Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Family Tradition

This year marks the first time that our Christmas tree didn't emerge in three pieces from an under-the-stairs storage room in our basement. We finally ditched our artificial tree and got ourselves a real, live, needle-dropping, pine-smelling, sap-slinging tree this year. We paced around the small tree lot for quite some time before settling on the one we lugged home, and lucky for us, it went up without a problem and didn't require much trimming. It was a fun experience that is sure to become a yearly tradition, although next time I could do without the 68-degree weather. It was so warm that the farm didn't offer its usual complimentary hot chocolate.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Glamour Shots

These pictures are too cute not to share. This particular day, Luciana was in a good mood, she had on an adorable outfit and the lighting was perfect. I took advantage of the ideal conditions and tried to capture the essence of Luci ... yummy baby chub, heart-melting smiles, beautiful blue eyes and dimples (actually, she just has one dimple, but it's delicious), and just the sweetest personality in one little package. This little darling completely has my heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Soaking it in

It occurred to me today that I've been "staying at home" for three months now. No work, no emails, no meetings (and, umm, no drying my hair) for three whole months. Yet it only feels like a month has passed since saying goodbye to the professional world. Life is just flying by at an intense pace as Halloween, Thanksgiving and all of our fall birthdays (our families have so many Sept/Oct/Nov birthdays!) passed by in a fog. And now, we've got December and Christmas staring us in the face. There's no chance this month is going to be any different, so I'm just holding on for dear life as we start decorating and Christmas shopping.

As Luciana grows right before our eyes, I want to take the time to savor her newborn-ness as much as possible. I felt like with Maribelle, I was an anxious mess from the time she was born to the time she turned 1 year old. With her stressful early arrival and time in the NICU, I worried about every little thing she did and each little noise she made, wondering whether or not she was ok or secretly suffering from some sort of health issue (vision problems? hip dysplasia? heart defects? Yeah, those were just a few of the ones I considered). I freaked out about every milestone (and the fact that she never rolled or crawled) and was convinced that she would be a late walker. Obviously, everything turned out just fine (as my mom repeatedly told me it would) and I wish I would have let myself enjoy her baby days a whole lot more.

So, lesson learned, right? And now, with Luciana, I'm breathing it all in, trying to be more relaxed and keeping the anxiety at bay. It helps that she's a wonderfully sweet, yummy little girl who eats and sleeps like a dream. She's so much sturdier than Maribelle was, and just seeing her chubby little rolls and cheeks makes me happy and convinced that we're doing things right. To think that the little chunker I stare at all day long is something that I've grown and nourished, all by my lonesome. From the womb to the real-world, she's been fully dependent on my body and all that it consumes and produces. It's so gratifying, so empowering, and so reassuring that we can do this.

Two Month Stats
Weight: 12 pounds 2 ounces (83rd percentile)
Height: 22.3 inches (47th percentile)

At this point, Luciana is still eating about every two to three hours, and fairly regularly goes one stretch of four to six hours overnight between feedings. She still has her fussy period, or "witching hour" as we like to call it, anywhere from 5:30 p.m. until the time she goes to bed around 9:30 or 10 p.m. every night, where she wants to constantly nurse. It makes doing bedtime with Belle a bit of a challenge, shall I say. 

Luci is such a smiley little girl, and is just on the brink of breaking out into a giggle or laugh. She makes a few baby noises here and there and is mesmerized by watching us talk to her. The doctor commented about how good her muscle tone is, which is something we've been saying for weeks because she's so good at holding up her head and keeping it steady. Oh, and, she LOVES being carried in the Baby Bjorn. It's the only way to calm her down sometimes and the only way I can get anything done. 

Another point worth noting, I just had to run out last night to buy Luciana a few more sleepers in size 6 months. And she's only two months old. I never thought I'd have to buy MORE girl clothes, in addition to the countless bins of girls clothes we already have. But Belle's 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothing is all summer stuff. Soon enough we're going to need a bigger house to fit all the baby clothes we've collected.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Routines

Luciana is five-weeks-old at this point, and with Jeremy's paternity leave behind him and the last of our house guests/babysitters gone for the moment, I'm looking forward to settling in to some sort of "routine." I say that lightly because the idea of creating a routine with a newborn is laughable,  but this mama and the strong-willed almost three-year-old of the house NEED routine. Because honestly, without it, we're both grumpy, sleep deprived and all sorts of out of whack, and that just does NOT make for a happy household.

Luciana's been doing a whole lot of growing and measured in with these stats at her one-month doctor's appointment.

Weight: 9 lbs 7 ounces (a gain of two pounds in two weeks!), 57th percentile
Length: 20 1/2, 26th percentile

Part of her NICU stay involved figuring out that she has silent reflux, which means she takes a hefty dose of Zantac three times a day. Based on her growth (which the doctor was extremely happy with), she's obviously doing well on the medicine, but she does have days and nights where she seems extremely uncomfortable. I don't know if it's the reflux or just her immature digestive system, but I've never seen any baby poop and pass gas as much as she does. The poor girl is always grunting, pushing and working on something, and OMG does it look uncomfortable to be a baby. Newborns are so sleepy and cute and cuddly, but man can they be strange.

She's eating about every two to three hours, and if I'm lucky, she'll sleep a stretch of about four hours at least once during the night. She has about two to three wakeful periods during the day where she's up for two hours at a time, and lucky me, she cluster feeds at night from about 7 to 10 p.m. where she eats every single hour. Right now she loves her baths (seriously, she never cries during a bath) and is starting to enjoy playing (well, laying) on her playmat. And this girl has been genuinely smiling since about two weeks old.

What's gone unmentioned here on the blog is that I left my job of eight years at the end of August to officially "stay at home." It's a major adjustment for me (and for our income ... yikes!), but one that I am excited to explore and make my own (with routines, routines and more routines).

Maribelle is undergoing a change of her own as well, as she drops down from three days of daycare a week to only one day. We have absolutely loved the home daycare that she's been attending for the past three years, and the provider has been out-of-this-world wonderful. But, the drive to and from the daycare location from our new house is insane and would mean that I'd have Luciana in the car for potentially four hours a day on daycare days. Not ideal. So for now, she'll be home with me for the majority of the week while we try to find her some sort of preschool situation for the coming year. I'm slightly terrified, because this feisty girl needs entertainment and to be socially and mentally engaged in ways that I just can't find the time for at the moment. There's been a whole lot of movie watching going on these past few weeks (she's obsessed with Disney movies at the moment), but I'm hoping that once I get my bearings with this whole "staying at home with two kids" thing, I'll be able to provide Maribelle with the stimulating experiences she needs. And some days, I know that's going to be a tall order to fill.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Girls

Two weeks ago, we welcomed this little beauty into our family

Luciana Marie Moorhead
Born September 30, 2011 at 4:16 a.m.
7 lbs, 3 ounces; 19.5 inches long

Born at 36 weeks and 3 days, she was an early bird just like her big sister and spent 10 days in the NICU (that's a story for another time). We brought her home earlier this week, and she's been eating, sleeping, pooping and gaining weight like a pro. And we are just so in love with her sweetness.

As for the big sister of the house? She's totally smitten, too and loving her role as big helper of the house. Also? She decided to pretty much potty train herself while we were dealing with Luciana's NICU stay. With some enticement from Grandma A, she switched to big girl panties and has been staying dry ever since.

These days we are feeling extra blessed to have these two beauties in our lives. And I'm so over-the-moon happy to be able to refer to them as "our girls." There's just nothing sweeter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big Girl Bed

That's our little "Big Girl" you see all sprawled out by her lonesome in her new big girl bed. About two weeks ago, Maribelle made the big move from a crib to a twin-size big girl bed, and she's been doing great ever since. We only had a few issues the first night with her popping in and out of bed before she feel asleep, but ever since, she's stayed put. And in fact, she still calls for us to get her out of bed in the morning like she did when she slept in her crib. I'm sure this won't last for long, but we're pretty happy with this new arrangement while it lasts.

Next on our list? That soggy diaper of hers you see fastened to her little bum. This Thursday is our hard and fast launch date for Project No More Diapers. I'm terrified, people. TERRIFIED. I have this fear of potty training and wish some magical fairy would swoop in and instantaneously teach Belle how to use the big potty and save me from all the accidents in between. I'm not looking forward to cleaning up pee and poo. I'm not looking forward to the extra laundry, and I'm not looking forward to the power struggles. But, we've gotta start sometime.

Somebody hold me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

33 weeks and Counting

It's hard to believe that I'm already 33 weeks into this pregnancy, and that last time, Belle was born about two weeks from this point. The doctors have been keeping a close eye on my progress, and at my appointment this morning, I found out I'm already 1 centimeter dilated. The doc wasn't worried though, because she said it's common for second-time moms to be dilated by this point. If I can juuuust get to 37 weeks, heck even 36 weeks, I'll be one happy camper.

Here are some updated 4D ultrasound pics from a growth scan I had at 31 weeks. The baby is measuring about a week ahead and was weighing over 4 pounds at the time of the scan, which puts the baby around 8 pounds at 40 weeks. Throughout most of the ultrasound, Baby M II had his/her hands covering his/her face, but this first picture was the perfect money shot that we got right at the end of the scan. The face looks a lot like Belle when she was first born, but everyone who sees these pics still thinks we're having a boy.

So on the home front, we're in full-on "prepare for baby" mode. We've been making small advances in the nursery, and I've been slowly washing baby items like sheets, diaper rags and clothes. And yes, my hospital bag is pretty much packed, as it was by this point when I was pregnant with Belle. Thank you, Type A personality. Overall I just feel big. And round. And full. And tight. And tired. Really, really tired. Which is why these belly shots are of me in my pajamas. It's how I would like to be dressed pretty much 24 hours a day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Nursery Rhyming with Belles

We do lots of singing 'round these parts. Whether it's before naptime and bedtime, on our way to and from daycare, or just any old time of day, you'll catch Maribelle singing a tune, and we're usually right there singing along with her. While she enjoys making up her own songs about mundane things (she entertained Jeremy and me with an impromptu song about bleeding knees the other day. I'm not kidding. And? Her knees weren't even bleeding), she has quite a repertoire of nursery rhymes. At the moment she's stuck on the sequence of Yankee Doodle, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider as a naptime/bedtime routine. But below you can catch a performance of some of her other favorites.

And yes, sometimes we like to sing without our pants on (and by "we" I mean "she").

Nursery rhyming with Belles from Gina Moorhead on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Recap

(Warning: Loooong post ahead)

Our summer? It's been a blast, people. Full of f-u-n, FUN and pretty much jam packed with all the things that toddler dreams are made of. Trips to the neighborhood swimming pool? Check. Ample time outside on large play structures? Check. Water balloon fights, lots of ice cream and popsicles, and a sleep schedule that has gone way, way, way out of wack? Triple double check. It's been our first summer in a while sans a summer vacay, so we've been busy creating memories in other ways, and lucky for us, great family and friends have been a major part of our summer. 

The summer started off with a bang, when this pretty puppy was installed (by professionals, thank the Lord) in our backyard. It's pretty much the bee's knees in Belle's eyes, who loves spending time on her swing set every evening, after the summer sun has cooled down. For the longest time, she would wake up, look out the window and say "My swingset! It's still here!" Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa A and Aunt Tina and Uncle Jim for very generously helping us buy this for our little Belle. 

We also took a quick overnight jaunt to Bethany Beach to spend time with some great friends. Belle loved the ocean and sand this year, but especially liked the small inflatable pool that someone thought to bring along. Genius idea!

Something Jeremy has been wanting to do for quite some time is take Belle to her first baseball game. She got her first dose of the major leagues at an Orioles vs. Indians game, and she also got her first dose of mascot meltdown. Let's just say she was NOT thrilled that the Oriole Bird sought her out and stooped down to her level to say hi.

Another first for Maribelle this summer was that she saw her first movie at a movie theater. We decided the new Winnie the Pooh movie was the perfect speed and length for a tot her age, and Aunt Jamie and Laura accompanied us to make the occasion extra special (although, am I the only one who just does not have a soft spot for Winnie the Pooh? Talk about a snoozefest, and they're all just kind of depressing characters. I'd so rather watch Yo Gabba Gabba over that whiny bear any day). Maribelle STILL asks me if I remember when we went to see a movie, and she recalls the entire afternoon, right down to what she had for lunch afterward.

My family has spent a lot of time trekking back and forth from Ohio to Maryland this summer, especially my dad, whose been here probably five times between May and August. I've spent more extended time with my sisters this summer than I have in a really long time, and it's been great to have all the extra help on hand. Plus, Maribelle loves all the doting attention, extra playmates, and unfamiliar purses through which she can rummage and inspect the contents (seriously people, she has a thing for purses and bags. Anyone she sees with a purse, backpack or briefcase catches her curiosity, and she salivates at the idea of getting her hands on the junk inside anyone's bag. The other day she even asked us what was in some guy's pocket! It's out of control.) 

On an especially beautiful day, we took an afternoon trip to Annapolis to take a boat ride and grab some lunch. It really was the perfect summer outing, although Maribelle could care less about the boat and concentrated more on what was in Tara's purse.

We've got a bit more of summer left, and a few more family members coming to visit, so we're hoping to continue our streak of awesomesauce summer outings. Because with a baby on the way, fall is sure to be a bit more challenging, but in a good way.