Thursday, September 29, 2011

A new normal


I would be a terrible single mother. Terrible.

I not only rely on Ray’s help, but I need it. We have very distinct parenting roles – he is the fun, “rough” parent; I like activities that are quiet and more learning-faced  -  and we tag-team very well. He plays and entertains the kids while I clean house. I play with them while he is making dinner. It might have taken us three years, but we had our patterns and schedules perfected.

Not anymore.

Ray’s new work project has him working constantly. Sunrise to sunset and beyond. Six days a week, and soon, seven days a week.

I am trying to get used to a new normal and learning to break out of my comfort zone.

With a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, I tend to want to just stay in the comfort of my own home.

But that doesn’t help my girls, who need to get out and see the world.

So, this past Tuesday, I pledged to bring my  kids to the nearby ski hill to explore the area, take some covered wagon rides, and, at my older daughter’s urging, climb a ridiculously tall (and steep) hill.

What an evening!


 

 

I was nervous about how I would handle both girls on my own. Lola was super excited to go and I was concerned that Millie would hate it and scream her head off the whole time.

I should know better.

She didn't make a peep, just stared at everyone and everything.
So, for our first girls night out, it went fantastically.


 - Bethany :)
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

so different

Amelia is just barely three months old and she, already, is so very different from her sister. She is more calm, easygoing and relaxed. She rarely cries, unless you put her down to sleep. She loves to kick, squirm and coo. And she adores having "conversations" with you.

Yesterday, we found she has a new favorite pastime. She woke up early from her nap, just after the first quarter of the Vikings game. I laid her down on the floor in the living room to play with her and she ignored me. I mean, she had no interest in me whatsoever.

Never before has she taken an interest in the television, but when football was on TV, she was glued to the screen. She cried out when Ray paused the game. And smiled when he turned it back on.

She seemed to know who she was supposed to be rooting for, too.

First-half shots:



Second-half shots:


And overtime...

Her father wasn't very happy either...

***

In case I haven't written about it before, I should. Amelia's hair cracks me up. She was born with a fair amount of dark hair, and while it has lightened a little bit since then, it remains darker than Lola's was at this time (same story with her eyes).

But her hair refuses to stay flat. It sticks straight up not matter how I comb it.

I don't know if that means she is going to have curls as it gets longer ... or just difficult hair.

But it is long enough to put in a bow - just too thin for the bow to stay put.

It makes me smile.

***
As you might have seen, we ended up buying a new rug for under the new couch.

I love our wood floors. But they are not exactly kid-friendly. Especially not baby-friendly. 

I love that Millie can hang out with us more in the living room now. She still hates tummy time, but, hopefully, at some point in the future, she will start trying to move around a bit. 

And, hey, the rug looks nice too.  (We just have to do something about those boring walls...)


***
Oh Lola...

She is such a girly girl...

Forget timeouts. The most effective way to get her to listen?
"Lola," you say calmly. "If you don't (insert appropriate request here), you're going to have to take off your princess dress and put on pants."

Instant cooperation.

- Bethany :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Disappointments and joys

You know those weeks? When nothing seems to go right? Yeah, we just had one of those. Which capped off a difficult September.

But one of the (many) nice things about kids is that you get so focused on them and their needs that they can distract you from anything. And with the distraction comes so much joy. (The downside is they go to bed at 8 p.m., at which point the house gets eerily quiet. And your mind instantly reverts to focusing on your troubles.)

Anyhow, I had Friday off. I sent my sweet Millie to daycare so Lola and I could have a special Mommy and Lola Fun Day. She has been fabulous the past three months with the new baby, but I figured she was due for some one-on-one time. And, well, with this being Bemidji, winter is like days away (seriously, I know people who already plastic-wrapped their windows).

So we both took the day off. The motto for the day was "whatever Lola wants to do, we will do" (within reason of course).

Big surprise: She chose to go the park. We went to the "big park" where she played on the swings and climbed on the slides for hours. And, as a special surprise, I packed up her bike in the Jeep so she was able to take her first-ever bike ride on a bike/park trail. She was so proud.

We stayed at the park for like two hours. It was chilly-ish, but so fun.








Then, I had to make a quit stop at the fire hall to get a few things for work. Now, based on previous visits, I was not thinking this would go well. But I figured I could be in and out in three minutes. So, of course, she takes the opportunity to remind me, yet again, that she's growing up.

We left, got two feet out the door and she looked back sadly, "I didn't see fire trucks."

Uh, you want to see the trucks? They usually scare the bejeesus out of her.

But she nodded, hopefully.

Fortunately, the guys see me every day for work, so they didn't care if we just popped back there "for a quick minute" to check out the trucks. One by one we examined each truck. She was so interested. Of course, I am still smart enough to not ask them to run the sirens. The quiet, sereneness of the fire hall that day was a blessing.

After that, it was off to McDonalds for her special treat. She got a little McD gift from daycare this week for staying completely dry and pull-up free (no more pull-ups at naptime!).

We have two McD in town. the "small one" (with a smaller toddler-friendly-sized play area) and the "big one" with huge platforms to climb and large, spiral slides. We don't go to the big one because Lola gets frustrated when she can't reach and climb the platforms.

But she insisted.

So we went.

And she climbed all over the place like a monkey.



She loved it.


It was a wonderful day.

I can't believe how big she is getting every day.

Amazing.

- Bethany :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adjusting

Wow. Getting used to working again has been a bit harder than I anticipated.

Forgive my absence in the last week, please. I have been super duper crazy busy trying to figure out some kind of schedule. Basically, unlike most every other new mom in the world, I pray at nighttime that my baby wakes up early and does not sleep in. If she sleeps past 6:30 a.m. (more often than not) I just can't get us all going on time. So why not just set an alarm? I do. But, well, I can hit snooze on an alarm. I can't really buy another seven minutes of sleep if the baby cries.

Really, things are going well. I love working. I love getting running hugs from Lola when I come pick her up from daycare. I love that Millie looks kind of grumpy when I first receive her back from daycare and then, when she gets home, she grins and coos for two hours straight (still no laughs for Mommy, though...).

But we have our struggles, too. Millie went from going to bed at 6:30 p.m. every night to pushing 8 p.m. And, of course, I miss the girls like crazy and I am struggling with accepting the less-than-clean house every evening.

So we're adjusting.

But we'll get there.

- Bethany :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changes


I started this blog in October 2007 as Ray and I learned that we were going to be parents in nine months. I did not know then what its future would be or how long it would last. It became a great source for documenting the pregnancy milestones and, later, the joys and frustrations in raising our very spirited, very independent Lola. While it is very evident in looking over early entries that I had no idea what I was doing, I love the history that they contain.

For instance, I stumbled upon this old entry, written on Sept. 6, 2008, when Lola was almost 2 months old:

“For about a week now Lola has been developing a move in which she puts her paci back in her mouth on her own. When it falls out of her mouth, if it gets caught at her neck, she throws both her hands up toward her face and about one time in five she is able to put the nuk back in place. Well, of course, this doesn't always work and when it falls between her legs or off the her side, she needs help. But, when she sees you coming, she kind of panics and repeatedly throws her hands up, as if to say, 'Leave me alone; I can do it on my own.' Then, when you do get it for her, she clamps her mouth shut and glares at you.”

She was Miss Independent from the beginning.

And while I vaguely remember those days, it was not until I read the entry that I remembered just how mad she would get. She wanted to do it all herself. She still does.

Just over a year ago I got became a little more active in an online parenting site and began running a blog through them. In fact, while I was still pregnant with my Millie I forecasted that once the baby was born and I went back to work that I would probably shut down this blog as writing multiple blogs was getting tough.

I was right.

Right in that writing for multiple sites is difficult. But, rather that delete this blog, I have decided, instead, to re-focus my efforts on this one.

You will likely notice a few changes in the coming days and weeks. Nothing huge. But a lot of the work I did for the other site is going to spill into this one for a while. I’m just going to play around with this one a bit. This is the blog I’ve had since the beginning. And I do want to keep it around for a while longer yet.

Thanks for reading.
- Bethany :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Time's up

Well, this is it. After 12 glorious weeks at home, I  am now packing for daycare and my first day back to work. This summer flew by. Sure, there were tough days, but this was really the most summer of my life.

How am I feeling? Good question. It changes by the minute.

I am happy, sad, excited and anxious.

Mostly, I am just in awe at how fast time goes by. Since Amelia is (likely to be) our last baby,  I have had more than a few mini panic attacks this week. She wore her first piece of clothing sized 3-6 months this weekend. Today, for the first time, she slept in her crib.

I don't want to forget what it was like, having a newborn and a 3-year-old together.

I don't want to forget how Millie's head lies on my shoulder, my cheek resting on her left temple. Her skin so soft, so warm, like a little hot orange. I don't want to forget how she snored so loudly for those first two months that I swear she could have rivaled Ray. Or how she curled up in those first days, her feet and knees tucked to her belly as she snuggled right into my chest, resting her face against my neck.

Today, at church, I was holding Lola, who likes to be held while the congregation sings. She got heavy after a while, so I changed positions, holding her like a baby. She smiled and put her head on my shoulder, wrapping her right away around my left and her left around my neck. We swayed and she hugged me tighter. She is so not a snuggler most days; this was not only unusual but special.

Uh, yeah, I guess I am bit more emotional today that I thought I was ... or than I thought I would be. I mean, I am going back to work, not leaving the country.

But I've gotten used to being around my girls 24/7. While I am ready to go back, I'm going to miss them terribly.




video

video

- Bethany :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

God bless Amelia



Amelia Joy was baptised Sunday morning.

Despite the chaos and problems from last week, it turned out beautifully. Ray's mom made the baptismal gown for Lola before she was born and I love that we are able to pass it down between our girls.

Amelia was the perfect baby, as always. She smiled when the pastor baptised her and then more or less slept through the rest of the service.


Ray was in pain but he battled through it.

Following the service, we had a get-together at our house. I think everyone had a great time visiting with family and watching all of the kids play in the yard and with one another. I know I did.

It was an exhausting week, but Sunday itself was a fabulous day.


***

In other Wesley news, we finally got my dream couch!



I have been wanting a sectional since we got the house. Our other two couches were comfortable but in really bad shape. A new couch, though, was never in the budget. Until Ray, with his back problems, broke the recliner. We bought the couch the next day.

I love it.
It has required some adjustments for Lola, though, who is used to drinking and eating on the couches, not to mention, er, jumping on them.

She has found a new outlet for her energy, though...
video

***

Well, this is my last week "home" with the girls. Hard to believe 12 weeks is up already! I am excited to go back to work, but I am going to miss my girls like crazy.

- Bethany :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

'God doesn't want our kids'

OK, that was said in (mostly) jest yesterday.

But it does feel like we are cursed when it comes to our girls' baptisms. Lola developed an infection and was admitted to the ER the day before her baptism, and this week, leading up to Millie's Sunday baptism, has been difficult to say the least. Ray has been laid up with a back injury all of this week and is unable to do anything other than lie flat on the floor. We have no idea how he is going to get through the baptismal service: Standing is excruciating; sitting is worse.

This week has been stressful, to say the least. I am not exactly the nurturing/caregiver type. I am trying, but not doing very well taking care of the 3-year-old and a 2-month-old, basically on my own, and also helping Ray get through each day. I sent both kids to daycare for two days this week so I could get the house clean and get myself healthy.

Finally, today, the entire house was clean. The outside was presentable. All I had to do was bring in a box of my desk stuff from work (I had to clean out my desk - long story, but I still have a job). Anyhow, I picked up the box, got two feet inside the kitchen and CRASH. The bottom collapsed. Papers, files and push pins flew everywhere and, more importantly, glass shattered all over the place.

I have - or had - a little Charlie Brown figurine of him as a newsman. It was cute.

It is not so cute anymore. It broke. Ray thinks he can maybe glue it back together, but we will see.

About ten minutes after that, I left. I just had to get out of the house. I was gone for maybe two hours. The kids were napping. What could go wrong?

I came home frazzled about yet another detail for the party that was just not working out. I was rehashing the situation with Ray when I finally got around to asking if Millie had woken up.

Yep, she had woken up, he fed her and played with her for about an hour. He tickled her chin and kissed her ears. And then explained that she laid on her back on his chest, putting her bare feet against his chin. Since he has not shaved in like five days, he has some very noticeable whiskers.

"They must tickle her feet because she was just giggling away," he reported.

Me, mouth agape, "You mean smiling, right?"

"Uh, no, she was laughing."

"Cooing?"

"No, giggling, laughing."

Me, meakly, "But she doesn't laugh yet..."

So, yeah, I missed her first laugh as I was out running errands.

I missed Lola's first laugh while I was right outside laying down a quilt for picture time.

This week sucks.

Fortunately, Sunday is the beginning of a new week, right? So the actual baptism day is going to be a new beginning I hope.

- Bethany :)