September 21, 2014

video of Julianne:

Some of you may have seen this already if you follow me on Instagram, but I wanted to post a couple of videos of Julianne for our out of town family to see. These were filmed over Labor Day weekend, right after she had woken up from a nap. The first one is her mimicking my brother, and the second one is just of her cute little laugh . She is such a joyful baby, always smiling and laughing at us. Wanted to share some of that joy here. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

September 20, 2014

Julianne at 4 months:


I love you more with each passing day! You are sweet and smiley, and very go with the flow. You are changing so fast. I wish I could slow down time and soak up this age a little longer. I haven't been able to just sit and watch you as much as I'd like. Here's what you've been up to this month:

- You weigh 12 pounds, 14 ounces, (25th percentile) measure 25 and a quarter inches, (75th percentile!) and have a head circumference of 16 inches (40th percentile). Dr. Davis says you are looking great, and staying right on track for your growth curve.

-You went on your first vacation this month to Seaside, FL. You did great in the car, and snoozed quite a bit on the beach. I absolutely loved seeing you in all of your adorable swimwear!

- You are an excellent sleeper!  Around 7:30 every night you start demanding that we put you to bed, so we begin our bedtime routine (bath, lotion, pjs, swaddle, and nursing with dim lights) and you are out by 8pm.  You may wake a couple of times in the night for your paci, but normally you sleep until around 5 when you wake up to nurse.  After you eat, you'll go right back to sleep and sleep until around 8:00.  We still swaddle you when you sleep, but you're so long I've had to start leaving your legs out.

-You take two good naps most days, although you sleep less on the days you go to daycare (there's just too much to see there).  You are normally ready to go back down by 10am and you'll sleep anywhere from a half an hour to an hour and a half.  You go down for your afternoon nap around 2:30, and you sleep for two and a half to 3 hours most days.  You prefer napping swaddled in your swing, rather than in your crib.

-You are wearing 3-6 month clothes, size 1 shoes, and size 2 diapers (when you aren't wearing cloth diapers, which is rare.)

-You are still having trouble staying regular without the help of a couple of ounces of juice every 3-5 days. Dr. Davis seems to think you'll grow out of this once you start eating fruits and veggies. Apparently you are absorbing every ounce of Momma's milk, just like your brother did. It's amazing you aren't chubbier than you are!

-Aside from a little juice, you are still on a diet of only breast milk, nursing exclusively when we are together, and taking a bottle of expressed breast milk when we are apart.  You nurse for about 20 minutes every 3 hours.

-You started daycare 3 days a week this month.  I send three 5oz. bottles with you when you go.  You are adjusting well, and even smiling at your teacher when I drop you off.

-You discovered your hands this month, and we can't keep them out of your mouth. You want either your hands or your paci in there at all times. You have also learned to use your hands to pull on your toys hanging from your carseat or play mat.

-You have really become attached to your paci, it's in your mouth quite a bit now. When you spit it out, you will grab it and try to put it back in your mouth, but you still haven't quite figured it out yet.

-Your neck muscles have gotten so strong, and you can push up and hold your head up when you're on your tummy.  You can roll from your back to your tummy, and from your tummy to back, although most times you prefer to be on your side.

-You smile and coo all the time, and you've started laughing when we tickle you under your neck. Baby laughs and gummy grins are my favorite!

You are Momma's little buddy already, and I can't wait to develop our friendship even more in the coming months. You bring me so much joy and make our family feel so much more complete.

We love you sweet girl,

September 2, 2014

more summer fun:

I've been overwhelmed lately by all the photos I haven't gone through... all the editing, blogging and photo book making I'd like to do. My two little sweeties don't give me much down time to work on photo organization or blogging, so I'm resorting to a dump of photos, mostly taken on our iPhones. It's been a good summer, full of lots of togetherness. I'd love to record every detail here, but this will have to do for now. 

^^^ family snuggles at the lake house. ^^^

^^^ play date with Max. ^^^

^^^ story time at the children's library. ^^^

^^^ popsicles poolside with Paisley and Max. ^^^

^^^ Little Rock Zoo ^^^

^^^ Elliott's first visit to the dentist. ^^^

^^^ showing off his clean teeth. ^^^

^^^ riding grandmommy's rocking horse with Aunt Sica. ^^^

^^^ Elliott with his cousin, Brianna. ^^^

^^^ Little Rock Farmer's Market ^^^

^^^ downtown splash pad. ^^^

^^^ walking across the junction bridge. ^^^

^^^ riding the trolley downtown at Elliott's request. ^^^

^^^ hanging at the pool. ^^^

^^^ Elliott and Paisley! ^^^

^^^ family sno cone date. ^^^

^^^ red tongues! ^^^
More photos and videos can be found on my instagram (click the little camera icon on the top right side). I try to post something there once a day. These little ones are growing so fast, I'm just trying to keep up.

August 18, 2014

the first day of "school":

Today was the first day of the fall term for Mother's Day Out. Elliott promoted to the young three's class, and Julianne had her first day. There were tears from Elliott and Momma, but Julianne was all smiles. We all survived, and Elliott even told me he had a good day at school on our way home.

August 17, 2014

the terrible, terrific twos:

Well, we have entered into what some would call "the terrible twos" the past few months. Elliott has been asserting his independence more every day and this means lots of screaming, running from us, and growling "like a T-rex" when he doesn't get his way. It's been trying to say the least. We have been having to experiment with different forms of discipline and/or rewards for good and bad behavior.

We've learned real quick that spanking is not a good technique with this strong-willed boy. Spanking only intensifies the anger and yelling, and leaves Mom and Dad feeling even more frustrated. Time out does seem to work, because he does not like to be separated from the family, but this is hard to use in the middle of the grocery store when he's having a melt down because he can't run freely though the aisles. Most times the best way to cope is to try to avoid conflict all together, and give as little attention as possible when he misbehaves, because any attention, even spanking, is attention, and this little boy loves attention.

He does respond well to rewards and positive reenforcement, so we try to praise any good behavior and offer treats for extended periods of good behavior. We're still learning, and this has hands down been the most difficult part of being a parent so far. You can't truly understand what your parents meant when they told you "this hurts me more than it hurts you," until you begin disciplining your own children. Discipling is not pleasant, but it's necessary. No one wants their kid to be a brat.

That being said, Elliott is a good kid. He may wear us out, or frustrate me to tears some days, but when he is sweet (which is more often than not) he is SO sweet. He is compassionate to the core, and nothing could make me more proud. So while the twos have been exhausting, they have also been joyful, so I wanted to take a moment to record a few things Elliott is saying and doing these days, so I can remember the good that also came with this tough stage.

Elliott has picked up a wonderful habit that his Daddy has modeled well for him. Every night before bed, while I am feeding and rocking Julianne to sleep, Elliott comes in the room, before he goes to read his bedtime story and tells me "thank you for making us dinner, Momma." Gary did not instruct him to do this, but he has watched his Daddy tell me thank you for cooking dinner, and decided on his own, that he too wanted to thank me, even on the nights I make something he hates. It's quite precious. On Sundays and Wednesdays he switches it up, and tells me "thank you for taking me to church."

After he thanks me, he says "oh, I need to give you a hug and a kiss." I happily oblige, and about halfway to the door he turns around and says "oh, one more hug," and heads back toward me. {every. single. night.}

Elliott has on multiple occasions told me "you look pretty, Mommy." (Props to Gary again for modeling that well.) And he asks if I'm "wearing my princess" any time I wear a maxi dress. :) He even told me he was going to "marry Mommy" the other day after listening to his favorite song, "Rude", which says "I'm gonna marry that girl." Who even knew he knew what that meant?

He loves to sing. He knows almost every Florida Georgia Line song, and he often bursts out singing something I had no idea he knew.

He loves to play trains, and I love to listen to him make them talk to each other, and watch his little hands push them along the track or line them up on the edge of a table or his bed.

He tells us he loves us, unprompted, multiple times a day. This is the absolute best. It makes everything we do as parents totally worthwhile.

When Gary was out of town last week, Elliott climbed in bed with me late one night. He asked where his Daddy was, and I reminded him that he was in Las Vegas. He then snuggled close to me and told me "don't worry, I will keep you and Juliannie safe." I mean how could I send him back to his bed after that?

I'm sure there are loads of other sweet things this boy has said and done lately, but these are a few that have really made me smile. He is full of life. He's growing into such a sweet, caring little boy, and it's such a joy to get to be a part of it.

I heard a poem on the radio this week about how hard it is to be a parent, but that there is a last time for everything we do as parents, and while many of our daily tasks seem monotonous, frustrating and exhausting, we don't get to do them forever. Some day I'll give him a bath for the last time. I'll chase him around the house trying to get him to eat his dinner for the last time. He'll say "hold me Momma" while I'm busy getting ready for work for the last time some day. He'll wake me up at two in the morning to sleep between Momma and Daddy for the last time one night. I cried right there in the car. It was just what I needed to hear in the thick of the "terrible twos", because however terrible they may seem some days, I can hardly bear to think of life where my purpose and calling is no longer to mother these babies. It truly is my greatest joy while here on Earth.

August 14, 2014

Julianne: 3 months


Just like that, you're 3 months old! This has been a fun month, because we've gotten to see your little personality begin to come out. You are such a happy baby, and you've been an absolute joy to mother. Here are some milestones from your third month.

-We don't go to the doctor this month, so I'm not sure what your stats are, but I would guess about 12 and a half pounds and 24 inches.

-You go to bed between 8 and 8:30 most nights. You typically wake up at 5 to eat, then go back to sleep until about 7:30.

-We still swaddle you for naps and at bedtime, but you've been escaping it when you're ready to get up.

-You are still wearing some 0-3 month clothes, but mostly 3-6 month things.

-We are still using cloth diapers. You look adorable in all the little pink and purple ones. It's been surprisingly easy to adjust to using them, in fact, I wish I had used them with Elliott.

-You're smiling and cooing at us all the time. I cannot get over how happy and content you are!

-You still have trouble going to the bathroom, so you get apple juice about once a week to help you along. This happened to your brother as well, so I'm not too worried about it.

-Aside from a little juice, you are still on a diet of only breast milk, nursing when we're together and taking a bottle of expressed milk when I'm at work. You nurse 10-20 minutes every 3 hours during the day.

-You've been staying with Pia 2 days a week this month while I'm at work, but you start daycare next week. Elliott is looking forward to having you at his school with him.

-You're holding your head up pretty well now, and you don't seem to mind tummy time. You've also started rolling over on your side when we lay you on your back.

-You've found your hands. You like to look at them and suck on them.

-You still have all of your dark hair. It's the first thing everyone notices about you. You truly are a beauty!

Time is flying much too quickly for me. I'm trying to soak up every moment with you, and I am always praising the Lord for your sweet, happy disposition. We look forward to watching your personality continue to show this next month. You bring so much joy to our family.

I love you sweet girl,

August 12, 2014

garden update:

Well, it's been a while since my last update. I'm honestly not sure how moms with more than one kid blog more than once or twice a month. I've been taking lots of pictures, but my free time to upload, edit and blog is sparse these days. I still have photo books I need to make from 2012. I hope Julianne has (any) photo albums someday. But I wanted to post a quick update on our summer garden. It's pretty much done now that Julianne is starting to stay awake for longer stretches during the day, but I was pretty proud of the progress we did have.

The spinach was eaten up with bugs and the squash got way too much rain, but the cucumbers thrived, and my herbs were looking good until about last week when I forgot to water them for several days. I don't think I'll ever be a master gardener, but I'm glad we gave it a try. It was fun handing out cucumbers and pickles from our own backyard to family and friends.

^^^ cucumber trellis. ^^^

^^^ baby squash. ^^^

^^^ baby cucumber. ^^^

^^^ our first harvest! ^^^

^^^ squash from the garden. ^^^

^^^ my little helper showing off his harvest. ^^^

^^^ fresh mint water. ^^^

^^^ potted herbs. the cilantro bit the dust early on… ^^^

^^^ making pickles with our cucumbers. ^^^

^^^ homemade, homegrown pickles, yum! ^^^
The compost is looking pretty good too. It's breaking down nicely, and maybe we'll have some we can use if we attempt another garden next summer.

I'm glad I gave it a try. It was surprisingly much easier than I expected, but finding the time to maintain it here toward the end of the summer has proven difficult. Maybe next year we'll have more success once we are all in a better routine as a family of four.

Let me know if you need some cucumbers, we've still got plenty of those!