month one

Eloise is officially one month old today. It seems as if she has always been here. This post is going to be very picture heavy.

This month Eloise got to meet tons of family: all of her grandparents, all of Matt’s siblings (plus one brother-in-law, her godfather), all of her cousins, and my uncle. She still has a few important people to meet including her great-grandfather, my sisters, and the rest of the extended family.

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This month was filled with visitors. When Eloise was born, my dad was here visiting. After he left, we were on our own for a week. Matt had the week off, so we got to spend some good time together as a family. The next week Matt’s mom came to stay with us, and the week after that both my mom and dad came to visit. We are thankful for all of the wonderful help. The last week of the month we were on our own again, with Matt back at work. So far we have survived just fine. I even made dinner every night. Eloise likes to be held just like Greta did, and so the only way I get anything done around here is to put her in the Moby Wrap. She takes nice long naps in it and I get to do the dishes, make meals, play with Greta, and do laundry.

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Eloise is mostly still in the eat, sleep, poop phase. Eloise can be quite cranky sometimes and requires a bit of bouncing to get happy. She loves to be held on her belly across an arm. She can look around and it seems to calm her down most of the time. And so we have oodles of pictures of her laying across my arm.

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Eloise doesn’t love tummy time, but she allows it for a few minutes at a time. At exactly three weeks, she started rolling from her belly to her back. We were totally amazed because we had to teach Greta how to roll that way at 6 months. Eloise apparently is going to be a early mover. The first day she rolled over twice in a row and has pretty much done it once a day since then. She doesn’t do it every time she is on her belly, but she does it often enough to say that she can definitely do it, and it is not a fluke. She definitely has a ways to go before she is a pro, since it usually takes a good couple of minutes to do the full 180. I tried to video it, but the videos were getting way too long, so it got cut into a zillion pieces, and in the end Greta was about to step on her, so I didn’t get the final push. I finally got a video this afternoon of her rolling. It isn’t great, but you get the idea. (also she is crying the whole time, so turn down the speakers unless you want to hear her cry). Basically she rolls onto her on her shoulder, sits and waits, then eventually gets her hips on their side, and then finally flops over to her back.

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Eloise likes to sleep on her side. Often she ends up on her side by herself. I’m guessing soon enough she will figure out how to roll from her back to her belly and then we will be in trouble. Starting at about 3 weeks, Eloise seemed to wake up! She is much more alert these days. She likes to look around. She has even given each of us a few real smiles. We have yet to capture any on camera, but soon I hope.

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Eloise’s hair seems to be lightening by the day. We are thinking she may be blonder than Greta, but only time will tell. Initially we thought Eloise looked quite similar to Greta, but as she grows and changes, we think they look less alike. Yes, there are still similarities, but Eloise seems to look more like my side of the family than Matt’s. Eloise’s skin is super dry, so she hasn’t been getting very many baths. Thankfully she doesn’t stink 🙂 Eloise definitely has been growing. She is pretty darn long. Most 3 month outfits fit her perfectly, although some are a little short in the arms. We won’t find out her new stats until we go to the doctor on Monday afternoon. I’ll be excited to see how much she has grown, since we haven’t been to the doctor since she was 4 days old. Her thighs are definitely starting to chub up.

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This month we have ventured out only a little. Last weekend was our first real trips out of the house. We went to mass (which Eloise slept through in the wrap), on a few walks since the weather was beautiful (75 degrees both Saturday and Sunday), and to the little Italian place up the street. This week I went to the grocery store with both Eloise and Greta.

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Greta continues to love her sister and wants to hold her often. She has even tried to pick her up a couple of times. Basically Eloise is not allowed out of my arms unless I am right there next to her. The only other safe place is the crib, and she isn’t too fond of that. Eloise likes to lay in the Moses basket, but Greta likes to lean over and kiss her, which although sweet, also is a little scary. Eloise spits up a bit. Most of the time it is my fault for not making her eat slower and with more breaks for burps.

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two sleeping girls

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Eloise started out the month not content at all, then she settled in and barely cried at all, now we are back to a good amount of crying. Eloise goes from happy to screaming her head off in an instant and also goes from screaming her head off to sound asleep in an instant. It is very interesting. I will have her in the wrap, ready to sleep, and she will be screaming and then all of a sudden silence, and her eyes are closed and she is sleeping. Bizarre. Can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

meal planning

So I’m sure many of you have been meal planning for years. Me, I just started. Before we had an extra freezer, so there was always plenty of room for food, so I didn’t really need to. Plus going to the grocery was no big deal with one baby. Then we moved here. In addition to getting Greta in the house, I had to get the groceries across the parking lot and up a flight of stairs. Not fun. So at the beginning of this year I started coming up with a weekly dinner plan so that I could get all of the shopping done in one day (Sunday, so I could leave Greta home and so Matt could up his hugely pregnant wife bring the groceries up the stairs). We get all the weekly grocery ads in the mail on either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when the mail person feels up to delivering it. The wonderful thing about this is that the sales don’t usually start until Sunday, which means I can compare to last weeks ads and decided if I need to shop on Saturday or Sunday. We get something like 8 different grocery store ads, so I can compare and decide where to shop. I mainly stick to 2 or 3 stores, but it is nice to have options.

So sometime toward the end of the week I sit down and figure out what we are going to eat for the next week. I have to say I’m really enjoying this. Last year my goal was to try at least one new recipe a week, whether a new main dish or side or dessert, it didn’t matter as long as it was new. I think I did pretty well. I didn’t make something new every week, but I did make new things a lot. I’m hoping to keep that up. So far this week I have already made a couple of new things! I’m always interested to see what other people are eating, so maybe you are interested to see what we are eating. I’m going to try and post our menu most weeks. If I find anything great I’ll let you know. Here is this weeks:

Monday – roast chicken, potatoes with onion soup mix, broccoli
Tuesday – BBQ chicken pizza (green peppers, mushrooms, cheese, chicken, bbq sauce)
Wednesday – chicken burritos (chicken, cooked pinto beans, rice made with chicken broth and cilantro, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream)
Thursday – meatloaf with spaghetti, green beans (original plan) – we have enough chicken burrito stuff left over so we are having that again.
Friday – tilapia & quinoa with cucumber & feta (from this month’s everyday food)
Saturday – leftovers or out to eat

cloth diaper twitter party

On April 22, 2010, there is going to be a big cloth diaper party on twitter. I’m still not 100% sure how these party things work on twitter, but I know you can win some awesome prizes! There are different prizes for different things. First you can pre-register (which I already did). If you pre-register and then tweet about the party you get entered for a certain prize pack. Then there are prizes for those who are new to cloth diapering (not currently using cloth). Lastly there are prizes for those who promote the event (me! me! me!). Plus there are a few other things. Anyways, if you enter you can enter me as your referral so that I get entered to win additional stuff (my twitter name is lucy8180, and the email address I use is lucycontest at gmail.com). So go enter away!

Naming the baby

When I was just pregnant with Eloise I had a dream that the baby was a girl. I also dreamed that we could not come up with a girl name so we just named her Greta. Hey if George Forman can name all of his kids George why can’t I name all of mine Greta. Sure it isn’t my name, but I love it. Thus began the battle to come up with a girls name. We had the same problem when Greta was born. When she was born we had narrowed our girls’ names down to two different names and ultimately waited until she was born to name her. Just like when I was pregnant with Great, we rather quickly decided on a boys name. No, it wasn’t the same boys name we decided on for Greta, but the middle name was the same.

Before I was pregnant with Eloise we decided on a middle name, Kathleen. As most of you probably know, my dear and oldest childhood friend, Katie, died last February after a brave 4.5 year battle with a GBM (brain tumor). We knew then that we would be using her given name, Kathleen, as our next daughter’s middle name. Now we just needed to come up with a first name.

We had several choices that we settled on for a week or two, but then something would come up to make us change our minds. Two of our favorite names had nicknames we couldn’t get past. Maybe some day in the future we will get over those nicknames and use the name for a future daughter (Matt is convinced we will only have girls, so we might have a few more girls’ names to come up with). Ultimately we decided on Eloise because we both loved it and didn’t mind the nicknames. We plan on calling her mostly Eloise, with the occasional Ella, Ellie, or Ellie Bellie thrown in for fun. At this point Greta cannot say Eloise. Sometimes we can get her to say Ellie or Ella, but mostly she calls her baby.

While I was pregnant we tried our name possibilities on Greta to see what she could say. Even though we only mentioned the boy’s name maybe three times, she sometimes insists that is Eloise’s name. Kind of funny 🙂

7 quick takes

1. Did I ever mention that we sold our house? I know I mentioned it on twitter, but not sure if I ever mentioned it here. The whole process was a little odd since we never really knew when the final closing was or anything. Basically we ended up selling our house to the company that handles all the relocation stuff and then they sell it to the buyer the following day or something. Because of President’s Day I’m not quite sure when it actually closed, but we got our check and the house is no longer ours so YAY!! We got a little less than we were hoping, but still not bad considering the market. We got back most of what we put out two years ago, so we only really lost what we paid to live there, which isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. Either way we would have had to pay living expenses, so at least we had a place we liked living.

2. Greta is sleeping much better these days. She and Matt sleep in one room and Eloise and I in the other. Greta can finally nap on her own for the most part (this is the first week this has ever happened). Sometimes I have to go in and help her get back to sleep, but most days she stirs and falls back asleep on her own. She is sleeping pretty good at night most nights. This is good for Matt since he has to go to work every day. Greta usually wakes a time or two at night but is relatively easy to get back to sleep. She has finally given up fighting bedtime for the most part. Most nights and naps she goes to sleep easily and within about 30 minutes. All in all a success.

3. Eloise sleeps pretty good as well, although she does wake to eat at night, which is to be expected. I think I’m probably getting more sleep now than I was when I was pregnant. Between being uncomfortable, having to pee, and Greta waking up, I wasn’t getting much great sleep. I’m not expecting Eloise to sleep through the night any time soon (heck Greta still doesn’t sleep through the night, except one night), but there is hope that she might be a better sleeper than Greta. She is definitely a deeper sleeper than Greta was at this age.

4. Breastfeeding the second time around is much easier. Eloise latched right on and has yet to have trouble latching on. She knows what she is doing, and I know what I’m doing, so all in all, no trouble there at all. There is plenty of milk and Eloise is definitely gaining weight.

5. Here is another video of Greta and Eloise. You can see how Greta lets us know she is done holding Eloise. Also you can see my hand there to catch little Eloise. 🙂

6. Here is a video of Greta making her baby dance.

7. And lastly a video of Eloise doing some tummy time. Can you tell we like videos these days. There are also oodles of new photos over at Flickr.

21 months

Greta recently turned 21 months (I never really know when it is for February since her birthday is the 30th, but she is definitely 21 months now!). This was a very big month for Greta.

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Greta had a huge verbal explosion this month. She now says tons and tons of words. She tries hard to repeat nearly everything we say. She watches how our mouths move to try and mimic them. All of her words aren’t totally clear, but we can understand most of what she says. She has a couple of words that sound very similar so sometimes you have know what the situation is in order to know what word she is using. Greta transitioned from nah to no this month. She says is very matter of factly.

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Since we were on baby watch for most of the month, we had lots of visitors. First my mom came to stay for a week, then my sister, then my dad. My other sister came down for a weekend. Greta loved having someone to pay attention to her all the time and someone new to play with. I think she definitely bonded with all of them a lot. She asks for them often still.

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Greta still loves her baby dolls and whoever is in the house pretty much has the job of changing the dolls’ diapers and clothes multiple times a day. I pulled out a few small onesies so that everyone can have a new outfit to wear. She rocks her babies, wipes their hineys, kisses them, reads to them, pretty much does everything to them. For nap and bedtime she takes all of her babies to bed. They sit at the end of the bed and she reads them a story before we read her stories.

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Greta loves to make faces. She pretty much makes any funny face that Matt does. When you tell her she can’t have something she makes the funniest sad face. She covers her eyes and acts so sad and upset.

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This month Greta really started coloring. While my mom was here she got a fancy coloring and sticker book. At first she was interested in only the stickers, but as time has gone on she has gotten really into coloring as well. She is very good at finding the correct page to place the sticker on (each sticker goes with a certain picture on a certain page). Greta likes to color on other things well, mostly paper thank goodness, but she has colored a little on other things. She even holds the crayons the right way (with her right hand)!

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Greta has become quite interested in the potty. She pretty much always tells us when she needs a new diaper and sometimes wants to sit on the potty. We think if we didn’t just have a baby that she could probably be potty trained. We don’t want to force to many changes on her, plus it is a lot of work with a new baby and potty training. We will keep encouraging her to try, but won’t try to actually teach her to use the potty until this summer probably.

Greta can take most of her clothes off. She can’t get her shirt over her head, but other than that she can get undressed. When she wakes up in the morning, no matter how early, she wants to get dressed. We let her pick out her clothes, which might have been a mistake since now it takes forever and a day for her to decide what to wear. But she usually fights if we don’t let her pick, and clothing is not something I’m going to fight about everyday at this age. As long as it is weather appropriate we are fine with her wearing whatever she wants.

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We had tons of snow this month. I think there were three pretty big storms. Greta doesn’t really love the snow. I’m sure once she can actually walk in it and play in it then she will like it, but for now it is just cold and wet. Maybe next year.

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Greta closes doors and drawers with her legs and hips, which I’m guessing she learned from me. Greta often will pick Albert up. I think he is finally catching on and learning to be on better watch so that it doesn’t happen, but usually he is eating some food off the floor when she goes up behind him and just grabs him.

This should have been mentioned last month, but I forgot. Greta loves to feed us from her play kitchen. She brings us lots of food and water. She also feeds her dolls from the kitchen.

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And last but certainly not least, Greta became a big sister at the end of the month. We weren’t sure how much she would really understand prior to the arrival, but we taught her that babies drink milk and so every time we mentioned the baby, she said and signed milk. When we were heading to the hospital, I told her we were going to the hospital and she said baby?. We think she understood more than we were giving her credit for. When she walked into the hospital room, she had the biggest smile on her face and it never left the whole time she was in the room. She was so excited about the baby. She likes to hold Eloise and point out her body parts. She likes to make sure Eloise is dressed appropriately and picks out Eloise’s clothes and diapers. Greta has had hardly any trouble adjusting at all. At first she wasn’t so sure about me nursing Eloise all the time, but she has definitely gotten better about that. Greta is always kissing Eloise. The first few days were hardest on Greta. Since I passed out, I’m not allowed to pick her up for 2 weeks. This is very hard to stick with. I can hold her but I can’t actually pick her up. The first few days she just cried mama all the time, but wouldn’t let me hold or hug her very much. Everything I asked was no, even though all she was saying was mama. It was definitely hard for both of us. Thankfully as we settle into our new roles she has adapted very well and knows when she gets mama time.

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This month Greta has grown a lot both physically, intellectually, mentally, and emotionally. Her clothes are getting smaller, she feels heavier, she doesn’t seem to have much trouble leaving the house without me. She has become much more attached to Matt than she was before. Hopefully this won’t create too much of a problem when he goes back to work next week.

week 1

We all survived our first week as a family of four. and we should celebrate because the first week did not result in a trip to the hospital like last time! It amazes me how much Eloise has changed in just one little week. She has definitely put on some weight. Her newborn diapers are getting smaller already.

The first two days were pretty much non-stop nursing. While I am completely and totally for breastfeeding, those first few days before the milk arrives are challenging (at least for my babies). Eloise never seemed content the first few days and always wanted to nurse more to fill her little belly. Thankfully by about 48 hours my milk started coming in and so she started becoming more and more content.

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Eloise loves tummy time and can already hold her head up quite well. Her neck muscles have gone from average (according to the newborn nurse) to super (according to Matt and me). She still needs some support, but really can hold her head up on her own.

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Eloise had her first bath at home this week. She didn’t really love it, but I don’t think most babies do at this stage.

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Eloise has very long, narrow feet, toes and fingers. They might chub up, but for now they are skinny and narrow. Eloise has darkish hair, but it is definitely lighter than Greta’s was at birth. Her eyelashes and eyebrows are very light, so her hair may end up lighter than Greta’s. Her eyes are of course blue, but who knows what shade they will end up. Eloise has a little dimple under her right eye. She can really only see it when she is crying right now.

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Greta and Matt went shopping and bought Eloise her first dress. Greta had to look through every single dress in the store before deciding which one to get. She has now worn it two days in a row. Greta adores Eloise and wants to hold her multiple times a day.

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Eloise met lots of family this week. First she met my dad, Grandaddy, since he was staying with us. On Saturday of last weekend most of Matt’s family came down to meet her.

Eloise is a pretty content baby for the time being. She likes to be held (what baby doesn’t), likes to nurse and likes to sleep. She is a pretty deep sleeper, which I guess is to be expected since when she was in the womb it was quite noisy around the house. Eloise gets upset extremely fast, one second she is totally fine, the next she is screaming hysterically. She is a squeaky baby and makes some funny sounds. Here is one funny sound. She sounds like a cat (you need to turn the volume up to hear it). The first time she did it I thought it was Albert, but alas it was Eloise.

Eloise’s birth story

Since Greta was born almost 2 weeks before her due date, I was expecting this little one to arrive early as well. Apparently she had other plans. For the last few weeks of pregnancy I had many false labors. I would have 2-5 contractions and then nothing. They mostly happened at night. I guess the contractions were doing a little something because at 38 weeks I was 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced and at 39 weeks I was 3-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I never made it to my 40 week appointment, so who knows how far I had progressed in that last week. My due date was Wednesday, Feb. 24, and most of the day came and went.

I woke up at 11:45 pm with what I thought was my water breaking. After a few minutes of laying in bed I decided I should go investigate, so I dragged myself out of bed. I determined it was indeed my water breaking. I got back in bed to rest for a little while. I told Matt but told him to sleep as much as he could cause who knows when we would be leaving. After just a few minutes I started to feel contractions. At first they were maybe 10 minutes apart (only 1 or 2 contractions), then they were 5-6 minutes apart within about an hour. I woke Matt up and said we should start getting ready. Matt went and gathered the last few things we needed, like the camera, phone & charger. I mostly just laid in bed with Greta, snuggling my only baby for a few minutes longer. I got up a couple of times to go to the bathroom.

At about 1:15 am we woke up my dad, who would be staying with Greta. Greta had woken up at some point and I tried to get her back to sleep, but that wasn’t happening. About 1:30 am I called the midwives and told them my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. I told her we would be heading to the hospital soon. She didn’t seem to indicate that she would be there right away, but eventually. That didn’t seem like a big deal. The contractions were definitely getting more painful. I went in to the kitchen to get a glass of water and was hit by a pretty painful one. I said we need to leave. We said goodbye to Greta and headed to the car. By the time we got out of our neighborhood, the contractions were quite painful and coming much quicker, like 3 minutes apart. Everything just happened so darn fast, weren’t they just 5-6 minutes apart.

Matt drove cautiously since the roads were wet and it was hovering near freezing. We certainly didn’t want to loose control on some ice. The ride to the hospital was pretty miserable. I told Matt to run a red light (which he wouldn’t do) and I said I wanted out of the car. I was doing quite a bit of screaming. I told Matt that it felt like I needed to push, but I held my legs closed and squeezed as hard as I could not to push. The hospital is about 15-20 minutes from our house. I told Matt I didn’t want him to drop me off, but would rather walk in with him. That might have been a mistake, but I didn’t want to be alone or with some people in the ER. The walk isn’t very far. We parked and got our bags and started walking. About half way there, I was hit by a really painful contraction and pretty much dropped to the ground screaming. Thankfully there was some nice man in the ER (he was either there himself or with family, I don’t know), who came running out with a wheelchair. Matt pushed me in, it was about 2:05 am. Thankfully they didn’t make me stop at admissions, probably because I was screaming and yelling and telling them I needed the baby out. The security guard took us to the elevator so we could go right up to the maternity floor. We walked right into a room and I got into the bed. Matt took my pants and shoes off and I clung to the edge of the bed claiming I couldn’t move. Eventually someone convinced me to lay on my back so they could check to see how far dilated I was, result was 10 cm, ready to push. I asked if I could push, and they said if I needed to.

They put the baby on the monitor to check her heartbeat at 2:07 am. After a couple of minutes the midwife walked in. She decided she should go ahead and come in. The whole way to the hospital I was hoping she was really coming because otherwise she wouldn’t be there to deliver the baby. I started pushing soon. After they finally got me to stop screaming and focus on pushing, her head emerged and it hurt like heck. After about 6 or 7 total pushes there was a baby on my chest (2:23 am, yep, just about 18 minutes after we arrived at the hospital). Matt said it’s a girl and cut her cord. They wiped her down a little, weighed her (they were concerned about her blood sugar since she was big, but it was fine) and wrapped her up and gave her right to me. I think she latched on to feed right now, but my memory is a little foggy. Since the placenta still hadn’t been delivered and I needed a little stitching up, I gave her to Matt to hold for a few minutes. After the placenta was delivered and the stitching complete, I held the baby and she nursed for about an hour. I had to answer some questions and fill out paperwork, since I kind of skipped that part on the way in. I also got my hospital bracelet, oops.

The nurse then gave Eloise her bath and checked her over. Her blood sugars were tested 3 times while we were recovering and they keep going up, so no problems there. While Eloise was getting warm under the lights the nurses got me up to clean me up and use the bathroom. While I was sitting on the toilet I got quite dizzy. They put some awful smelling salts in front of my face to make me feel better. Then it was time to get up, except I stood up and promptly fell over. I don’t remember anything but sitting on the toilet and the waking up on the floor. Apparently I passed out and some nice nurse caught me. Then I wasn’t allowed out of bed by myself for the next few hours. Thankfully there was no more passing out. It started snowing outside about 4:30 am, so Eloise got to experience her first snowfall at just a few hours old. Before I left the hospital they did some bloodwork and my iron was low, so now I have to take iron until my 6 week checkup (at least). I’m feeling much better than I did when I left the hospital and the color is returning to my face, so I suspect my iron is going up.

Overall it was a much better experience than Greta’s birth, which I think is mainly due to the speed and the personnel. The staff at this hospital was super! Eloise was only out of my room for about 45 minutes total during the whole hospital stay to get some bloodwork done.