Thursday, July 30, 2009

You missed us, didn't you!? ;)

Hello all...

We are keeping busy over here, and many days have gone by that I've wanted to update our blog with some sweet pictures and funny stories, but frankly?  I'm just working on getting enough sleep at night, and a shower if I'm lucky during the day!

I'll work on the picture side of things, but for now here is what we've been up to:

- Grandma spent an afternoon with Robbie in his baby pool in our backyard recently.  It was less 'swimming' and more in-and-out of the pool, tromping around the yard and flowers.

- Ellie continued to be very gassy and bloated, and after a particularly short night on Sunday which found me driving through Wheaton at 1am trying to soothe her, we headed back to the Dr on Tuesday.  We're giving Ellie soy formula for a week exclusively, and so far it seems to be working really well for her.  Seems like she has a milk intolerance.

- A few of our sweet friends and their children came to meet Ellie and visit on Saturday.  Our house was buzzing with toddlers and babies and all of the laughter, crying, and spilled juice that comes with them.

Aside from these moments, it's pretty uneventful here.  We are trying to find our new routine, and blogging about missed naps, trips to the park, new rejections of milk by both kids in different ways, being thrilled with the creative and surprising ways I manage to get a shower each day, and how much I love my babies just seems redundant.  I will say that Robbie's newfound enjoyment of watching the garbage trucks on trash morning (today!) is especially fun and sweet.  Also entertaining for me is the fact that Ellie now weighs close to 9 lbs and is beginning to fill out not only her newborn size clothes but her 0-3 month clothes don't look ridiculous on her anymore!  Finally... from now until the end of the summer I will have to put her in a different outfit every day to work through her closet.  That low birthweight really threw things off in the fashion department!  (ha)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm sending you off again...

If you're looking for spiritual encouragement right now... visit Katherine's Mom's Blog and read about Guilt, specifically mother's guilt.  So powerfully written.  Better than anything I was going to post tonight.  

See you tomorrow...

Happy 4 Week Birthday, Ellie!

(written on Tuesday, July 21st)

We can't believe Ellie is 4 weeks old - mainly because she is still so tiny!  We think she is already starting to look older.  She has had 2 successful sink-baths in her short little life, and has proven to be an excellent sleeper and nurser - like clockwork, she eats every 4 hours and sleeps most of the time in between.  (Love this girl.)  

We've kept sweet Ellie very busy since she entered into our world - she has visited the Lisle hot air balloon festival, the Morton Arboretum, Wheaton Bible Church, Target, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Kelley Park, Chili's, and most importantly - the Lake House in Indiana!  :)  She is a girl on the move.

Ellie enjoys a moment on the glider with her new friend, Hoppy.
"My, you're big!"

"I'm really enjoying all of this attention - you can bathe me and take my picture any day if it means you'll fuss over me for one whole hour!"

We are so thankful that God chose us to be Ellie's parents.  The grace he has poured out on us in the gift of Ellie's health is overwhelming to us - it was not promised or expected.  We feel so blessed by this little girl and can't wait to watch her grow!  Thanks for praying for her and for us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peaks and valleys

I was all set to post last night... and decided to save the post instead of publish it.  I'm glad I did.  Monday was an especially hard morning.  Clearly my postpartum hormones are evening out because I don't think I even cried once that day, and I had many reasons to!

My mommy-future has many more difficult days ahead.  This isn't a surprise to me, but the reality of walking through it is something you just can't prepare yourself for.  Believe me, I tried.  I love being a mother, especially one that is blessed to be able to stay home with my babies.  I don't take it for granted, and never want to come across as complaining.  But learning to juggle 2 babies at once is challenging.  

I will try to spare you the play-by-plays of these days, unless they are especially comical, at which point I will probably indulge myself.  Yesterday was devoid of comedy, thus the absence of a post.  You're welcome.

And now, can I just say that right now there is nothing more wonderful than waking up to find your mom creeping into your room to take your baby monitor and get your firstborn out of his crib, change his amazingly-blown-out-diaper, and play with him so that you can nurse / shower / have a moment to yourself just to think straight?!  No, my mom doesn't live with us - but she might as well, with how early and often she has come over to help us since Ellie's birth.  Not only was I pleasantly surprised (understatement) by her presence this morning, but she also announced that she had brought dinner ingredients, and loaded up our crock pot before leaving at lunch time.  There are special crowns or jewels or something in heaven for people like my mom.  I'm not kidding.  The amount of relief I felt to have the pressure of the day lifted from me, after having an especially hard day, was such a blessing.

I will post pictures from our morning together later on... but Robbie was a different child today after catching up on rest and finding that there was more than enough attention to go around between me and grandma.  This afternoon, my sister came over and offered her helping hands as well.  And the great thing was that while she soaked up some Ellie-time, I wrestled Robbie in his ball pit until he was exhausted and satisfied with the amount of hands-on time he got from his momma.  

My little guy's world has just been turned upside-down, and although I know kids are resilient and that he won't remember any of this later on in life, he IS trying to sort it out for now.  He still cries when Grandma leaves the room or house.  He is not sure why this baby girl continues to hang around.  He wants to tell me things but doesn't have any words to use.  He must have wondered why I didn't pick him up or snuggle him for the last 3 weeks.  Today he randomly crawled into my lap or would snuggle me while walking past me.  I taught him how to give hugs today.  I'm so thankful for those moments because I was starting to wonder if he was holding a grudge towards me for the way my physical interactions have needed to be limited until now.  Crazy, I know.  Unless you are a mom who has brought home a new baby to a 15 1/2 month old after a C-section.  Then you can identify with what I'm saying!!

Also -Ellie turned 4 weeks old today!  I snapped a few pictures to document her growth and will post those later as well.  Sleep is trumping everything else tonight!  Goodnight...

Monday, July 13, 2009

If you don't laugh... you'll cry

Today (Sunday) was a comedy of errors at our house.  More for my sake than yours, I just have to record the series of unfortunate events that unfolded.

  • Robbie wakes up at 5:30am (his new habit - aargh!); Rob gets up with him so I can sleep while Ellie's sleeping.
  • Robbie attempts to thwart our best laid plans to go to church for the first time in about a month by fighting his morning nap; finally get him down a little after 9am (there goes our chance to go to the 9:45am service).
  • I have to wake Robbie from his nap (MISTAKE #1) at 10:40am in order to get us out the door in time for the 11:15am service. He is still tired and a little weepy... uh-oh. 
  • Rob drops me off at the front door of our church building; I haul Ellie into the sanctuary while Robbie cries at my leaving the van without him.  Rob parks, brings Robbie into church, and we swap babies. I take Robbie to the nursery while Rob holds our seats in the sanctuary.  Robbie bursts into real-deal crying when I drop him off (MISTAKE #2 - leaving him there!).
  • Rob and I get through about 1/2 of the service when Ellie starts squirming... meaning only one thing: blowout on the way. She's very gassy these days and it bothers her. I exit to change her before she makes a scene or fusses. After changing her diaper I decide that while I'm in the hall, I'll check on Robbie down in his room.
  • Robbie is bawling. They were about to page us to come get him. He catches sight of me and completely melts down. (MISTAKE #3 - putting myself in a situation where both babies need me to hold them or transport them without a stroller!) They hand over my son to me, and I ask a nursery volunteer to hold Ellie (she gladly obliges - perk of having a brand new baby!) so that I can go get Rob to help me.
  • I attempt to soothe Robbie enough to walk into the sanctuary to grab Rob; we walk down the aisle and I grab the car seat and motion to Rob to come with me. I bust it back up the aisle towards the door, and Rob has barely had a chance to stand up and follow me, so Robbie thinks we're leaving daddy behind.  He lets out the most hideous scream and melts down all over again.  I come as close to running as someone who just had a C-section and is carrying a 16 month old and car seat can come to running. I silently vow to exercise during any and all subsequent pregnancies so that I am not totally devoid of athletic ability in the future, as I fear I am currently.
  • Our little family of 4 (I would say happy family, but that we are not at this point) heads to the cry room, which is unusually full. Thank you, kind sir, for removing yourself from the nursing mothers' corner upon our arrival. Ellie is hungry, since it has been all of 2 hours since her last feeding, and as I proceed to nurse her while using my nursing cover, Robbie decides that he wants to know what's going on under there. I attempt to appease his curiosity and avoid another fit without bringing attention to myself. 
  • No amount of juice and crackers and snuggling with daddy and his blankie soothes Robbie, so we throw in the towel and start to pack up about 1/2 way through the sermon that we are barely listening to anyways.  Ellie blows out another diaper as if on cue; Rob holds Robbie up to the changing table as I change her so that he'll stop crying (he loves to watch her diaper changes!).
  • Must stop for milk and other essentials at the grocery on our way home; both babies are crying when Rob picks me up at the door.
  • Attempt to nap Robbie immediately upon arriving home. He is chattering away in the dark, so I go up to soothe and re-lay him down. Detect a foul odor; pull open the back of his diaper to check for poop.  My thumb is greeted by a blowout diaper. Resist urge to gag; change Robbie's diaper, give up on nap and instead take him downstairs with only a diaper on and feed him lunch.
  • Daddy is enjoying an after-lunch treat of chocolate chip cookies, when Robbie decides he wants some too.  It's his new thing; wanting to taste whatever we're eating or drinking.  Cute, except for when it's not, or when it's inconvenient.  Like now. Rob breaks off a little piece of cookie and sets the rest on his lap. Before he can even get the bite up to Robbie's mouth, we both watch Robbie swipe the entire cookie from Rob's lap and start to eat it. (MISTAKE #4 - underestimating Robbie's quickness around sweets.) Chocolate everywhere, cookie-slobber making its way onto Robbie's (bare) belly, the carpet, the couch.  Rob and I just look at each other and laugh.  Clean up child, attempt to re-nap him in spite of incredible sugar intake.
  • Robbie sleeps; Ellie and I take advantage of the peace and quiet and nap for 2 hours as well.  Our house becomes grand central station just as Rob is trying to nap on the couch, and we get an influx of visitors - for which we are grateful, but it's just funny... the timing... 
  • Before dinner we decide we must get out and do something fun, so we meet our dear friends, the Greens, at the park for a quick family playdate.  It was the best part of the day by far.
  • I make meatball subs and broil french fries in the oven. In theory, a great idea; except that the heat from the oven melted the oven knob safety covers that are made out of plastic. (How did someone overlook that design flaw? Oven knob safety covers that are not heat-resistant??)
Although it was an exhausting and trying day in many ways (so much for Sundays being a day of  rest!), and at times Rob and I each had moments of weakness, I can't help but be thankful for it.  It showed me how lucky I am to have Rob by my side as my husband and partner as we raise our family.  There is something about a husband that loads the dishwasher, picks up the house, gives up his nap so that I can take mine, and helps nonstop with the kids while he's at home that is incredibly endearing.  These 2 little ones that can be such a handful are precious and innocent; I am careful not to wish away these early days of their lives because I know that in a few years I will desperately want them back for various reasons.  

For now, I am just thankful that my mom is still coming over to be an extra set of hands while Rob is at work. I shudder to think about what I will be writing in the (near) future when I'm on my own with them!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Who knew mustard leaves a stain?

I am learning new things every day.  As the title of this post implies, we have figured out that Robbie's favorite condiment can only be consumed when he's having a nakie dinner.  Which is usually every night, but somehow he snuck through dinner the other night with a shirt AND shorts on... and it must have been hot dog night (as they frequently are... gross, I know), because I found mustard on his shirt and shorts today in the wash.  And my dreft stain remover couldn't touch it. 

I am also learning that I never tire of this view of my babies...

(Naturally, this was taken at the Arboretum over the weekend during yet another day that Rob and I just had to get Robbie out of the house to burn some energy.)

I continue to learn about Robbie's growing love of books.  He begs us to read to him in the morning, at night, and all throughout the day anytime he sees one of his books.  Which is a lot, since we have piles of books in every room.  Thank you, Sandra Boynton, for being so clever.  
Here is Robbie's favorite reading chair...

I have learned that with boys, you have to be prepared for a LOT of bonks.  And you cannot be a gasper, which I am.  However, I am learning to say "good fall!" when Robbie bites it (idea, courtesy of Tori Spelling. See?! Her book is not devoid of useful information.).  Which of course is multiple times a day, since he's learning to walk.  After an especially exhausting day, Robbie was unable to crawl (yes, I said crawl) in a straight line, and cracked his noggin on the corner of the banister.  See the red knot on his forehead?  Nothing makes you feel better than a milk bottle and a good snuggle with Grandpa. 

(*Disclaimer: before you judge me and my almost 16-month-old for still taking a bottle... I'm giving myself a little breathing room before I work on weaning him completely off the bottle!  I have to pace myself...)

I am learning that Robbie is processing the arrival of his sister and the attention he now must share with her in his own unique ways.  Yesterday this included climbing into her little lamb seat, as well as testing out her paci.  Neither were fun for very long, and it took little coaxing to get him to abandon both the seat and her paci. 

We have quickly learned that Robbie MUST be present for Ellie's diaper changes.  He always rushes over to watch, and is very good about not interfering but quietly observes what is going on.  This picture was taken just after Grandma changed Ellie... I love the tippy-toes.

We are also learning how to creatively keep Robbie occupied and entertained during the day.  Sometimes getting out and actually doing fun and/or productive things is just out of the question.

So we let him dig through Grandma's purse and play with her toothbrush...

we read more books...

we tell him to watch for the garbage trucks on trash day, and for Daddy's car around the time Rob comes home from work...

we spin ourselves sick in the front yard...

we practice our walking...

we get out the bubble-machine...

and usually we pace the sidewalk in front of our house with Robbie in either his ride-on-push-car or wagon.  This is Robbie asking to go for a wagon ride.  Poor Grandma... you know she's exhausted!  But you'd never be able to tell.

Ellie amazes us by her ability to sleep through all of the commotion that is our life right now.  I'm so thankful for this trait - I was deathly afraid that our little girl would be the kind of sleeper that Robbie is... he is the lightest sleeper known to man.  Even with a sound machine.  

And that is pretty much what we've been up to lately.  I can't believe any of you are still reading this blog... or this post... talk about navel-gazing!  I'll try to work on being more exciting... any topic requests?!?!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Evolution of a Family

We are in the middle of many transitions here at the Livingston House...

Robbie is trying to figure out why we haven't taken the baby back to the hospital yet.   Or why she insists on grunting and crying every now and then.  (Insert his classic dirty-look with furrowed br0w here.)  He is becoming a great little walker but has yet to figure out what objects are good to pull himself up on and what things will fall over onto him (toy basketball hoop... every time!).  

I am trying to figure out why I am bawling at the most random things (Robbie falling over in the bathtub, or the latest - a country music song on the radio), and how to avoid them.  I also have no idea how I am ever going to return to the land of productivity.  If anyone has figured this out with 2 small children, please leave your words of wisdom in the comments of this post. The only thing I HAVE figured out is that when all else fails and things are heading south in a hurry, throw the kid in the bath and let him play.  And if it's really bad, give him a snack and sippy cup of juice in the tub.  (Is that allowed? Because we do that here...)

Ellie is trying to figure out how to put herself to bed for the night earlier than 1am, although her tendency to be gassy is complicating the situation.  She has figured out how to nurse well enough to put on weight (6 lbs 14 oz now - yae!).  She has not yet figured out how cute she is, nor does she try to work that to her advantage.  It's probably only a matter of time though...

And I think Rob is just trying to figure out who these people are in his house, and wondering what they've done to his family.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July!

I woke up on the 4th of July excited that Robbie is finally old enough to start to enjoy holidays.  I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for these moments!  I love to celebrate, and although birthdays are my favorite, holidays offer lots of variety in how and what we celebrate.

I want my kids to appreciate what they have been blessed with, by God's grace.  So although they're too young to grasp the importance and meaning of Independence Day, they aren't too young to enjoy celebrating it.

Who doesn't love a red (strawberries), white (sort of - bananas) and blue (blueberries) breakfast?!  The donut pieces were just for fun - because it was a special day (and I had treated Rob to Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast!).   Robbie was excited... and Ellie, well she still sleeps most of the day!

Although it had been drizzling all morning, we were NOT going to miss the Wheaton Parade!  We packed: 2 very full diaper bags with layers of clothes / snacks, the wagon, a stroller, a quilt, towel, 2 lawn chairs, and a bag of decorations including pinwheels and mini flags to wave during the parade.  We met our friends, the Greens, on the corner of Front and Main, conveniently situated next to Starbucks and the Farmer's Market!  We had a little store-front-stoop we could huddle under when the drizzling rain got heavier, and it was also a great spot for Ellie to hang out most of the time.

Heather and I decorated the wagon together once we claimed our space on the sidewalk, and we were pretty excited about the way it turned out!  (Robbie kept trying to eat the foil stars off the garland.  Didn't see that one coming.)

The sweet little Green family!  We love them so much.  (Have I mentioned that selfishly, I'm glad they're not moving anywhere far away anytime soon!?)

Happy family (excuse mommy's frizzy hair... darn rain...)

We have concluded that Wheaton's 4th of July parade is the LONGEST PARADE IN THE HISTORY OF PARADES, ever.  It started at 10am and finished a little after 12:30pm!  Of course, the parade began with every emergency vehicle in the vicinity blaring their sirens and honking their horns.  I usually love this part (no idea why), but it scared Robbie and he spent about 1o minutes pacing the next block over with Daddy until they were long gone.  He enjoyed the rest of the parade from Daddy's shoulders, but seemed most taken by the nearby stoplight that continually changed from green to yellow to red.  And he only poked Daddy's head with his flag a few times. :)

Parade enthusiasm...

The kids started to get tired of sitting still, so they stretched their legs by trying to walk. 
Robbie points to a dog he sees, while Riley continues to be her ridiculously cute self 100% of the time.

Rob playing 'Airplane' with Robbie.  I thought this was such a handsome picture of both of my boys!

Alas, even 2 1/2 hour parades have to end sometime.  
See you next year, Front and Main!

Once home, we had my parents, the Greens and Cheryl over for a birthday celebration!  My mom was born on the 4th.  We had an all-American lunch, feasting on Onion Burgers (my mom's amazing recipe), baked beans, potato salad, chips, watermelon, and salad.  I ate like I was still eating for 2.  Of course, we had to have birthday cake from (where else?) Cakes Plus!  
Isn't my mom the cutest!?

After lunch we let my mom open gifts and played in the family room for a while (still drizzling rain outside!).  By this time, the sugar rush from the slice of cake I let Robbie have had taken over his body.  The ball pit fun was taken to a whole new level...

Between Robbie's early bedtime, and observing his reaction to loud noises at the parade, we canned the idea of going to see fireworks in the evening.  And really, we were totally exhausted!

It was such a fun and memorable day, and I'm so thankful that I felt good enough to enjoy these activities with our family and friends.  We certainly missed my little sister Kels, who was fighting a virus and feeling rotten.  And my brother Collin, who is still in Oklahoma City training to become an Air Traffic Controller, was missing and things are never quite the same when he's not around either.  

We hope you had a fun and safe 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Feeling human again... and not wasting any time!

In the last day or two, I have started to feel like I am actually healing from my C-section.  It is so nice to feel more like myself again, and my goal is now to get through the day without pain medication.  Oh, how I will miss those blessed hot pink pills.

The minute I realized that my pain was now manageable enough to take a shower, get ready for the day, and walk around for a little while without wanting to crawl back in bed, we jumped right in on all of the fun things we've been waiting to do for one reason or another.

So hold on... here is what we've been up to in the last 24 hours!

Daddy put together the basketball hoop that Uncle Ryan gave to Robbie for Christmas.  We agreed that it would promptly be assembled when Robbie started to show signs of walking.  Finally, at 15 1/2 months old, Robbie has decided that walking isn't so bad.  He is fairly stable on his feet, and although I wouldn't call him a confident walker by any means, he can walk across a room by himself now.  Rob had a great time teaching Robbie how to dunk with his new hoop.  Robbie caught on pretty quickly and it is now a favorite toy.  Thanks, Uncle Ryan!  Now we just need you to give Robbie some private lessons...

While my mom was over on Thursday, we took a bunch of pictures of Ellie by the front living room window (just like we did with Robbie the first week he was home).  These are a few of my favorites...

Then we went over to Cosley Zoo, which I am embarrassed to say that I have not been to since my mom took me as a little kid.  Robbie loved looking (very intently) at all the animals, and even got to pet a rabbit.  My sweet mom practically carried him the entire time so that he could get a good look at everything.  I am so thankful for her and would NOT have attempted this trip without her!

My little ham.  (He thinks he's so funny when he does this!)

Looking down into my (double) stroller... I cannot believe we have 2 kids!

My sweet friend, Lindy, brought us dinner for Thursday night.  It was incredible... one day I may post the recipe for the Mediterranean Chicken and Black Bean Salsa she made for us.  It was the best meal, very healthy, and totally not something I would ever think to make on my own.  She stayed and visited for a little while, and since she had her littlest girl (Britt) with her, I thought it would be fun to take a picture of both of our girls together!  Britt is 6 weeks old and also a peanut - isn't she the cutest thing ever!?

I caught Ellie sucking her thumb for the first time this morning, and the cuteness factor was too much for me to handle.  

Today, July 3rd, was Ellie's original due date (before we knew she was breech and would require a C-section birth)!  Instead, she is 10 days old.  She decided to celebrate by losing what remained of her umbilical cord, which to me is always worth noting.  :)

Recently we set up one of the gifts we gave Robbie for his first birthday - a 'ball pit'.  We had planned to keep it in the basement as something fun to do if/when I needed to shut myself down there with both babies.  The room is now finished and child-proof, but for now the ball pit lives in our family room since I'm trying to lay off the stairs for a little longer.  And can I say, this is the best toy ever!?  Clearly, Robbie loves it, as evidenced by his playtime in it this afternoon...

This evening we went to Lisle's "Eyes to the skies" festival to check out their Children's Petting Zoo and the hot air balloon launch that is supposed to be pretty spectacular.  Our friends the Greens (Mike, Heather and sweet little Riley) joined us.

The petting zoo was fun, if not a little chaotic and somewhat poopy (the animals, not the kids).  The hot air balloon launch was cancelled because of weather.  But we had a great time walking around, taking everything in, and playing and having snacks on the picnic blanket together.

Oh these 2 together... they are so sweet!  Robbie was leaning in to 'give Riley some love'.

And then we attempted to have the Greens take a little family picture for us.
Hilarity ensued.

No babies were harmed during the taking of this picture.

Heather and I are 2 very lucky girls...

Enjoy the holiday weekend!  I am praying for no rain tomorrow morning... I can't wait for the Wheaton parade!  Ok, let's be honest.  I can't wait to decorate Robbie's wagon for the occasion either.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Because you asked...

I get Ellie's headbands and bows from 2 sources:

1. The Pink Hippo (I go to the Glen Ellyn location, but here's their website...  The Pink Hippo).  This is where I got the hot pink headband with the big pink bow that Ellie wore with her coming-home outfit. If you caught the white headband with the hot pink flower in one of the pictures, I got this at the Pink Hippo as well.  

2. Abby Warmington, of "Holy Craft", made the pink nylon headband with the simple light pink bow Ellie had on in the first pictures we posted of her after her birth.  I love this headband because it's so soft and easy to put on, and it stays in place!  Definitely check out her website HERE