Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Four Weeks, Catching Up

In an admittedly rushed attempt to catch up on everything around here, my plan is to throw up a few quick posts over the rest of this week to get us all back on track, and then hopefully I'll find a more normal posting pattern as the months go on. For now, enjoy lots of photos in no particular order!

Declan has been part of our family for almost FOUR WEEKS already (hopefully I'll manage to do monthly posts like I did for Marshall!), and we've had so much fun getting to know him. So far, he is a total snoozer, especially during the day, but he is starting to wake up a little. When he does open up those beautiful eyes, he seems quite alert and eager to see what's around him. 

(He's already grown out of this outfit.)

Terry is taking a course right now for work, and one of the classes recently was on a Saturday, so Jenn came to help out for the morning (and brought Justin and toddler Monroe, too!). It was so fun hanging out with them, and a relief to me having other adults around for backup/moral support. I have NO idea how people do the two-kid thing with only one adult in the house! 

Right now, our weekday routine looks like this: Terry leaves for work by 6:30 and does as much as he can ahead of time to help me out, such as cooking breakfast and leaving it on the stove or getting Marshall changed for the day if he's awake. By then I'm usually up, feeding Declan, and starting the rest of the morning routine while we wish Daddy a good day. (Lately, since it's darker in the morning, Marshall says, in a very serious tone of voice, "Daddy, don't forget it's dark outside.") Then I get the boys fed and ready and out the door, and Declan and I take Marshall to day care. Here's where I say: THANK GOODNESS I have day care. It's wonderful to know that Marshall gets to keep his routine and continue going to school (which he loves) with people who care about him while I get to come home and focus on Declan.

(Watching the rain with his friend!)

I thought for a hot minute that I might want to stay home with both boys, but I'm learning that those days would result in tons of stress for me, no fun for Marshall, and no attention for Declan. I truly admire and respect all my friends and family members who have managed to juggle a toddler and newborn--TEACH ME YOUR WAYS! I know it will get easier eventually, but right now I'm finding myself wondering if we really do pay enough for day care. :-) Perhaps they need a bonus?

I spend all day with Declan, Mr. Sleepyhead, and we find a mix of activities--snuggling on the couch, tidying up the house, running errands, eating a LOT (both of us). Then, Terry picks up Marshall at the end of the day and we're all back home by 5 pm or so. We do our best to spend some quality time as a family (most successful evenings so far are those we spend out of the house, maybe going for a walk or going out to dinner--there's something about a change of scenery and not being in a place where Terry and I feel we need to clean or do chores) before bath and bedtime.

Making pumpkin fluff with my big boy!

Marshall loves to read to Declan!

We're still in the haze of newborn sleeplessness. While Declan sleeps great during the day, he still eats every two hours at night, so Terry and I are working together to get through these early months while still appreciating the snuggly newborn we've been blessed to have join our family.
(He looks so tiny here! He's already way bigger than this!)

(It's not all adorable--although that face is still pretty cute.)

Out to dinner on a Friday night!

We recently joined some friends at a baby shower for Heidi and Edward, who welcomed their second baby, Grayson, about three weeks after Declan came along. (Fun fact: Kayla is exactly three weeks and two days older than Marshall, and now Declan is exactly three weeks and two days older than Grayson!) Somehow I missed a photo with Heidi, but here's one of me and Katie!
(Sorry, Declan)

Marshall was mostly focused on the ice cream. :-)

Congratulations to Heidi and Edward (and big sister Kayla!) on the new addition. He is adorable and we can't wait to meet him!

Watching Marshall become a big brother has been a truly incredible experience. He didn't express much interest in the idea of a baby before Declan was born, but since the little one's arrival we've seen such a fun side of Marshall--wanting to hold Declan's hand, helping Declan play with his toys, reading to Declan, bringing diapers or burp cloths or blankets as needed (or, sometimes, not needed), yelling, "It's okay, Declan!" when Declan cries, asking lots of questions about how Declan eats or sleeps or the noises he makes. It's a blast, even in the midst of the exhaustion. Sometimes I get a little nervous about Marshall getting too close (coughing on Declan, spreading daycare germs to a newborn, being too rough or excited around him and falling on him, etc.), but I hope I'll relax as time goes on. It's going to be so fun when they can really play together!

With all the chaos of a newborn, we weren't sure how Halloween would go, but we found time to visit a local pumpkin patch! More on that in a Halloween post, but this kid loved it!

Honestly, having a toddler and newborn is HARD. I feel like I'm pulled in 20 directions and can't ever be enough for everyone. Terry is a phenomenal dad and husband, and I am so grateful to have such a strong, generous, helpful partner. Still, there are times when Declan needs to eat and Marshall only wants Mommy to play with him, and my mom-guilt goes through the roof. We're trying to find ways to balance it all.

The other day, I took Marshall out to breakfast, just the two of us, to spend some quality time together. It was nice to be reminded of his "normal" personality, not the one who has tantrums every hour!

Bonus: It was raining, so we got to use our umbrellas!

Going for walks as a family helps because Declan snoozes in the carrier while Marshall gets more of our attention, but he also needs to learn how to be patient and share our attention, and that part is definitely a work in progress.

 As for eating, everything has been a mix of freezer meals (thanks to my mom!), eating out (we've been lucky enough to receive several gift cards from friends and family to help us out on those crazy days when dinner is the last thing on our minds until 5 pm), and even cooking at home. Last night I whipped up this turkey chili 

while Declan took a nap, and last week I pulled out a steak from the freezer to make an autumn salad of steak, greens, goat cheese, roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinegar. YUM.

I've made a few batches of this sardine salad (SO GOOD),
(Those chips are called Red Hot Blues from Garden of Eatin, and I had read about them but not tried them until last week. Now I am obsessed and can't wait to buy more. They're like healthy Doritos!)

and we have had a few meal deliveries from friends, too. Yesterday I planned out a super healthy week of meals and then spent $113 at Trader Joe's, so I guess we're hoping to get back into a routine of eating healthy around here.

Just for fun:

And finally, my parents visited last week, which is always a busy, fun week for us all. Marshall LOVED getting so much attention from PopPop and JanJan, I loved having them here to help with tons of chores, cleaning, and cooking, and Declan enjoyed having some new snuggle buddies.

And with that, Declan has decided my time is up. Off to change a diaper, feed, and snuggle! 


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