Sunday, July 29, 2012

8 Months!

To my precious 8 month old baby girls,

I better begin this letter with an apology.  You may notice (in several years) that there are no 6 or 7 month letters.  Totally my fault.  You see, you keep me very busy.  In addition to your sweet smiles and poopy diapers, when you turned 6 months, I was busy finishing the school year, and when you turned 7 months, we had just returned from a long vacation in New York and were busy preparing for your sister, Medley, to arrive.  Excuses, excuses, I know!  Busy, busy, busy.  Just like I call you now… busy, busy, busy!

We have a lot to catch up on.  There are all kinds of things you can do since your last letter.  You sit! You scoot! You eat! You sleep in your crib at night! You poop in disposable diapers! You play like there is no tomorrow!

I’ll start with some developmental milestones.  Right before we left for New York (right around your 6 month birthday), you started to sort of sit by yourself.  There was a lot of propping up and a whole bunch of tipping over (I may have googled “Protective Baby Helmet” a time or two before you were champion sitters).  Nowadays, you pretty much never fall over when you are sitting.  You can even go from sitting to your belly, to your back, back to your belly, etc. You can’t quite sit yourself up from lying on the floor yet, but I have a feeling by next month you will be able to do so.  Both of you babble quite a bit, but Sophia is definitely the talker in the group.  You say “dadadadadadada” and “yayayayayay” all the time.  Annie, you spend more of your time letting out squeals than actually forming sounds, but that’s okay because it’s adorable.  Annabel, you are just learning to crawl and you are army crawling all over the place.  Soph, you get up on all fours really well and rock back and forth, but for the most part, you roll yourself around or scoot yourself backwards instead of forward.  I’m confident that within the next few days you will be crawling, too!

Sophie Learning to Sit
Annie Learning to Sit

The Sophie Crawl

Annie gets stuck crawling!
YAY! We can sit up!

Trying Mom's Peas
You both really enjoy eating.  I puree all of your food, and you eat it up.  You also love your Baby Mum Mums.  Sophia, you actually eat and chew them and get so excited when you see me coming with them.  You throw your hands out and wave them up and down and quite literally grab them from my hands.  Both of you also like Carrot sticks to soothe your gums, cucumber sticks (with the seeds cut off), and you LOVE watermelon, apple, peaches, and banana in your mesh feeder.  You even tried a pickle at Bird Dog BBQ, and you both made funny faces but kept coming back for more. Sophie actually says “mmmmmmmmmm” when she eats.  Annabel, you have the funniest way of showing us that you are done eating.  You close your mouth just as tightly as you can, and almost try to twist your neck off burying it into your high chair, away from the spoon.  Oh, one more tidbit about eating.  Right now, you eat in the nude.  I don’t want to get your clothes dirty and stained, so we always get you naked.  We always joke that when you are older you are going to strip down to nothing every time you want to eat.

The full body bib!

Sophia, you got your very first tooth on May 10.  That was pretty early considering you were born 6 weeks early and were barely 5 months old when you got your tooth!  Both of your bottom two teeth came in first, right at the same time, and just a few days ago, your third bottom tooth came in (this is super strange because that tooth isn’t supposed to come in until you are 13 months!).  You are a pretty good teether, and you just really want to be held when you have a tooth coming through.  Annabellers, your first teeth had some impeccable timing…they showed up the day we were flying home from New York at the end of June.  I was a nervous wreck, afraid you were going to throw a fit the entire way home.  But it turns out you are a pretty good teether, too!  You popped both of your teeth the day we got home, and even refused the Tylenol we tried to give you before you got on the plane.


Happy Annie on the Plane!
Happy Sophie on the Plane!
Speaking of planes, you took your very first plane trip in June!  We spent 3 weeks in New York.  For 2 of those weeks, daddy was gone hiking and camping in the San Juan Mountains with Uncle John, Pat, and Greg.  Then, he met us in New York for vacation.  I was so worried about flying with you two!  You are such good-natured babies, and you are always so sweet, but you hadn’t spent a whole lot of time outside of the house or outside of your routine, so I wasn’t sure how you would act in an airplane with all of that hustle and bustle.  But you were SO good. So good I couldn’t even believe it.  On the way there, you barely even made one peep.  People “ooooo”ed and “ahhhh”ed over you like crazy.  Sophie, when we were waiting to get off the plane in Albany, everyone was looking at you and talking to you, and you got just a little bit overwhelmed and started to cry, but that was it!  On the way back, you both did just as well, despite it being a much longer flight with a connection and late at night as opposed to an early morning flight like we had on the way out there.

On the plane on the way home!

You were able to meet so many of your relatives when you traveled to New York, and everyone loved you!  You met your great grandma and so many of your aunts and uncles!  You even got to meet some of your second cousins, like Aubrey, Remi, Ryan, and Mikayla.  You swam in your Uncle Remi’s pool several times and visited the Utica Zoo!  We had a blast!

When we arrived home from New York, something really sad happened in Colorado Springs.  The Waldo Canyon fire was burning when we arrived home, and the night after we got home, it burned down hundreds of houses.  It was a really devastating time for our city, and because of all the smoke, you had to stay inside for several days.  It was so incredibly sad.

When you were about to turn 7 months old, you had to stop nursing and take a bottle with formula full time.  I was really sad about this, but thankfully, you both did great and never seemed to be too bothered by it. 

You are both on a great nap schedule.  You go down anywhere from 2-3 hours after you wake up for 1.5-2.5 hours.  Then, you stay awake for about 3 hours and go down again for 1.5-2.5 hours depending on how long your first nap was.  You do all of your sleeping in your crib now, even at night.  This was super hard for your mom, but once you got your hip braces off and could roll onto your tummy, I knew it was time to move you out of the co-sleeper.  Annabel, the day we got to New York, you decided you wanted to be a tummy sleeper.  I don’t think I slept for a good 3 days because of this. I was so nervous!  Now, I can’t prevent it, and as soon as we put you in your crib, you roll to your tummy.  Thankfully, Sophie, you gave me a break and waited until we got home to learn to roll to your tummy and sleep there.  So, as soon as we returned home from New York, you officially slept in your cribs every night, and the co-sleepers were packed up and put into the basement.  Sophia, you sleep great every night, almost never waking up from the time we put you to bed until about 7 in the morning.  Annie, we haven’t pinpointed the reason yet, but you still wake up at least once on most nights.  You need to get about 30 ounces of formula during the day, or you wake up wanting a bottle.  If you get your 30 ounces, you end up waking up soaking wet needing a diaper and clothes change.  We are trying some nighttime diapers tonight to see if *fingers crossed* that makes a difference.  Most every night and every nap, we put you in your crib still awake and you put yourself to sleep.  We have a great bedtime routine, and both daddy and I really enjoy that time with you and each other.  On most nights, you get a nice bath, get lotion on, read books, and then have a bottle with cuddles and go to sleep.  I love to come and get you up in the morning because you are always just beyond thrilled to see me.  You are always facing each other in your cribs, and as soon as you notice or hear me, you whip yourself around, and start pounding and kicking your arms and legs on the mattress like crazy.  You both squeal with delight and give me huge smiles. It is so fun!

Neither of you cry very often unless you are tired or hungry.  Annabel, you are a little bit aggressive toward your sister and her toys sometimes, and occasionally you make her cry when you steal a toy.  It’s okay because I know you don’t quite understand yet.  Both of you are starting to show a little bit of stranger danger and separation anxiety.  If dad or I come near you and you are fussy, you will throw your arms out to be picked up.  It’s so, so cute.  Sometimes when you are nearing a nap or need some cuddles, you will make your way over to me and crawl up on my lap to sit.  Just this morning, daddy let me sleep in a little bit.  When I got up, you were both playing contently in your playpen. I came up to you and said “good morning, sweet girls!” and you both waved your hands and huge smiles spread across your faces.  I gave you both kisses, then went to the kitchen to get something to drink, and both of you burst into tears and threw yourself against the side of the playpen as if you were trying to escape and come and get me. It was so sad, yet so sweet. I felt so loved!

Annie and her toys
You love to play!  You love to jump and play with your toys or me and dad.  It makes you laugh when we put a burp cloth over your face and say “Where’s Sophie (or Annie)?”  You yank it off with a huge smile on your face then kind of clap your hands together and wave them around.  It’s adorable.  You also like to make music with your little music table.  You put every single thing that you can get your hands on into your mouth.  Annabel, just a few days ago, you learned to pull yourself up on your toy basket and figured out how to tip it over.   Oh man, what a mess we have to clean up these days!  Both of you really love to swing in the baby swing at the park.  You sit back to back, and I swear you could swing all day. You love walks, and you love to swim.  Water is pretty much your best friend. You loved swimming in your Uncle Remi’s pool, and now you love taking baths without your baby bathtub.

Big girls in the bathtub!

Medley came to visit you this month, and you really loved her.  She would put on puppet shows, sing you songs, and do pacifier rescue missions at night (you only take your paci when you sleep, but you also throw them out of your cribs).  Every time we went in the car somewhere she would ask if her mission was “awake or asleep.”  If her mission was awake, anytime one of you would get drowsy, I would hear her shout her favorite silly song right now, “DAH, Dah, dah, dah, dah CIRCUS AFRO.” It woke you up every single time and often made you giggle!  We went on a lot of walks to the park together where you enjoyed swinging together.  You are really going to miss her now that she is leaving. 

Farmer's Market with Medley

Both of you have learned to share experiences with us.  When we laugh, it makes you laugh.  When we are having fun, it is obvious that you are enjoying yourself.  You sense expression and emotion now, which is so wonderful and fulfilling.  When you are crying, oftentimes, a simple song I make up can soothe you.

Big girls in high chairs at Noodles
We love Costco!

We take you out all kinds of places, now.  You have been to many Farmer’s Markets, lots of malls, and Target at least a dozen times. You sit in high chairs at restaurants and in the carts at stores.  You love it, and you get so much attention.  You got a lot of attention in your stroller, but now that you are out and “on display” people just can’t get enough of you.  We get oodles of comments like “Double Trouble” or “You’ve got your hands full” or “Busy mama,” and sometimes I resent those comments because I feel like they aren’t acknowledging what an absolutely rewarding job I have raising the two of you (and usually, you are doing nothing but sitting and smiling, certainly not warranting those comments).  The truth is, you are AMAZING babies.  My favorite is when people say things like “You are so blessed” or “double blessing!”  People ALWAYS tell us that the two of you are the cutest things they have ever seen.  Yep, I agree.  (When we were at the outlet mall shopping for new school clothes for Medley, this strange old man asked if he could kiss one of you. Daddy said “NO THANKS” and the old man gave him such a dirty look.  So creepy!)

I have so much fun with you, every single day.  You are the light of my life.  Sometimes, when you sleep too long, I truly miss you, and as soon as I hear one of you start to make noise, I jump up, announce that “MOMMY’S COMING” and fly down the hallway to come see you.  Sometimes I just can’t stand your cuteness, and I laugh and squeal with you.  I love you both ever so much, and as always, I can’t wait to see what you do next.  I’m certain it will be something marvelous.

As one of our favorite nighttime books says, “I love you to the moon…and back.”



Saturday, May 5, 2012

5 Month Letter

Happy belated five-month birthday, little ladies!

I always start these on the day of your birthday with the best of intentions of getting them posted.  However, I think the fact that your month letters are always a bit late attests to just how busy our little family is these days.  And by busy, I mean fun and wild and crazy. Because we are truly having so, so much fun. (Girls, mommy just started two sentences in a row with cardinal elementary school sins—with “and” and “because.”  Don’t do it or you will get slack for it, and that will be a great big mommy fail.)

I am pretty sure I say this every month, but this was the best month yet!  You both are so big and fun and aware now.  I mean, you have always been fun, but it’s in a different way now.  In a way that makes me want to wake you up when you have been sleeping too long.  In a way that makes ME squeal with delight when you laugh. In a way that makes me bring my hands up to my chin and giddily clap them together when you do something new.  In a way that makes me love you more and more every single day, even when it doesn’t seem possible that I could love you more than I already do.

This month started out with some amazing news—Sophie, you no longer have to wear your hip brace 24/7! Instead of tears at the orthopedists office, mommy clapped your hands together while you grinned at the PA.  Gramma and Grampa went with us to the appointment but stayed in the waiting room while you were being examined.  When we were walking out, daddy asked if he could drop kick the brace when we got out to the waiting room to show G&G that you didn’t have it on anymore.  I “regulated” (as daddy would call it) and told him that might not be the best of ideas.  Anyway, now you wear your braces only at nighttime and naps.  We got the go ahead for you not to wear it during every nap(especially you, Annie), so we tried it the first day, and that did not go well.  Not at all!  Both of you have actually become accustomed to your braces to help you sleep.  Oops!  Sophia, you love to have your brace off during snuggle or playtime, though.  You lift your legs so high in the air that your butt is off the floor.  You kick and play to your heart’s content.  It is so sweet, and I’m so glad we got through this hurdle together.  I know it was devastating in the very beginning, but just like everyone said it would be, it has just been a little blip in the radar!

Before we got that news, though, mommy had to go back to work.  On April 2, I went back as a third grade teacher.  I am so lucky, though, for a few reasons.  First of all, I only have to work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  This is bearable, and it still allows me to be home with you more than I am away from you.  Second, we are so lucky because grandma Dingo and grandpa watched you for the first 3 weeks I went back to work.  It’s amazing how much you love your G&G.  Your faces light up when you see them (and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual).  You had so much fun with them, playing all day.   Aunt Lauren and neighbor Ms. Lisa got to watch you for a few days, too.  I was really sad the night before I went back to work, but I know it is what is best for our family.  I am still sad to leave you in the morning, and I miss you terribly when I’m at work, but it’s comforting to know that you are safe and sound at home with people who love you and care about you so much.

I just have to note that both of you have become champion nursers.  I still have to pump because it can be hard to feed both of you at the same time, but I am so proud of how far you have come.  There was a time that I thought I would never be able to nurse you and have that connection with you, but once again, you proved me wrong! 

This is how much I love my toys!

Mesmerized by the playmat
You have both really shown a love for toys this month, and it’s so cute!  You can hang out on your play mat for 20 or 30 minutes at a time playing with buggy, dolly, Lulu in her Tutu, your snail, etc.   We also got out your jumperoo from Aunt Cindy and Uncle Jeff this month!  Oh my, you could not love it more!  It became clear that you loved it so much that we quickly had to go get another jumperoo (Baby Einstein version).  You will both jump and play in it several times a day.  Your feet don’t quite touch the ground yet, so there are books under one and a Wii balance board under the other.  You also enjoy sitting up in your Bumbo chairs and do so often.  Both of you love to play with dad and me, and you spend a lot of your time standing up on our laps or the floor in the front of us looking around.  It amazes me how strong you have gotten in such a short period of time.  You just love to stand!

Hangin' in the Bumbo

Sophie loves her Jumperoo!

When we went to see Dr. Kiley for your four-month appointment, she asked us to start giving you some rice cereal.  This is a daddy thing!  We have only given it to you a few times, but you seem to enjoy it for the most part.  Daddy really loves giving it to you, and it’s super cute.  Most of the time you sit up in your high chair with us when we eat, unless you are sleeping.  You love to have a bunch of toys with you to play with, and you seem to like having a little stuffed lovey to hold onto now, too. 


Heart Ultrasound
Watching the screen
We separated you (for a short time) for the first time this month!  We had to take Annabel to her cardiologist appointment—all is well and we go back in several months for a follow up.  They did an ultrasound of your heart, and that took a while, and you totally lost it toward the middle of it.  It was nothing a bottle couldn’t fix, though.  Dad and I went to Einstein Bagels afterwards with you, and remarked at how “easy” it was with just one baby.  But we would never, ever want just one baby!

You got a new car this month, too.  I loved my Subaru, but it was so impractical.  Trying to fit your carseats in the back with everything else that we needed was insane.  So, daddy and I spent a couple of days looking at cars while you chilled at home with Grandma and Grandpa.  In the end, we got a Honda Pilot.  We love it!

Daddy changing the girls in the back of the Pilot

 Naps are going so well in your cribs!  You still sleep right next to dad and me at night, and I love it.  It doesn’t seem to bother either one of us—all four of us usually sleep through the night with no interruption—so we will keep that up until it seems like the right time to transition you into your cribs for nighttime.  Most of the time you sleep really well during the day, with a few exceptions.  You usually nap for 1.5-2.5 hours in the morning, then again in the afternoon, with naps sometimes being closer to 3 or 3.5 hours.  Then after about 5ish, you catnap off and on until bed around 730 or 8 depending on when your last bottle is.  We have to go and reinsert your pacifiers every once in a while, but you usually fall right back asleep.

You are both rolling over now!  You consistently roll from belly to back, and AnnaBelly, you are SUPER close to rolling from your back to your belly.  You have gotten almost entirely over except for one pesky little arm that always seems to get stuck underneath you.  I still jump up and down and clap for you when one of you rolls over, because I am just so proud of you.  (If you haven’t noticed, I am extremely proud of you both).  Grandma, Grandpa, mommy and daddy all got to see Sophia roll over for the first time, and then I got to see Annabel roll.  I was taking pictures of you both doing tummy time, and all of a sudden, Annie, you just rolled!  I felt bad because you rolled into the side of the rocking chair, but you didn’t seem to care. 

Annabel right after rolling

 Speaking of tummy time, I was getting so discouraged by your disdain for tummy time.  Annie, you especially would scream the second we turned you over.  I was getting so concerned because I knew how important it was for your development that you have that time on your stomach.  Then, one day, the dreaded tummy time came, and Annie, you just lifted your head up like it was no big deal and gave me a big grin.  It was as if you were saying, “OK, you win. I’ll do my tummy time, mom.”  Ever since then, you only give us a hard time about tummy time if you have been doing it too long. 

I can’t keep track of all the outings we have been on this month.  Belle, you are much less Hell’s Bells-ish these days.  Although you can still be a cranky pants on rare occasions, most of your waking time is spent with a huge smile on your face.  We have discovered that it is best if we can sit outside when we go out to eat.  I don’t get nearly as anxious when one of you cries!

Annabel, you also laughed this month—it is really hard to get it out of you, but when you laugh it’s just adorable!  Sophia, you laugh a lot!  We are always guaranteed a laugh out of you when daddy puts your feet into your mouth (eew!). 

Oh, how could I forget?! You celebrated your very first Easter this month.  The Easter Bunny came to visit you and brought you new outfits, sunglasses, books, and maybe a little bit of candy for mom and dad.  Grandma Dingo made you the most adorable shirts I have ever seen, and you wore them with great pride!  We spent the day hanging out as a family, and we tried really hard to get a good family picture, but it was tough!

This is so indicative of our life right now!

Daddy’s birthday was this month, too.  We all had to work all day, so Grandma stayed home with you.  When we got home, we had dinner and cake and ice cream.  I made daddy a carrot cake, and Annabel, you would have loved to be able to dive right in and have a piece yourself.  You would not stop staring at the cake.  It was truly adorable!  You girls got your dad a picture frame for his office, so now he has even more pictures of you two.

I love you both so very much, and every day you continue to amaze me.  I am amazed at what beautiful little girls you are. I am amazed at all of the love that daddy and I have for you and for each other.  I am amazed with all the things you are learning every day.  There are still (many) days when your daddy and I look at each other and say, “How did we get so lucky to end up with TWO babies?” It’s amazing.  Amazing.  Life is amazing.

I love you so, so, so much my sweet Banana Boat and my little Fia Margarita.