Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Easter is such a great holiday of celebration...celebrating our risen Savior.  With so much to celebrate in our lives, Easter seems like such a fitting holiday for Adelie's first.

Adelie slept through the first part of our Easter morning.  When Staley awoke, we read the Easter story from her Bible story book and then went to the basement for an Easter egg hunt.  She was so excited.  She would shout, "An egg! An egg!" and go running from egg to egg.  It got even better when she found out there were treats inside.  Each egg she opened required her exclaiming, "A treat!  A treat!" She also found her Easter basket and had to take a little time to read her new book and play her new maracas.

Spotting the first egg
 
"An egg!  An egg!"
 
"A treat!  A treat!"
 
One happy Easter morning gal
 
Missing all the action

After breakfast, we all got dressed and headed to Zach's parents for a little family Easter.  Another Easter egg hunt, fun time with cousins, a fabulous meal, and special time with family rounded out our Easter morning.

More egg hunting
 
Family time with Papa, Great Grams, and the Bradford cousins
 
Not wanting to miss out on ALL the Easter fun
 
Happy Easter from our little family.
 
 
 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Will the Real Mulan Please Stand Up?

Staley LOVES princesses and has for quite some time.  When she was younger, Staley's favorite princess was Tiana.  If asked, she would tell you that she looked just like Tiana.  If you are familiar with Disney princesses, you might see one glaring difference between Staley and Tiana.  (Hint:  Tiana is Disney's first African-American princess.)  And now, Staley's favorite Disney character is Mulan.  She is always telling us that she is Mulan...and I am Rapunzel and Zach is Prince Daddy.  The other day Zach and Staley were playing sidewalk chalk.  Staley had Zach draw a picture of Mulan in the driveway.  A little while later, Zach drew a picture of our whole family.  He showed it to Staley and asked who each person was.  She identified Mommy, Daddy, Adelie, Jake, and Elwood.  Then Zach asked who the little girl with pigtails was.  Staley's response?  "La La Loopsie."  Zach said, "That's not La La Loopsie.  That's you."  Staley countered with, "Yes it's La La Loopsie.  You already drew me right here" (as she pointed at the earlier drawing of Mulan.)

While at Uma and Papa's house during Adelie's birth, Staley found a princess dress and was convinced it was a Mulan dress.  She added her new tiara and decided she looks just like Mulan.  I'll let you be the judge.

Mulan

My Mulan...
(and the tiara that she decided she likes better this way.)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Big Sister Staley

First off, I want to formally blog-thank my husband for the touching post he wrote last night (and apologize for giving him a hard time for staying up late to 'mess around' on the computer.)  I'm a lucky, lucky woman!!

There were many things that I was prepared for about having Adelie.  I knew what to expect with a c-section.  I knew that the tears would flow freely when the doctor told me that my new baby had arrived and I heard that first little cry.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to get enough of holding and snuggling and smelling and loving my new baby.  What I didn't expect was the joy I would find watching Staley light up around her baby sister...and I know it's only a matter of time before that feeling is mutual.

Staley stayed with her Uma and Papa (Zach's parents) while we were at the hospital.  Zach talked to her on the phone on Monday night while I was in the recovery room.  He told her the news over the phone and she started excitedly proclaiming, "I have a sister!  I have a sister!"

Living it up at Uma and Papa's
 
Staley came to officially meet her baby sister the following afternoon.  She was so gentle and loving, holding and hugging and tickling Adelie.  Impressively, Adelie had put together a 'big sister' gift package to give to Staley at the hospital that included a tiara.  Staley LOVED her tiara, but it would poke Adelie each time Staley bent down to hug her.  My mom took the tiara off Staley's head and said, "Your tiara is poking Adelie.  You can put it back on when you're done holding her."  Immediately, Staley pushed Adelie towards Zach and said, "I'm done.  Can I wear my tiara now?"  So baby sister is good, but can't yet compete with sparkly tiara.
 
Staley holding Adelie for the first time.
 
After leaving the hospital, Zach's parents took Staley out to dinner.  Apparently she was so excited about Adelie that she was singing at the top of her lungs and was going booth to booth to tell the other patrons about her new baby sister.  Ah, my little introvert. 
 
Since arriving home, Staley has loved being a 'helper' with Adelie.  She likes to hold her (for very short periods of time), tickle her, help change her diaper, cover her with a blanket, and share her toys.  Yesterday we took Adelie for her follow-up with the pediatrician.  On the way home, Adelie began fussing in the backseat.  Staley told her, "It's okay.  It's okay."  Then she requested one of her songs that she thought Adelie would like to hear and held out her yellow bear (her very favorite stuffed animal) to give to Adelie.  So sweet!  And tonight, Staley couldn't stop giggling as she got to help with Adelie's bath.
 
Staley thought Adelie needed a bear and a blanket for her nap today.

Bath time helper



Although I think Staley is a little disappointed by how much Adelie sleeps and how little she does, she is nonetheless enamored of her little sister (who she still regularly calls Peanut.)  I know the novelty will wear off.  I know there will be times that they don't get along.  I know that growing up with a sibling isn't all hugs and tickles.  But I hope that the excitement and love remains and that Staley never gets tired of exclaiming, "I have a sister!  I have a sister!"

I have a sister...and a tiara and a princess dress.
Really, who could ask for more??

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Super Woman - an unauthorized Staley's World blog post hijacking by Zach


I always like to refer to this as our “family blog,” which is something of a farce as it implies I make contributions of some sort.  In reality, this has always been Ellen’s blog about our family.  It occurred to me today that this results in the blog being deficient in one important way.  You get to see the rest of us through Ellen’s eyes, but you never get to see her through ours.  To that end I am hijacking her blog for this, my very first (and only????) contribution to our family blog.
I had a professor in college that asserted any good blog post should be at least 1500 words.  I believe this is nonsense and nobody would read a post that long.  So, while there are a great many things I love, respect, and admire about Ellen, I’ll ignore my professor’s advice and attempt to be concise. 
Ellen and I started dating in high school.  One of the things that most attracted me to Ellen at that time (and ever since) is her confidence and sense of self.  Ellen was only 16 when we met, an age at which most of us are trying to figure out who we want to be and are seeking validation and approval from our peers.  Not Ellen.  Ellen knew who she was; she liked who she was, and she didn’t need approval from anybody.  One of my favorite aspects of this was it extended to me as her boyfriend at the time too.  Too often friends would starting seeing someone and would lose their individual identity.  The “couple” would form and the individuals would become conspicuously absent, resurfacing only when and if there was a breakup.  Ellen, conversely, was not about to let a relationship define her or change who she was.  To this day we have been able to build a wonderful and strong marriage without dissolving who we are as individuals.  In fact, I believe the trust and respect we have for each other as individuals is one of the reasons our relationship works as well as it does.  I have been contemplating these characteristics of Ellen quite a bit lately.  In large part because I see little flashes of this in Staley at two and I so hope she has inherited these qualities from her mother.  Perhaps this is a little premature at two, but a father can hope.  Staley seems so comfortable with herself and is so outgoing.  At music class Staley is the one dancing and twirling in the middle of the room while the other kids hover by their mothers.  In stores she breaks into songs and goes around introducing herself to people, asking their names and telling them stories.  It is fun to watch and it is very Ellen.
I am known to brag about Ellen’s toughness.  It’s almost impossible for people not to underestimate her in this regard.  Staley’s birth is the most complete illustration of this toughness.  Poor Ellen labored for something crazy like 19 hours, including three solid hours of pushing, and followed immediately by a cesarean section surgery.  I can’t even imagine what a person’s body must feel like after such an ordeal.  Yet, Ellen was on her feet the following morning while refusing narcotic pain medication.  She just took some ibuprofen.  Yeah.  That should do it.  (In case you are wondering, with Adelie, we left the hospital less than 48 hours after arriving, Ellen having again refused more than a little ibuprofen for pain and opting to leave the hospital two days before she had to.)  Tough as nails.  I’m telling you.
Her toughness extends beyond the physical as well.  She has posted several times on this blog about our struggles with infertility.  I witnessed firsthand the toll it took on her and it breaks my heart even now to think back on it.  Yet she persevered, putting on a brave face and soldering on through one crushing disappointment after another.  A lessor person would have quit.  Most people would have quit.  Ellen didn’t and for that we have two beautiful daughters today.  I am forever grateful for, awed by, and inspired by Ellen’s toughness.
Perhaps conciseness is not my strong suite after all, considering I’ve addressed merely two of my wife’s wonderful qualities and I’ll be hitting the 1500 words soon if I keep it up.  On the other hand, I feel like many of her other qualities shine through her many blog posts, and are surely apparent to any regular reader of this blog.  Her caring nature and generosity.  Her intelligence, quick wit, and wonderful sense of humor.  Her selfless devotion to her children and family.   Her faith.  There are people in this world who make a positive impact on the world around them and on the people with whom they interact.  People who profoundly enrich the lives of those close to them.  That’s Ellen, and I am so grateful I get to share my life with her and raise my family with her.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bedtime Prayer

Tonight Staley's sweet, sweet bedtime prayer made us cry.

"Dear Jesus.  Thank you for today.  Thank you for the blessings.  Thank you for Adelie that she's downstairs and I get to see her when I go down there."

 
And I thank God for our two daughters and the love that they already share.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Introducing...

The infant formerly known as Peanut.  Born on March 25, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.  Weighing in at 7 lbs, 13 oz and measuring 21" long.  With a beautiful head full of wavy, dark hair.  Healthy and beautiful.  Loved beyond measure.  A precious gift from God.

We'd like to officially introduce you to...

Adelie Cate.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stay Tuned

I wanted to write a day-before-Peanut-arrives blog post.  I wanted to come up with something meaningful and thoughtful, something worthy of the last post before we officially welcome Peanut into our family.  Like maybe a letter to Peanut about the excitement I feel in getting to finally meet him/her.  Or a special post about what I love so much about Staley and all the reasons I know she is going to be such an incredible big sister.  I thought about sharing the feelings I had today as we enjoyed our 'last day' as a family of 3.  I could focus my post on Zach and the way he has so lovingly and patiently fulfilled my to-do list so that I could truly feel nested and ready for Peanut.  I started to write about the love I have felt today with the text messages and e-mails I received, the people who are already offering to bring food, the prayers and hugs and well-wishes from our church family.  But in the end, each blog post I started did not sound right or convey what I wanted to convey.  And so, instead, I'm writing a blog post about not really writing a blog post.  Because tomorrow's post (or Tuesday's, depending on how things go) will far exceed anything I write today.  So stay tuned!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sleep Up-date

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about some sleeping difficulties that we were experiencing with Staley.  I don't really believe in jinxes, but I'm still going to cross my fingers and knock on wood that writing this post isn't going to backfire on me.

I wrote the previous post after a rough night where Staley repeatedly got out of bed, kept saying she was 'scared', and ended up with Zach sleeping in her room.  This was preceded by Staley not staying in her bed for naps and a week of early rising.  I was getting nervous that this was the start of some bad sleep habits that I wasn't prepared for.

Since that post, things have turned around.  I don't know if we can attribute the positive changes we're seeing to all the positive thoughts and prayers that people sent our way or the re-introduction of the pack-and-play for naptime or the room darkening curtains that I invested in.  My guess is that it's a combination of all three. Regardless of what brought about the changes, I am so glad to say that Staley has become a sleeping champion once again.

We have only had one other night where Staley got out of bed in the middle of the night and it simply required carrying her back to her room, tucking her in, kissing her good-night, and leaving without so much as one tear.  (She may not have even been fully awake.)  We have heard no more talk of being scared at night.  With the room darkening curtains and pack-and-play, Staley has napped almost every day (which she wasn't even doing before her transition to her big-girl bed.)  She still sleeps in her big-girl bed at night, but has been sleeping in until after 7 (and sometimes closer to 8) most mornings.

I'm not going to question why Staley went through that (very short) phase.  I'm not going to dwell on what it was that changed to make it all better.  I'm just going to be thankful that things have turned around and my sleep is once again plentiful and restful...at least for 2 more days.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rhyme Time

Staley loves to rhyme.  It has become a part of our daily life.  Staley will be in the midst of conversation and then realize that she can make a rhyme from something she just said.  And although some of her rhyming still consists of making up non-sense words to rhyme with a word (like silly and tilly), she is more often coming up with legitimately rhyming words.

The other night at dinner, Staley was talking about the new dominoes game that Aunt Sandi and Emma brought over.  She said, "Aunt Sandi and Emma gave me dominoes."  And then, in a moment of inspiration, she said, "Dominoes.  VĂ¡monos.  That rhymes."  So now, not only is my daughter rhyming, she is rhyming in 2 languages.  (Thank you, Dora!)

Of course, we also had an unfortunate rhyming mishap when Staley and Zach were coming up with words to rhyme with 'front.'  And although she made a correct rhyme, we felt it best to quickly change the subject to keep her from repeating her new rhyme.  We have also chosen to stay clear of words like 'luck', 'witch', and 'lamb'...just to be on the safe side.

We've Come a Long Way

Our basement is finished!!  It's not furnished.  It's not organized.  But it's finished.  Which means the office furniture has a home, no more construction dust, and Staley has a new fun area to run around in.  I love it!!!

Quite out of character, I did not take any 'during' pictures of the process to finish the basement.  (Guess I had other things on my mind.  :))  You'll just have to imagine the framing of the walls, the obscene amounts of drywall dust, plumbing work, electrical work,...  However, for your enjoyment, I do have some before and after pictures.

Before-Before:
Before we had the new basement put under the house, THIS was what we had.  It was dank, dark, smelly, scary, and made me think twice about whether or not the tornado alarms really warranted a trip into the basement.



This was the room in the basement that was full of coal.
Yes, coal.

During:
We endured months (and months and months) of construction to put a new basement under our home in the summer of 2011.


After-Before:
The end result of those months of construction?  A modern, finishable basement.


After-After:
And now...it's finished!

Family room

Office

Bathroom

We also have 2 more storage closets and a large storage room, but I just wasn't sure they were picture-worthy.  What I am sure of is that I LOVE that the basement is done before Peanut is here.  I love that we have the extra living space and oh-so-much storage.  And I love that, if there's a tornado, I could happily spend hours in the safety of our nice, fresh, clean, finished basement.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In the Genes

Growing up, I always loved a little adventure in my life.  As a child, I loved to climb trees, swing really high, and go on roller coasters.  As I grew older, my search for an adrenaline rush led me to activities like cliff jumping, sky diving, and rock climbing.  And now, as a responsible adult and almost mother of two, I look back at my recklessness and hope that my children don't follow in those footsteps.

Unfortunately, I think it may be in the genes.  I definitely didn't inherit these traits from my parents (who still cringe when they hear stories of some of the things I did), but apparently my maternal grandfather (who I never had a chance to meet) was a paratrooper who loved the adventurous side of life.  And Staley seems to have developed her own thirst for a thrill.  At the playground, she loves to go higher and higher and higher on the swings.  Hanging upside down, going down the fast slides, and climbing up ladders all hold a fascination for her.  And on Monday night at the Children's Museum, Staley discovered the little rock climbing wall...and couldn't get enough.  There was a little learning curve, but by her third time, she scaled right up the wall (impractical footwear and all) without any assistance.

Learning...

...to pro in 3 short attempts.

And although seeing the direction she is heading with some of her more 'daring' pursuits makes me worry, the other side of me is pleased to see her developing this sense of adventure.  I know that the adventure-seeking side of me caused me to make some unwise decisions and pursue activities that I'm sure my parents were glad they only heard about after the fact.  However, it also helped develop my sense of self.  Doing something that many other people wouldn't do made me feel strong.  Brave.  Independent.  Proud.  And I want Staley to discover these qualities in herself as well...although if she can do it in a more careful and responsible way, that would be fine with me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Final Countdown

One week.  Seven days.  169 hours and 15 minutes.  Ready or not, Peanut is coming.  I am officially scheduled for my c-section on March 25 at 4:00 p.m.  One week from today.  And as much as I've anticipated and thought about and dreamed about the day I get to meet our little Peanut, it's hard to believe that it's almost here.

We are ready.  The nursery is done, the carseat's installed, our bags are packed, and my freezer is stocked.  But as excited and ready as I feel, I am a little sad about the end of the focusing-on-one-child era in my life.  Today as Staley and I went to the library and the grocery store, I kept thinking about how different (and more difficult) little outings like that will be with two.  On Friday, Staley and I painted pottery.  This week-end, Zach and I took Staley to the new museum in Peoria and tonight we are taking her to meet the Easter Bunny in Bloomington.  I'm savoring these moments where my thoughts and my focus and my attention can solely be on my one child.

I know there will be more noise, more mess, more chaos in our home with two children.  I know there will be more grocery shopping, more laundry, more picking up.  I know there will be less time, less sleep, less order.  Those things make me nervous.  But I also know there will be more laughter.  There will be more love.  There will be more hugs and kisses and shared moments.  There will be more games and more sharing and more playing.  Our life with two children will just be MORE than it is now...and I'm ready to embrace that.  And in one more week, that journey will start.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Blessings

Staley has now taken over helping say her bedtime prayers at night.  Her prayer always starts the same:  "Dear Jesus.  Thank you for today.  Thank you for the blessings."

I love hearing Staley's sweet little voice as she says her bedtime prayers.  And even though she may not quite understand what "the blessings" are, I certainly do.  My life is full of them.

I am thankful for Staley.  For the little girl she is and the person she is going to become.  For the time we have to spend together, for the sweet moments that make my day, for her personality, for getting to be her mom.

I am thankful for Peanut.  For the miracle of life.  For the chance to parent another child.  For Peanut's health.  For the fact that Peanut is now full term.

I am thankful for Zach.  For marrying my best friend.  For his thoughtful, caring nature that makes him a wonderful father and husband.  For the way I know I can always count on him to take care of us, no matter the circumstances.

I am thankful for our families.  For the way they are always there for us.  For the fact that they are the people we look forward to spending time with.  For knowing that we are consistently surrounded with love and support.

I am thankful for our friends, our jobs, our home.  For our health and our safety.  For the opportunities we have, the time we share, and the special moments that make up our days. 

Hearing Staley start her prayer each night thanking Jesus for the blessings is a good reminder to me.  Sometimes I have lots of requests and concerns and needs that occupy my prayers, but I need to remember to start by thanking God for the blessings.  The many, many blessings in my life.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Diagnosis

Staley is generally our happy, talkative, compliant little girl so at those times when she isn't, it takes us by surprise.  We've found that crying for no reason usually goes hand-in-hand with being sick or overly tired.

On our way home from work/baby-sitter last night, Staley and I had to run into the grocery store for a few items.  Since I needed 3 gallons of milk, I grabbed a cart, put Staley in the seat, and headed into the grocery store.  About half-way through the first aisle, Staley started crying.  I asked what was wrong, but she didn't answer.  She continued to cry her way through the entire store.  I could calm her for a few short moments with grocery store favorites like holding items, putting items into the cart, or looking at the penguin cut-outs in the frozen foods section, but then she would start crying again.  When I'd ask if she felt okay or if something hurt or if something was wrong, she would make a whiny/grunty noise, but would not answer.  This was so out of character for Staley, so I began to be concerned that she had a fever or was getting sick.  I hurriedly grabbed what we needed, held my crying daughter in the check-out line, and headed for home as quickly as possible.

When Staley was buckled in her carseat with her favorite bear and a blanket, she calmed down for the ride home.  As we were driving home, I asked my now calm little girl why she was crying at the grocery store.  Her response?  "I wanted to get down."  Hmmmmm....

Once home, I still took her temperature, convinced that she must be coming down with something that would make her act that way in the grocery store.  After a normal temperature recording and a happy, playful little girl in the evening, I had all the evidence I needed to make an official diagnosis.  My daughter, unfortunately, IS coming down with something...and that something is BEING TWO.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Close to Perfect

Some days are hard.  Some days are long.  Some days my wonderful daughter is tired, sensitive, or bossy.  Some days I'm tired, sensitive, or bossy. Some days I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list.  Some days I just feel very pregnant...too pregnant to want to do much.  But many days are good days.  Fun days.  Happy days.  And occasionally I hit the jack-pot, the stars align, and everything goes right.  Today, so far, is one of those days.

The Recipe for a Great Day

You will need:
1- little girl who doesn't wake up until 7:45 a.m.
1- husband who works from home in the morning, making it possible for you to shower leisurely while he takes care of breakfast duty
1- music class where you get to watch your daughter sing without abandon, twirl and dance unselfconsciously, get a look of pure joy when choosing her instruments, and willingly share hugs and smiles with her friends and the other grown-ups in the class.
1- crying child in music class that your daughter walks over to console, making you so proud of her compassionate and loving nature.
3- compliments about your daughter--and not compliments about how she looks or how she is dressed, but about her wonderful personality.
1- individual who looks shocked while exclaiming, "You don't look like you can be due THAT soon."
0- contractions, aches, or pains
1- man in the basement installing carpet, taking you one step closer to having your basement project done and your home no longer a work zone.
2- fun hours at home with your daughter where you play, read, laugh, sing, and eat lunch without so much as one tear.
1- daughter who goes down for a nap without any fuss at all and who, despite sleeping in this morning, falls right asleep.
0- things you feel obligated to do during nap time other than blog, catch up on magazines, and rest on the couch.

Every day can't be perfect.  You have to have the long, hard, overwhelming days to help you better appreciate the great ones.  And you have to have the great days to help you remember the long, hard, overwhelming ones will pass.  I'm just thankful that I can mark this one in the 'great' column.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring?

Yesterday it was 50 degrees and rainy.  But since that's as close to spring as we've had in awhile, we took advantage.

There's nothing better than a cute pair of rainboots...and a big puddle.

Cheese!

Daddy's girl.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sleep Issues

This morning was the first time I've cried because of a parenting frustration.  (Okay, fatigue and baby hormones may have also played into that equation too.)  I've cried with joy or with fear, but these were my first tears of overwhelming frustration.

Staley's transition to her big girl bed was fabulous...initially.  Then she decided that staying in bed for nap time was not something she wanted to do.  After that, she realized that she could actually get out of her bed AND get out of her room during naps.  Then, this week, she discovered that getting out of her bed and her room could also occur when she woke up in the morning...and she began getting up earlier in the morning.  (One 5:30 morning and several 6:15-6:30 mornings were not exactly on MY agenda.)  And last night, Staley got up in the middle of the night...multiple times.  She came to our room and said she was scared.  She couldn't tell us what she was scared of, but sitting with her, talking to her, singing to her, and praying with her only helped as long as we were there.  We'd kiss her, leave, and 5 minutes later she'd be at our bedside again.  When we were out of ideas, Zach just laid down with her for an hour until he could FINALLY sneak out.  Not the precedent we want to set, but we ALL needed to get some sleep.

This morning, after missing a few hours of sleep at night and having restless dreams about Staley's sleep-time issues, I felt exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed.  So I cried.

Staley has always been easy.  So easy.  And the thought that something as important as sleep is becoming a challenge just 2 short weeks before someone else will be demanding more of my sleep-time just became a little too much.  Tears aren't going to make it better or solve the dilemma, but they were necessary.  And after the tears, Zach and I tried to figure out what to do.  Did we transition too early?  Do we bring back the crib?  How do we determine if our daughter is truly scared at night...and of what...and how do we make it better?  Can we be there for Staley so she knows that she's safe and not alone while at the same time teach her that she needs to sooth herself back to sleep without our constant presence?  How do we balance teaching her self-sufficience while making sure she knows that she can always count on us?  And how do we keep Staley in her bed so that she has the opportunity to nap and to return to sleep at night? 

We didn't come to any brilliant conclusions.  We know that sleep issues are common.  We have heard stories from our parents about hours spent sitting at Zach's bedside or in the hall outside Erik's room until they fell asleep.  We know many of our friends and family deal with kids who won't stay in bed or get up really early or still wake up in the night.  And just knowing that we are not alone, that other people have survived much worse, does help.  Then, after we put Staley down for her nap today and we heard her immediately get out of bed to wander around her room, we came to another decision.  Staley needs to nap.  No nap yesterday + being awake in the middle of the night + early rising all week = a girl who needs a nap.  She naps consistently for her baby-sitter and for grandparents and aunts.  Just not for us.  So if she won't stay in her bed to even attempt naps at home, then we need to do something differently.  As unhappy as it made Staley, the pack and play went up in her room and after 20 minutes of crying about it, she is now napping peacefully in her pack and play.

I know our problems aren't solved.  We still have more naps and night-time sleep and possible fears and early rising to conquer.  I know that once this issue is resolved, there will probably be another.  I know that my tears of frustration this morning will not be my last.  But just having a napping child upstairs gives me pause to smile.  And seeing Staley's smiling face at my bedside in the morning, even early in the morning, makes me happy to have another day to spend with her.  I love being a mom.  More precisely, I love being Staley's mom...sleep issues and all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Two Year Old

I was about a month late getting Staley's 2-year pictures taken, and it's taken me another month to decide which ones I wanted to order.  But despite the slight delay, here are some Staley pictures for your enjoyment.


Sometimes life is serious.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Predictions

It's amazing to me the things people feel free to do and say when you are pregnant.  There is belly touching, which I think merits a certain closeness in a relationship and, at the very least, asking if it's okay.  Obviously, not everyone feels that is a breech of personal space like I do.  There are the comments about my size or my apparent readiness to 'pop' or the fact that I'll NEVER make it to my due date.  And, because we do not know the gender of our child, there are lots and lots and LOTS of opinions and predictions about what the sex of our child will be.  When we were expecting Staley, about 75% of the people who had an opinion thought we were having a boy.  Oops!  And this time, about 95% of the gender predictions are boy, which makes Zach and I feel like Peanut just might be another girl.

The predictions don't just come from our family or friends or co-workers.  Oh no.  Again, random strangers feel very much at liberty to predict the gender of our child.  A few weeks ago, I was having lunch at the Panda Express.  As I was walking to my table, a random diner stopped me (in the middle of eating her meal) to ask if I was having a boy or a girl.  I told her that we didn't know, and she immediately shared with me that I am having a boy...and that's she's never been wrong.  Then she made a comment about how she wished she could find out if she was right.  I hope it wasn't too rude of me not to offer to call her from the hospital to fulfill this wish.  Then, this past week-end, we were doing a little home improvement shopping at Menards.  As we were walking along, a young man stopped suddenly to ask me if I was having a boy.  Again, I told him we were going to be surprised, and he immediately shared that I was definitely having a boy.  Who knew so many baby gender experts existed in our local community??

I've decided that going to my doctor is unnecessary now.  At my disposal seem to be a wealth of individuals who can predict gender, share how my gestational age must be wrong based on the size of my belly, and who are certain that I'll never make it to my scheduled due date.  And all without the hassel of an appointment time or a co-pay.  Now if only there is someone in the elevator at work or my next lunch-time restaurant who will offer to deliver my baby free of charge as well, we'll be set. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Not-So-Exciting First

Tonight marked another first for Staley.  Not the type of first I'll put in the baby book or excitedly share with friends.  This is more of a first that I hope will be a last.  Tonight was Staley's first official tantrum.  It wasn't fun.  It wasn't pretty.  It definitely makes me hope that the combination of a day at the sitters plus being tired plus cutting molars all combined for one unlucky storm of emotions.  Fingers (and toes) crossed.

Don't get me wrong.  We have our share of tears around here.  We have drama and outbursts when things don't go our way, but it is always short-lived.  Staley can usually be reasoned with or distracted from whatever the drama is, and a few short minutes is the most we ever see.  Until tonight.

To set the stage, the evening was rough from the moment we got home.  Staley didn't want enchiladas for dinner.  Before she was even sitting at the table, Staley was crying and informing us that she doesn't like enchiladas (which she's eaten happily many times before).  After dinner, Staley chose to play in her playroom instead of Zoodle.  While playing basketball, I picked up her ball and started dribbling it.  My mild-mannered, great sharing little girl forcefully told me, "Give it to me.  It's MINE!"  While playing, we reminded Staley on multiple occasions that if she wanted to Zoodle, we had to do it now.  She always chose to keep playing, verbalizing that she understood that meant no Zoodling.  All was well and good...until we told her play time was over.  Then she insisted that she wanted to Zoodle.  Over and over and over again.  There were tears and screaming and difficulty catching her breath and throwing herself backward and, at one point amidst the tears and shortness of breath, Staley just kept repeating "Kindle...Kindle...Kindle...Kindle..." over and over and over again.  Her tantrum lasted through getting pajamas on, brushing teeth, and even partway through her first bedtime story.  After her 3rd book, she was calmed down and smiling...until she was told that bedtime stories were over and it was time for sleep.  More tears.  More crying.  And then asleep within 2 minutes.

All in all, her tantrum lasted about 15 minutes.  I know in the scheme of tantrumming toddlers, that's really not so bad.  I know that there were other factors that may have contributed to her emotional night.  That doesn't change the fact that my daughter was very much 2 tonight.  She was difficult and bossy and selfish and unreasonable and emotional.  These are all so different from the easy-going, sweet, mild-mannered daughter that I'm accustomed to, and my hope is that tonight was a fluke...and not the beginning of a trend. 

I was starting to feel prepared to handle 2 kids.  I got a little more nervous when we started having nap-time issues.  But if we add on tantrumming, I may just see if Peanut minds hanging out in there for a few more months until I feel better equipped to handle it all.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ready?

The countdown is on.  Less than 3 weeks until Peanut is scheduled to arrive.  Am I ready? 

Physically-YES!  I'm big and uncomfortable and tired and contracting.  I have a hard time bending over, I get weird leg pains, and I rarely can go more than 30 minutes during the day without a bathroom break.  And based on the Peanut's continued pushing and rolling around, I'm guessing he/she is ready for a little more room as well.

Logistically-Getting there.  Peanut's nursery is pretty much done, I washed all the newborn and 0-3 month gender neutral clothes, and Zach brought up the baby equipment (carseat, swing, bouncy) from the basement and I've started to clean that up.  Am I packed?  No.  Do we have a definitive girl's name?  Not yet.  Have I made the freezer meals I've intended to?  It's still on the agenda.  But we're getting there.

Emotionally/Mentally-I think so.  I'm so excited to meet this new little person.  I can't wait to hold my baby, to see who has been sharing my personal space all these months.  I am anticipating the day that Staley finally gets to meet her new sibling, who will hopefully one day be a best friend.  I know there will be new struggles and moments that I feel overwhelmed, but the fear is fleeting and the excitement is taking over.

So ready or not, Peanut will be here soon.


Staley in her carseat at 1 month

Same girl, same carseat...2 years later.

Bedtime Prayer

Every night we say bedtime prayers with Staley. Generally she tells us who she wants to pray for and we add them into our prayers.  Last night at bedtime, Zach started to pray.  Staley interrupted and said, "I will help."  Then she proceeded to say her first ever individual bedtime prayer.

"Thank you for blessings.  Thank you for Jack and Mary and Eep.  Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and me and Aurora and Peanut and Aurora."

And every single day, I thank God for Staley.

Monday, March 4, 2013

She Loves...


She loves to twirl.  She loves to dance.  She loves to sing.  She loves to play.  She loves to read and go outside and pretend and eat and swim and spend time with friends.  She loves princesses and trains and books and bears and dolls and Dora and animals. 

She does not love to nap.  And oh, how I wish she did.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Surprise

Staley has been so good about all the changes and transitions leading up to Peanut's arrival.  She is not jealous of her crib or dresser or artwork in Peanut's nursery.  She loves her new big girl bed, and (unfortunately) the nap time freedom that appears to come with it.  And although we try to do much of the getting-ready work while she is napping or sleeping, some of our jobs have to be done while she is awake.  Staley always entertains herself well and takes it in stride when we have to get things done.  I am so grateful for her sweet, easy-going nature.

Today, we had a few jobs to get done in Staley's room after church.  I had a few small gifts that I had been saving for Easter and other occasions for Staley, so we decided to give her one of them as a special treat while we finished up projects in her room.  On the way home from church, we had this conversation.
Me:   "When we get home, we'll go upstairs to do some work in your room.  And we have a surprise for you upstairs."
Staley:  "What is it?"
Me:  "It's a surprise.  That means it's a secret.  You'll get to see it when we get home."
Staley:  "Is it a xylophone?"

Really????  Of all the possible things she could have guessed, xylophone seems like an unlikely choice.  When I told her that it was not, in fact, a xylophone, she proceeded with a variety of other guesses including a piano, a saxophone, a house, horses, a cow, a movie, a gate, stairs, and a bear.  Luckily, Staley didn't seem at all disappointed that her surprise was a new Dora book...and not a xylophone.

Friday, March 1, 2013

She Says...

Staley is always amusing us with the things she says.

Last night as Staley and I were driving home from Peoria, we had this conversation.
Me:  "Whose birthday party are you going to tomorrow?"
Staley:  "Ethan's."
Me:  "That will be so fun.  Can I come too?"
Staley:  "No.  You will just stay home.  I will go."
Me:  "If I don't go with you, how will you get there?"
Staley:  "Jack will take me."
Getting dismissed, once again, for Staley's imaginary friend doesn't do much for my self-esteem.

Staley picks up on a lot of the phrases that we use, and now uses them in the appropriate context.  It's amusing to hear her tell us things like, "That's a great idea, Daddy" or "Good thinking, Mommy."  If we offer her more of something at mealtimes, she will often respond, "No.  I'm fine."  Staley will provide positive reinforcement by telling us, "You're a nice Mommy" or "You're a nice Daddy."  She has also gotten in the habit of giving us options.  "Mommy, do you want to play trains?  Yes or no?"  This morning, she came into my room as I was getting ready holding 2 of my headbands and asked, "Do you want the white one or the green one?"  It just makes me laugh to hear our phrases coming back to us from the mouth of a 2 year old.

Staley has definite opinions about her fashion preferences.  The other morning, Zach was getting Staley ready to go to her baby-sitter.  As he was putting on her hat, Staley said, "Mommy always wears headbands.  I do not like headbands.  I like hats."

At dinner the other night, Staley told us, "My tummy hurts.  I think I have a burp in there."

After nap time (or more precisely, no-nap time) today, I asked Staley what she would like to watch during snack time.  She responded with, "I do not want to watch a scary movie."  Since the scariest thing she has to worry about with any of the shows she's seen is whether or not Swiper is going to swipe something, I'm not sure where she got this notion of scary movies.  Luckily, I don't think Dora's Backpack Parade is too scary for her.

Staley is consistently telling us she needs to use the potty as she is going.  This is a step closer to being potty trained, but we need just a little more warning to make her successful.  The other night during bath time, Staley suddenly said, "I need to go potty."  When I got her to the potty, she immediately said, "I'm all done."  I asked if she had gone pee pee in the tub, and she said "yes."  I proceeded to let the water out of the tub and told her that bath time was over, which resulted in some Staley sadness.  (I'm sure peeing in the tub has been a regular occurance over the past 2 years, but I couldn't knowingly put her back into pee water.)  A few nights later, she again told us that she needed to go potty while in the tub.  As I was about to lift her out, she renigged and told me, "I don't need to go."  Then, as if suddenly remembering the previous night, she added seriously, "I did not pee or poop in the tub."  She has a little work to do on the potty training...and on using a convincing lie.

A day doesn't go by that Staley doesn't amuse us.  Life with Staley is just so fun!!!