Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowy Days

This week has seen all sorts of weather from sunny and 45' to snowy and below freezing. We here have enjoyed watching the weather unfold from inside our toasty home - but we decided to venture out one morning to enjoy the freshly fallen fun for a bit. :) Mae got to experience snow for the first time sleep through going out in the frigid temperatures bundled up so tightly that she wished there was a fan on her! Technically this was the second snow of Mae's life - the first night she was home it snowed over 5" but by the time we awoke it was pouring so there was no going out to experience it. However, this snow stuck around a bit longer and so we were able to enjoy it.


Ace and Mae got all bundled up and I fit back into my regular snow jacket (yipee!) and we headed out. Ace was excited to tell sister that 'this is snow sister'' and showed it to her - then scampered off to go stop in the sloshiness that was melting on the patio. A few family photos and then he was off to play and Mae in her bouncy chair enjoyed the brisk air on her face for a few more minutes.


We spent thirty minutes playing around (Mae got tucked back inside for most of that) and then we all headed in to thaw.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thirty Months Old


Happy Half Birthday, Ace!

Ace is officially 2.5! It just seems like a few months ago we were celebrating eighteen months, time certainly flies when you're having fun!

Newities of the last six months: singing, sleeping all night in his own bed exclusively, trips to California Adventure, pumpkin carving, trick or treating, backfloating, TWO nights away from mom and dad, a new sister, nightmares, and "the questions".

Yes lots of new milestones and things have been accomplished and learned in this last six months. Ace's vocabulary and curiosity continue to astound us daily. He knows how to transition words a current favorite quote from CARS "It's creeping me out!" When I asked him what he was talking about (as he was saying this when the movie was not playing) he responded "Lightening McQueen was creeped out when Mater was driving backwards." It just amazes me that he knows this stuff - it's not like we sat him down and taught him past and present tense, but he certainly has it down. It's just down right impressive how he knows so much. Partially because he listens and asks when he's wanting to know more. "What are you telling me?" is a common phrase and yes THE QUESTIONS have recently made their appearance. "The questions"? If you have a toddler, work with toddlers, or have seen them on tv... you know what I mean: "WHY?" "Because _______" "WHY?" We try really hard to not say "Because I said so." But man is that a challenge after the fifth why.

Sleep in the last six months has been some super highs and some recent discouraging lows. Around this age is when nightmares develop in toddlers. Nightmares also develop when their is major change to a toddler's world... so the combined factor of age and a new sister - Ace has embraced unwillingly as the rest of us: nightmares... nearly every night. Which also results in the stubborn and fear of not wanting to sleep at all because of fear and resistance of more nightmares to come. It really isn't the best time for this onset, and we are all dealing with them one sleepless night at a time. I am hopeful he'll outgrow them sooner than some kids, but we'll see. I'm still thrilled that he sleeps in his own bed every night! That still is a major accomplishment - even if he's reverted back to waking 2-5 times a night - he stays in his own bed and doesn't sleep in ours anymore.

Healthwise we've had a decent six months. In late September he had a cluster of stomach bugs that affected him while we were visiting in California, another one got to him in November that made for one sleepless night for all of us, and a random fluke of vomit on New Year's Day. He was completely healthy the entire month of December and so far this winter has really only had one cold and that was pretty mild. I'm hopeful for this trend to continue so that we can all remain pretty healthy while his baby sister is still young.

Ace's love for reading continues to abound. He often would prefer to read stories to playing or watching tv. It's great. We recently have started to read a "longer" book at the dinner table so that he has to recall from memory the previous chapters. I started this off with Stuart Little - since each chapter is a small story by itself more or less. He claims that he doesn't recall what previously happened to Stuart when we ask him at the table before starting the next chapter, but then he'll tell me all about it when not prompted at a different time. Ace's favorite book right now is "Cuddle" and we read it nearly every night. He also has a devotions book that I acquired for him this fall that are devotions for Toddlers. Which allows for us to discuss God and Jesus surrounding a variety of topics and it provides him with a small prayer to say every night on such topic. It's great to see him inquire more about Jesus; asking what he is made of, where does he live, etc.. When he is scared he wants to pray to Jesus to help him feel safe, and he loves to pray for his family. It's wonderful to see him learning and growing in the Lord.

Ace has developed a love of puzzles and enjoys building his big floor puzzles whenever we'll let him. I'd say he helps and can do about 25% of them at this stage. His board puzzles he can do entirely by himself. He also is very much in love with Lego building - and the destruction of the items built. For about 2 months now he's been asking for more legos for his birthday. It's pretty adorable to see him thinking ahead and I am on the look out for cheap duplos. :) Another favorite in these last few months has been playdoh! He loves to get it out and make all sorts of different things. And most of all he loves to run around! He still loves to go on walks with his dad and obtain 'walk rocks' with him. They walk pretty far in our neighborhood and beyond. They have a good time together.

Teeth wise we're almost done reporting on his teeth count (until they start to fall out!) his bottom two molars are almost all the way in - and so all he has left to come in are his top two year old molars. Excellent! He has a dentist appointment on the 3rd of March, so hopefully he gets a good report. He does well to brush and floss his teeth every night.

Often Ace can be found singing around the house while playing by himself. He currently enjoys singing "Twinkle Little Star" as well as "ABCs" Which he says "QRS... LMNOP... QRS... LMNOP" Over and over again. It's cute. He also sings to help calm sister down or requests that I sing to do the same. He asks for me to sing to him as well including the "Wee little man" song - as in Zacchaeus was a wee little man... He also currently enjoys "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and of course "Jesus Loves Me" we sing songs to him (and with him) before bed. It's very sweet.

Ace has had a wonderful six months and continues to grow and thrive and 99% of the time be a very sweet boy. He's stretching and growing in his world and finding his way, but he's doing so respectfully and lovingly as he, a two year old can. I look forward to these next six months leading up to our new adventure of THREE! Happy Half Birthday, Bear!

Want a review of all of Ace's milestone 'birthdays'? When he was two? Eighteen months? One month?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Smiling

Nothing brings me more joy than to see my children smile. I love the very first smiles (even those that are involuntary.) I loved the very first smiles of Ace. They were hard to capture at the beginning because they came and went so fast...

But as he got older his smile got wider and his excitement came shining through!


Then he learned to make faces and smile 'on command' - I love to see him grow and learn and express himself...

AND NOW we get to enjoy it all again. YAY!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grandparents

Mae and Ace are super blessed kids. They have three grandmas and one loving Pop Pop. Ace loves any chance he gets to see any and all of them and in the last six weeks has had the great pleasure to spend time with all of them. Mae also is getting an early start on loving her grandparents - as they all made special trips to come and see her!

As mentioned before Gran and Pop Pop graciously watched Ace for the two day and nights that we were in the hospital having Mae. He had a wonderful time and they were the first (and only) visitors we had to the hospital only a few short hours after Mae was born. They were able to hold, cuddle and love her within the first few hours and see her very tiny self!

Grammie (my mom) came up the first of February for a week. It was a joy to have her here and to help with Ace who developed a cold over that first weekend she was here. So not only did she get to squeeze and love the new baby - she was a tremendous help in helping keep Ace the very helpful and loving big brother away from his sister until his symptoms disappeared. Thankful he had a mild cold, and Mae did not catch it. We had a great time with my mom here and she was able to see Ace participate in swim lessons while she was here as well!


Grandma Carol, along with Loving Husband's sister and brother in law were just here this last weekend. It was great to have Ace and Mae see their Grandma Carol, Aunt and Uncle. Ace loves all three of them and had a blast with so many captive audience members at his whim for the two days. :) Grandma Carol of course was thrilled to finally meet her newest grandchild. She had hoped to come the last weekend in January, but sadly came down with a cold and had to postpone until this weekend and come with Aunt and Uncle.


What blessings my kids have in these 4 grandparents and also in their Aunts and Uncles! Such love surrounds them and they are truly blessed. I hope one day soon they come to recognise that as well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rolling Over!

Mae is a rollin' from her tummy to her back! I reported a while back that at 9 days old she rolled over - she didn't really do it again for a while. While I won't diminish her accomplishments by saying it was a fluke that one time... it wasn't a mastered skill. Granted I'd still not say she's mastered it... but she is doing it on a semi regular basis. At 37 days old it was captured on film after two previous times doing it! Being a tad camera shy, her father helped remind her how to do it. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Playing!

Mae just shy of one month was introduced to her play mat! Oh boy what fun was that. :) She is starting to reach and grab at things, and her leg muscles are also really strong. She obviously isn't pulling herself up into a standing position or anything crazy advanced like that. However, when Loving Husband holds her up, she can put her weight on her legs and supports her own weight pretty well. :) Go baby girl go! I suspect we'll have another early walker on our hands at the end of the summer this year!



There was a lot of looking around...
Reaching...

Playing...

Standing...

What fun was has!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Three Hour Tour...

I always thought (like many) that the supplies, wardrobe, and accouterments that the passengers of the S.S. Minnow brought along was absurd. After all it was merely a three hour tour. Why on earth would anyone pack their entire wardrobe enough for outfit changes to last 98 episodes? I mean really, it's only three hours!? However, I now think I have a bit more insight now on what those three hours truly meant to some of those passengers that day. They must have been terrified of the sea, setting out to conquer a fear (too bad that didn't work out so well, with the whole being deserted on an island and all...) because a simple three hours would certainly feel everlasting to someone with a fear of a boat, water, the ocean, slapstick comedic set-ups repeated over and over again...

Why on earth am I rambling about Gilligan's Island and why on earth am I fixated on the portion involving the theme song's 'three hour tour'? Well, it might be because pondering those thoughts is far more pleasant than what this mommy endured last night. I'd say that for the first time in Ace's nearly 30 months of life - I was faced last night with a three hour stand-off of toddler tenacity and torture. Yes, last night Ace - who to his credit has overall being doing wonderfully in the sleep department - decided that he was not going to sleep and the stalling game began.

However, this stalling game wasn't met with calm requests for water, prayers, etc.. no - Ace went a different route. Compliance until I left the room, followed by fake tears asking for "prayers to calm him down" You see in recent weeks he has been met with a challenge to overcome: a fear of loud/unknown noises. To be fair he's had a negative association with anything that sounds like an "alarm" because when he was younger our fire alarm went off because of the steam in the shower and it terrified him. In the past few months a neighbor got a 'new' car and it has a faulty alarm... that goes off every night! SUPER! So typically once before he fell asleep - it would go off, he would fuss, we'd reassure him everything was ok... he'd fall asleep. Rinse and repeat. The alarm phobia was escalated further around the time of Mae's birth due to a house alarm going off... for the most part he's done very well getting over this.

Occasionally though he'll have a nightmare, that was two nights ago. He woke at midnight after a nightmare, swearing there was a noise... there was not (I was still awake, not even the car alarm had sounded.) Loving Husband got him out of bed, showing him throughout the house there was no disturbing or scary noise to be heard and then he asked to sleep in our bed. He stayed in our room for about 30 minutes, unable to fall asleep because his sister (who also sleeps in our bed) is quite grunty and its not conducive for most people to fall asleep to. Loving Husband scooped him up and took him back to his room, Ace was ok with this. Then the crying at any noise for no reason began. Aceand his dad would say prayers, reassurances would be provided, and again rinse and repeat. There was also some correction on the false crying as well. We both agreed that a good portion of this behavior was unacceptable, but the fear he had woken up with... and subsequently psyched himself out with was real. Our final resolve at 3am... was that Loving Husband would sleep in Ace's room on his floor. That resulted in sleep for the family.

Last night with Loving Husband out of the house, I was in charge of bedtime. Ace happily complied, went to bed, no fuss... and as soon as I was downstairs the stalling-fussing began. I immediately went up there and didn't even entertain the 'what is wrong' angle of his cries - he hadn't been alone long enough to get scared by anything and upon my return to his room rather than expressing what was likely the real issue (scared to be alone) he went with the 'I heard a noise' - nu-uh, not playing that game. I explained to him that wasn't acceptable behavior... and then more lovingly assured him that he was safe, Jesus would protect him, mom was here and would take care of him, and that everything was a-ok. I left him happy and calm. Less than a minute later 'crying' again. I called up to him that everything was ok, and to go to sleep. They persisted. I went back up and he said that he didn't like the noise his heater was making ... uh huh... repeat 2 more trips with equally nonsensical stories and after 50 minutes of the fussing/wailing/screaming I went in one more time told him I loved him, told him the story of the boy who cried wolf, and that I would not be returning to his room the rest of the night, good night.

From 7:50 until 8:23 there was wailing, sobbing, screaming, and his final plea asking me to wipe his nose... I almost gave in to that one since it was legitimate... but I did not and he finally fell asleep. 20 minutes later I went up to find him, tucked in his bed to his chin sound asleep. Siigh finally relief! All done......

.......until 10:30 when he woke again almost without skipping a beat, as if he hadn't just slept for two hours!? And the wails began again - although this time I was upstairs in bed getting ready to get me and Mae to sleep. So it was FAR louder. This time I was far less patient there was yelling, I was crying, and I went in one more time told him if he did it again I was going to shut his door. At 11pm that occurred - shortly after that he got out of bed (something he never had done yet, and rarely EVER does in general) and I got up and sent him back to his room. Door shut again. His final plea this go around was for me to turn his fan on (I had turned his heater off at some point so he had no white noise, something he always sleeps with...) I went back in and turned his fan on low. He calmly said 'Thanks, mom.' and I said 'You're Welcome, Ace. I love you. Good night.' and then I started to shut the door and I told him that I wouldn't latch it... and that was the end of it at 11:30.

Three hours of WAILING, SCREAMING, and sheer ridiculousness... for the first time my son was truly an unruly, disrespectful toddler. I hope to God that is an exception rather than the rule. We are certainly going to do everything in our power and decision making ability to ensure that is the case. However, the majority of that decision rests in the hands of our two year old... I hope that this three hour tour wasn't the foretelling of our future and desertion on the Island of Toddler Terror!

Siblings


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Waterfront

On a chilly day while Grammie was visiting, we ventured out to the waterfront. Having been cooped up in the house for a few days this was a nice break from the indoors, albeit a chilly one.

Ace had a great time chasing all the ducks around the area. I think he chased each individual duck until they all had moved. He wanted to say 'hi' to the ducks and they didn't want to say hi back. He was a tad disappointed in that fact.

We walked around the water and the boys had a good time throwing rocks into the water. It was a good time. Mae enjoyed getting herself some vitamin D.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Month Old


Our little girl is one month old! Doesn't seem possible that 31 days ago we welcomed our tiny girl into my arms and making our family of four complete. Mae has been doing really well and is growing and developing wonderfully! Mae's stats at her one month wellness check up today were great. She weighs 8lbs (17.14%) and is 20.5" long (27.94%) and her head is 36cm (24.38%) - overall she is tinier than Ace at one month.

New first this past week: smiling, meeting Grammie, playing on her playmat, her first Superbowl, her first trip to the waterfront, and her first trip to the zoo.

Mae is continues to do ok with sleep - waking 2-3 times after she finally goes down. Getting her down for sleep has proven to be a mild challenge. It takes nearly an hour for her to cease being grunty enough to stir herself back awake. Hoping that she continues to improve. The other night she slept for nearly six hours. It was excellent!

Mobility wise she is doing really well with head control and scooting across the floor with pushing off of people's hands. She also is starting to grab at things and bat at them with her hands. It's really cute to watch her be aware of things around her.

This week is the first week that she's really starting to smile at us. She is adorable! She also really and truly calms down when she hears her big brother singing her a song or talking to her. It's really sweet.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

First Adventure, Just Us Three!

It has been wonderful to have Loving Husband home on paternity leave for such a long time, although with that drawing to a close the obviousness of being on my own with my two babes is becoming more and more a mandate and less of an 'option' - so I decided to give it a go last week. Our first adventure just the three of us was to Babies R Us.

Loading into the car is easy enough and I actually have done that several times with trips to drive-thrus for food and pumpkin bread (Starbucks) - this however was my first 'out of the car' experience juggling the two kids. Ace did very well and was a good listener. He wanted to stay out of the cart at first and help push and that was fine for a while.

I spent a fair amount of time looking at stroller options. We are wanting to have a single stroller in the car in addition to the double one, so that I don't have to haul the massive beast of the double stroller out all the time. So I need to find something that is small enough to fit in the trunk of my car with the double stroller... and I'd like something a bit more 'full of features' than a simple umbrella stroller. Not sure if that will happen or not. So he got a bit bored being in one area for a lengthy period of time, so he agreed to sit in the stroller for a while. There isn't much space to shop with the car seat and Ace in the front seat... so I suppose that will cut back on my shopping a bit... naaaah. ;-)


He was such a good listener I told him he could pick out a toy, so we headed over to that area of the store. He found himself a train and then we continued to shop. We came to the baby toys and he saw something he wanted to get for sister. I explained that we were only going to get the toy for him today, and he said he wanted to get the toy for sister. I further explained we were only buying one toy, and so he handed me back his train that he had spent a good 5 minutes picking out. He really wanted to buy the toy for sister. It melted my heart. I pointed out that if we got the toy for sister that he wouldn't get his train and he said "That's ok mom." so we went and put the train back, he turned around and gave sister her toy "Here Sister, play with it!" I was so touched by his selflessness, I took him to the book aisle so that he could pick out a book (after all that isn't a toy, so it still held true to my 'one toy' declaration earlier) and he smiled and said "Thanks, mom!"

We checked out and headed out of the store after a successful first outing, just the three of us!

Since then we've ventured to a handful of other places and we're doing just fine. Ace is a very good helper and listener. I find it cute when we're in the car and sister is upset he says "Calm down, Sister. It's ok, Sister." Partially he wants the volume to decrease, but he also really is concerned for her. It's sweet.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three Weeks Old

Mae is three weeks old (and one day... I'm a tad delayed in my blog posting.) It's hard to believe that she is 22 days old. This last week has once again flown by.

Every day she becomes more aware and is slowly becoming more aware and awake in her surroundings. Which also means she's less content in the car seat all the time. She now requires to be sufficiently fed and burped otherwise she voices her protest quite earnestly! Oh boy howdy. Our family of four adventured out to dinner one night and on the drive home, she was voicing her starvation with QUITE the volume. Very reminiscent of Ace's wails in the car. Hopefully, Mae's wailing will be far more infrequent. We actually had to pull over on the 10 minute drive home to stop and feed her, she was quite ravenous. Goodness...

Sleeping continues to be going well. She occasionally has an off night where she wakes more frequently or takes a tad longer to go down to sleep, but for the most part she remains a good sleeper. I hope the trend continues. Ace when he was small was also a good sleeper... but after the newborn haze wore off... that all changed. I'm prayerful that for Mae things will be more seamless on the sleep front.

Mae has been enjoying more tummy time this past week, and interacting with her dad more and more... as she comes to realize that she doesn't officially need to be eating ALL the time when she is conscious. :)

The handful of times that we have gone out to eat, Mae has done wonderfully. She either sleeps through the entire thing, or does very well to enjoy a snack and then continue to snooze afterwards. She's very manageable to take out to eat, and we've done it several times in this past week.

This past week she has been extremely gassy and spitty. It doesn't seem correlated with food that I am eating though, so I think it's just the tiny intestines trying to work through all that food that she's eating.

She is doing really well holding her head up while looking at mom, dad, or brother... and loves to stare at us intently while we're awake. She completely has my glare that is apparently genetic. It's pretty cute now, but I suspect come 12, I won't find it as endearing. ;-)

Mae is doing great and we are so blessed. Ace continues to do great as a big brother. He loves to help. Today, I asked him to go get me one of his diapers so that we could get ready to leave the house, and he came down with one for him and one for sister. It was so sweet. He truly does think about her and wants to hug her, hold her, and help as much as he is allowed. We're all doing well... but as always would love more sleep. :)