Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ellie's songs for Katie

Here are a couple songs Ellie sang to Katie just after we brought her home from the hospital. Too precious :)

Our week

The girls and I spent our first full week together without Brian taking any days off work and without any family in town to help. We made it! And we actually had a lot of fun, with only a few moments throughout the week of chaos or tantrums (Ellie's, none from me!)
I probably shouldn't be quite so proud of the accomplishment of making it five days on my own with my two children, but I am. As I continue this transition to at-home work I'm finding the job can be more challenging than the one I used to spend 40+ hours for the newspaper. It can also be (and usually is) more rewarding, but in a different and less obvious way than a job where you get to see your work in print after it's completed. But I'm finding so much joy in teaching Ellie little things throughout each of our days together. I was beyond proud this week when she pointed to an "E" on Katie's bottle and said the name of the letter and that it was the one for her name, Ellie. I'd just worked on that lesson with her the day before but didn't know if any of it sunk in. Ellie is such a sponge, though, I shouldn't have doubted it. She pointed out the E in the grocery store sign to Brian when he took her there this morning, too. Smart girl. We're turning the world around us into a classroom but also having a lot fun, as it should be.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Big sis

Here's Ellie sharing a book with Katie after she gave little sister her pacifier and tucked her in with blankets on a recent morning. So sweet.

March swimming?

I'm late on these, but here are a few shots from last week when we enjoyed some crazy warm March weather. With temps approaching 90 a couple of the days we decided to get out the kiddie pool, which Ellie loved playing in (at least until a bee came buzzing by... she's inherited my fear of bugs, it seems).
I also had to search for any warm weather-appropriate clothes for Ellie and found we didn't have much that fit. A trip to Kohls helped!
We were also lucky enough to have my mom visit for a few days and help with the girls.
She and I took them into Target for some portraits, which was a definite test in patience. I think we got a couple cute shots despite Ellie's mood and Katie's... 7-week-old-ness :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Park dates

Here's a couple shots of Ellie hanging at a local park, Happy Hollow, on two recent park playdates. Above she's with Olivia, and below she and Sydney are exploring a tree trunk fort!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Growing baby

Katie is getting bigger, slowly but surely. (The slow part is fine by me -- as long as she's healthy -- because I hate to see her tiny-ness slipping away!)
She's 7 weeks old and just now growing out of her newborn-sized clothes and diapers. Ellie barely ever fit into that stuff! When I checked her weight at the doc's office last week she was 8 lbs, 8 oz, which was a pound heavier than she was 2 weeks prior. We're thrilled that she's staying on track with the ounce-per-day rule (ish) for babies at this point. I'm sure she'll be over 10 lbs by her 2-month checkup next week... but by comparison, Ellie was 12 lbs, 8 oz at her 2-month doc's appointment. Our two girls are definitely on different growing paths, with Ellie steadily in the 90th percentile for most of her first year and Katie so far in the 10th percentile. All that matters, though, is both are happy and healthy.
Breastfeeding is going well, too. I have many days where I feel calm and in control of the whole situation, which is a far cry from the nursing process with Ellie when I felt helpless through much of it. My supply is much better this time around and Katie is getting at least 75 percent of her daily food from me via nursing and pumping. Yay!
In other baby development news, Katie is getting much stronger and can hold her head up for short bursts when on her tummy or being held up near our shoulders. She continues to be a sleeping champ (knock on wood! fingers crossed!) and only wakes up once in the middle of the night before getting up around 6 a.m. the next morning. It still makes for a groggy mom and dad, but compared to what most babies are still doing at this point Brian and I consider ourselves some of the luckiest parents on the planet.
The Ellie-Katie dynamic is pretty good. Ellie genuinely seems to care for her sister and gets excited when she sees her in the morning. We're still working hard to explain and enforce "gentle touches," since Ellie continues to lean on Katie with her full toddler weight and tries to poke her in the eyes and face on a daily basis. I wonder how any younger siblings survive sometimes!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seeking balance

I have so many thoughts on this subject swirling around in my head, so this probably won't be a very coherent post. My apologies in advance.
My family leave time from work is ending this week and I recently told my boss that I can't go back to work full-time. It was a hard decision to make, in some regards, but I was also dealing with the feelings that it would be impossible to leave Katie for an extended period of time. I had the same feelings after Ellie was born, but this time around we were dealing with the additional incentive that almost all of my income would be eaten up by double daycare costs if I returned to work... so I'd have all the headache of the job without much financial gain. I asked about going down to part time, not sure how that offer would be received... but my boss agreed to the idea. So on April 2 I will go back in to work an evening shift, something I will be doing a few times each week. We're timing it so that I will go in after Brian gets home from work, thus eliminating the need for daycare. It will be a major cost savings and also enable me to bring in a bit of supplemental income. This is all good and it feels feasible. I don't think it will be easy to head into work after a full day home with the girls, but I am looking forward to using my job skills and having some adult interaction. Giving up my job (especially in this economy) was a tough and scary choice to make. But I remember so many feelings of guilt and regret when I went back to work just 9 weeks after Ellie was born. There were so many days when I felt like I wasn't giving my best efforts on the job OR at home because I was stretched so thin. I'm hoping to avoid that this time around.
But I still find myself doubting my efforts and worrying about the path I've chosen. Maybe we're still all in the transition phase AND things are still really hard with a new baby, but I often worry that I'm not doing a good enough job with the girls at home. I want to make sure Ellie continues learning and progressing, like she was at school, but it's tough to have the time or get the toddler's cooperation in doing any sort of "lessons" (like letters or counting or something of the sort) during the days. Katie's just along for the ride on everything right now, which sometimes makes me feel bad because I don't have the time to devote solely to her tummy time or motor skills or whatever else the parenting books (that I don't have time to read this time around) suggest she be working on right now.
I know we're only a couple months in. I know that some of this probably sounds dumb. I know that these girls are in great hands with me and Brian, and we're certainly not scarring them for life (so far!) I just want them to be exceptional. I want to fill our days with fun and learning and laughing, which often is a far cry from the scolding and disciplining Ellie requires these days.
I'm seeking balance. Maybe it will be a constant quest on this parenting journey. Right now I would love to know for sure I'm making the right decision for me and for our family. But instead I need to have faith and patience. Guess I should take some of the advice I've been doling out to Ellie on a daily basis -- be patient, settle down, don't whine and be happy.


Ellie's latest favorite is taking showers "BY MYSELF"... as she says it. There's still assistance needed from mom or dad in the process, but what a big girl!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Taking turns

The cousins -- minus Mason :( -- take turns holding baby Katie for pictures. She's a great prop, though she was getting bored with it all by the time Jay got his turn!

Happy St. Patty's Day

Our little leprechaun!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012


Ellie painted her very own flower pot this week and then planted flower seeds with daddy. Hopefully we'll see some sprouting up soon, especially given the summery weather we're having! We've barely been indoors this week! Love it.

Baby Ellie v. Baby Katie

Gotta love the expressions on these two :)

Ellie less than a week old... Katie 5 weeks old (below)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sleep craziness

The nights have been a little nutty at our house this week. I don't know that I can chalk it up to day light savings time... but somehow Ellie's off her schedule by about 4 hours. All week she's been fighting sleep at bed time (and naps) and staying up till close to 11 p.m. It's a far cry from her former 7 p.m. sleep time. Brian and I would love to have her land somewhere around 8 or 8:30, but 11 is out of the question. Once we put her down at night, though, she's been getting back up and playing with toys, books and her stuffed animals in her room forEVER. She's mostly quiet and happy playing on her own. We hear all sorts of songs and conversations with baby dolls through the monitor. But every so often she'll knock to get out of her room or call pathetically for mommy or daddy in the hopes of getting another story or permission to come downstairs. Oh, and during what was supposed to be nap time yesterday I responded to a quiet but persistent call for "help" from Ellie and found her stuck between her headboard and the wall, with one leg stuck over the top and a picture knocked off the wall. I'm glad she wasn't hurt... and it was hard not to laugh.
I guess maybe we got off easy when she started going to bed and staying in it (more often than not, anyway) when we first moved her out of the crib... so now she's realized she can get up and is taking full advantage. We'll see if the streak continues, but I'd think this girl would get pretty darn tired soon going from a normal 12 hours of sleep a night to only 8. (Both options sound like heaven to me and Brian, however... but oh well).

On the Katie sleep front, I CAN'T complain after she slept an astounding 6 hours (well, 5:45) in one stretch last night. The night before she also made it for a 5 hour stretch... and I felt like I'd slept for a month, and also like I needed to feed her pronto! I probably just jinxed it by telling others about the good fortune. But if not, keep the magic coming, Katie! Oh, and tell your big sister: Just go to bed!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Ellie apparently got ahold of my camera when I wasn't around to stop her. She left behind some evidence...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Toddler BFF

Ellie had her good friend Olivia over for another play date one afternoon last week. They had a good time playing with the bricks together and then generally ignored each other for much of the rest of their time hanging out... such is toddler play time, I guess. But these two are pretty cute together :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

One month

This was a surprised look I caught on Katie's face after a sneeze, but it pretty much sums up her sense of wonder at all the craziness and activity around our house. Between her big sister, the dogs and her weirdo mom and dad... there's not many dull moments for our one-month old. Speaking of which, I took her in today for her 4-week checkup and Katie got high marks from the doctor. But not from the scale. Katie continues to be our little tiny. She's gaining weight and getting taller... just not by a whole lot. Doc said she's probably just a slow grower and she's not concerned. (Those were welcome words to me.) Katie weighed in today at 7 lbs, 8 oz and measured 20 inches long. (Puts her in the 8% for weight and 10% for height for her age.)
Katie is making some progress on holding her head up momentarily. She's going for longer stretches without eating at night (yay!) and generally is a happy baby most of the time.

Speaking of happy, Ellie was thrilled when her daddy built a fort for her this weekend after all our company left. The blanket roof did wonders for her hair :)
Oh, and she's earning her keep by doing some light housework. There's at least one very clean tile in our shower now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Katie's baptism

The sign at church says it all... well, sort of. Welcome to the newest Catholic, even if her name is too long to fit :)
Just like her older sister, Katie slept through the whole thing. It certainly beats screaming! The baptism went great. And we really appreciated the family and friends who could make the trip to Lafayette to attend the service at our local parish, Church of the Blessed Sacrament.
Here are the proud parents and god parents, (from left) Kris and Melissa Klaustermeier, and grandma. And the whole crew below! Thanks again to everyone who made the weekend so special.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday fun

Baby Gladys was nice enough to share the bouncy seat with Katie during dinner the other night. Twins?
And here's a glam shot of me and Ellie after we did each other's hair and added some baubles to the ensemble. I know, we're looking good.