December 2019

December 1-13 2019: We were ready for a breath of fresh air after November, but instead Michael picked up some last minute moonlighting overnight to bring in some extra money. Not that we aren’t grateful to have a way to give ourselves some breathing room, but we are certainly ready for a real break. The kids and I are holding down the fort. The two of them are two peas in a pod- they love each other more than I could have ever imagined. Watching them together makes all these days where it feels like everything is on my shoulders totally worth it.

Baylor got to do a cool thing at his school called Gifts Galore. It’s a fundraiser where the kids get to go pick out presents for all their family members by themselves. He was so proud coming home with his choices. It’s so exciting to see what he picked out for all of us.

I got one of my Christmas gifts early! In all of these crazy days since I’ve had Louisa, I’ve really enjoyed watching some of the baking shows on Food Network and have especially enjoyed seeing people make decorated sugar cookies. So I’ve been researching how to make them and watching a million videos and then Michael came home with a Kitchen Aid Mixer for me to try them out! So I did. It was a lot of work, but they turned out pretty cute for a first attempt!

We attended a consecration service for one of our friend’s daughters, Grace Lee. It was a very sweet service, we got to see some other friends and their new baby there, and it was a great opportunity to show Baylor another faith tradition. He loved hearing them speak Hebrew and thought it was pretty cool that it was written right to left instead of left to right.

Most of the last couple of weeks has been tons of Christmas shopping and coordinating gift lists with families and figuring out who was giving whom what so that there are no overlaps. It doesn’t sound like much, but it actually takes hours and hours every December to get everything arranged between making 3-4 Christmas lists, coordinating a few surprises for Michael, buying all of our gifts to the kids, making sure that the families have different but equivalent lists, and then filling in the gaps. And this year, since Baylor is getting older and has a memory like an elephant, I’ve had to be much more careful about packages coming to the house so he didn’t see what was inside. But I expect it’s going to be a pretty amazing Christmas, so no complaints here. It’s a lot of work, but I really do enjoy finding just the right thing for everyone and seeing the looks on my kids’ faces when they open something they love.

Louisa turned 3 months old last week. She is such a joyful baby. Her smile just radiates through her whole body. She sleeps in her crib now instead of her bassinet. She doesn’t sleep all day like she used to. Now she’s awake a lot more and takes frequent, short cat-naps throughout the day. She’s still not a big fan of leaving the house, but she tolerates going over to friends’ houses for a while. She still hates all stores. She’s starting to grasp her toys and especially loves playing with her little chewy chains. She mimics some sounds that we say, including “hi” and “oh hey” which is just adorable. We know they don’t really mean anything but it’s kind of cool to hear a baby “talk”!

Baylor finished his first semester at Sycamore and we are just in love with his class- he has the best teachers and has made some really great friends in his class: Beau, Jovi, Serene, Sajan, Patrick, Evelyn, AJ, and Stella are some of the friends we hear about the most.

Thanksgiving 2018

11/19-11/30/18

Aside from Baylor’s birthday, November has been a doozy. We have been very fortunate up to this point this year that Michael’s schedule has been much lighter than last year. But the schedule is just completely off or completely on. We have barely seen him at all this month, as he works until 10pm-midnight many nights and leaves before 6AM. Except for Baylor’s birthday, he hasn’t had a weekend off. On top of that, Baylor, Louisa, and I have all been sick with a respiratory bug for the last 2 weeks of the month. So we were very thankful to see the back end of this month. It meant that his horrible schedule was over for while and it meant that we could celebrate Thanksgiving! We drove up to Tressie’s and had a nice day spending time with the family. To be honest, I felt awful. I don’t even remember a ton of it and apparently I didn’t take pictures. So I’ll just post some pictures of us surviving November. We’ve got a 4 year old (who thankfully decided to claim age 4 just a week or so after his birthday!) and a 3 month old so we just keep on playing and trying to enjoy life as much as we can.

The one good thing that has come out of this month is that I finally broke down and bought myself an early Christmas present. It’s called Instacart and it is a grocery delivery service that brings my groceries right to my door. Unlimited deliveries for $99/year. Now I don’t have to haul 2 kids to the grocery store and be paranoid about the flu every time we go! Totally life changing.

Baylor's Birthday

11/10-11/18/18

Baylor’s birthday was AMAZING this year. This was his first time to get a “big boy” birthday party where he got invite all of his friends. He invited his entire class plus Grace Lee and Isaac Strand. We had 13 kids show up out of the 18 we invited, so we were extremely pleased with the turnout. Nona & Papa, Grandma & Grandpa, Tressie & Meela, Gigi, Lori, & Maci were all able to come as well. Baylor chose a Mario birthday party at DeVeau’s Gymnastics and the kids had a BLAST! They got to explore all 3 levels of the gym: they did trampolines and the Shark inflatable slide in the big gym, played on the obstacle course in the kids’ treehouse, and got to run around the Ninja Zone (which ended with a Happy Birthday jump into a barrel of foam and giggles like I’ve never heard before as his friends buried him in foam blocks.) After all the excitement, the kids came back to the party room for cake and silly photos with Mario props. After we cleaned up, we headed home so Baylor could open presents from the family. He got so much cool stuff: Pete the Cat board game, Auburn t-shirts, dry erase placemats, an interactive globe, spending money for the cruise, Chuck. E Cheese gift card, and so much more. He was thrilled!! And he got some wonderful gifts from his party as well: several board games and lego sets, a Lite Brite, and a few gift cards! We had just enough time for him to test out some of his new stuff before heading to Table (local restaurant) for dinner. It was super yummy. Baylor had a great time sitting with different people and being the center of attention and we enjoyed getting to spend some time with our families. Baylor went to bed a very tired but very happy boy.

I can’t believe he’s 4. It feels like he’s been here forever and yet I feel stunned that he’s not still my tiny baby. And to tell you the truth, I’m glad he’s not. I loved his tiny days with his little giggles and endless kisses but I wouldn’t trade what I have now to get them back. This little boy is the light of my life. I love hearing his thoughts and ideas, his stories, his jokes. He somehow has a sharp, sarcastic wit at barely 4 that makes me laugh so hard I get a stitch in my side. I love answering the “hows” and the “whys” and listening to his “hypothesis” on how things work and helping him test those out when we can. I love his fascination with big numbers and the uncountable number of math problems we have solved together. I love how deeply he loves his family. I love that he loves being helpful and silly and kind. He constantly impresses me with what a good and kind big brother he is to Louisa. Seeing how much he loves her makes my soul just burst with joy. I can’t even put into words how proud I am of this kid- my sweet, smart, sensitive, silly, spirited boy. I don’t know how I got to be so lucky that I got to be his mother.

He doesn’t want to be 4 yet. He doesn’t feel ready. So I told him he could stay 3 as long as he wanted and that 4 is waiting for him when he decides he’s ready. He wants to stay little a bit longer. I’m just fine with that. I’ll savor each moment that I have with him. I didn’t anticipate just how few there would be at each age. He’s constantly changing, constantly doing and saying and trying new things that I’ve never seen him do before. I try not to think about the next birthday and the next and the next. Do they keep getting sweeter, as this one has? Or is there a line where you start looking backwards and wishing that time would start moving the opposite direction? I hope not. This boy has my heart in his hands. Every day, he says the sweetest words I’ve ever heard: “Mommy, you’re my best friend.” I just hope that’s still true in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, sweet boy. I hope we’re always the very best of friends.

STEM Fairy Tales

Baylor’s class just finished at STEM Fairy Tales unit that was SO COOL. They did some really neat activities- making bread (Little Red Hen), going on a gingerbread man scavenger hunt, 3 Little Pigs house engineering and logic puzzles, Humpty Dumpty egg drop science lab, and so much more. He LOVED this unit and I loved hearing about it! It seemed like so much fun. He came home every day so excited to tell me about what they’d done that day. At the end of the unit, they had a class party and Moana was a surprise special visitor! This kid is not at all regretting his decision to stay full days. Quite the opposite, in fact. He doesn’t want to stop learning to take a nap like the preschoolers are required to do. So his teacher made him a deal: look quietly at books for the first half of naptime and he can spend the rest of the day in Pre-K with his friends from last year! He took her up on that deal in a heartbeat. He has earned his Pre-K time every single day. We are in love with Ms. Rodriguez, his teacher. She has just been the best thing for him. She gets him. She’s kind, sets firm boundaries, and is willing to negotiate when possible to help him get what he needs.

November 2018

11/1-11/9/18

Well, Daddy finally had to head back into the ICU. It was a great couple of months having him home and we were really able to get our feet under us before he had to go back. Now we’re back to our “normal”- all Mommy all the time. I thought it would be a hard transition for Baylor, since Daddy has been taking him to school or been here when he gets home, but he seems to be mostly ok with him going back to work.

I’m pretty proud of us for getting into a good routine pretty quickly. We get up at 6:15 every morning. Baylor plays while I make breakfast, then he eats while I make his lunch and unload the dishwasher. When he finishes, he brushes his teeth and goes potty while I get Louisa up and change her diaper. Then I help him get dressed and he has time to play while I feed Louisa. We all drive him to school, then Louisa and I come home, take a nap, eat lunch, do some work around the house, and go get Baylor. Then we run an errand if Louisa is up for it, head home, play in the playroom for an hour, fix dinner, and Baylor goes to bed. Then I clean up and start working on whatever project I’ve got going at the moment (planning Baylor’s birthday party, Christmas shopping, maintaining the blog, making family yearbooks, meal planning, etc.). It sounds easier than it is, especially since Louisa is still waking at night to eat and right now she’s super fussy at night and isn’t settling until well after midnight. So I’ve been averaging around 4 hours of sleep and sometimes it’s much less than that.

Louisa REALLY doesn’t like leaving the house. She is a super easy baby as long as we’re at home, but she has some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) and will NOT sleep when we’re out and about. I mean, I’m sure she would if I held her, but it’s almost impossible to hold a baby, keep up with a preschooler, push a cart, and keep my wits about me enough to buy groceries accurately or efficiently. So we’re working around. I’m getting pretty much everything delivered to the house right now (grocery delivery came out JUST in time for me to have kids. Whew!) and not leaving unless we absolutely have to. We ventured out to the library on Saturday, and while Louisa was good as gold while we were there, she missed her nap and screamed for 3 hours when we got home. So it’ll be a little while yet until we’re ready to go out on adventures by ourselves until Louisa can figure out how to sleep in public. But overall, things are going well here, even if I do feel overwhelmed from time to time. I’m figuring out my resources and outsourcing as much as possible, which is helping.

Louisa brings us such joy. Learning to work around her schedule and balancing the needs of two kids is hard, but seeing her grow and learn makes it totally worth the adjustment. Her little smile melts my heart. And she’s starting to reach and grab, which is totally adorable. She is intense when she decides to work on something- she gets frustrated when she can’t make her body do what she wants it to, but she is persistent and keeps working until she gets it. She’ll take a break to scream off some frustration and then she’s right back to it!

And if I think I’m having a hard month, you should see what Michael is doing. He has only 2 days off from before Halloween until after Thanksgiving- and that’s the weekend of Baylor’s birthday party. He leaves the house around 6 every morning and gets home somewhere between 8pm-11 pm. He’s had a TON of patients on his list every day, multiple procedures each day, and as many as 3 family conferences (where they discuss end of life decisions- very emotionally taxing) each day. He comes home and collapses and is right back at it early the next morning. I don’t know how he does it day in and day out with no break. We love him and miss him when he’s gone and we hate seeing him so drained.

Louisa is 2 Months Old!

Our sweet girl is 2 months old! Time seems to be flying by. She is smiling lots now and gives us these adorable little laughs. She loves music- especially when we sing to her- looking in the mirror, sitting up (with help), watching the tv (which we try to discourage but she’s just intrigued), being held, “talking” to us, and trying to mimic the sounds and faces we make. She has learned to kick her legs and loves the little piano kickmat. She’s starting to try to reach for things but isn’t quite able to get there yet and gets pretty frustrated when she can’t make her hands do what she wants them to do. She still loves her pacifier and seems to prefer a bottle to nursing- she doesn’t like to have to work for her milk. She highly prefers sleeping on her tummy and takes all of her naps that way, usually on our armchair. When she sleeps on her tummy, she’ll take 3-4 hour naps. She hates reclining in a swing or bouncer. She’s still sleeping in her bassinet in our room and she typically sleeps pretty well at night. She usually only wakes up once a night anymore, unless she loses her pacifier. She's a very happy, easy baby as long as we’re at home in our routine. She does not like going out of the house to run errands at all. She fights sleep so hard when she’s not in the house and ends up way over tired and screaming by the time we get home. Then it’s really hard to get her to calm down. She’s overall a very happy and quiet baby, but she definitely has opinions about how things should go. It’s not at all hard to guess how she’s feeling or what she’s needing. Lots of times she doesn’t even really work up a good cry- she just says “heh heh” and that’s usually enough to let us know she doesn’t like whatever it is we’re doing. She doesn’t get mad much, but when she does- hold on! She’s got a very healthy set of lungs and knows how to use them when she wants to.

Baylor loves playing with her and getting her to smile. He sings her songs, reads her books, and still loves holding her and just talking to her. He brings her toys and does everything he can to make her laugh. And she loves watching him- she follows every move he makes and doesn’t like it when she can’t see him.

At her 2 month checkup, she was 10lb 11oz (~50th percentile), 23.25 inches long (~80th percentile), and her head circumference was 39cm. The doctor said since her length measurement was so different from her measurement at 1 month that he suspects that one of them was a little off, so we’ll see next month which one was more accurate.

Halloween 2018

10/23-10/31/18- We had celebrated Halloween a couple of times this year! After great deliberation, Baylor decided to be Mario, specifically from Mario Kart. We went to Boo at the Zoo with our friends Jean, Grace, and Hope Lee. Baylor and Grace got to “practice” trick or treating and enjoyed visiting the animals while the babies enjoyed seeing all the colorful costumes. On Halloween day, Baylor had a parade and party at school, which Louisa and I attended with him. He and his friends were so cute in their costumes! Baylor kept turning his hat backwards and ended up looking more like a French farmer than Mario most of the day, but he was still super cute. Hadley’s grandmother came into school and did spooky science experiments with them for their party. They made bloody handprints with ammonia, made “elephant toothpaste” come out of a jackolantern, made slime, and all sorts of other cool things. Louisa had on an adorable Halloween outfit until she spit up all over it in the middle of the day, so we created an impromptu ballerina outfit which turned out pretty cute, I think. We went trick or treating that evening with Jean, Albert, Grace, and Hope again since Daddy is back in the ICU and working until after bedtime every day.

Cute story- Baylor and I went to pick out Halloween candy at Target. I finished what I was looking at and realized that he’d gone around the corner. I said “Buddy, where’d you go?” And he said “Here I am, Mommy!” and came back into the aisle with a big chicken head on (sorry, Grandma). He totally cracks me up. His sense of humor is so on point. He loves making jokes and making people laugh and he’s really starting to learn how to do that effectively.

To Nona's House We Go

10/15-10/22/18- We learned that Nene was going to be home the weekend after Baylor’s Fall Break. So, like a crazy person, I decided to haul my 4 year old and 6 week old on a 5.5 hour long journey to Tennessee to see her, Nona, and Papa. She’s growing so fast! I just couldn’t stand the thought of them not getting in a little snuggle time. I almost chickened out, but Michael and Nona agreed to drive halfway to Louisville and meet so I could ride as a passenger and be on paci retrieval duty instead of trying to drive with a screaming baby in the car. It still wasn’t a pleasant journey, but we got there and back in one piece! Louisa went on some of her first real outings while we were there. We went shopping and Cool Springs and Green Hills, went to church, went out for lunch, and even got to meet Uncle Dennis and Aunt Susan. Add in a football Saturday and you have yourself a pretty good week. And of course Baylor was very happy to be there- making coffee and “working” with Papa, playing games and reading and baking with Nona, goofing off with Nene. It was worth making the trip for, I think.

Grandparents' Day

10/6-10/14/18- Grandma and Grandpa came for a short visit to join Baylor on Grandparents’ Day at Sycamore School. It sounds like they had a great program set up for them. Grandma and Grandpa got to see his classroom, meet his friends and teachers, saw what he’s been working hard on, and they even donated a library book in Baylor’s name! I think they all had a great time. That evening, we went to Firebirds for dinner and Baylor got to go back to the kitchen to watch the chefs prepare the food. They gave him an official “Junior Chef” tshirt that looks just like the chefs outfits they were wearing. What a fun day!

Baylor also attended AJ’s birthday party at SkyZone this weekend with Daddy. They seemed to have a great time, jumping on trampolines and launching themselves into foam pits. And Baylor and I finally got around to baking an apple pie for my birthday. It turned out delicious! Baylor has such an interest in cooking lately. Whether it’s just boiling pasta on the stove, making dinner together, or his favorite- baking- he is always my kitchen helper! He constantly asks to make things together, so I try to do at least a little something with him once a week or so. He’s getting really good at reading a recipe and knows how to appropriately measure, pour, and stir. He’s just about got the banana muffin recipe (his favorite!) memorized. I love to bake too and have fond memories of working in the kitchen together with my mom, so I hope that this is something special we can do together for a long time to come.

October 2018

10/1-10/5/18- Y’all…. I have a problem. I take SO many pictures of my kids. Like, I literally already have over a thousand pictures of this baby. What you see on here is probably like the 1%. In fact, part of the reason I keep this blog is because I take so many pictures, it will probably be close to impossible to comb through them in 20 years and determine which ones are the best. So I’m trying to do it as we go. Michael just unloaded over 10,000 pictures from my phone from last September to this past July. Apparently that translates to somewhere around 33 pictures a day. It doesn’t seem quite so unreasonable when he says it that way, but they definitely add up. Fortunately/unfortunately, since we’ve transitioned to the new website, I’m not limited anymore in how many pictures I can post so I’m going to probably be uploading more at a time than I used to.

I have been extremely thankful that Michael has had 2 back to back research rotations, so we’ve been able to tag team this parenting thing. Having a husband home REALLY helps things run more smoothly. He has been doing the morning routine with Baylor and taking him to school in the mornings while Louisa and I sleep in a bit, since I have to get up in the night with her multiple times still. So far, the adjustment to 2 kids hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I had anticipated, but I guess we’ll see if that holds true next month when Michael is back in the ICU.

My very very favorite thing about being a Mom to two kids so far is watching their relationship with each other blossom. When Baylor gets in the car at school pickup, he immediately goes over and gives Louisa a kiss. And when we get home, he immediately wants to hold her or play with her and smother her with a million more kisses. I’ve never seen a boy so in love with his baby sister. He just wants to be near her all the time. And she watches him wherever he goes. You can tell she already loves him just as much. He’s getting really good at calming her cries when she’s having to wait for something- like when I’m making a bottle or getting something for Baylor- and can’t get to her right away. Baylor puts her pacifier in her mouth, gives her some gentle pats, sings her songs, brings her toys, and calls for me to make sure I hear her. Watching him with her makes me about as proud of him as I’ve ever been.

Meela's 4th Birthday

9/30/18- Happy 4th Birthday to our Meela Roo!!!! I can’t believe she’s 4 already, which means that Baylor’s #4 birthday is just around the corner. It was so fun to see the entire family and introduce Louisa to the extended family that hadn’t gotten to meet her yet. Baylor had a great time playing with Isabella and Meela and feeding the fish with Tressie and Ty. He had a hard time leaving- he really loves spending time with his family.

Mommy's Birthday

9/28/18- For my birthday, I was ready to get out of the house after being cooped up for a month. We decided to find a local orchard and go apple picking. And we managed to find a fantastic one! We started our day with apple donuts while we watched a beekeeper talk about the hive they have there. Then Baylor and Daddy played on the playground for awhile while I fed Louisa. After that, it was apple picking time! We picked a TON of apples and lugged them back to the car. We took a break for a yummy lunch, then went on a hay ride and found our way through the corn maze. We decided the pumpkin patch was a little too precarious to carry Louisa through, so we bought one that they had already picked. Just as we were about to leave, we saw some of our friends- Aaron and Staci Strand with their kids, Isaac and Eloise- so Baylor and Daddy went to play on the playground with them again while I got Louisa ready to go. We finally said goodbye and went to eat some Mexican food before heading home. It was a really wonderful birthday and a beautiful day to be outside. 31 definitely started out on the right foot.

Sycamore School August-September

Baylor’s class has been talking about Community Helpers during this unit. They’ve had lots of interesting visitors and even took a field trip to the fire station! Baylor has been making some good friends in his class. So far, he really enjoys playing with Beau, AJ, Sajan, Patrick, Serene, and Jovi.

Louisa is One Month Old

9/19-9/27/18- Time flies so quickly when babies are new. Louisa is one month old now and growing like a weed! At her one month check up, she weighed right at 9 lbs, which means she gained around 2 lbs in 2 weeks. She gave us her first real smile on September 25 and has been a very smiley baby since she learned how. She loves watching our mouths move and tries to mimic the shapes our mouths make and the sounds coming out. She’s especially fascinated with our tongues and loves for us to stick out our tongue at her or say “lalala.” She has outgrown her newborn clothes and is officially wearing 0-3 months. It’s always hard putting away the tiniest newborn clothes, but she has so many cute outfits I can’t wait to dress her up in!

Goodbye Nona, Hello Nene

9/8-9/18/18- Nona’s watch finally ended, so Nene came to stay for a few days. We were pretty boring- just hung around the house most of the time since I’m paranoid about taking my babies out too early. She stayed at home with Louisa while I took Baylor to school, which was nice since Louisa isn’t the biggest fan of the car seat. And we ventured out to Trader Joe’s once while Michael stayed with Louisa- then Whitney cooked a really yummy dinner for us! She taught Baylor some funny songs while she was here too, which he thinks are hilarious.

Baylor has Big News

9/1-9/8/18- Baylor has had a great first month in school, but the teacher was a little concerned that he was having a lot of difficulty when it was time to come home. After talking to him, we realized that Baylor didn’t like only staying in school half the day- he told us he wanted to be a full day friend! So after talking it over, we decided that if he was old enough to know what he wanted and was able to ask for what he needed, that he was old enough to go to school all day. So Baylor is now a full day friend! He is very excited about this change and has loved having extra time with his friends, especially at lunch. And it’s been a good change for me too, since it gives me one on one time with Louisa. Baylor had me to himself for 3 full years, so it really means a lot to me that Louisa and I will get some of that same bonding time together. And then when he comes home, I’m ready to spend some good time with my big kid! Of course, he blows right by me and wants to see Louisa immediately. But after a few minutes loving on her, he’s ready to play games or do puzzles or whatever we’re doing together that day. It’s a good change for everybody, I think. And Louisa has some news too- she is back up to her birth weight! Yay! So now we can quit waking her up to eat and let her just tell us when she’s hungry.