Friday, December 31, 2010
She is probably one of the sweetest, smiliest babies, ever. Seriously. I get comments from people all of the time about how rarely she cries and how much she smiles.
She does have a temper, though! If you don't feed her or snuggle her fast enough, you are going to hear about it. Keep her fed, happy, and well-rested, however, and it's smooth sailing.
Emma is an awesome sleeper for the most part. She takes at least one solid 2 - 3 hour (or even more!) nap a day and then another 1 - 2 hour nap. She is usually in bed by about 8:30 and sleeps until 7:00 or so. She did have about a week of rough sleep right around four months, but she also popped a tooth through that week and slept through immediately after it came through. Same thing happened a week ago; grumpy couple of nights with one or two wakeups, and then a tooth and back to sleeping through the next night. I can't complain in this department at all.
She doesn't sit still at all. She is much more of a mover and shaker than her brother was at this age. If you put her down, she'll roll around front to back, back to front, trying to get places. She is this close to sitting up on her own (she actually can and does sit independently for a few minutes at a time). She loves her jumparoo and exersaucer. She hasn't used the baby swing in well over a month. She loves rattles and things go directly from hand to mouth.
Speaking of her mouth, we kind of stalled with solids. We introduced rice cereal at the advice of her pediatrician to help with her spitting up. She liked it "okay" but she just wasn't as enthusiastic about it as Will was. A few days ago, we tried giving her some banana in one of those self-feeder/mesh-thingies and she loved it! So, she gets about a half a banana a day, plus some rice cereal mixed with prune juice.
She is starting to make more sounds and her laughter is still about the most amazing thing I have ever heard. Fortunately, she blessed me with hearing it very often.
All in all, I consider myself extremely fortunate. She is pretty easy as far as infants go and I could just gobble up her cute pudgy thighs and cheeks. And don't get me started on her clothes!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Oh my gosh. How I love these two little people. Their smiles make my world.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Seeing Christmas through the eyes of our children is. . . amazing. I keep having to pinch myself that we have two sweet babies this year. I have visions of future Christmases just getting better and better. I truly have everything I ever wanted or needed this year. I am so lucky and thank God every day for all that we have been blessed with.
Last year, we were all sick (Will with croup, M with a horrid cold, and me with first trimester blech) and had to travel to my parents. Following our Merry Sickmas, we decided to "Take Back The Holiday" this year. It was received about as well as we could have expected. My parents and little brother came up last weekend, we'll see my sister and brother-in-law in the New Year, and we are headed to M's family for the day.
I can't tell you how much of a difference this has made for us. It was our first Christmas Eve at our home. I did miss my parents and the feeling of being around family, but (and this is a huge but) not having to pack, being able to sleep in our own beds, and having the experience of leaving out cookies and milk and seeing Will's face as he came downstairs to find his train table this morning more than made up for it. And we are still celebrating with everyone, so it's like the Christmas that keeps on coming!
We went to Christmas Eve services at our church (a first for us!) and then came home and made pizzas (vegan, gluten/sugar/dairy-free pizzas that are awesome, thankyouverymuch!) and watched The Polar Express. Each kid got to open a small present and then we did cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and an apple for the reindeer. After tubbies and a million (okay, maybe five) Christmas stories, we got the kids in bed by 8 PM and I wrapped some last gifts while M put together Will's train table. We even shared some champagne as we listened to Christmas Carols. I felt like a little kid again as we prepared for Christmas morning.
This morning, Will discovered that Santa had come. He was in awe of the empty plate of cookies and drained class of milk. The reindeer only left an apple core and a bit of carrot. Santa also had to move our fireplace screen to get out and forgot to put it back, so there was a lot of "evidence" of his arrival. And, ohmyword, Will loves his new train table. He is so funny, because he'll play with it, then do something else and come back into the playroom and gasp, "A TRAIN TABLE!" and get excited all over again.
We exchanged presents (Emma's first baby doll, a beautiful mothers' necklace for me, and an X-Box game for M were the highlights) and opened stockings, I made us breakfast, and we watched some Caillou's Holiday Movie. I've been cooking ever since, as we are bringing quite a few things for Christmas dinner (a salad, pappa al pomodoro (made with gluten-free bread), veggies and hummus, chips and guac). My MIL is very supportive of our new healthy eating plan, but I don't expect her to make us anything special. The soup smells amazing and I made enough for anyone to have some who might be interested. Yes, we are still going strong. M has lost 28 pounds and I am back in all of my pre-pregnancy pants. We are still enjoying the food so much that we have just decided to keep trucking along.
All in all, this has been a perfect Christmas and it's not over yet. I am so thankful for all that we have been blessed with and that we have been able to enjoy some time here at our home with our own little family. I hope that you are also having a wonderful holiday season.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So, to put it as simply as possible, we are Christians. We attend church on a semi-regular basis. I am part of a "growth group" through our church, which started last February. The moms and toddlers in that group have started to feel like family. Each of the lovely women in that group brought meals and offered childcare when Emma was born. I find church and my faith to be very comforting, especially during challenging times.
We pray with Will every night and have told him the Christmas Story. He loves nativities. I have a gorgeous nativity on our mantle and he will randomly run up to it and yell out, "Thank you, Jesus, for my family!"
The morning after Jack died, M and I were still in shock and I hadn't (gasp) done my usual research on what to say to Will if he asked where Jack was. We held our breath as Will came downstairs in the morning. Jack was very attached to him and followed him around to the very end, so we were expecting him to ask where his "shadow" was. To our suprise (and, frankly, relief) he didn't. He didn't ask all morning.
During his naptime, I finally got a chance to sit down and find out the appropriate things to say (and, possibly more importantly, what not to say) when discussing death with a toddler. It turns out that there aren't any hard and fast rules, but there were some very helpful suggestions. After nap, it finally happened. Will asked where Jack was.
M held him on his lap and I sat next to him and held his hand. We told him that Jack had died and that mean that he couldn't run, play, or bark anymore and that he wouldn't be coming home. We told him that Jack was with Jesus in heaven and although he missed us very much, he was very happy there. We told him that it was okay for him to be sad, to cry, to ask us any questions.
He seemed "okay" with this. He went off to play and we felt relieved that it was over. Fortunately, the websites also prepared us for the fact that toddlers will most likely ask for the missing loved one many, many times, as they really cannot grasp the finality of death. He didn't ask about Jack again until the next morning when we came downstairs and he asked me if Jesus was bringing Jack home today. It broke my heart to remind him that Jack can't ever come home. He sadly told me that he missed Jack and I told him that I missed him, too. He asked about a dozen more times that day if Jack was coming home.
My parents arrived Sunday and provided a welcome distraction (remember, they bring four dogs with them). Last night, my mom and I took Will for a Christmas Light Drive. We found a beautiful nativity scene and as we oohed and ahhed over it and pointed out Baby Jesus, Will all of a sudden got upset. It took me a minute to figure out that he was upset because he could see Baby Jesus, but Jack wasn't with him. I didn't exactly know how to explain that one. I told him that this wasn't the "real" Baby Jesus, that it was just a statue (he knows what statues are) and that the "real" Jesus lives in Heaven and that's where Jack is. He seemed to get it, but then he said, very sadly, "I wish Jack was here still, Mommy."
Me too, buddy. Me too.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Losing Jack has really hit me hard. But it has also caused me to treat our remaining animals better, so there is a hidden blessing even in tragedy.
Everywhere I turn, my little dog isn't there. He slept curled against my legs at night and I think it is there that I miss him the most.
His "remains" (how I detest that word) are waiting for us at the vet. I don't have the heart or energy to pick those up either.
I know that this is still a fresh wound, but I am already impatient with myself in this grief. I have felt the loss of a human at Christmastime (Gummy Bear in 2006). I realize that compared to what others are grappling with right now, this loss is so minor. So I try to buck up and move on. Sometimes, that is easier to do.
His collar is still in the basket in the front hall. I see it every time I leash Rocky to take him for a walk. I should probably put it away, but for some reason, I can't. I did vacuum up some fur that I knew was his. The finality of that action made me stand still and cry.
I did put his food dish away, but the empty place where it sat on the kitchen floor nags me. It just seems like the house is much more empty than usual all around.
I still "see" him, in the shadows of Will's bedroom, where he used to patiently wait for me to "rock rock" Will to sleep. I still "see" him on the rug, where he used to lie, waiting for me to get out of the shower. I still "see" him at the back door, when I just let the dogs out. I still "see" him many places, but he isn't really there. The permanence of loss is much harder to see.
I know there are greater and deeper losses than the loss of a pet. I know that. But it still hurts.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
For today's event, we made Christmas Crowns (using stickers and tinsel as our decorations). My mom had mailed Will a Santa letter that arrived today, so this Santa got to take a day off. He loves getting mail, so that was kind of fun, but I sometimes don't think he "gets it". Of course, he is only two, so he has some time :).
We also went to a girlfriend's house for a yummy lunch and playtime. There might have even been mimosas for the mommies!
I have to say, this year is probably stacking up to be the most amazing Christmas I've had since I was a young child myself. Watching it through Will's eyes makes it so incredible. He is still experiencing the innocent joy of Christmas, the fun in the anticipation, but not really the gifts. I mean, he likes the gifts, don't get me wrong, but the whole thing isn't about them. I wonder how long that will last! Hopefully for awhile.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Will has been asking to see Santa. If you ask him what he wants Santa to bring him for Christmas, there isn't a hint of hesitation before he replies: "A train table!!"
He was all excited to get dressed in his Santa Train shirt and wanted to bring his I Love Trains book to see the Big Guy. He talked about it all morning and on the way there.
Turns out, the boy is all talk.
There wasn't a line at all, so we walked right up to Santa. From the safety of his stroller, Will shyly showed Santa his book. Santa "ho-ho'd" appropriately. I took Emma from the stroller and placed her in Santa's willing arms. No problem-o.
Then I went to get Will from his stroller and. . .
tears, screaming, and mass hysteria ensued.
There was no sitting on Santa's Lap for Will this year. I guess I could have gone for the screaming, body-twisting picture, but I just didn't have the heart for it.
Meanwhile, Emma took an adorable picture.
And Will announced that "Emma told Santa" what he wanted.
So we're all good (and when we get the picture in a couple of days, I will post it here).
Monday, December 13, 2010
It turns out, however, that Will is super into Christmas this year. And I happened to have a lot of random stuff around the house that was inexpensive (a box of Cheezits, bubbles, etc.) and could be wrapped in scraps of wrapping paper. I am also unashamedly pimping Santa when I am trying to get Will to cooperate with or do something that he doesn't want to do. I remind himt that "Santa is watching" and if he wants Santa to come and visit him, he needs to be good (oh, how much like a mom do I sound like?).
So the first "Santa" letter came today. Santa said that he had his elves send a few extra presents for Will to open at the end of each day if he has been a good boy. Will has been enjoying the letter and the box of Curious George Fruit snacks that he opened today.
Each day, I'll give him a letter and we'll try to do something holiday related, even if it's a cop-out read a Christmas story or watch Polar Express. Eleven days left. . .
Sunday, December 12, 2010
M lost 16.5 (that .5 is very important, he won't let me forget it!) pounds, I lost 4. I also lost a lot of bloat and am down a complete pant size, which was more important to me than what the scale says. I am now wearing a two pairs of jeans that I haven't worn since before I got pregnant with Emma.
I learned an incredible amount about my body and how it reacts to and processes food. I had always heard people say that you "aren't eating enough," when trying to lose weight. I never understood that reasoning. It seemed that diets and losing weight were all about not eating or eating much less than usual. With this plan, I really listened to my body, and people, my body was HUNGRY. The first week, I shoved food in my face at an alarming rate. Of course, it was all unprocessed, incredibly healthy, natural foods, but it was still food. I wasn't surprised that the scale barely budged. This week, I still ate a lot. More than I ever have eaten on any sort of "diet" before. But the scale dropped anyway.
My head feels clearer and I definitely have more energy. I am loving being creative in the kitchen. I made a delicious mango green curry, spinach and sweet potato enchiladas (the sauce was amazing, the filling needs some work) with a spanish rice that you couldn't even tell was vegan, and a tortilla soup that was very tasty. We had "burgers" last night and french fries. We both felt as if we were eating way too well to be on any sort of "diet."
So. . . are you ready to be shocked again? We're not done. We are going to add soy into our diet to increase our protein sources and I am going to allow myself the occasional agave syrup in my tea, but M doesn't want to go back to meat yet. At this point, we are going to go week to week and see where we are and how we are feeling.
I don't see us going vegan or even vegetarian permanently, but for now, we are both feeling better, losing weight, and happy with what we are eating. Who knew?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I am just going to say it: I hate staying home everyday. A day here or there with no scheduled outside activities is fine. But I am not good at being home, day after day, after day, after day, after you get the point.
Now that Emma is (knock on wood) on some sort of daytime sleep schedule, I want to honor that. But if she sleeps from 9:30 - 11:30 and then needs to go back down at 1:30 and Will also needs to go down around that time, it leaves us precious little time for getting out of the house. Most activities seem to start earlier which means either drastically shortening or skipping her morning nap altogether.
So I am stuck between getting Emma the rest she needs and getting Will (and me) the stimulation that we need. Most mornings, Emma loses that battle. I find that she can grab a 20 minute catnap on our way some place and then stay reasonably sane during our morning outing, only to grab another 20 minute catnap on our way home. The payoff is that she takes a nice, long afternoon nap.
But it kind of makes me feel guilty. I oftentimes feel as if Emma gets the short end of the stick. Will's needs are usually easier to both decipher and tend to (he needs a drink of water or for me to take off his socks), so that I can then take more time figuring out what Emma needs, so I usually make her wait for the few minutes that it takes to meet his needs. While I feel as if Emma is still very loved and cared for, I am still aware of the fact that she is getting less of my time, attention, and outright adoration than Will did at this point. So, it makes me feel as if I "owe" her a bit as far as protecting her sleep.
I am fortunate in that she doesn't seem to be one of those babies can gets overtired and can't sleep (Will was one of those), so that we can still get out in the morning and she will still take an afternoon nap. For now, I am trying to balance it in terms of staying home some days and getting out some days. But then it seems unbalanced per week. Like last week, we were home all week (Will and I were bored - Emma was rested) and then this week we are busy and gone a lot (Emma is rested - Will and I are getting more stimulation).
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
M was sitting with her on his lap tonight and she was going to town on his finger and he said, "Did she get a tooth?"
I said that I didn't know, but upon closer inspection, sure enough! A tooth!
Her brother also got a tooth at four months so she is keeping in the family tradition.
It's funny, but knowing that this is my last child, these milestones are bittersweet. I also know how fast the time flies and how quickly these moments are gone. I am so excited when she does something new or grows in some amazing way, but there is also a realization that she is one step further from that helpless, tiny baby, and one step closer to the adult woman she will someday become. And of course, that's the way it should be, but it still makes a small part of me want to slow down time.
I have always found backslides in sleep to be one of the most frustrating things about parenthood. Emma had been sleeping great and I was really enjoying my full night of rest (knowing how lucky I was and thanking my stars for it every. single. night). So, when she woke up three times last Thursday night, I was hoping it was just a one-off.
She's been up at least once every night since then. Which I realize is par for the course with a young newborn. But I still don't love it.
The only good thing about the Sleep Regression this time around is that I know, like everything else, it's just a phase. She (hopefully, fingers crossed, prayers fervently said) will sleep again.
And so will I.
Monday, December 6, 2010
This get-together is open to anyone who reads our blog(s) and are crazy enough to want to meet us in person or anyone who hasn't read our blog(s) and just wants to get together with those that have been in the trenches.
More details can be found here. If you aren't in the local area but have readers who might be, please pass the message along. Thanks!
Hope to meet some of you then.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
M, on the other hand, gah. He has lost nine pounds. That's not a typo. That is nine pounds. Now, granted, M has more weight to lose than me in the scheme of things, but still! I have to say, I find it irritating how quickly guys can lose weight when they only just try.
All jealousy aside, I am very proud of M. While veggies and fruits are my favorites, they are not his. This has been much more of a change of lifestyle for him than for me. Today, he grabbed an apple for a snack and I jokingly told him that had to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse. He said his boss did a double take when he caught him snacking on baby carrots at his desk this week. He deserves those nine pounds.
I have had two girlfriends over this week and both have loved the carrot ginger soup. They were both skeptical and I really had to twist the arm of my second girlfriend to try "just a bit," then she wanted a whole bowl (which she practically licked) and the recipe!
As for the dreaded detox symptoms, both M and I were exhausted on Wednesday night and Thursday was a bit rough. It was nothing that would keep me from recommending this to a friend, but I did have a mild headache and queasiness for most of the day. But I felt as if I turned a corner yesterday and today, I feel as if I have a lot more energy.
Also, in a possibly coincidental side note, I have noticed my milk supply increasing. I really think it's because I have been eating more.
So, what did we eat for the rest of the week?
Thursday night was cauliflower and sweet potato in a garam masala indian curry sauce with brown rice. Friday was vegan burgers with baked sweet potato fries. The burgers had a good flavor, but needed a different texture. I am going to tweak them next time.
We have both decided to do another week of this detox (at first, we only committed to a week). I am going to have to get creative to make some different meals (sweet potato enchiladas are an idea I am working on).
So, wish us luck!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I served Will a bowl of the soup with a grilled cheese and turkey sandwich. I thought M was going to snatch the food right from his son's plate. He is definitely not enjoying the detox as much as I am.
Me? I'm doing great! I am enjoying the food that I am making. I love trying new recipes and I had never made a soup like the ginger carrot one. It was very easy, if a bit time consuming (peeling carrots, grating ginger, dicing onions and potatoes), and I was very pleased with the results.
I do think that my love of cooking and trying new recipes is helpful when trying to do this detox. If you didn't like to cook, I think you'd eat raw fruits and veggies for two weeks and be sick to death of them by about two days in.
Here's what we are eating today.
Toast with almond butter and banana (for M)
Oatmeal with almond butter, flaxseeds, banana, and brown rice milk (for me)
Satsuma oranges, grapes,
Leftover tacos (for M)
Leftover soup (for me)
Veggies and hummus
Brown rice pasta with roasted veggies, homemade tomato sauce, and olive oil
One thing that I am finding is that I am not really all that hungry for dinner. I am ravenous when I wake up in the morning. I have been eating just a bit of dinner and drinking a lot of lemon water.
I had one of my girlfriends ask me yesterday if I plan to go vegan permanently. That's honestly something that I can't answer right now. Although my first reaction was, "Ya gotta be kidding me!", her question got me thinking about the direction I really do want to go after this detox is over. I am very interested to see how I feel in a few more days. The way that I am eating these past few days feels. . . natural to me. I don't even feel as if I am on a detox. I feel as if I am on an eating vacation where the world is my buffet of yummy foods. I am sure I would get bored of the limited foods that the detox allows, but a true vegan diet has a lot more options. Anyway, let's not get carried away, it's only day three.
I did have a random and brief craving for cheese today, but what I am most surprised about right now is how little I am craving sugar. I have been warned, however, that Days 3 and 4 are the worst as far as food withdrawal symptoms and cravings, so I am bracing myself just in case, but so far, so good.