Monday, December 31, 2012

My own cheering section

Libby saw me cleaning the toilet today and starting clapping and said "good job Mommy!" Warmed my heart right up. I might clean more often if someone cheered for me every time I did it. :)

Then, she looked in the toilet bowl and saw the blue cleaning liquid and said, "Mommy, I eat jello?" (We made blue jello last week and I let her stir it...)

Oh man, having kids is so worth it. They crack me up.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What a difference a year makes

A few things Libby has said lately

[Lying in her crib at naptime, naming all her toys] "Mommy baby, blue baby, giraffe, Pooh bear, pink bear, white bear!" (I love that she calls her bigger baby "mommy baby.")

[Clapping for me, when I've done something super impressive, like found a matching shape] "Good ba, Mommy!" (good job)

[To Piper, when she's crying] "Be happy!" "You okay, you okay." "Oh Pi, I coming!"

[The most frequently heard phrase at the dinner table] "Oh no, Mommy! I spill some on mine shirt!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Piper - 2 months

Birth: 7 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches long
2 Weeks: 8 lbs 5 oz, 21 inches long
2  Months: 11 pounds 5 oz, 24 inches long

Piper is now smiling, holding up her head when she's on her stomach, sleeping about 4-6 hours straight at night, nursing well, growing too fast, and generally filling our lives with joy.

We love our little Piper Daisy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Meeting Santa

Libby's first time meeting Santa Claus...

...went about as well as I had expected. Which is to say, she was terrified. 

Piper, on the other hand, was unfazed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life Lately

The past couple months have been a whirlwind, but I want to try and catch up on blogging about our life lately. Let's try this bullet style.
  • Jared's parents came to visit for a week. While his mom and I took care of the kids, Jared and his dad did a lot of work around the house, like cutting down a few overgrown trees that were too close to the house. I wish I had gotten a before picture, because our front yard looks so much different already. I so excited to do some landscaping and painting in the spring!
  • We also visited a children's museum while they were here. Libby is...shall we say, resistant?...when it comes to brushing her teeth, but she didn't mind brushing this giant mouth.
  •  Libby has been forming longer and longer sentences. It's so cool to hear what she has to say. Recently, Jared was watching a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen and Libby came into the room where I was and told me "Daddy sit down couch watch TV AIRPLANE!" I think that was her longest sentence to date. The funny thing is, she usually pauses slightly between each word, so it sounds a bit staccato, but it's adorable.
  • Libby told her first fib. I asked Libby is she had a poopy diaper and she said "no" (she always says no, but I don't consider that fibbing; that's more of a refusal to get her diaper changed). Anyway, this time, she followed up by saying "I change." "Oh, you changed your diaper already?" "Daddy change." Actually, no. Daddy did not change it. Caught you!
  • Piper is darling and growing so big so fast. I haven't weighed her since she was 2 weeks old, so I don't know how much she weighs, but she has outgrown her newborn diapers and several of her newborn outfits. She sleeps great at night, as long as she's curled up next to me. She'll often have a long stretch of 4-6 hours, so I'm definitely counting my blessings. (The longest she'll sleep in her crib, however, is exactly 20 minutes. Pretty much on the dot.) Daytime naps take place exclusively on my chest, which is very convenient if we're out and about, but not so much if I want to take a shower. She sure is cute all wrapped up, though! 
  • I know babies don't stay small forever and don't want to cuddle forever, so I'm trying to enjoy every moment. If I ever feel frustrated about not having a few minutes to myself, I recite this poem in my head: 
Cooking and cleaning can wait till tomorrow, 
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow. 
So settle down dust, cob webs go to sleep;
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
And finally, a few more pictures from the past month:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We bought a house

As of October 25, we are homeowners! Just 9 days after Piper was born, Jared drove out to Iowa to close on our house. We waited a couple of weeks to actually move, which was definitely the way to go. I'm not sure which version of me is more useless: 9 months pregnant, or juggling a newborn. But I felt so much better not being pregnant, that if I had to do it over again, I would do it the same way. I cannot take any credit whatsoever for how smoothly it all went. Jared's sister, Rachel, flew out to help us and she is a machine. She and Jared loaded and unloaded the appliances, furniture, beds, everything. We could not have done it without her.

This move to Iowa has been at least 9 months in the making. We have been looking forward to it so much, and once we finally got approval from Jared's job in late August, we jumped on it. We drove out to look at houses in September and made an offer the next week.

Our house needs lots of small finishing touches (new bathroom floor, removing the cow wallpaper, etc) but we feel like we got a great deal and we are so excited to not be renting anymore. Hooray for getting to put holes in the walls and painting whatever color we want!

But most of all, hooray for not living (quite so much) in the middle of nowhere! I'm so excited to have a mall (mostly for the indoor playground), a selection of grocery stores, lots of parks, and an airport nearby.

I'll post pictures at some point. For now, while both babies are sleeping, the bathtub is begging to be cleaned.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

The chickens in the family went trick or treating around the neighborhood and got lots of compliments on their costumes. Jared encouraged Libby to say "trick or treat," "thank you," or "bawk bawk" at each of the houses, but she froze and was too shy. In between houses, she could say "more candy" just fine!

I was a little sad to miss seeing Libby trick or treat, but it was too cold to take the baby out. Piper and I stayed home to hand out candy and do some much needed cleaning and laundry.

We went for a walk this morning and Libby kept trying to walk up to all of the houses. How do you explain to a child that they have to wait and entire year to do it again?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why and How I Chose a Home Birth

I initially looked into home birth because I just plain hated being in the hospital with my first baby. The hospital birth itself was not terrible, but the 2 days of recovery were miserable: constantly being disturbed to have my vitals taken, trying in vain to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, and having all sorts of people walk into my room at any given time [you think it's just going to be doctors and nurses, but there are the people who deliver your food, administrators having you sign forms for the birth certificate, volunteers offering to refill your water (which is nice, but please just let me sleep)]. I was extremely anxious those first couple of days (which I'm sure was partly due to hormones) but being in an uncomfortable environment certainly didn't help. I also knew that having a baby at home would guarantee I'd be successful at having a natural birth! I panicked near the end and got the epidural last time, but later wished I had held out because I ended up with a really painful tear that took 6 months to heal as well as back pain at the injection site for weeks.

Now that I've had a homebirth, there are so many reasons I could add for wanting to do it this way again. 

It was just unbelievably peaceful

I never got that shaky, anxious feeling I had so badly during and after Libby's birth. 

I didn't have to endure a car ride to the hospital (sitting is absolutely the most uncomfortable position for me during contractions).

I felt super comfortable with my midwife.

I loved that the baby was never taken out of my arms. 

I had total control over what procedures were done to the baby (I declined the goopy eye medicine and the Heb B vaccine since both are for STDs and aren't necessary for our situation; I got to nurse the baby while she got her vitamin K shot since nursing dulls pain; she didn't get a bath because that would make her cold and wash away the naturally moisturizing vernix that protects her skin).

I didn't have to worry about Jared leaving me at night to go home to Libby; it was wonderful to all be together as a family.
Choosing to have a baby at home was not an overnight decision. I did a LOT of reading and research about home birth, natural birth, and birth in general. I read the classic "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin, as well as her handbook for midwives, "Spiritual Midwifery" (which is really hippy and didn't offer much more than "Guide to Chidlbirth" did). I also found this website useful, especially the Research page (which has no direct link, just click on the Research tab on the left of the home page) and the What If page.  

Then there was the issue of finding out if it was even possible where I live. Illinois is not friendly to midwives and home births. There was a news story in 2010 about a couple in Illinois who had their baby at home, with a midwife, but later took the baby to the hospital when she was very fussy and found out that she had some temporary nerve damage in her arms from her positioning during the birth. The hospital called CPS, who took the baby out of the home for FIVE MONTHS, accusing the parents of medical neglect for choosing to birth the baby at home. 

Outside of Chicago, there are only a handful of midwives who will attend home births. I couldn't seem to find anyone in my area until I contacted a doula who lives nearby and she gave me the contact info for Bernice. I contacted Bernice and she said she wasn't really accepting more moms because she was already near her max with all the "return business" she gets. But, since I lived so close to her (20 minutes), she was willing to take me on because it was so convenient (she sees women in a 1.5 hour radius from her house). It was amazing how everything fell into place. Once I started seeing Bernice, and especially once I started my Hypnobabies course, home birth began to feel so natural to me, it was hard to imagine doing it any other way.

And can I just share one awesome thing that my midwife did? She gave me a handout she wrote called "Preparing for Labor" with advice about relaxation and Bible verses about strength and trust. Where would you ever find a doctor that would give you that gift? It was awesome and I studied those verses quite a bit the last few weeks. One of my favorite things she said was this:

"Know that the pain [in labor] is for a good purpose, and that you will be given the strength to deal with it and the means to keep it manageable. In the long run, you may look back and discover that pain in labor, like other difficult life experiences, may bring gifts besides the baby; gifts such as greater levels of faith, strength, trust, yielding, compassion, understanding, thankfulness, maturity, humility and self-respect."  

And in case you missed it, here is Piper's birth story

Friday, October 26, 2012

Babymoon memories

I was just reading a crumpled piece of paper I found in my purse that my midwife must have given me at my last appointment regarding postpartum care. She advised thinking of baby's first 2 weeks as a babymoon and really enjoying every moment.

Here's what I'm enjoying right now:

I'm really enjoying having Piper sleep in bed with me. She's actually only slept in her crib a couple of times because she seems to sleep so much longer next to me (like 6 hours straight at night! How did I get so lucky?!) We'll worry about transitioning to the crib later.

Nursing. I can't believe I'm enjoying it already; it took MONTHS before I got to enjoy it with Libby because we had such a rough start. Piper was born with a tongue-tie, just like Libby, but I looked for it right away (it runs in families), so we were able to get it cut at 1 day old. She didn't even cry and I noticed a difference immediately in her ability to latch. As a side note, Libby had a posterior tongue tie, meaning the frenulum was restrictive at the back of her tongue. It was pretty severe, but hard to recognize because it's more rare. Piper's was very obviously an anterior tongue-tie. Her frenulum extended all the way to the tip of her tongue and caused her cute little tongue to fork like a snake's tongue. I wish I had gotten a picture of it before we cut it.

The newborn coos and grunts. Piper spends a lot of time sleeping on my chest in a wrap, so I get to hear her cute sounds all day long. I can't decide if she sounds more like a kitten or a puppy.

Sisters. Libby has been so great and really, really loves to hold Piper. She is constantly grabbing my nursing pillow, climbing onto the couch and saying "hold baby? hold baby?" She does a really great job and is so gentle. She gives Piper hugs and kisses and likes to teach Piper by pointing out the colors on the pillow. She'll say "baby" to get Piper's attention and then name the color she's pointing to: "Baby, blue. Baby, yellow." etc. 

Libby wanted to cuddle on the bed with Piper this afternoon. Because I positively could not decide which picture was the most adorable, I just added them all. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Piper’s Birth Story

I had been carrying the baby very low for a couple of months already, but Monday evening, she seemed to drop even lower. I felt a lot of pressure in my pelvis and my lower back. I did some pelvic rocks and sat on the birth ball and rocked my hips back and forth through an episode of Downton Abbey, but the sensation never let up. It wasn’t painful, but it felt like a point of no return. I knew the baby would come that night.
I went to bed around 10, but was wide awake. I listened to a couple Hypnobabies tracks, but still couldn’t fall asleep. I got up at midnight to get something to eat and check the phones.

[The day before there was some yet-to-be-explained outage and all the landlines and cell phones and cable internet services stopped working. Our internet still worked since we have broadband over our power line, but we had no idea if my midwife had phone service. If needed, our plan was to send her a text via internet and hope she had cell service in her area (she lives about 25 minutes away) so she could receive it. If she didn’t respond, my mom would drive to her house to let her know I was in labor.]

At midnight, the phones still weren’t working, but I wasn’t in labor yet, so I wasn’t worried. I might have slept a few minutes here and there between 12 and 2. By 2, I was having an argument with myself. Part of me was so excited that tonight was the night, but the other part of me was still not convinced and was just annoyed that I wouldn’t go to sleep.

By 2:45, I was definitely feeling crampy in my lower abdomen in addition to the pressure in my pelvis. I started watching the clock and noticed the cramps seemed to spike every 11 minutes, although they never fully went away in between. At 3:15, the phones started working again. Sometime during the next hour, I told Jared to send Bernice (the midwife) a text to give her a heads up, although I figured I still had a long way to go. Close to 5:00 AM, I asked Jared if Bernice responded and he said he never texted her. I told him contractions were now 6 minutes apart, so he should skip the text and go ahead and call. Right about the time he called her, contractions sped up to 3 minutes apart, then 2 minutes. They were only about 30 seconds long and were still quite manageable, but I was surprised at how close together they were. I had been lying down in bed with a hot rice pack on my stomach most of this time, but now I had to get up. I went to the living room and leaned over on the birth ball for the next hour. I listened to Hypnobabies on my ipod and zoned everything else out. I focused on counting up to 4 with every inhale and backwards from 8 with every exhale.

Bernice arrived sometime after 5:30 and her assistant, Boo, arrived just after 6:00. Around 6:10 or so, I got into the deep kiddie pool we had bought for the birth and set up in our living room. The water wasn’t quite deep enough (word to the wise: those pools take forever to fill up), but it was enough to cover my stomach while I leaned over the edge onto an ottoman. Jared poured warm water over my back, which really helped, too. Immediately after getting in the pool, I noticed the contractions change to pushing contractions. I couldn’t believe I was really that close to pushing, but there was no denying that my body was starting to push involuntarily. Then I heard Bernice say that I’d need to take off my “undies” because I’d start pushing soon. I hadn’t told anyone that my contractions were changing, but she obviously noticed and it felt so good to have confirmation from her that it was nearly go-time.

My contractions still weren’t much longer than 30 seconds (I never actually timed them, but that’s my estimate) so I really only had time to get in one long push with each contraction. I was listening to the Hypnobabies track called “Pushing Baby Out” and I tried to just do what my body told me to do. I took a deep breath at the beginning of each contraction and said “Ohhhhh” as I breathed out. A couple of times I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and had to gasp for the next inhale, but most of the time, I felt in control. Once, I almost yelled out “I don’t want to do this anymore” but I told myself to stay in control and instead I asked “how close am I?” Bernice said she couldn’t tell from her angle and told me to reach down during the next contraction and see if I could feel the baby’s head. I did and I felt a huge bulge.

During one of the next contractions, I remember saying “it really stings” and feeling like I was going to rip all the way up my belly button. But soon enough, her head was out. The baby’s hand had been up by her face (just like Libby’s had been when she was born), so Bernice worked to get her hand out of the way while I waited for the next contraction. Two minutes later, at 6:51 AM, the rest of her body was out and Bernice swam the baby under my body towards my stomach and I picked her up out of the water. I turned over and sat down and immediately thought “I am so glad that’s over.”  I stayed in the pool until the placenta was out and we cut the cord. I had planned on cutting the cord myself, but I was so tired that holding a pair of scissors just seemed like too big an effort at that point. I did feel the cord while it was still pulsing, and that was cool, but I asked Jared to cut the cord.

I moved to the couch and held the baby skin to skin. She nursed for a while and then Bernice checked the baby out while I was still holding her. We put the baby in a sling and attached a hanging scale. Jared had the honors of picking up the scale and calling out the weight: 7 lbs 12 oz. She was 20 inches long. Her Apgar scores were 9 and 10 – super healthy!

The midwife and her assistant stayed at my house until about 9:45. They cleaned up, put the dirty laundry in the washer, and helped Jared empty the pool. He and I were both surprised and pleased with how easy the cleanup was. Having a baby at home is really not as messy as you might think. It all went so smoothly and we have no regrets.

For those that are curious what happened to the placenta (I know I was beforehand), Bernice took the placenta to donate to some people she knows who use them to train search and rescue dogs. I find this insanely cool.

I'd love to answer any questions people have about homebirth! It was awesome and while it may not be for everyone, I want people to know it's not as scary as you might think. I LOVED being at home for the birth and especially these few days afterwards. I have been recovering so much faster than I did with Libby. And there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed and having access to your own fridge. Anyway, ask away if you have any random questions!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Libby's favorite things

It's fun to see Libby go through different phases and see her interests change. Right now, some of her favorite things are:

  • "Where's Waldo" and "Look and Find" books. I checked some out from the library on a whim, unsure if they were too advanced or not. Turns out, Libby loves them and I am so impressed with her patience and attention to detail. She can easily spend 5 minutes on one page, looking for all the characters. We've spent a lot of good family time playing with these books lately.
  • Playing in the cardboard tunnel Jared made for her out of a couple of large boxes. It isn't the prettiest structure in our living room, but it gets the most use. 
  • Going for walks. Libby likes to say "ready, set, go!" and race against us. One day, Jared was teasing her, saying "I'm winning!" and that phrase really stuck. Libby loves to run and say "I'm winning!" Jared also taught her to say "Mommy's losing!" but luckily, she doesn't repeat that one as often.
  • Getting "snacks" from the bakery. We usually go to the grocery store twice a week, and Libby loves to check for free samples in the bakery. They're usually pure sugar, but if they keep her from taking bites out of broccoli and plums when I'm not looking, I guess it's worth it. There's no telling how much unwashed produce that girl has tasted. (Don't worry, I usually buy the things she puts in her mouth, so no one else has to.)

Monday, September 17, 2012


We had beautiful weather here on Saturday and I wanted to get out of the house, so we took a drive to Boggio's Orchard, which if you're wondering, is pronounced "Bojo's." Who knew?
We didn't actually do any apple picking, but they had a petting zoo, a playground, and a silo full of corn to play in. Who needs a sandbox or a ball pit, when you can play in thousands of pounds of corn kernels?

Libby loved the animals, of course. I knew she loved goats, but I was surprised how fearless she was around the huge camel. It licked her hand several times and she kept going back for more. I'm sure it helped that she was safe in Daddy's arms.

I finally remembered to take a picture of me and Jared together. Libby usually gets all the camera action.

And, here is a belly shot at 35 weeks. When we were leaving the house, Jared asked "are you sure you don't want to wear a different shirt?" I thought he was implying I was going to be hot in long-sleeves, but apparently, the issue was that my belly was hanging out (unbeknownst to me). Even most of my maternity shirts aren't long enough to cover my belly. Maybe it's because the baby is riding so low? I just can't seem to keep my skin covered. Oh well, I'm not ashamed. But we'd both look a lot cuter if you would just COME OUT, baby!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


To Libby, on your second birthday,

I'm writing to you today in hopes that both you and I will remember what a sweet and joyful second year we've had together. Growing from 1 to 2 can be tough; there are skinned knees, bonked heads, and fierce desires to be independent. But even on the rough days, I love you and you love me and I'm eternally grateful that you are part of our family.

You are quick, clever, imaginative, and funny. You make silly jokes (like insisting that Mommy is a boy) and play silly games (swinging under your high chair, hiding behind Daddy's nightstand) and dance your heart out (especially to the "boy-girl" song from Signing Time). Every day, I have at least one story to share with Daddy about some humorous or brilliant thing you did.

You have a great English vocabulary and a truly remarkable ASL vocabulary. You recognize and can name all the colors of the rainbow and can sign most of them, too. You know lots of animal names, sounds, and signs. You are well on your way to counting to 10 (so far we've gotten to 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 10) and can recognize several letters (last week you figured out B Y and U, just in time for football season).

You love going for walks in the stroller, looking for bugs in the grass, picking tomatoes/berries/flowers/etc, swinging, and being outside in general. You also love to read and especially enjoy books with animals, babies, and trains.

 While you are cautious around new people, you love babies and kids and often impress me with your generosity and willingness to share.

I'm so glad you're here.

Happy birthday.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

32 weeks

Thought I'd do a quick update on baby #2. I've reached the point where I now understand the intense desire many women have to GET BABY OUT. I never felt that way with Libby - I LOVED being pregnant the first time around and was in no rush for it to be over. I am still in awe of the miracle of pregnancy and so grateful that I get to experience it, but I'm kinda done with this one. 4.5 more weeks till I'm full term and then it is go time. I am going to walk that baby right out.

Last week I was having some really obnoxious and worrisome back pain and upper abdominal pain. I called my midwife and she recommended I go see my family doc. He recommended I go see an obstetrician. She wasn't available for an appointment, but recommended I go get an ultrasound. Good news? It was not pre-term labor. Bad news? Baby was pushing on my ureter and my right kidney was backed up. After spending a few hours on my knees and elbows and sleeping on my left side with my hips elevated, baby must have shifted and the pain went away. I did take the opportunity to confirm with the ultrasound tech that baby is indeed still a girl.

I've been trying to talk to Libby about the baby a lot lately. I don't think it makes much sense to her that there is an actual baby in my belly. But, I did ask her if she wanted a baby to come live with us and she grunted her approval (we're still working on the word "yes").

Monday, August 20, 2012


One of Libby's favorite things to do lately is look for bugs. We have had great success finding grasshoppers in our front yard this past week. Libby spent a good 20 minutes admiring this little guy and letting him crawl up and down her arms.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I love when I walk into a room and discover Libby doing something adorable and surprising, like yesterday, when she was just hanging out in a chair wearing my glasses.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Since I can't get the song "Oh, what do you do in the summertime?" out of my head, I thought I'd share a few things we've been doing lately. 

 Clockwise from top left:
1 - Watching the Olympics. This photo was actually taken at the beginning of July, so we were probably watching the Olympic trials. Or Wheel of Fortune. We only get 2 channels, even with the fanciest antenna money can buy (the fanciest available at Walmart, anyway). Thank goodness NBC is one of those because I LOVE the Olympics!
2 - Trying to convince Libby to go to bed. She's a master procrastinator.
3 - Eating watermelon, the favorite summer fruit in our house.
4 - Dressing up in winter gear even though it's in the 90s. Hats and gloves are just too fun, apparently.

Top left: Seeing the animals at the 4H fair and contemplating how soon we can get Libby into 4H.  Also trying to convince Jared we should get a goat.

All other pictures: Playing outside with the boys. There are 3 other moms that I meet for park play dates, who happen to all have boys. They love playing cars and Libby fits right in.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

26 weeks

This picture was taken at 25 weeks
I keep forgetting how far long I am, and when I consulted the calendar this morning and discovered I was 26 weeks, I thought "wow, that is really close to 30. And 30 is really close to 40. And holy cow, I'm having a baby!"

Baby girl is moving all the time lately. I found out at my ultrasound (back at 22 weeks) that I have an anterior placenta, meaning the placenta is attached to the front part of my uterus (closest to my belly button). This is a normal variation and there's nothing wrong with it, but it means that I don't feel this baby's "forward kicks" as strongly as I felt them with Libby. I do feel her kick and stretch out to the side and jump on my bladder, so I know she's in there!

I took the plunge and purchased the Hypnobabies home study course to prepare for the birth and I am so glad I did. I love it already. Most of the written information is old news to me, having had a baby already and especially after having taken a Bradley course. But the hypnosis tracks are WONDERFUL and I can already notice a difference in how I feel about this pregnancy and birth (more optimistic!).

And the deal clencher? It's helping me sleep. I have serious problems when it comes to sleep. As in, I literally did not sleep a wink for a full 48 hours after Libby was born and ever since then, have had awful bouts of insomnia where I sleep only a couple of hours a night. Oh, and that advice to sleep when the baby sleeps? Does not work when you absolutely positively cannot nap during the day. But since beginning this course a couple weeks ago, I have been falling asleep faster than ever at night and even power napping during the day. It's the best thing ever.

These are my own opinions and experiences; no one has asked me to write this.

22 months

At 22 months, Libby weighs 23.5 pounds. I don't know how tall she is, but she did finally grow out of her infant car seat. I'll have to start measuring her against a wall to keep track of her height.

Other physical characteristics: She has impressive fine motor skills. For as long as she's been coloring, she's always held pencils and crayons correctly and can draw very small circles. She runs and bounces everywhere and likes to dance in circles. She is great at taking her shoes and socks off and can sometimes get her shoes on without help, depending on the shoe. She hasn't figured out how to undress yet, which is probably a good thing, but also means I think we're a ways away from potty training. No rush on my part, though...I'd rather not deal with potty training while taking care of a newborn.

She has a great vocabulary and is starting to form simple sentences. She likes to identify everything, so she's constantly pointing and naming things and describing what's going on around her. Recently at breakfast, she said "Mommy egg all done" as I took the last bite of my egg.

She's using her hands more as she "talks" which is downright adorable. She does know some sign language, but most of her gestures are made up and have no meaning that I'm aware of. Today, she happened to be signing rain and thunder (unbeknownst to her, of course), so I pretended that's what we were talking about:

[I've been trying FOREVER to upload the video, but my internet might possibly be slower than dial-up and tells me there are 374 minutes remaining. Come back in about a year and there might be a super cute video here.]

[Update: It only took about 8 hours, but the video is finally up!]

Things she likes: pom poms (the fuzzy balls used for crafts), hair elastics (she calls them headbands), pebbles, or anything else small and round that she can roll between her fingers. She also likes to carry marbles in her toes, like a monkey. When I got Libby out of bed this morning and she started walking around, she kept saying "ow." Upon examination, I found marbles in the bottom of her footie pajamas. She likes to go for walks in the stroller, play at the playground, and look for bugs.

She has been going to a swim class for toddlers for about 6 months now (it's more of a "play in the water" class than a "learn to swim" class) and LOVES to jump in the pool. She can kick her legs and stroke with her arms, and can float on a noodle unassisted for short periods. And just a couple of weeks ago, we had a big breakthrough in which she finally let me hold her in a backfloat position. I've dunked her a couple of times, which she has hated, but she doesn't mind getting water in her mouth anymore and is so much more confident in the water.

Current favorite foods: greek yogurt with jam, oranges, bananas, fruit leather, cereal, berries of any kind, tomatoes, pickles, olives, and cheese.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Counting Games

Libby and I have started playing a game after her naps where she throws all of her stuffed animals and babies out of her crib and then I throw them back. She especially loves when I hit her on the head with the soft ones. (I haven't ever hit her with a hard one, but something tells me she wouldn't like that as much.)

The first time I did it, I counted the animals as I threw them back in, and Libby has picked this right up.

Anytime she counts, she starts at eight and goes to nine. Then repeats. Also, sometimes "eight" sounds like "ice."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

St. Louis

Jared had a work meeting in St. Louis last week, so Libby and I tagged along to take advantage of the free hotel (and because I hate being left out) (and because there are actually things to do in St. Louis) (and because we wanted a vacation, despite having been home for only 5 days since our previous vacation).

We were able to visit the zoo twice, the science center, the art museum, the botanical garden, the Arch, and the children's museum. And when I say "we" I'm mostly referring to me and Libby. Jared had to do this lame thing called "work," but he was still able to go with us to a few places.

St. Louis was a great city. It's big enough to have tons of things to do, but not so large as to be overwhelming. I was able to get around downtown and the surrounding suburbs, by myself, in the rain, even when the GPS malfunctioned. Booyah! We'll definitely be going back.

Trip West + Painting a couch?

A few weeks ago, we made an impromptu trip to Utah/Idaho. Jared's parents had some furniture they were willing to give us and there were also a few things of his grandma's that were being handed down to us after her passing in September. We decided to make a vacation out of the trip, because there are always people to see and things to do when we go out west.

We were able to catch up with a few friends over the weekend we were in Utah (so sorry we couldn't see everyone we know and love in Utah!) and it was fabulous to have real, live friends to talk to. We are such loners these days! We also went on a beautiful hike with Jared's sister, Rachel, up to Elephant Rock in Bountiful. I was surprised I was able to do the 6 miles pretty easily, being pregnant and unused to the elevation! I was so glad we got to do this hike, because hiking in the mountains is probably the #1 thing I miss about Utah.

We got a couple nice pictures from the top of the climb, but tragically, my memory card got corrupted and I lost all my pictures from our vacation. Boo! Just imagine a picture of me with a pregnant belly, Jared carrying Libby in a backpack carrier, and Rachel, who is incredibly athletic and amazing and did this hike 2 days after running a marathon.

We also went boating with Rachel's family and Libby got to go tubing (in dad's lap). She was so adorable in her life jacket and had a good time sharing chips and cookies with her cousins on the boat.

We spent about a week in Idaho and hoped to be able to do some fun things like take Libby to the zoo and the lake and send Jared golfing with his dad, but it was chilly and windy and drizzly most of the time we were there. We did all go out for snow cones and Jared and I got to go out twice without Libby (the last time that happened was Thanksgiving!) so it was still a nice vacation.

We also spent quite a bit of time packing...dishes, furniture, all sorts of stuff that we were taking home with us. One of the big items we brought back was this couch:

It's long and comfortable and in remarkably good shape for being...50, 60? years old. The upholstery, however, is a bit, ahem, dated. I discovered upholstery spray paint and decided to give it a shot on 1 on the 2 coordinating chairs that go with this couch. Sigh. The results are disheartening. Jared says it looks even older than before. I can't post pictures yet, because I keep hoping it will get better with one more coat of paint. BUT, before I admit defeat, I discovered another method for painting upholstery that seems to have better results. I'm going to try it out on the other chair before tackling the mammoth couch. Unless anyone has a better idea for me, that is... Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Libby learned the word "no" about a month ago. Surprisingly, it has not been the terrible, terrible thing parents have told me it would be. (So far!) It's actually just really cute. Probably because she always says it in a sing-song voice.

Just now, Libby was sitting in her backpack carrier in the living room. (Yep, just sitting in it. She loves this thing.) She started fussing and I thought she wanted to get out. I asked her "do you want down?" Her response: "Down? Noooo (sing-song)." It might not quite be a sentence, but she's combining words and it's adorable.

Going for a walk in the backpack carrier
She does say no sometimes when we try to put her pajamas on at night, but it's really no worse than the flailing of arms and legs we usually get as a response. Instead, I feel almost proud that she is grown up enough to express herself. It's almost like she's a real person now. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012



 My daughter is really funny sometimes, like when she closes her eyes and bats her arms around to feel for things as if she's blind. (I promise we haven't been teaching her to make fun of blindness - don't know where she got this from!) It thrills me that she has a sense of humor, and I can't wait to see the things she comes up with when she can string together more than 2 words.

Partly, she's funny because she likes to imitate us. We read lots of books that have pictures of food in them. Awhile back, I started pretending to pick up the food and feed it to the characters on the page. Libby picked this up right away and does it every time now. She will also feed it to me, to herself, and to her baby dolls. This little habit turned out to be key in avoiding a meltdown last week.

We went to Ikea to buy a TV stand and while we were outside waiting for Jared to pull the car around, Libby saw 2 ladies with ice cream cones. At first, Libby lunged toward them and started grunting to make her desire known. But a light bulb seemed to come on in her head and she switched gears. She reached out her hand and pretended to grab the ice cream between her 2 fingers and feed herself. Not only was it hilarious to see, but I was also incredibly impressed with her ability to soothe herself. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Zoo Trip

Libby's playgroup took a field trip to the Peoria Zoo. (Have I mentioned Libby's playgroup? It's for babies 0-3 years and it's part of the public school system. We meet at the preschool once or twice a week and Libby gets to play with all the sweet toys I won't buy her because they take up too much room at home.)

Anyway, this was by far the smallest zoo I've ever been to, but it still had plenty to entertain Libby for a couple of hours. As a bonus, there was a park nearby with one of those huge wooden playgrounds, complete with a sandpit.  Libby was giddy with excitement. One of my many beefs with our small town (and our rural area in general) is that there aren't any cool parks or playgrounds around. We had to drive an hour and twenty minutes to get to this zoo and playground. Sigh.....

But back to the zoo. The weather was gorgeous that day. Serious blessing because it was raining and in the 40s the rest of the week and then, bam - 80 degrees and sunny on the day of our field trip. Beautiful!

Libby had a special moment with the meerkats...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Come Right Out and Say It

I never know how to phrase things when I have something important to say, so I'll just get it out. I'm pregnant. 14.5 weeks to be exact. Due October 18.

I kept telling myself I was going to wait to announce my pregnancy until I could express an appropriate level of enthusiasm. If I had mentioned anything about being pregnant in those first 3 months, it would have been "this sucks, I'm sick, it's never going to get better, blah, blah, blah." Now that the nausea is (mostly) over and I've regained some energy, I am feeling a bit more excited about being pregnant. I cannot wait until I get to feel the baby move...that's the most wonderful thing about being pregnant (well, that and getting a child out of it, I guess). But, I'm also feeling a bit unnerved about starting over. And this time, handling the sleepless days and nights with a toddler. So I'm pretty much in denial that it's going to happen.

What I can't deny anymore, however, is my belly. Barely even poking out, but for some reason, I'm wearing maternity pants already. Also just ordered 3 pairs of stretchy pants online. Apparently I want to be comfortable this time around.

I had the timer set on the camera to take this picture and Libby kept running into my shot. I went to crop her out and then suddenly felt so guilty for even thinking of cropping my precious child out of the picture! So here you, go. Me at 14 weeks, and Libby at 19 months old. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe: Ocean Water

Unfortunately, this post has nothing to do with Sonic's Ocean Water Slush, though now I'm kind of craving one. If only we had Sonic out here in the boonies. Moving on...

Libby loves to help me cook. Today, she came up with her very own recipe. I was busy washing dishes and had no idea she was "cooking" until she got my attention to inform me that the salt in the salt shaker was "all gone." The water bottle on the table was also a little less full. Looks like a fun experiment...

 But then she tasted it and realized that salt + water tastes like the ocean.

And P.S. - she just dumped out an entire box of macaroni while I was writing this. Guess we'll have to do some mystical magical macaroni art now (I watch too much Sesame Street).