Practically Wordless Wednesday

 

I took this picture after bath time last night. If you know Lila and Lucy, you know that this picture captures their personalities perfectly. Just perfectly them.

Two over Two

Lucy. The Lucy Goose. Goose. Lulu. Lu. LuGu. Gu. You are a girl of many nicknames. You are, as another parent told me, a lot of personality in a little package. You are smart. You are funny. You are independent but you are such a momma’s girl. And today, you are two.

 

I remember waiting (and waiting) for your arrival. I remember the quiet time in the hospital room with just you and your dad. You are the second child and I knew that the quiet time of just the three of us would be limited, so I cherished that. It was so peaceful compared to your sister’s stressful NICU time and so wonderful. Bringing you home to a world of two under two was stressful and hard and challenging. But even though I remember all of that, I can’t remember what things were like without you.

People tell us all the time that you look just like your sister. I don’t see it, I think perhaps because I see all the ways the two of you are different. Such different personalities, such crazy little people. You so want to be like your big sister and do everything she gets to do – but you really want to be your own person too. It is a wonderful thing to watch the two of you interact. The two of you, now two over two.

I’ve dreaded writing this post, not just because I can’t believe you are two already, but because I know there is no way I can put your awesomeness into words. You and your sister are everything to me. I love cuddling you in the mornings, each crawling onto my lap with your own blankets and insisting on your own side of lap. I love listening to you babble to each other at night, even if that means that you don’t go to sleep until almost 9pm. You two have such crazy fun. And you Lulu, I love how you sing Jingle Bells while “reading” a book, how you memorize your favorite parts of the Ladybug Girl stories and how you and your sister do crazy ballet duets while singing Let It Go.

Lucy, you love to color. You love your friends and care for them in a way I don’t often see two year olds do. You are tiny, which is surprising since you were literally twice the size of your sister at birth. People never expect for you to use full sentences when you speak since you look more like an 18 month old than a 2 year old. But you use crazy sentences like “Thank you for making a nice dinner, Daddy,” or “Miss Danielle, fix my hair please.” You use your words to tell us what you want, and you do this often. You are girl who knows what she wants out of life (and often that is Rice Crispies, yogurt and/or strawberry milk.)

While I don’t want your birthday post to be all about your sister, she is so much a part of who you are. You long to be the Elsa, but you are clearly the Anna. While I hope your sister never chooses to build an ice castle on the side of a mountain, I know if she did you would follow her there and convince her to come back home. (I know if either of you would run off to live in a castle by yourself, it will be your sister) As strong willed and independent as you are, you are equally loving and care so much for others.

Lucy, these 700 words can’t begin to express what it means to have you in our lives. I look at pictures of you as a little baby and miss it so much – the snuggles, the nursing, the tininess of you. But this Lucy? The LuGu who tells jokes, gives hugs and plays on the bars at gymnastics? This Lucy is awesome. She is fierce and she is amazing. I will always remember how long we waited for you to arrive Lucy and I will always know that you were worth it, and we would have waited even longer to have your in our lives.

Two Over Two: My Lucy Goose is Two

So here’s to a child who is joyful and clever. Happy day, happy year, happy always and ever. 

(From one of your favorite books,  Happy Birthday, Little Pookie )

8 More Books Please!

8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books Sure, Lila loves to read, but Lucy is becoming quite the reader. It is not uncommon for us to be making dinner in the evening and notice Lucy isn’t in the living room. We’ll find her in the play room, surrounded by a giant pile of books, quietly “reading” to herself. It is not surprising, since birth Lucy has heard us reading to Lila.

Just as Lila has her favorites, Lucy very much does too. What is interesting to us is that her books of choice are very different from what Lila liked at her age. It is fun to see what their individual taste leads them to enjoy reading and fun to celebrate their freedom to choose whatever books they want.

Just a few books Lucy would recommend you (or your favorite toddler) check out:

Ladybug Girl at the Beach – Ladybug Girl is above and beyond Lucy’s favorite book series. Ladybug Girl has a trusty sidekick, her dog Bingo, who bears a resemblance to a certain lovable beagle. Ladybug Girl’s real name is Lulu, which happens to be Lucy’s nickname at daycare. There are many books in the series, including a set of board books. Lucy’s current favorite is Ladybug Girl Says Good Night , in which Lula requests “8 more books please!” before bed. Lucy can barely make it through the line without giggling hysterically.

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise – Lucy has a thing for monkeys. I think that’s pretty common for toddlers. Her lovie is a monkey name RuRu, but she loves Curious George too. She likes to point out the Man with the Yellow Hat and read about his crazy adventures – like when he invited all the dogs into the house to eat the frosting. 8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books

Baby Einstein Alphabooks – These books don’t have much plot. Ok, they have no plot. They are 26 books, one for each letter with 3 words and pictures for each letter. I have little patience for reading these books but A is really good about reading them to Lucy. They talk about recognizing the letter, the words, other things that start with that letter. I have no doubt that it really helps with learning to read and knowing the alphabet. (Lucy can sing her ABCs, in adorable toddler speak.) So I highly recommend these books for helping with pre-reading skills. Just be sure you have someone like A to do the alphabet training with your toddler.

Hands Are Not for Hitting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series) – So this is a weird one but Lucy LOVES it. We bought it after Lucy was born and while going through some big sister adjustment, Lila had a hitting phase. Lucy loves it, she loves to imitate what the kids in the book are doing (waving hello, brushing their teeth, etc) and one of her favorite people’s name appears in the book which makes her very happy. There is a whole series of these books (Teeth are Not for Biting, Tails are Not for Pulling) and we’ve never read the others, but I imagine they may be just as enjoyable.

Toddler books can be exhausting, but we’ve manage to find a good number of books that we can all enjoy. Have you had good luck with toddler books? Any tales of books to avoid so you don’t pull your hair out while reading it for the seventeenth time in a row?

 

8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books

 

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Selfie Wordless Wednesday

Seeing is Believing

I cannot believe that Lucy turned one last Friday. It is almost impossible for me to believe that 12 months has gone by since she was this adorable cuddly bundle of baby.

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I miss this little one, the way she snuggled and was warm and cooey.

But now we have this little one.

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She is silly and quirky. She doesn’t walk but can get into just about everything. She doesn’t speak yet but is very expressive and makes sure she is heard. She can’t be convinced to do anything she does not want to do, but she will do anything that her big sister does first. She may not be as small and snuggly as she once was, but she is a cuddle bug who loves a good back rub.

So yeah, it is really hard to believe that 12 months have passed and this little one is one year old now, but seeing her and her huge personality makes it real. I miss my baby but I love one year old Lucy and I wouldn’t trade her giggles for anything.

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The awesome makers of GoldieBlox made an even awesomer Rube Goldberg machine

I love everything about this. I supported GoldieBlox when they first started on Kickstarter because I love the idea of toys that don’t play down to girls. I think it can be a scary world, raising two kids in a Tinkerbell/princesses world. (Did you know that if reminded of their gender at the start of a math test, like checking a male or female box, girls do worse on the tests then when gender is not raised. The subconscious thought that girls are bad at math is thought to sabotage their performance.) And while I support Lila’s (and eventually Lucy’s, of course) choice to dress in a tutu and spin around the room, I love that this toy also lets them build and be engineers and awesome in ways that don’t involve finding princes.

So watch this awesome video and then go buy GoldieBlox for everyone on your holiday list.

via The awesome makers of GoldieBlox made an even awesomer Rube Goldberg machine.

You Don’t Say

Lila is really into birthdays. She likes to mark them on her calendar, count down the days, plan celebrations that involve Elmo balloons (for B-Cat’s birthday) and cake (for A’s birthday) and special video greetings (for her great grandfather). One of the books in her current bedtime rotation is the Birthday Queen.  As we read the book, I asked if she would make me a cake for my birthday next month, just as she had made one for her daddy’s birthday. She agreed. I asked her what type of cake she would make and she stated it would be vanilla. I requested chocolate, because I really don’t like vanilla. She insisted vanilla cake was where it was at. When I pointed out that it was MY birthday and that I would really like chocolate cake for my birthday, she suggested “You can eat ice cream if you don’t like the vanilla cake.”

My child, birthday celebrator extraordinaireand problem solver. (Though her preference of vanilla over chocolate is clearly a character flaw.)

Lila's birthday masterpiece

Letter for my Bear and Goose

Perhaps nothing marks the passing of time like the changing of the seasons. Basketball, baseball, football. Here we are, Lila’s third football season and Lucy’s first. It seems like just yesterday we were trying to teach Lila the intricacies of a touchdown.  Now? Now she requests Hail to the Redskins as a lullaby. So much has changed since last year, most of all a new baby to wear adorable Patriots onesies.

To my sweet Bear and Goose, 

First of all, I love you both so very much. You make my life so wonderful. I want you to remember that when Momma gets sad or frustrated on a Sunday and just wants everyone to leave her alone to watch the Pats play. It has been a very long time since Momma watched a full football game without interruption. A very, very long time. She misses it. Don’t even ask Momma about the last time she was able to watch a full day of football. But I don’t miss those things nearly as much as I love both of you. 

Lucy Goose, you are about to join a family tradition of football watching Sundays. Days planned around whether a game starts at 10am or 1pm. Days spent as a family in the playroom with a floor littered with toys and the sweet melodic tones of Joe Buck emanating from the television.  And while I am looking forward to all of this, the togetherness, the coziness on a rainy Seattle afternoon and of course, the football, I am most looking forward to watching you and Lila together for your first season. 

As much as your father and I love both of you, as much as you both love us, it is nothing compared to the love and joy you share between each other. Nothing makes Lucy smile and laugh like her sister. Lila loves nothing more than seeing Lucy first thing in the morning and when Lucy is sad, Lila calls to her “it’s ok, I’m here.”  I know that you, Lila, will take you, Lucy, under her wing and teach her how these Sundays work. I know you’ll show her how to do “touchdown” and help her hold her hands up. I know you’ll help her learn the words to Hail to the Redskins, as well as the few choice words Momma uses when the Pats wide receivers are arrested on murder charges drop the ball.  Lila Bear, you love being a “big helper” so I know you’ll help entertain Lucy with toys and books while the games are on. Share your cheddar bunny snacks and maybe, just maybe, teach Lucy Goose the importance of a three hour Sunday afternoon nap.

I love football season because of the way it has brought me closer to your father. I love football season because I love beer and nachos. I love football season because I love the game. I love football season because I love watching a little Bear and a littler Goose play together and grow into a family tradition. A tradition that started with two and grew to three and is now overflowing with four.

We’ve been waiting all year for Sunday night, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do Lucy Goose.

Love, Momma 

Not the Baby Book Type

I’m not the baby book type.  I don’t scrapbook. I’m not very good at keeping track of the little milestones, unless I capture it in a tweet or instagram (which I guess is a kind of baby booking, hopefully.)  It is not that I don’t care, I just can’t prioritize these things at this point in my life. I worry because I don’t write monthly notes on the blog to the kids, or keep track of their favorite items du jour in some Pinterest created template that I will forget.  They are great kids with funny little quirks and I never want to forget any of them.  Just watching Lucy grow through phases that Lila has already passed, I realize how easy it is to forget those moments I thought I’d always recall.

So instead of beating myself up over the times that I haven’t recorded the darndest thing the kids have said or done, here’s some of the super fun things my girls currently do.

Lila is a little person with lots of personality and lots, lots, lots to say. She asks for “regully” milk (which is regular milk) and tells us she has “pee in my bladder” when she has to use the bathroom. She tells stories with beginnings, middle and ends. She loves her calendar and counting the days until the next special event – be it gymnastics or the “mountain choo choo”. She hugs and kisses and is becoming braver and braver everyday. And she loves her sister more than anything – waking Lucy up in the morning is Lila’s favorite thing to do and when Lucy is sad, Lila will tell her “don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.”

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Lucy may not speak words yet, but she is full of personality. It is clear that she’s realized that it will take a lot to keep up with Lila and she is more than ready for the challenge.  When she is happy, she has a giant open mouth smile that lights up her whole face. She is freer with her emotions than her sister – both being happier and ready to express it and becoming very sad when her mom or dad leave. When she is really excited, like when she is about to eat, she pants with her wide mouthed smile. She love solid food and puts everything in her mouth – be it avocado or a paper napkin. She doesn’t cuddle as much as her sister, but I think that she is simply too worried about missing something.  When she is done nursing, she is quick to wiggle and squirm to see turn around and see what she may have missed.  I think she will be much more adventurous than her sister – she shows no fear (and even pulls B-Cat’s tail, which you do at your own risk).

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I’ve often feared my girls growing older but each year, month, day has shown me how much more awesome they can be and that sometimes I just need to stop and remember all the awesome things they do.

Sleepless in Seattle

First of all, I’ve had this blog for over three years and this is the first time I’ve used this phrase, so points to me.

As I mentioned before, we never had many sleeping issues with Lila when she was an infant. She learned to sleep through the night on her own fairly early and even nursing her at night didn’t lead to constant night feedings. Lucy has been a different story. Different baby, different conditions, different issues. She doesn’t sleep through the night and had difficulty falling asleep without being nursed down. After we returned from our trip to CT last month, Lucy’s sleep schedule was completely off. She wasn’t going down well, getting up within hours of going down and getting up multiple times a night. On top of it all, she would only go back down if she was nursed, so that meant I handled all the wake ups. After a week of it, something had to give.

When you ask around for suggestions on infant sleep, 9 times out of 10 you are told that cry it out is the must use method. If that works for you, great. Parenting is all about survival and sleep is definitely necessary for survival. If cry it out gets you there, go for it. But I was never comfortable with that method and the thought that it was my only sleep training option prevented me from attempting anything other than hoping it would pass.

Then I decided that I had to do something and I sat down and listened to webinar after webinar on Isis Parenting. They recommended the “trade down” method of sleep training. It works with alternating a “high” soothing method with a “low” soothing method, with the goal of the baby falling asleep in the low soothing phase. So the first night Lucy’s “high” was nursing and her “low” was being in her crib while I patted her back. She went down fairly well that night.

When she woke up 3 hours later, I repeated the process. I used the recommended method for reducing night feedings, limiting how long she nursed and trying to “trade down” to just holding and rocking her. It took a bit, but it worked and she eventually went to sleep without being nursed down. She woke up again at 4am, but I’ve decided to not fight that feeding. Isis recommended that at her age she may still need an early morning feeding and if I can get to 4am, I’ll take it.

The next night I replaced the nursing “high” soothing with the previous night’s “low” of patting her back. Then for her low soothing I sat next to the crib shushing her. And she went down without a problem.  I didn’t have to use the “high” at all. And then she slept straight through to 4am. It worked.

You have to find what works for you and right now, crying it out didn’t work for me, but neither did not getting more than 3 hours of sleep in a row. So I found what did work – and I get some solid hours of sleep right now. It took some work, but I’m proud of the results and really thankful to no longer be (you guessed it) sleepless in Seattle.