Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ellie is 5 months old!!

My baby girl is 5 months old today! Time is going by so fast, I can't believe it.

Ellie has great neck strength now and rolls over both ways all the time. She reaches for what she wants... and instantly puts it in her mouth. Sometimes she will sleep 11hr stretches, sometimes she's up every couple hours. Her schedule is pretty unpredictable, which makes life tough at times, but we know it's just a phase and soon she'll settle into a routine.

The time is coming soon when Miss Eleanore will be starting solid food... which just seems crazy to me. I feel like she is still a newborn, not this roly-poly smiley little girl who can put things in her mouth on her own! I had to make her 9 month well baby appointment the other day and was just dumbfounded that it is all going so fast. It's unbelievable how time flies with little babies around.

As for James, he's been all but obsessed with letters the past month or so. He likes to point them out wherever we go, and read anything with a letter on it. For example, last night he looked into the oven and said, "Dubba-you!" I couldn't figure out what he meant until I looked inside at the hot oven and saw the red hot coil looking like a W! He also read ABC on one of Ellie's toys, and BPA off his cup that says BPA free. I think the only letters I haven't heard him pronounce (or if not the letter name than the sound the letter makes) is Q, J, and L. R is a little sketchy too... he has a hard time with his Rs and Ls. When he says Ellie's name, it often sounds like "Owie." :-)

James also surprises me by how fast he picks up language and ideas. He said out of the blue the other day, "Mommy... Kate!" We have been trying to teach him mommy and daddy's name for awhile but hadn't done it in a week or more. He must have heard someone call me that and imitated it. He also says a couple three syllable words (Coconut being his favorite). New words this week are shake, Ellie, potty, plate, and I'm sure a million others I can't remember off the top of my head.

What I love most, though, is how sweet James is towards Ellie. He will bring her toys when she's sad, shares his own toys with her (which we have to watch closely for since she puts everything in her mouth) and today he was watching Neverland Pirates on my iPhone and he turned it to Ellie and said, "Baby see ho ho too!" He's a caring, mellow little guy who is happy doing just about anything (unless he's hungry or tired). He also loves to have picnic tea parties with all his stuffed animals, just about every day!

In other news, there's not much going on. Eliot and I will be celebrating 7 years of married life together on the 25th... and we are going to splurge and buy our first bed and mattress set since we got our current one when we lived in that tiny one-room apartment in Pioneer Square in Seattle. Our backs will thank us I'm sure. We also are swapping our couch for a sleeper sofa, so we'll have somewhere for guests to sleep while we are stuck in our small home. We found one on Craigslist for $100 and we are posting our current one for about that price, so it should be an even exchange for something we really need. Gotta love craigslist.

Anyway, I have a ton of cute pictures and videos but this is all I have time to post at the moment since I still need to eat, fold two loads of laundry, wash the diapers, clean the couch and post it on CL, finish some sewing projects, and write the budget. And 50 million other things. For now this cuteness will have to do. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ellie's first Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I've been home all day with the kiddos while Eliot is at work, so nothing too exciting is happening. I was going to try to get out of the house and go to Costco to get my ink refilled, but then Ellie decided to nap all morning (YAY!) and woke up in time for James to go down for his nap. Maybe we will take a walk this afternoon... it is warm and sunny and feels like SPRING!

I made the kids some valentines using my new Sihouette Cameo that Eliot got me for Christmas. I also got them some small treats and a book each... nothing big, but something to mark the day. I also made the kids matching clothes... a tie for James and a circle skirt for Ellie. They will only be small and let me do this for so long, so I have to take advantage of this time while I can!

Other than that... James and I danced around to some "love" music today, and watched A Charlie Brown Valentine. We also played with his library... he's starting to get into pretend play more and we play-acted checking out books and putting them on the "shelves."

I also have a gift for my sweetheart... but I haven't given it to him yet so I can't post about it here! :-)

Here are the Valentine pics from my amazing Canon EOS T3 camera in an album... they turned out well!
Valentine's Day 2013

And here are a few from my phone:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just another day in the neighborhood...

I apologize for not writing more frequently, but these days I barely have time to breathe let alone blog. I have a gazillion pictures and videos of cute things the kids are saying and doing.... and absolutely zero time to post them (it takes time to sort through them all and upload them). So I'll try to post a few things here but I make no promises.

The latest: Ellie had her 4 month well baby appointment on the 4th of February. She is growing so fast, already 14lbs 10oz and 24" long! The pediatrician said we could start her on solid food whenever we think she is ready, because she is so large (75% for weight) and having some purees will be less caloric intake and fine for her development. We are waiting a bit, she's not ready... and neither are we! My baby girl can't possibly be that old yet. :-(

Eleanore is still super smiley and giggly. We've been working on her sleep schedule... some nights she does 4hr stretches, some nights she's up every hour. It's been tough, not gonna lie... I am exhausted. I looked in the mirror and tried to remove some mascara smudges under my eye today... until I realized I haven't worn makeup in a week and they are just BAGS from being so tired. Ugh. Ellie also is in the "I don't want to be left alone" stage, so she cries when I walk out of the room for even a minute. I've been wearing her more to try to get stuff done while she wants to be held.

My dad came to visit this weekend while Eliot was away at a conference. It was wonderful having him around, he is great with the kids and helped do a ton of things around the house, including helping me finish the bathroom I redecorated (pics to come of that). Ellie was a little wary of him... she doesn't really like anyone but Eliot, James, or me holding her right now.

James helped his "Papa" (what James calls him now... it is what the twins use and it was easier for James to say that than Grandpa anyway) by chasing him with a play screwdriver and tightening up any screws he could find in the house. It was pretty darn cute. James also said a ton of new words this weekend... Papa, House, Doll, Paint, Mickey (he says this more clearly than he used to), High, Cow, Sheet, and a few others I'm sure I'm missing. I'm so very happy he's talking... every word is a blessing after worrying about it for so long.

Other than that, we are just trying to stay afloat here. James only naps like 25% of the time right now, which is hard. I think it's because we weaned him off the binky (FINALLY!) by going to build a bear and having him put them in the bear. Now he has a harder time falling asleep, which means we all sleep a little less.

I've decided, while writing this post, to just throw all the pics into an album and share them that way because it's the fastest. So here you go!

Spring 2013

And one video... there will be more, but right now Ellie needs to eat and I need to get to bed.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm worn...

Most of the time I try to stay positive here on the blog, telling about the positive things the kids are doing and how much I love being with them everyday (which is the absolute truth). But taking care of two little kids is by far the most demanding, exhausting, thankless job I've ever had and I am feeling a bit run down because of it, both emotionally and physically. I heard this song by Tenth Avenue North on the radio this evening and it pretty much sums up how I'm feeling...

"I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won't let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
[ Lyrics from: ]
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn

And my prayers are wearing thin
I'm worn even before the day begins
I'm worn I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn so heaven so come and flood my eyes."

I've had some pretty difficult days in the past few months, and with Ellie up every 2-3 hours at night (well, she has one good stretch from 6-10:30pm) and with me being the only one feeding her most of the time since I am breastfeeding, I reach a breaking point every two weeks or so when I completely melt down, sobbing hysterically. I think it comes from severe sleep deprivation... I rarely complete a sleep cycle, and am almost always woken up from a deep sleep with Ellie's shrill cry. And so this sleep deprivation has been like a fog settling in my mind... I have a harder time seeing the joys and instead am irritable and act like a zombie trying to just "get through the day."

 But then James says something super cute, or Ellie laughs or gives me a huge grin and all that fades away and my heart swells with happiness that I get to be the one here for all these moments, to watch them hit all their milestones, to share their discoveries of the world and teach them all about it. I dance with James around the living room, holding his hands and swirling him around while he laughs and laughs... I watch Ellie giggle and smile as I sing to her in the bath... I watch James, all on his own, decide to hold his sister's hand, give her a kiss, or bring her a toy he thinks she'll love. THESE things keep me going. THIS is my paycheck, my reward, my gift from my Creator.

And so I will continue to slog through this time, looking for blessings wherever I can find them because I am incredibly, immeasurably loved by the One who made me... that is the only explanation I have for why I have the strength to go on each day and for why I was given the opportunity to see these two little people grow up before my eyes.

So every day the fog lifts, and suddenly there is sun streaming down again, reminding me that it was there all the time even when I couldn't see it. I know this period of time will end, and eventually I will even miss it... because my babies are not going to be babies for long, and they won't always need me like they do now. Never in my life has something been so reassuring and so heartbreaking at the same time.