newborn and toddler in tow, it's a little harder to just move on.

This was Evelyn's first week not being in daycare full time.  She went two mornings and was home with me the rest of the time.  Generally when she's home with me we find places to go and people to see, but with Vivian it's a little harder to just get up and go right now.  As a result, we've been at home most of the week, and Evelyn was getting a little stir crazy by yesterday.  I had signed us up for a class at the library meant for toddlers this morning, and was actually really looking forward to it.  Then I got an email yesterday saying that the class was cancelled this week.  I was really bummed because I had planned for this, and knew Evelyn needed to get out of the house.  Plus the weather was supposed to be crummy this morning, and the library would be a good place to go.  Now I faced having to find something else to do. 

I decided that we would head up to the Exton Mall playground instead.  It's an easy place to get to, and Evelyn loves running around there.  So I loaded everyone into the car and we headed to the mall.  We got there before the stores opened and headed to the playground...which was closed for cleaning.  I mean, seriously??  It's a rainy Friday morning and the playground is closed??  I wish I had counted the number of moms I passed with strollers and kids in tow just aimlessly wandering the mall.  The look on all of their faces was exactly the same.  It said, "What on earth am I going to do now??"  It was going to be a solid 20 minutes before the stores opened, so Learning Express wasn't even open with the toys out to pass some time. 

We continued to wander the mall for a few minutes until the toy store opened.  About 3 minutes after it opened Evelyn pooped and Vivian started crying because she was hungry.  I was going to let her play for a few minutes before taking her to be changed, but then I saw another mom checking her kid's diaper, and realized I couldn't wait.  The smell was just too offensive to everyone around us.  "Don't worry, it's my kid," I said to her.  I then realized I seemed like the worst parent ever for not rushing her out the minute she was poopy.  "I was just waiting a minute to make sure she was done," I continued. 

"I totally get it!  Nothing is worse than having to do a second diaper change!"  She was either the nicest person ever and was trying to make me feel better, or she was a kindred spirit. 

I hustled my kids out of the toy store and decided instead of carting them all the way across the mall to the bathroom with the changing station, I was just going to go into Sears and into a fitting room where I could change Evelyn and feed Vivian without needing to worry about having to use my hooter hider.  The whole time Evelyn was talking about the playground opening soon.  In my frustration I texted Steve.  His brilliant response was to go to the Chick Fil A for lunch and the indoor playground there.  BEST IDEA EVER!

Once I managed to get Evelyn away from the toy store and closed playground...AKA carried her out of the mall crying, we got back to the car.  I opened the car door and asked her to climb into her seat while I took care of putting Vivian in and the stroller in the trunk.  I got everything in and climbed in myself and started backing out.  "MOMMY WAIT!  Buckle seat!"  O. M. G.  Thank you God for somehow making my child understand how important it is for her carseat to be buckled.

I managed somehow to get us safely down to the Chick Fil A.  And at that moment, our day took an amazing turn.  I walked in, and suddenly people were taking care of us.  I walked up to the counter and the very patient person waited for me to get my bearings, figure out my order, and find my wallet, chatting with Evelyn the whole time.  Someone else insisted that I take the girls and go sit down and they would bring everything to us.  Would I like someone to help me carry the carseat?  Can I get you a highchair or booster seat?  I thought you might like a bendy straw for your daughter's milk.  Do you want paper placemats?  It was awesome.  I want to go back all the time because they were so incredibly nice and helpful, plus Evelyn just had a great time with the other kids on the playground.  Forget the Exton Mall, we will be going to Chick Fil A for lunch on a regular basis.