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Friday, July 25, 2014

Late night at the grocery store

The morning started with a crying baby, and it looked like the evening was going to end on the same note. It was just after 9pm and I had to run to the grocery store. Kev was finally home with Aspen and I hoped that after nursing Linc, he'd doze off in the car. I don't know why I hoped that... it is becoming quite clear that I am not going to have kids who sleep in the car. Aspen rarely ever did, even as an infant. And she certainly doesn't now.

Regardless, I hoped. But Linc stayed awake on the drive and he definitely stayed awake in the store. He screamed and screamed, no matter how I tried to soothe him. He still doesn't always take a binky, and it was proving useless that night.

In the checkout, the bagger told me to enjoy having a little crying baby while I did, because some day I would miss it. I told her I most certainly would not miss having a little crying baby who screams and holds his breath until he turns purple. She insisted that I would even miss the crying. I told her I didn't miss it when my now-(almost)-four-year-old stopped crying incessantly, and I doubt I'll miss it when this one grows out of it, too.

I don't know why I didn't just nod and smile in the first place, because this person was convinced that I will melt into a puddle of sad when my baby grows up. I should have just let her happily believe that and gone on my merry way with my purple-faced kid.

It was so ironic to have that conversation on that night, though. Earlier in the day at weekly park group I'd talked with other moms about this- about how we say such stupid things to people. One of the worst is when someone comments on how we should cherish every moment with our kids while they're young. Yes, I understand the sentiment, but it doesn't make much sense when offered in the midst of a public meltdown.

Some people are baby people, and some people are not. I am not a baby person, although I truly am enjoying Linc's infancy more than I enjoyed Aspen's (and it has nothing to do with the child; it has everything to do with me. If we were keeping track, I'd say the kids have been equally challenging, just in different ways). I do look forward to when Linc is older, and we're done with night-feedings and teething and transitioning to solid foods and all that... I look forward to him walking and talking and playing with Aspen. I think it'll be great when he's as self-sufficient as Aspen and I can watch him play and create his own little world with toys and books and his favorite shows.

However, as with Aspen's infancy, I'll do my best to be present and experience all the little moments we have now. I'll try not to be so focused on the future that I miss out on today. But I wouldn't be opposed to skipping over what appears to be colic in my six-week-old.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Best friends forever


I'm such a control freak that I forget Aspen can help me. I mean, she is always running and grabbing something for me, or feeding the dog for me, or doing something for herself while I hold the boy... but I realized this week there's more she can do. She can get her brother to sleep! Sometimes I need a reminder that someone else can do these kinds of things for Lincoln. I don't always have to be the one feeding/burping/swaddling/soothing/bathing/etc...


After a long, adventurous day with only one significant nap, Lincoln was tuckered out upon returning home. He was fussy and yet Aspen still asked to hold him. So I plopped Linc on her lap and showed her how perfectly her finger will fit in his binky, making it more appealing for him to suck on. She tenderly held that in his mouth while watching her show and he conked right out. It was too cute.

I love how much she loves her brother and I'm so glad she still wants to help all the time. I guess when your sleep schedule isn't interrupted, it's easy to think babies are the best thing ever.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Realizing limitations


Since Lincoln was born, my relationship with Aspen has improved so much. I mean, we had a good one before but it was strained significantly while I was pregnant. I think the anticipation of his arrival got to her, too. She was just as ragey as I was about the length of pregnancy, and all the uncertainties that came along with it.


It feels like she and I are on a team again, doing what we can to get this other tiny human to make it through another day. We're working together to keep him from screaming too much, and to get him to start smiling at us soon. Aspen has gotten so much better at spending time by herself while I rock Linc to sleep in another room. She no longer enters a room talking at the top of her lungs, either! Oh, the progress we're making with this toddler.




Because Aspen is such a gem, I feel a lot of anguish about how she's spending her summer. I know it's not realistic to expect that our social schedule wouldn't change after adding a second child into the mix, but it's still a very hard adjustment for me. I want us to be able to go and do all the fun things we used to, but I just can't swing it some days. Aspen has been pretty content with at least weekly park play dates, our library visits, and trips to the grocery store, but I wish I could regularly do more. It is really hard for me to admit that I'm too tired or too stressed to meet up with friends as much as we used to.

Last week I cancelled two play dates and while it was the best thing for us to stay home and try to get some rest (and by "us" I mean ME), I felt so badly telling Aspen we were no longer going to do XYZ as we had planned. Not to mention there are often outings I haven't even told her about that I secretly cancel when Linc is too fussy and I'm too exhausted.


But eventually we'll get the hang of things. And in the meantime, we're spending a lot of quality time together.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

It's your lucky day - nursery progress


I was all psyched up to finish at least the furniture element in Lincoln's room over the weekend. Kev went with me and both kids to IKEA (ps Linc did NOT like that) and picked out an armoire for the nursery and a new dresser for Aspen. Once I get the armoire in Linc's room, I can finally put away a couple of bins of clothes and get the last of the stuff off the floor and put away.


Unfortunately, late Saturday night when Kev decided to unbox the armoire, a piece was broken. So... I almost cried. How on earth am I supposed to get back to IKEA and return that piece without having another baby breakdown?! I am determined to do it, though. We're having family in town at the beginning of August and I really want to have certain parts of the house finished by the time they arrive.


Even without the armoire the room is coming together. Linc started sleeping in his crib Saturday afternoon (nap) and spent his first night in his room over the weekend. With Aspen's help I hung the tissue paper pompoms, the Mur decals and the mobile SueAnn made for me. We switched the carpets in the kids' rooms (Aspen wanted the IKEA car rug in her room and gave Linc her old square block rug) and I ordered blackout curtains last week. I'm thrilled to have another room to be in charge of because Aspen's room is pretty much off-limits to me now. I figure I have a couple of good years to enjoy Linc's room before he takes over and I have to resort to turning a blind eye when I walk by his messes. I'm relieved that although I can no longer help Aspen decorate her room, she finally gave in to the plan to sell her old dresser and replace it with something smaller and better suited to the space in her room. With that being said, her old dresser is officially for sale if anyone wants to take it off my hands!

Besides the armoire, my next project is sorting our wall d├ęcor, printing some downloads I bought over a year ago, and hanging it all up. I dread this because I'll be balancing on a ladder on the stairs in order to create a gallery wall in our living space. But it'll be worth it because I'll empty two more boxes from our storage room in the process. And that makes me giddy.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

TGIF


I started feeling a little sick Wednesday night. Just a sore throat and a headache, but enough that being up in the night multiple times was really taking its toll. By Thursday morning I was taking Tylenol to help with the aches, and dreading the day ahead.

Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the day turned out to be epically horrible. Lincoln only slept in 20-30 minute increments throughout the whole day, and if he wasn't eating, he was screaming. It was a blur of wake, diaper change, feed, rock back to sleep all day long. Every thirty minutes. When Kev came home he found me sitting in the nursery, just holding Linc while we both cried. I told him I basically had no idea what Aspen had been up to all day because I couldn't give her more than ten minutes of my time throughout the day. I really only had quality interactions with her when we ate together.

Thankfully she didn't get into anything she shouldn't have, and she didn't act out due to being ignored. And I eventually stopped feeling like death warmed over and survived until 10p when Linc went to sleep "for the night." It felt so good to finally lie down and get a couple hours of sleep! He gave me his regular nighttime routine (he woke once in the night and once early in the morning) and has been happily napping this morning for about an hour so far.

My first-time-mom self would have called Kev bawling and begging him to come home by lunch yesterday. This time, I just kept looking at the clock and telling myself I could make it another X hours and then it would be over and I could recover. And sure, I was crying like a baby when Kev got home, but I was pretty rational considering I was running on zero sleep and had a kid screaming in my ear.

I'm so glad today we're back to normal and it looks like we'll have some regular naps so I can reclaim my sanity. And shower before 3p.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The fourth trimester

I can feel the panic creeping up again, when I let myself get carried away by the stress. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror while I pace the room and I snap out of it. I tell myself I did this before, and I can do it again. It got better last time, and it will get better this time.

Linc is going through his screaming stage, and it has been hard for me to handle. I get overwhelmed trying to soothe him all afternoon while also thinking about dinner prep and the bedtime routine for Aspen. With Kev working so much, he often isn't home until after Aspen's bedtime so I'm left to carry out all those tasks myself. I would happily do it while holding Linc, but it seems he doesn't just want to be held; he wants to be nursed or vigorously rocked nonstop. That's what makes it difficult to do bath time for Aspen and/or give her cuddles after reading books.


I already succumbed to Linc's demands to cluster-feed most of the evening, but I can't give in to focusing solely on him and ignoring Aspen until either A) Kev gets home or B) Linc goes to bed at 10p (whichever comes first). Thankfully, Aspen happily entertains herself or watches me rock Linc while I push back her bedtime. She doesn't mind holding books for me while I nurse her brother and she can brush her teeth and wash her face without my help. It's a relief that she has transitioned so well to being a big sister. She doesn't act out now that I spend so much time with Linc instead of her, and she doesn't mind at all that she gets to stay up much later now that I'm still figuring out bedtime.

But still. I'd rather not have Aspen going to bed so late, and I'd rather not feel on the verge of a breakdown every night when 7p rolls around and I know it's time to start the bedtime routine. Hopefully Linc will get over this phase quickly so we can have more pleasant evenings together.

I'm grateful my parents will soon be here because I won't hesitate to ask them to hold Linc for me while I put Aspen to bed. Additionally, I've already penciled in a nap for one of the days they're here and I'm very much looking forward to it. Many people asked if my mom would be coming right when Linc was born, but I like the system we set up when Aspen was born. Gail comes a few weeks later and offers relief when the initial help has died down. Just when I feel like I can't do it anymore, she swoops in and makes me a bunch of meals and offers to hold my baby at 430a so I can get some sleep. I just wish she could stay two weeks this time like she did when Aspen arrived! But at least I'll be heading to their house just a few weeks after they visit us in Utah.

Even with these little trials of new baby-hood, it is so much better than last time. There is so much less uncertainty, and so much more support. And much better anti-depressants.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lincoln Penny


When Aspen was born, I purchased this penny bracelet from Kelly Sansom's Etsy shop. I had her customize it to read "LOVE" on the penny rather than "LUCK" because I knew Penny would be one of Aspen's nicknames.

When Lincoln was born, I realized this bracelet would serve as a tribute to him, too. Abraham Lincoln's likeness is on the penny and while Linc is not named after the late US president, it works! I know my parents sometimes refer to him as Babe Lincoln, so there's that, too.

In case you're wondering, Lincoln is a name we picked out when we were dating and thought we'd have four children- Aspen, Logan, Sydney and Lincoln. We didn't plan on city names, but it worked out like that. Shortly after Aspen was born, Kev's sister had a boy and named him Logan, so we moved on to the next boy name on our list. Kev was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and lived there part of his childhood so it has a special meaning for us beyond just being a name we like.

As we discussed name combinations for Lincoln, Kev randomly asked me one evening how I felt about the name Monty. I practically jumped off the couch and yelled that I loved it, but only because it would be short for Montgomery (my favorite author). I'm so relieved we had a boy because to this day I have no idea how Kev and I would have settled on a name for another girl (Sydney is the girl name that I'm no longer in love with, although Kev still prefers it). So little Linc has quite the moniker... But I'm sure he'll eventually grow into it.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

It's your lucky day - master closet reveal


It has been months in the making, but it is worth it now that the project is done. Kev did some beautiful work customizing a new walk-in closet for us, and I couldn't be happier.

Since February, my clothes and shoes have been packed up and scattered throughout the house in the bins you see pictured above. And those bins aren't actually all of the storage... the shoes were in three other containers. Plus I had maternity clothes in the hall coat closet. I have a lot of clothes! I wear them though, so I'm not apologizing. Kev's clothes were downstairs in the guest room closet, which I know was reaaaaally convenient for him.

ANYWAY.

Kev has been super-busy with his regular job (i.e. working seven days a week) so he hasn't had free time to knock this remodel out once and for all. Somehow, despite all the time he spent away, he finished it over the weekend. I went to bed at 11pm with the boy while Kev was cutting and laying the flooring. About two hours later I woke up to nurse Linc, and Kev was just getting into bed. He had completed that gorgeous little space!


If I hadn't been so tired I would've done a little celebration. When we got up for church in the morning I was so thrilled to see the closet in daylight. It's so pretty!! It's so shiny and bright!! I managed to wait until after church to unpack all my clothes, though. It was hard to focus when I knew that I would soon be able to spend time organizing... which has seriously become one of my favorite things lately. I feel so much more at ease when our house is functional. I don't need all the toys and books and movies put away at all times so it looks spotless, but I do want to have each room serving a purpose and not just filled with junk.

Now that all those storage bins are empty, my guest room is being reclaimed! The nursery is no longer a landing strip for my shoes! I cleared off my dresser (it had piles of clothes on it) and arranged my neglected jewelry! Organizing all that stuff was the best two hours I've spent in a long time. I think it was worth not taking a nap while Linc napped. It was also worth letting Aspen eat a bag of gummy bears and a handful of marshmallows.

As is the norm in our house, a lot of the supplies were free. That makes it so much easier to handle the timeline these projects usually follow. You can't beat free materials and free labor (thanks Kev!). All that's left is for Kev to install baseboard, and I get to shop small rugs for the space. I don't think we currently have anything that will work, but I'm going to rummage through the storage room to make sure. Now that this project is (basically) compete, we can move on to finally finishing the nursery. Linc is only a month old, so he would have stayed in our room this long anyway. Aspen went about five weeks sleeping in the bouncy chair in our room, and she was a much more noisy sleeper than Linc. But still... it'll be nice to have him napping in his own room soon instead of in mine, and the view from the nursing chair in there will be so much more enjoyable when everything is in its place.

You can read more about our house updates by clicking HERE.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Letters to Lincoln, month 1

Linc-

A month! WOW! I cannot believe how different this month has been for me compared to my first month with Aspen. She definitely prepared me to do this better a second time around.

From the start, you and I had an opportunity that Aspen and I did not have; we were able to work on breastfeeding immediately. As a result, it was a lot easier a lot sooner. You nurse for longer, and then you sleep for longer. Much much much longer than I expected. That means we're all a lot happier around here than I thought we'd be because I'm actually getting more than one-hour stretches of sleep at night.


You're a pretty nice little person, and I enjoy having you in our family so much. Aspen just adores you and she's always asking where you are (remember, you sleep a lot). She always wants to touch you and look at you and sit right next to us (or on my lap) while you nurse. She calls you "hon" and is constantly saying "He's so cute!" I hope you guys won't get sick of each other too soon!

In the beginning, you were only fussy at diaper changes and around dinner time. We held off on the use of the binky because I remember having to replace it in Aspen's mouth constantly while she slept and it made me bonkers. It's so nice that you'll go back to sleep at night after a feeding without too much work (usually). I feel so much more rested and functional than I ever remember feeling the first time around. Which is great since Aspen almost never occupies herself long enough during the day for me to take a nap. Your sister actually told me I can take a nap in the Fall when she goes to preschool. Isn't she so considerate?

I'm sorry to continually compare you to your sister, but I'm simply amazed at how much easier your newborn-ness is to for me to handle. I know you're two very different people, and that I am a much different person now than I was when your sister was born. I just can't get over how much better I'm doing and I'm grateful that your easy-going personality is part of that. I know it's also simply the fact that I know more of what I'm doing this time around, too.


You did great gaining weight this month, despite all the crap the nurses and on-call pediatrician gave me at the hospital. We took you in to the regular pediatrician five days after you were born and you were only half an ounce away from your birth weight of 8 pounds. At your two-week checkup, you were already 8lbs 11oz. By three weeks (when we had you circumcised) you were 9lbs 10oz. So we're doing mighty fine with breastfeeding.

Although, I feel super-stressed when you need to cluster-feed. It's always right during the dinner/bath/bedtime routine for Aspen and I can only do so many things at once while nursing. There are a lot of nights Aspen gets to stay up a little late (until Dad gets home) because I just can't feed you and get her ready for bed at the same time. She's probably pretty happy about that, though. So other than feeling like I'm constantly feeding you for five straight hours every evening, we're an awesome breastfeeding team.


When Aspen was born, I did not feel like I was immediately in love with this new, demanding baby person. I never felt like she slipped easily into the routine of our lives or that I was instinctively good at parenting. It was such a huge change for us to suddenly have a baby. But with you, all of us have adjusted so quickly and easily. The transition to two kids has been so much easier than I anticipated. It doesn't hurt that Aspen isn't phased by your screaming, and she's willing to hold a binky in your mouth for a few minutes at a time when I just need to finish up something before I can get you. She's such a huge helper for me and I'm so grateful.


We're all pretty thrilled you've come, Linc. Now just keep growing up, okay? Aspen is really impatient for you to be three like her.

Love,
Mama

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Fourth of July

It was approximately 80 degrees the morning of the fourth, but Aspen, Lincoln and I braved the great outdoors anyway. We headed to the park with the trike and the stroller and tried to enjoy being in the sunshine... even though it was almost too hot to breathe.

Linc wasn't in the mood to relax, so I did laps around the playground while Aspen tried out all the slides. Kev was at home diligently working on the master bedroom closet so we just wanted to try giving him some uninterrupted time. It's awfully hard to paint a small space when there's a toddler underfoot. Imagine that!

It bothers Kev that Aspen has never seen fireworks... she has always slept right through them. Even in Ogden when we lived close enough to the rodeo grounds to view the fireworks from our backyard. I'm just an ogre who values sleep (mine) too much! But I think for Pioneer Day we'll let Aspen stay up and enjoy a fireworks show if she'd like. Sometimes she's so sensitive to noise that I've never thought fireworks would be a great idea, especially if we have to fight traffic to get there and then end up stuck if she doesn't like it. Kev had to work the night of the fourth, so there was no way I was going to try juggling two kids and a fireworks show by myself. We ended up going to Seth's just to have pizza and bug him while he painted his new bathroom. It was a nice, low-key evening and I'm glad we had someone to hang out with who has central air :).


I'm so ready for fireworks season to conclude, though, because the dog has been on edge all month. She's not a fan of the fireworks and as much as I try to sympathize with her, it's getting extremely annoying to constantly have her underfoot as she attempts to hide in my pocket or something. One of these days I just know I'm going to trip over her while holding the boy.

Maybe when the closet's finished she'll find a satisfactory hiding spot in there!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Blooms


The day I got home from the hospital, I noticed that a flower had opened up on one of my hollyhock plants. It was a wonderful welcome. I have loved seeing my plants flourish this spring and I'm especially glad these hollyhocks are thriving. They remind me of Ogden and I look forward to this corner of the yard being overrun with these tall, flowering lovelies in the years to come. Aspen's sun flower is doing pretty well, too, and I know she's thrilled that at least one of them survived. Hopefully it'll bloom soon, too.


I planted two different varieties of hollyhocks, and only two have opened (the same variety) but they're surprisingly different colors! Yea!


I will always have to eat humble pie when I look at my lavender because Kev is the one who convinced me to be patient and wait to see what kind of plant it might be. He's usually right about these kinds of things so I've learned to trust him. The bumblebees and butterflies are pretty pleased, too. It's so nice to take care of the flower garden while no longer pregnant; weeding is so much easier without a giant stomach in the way!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Newborn Photo Shoot


I dressed Linc in a pair of PJs that used to be Aspen so I decided I had to document it. I'm really glad I did because the lighting in my bedroom was perfect for an impromptu photo shoot.




He's still at the stage when he reflexively holds my fingers whenever I put them in his hand. So awesome.

Perfect lips!

Maddie had to join us for a few photos, too. She's adjusted well to the new baby and takes his protection very seriously. Just as when Aspen was little, Maddie must ensure that when I return home I have all the little humans I left with.

Later this week I'm planning to redeem some JCP coupons for free photos, but nothing beats having pictures taken in your own home at your own pace without any pressure. I'm really looking forward to when Linc is smiling on purpose in a few weeks so I can start capturing his personality.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Side-by-Side

Aspen // Lincoln
As you can see, Aspen was a bit more skeptical about life on Earth when she first arrived. Lincoln, on the other hand, is more chill. I think Aspen was a few days old when her photo was taken, and Lincoln was about two weeks. So far I don't think they look a lot like each other, with the exception of their eyes.

I still can't get over how much easier it has been for me to transition from one kid to two, compared to transitioning from zero to one. It makes a lot of sense, but I just didn't expect it. And here I am, able to leave the house with both of them and get groceries, or books from the library, or even play at the park with friends. It is so refreshing!

Even with Aspen's stomach bug, I didn't flip out nearly as much as I usually do when she's sick. Yes, I worried about the baby catching it, and Kev and I were super tired from being up throughout the night with both kids, but I didn't have that tightness in my chest that made me feel like the world was going to end. Thank heaven for Zoloft!

And in the midst of our sick weekend, I even booked tickets for us to fly to Maine and visit my parents for a quick summer vacation. WHO AM I?! I think we might be a little crazy for deciding to travel so soon after Linc's birth, but there's really no time like the present. Plus, my younger brother and his family will overlap part of their vacation with ours so I'll finally get to meet my nephew!

These are all things I didn't not think I would be capable of doing post-partum. I didn't think I'd leave the house, let alone the state. I didn't expect to find joy in my newborn, but I can honestly say I do this time around.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Two weeks in


I'm surprised at how well I made it through the last two weeks. It wasn't until yesterday that things started getting sketchy.

But the things that are stressing me are normal... like how it seems every time someone needs to come to our house, Linc is screaming to be nursed. So I have to hold him and attempt (unsuccessfully) to soothe him otherwise while company comes and goes. And Aspen is sick and throwing up today, so I'm trying to care for her without covering Linc with her germs. And since he's only happy today while being nursed and won't nap very much, it has been verrrrry tricky.

Linc sleeps pretty well at night, though, so I'm not as tired as I remember being when Aspen was a newborn. He often goes to bed at 10p for four hours, and then only wakes once in the night or early morning since he's already almost nine freakin pounds (so take THAT pediatrician-on-call-at-the-hospital-when-he-was-born) and obviously doing okay when it comes to nutrition.

It's funny that Aspen would catch a stomach bug, though, just because I was recently recalling how lovely it was when Kev and I got the flu after she was born. We were like zombies and I've been paranoid that it would hit us again this time around. Hopefully we can soldier through it unscathed so we have the energy to take care of two kids.

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