Cecelia at Three Months

August 28 | 3 months


Likes: flashing her gummy grin at anything that moves, eating her hands, trying to eat a few newly introduced toys, the iTunes visualizer, nursing to sleep, her handsome big brother, nightly baths, watching Thomas cartoons with Truman, and being outside.




Dislikes: consistency with nighttime sleeping. (please note that this category is SO MUCH SMALLER NOW!!!)




Biggest achievement of the month: Taking the bottle!! (Cue the angels singing). I should have made this an entirely different blog post, but here's the watered-down version: Cecelia's first week of daycare was a good one because she did, in fact, take 8-10 oz per day there. But she hated it and was really mad and screaming for about 10 minutes each time and it would take 45 minutes just to get 3-4oz in her. And obviously, that makes it really hard on both Cece and Lori. So over the weekend, I knew it was time. I decided to pump from the hours of 8-4pm, just like daycare days, and only offer bottles during that time. The first day sucked and it took 2.5 hours of fussing on her part before she even latched on. I didn't force it on her if she got really mad, and we'd just take a little break and I'd try to sweet talk her into the idea of taking a bottle. Lots of praise and positive talk from mommy while I tried to remain strong on the fact that she NEEDED to take a bottle occasionally. And finally, after those first rough 2.5 hours she did it. She sucked down an entire 4 oz bottle, I got her a refill, and she took another 3 oz. Peacefully. Without a tear. And she even smiled at me while I gave it to her. Thank you, God. The rest of the weekend got progressively easier with each bottle and now I'm planning to give her one bottle each day that I'm off. And thankfully, she has still shown obsessive love for the boob and this bottle stand-off didn't affect her ability (or willingness) to nurse. I cannot tell you how good it feels to be able to give her a bottle...or to feel like I can leave the house for more than a few hours if I needed to, and I know she probably won't freak out the entire time. Yes. She is now taking a bottle without much of a battle. Life is good on this front.

(couldn't take enough pictures to commemorate)

(so freaking proud of her after the bottle!)

And she has also taken a pacifier twice this month--once at Lori's and once for us. Hope this trend continues as well! The site of her with a pacifier in her mouth is almost as exciting as the bottle. Never thought I'd see the day.


Biggest challenge of the month: Random, epic meltdowns--the worst one being featured here. But since those meltdowns are really quite rare right now, I might say that the anticipation of sending CC to daycare was the biggest challenge this month. The reality has not been bad at all, but the anticipation of it was horrible. And as I was composing this post over the past week, we had our first real 'sickness' spread through the house. Cecelia and I had a case of the stomach flu (after Truman gave it to us, I think) and it was HORRIBLE to see my baby sick. She handled it like a champ and was still happy and smiling---but those diapers were a nightmare and she barfed twice at Lori's. So glad she kicked the bug quickly (and I did, too---might need to write a blog post about that ridiculous day at some point. Pretty dramatic)

(video of Cecelia's voice---quite the talker already!)

Secret tricks of parenting: Honestly, Cecelia has really turned a corner in the past two weeks and is just so happy and easy-going (for her, at least!). But there are still a few tricks up my sleeve that I can try if she is fussy.

1. iTunes visualizer, set to anything but preferable DMB.
2. Nursing. If especially fussy, will only nurse as we walk around her nursery.
3. BOB rides without her car seat. Scandalous, I know.

Nicknames: same as last month and we are totally digging 'Cecil' lately. So much so that Truman now goes, 'NO, Cecil' when we call her that. Like, 'No, idiot parents. That is not her name.'

(loves her baths outside in the summer)

The Mecca (aka Sleep): This month came with a few major milestones in the sleep department and some ridiculously amazing stats. Like the night she slept for 8.5 hours in a row. And then 11 hours in a row. And then the Best Night Ever when she slept for 12 in a row (!!). That night she went down at her now standard 7:15 pm and we had to wake her up at 5:45 am. My boobs were literally ready to pop but I did not complain because my God, that felt amazing! Then she continued to sleep until 7:15 am when we had to wake her up for the day because it was a work day for me. Ridiculous!

But then, of course, those amazing nights are not our norm just yet (but oh, so cherished). She will usually wake around 1:00-1:30 am for the first time (which makes her max stretch about 5 hours) and then again around 4-5 am to nurse. Sometimes she will even throw in another session around 2-3 am but it's hard to say since I am still bringing her to bed with us once she wakes up the first time. Her mornings are never predictable---she will either wake for the day around 5:45 am when Nate and I are getting up for the day, or she might snooze in our bed alone until nearly 8:00. If I bred a 'late sleeper' I will seriously be beside myself with giddiness. And if she is actually a good sleeper? Can't imagine.

I'm praying that daycare continues to wipe her out and causes a lot more of those amazing looooong stretches at night. Because when we have those really rough nights of 4-5 total wake ups I get discouraged like she will never 'get' the sleeping thing. Sleep deprivation does weird things to your mind, you know.

She's napping really well both here and at daycare, thank goodness. She usually takes about 45 min or an hour long nap in the morning, then a nice 2ish hour nap around lunchtime, and then a couple of cat naps in the afternoon and evening. Those are the ones that she will only sleep while being held but otherwise most of her naps are in her swing. Not really feeling naps in her crib just yet, mostly because I am lazy and don't want to walk all the way upstairs just to use the monitor while she snoozes. It's so much easier to have her down on the main level with me as I do things around the house.


Temperament/Personality: If I had written this post 2 weeks ago I would have still been talking a lot about epic tweak-outs and baby drama. But the past few days have been so amazing with Cecelia...dare I say it? Ever since she started daycare she just seems so content and happy and peaceful. I have no idea if it's just because she is now 3 months old and out of that pesky 'fourth trimester' or if she really loves spending some time away from good old mom. But she is like a different baby all of a sudden. And it's awesome.

I've been able to eat dinner with the rest of my family, while the food is actually hot, more nights than not lately. Now she is totally fine with chilling out on her activity gym while we eat. And she will let me set her down to do things with her brother, or go to the bathroom, or just breathe a second....without melting down. That might be the second biggest accomplishment this month---her ability to be left alone for a few minutes at a time without making us pay for it. I've actually caught her smiling at the walls, and smiling at the TV. Apparently everything is just fascinating to her right now.

Her evenings are nothing like they used to be, because she is really not even fussy during those witching hours anymore. And the car seat that she used to despise? No big deal. KNOCK ON WOOD but she has not cried in the car one single time for the past two weeks. I can feel myself relaxing a little bit more with each trip we make because it's just so pleasant when the baby isn't freaking out in the back seat.

(squeaky clean after a bath!)

Eating: She is now eating about every 3 hours instead of her previous 2 hour stretches. Roughly she will nurse about 8 times in a 24 hour stretch but sometimes more often when she just wants to nurse for comfort. She usually just takes one side and I'm guessing it takes her 10 minutes or so before she either falls asleep at the breast or pulls off. But I think I've had to pull her off a lot more than she's voluntarily stopped a session, because the girl would probably be hooked up to the boob all day long if I let her. And until I grow a third arm I'll have to keep unlatching her so that I can go about my day.



The superficial: She still rocks The Hair but admittedly, it's a little thinner on the sides now. Still long in back and on top, though, so basically she's wearing a baby toupee most of her days:)


She definitely had cradle cap this month but with a little baby oil it came right out (and it didn't pull out too many of those precious hairs, either!). She is mostly in all 3-6 month clothes now simply due to the length, but some of her 0-3's still fit if I really push it. I did the oh-so-accurate weight check by weighing myself and then weighing me holding her. And seriously? She might be 14.5 pounds already! Almost doubling her birth-weight! No wonder those chunky thighs seem so hefty.

Motor milestones: Baby girl is doing an amazing job with head control, and one evening right at 11 weeks she actually held her head up WAY high during tummy time. I was floored and had to snap a million pictures of course. Ever since that random event she is sort of hit or miss with how high she feels like lifting up the old noggin. I can't wait until it's no big deal to keep her face off the ground and we are definitely getting there!



But when we sit her up she is all over the head control department. It's adorable to see her upright like a 'real baby' and I love to see her holding her neck steady enough to glance around the room. The bumbo is finally appropriate now and she sorta kinda loves it.


She is even attempting to roll already which freaks me out because I'm SO not ready for a mobile baby. I love being able to set her down in one place (since I've only been able to set her down at all for a few weeks now, without paying for it with baby screams). But I've noticed that she can roll onto her side really easily and keeps trying to pull those legs and shoulders on over as if she was going to move onto her tummy. Wow, baby girl. You are WAY ahead of your brother's milestone with side rolling already. Slow down!


And finally, the other big motor achievement that makes her PT parents so happy is that she's getting the hang of putting things into her mouth. Her hands are still number one, but now she can usually coordinate the act of putting her blanket, dress, or even a stuffed animal into that adorable little mouth. It seems too early for this, too!

Social butterfly: Little lady is thisclose to laughing now, and I'm pretty sure I will die of the cuteness when it happens. Now she will smile really big and kind of go 'huh'--like the laugh wants to come out but it can't quite surface yet. Cecelia is just so alert and into her surroundings now that she's becoming a social butterfly, for sure. She loves to make eye contact and seems so purposeful with her gaze. One of my patients asked to see pictures of Cece and when I showed him, he said,' She is only 2 months old? She looks a lot older than that---about a year old or so! She is just so alert and awake.'. Um, obviously she does NOT look like she's a year old but it was still an interesting comment to hear that she looks mature for her age. Someday she will not appreciate looking older than her years (months).

(loves all of her friends!)

Out and about: The biggest accomplishment here is that our family of four enjoyed our first dinner out at a restaurant this month! Well technically it was ON Cecelia's 3 month birthday (when this post should have gone up), because that was also Nate's 31st birthday. We decided to risk it and ride the recent high of 'our baby is so chill in the evenings now!' at a public establishment. And sure enough---she stayed in her car seat like a happy little baby for nearly the entire meal. I pulled her out of there at the very end and almost shed a tear at how beautiful it was to spend that time with my family....without her crying. There is no way we could have done a dinner out with Cecelia a few weeks ago. Thank you God for this new child of ours!!


Favorite baby gear: 

-our new Ergo carrier

-her pink bunny for chewing fun


-nuk brand bottles (aka the fake nipple that reigned in my daughter's hatred towards falsies)

-iTunes visualizer. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for this amazing baby soother.

Little sister and big brother:

At three months, Truman was a hefty 16+ pounds, bald, and super chunky. Cecelia is still proving to be a dainty version of big brother...with a lot of red hair. But as I read back over Truman's three month post I just smile at all of their similarities: love for the outdoors, smiling a ton, the visualizer, and eating their hands. I vaguely remember this stage of Truman's life and I really do love getting past the 'fourth trimester'!


With both of my children at Lori's for daycare, I can definitely say that I am just so proud of these two siblings.  Truman is protective and sweet with his sister and she seriously loves the big guy in her life. Anytime he enters the room she will just stare at him in wonder, and then he'll say, 'Oh, hi, Cece! See my train?' or something like that. It's adorable. I'm definitely getting to the point when I am loving having two kids. Not that I didn't love it before, but it was just really freaking hard in those early weeks and looking back helps me to be even more grateful for our present-day Cecelia.


We love you, baby girl. Can't wait to watch you grow.

Updates for the internets

Sometimes I forget about the old blog. Between emails I send to 'real life' friends, Facebook, and Instagram I sort of feel like everyone knows about how my first day at work went but alas, I suppose there are hundreds more of you out there just DYING to know, right? At least, that is what my blog stats tell me:)

So Monday was shockingly WONDERFUL. I mean, literally both kids couldn't have done much better at Lori's. First of all, Cecelia slept for seven hours in a row the night before and then I had to freaking wake her up at 7 am after that to start getting the show on the road. Little stinker knew she had to rest up for her big day! I was so incredibly nervous and anxious about the prospect of her freaking out, not taking the bottle, etc etc etc. But the morning went smooth and I got both kids to Lori's on time (score one for this working mom---it's seriously such a feat to get anywhere with two kids at 8am). I told Lori that I was totally fine coming on my lunch break to nurse Cecelia if needed because apparently if she doesn't eat enough from bottles during the day, she might totally lose her mind later on (a la Thursday). When I called at lunch, however, Lori said CC was doing great and already had 3 oz and had taken two naps. THANK YOU GOD! When I picked the kids up at 4 they were both super happy and get this: little miss drank 8 ounces total of milk in the 8 hours she was there. I mean, what?! Amazing. Lori said it wasn't easy and CC was pretty pissed about it, but she didn't melt down. I'm still floored and keep praying that this continues.

Truman did great and didn't have any more fluke accidents there. He informed me on the way home that he watched after his baby sister and 'she cried a little, but not a lot'. Lori also said that Truman was very protective over CC, and if any other kids came up to her Truman would say, 'That is MY sister.' Sigh.

That evening at home before Nate was there was just fine, too (!!). Cecelia didn't cry on the way home in the car (maybe a first for the past few weeks?), she nursed and fell asleep, and then only after that little cat nap did she get a little tweaky. For about 30 minutes she was really mad and overtired but she finally calmed down and went to bed for me. She was up after a measly 4 hours and then nursed a ton after that, but I'm totally down with it for now. I just can't believe she took bottles at daycare and then was relatively happy all evening. Again: Thank you, God!

My day at work was a little mind-boggling. I won't go into details but basically my patients were all REALLY sick and really needy and totally overwhelming. Maybe it was just my luck to get the intense patients my first day back, or maybe I'm just soft. But wow, my head was killing me after that day and I had to stay up until 10 pm doing paperwork from it all. I'm hoping I get into my groove soon and can keep the paperwork at home time to a minimum. I love my job to death and the flexibility is priceless, but having to do any sort of work at home is always irritating to me.

I work Mon, Wed, and Thurs this week and next...then it's Labor day week, then we fly out for a wedding in Colorado (another blog post at some point, because OMG--we are leaving the kids at home and I'm totally freaking/excited about it!). So the first month of my return to work is going to be a little wonky with the days but I know I can manage. It actually felt really good to use my PT brain again. And the day FLEW by. I hope it continues to be a great balance for me, but so far so good.

And now for some pictures.

Our big morning! Go, Team!

And that evening, when everything seemed almost too good to be true. And too cute not to take pictures.


Also? Miss Cecelia is 12 weeks old, and almost 3 months old, too. I will do a proper 3 month post to talk all about her, of course, but please observe these awesome comparisons between my children. I cannot get enough of these types of photos. Last weekend I dug around in Truman's clothes bins to find a few sleepers that aren't TOO boyish that CC can wear. I found this cute brown one, but of course I did not find the matching ice cream hat. It just makes me smile to see both of my babes in the same outfit, though!



And sticking to the original theme of this post, here is a comparison of my first day back to work with Truman at 12 weeks and then with Cecelia at 12 weeks. Definitely did not plan to have the same exact pose and the same shirt in a different color. Also? Glad that I had better lighting this time---HATE that florescent color from the first time around!

first day of daycare comparison

One day down. Hope the rest of the week goes well on all fronts. So thankful that the first day was painless, and now I feel ready for this next chapter in our lives. Working mother of two kids? I guess that's me!

Breakdowns galore

Don't let this angelic face fool you. Sister provided the worst ever crying episode that I've experienced as a mom last night, one that had me in tears and nearly admitted to the mental ward. This post is like the antithesis of my 'life is so awesome!' post about breakthroughs galore. Yes, we came crashing back down to a low point after that high.


So my mom has been here visiting us all week, which is nothing short of amazing, yet again. Having an extra set of hands for these kids is the best gift I could ever get and she is loving her some grand kid time. On Thursday, Truman went to daycare and I decided it would be a great opportunity for me to leave Cecelia with mom for a solid few hours to trial this idea of me being gone for 8 full hours at a time beginning next week. I had to go up to my office to prepare for work on Monday anyway, and mom said she was up for the challenge. Of all the scenarios I ran through my mind leading up to this trial, none of them could have been close to what really happened. It was the best of days, and also the worst of days. Am I being too dramatic already? Can't help it.

I tried to make that morning as similar to a work day as possible. I got up pretty early and showered, put on makeup (!), got Truman ready, nursed Cecelia and even ate breakfast. Truman and I left at 7:45 for Lori's house and it was pouring down rain---something we desperately needed but it really made for a gloomy, yucky day. Drop off went great and I headed up to the office, pumping in my car once I got there for my first 'return to the world of the pump' experience in my car. It was fine but I somehow got a TON of milk into the tubing and nearly broke my beloved pump. Not the best way to start off my career as a pumping mom this time, huh? Perhaps it was an omen of what was to come along with the dreary weather.

I spent 2 hours at work getting my PT brain up to speed. It sort of hurt to work that muscle again but it was nice to remember how to speak in professional language again instead of newborn and toddler talk. Then I checked in with mom and all was going really well---no meltdowns! She had taken an ounce of a bottle with a lot of work and patience on my mom's part, and she was napping. Perfect. So I decided to go for a run to push our time apart even more. After pumping in my car again, I got changed and went for a fantastic jog. Then I went to Starbucks to do more work stuff and treated myself to a hot coffee and a little sandwich. This day was turning out to be awesome! Called home again, Cecelia was up and happy (!!) and took another 0.5 oz. I was really hoping she'd get hungry enough to take even more and then I could relax about Monday at daycare, so mom said to keep running errands and she'd keep trying more milk at home. So basically, she twisted my arm into getting a pedicure at this point:) Rough life, indeed.

I got home at 2:00 and Cecelia had finished 2.5 more ounces, meaning she took an entire 4 ounce bottle in the 6 hours I was gone. PROGRESS, people, progress. I was stoked and couldn't wait to nurse little miss and cuddle her with proud mommy hugs. I figured she'd be hungry because 4 ounces is really not that much to eat in an entire morning, so I thought I'd be spending a lot of my time on the couch before I had to leave again for my previously scheduled hair cut.

But as soon as I took CC from my mom, anticipating a bonding nursing session and lots of smiles, girlfriend flipped a switch. She nursed for about 3 minutes then started crying. I figured she was tired because she hadn't napped in a while so I tried to bounce her to sleep. No luck. I opened up the iTunes visualizer on the computer and played her some DMB which quieted her down right away. Whew.

Then Nate and Truman walk in from daycare. I asked T how is day was and he immediately started to cry and wouldn't talk to me. Nate said Truman had a poopy accident and when Lori was changing him, he peed. Now in the 3 weeks we've been potty training this is the FIRST accident at daycare and it's pretty rare that he will have an accident at all, aside from the occasional/random 'I was too busy playing to care' mess. I tried to encourage Truman that it was okay and that everyone has accidents sometimes, but my poor sensitive boy was obviously very embarrassed and upset over this. Broke my heart.

It was time for me to go to my hair cut appointment and CC had started fussing again. So I handed her off to Nate and my mom started playing with Truman, and I held my breath as I left. I got my cute hair cut and when I called home I could hear the baby crying in the background pretty definitively. Mom said that she hadn't been too happy the whole time I was gone and Nate took her for a 1.5 hour walk which calmed her down and got her to sleep. But when they got home, she was pissed and angry again. Fantastic. I drove home as I felt my nerves building up to be assaulted by my daughter throwing a fit.

She had to be starving. She had to be exhausted. And I know she was sort of gassy from the bottles, since she is so inefficient with them and likes to play with the nipple way too much. She had to have swallowed a ton of air because sister was burping like an obese, bald man and farting like a teenage boy. I got home at 5 and literally from that moment until 7pm, Cecelia did not stop crying. Actually, I can't even call it crying---it was screaming, hysterics, total and pure meltdown central at our house. She would stop for maybe 5 seconds to catch her breath and then she'd start wailing again. I honestly thought that maybe a demon had possessed my little angel, because poltergeist didn't have anything on this little lady. None of my tricks worked, even the heavy hitters like walking outside and even trying a bath. She would NOT nurse---it was like she was so far gone over the edge that she couldn't even focus on sucking. I tried a baby massage, music, bouncing, the swing, handing her off to Nate and mom, laying her down....Every.Thing. And nothing worked. She was obviously pissed that we threw her schedule off so much with a bottle all day and was really making me pay for it now. Can you imagine shrill, high-pitched newborn cries that are a constant wail for two solid hours? Maybe you can. Maybe you've been there. But I had not and wish I hadn't because I'm obviously WAY too much of a wuss to handle that type of experience. It wasn't even just two hours, because she was basically crying for five off and on. You think she has strong opinions about the bottle?

But there is a funny part to this evening.

In the middle of this most epic meltdown, I came in from outside with a partially deaf right ear and heard mom say, 'Great! You have to poop, Truman? Let's go!' very enthusiastically. I heard them go into the bathroom, she took down his pants and got him on the toilet with a lot of praise, and then I heard mom say, 'OH!!!!' like she stepped on something scary. Because she did. A giant toddler turd had fallen out of Truman's underwear as she pulled them down and she didn't notice. So that's wonderful, two poopy accidents in a day---a new record. And a grandma with crap on her foot. Truman was able to semi-redeem himself and did make some of it in the toilet and he acted like he'd just won us the lottery by this feat. Nate and I decided to still give him the stickers and reward despite the turd on the floor because I'm pretty sure mister sensitive, who was already beating himself up about one accident, would have broken down if we tried to scold him at all for this disaster. As we all cleaned up the poop, with the baby hysterically screaming in our ears, we admitted defeat. This was horrible. And I could see no hope for a quiet future. Nate said simply, 'This is the stuff dreams are made of, huh?' A low point, for sure.

As the others ate dinner, I finally got C to nurse a bit without tweaking the eff out. My nerves were shot and even the silence of her nursing didn't soothe me. I had entered a scary mental place of 'I just don't even care if she's crying anymore'. Totally numb. Totally exhausted. I let my mind wander to dark places, like maybe Cece was coming down with meningitis and THAT is why she just screamed her face off for hours (very logical, no?). Obviously, I'm a horrible mother that can't soothe a baby for squat. Obviously, my first week back to work is going to be about 1000x harder than I thought. She might do fine for Lori during the day---which was the part I was most concerned about---but now I'm aware that our evenings at home are likely going to be pure hell. After being tired from working all day. And honestly? If I can't handle my child with TWO helpers (Nate and my mom) how am I supposed to handle both children alone before Nate gets home in the evenings? I started to brainstorm ways to get out of returning to work---maybe Nate would feel sorry enough for me that he would magically say, 'Okay, honey, we really don't need your salary anyway' (Ha!). Or maybe I could just see all of my patients in the evenings and on weekends to avoid daycare all together (horrible idea, too). I stared down at this little child and wondered how on earth I could feel so afraid of someone so little and helpless. And why I couldn't help her when she needed me the most. Her eyes were puffy and tears stained her fat little cheeks.

Cecelia was asleep in my arms now and I handed her off to mom so I could complete Truman's bedtime routine. As we said our prayers that night, we were going through everything we were thankful for from that day. Truman always chimes in with great stuff, like, 'Thanks for my new train' and 'Thanks for daddy's job'. Tonight he just said, 'Thanks that the baby stopped crying.' Cue the waterworks for the 5th time in an hour. My poor buddy hates to see sister cry---he tries so hard to cheer her up, but that night wasn't even fixed by sharing his trains. I gave him a kiss and a hug and thanked him for being such a great big brother, and then let my big boy --- who had a tough day of his own, even without his sister's antics --- go to sleep.

And of course, CC was awake again when I returned to the nursery. I got her back to sleep by nursing (thank God it was working again, and she was actually trying to fill her starving belly) and didn't put her down for a split second. I let her sleep with us all night in bed, nursing pretty much non-stop, and when we woke up this morning she was her innocent, happy self. I'm still a little shocked over yesterday's episode and really, really nervous for Monday night now. I realize that I have to take it a day at a time but I just figured that if we got her to take a little from the bottle, we'd be great. Maybe I'd have to nurse her a lot in the evening but I could handle that. What I cannot handle is her being so upset that she won't even nurse at all. Please God, let yesterday be the worst of it.

And so, that is my story about yesterday. I almost left for a run and never came back----or at least, I wouldn't have come back for a solid few more hours. And I didn't even drink that glass of wine I SO deserved because I was just too freaking tired and numb.

The moral of the story is this: she is almost 12 weeks old and I mistakenly thought we'd be past the evening tweak outs. But apparently not when there is a bottle and lack of boob involved. She always keeps us on our toes, this one does, and it's really a good thing she is so cute. Maybe I should change my blog title to 'it's a good thing she is cute' because I think I say that 40 times a day lately. I know this is not the end of the world and a little baby meltdown is really no big deal in the grande scheme of things. But holy man, last night it was a VERY big deal to this mama. I'm glad it's over. I hope it doesn't happen again. And if it does, I hope I get to drink my wine to survive another episode like that.

Mothers of children who have major meltdowns (since I don't think I was a part of that club with my first born)--tell me it gets better. And that I won't die next week if it's this bad again.

Cecelia, darling, I was going to write you a nice little 'thank you for an awesome 12 weeks' post like I did for your brother right before I returned to work. And yes, thank you for being an amazing baby girl. I love you so freaking much it hurts my heart sometimes. I've cherished these early weeks and would love to spend 12 more with just you as my sole focus. I've drunk in every snuggle and every smile the best that I could. But baby, PLEASE be nice to us here. We just want you to be happy and not possessed by demons. Work with us. Take the bottle and don't starve yourself. I'm only going to be gone three (pretty short) days each week, so let's focus on how amazing that is and what a sweet gig mom has as an employee. And remember that we love you no matter how much you make us sweat with those screaming fits. You are probably just going to be a little strong willed lady---one that I adore and wouldn't change for the world. But wow. I cannot wait to see how your personality emerges even more over time And I'm already scared about your teenage years.

We love you, you little devil, you.



The jump from one to two

I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now, because when I was pregnant with Cecelia I constantly wondered what it would be like to have two children instead of 'just' one. In fact, I asked a few of my girlfriends who had recently made the jump from one to two if they thought it was easier the second time around. I mean, going from zero to one is LIFE-CHANGING. I cannot even remember what I did with my days before Truman came along (I think I worked, ran, blogged, slept and lounged a lot?). I figured my friends would say that zero to one was harder than one to two. But the verdict? Not so much. Two of my girlfriends were very honest when they said it was a lot harder than they had anticipated. Gulp.

Now I'm not here to say it's harder for everyone to make the jump to two kids, because there are just too many variables out there to consider. The temperament of both the newborn and the toddler will make a HUGE difference in your own personal experience. Then there is the husband wild card---is he one that's incredibly helpful, present for weeks after the birth of number two, and able to handle the demands of one-on-one defense? Or will you be mostly on your own during the day with only a few hours at night and on weekends with an extra set of hands? And what about your employment status? Will you be going back to work outside the home in 6, 8, 12 weeks or do you stay at home? See? All of these variables make it impossible to compare situations between moms. So take my experience with a grain of salt. You know I still want to share my opinion, though, right? ;)

I think the bottom line is this: it might be easy to assume that jumping to two kids will be easier than the jump to one because you've done it before. You should know what to expect. But honestly? That is sort of laughable to me now. Because every child is SO different, you haven't done it before with *this* child. And you haven't juggled that second child with a toddler before, either. And so the transition from 1-2 is very much like entering a completely different universe. A familiar universe at times, but still unique for the most part.

I've even heard people say the phrase: 'One is like none, and two is like ten' which I think is a little dramatic. But it's true that on my days with just Cecelia at home, I marvel at how much easier it is with just one baby. I know when I had little newborn Truman to care for it didn't SEEM easy and looking back, it wasn't easy. But it's funny how your perception of 'easy' changes with more kids over time. My favorite article written to moms with 'only' one child is this one, written by a mother with nine kids. I love that she respects the difficulty of raising your first child. Maybe if I have nine kids then looking back on having 'only' two will seem like a cake walk? :)

I can't proclaim that the jump to two kids was harder than I expected, since I honestly could not wrap my head around it while pregnant. I didn't really have an idea of what it would be like to juggle two kids, which is good in a way. Going in without expectations means this experience is what it is. Not harder or easier than 'expected.' But I definitely feel a huge difference between having one child and having two children to care for. And I think the differences are so interesting they must be explored.

The biggest difference this time around is that I not only have a newborn to care for but a toddler, too. I mean, duh, right? But I didn't really comprehend how different my maternity leave would feel this time around compared to the last. Truman can definitely be labeled as an 'easy' toddler, which is something I promise not to take for granted. He's laid back, well-behaved, and rarely throws tantrums. He can play independently for a decent amount of time and is usually pretty agreeable when I ask him to do something. Now he's not perfect by any means---but I would not call him a 'strong willed' child, like so many other mamas in the blog world have. And because of his temperament, I know that he is making this round two with Cecelia a little easier on me. But it's still not 'EASY' by any means.

As you read in my DITL post, balancing Truman's needs and his constant energy is tough at times, simply because there is a also newborn in the picture to consider. He has to have activities to do and we have to get out of the house or it gets hairy around here. And because I have to be on the go-go-go with a toddler, I don't have that focus on Cecelia 100% of the time like I did with Truman's maternity leave. Sometimes I expect Truman to be all grown up, because he just seems so mature compared to helpless Cece. But obviously he can't get food on his own, he isn't (totally) potty trained, he can't dress himself, and he just plain old needs mommy sometimes. The kid is two-and-a-half, not twelve, like I sometimes assume.

And because I have two kids, my valuable 'me' time just got squished out of the picture even more than before. It's important to find some mommy time for mental health, but it's certainly a challenge with two little kids demanding your attention. I know I need to be better about forcing 'me' time. In fact, I think deserve a big fat massage in the next few weeks. Now I just have to make the appointment...

Another big difference this time around is that I don't get the option to sleep in bed half of the day if we've had a rough night. I really do miss that part of having 'just one'---no toddler schedule to follow, no need to take the baby out in the car for daycare drop offs/pick ups, and no need to force her into activities outside if we don't feel like leaving the house. But mister Truman kind of runs the show around here, not Cecelia. And so we are on the move and don't get to sleep as much with a toddler in the picture along with a newborn.

I guess the thing I miss the most from my days of having only Truman is the routine--I'm talking about Truman as a toddler here, and not as a newborn. There was no routine back then, either:) I miss knowing what to expect with my one toddler. I miss being able to leave the house without packing half of our freaking belongings into a bulging bag. I miss not having to whip out my tat to feed a child in public, while simultaneously keeping my curious toddler from getting hurt on the playground. Feeling on top of things as a mom----that is a thing of the past for right now, but I know I'll get there again. Because a newborn doesn't adhere to your previously scheduled routine. True story. Go figure. :) I'm a control-freak and felt a lot more in control with just one. I remember at the end of my pregnancy with Cecelia how I sensed that it was the calm before the storm. Life was pretty amazing and we were confident parents, knowing what to expect from day to day. I freaked out a bit then wondering why on earth we wanted to change EVERYTHING. And it's true--nothing like a newborn to really humble you as a parent. But man, it's freaking awesome having two kids, even though it's hectic and unpredictable. I would not change it for the world.

And! Now that I have two kids, I think that it's actually a LOT easier for me this time to put things into perspective. The first time around I had no clue what to expect as my little baby changed before my very eyes daily. I didn't know how fast it really goes. I didn't understand that everything is a phase--even the hard stuff. I couldn't see past the present moment because I hadn't gotten to experience a growing child, moving into new and exciting phases all the time.

That article I linked to above has a beautiful quote about children being light as air, nudging past you as they float away like balloons (makes me cry to read that, but it's true). This time around I understand that these times with my children are fleeting. I know Cecelia will eventually sleep all night....in her room:) I know she will eventually drink milk from something other than my boob. She won't always hate her car seat. And I also know that she won't always want to be held. She won't always need me so much (and man, they really are helpless and pathetic as newborns, aren't they?). She might not be able to tell me exactly what she needs---something I find sort of maddening with newborns---but man, this itty-bitty stage still has a lot of positives to absorb. Of course, I cannot freaking wait to see her giggle, to see her sit, walk, talk, and interact with us like a real 'kid'. It's been nothing short of amazing to watch Truman grow into his own little person and I know it's going to be just as fun to see Cece emerge, too. That is another thing about the second child---you now KNOW how awesome kids can be as they age. And you also know there will be challenges. :)

The second-born definitely makes you appreciate each child for what they are. I love that Truman sleeps through the night and is somewhat predictable. I love that he can play by himself a bit and is constantly making us laugh with toddler-isms. And I love that Cecelia loves to cuddle me, nurse from me, and sleeps a ton (during the day). And that I can put her down in one spot and she actually stays there!

Since I'm a mom who works outside of the home part-time, this maternity leave is incredibly special to me---just like it was with Truman. But it's different this time, for a few reasons. First, since I'm going to return to work with a 20 hour per week schedule, and not my old 36 hours per week, I don't feel that sense of dread this time. I don't feel particularly sad about going back, or panicked like I'll never get to see my child again. With Truman I had a pit in my stomach, feeling like I should be mourning the loss of something. My child? My time with my child? I don't know but I was just so sad and scared to go back to work. It felt like the end of something....and I suppose it was the end of my maternity leave, but it wasn't the end of my time with Truman. Does that make sense? Now I know that life goes on and I still get to enjoy my children for a majority of each week. And even more so now that I don't work a whole lot:) I'm not as scared about my milk supply tanking, or fearful of the pump. I still loathe the pump but I totally know I can handle the three sessions each day this time.

Life is about finding a balance. Now I know I can work outside the home in a career I love AND I can be a good mom to my children. They can still be the lights of my life even if we aren't together 24/7. I didn't feel that way the first time around and I'm so grateful to be in a happier place this time as my maternity leave comes to a close.

Maternity leave is still a magical, dreamy period of weeks for me where time doesn't really exist. It's like you are in a bubble just drifting through the days without any sense of the world around you. That is probably because of the sleep deprivation, which would be the case for any new mom and not just working moms:) I am not saying that staying at home *in general* is magical and dreamy---just the first weeks with a new baby are like that. Because I do stay at home two days a week with my kids and it's not really 'dreamy' past the first three months. And obviously, there are really hard days during maternity leave and it's not always magical. It's just a wonderful time and I will definitely miss it. But I don't dread going back to work, either. I'll just look back on this time with a hazy, foggy perspective of what it was really like to be a new mom again. And I'll smile about these twelve weeks at home while I'll probably forget about the hard days and nights.

(and what good is a post without a baby pic?)

Breakthroughs galore

The stars are aligning, my friends. This weekend was seriously one of the most amazing ones to date. Breakthroughs all around and my head is still spinning from it all. I never do weekend recaps but this one was too ridiculous to skip on the ole blogster. I don't want to be that annoying blogger who says her life is picture perfect, because it's SO not. But this weekend, for just a few glorious moments, it really seemed pretty darn close. I am definitely chalking it up as a gift from God and I don't want to let go of the gratitude just yet. Reality will return and we'll have crappy times, too, but for now I want to focus on the good. Let's work our way through the people in our family and discuss each breakthrough-slash-major accomplishment with the help of a few pictures.

First? Me. Let's talk about me first, mmkay?

So I may still be 12 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy (quite fit and thin) weight, BUT! I fit into my jeans this weekend! And it wasn't even *that* painful or restrictive to my blood flow. Holla! I know I might keep a few extra el bees on the old body while breastfeeding and that is okay, I don't have to be skinny while I'm making milk for my babe. But it feels so good to be headed in the right direction.

And also? Andrea and I went for a SIX mile run on Saturday morning. This is amazing for a few reasons: 1. I have been running about three days per week, but always with at least one child in tow. So the max distance I've done is 3-4 miles at a time. And 2. I felt amazing on said run, despite being really nervous before the big event. It was a glorious morning down at the Lakefront with a good friend and we chatted away the entire time. I needed this mommy-getaway more than I realized and haven't left both kids for more than 45 minutes before this. Nate and his mom did great without me, and I was gone for almost 4 hours total because I made a road trip after the run for a giant train lot purchased on Craigslist. Oh, how I missed running. But I think I can safely say, 'I'm back!' now.

Next up? Cecelia-who-hates-the-bottle. Um, while I was gone for four hours she took almost 2 ounces of a bottle from my mother-in-law. For reals. She was apparently hungry enough to give into the rubber nipple. Nothing special about the bottle---it was the Avent brand we've had forever, but my mother-in-law was confident and someone 'new' with this battle. Maybe that helped? CC was also quite happy and content before the bottle was given. (Wha?!) She did put up a fight with the 2 ounces but it wasn't awful, as per Nate and his mom. And when I got home after that bottle she freaked as soon as she heard my voice...BUT she took a bit when I was gone. It's a start. And two weeks from today is my first day back to work so this comes at a great time. Keep it up, little mama! I know we aren't out of the woods yet but I have to celebrate this little step in the bottle battle.

Andplusalso? I finally started to put her down to sleep in her crib!! She's done great with it for the most part, staying asleep in her pretty little nursery for 5.5 hours the first night and then 3-4 the other nights. I'll take it. I even got the courage to try two naps in the crib---with mixed results. She did take a full hour nap there one day but usually it's more like 30 minutes. Again, it's a start and I love having her in the nursery until her first wake up, when I bring her back into our room. Best of both worlds for now:)



And finally? Truman is getting a big chunk of this post and it's his turn to shine.

Apparently we are potty training my son, and as a planner who didn't have time to actually plan and research this, I'm still shocked that we are even at this point. I just didn't have the energy to start anything with him until after my maternity leave and I figured we'd do it sometime before Christmas. And that was that.

On Friday morning, before Nate left for work, he casually said to Truman: 'Hey buddy, if you go on the potty we'll give you a Whiff train.' Which, for those of you who are not Thomas buffs, Whiff is one of Thomas' friends who wears glasses and Truman is obsessed with him for some unknown reason. We had purchased old Whiff online a while ago and we were saving it for a special occasion. I rolled my eyes at Nate, like, 'Yeah right, there is no way he'll go because we haven't even discussed the potty in MONTHS.'

But Truman said, 'Okay, Truman go potty!' and I went into the attic and cleaned off the forgotten potty chair. And then? He went both number one and number two. So I almost died from shock. Then Nate had to leave for work and left me with a nursing newborn and a toddler who was apparently ready for potty training. So ready that he went on to pee on the potty THIRTEEN times that first day without a single accident. I hunted down the '3 Day Potty Training Method' online, read the crap out of it, and felt empowered enough to ride this wave. I took both kids to Target that day to get big boy undies and some candy, then I made up and printed off some sticker charts. I took off his diaper and put him right into the undies and we haven't looked back.

All weekend long, Truman has only had two pee accidents and both were about 5 minutes after waking up dry from naps/bedtime. He even wears the undies to bed and stays dry, you guys! He also had one numero dos accident because I wasn't watching him closely enough but aside from three total accidents in three days, he has successfully gone over 30 times. Including being away at a friend's house and also going to the State Fair. Wow. Just wow. I'm so proud of my little man it hurts, and I severely underestimated his abilities.

Not sure if anyone cares to read the details on this process for us, so I'll keep this short, but basically he is responding REALLY well to positive reinforcement. The stickers on his chart, the M&Ms, and then a big gift of a new train after he strings together some successes seems to really work. As does the phrase, 'Truman, just let me know when you have to potty.' He does NOT want us to ask, 'Truman, do you have to go potty?' because he will always say 'no.' He wants the control. Makes perfect sense to me now. We are also asking throughout the day, 'Hey, buddy, are your undies still dry? Yes? THAT IS SO AWESOME!' and we are really obnoxiously over-the-top happy about the little victories. He picks up on our excitement and eats it right up.

He is at daycare today and I'm just praying that he can carry over this success to Lori's house, too. I know this will be an ongoing process and we might have some set-backs and accidents, but overall it's been awesome to see his little mind 'get' the potty training thing. I hope we can keep riding this wave of amazingness because I REALLY enjoy not having to change his diaper. I almost cried a few times this weekend because I was so proud of him, and a few times because he just seems THAT much older and bigger now. My little guy. He never ceases to surprise me.

Halfway through the first day, my hand-made charts:)

Later that night, the online charts printed off and ready for another day, plus all of the potty-training supplies.

Is there anything cuter than a little toddler butt in big boy undies? Probably. But not to his mommy:)


Weekend summer fun---pool party with friends...

And a fabulous trip to our State Fair. Cream puffs for everyone! He is thrilled, obvi:)

My boy.

I took a lot of pictures of 'fair' stuff but this one is a fave. The colors, the chaos, the blue sky....love it all.

My crew on Friday. What a day.

Just so I don't come across as totally annoying, and fake, and bragging in this post I want you to know that it's not ALL puppies and rainbows (and bottles and potty chairs) around here. Cecelia has been tweaking out like a champ when in her car seat to the point that leaving the house is an absolute nightmare. And she has had a few inconsolable episodes aside from the car when she gets overstimulated and I literally cannot handle the crying. It's horrible. Plus I'm really really tired from lack of sleep and my beloved potty-training-toddler has had his share of meltdowns this weekend, too. And on the morning of my run, right when I was cleaning up Truman's first pee accident I glanced down on the rug and saw a huge pile of dog turds. Sitting right on top of Truman's train tracks. Apparently Henry needs to be potty trained, too. Disgusting double clean up before 6 am on a Saturday? FUN. Feel sorry for me, or at least know that I'm not claiming to have a perfect little life. :) Far from it. But it was a pretty amazing weekend that I need to absorb and appreciate.

I think in the wake of the senseless shooting we had in our area yesterday, it's easy to feel down and depressed about the state of our world. I know I've done my share of hugging my babies, wishing they weren't growing up in a sick and twisted world. I just don't understand how people can be so incredibly evil and hateful and it makes me feel sick to think about my innocent kids growing up in this mess. But I also think the shooting has taught me to enjoy the happiness in life even more. Because if you look hard enough, you can surely see blessings and goodness all around you. Even if I want to pack those little blessings up in a bubble and never let them leave my sight---it's still important to focus on the good in life and not let the evil win.

So yeah. I'm a runner again, who can fit into some jeans. Cecelia is sleeping (partially) in her crib and took a bottle. And Truman is getting potty trained. We are on a roll over here, even if it doesn't last! Thank you, God, for these breakthroughs.
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