Tuesday, December 30, 2014

edith: 10 weeks old

age: ten weeks old
stats: 13 pounds even, 24.2" long
firsts: christmas, cold
milestones: edith can now roll from her belly to her back!
goings-on: edith continues to grow like a weed and is in the 90th percentile for both height and weight. she now consistently rolls from belly to back although this week was apparently not the first time she did it (jon can't remember when; he had thought it was a fluke back in the day). edith did great on both christmas eve and christmas day with each of our families and even bestowed some smiles upon everyone. she still prefers elden, loves her bath more than almost anything, and is happiest when she first wakes up. naps during the day continue to be unpredictable but she has been sleeping through the night every night for the past week and a half or so. she is alert, loves to check out her environment, and really starting to find her voice. edith wears essentially all 3-month clothes now and we're approaching the need to upgrade to 3-6 month onesies for her long torso. this little girl brings our family so much joy!

Monday, December 29, 2014


I've been mostly silent for the past week or so because it's been a really emotional few weeks for me--for my family. It also doesn't help that I've been really sick for about 2.5 weeks that culminated in an urgent care visit on Christmas eve. I'm just now going more than a few hours without an asthma attack so I'm finally on the mend. Suffice to say, I have a lot to share. It is not trivial stuff. But I need some time to process things with the help of a therapist and give my family time to heal. I know I'm being ambiguous and probably stirring up a million things in your mind about what it could possibly be. I promise I won't be silent forever. I'm hoping if things proceed the way I hope (quickly) I will be able to share what I need to within the month. I am already compiling drafts so the words are fresh and real because I know I am not the first to share what I'm going to.

If you could just pray for healing and restoration in my family and in my life, I would be eternally grateful.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

edith: 9 weeks old

age: nine weeks old
stats: 12.75 lbs. maybe? - her 2-month well visit is next week
firsts: nothing new this week
milestones: sleeping through the night for 6 consecutive nights
goings-on: i'm 90% sure edith is working on her front two bottom teeth but jon isn't quite as convinced as i am. we can see them under the gums and today edith's gums appeared a little swollen but we're not sure whether they're actively working their way up. edith celebrated her second month of life on sunday and jon and i found ourselves befuddled at how quickly time is going. she has rolls for days on her thighs (her onesie is covering them in that picture) and i feel like that's one of my greatest life accomplishments. edith has definitely discovered her hands and has been gnawing on them quite a bit over the past few days, thus fueling my teething hypothesis. she still greatly prefers her brother over us and will search until she sees him when she hears him talking. edith is a champ at tummy time and holding her head up and (in general) no longer loathes her car seat! she's still not the smiler elden was but she is a content little observer who just likes to take in her surroundings. perhaps we have a future scientist on our hands?! we're excited to celebrate her first christmas this week and i think santa is going to bring her a pull-along wooden toy.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

homemade christmas {part 4}

I decided to try my hand at some homemade chocolate truffles for a few gifts. My mom loves dark chocolate salated caramel candies from a chocolatier in Amish country so I wanted to attempt to make her some. I found this recipe and decided to modify it a bit based on what we had on hand (and to make it align with the truffles she likes).

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Truffles
26 caramels
1 c. dark chocolate (I used dark chocolate bars we buy at Aldi)
1/4 c. whole milk
1 1/3 c. dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp. shortening
olive oil spray
sea salt

The original recipe has you melt all your chocolate and caramels in the microwave, but I used my glass bowl double boiler (I really should just invest in a real double boiler) technique. Combine the caramels, dark chocolate and milk in the glass bowl, placed in a few inches of water (in a pan) over low heat, mixing until fully melted.
Spray plastic wrap (which I didn't have, so I used foil) with olive oil non-stick cooking spray in a small 8-inch square dish and pour the melted caramel mixture into it. Place in fridge until cool, approximately for 1-2 hours.
Remove the caramel mixture and cut into 30 pieces.
Roll each individual piece into a ball and place on parchment paper. Place newly formed balls back into the fridge for another hour or two. When ready to finish, use the double boiler technique again with the dark chocolate chips and shortening. Roll the caramel mixture in the melted chocolate and place on wax paper (or, if you also don't have wax paper, sprayed foil again) to set. After you have rolled each caramel mixture in the melted chocolate, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top. I put my truffles in the fridge to set overnight when I was all done.
I will say, my caramels flattened out quite a bit which I was bummed about. It could be because I used whole milk instead of the heavy cream the original recipe called for. I ended up re-rolling them right before I dropped them into the chocolate so that helped a smidge but not much. I haven't tasted them (still dairy-free over here) but Jon and Elden both loved them. I'm pretty happy with this project!

Friday, December 19, 2014

christmas card 2014

I totally slacked last year in the Christmas card department, but with Edith's arrival I really wanted to make an effort to send one out this year to double as a birth announcement.

We looked at Walgreens and Shutterfly for cards. We greatly preferred the Shutterfly cards but the Walgreens cards were $60 cheaper... until I went coupon code crazy. If you are unaware, Shutterfly allows you to stack coupons so we actually got way better cards--and more of them--for the same price Walgreens would have cost us. I was a happy girl.

Here's the front:

And here's the back:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

homemade christmas {part 3}

We like doing little homemade gifts for the extended family since we can't afford to buy everyone something. Even though it's not an expectation to be given a present, we do enjoy giving them. In 2012 we made Elden's first ornament for everyone. In 2013, we made homemade hot chocolate powder in mason jars to give away. This year we're taking a little bit of a different approach--instead of making one thing per family we're giving one thing to the women and one to the men. I wanted to try homemade whipped body butter because winters in Ohio are nothing if not brutal on the skin. I also needed the shea butter for Jon's shave soap and the rest of the ingredients were sold from the same online retailer I used to get his, so two birds. I used this recipe, which I reiterated below.

Ingredients (I got everything except the coconut, olive and essential oils from Bulk Apothecary)
1/2 c. shea butter
1/2 c. cocoa butter
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. olive oil
essential oils for scent
glass bowl

Place everything except the essential oil in the glass bowl, which should be sitting in a hot bath over low heat on the stove (just like the shave soap).
Stir constantly until completely melted.
Remove from heat. Add essential oil for the desired scent and mix it in; place in fridge until it sets but doesn't get TOO hard. It actually took mine a good couple of hours to get to the point where I thought it was ready.
Remove from fridge. Using a hand mixer (and spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl), whip for 10 minutes until fluffy. The original recipe then suggested returning the mixture to the fridge for ten minutes to set, but I was worried if I did this it would be too hard to scoop into the individual glass jars I had on hand (thank you, Dollar Spot at Target!). I divided the body butter into the jars--this recipe made four; I need to do another batch--placed the lids on them, and returned them to the fridge to set.
They weren't quite as fluffy as I would have liked but I think I probably only whipped them for about 5-7 minutes so maybe those last few minutes would have made a big difference. In any case, I'm really happy with how they turned out and I'm going to finish these with a label of some sort that I haven't decided on yet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

homemade christmas {part 2}

At first I had no idea what to make Jon for his Christmas gift. After searching Pinterest and Google, I decided I would try my hand at homemade men's shave soap. Jon is into antique safety razors and goes the whole nine yards--he has a mug, badger brush, and uses soap when he shaves. I came upon this recipe and then decided to modify it based on what I was able to easily procure.

Men's Shave Soap Recipe:
1 lb. Hemp Oil Melt and Pour Soap Base
1 tbsp. shea butter
2 tsp. olive oil
6-7 liquid capsules of vitamin E
1/4 c. ground whole oats
Essential Oil for scent
glass jar (I used an old sauer kraut jar)
Pringles can (or soap mold)

On the lowest heat setting on your stove, place a pan with a few inches of water in it with the jar placed in the water bath. Cut the soap base into small chunks and add it into the glass jar, stirring occasionally with a plastic spoon. Grind the oatmeal into a fine powder. It needs to be a powder or it will all settle to the bottom of your mold--something I learned the hard way! Stir the olive oil and the liquid from the vitamin E capsules in a small bowl. I used scissors to cut open the capsules and ended up using 6 or 7 because I was only successfully getting about 1/3 of the liquid into the bowl. Next time I'll probably try using an Exacto knife to just cut a hole or slit in the capsules. When the soap base is entirely melted, turn off the heat and remove the glass jar from the water. Add the oatmeal, mixing thoroughly. Once that is evenly distributed, add the shea butter. I waited until that was melted completely to add the oil mixture. Then add the essential oils (if you'd like) last. When everything is mixed, pour the soap into your mold. The benefit to the Pringles can is you can just peel it away when you're done and cut the soap into rounds. If I continue to make this for Jon I will probably buy a mold that I saw at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars because it was a fluke that we actually had a Pringles can in our cupboard.
what the soap looked like when I peeled away the can - oatmeal all settled; air bubbles on top (remove both)
Because I can't wait to give gifts, I gave Jon his soap the same day. He used it and said it was probably the best shaving soap he's used--his skin didn't feel like it was drying out as he continued to shave. He kept reiterating that soap making needs to be my new hobby and it was actually pretty fun (not to mention easy) so I'm considering it. I also considered starting an Etsy shop but I think my hands are a little too full for that right now. I didn't take steps of the process but it was pretty self explanatory.

If you have any questions about any of the steps feel free to ask in the comments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

edith: 8 weeks old

age: eight weeks old
stats: just north of 12.5 pounds
firsts: consistent smiles during a weekly photoshoot
milestones: nothing major
goings-on: over the weekend, edith slept through the night both friday + saturday nights and i thought i died and went to heaven. we definitely don't expect that to be a regular thing just yet (and the past 2 nights have proven us correct) but i'll tell ya - it was glory. elden, jon and i currently have colds/sore throats and we're hoping and praying edith stays healthy while not holding our breaths. she is currently drinking between 4.5-5 ounces at 6 and 9 am, and 12, 3, 6, and 9 pm with the occasional middle of the night nursing session. edith has long since outgrown her newborn clothes and is mostly out of her 0-3 month clothes.. as well as a few of her 3 month shirts. suffice to say, she's a little chunker. naps are still entirely unpredictable but edith is doing better with her carseat so we feel better taking her out during what should be nap times as it seems as if that's the most surefire way to actually get her to sleep. we're definitely getting more smiles but they are entirely at her whim - jon and i both feel like it was always easier to get elden to smile than edith. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

homemade christmas {part 1}

Since money is tight this year, we have decided to try to do several of our family's gifts homemade, and Jon and I are making one another's presents as well.

A tradition of ours is to also buy an ornament every Christmas. We had agreed we should do something surrounding Edith's birth since our 2012 ornament was a nod to Elden, but we had yet to find the right one (at the right price - cheap). Well, except this monstrosity that Jon found when we went to Amish Country a few months back:
Then I remembered that salt dough ornaments were a thing, so we decided to do that as a little family project/craft for Elden and then double it as our family ornament.

Salt Dough Ornament:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1/2 c. water (or more if 1/2 c. does not create a workable dough)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix. Place on a non-stick surface (we used a silicone baking sheet). Roll the dough so it is thick enough for your application (if using cookie cutters, they'd be thinner; if doing footprints like we did, they need to be a little thicker). Cut out your shapes and use the straw to punch a hole for a ribbon. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 2-3 hours until no longer pliable; flip partway through. Once done, let cool completely and then paint with an acrylic paint to avoid attracting bugs during storage.
Elden loved this craft and we had all ingredients on hand. I'm going to write Edith's birth stats on the back of her footprint with a sharpie (and put Elden's name/the year on his) and finish all three with a ribbon to hang on our tree. I love that this craft cost us nothing, was something we could engage Elden in (he helped paint them, too) while still continuing our family tradition.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

on potty training

We've known for some time that Elden knew when he needed to go to the bathroom, he just didn't want to go on the potty. We decided not to pressure him into potty training for a variety of reasons:
1) he is a very stubborn child and his will often outlives ours
2) he likes to do the opposite of what you tell him to, especially if he doesn't want to do what you are telling him
3) he's only 28 months; according to the University of Michigan the average age for a potty trained boy is 31 months
4) too many changes too fast - with Edith's arrival imminent, we didn't want to invest time in potty training him since we figured we may experience at least some level of regression if his transition to big bro was difficult on him

In any case, we had at least begun asking him periodically throughout the day, especially before baths, if he wanted to pee on the potty. We had some success with that but Elden's interest generally waned. The past week we've really pushed the deuce--he has yet to do a #2 on the potty--and told him first thing in the morning to tell us right before he had to poop so we could put him on the potty. He would always go ahead and just do his business in his diaper like it was no big thing. The past two mornings, he pooped in his diaper and then told us he wanted to poop on the potty. It's definitely not an issue of not knowing what's coming... he knows. He just doesn't want to do the poop thing yet, so we're letting him go at his pace.

Last night he saw his training potty, which had thus far been unused, in the downstairs bathroom and told us he wanted to pee in it. We got it out, de-trou'ed him, and let him do his thing. He did indeed pee so he got to pick out his 'peepee treat' (which is whatever sweet he asks for; in this case it was gum). He didn't want to put his diaper back on afterwards so we told him we could leave it off but he needed to go on the potty if he felt the urge. Jon and I just felt like gambling I guess.
just doing some light reading in the kitchen
Cue being outwitted by a 2-year-old. Elden peed 8 times on his potty (not just a dribble, either) over the course of about 2 hours. For those of you keeping track at home, that's 1 peepee treat every 15 minutes. Thankfully he just asked for more gum for 2 & 3, Jon convinced him raspberries were delicious for #4, and Elden didn't ask for anything for pees 5-8. We then put him in training pants that we happened to have on hand from when he showed nominal interest in potty training several months ago which we dubbed his 'practice underwear.'

He requested his underwear instead of a diaper this morning. We obliged but told him he needs to tell us when he has to go potty or we need to put a diaper back on. When we took off his nighttime diaper (which was dry... big shocker there since he had just peed a billion times before bed) he said he had to go pee so we did that on the big potty. His treat? You guessed it! Gum.

We definitely aren't there yet. We need to conquer the deuce still. He did pee in the training pants last night when he and Jon were playing, which is normal since he was having fun and distracted. We probably still won't get all tiger parent but will instead continue to move at his pace. With Edith, Jon is currently mostly homebound during the day anyway so it's easy enough for us to follow Elden's lead. I mostly just can't believe how grown up my baby is getting. Before I know it he'll be going to prom and getting married and I'll be the overbearing mother-in-law you read horror stories about.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

edith: 7 weeks old

age: seven weeks old
stats: guesstimates put her in the neighborhood of 12+ pounds
firsts: regular, consistent, non-pooping smiles, slept through the night (!!!)
milestones: smiling, sleeping through the mother-loving night
goings-on: things seem to be better for edith in the reflux department. she is still spitting up quite a bit but it doesn't seem to be causing her much discomfort anymore. now the discomfort is strictly associated with trapped gas/poop so we've had a few rough nights that are relieved once she is finally able to release all that fun stuff. i've gradually started re-introducing dairy into my diet to see what, if any, effect that has on her. it's mostly been because holidays = cookies and candy = my weakness but we haven't noticed any discernible changes in her disposition. that being said, i've pretty much only had a teeny tiny amount here or there and i have yet to consume cheese (i miss thee) and milk directly. naps are still pretty crappy in that edith very rarely just goes down for a nap and sleeps the whole 2 hours through without needing consoling at any point. nighttime is getting easier, though, because edith usually only nurses once between 1-3 am and on a good night won't be up before that or until 6. however, usually she is awake and needs consoling at least once before or after her middle of the night nursing sesh. size 1 diapers are getting snug and cooing is becoming more apparent. we love this little girl!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

about that reign rape scene

Tonight the CW aired an episode of Reign in which the queen is raped by assassins when they discover the king is not present to be assassinated.

I should preface that the show and network's most likely demographic is middle and high school aged girls.

The queen is able to escape where she runs into her mother-in-law who, being a rape victim herself (as discussed in at least one previous episode), immediately recognizes the distraught presentation and takes her to her chamber and confirms what happened. She then gives the young queen a speech about how she will bathe her, do her hair and make-up and change her clothes and she will stand up and pretend nothing happened because that will be the #1 way not to let the attackers win. That's what they do.

I believe rape is something that needs to be discussed. I also understand what Reign tried to accomplish with the, "they won't break your spirit" speech. That being said, I think the CW greatly (grossly, horribly) dropped the ball here. You just told a large audience of impressionable young girls that the best way to react to sexual assault is to pretend it didn't happen. Furthermore, the rape scene itself was done in very poor taste and merely accomplished pushing forward a weak story line. In no way is it addressing the huge impact rape has on a woman or serving as some sort of learning device. I did and continue to feel sick after witnessing that.

The previews for next week show a queen begging her husband to find the rapist and his crew to exact revenge. They show an emotionally unstable queen as she deals with her assault. It appears as though she is relying merely on her husband to destroy the men who hurt her and is in no way attempting to get outside help, thus adding to the notion that rape is something that you need to hide. The previews may be misleading but after tonight's episode I will no longer be watching to see how it plays out.

You should be ashamed of yourselves for not realizing the real message you were sending your audience, CW.

goodbye, paci: a toddler & the 5 stages of grief

We had managed to widdle down pacifier time to Elden's nap and bedtime quite a while ago. We have been talking about getting rid of it for months (the pediatric dentist gave us a deadline of 3 years old in order to allow Elden's body to naturally reverse any damage it was causing on his own) but with Edith on the way--and then arrived and depriving us of sleep--the timing just didn't seem right. Too many changes too fast, we rationalized. Before Edith was born, we "threw out" (but really had a special clean trash bag just for pacifiers that I then fished out and dishwashed to reuse with #3) all but 1 of his pacifiers and would tell him when he was ready we'd throw out his last one. Then when Edith was born and he saw her with a pacifier we told him he should give his pacifier to Edith because she was a baby and he was a big boy. Then he bit a slice in in it and we told him Edith could no longer have it; we'd have to toss it when he was ready.

For the past month, he would tell us he was going to throw it out. We'd enthusiastically agree and try to walk him to the bathroom to toss it but he would say, "no I *need* my paci." On Thanksgiving, I'm not sure what changed, but he made the executive decision his beloved paci was going to go in the trash and before I could process what he had just said, Elden had pranced into the bathroom and tossed it. When he came back into his room he was so excited and I tried reminding him this meant no pacifier for bed (we had to skip his nap due to the timing of Thanksgiving dinner) and he was down with it.

Thennnnnn bedtime happened. Our bedtime routine had evolved where while Elden was in the bath I'd hide his pacifier somewhere in his room. It was just a simple game we played but he LOVED it. After his bath, Elden prances into his room with a smile painted on his face and asked his (every day) question: "Mommy hid my paci?!"

Cue hearts sinking.

Me: No, buddy. Remember? You threw it away. Your pacifier is gone.
Elden: (look of WHAT HAVE I DOOOOONE!? followed by all the tears)

Enter the five stages of grief, of which we experienced all spare acceptance in a 1-hour period.

Stage 1: Denial.
Ho boy. Buddy was in the thick of it. He insisted at first that I had hid it.

Stage 2: Anger.
Hell hath no fury like a toddler sans pacifier. There was a whole lot of this that hour:
E: Mommy lay doooooown!
D: (lays down)
lather, rinse, repeat umpteen million times

Stage 3: Bargaining.
After about half an hour of wanting me to lay down / never breathe the same air as him again, Elden took a dagger to my heart with this cryversation (I'm really hoping I just invented this word but am too lazy to do a quick Google search):
E: Elden need Edif's paciiiii
D: No, buddy. If we take Edith's pacifier she'll cry. We don't want that.
E: Yesssss, Edif wanna cry!!
He attempted this approach on and off for about 10-15 minutes.

Stage 4: Depression.
I'd say he was experiencing stage 4 basically the whole time. A whole lotta stage 4 laced in with stage 2.

Stage 5: Acceptance.
In all, it took probably about 70 minutes for Elden to pass out from sheer exhaustion that night. I think skipping his nap actually saved us quite a bit of heartache because Elden does not go quietly into the night about these things if he has the energy. Six days in and I think we're fully at acceptance. His first nap on Black Friday he was slightly upset but not like the evening prior. It took him about 20 minutes to fall asleep without it. However, every time he sleeps now he has been trying his hand at a new little shtick called fake it til you make it:
Elden (nodding head quite enthusiastically, using a very sweet and gentle voice): Elden needs pass-ee-fire.
Us: No, Bud. You've been sleeping great without it!
Elden (continues to nod head enthusiastically): Yes. Elden needs pass-ee-fire.

Suffice to say, Thanksgiving night sucked for all involved parties (except Edith, who snoozed away blissfully one room over). We're glad he's off it, though, and that we didn't have to be the ones to take it from him. With Edith, we intend on taking it away right at the one-year mark because within a few months after Elden was 12 months there was an obvious shift from where it was just a soothing device to where Elden had significant emotional attachment to it. If I learned anything from this experience it's that 2-year-olds experience grief quite theatrically and with a ton of emotion. It was really heartbreaking to see him so so sad. It's nice to know he's not distraught about things now and that we didn't irreversibly break him when we stood firm and didn't let him go dig it out of the trash.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

eldenisms (part 4)

Elden (about our friends' daughter, who is almost exactly one month older than Edith, upon seeing her in her swing when we walked into their house): That my baby??
it's tough being 2.
Elden (very protectively watching another friends' 1-year-old study Edith in her car seat): That MY Edif.

One of his new things is adding/changing words to include "lala" on the end (ex. it was 'Happy Thankslala!' for Thanksgiving). One of the books we read talks about how Elmo sleeps with a bunny who doesn't make a peep. We read most of the sentence but leave 'peep' for Elden to contribute. For a while the bunny didn't make a "toot" or a "fart," but this one caught us offguard.
Me: The bunny's soft and comfy, and never makes a...
Elden: Lala!

Edith: (crying while her bottle warmed up)
Elden (walks over, shirt raised): Wanna eat my nipple, Edif?

Elden: Where ya goin?
Me: Daddy and I are going on a date!
Elden: Elden wanna go on a date. Where my purse!?

Friend at Church: I hear you have a new baby sister!
Elden: Her name Edif. She cries a lot.

When I took him to the grocery store one day, 'Animals' by Maroon 5 was on the radio. At first he "don't like that music!" so in an act to manipulate him (mother of the year!) so I could listen to it I told him it was his favorite song. Fast forward approximately 2 weeks when we were yet again on our way to the grocery store with the radio playing and the same song comes on.
Elden: That my favorite song!!!

Me (singing in car): Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass...
Elden (interrupting, distraught): Stop! Elden don't LIKE that bass!!

Elden (every. single. commercial for the Macy's Thanksgiving parade): That parade over??

Elden is 2 years & 4 months old today. I thought I'd do a little update on his life since most of the blog has shifted to Edith updates.
-he is completely without his pacifier now since Thanksgiving. It's a tragic story about how he threw it out without fully realizing what that meant (if you had seen the wave of devastation and grief that overcame him that night at bedtime when he realized I hadn't played our nightly game of hide the pacifier - deserving of a post in and of itself - your heart would be broken).
-still wild about 'his' Edith, constantly showering her in affection
-wearing a whole lotta 3T clothes--mostly because of his height. He has almost outgrown his 3T footy pajamas ('jam jams,' in Elden speak) because his feet are too big.
-recognizes certain letters, numbers
-quite obsessed with Christmas lights, Christmas tree, his wooden train and the electric train my parents gave Jon a year or two ago
-looooves chewing gum. He has been known to chew a single piece of gum for over an hour and still remember to spit it in the garbage when he's done.
-a sweet, sensitive soul, just like his mom - with the typical emotional hardships that 2 entails
-still obsessed with reading, has seemed to gravitate towards my childhood Little Critter and Clifford books

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

edith: 6 weeks old

age: six weeks old
stats: probably 11.5 pounds
firsts: thanksgiving, day at home with just daddy and elden, christmas tree, time being left alone without us
milestones: much more alert, discovering her hands/grasping
goings-on: edith has a bit of a rash on her face - likely dryness due to the arid winter air and the extra hot baths she insists on. she has been babbling a smidge more and is all about the eye contact. edith drinks about 4 oz every 3 hours during the day. she is particularly curious about the world around her so we oft have to cover her eyes with our hands in order to get her to fall asleep for her naps. night time has been going well on the whole. she has only been nursing usually once in the middle of the night then right around 6 am. edith is starting to grasp objects (blankets, our fingers) and responds most rapidly to her brother. it's funny how second child syndrome is showing through because for our date night we rushed out the door and i barely even said bye to her. she did just fine, natch, and had plenty of love from her granny and gra.

back at it.

In the blink of an eye, maternity leave was over.

Today was my first day back at work. The transition actually went a lot smoother than I anticipated. It feels good to be back at it, earning a full income again. Short term disability insurance only amounted to less than half my salary and I had to pay our health insurance premiums on top of that to continue our coverage. Suffice to say, ends weren't really being met. I'm still grateful that I had any income during my leave as this was not the case at my last job.

Jon's last day of work was Sunday. We are cautiously optimistic about him staying home full-time. We are adjusting into routines at home - cleaning, cooking, sleeping. It is still a challenge, but we are finally starting to find our stride. I will miss the shorties while I'm at work but it's also nice for a little break each day.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us this past month and a half. We probably wouldn't have survived it without you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

christmas came early

I loathe every inch of our kitchen. The layout is awful, we have minimal cabinet space and even less counter space. In all seriousness, with the cooking utensils between the sink and stove and the drying rack to the right of the sink, the only counter space we had was a little microwave cart we bought (and was subsequently covered with junk, always).

Jon's parents recently remodeled their kitchen and while they waited for their custom island they bought a temporary one. Now that their island is almost done, they gifted us their temporary island. It essentially quadrupled our existing counter space and provided us extra cabinet space. I went crazy for about an hour and a half nesting and rearranging and I am so stinking excited for our newly reworked kitchen!
notice the space that is now open between the sink and stove
all those snacks were next to the spice rack before
I am seriously excited! Now we just need to finish painting the unfinished cabinets. Perhaps one day we will be able to afford to upgrade the light fixture, cabinet faces and, if I'm dreaming extra big, the entire layout of the kitchen...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

edith: 5 weeks old

age: five weeks old
stats: 22.44" long (94%), 11 lb 3.7 oz (90%), 37 cm head circumference (60%)
firsts: time in the Moby wrap, intentional smile, manicure
milestones: getting really good at holding her head up, smiling
goings-on: edith has begun to coo (which are really more of whimpery protests when she is unhappy with something) and smile intentionally. she also greatly resembles her brother at this age. the past 2 days and nights have been decent after approximately 5 horrible days, so we are hoping that perhaps that was a growth spurt and she will be a ray of sunshine henceforth. edith is taking the pacifier slightly more consistently these days which is extremely wonderful as it saves me from being a human pacifier. she is totally smitten with her brother and would much rather look at him than us. edith's not sleeping in her swing nearly as much now that we know it increases the risk for SIDS which means many-a-sheet changes during the week from the reflux. little miss has a really big place in all three of our hearts!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ways i've changed since edith

Some of these may be obvious, but here's a running lists of ways I've changed since Edith was born compared to when Elden was a newborn.

1. I stopped caring what others think. When Elden would have one of his screaming episodes publicly I constantly worried about the judgment of others questioning my parenting skills (lack thereof). Now that Edith is here I recognize that she's just a grouchy baby right now for reasons still unknown. If you think that's a reflection of my parenting skills then so be it. Don't care.

2. While I certainly cherish sleep, on the rare magical unicorn occasion where both children are simultaneously asleep IN THEIR ROOMS (pigs are flying, ya'll) during the day I do not nap. I shower. I eat. I binge watch shows I'm behind on (here's to looking at you, Jess and Mindy). I zone out. And it. is. glory.

3. Leggings. I used to despise the whole 'leggings are pants' movement. I vocally drank the haterade. But now that I am covered in spit up half the time (never realized how little Elden spit up til now) and just generally trying to survive each day I have changed sides. Leggings are acceptable forms of pants 4 life. I'm waving my banner proudly.

or i could just use this as an excuse. {source}
4. Not all babies are created equal. You're just now picking up on this? might be running through your pretty little mind. You're right. But at 5 weeks old I'm realizing all the ole tricks we used to get Elden to sleep are not necessarily going to work for Miss Edith. He loved being swaddled. The swaddle is apparently the bane of her existence. He hated the swing. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets her to sleep. He would nurse and nurse and nurse and we'd have to cut him off after 30 minutes. She nurses for 3 minutes and passes out. He thrived on the Moms on Call schedule and she is the supreme schedule destroyer. They both love the Moby, which happens to be the bane of *my* existence. Conspiracy.

5. Gone are the days of wanting 6 babies. I still want a big family, but I think we are done from a biological perspective since we're batting 0 for 2 in the happy newborn department. There are plenty of other ways to grow your family and once we fully recover from this in, oh, 47 years... we are going to hopefully do just that.

6. I crave getting things around the house done. But I'm also able to go upstairs to bed while the house is a mess, there are dishes in the sink, the litter box smells, etc. Gone are the days of juuuuust enough energy to clean that stuff.

Suffice to say, fall 2014 has been a season of epic adjustment. We seem to be having okayish days followed by horrendous days, so I guess there's some predictability in that? As much as this adjustment has been a challenge, we love our children like crazy and are so glad they're our grouchy little people.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

just an update

As I near the end of my maternity leave, there has been a pretty big change brewing in our house.

After much prayer and consideration, we made the decision to have Jon put his notice in at work. Beginning December 1 he is going to be a full-time stay at home dad. We crunched the numbers (and then crunched them again) and it's going to be insanely tight each month. But if we are good stewards of our money we should be okay. If it turns out that it's just too tight, his work was gracious and told him he was welcome back any time.

This will likely lead to other posts about managing money (assuming we are good at it...), specifically avoiding discretionary spending. We have budgeted $250/month for groceries but we are hoping to really only spend closer to $200. This isn't outside the realm of possibility as that's about what we've spent when we were actually diligent on budgeting. We budgeted $75 for all things miscellaneous (house needs, clothes, hygiene-related products, etc.) and considering our families spoil our children with clothing (thankyou,thankyou,thankyou), clothes shouldn't be a huge expense--and when we need to buy, we usually go the thrift route. Gas isn't a huge expense either since I work 6 minutes from home. Pretty much our largest expenses from most to least are: student loans, mortgage/taxes, groceries, gas for cars, car repayment, cell phones, natural gas, water, security system, electric, internet, etc. We do not have cable. We do not have a Starbucks habit. We do not go out to eat horribly often, we pretty much never go to movies, we don't travel. So while it's going to be really tight and we need to be on top of things, I'm hoping we can make it work. This will be the first time in the 7 years (!!) Jon and I have been together that we will both be home on weekends and if that means we don't go out to eat ever I am 300% on board. I am so looking forward to the memories we can make as a family now and to spend time with my best friend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

edith: 4 weeks old

age: four weeks old
stats: probably in the neighborhood of 10.5 pounds
firsts: bottle, snow
milestones: she doesn't hate her bath anymore!
goings-on: i've been dairy-free for about a week and a half now (i think?) and either edith is outgrowing her reflux rapidly or cutting dairy out has helped calm it significantly. in any case, we abandoned medications because the zantac greatly upset her tummy and the prevacid cost $40/script copay. there was a mix-up with the ped and the pharmacy and in the two days we waited to find out it was a $40 copay she had really decent days so we decided to hold off on filling it. it seems to be a good decision because we've had 3 consecutive decent days and nights and it was all without drugs! (except yesterday and today kinda stunk). we also started giving edith the bottle during the day and i think that might be contributing to our decent days; her latch when nursing is terrible and she does much better with the bottle so she has been significantly less gassy. elden still adores her and she is a much happier baby these days on the whole. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

eldenisms (part 3)

Jon: Okay Elden, time to go take your nap. Say bye to Thomas [which was on tv].
Elden: Bye Thomas, sweet dreams!

(To Jon, as he cooks in the kitchen): Whatcha making, Da?
Jon: An egg
Elden: Is it yummy?

(After taking a bite of chicken and rice Jon made): That's yummy yummy! That's DELICIOUS!

(To me, right after he woke up): I'm sick. My tummy hurts.
Me: Are you hungry?
Elden: Yeah. I need candy.

(Slides the book Jon is reading him before bed to me to finish reading)
Jon: Hey I'm reading that to you!
Elden: No, Dada has to go pee.

To me, while getting things ready to leave in the kitchen: Babe! Look at me!

(Marsala, entering the kitchen from the basement through the kitty door): Kitty came in! How'd that happen!?

To me, trying to persuade me to change his poopy diaper instead of Jon: Babe, change me please?! Change me babe!

Me, yelling to Jon upstairs: Jon, can you bring Elden down a diaper when you come?
Elden: Jon! Where are you!?

To me, while I was changing his diaper (whispering): I fart. It was a quiet one.

elden and the snow

Elden is obsessed with Daniel Tiger. There's an episode he has been fond of for several weeks called Snowflake Day that shows snow in his neighborhood as the town celebrates their big winter holiday. He has been asking for snow since he saw this episode.

We went to Jon's parent's last night to celebrate his 27th and they had gotten a fresh coat of snow overnight. Elden was in heaven.

This was right before it got dark and we had to make him come back in after about 25 minutes. He kept asking to go back out in the snow so I suspect we will be spending a lot of time outside with him this winter...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

survival mode

Have a second kid, they said. It will be fun to give your son a sibling, they said.

but if it was, i'd totally be winning right now. (source)
In my utmost naivety, I assumed the worst that would happen would be we'd have another colicky infant like Elden. And we had survived that once, so worst case scenario, it would be like all we had known as parents.

I failed to factor in reflux. I also failed to factor in a twonager who loves to give attitude and throw tantrums all the live long day. We got the Zantac yesterday and after another crappy couple of hours decided to give it a go.

The magical reflux cure? It hurt Edith's belly in a bad way. We continued with two additional doses into this morning.

Wanna know how much sleep we got last night? Maybe 5 hours of intermittent episodes. She wouldn't sleep. Not in the swing. Not in our arms. Not in her crib. She also wouldn't nap yesterday or this morning. Hindsight being what it is, even though the colic stunk big time the one thing we could count on was Elden would sleep like a champ at night. We would be refreshed for each day of crying thanks to a single middle of the night nursing session. Edith just wasn't sleeping at all during the day and then not sleeping last night was a tipping point. I've left a message with her pediatrician to see if we could try a different medicine but if not we're not continuing with the Zantac. Reflux Edith was at least semi-sleeping at night. Zantac Edith raged like a frat boy on Thirsty Thursday. Since her days have been so sleepless, she's not on any predictable schedule other than attempting to nurse her for half an hour, keep her up for play time for half an hour, then sleep for 2-2.5 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat. Minus the lather and rinse because ain't nobody got time for a shower these days.

Suffice to say, it's major survival mode in casa de flip these days. Yesterday was Jon's birthday. I can't speak for him, but I'm going to speak for him and say it was a pretty lousy birthday. We're hoping for some improvements in the next week because I feel like a shell of the person I used to be. My tank is empty. I've cried more in the past week than I think I did my entire pregnancy (which was a LOT). I told Jon I wanted to purge all my maternity clothes so as to not tempt myself for another shorty down the road (since, you know, we're batting 0 for 2 in the happy baby department) but he said he knows me and in a year I'll have mad baby fever so I should wait. So let's throw this post in the archives for future Danielle to read when the urge to procreate slaps me in the face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

edith: 3 weeks old

age: three weeks old
stats: 10 pounds 2 ounces
firsts: bath in the big tub, time in her swing
milestones: diagnosed with reflux, starting to really try to hold her head up on her own, can roll to her side most of the time
goings-on: goings have been tough lately. edith's reflux is wearing us all out. we just got her baby zantac today but are trying to hold off on using it to see if me cutting dairy out of my diet makes a difference. edith has been awake more each day which means nights are [usually] decent but days can be rough. elden still loves his little sister and is pretty protective of her / loves showering her with kisses. this week we celebrate jon's 27th birthday and today marks halfway through my maternity leave...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

postpartum/newborn care essentials

I was ill prepared for my postpartum discomfort and newborn challenges when Elden was born. The majority of this pregnancy there was a group of other women due in October who made a private Facebook group that I was part of. I bonded deeply with these women and in addition to encouraging one another we all shared tips of making the transition to new parenthood easier. It was very helpful. I thought I'd sprinkle the vaults of knowledge I had from this experience with the rest of you...

Postpartum and Newborn Care Essentials

1. Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Bras: If you are breastfeeding these are a must. You leak a LOT, especially the first few weeks as your supply gets established, and these bras are the most comfortable I've discovered. I wear them most days and every night with my nursing pads to contain the mess. I can't recommend these to new moms enough.

2. Dr. Brown's Lanolin-Free Nipple Cream: Lanolin creeps me out--nothing like some sheep sweat to really get your baby's mouth watering, amiright? As such, I insist on lanolin-free nipple creams and I think I prefer this one over what I used last time. 

3. Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets: These are pricey but worth every penny. They are by far the best swaddlers we've encountered (both for their size and flexibility) and if you have a newborn you should definitely invest in them.

4. Itzbeen Baby Timer: This lets you click a button for the last time you changed the baby's diaper, nursed, the baby slept, and a bonus button for whatever you choose. You can also switch which side you nursed from last. This is huge because in the middle of the night you can glance at it without having to fiddle around with your phone (I know there are apps for this) in order to ascertain what it is baby might need at that moment. 

5. Moms on Call: We used the online 0-3 month baby class to figure out how to get Elden on a schedule and are implementing the same routine now with Edith. This ish is a sanity saver. More on it here.

6. Exercise Ball: We actually got ours on Special Buy at Aldi for about $5 when I was pregnant with Elden and that thing is worth its weight in gold except way more than that because it doesn't weigh much. Bouncing both kids on this ball have seemed to be one of the few soothing techniques that consistently work(ed). 

7. Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear (spring for the heavy duty ones): Okay, this is where I might lose some of you. This was the main take-away from my October group of moms. If you've never had a baby before you may not know that 9 months of no period during pregnancy is quickly cancelled out by an insane amount of postpartum blood flow. I mean insane. So insane that when I first started experiencing it with Elden I frantically hit the nurse call button because I thought I was dying. When the nurse casually meandered in I distinctly remember thinking, "shouldn't you be more concerned as I AM ABOUT TO BLEED OUT IN FRONT OF YOU?!" Even though the hospital sends you home with super duper absorbent pads it's been my experience that they don't stay in place great and especially during the first week they fill up fast and you find yourself rushing to the bathroom so you don't leak everywhere. Enter diapers. I was skeptical but when I mentioned it to Jon he encouraged me to pursue this avenue and I am so glad he did. I mostly wore them nights only that way I could get okay sleep (instead of worrying whether I needed to go to the bathroom to change a pad) or if we had to run out for something so I wasn't worried about leaking in public. In any case, I say pack these even in your hospital bag and have a stockpile waiting for you at home. There's really nothing sexy about postpartum and these certainly don't up the hot factor but when you're just trying to survive they make things easier.

Honorable mentions:
-our white noise machine, which I am just now remembering was critical but I am too lazy to go back and update the collage
-the sock filled with rice that Jon made for me that I use as a hot compress for the clogged milk ducts
-our families and friends for supporting us with their time, meals, etc.
-wet washcloths to use as substitution for baby wipes on our tender-from-pooping-an-ungodly-amount girl
-Aquafor to protect a delicate tush from all the wiping
-the peri bottle and Dermoplast spray from the hospital
-Colace, for making that first postpartum poop a little less terrifying

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

edith: 2 weeks old

age: two weeks old
stats: undetermined. may take her in for a weight check because she only eats for about 10 minutes at a time.
firsts: time at church. perhaps the first signs of colic. tonight will be the first night we have her sleep in her crib instead of the pack n play in our room.
milestones: first day of moms on call begins today! edith is currently napping in her bed and we are working on getting her on a predictable schedule
goings-on: we're hoping that getting edith on a schedule will encourage her to eat less frequently and more per session than she has been. we think she may be showing early signs of colic and really hope we're wrong. she's still notorious for pooping and peeing mid diaper change but she's definitely more alert with each day.

Monday, November 3, 2014

transition to two

So we're here. Some days we're surviving by the skin of our teeth and other days we feel like we have it all together.

Apparently, having two kids is some tough work. Mingle in the lack of sleep, postpartum hormones and Jon working weekends and you might just have the recipe for a very on edge and emotional Danielle.

We have been blessed by many meals from family, friends and our church community. I'm not entirely sure we would currently be eating anything had it not been for them. So if you've brought us something (or asked to bring us something) thank you. Thank you for your kindness and selflessness and for loving us so well.

So let's get into it: I'm not entirely sure Edith isn't colicky. Or perhaps it's reflux? Our compass of what is normal newborn behavior is awfully askew since Elden was such a wild card with his awful colic. All I know is there are periods of 2-3 hours per day (if not more) where she is on and off crying and refuses to be put down. I've cut certain things out of my diet--onions being the main culprit--and that seems to have helped a little. But then there are the days where 2-3 hours are more like 6-7 hours and it's exhausting. If these episodes fall when Jon is at work I feel completely inadequate because all I can really do is setup Elden in front of Jon's PBS app and let him binge watch Daniel Tiger and subsist on snacks or whatever I can quickly heat up in that moment. Suffice to say, this ish is hard.

Elden is doing amazing as a big bro. He is always asking to hold Edith and gives her more unprompted kisses and hugs than Marsala (the highest of honors). You can tell that sometimes he just needs some one on one time with us so we have been doing quite a bit of hand-offs of Edith so we can each take some time to spend with him.

Nights are hit or miss. Some days Edith eats every hour so I get maybe 30-45 minutes of sleep at a time. I am not a peach the next day when that happens. Then we have nights where she goes 2-3 hours between nursing and I am a much more pleasant person to be around. She has slept all day today so I am not holding my breath that tonight will be particularly nice.

In terms of my physical recovery and breastfeeding, it's mostly night and day compared to with Elden. With Elden I felt like I was hit by a semi for about a month in my nether yaya but homie pretty much has the head of a 5-year-old. Except seriously, we got him a 2T-5T winter hat that barely fits his noggin and Edith I think had a much smaller head at birth. That has left me feeling just a little bit sore but on the whole able to move around and do life without much discomfort. Breastfeeding has been frustrating on the days that Edith cluster feeds and it's definitely not comfortable just yet, but it is also much less uncomfortable (read: miserable) than it was with Elden. I'm pretty sure I'm going to write up a postpartum/newborn survival post with the products that saved my hiney the most this go around (spoiler alert: adult diapers were involved... hashtag no shame) because I feel better equipped to make blanket statements about healing and living la vida loca since we got out trick or treating four days postpartum and the zoo one week postpartum. Yes I'm bragging. Yes karma will bite me hard tonight.
zoo trip on October 28

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

edith: 1 week old

age: one week old
stats: she is actually closer to 21" and not the originally reported 20.5"; at her first well-visit she was down an ounce from her birth weight at 8 pounds, 9 ounces
firsts: zoo trip, pediatrician, trick or treat (in the Ergo), bath at home
milestones: not a milestone per se, but edith was tongue tied and needed to get that corrected at the ENT yesterday
goings-on: edith nurses anywhere from once per hour (sometimes less if she is having belly troubles) to stretches that surpass 3.5 hours, though those are rare. nights are still hit or miss with less than hour-long stretches of sleep ranging to the magical 3.5 hour stretch. she is also notorious for pooping mid diaper change - at the zoo today i went through 4 diapers in one change because the second i got it under her butt she pooped more. so if you are a lucky family member or friend who is changing her: you hath been warned. she lost a piece of her umbilical stump yesterday (*shudder*) but there's still a bit there. jon and i are looking forward to her second week so we can implement (or at least try to implement...) the moms on call schedule to make our lives more predictable.

Monday, October 27, 2014

edith's newborn / family pics

Our talented friend, Amanda, took some photos of us yesterday to celebrate becoming a family of four. We are so happy with the results!
a lot of bribery was involved to capture this.
i die a thousand times.
Thank you for taking time to photograph our family, Amanda!