Monday, September 30, 2013

Trying So Hard.

Our Bright Eyes is trying so HARD. She wants to be part of the action. She's been scooting around for a few weeks now. She spends all her waking time kicking those legs, rolling around and just getting ready.
Saturday was the first day I saw her get up on all fours.
She'll be 5 months this Friday.
I was hoping this one would be a little her Sissy.
No such luck.





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

4 Months Old. Anala. (A Little Late).


Dearest Bright Eyes,
You turned Four-Months-old on September 4th. I wrote this awhile ago, but am just getting around to posting this letter. Sorry. Better late than never!
You continue to light up our lives with your smile. Seriously kid, I dare anyone to resist that grin of yours.
You are at such an amazing stage right now. Happy, alert, curious, but not yet (too) mobile. And, WAY cuter than when you first popped out.
I could gnaw on your big ole cheeks for days. (Come to think of it, I do). Did you know you gained 4 lbs in 2 months? Yup, you weighed in at 17 lbs 4 oz at your 4 Month Appointment. You love Mama's milk and it shows.
The Pediatrician gave her thumbs up on introducing solid food to you (since we have no food allergies in the family). She seems to think that you will sleep longer at night with a bit of solid food in your belly. You've been grabbing at the food on our plates for weeks now, so you are definitely ready.
The first food we gave you was some mashed up bananas. Followed by avocado. You seemed ambivalent on the bananas, but chowed down on the avocados.
You are now officially a belly-sleeper. I don't even bother putting you on your back anymore because you immediately flip over. You started getting your legs stuck in the slats of the crib (because you wiggle around so much), so now we put you in a sleep sack.
When you are placed on the floor, within 3 minutes you have scooted around 360 degrees. It hysterical watching you (except when you get frustrated because you REALLY, REALLY want to crawl). You can get your bottom up in the air and your chest up separately. But, putting the two together is the challenge.
You love yanking out your monkey pacifier, staring hard at it and shoving it back in your mouth. Your Big Sissy doesn't appreciate you trying to grab her precious Milky or her hair. But, you put up with her touching your face constantly and tons of hugs, so I think it is only fair.
It's so pathetic when you start crying because you hear your Sissy crying (even if she is faking it).
You can transfer your toys from hand to hand and seem very pleased with this new skill. You can also sit up by yourself for up to 20 seconds now before you crash and burn.
Unlike your Sissy, you like to go to bed at a reasonable hour. You usually conk out at around 8:30 pm. I nurse you between 11 pm-12 am and then you wake up indignant and hungry at around 4 am. You usually let Mommy sleep until 7:30 am. You play for an hour or so and then it's time for your first nap. After that your schedule isn't too predictable. Your ideal play-time seems to be about 1 hour until you need some rest.
We have started sleep training you (yet another thing we've done different this time around). When you let out your sleepy screech, yawn or rub your eyes, we know it's time to put you in your crib. I sing a few rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, pat you on the back and leave you. Sometimes it only takes a minute or so of you crying before you fall asleep. We've been doing this for a few weeks now. It's such a relief compared to putting your Sissy to sleep (she still takes up to 1/2 hour sometimes). Thanks for being such a Trooper.
Your family adores you. You light up our Lives, You Sweet Thing.
We love you so very, very much,
Mommy, Daddy and Big Sissy


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Birthday Time Capsule

One of my favorite things that we did for Big Sissher's First Birthday, was to make her a Birthday Capsule of sorts. I wrote about it here when I was thinking about doing a Christmas Time Capsule.
It took a while to explain it everyone at the Birthday Party, but once all of the Indian Aunties understood my Odd-ball Idea they ran with it.
We handed out a letter and a number to each group (we decided that it might be a little to overwhelming for each person to fill out their own, so we asked people to find a partner). The number was the Birthday they were suppose to write about on the paper they were given.
Last March, on Nye-Nye's 2nd Birthday, we opened the first letters. It was so sweet, I can't wait until she actually understands the concept. I have a special box where all the unopened letters remain.
My dear friend, Crissy, is about to have her Baby Shower and wanted to know what was in the Birthday Letters. (Originally I wanted to do this for our Baby Shower but I wasn't able to get it together in time).
Unfortunately, I lost the original template (sorry, Crissy)...but this is an example of one of the letters.

I am hoping to do the same thing for Bright Eye's First Birthday.

Dear Bright Eyes,

Happy Birthday! Today, you are turning 5 years old. I am Catoctin Mountain Mama, your Mama.

My favorite memory (of when I was 5 years old) was when I was playing

I loved playing soccer, going to my Ballet class, playing dress-up with Aunt Mimi, cuddling with the many, many kittens on our Farm, listening to my Mama sing, sitting behind Daddy when he drove the tractor in the fields, eating oatmeal in the Morning, listening to my Popop play the piano, learning how to read and playing with my Mama's long hair when I was your age.

Don't forget to spend many hours outside playing in all sorts of weather.

My wish for you is that you will always be fearless and willing to take chances (and fall flat on your face), that you will have faith in your ability to adapt to any situation, that you will learn to always listen to Your Inner Voice, that you will come to see Life as a Journey and not as a Race, that you will always treat others with Kindness and share that gorgeous of your yours and that you will be comfortable in your own skin.

I would also like to say that I want you to question EVERYTHING, especially when you are told that it's the only way (even if the person saying that is me).

Enjoy today. Greetings from the year 2013!

All My Love Forever and Forever,

On Getting Help.

One of biggest fears while I was pregnant was...."how to juggle a New-born and a Toddler by myself."

I knew how rough my recovery was the first time around and I was terrified of dealing with that again, on top of having a feisty Toddler (and a New Baby, of course). I knew Papa Bear would be home for 2 weeks tops and that my Mother-in-law and Mama would help out A LOT in the beginning.

But, what about when they went home and it was JUST ME. I was scared.

So, we dipped into our savings and hired a "Mother's Helper" for 8 weeks during the Summer.

It's was one of our BEST DECISIONS EVER.

We hired a lovely young woman, home from College. B lived 5 minutes away and just wanted a little extra cash for school. She worked 12 hours a week and was very flexible on how we spread out those 12 hours. Sometimes it was 2 days a week of 6 hours each and other weeks it was 3 days of 4 hours.

Because I was always there with her (except for when she would take Nye-Nye to the Play-ground), we paid her less than a Babysitter (since she had less responsibility). I didn't ask her to do any household chores, she literally was paid to just play with our Toddler.

She would take Nye-Nye out in our Back-yard (or the Play-ground), so the Kiddo got fresh air and plenty of Sunshine every day. And, lots of mosquitoes bites...going out to our Back-yard was something I couldn't do with a itty-bitty New-born (since our neighborhood was so infested with mosquitoes).

When it was Nye-Nye's Naptime, I would hand B the baby and I would go and put Nye-Nye to bed. Then, if I was lucky, I'd get an hour nap.

It was a life-safer...let me tell you!

We were all sad to see B go back to College in August. But, by that time I was comfortable taking care of both girls all the day by myself (and the baby had thankfully out-grown her colic).

I am feeling so very grateful we were able to hire a Mother's Helper - B definitely helped me stay sane this Summer!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making Peace With the Ugly.


I'm a snob, I'll admit.

I hate plastic baby crap in my house.

I hate it for environmental reasons. I hate it for philosophical reasons. I hate it for aesthetic reasons.

We have a few plastic pieces in our house, but usually if anything needs a battery, lights up and makes heads to my In-law's house ASAP.

My Mother bought a Saucer at a Consignment Shop or Yard Sale for Nye-Nye when she was 3 months or so.

It's ugly. Takes up a lot of room. But you know what?

She LOVED it.

And, I made peace with it.

Now, it's our Anala-Bala Bears' turn.

And, I think she may love it even more than her Big Sissy did at the same age.

It's been a great lesson in how Motherhood forces you to let go of all those Expectations on How-You-Are-Going-To-Mother...




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our Anniversary Getaway in Frederick, MD

Working out at the Gym. Acupuncture. Gorgeous weather. Eating tapas in the Sun. An amazing Toy Store. A Nap. A Bath in Claw-foot Bath-tub. Walking hand-in-hand. More delicious food by Carroll Creek. A Charming Inn. An uninterrupted Night of sleep. A killer Break-fast by a Fire. A 1/2 hour Massage. Hello Kisses and Hugs from My Girls

Seriously, I don't know how we could have added any more of my favorite things to our Anniversary Celebration. It was 24 hours of re-connecting and enjoying my Husband's company. It was a blast.

We hadn't done very much for our previous two Anniversaries, so it was extra-special to really celebrate making it through these last intense three years.

Here are a few photos from our lovely time in Frederick on Friday.











Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mount Vernon's Colonial Marketplace

We live only a handful of miles from George Washington's Mount Vernon. Tickets are crazy expensive, but a year pass is a great deal (plus kids under 5 are free). Both Papa Bear and I have year passes.

The last time we were there together as a family was on January 1st, which was an amazing day - complete with a feisty camel.

Last Week-end, we were planning on checking out the butterflies at the "Wings of Fancy" exhibit before it ended. But, by the time the baby had her first morning nap and everyone was fed, we knew there was not enough time to drive the 45 minutes to the exhibit, explore, eat lunch and drive back for the Big Girl's nap.

It was a glorious day and I wanted to do something as a family.

Lucky for us, there was "Mount Vernon's Fall Market."

There were some decent vendors (all very authentic) and a tiny military encampment. We ended up buying Nye-Nye a gorgeous hand-made broom just her size! I gave her the money and she stood in line patiently clutching her broom and the cash, waiting to pay for it. She was so proud.

We also watched a cannon demonstration, although neither girls seemed terribly impressed.

The food was the biggest disappointment (BBQ with coleslaw, turkey legs, popcorn, a bag of peanuts, chips and an apple...those were your options). But, the event was free with our pass and it got us out of the house, so I won't complain too loudly.

All in all it was a success (plus I got several sweet photos of Papa Bear with his Anala-bala Bear).

It was a nice, spontaneous Family Outing.

That being said...

"Claude Moore Colonial Farm's Colonial Market Fair" was much, much more impressive. We went last year. They do a phenomenal job with authenticity and food (and beer) is top-notched. They had killer meat-pies and veggie-pies, baked olives, roasted chicken amongst other things. There is plenty too do, but it's not too overwhelming to go with small children (like the Ren Festival). Everything is very reasonable and the site is quite lovely.

Claude Moore Farm has three Market Fairs a year. Their Autumn Colonial Market will be October 19th and 20th from 11 am - 4:30 pm. If you've never been and are in the area, I highly recommend marking your calendars.

I don't have any photos from last year, but I'll end a few shots from Mount Vernon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

National Donate Your Hair Day


I did it.

I went and cut off over 10 inches of my hair and donated it.

It took me four years to grow it out. This was the longest my hair had been for 19 years!

It's been over two weeks now and I am finally getting used to it.

At first, I was really missing my long hair (but not the baby pulling on it). Every time I looked in the mirror, I kept doing a double-check thinking I was wearing a wig.

Now, I just feel back to normal. And, I feel really good that some person will be able to benefit from the simple act of me cutting off my hair.

We were visiting friends near VA Beach and I asked M (perhaps my most favorite former student EVER) to cut my hair. I cut my own hair for years and years, so I was confident she would do a decent job. And, she did.

M also took a few shots of my family before she chopped away.

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