Jan 142013
 

Still catching up. I only get a few spurts here and there to blog so I try to clobber as many posts as I can. However, I’m still weeks behind:)

This year for the holidays we decided to spend it here in our home as a family of 4. Noah’s old enough now that he “gets” Santa so we want to be at our house for the big event. That meant seeing the rest of the family on the weekends prior to and after Christmas.

So, we spent the weekend prior to Christmas with DH’s family. My in-laws and our nephews live close to one another so we get to see everyone in one visit. With 5 kiddos now it makes for a chaotic but wonderful time. Noah adores his big cousins and Lia sucks up all the attention being the only girl in the group. The houses are filled with laughter, good times, and good food.

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Jan 072013
 

Things were so crazy around the holidays that I didn’t have much time to post. We did however do lots of fun things and took lots of fun pictures so I thought I’d take a few days to post updates on those.

Trying to get into the holiday spirit I was looking for things to do as a family that involved Christmas/Lights or anything festive. I missed out on a live nativity but in my search stumbled up on a local botanical garden that was having a festival of lights. It was worth a shot.

So worth it!! And another thing that will be part of our family tradition! For under $50 we spent a few hours walking thru the most exquisite light displays. We got one of the earliest start times so we when arrived it was not busy at all (that would change). Anyways, you exit the lobby and follow a well marked path thru all the various displays. There were hundreds of thousands of lights in so many different configurations. They had one that looked like a stream with fish jumping out of it. There was a field of tulips and a pumpkin patch. They even had a choreographed light show:

(borrowed from their website)

Noah sat rapt for the whole little show (and then ran like a mad man up and down the paths – which were stroller friendly). As you round the end there’s a huge fire pit where you can buy s’more kits and roast them over the fire. By the time we go there it was quite crowded so we skipped it but had we been there earlier it might have been awesome.

The last (and I think best part aside from the show) was the blue forest. They had about 30 trees completely wrapped in blue lights and hanging over the path were lights that made it look like it was snowing. Sooo much fun to walk thru!!!

Jan 062013
 

Things were so crazy around the holidays that I didn’t have much time to post. We did however do lots of fun things and took lots of fun pictures so I thought I’d take a few days to post updates on those.

Last year we did a “Noah” day where everything was dedicated to things Noah would like to do or see. We took the metro into the city (for the train experience) and then visited various museums to show him the dinosaurs and such. That day we needed to bide some time while he napped so we strolled over to the National Gallery of Art to just hang out. While there we were surprised to find a carol sing going on in the rotunda. It was such a nice surprise and a great way to spend a few hours on the weekend.

Well, the videos of that experience happen to be some of Noah’s most favorite videos to watch before bed. He always asks for the singing video. This makes total sense since this little boy walks around the house singing just about everything (warms my heart!!). Anywho, on to this year. I check the website and it happens that they were doing the carol sing again with the same group of people (The Central Bucks West Highschool Chorus). I couldn’t wait to take Noah!

We planned a morning in DC visiting some of the same museums we did before (he’s still interested in the dinos but only at a distance:)) and planned to see the 1:00 show of the singing. Noah was soooo excited! He was singing “Oh Christmas Tree” most of the morning in preparation. We arrived, grabbed our spot along the wall (so I could tend to Lia) and hung out waiting for them to start. Watching his face as the sound filled the room on their first notes was priceless. Even better was when he started to sing along!

Lia started to fuss so I had to feed her but DH and Noah went walking out into the middle of the rotunda to watch up close. When the show was over he couldn’t stop talking about it (still can’t all these weeks later). I think this is going to be part of our family tradition now.

Jan 012013
 

Overall 2012 was a good year for our family. Noah turned two, Lia arrived, our jobs were stable and we were able to send a bunch of time with our families. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to travel frequently up to see them or share on skype when travel is not possible. We have had continued good health and a generally free from stresses outside of work:) (and outside of raising a toddler…haha). Over all any troubles we may have had this year are trivial in the grand scheme of things and for that we are so very thankful.

I tried sifting thru the thousands of photos we have from this past year and come up with a small set to summarizes our year. I ended up with 40 pics….so much for small set:)

In no particular order:
We went hiking – played in the playgrounds – watched Lia grow month over month – went to the Zoo a bunch – welcomed our little Lia into the family – played in the pool – spent our last few days as a family of 3 – took pictures of sibling love – saw a choir perform in the Gallery of Art – took a cruise to the Caribbean – climbed the ropes at the Pgh Zoo – took newborn pics of Lia – went Easter egg hunting – had Lia baptized – saw an air show – built an 8ft snowman – rode our bike (alot!) – visted Great Falls – Became a family of 4 – visted yet another zoo – played in the snow – ate lots of Christmas cookies – played in the fall leaves – saw cool Christmas lights – was an elephant with Uncle J – Saw lots of trains – played in the leaves again – tried out an old sled in the snow at the start of the year – taught our sister what a nose was – was a little Owl – rode the incline in Pgh – turned two – snuggled with mommy – celebrated Christmas morning.

Phew…that’s a big nutshell. This year Noah’s finally to a point in understanding that when we take him places he comprehends and even remembers things after the fact. I love creating memories with him especially when he connects and recalls them at a later point in time.

Looking forward to 2013 I can’t wait to watch Lia grow and become mobile. It’s crazy to think she’ll be walking and talking this year!! I look forward to seeing what new and crazy things Noah comes up with as he progresses thru his third year and makes his way to 4! I also look forward to what DH and I learn about each other and how our relationship will grow. This year holds hope for continued health of our family, more time together, for a new house and continued success in our jobs.

Happy New Year!

Nov 272012
 

I’d done a day in the life way back when Noah was just a few months old. I thought it would be fun to do another now that we’ve got two in the mix. This is your typical week day give or take a few modifications since Lia’s still not super consistent in her sleep. This is a general sequence of events:)

3:00am – Lia’s up to eat. She’s noshes, I pump, and we’re all back to bed by 4:00 (this varies an hour either direction)

5:45am – my alarm goes off, I hit snooze.

6:00am – the time we generally get out of bed. On good days I’m alone at 6am and can get ready. On bad days both kids are up and I have to kick DH out of bed to help. On most days it’s me and Noah.

6:15am – Depending on when she last ate, Lia’s generally up and wants to eat. I take a break from getting ready and feed her.

6:45am – Lia’s done eating and sometimes is back asleep. This morning she’s not so she joins me in the bathroom in her swing while I finish getting ready. Hubs takes Noah downstairs to eat.

7:00am – I’m all ready, pack up the pump and head downstairs to eat and pack the rest of our bags. This includes bottles, diapers, pump, my purse, sometimes my laptop bag, and my lunch. On a good day we’re out the door by 7:30, today it’s more like 8.

8:00am – I drop off the kids and head into work.

8:30 – 5:00 is work time. I take a pump break at 9, 1, and 4.

5:30 – 7:00 – I arrive home, DH is quickly behind me with the kids (Daycare pick up is 5:30) I try like heck to get dinner ready. It helps alot to have planned ahead of time so I’m not trying to figure it all out with the chaos of kids. If I miss my Saturday planning/grocery day the week is significantly harder (or we eat out more). Somewhere in there (generally 6 or so) Lia needs to eat. If dinner is ready I just nurse her as we all eat. If it’s not, DH takes over and I go feed her.

7:00pm starts bed time generally. Lia’s first. I take her up, change her, feed her, and get her in bed. That usually takes 30 or so min so she’s asleep in bed by 7:45. In the mean time DH starts bed time with Noah. Big glass of milk and some wind down time. Shower/bath and then stories. On good days he’s out by 8:30, on bad days it can be 10:00 before he finally settles.

7:45is – 9ish – Once Lia is in bed and DH is wrangling Noah I head downstairs to get things set up/packed for tomorrow. I make up the bottles from that days pumped milk and pack my lunch for the next day so it’s ready in the fridge. I wash/sterilize pump parts and bottles and make sure they’re back in the pump bag. I pack the diaper bag and assemble diapers too. Every other night I start a load of diaper laundry and sometimes I have time for regular laundry too (otherwise that waits till the weekend)

9ish – whenever I pass out – After all that is ready for tomorrow I’ll sit down for some TV/photo editing/blogging time. I usually only make it an hour or so before I call it a day and head to bed. I want to get a good stretch of sleep before Lia wakes up to eat.

I’m looking forward to the days when Lia drops that middle of the night feeding (and I don’t have to wake up and pump) but at this point I know that’s a ways away. I surprised how well I’m functioning give all the ups and downs. I guess your body just adapts as you do it more and more. Now my mom’s 5:45am wake up time when I was a child makes total sense!

Nov 212012
 

So, waaaaay back in October, right before I went back to work we had Lia baptized at the church that I grew up in. We had Noah baptized there as well so it only made sense to do Lia’s too. My mom did 99% of the planning and cooking which was totally unintentional but with going back to work and juggling two kids I just didn’t keep up. She did an amazing job planning and executing the reception in the church hall afterwards.

Lia did great thru the whole baptism and church service (so did Noah which is surprising). She slept thru most of everything only waking up when he put the water on her head. Even at that she was just looking around.

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It’s always wonderful to get the whole family together. Because our families are 4 some hours apart we don’t often get everyone from both sides together. Come to think of it, the next time we’ll have most everyone together will be my brothers eventual wedding (some day…:) ).

Nov 192012
 

So, most of this is probably boring to most of you but since this blog acts as a journal of sorts I’m going to write it out because our weekend adventure was actually rather funny to me…

A few weekends ago we headed up to Pittsburgh for Lia’s baptism (pics to come…). We’d planned a day out with DH’s family on Saturday and dinner out with everyone followed by the baptism and a reception on sunday. To say it was a full weekend was an understatement. My poor sleep deprived body was not going to get any extra zzz’s in this weekend (but then again, I never really get to sleep in so…)

I’m going to break it out by day because there was at least one adventure each day worth talking about.

Friday
We packed up and headed out just before 8. Perfect timing since Lia was down for the night and Noah was due to fall asleep within the hour. The 4+ hour ride home was rather uneventful other than both DH and I being bone tired and me buying what amounted to my body weight in sugary gummy things to keep us awake (and 2 cups of coffee).

We arrive at my parents house around 12:30pm. Sensing we were approaching the heaven that is MeeMaw and Papa’s house, Noah woke about 5 min before we arrived. That gave him just enough time to wake up and get revved up. Once in the house he went dancing/running right into MeeMaw’s arms and then bounced over to Papa to give his hellos. Then he started his tornado reign of terror by pulling out every last toy they had available.

After DH and I unpacked the car we went back inside and tried to get Noah into bed. haha..that was a joke. I’d forgotten (or rather, he’d unpacked it at home) his favorite “mahki”. So, we spent hours trying different things to comfort him so he could go to sleep. Finally around 3:00 in the morning I’d managed to trick him into using Lia’s blanket instead (he loves to rub the silky tags that are on the edges of the muslin aden and anais blankets. We have like 20 of this just for him but Lia has a set too.) only to find that the dog had taken my spot in bed. So, off to bed with Noah I went. Lia then started our day at 6:00am. Beautiful

Saturday
There was alot to do Saturday. Errands to pick up all the stuff for the reception on Sunday and just some general preparation. I’m totally no help because I’m chasing or feeding children and I kind of feel bad. We need to meet DH’s family downtown at 1:30pm and at 12:00 i was still attached to a hungry child. We do make it though with a little time to spare and just had to wait for the rest of the family to arrive. All the while we’re dodging rainstorms and praying that they hold off long enough for us to get the family picture at the top of Mt. Washington.

The incline ride up with 6 adults and 5 kids was actually alot of fun. Chaos but fun. The boys really enjoyed it. Once we were to the top it was a mad dash to try to get the pic taken before the next band of rain showed. We couldn’t find a happy medium…it was either raining or too sunny to get the shot. We tried a bunch of times until the kids got fed up. In the midst of this I can tell Lia’s getting hungry and I’m trying to devise a plan for which to feed her. I had her in the Ergo carrier so I figured, worse comes to worst I’ll just figure it out and feed her from there. Well, about 20 min later worse came to worst and she’s wailing and DH is still trying to get a picture of all of us and Noah’s still trying to slide thru the rails and throw himself off the mountain. Fed up, I just released the arm straps so that she sat really low and whipped it out. 10 seconds later…silence..sweet silence (and the occasional honk of her eating). I tossed a blanket over my shoulder and went on my merry way as she ate. MIL and SIL got a kick out of it.

Saturday night was dinner with the family. 15 people including 4 boys ages 2 – 7 and Lia was chaos but so much fun. I love my loud crazy family:) Saturday night bed time was muuuuuuch easier and both kiddos were down by 9:00.

Sunday
Sunday was the baptism which in itself was crazy. The reception was at the church immediately following so we all went over early to get tables set and food in the oven. All of that went quite smoothly. The adventure happened on our ride back home to VA. DH wanted to see the fall colors so we took the scenic route home. It was beautiful but a tad longer than the other route so we were getting tired. The kids were holding up thankfully but traffic wasn’t. After getting off the twisty turny scenic part, we hit the interstate only to find ourselves in stand still traffic. A quick check of Google maps and we see there’s an accident about 5 miles up the road. So, 5 miles of back up. We’d be there for HOURS! DH decided that he’d flip a U-turn thru the grassy median and catch the next exit and try to find a way home from there. However, to do that, he had to drive down the median a bit to get to a section of open guard rail on the other side. Thankfully we’re in the SUV and of course he thought it was hilarious:) Back on to the scenic roads we go to get around the accident. Once past things were smooth sailing.

All in all it took us about 6 hours to get home. It did involve stopping once for gas/food (and having to take an alternative route back to the interstate because of a different accident), once to let Noah pee, once to let daddy pee, once to let the dog pee (I combined my stop with the dog’s stop). I even had to pump while we were on the road because after 4 hours I was really starting to hurt (Lia was out cold thankfully). Fun times. But we made it home safely which is most important and have an adventure to speak of now (another great story for daddy to tell from his head some day).

Nov 152012
 

Where did the time go? I realize I have 5 posts started and nothing finished. Needless to say it’s been crazy around here. Nothing big, just day to day life. Our days are full and I’m exhausted by the time our night routine is finished. I have photo sessions to edit and house keeping to do so this poor blog suffers. I’ll try to make some headway this weekend in the posting arena and actually finish the bunch I have started:) I’d offer you a pretty picture but I’m behind on those too.

Oct 232012
 

I’m a bit behind….two weekends ago we decided to drive up to Shenandoah for a quick hike and some fall color. I found a hike in our book that said it was good with kids. I guess they’re thinking bigger kids. While the hike was not bad, Noah had a blast, my heart could have done without the drop off on the side of the trail.

Oct 222012
 

I can’t believe today is the day….I now have two children in daycare. Writing that check made my stomach drop and realizing that I’m going to have to write it every two weeks nearly made me vomit. We’ve got a heck of a deal and are still paying what for some amounts to a mortgage payment on a small house:)

Even worse, I have to leave both my babies in the care of someone else for a considerable chunk of the day. While today was easier than it was with Noah (no waterworks thankfully), it still makes me sad that I can’t be with them all the time. I know that daycare is good for them. Noah is going thru a preschool curriculum and I know that they’ll get Lia on a good schedule but it’s still hard knowing that I’m not the person shaping their learning…ugh..

Oct 172012
 

Lia’s last two weeks have been home with daddy. Because we’ve had to divide and conquer when it comes to the kids, he’s not had a lot of time with her and this was an opportunity for them to bond. And bond they have:)

I came home today and he handed me the camera with a bunch of pics of her on it from this afternoon. Love!!!

Oct 112012
 

I’ve started writing this no less than 10 times. I’ve change the first sentence at least 4 times to accommodate the change in days etc…such is my new life. Bed time is now 9:30 – 10:00 and waking is around 5:30/6. Time to blog, exercise, or think of anything other than the kids has been drastically cut back. We will find our rhythm soon…

So today was my third day back and it was a drastic improvement over my first day back. We actually managed to get the timings right and get me to work on time:)

I was so frustrated with my day Monday that as the day went on I was jotting down notes and points to remember just to make myself laugh. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Set an alarm. Don’t rely on the kids to do what they normally do and wake up at the same time they’ve been waking up at for the last month. That’s a sure fire way to completely sleep in and ensure your day starts in a rush.

2. Pack your lunch the night before and set it by the door or leave yourself a note. I did neither and had to buy lunch in the town center which was both expensive money wise and calorie wise.

3. Don’t fight the kid and just let him take the toy to school. I made Noah leave his toys in the car so that he wouldn’t lose it or forget it at school and that started a full on tantrum. So not worth it when you’re in a rush (shoot, so not worth it ever). The end of said tantrum meant that he was extra clingy and lovey so I had a hard time getting out the door at daycare.

4. Actually wear the outfit you picked out the night before instead of changing your mind 10 times in the morning. I’d purposefully planned out two outfits, one an alternate for the other just in case I wasn’t feeling it but ended up in something entirely different but only after 3 other changes.

5. Don’t forget your sunglasses. Day 3 here an I have yet to remember them meaning I’m nearly blinded by the sunglare on the way to work. It’s so much fun trying to drive when your eyes are trying their hardest to close to protect themselves….car visors are worthless.

6. Don’t forget your pump parts. This has been a huge fear of mine since I started back. So much so that I pack up my pump at 3am after I’m done using it and put it by the door. Then, as I leave I double check that everything is there. Nor sure there could be anything worse than forgetting an essential piece of that equipment considering it’s my only relief while I’m at work.

7. Accept the fact that yes, you will look like a bag lady with your purse, laptop bag, pump and lunch bag. At least mine are all black and coordinate with my coat. However, I’m going to have a permanent lean to the right after supporting all that stuff on my left shoulder.

8. If you’re going to wear high heels, start trying them out a week before to ease back into it. Almost 9 months of no heels made for a very very uncomfy first day and subsequent second day in Converse sneakers (with dress pants mind you…i’m so fashionable. Trendsetting I say). I’m in heels again today but have my Cons to wear to and from the office and any time in between when the pain in my toes gets to be too much!

9. Be surprised at how fast the days go when you have three pumping breaks in them. I take my laptop and work while I’m pumping but still, it goes really quickly for some reason.

10. Make sure hubby, who is still at home with the babe, brings her down to see you at least once during his time off if not daily..hehe. I haven’t gotten him to do it daily but they are stopping by today and maybe I can convince him once next week while he’s still home. I’m looking forward to the break to see them.

Anyways….first week back is almost over and things are going pretty well. I miss my girl terribly but I know she’s in good hands with DH and I know it gets better like it did with Noah (i mean, I miss Noah too but I’ve had time to get used to that:) ). I’m a little anxious to get her off to daycare so that we can settle into our real routine but on the other hand, I don’t want to rush it. She’s bonding with her daddy:)

And for good measure, here’s a pretty pic of my girl sleeping:) I’d give you a pic of Noah too but he won’t stand still long enough for me to get one.

Oct 042012
 

This past Sunday DH had a volleyball tournament down in DC which left me on kiddo duty for the day (there is no freakin way I was lugging both kids down to DC to watch. At least not without an army of help:) ). So, instead of going stir crazy in the house, we decided to get out and enjoy one of the local parks here. I met up with my girlfriend Lisa and her little guy T for a fun few hours climbing and jumping and running.

After the playground, Noah, Lia and I stopped at a local BBQ joint that just happens to neighbor a major biking trail in the area. It was great fun watching the bikes come in and out but was a bit of a challenge to keep Noah from running out to join them. We enjoyed our BBQ and then headed home for nap time. Except, Noah skipped his nap so we decided to go outside and ride our bikes. Which only lasted 20 min before he was bored. In the end we watched way too much Bob and Barney but we survived until daddy came home later in the evening.

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Oh, and he won the tournament so I can’t be too mad at him for leaving me all day with them while he went out and had fun:) hehe…

Oct 022012
 

Yesterday started my last week home with Lia before heading back to work. Just like that 10 weeks has sped on by and I have to leave my baby girl in order to get a paycheck…this sucks:( I have to admit I’m less anxious about daycare with her than I was with noah but I can feel it start to creep in the closer I get to leaving her.

Like with Noah, as I head back, DH will take two more weeks so that Lia gets a full 12 weeks at home before daycare. Up to this point it’s been me and her almost 24/7 while DH took care of Noah so it will be nice for him to get in some bonding time while I’m at work. However, since he’s spent so little time with her it’s going to be quite the adjustment. I’m debating on whether I should prepare a “Lia” manual for him..haha.

Now, unlike Noah, I’m working in an office vs. at home plus I’m still breastfeeding which means pumping at work. I’m interested to see how this plays out. We have special rooms at work but you have to book them like you book normal meetings…it’s weird. I have no idea how often I should pump and if I’m even going to be able to pump enough to keep up with her needs (babies are sooo much more effective at getting the milk out:) ). So I’m a little anxious about that. I know she’ll take a bottle, she’s done it for us a few times in the past. I’m just worried about keeping up (and the reverse cycling that often happens and will keep me up all night..) Part of me is going to miss that bonding too…it tell folks that she’s like my third arm and it’s so true. With the exception of our dinner out when she was 3 weeks old, I’ve not been away from her for more than an hour this entire 10 weeks. She’s a fixture and I love it. I’m going to miss her soo much during the day.

I know that she’ll be fine and I will to but those first few weeks are the hardest. I’m going to try not to cry this time:)

Sep 232012
 

A few weekends ago we decided to get out and enjoy the weather. Now that Noah’s a little older he really enjoys going out to things like fairs and shows. This time we went to a little air show out in Front Royal Va. It was a small show, no big jets or anything but fun none the less.

There was some nasty weather headed our way so they were pushing hard to get everything in before they had to ground the planes. I’m actually quite amazed that they were up and flying in the wind that was coming across the airport.

We saw wing walkers, stunt planed and a gyro copter that they pilot actually assembled himself. Noah seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit. He even got to sit in the cockpit of one of the airplanes and play with the controls.

As the last plane landed the rain started so we high tailed it back to the car. The drive home was interesting because we were right in the middle of the storm. It was like driving into a firehose full force. So much water! At one point I remarked to DH that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a tornado wrapped up in this mess. About 2 min later my phone started to chirp…tornado warnings for the exact area where we were. Pretty crazy! We made it home safely and only sustained a little shingle damage on the house. The upside of driving into a firehose? The car was super clean! haha…

Sep 172012
 

So it’s been quiet around here because well, it’s been everything in me to just keep my head above water and blogging was at the bottom of the pool. Daycare was “closed” last week. The owner was on vacation as per our contract but she left it open with her helpers if you wanted to pay an extra weeks worth of tuition to send your kid…needless to say, I’m home and we’re watching our pennies so that left me here with both kids all day by myself. So far I’ve only had to manage both kids alone for short periods of time and never outside the house so this week felt daunting. What the heck was I going to do with Noah all day, every day for a week (while trying to wrangle Lia too). He’s non stop!

I needed a plan. The weather was suppose to be beautiful so I figured anything I could do to get him outside would work. So I planned out a weeks worth of visits to various playgrounds in our area. He could run free and I’d carry or stroll Lia and manage both kids at once. Best laid plans…

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Those pics were on the days things actually worked out like planned…2 of the 5 days….haha. Although one of the two park visits ended early because someone wasn’t listening to mommy after repeated warnings. Anyways, I was proud of myself that we actually got out of the house without much incident. That’s not to say that it didn’t take us until 11am most days to get out (after starting at 7am) but we got out.

Props to all full time stay at home moms! It’s the single most empowering, discouraging, frustrating, and rewarding job in the world and I only did it for a week. There were times I thought I could take on anything (when both kids were cooperating and happy) and the other times when I had one kid hanging off the boob and the other trying to dump his own poop from the little potty to the big potty and then asking me to wipe him, when I questioned my sanity and my ability to do anything. Or when they’re both screaming at the top of their lungs while we sat in traffic on the way to the park and there was not a thing I could do about it. Fun times.

But we survived and actually had some fun while we were at it. Mornings were spent out doing something active and after nap (which didnt always happen) we did projects. I think projects were Noah favorite part of the day which makes sense since he’s my kid and I love crafty stuffs:) My mom said I was always a project lover as a kid too…

Anywho…I have 5 or 6 blog posts started and hopefully now that noah’s back at school and it’s just me and Lia, I’ll be able to get some of them finished and share what’s been going on lately.

For now, here’s our week in pictures…at least a few of them.

cell-phone-pics

Burrito Boy | RTC Fun | Wrapping paper cape
Enjoying the weather | pool fun | I fell…
odd outfit | Project time | Sailing our boats
Cork boats | trying out the sleep positioner | out
sleepy girl | fruity girl | oops..duplicate

Aug 302012
 

This past weekend we took a quick trip up to Pittsburgh to visit my family and allow some of the extended family to meet Lia (as well as my brother!). It was kind of an impromptu trip with only a few days notice but it worked out really well! The car trip up was actually less eventful than I thought it would be. It did take us about 5 hours vs. the normal 4 because we had to take an extended stop mid way to feed Lia but that’s better than expected. Noah even went down pretty easy once we got there.

Saturday AM we met up with my bro, his girlfriend, and my mom at the Pittsburgh Zoo. So much fun! We started really early when the zoo opened to try to avoid some of the crowds and heat. I forgot how big that zoo is! By the time we left we’d totally missed nap time and everyone was zonked. Noah loved every second of it.

Funny story about the zoo…lunch time rolled around and Lia needed to eat. We rolled into one of the food courts and found a table towards the back. I grabbed my nursing cover and set up shop on the concrete wall at the back. I didn’t notice the table full of Amish teen boys to my left. Caty came over and quietly told me that I was being watched. I guess they’d never seen anyone nurse a baby before? Anywho, between me and the lady about 20 feet to my right also nursing her baby (sans cover) they were entertained.

Saturday night my parents took the kids which allowed hubs and I to get out for a date night. So awesome! We made reservations at a restaurant at the top of Mt. Washington (for those not from PGH, Mt. Washington is a neighborhood that sit about 400 feet above and off to one side of the city and affords you amazing view of the downtown and the rivers around Pittsburgh) and had a very nice and elegant dinner complete with a glass of wine for me:) woohoo…

Sunday brought the rest of the family and we all gathered at my parents house to catch up and meet the newest member of our family. At one point we had 4 generations of ladies in one spot. So much fun.

Before we knew it it was time to pack up and head back. It was a full weekend but really nice to get to see everyone and introduce them to our little beauty:) Noah had a ball too, he loves loves loves his grandparents.

Anywho..enough babbling…on to the pictures:)

Aug 162012
 

Wow! I can’t believe I wrote that…2 kids. I have to say, in some ways it’s really not been that much of a shift but in others it has been quite the shift. My biggest fear going into this was how Noah would react and how my relationship with him would change. The verdict is still out… He’s at that point in his development where routine and predictability is sooo important and throwing a baby sister in there surely would rock the boat. We’ve been walking a fine line between happiness and hell with him.

Lia is amazing and so easy which is probably why I feel like things are well under control most of the time. She sleeps, eats, and just hangs out (i’m even getting 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep with her at night). The only time she really cries is when she’s cold or when she’s hungry and even then it’s just a quick squawk to let me know she’s pissed and she’s done. I’m kind of waiting for the other foot to fall and to wake up one day and she’s a monster who cries all the time and refuses to sleep. I hope that never happens but I am holding my breath a bit.

Her ease makes it more manageable to deal with Noah’s swings. When he’s happy he’s super happy and hilarious (and that’s a good percentage of the time during the day). However, when he’s upset or the “no” monster attacks he’s pretty terrible. “No”ing everything, hitting, and just generally behaving badly. He laughs at us when we put him in time out and just gets up and walks away. There are very things we can negotiate with that actually affect him. And the most frustrating part is that the bad moods are sparked by seemingly pointless events and overcome him in seconds. He’ll go from laughing hysterically to throwing his toys or hitting us in seconds. Stormy is a good way to explain his personality.

Thankfully he’s pretty good with Lia. He’s sweet to her and generally careful around her (he forgets from time to time and rolls around like he’s the only one there and almost squashes her). He loves to give her kisses and will share his toys if we ask him to (and sometimes unprompted). He asks where she is when he can’t see her (although he refers to her as “it” or “him” some times). So, with regard to her I think we’re doing well.

With regard to sharing me, again that’s something we’re working on. There’s been more than one occasion where I ended up with both he and Lia in my lap at one time. He often tells me to put her down or put her to bed so that I can hold him. He’s also just more into me holding him than he ever was before. He’s not overly demanding but on occasion I can see that he’s hurt or sad that I can’t respond to his needs right that second. DH has really tried to step in where at all possible to take the load off but sometimes all he wants is mommy (just like some times all he wants is daddy).

Overall I expected an adjustment period and so far this is no worse than I expected and alot of it has to do with how easy Lia is. We’re including Noah in as much Lia stuff as possible (fetching diapers, helping with the trash, etc…) plus I’ve been trying to have one on one time with him where he has my undivided attention. It’s not as much as I’d like (Lia eats almost every 2 hours on the dot during the day time) but an hour here and an hour there gives me time to connect with him again. Once Lia stretches out her feedings some I need to plan some outside activities (outside of goign to the store – which he strangely loves to do right now). Perhaps some time at the local zoo or the park. We’ll see. For now I’m chained at the boob to the wee one (which is an entirely separate post:) ).

So, forgive the ramble and disjointedness of this. It took me 3 days to write this because I only get a few sentences in at a time:) Since this blog serves as much as documentation place as a place to share with others, I wanted to get these points down:)

Jul 222012
 

So, part of the silence on this blog is because I’ve been working like crazy trying to get her nursery together. Thanks to Pinterest I had kinds of crazy projects lined up and while they took forever, I’m sooo soo happy with how things turned out.

I started with the neutral taupe wall that was in the here already because DH didn’t want to repaint the room (you’ll see why when you see the pics…it would have been a PIA!!). He said that I could add color in another other way I wanted to outside of painting the walls…little did he know:)

We set out to use the furniture that we already had with the exception of the dresser. I had planned on using my childhood dresser and painting it however when my parents pulled it out of storage it need more than a little bit of work. So, on to plan B – craigslist! I was looking for another dresser to refinish and actually found something even better.

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I love it! It’s the color and style I was hoping for with my own dresser and that it came with a mirror was a bonus. It did change our plans a little bit (the mirror) but I’m so happy with it!!! I think it make the room.

On the other side we have her crib and changing table in the same arrangement we did with Noah’s room. It works well like that in there. Over the crib are three canvases I did thanks to Pinterest:) They were actually the first things I did after I found out she was a girl.

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As you look closer you can see yet another Pinterest inspiration with the ruffled bed skirt. That was a labor of love for both my momma and I. We had two sewing machines going at times to get it all done. Had my ruffle foot actually worked it may have been faster. Who knows….I do know that I love it. I’m a tad disappointed that you can’t see all the ruffles but that will change as we drop the crib mattress.

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The green frame is just temporary until I find another I’m happier with. It works for now. It houses a piece of a quilt that was done by my great grandma (I think…or was it great great..). Anywho, the quilt was moth eaten but my mom salvaged pieces of it and had them matted and framed for all the girls in our family. Mine was purple because my room was purple at the time. It think it works well here in the green frame. I have to get it hung on the wall but on the dresser works for now.

The silver bowl is a Goodwill find. I love the pattern on it..kind of shabby chic-ish. The silver frame is also a Goodwill find. I got two. I left this one as is and dismantled the other in hopes of turning it into something. Right now it sits painted pink and in pieces on my craft table. Maybe I’ll get around to it later.
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In this corner is the glider we used for Noah. It’s modeling the quilt that I made for her earlier. Yes, another labor of love:) And I’m totally head over heels for it. I actually bought fabric to do one for Noah now too!!

On the chair is another canvas that i have yet to hang (it will go over the changing table). You are my sunshine was always a favorite song of mine growing up. I did take a little liberty and change “only” to “tiny” because, well, she’s not my only sunshine:) Gotta be fair!

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This happy little lamp was originally tan and white. It worked with the bedding that was in the room before but not now. It’s amazing what a little spray paint and some fabric can do (and some hot glue).

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The rail covers were something I did for Noah’s room too. It gave me the opportunity to add more of the fun paisley fabric to the room. This time I went with the satin ribbon instead of making ties….sooo much faster!!

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These last two are for your enjoyment. Me and my big old bellah…I missed my 37 week picture so this will have to do. I’ll take my 38 week one tomorrow.

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And here’s her diaper stash! I went a little overboard. I saved most of Noah’s diapers (we had to toss about 8 because the PUL was shot) but I added a bunch of covers and prefolds for when she’s smaller. Plus I got a few Rumparooz newborns just because I couldn’t help myself. They’re so tiny!

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Anyways, I think I can call myself done with the nursery once we get that list picture hung. Although, I have a few other projects up my sleeve that I have to work on. As I work thru them I’ll post I promise.

Here’s a list of the patterns/ideas/tutorials I used for the things in the room…enjoy:)

Bedskirt – Positively Splendid
Crib Rail – Baby Rabies
Canvases – I can’t seem to find the origin…just a Pinterest pin.
Quilt – Katie Did , The Cottage Home

Jun 262012
 

I’m way behind in just about everything right now. I’m asleep most nights by 9 which leaves little time to do anything real around the house (after cooking dinner, cleaning up, bath time and bed time for Noah) so DH’s fathers day and birthday posts are being combined into one:)

DH’s birthday and fathers day were a week apart which has its benefits but also it’s draw backs. DH has a similar problem around Mother’s day since my birthday often falls on or right before/after mothers day depending on the year so I don’t feel too bad:)

For fathers day we didn’t do anything big really. I made breakfast and then we just hung around the house. We made a trip down to the playground for Noah to burn off some energy and then when it came time for dinner found myself too freakin tired to actually cook. So, we headed down to the area where I work and ordered some take out. We spent the evening sitting in the grass by the fountains enjoying our dinner while Noah played. Perfect evening. We followed it up with some gelato and then headed home.

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His birthday the following week fell on a week day so our options were limited. I figured I’d grab some cupcakes from the bakery next to my office and then we’d order his favorite meal from Outback and do it take out style again (it’s just so much more relaxing being at home or not in a restaurant when we have Noah). DH’s only request was that we have dinner outside at the National Park next to where we live – Great Falls. I was more than happy to oblige and even packed a picnic basket with a linen table cloth, real plates and silverware (and steak knives) for the evening. Mother nature threatened to ruin our picnic but managed to hold off long enough for us to eat, enjoy the scenery and get back to the car.

I only have one pic from that because we were too busy enjoying the beautiful weather:)

Jun 192012
 

I’ve been trying to menu plan more in hopes of getting into the habit before baby girls arrives. It’s easier to sit down one day, write a menu and shop than to stumble around the night of trying to find food for the fam. We resort less to processed foods now that I’m thinking ahead.

One of my favorite places to find recipes has been Pinterest! We’ve had some definite hits and some total misses so I thought I’d share some of my favorites (or rather, the ones there DH was like, “This is awesome and needs to be done again!”)

OMG Chicken – Parmesan Crusted Chicken (The Enchanted Cook)
This is the easiest chicken in the world! Probably not entirely healthy for you but oh so yummy and quick. DH told me I need to put this on our regular rotation!

{image from The Enchanted Cook website}

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork (Mybakingaddiction.com)
This one was really easy and so yummy!! My pork roast wasn’t as large as she directed so I had to alter my cooking time (it was about half her size so I just about halved the time). My new crockpot with a nifty timer on it was perfect! It cooked for the requisite 5 hours and then clicked over to warm. The pork stayed nice and warm and was ready for us to eat as soon as we got home.

DH’s one complaint is that he likes a thicker sauce so next time I’ll supplement a little Famous Daves BBQ sauce as a side when serving.

{Image from the mybakingaddiction website}

Four Cheese Baked Skillet Rigatoni(howSweetitis.com)
This one was awesome and so tasty. DH’s comment was to add chicken or something to it to give it some protein. I’m fine with just the pasta:)

{image from the how sweet it is website}

Creamy Artichoke Lasagna (Better Homes and Gardens via Recipe.com)
I couldn’t find marcapone so I improvised (creamcheese and sour cream) and it didn’t take anything away from the dish. I also used canned chokes because that’s what I had. DH loved the pine nuts. It’s a little time consuming but then again, most lasagne is so we did this on a weekend and had leftovers for the week.

{image from Recipe.com website}

Creamy Corn Casserole (Pennies on a Platter)
Oh so good and oh so bad for you! I had this first at an Easter potluck. I think I finished half of the 9×11 pan myself. Since I found the recipe I’ve made it twice. Once for guests and once for just us. Amazing both times!! And it’s great as left overs too!!

{image from Pennies on a Platter website}

It’s really not that much more work for dinner when you plan ahead. I dont even really cook ahead, I just know what i’m doing when I get home so I can get to work. I’ve planned full menus while driving from work to the grocery store (or sitting at a stop light on my way to the store:) ). I’ve noticed that our grocery bills have been lower too because I’m not buying any more than we need for the week. The produce stays fresher and the meat never needs frozen.

We even have a little dinner menu that hangs out in the kitchen so I can remember what is what. It’s missing Saturday and Sunday but that works for us since we’re generally fending for ourselves or traveling on those days.

Jun 022012
 

Last weekend it was nice and hot out but I didn’t want to be stuck inside all day so we decided to break out the baby pool and have some fun on the back patio.

If I knew how much he’d love the pool I would have broken it out earlier. It provided a full weekend of entertainment and even week nights this entire week.

He spent hours filling and dumping, sending things down the slide, transporting rocks back and forth from the pool and the pergola. It was great! I sat back, propped my feet up and enjoyed a no-jito and occasionally dunked my tootsies in the pool.

Feb 022012
 

(i promised him I’d get this out before he turned 2….we’re getting close though!)

Well, you finally did it. You climbed over your crib rail and let yourself out of bed. We’ve spent the last few weeks trying various things to keep you in. A sleep sack worked for one night and then you figured that out too. Now it’s hit or miss on if you’ll get out or not. The gate is up so you can’t wander but we need to find a better solution soon, i’m nervous about you getting in and out by yourself.

You always tell us it’s “cold outside” in reference to anything cold or outside but not always necessarily together. Like, you’ll grab daddy’s face after he comes in from outside and say “cold outside” or you’ll grab your milk and say “cold outside”…doesn’t matter. Any reference to cold is appended with “outside”. I love it!

You’re asserting your independence more and more. Most days you have to pick out your own clothes. You strip off everything I pick out and insist on doing yourself so I’ve kind of given up. You even wore PJ’s to school today because it wasn’t worth the fight. Dinner time is much of the same. You have to do it yourself or ask for help. If I offer or try to do it for you all hell breaks loose. It’s so cute when you ask for help though…you look up and say “hep mommy” and then I melt.

I plopped you on the scale the other day (after you brought it out to me) and you were 28 lbs. Then I managed to get you to stand still long enough to get a height. 34 inches…almost a full yard!!! We’ll find out at your dr’s appt next month where that puts you. I’ve moved you over to 24/2T clothes for the most part although you still wear some of your 18mo PJ’s.

Lastly, your temper has arrived. I’m attributing it to the early arrivals of the terrible 2’s or possibly the sleep issues we’ve been fighting but man – you can be sweet as pie one second and the next a raging ball of anger hitting and throwing and just yelling like some’s stole your favorite toy. There’s no rhyme or reason most times. Sometimes it’s because I did something that you wanted to do yourself (like open your yougurt) or we had to take a non-permitted object out of your hands (like the screwdriver or the sharpie marker that I really need to remember to take out of the drawer you can reach). Sometimes it’s becuase Macie looks at you cross eyed…or uses her jedi mind tricks to make you think she’s going to steal a toy. I don’t know why most times and often times a modified time out is the only fix (or a bottle of milk, which seems to cure alot). Your MeeMa would say that it’s payback for all the tantrums I threw as a kid (apparently I could throw a fit with the best of them) and perhaps she’s right. Wow, I can totally feel her pain now.

In any case, you always make it better you saying “sorry mommy” (or whatever object you threw) and petting my face (or the object you tossed:) ). Being your mommy is challenging alot of the time but so incredibly worth it.

(and since I’ve been seriously slacking on the photos, here’s a video of Noah’s new trick. I have no idea who taught him this).

Jan 122012
 

Long time no post, I know. I have a good reason but will have to fill you in later:) I had so many posts planned but never got around to actually writing them. I even had pictures! Perhaps soon….

Anywho, we went to the National Zoo the other weekend and thought I’d drop some pics on here for your enjoyment (and my mothers request:) Hi mom!).

My inlaws for down for the weekend and we just happened to have an amazing 60 degree January day so off to the National Zoo we went. What a great time was had. Not all the animals were out but the most important ones were – the lions! We all know how much Noah looooooves lions! All the other animals were cool but it was the lion den we couldn’t tear him away from. He stood in awe as they walked back and forth. All at once the male started to vocalize and Noah roared right back at him!!

We were waaaay past nap time and I’d half expected him to crash on the way back to the car but no, he wanted to watch and check out everything as we walked back. We strapped him in and listen to him roar for a little while and then he fell suddenly silent. I looked over and he was out for the count. He slept the whole way home and even let us carry him upstairs and put him in his crib to finish the nap. I think he had a good time.


(check out the new gallery! Now you can page thru the pics instead of clicking one by one!!!)

Dec 182011
 

We declared today “Noah day” and started bright and early for his first real train ride (well, Metro train but train none the less). Our destination was the Natural History Museum in downtown. They had a great fossil exhibit with life sized T-rex skeletons and other dinosaurs that we thought he’d love and we were right!

He was mellow and kind of timid on the metro in. It could have been that he was a bit sleepy and it could have been the new experience but for the most part he just hung out in DH’s lap looking out the window. Once we got to the city it was a cold walk across the mall to the museum. Noah was all bundled up so I think he could have gone for miles, the rest of us not so much. I was happy to get inside (and subsequently strip off all the layers).

It was early in the morning so things were still really quiet. We made a bee line for the butterfly exhibit because DH missed that last time and didn’t want to this time. What a cool exhibit! It did cost $6 to get in for DH and I but it was so worth it. They led you thru an airlock and on into the enclosure. It was hot and humid and just crawling with butterflies! They were flying everywhere! Noah called them “planes” at first until we could get him to understand “butterfly”. It was great watching him oo and ah and track the flying critters.

After that we moved on to some boring stuff like rocks and gems and the Hope Diamond! Haha…boring for Noah anyways. The saving grace was that they had a bunch of things at each station to touch so we let him down and let him manhandle the rocks. A quick diaper change and some lunch and we moved on to the main event…the dinosaurs! He ooed and ahed and roared to his hearts content. I let him down to walk and he ran back and forth between the various pieces of the exhibit pointing and saying “tell me” which is his way of asking that things are. We found him incredibly brave when the big teeth were a good distance away, as soon as you held him closer his tune changed and all he wanted to do was hug your neck. It was so adorable.

From there we headed to the mammals and the ocean rooms. He was all about the monkeys once he realized what they were. He pointed out the horses too as he saw them. Soon it was nap time and DH and I knew he’d never nap in there. So, we headed to the museum of Art in hopes of boring him to sleep. It worked!

However, once he was asleep we both realized that a trip down into the metro would wake him immediately so we walked till our feet hurt and then found a spot to sit and wait out the rest of the nap. It was then that we heard this loud ruckus coming from down the hall. The banging was followed by singing. Intrigued, DH and I (along with Noah) strolled down to hall to find a high school choir set up and singing an African drum song (with drum and clapping included). Seems we timed things exactly right and enjoyed a free concert from the Central Bucks Highschool – West’s choir in the Rotunda of the National Art Museum. Mixed in with their normal set (which included songs in Latin and Hebrew – acapella!) they wandered into the audience and encouraged us to sing along as they sung familiar Christmas carols. They were exceptional (had me in tears a few times) and it was the perfect way to cap off a great day. Noah napped clear until the very end.

After all that we headed back to the metro for our trip home. This time Noah was refreshed from his cat nap and was bouncing on the seats and just having a great time in general. He was chanting “choo choo” pretty much the whole way home (thankfully it was a pretty empty train and no one seemed bothered by his gleeful screeches).

We had one more adventure in painting this evening but I’ll save that for another blog spot and series of pictures, this one is long enough:) On to the pictures!

Dec 042011
 

and somewhere that took so long to get to that we only had an hour before we had to turn around and come home to relieve the babysitter.

At least we got to dress up for a little bit!

The dress look familiar? It’s the second dress from the whole dress debacle back in Sept. Glad it got some use!

Nov 082011
 

I’ve been trying to find different ways to engage Noah in play outside of his toys and puzzles. He loves coloring, running his trucks, pushing his bike around outside etc…but we needed something quiet for early mornings while I’m working in the kitchen getting breakfast etc…enter the bucket o beans.

Scooping with a spoon and filling his cup!

Daddy helping...

I tried rice a ways back with Noah but it was so hard to clean up after he decided to dump it on the floor that I abandoned that pretty quickly. This time around I decided to use a bag of great white northern beans that have been in my cabinet for years and I’d yet to incorporate them into any meal. They work much better as a play toy for Noah:)

It took a few dumps to get him to keep it in the bucket but after a while, even if they fell out of the bucket, he was cleaning up as he went. Just today he grabbed his favorite plastic spook and looked up and said “bucket? bucket?”. I set it on the floor and off he went, scooping and dumping for the next 20 min:)

I think i need to get another bucket or two and try things like pasta or buttons.

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