Monday, April 21, 2014

Ellie update!

Well even though this blog has been a bit Scarlett-focused with her weekly letters, our house is definitely NOT Scarlett focused. In fact sometimes it is hard to give her the attention she should be getting with "Hurricane Ellie" coming through.

So what is up with the big girl?

Um, she is the most fun kid EVER.

And I am defenseless against her adorableness. Take yesterday. After she got up from her nap, I gave her some cheerios and was going to snuggle her as she watched a little "George". I sat her down on the couch and sat next to her. She started melting down. What? Then she climbed into my lap and settled down. Huh? So I asked her if she wanted to be in my lap to cuddle. "Uh-huh!". Oh. My. Goodness. I was a puddle. Okay, baby girl. I will cuddle you on my lap as much as you want. Then she asked for "More O's...Peeeeese!" You got it, kid. I cannot make rational decisions with that kind of cuteness. And you said Please. Done.

She LOVES Frozen. She has even started to sing along. Like the part where they say "Deep, deep, deep, deep snow" she will say "deep deep deep" and Olaf's "Happy Snowman" she will say "Happy". Oh, and she calls Olaf 'Summa' which might be the world's cutest ever!

 She gives all the kissses and hugs these days too. I love that! She's such a little love. She's now grabbing my cheeks and giving me kisses. Heavenly! And we start our morning with tickle fights. Problem...she now understands how to tickle and is GOOD at it. So we both end up belly laughing.

And she's FUNNY. Her expressions are hysterical. And she is learning things like crazy, so she learns funny things, and then we get LOTS of entertainment...

What is she up to these days?

1. Fine motor stuff: She LOVES fine motor activities. We end up doing lots of these kind of things, like putting cheerios on a stick, pushing pipe cleaners and pom pom balls through holes, and lacing cards. She's really good at them, and it is adorable to see her concentrating.

2. TOWERS! Girl loves her towers. This typically means that we have blocks EVERYWHERE, all the time. And even if we don't get those out, she tends to build towers out of any other materials she can find...

3. Climbing: Yup, whenever I am busy with Scarlett, I can pretty much count on Ellie getting into trouble climbing something. Coffee tables, high chair, whatever! Any random boxes laying around instantly become step stools and the climbing commences.

Of course, this does, sometimes lead to very fashionable bruises and scraped. Even with the injuries, she doesn't seem to mind and is off climbing again pronto.

Knock on wood: She hasn't climbed out of her crib yet. I think the sleep sacks hinder this. Whatever. I want to keep her caged a bit longer. I am really hoping to make it to 2. 

Oh, and she LOVES sliding just as much. And yes, this kid will try to go to the tallest slide on the playground. Talk about freaking Mommy out!

 4. Bubbles: She is obsessed with bubbles. And baths. And water, really. She is so stinking happy in a bubble bath that it is ridiculous. And she thinks there is fish in ANY body of water. Even the crockpot when it sits soaking in the sink (what? Oh Ellie...) I have a feeling that this will make this summer SO much fun. She liked sitting in her pool and such last time, but now that she can RUN through sprinklers and such? She is going to be in heaven.

 5. Being Silly: This kid is so silly. She loves to laugh. We do the "tickle monster" book a lot, which we both just love. And we have sticker fights. And she makes crazy faces.

And what is cool is that she now knows when she is being silly. She will announce "funny". Or when we're having a particularly good time she will look at me and say "HAPPY!" Yes, love, you make me happy too!

5. Playing with Scarlett: E is such a good big sister, it is ridiculous. We have tried really hard to make sure that she can have lots of contact with S. So S has gotten poked in the eye a couple times, but overall this has been great for both of them. S will babble away at her big sis and E is great at being gentle with her and just overall being a great big sister. We were concerned about jealousy issues, but that has been really minor. I'm seriously proud of how good Ellie is with her. All I hear some days is "Oh, HI BAYBEEEEE!"

6. "Wh-un" I guess this means her gross motor skills are also progressing pretty well, because she is constantly "Whunning" (running)

This kid won't stay still. I'm so glad that we have 5 acres, because she is ALL OVER. We take walks every day too. That is a little harder as she is so distractable. She stops for rocks, to say hello to the doggies or horsies, etc. We did find that being silly on walks keeps her sweet girl:

7. Naps/sleep/nursing: She is still a good sleeper, doing between 10 and 12 hours a night. And we're at one nap a day. ,that is usually just over 2 hours. She still nurses before nap and bed, and I'm ok with that, most of the time. Sometimes I definitely feel like all I do from 7pm to when I go to bed is nurse someone, but I know that these times will pass in the blink of an eye. When I do tandem nurse (which I've only done a handful of times since I don't particularly like it) Ellie stares at Scarlett which is pretty sweet. As far as weaning...I don't know. My ultimate goal was to get her through cold and flu season (especially with a newborn in the house) and that seems to be winding down. On the other hand, she is clearly still into nursing. She loves going in for her nap, because she knows what it gets her (BOOB! Whoops, should have taught her a different word for that!) She definitely still asks to nurse and gives me an enthusiastic "uh-huh!" when I 'get' it. So for right now, we'll keep going. It is working for both of us pretty well right now. 

 8. Vocab: This kid's vocabulary is crazy! She's got words for pretty much everything. Seriously, she probably has a working vocab of 400ish words. And she will do 2-3 word sentences too. I cannot believe how fast she is picking this up. It is so much fun to really be able to talk to her. Of course, it bugs me BIG TIME that she WILL NOT say 'I love you'. I keep working at it. Such a little stinker. But she will use 'please' now, which is a small victory. Of course, when asking for O's and prompted "What do you say" she told me this week... "PEEEESE. WHUN." Apparently I don't deliver her O's fast enough? Oy.

9. Eating: Girl LOVES food. She will eat pretty much anything, so that is a such relief. Not having mealtime battles is great. She would still live on blueberries alone, if allowed. and in the morning, she loves her "CAKE-CAKES" (pancakes). Chicken is usually a hit, as is most kinds of pasta. And while she doesn't care much for salad, she sure loves "crutes" (croutons).

10. BUSY! I have to say, the best and worst thing about Ellie? She is BUSY. And curious. She needs to be exploring and discovering and going a million miles a minute. This is exactly what makes her so fun and have such a big personality, but it is also completely exhausting sometimes. I do feel like one of my unique parenting challenges with her is to make sure I am giving her adequate time and space to not squash that. Like the other day, we were at Sam's. We needed to get home and I really wanted E to sit in the car. No way, she was not having that. She was walking and exploring. So of course, I got annoyed when she wasn't going fast enough and stopped in front of the deli section. I tried to hurry her along, when she pointed to the rotisserie chickens and said "Hot" and then proceeded to blow in that direction to cool them. She was figuring that out and making the connection, and I just wanted to hurry her along and fit my own time frame. Don't get me wrong, she has boundaries, but she's an awesome reminder that 'busy' takes a lot of different forms, and giving her time to check things out (including every rock on our entire street!) is important.

In all, I could not be more in love with this kid. She makes my heart melt and me totally crack up at least 10 times a day. The little person she is becoming is just so amazing to me and I just love being her Mom.

Friday, April 18, 2014

11 weeks

Dear Scarlett,

You are 11 weeks old today, sweet girl! I still can't believe that I get to be your Mommy. I look at you in amazement often, and still feel like I have to pinch myself when I talk about my TWO daughterS.

So what's new this week? Well, Saturday we had no big plans and it was a nice day, so we decided to take you on your very first trip to the zoo. Unfortunately, you slept through it all, smoosh! It was nice to walk around and get some fresh air, though, and of course your sister LOVED seeing all the animals as usual. She is a big fan of the zoo, and I am sure that you will grow to love it too!

After the zoo (and watching your sister run around on the playground) we came back home for lunch and naps, and then headed out to have attempt 2 at seeing the Easter bunny. Your sister still didn't like him. You, on the other hand, gave us GREAT smiles and we got the perfect bunny pic for your first Easter!

Look how adorable you are, my little baby Squish! I love seeing your sweet smile! It makes me so happy when you smile and coo at me!

Monday was a rainy, cold day. These nice days are such a tease. I think everyone gets put in a bad mood when we have a nice day only to be followed by icky rain! We did have to run a couple errands, but then got to come home and snuggle. You are the sweetest little snuggle bug there is, Miss Scarlett!

That also means that you and your sister got to have some good play time together. She is still so infatuated with you. She is constantly giving you kisses. Oh, and she LOVES to come with me to help get you up in the morning. She will stand over your rock n play and rock you and pat you while I turn off the sound machine. And if I try to take you to get cleaned up before I let her give you a kiss? Forget it! She will get so upset. I'm so pleased with how she's transitioned to being a big sister, and so excited to see your relationship grow and develop.

Tuesday we needed to get out of the house, so we met Grandma at the mall and walked around a bit. Like always, you were the easy-going one. I can remember being so overwhelmed and nervous getting out of the house with your sister when she was your age, but you are so chill (and I am WAY more tolerant of meltdowns!) that you are easy-peasy. 

Nights have started to change for you a little bit. We are still trying to figure you out, but it seems like you are trending towards an earlier bedtime. We used to put you in the swing to get a nap from 8ish to about 9ish. These days, though, it seems like you're not into sleeping in the swing at night. If I put you down in bed, though (and get you swaddled and do the bedtime routine) you zonk out nicely. I was worried that an earlier "bedtime" would mess up your night sleep, but so far we continue to be the parents who hit the night sleep JACKPOT. You gave us a 12 hour stretch this week. WHAT? What baby (less than 3 months old) actually DOES that?!?!? Don't get me wrong, we are VERY thankful for you being a super sleeper. God really did know exactly what our family needed when he created you to be a part of it. Your mellow personality and awesome sleep habits keep me sane!

Wednesday was 'fun'. Ellie was being pretty crabby. We hung around here, and I had my hands very full! I think her last molar is finally popping through, but I was about ready to sell her to the circus. You did help distract her, though, which was awesome. 

Thursday I got a little bit of time with you as we went to the breastfeeding coalition meeting. You just wanted to cuddle and nurse the whole meeting, which was fine by me, I did have to laugh when someone was talking about hands in the mouth being a hunger cue. You always want your hands in your mouth, hungry or not! Since you're not all that into pacis, I think you might eventually turn into a thumb sucker. Or maybe it is just that you've found your hands and they are this novel discovery. Either way, you love sucking on those hands. You're also finding your feet these days, which keeps me busy. You, Miss Kickypants, are getting your socks off like no one's business, so I am constantly chasing Truffle around taking baby socks from him.

Back to the coaltion meeting...we got you weighed too. Are you ready for this? 12lbs 6oz. WOW! You are growing like a weed. I worry about you not getting enouh to eat since you sleep so much, but apparently that is not a problem since you are gaining like a rockstar. 

I still can't believe that you've ONLY been here 11 weeks, but also I can't believe that time is going so fast. You are growing and changing so much that I often just want to hit the pause button and enjoy you being this little for just a bit longer. But, I know as you grow you'll get to be even more fun, so it is a balance. Either way, I love you SO much and I am so glad you are part of our crazy family!

I love you so much!

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 weeks

Dear Baby Scarlett,

It is double digits for you this week, baby girl! You are getting so big, I can hardly stand it. And you are so much more interactive now. You LOVE playing on the kick-n-play mat and you talk up a storm too. I love that I can start to see your adorable little personality.

So, what happened this week? Well, starting with last Friday night, you and I had a little 'snuggle-cation'. Sometimes I feel like I don't get to spend enough time with just you, so I am working on getting better about asking Daddy to take Ellie so we can go have some bonding time. So that is just what we did. Daddy and Ellie went to play and pick up dinner and you and I just went to lay around on the bed and snuggle and spend some much needed time together. I loved it, and I hope that we will be doing that kind of thing more often.

Friday night, though? You were a CRAB. First of all, you didn't want to GO to sleep. Then you woke up in the middle of the night. Yes, I feel like a brat for complaining about one wake up, but I am so used to getting a full night's sleep, that it threw me for a loop and made for very tired parents! I'm very lucky that Daddy happily takes the late-night shifts and I can take the early morning ones so we aren't complete zombies. 

Then, Saturday we met up with some friends for breakfast with the Easter Bunny. You did awesome your first time meeting the bunny and also had lots of snuggles for everyone there. 

The weather is starting to get nicer, so we are enjoying lots of walks too. You usually love being in the stroller and clonk out as soon as we start moving. 

Sunday we had the usual church-gym day. You actually came to the gym for the first time in quite awhile. Aunt Andrea LOVED snuggling you and you were asleep on her shoulder in no time. It was nice to have everyone back at the gym and things back to semi-normal. When we got home, though, all hell broke loose. Dad had to stop and grab that gallon of milk we had forgotten, so I had you and your overtired sister. Let's just say that Dad walked in the door to me nursing both of you just to keep my sanity!

Monday was low-key. You were back to sleeping like normal (thank GOODNESS) but we all needed some time to hang out and recuperate. We had a ot of fun playing, like usual. You are getting to be a rockstar at tummy time these days. You are NOT a fan f floor time, though. You'd much rather be sitting up in someone's lap. I keep joking that you are going to be sitting before you are rolling over because you have NO interest in being down flat at all. Oh, and your legs? I think I've said this before, but they are FREAKISHLY strong. You can stand on your own, just using us for balance. And you've been doing that for a couple weeks. What baby does that? Just my strong little one!

Tuesday we had a very busy day. Aunt Mandy came down to see you guys! You gave her some awesome cuddles and we all went out to lunch. You didn't sleep though lunch this time, but even when you woke up, you were content just sitting there, watching and taking everything in. 

Then, I had a meeting so you had to go to Grandma and Grandpa's. You were a sweet girl, but also showed them how you don't really like to wait for food. Since you don't get many bottles, you are definitely used to eating EXACTLY when you want to, and so you made warming up a bottle for you a little 'fun'. I am so glad both my girls are so patient!

Wednesday and Thursday were both days spent around the house, enjoying the amazing weather. It feels so good to get out of the house with you two! This winter has been so rough. It is funny, even just walking around the neighborhood puts us all in a much better mood. We've been getting stopped lots by neighbors who haven't met you yet. Many of them didn't even really realize you were here! Being holed up in the house this nasty winter has NOT been fun, and I am very glad it is coming to an end. 

 Oh, and one more thing. That Daddy of yours? A complete mushball for you. You two are so adorable together. He loves laying with you when you are playing. And he can calm you down almost instantly by touching your cheek. But my FAVORITE thing is to eavesdrop on you two when he is getting you ready for bed. Hearing him talking to you and making you laugh and coo when you are getting your baby massage is the sweetest thing. He takes such pride in doing the bedtime routine with both you and Ellie and it is just so stinking sweet. And then to see him praying with you as he walks you into the bedroom? That makes me all melty. You are one loved little girl, Miss Scarlett. We are so incredibly glad that you came to be part of our family, as crazy as it can often be! We love you so much and just couldn't imagine a better 10-week-old.

I love you!

Friday, April 4, 2014

9 weeks

My little Smoosh,

You are 9 weeks old today! And I have got to tell you, I fall more and more in love with you every day. We have some Mommy and Scarlett time planned for tonight, and I am looking forward to that. I am trying to make a more conscious effort to spend dedicated time with you. You are so smiley and just love sitting up, face to face, and talking to me. You have a LOT to say. Between you and your sister, I think that Daddy and I will be lucky if we can even get a word in edgewise as you get a bit older!

This was a CRAZY busy week! Saturday morning we packed you and your sister up in the car and headed with Grandma and Grandpa to Wisconsin so you could meet some of your extended family. You did awesome in the car and gave your Great Grandma lots of sweet cuddles. You even did a good job tuning out your sister, who had a BLAST running around the house chasing after Maddy and Carter. I can only imagine the havoc you will wreak when can join in their shenanigans!

We really are lucky that you and Ellie are both so awesome in the car. You were happy to sleep most of the trip, and Ellie was happy to watch "Frozen" and "Beauty".

We got back late Sunday night and Monday morning came much too soon. I could have used a pajama day with you two, but that wasn't happening. We had your 2 month doctor's appointment, so we were up and at 'em early to drop Ellie off at Grandma's and then to get going. Like I wrote about in the other post, you are doing GREAT, but the shots were pretty rough on you. They were rough  on me too. This was the first doctor's appointment for either of you girls that Daddy had to miss, and I think I could have used his support! I was happy to cuddle you, but those little whimpers as you were sleeping were just daggers in my heart. You are normally so content that I hated to see you uncomfortable. Luckily, the weather was pretty nice, so we enjoyed some time outside that afternoon, and even took you kiddos to the park that night.

Tuesday the weather turned a bit cooler, and it was REALLY windy. None the less, I needed to get my booty moving, so I took you guys out for a run. Oh man, it was TOUGH running with that double stroller in the wind. In good news, though, both you kiddos didn't seem to mind. You were both zonked out by the time we got home. Funny girls!

Wednesday was more of the same. We went for a couple more walks and another run. I like being outside and apparently you do too, because it will usually calm you right down!

Thursday I had a doctor's appointment, so you guys hung out with Grandma in the morning. You showed her your funny new trick...going from SCREAMING to zonked out in about 2 seconds. You really are starting to fight sleep like that. I'm not sure why, you are such an adorable little sleepy princess.

It is hard to believe that I could possibly be so lucky to be the Mommy of the two most beautiful, funny, and smart girls on the planet. But you princesses are! I just love you so much. Those sweet cuddles of yours are the best and I am so lucky that I am the one who gets to steal kisses on those chubby little cheeks anytime I want.

I love you so much, Baby Scarlett!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Scarlett's 2 month appointment

I hate shots. Really, I do.

My poor calm girl did not do well with her shots today.The screaming when she was getting them was bad enough. But then when we got home, there was random screaming from time to time. But the WORST? Well, she was extra cuddly, so she curled up on my chest and snoozed, but every so often she'd let out a little whimper. Poor baby. It was one of the most heartbreaking things ever to see my sweet Smoosh in pain, and that Tylenol could not kick in fast enough.

In good news, the check up went well. She was 23 inches tall (77th percentile) 11 pounds on the nose (44th percentile) and had a head circumference of 15 inches (48th percentile). She gave nurse Angie so many smiles that she is in love with Miss Scarlett too.

In good news, however, Ellie was a super big sister and gave Scarlett's Boo-boos lots of kisses:

Is it bad that I am already dreading the 4 month appointment?

Friday, March 28, 2014

8 weeks

Dear Smooshy,

You are 8 weeks old today! So close to two months, and you get more and more fun with each passing day. I love how you interact, and that grin of yours just makes my day!

So what were we up to this week? Well Saturday you had your very first trip to West End Bakery! Yum! I think you will enjoy it more when you can actually enjoy the treats. But Daddy, Ellie and I all enjoyed a donut, and we picked up a birthday cake for me. Then, after nap time, we went looking for some outdoor toys for you and your sister. Your sister for sure needs some things to play on, and I want to spend lots of time outside with you guys this summer, so I am hoping that we can find some good stuff for you girls!

Sunday was your dedication at church! There were a lot less babies this time than when we had the dedication for Ellie, which was nice.

And afterward we went to brunch with Grandma and Grandpa Zaher. Ellie chowed down on blueberry pancakes while you gave sweet cuddles to everyone, my sweet little smoosh!

After that, I had to go to the gym, so you stayed with Daddy and Ellie. It was kind of a rough day, since Ellie did not want to nap. But, you guys did do some playing together. Nothing warms by heart more than seeing you two interacting. Your sister ADORES you. We are constantly hearing "Oh, bayBEE" from her. It is SO sweet. I hope you two continue to play together as nicely as you do now!

And your Daddy? Wrapped around your little finger! Of course. But I do have the sweetest story from Sunday. Daddy had been with you two all day. Your sister didn't nap well, and when I came home it was pretty clear that Daddy had his hands full for the night. So I took you, fed you, and got you snoozing in your swing. Then I went to take a shower. When I got out, you were zonked on Daddy's chest. So, I was concerned you had woken up fussy and Dad wasn't getting his much needed break. Nope! Daddy told me your blanket had fallen off and when he went over to put it back on you, you looked so adorable and cuddly that he just had to snuggle you. As he put it "I had a chest in need of a Smooshy." Awe! Talk about melting!

Monday we hung around home for the most part. We did get out to take a nice walk, but other than that, it was just some much needed time with my two favorite girls, and my favorite fluffball.

Your sister, however, had figured out that when I have my hands full with you, she can misbehave. This started Monday, when she climbed on the hood of the power wheels car. Then, I was changing your diaper and Dad got home. As soon as he stepped in the door, I heard "Ellorie Mae!" Yup, she was standing on the coffee table. What??? That little monkey. And THEN, she climbed into your seat, while it was in the stroller. Phew. That little climber is going to give me a run for my money. Don't watch her, okay Scarlett? I don't know if I can take two little monkeys! 

You are certainly taking after your sister in one way. You are both crabby little bunnies. I love this side-by-side of you two. What do you have against being dressed up like bunnies?

Tuesday brought more SNOW. Ick. We are all done with the snow. I want to to be warm so we can enjoy outside time. We had to run some errands, and then we stopped by Grandma and Grandpa's house since Ellie woke up asking to "swim." That means I got a little extra time to cuddle with you while your sister played fishy. I love that!

Wednesday we needed to do a couple more errands. You were a doll on the eraands, as usual, and your sister good too! Yay! I love good errand days. It makes things so much better for all of us. 

Then we went to the gym. Your sister, the goof, played with Jack's tools. 

And you snuggled LOTS with Aunt Andrea. I didn't think I was going to be able to get you back. She is just magic with all you kiddos. Truff loves her, Ellie loves her, and apparently you love her. I officially need to win the lotto and have her come be our nanny.

Thursday, you had your first road trip! I had to go to Grand Rapids for a meeting and you tagged along. You were perfect in the car, you barely made a peep! Then at the meeting you were content to snooze on my chest most of the day. You were a great 'helper'

Ellie spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa and had a ball. They went to run around the mall. She even got to ride on the rides there. They did, however, spill the beans that they can be turned on with money and now I don't think she will be content just climbing on them. But, I understand...look how happy she was!

That brings us to today. I am exhausted from yesterday and we've got a boatload of packing to do for this weekend. But even when things get crazy like this, it is easy for me to remember that I am blessed with the two best little girls ever, so it is worth all the crazy. I love you so much, little squish, and I hope you know how much your little smiles make me smile. You are an amazing little girl, and I am excited that I get to have a front row seat in getting to see you grow and change.

I love you, Scarlett!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Learning to listen...and talk

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that my Ellie-bean is a full fledged TODDLER. A running, climbing, talking, TODDLER.

And the truth is, I often forget that the little baby I held 18 months ago is not so little anymore. And I still try to treat her like such. And, of course, that is NOT okay with Little Miss Independent. But honestly, we both are learning a lot.

Just like she's learning to talk, I've had to learn to talk a lot more. She wants to know what is going on. And it prevents so many battles when I just talk to her. For example, if I explain to her that we are going to go get her ready for her nap, I get and enthusiastic "Yeah-Yeah-Yeah!" But if I just grab her and take her to her room...meltdown. She needs to know what's going on. But I forget, SO OFTEN. I hurry. I get caught up, and don't want to explain.

And then there is listening. Heaven knows this girl needs to learn something about listening. Of course, I write this as we are deep in the trenched of a climbing stage. At least I hope it is a stage. It started Monday morning. I was nursing Scarlett, heard a giggle, looked behind the couch, and Ellie was standing on the hood of her Cobra. She wouldn't listen, so the car got moved into the dining room. Then, Ryan gets home from work, just as I was changing Scarlett, and found Ellie sitting on the coffee table. What? Can't move that in the dining room. We spent the entire night trying to get her to not climb onto it every 3 seconds (oh, when we weren't trying terribly hard to keep from laughing. Because it is FUNNY. She is so proud of herself and she looks like a seal getting up there.) And then Tuesday? I am trying to get them out of the house when I find Ellie sitting in Scarlett's car seat. No big deal, except it was snapped into the stroller. Sigh. So she had climbed the stroller and gotten into the seat. Her listening skills...not fantastic. But mine? They need to improve too. I am constantly amazed at Ellie when I just listen to her. Those times when I am not stuck on amusing her are incredible. She does her best talking while not distracted, so I really have to take the time to make a conscious effort to not overwhelm her and just to LISTEN.

I'm glad that Ellie is patient with me as I learn how to be the Mom of a toddler, and even more so as I learn to be the Mom of THIS toddler. I love it, but it is significantly different than any learning I've ever done in the past. I only hope I can be as patient with her as she is learning and growing.