One of Lil’s favorite activities lately is walking on things.
Jason built her an indoor balance beam last fall by screwing a 4′ 2 x 6 to two 2 x 4s, and she’s been loving walking on it ever since.
Now that it’s warm outside, one of her fave activities is walking along the retaining walls that surround the house. Some of the walls are only a foot or two above the ground, so it’s fine. But the 10′ drop off in front of the house is a little terrifying. Lilly is pretty good about asking for us to hold her hand while she walks along the retaining wall (thank goodness). Her tiny giggles make it worth repeatedly walking back and forth and back and forth and back and forth along the wall.
She’s also loving climbing up on things — the stairs, tree stumps, raised garden beds, whatever.
I’ve got grand plans for an outdoor play area that contains logs to balance on and stumps to climb. Elsewhere in the yard we’ve got piles of rocks that she enjoys shoveling into buckets. (One of the very few perks of having several half-finished landscaping projects). It’s a real nature’s playground out there, and I’m *so* thrilled.
Brought to you by glitter glue!
I’ve been trying to add more art projects to our routine. Markers and stickers seem to be okay, but she has difficulty taking the tops off of the markers or removing stickers from paper by herself. I’ve showed her how to use a scissors a few times, and she seems interested in cutting, but still lacks the hand muscles to be able to properly use a scissors. Lilly likes to “paint” and by “paint” I mean that she asks me to pour a little of each color of paint out of it’s jar, and just when she’s got a gob of each color paint, she loses interest in the whole process and I find myself frustrated because of all that “wasted” paint. (Wasted in parenthesis because I’m sure she’s still learning a lot about pouring, etc… it just wasn’t the lesson that I’d intended and sometimes that’s difficult for mama to let go of).
I thought she might like these tiny glitter glue pens, so I picked some up and added them to her Easter basket. As with most things, she was hesitant at first. I showed her how to use them and held her hands in mine to squeeze the tube with her. After a few trials, she was up for the task on her own.
She’s since created a few glitter-and-marker masterpieces. I can tell she’s really concentrating and working her hand muscles hard to get the glitter out of the tube. I love watching these little moments of concentration!
I’ve been rethinking my paint strategy now, too. Perhaps she’d be more into some sort of squeezy bottle than she is into using a paint brush… (and perhaps then I can relax a little about “wasted” paint…)
What are some of your best strategies for doing art — especially painting — with the littles?
Last weekend we were in MKE for auntie Ashley’s wedding! We made the trip in 4 hours — no stops! — and Lilly June was awesome. She spent the first hour looking for blue trucks! and red trucks! and orange trucks! and asking where Nana house go? The second hour was spent playing with her car toys, drawing pictures in a tiny notebook that we take everywhere now, and eating cookies, the third hour was exciting because mama crawled in back and sat next to her, reading stories and handing over stickers for Lil to put in her tiny notebook. And the last 40 min, we watched episodes of her favorite Russian bear cartoon that we had downloaded to the ipad because it was too dark to do much else and she wasn’t yet sleepy. She was (and usually is) such an amazing passenger, and for that I am VERY thankful.
We went to bed pretty quickly upon arrival Thursday night. Friday, mama bear, sister, Lilly, and I had a girls brunch at a cute little cafe. Lilly was doing a little pre-breakfast wandering and was stung by a wasp. There were a lot of tears, and it was probably a good thing that we were the only ones in the place at that point. She was completely recovered and eating “cupcakes” (carrot cake muffin), but then began crying the saddest cry ever as she recounted the story to her dada.
Sister, mama bear, and I headed for manis and pedis after brunch. Quality girl time!
The rehearsal was later that day, and we were all pleased that Lilly happily ran down the isle solo when it was her turn. She was also quite happy to sit up front with mama and auntie Ashley, although that wasn’t quite what we planned for her during the actual wedding.
Dinner after the rehearsal was a delish BBQ. Beaded necklaces in the wedding colors (blue and silver) were laid out on all of the tables, and Lilly decided that she should wear approximately 50 of them. She made quick friends with “other Ash” (the groom’s cousin’s wife) and begged her for more necklaces, pushing out her lower lip in a fake deep pout when “other Ash” didn’t produce a necklace quickly enough. I think this is a sign that we are in big trouble… our little sweetheart is also an actress!
Saturday morning was busy and filled with the traditional pre-wedding stuff – hair and make up and getting dressed… all in a rush! We were happy that Lilly took an early nap and ate almost an entire Chipotle burrito bowl before the ceremony. She was in a pretty good mood while getting dressed and doing her own make up (with my blush brush), and she was REALLY excited to play chase mama down the isle.
We were so proud when Lilly actually DID play chase mama down the isle – running and giggling at the same time. I had a cookie in my bouquet to hand to her when she got me, and she seemed pretty happy sitting on nana’s lap eating it… for a while. After a while, she began to cry for mama, and I’m pretty sure it was because she wanted to be included in the fun that was going on at the alter.
Auntie Ashley and new Uncle Kyle made their promises to each other! There was cheering as the pastor announced the new couple! Yay!
After the ceremony, we took pictures at the church and then at a nearby park. It was 30s and kind of snowing that day, so we were a little chilly taking pictures — who would have thought that this spring would be so cold?Then, we all headed to the reception for apps and drinks (water for yours truly), dinner, and dessert. For weeks I’d been asking Lilly what we were going to do at Ash’s party, and she’d reply, “EAT CAKE!” so she was *thrilled* when the cake finally came out.
Our girl was the first AND last out on the dance floor. She hit a bit of a slump around 9/9:30 but rallied with the help of several Hershey’s kisses and made her way back to the dance floor, dancing with “other Ash” and my cousins. I think my cousin Haley, who quickly became Lilly’s favorite dance partner, may have learned some important truths about toddlers that night like: don’t engage one unless you’re willing to play with her all night. Also, my guess is that cousin has figured out why I never wear heels or short skirts anymore.
We were so surprised that Lil lasted until the end of the party (midnight!), and we were even more surprised when she actually cried because the music turned off and the lights turned back on. Needless to say, she fell asleep almost immediately upon being strapped into her car seat.
Sunday was spent visiting with siblings and cousins and recounting the day before. We made excellent time on the way back to MI, again thanks to a kiddo that let us drive 4 straight hours without stopping.
Overall, it was a super-fun weekend. I’m so happy for sister – she is just so darn happy! And it’s pretty swell to have a new brother, too.
Another doctor’s appointment this week! Baby’s heart clocked in at 152 BPM, and she’s much closer to my belly button now than she was at 11 weeks. I think I am finally starting to feel her move, though I can’t be 100% positive. Note that calling the baby “she” is pure speculation, but I think this one is a girl. As a reminder, I was certain Lilly was a boy through my entire pregnancy, so my track record is 0 for 1 predicting gender. We won’t find out on this one for sure until baby’s birthday, so we’ve all got a long way to wait. I’m a big fan of the delivery room surprise!
I’m finally wrapping my head around the fact that we will once again have a tiny babe in the house. For many weeks, I didn’t want to think about it lest we lose this baby. Also, I think I was in denial about the changes that are coming to our household. They are going to be happy changes, but as with any major change, the transition period can be rough. I am not looking forward to: chasing a toddler while 9 months pregnant, labor & delivery, nursing every 2 hours (or less!), trying to figure out why the baby is crying (those first few weeks are rough!), and waking frequently through the night. I am so very very excited for: feeling the baby move in my belly daily, Lilly’s love and excitement for her tiny sibling, the exhilarating feeling that follows giving birth, holding a sweet newborn babe in my arms, and finding out just who this little person is.
Lilly and I have been looking at her baby pictures often in the past week or two. I’ve been feeling a little guilty for focusing on the negatives of having a newborn (up all night! sleep issues again! constant breastfeeding! …and I was just feeling like I was getting some of my “me” time back), and looking at these pictures has really been good. Babies are just so tiny and cute and cuddly. I plan to wrap this little one up in the Moby and pretty much never put it down until it gets old enough to protest.
Also, the official “what needs to happen before baby” lists have begun: paint, curtains, pictures, furniture, organization, etc for the guest room/baby’s room; we’d like to purchase another video monitor, more (smaller!) cloth diapers, and perhaps a special going home outfit (because if baby #2 is a girl, that’s likely to be the ONLY new thing she ever wears); getting the rest of the house set up for maximal comfort for a soon-to-be-gigantor mama and maximal playtime for a very busy toddler also seem important; and there’s been discussion lately of maybe even getting some new kitchen appliances (our 3/4 fridge is already busting at the seams and I just can’t grocery shop weekly or bi-weekly: it needs to hold more). I feel both rushed about these things and not rushed: my experience tells me that we’ve already got everything here that baby could possibly need/want in those first few months — the rest are just conveniences.
And, the belly is officially a belly. I can feel some movement, but not enough and not with enough regularity to ease my almost-daily fears that something is wrong. I can’t wait until the movements are bigger and more frequent!
This weeks’ trivial pregnancy issues involve finding the *perfect* maternity suit for this summer’s beach/swimming adventures. So far, 3 have arrived in the mail and I’m waiting on one more. I’m sure you’ll be excited to hear which one(s?) I finally settle on.
I’ve been working hard to get the trim painted in baby’s new room (with the no VOC stuff, and windows open… I’d make J do it, but I’m much better at trim than he is), and I’ve pinned like a million ideas by now. The new room is going to have light blue walls, with navy & orange accents. If baby #2 is a girl, coral will also likely get thrown into the mix. But we won’t know that until she shows up in September.
We had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound this week. It’s supposed to be the last ultrasound we’d have during the pregnancy. Instead, there’s a slight complication, I’m officially on “pelvic rest” and will be taking another ultrasound peek at baby in 2 weeks.
First, the baby: baby appears to be measuring right on track for an early September arrival. We didn’t find out the baby’s sex and don’t intend to until he/she makes his/her arrival. I think it’s a girl, but continue to use male pronouns. It makes no sense.
We watched the baby’s bladder fill and empty, so we know he’s already practicing some very important stuff: swallowing and peeing. Baby was moving and shaking in there, so that was cool to see. We felt reassured that things seemed to be going as they should.
In our meeting with the doc afterwards, we were informed that there were two tiny hiccups: 1. baby has a cyst in its choroid plexus (the part of the brain that creates cerebrospinal fluid), and 2. the placenta is low. The baby’s cyst should resolve itself — and the doctor assured us that this is a fairly normal thing, but warned us that in some cases, these cysts are associated with genetic abnormalities like trisomy 18. Because the baby shows no other structural abnormalities, she was confident that our baby doesn’t have trisomy 18. I am trying to stay calm about this, especially as it should result in no long-term problems for baby, but it’s hard to hear that my baby isn’t *perfect*.
The placenta issue is even more worrisome. It’s low, positioned in front of the cervix, and if it doesn’t move up and out of the way, baby will have to be born via c-section. That’s not exactly the way I’d pictured baby’s entrance to the world, especially after Lilly’s birth went so smoothly. I am terrified of actually undergoing surgery – epidurals scare me, as does being cut open. Not being able to drive for weeks afterwards or pick up anything heavier than my newborn seems unmanageable, and not being able to pick up Lilly when she needs it seems especially terrible. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here, and need to remember just how lucky we are to have this baby, regardless of how he enters the world.
For now, I just need to watch for bleeding (terrifying), take it easy with the exercise, and try to be calm (googling “placenta previa” didn’t really help that third part… too many terribly scary stories out there…). In two months, we’ll return for another ultrasound – hopefully the placenta will move higher as my uterus grows, and everything will go smoothly from there. I’d love any of your prayers, positive thoughts, and happy comments in the meantime, though.
Some exciting news: our little family is expanding! We’re hoping to welcome a happy, healthy little baby to our clan sometime next September!
I’ve been secretly blogging about this pregnancy over the past 19 weeks, so will publish those (super-long) recaps this week and then resume blogging the pregnancy in real time (or two-weeks-later-than-real-time, per my usual MO).
December 31st, 2012
Lilly and Jason were downstairs in the kitchen, eating peanut butter toast (Lilly) and drinking OJ (Jason), when I took the test. It was sort of on a whim — I didn’t really think much of it, just that it had been a few weeks and perhaps I should see if I was pregnant. At first nothing, but seconds later, a very faint pink line appeared next to the control line. Surprise! I had no idea.
I washed up and walked downstairs to announce that all of Lilly’s praying about a baby had paid off. (Since October, Lilly has been folding her hands in prayer and when we ask what she’s praying for, she says “baby”, completely unprompted.)
There were hugs and kisses as the news began to set in.
It’s still sinking in.
Admittedly, it’s taken a bit for our good news to really sink in. ANOTHER baby! How lucky are we?!
The timing of baby’s arrival just about coincides with the start of a new school year for yours truly. I haven’t worked out how I feel about teaching (or not) next fall.
I am really excited about seeing baby in there during next week’s ultrasound. I am excited about figuring out just who is hanging out in there next September. I am not excited about the Tired that’s headed my way, especially as a majority of my work gets done when Lil is sleeping — if I’m sleeping when she’s sleeping, almost a necessity when the Tired hits, when will I get my work done? Will I have enough energy to keep chasing around a busy toddler? Will I have the discipline/freedom to slow down, to listen to the Tired and take a break for the sake of the new little baby residing inside me?
And, the tiny, nagging question in the back of my brain, my pregnant self jaded by our first loss: will this one make it?
We got the best news ever at our 6 week 6 day ultrasound: there’s a baby in there and it has a heartbeat! It’s measuring right on target for an early September arrival (although given older sister’s desire to stay put until 42 weeks, I’m constantly reminding myself that this baby could actually arrive mid- or mid-to-late September). A huge sigh of relief, and now I’m allowing myself to get even more excited about a new little one joining us.
We got some pictures from the ultrasound and I like to announce that baby looks just like its sister did at this age. Both are fuzzy blobs of white.
The Tired is setting in. And the nausea. So I’ve been sleeping when Lil sleeps and ignoring how messy my house is. Lilly and I took a glorious 3.5 hour nap the other day. Thank goodness she still naps! It’s frustrating, not getting anything accomplished, but I have to remind myself just to stop and rest for baby’s sake.
Blah. Nausea is here! The Tired is bad as ever. I don’t remember feeling this terrible with Lil, and I worry that maybe I am not taking care of myself as well as I did with Lil. With her, I was unemployed and childless and napped and ate eggs/bacon/cheese (what I craved in the first trimester) whenever I wanted. I can’t do that now, although the toddler/prego nap and eating schedules seem to be lining up pretty well. She needs to eat almost constantly some days, and so do I. She gets a 2-hour mid-day nap, me too! It works out well.
Lilly is so sweet about the baby. We talk about the tiny baby in mama’s tummy, and every once in a while, she’ll point to my belly and say, “baby! mama! tum!” The other day, we were reading on the couch, and completely unprompted, she leans over my stomach and yells, “HIIIII!” and then “BBBYYYYEEEE!” When asked who she was talking to, she said, “Tine (tiny) baby.” Jason and I were laughing so hard! I can only hope she’ll be this happy about having a new baby when we actually bring the baby home. She is just baby-crazy right now – always spotting babies when we’re out, playing with her baby dolls, loving on the baby at day care. It’s so sweet.
My first doctor’s appointment went pretty well this week, although I think baby is already messing with me. The doctor saved the part where she listened for the baby’s heartbeat until the end of the appointment. I had still been nervous about losing the baby (still jaded after my first pregnancy was a loss), so was very much looking forward to this part of the appointment. I laid there for what seemed like FOREVER as the doctor searched for the baby. She nervously explained that they had recently gotten a new piece of equipment and that she was still learning to use it efficiently. MINUTES passed, my nervousness increasing as I heard nothing but the occasional catch of my own heartbeat. FINALLY she found the baby, hiding perhaps? and I was so relieved to hear the racing of it’s tiny little heart. 175 beats per minute. YES!
I weighed in at 33 lbs less than the last time I was weighed at my 42-week appointment with Lil. I’m taking that as a good sign. Although I can already tell that my tummy is swelling, I had gotten back down into my pre-Lil-pregnancy clothes a few months before getting pregnant again. I can still fit into many of the pants, although probably not for much longer. This is a good sign, I think. Since I’m still nursing Lil, I’ve been pretty concerned about making sure I’m taking in enough food & liquid for everyone. This was extra tricky last week, when I caught what I self-diagnosed as norovirus and spent a day expelling all food & liquid from my body and another three days trying to recover. Luckily, mama bear came to the rescue and played with Lil and got me all caught up with housework.
We had another ultrasound – this time assessing risk of birth defects. It was a long adventure at the hospital — we waited nearly an hour after our scheduled time to be seen, and then were met with a woman who not only refused to talk to us, but wouldn’t smile even. My usual flattery seemed lost on her. That was terrible — we walk in SO EXCITED to see our baby, and are met with blank stares.
Lilly was happy to see the baby on the screen, but nervous about mama laying on the bed and getting poked by the ultrasound tech. The baby was in exactly the wrong position for the measurement that the tech needed to get (the side profile of the baby’s neck), so there was a lot of almost-painful poking going on that day.
The rest of the first trimester (and transition to the second trimester!) was uneventful. Some nights I needed 12 hours of sleep, others the standard 7-8 seemed to do. Sometimes I napped with Lil, others not so much. I went back to working full days at the office instead of doing mornings at the office and trying to work nights — this made a huge difference for my sanity and gave me much needed sleeping time, but OH! do I miss that girl when she’s away from me all day. How am I going to do 2 days at the hospital without her!?
In week 14 my belly suddenly popped. I’m feeling much bigger and much more uncomfortable when wearing buttoned pants all day (let’s be real: if I’m home with Lil all day, I’m typically wearing pjs or yoga pants all day – not buttoned pants!)
Also, I should note that one of my biggest sadnesses about this baby is that it won’t get my undivided attention like Lilly did. Already I neglect the baby by not giving a week-by-week on the blog, and I know I have NO chance of documenting things well here. I remember our newborn days with Lil – just sitting and staring at her for hours. I feel sad that we won’t be able to do this with the new baby – we’ll be too busy attending to the demands of our toddler in addition to caring for baby. I can’t even wrap my head around how busy we’ll be — our life already feels so incredibly full and fast, how will we have/make time for more?
On the other hand, I should try to remember that this baby already has an incredible gift that Lilly didn’t have when she was born: a sibling. I do hope that they will always view each other as such, that they will appreciate each other, play together nicely, and teach each other (good) things.
One of the best perks of being a college professor is having spring, summer, & winter breaks. Lil and I took advantage of my week off and headed to Milwaukee to visit the fam. We left Jason behind to work and clean the house. Awesome trade-off.
While we were there, we celebrated Trevor & grandma’s birthday. Someone (ahem, Lilly) ate the frosting off of THREE pieces of cake before I had to cut her off.
We visited the zoo with Auntie Ashley one morning. Lilly was really into these sheep, the bears, and the big cats. She wanted to see the gorillas, but they must have been in an area of the exhibit that wasn’t visible to us.
We saw the elephants and Lil pointed out the “huge poop” in the cage. I was hoping we’d have a few more years before poop is fascinating/awesome/funny, but no. Sigh.
We also had a fun field trip to the airport to visit my grandpa’s new airplane. Lilly is obsessed with airplanes lately and was so excited to actually see them up close. She was NOT so excited to sit in the airplane, however. There were tears. (Also, more tears when she saw this picture on my computer today. “No sit airplane, mama!”)
The rest of the field trip was a success, though. She loved watching the airplanes take off and land, and she had a blast walking around on the yellow lines at the airport.
Things got really exciting when my grandpa actually got in the airplane and took off. I still hear, “Grandpa fly airplane! Take off!”
She also has been requesting to see pictures of grandma. I think they had fun playing together. I was so surprised when Lilly began playing an imaginary game of “get the mail” — running to a metal post, pretending to grab mail from it, and then carrying it over and pretending to hand it to grandma, Trevor, or I. I didn’t think kids this young (20 mos) played pretend games like that, but since then, we’ve played many pretend games, most of them involving pretending to eat food.
We spent the rest of the week running errands and hanging out at my parent’s house. Lilly and I had our dresses for sister’s wedding made, though I’ll refrain from sharing those pics here until after the big day so I don’t ruin any of sister’s wedding surprises. Nana and grandpa babysat Lil so that I could have a much-needed night out with the girls. The only picture that I managed to snap that night was of the giant plate of meat that I ate at the awesome BBQ place we went to — photo fail! I also committed a giant photo fail on Easter by not. taking. one. single. picture. WHAT?! I know. Lilly was so adorable in her Easter dress, too. I think I will have to have a redo one of these days. It’s not terrible to dress your kid up for Easter and hide eggs in the backyard a month after Easter, is it? Easter came too early this year anyways.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned my obsession with well-made wooden toys before. Something about the beauty and simplicity of these toys really makes me happy. I’ve been reading some about Montessori theory, and I remember reading the suggestion that children should be surrounded by beauty — for me, I think this means to give Lilly toys and objects that are good-looking, real, well-made, and durable.
The biggest problem that I’ve run into is that these toys are also very often expensive.
(The lock toy in the background of the above photo is amazing, well-made, simple and every kid who ever comes over is captivated by it. Price tag? Something like $90 last time I checked. I was lucky enough to randomly stumble on it at a rummage sale for $2.)
I’ve seen wooden eggs & egg cups on pinterest and Montessori blogs and have been meaning to pick some up for almost a year now. Stacking the eggs in the cup is really good for fine motor control for the littles, and should involve a decent degree of concentration.
Now that Lil is a little older, I thought she might enjoy a set of eggs & egg cups in varying colors so that she can practice naming colors & color matching. She’s been really into pointing out and naming colors lately, so I thought this might give her some practice.
As you can see, we’re still working on the color matching. She’s getting better!
These were pretty easy & relatively inexpensive to make. You’ll need:
- wooden eggs & egg cups (mine were from craftparts.com)
- liquid watercolors (mine were Sargent Art brand from amazon – I got a $10 mix color set but I’m not seeing it on Amazon now)
- plastic baggies
- beeswax (I had on hand from making tree blocks)
- olive oil
Steps are simple:
- put the egg & egg cup into a plastic bag and drip a few drops of liquid watercolor into the bag — you don’t need much!
- squish the bag until the wood is covered and let dry
- mix a 1:4 beeswax:olive oil mixture. I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup to measure out 1 cup of olive oil, then added grated beeswax until the measurement read 1 1/4 cups. Then I used a double boiler to melt the mixture (you can use a microwave, but we don’t have one). Once the beeswax has melted, let the mixture cool and solidify, making sure to stir occasionally so the beeswax and olive oil will stay mixed
- coat your painted wood pieces with the beeswax polish, then remove excess beeswax with a towel
This project was so quick & easy, and I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve: wood coins for more color matching & for counting, wooden peg dolls, tiny apples and acorns for counting and imaginative play.