Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey, Pacis, Lights, and Noise

Our family was on an argyle kick this Thanksgiving, apparently :0)

I told you about Kate's late-night escapades during the first part of our Thanksgiving trip. Here's the rest of our Thanksgiving visit. 

We took Kate to the playground Thanksgiving afternoon (after watching the Macy's parade in the morning, of course!) and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. So, not wanting to risk waking her by carrying her inside, Dad stayed in the car with her and took a nap as well while Matt and I came inside to change our clothes and get Claire dressed for dinner. Kate definitely did not want to wake up to get dressed herself, and I spent cocktail hour pinned to the couch by my still-sleeping girl...

It was just my parents, aunt and uncle, and us for dinner, so not a big crowd, but it was nonetheless lovely and the food was delicious! Our traditional meal is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, peas and carrots, cranberry sauce, and rolls. What's yours?

After dinner, Kate read the Target toy catalog with Uncle Paul, and the Charlie Brown Christmas e-book on Aunt Liz' Nook. Kate sometimes takes a while to warm up to people she doesn't know very well, so it was a delight to see her enjoy playing with her great aunt and great uncle so much!

And Claire just took a nice snooze with a paci Sister reluctantly let her have. (The Paci Fairy has made several stealth visits to make pacis disappear since "she doesn't like to see big girls using pacis." Claire will just have to deal with only having them while Kate's in bed or at school.)

Friday night, we went to Light Up Louisville downtown, which was great because we didn't have to stand around outside (though it was actually very nice weather!) since Dad's office overlooks the plaza where the event was happening. Kate thought the music and announcements were too loud, so it was especially good that we had an indoor retreat. We visited the kids area and looked at the trees in Metro Hall—Kate liked the "peace" tree best.
Then we watched the parade from the balcony of Old City Hall, where Dad's office is. Kate asked to go inside because of the noise. She's still talking about how loud it was!

We then went to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and walked back to the plaza just in time to see the big "light-up" of the city's Christmas lights. A great way to ring in the Christmas season as a family!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Office Visit

I took Claire into my office today to visit everybody and drop off some papers with HR. Everybody was so excited to see the sweet baby, all nestled in her sling. I processed some of the mail and email I'd gotten while I've been out these last five weeks, and got copies of the latest Circuit Rider ready to send out to the issue's contributors.

It was nice to see everybody and catch up on both business and personal news with people, (and of course it's fun to have people gush over my precious baby, four weeks old today) but what pleased me most was that it felt good to be there, that I didn't think "thank goodness I'm just here for a couple hours!" Rather, I thought about the day nearly six weeks from now when I'll return without my sweetie in tow, and I thought, "it's going to be okay."

As I did with Kate, I've already started feeling a little sad about the limited nature of maternity leave, though knowing I want to work and that being a SAHM would definitely not be the same as a happy-go-lucky maternity leave. I feel down when the days pass so quickly, these precious days of cuddling my newborn—and getting things done that are hard to squeeze in when I'm working. It's such a special time, and I cherish these days. It will be hard putting Claire in day care at two months old. But it's going to be okay.

Still, I couldn't help but think how easy it was to do work while holding Claire in the sling, and even breastfeed discreetly while continuing to work—and think "couldn't she just come with me for a month or two?" :0)

Tawny Scrawny

Sorting through the pile of old Little Golden Books Kate pulled out of the closet at my parents' house, we found The Tawny Scrawny Lion, one of our family favorites from when I was small.

We only had to read the very first line before we knew we'd discovered a new nickname for Claire...
"Once there was a tawny, scrawny, hungry lion who could never get enough to eat."

Claire's not scrawny (though she seems tiny to us, she's quite average in weight), and her hair is more brown than tawny, but it really seems she can never get enough to eat!

She wants to nurse every 1-2 hours usually, sometimes just for 10-20 minutes, but occasionally it's for 40-50 minutes, and she's still back for more an hour later! If she's taking a good nap or we're out running around (in which case, she's lulled by being in the car or the sling) she can go about 3 hours. At night, she can sleep up to 4 or 5 hours (even 6, once) for the first stretch of nighttime (10:00-2:00 or so) but it's often the 1-2 hour schedule for the wee hours.

Matt joked, "Well, you hoped she would nurse—Careful what you wish for!" I really am so thankful and happy that she nurses, and so voraciously! I guess it just seems different to me because we don't know how much she's getting at each feeding, and she's sometimes just snacking and sometimes falling asleep off and on while eating, whereas Kate would down her bottle of breastmilk and be good for a solid three hours at this stage.

Whenever Claire cries (even if she's just eaten), Kate says, "My sister is probably hungry." (Sometimes adding, "You need to feed her with your boobies. Use that one.") She doesn't cry just for food, Kate, but that's always a good guess with Tawny Scrawny ClaireBear!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're here in Louisville with my parents, aunt, and uncle (sadly, my cousins and their young kids decided not to make the trip this year--bummer!) Kate has been a handful, as it's hard to employ our usual yes-you-have-to-go-to-bed techniques in someone else's house, when all four of us are sharing a room and there's too much fun going on downstairs after bedtime. It was 1:00 am one night, and last night, 2:30, after a big fiasco at 1:30 in which wakey-wakey-Kate got into some old ink pads, painted the palms and backs of her hands, and then climbed into the white-sheeted bed with me! It was a hot pink ink pad and her hands were dark red. It took Lava soap to even make a dent in the color. OMG.
This was in the morning (and yes, we've had some trouble with paci-stealing during the big-sister adjustment.)

Otherwise, though, we've just been hanging out, letting Nala and Popi enjoy the kids, visiting with family friends who want to meet Claire, etc. I keep saying that the Macy's parade is my favorite part of Thanksgiving, but of course I've also got to reflect with thanks on these wonderful blessings in my life...

My wonderful family (especially two beautiful children!)...
(this was Matt's birthday last Saturday. All the other pics are from our time in Louisville.)

Watching my kids learn new things and experience milestones (like Kate riding my old tricycle--I think she'll be getting one soon--and Claire's first bath)...

 And keeping in touch with old friends (like my friend Lindsay and her daughter Emmalea)...

Hope you're having a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Look Who's Home!

It's Charlotte!!! 

She's been gone thirteen days and we'd almost given up hope, but she showed up at our back door this evening! Matt and I both heard something, and wondered if it was Kate (who fell asleep in the car on the way home and was already in bed at 7:30), but then it kind of registered as a "mow" and I looked at the back door to see a kitty face in the dark. I scrambled for the keys and opened the door, and she walked right in—it was her!! 

She went straight to the laundry room and chowed down (I hadn't given up to the point of removing her dishes yet) and then curled up on the couch, purring away while Matt scratched her back. She looks happy to be home! 

She might look a little thinner, but really seems fine! I wonder what adventures she's had, what she's eaten, where she's been, how she escaped the coyotes that people keep telling me roam the neighborhood at night... In any case, we're so excited she's home! It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

So Mommy's not the only thing we're thankful for this week!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No One Goes to College...

This phrase is part of how I cope with the "phases" of childhood, whether I'm reassuring myself that a difficult one is not forever, or comforting myself that the passing of a sweet phase was inevitable.

So, I say, "No one goes to college wearing pull-ups at night," to remind myself that somehow, Kate will be nighttime potty-trained. (Honestly, I haven't even tried. Anyone have tips on that part of potty-training?)

And in the wee hours of this morning, I found myself saying sadly, "It's okay. No one goes to college with their umbilical cord stump."

Yes, it was inevitable. But as when Kate lost hers, it makes me a little sad to see that vestige of fetus-hood go. And I'm glad I made a point to take some photos the other night.


Wordless Wednesday: Turkey Art

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jesus Loves Me So

Not much to report in our house this week. Just the sickies. I started having chills and a sore throat on Saturday, by that night, Matt had joined me, and then Sunday morning, Kate started throwing up. Fortunately, Claire has remained above the fray (must be all that immune-boosting breastmilk that she's been guzzling on an hourly basis!)

Since Kate was feeling better yesterday but we still had to keep her home from school (24 hours after last symptom) I took advantage of the time to take her for a much-needed Mommy-Daughter date, just the two of us. We played at The Monkey's Treehouse (an indoor play place) and didn't talk about Baby Sister or how she likes being a Big Sister or anything like that. Just good, undivided Mommy attention.

Since we finally uploaded all the videos from our Flip cam (have you noticed I've been sharing more videos lately, after a very long hiatus?) here's this fun one from the week before Claire's birth. Kate and Daddy playing "'tars" and singing Kate's rockin' version of "Jesus Loves Me."

I think my favorite moment comes at the very end, when I ask, "is the song over, Kate?" and she just looks up and says, "huh?" Musician's ADD, I guess.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Did you catch it? 11:11 on 11/11/11?

I wouldn't have if a big memory-keeping blogger hadn't challenged her readers to do it . . . and I wrote myself a post-it note about it . . . and told Matt, who was actually the one who noticed the clock at 11:09.

So here's my moment: 
stitching up Kate's new tights that she got holes in the very first time wearing. (Grr...)

And Matt's: 
Cuddling sweet Claire on his day off. (This whole week was supposed to be "lite" in lieu of paternity leave, but he still ended up in the office a lot. Oh well. Today was just attending a funeral this morning, and now he's home.)

If you missed it, you get another chance tonight!
I will be asleep.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kate Says

Kate has learned some new vocabulary words in the last week, including "onesie," "burp rag," and "boobies." The bouncer she calls a "see-saw."

The other night, as I was pulling down my nursing top to feed Claire, Kate said, "Your boobies keep falling down, Mommy!" Thanks, Kate.

I've also already been told, more or less, to butt out of the sisterly girl talk. She was talking quite normally at lunch the other day, and when I responded to what she said, she told me, "I'm not talking to you, Mommy. I'm talking to my sister."

This morning, I witnessed what I thought might be the sweetest thing ever. Kate was rocking her dolly and singing a modified version of her and my "special lullabye." "Rock-a-bye Dolly, in Mommy's arms..." As she closed with "I'll love you forever and you'll love me too," even touching the doll's nose the way I do hers at that part of the song, I thought I would just melt. And then she chucked the doll across the room.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Our New "Edition"

Claire Moriah Kelley
November 1, 2011
10:21 pm
7 lbs, 11 oz
20.5 in

I've been hanging onto that pun for two years and nine months, ever since a person with poor discernment of homophones congratulated us on Kate. It was an appropriate typo for someone in the book business, though, and I've kept it filed away in my mind for just this occasion. :0)

Claire is one week old tonight. She had her follow-up doctor visit yesterday, and was declared extremely healthy. She eats and sleeps well. After those first couple days of barely waking up to eat, she became voracious and wanted to eat every 1-2 hours. Today, she settled into a little better schedule, sleeping for four hour stretches last night and eating every two hours during the day. She also discovered her lungs today, crying a fair bit this evening, mainly to express a desire to be held, I think.

In Claire's first week of life, she's spent quality time with her sister and grandparents, and had visits from several out-of-town relatives who just happened to be visiting or passing through this week. She's had her first trips to Target and the mall with Mommy, and taken her first long family walk around the neighborhood. The downer this week has been the disappearance of Charlotte, our cat, but I am trying not to let that dampen the joy of our new arrival. (My sweet in-laws hung and distributed fliers, and I've gotten numerous calls about stripey-gray-cat sightings, though we haven't caught up to her yet, and there are apparently a couple "decoys" running around too—one with a collar and one with white feet I saw myself—so not all the leads are reliably about Charlotte, but they give a little hope.) 

We are so in love with our little Claire-Bear, her sweet disposition and silly faces. We're training her early to be tolerant of her big sister's wild-child antics (not that we have much choice!), and sure enough, she's chill as can be when I'm sitting nursing her on the master bed while Kate is jumping up and down on the bed, then yanking me around to "fix" my hair for me. Aside from the concern of Kate crushing her with her overzealous hugs, it warms my heart to see Kate loving on her sister. I am so excited to watch their relationship grow over the years as each of them grow into the wonderful people they will become. 

Here are a few pictures from the week:

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Claire's Funny Faces

I'm laughing like a maniac in this video, but Claire's faces (and Matt's narration) are pretty funny. And I really needed to laugh this evening, since our cat has escaped and gone missing and I'm pretty sad about that. Hoping she finds her way home.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Big Sister

Claire is four days old, and we've been home since mid-afternoon Thursday, learning to navigate life as a family of four. I'm feeling good (very little pain/discomfort), and Claire is nursing well. This has been such a relief, as our first few days with Kate were extremely stressful due to her eating troubles. Claire still sleeps a vast majority of the time, and has made me nervous the couple times she's really resisted waking to eat, but I think her hunger sense really kicked in today, and she wakes on her own, eager to feed.

By far, the hardest part of our adjustment this time around has been helping Kate feel secure and loved.

She really seems to love her baby sister, though, so let me start with the excitement of their first meeting, when Matt's parents brought Kate to the hospital the day after Claire's birth.
Here's the video:

Kate, of course, wanted to hold the baby (after getting situated, this often lasts only a few seconds before Kate's ready to move on!)
 And she loves the Sister Bears, always trying to give Claire Claire's bear.

Since we've been home, Kate is often excited to see Claire, whom she refers to as "my sister," (much sweeter than "the baby," I think) and will try to hug and kiss her, which often seems to involve putting all her weight on Claire! She enjoys looking at her, touching her hand, and helping me by handing me a diaper, etc. She has been pretty understanding when I need to feed Claire, too.

So, there's no jealousy or animosity against the baby herself, but Kate still seems to fear losing my attention. From the moment we came home, she was very clingy with me (which I thought was interesting, since Matt had been away from her for a few days too, and she hadn't yet seen that the baby would require more of my time and attention than Matt's). She's wanted to be held a lot, hold my hand, cuddle, etc. She almost always fusses at bedtime when we end the chain of "one more book... I need water... lay down with me" requests, and we know we just have to let her scream, but it nearly killed me Thursday night to hear her crying specifically for me when I'd gone on to feed Claire.

The clinginess has gotten progressively better over the last couple days, though she's definitely still more emotional than usual: more likely to get upset, and getting sullen and crying real tears when upset (as opposed to getting whiny or mad, per usual). I imagine this will get better over time, and probably pretty quickly, too. At least she's not taking it out on the baby, and really does seem happy to have her sister here. See the difference between the above photo, where Kate is visibly anxious, and the one below, where she's beaming with pride? We asked her to hold Claire's hand. 

It was definitely good advice I've heard, to not worry about neglecting the baby and focus more on Kate. While it's tempting to hold and snuggle the teeny, sweet little bundle all day long, Claire doesn't care who's holding her at this point, or if she's snoozing on her own in the bouncer or pack and play, while Kate really needs extra care during this adjustment. So, I try to say "yes" as much as I can when she wants me to come play with her, or to help me cook, or whatnot. Kate and I went to the grocery together today, just the two of us, as we typically do on weekends, and it was good to have that time. ("Just us girls?" she asked, when we told her the plan for the day. She's in a big phase of declaring who's a boy and who's a girl, but I guess Claire doesn't count yet, even though Kate knows she's a girl.)

She also might be getting away with a little more than usual :0)

It's a dream come true to me to have two daughters. Two sisters. It blows my mind every time I look at a photo of us as a family of four. Wow. New and different, but oh so exciting.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Welcome Claire!

Don't hate me, but Claire's delivery was fast and easy! Here's the run-down of my evening last night:
4:20 Feeling some stronger contractions; not sure if it's going to peter out or not
5:20 Um, yeah, at 2-4 minutes apart, I think we need to go to the hospital
6:20 Intake, I'm 5 cm dilated
7:20 Contractions getting pretty painful, admitted to our room
8:20 Got my epidural. Happy time.

And that's where I left you with my last post. Here's what went down in the 90 minutes after pressing "publish":

9:20 Nurse checks my cervix again, discovers, to her great surprise, that I'm fully dilated and she can see Claire's head, with hair, still inside the bag of waters. Matt and the on-call doctor, both thinking we had plenty of time, had gone home (Matt to get his clothes and take a quick shower). Willing my water not to break on its own in the time we're waiting, since she could come super-quick after that, we call Matt and Doc to get back here ASAP!

Matt and the doctor both got back around 10:05. The doctor prepares to break my water with the crochet-hook-type tool, barely touches me with just her finger, and pop! there it goes! Like Kate, Claire had meconium staining (i.e. had pooed in-utero), as is common for overdue babies. I didn't like that Kate had to be taken to the nursery right away for the respiratory checks that are necessary with that condition, rather than getting to cuddle and nurse right away, and that was actually part of why I was willing to induce at only three days overdue, to hopefully beat the poo. Didn't need to worry, though, because at this hospital, they called NICU when they found the meconium and had a couple NICU nurses on hand for delivery to check her lungs thoroughly right there in the room!

At 10:12, we started pushing. Three counts of ten for just two contractions, and she was out at 10:21!

She took to the breast right away (hooray!), and has been nursing and sleeping wonderfully! I didn't sleep too well last night, but it certainly wasn't sweet baby's fault. She's a sweetheart, and we've enjoyed our first day together, filled with visitors. Seeing the sisters meet was definitely a highlight, and I'll have to do a whole post on that. It's official: we're a family of four now! Here's a few more pics...


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