24 January 2015

Elliott - Five Months Old

Our sweet boy continues to grow at the rate of approximately one day per day. In the size department, Elliott is wearing mostly 12-18 month clothes. Yes, you read that correctly. He has long arms and big feet, so I can't wait to see how tall he ends up being!


Elliott is a good eater. He gets four 5-ounce feedings during the day and an 8-ounce bottle at bedtime. Fortunately, Elliott seamlessly transitions to taking a bottle on the days I work. We've found his bedtime process improved after moving to a bottle feeding at night; it keeps him awake long enough to eat the food he needs before bed. He gets mostly pumped milk in them, but we do sometimes supplement with formula. If you'd asked me before last night, I would have told you that we're in a good place with sleep as a result of our switch to a bedtime bottle. For the last few weeks, Elliott has been sleeping through the night (~8pm-8am) the vast majority of nights, but last night was a rough one with two wake ups due to congestion and an abnormal daytime schedule. If he continues to wake up at night, we're going to start solids; otherwise, we'll wait until closer to six months. Fortunately, Elliott's daytime sleep has made big strides, with almost all naps lasting at least an hour and many going two hours or more. He currently takes one morning nap and two afternoon ones, but he shows some interest in spacing out feedings and may be transitioning to two daily naps sooner rather than later.

Developmentally, Elliott has changed a lot. When he turned four months, he was very interested in his fingers but still shopping around. Within a week, he settled on his left thumb as the finger of choice, which is his go-to soothing method when he's getting tired or laying in bed and trying to go to sleep. As a result, he never uses the pacifier for more than 30 seconds at a time, if he even accepts it at all. The thumb discovery is likely the reason for his improved napping because I often see him on the nursery cam frantically sucking on the thumb before falling back asleep.

Elliott still isn't rolling (he regressed from his previous irregular tummy to back roll), but I don't think it's too far away. He found his feet this month, and he grabs them whenever he can reach them and uses that momentum to roll to his side regularly. He's not far from going all the over, and I suspect that he'll get back his tummy to back roll around the same time. When he gets excited, his entire body moves, and he can cover a surprising amount of distance. I have to be deliberate about giving Elliott time to lay on the floor and practice moving because we're so often on the go with big sister or cuddling. I can't seem to get enough cuddling with my happy, roly-poly baby.

Our lil' dude loves to be part of the action and is way happier sitting up on someone's lap than being in the Rock-N-Play at meal times. He's not sitting up on his own yet, but he shows a lot of interest in sitting up assisted. He loves (loves, loves, loves) the Jumperoo, which makes up for the incredible amount of space it consumes. Tall boy is already on the second height setting. He has become very chatty over the last few months, currently favoring (very, very) high pitched squeals, raspberries, and bbbbbb sounds. We encourage his vocalizations, but end up getting a lot of competing squeals from the Big Sister of the house. It's fun to have Elliott become more part of the family every day.

Despite this picture, he really is a very happy baby.

A look back:

09 January 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Welcome to a new year of Friday I'm in Love. Be sure to check out what the other Friday Gals - MishaKendraMary Beth, and Laura - are loving this week, too.

ONE: The Honest Company Healing Balm



Both of our kids have seriously sensitive skin, and this balm has proven handy for dealing with break outs of eczema. It soothes, but doesn't fully resolve, cradle cap. In general, I'm finding it a handy little tube to have in our medicine cabinet.

TWO: Parenthood

Was anyone else in withdrawal over the holidays? Is anyone else in denial that this is the last season? Well, I, for one, love this family drama and have grown attached to the Bravermans. I haven't yet watched last night's episode, but I somehow feel better just knowing it's there waiting for me.

THREE: Working Part-Time

As I mentioned, this was my week to go back to work. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work part-time. It really is the perfect balance for me: at work enough to feel useful but not enough to get too stressed and home enough to appreciate it but not enough to go crazy. Lucky am I.

What are you loving this week?

05 January 2015

New Year...

At the end of most years (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009), I sit down and reflect upon the year and set goals for the coming new year. As you can see, I didn't exactly get to this project in a timely fashion this year! And, frankly, this post is more about me and the process of writing it than for you lovely readers. :-)

I must admit that my aspirations for 2015 aren't too far off of my aspirations for 2014. Time is our most precious commodity, and I continue to struggle with exactly how to spend it. This feels even more real to me now as I watch Elliott grow at an unprecedented rate and Madeleine blossom into a little girl.

As a parent, I'm not in the business of entertaining, but I don't want to be so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we don't take a chance to stop and really play on occasion. Our summer bucket list was so successful at keeping me inspired to do new and exciting (to toddler) things that I may try more seasonal lists this year. I don't want to be busy just for the sake of being busy, but I do want to get out of the house a little more (tough when kiddos' naps overlap very little) and have a few more memories to show for my days at home. The same goes for our family time at the weekends: I aspire to get a good mix of "doing nothing" at home with going out and exploring. It's easy to plan things around our (adorable) squeaky wheel, but I also want to honor Elliott's development and plan activities around him, too.

This week marks my post-partum return to work, and I feel good about it. In the past, my part-time schedule has allowed me several days at home with the kids mixed with a couple of days at the office, which gives me professional satisfaction, adult interaction, and sets the example I want to show for my kids. I know that it will be harder with two, but I really hope that we can make this work.

George and I do a pretty good job of putting our relationship at the top of our priorities. We have every intention of continuing our standing date nights as well as taking our first weekend away. In some ways, we do a great job of turning the mundane into quality time (hanging out and chatting during long bedtime nursing sessions, for example), but we can definitely improve on how technology gets in the way of spending our evenings together. I also want to do a better job of making sure that George knows exactly how much I love an appreciate him. He's such a fantastic husband, father, and life partner!

Like pretty much every year, fitness and smaller waistlines are on the radar. We're going to schedule workout time into our new weekly routine to keep/put it in our lives. This is particularly a struggle with my return to work because I have typically worked out on the days when I would otherwise be working. I've met a lovely personal trainer through the mother's nursing/pumping room at our gym, so I'm hoping she can help! I'm also planning to rely heavily on our rowing machine, which I have enjoyed using so far in my post-partum journey. Finally, I have fantasies of returning to distance running though, if I'm being honest, I suspect this is more likely to happen once I'm done nursing because it is seriously high impact and uncomfortable unless I've just finished nursing/pumping.

I want this to be the year that I figure out how to make technology work for me and ditch what doesn't. A new phone should be arriving for me any day (goodbye, cracked screen!), and I've already decided that I am not going to put shortcuts to social media on my home screen. I want to limit my time on social media to primarily times when I am sitting down at a (personal) computer, which is lucky to happen once a day. Hopefully eliminating all of those three-minute "breaks" will add up to more truly usable time. I want to continue blogging with the motto of less obligation and more desire. I feel drawn to blog more about parenting, so stick around to see how that plays out. And this has to be the year that I figure out how to get ahold of my email; it is out of control, and I hate it.

Basically, I'm saying that I want our time to be spent meaningfully and with purpose. I don't want to be busy for the sake of being busy, but I also don't want us to be idle. I want to find the right balance of working toward long term goals and dealing with immediate needs. A friend and I were recently discussing the myth of doing it all, and I hope that this year I can come closer to deciding which things I want to do and letting go of the others.

Oh, the hope that comes with a new year!

31 December 2014

Christmas Squared: A Modern Christmas Log Cabin Quilt

A month or two ago, I decided that I wanted to make a Christmas quilt to kick off my goal of making one seasonal quilt per year. I thought it would be fun to have a special throw to get out just for the month of December each year, a comfy place for us to curl up and establish some great memories. 

I settled on a pretty simple design that would allow me to use strip piecing. I tried to choose fabric that would be timeless and grow with us as a family. Every quilt that I make teaches me a lesson, and this one taught me to follow my fabric instincts. I'm so glad that I did! 

The size of the quilt is a fair bit larger than intended. I wanted a generous throw size and ended up with one that is longer and just slightly narrower than a standard twin bed quilt. (It's pictured resting on a queen bed.) This is about twice as big as any other quilt I've made to date. About a week before I started, I got a new sewing machine (merry Christmas to me!), and there is no way that I could have done it without my new machine's 11-inch neck! 

Enough quilting mumbo-jumbo - here are some photos: 






The quilting on this beast is rather simple and quite imperfect. As I was quilting, I debated whether I should go back and fix the mistakes to make it a little closer to perfect, but I decided against it. Here's the thing: like a piece of writing, a quilt should be tailored to its audience and purpose. This is meant to be a background for family memories, not a show piece. I'm currently in the season of my life where perfection is a thing of the past and good enough is the motto of the year decade. Hopefully I'll one day treasure those untouched mistakes as I curl up in the quilt while I wait for our teenagers to come home or wait for the grandkids to arrive.

For now, I'll treasure being able to lay down our first year of memories with this quilt.



And with that, goodbye 2014

25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from us and ours to you and yours!

Today I'm stopping by to share a few of the many special things we've done to celebrate the Christmas season (besides keeping the radio tuned to the 24-hour Christmas music station...much to George's dismay).

Visited Santa:

Took our annual family photo at the poinsettia tree (2012, 2013):

Posed for professional family photos:

Picked out Elliott's first Christmas tree:

Decorated the tree:

Redirected Madeleine to decorate her tree (much more successful this year):

Celebrated with our PEPS Group (2.5 years and counting):

Dressed the kiddos in matching Christmas jammies:

Visited a Christmas light display with some of our friends:

Enjoyed our out-of-town friends:


Hope your holiday season has been as fulfilling!

In lieu of tomorrow's Friday I'm in Love, picture me loving on the precious faces featured above.