Monday, April 29, 2013

Big Night… and Big Day for the Little Man

When Mommy B and I moved into our house, the bedroom across the hall from our master bedroom had been kind of designated as the “guest bedroom” – mostly because that’s what the previous owner had used it for and had left us some furniture in it to be used as such. However, for the last three years or so that room had become the nursery for both our babies. Before Alli was born, we had moved all the furniture (including a queen-size bed) down the hall to a previously unused bedroom and that room had become the guest bedroom. We painted, decorated and put together all the necessary baby furniture that you’d expect in a nursery in the “room across the hall.” Alli lived in that room from when she was two days old until she was just over a year old. Then Aiden lived in that room from when he was three days old… until yesterday.

That’s right, yesterday afternoon Mommy B and I pulled the ‘ol (and last) switcheroo – we moved Aiden’s furniture out and the guest furniture back in, then moved Aiden’s furniture down the hall across from his big sister. Now both children have their own “big kid” rooms! We did this for a couple reasons: 1) both rooms at that end of the hallway almost mirror each other – they are the same size and have the same walk-in closets, 2) they are both the same distance from the 2nd bathroom, and 3) they are both further away from our bedroom. After spending the last two and a half years within whispering distance of both our infants, both Mommy and I agreed that a little distance would be in the best interest of all parties involved. OK, so I’m exaggerating on the closeness of the “room across the hall”, but the fact that we gave up on the whole baby monitor thing after about three days should serve as evidence enough that we were looking forward to getting both kids to the other end of the hallway.

And last night, my little man handled the change like a champ. He was probably tired from the weekend’s festivities, which means we could have put him down on a bed of nails and he would have been sawing logs within a couple minutes. Regardless, he didn’t make a sound all night and slept until about 6:15am! Much like his big sis, he took the whole thing in stride and didn’t seem too out of sorts when he woke up this morning in a “new” place. I’m hoping this trend continues and he grows into his new room much like his sister has grown into her room. After all, these are the rooms they’re going to have until we either move to a new house or they go off to college!

I have to admit; it was a little strange moving all his furniture out and taking the decorations off the walls yesterday. I thought back to the countless days and nights I spent in that room for various reasons – moving furniture out, cleaning, painting, constructing baby furniture, decorating, replacing the ceiling fan, troubleshooting why only that room didn’t have electricity, moving girl clothes out and moving boy clothes in, redecorating, and most of all, the number of hours sacrificed rocking a sad/sick/tired child back to sleep. I’m surprised there isn’t a circle of worn carpet from the incalculable laps Mommy B and I logged in that room with a baby on our shoulder. I’ve seen every hour of the day on the clock that sits on the nightstand next to the rocking chair. A handy tip to any soon-to-be parents out there: think long and hard about how you decorate the nursery, because the only people who will care about how it looks will be you, at 3:30am, when you’re sleep deprived beyond belief. Maybe you’ll think twice about that smiling clown doll you were contemplating putting on the dresser exactly eye-level and opposite the nursing chair. Just sayin’…

Today is also a big day for Aiden, as he starts his first official day in the toddler classroom at school. This means a flurry of changes for him – from spending lots of time outside (which might possibly be his all-time favorite thing) on the toddler playground, to sleeping on a cot during nap time instead of a crib! Over the last week or so, they’ve been bringing him down to this classroom so he could get used to the new surroundings. He already knows the teacher because she’s usually helping out in his “old” classroom in the mornings when I drop him off, so that’ll make things easier for him. They’ll also begin making more intricate artwork that he’ll get to bring home and show us at the end of each month. I remember this was about the time when Alli really started to blossom and expand her knowledge and vocabulary. Now, I understand that boys are different and learn at a different pace than girls do, but I can tell he’s a smart kid already – just by the way he annoys his big sister.

He’s being walking on his own for almost two months now and he’s so curious and loves to explore (especially outside). I know that being in the toddler class will just open up even more possibilities and opportunities for him since he’ll be able to put those walking skills to good use. I’m hoping the changes he’s gone through yesterday and today aren’t going to throw him for too much of a loop, but I know it’s all part of the growing process. Hopefully his newfound freedom in the new classroom will make him even happier and willing to learn, even if that means getting dirtier and some bumps and bruises along the way.

Two Point Five

Alli "turned" 2.5 years old this weekend.

And she's every bit of 2 & 1/2 that you could imagine.

Although, I have to say, the "terrible 2's" haven't really been as awful as the terrible 18 month-20 month-ish period. Hopefully, we went through the terrible 2's early? Or, as most other parents have told us, 3 is worse than 2. So, we're preparing ourselves for that when it comes.

She's been a pretty great big sister and I think it's safe to say she probably doesn't really remember life without Aiden being around. As soon as she wakes up each morning, she asks about him. She gives him a kiss before bed each night, and every time we give her something to eat, she always says, "Aiden too!", like we're going to forget to feed him. Trust me, Aiden wouldn't let us forget him either, Alli, you don't need to worry about reminding us!

Her favorite phrases these days, besides the obvious "I do it!" and "I got it!", are "Wait for me!!" as she runs after us no matter what we're doing. She speaks very clearly and in full sentences a lot of the time. For example, this morning, she clearly said, "Mommy, doggy needs outside to go potty, okay?" Okay, gotcha Alli. She has told me on a few occasions, "That's not nice, mommy. You go sit in time out." Goodness.

We're pretty sure that singing of some sort is in her future. Here we come American Idol. She sings all the time. In the mornings before we come get her out of bed, she's usually belting out one song or another. When she's laying in bed before going to sleep, she's singing at the top of her lungs, too. All throughout the day, you can find her singing songs she's learned at home or at school, or even making up her own songs. She wants you to sing along sometimes, but other times, she'll tell you who is supposed to be singing... like her current favorite is "The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie. If I start to sing it, she says, "No mommy!! Kermie and Fozzie sing it!!"

The pottying has gotten to an all-time amazing level, where I can't even remember the last accident she had. Yesterday, when we were playing outside, she even ran to the side door in the garage, opened it, ran inside and into the bathroom without even telling us where she was going or what she was doing. I quickly followed after her, to find her in the bathroom with her pants down, attempting to scoot up on the potty. When she saw that I had followed her, she kind of got upset, and said, "I go potty, mommy!!" So, I helped her up and stood outside the door while she finished. I wish she would give me the same respect when I'm going potty, but I think she thinks she needs to help me more than I need to help her.

She continues to amaze us with her knowledge, her memory, and her ability to do anything she puts her mind to.

We love you Miss Alli Ru, thank you for being a pretty darn good kid. (Now, don't do anything crazy to make me wish I never said this...! ha!)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

12 Month Stats

Aiden went for his one year check up last week, and unfortnuately, we found out he was having the start of an ear infection! Thankfully, we caught it right before it was even symptomatic and got started on our 10 day regimen of antibiotics that evening. We weren't able to get any of his one year shots though, so we'll have to go back in a few weeks for those. We also started some Zyrtec to take at night for allergy type symptoms, not sure if he really has allergies or it's just that season right now in Charleston, but hopefully it helps his runny nose and cough he's been having recently. Ms. Kelly commented on how much he talks and babbles, he was chatting non-stop while we were in the exam room. She was also very impressed with his walking and balance... what a difference from the last well visit we had, he has made such progress in only a few short months. He has developed quite the little personality, and is such a ham. He loves attention whenever he can get it, and he still tries to keep up with his sister in all aspects. It's adorable seeing them together.

In "school" news... he got a letter sent home this past week that after careful consideration, he will be moving up to the first of the toddler rooms next week! He spent a few days there playing with the new kids and playing outside (his all-time favorite!), and his first official day spent there with Ms. Linda will be on Monday. We couldn't be happier for him, he is going to love being with other kids who are walking, running, learning, and being outside!

A happy and sad note to mention during this 12 month update is the fact that we are officially done with bottles. I can't believe it, and it sort of happened without warning and overnight. He had been having trouble with his bottles recently as they are medium flow nipples and the milk wasn't coming out fast enough. Instead of buying fast flow nipples, I just gave him his straw cup that night before bed, and he chugged it happily. The next morning when he got up, Dad-E gave him a cup instead of a bottle and he happily gulped it down. So, just like that, the transition occurred. I am thankful it wasn't a fight or a battle to give up the bottle, but I am sad that just like that, he's no longer a baby. I think the only thing keeping me thinking he's still my "baby" is the diapers. But I mean, if he wants to start going on the big boy potty, I won't be sad... I don't think?

So, let's get to the good stuff:

The Stats:Weight: 21 lbs 6 oz (51st percentile)
Length: 31 1/4 inches (88th percentile)
Head: 18 1/2" inches (88th percentile)
Diaper Size: 3's
Clothing Size: 12 months, some 12-18 months like Old Navy brand, but still some 9 month shirts too
Shoe Size: 4's - 5's
Food: Everything. He would eat non-stop if we let him. He drinks whole milk 3-4 times a day, water in between, full meals and snacks. He loves popsicles, hotdogs, corn, fruit, and stealing his sisters Cheerios (even though he has the exact same kind in his bowl too...)
Naps: One 2 hour nap while at daycare, still 2 sometimes during the day when she's home with us
Sleep: Bed by 6:45-7ish, up by 6ish
Teeth: Only six still... hopefully more to come...!
Sounds: Dada, "uhhh ohh", nanana, and I think he probably can say more, but he thinks it's the funniest thing when I try to have him say "mama" to say "DADA!" back, like it's some kind of joke....!
Play: Being OUTSIDE! Walking everywhere, any and all push toys, especially his new mower, hanging out in the stroller or wagon, being held is still a favorite too, rough-housin' with dad and sister, rolling around on daddy and laying his head on daddy's belly, playing with and trying to be around Alli all the time!
New buddies: Mommy's due date buddy Casey came to the birthday party with her lil man, Hunt, it was the first time they'd hung out since they were only a few weeks old!, Harper, and all his new buddies in classroom 1!

Now, the fun begins. Chasing two crazies all around the house, and seeing his little personality develop more and more. Seeing them interact and grow has already been amazing, I can't wait to see what's to come.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Aiden Digs Being One

Aiden's big birthday was last week.

He's officially a one year old.

We had his birthday bash this past Saturday, with family, friends, and neighbors all in attendance. My mom and grandma made the 12 hour drive down from Findlay, and Gena, Rob & Anneliese came down from Charlotte to celebrate too. Our neighbors Harper and Lily, along with their parents, lil Hunt and his parents, Simon and his mom, and Eric's parents, sister, and her boyfriend were all here too. It felt kind of like a tornado sweeping through our house, with kids running around and everyone visiting and mingling... it was a huge success!

We had a construction/dump truck/"Aiden Digs Being One" themed party, complete with a "borrowed" road cone that Dad-E "got" along the side of the road to invite the guests in. I made "dirt" (dirt pudding) served in a dump truck, the dining room table was decked out like a road, and we also served "concrete mix" (sausage dip), "gravel" (M&M's), and 2x4's (pretzel rods). I had a lot of fun decorating for it and getting everything ready with the help of my mom.

After a little "incident" involving a fall and big fat lip, Aiden passed out and missed the first 20 mintues or so of his own party. Showing up fashionably late, he was a ham the rest of the time. He dove right in to his cake, and had a blast clapping along with everyone and tearing in to his presents. The other kids at the party helped out with the present opening too, which made it fun for everyone.

Thank you to everyone who made his first birthday party the best one yet. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"One" ball of emotions...

Well, like Dad-E mentioned, today's the big day. My little baby is no longer a baby. And he's no longer little, either. He races around the house, getting into everything, becoming an ornry little booger, and developing his own personality. I am so happy for him... but at the same time, sad. We are pretty positive we're only having two children, meaning, this is it. No more baby stage, no more baby cuddles, no more sleepless nights (ha! who I am kidding...) But truly, those stages and moments end before you even realize they're ending. I never really knew when the "last time" I was breast feeding Aiden would be, and what about the last time he slept on my chest? Thankfully, he's a great cuddler and still does fall asleep on us every once in awhile, but, I know those days are few and far between. I want him to be independent, but I want him to need me.

The last time my baby turned one (that baby being Alli), I knew that I had another baby on the way (we were pregnant with Aiden at that time...). The realization that there are no more babies, that the next stages in life are the ones I need to be focusing on, the fun times we'll have as a family, traveling, vacationing, etc., is still a difficult concept for me. But, I'm sure it's okay to be emotional. After all, your baby only turns one once.

How fast a year goes…

A year ago today, I lived in a much different word. A year ago, we were freshly celebrating the one-year anniversary of killing the most wanted man on the planet, Osama bin Laden. A year ago, we still weren’t sure if the first African-American president would be elected to another term as the leader of the free world. A year ago, many people thought the world was going to end just because the Mayan calendar was running out. A year ago, most people didn’t know where Aurora, Colorado, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, or Newtown, Connecticut were on a map. A year ago, Neil Armstrong, Andy Griffith, Norman Schwarzkopf, Mike Wallace and Ernest Borgnine still walked among us. A year ago today, we lost TV personality Dick Clark to a heart attack at the age of 82. One year ago today, I was working for the same company that had hired me three weeks off my last college final.

One year ago today, I thought life was hectic enough having one child and a full-time job. That’s probably because work had become a 24/7 job. I wasn’t particularly happy with my current position at the time, but nothing could take away from the joy that I was about to experience.

In the wee morning hours of April 18th, 2012, Mommy B was having some rather intense pregnancy pains. Since we basically had to force Alli out of the womb, Mommy B just thought these were the “fake” Braxton Hicks contractions she had heard so much about. She had never really experienced true labor pains before as she had her epidural in and flowing by the time Alli was evicted from her almost-10-month apartment. She had been having some shorter and less severe bouts earlier in the week, but that night/morning they were especially painful for her. At about 2am or so, she left the bedroom and told me that she was going to try to lie on the couch downstairs to get more comfortable. At 9½ months pregnant, that’s almost an impossibility. She had even called Grandma C to tell her how much pain she was in. Mother’s intuition struck, and Grandma C was in the car by 4am to make the 12-hour drive from Ohio to Charleston.

I dozed off for a couple more hours, but not fully asleep as I was still concerned about how my lovely bride was holding up downstairs. My alarm went off around 5:30am and I jumped in the shower to get ready for the work day, just as Mommy B came back upstairs to let me know that she was in pretty intense pain and she thought we should go to the hospital. 2 problems with that – 1) Alli’s school didn’t open until 7am and we didn’t have anyone around to watch her while Mommy B got checked out, and 2) I didn’t have my work laptop at home and therefore had no way of letting my manager (and my 50+ clients) know that I was going to be unavailable for the foreseeable future. Luckily, we had a hospital bag packed already and my work (and Alli’s school) were on the way to the hospital.

So I made a plan – we would all get in the car, dash by my work and grab my laptop, throw Alli at her teachers as soon as the school doors were unlocked and book it to the hospital. And we did just that. I pulled into work and have never flown up 8 flights of stairs faster in my life. I sprinted to my cubicle, grabbed my laptop and was back in the car before my door shut. Even Mommy B was impressed – and that’s saying something for a woman who has been dating a track star for 9 years and was in full-blown labor. We headed over to Alli’s school right as they were opening up. I handed Alli to her teacher and she said, “Is it time?” I yelled over my shoulder, “We’re on our way to the hospital! One of us will pick Alli up later!” I jumped back in the car, looked at Mommy B and said, “Can you make it?” She looked back at me, knowing we only had a couple miles to go up the road to the hospital and said, “DRIVE!” Well, yes ma’am!

After dodging some rush-hour traffic and a moron driving like he was out for a Sunday stroll even though it was 7:05am on a weekday, I swung the car into one of the Expectant Mother parking spots in front of the hospital and we ran inside. Mommy B had called ahead before we left the house, so they were expecting us. Right away, they got us checked in and the doctor came in to see how things were going. Again, since Mommy B had only been 3 centimeters dilated with Alli and had to force labor to start with Pitocin, we had no idea what to expect. Yeah, this time was a little different. Try 6 centimeters and her water about to break…

Well, holy crap… this was really happening. Today.

The doctors put Mommy B’s epidural in and we were ready to rock and roll. I spent the next hour or so getting on my laptop and informing work that I wouldn’t be into the office that day nor the next few days. Mommy B got on it as well to update Facebook and whatnot. And just like her labor with Alli, this one went just as textbook. No complications and just a few minutes of actual “pushing” and a year ago today, Aiden Ringling, my baby boy, was brought into this world.

While I was holding Aiden (with a permanent grin on my face), I couldn’t help but think about how different the process had been that day versus when we went through it 18 months earlier with Alli. When Alli was born we didn’t know her gender beforehand, so I was anxious and excited at the same time. It was like Christmas – I knew it was coming (even to the day, since we had to be induced) but I didn’t know what I was going to get. In addition, we had never been through the process before so I was nervous about labor complications and all the other stuff a soon-to-be-first-time-parent thinks about. So when she came out and I saw she was a she, I was over-the-moon excited, surprised, relieved, and still somewhat nervous about what lie ahead. She had all her fingers and toes, check. She had no issues breathing, check. Knowing that one day she would be a teenager… oh crap. Easy there Dad, one day at a time.

When Aiden was born, the script was totally flipped. We already knew Aiden’s gender (even though no one else did), but didn’t know that he was going to show up 2 weeks early. So once I finally calmed down from the rush to the hospital, I was actually able to relax and enjoy his birth. Not saying that I didn’t enjoy Alli’s birth, but I was in a constant battle of nerves and excitement that day being a first-timer and not knowing her gender. With Aiden, the nerves had subsided (for the most part) and I was able to really drink in the whole experience. With experience and knowledge on my side, I walked around the labor room with a grin already attached to my face. And when he finally came out 4 hours after we had gotten to the hospital, thank goodness again – no complications. He had all his fingers and toes, check. He had no issues breathing, check. Knowing that my family was finally complete, double-check.

Happy birthday Aiden! I love you big guy and I’m proud of how far you’ve come in a year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sucker #1 and Sucker #2

As Alli and Aiden get a little older, it’s getting increasingly difficult to chronicle their development. Not because the things they do now are harder to describe, but more so because they are learning and doing new things at such a fast pace it’s hard to keep up with it all. Back when they were babies it was easy to create a post about their increased milk intake, first words and first steps. Now, Alli’s vocabulary is so extensive that half the time I’m talking to her it feels like I’m talking to an adult. The girl knows more Spanish at two and a half than I knew at 18. And Aiden is the happiest little walking man I’ve ever seen. That’s all he wants to do now – is be put down so he can practically sprint around the kitchen.

As they get older, the physical milestones become fewer and far between. And I’m not about to attempt to list all the words she knows… I’ll be following her around all week and no one really wants to read that. However, the characteristics that Mommy B and I can make note of are their personality changes. And boy, do these kids have some personality already…
Alli is becoming more and more confident in what she says, and is starting to learn the potential impact of what she says to certain people. Like when she says, “No Mommy, it’s not nice!” she knows that we’re just going to tell her to be nice in return. We’re really trying to work on her manners early, like saying “please” when she asks for something she wants. She’s already mastered “Thank you!” after we give her what she was asking for, but only after she asks nicely.

There are certain times she is so sweet to her little brother, and other times she’s definitely not. I’ll ask her to share her Cheerios with him while they’re riding to school together, and now that they’re both facing the same way it makes the hand-off a little easier for both of them. Other times she gets so upset when Aiden steals a handful you’d think he was twisting her arm. I know that’s typical with siblings, but it sure does make things entertaining sometimes.

Aiden’s vocabulary is still pretty much limited to “Dadada” and “Uh oh!” However, Mommy B and I have a pretty good idea what he’s thinking (most of the time, anyway).It’s almost like we can hear his inner monologue – if he knew any words. As any parent knows, there are just some times when your child whines for no good reason. You’ve done everything you can to make sure they’re comfortable – changed their diaper, changed their clothes to make sure they’re not too hot or cold, fed them, burped them, rubbed them, the list goes on. But for whatever reason, they just feel like whining. I’m not talking about crying here… there are no tears flowing during one of these episodes. I’m talking about the “someone pick me up and just hold me” whine, as I like to call it. Aiden has this whine down to an art. We’ve heard it so many times now that we don’t even bat an eye when he’s tugging on our pant leg whining away.

However, there are also those times when you can’t help but to look down and see how little and helpless they look… so what do you do? You do what every parent hates themselves for later – you pick them up. That’s when Mommy B and I think we have his inner monologue down pat: “Haha, Daddy picked me up! I knew he would! Sucker #1, right here.” I will say there are times that I’m able to ignore him to the point where he’ll stop pulling on my shorts and go bug Mommy B. “Oh, you’ll pick me up instead? Haha, Sucker #2!”

I’ll be the first to admit it; I am kind of a sucker when it comes to my kids. They melt my heart on a daily basis and it breaks my heart to see them sad, even if I know it’s complete BS… which most of the time it is. But what can I say, they’re so darn cute that I just want to see them happy. I’m just hoping I can stand firm when they get a little older. After all, they won’t always be able to be held by Mommy and Daddy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Congratulations and Prayers...

I know this guy has been mentioned before in our blog... as he is a pivotal part of why Eric and I are where we are today. Ryan, aka "Big Worm", went to WSU with me, introduced me to Eric, has been Eric's best friend since high school, was the best man in our wedding, and Eric was the best man in his. He and his wonderful wife Ellen traveled to be at our baby shower, and find time to come see us each visit back home to Ohio. They have always been so happy and supportive of us, and we were over the moon for them when they announced their pregnancy.

This past weekend, they welcomed little baby Morgan Lee into the world. Although she came quite a bit sooner than expected, she is doing well and is in the best care possible at this time. We are so happy and want to congratulate them for bringing this precious girl into the world.

We love you Ryan, Ellen, & baby Morgan.

Easter Weekend

Last year for Easter weekend, we were painting my belly like an Easter egg in eager anticipation of Aiden's upcoming arrival. I cannot believe how fast a year has gone, and that instead of being an inside baby, he's a walking almost-one-year-old...

Alli and Aiden both caught some sort of stomach bug, and although for the most part, they were still in great moods and great spirits, Dad-E and I were exhausted of cleaning up Aiden's nasty diapers and running Alli to the bathroom quite often. For the record, she has really done amazing with the potty, and I'm surprised, even when she's been sick, she doesn't regress or have accidents. {So proud!} Anyway, despite the nasty poops, we had a great time decorating eggs. Alli "decorated" by dipping each egg in each color, turning most of them a lovely shade of brown. Aiden "decorated" by trying to eat every egg, even getting a good chomp out of one that made me just about gag. {For those of you who don't know, I don't like eggs. At all.} They had a good time, and the next day, had an even better time searching for the eggs. Alli would yell out a color and run to that egg, and Aiden was trying his hardest to navigate through the yard and catch up to Alli... but also was just more interested in plain old being outside and watching Alli do things. The boy loves being outside, and sure loves his big sister.

We also went to visit the Easter Bunny... which went similarly to our visit with Santa a few months ago, but less tears. The whole ride there, Alli couldn't stop talking... "Easter Bunny!! Easter Bunny! I sit on his lap! I give him a hug!" OK... sure you will. We got there, and she froze. She was so timid and shy, but at least she wasn't completely freaked out. Aiden loved it... but anyone that knows him knows he just loves when anyone is holding him. He's not too difficult to please.
Alli & Aiden with the Easter Bunny, 2013

Easter Bunny, 2012
Easter Bunny, 2011... the only real "happy" one... haha