Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baby bump #2 Pictures

Maternity Pictures for baby bump #2!

17 Months

The months are just passing at an incredible rate these days. It's hard to believe by next month, we'll have a one and a half year old (and quite possibly, a newborn too, if he/she decides to join us a little early!) I am so in love with this little girl, and all that she says and does these days.

There are so many things she does these days that just amaze us, she is talking ALL the time, and saying more and more words. She says "baby" all the time (probably because we talk about baby a lot too!), "no" (a new favorite, grrreat!), "sssthat" (What's that), "apoooo" (her love of her life, Pooh Bear, and many more... those are just some favorites. She "reads" books all the time with us now, loves her Peek-a-Boo book that she mocks us when we read it, loves reading the animals books where she can make all the noises, and really enjoys lift the flap books these days. She is great at doing hand motions to Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Patty-Cake. She does her sign lanugage for "more" and "done" and even "thank you" (sometimes).

When she leaves for daycare in the morning, she usually has her favorite friend Pooh in hand, but she has to leave him at home while she's at school. Dad-E tells her to say bye to Pooh and to Scarlett, and she throws Pooh on the ground (she's so loving, ha) and says 'byeeee' to both of them. At night before bed and after she brushes her teeth, she gives me a huge kiss (my absolute new favorite!) and says "byeeeee" as Dad-E carries her in to bed. (Unfortunately, my big 35.5 week pregnant belly isn't the best for trying to put her in her crib, so Dad-E gets to do that every night.)

She is so much fun these days... yes, she can still throw a temper tantrum like no one's business, but we're hoping she's getting all that out of her system before she actually turns two. We can dream, right?
The Stats:
Weight: No check up's or doctor's visits this month, thank goodness, probably about 24-25ish lbs
Length: Growing all the time
Head: That's growing all the time too... her big brain =)
Diaper Size: 4's... I'm ready to potty train though, let's go!
Clothing Size: 12-18 months
Shoe Size: 4's - 5's depending on the brand, she has quite a few new pairs of flip flops and sandals, bring on summer time!
Food: Wakes up and has a cup of milk, Cheerios & whatever Dad-E's eating, mid-morning/breakfast #2 at school, lunch, snack, snack #2 when she gets home with me, dinner and a cup of milk before bed... we have moved her to a mini table and chair for dinner like she uses at school, she seems so grown up sitting there eating, but she loves it!
Naps: One 2 hour nap, 12-2ish
Sleep: Bed by 6:45-7ish, up by 6:30ish (yes, it's getting a little later that she wakes up! yay! just in time for us to be up all night with Baby M #2! haha)
Teeth: Still sixteen... at least we think that's "all" for now, she could have her other molars back there, who knows.
Play: Playing outside, running, loves the park/slides/swings, riding in her cozy coupe with Dad-E pushing her around, playing in her kitchen, rearranging everything, she's quite the little organizer, lots of dancing, and lots of giggling... she's so ticklish these days!
New buddies: Met a new neighbor baby today, Harper who is 6 weeks old, she will probably be friends with Alli's little sibling but Alli was so sweet when she met her and pointed to her a bunch saying "baby"!

So, happy 17 months little Ru, we love you SO much and can't wait for you to be a big sister... we know you're going to be SO loving, sweet and helpful. (Ha, well, we HOPE :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just another weekend... or was it?!

We had a great weekend again around here, with great weather, great health, and great attitudes had by all. You never know with a toddler running around when an ear infection or some other random infection may come and ruin your weekend, or when a temper tantrum may cause any plans you had to be thrown out the window. But, we've been quite lucky lately to have Alli in good spirits and good health. Friday night was just another night around these parts... early to bed for all. However, about 1:30 AM, I woke up with the most intense pain I'd felt in a long time. I tried to grin and bear it, but I eventually was in so much pain I yelled to Eric to wake up to help. No, it wasn't labor. I had a charlie horse in my leg. It was SO bad that it woke me out of my sleep, and Eric tried to massage it and work my foot back and forth to help. I scared him half to death though... he literally thought I may be in labor. After that, he was determined to have us pack our bags and get a little more prepared for this baby's arrival. I have been feeling a lot different lately, and it's hard to describe exactly what it is. I obviously don't know what it's like to go into labor on my own, since I was induced with Alli, but something just feels different this time. I'm hoping that may be a good sign, but not yet! I still have two weeks until I'm considered "full term", so I'd like to wait until then before anything exciting happens. Stay tuned!

On Saturday, we had plans to get our pictures taken by our favorite photographer, Sterling Pickett. She had offered to do free maternity pictures for us if I would be willing to let her along with 5 other photographers take our pictures at the same time. They were all learning and hadn't done many maternity shoots, so it would be a good opportunity for them, and free pictures for us! We couldn't pass up that offer, you know how much I love pictures! Anyway, needless to say, something had to happen to ruin our plans... it started pouring down rain about 30 minutes prior to the shoot. Go figure. Thank goodness we were all flexible and were able to get them done Sunday instead. We had a lot of fun, despite all the awful mosquitoes out, and Dad-E and I go to see another beautiful area of Charleston we'd never been to yet. She did the photo shoot at the Old Naval Base in North Charleston, which has been the set for movies and the show Army Wives as well. The scenery was just beautiful. Here's a sneak peek at some of the pics...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

She's growing up so much!!

I feel like we say it all the time, but Alli grows up a little more each and every day. We took this video last night of daddy reading with her... it's just amazing the things she picks up on. Today, we read it again with her just a few minutes ago, and she did most of the sounds and motions without having daddy do it first. It's like she just gets it, gets that soon.... her little bbbb.... bundle of joy sibling will be here and she'll need to be our big sister helper.

So close, yet so far

Last night, Mommy B and I took a tour of the new hospital where we plan on delivering Baby M #2. It's not the same hospital in which Alli was born, so we wanted to take a guided tour through the Labor and Delivery wing and the Postpartum wing so we knew where everything was when the time comes. Many of the policies and procedures were the same as Alli's hospital, such as visiting hours and ID bands for parents and child, but it was good to get a feel for the layout of the place so we wouldn't be "those people" wandering the halls like lost puppies with a newborn in our arms.

For those Followers that don't know me, I'm a pretty laid-back guy. I try to make light of every situation, no matter how serious or dire. I learned a long time ago that worrying is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. We were only one of three couples on the tour and we were the only ones who already had a child at home. Now, I don't recall being as silent and reserved as the other couples when we took our first tour for Alli, but I can't imagine that I didn't try to crack at least a couple jokes. You know, to try and lighten the mood a bit. So naturally, this time around was just a formality for Mommy B and I. But the other couples were all business and very tight-lipped. I again tried to make some jokes to give the other soon-to-be-parents an idea of what to expect, but either I'm not as funny as I think I am or they were too focused to have a good laugh. Oh well, at least I tried... they're on their own now.

Anyway, seeing those rooms and the nursery brought all the memories of Alli's birth rushing back to me. Even though it felt like a blur, I remember almost everything from that 10 1/2 hour ordeal - especially how magical 4:30pm was for Mommy B and I. We talked about it in the car on the way home last night - how different yet exciting this go-around is for us. With Alli, it was the unknown that caused the feeling of excitement. Everything was so new and it was such a whirlwind of emotions that we didn't really know what to feel other than sheer joy.

This time through, the unknown has been removed - and it has been replaced with the known. The expected. Been there, done that. This time, Mommy B and I know how things are going to go (hopefully as smoothly as Alli's birth) and cannot wait for it to happen again. Even though we've been through this before, there is still a slight tinge of nervousness and unknown. We have no idea if/when Mommy B might go into labor on her own (since she didn't with Alli). We have no idea if the labor will go as smooth and uneventful as it was the first time. Having a nurse for a wife and having seen enough TV shows, I know first-hand that there are countless issues that could arise during labor.

But we're so close to the finish line that we can't help but get excited. I'm really looking forward to introducing Alli to her little ssssss....... sibling and seeing what a great big sister she'll become. We still technically have over a month to go, but walking through the hospital last night reminded me how close we really are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

34 weeks and counting...

We are fast approaching baby M #2's arrival... and we honestly couldn't be more excited!! Alli is getting more and more fun, entertaining, goofy and independent as the days go by, which keeps us on our toes and keeps us busy, so it's been hard to really sit back and realize that in just a few more weeks, we'll have a newborn who constantly needs us again.

Last week at my OB appointment, my doctor said everything looks great. I've been very fortunate to have two really uneventful pregnancies, and I'm hoping this labor will go as great as Alli's did. I had to be induced 4 days after our due date with her since she didn't want to come out and play, but it couldn't have went easier or smoother. We checked in the hospital at 6am that day, and she was born at 4pm... the epidural went nice and smooth, the pushing only lasted a few minutes, and the moment of Dad-E seeing the baby for the first time and announcing "It's a girl!!" was just priceless. I know this time will be just as exciting, even though we know the sex of the baby, but just being able to announce it to the world will be amazing. I'm sure you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but we still haven't picked a name yet. We have a few we like, and even found a new one we like in the past few weeks, which we haven't told anyone yet either... we're just so indecisive about it! It may actually be one of those things where we just lay eyes on the baby for the first time, and name them then. Anyway, since I had to be induced with Alli, the discussion has already started with Dr. R about induction date possibilities this time. Since I'm due on a Sunday, she said she wouldn't be opposed to inducing the week before or the week after, depending on how I felt and how things were going. We're looking at dates, trying to figure things out... and watch, this time we'll go into labor on our own.

Tonight we go for our tour of the new hospital where we'll have this baby... which makes everything even more real! Our doctors are now delivering at a brand new hospital in Mt. Pleasant, instead of the nice new one where we had Alli... so we need to get a feel of where L&D is, where the postpartum unit is, cafeteria for Dad-E, etc. Who knows, it could only be 3 weeks or so until this little one decides they want to join our nutty family! But, I don't know, if they can hear their crazy sister, crazy dog, and crazy parents, they may just want to stay put inside where it's safe for now. All I know is I can't wait to hold an infant again!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Alli's going to be a great big sister...

What's Ru been up to?

I can't get over things that Alli picks up on these days, and just how smart she is becoming. I'm sure this is normal with all kids around her age, but of course, being her mom, I'm biased into thinking she's just brilliant. She has been doing sign language for a while now, something she learned at good ole Chesterbrook!, and she's learning more by the day. She signs "done", "more", "thank you"... and maybe more, but shoot if I know what all of it is. Maybe mommy needs to take the sign language class at daycare too.

The other night, I was giving her a bath and started singing "The Wheels on the Bus". Now, I've sang this song before with her, and she just smiles and giggles... so I know she's a fan. (Probably just of the song, not my singing.) Anyway, this time, she started doing hand motions with it! I was in awe. She did the wheels with a circular motion, the wipers going back and forth, and the cutest of all, the babies on the bus go "wahh, wahh wahh", she puts her hands up to her eyes and does the crying sign. It's so adorable, and she's so proud of herself. I can't get over how much she knows and picks up on. So much credit goes to our wonderful daycare, I'm so happy with them there, know she's learning and experiencing so much, and has so much fun playing with the other kids in her class.

When we read her book that has all the Winnie the Pooh characters in it, she runs over to her bed, looks back at us and says "a-Pooh!!", until we grab Pooh, give him to her, and then we can finish reading the book. Dad-E said today she was holding Pooh in her arms and he said to give Pooh a kiss and say bye, it was time to go... and she tossed him in her crib. She understands things more than we even realize. Hopefully, the "careful Alli!!" thing will sink in soon too.

There are so many things and examples, I just wish I could remember them all right now... but pregnancy brain has gotten the best of me. Speaking of... can you believe we're only a month or so away from meeting Alli's little si....bling?! So exciting!!

Happy Birthday to my (younger!) husband!

Happy Birthday to Dad-E! Okay, I'm a few days late, his actual birthday was this past Sunday, but, I'm just now having time to post. Finally, yet again, he is the same age as me :) He's about 2 and 1/2 months younger than me, and he likes to remind me of it often. It hasn't ever bothered me too much... but I can tell you, when the big 3-0 comes, and I'm 30 for 2 months and he's only 29... that will be another story.

Poor Dad-E has been working overtime, without much pay, and no real benefits for the past few months now, and especially these past few weeks. No, I'm not talking about real work at the 'Baud, I'm talking about being Mr. Mom. This being 8 months pregnant with a crazy, active, wild, always-on-the-go toddler thing is no joke. He has been such a trooper, doing just about everything and anything with Alli to keep her entertained and safe (see his recent "careful Alli!!" post!). I have been so overly tired, so drained from getting up at 4am every day, working, getting her from daycare and keeping her entertained until he gets home a few hours later, making a new dinner once a week (those of you that know me ought to be very proud of this one!!), all while growing another human inside of me. No big deal. Anyway, he has picked up my slack in stride, and his birthday was no different. He woke up with her so I could sleep in (it felt like it was MY birthday! Yeah, he's great!), washed his car and did stuff around the house for his big day. Not to mention, he lost an hour of sleep anyway because of the time change, so the poor guy actually had the shortest birthday of the year!! In my book, he deserves an award or medal or at least a good dinner for all of his efforts. Thank goodness he has a great friend who lives down the street who made him steak for his birthday...!

Anyway, despite the "un-eventfulness" of his birthday, I just wanted to take the time now to express how lucky I am to have him in my life, and have him be the father of Miss Alli and M.......Mystery baby #2 =) I can't wait to see what the future holds for us... maybe another vacation again some day. We really miss those.

That's a hint to all the family reading this... whoever wants to watch a two and a half year old and a one year old next summer, maybe for our 5 year wedding anniversary, we'd appreciate it. We'll book it now if anyone says yes... =)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Careful Alli... CAREFUL ALLI!

I can't believe how often I hear myself saying that phrase. Alli's just over 16 months old and she's already giving me panic attacks. All she does is run around anymore, just plain walking is long gone. Anytime she has to get somewhere that is more than a few steps away, she's full speed ahead.

Followers might recall a section of this post about Alli's last accident involving her speed and a certain law of physics called gravity. She was running along the sidewalk at school when she tripped, fell and put her top teeth through her bottom lip. Everything has healed up nicely (thank goodness) since then, but it has become more apparent to Mommy B and I that our little girl has embraced the daredevil lifestyle. And it's not just her obsession with speed (or running), it's anything and everything that can hurt and/or possibly injure her.

Her new favorite thing to do is play on the couch. And when I say "play", I mean use the couch as her personal jungle gym/bounce castle. She's about an inch or two short of climbing up on the couch herself, so we humor her and pull her up to join us. She then proceeds to run the length of the couch and nose-dive into the pillows. That part I'm OK with... its the fact that sometimes she overshoots the pillows and swan-dives off the end of the couch. Other times she undershoots the pillows and barrel-rolls off the side of the couch. The only saving grace for all this is that Dad-E is there to cushion her fall before she puts her teeth into her nasal cavity.

The other night she decided to back herself off our bed as we were getting her ready for bedtime. This resulted in her back flipping off the side of our bed and landing head over heels onto the carpet. I was in the bathroom at the time while Mommy B got her ready, and I was making my way into the room as I saw her backing off the edge of the bed. I made a diving leap to try and cradle her fall, but I came up short of catching her - which made me feel wonderful for the rest of the evening. She was OK (thank goodness, again) and I think the fall scared her more than hurt her. After a few minutes of tears and hugs with Dad-E and Pooh Bear, she was back to her normal self. But you're starting to get my point.

Each time Mommy B or I see Alli getting close to a given precipice, we can't help but utter the most appropriate phrase, "Be careful, Alli." We realize that she doesn't completely understand us yet, but we're hoping that the repetition will sink in soon enough. Plus, being the uber-smart, college-educated people that we are, we figured that she's never going to learn that walking full speed off the edge of something tall will end up hurting her if I'm always there to catch her. But the way she walks the plank sometimes makes me wonder if she has a death wish.

Mommy B and I have resorted to joking with each other each time Alli does something that makes us cringe because of the impending doom and one of us says "Careful... CAREFUL!" It may not be doing a lot of good at the moment, but hopefully she'll begin catching on. Otherwise I'm just going to have to mentally prepare myself for multiple trips to the ER for stitches.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Toddler's Rules of Possession

This seems like it was written especially for Alli... but, since it's not, it's refreshing to know that obviously, we are not alone in experiencing these actions.

Alli's first circus!

After over a month of waiting, today was the big day - Alli's first trip to see the circus! While millions of parents across the country make this same trip each year, this experience was something we were really looking forward to. Some Followers may not know the full back story, but my great-great-uncles are the five Ringling brothers that started the Ringling Brothers Circus. Needless to say, today we took Alli to see the Greatest Show on Earth - The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. While the "family business" hasn't been in the family for a long, long time - it still bears our name and holds a very special place in our hearts.

It couldn't have been a better day to head to the North Charleston coliseum to see the show - pouring down rain. While walking in and out with Alli on my arm wasn't much fun, I'm glad that we didn't have to pass up one of our 300+ sunny days down here to see it. Alli's aunt Bacon and her boyfriend Zack came down from Myrtle Beach to join the party, too. So once Alli woke up from her nap, we packed into the family truckster and headed to the 3pm show.

As we were walking in, we couldn't help but pass a half-dozen protesters from PETA speaking out against how the Ringling organization mistreats their animals - namely the elephants. They were handing out pamphlets outlining the gory details and even had someone dressed in a elephant costume with its ankles shackled together waving to us as we walked by. Now, let me be perfectly clear on one thing - I'm not one to condone violence and poor treatment against animals. I'm an animal lover at heart and so is everyone in my family. I've had pets my whole life and our dog Scarlett is even a rescue. But apparently these "demonstrators" had nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon than to try and scar my daughter with gruesome images they probably just printed off a Google image search.
PETA, that's my (former) family business you're insulting, and I take that very personally. Granted, I'm not familiar with all the inner-workings of the circus these days, but I can guarantee that these people don't know what they're talking about. Judging by how some of these poor saps looked standing there in the rain, I'd say the animals probably eat better than they do. After the show ended and the hoards of people were pouring out of the coliseum, I sarcastically shouted to them as we walked by, "Pretty good crowd today, I can tell you're protest is having a huge impact!"

Sorry about that, now I feel better. Now, then...

We were able to find our seats and get everything situated for the show with about 15 minutes to spare. Mad props to Mommy B for going the extra mile and getting us some premo seats - about 20 rows up with a full view of the action. I knew this would come in handy because Alli wouldn't have to constantly turn her head to see all the action. Obviously, I've been to a few circuses in my day. Just as we all got settled, the lights went out. That's when the fun began.

The theme of the circus this year was "Fully Charged" - which meant plenty of fireworks, flashing lights and things set on fire. For the first 30+ minutes, Alli was in a full-on trance. I'm talking the type of zoned-out attention only Elmo on the car's DVD player can elicit - which was exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted her to be so encapsulated by the sheer amazement that is the Greatest Show on Earth that we wouldn't have to touch her for 2 hours. And I (almost) got my wish.

The moment the curtains flew back and the clowns, horses, elephants, jugglers, unicyclists and dancers came out, Alli was in total awe. She stared down at the arena and just... watched. She was so entranced that she didn't blink until tears started forming in the corners of her eyes. I could see her eyes moving from one act to the next as they circled around the arena. Even though she couldn't tell me, I could see the happiness on her face and the joy in her eyes in the indirect light from the fireworks.

There have only been a select few other times in my life where I've felt that proud. I really don't have the words to describe it, to be honest. It's a feeling that rises up from the pit of my stomach and causes my eyes to well up at the same time. It happened for the first time when I was a senior in high school - I caught my first long touchdown after riding the bench for 3+ years. It happened again that year when I crossed the finish line in 1st place to lead my track team to a league victory. I had to wait 3 years (almost to the day) to feel it again - I crossed the finish line in 1st place to become the 2005 NCAC 400m hurdle champion. Another 3 years went by before my wedding day made it happen again (thanks Mommy B)! Most recently was on October 27th, 2010 - when my beautiful baby girl was brought into this world.

But this past weekend brought all those memories rushing back again - and I totally wasn't expecting it. But I couldn't help it after seeing something that my family created over a hundred years ago still bring so much joy to those in the audience... but most importantly to my own child. Seeing Alli's face light up the way it did will be something I'll never forget - and I know it would have made my ancestors proud as well. Even though no one sitting around us knew about our special connection, it felt like Alli and I were the only people watching the show as she sat on my lap in utter amazement. One thing is for sure, I can't wait to do it all over again with Baby M #2 when they are old enough to go.

After the initial excitement wore off, Alli started getting a little antsy. But with an intermission to get her hopped up on cotton candy (thanks to Aunt Bacon) and a souvenir tiger, we were able to settle her back in for the remainder of the show. I have to say she was quite the trooper for sitting (for the most part) in my lap for 2.5 hours with all that was going on. I'm sure if she could have made her way to the arena floor to see everything up close, she would have. Just as she was getting really restless, the grand finale started and she was sucked back in again. I mean, who could look away when a guy gets lit on fire and shot from a giant crossbow across the length of the arena? There's nothing quite like seeing the reflection of the flames in your daughters eyes as she follows them across the sky.

Even though I'm pretty sure she won't remember her first trip to the circus, I know I certainly will.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I (used to have to) steal my kisses from you...

I know one thing I couldn't wait for was Alli growing old enough to give me "real" kisses. This past week, she's really gotten good at them. If you ask her for a kiss, she puts her lips together and leans in for it... it's just so precious and melts my heart. Our bedtime routine now consists of me showering while Alli gets a bath from Dad-E, then Dad-E reading to her and putting her to sleep while I get my hair dried and ready for bed too... (getting up at 4am is just not normal and it still hasn't gotten easier yet for me, so going to bed at 8:30 or 9 seems like the only reasonable thing!) (And yes, Dad-E is that wonderful... bath, reading, bedtime for Alli, and usually dinner and dishes for us too. No, you can't have him and he's not for sale :) When Dad-E brings Alli in the bathroom to brush her teeth (the last step before putting her in the crib!), he brings her over to me and I ask her for a kiss. She puckers up and leans in, gives a big mouth to mouth smooch, and then backs up like she's so shy, smiling and giggling.

I'm so glad that I no longer have to steal my kisses from Alli... she willingly gives them away, and those ones right before she heads off to bed make a long or stressful day just seem like it doesn't even matter. These are the moments we live for, the ones that we didn't even know existed prior to having a child.