Monday, August 18, 2014

B is 4 months!

Brooklyn! You are 4 months old today!
You are amazing! Your smile lights up the room, and you get so happy whenever someone talks to you! You have beautiful blue eyes and a tiny bit of blond hair. You are loooong and lean, 96th percentile in height (25.5in) and 40th in weight (12lbs 13oz). The doctor says you are as 'tall' as a 6 month old! Will you be tall when you grow up? Daddy and I both have tall genes in our families (my dad is almost 6'6!). Then you can be a basketball or volleyball player! Here are some 3 and 4 month pics.

You love to hold onto my finger and will often drift to sleep as long as I'm holding your hand. You are addicted to your paci and I'm so thankful there is an easy way to comfort you and calm you down (yet I wish you would just find your fingers instead). We are still working on getting you to sleep easily at night or during naps. You do NOT like to be put in your crib awake. You would rather doze off wherever we are. You don't want to be by yourself, so we still have to let you cry it out a few intervals before you will finally fall asleep. (I'm so over this!)

-You are up between 7-8am for your first feeding. (Sometimes you wake in the middle of the night. Maybe 3-4 nights a week. I don't feed you since you have been able to sleep through the night just fine since before 6 weeks old, but I just try to calm you down and sometimes end up giving you your pacifier, which then means I have to go in again if it falls out. Dumb paci.) You prefer to stay in bed and sleep another hour after you eat and I'll let you if I know we will be out all morning. 
-You don't sleep much if we aren't at home so your next real nap is when your sister goes down around 12. Sometimes you will sleep for 3 hours! It is wonderful when you and your sis take naps at the same time!
-You may take one more short nap wherever we are around 5 or just want an early bedtime. 
-We try to put you to bed after your sister goes down, 7:30ish and this is usually a 30-45 minute process. 
-You eat every 3ish hours. 

What's new:
Over the past month you have learned to roll. When we put you on your play mat, you quickly roll off of it. You also use the play mat toys to try and pull yourself up. In fact, you are always trying to sit up. You are the only baby I've heard of with a 6 pack! Whenever we lay you down, you lift up your head and neck and literally try and sit up. It's like you are doing sit ups all day long.
You love your bumbo, totally opposite of your sister. You also love to stand and have super strong legs.  You won't just sit in my lap peacefully for very long, you are such a mover!
You found your toes! You like to suck on them, which is so funny!
You are a sweet sweet little girl, although you still have your occasional fussy moments, mostly at night. I think you are a bit shy, and more serious than your goofy sister was at 4 months. But you love to be around people, watch people and be a part of what's going on. I wish I could better set your schedule and pick up on your tired signals but your 2 year old sister sort of sets the schedule for the day and you are learning to go with the flow.
Kennedy started 'school' two days a week from 8-12 so that will give me some time to just focus on you and your needs (and maybe meet up with some other women for coffee and talk time, which I desperately need!). 
We are going to Chicago together in a couple days-your first flight and a chance for my high school besties to meet you! And for your nana and pappy to love on you! You are a good baby, and once we get your sleep schedule a little smoother at nights, we will be ready for babysitters to come and love on you so your daddy and I can get OUT! We love you! ; )

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Austells, party of 4?

I haven't written just a normal post in a long time, one that isn't focused on the kiddos and their latest. So I will fill you in on our summer and our transition to life with 2 kids.
Kent finished teaching at the end of May, right when the State Track meet was going on in Nashville. I took the girls and met Kent there and we stayed 2 nights in a hotel (Brooklyn was about a month old). Although we got NO sleep, Kennedy loved the hotel and we all had a blast watching the track meet. That was our first little summer getaway, although Kent was busy coaching. The rest of the summer has been pretty low key because really, it is just not fun traveling even 3 hours with a toddler and newborn in the car. And although Kent isn't teaching in the summer, he has to train the Briarcrest fall sports teams every morning and does speed and agility camps and trains athletes in the afternoons, so he still works most of the summer except for Fridays.  We have tried to do a few fun things as a family that we can't do during the school year but mostly its been a lot of swimming at my in-law's house. We took the girls to Mud Island one day which is downtown Memphis where they have recreated the Mississippi River and kids can splash and play in it.  We went to the zoo as well, and although it wasn't KJ's first time, she enjoyed it now more than she ever has. The girls and I have had lots of play dates with Carissa, Cliff and baby Luke playing at the park or going to storytime at the Library. (We will do that of course, all year long since Carissa is one of my only stay at home mom friends and KJ loves Cliff!)

My parents (Chicago) and my sister's family (Arizona) all came in for a long weekend over July 4th, and got to join us in celebrating KJ's 2nd birthday. It was the first time Kennedy has really remembered interacting with her cousins (age 7, 5, and 16 months) and she had a BLAST. Of course ANY time we have friends over at our house she is over the moon. Kent and I went to Little Rock, Ar for 24 hours without the kids (sort of because Mother's Day, our anniversary, my birthday, Father's day and his birthday all sort of got overlooked with Brooklyn's birth and then his 10 day trip to Ecuador).  We had a blast just being alone together, running along the river, eating out, going to the Farmer's market and just relaxing. It's amazing what those getaways do for a marriage! And we are SO thankful for family living close to give us those special breaks from being parents. So that has basically been our summer.

I haven't been running much since months before Brooklyn was born, now it's because it's SO hot outside for me to bring the girls with and also, pushing the double bob around my hilly neighborhood is no joke. So hopefully when the weather cools down I can get back into running, one of my passions. I did lose the baby weight quickly, but getting back in shape is another story. My abs were really split and still haven't fully healed. Then, I hurt my back shortly after having Brooklyn, so that put me out for some weeks. It's still sore, so I need to be careful picking up the kiddos all day, but I am much better. I can finally bring Brooklyn to our gym now that she's 3 months old, so its been fun getting to do some of my favorite classes again. (Although getting the kids changed and fed, packing up all of their stuff and mine, and actually getting to a class on time will take me awhile to master.) They also have a great pool there, but I can't quite figure out how it's possible to take a baby and a toddler swimming by myself. 

So speaking of my new life with two kids, I'd say ever since Brooklyn joined our family, things have definitely been crazier around here and I have not quite found a rhythm. (Next time remind me not to have a baby right at the end of the school year and middle of track season.)  Our transition to two kids has been a LOT harder for me than just having one. Being a stay at home mom has its challenges, one of which is feeling isolated and a bit trapped. I definitely felt that when I had KJ. But with one kid, I could still sort of be out and about and meet up with people, I'd just take her along. Running into Walgreens to pick up photos or grab milk wasn't a huge deal. I could still go shopping for clothes and whatever else we needed. Now it is such an ordeal to go anywhere, even the post office! Just getting them both in and out of the car is hard sometimes (haha minivan, here we come!).  Meeting up with friends requires both of my kids feeding and sleeping schedules to magically line up with theirs and if it does work, it's a pretty short window of time.

In spite of the new challenges we are all adjusting to, we still get out and do stuff, we still see people, and we still have enjoyed the summer together. Although my free time has decreased and my patience is stretched, my joy is also fuller, my smiles are greater, and my love is deeper! My laundry piles may have multiplied along with the dirty dishes, messy floors, and dusty shelves. But I love my two girls. I love being able to stay home and care for them and watch them both learn and grow. I love my baby's snuggles and sweet smiles and coos. I love my toddler's new found curiosity, love for reading books, growing vocabulary and desired independence. (I also love my 3 cups of coffee a day and the glorious times when their naps coincide!). Although I rarely get to have uninterrupted conversations with friends these days (or uninterrupted anything) or time off from mom duties, the Lord has been supplying what I lack and graciously reminding me of how fleeting this season really is.

We have actually decided to let Kennedy be a part of a 2-year old program at Briarcrest this fall called Little Saints. It is 3 days a week from 8-12 and she will be in a class of 14 toddlers (Pray for that teacher!-yikes!) I am freaking out a bit, feeling like I am sending her off to school already, and am telling myself it's just like a PDO and only for 4 hours. Although my little social butterfly will have a blast with all those kids,  it feels like I'm releasing her to the outside world already and that. is. scary. I'm excited for the new things she will learn and fun experiences she will get to have and also for the 1-1 time I will get with Brooklyn those days. I'm taking Brooklyn with me for a long weekend in August, flying home to Chicago to see my parents and introduce Brooklyn to some of my best friends. KJ will stay here and stay with Lolly and Pops and Kent.

We are loving being part of our church here in Memphis and our community group is such a blessing to our family. It is so great to have friends to do life with, to watch each other become parents and to love on each others' kids (see this awesome post about the need for all of us to have the support of       'our village'.) Kent and I both look forward to Thursday nights each week when we get together with 8 other couples to study the word, talk life and pray for each other. I do not do well in isolation and need the weekly encouragement to press on in our faith, in whatever circumstances we are dealing with, and in the hard days of being a stay at home mama. God has also met our needs financially this summer in an unexpected way which was an amazing answer to prayer. So I will end this post with Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."
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