The First Week

Last week was my first week with absolutely no help during the day. We survived, obviously, but it was both harder and easier than I expected. James isn’t on a schedule just yet, what with him only being 8 weeks old. But Stella is and that makes sticking to her schedule just a little bit harder. It’s maybe a little easier than when I was pregnant because at least I’m not pregnant.

 

We started off the week strong with a quick trip to the grocery store and the UPS store. With the use of the BOB I was able to manage both of those tasks without having to get the kids in and out of the car twice. Bonus: James slept the entire trip!

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We managed to get in some tummy time and Gabba watching time in the afternoon.

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Stella helped me get James up in the morning.

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Wednesday morning I didn’t get ready before I got the kids up and definitely paid the price trying to get us all out the door. James was so ready for a nap and Stella was ready to get out of the house and do something and taking the time to brush our teeth and get dressed seemed like such an obstacle. James had to cry for a bit while we did all that but as soon as I picked him up he fell asleep and we managed to get a few snuggles in before we left. We made it to Target, picked up lunch, and then met a friend in the park for a picnic and I felt like Super Mom for having done just that.

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Sometimes I get a little jealous of all the alone time I got with Stella when she was an infant. She took a lot of naps on my chest in the beginning and even though babies are portable heaters, I loved it. So Wednesday after I put Stella down for her nap I let James nap on me because I know that it won’t last forever. I don’t want it to last forever. Babies are cute, yes, but I much prefer Stella’s age – whining and all – to the infant stage.

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We got out for a few walks to wear Tsunami out, give Stella a break, and get James a nap. It’s been so hot here that afternoons are the worst part of the day. With a walk at least it gives us all a little time to reset, and make sure that Tsunami isn’t totally manic by the time Wes gets home.

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While I nursed James one morning, Stella read Tsunami stories. It was so nice to not be plopped in front of the television. I know a lot of people are able to keep their children away from movies and tv shows until they’re two, but I’m not one of them. We try to get out of the house as much as possible but sometimes an episode of Curious George is the only thing that keeps me sane.

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Mornings on Mama’s bed while we brush our teeth and I get ready. Stella’s telling me she loves me, which was sorely needed.

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And this kid and her jackets. She saw this in her closet when I got her up one morning and immediately asked to wear it. Of course she needed the hood up. It does get chilly here in the morning.

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Stella received two babies as gifts and loves running around with them. “Stella baby safe.” Yes, she is keeping those babies safe by wrapping them up in blankets to make sure they don’t get cold. IMG_7747

Friday, though, was kind of a doozy. After waking up twice with James on Thursday night, and staying up for over an hour to get him back to sleep, I was just exhausted on Friday morning. I somehow missed that James pooped and put him in his car seat, where he stayed for the next two hours because of errands and swim lessons. By the time 3pm rolled around I was a mess and just wanted to sit down and cry. After the kids fell asleep I collapsed on the couch and cried because I felt like the world’s worst mom. Stella’s hit the two-year old whining stage and it is so hard to be patient with her and explain things to her. Everything is the worst thing ever and most days I can handle it but Friday it was just hard. I had Wes pick up take-out for dinner while we watched Brave three times.

We had a good weekend, though, and I feel refreshed. Friday has become the new Monday for me. I’m just worn out by the end of the week. Tonight and tomorrow, Wes has work dinners so I’m on my own and am trying to pump myself up about handling the witching hour by myself. Stella might go to bed without a bath but I have a feeling that we will stumble our way through it.

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Luaus, Sharks, and Planes

We finished Wes’ time home with a fun-packed weekend, starting Friday night with a Luau hosted by our apartment community. We weren’t able to stay for the dancing last year because 11-month old Stella just couldn’t hang past her bedtime. This year, though, Stella was ready to party. DSCN2336 I pulled this hoodie out of her closet in case it got cold, but Stella loves her jackets and immediately wanted to put it on. No matter that it was still incredibly hot. But little hands in pockets, is there anything cuter? (Yes, probably, but not at this moment.) We got this hoodie from Wendy and when she bought it for her daughter a few years ago the clerk at Osh Kosh actually reminded her that this was “from the boys section” as though boys have the monopoly on the color orange. DSCN2337We still had a few minutes before we needed to leave and James was asleep so, of course, Stella helped Wes get in a little workout. 
DSCN2333 DSCN2334 This is a fun game where Wes says, “Hey, Stella, guess what?” and then tickles her or gives her a raspberry or pretends to eat her belly. And then she pulls his head down and says, “Guess what? Guess what?” as a little prompt for him to do it again. DSCN2341 DSCN2343 And then, of course, there was flying and dog snuggles while flying. No time spent playing with dad is complete without flying. She’s still working on getting her limbs out in a true flying position but practice makes perfect. DSCN2349 And then it was time for the luau. At first she only wanted to eat the snack mix that I let her have so that I could get our plates, but pretty soon she was chowing down on the pulled pork (I absolutely tried to get her to say, “It’s just pulled pork” but didn’t have much luck) and rice. DSCN2354I made Wes get a picture of us while we were all sitting together. Even though he rolls his eyes every time the camera comes out, I know he appreciates these photos later on. And Stella loves looking through them. 

DSCN2370After dinner Wes took Stella into the dog park because she loves dogs and when the dancing started they came out to watch. I asked Stella if she wanted to go dance and she looked up like I didn’t even know that was an option and took off to the front to dance. 
DSCN2376 The dancer’s brought out leis for some of the guests and Stella and I tried to get one, but they decided a dad with a baby deserved one more. Luckily, this dad is a nice guy and asked that they give to Stella instead. So one last picture with all of us and before Stella picked off all the flowers to give to her little brother. She is very generous. 

Saturday we spent with friends helping hang some things to prepare for their baby, due in November. And also give them a glimpse of what life is like with kids. Afterwards, with both kids asleep in the car, we decided to get some coffee and walk around the Ko Olina resort. One of the hotels has fish on display and that’s always a hit with toddlers. This time they had baby hammerheads. We each had a kid in a carrier and my phone was dying, so no pictures. DSCN2385

Sunday morning we went out to Ford Island to for The Biggest Little Air Show, which I first thought meant it would just be a small air show but turns out it’s an air show for remote control air planes and helicopters. It was perfect for Stella, but I’m glad that we figured it out before we go there. DSCN2389 DSCN2404 James slept through most of it and Stella was covered in dirt within minutes of sitting down to watch the planes, but she loved it. “Comes, comes,” she kept saying as they flew by. And after each plane landed she clapped along with everyone else. DSCN2409 DSCN2411 DSCN2412 DSCN2419 DSCN2423 DSCN2425 DSCN2427 She got to sit in a few helicopters and loved it. I thought she might be scared and cling to one of us but Wes put her in that first helicopter and she leaned over to grab the door and said, “Shut the door. Shut the door.” One of our friend’s is in the Coast Guard and flies in a helicopter so every time one of their helicopters flies over we remind her that’s what Gunnar’s daddy flies in so every time we said helicopter she would say, “Gunnar daddy.” They moved away when she and Gunnar were only 8 months old, but she loves that boy. DSCN2428 DSCN2430 She also got to wear try on this helmet and loved it. I found one at the visitors center and was maybe thisclose to buying one for her before I remembered that our apartment is at capacity for toys. At this age she’s too young to realize she can ask for things and listens to us when we tell her to leave something behind so I’m not going to push the limits by buying her things she doesn’t ask for. DSCN2437This guy woke up at the very end so we found a spot under a plane while Wes and Stella watched the last of the show and ran out on to the runway after the candy drop. I don’t think she got any candy, though. The rush of the older kids seemed to clean it out pretty quickly, but she was happy to finally be allowed on the other side of the yellow tape. We came home to one more night of no schedules before Wes headed back to work on Monday. 

 

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Park Days

Our apartment community has a toddler park that I drive by nearly every day but had never been to before my parents came. My mom took Stella over there and it was a hit with all parties involved. We’ve been back a few times since and managed to make it there yesterday with Wes, who has taken this week off because I’m officially the luckiest mama around to have had so much help since before James was born. I’m sure next week will be a little rough but I’m pretty sure we’ll all survive. Maybe on takeout, but we will survive.

 

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Stella loves to swing on the bar above the slide. Thanks to her gymnastics class for instilling this love of swinging on pretty much anything she can. This is actually over a curved ladder and we had to keep ushering her back to the slide because if she fell off this bar, well, I’m pretty sure she would have hit her chin on the way down, and I know from experience that that’s pretty painful. DSCN2295 DSCN2324DSCN2291

There are a few slides at this park. Yes, we brought Tsunami. We thought she might play fetch but she climbed up the stairs behind Stella and ran down this slide, as well as the long twisty one. For some reason the short wide slide was not up to snuff because she refused to go down that. We were alone at the park so I didn’t worry too much about allowing our dog to enjoy the structure.
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James set up shop in the shade and slept.
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Stella got to swing. It’s not her favorite thing, but she’ll go for a few seconds before abruptly jumping off. We’re working on teaching her to tell us to stop before she makes that leap. And also to not just dart in front of people swinging. My mom and I had an abrupt end to our high-swinging session when Stella made a ran right in front of us. DSCN2305 DSCN2312

This dog, you guys. Climbs up the stairs, goes down the slide and actually jumped off the high slide at one point, but this step is just too high for her. Wes had to lift her down twice because she refused to jump down. Of course, trying to jump in front of Stella on the curved ladder, that seems like a good idea to her. DSCN2316

Wes started jumping on that bridge and finally got Stella to stand at the other end while he jumped. She kept saying, “Fun. Fun.” After a few jumps she would move to another set of chains and request that he jump again.
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It’s been great having Wes home this week. He’s been spending a lot of time with Stella and also cleaning the house so that when I am alone next week at least I’ll have one less thing to worry about while trying to wrangle two kids. We’re going to miss all the fun mornings with him. 

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Four (Years Married)

d100Four years ago this is was happening. The only thing that’s changed is the amount of kids we have (from zero to two!). There are lots of ups and downs in life and I’m lucky enough to have this man by my side for the good and the bad. Our celebrations might be a little more low-key, but there’s no one else I’d rather have by my side.

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Now vs Then

After having Stella I was a mess. 16 hours of labor and delivery had left me feeling like I had been run over by a truck. It hurt to move. Breastfeeding wasn’t as easy or natural as everyone had led me to believe it would be. Stella was sleepy and kept losing her latch so it seemed like I was constantly nursing her – once we finished it was time to start again.

The first time I cried was the day we came home from the hospital. Wes went grocery shopping and I sat on the couch while Stella slept, and I cried. And when Wes came home I took a shower and cried some more. I kept thinking, What did we do? Why did we do this? I thought that we would be permanently exhausted and I couldn’t see a way out of this stage. By the time my mom got here I was constantly on the verge of tears. But the big breakdown was when I realized that I might not get newborn photos because I hadn’t planned ahead. I cried and felt like the worst mom ever. (spoiler alert: we had newborn photos done and they were amazing and I we used the same photographer for James’)

The next day I told my mom that I wasn’t capable of making any big decisions. I didn’t care what we did or what we ate or what we watched or anything. I needed to focus on feeding Stella and healing my body. It took me over a month to feel realize that our lives weren’t ruined by the addition of a baby. And probably closer to two months before I stopped feeling guilt for every choice I made.

This time I didn’t feel any of that. The first time I cried was when I thought of my parents leaving last week (and will probably get me going again if I think about it too much). Labor and delivery was crazy quick and though my body was sore after James was born, I definitely felt better. I wanted to get out of bed and walk around and get my body moving. I sat up in bed instead of slouching down and I changed diapers instead of waking Wes up to do it because I knew he needed the sleep just as much as I did.

When we got home, the middle of the night feedings didn’t seem to exhaust me as much as they did with Stella. I was ready to get up and get moving almost immediately. I’m not sure what the difference is this time. Maybe just knowing that this stage doesn’t last forever. I won’t be waking up twice a night forever and before I know it James and Stella will be running around making my life in other crazy ways.

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One Month: James

This kid is one month old today, which is weird because 32 days ago I was certain that I’d be pregnant forever. My mom got here before he was born and so it seems like she’s been here forever but it doesn’t feel like she has. She saw me super pregnant and got to be here to see the first month but that can’t be possible because it’s all gone by so quick.

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Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “He’s much harder than Stella.” But then I think back to some of those early nights when Stella needed so much help getting to sleep or staying awake to eat and I remind myself that the early days are just harder. Some days are so easy and some days are much harder. It helps that I’ve had consistent help for the past month. My parents are leaving tonight so tomorrow Wes and I will both have to be up early. No one will be able to sneak in and grab the monitor and James to let us catch a few more minutes of sleep. But tomorrow afternoon Wes’ mom comes into town for a week so we still have help. Hopefully by the time she leaves I will be better equipped to handle two children under two by myself.

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James is actually a very good sleeper. And a very good eater. At his two-week check up he was 10 pounds and nearly 23″, which is what Stella was at five weeks. We don’t go back to the pediatrician for another few weeks so I don’t know his exact stats, but he’s got to be pushing 12 pounds at least. He’s wearing three month clothes and is making serious strides to pass his sister up.
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He is wide-eyed when he’s awake, taking in his surroundings as much as he can. He pushes up with his feet and tummy time is not nearly as traumatic as I remember it being with Stella. His weight and height make him look (to me), a bit older than he is and I’m impatient for him to be able to hold his head up. Actually, I’m impatient for him to be moving around and exploring. Newborns and infants are snuggly, but the good stuff is when they start interacting.
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He poops. A lot. So much more than I remember with Stella. We are constantly emptying diaper pails and it seems like as soon as I put a clean diaper on him he takes that as an invitation to poop.

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His eyes are blue, just like Stella’s were. And just like Stella, Wes is hoping they stay blue, but only time will tell.

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We’ve been getting out of the house a lot more than I did with Stella (and I got out quite a bit with her). James has been to the park, the zoo, the beach, and many stores and restaurants. He’s generally a good sport about being hauled all over the place and only cries when he needs to eat (which seems like it’s every hour!).

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Stella likes to hold James and lay down on the floor with him when he’s doing tummy time. She likes to help me change his diapers and insists on kissing him goodnight before bath time.

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Tsunami is much more interested in James than she was in Stella. I guess this time she knows what to expect from babies: that they’ll grow up and drop crumbs for her! DSCN2229 DSCN2230

 

The first month is done. It just gets easier from here.

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Dairy Farm

My mom came in to town over a month ago to help us out with Stella and James while we found our footing with a new baby. James wasn’t due to arrive for another week when she got here so she got to see what schedule Stella was on and spend some time just with her. Our first outing was to Naked Cow Dairy Farm with a mom’s group I’m part of. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it would get us out of the house and Stella could see some animals so obviously I wanted to go. I’ve found that the more pregnant you are the more praise you get for just getting out of bed, and at 39 weeks pregnant I needed all the praise I could get!

Our first stop was to see the chickens and their eggs. We got to feed them and even pet them. Stella tried to steal an egg but we distracted her by showing her the goats, which you could also pet but for whatever reason she wasn’t into them. A shame, too, considering they were babies and they looked much softer than the goats at the zoo that we always pet.

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After the chickens and eggs, Stella talked Grandma into carrying her on her shoulders while we walked past the cows. The brown cow is their mascot, Princess Peanut Butter (I think) was her name and she looked pretty happy under that tree. The working cows were in a pen and, yes, they look terribly skinny. But we were all assured that it’s normal. They had just weaned the calves so they were thin from all the nursing (makes sense). DSCN2087 DSCN2089 DSCN2096 DSCN2097

From there we got to check out the butter they were making and then watch the cows get milked. Unfortunately, we were on the end of the line and didn’t get to see the actual milking of the cow. Instead, Stella nearly ran straight into a spider web and when I saw the spider (I will spare you all the photo), I grabbed her and she hit her lip on the bar. Stellar parenting, I know, but the spider had crazy long legs and ran really fast to get away from her. Basically, I panicked because spiders are scary but I don’t want my kid to carry my phobias so I grabbed her before she could see it. No way am I letting her hold a spider. DSCN2100 DSCN2108

And then we got to taste a lot of cheese and crackers. Stella mostly wanted crackers but enjoyed some of the cheese. We bought way too much but had a lot of fun. Even if I was a million weeks pregnant.

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