Thursday, June 28, 2012

10, 20

Yesterday marked Aiden's "10 week birthday" & Alli's "20 month birthday"!

Aiden, at 10 weeks old, you...
  • still don't sleep. Unless someone is holding you. Namely, Dad-E. You sleep wonderfully on his chest. But, that doesn't work at night.
  • are very smiley and content a lot of the time. Except when you're tired but you can't get comfortable. That's hard on all of us.
  • adore your big sister... or at least, you put up with her and her craziness. You watch her and follow her with your eyes (as much as you can... she's pretty wild and runs pretty much everywhere)

  • are getting better with your head control, and have tried sitting in the bumbo chair a few times. You still prefer laying on your back at an incline in the boppy pillow.

Alli, at 20 months old, you...

  • count to ten, usually unprompted by us!
  • point to eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head, hair, teeth, and more while telling us what each thing is... it's adorable when you "show us" Pooh's nose, ears, eyes, etc... and you brush his teeth and hair before bed each night.
  • are a great big sister. When Aiden is crying, you always say, "baby sad!" You say "bye bye baby" and give him a kiss every night before bed. I hope you do that forever.
  • love feeding Scarlett. It's your new favorite. You take the scoop in one hand and grab a handful of dog food with the other hand (???) and put it in her dish, say "yaayyy food woof woof!" and run to grab "moooore!"

You both do so much to amaze us (and confuse us, frustrate us, and make us crazy) every day, but, I really do think our lives wouldn't be complete without both of you in them. We love you both!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's in a name? Part II

Followers will recall this post where Mommy B explained the story behind Alli's name. Well, now it's my turn to explain the story behind Aiden's name. Mommy B and I decided when we were pregnant with Alli that if she was a boy, we were going to use my middle name. Since that didn't happen, we agreed that no matter what the sex was for our second child, we would use my middle name. And sure enough, Aiden Ringling decided to come a week and a half early!

Ringling is my middle name - and it's a family name that goes back many generations. Yes, it originates from the Ringling Brothers Circus. The five Ringling brothers that started the circus are my great-great-great uncles on my mom's side of the family. My family are actually descendants of the Ringling brothers' little sister, Ida. Since there had been a couple generations of girls, the Ringling name hadn't been used in quite some time. But, my generation resurrected it and used it twice (I have a cousin who also has it) - and my older brother's son has it as well. Needless to say, we're using the name like it's going out of style... which it did about 100 years ago.

With its origins dating back to Hanover, Germany and Ostheim, France in the early 19th century, the Ringling name has gone through a couple spelling (and pronunciation) variations to become what it has today. I won't bore you with all the details - but  you can imagine how the name sounded back in pre-WWI Germany with a couple more consonants and an Umlaut or two tossed in there for good, phlegmy measure.

Today, everyone knows what the Ringling name symbolizes. Any time someone sees my middle name or I have to spell it out to someone over the phone, there's always a pause on the other end while it registers. Not because they have to think about how to say it or spell it, but because they're wondering "Hey, I bet this guy's related to the circus..." That collective pause is a silent tribute to the blood, sweat and tears my ancestors shed to create the largest circus empire in the world.

From my days as a little boy, my mom always told me that my middle name was one to really be proud of. Not just because it was rare (I mean come on, who's going to use a name like that if they're not related to the circus?), but because of all the history and notoriety it conjured when spoken. Followers might also recall this post when we took Alli to see her first circus. It was a day that I'll never forget as long as I live, and I can't wait to take Aiden to his first circus as well. The pride I felt that day was deeply rooted in the years of pride I had growing up as child who was actually related to the originators of the circus everyone knew.

Aiden should be proud of it for lots of reasons. Not just because it's also his father's middle name, but because there aren't many other people in the world (all 7+ billion of them) who can point to their middle name and say "Yeah, I'm related." Even though the circus is no longer in the family, I hope both Aiden and Alli will someday comprehend what their ancestors created from nothing. Not so they can ride their ancestors coat-tails - but so they understand that if they have a dream worth pursuing, they should stop at nothing to obtain it. And much like the Ringling brothers when they first started out, they'll always have their family's support - even if it is to run off and join the circus.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crying in Surround Sound

The last two days and nights have been rough.

Rough may be an understatement.

Just as we think things are started to fall into somewhat of a "routine", we "kind of" get what to do for Aiden and Alli is growing and thriving, something happens and everything changes. Aiden did not sleep well Monday night, and I was fine with chalking that up to his shots and just knowing he probably needed some extra love and cuddle time. Although, Aiden isn't much of a cuddler. He squirms and fidgets and can't seem to get completely comfortable unless you lay him in his crib, let him squirm around, find his fist, suck a little on it, then he'll fall asleep. (Well, sometimes it's that easy. Other times, add in at least 5-60 minutes of crying in there, then he'll fall asleep.) Alli woke up at 4:30 Tuesday morning too. We aren't sure why, Aiden wasn't crying that much to wake her, and he had just fallen asleep about 3ish. Needless to say, we had a bear of a little girl that morning. Everything was a crisis and meltdowns were coming one after another. It wasn't even 7:30am and she had thrown 3 or 4 temper tantrums. Whew.

Last night we did the whole bedtime routine for both babies, Alli was in bed and asleep by 7:45. Thank goodness. Onto Aiden. He was fed, changed, burped by 7:30ish too but just would not fall asleep. He stayed up until nearly 10, until he finally just passed out. At about 3ish, he started crying again, so after he was fed, changed and burped again, he was wide awake. He was laying on the changing table coo-ing and squeaking. It was really sweet and it almost made me forget that it was 3:45am. But, anyone who knows me knows I love my sleep, so I started getting frustrated. Come on Mr. Baby... it's the middle of the night, go back to sleep! Eventually he did, so back to bed I went by 4:30ish. Before we know it, it's 5:45 and we start to hear whimpers from Alli's room. What the heck? She usually is up between 6:15 and 7, these last few days of waking up before 6 has not been cool. So, Eric waited to see if she'd fall back asleep, and by 6:15 no such luck. She was still crying and whimpering. He took her downstairs and then I have no idea what happened. All I know is she started screaming, crying, sobbing, flailing, you name it... she was doing it. She was inconsolable. We couldn't hold her, touch her, get near her. I took her back to her crib, feeling helpless and frustrated. Eric and I sat on the floor of our bedroom with tears in our eyes. At that point, you can't help but wonder if your kids are normal? Are they okay? You turn to good ole reliable google and search to see if other parents ever go through the same thing. You text your own mom at 6am saying you're worried your kids aren't normal or something is wrong with them. You and your husband sit there holding each other wondering where you went wrong. Why do people even have babies?!

Then, after you've given her a good long while to calm down, you go get her from her room. And it's like the Tiny Terrorist has left her body. She smiles, says Hi mama! Hi Dada. Hi woof woof! Hi bubbles! Bubbles!! Ousssside?? OK sure, let's go outside. She squeals with delight and claps and says "yay!" She jumps out of your arms and grabs a ball while throwing it around the living room yelling "ball!! ball!!", laughing and giggling. Then, she wants to color. As she's coloring, she grabs each crayon and tells me what color it is. "Purple! Booo! Geeeen! Red! Yelllo! Pink! Back! Bown!" I'm so in awe of this little creature. How can she be so trying and so exhausting and so amazing and so cute and so wonderful all within hours of each other?

As soon as Ms. Sunshine is feeling better and happy, Mr. Man starts crying upstairs. So begins the cycle. Somehow, someday, we'll get through all this. Parenting is a challenge. And some days, it's a really challenging challenge and some days it feels like a challenge that will never ever end but always remember: IT DOES. Be glad the bad days end but remember the good ones do too. Today will end, tomorrow will end, your children's youth will end. It will end and you will wonder why you didn't enjoy more of it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Months Old

Aiden turned two months old today! I can and can't believe it's already been two months. We have had quite a few hurdles to get through with little man, but hopefully, we're on the up swing of things. His reflux has gotten a lot better. He still spits up quite a bit, but he doesn't seem uncomfortable like he used to. And, the doctor said today that if he still continues to do well by his four month check up, we may be able to stop the Zantac completely. We'll see how things go. In other news at the doctor, besides waiting for over an hour (good lord!), he seems perfectly healthy and on track. Here are the stats:

The Stats:
Weight: 11 lbs 12 oz (53rd percentile) *this is close to what Alli weighed at 4 months!* haha
Length: 23 1/4 inches (64th percentile)
Head: 15 1/2 inches (36th percentile)

Diaper Size: 1's
Clothing Size: 0-3 months
Shoe Size: No shoes yet, just baby socks
Food: All mommy milk
Naps: He really doesn't have much of a schedule/routine yet.. but I know once he gets to daycare, they'll whip him into shape! For now, he usually naps one big nap right around 1-3ish. Other than that, he's pretty much a cat-napper throughout the day
Sleep: Asleep for the night by 7:30-8pm, up between 1-2am to eat, then back to sleep until 5:30 or 6 to eat, then back to sleep until 8ish.
Teeth: None yet :) He has found his hands though and loves to suck on his fists.
Sounds: A lot more coo-ing these days!
Play: Can't really do too much yet! Just hangs out in the bumbo once in awhile, hates the swing, hates his carseat, hates the pacifier, loves being held. And swung around in the exact same motion the swing does, but, don't you dare put him down in the swing! :)
New buddies: Met his teachers at daycare this past week, met Simon, Porter & Lily and hung out with due date buddy Hunt Cain too!
Our little man is getting to be a great sleeper, we've consistently had about a week or so of 5-6 hour stretches, and he's smiling and happy a lot of the time... although he is still quite a crier. But, I'm okay with admitting that my baby isn't perfect. He's still adorable and we love him so much!

Little Big Girl

This little girl big girl is growing up so fast. She amazes us with how quickly she picks up on things and how much she already knows. I don't even know where to begin so I guess I'll just start listing some things she's doing these days...

  • She counts. Usually if you start her off by saying "one..." she goes on, "twwwwwwwoo, treee, fur, fiiiive, six, she skips seven (seven is kind of hard), eight, niiiiiine, tin!"
  • She recognizes letters and numbers. A lot of them. Her favorite letter is R. Not sure why. And her favorite number is two. Maybe because that's how old she'll be soon??
  • Animal sounds are so much fun. Moo-ing, oinking, woof-woof-ing, meowing, quacking, who-who-ing (owls), caw-caw-ing (birds/seagulls/anything that flies), sssss-ing (snake), baaa-ing... those are all favorites. She can say cat, puppy, pig, cow... and airplane. Not sure that counts in this category, but it's something that flies and something she points to in the sky. It's funny. And speaking of transportation, yelling "car!!" is a favorite too... specifically my car, so she can watch Ellllllllmooooooo.
  • She tells us what she wants. And is very vocal if we don't quite understand, or we don't quite give her what it is she actually wanted. "Cup!" OK. Give her a cup of milk. "Juice!" Oh, OK. Say please? She will pat her belly, her sign language for please. Good enough. Say thank you? "Tank tu gebadabudahh" - ?? That last word? We aren't sure what it is, but there's always something added to the end of thank you... weird.
  • She throws away trash like it's the most fun game ever. It's so adorable. (and helpful! especially when it's a dirty Aiden diaper or something!) Next, Eric will be  teaching her to grab him a beer or something.
  • Every morning, it's "Hi dada!", and as he's walking out of her room she yells down the hall, "HI mama! HI baby! HI woof woof!" It's her routine and we love it. Same goes for bedtime, but it's "buh-bye" to everyone.
  • She loves the water. We took her to the beach and to the pool this weekend (rough life this little girl has!), and she just has no fear. She jumps right into the waves, walks right into the pool and wants to go further and further.
  • "Color!" "Oussssideeee" "Bubbles" "Up!" (for you to pick her up) "Ouch" (for couch) - these are some of her favorite things.
  • Of course, "Elmooo" "A-Pooh" "Roo" and "Baby" are her favorite stuffed animals, and she'll bring you each and every one of them, line them up, and then go put each one back too.
  • Speaking of lining things up, she is a pro at stacking blocks. She does it very carefully, methodically, and pats each block on the top after she stacks it, kind of giving it praise for staying put.
  • She runs. Everywhere. All the time.
  • She knows so many body parts. Where they are, what they are called, and will also point them out on other people or stuffed animals. She brushes Pooh's teeth while we brush hers at night before bed, and brushes Elmo's hair while we brush hers. It's adorable.
I'm sure I'm forgetting things, I just want to put as many things down in writing as I can. I know these days will fly by us and we will soon be looking back, wondering, when did she start becoming such a little person?? I think we're already getting there...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Four Years

Another anniversary! Dad-E and I "celebrated" four years of marital bliss yesterday by... umm... having Bojangles for lunch (classy), taking a nice trip out (to daycare to pick up Alli & introduce Aiden to the teachers), having a warmed up frozen dinner, and getting both kids to bed and asleep by 8:30. Oh, and we were asleep by 8:31.

Cheers to another year... It may not be glamorous, but it's our life and I wouldn't want to share it with anyone else.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Things I learned this weekend

1. Cleaning out a child potty is eerily similar to a bedpan... which I'm obviously a pro at, being a nurse. (On a positive note, me cleaning it out obviously means it was used...!! Alli stood up after her bath, said "poop!", and we promptly put her on the potty. It was actually a tiny bit more complicated, but we'll leave it at that. She was praised for telling us she had to go, and she is learning more and more each day!)

2. Sleeping for 5-6 hours straight feels like 12 hours when you're "used to" 2-3 hours for the past 8 weeks.

3. Smiles, coos, babbles, and sweet big sister kisses are wonderful things to witness. Especially if all you're used to lately is crying.

4. Always make sure you bring wipes to the pool. And if you realize you don't have them, either position yourself conviently next to another couple with kids in diapers, or, make the trip back home to get them. Yes, it's that important.

5. Every baby is so different. It doesn't matter that we just went through this baby stage very recently. Aiden is so different than Alli. He likes to be held differently. He likes to fall asleep differently. Oh, this list could go on. But, we're learning.

6. Getting the grocery shopping done on Thursday is wonderful. Not having to worry about going to the grocery over the weekend was very refreshing to me. I enjoyed it.

7. Alli is destined to be a gymnast. Or something acrobatic. She tumbles on our bed and our couch like she's competing to be in the Olympics. She's so determined and dedicated to what she wants to do (or, some may call it stubborn). She does a somersault almost all by herself... she really has no fear. (great!)

8. Never be afraid to admit you need help. In life, in explosive poop situations where I'm flagging Dad-E down out back while he's cutting the grass to help me clean up Aiden's royal mess, etc...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

If I could be anyone for a day & night, it would be...


I would wake up in the morning, yell down for someone to start getting my breakfast and milk cup prepared. Then, someone would come grab me out of bed and carry me downstairs, where my cup and food are handed to me while I catch a favorite show and snuggle with Dad-E. Then, someone would change me, put a cute outfit on me, possibly do my hair, and then I'd get to ride in a cool car on my way to hang out with all my friends.

I'd get to school, learn a few things, but mainly just play and play. Then, someone would tell me to sit down so they could "make me" eat the food they'd prepared. Next, I'd be told to lay on a cot and sleep. For two hours. Or more. Whatever I want. Soon after, someone would come get me to take me back home. Once I get there, I'd get to play some more, hang out with my family and my dog, possibly go for a stroll around the neighborhood (where I'd ride in my cozy coupe, or stroller, or wagon, whichever I prefer), and take in the sights. I'd obviously be wearing my cool girl sunglasses and relaxing as someone pushed me around. Then, it's probably time for someone to get my meal prepared and serve it to me again. After that, I get to play some more. Possibly head outside to watch the bubbles (they definitely make my day), and maybe a quick ride on the swing or down the slide. Oh, and if it's a weekend day, it'd probably be even better. I'd get to go to the pool, beach, playground, or somewhere fun and entertaining. All of which I wouldn't have to plan or prepare at all for, I'd just play and play until someone told me it was time to go, and then we'd go! But anyway, on to the best part.

My bubble bath is all set and ready, and someone just puts me in and rubs me down. My hair gets washed next, and then an amazing lotion rubdown. My hair gets brushed, and so do my teeth, and then, someone reads a few stories to me as I cuddle up with my best buds, Pooh, Elmo, Baby, Roo, etc. Whoever I feel like cuddling with, they're all there. The very best part would be next... someone lays me in my bed, covers me with a blanket, turns down the lights, and tells me to sleep. Sleep! Sleep for 11-12 hours. They'd even want me to sleep later if I would.

And boy, if I was Alli for a day, I'd definitely take them up on that offer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Date night with Philly V

Every Tuesday in June at the new Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, they have a "Party in the Park" concert with different bands/singers and food and drinks. It's free and when we found out that one of our all-time faves, Phil Vassar, was going to be there, we definitely wanted to go. So, thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law and her boyfriend, Dad-E and I got a rare date night out. This definitely isn't the first time Katie has watched Alli Ru, so she has her night time routine pretty much down. But, she was warned that Aiden was going to be a little more difficult, especially because he doesn't really have a "routine" yet. She even brought an extra pair of clothes... I guess she was warned he's known to spit up =)

Eric and I have seen Phil Vassar three times now, and he truly gets better every time... mainly because we can relate to so many of his songs. His newest hit, "Don't Miss Your Life" had us both in tears the first time we saw it. You can watch it here... have your tissues ready.

"Just Another Day in Paradise" is another one of his hits that just sums up our life these days...

And here are our pictures of him at the concert.. it was a perfect night, perfect weather, beautiful back drop of the bridge, sunset, and Philly V. And being there with my partner, best friend, other half... knowing that we'll get through all these hard times as a team, just made it that much sweeter.


It's safe to say that poor Aiden has had a pretty rough first 7 weeks of life. He seems to be uncomfortable a lot, and when my mom was down here (again... yes.. she drove 12 hours by herself again because her poor daughter was having a meltdown!) she firmly suggested we take him back to the doctor. We started the Zantac about a week ago now, and I can definitely see improvement. He spits up a LOT less, he is more comfortable, less squirmy, and has times where he'll just "chill" and "relax" on the mat, in his swing, in the stroller, etc. I've caught a few smiles on camera, and we're seeing more and more each day how happy of a baby he can be, thank goodness! I am hoping the worst days are behind us. Now, if he'd only get the memo to sleep more through the night...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quick update, photo style

I don't have a lot of time to post at the moment (no way, right?), so here are just a few pictures of what we have been up to lately... and how much the A team is growing & changing every day...

Aiden met Gma & Gpa Meibers

Getting bigger and more aware of things!

Goofball got an Elmo costume from Gma C

Big sister loves her lil bro... gma C back to help out...

She also made sure Eric got all this mulching done, house looks great!

Alli "helped" with the mulching

We had our first dinner out as a family of 4, with Gma C's help

Calming bath

TV time for the boys

My lil princess <3

Loves loves LOVES swimming now

A team in the wagon on the way home from the pool...