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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two Under Two

First of all, thanks for the support and commiseration after my last post. As of this week, I've been cleaning up my diet again. I went for a one mile run today pushing the duallie in 20mph winds and it was a new level of struggle for me, but ya gotta start somewhere. Then Will offered to stop by Chickfila and pick up shakes and WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME? I said yes. Yeah I'm into fitness! Fitness milkshake in my belly rn. So things are off to a great start.   

Anyway, I only have one week to go to wear the badge of the honor that is mom of two under two (so pithy!), so a photo dump/overly-detailed post of how we spend our days seems in order. Little Will thrives on routine, I think, so the general flow of our weekdays look exactly the same. 

Husband Will is usually out the door at 7am before we start our day, about around the time Zelie wakes for the day. Little Will not soon after, though I can usually let him roll around in his crib while I finish giving Zelie Breakfast #1. Every morning, I enter Will's room and he greets me with an emphatic "HI MOMMY!" If he's up in time, Little Will usually protests that his dad has to leave for work, but as soon as I mention he gets to watch choo choo trains or Mickey Mouse when daddy leaves, the tears magically stop and he starts waving bye-bye and aggressively walking Big Will to the door. 

His parental affection only goes so far, you see. 

I typically let Little Will watch a show or two while I drink coffee and wake up. Zelie cluster feeds, cluster poops. Will eats breakfast, too. Usually fruit, oatmeal, or a muffin with some orange juice (i.e., water with a splash of grovestand Tropicana… last thing this kid needs is more sugar… what's the word for it? Oh. MANIAC.). I'll ask him if he made a poopy, to which he responds, "No, thanks!" I check him, find one (always), and tell him he needs a new diaper, to which he responds, "No, thanks!" I grab him, cheerfully make him say "yes, ma'am!," and change his diaper. Then we'll usually spend our morning doing something to get out of the house. Commissary, Target, Playgroup, repeat. 'Tis our life cycle.

Upon our return, he MUST be given the opportunity to "drive" the car. You see, this involves Will  crying real tears until you put him in the driver's seat of our Subaru. You MUST then shut the door ("bye bye Mommy!") and allow him at least 3-5 minutes of pushing every button in the car. There are smudgy little finger prints all over my rearview mirror. The hazards are always always turned on. There is a 70% chance a blinker is on when you start the car. I use this opportunity to bring Zelie inside along with the diaper bag and any groceries. 

At this point, I prepare lunch. Little Will occupies himself by delivering mail in his Winnie the Poo car (a $1 yard sale find), climbing on furniture, and building all manner of houses made out of blocks, Legos, and his IKEA children's chairs. The mailman truck needs a house (a "meh meh how"), the choo choo trains need a house ("choo choo how"), and—you guessed it—the school bus needs a house, too ("bah bah how"). 

Still working on pronunciations. 

There is only one thing he is guaranteed to eat and it is cheese. Anything else is a bonus, though he loves eating "bubbies" which I discovered means "smoothies," (to my surprise, not boobies, which he is obsessed with since Zelie nurses all day) only because he (crying real tears, always) pointed at the blender yelling "BUBBIES"! This is my opportunity to guerrilla attack him with spinach. 

1pm. Glorious nap time. 

I take care of chores, read, nurse Zelie, feed myself, and/or veg with some Netflix. Lately I've been watching Jane the Virgin and I'm kind of loving it. Jane is a Catholic virgin from Miami who is accidentally artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant. About halfway through the series, there's an unexpected fart joke, when I knew— I just knew—this was my type of show. Also, a singing St. Therese statue. (Just watch the show.)

The afternoon is spent—dare I say it?—running outside?!

No, I won't jinx it. But it did happen today. 

Usually Will doesn't wake until about 3pm, so we just hang out at home until dinnertime. Today I think he was trying to sing the ABCs when I went to get him out of his crib. Random. We build more houses, read books, draw, try unsuccessfully to avoid another episode of Chuggington, etc. We'll get dinner started. Little Will loves sitting on the counter, grabbing things, and declaring them his. "MINE!" he says. "Put that down," I say. "Not a toy." To which he responds, "No, thanks." I measure the ingredients, he dumps it in the bowl. Usually I can get him to sit still on the counter with some snacks.

Around 4, Little Will starts asking "dada here?" every time the dogs bark. (They bark at everything that moves outside.) By 5:30pm, Big Will is actually home and please believe his little super fan is at the door to greet him. Chance of wearing pants: 50%. Chance of wearing cowboy boots: 95%. 

The rest is dinner, running circles around the kitchen island over and over, quality time with the fun parent, bath, and bed. You know the drill. 

And an illustrative photographic display:

Morning hangout. 

"Helping" in the kitchen.

A Zelie reject paci. Declared "MINE!" by you-know-who.

Trying to get out the door. Distracted by cuteness.

One-on-one time with my girl during Little Will's nap.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Postpartum Running, Take 2

Time is blazing by as usual and I am about to be the golden 6 WEEKS POSTPARTUM, which means I'll [hopefully] get the all clear to start exercising again. 

Let's all pray that I can get back to it with this much panache:

Don't worry. I'll probably wear pants. No guarantees.

Last time, in true first time mom style, I wanted to show EVERYONE just how NOT FAZED by childbirth I was, so I went and ran 3 miles at 4 weeks postpartum. I was SO SORE for the next few days that I kind of freaked out and googled too much about prolapse (don't do it… don't do it) and took it easy until after my 6 week appointment when I was deemed fit for exercise. I've never been one to listen to my body, but that was more ridiculous than usual, even for me. 

But I got an Aria Fitbit scale for Christmas—don't worry, I asked for it—which lets me know that my BMI is obese at 26.6. I know, I know. I just had a baby, but the weight on the scale has pretty much refused to budge as well. With Little Will's pregnancy, I gained about 15 pounds more more and the number on the scale continuously dropped over that first month postpartum. This time? Not so much. It was all probably water weight, I got real swole, but it's still annoying to see the scale not moving. SURE, I eat ice cream every. single. day., but I'm BREASTFEEDING. The weight is supposed to FALL OFF OF ME, RIGHT? 

So here I am at 5.5 weeks postpartum (much more reasonable than 4.5 weeks, right?) and I am just itching to get back in the game. It's way too cold to take out the BOB Duallie occupying half the garage, so I am relegated to weekend runs outside or the treadmill. (I did take the Duallie out for a walk recently when it was unseasonably warm and HOLY HELL that thing is heavy to push with two children inside of it! So many props to Sarah for her blazing fast Duallie paces.) I also have a gym membership at the local Y which has a childcare room, but Little Will HATES being left there; they would always come find me to retrieve him within an hour when I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill during my third tri, reading self-help books that made me feel inadequate. And I'm not quite ready to expose Zelie to the petri dish of winter germs. 

This one, on the other hand?

Proudly packing on those pounds. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

One Month with Zelie

Dream baby!

Dream. Bay. Bae. 

Shameless intro: We love her so much! Besides being innately cute and wonderful, she is just beginning to coo and smile at us. When awake, she is super alert and can really hold her head up well. It takes a lot for her to cry, but when she does cry, it's real tears (just like big brother). All in all, we can't imagine life without her! Blah blah blah, all those postpartum baby love hormones talking here. 

I had just three days with the two of them by myself in between Will's parents visiting and my mom visiting. It was like starting this two kids thing on training wheels. I went really well, even with Little Will sick and skipping naps. I managed to make it out of the house with both of them two of the days (Starbucks —> Target & Commissary, the usual). Big Will is working long hours (he had a discharge board and has been prepping for trial all weekend), but truly - I'd rather be taking care of two kids not pregnant, than one kid while super pregnant and uncomfortable. I really really like being not 9 months pregnant. The training wheels come off this week, though, while Will is in trial and I have these two kidlets all to myself all day. 

Sticking to the syllabus, let's talk eats, sleeps, and poops.

THE EATS.  Breastfeeding was rough for the first two weeks. Really rough. Around Christmas, I was wincing in pain (and there may have been a few tears) during the first minute or so of her marathon nursing sessions. Things took a turn at the two-week mark, when the ole nips healed. Ever since, she's been growing more and more efficient at the boob and it's wonderfulllll (especially during those middle of the night feeds). She is really easy to nurse. I was a loyal Boppy-user with Little Will, but now I never use it because she seems to actually help me out and hold herself up to the boob. (Will was just a super floppy babe. I know this to be a thing now.)

I've been feeding her on demand and she's more of a comfort nurser than Little Will was at this age, I think. I think it's in part because my oversupply isn't as bad, and partly because she just likes it. I definitely do have forceful letdown/oversupply again which leads to some coughing and choking. She only nurses from one side per session and has trouble keeping up with the flow, so she takes breaks, leading to cluster feeds. But this is usually in the mornings and evenings, so that we can run errands in the late mornings/early afternoons before Little Will's nap and all is well. 

Breastfeeding in public. I think I've nursed her more in public this first month than I did with Little Will during his entire 11 months on the boob. I've nursed her in the pew all but one Mass, I think. It's made getting out and about so much easier. I figure most people are going to be looking at the crazy toddler climbing on things, spinning around, making animal noises, rather than the discreetly nursing mom. I'm always covered anyway. Amateur lactivist that I am.

THE SLEEPS. She's been sleeping in the Rock n Play next to our bed, swaddled in the Halo, usually with the help of a pacifier. I mentioned before that at 2 weeks old she slept 7.5 hours straight. While she hasn't kept up quite the same stamina for sleep, she consistently sleeps in 3-5 hour stretches. WOOT WOOT. About 70% of the time she wakes only once between 10 and 7. And then the other 30% of the time, she'll wake twice, but usually she goes right back to sleep (and on the rare occasion she needs a diaper change or some rocking, daddy to the rescue). 

She typically takes itty bitty cat naps throughout the day in arms or in the car seat, but she'll usually have one long nap coinciding with Little Will's when I can furiously clean up toys and try and make our house not-gross. 

THE POOPS. I switched her to cloth diapers for a few days and we had a few too many blowouts out the leg holes. I figured her legs were just too skinny for the one-size all in ones we have, so I went and bought disposables. The first Pampers I put her in . . . blowout through the leg hole. Obviously. So we'll probably be back in cloth soon. (For the record, Little Will is in disposables for the rest of his diaper career.) She seems to have big poops less often rather than the stream of poop all the time that Will had (with accompanying NEVER ENDING diaper rash). AND!! She usually doesn't poop at night, which is great and means no diaper changes in the middle of the night. Dream baby, dream baby, dream baby. 

The poop section is your fave, admit it. 


// Being baptized.

// Her first pumped bottle (not a huge fan, only took 2 ounces).

// Surviving her first month at home with a sometimes curiously destructive (and contagiously sick with croup and a cold) big bro.

During our little photo shoot, Will kept running up to me with one eye shut, like he wanted to look through the camera. And touch it. And destroy it. With his crusty face.

This kid. Speaking of, here's Little Will's One Month Update. Squish.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Zelie's Baptism

Zelie was baptized on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (at 3pm no less!). Before she was born, we'd planned to have Zelie baptized at our normal parish, St. Clare. However, after leaving a message with the parish office to set things up, Lauren, Zelie's godmother, told us that one of her priest friends had offered to do a private baptism if we wanted. Well, after not getting a call back from our parish office (which is odd) AND discovering that Lauren's friend, Father Sullivan, was free for a January 10 (Baptism of Our Lord) baptism, AND discovering that he was also going to be attending the Saints Louis and Zelie Martin canonization mass, we decided it was a sign that this was the way to go. 

Did that sentence make any sense? 

It's getting really late… I can't proofread. Just can't.

Fr. Sullivan went above and beyond, and graciously offered to hear confessions beforehand. (Don't worry, we got him a really nice bottle of liquor for his efforts. #Catholic.) Lauren, Will, and I got our souls all squeaky clean. I also had him bless a rosary gifted to Zelie from Grandpa Ned that he bought during a quick stop at Belmont Abbey. 

It was a really special ceremony. Not that all baptisms aren't really special, but you get what I'm saying. Little Will was baptized on Easter Sunday in front of a packed house, so we had to make an effort to do it up big. Will's parents were in town and some close St. Louis friends came, toddlers in tow. Little Will led the charge of getting into things he shouldn't behind the altar. Then afterwards, we had dinner across the street at a nice Italian place with didn't skimp on the cheese in its lasagna. SDG.

Smuggling out some holy water.

Indelibly marked.

Welcome to the Church, sweet Zelie Clare!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Paternity Leave Beard (& Other Recent Phenomena)

Well, Zelie is now 2.5 weeks old and things are going really well. Like, too well. It will all surely devolve into chaos, right? Surely.

The adjustment from 1 to 2 so far has been much easier than 0 to 1. It's mostly because Will is still home on paternity leave (and not TDY across the country for two months), which has been a game changer. He goes back to work next week, but I only have to survive two work days in between his parents' visit and my mom's visit. All said and done, I have helpers for Zelie's entire first month. We expect his days will be pretty long once he goes back, so I'm just trying to brace myself for it. 

This little guy has one more month of being a one-year-old, so let me tell you all about it . . . 

We've been trying to teach him the lyrics to Happy Birthday in anticipation. Not going great. He's gotten plenty of practice blowing out candles thanks to our Advent wreath.

God bless him. I was promised by other moms that he would have a language boom when his sibling arrived. I'd say for him that proved to be about 80% true. When you talk to him, he will mostly just repeat the last two words of whatever you say, but then much later he will sometimes spontaneously say something that will show he was actually comprehending what you were telling him. E.g.:

Me: We are gonna go to Esther's house to play after night night today.
Will: Nigh nigh today!
Me: Yeah…. Wanna go see Esther?
Will: See . . . Esther!
An hour later, sitting at the table eating brunch . . . 
Will: Esther house after nigh nigh?
Raised eyebrows, tears of joy, and relentless applause from overly proud parents.

He still has hilariously odd pronunciations for words we use every single day. Water = Mah-woo.  As many times as I shout "WA-TERRRR" at the kid, I just can't break him. Charlie = Bye-ee (House - he always tacks on "house" after he says Charlie. He really likes visiting Charlie's house). Zelie = Wuh-ee. Even when we have him make the Z sound, he'll say "Zzzzz Wuh-ee!!!"

He also does cute stuff, like when we ask him, "Hey do you want to go for a ride with Daddy?" He'll say, "Otay!" as if it's a given. "Do you want a banana?" "Otay!" But mostly he'll again repeat the last word of your question.

He can count . . . to 2. "One. Two. One. Two." as he points to whatever's he's counting. We're working on it.

He's been an gloriously awesome sleeper lately. His schedule has shifted since Big Will has been home on paternity leave, since we've all been able to stay up later and sleep in later, but it's definitely been for the best. Bedtime is typically closer to 8pm, wake ups between 7:30 and 8, naps around 12:30 (lasting 2-3+ hours, hooray!). I'm hoping it keeps up because I'd like to wake Zelie for her first feeding at 7am and be done before Little Will wakes for the day. So far, so good. Just trying to prepare myself for juggling two.

He's beginning to take more interest in Zelie, in an aggressively affectionate way, like climbing on her rock n play and/or violently rubbing her head and/or going in for the head-butt kiss.

Anything and everything is a telephone. He will hold lunch meat up to his ear and pretend it's a phone. I've encouraged him to pretend the person on the other end is a woman named Denise. We don't know anyone named Denise and I just think it would be hilarious for him to put a toy horse up to his ear and say, "HELLO DENISE!!!" In time it will happen. With repetition. In time.

Of course, he's pretty temperamental, as is typical. Terrible twos or whatever. Meh.

He is constantly begging to go outside, like in these photos (from Sunday), when it was freezing outside. Constantly whining and begging to watch Mickey Mouse (which is just code for cartoons, in general). Constantly begging to drive the car (sometimes we let him sit in the driver's seat, which he just think is the best thing ever). Sometimes he just whines and we don't know what he's asking for, thanks to his odd pronunciations of things discussed above. When he doesn't get his way he makes these faces. 

But, again, he's pretty easily distracted by his existential pain, if you so much as make a fart sound in his direction . . . 

He is still utterly obsessed with the mailman. He shouts MAILMAN! whenever a UPS, USPS, or FedEx truck goes by. He has a sixth sense for mailmen, I'm telling ya. On Sundays or holidays we have to tell him that the mailman is at church, so won't be coming by. 

Forlorn. "Where mailman go?"

He pretty much loves any and every cartoon on Netflix (which I'm sure will prove helpful, if not make me feel really guilty that I'm neglecting him). Lately it's Special Agent Oso, which if you didn't know, is a show about a stuffed bear who helps children complete important tasks like checking out a library book, setting up a gerbil cage, or preparing pancake batter. Oh, I happen to have some photographs of Little Will helping his father prepare pancake batter. What ARE the odds?

Probably wanted to sit IN the mixer. Or something.

Toddler entertainment haunts me. I have the 3 special steps Oso song stuck in my head during Zelie's late night feeds. Sometimes it's the Little Blue Truck lyrics stuck in my head in the middle of the night. Not annoying at all . . . 

In other news, please enjoy Will's short-lived but impressive paternity leave beard. He has to go in for a meeting this afternoon and had to shave it off. Most upsetting. But now he's rocking a 'stache (curiously within Air Force grooming standards, while a beard is not), so perhaps you have that to look forward to. 

Zelie is easy peasy compared to Mr. Temperamental Toddler. She's gotten much more efficient with her nursing and I haven't had any pain at all in the past few days. I definitely just needed some time to heal from her first few days on the outside. She is a ferocious sucker and we utilize pacis a lot. But y'all, newborns are so much easier the second time around! I'm not sure whether she's just that much easier a baby or whether I'm that much more easy-going. Probably a combination of the two. I'm not obsessing over her diaper output and when and how long she nurses. I'm already aware of the obscene amount of poop and spit up that is normal for this stage. (Will was much more prolific in that regard.) She does have much manlier gassiness (low-pitched and loud, yo). But it's chalked up to funny baby stuff, rather than being cause for concern that I'm doing something terribly wrong with her nursing schedule. 

At her 2 week checkup last Wednesday she was 8lbs, 13oz and 22 inches long. She's 99th percentile for height! No idea who that comes from, but we're not expecting it to last. ;) She's in size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothes already, since the 2 week mark. At that point we got the green light from her pediatrician to let her sleep at night. That night she went 7.5 straight hours! It was amazing. Ever since, she's typically been waking once per night (in the 11-7ish window) around 3am, sleeping in 3-4 hour chunks, which is just fine by me. The only downside is that she's been taking a REALLY long time to fall back asleep. On the whole, however, I am sleeping much better than I was at the end of my pregnancy, so I'm just trying to get the sleep while the gettin's good. 

She's not really on the typical 3-hour routine during the day that Will fell into so easily. I'm not sure whether I'm going to put the energy into getting her into a predictable routine at this point, since she's sleeping pretty well at night. The past few days, she's been wakeful in the mornings and then sleeps a lot later in the day. Unlike Little Will was, she loves to nurse and suck, so when she's awake, it's basically offering the paci and breast a lot to see what she really wants. We'll just alternate a lot if we're home. We were out and about yesterday morning and early afternoon and she did really well in the Moby, in the car, and nursing while out and about in general. 

Even Zelie knows that's not how that works.

Whatever happens once this glorious paternity leave period is over, I'm enjoying it while I can! Maybe it's the calm before the storm, who knows. I'm sure I'll loyally relay all the minute details when the seedy yellow stools hit the fan. 


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