Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Parenting Ups And Downs

Parenting Downs:

1.  School has started again and we are trying to get ourselves back into some sort of a routine.  I decided, foolishly, that we would eliminate Jack's pacifier on the first day of school.  Since Joe was gone and I thought it would be easier once we were on a routine...nope.  It was a mistake and so hard.  We had a grueling first week at trying and I think since then I have caved about three times since.  It is for my sanity!  I keep telling him though, that when he turns two years old that it will mean no more pacifier at all (not even at bed time).  I just know that is going to be so hard.  Seriously, why didn't I get rid of it at 6 months?

2.  Ella has learned how to pull up on furniture.  This is great and super exciting to think that it won't be long before she starts to walk, but she still doesn't know how to get back down.  So even though she gets better at it every day, we still have a baby that falls and bumps her head at least once or twice a day.  This has been the hardest in her learning process and let me tell you, that girl can scream when she wants to.

3.  Jack has really bonded with daddy lately.  It might be a developmental stage, but he seriously loves spending time with Joe.  He wants to do everything with Joe.  I'm not good enough to feed him, snuggle him, or put him to bed.  Jack also entered the phase of crying when daddy leaves for work.  He truly misses him when he is gone.  It has also made it hard to do the bed time routine, because I know he just wants daddy to do it and usually Joe is tired or out late climbing.  I must admit that I have let him stay up a little late recently just so he could see his daddy and give him a night time kiss.

Parenting Ups:

1.  I love getting kisses from my little ones.  Jack has also decided to be a kisser.  He loves to come up to me when he is playing and kiss me right on the lips.  I think it is because he has finally figured out that kisses are not open mouth and he makes the cutest little pucker sound.  I will take as many as he is going to give me, because I realize one day he won't want to hug or kiss me.  And whenever we say good bye to someone (whether they are a stranger or not) he likes to blow kisses.  It can be entertaining to see when we are in the checkout line at the grocery store.  I just love that he is making someone smile!

2.  Ella is an amazing eater.  She has really taken to solid foods well.  I don't remember it being so easy with Jack.  I don't know if he was picky or if I just didn't give him enough early on.  She just does well.  There is very little mess and she pretty much likes any food that she tries.  It is nice to eat as a family lately.  I guess that just means it is time to buy her a high chair too.  She is also a good sleeper and we are starting to hit a phase where I can just put her in the crib and she goes to sleep.  Hooray!

3. Jack is learning new words everyday.  In fact I almost have to be careful what I say.  Yesterday he mimicked me after I said, "oh man" while changing a poopy diaper.  It really does make you laugh to hear your kids use the same tone.  I love that silly kid!  Honestly as hard as the toddler years can be, they are so much fun too.  He is very proud of himself to learn new things and gets so excited.  I have attached a few pictures from our recent family outting at the lake.  We rented some standup paddle boards (which are awesome) and he enjoyed the ride.  A lot.  Maybe he needs one for himself soon...

There is a reason why bubbo seats are being recalled to add a this video to see what I mean!

 The boys were playing in the garden after watering it. I was wondering why they were so quiet and playing so well, until I got closer and saw there hands!
 Jack is the ultimate helper.  He was cooking with me, something that we do a lot.  He pulls a chair over and we carefully find ways that he can help cook.
 Ella and I at the North Carolina aquariam back in July.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ella is 7 Months Old

 Nicknames:  Ella Bella, Wiggle Worm, Hazel Nut, and Turtle

Weight/Height:  I haven't been to the doctor in a month, so I'm not sure, but I would assume she has gained a pound or two.  That means she will be close to 18 or 19 lbs.

Foods:  Some new foods that she has tried are mango, avocado (she really hated this one), ice cream (opps), zucchini, prunes, and I think that might be it.  We have also increased her formula to 8 oz. at four times a day, but she seems to be not finishing her bottles lately.  Maybe we need to go back to 7 oz. at each feeding.  I'm still nursing and waiting for Ella to hold a bottle by herself completely.  She can do it, but chooses not to. 

Temperament: Ella is starting to really become a social baby.  She loves to interact with kids and also giggles when they give her their attention.  She also loves to squirm around and basically she won't sit still for anyone if she wants to crawl around.  It has almost been humorous to see people at church try to hold her when she wants to get down.  She will wiggle all around their arms into different positions until they realize that she just doesn't want to be held. Ella still cries a lot, but it is usually because she falls and bumps her head.  At this stage she is trying to pull up on furniture and doesn't know how to get back down.  So it can be frustrating since you will go comfort her and then immediately she pulls up on furniture again.  However, I must say that today she was doing so much better and getting back down onto her knees before falling.  Her learning curve is so fast that I figure it won't take long for her to figure that out. 

 Items/Toys That We Love The Most:  Ella never has seemed to need specific toys.  She is happy to play with a cardboard box, or basically anything that Jack has in his hands at the moment.  So nothing really sticks out to me right now.  I am already noticing though that we need to watch her for different things.  She likes to put things in her mouth and Jack was never as bad.  She would put twigs, rocks, chalk, paper, books, toys, nuts, or anything in her mouth.  Some of them have already been in her mouth so I really have to watch her.  Just being able to crawl makes her happy.  So I guess I have to say, we love a solid surface right now!

First Experiences:  It seems like it took a few days of crawling before Ella was trying to pull up onto furniture.  She really wants to walk.  Her desire is so strong that I really think it will happen soon.  Maybe we will have a walker at 9 months?  Who knows, but at this point she really loves being able to stand up and gets so excited. 

We also had a family day at the lake last week.  She stayed on ground, except for the last three minutes.  I sat her on my lap for a brief trip on the stand up paddle board.  For the wiggle worm that she is, I was amazed at how still she was.  I think she liked it and was trying to figure out the sensation of floating in the water.  It was fun to be able to have her enjoy the adventure that we had been having the whole morning.

I also decided to get a second opinion on her foot.  After having mixed responses from the pediatric orthopedist in Morgantown, I have decided it is time to find out if there is something more that can be done.  He said that she would walk like Charlie Chaplin for a few years (who knows how long) and then it would straighten out.  He also told us it would straighten out after a month.  Our pediatrician is worried since that means that she could have hip issues as an adult since she will be standing with those bones on her whole leg pointing to the side.  This has made me nervous as she is already pulling up on furniture, but there is nothing that I can do.  So I basically do stretches and am waiting for this appointment with a doctor in Northern Virginia, which will be on October 31st.  I assume she will be walking at this point, but at least we will be able to see how she is standing and developing.  I will of course give more updates with time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adventures On The Gorge

About once a week we head over to the Class VI, or Adventures on the Gorge resort.  They are a rafting company in the area, but they have a nice little playground that is always in the shade.  It has been a good place to visit during the summer and since it is fairly small I can watch Jack and be with Ella whenever she needs to eat or something.  Another great feature that they have is a large deck overlooking the gorge.  We usually walk over there and then run around on the deck.  This morning, Ella decided to pull upon the railing and Jack joined her.  It was too perfect, so I snapped this picture!
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ella is 6 Months Old

Wow, we have had two children for half a year already. Actually, it really has felt a lot longer than that.  I'm glad to say we are managing two little ones really well.  I expected this year to be much harder, but as it continues to go on, it just feels like it is getting easier.  That is probably because Ella is capable of doing more things as she gets older.  So on to the stats!

Nicknames: Hazel Nut, Wiggle Worm, Ella Bella, Little Turtle

Weight and Length: 17 lbs. and 26 inches long

Foods:  Ella is continuing to have bottles. She averages about four bottles with 7 oz. of formula.  I also nurse, but only three times a day.  I nurse in the morning, with the afternoon nap, and then for bedtime.  It might be a bedtime curse, since that is how she usually falls asleep.  We started giving her solid foods after she was five months old.  She seemed interested and ready, and let's face it, I was excited to give her some too.  Now we eat as a complete family for lunch and dinner.  I'm a little better at figuring out how often and how much to feed so she has tired a lot of new foods in the past month.  Let's see if I can list them all: bananas, apples, carrots, peas, green beans, squash, pumpkin, prunes, raspberries, avocado, sweet potatoes and yogurt.

Temperament: Ella is super smiley.  She loves to smile at strangers and friends alike.  Even though Jack is not always nice to her, I think he is still her favorite person.  He is the only person that can make her giggle besides Joe and I (and that's only when we tickle her).  Although she is a very happy child, she can also be super dependent as well.  She likes to be held and will cry when not getting her way.  She is way more sensitive when not getting her way.  And when she doesn't like something she can really cry.  We have learned that she does not like to be contained in a car seat.  Road trips have become hard because she cries after about two hours.  And when she is learning a new skill it can effect her sleep, and temper.  Nevertheless, she still smiles and that makes us love her so much.  I'm so glad to have her in my life.

Items/Toys We Love the Most:  We continue to use the baby jumper that my mom bought in Canada.  She loves to jump and lately Jack will push her around while she is hanging in the jumper, which makes them both laugh.  I tried to capture it on video tonight, but I was just a little too late for the giggles.  Other than that we just have to put toys on the ground and she will crawl over to them.  She basically likes anything that Jack is playing with! The bumbo seat is also comping in handy too.  We have to drag it upstairs and downstairs, since it is her high chair for now and also a seat for her in the bath tub.

First Experiences:  After we had the derecho and knew our power would be out for a week, we decided to make a road trip to my grandparents house.  It was a quick last minute decision that we made while the kids were sleeping in the car (we were going to go to the lake to cool off from the heat when we turned around).  Thirty minutes later we were on the road with dirty laundry and almost everything we would need.  We choose their house, because they live by the beach.  So it was Ella's first time in the ocean.  She loves water, especially swimming pools.  This was extra fun though, because she got to touch the sand and discover a new environment.  However, the sand gave her a diaper rash...poor girl.  As I already mentioned she started crawling too.  At first it was a lot of rolling to things and she would get up on her hands and knees to lunge forward for an item.  Then she attempted the army crawl for short distances.  Maybe that was just too dirty for her, because this week she has figured out how to get onto her hands and knees and coordinate the movement to be able to crawl.  It is so cute too.  I'm constantly impressed with how quickly she is learning new things.  I wonder if she will struggle to walk after having had foot problems?

We also went on our first family backpacking trip.  Joe has been trying to get me to take a backpacking trip for years.  He finally made it happen when we had two kids.  Why didn't I try it before, it would have been so much easier!  Actually, it really wasn't that bad.  We decided to go to Summersville lake, which is thirty minutes away.  Then we hiked about a mile to a secluded cove where they was a fire ring and benches.  It was a great little camp site.  Each of us carried a backpack on the back and a child on the front.  Then Joe hiked back to the car and got our kayak so we were able to play around in the water too.  Everything went pretty smoothly until bed time. Ella had a bit of a hard time calming down, but she went to sleep when the rest of us tuckered down (almost two hours late).  Then she woke up at 3 am and took almost two hours to settle back to sleep.  Needless to say, Joe and I were both super tired the next day.  Oh, and it didn't help that we camped next to a working beaver.  I woke up around 11pm to the beaver gnawing on a tree.  I was so scared because it was an unfamiliar noise and he went out with the head lamp for a better look.  Fortunately we were able to be sure it wasn't a bear and I tried to fall asleep.  Then I wouldn't go pee by myself since I was scared of the beaver so I made Joe go with me again.  He must have been hating me that night!  Like I said, it was a long night with few solid hours of sleep.  But Jack woke up happy and that made it worth it.  I look forward to many more camping trips with both of them as they get older!

Update in February

One might think that having several snow days would give me the time to write in my blog, but I have been spending a lot of time working on ...