Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Don't Blink

I swear I just blinked.

But when I opened my eyes, my baby boy was all grown up. His baby fat had melted away and his tiny little body was replaced by a more "kid-like" version of itself. Syllables had turned into words and words into sentences. He now uses logic and reasoning and compassion. I looked up and he was giving his runny-nose baby sister her lovey and saying "Here, Sa-Sa Bean. This will make you feel better." He tells me "You look cute tonight Mama" when I'm heading out on girls' nights or date nights. He "reads" books to his stuffed doggy, explaining the pictures on each page (and often telling the story that goes with them). He understands abstract concepts. He tries to apply new words (I love the way he misuses "probably"). He learns something new everyday -- and always with a smile on his sweet face.

Those hilarious first steps (naked and with a football) are so far removed from this running, jumping and climbing toddler who loves spinning in circles and pretending he's a helicopter or airplane. He is capable. Oh so capable. And on days like this I can't even believe it. Those days of tummy-time and middle of the night nursing seem like they were just last week. How is it that my silly little baby has turned into this amazing little boy? I'm not ready for him to be a kid yet.

...at 2 years and 2.5 years...

And my newborn? How is she not a newborn anymore? She's almost 11 months old. Which means she's almost a year. How is that even possible?

Suddenly, my tiny ball of smiles and stubbornness is taking steps. She's walking around the place... growing more independent every day. The flirting and smiling and opinions have always been part of her personality, but now she finds new ways to express them. More grown up ways. She still seems so small to be interacting with such a big world in these ways.

I spend every day with these two kids. Every day. I get to see it all. The first time Brayden draws something and identifies it as an actual object... or fills in the words to books and songs... or tries to help his sister figure something out. I get to see Elissa making steady progress on her way to walking - growing more confident every day and proudly smiling when she impresses herself. I get to see the two of them climb up the stairs and laugh. And make up games to play together (even though Elissa doesn't always understand what she's playing). I see the smiles and the tears. I hear the cries and the laughter.

And I love it all.

I see everything. So how did I not see this coming? I swear I just blinked.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The 10-Month Spitfire


I'm realizing more and more that Lauren and I simply don't make boring children (a shocker, considering how quiet and boring we are, I know). ;) 

At 10-months, Elissa is as fiesty, quirky and smiley as ever. Considering Brayden was notoriously smiley and charming as an infant, we didn't think baby number two would be able to compare. Elissa proved us wrong -- which is fitting considering her personality is often based on two concepts:

1. You don't think I can do that? Watch me.
2. It's okay [--- giant, joyful, adorable smile ---] I still love you.


So here's our sweet little spitfire at 10 months old...


... loves dancing in her high chair (to anyone's singing or beats)...

... eats like a high school football player...

... will not sit still for diaper changes (it's becoming an Olympic sport around here)...

... has super-human grip when she doesn't want to give something up...

... likes to be comforted after a spill -- but only for a few seconds before she demands to get down and play again...

... adores reading - with Mommy or on her own...

... has to be moving and cruising (if you pick her up, her little legs don't even stop pumping and kicking)...

... is taking a few steps on her own now...

... humors her father way more than he deserves (she's still young enough to find him funny -- which he takes advantage of quite often)...

... has a whole lot of teeth -- we're up to about 10 now...

... loves being fed by her brother ...

... has a determination second to none... 

... likes to be chased through the house...

... believes the worst thing in the world is getting her face cleaned...

... has hilarious screaming battles with big brother and singing battles with Mama...

... still measures tall and thin (and wears 6 month clothes)... 

... constantly speed-crawls up the stairs (and when you try to get her, she turns and gives you a giant smile before climbing even faster)...

... seems genuinely offended when you give her a food she doesn't like...

... is usually called "bean" or "Sa-Sa bean"... 

... is an amazing flirt (sorry Daddy; at least she still finds you funny)...


Lauren and I often tell people that "we love the crazy." I think that just needs to be written outside our house to warn people about what's inside. We don't do quiet and boring over here. We're all pretty lively in our own ways... and that makes for an incredibly joyful, laughter-filled home. So glad Elissa has added her own type of crazy to the mix. We simply adore it. ♥


Little drummer girl


Monday, November 24, 2014

Recently...

Well, gee.

Things have been more chaotic than usual over here (and we do enjoy a fair amount of crazy in this household). Recently we've...

Had a killer Nerf-gun fight 
On Lauren's birthday, he came home from work to the following gift inside our front door:


The note reads:

Welcome home from work!

Two things:
1. This is your gun.
2. I have one too.

Good luck.
(Evil looking skull and crossbones)


Lauren immediately loaded up his gun and started slinking through the dark house. He was creeping through each floor, peeking around corners and in rooms. Then, all of a sudden, Brayden runs out of a room at top speed -- wearing an American flag bandana -- screaming at the top of his lungs. I follow suit while carrying a human baby-shield (both of us also wearing bandanas) and start icing my dear hubby. He retreated down the stairs, we chased him, and a pretty epic Nerf war began. It was awesome.

Practicing her Ninja moves for the pending battle

Celebrated Daddy's 31st birthday (in a more traditional way)
Also on the menu for the birthday boy were gifts and cake. Lauren requested a cannoli cake - and I did my best to oblige (though it was nothing like the treat Aunt Kate spoils him with!). The battle took too long for Elissa to partake in cake, so once she was in bed, Brayden finished decorating the masterpiece and we sang and ate.


Visited a Christmas tree farm
We had a fun family photo shoot at a Christmas Tree Farm near the West Virginia border. We packed up the kids and dog (at an hour early enough to make most people crazy) and drove out there. As soon as we got there, Brayden gleefully started running through the rows of trees. Our dog went nutty with so much land at her disposal and our little girl just sat there being cute. Despite the long drive, it was a lot of fun.

Having some fun between shots. 

Recovered from surgery
I had surgery last Thursday and let me just tell you... the recovery has been awful. I especially liked the part where the on-call doctor prescribed me something that "will definitely help with the pain" (but that was also safe for breastfeeding). After taking the six pills (as directed), my heart was racing faster than it ever has before, I could hardly breathe, and I was hallucinating. Umm, yeah. Thanks for that, doc. You just epitomized the reason why my philosophy is to limit medical intervention and medicine as much as possible.

Dealt with mistaken identities
Elissa thinks she's a goat. Or a dog. We keep finding her eating paper, shoes and frisbees. (At least she's a cute goat)


Force fed the baby apples
What can I say? Brayden knows the old adage and was insistent that his sister not go to the doctor. ♥


We've had a crazy couple of weeks,.. and the next few are just as busy. Even though there's a lot of chaos, I really love this time of year. There are so many fun activities, so much family time and so much joy. I'm looking forward to the rest of the holiday season...

...and sort of hoping Brayden keeps giving us the verbal gems he's becoming known for. Just yesterday, he told Daddy, "I need to take a picture of you. You look cute tonight." ♥ Love that kid.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nine Months!

Nine months looks pretty good on Elissa.
(Growing up pictures are now updated!)

She's a feisty and smiley little girl who has a knack for charming the pants off people. She's insanely curious and has a strong independent streak. These days, she's busy standing and cruising all over the place, crawling to wherever Brayden is, and babbling away (usually saying "da-da" in typical daddy-girl fashion). Lately, she's also taken to dancing. When she's sitting in her high chair for meals, Daddy strikes up a beat and she bops along. It's pretty fracking adorable to be honest. I also love how she kicks her little legs wildly whenever she gets excited.

My very favorite thing right now is watching her and Brayden. In addition to normal playing together, Brayden has his own version of "follow the leader" with her: whatever Elissa does, whatever she says, wherever she goes -he mimics. He's freakishly good at imitating her babbles and she gets a big kick out of it when he follows her around. She has this funny little laugh that sounds like a duck. When she sees Brayden coming after her, she turns and quacks at him - which makes him quack back. And pretty soon, it's like the Mighty Ducks are here.


On the flip side of the coin, she also makes it obvious when there's something she doesn't like. Suddenly, her biggest enemies are getting her diaper changed (she thrashes around so much I've been known to give up and let her crawl around naked for a while before attempting it again) and getting her face wiped after meals (as soon as she sees the napkin coming, she practically dives out of the high chair. She's also not a fan of it when I snub her. When she gets tired or hungry, she crawls to Mommy. If I'm busy and don't notice (or worse -- if I step over her), she gets pretty ticked off and starts crying.

Other than those little things, Elissa is a pretty laid back baby. She's happy and smiley and so much fun. She steals Daddy's heart every day and - despite Brayden's occasional insistence that she not play with any of his toys - her brother is pretty smitten too. As for Mommy? Please. I was a goner long ago.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mr. November

Say hello to the good-looking gentleman you'll soon be staring at as Mr. November in this year's fireman's calendar.



Likes: Dalmatians, curling up with a good book and hunting for garbage trucks.

Dislikes: Overripe bananas and being told "no."

Motto: "I'm a goofball!" (stated repeatedly throughout the day)

Ideal date: Riding a train all night long (let's channel Dr. Cooper for this one) while eating yogurt and listening to Raffi. (Bonus points if Legos are allowed at the table)

Status: Women are quite attracted to this one. He has a much older woman who chases him around all day long (and who cooks and cleans for him!) and a much younger woman who is always trying to get her hands on him. Though technically unattached, he has been known to profess his love for the girl next door.

His Angle: The CHARMER. This little boy knows really knows how to lay it on thick. Last week, as Mommy came downstairs dressed for date night, he ran up to her and stroked her dress, saying "Mommy looks cute today!" with a giant grin on his face. It doesn't end with compliments though.
Just this weekend, Mama was upset with him for misbehaving. She asked, "Do you know why I'm sad?" After he answered her correctly, he turned around, gave her a big hug, grabbed her face and planted a big kiss on her lips. "Mommy happy now!" he said as he ran off to play. After seeing the smile it brought to her face, he decided to try the tactic again a couple days later. When one of his requests was refused yesterday, instead of crying or begging, he resorted to kissing -- and asking again... ever-so-sweetly. Though he didn't get his way, the incident just shows how much trouble this guy can be.

Why he'll drive you crazy: He'll throw tantrums if you give him the wrong colored fork and has no inner dialogue. He's also been known to practice for the Olympic long jump... while naked.

Why you'll love him: He's polite, always cleans up after himself, and has an infectious smile that is sure to brighten your day. He's also been known to practice for the Olympic long jump... while naked. ;)

Bottom line: As long as you don't mind occasional meltdowns or listening to a play-by-play of all the fun you're having, he's definitely a keeper.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fun Dad

I always tell people that one of my favorite things about my awesome hubby is how much fun he is. Though I can't stand admitting it to him when he's fishing for laughter (and he fishes pretty hard), he's hilarious. Truly. He's brought so much laughter and fun into my life -- and now he's doing the same for our kids. I love watching him with Brayden (and now Elissa). The kids are so excited by his presence, always laughing and smiling at his ridiculous antics. It's a formula that works. Kids want to be amused. Lauren wants an audience.

Brayden wanted to play on the cushions. Lauren ended up stealing the show.

Although he's destined to be "the fun dad," his antics have a pretty wide range of diversity. He provides entertainment ranging from wildly amusing to obscenely inappropriate (for both his two-year-old son and his 31-year-old wife).

Some recent notable moments from my son's "fun dad"...

Old McDonald

I already blasted my husband for teaching Brayden the wrong animal noises (who doesn't know that a sheep says "baa"?). This error was just the beginning of farmyard fun, though. During Elissa's bath time, Lauren noticed she had a particular fascination with clucking noises. For some reason, pictures of chickens and clucking noises made her crack up (yep - the "weird gene" runs strong in this family). Not only did the clucking noises become more elaborate (and ear-splitting), but other animals suddenly started mimicking chickens. Pretty much anything that resembles a bird now clucks. Including peacocks.


Vulgar Bedtime Stories (formerly known as "he doesn't understand what I'm saying")

Lauren often gets bored while reading bedtime stories to Brayden. If my husband thinks Brayden isn't paying attention, he ad-libs the text and adds in his own (incredibly inappropriate) storyline. It used to be sort of funny. But now that Brayden is old enough to understand, it drives me insane. Despite Daddy adamantly believing otherwise, I kept telling Lauren that his son could understand all these terrible things he was saying. Finally, one day last week, we hit a turning point. Lauren was "reading" all about what Minnie Mouse gave to Mickey. To make a point, I stopped Lauren and said, "what did Minnie give to Mickey, Brayden?" And he repeated it. Verbatim. (Now will you stop with the inappropriateness, darling??)

Breakfast Theater

Earlier this week, Brayden woke up in a grumpy mood. While we were having breakfast, he started to meltdown. I usually go for the distraction method in these circumstances, so I grabbed a few of his nearby stuffed animals and had them talk to each other. Although Brayden was watching with some interest, Lauren was very unimpressed with my performance. He took the two toys (one was Mickey, the other was a dog dressed as a pirate) and started this elaborate theatrical performance. It was a full-on three-act play. He added voices with accents, storylines and plot twists and even character development. And of course, it was a hysterical play. Brayden sat there for the 10 minutes mesmerized - just staring. (Admittedly, this was one of the most hilarious things I've seen in a really long time.)

Lauren and I often talk about how we value experiences over possessions. Our disposable income doesn't go towards fancy cars, designer clothes or expensive toys. It goes towards vacations, sporting events, plays and the like. Life is made up of experiences. Experiences are what you look back on fondly, what you remember, what you cherish. They're the stories that change you and stay with you forever. The stories you tell other people with a happy and full heart. And I love the fact that Lauren is giving his family so many amazing experiences and memories. He adds so much joy and laughter into our lives. I'm a lucky, lucky wife to have this crazy character by my side. (I'll just have to remind the kids about this when they're in middle school and find these same antics mortifying)




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lock and Lunge

Our deceiving sweet 8-month old has a signature move. We've named it the "Lock and Lunge" and it truly epitomizes her personality.

She scans her surroundings until she spots "it" (whatever "it" happens to be at the moment - a television remote, an electrical wire...). You can immediately identify the moment when she sees it. Her eyes grow wide with this crazy animalistic predator-vs-prey look in them (ignore the fact that the predator is wearing pink bows and frilly skirts). She locks onto the object with this insane focus and immediately lunges her entire body towards the object.


After the initial lunge, she does everything humanly possible to obtain it. Things we didn't realize she could do. Things she didn't realize she could do. To top it all off, she does. not. give. up. A few days ago, I put a plastic bag on the couch. She locked on, was at the couch in half a second, pulled herself up, and then tried to scale the furniture to get it. Of course, physics doesn't work that way, so she fell. But she tried a dozen more times before I finally got up and moved the bag. (Part of me wanted to see how long she would keep at it but I just couldn't do that to such a sweet little girl.) The lock and lunge (and subsequent pursuit) is an extremely common part of our day here. If she sees something she wants, she just doesn't know how to ignore it.



She certainly inherited an interesting combination of Mommy and Daddy - Mommy's focus and hard work with Daddy's stubbornness. Brayden wasn't like this; he inherited Daddy's impatience so he often gets frustrated if he can't do something right away. It doesn't take much for him to break down and move on to something else. Elissa doesn't understand the concept of giving up.

What's funny is how ingrained this is to her personality. I kept a pregnancy journal this time around (writing just a paragraph or two each week). In it, I wrote (to her):

"I love that I'm starting to get an idea of your personality. I feel like you’re a very kind, sweet baby who is active, focused and determined. You definitely don’t seem high-strung or off-the-walls, but you’re not so mellow that you just lay around all day. You’re a kicker… but in a gentle way. You move around quite a bit (which makes me feel like you’re like your mother – focused and always having to be doing something or working towards something!)."

I love watching how her personality develops. It doesn't change - it just shows itself in different ways. I love seeing how she uses that determination and focus, or how crazy she gets in order to accomplish her goals.

We're a family of crazy. And Elissa truly fits right in. :)

Don't underestimate this seemingly sweet and innocent little girl.
She lives up to Daddy's assessment of her: a total spitfire. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

According to my dog

My dog passed away yesterday morning... and it has left me completely heartbroken. (I feel like I was run over by a giant 18-wheeler that keeps coming back for more.) 

I'm not missing a dog though. I'm missing her - my crazy, neurotic, reliable dog. Kinley was a really unique and special dog. And she lived like one. There are a lot of articles out there about what dogs teach us and why dogs are better than people. But Kinley gets her own list because she was truly a unique companion and because she epitomized things no other dog ever could.

These were some of the rules Kinley lived by that everyone could stand to learn from.

When you find what you love, spend your life doing it as often (and with as much intensity) as you can. 


The few things Kinley loved, she did as often as we'd let her (and sometimes even more often). She was so into balls that she would sit in front of one and shake until you threw it. Did she care how insane that was? Of course not. Just throw the damn ball.

Tunnel vision.

Always be there. Even if it means staying up until 3 in the morning.


One of the things we loved about Kinley was that she would always stay up with us. Our other dog, Scarlet, would go up to bed with whoever was retiring earlier. But Kinley? She stayed downstairs until all parties were accounted for. When Lauren would work late on a big project, she'd be downstairs keeping him company. When I made my first wedding cake and was up until 3 a.m., she was with me the entire time. It's going to be pretty lonely at night without her.


When in pursuit of a goal, ignore all obstacles and perceived boundaries. 


Most people don't do this. They come up with excuses, reasons or problems that prevent them from pursuing their goals. They stop short once difficulties arise. They operate within an invisible safety net and don't push themselves. Not Kinley. She lived without limits. We used to joke that she was going to die fetching balls because she had absolutely no regard for her own body while playing. It was pretty common for her to get injured (sometimes even fairly badly) while playing, and to ignore it until she was done. We wouldn't even know she was hurt until afterwards when she finally started limping.

We still have no clue how she got up there.
What was she doing? Looking for a ball Lauren threw. Of course.

Be selective about those you love. 


She didn't give love to just anyone. You had to be pretty special to get her affection. Which made it mean so much more when she gave it to you.




Make your presence known.


When this pup was around, you knew it. She barked - at mail trucks, people with dogs, leaves in the wind... you name it. She demanded attention when she wanted it. She incited riots with dog #2 and a mimicking toddler. She added so much life into our home. She wasn't an easy or quiet dog. But that just makes us miss her more since her absence is so obvious. It has been so quiet around here... and I just keep waiting for her to fill that silence.



Be a leader. Even if you don't know where you're going.


Kinley had two speeds - off and full-steam-ahead. There wasn't much in between (which was why she loved sprinting for balls but couldn't stand jogging at a moderate pace with us). It didn't matter where she was going or what she was doing. She was forging ahead with all the intensity she could muster (which was always a lot!). 


Never underestimate of the importance of a heartfelt greeting.


No matter what, Kinley would rush down the stairs to greet whoever got home. It didn't matter if we had been gone ten minutes, if she was tired, or even if she was injured. She greeted us each and every time we walked in the door, coming up to us with sweet eyes and a sincere tail wag. And if it was Daddy getting home from work? Watch out. Fireworks were going to explode because she just couldn't contain that excitement. 

Ready to pounce on Daddy.

Be who you are. Unapologetically. 


Nothing was ever as clear from my dog as this. Kinley was quirky, crazy, loud, neurotic and just insane. And she never changed. Not for me, not for Lauren, not for anything in the world. She was going to be herself and she wasn't going to be sorry. She embraced her quirks; she embraced her faults; she embraced everything that made her unique. She couldn't have changed if she wanted to.



Kinley hasn't even been gone two days, but her absence has left me with a giant void. She was an amazing dog and companion to our family. She was there for so many milestones in my life (first house, the birth of my two children, job changes...). She added so much joy and crazy into my world and it just won't be the same without her. The only other thing I can possibly say is that I'm so grateful to have had six amazing, joyful years with such a special friend. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Case of the Missing Cookie Dough

(Warning: explicit language)

Whenever I make cookie dough my husband eats some of it a lot of it. In fact, last time he was out of town, I made cookies and was able to get an entire extra sheet out of the same recipe. He eats so much of the dough that he actually gets sick. And yet, he still does it each and every time I make cookies.

This time, I decided I was going to hide it from him.

(I had already tried telling him that I needed to throw the batch away because I accidentally used sugar instead of flour. I think he believed me at first, but when I didn't toss it, he quickly decided I was lying)

I finished up the batter just before I had to nurse Elissa and put her to sleep. I took the bowl of cookie dough upstairs with me to get her pajamas (which immediately set off red flags for Lauren who began bellowing out "where are you going with that???"). He thought I was going upstairs to hide it... so naturally, on my way down, I quietly tucked it in a box right next to the couch.

I nursed Elissa then went into the bathroom where Lauren was giving Brayden a bath. We chatted for a few minutes, then I went downstairs to bake my cookies.

This is what I found:



Really? He scoured the house looking for where I put the cookie dough??? More than HALF the dough was missing! I bolted upstairs, and opened the bathroom door and found my hubby rubbing his belly and trying desperately to contain his manic laughter. I may have called him a fat ass (and my toddler may have repeated me) as Lauren hysterically laughed at me.

Brayden got out of the tub and we started tucking him in. Lately, he's been wanting me to make up stories (usually about Mickey Mouse). That night, Brayden heard a story about Goofy becoming so fat and greedy that Mrs. Goofy didn't want to hang out with him anymore. He also heard one about how Minnie was mad at Mickey and how he had to be extra nice to her to make things better.

Through the entire thing, I was laughing and Lauren was hysterically wheezing with laughter. On my way out of Brayden's room, Lauren says, "By the way - the rest of the cookie dough is over the oven."

Seriously.

That's the last time I try to hide cookie dough from him. He has some kind of ninja fifth-sense about it. Geez.

This is how much I thought he ate. It really was NOT outside the realm of possibility.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What I Learned Making a Wedding Cake

I did it.

I made my first wedding cake. Not only did I survive, but the cake did as well (something I'm sure the bride was happy about!). The process was pretty interesting... and I learned quite a bit while doing it.

1. It takes 21 pounds of buttercream frosting to fill and decorate cake for 200 people. That's more than my daughter weighs. In fact, it's about 1.5 Elissas.



2. Making 21 pounds of buttercream frosting takes a long time.



3. When I ask my husband to add up how much of an ingredient I need, I should double-check his math.

He thought I needed 3 dozen eggs and 9 pounds of butter. I actually needed six dozen eggs and about 13 pounds of butter.

(This is why he was the one to go out to the store to buy the extra ingredients.... twice. Okay, fine - three times.)

Sigh. This is what I thought I needed. Too bad my hubby forgot to add ingredients for three of the sheet cakes.

4. You need a lot of refrigerator space to chill and store cake for 200 people. There are a lot of layers involved in the process.


5. After enough time, just looking at strawberry preserves can make you feel sick.


6. Putting edible pearls on a cake is pretty much as annoying you think it would be. And they end up everywhere. I think we'll still be finding shiny little beads in our kitchen five years from now.


7. Speaking of annoying - there are all kinds of little idiosyncrasies involved in making a wedding cake that you don't find out until doing it. Like buttercream cracking. And moving one tier on top of the next. And then realizing there's a quarter-inch gap between the layers since the layer is on a cardboard round. (My problem-solving skills were really put to the test this weekend!)


8. Spiderman likes applejuice. And he sweats. 
The bride wanted a fondant Spidey tucked in the back of the cake. Little did I realize that the fat in the buttercream was going to make this "super"hero sweat buckets. 



9. All-nighters just aren't as easy as they once were. 



10. When you have a fully finished wedding cake in the back of a car, 20mph seems like 100mph.

Brayden really wanted to drive the cake to Old Town.

11. It was actually pretty fun seeing the cake come together. 





Thursday, August 14, 2014

Toddler Reclaims Babyhood

I read and heard about different "regressions" that commonly happen to a child when a new baby is born. Potty training reverts. Language acquisition may slow down. Behavior hits a rough spot.

Perhaps I should have known better, but I didn't expect my toddler to decide he wanted to be a baby again. Pretty much everything Elissa has or does is immediately irresistible to big brother.

This includes...

Smushing himself into the baby carseat

(one of the first actions he took to reclaim his babyhood)


Insisting he tries the purees I make for Elissa


Playing with toys he hasn't touched in over a year 

...and getting grumpy when Elissa is playing with them


Fitting into anything else Elissa routinely is put in

...her Bumbo chair, her baby bath, etc. This also includes her clothes and hairbows (I saved Daddy embarrassment by not posting that photo of Brayden)

Sucking on teething rings

If Elissa ever drops one, Brayden scrambles into the room to pick it up and claim it for himself



Getting angry when I won't let him drink from a bottle (odd, since Elissa doesn't even drink from one!) or nurse


Becoming obsessed with the swaddle

Over and over again, he asked us to swaddle him. And over and over again, he practiced the craft on stuffed animals.



Arguing with me when I tell him he's a "big boy." 

He gets pretty frustrated and screams "No big boy! No big boy!"

And most recently, this gem...

Brayden slid his stool over to the pack-and-play, climbed into the bassinet and got nice and cozy. First he told me he wanted to go night-night. Then he told me to turn off the lights and go upstairs.



That is one happy toddler baby!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Six Months?!?

Everyone said Brayden would grow up "so fast." That's true. He is.

Everyone also said Elissa would grow up even faster. That's also true. For some reason, the second baby seems to grow up even quicker than the first. Maybe it's because I'm busy chasing a toddler around (and outnumbered during the day). Maybe it's because I've already been through it once and things don't take quite as much time. Who knows. But I really can't believe my little angel is six months old.

At six months, Elissa is still as sweet, determined and feisty as ever. Watching her try to crawl is just hilarious. She is so focused on the task, and once she decides she'd rather be facing a different direction (or move a couple feet away), she starts flailing her limbs and moving that little body as much as possible. She's pretty adept at moving in a circle (always clockwise though). She'll move her little hands to the right, then her feet to the left and continue alternating them. I'm truly amazed at how quickly she can do it. I'm sure it won't be long before she's full-on crawling. She's already figured out that her knees need to come under her body and has been busy learning other dynamics of the task (usually in the morning when she should be napping!).

I suppose what's interesting to one is boring to another.
She's sitting on her own more and more these days - though it always helps if there's an interesting toy in front of her. She's also loving meal times (to the point of "hurry-up-and-feed-me-more-or-I'll-cry"). I've been giving her big chunks of fruit and veggies and letting her just gnaw on them. Watermelon and cantaloupe slices, sweet potato fries, cucumber sticks, (pitted) peaches, plums or apricots. The only one she wasn't  crazy about was cucumber. We're also giving her oatmeal and some purees. She's loving every bit of it. And like Brayden at this age, she eats like a garbage-disposal but doesn't seem to put on any weight. Between 5-7 months, Brayden was super healthy in every way, but had nearly dropped off the charts for weight (he was down to the 2nd percentile for a bit). This was despite how much he was eating - breastfeeding 5-7 times a day plus three (rather large) solid meals (my sister once remarked he ate more than her five-year-old). We chalked it up to his activity level and metabolism. Elissa is certainly following suit. She eats like a champ but is hanging out around the 5th percentile for weight. I think I've come to the conclusion that it's just something about my kids biological make-up that during this time their metabolisms kick into high gear.

Everything else is going wonderfully. Elissa is great on the sleep front, is fairly low-maintenance, doesn't cry much and is just the sweetest little girl ever. She's curious, lovably stubborn, and reliably smiley. She loves her brother dearly (when he is in the room, he captures her full attention), has an insane death grip when she doesn't want to let go of something, gets a huge grin on her face when she hears daddy's voice, and is happiest when someone is paying her attention.

In no time, she's going to be running around with her big brother. For now, I'm just enjoying the phase she's in. What a sweetheart. ♥