Saturday, February 25, 2012

Abbey meets her Oklahoma Family

We took our first big trip as a family of four last weekend when we traveled to Oklahoma to see my family.   It was Abbey's first time to meet her cousins, aunts, uncles and other family on my side.  We timed it so that we could celebrate my niece, Kaylee's, third birthday.

We were a little nervous about the 7-8 hour drive, but both kids actually did very well.  I think we were most nervous about how many times we would need to stop since Luke is potty-training and Abbey would need to eat every 3 hours.  However, we only stopped twice on the way there and twice on the way back.  Luke was awesome with his potty training.  Actually, on the way back he kept his pants dry the ENTIRE trip.  He has become a champ at keeping his pants clean and dry.  Abbey did really well also and didn't fuss at all during the drive.  Abbey and I are both battling some colds, so I was concerned about her breathing ability.  But, again, she did extremely well the entire trip.

While we were there, my budding photographer cousin, Kristin, kindly took some family portraits of us.  She has a pretty awesome photo studio set up in her house.  She posted a teaser of four of the pictures she took in one of her facebook albums.  The pictures she posted turned out wonderful, and I can't wait to see the rest.  With her permission, I will post the remaining pictures and a link to her website in a separate blog post.  However, here are the teaser photos she posted:

Luke was so energetic during the photo shoot, so this pose was a great way to keep him still for a moment.

Our handsome little man.

A last minute shot before we left that turned out really cute.

Also right before we left, Kristin snapped this shot of Abbey since she was looking at me with her crooked smile that I adore.

We loved seeing all of our Oklahoma family and were sad to leave.  Here is a picture slideshow of our adventures in Oklahoma.

Also, we thought Abbey and Luke's Oklahoma cousins would enjoy this video we shot of them doing "Crocodiles on the Street" at Kaylee's party. So, we are sharing:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Little Valentines

No need for words in today's post.  As the old saying goes..."A picture is worth a thousand words."  

Happy Valentine's Day from our little sweethearts. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big Brother Adjustments

Luke is a great big brother.  However, for the first month of Abbey's life, I think Luke felt it helped him transition best if he pretended she did not exist.  Drew and I and Luke's grandparents gave him a ton of attention during the time of and shortly after Abbey's birth so that he would not feel left out of things.  It has really not been until the last couple of weeks that Luke has acknowledged (at least visibly) Abbey's existence.  When I picked him up from his first day at his new school, one of the first things he asked me was where Abbey was.  I had her carrier covered with a blanket to prevent lots of little hands touching her since she is so young.  He very quickly pulled up the blanket and proudly showed our friends his sister.  He introduced her and even showed them that she had a bow in her hair.  That was when I realized that, although he doesn't admit it always at home, he loves and is very proud of his little sis.

Drew was playing with Luke this past weekend in our gameroom and captured a precious moment on video of Luke pretending his glow worm was Abbey.  I love this!  Enjoy:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saving some money with potty-training, home-cooked meals and haircuts from barber Drew

This blog post will feature the recent happenings with each of the members of our family.

Miss Abbey:

Abbey is now 5 weeks old and has gained three pounds in a month!  She is growing very quickly--much more quickly than Luke did.  It appears she is in the 75th percentile in both height and weight now.  A month ago she was only in the 25-40th percentile for weight.  She actually doesn't have a ton of 0-3 months clothes, but I am desperately dressing her up in some of them so that she has a chance to wear them before outgrowing them.  We weighed her at her bath time last night and she weighed in at 10 lbs, 10 ounces.  Considering the rate at which she is growing, we probably only have less than two more weeks in the 0-3 month outfits.

She has begun smiling while awake, and it melts my heart each time.  She has a precious, huge smile just like her brother!  She also has begun making some adorable sounds, which we love to hear.  We have begun to understand her needs a lot better, which means she spends less time crying.  I FINALLY found a pacifier that she will take, which is very handy.  I am no longer her constant pacifier.  :-)  However, she still does not take a bottle.

Abbey now spends a lot more time awake and even has "play time".  She enjoys us talking to her in "sing-song" voices and enjoys batting at objects in her infant-to-toddler rocker.  Her favorite household objects to stare at for long periods of time are ceiling fans and our window blinds.  Here are some recent photos of Abbey.

Some tummy time

Mr. Luke

Luke has been a very busy boy lately.  Besides potty training (which he is doing very well at), he just started at his new school a couple of weeks ago.  He has adjusted very well and both he AND I look forward to it every Tuesday and Thursday.  He really likes his teachers and has made friends with some of his classmates.  Also, I get SO much done during his time at school.  Drew and I even plan on having a Valentine's date with each other at lunch this Tuesday.  Of course, Abbey will also be tagging along, but she will probably sleep through our lunch date.

This past weekend, we decided to cut Luke's hair at home instead of paying someone else to do it.  We have taken him to professionals a few times and have taken mental notes each time as we watched them perform the haircuts.  We made notes of what we liked and what we didn't like, and we made notes of the methods the professionals used.  Now, it was time to save some money and do it ourselves.  Drew is the haircutting professional at our house, since he has cut his own hair for many years.  So, we set up to cut Luke's hair in our living room.  We turned on the TV and put on the movie, "Toy Story" to keep his attention focused there.

Luke thought the buzzer was ticklish.

The finished result.  You can see Luke is focusing on something else---the TV where we had the Toy Story movie playing.
Drew did an excellent job on Luke's first home haircut.  I don't see any barber shop visits for us in the near future.

As far as potty-training is concerned, Luke has very few accidents and has even been asking to go on the "big potty" instead of his little potty lately.  He even has gone to the potty in public restrooms, which really surprised me.  I figured he may have some fear towards the public potty, but he did not.  He is currently going both #1 and #2 in the potty very successfully.  Let's hope we can continue this success because we are really enjoying not having to do diaper changes for him.  He hasn't been in diapers for two weeks now (except for at nap time and night-night time), so this is also helping us save some money.  

Drew and I:

Drew and I are obviously very busy keeping up with these two kiddos.  After two weeks of chasing around a two year old while caring for a newborn, I can vouch for this baby product being a must-have for any other parent in my situation:

We actually have this sling, pictured above, and a bjorn carrier.  The sling is nice while she is little, because Abbey loves to be held in the cradle position.  She can stay in this thing for hours and be perfectly content.  So, she pretty much stays in the sling for most of the day while I play with, take care of and chase Luke around.  She will enjoy the bjorn carrier more later when she can hold her head up and she can face forward. 

We love eating home-cooked meals, but have found that eating home-cooked meals regularly now requires much planning ahead.  So, I decided to try Rachael Ray's "One Month of Make-Ahead Meals" which she featured in the September 2011 issue of her magazine.  Basically, you spend one day in the kitchen on a weekend cooking meats, veggies, rice and sauce and you will score the building blocks for almost a month's worth of easy dinner recipes.  We tried this last weekend and were extremely pleased.  It was super easy fixing dinner for the family every night, with each meal averaging about 20 minutes to create.  You just defrost whatever building blocks you need for that evening's recipe and add a few other ingredients to create a delicious masterpiece. Plus, we had leftovers for lunch the following day.  Click here for a link to the genius plan that we followed for this month.   The pork and roasted veggies are AMAZING!  We ate pork tacos one night that were the best tacos I have ever eaten!  (I think it had something to do with the honey-lime dressing piece of the recipe, which I will start using on my salads!)  Over dinner tonight, Drew and I were just discussing the meals we had this past week.  We both agree that each of the meals was extremely unique and extremely tasty.  It is exciting to have new, delicious meals for each night of the week.  Not only did we enjoy the taste of the meals, but we are also enjoying what they are doing for our pocketbooks.  :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On My Own...

Our little Potty-training Easy Rider.

This past week was the week I have had some anxiety about since Abbey was born--it was the first week that I had both kids to take care of all by myself.  We were so blessed to have my parents come to stay with us for the first week after Abbey was born.  Then, Drew's parents stayed with us from Sunday evening until Wednesday mid-day for the following three weeks.  This was another big blessing for which we are very thankful.  Drew used the remaining 6 days of his paternity leave from work on Thursday and Friday of those three weeks.  This week, Abbey turned 4 weeks old and this was my week to fly solo.

I must say that I have really grown a lot this week.  I can now say I have more patience and I am a lot more laid back than I used to be-- which has arisen out of the need to survive.  If I failed to grow through the experiences that I had this past week, then I probably would not survive.  I am a very energetic person who likes everything to be perfect.  Well...things just don't always go your way with a potty-training two year old and a newborn ruling the roost.   This past week I have been reminded again just how much is really out of my control.  Once again I have learned to give my anxiety back to the Lord.  Things are so much easier this way.

Just for a snapshot into one of my days this past week, I will post a copy of a text message that I sent to Drew mid-day on Tuesday, about 15 minutes after he called me to ask a question.  Luke had just started potty training this past weekend, so it was very new to him.  (He has done so well and actually not had that many accidents in his pants as I would have expected.  He has been peeing pretty regularly in the potty at his own will when he feels the need to go and even poo-pood twice on Sunday in the potty).  He was getting tired, as it was close to nap time.  Being tired + being two years old often leads to unexpected and sometimes not-so-desirable behavior.

"Since I spoke to you: Luke peed in pants and underwear...he sits on potty...Abbey wakes up...I put diaper on Luke for nap...change Abbey's diaper.  She starts crying....I start feeding her.   Luke poops...Abbey poops two minutes into feeding. bring her and Luke into room to change. .. change Luke...change Abbey...Abbey poops in new more Abbey diapers are in the room to diaper bag to get feeding her again."  

A follow-up message said: "Those are the highlights.  I didn't include details like the four times I washed my hands in that time frame."

Drew posted this pic to Facebook this past week with the caption, "Daddy's sunglasses, Mommy's shoes, no pants.   Standard issue potty training uniform."  

Luke actually was a very good boy for the most part this week.  He only had a few incidents of misbehaving.  I found the most difficult part was trying to give him adequate attention while constantly caring for Abbey.  When I wasn't feeding her or changing her diaper, I pretty much wore her all day every day this week in a sling that I picked up this past weekend.   She loves it and it gives me a good alternative to the Bjorn carrier.   Luke also loved his sling when he was an infant and it was great for use when he was fussy.  I am now finding that since I am chasing an energetic two year old around constantly, the sling (and Bjorn Carrier) are necessities.  The other difficulty this week has been getting only a few hours of sleep per 24 hours and caring for the kids.   Abbey has had several awake and fussy periods this week during the times devoted to sleep.   Other than these difficulties I would say the week has gone pretty well.

Luke started a Mother's Day Out/preschool today also.   I can tell I am going to love my Tuesdays and Thursdays.   I was able to schedule a doctor's appointment, have a quick lunch with Drew and do a little shopping while he was in school.   In the future, I am going to try to use at least some of the time to catch up on some sleep.  :-)  Luke is used to napping around 12pm every day.   We have been trying to push it back, because his school doesn't finish until 1:30p, so I was a little worried for him today.   He actually made it all the way home after I picked him up without falling asleep.  He did make a comment on the way home though that I thought was really cute:  "Mommy, our home is far away."   Poor guy...that 15 minutes home for him was really hard.  He told me he liked school though and we talked about all of the fun things he did as we drove home.

I love a challenge, and this week I found myself establishing goals each day that seemed impossible, just so I could accomplish them and feel great about doing so.   For example, on one day I washed, dried and cleaned three loads of laundry.  I was pretty excited about that.   On another day, I made a trip to Wal-mart.  These accomplishments would probably seem like a small feat for most, but those with a newborn and toddler would probably completely understand.

And those were some of the lessons I learned from my first week alone with a potty-training two year old and newborn.