Friday, April 14, 2017

Declan: Six Months

Before I chat about Declan's half birthday, I get to share some exciting news today: My twin niece and nephew have arrived! Haley Chase and Colby Travis were born on March 28 and are absolutely perfect. I cannot wait to meet these two sweet bundles and am so proud of my brother and sister-in-law, who are taking their new role as parents in stride.

Happy half birthday, Declan! (Almost ten days late...but better than never!)

You are just the best. You smile constantly, no matter what's going on around you, and I just can't believe we got so lucky with such an easygoing baby. 

(Marshall is pretty easygoing, too, but you still amaze me with all the smiles all day!)

You are growing and growing and growing, too! At the doctor this month, you weighed in at 19 pounds 1 ounce (85th percentile), and 28 1/2 inches (98th percentile). You're in 12-month clothes, and even some of those are a little tight!

You were still home with Daddy this month, and the two of you have developed such an awesome bond. I love seeing you light up at the sight of him (although, to be honest, you light up at the sight of anyone). 

We got a little more adventurous this month with activities and exploration for you. My friend Heidi gave me the idea for water play,

and we're giving you more time to play on your own. We pulled out some toys we had forgotten about, and it's so fun to watch you explore (and to watch Marshall hand you toys to play with). 

You're also enjoying your Exersaucer! (And it's nice to not always have to put you on the floor on a blanket when we play.) You like it more than Marshall did I think.

Speaking of Marshall, you two are quite a sight for this mama. I love seeing how you interact! Sometimes Marshall is really into the big brother role, bringing you toys, laughing with you, encouraging you to roll or eat, talking to you in the car.

Other times, understandably, he's less excited, especially if you touch ANY of his toys or play with the book we're reading. Luckily, so far, he's been very gentle with you and will listen if we ask him to express his frustration with words instead of pushing you or grabbing toys away from you. I know that won't always be the case, but he's doing great with you so far. He's starting to learn to bring you a "baby toy" as he calls them to trade with you when you have a toy of his, so we're figuring out what works...for now.

You, on the other hand, LOVE your big brother. You search for him when you hear his voice, you smile when you see him (or pictures of him!), and you are starting to chat with him in a voice that's all for Marshall.

On that note: talking! You're so chatty now! We are hearing lots of distinct sounds and some new consonants, which is really fun to try to decipher. I think you have some specific sounds for Scout, Marshall, and Daddy. Maybe there's one for me, too, and I just haven't picked up on it yet. :-)

You and Scout are pals, too. He's so patient with you, and you always reach out for him when he walks by.

It's so fun to spend time together as a family, even if it's a bit chaotic and dizzying sometimes.

You tend to receive lots of compliments on your bright blue eyes, which truly are stunning. I'm eager to see if they stick to blue or shift to green like Marshall's.

And okay. Daddy had a rough last week of paternity leave with naps, but we are assuming it was a bit of separation anxiety. Night sleep is just about the same--you still wake up more than you should, but you go right back to sleep, so we aren't terribly motivated to do any sleep training. We did, however, purchase a full crib for our bedroom. I didn't like you in the Joovy so many hours per day/night, and this situation is much better.

And FOOD! You are breastfeeding most of the time, taking a bottle without a problem when I'm at work, and juuuuuust starting solid foods. You usually take three bottles in the nine hours I'm away from you during the day, about 4 ounces each. You also eat twice in the morning, twice in the evening before bed, and at least once or twice in the middle of the night. I certainly don't mind those nighttime feedings; more time with you is okay by me! Plus, look at these thighs...

As for solid foods, I'm so excited! Starting food was one of my favorite phases with Marshall, and I can't wait to let you explore tastes and textures. We started with banana and avocado and have done applesauce and pear, too. I just mash up soft foods or steam/boil crunchy foods and then puree them. I made some peas and carrots for future use, too.

(Are you kidding me???)

We also tried the stroller without the infant car seat this month, and you're not totally ready but still look pretty cute.

Declan, you are the embodiment of pure joy. Every inch of your chubby, ever-growing body makes me so happy as you wiggle, rotate on your belly, roll, and push up with your arms. I love hearing your sweet giggle and seeing your perfect smile.

I hope we're doing right by you. It's tough being the second kid; you're certainly not the only focus of our attention the way Marshall was. But I hope you are benefiting from our experience, from having a big brother, and from the fact that we really do love you exactly as much as we love our first baby.

Thank you for bringing your sweet soul into our family and for the last six months of hilarious, joyful, irreplaceable moments. You are perfect, and we can't wait to see what the next month holds!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Time Marches On

A post dedicated to the idea that no matter how much we want time to slow down--or, sometimes, speed up--it inevitably rolls forward, for better or worse. (But hopefully for better.)

I've talked about it here a lot before, but when Marshall was in my belly, I wanted time to slow down. When my water broke two weeks early, I panicked and begged for more time, crying to Terry that I wasn't ready. But time pushed forward, despite my insistence that I didn't feel ready. Once Marshall arrived, it all felt so hard. I felt overwhelmed and tired and unsteady. I couldn't wait to get to that one-month mark, to be able to say we survived the first part. Time couldn't move fast enough!

And now we have an almost-three-year-old who speaks in paragraphs more often than not, and I find myself wishing again that time could slow down so we could savor more of his sweet innocence. 

A few weeks ago we went to the beach on a super foggy day, and watching Marshall marvel at the ocean inspired me to slow down, to take in that moment in long swallows instead of quick gulps.

He seemed suddenly so old, and even braved asking a scuba diver what he saw under the water. But then an unexpected wave knocked him down, and he was two years old again, preciously trying to imitate his daddy washing his feet but not standing close enough to the shower to get his feet rinsed.

Since becoming pregnant with Declan, I've done my very best to savor every moment. I tried to soak up my last months of being a family of three, to enjoy having only Marshall. But there was a part of me that felt the opposite of how I did in those last weeks of my pregnancy with Marshall. This time, I was ready, and excited, and I couldn't wait to meet our new family member.

Then, suddenly, he was in our arms, and I'm back to wishing things could slow down a little. How is Declan already five months old? How is Marshall almost three?

I know there's no way I'll ever feel like I have enough time with either of them, nor enough time with Terry. I'll never feel satisfied with the amount of family time, and I'll always wish I could have more.

For this--this longing for more time--I am so grateful. I am so lucky to live a life in which I want more of exactly what I'm doing.

In having a second child, in going back to work, in nights where I have to miss bedtime for work, there is a lot of guilt. I often wonder--Are we spending enough quality time with our kids? Are we truly enjoying these sweet days, months, years? Are we making memories we'll cherish forever?

That's a lot of pressure! But to ease some of my anxiety, we've focused on being present with each other and with the kids on evenings and weekends, putting our phones down and loving on our sweet boys. Here's some fun we've had lately...

My friends suggested bringing our older kids to a UCLA gymnastics meet, which was such a fun outing! Marshall even got to meet Josie Bruin, and the Bruins won!

Later, Declan and Terry joined us for a stroll on campus.

Sometimes we chill at home, and those moments can be easy to miss because it feels like there are always chores to do, quick things to tidy up or take care of. But we try to soak it in.

Is there anything better than a baby sleeping in your arms?

Perhaps one who gives huge kisses (er, tries to eat your jaw)?

Occasionally, Terry brings the boys to pick me up at work, and we wander in the Sculpture Garden when I'm done. Marshall calls it my "work garden."

"I'm on a boat!"

On St. Patrick's Day, Terry made a delicious vegetarian Irish stew. It was SO good!

He also made Irish soda bread from scratch--such a stud!

In an act of spontaneity, we booked a last-minute trip to Lake Arrowhead so Marshall (and Declan) could experience the snow for the first time!

Marshall and Terry even rode up the chair lift for some sledding!

It was a super warm day, so we didn't get that wintry, snowy feeling, but it was still fun.

We stayed at the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, which was really awesome. Lake view from our room!

There were some pretty epic tantrums throughout the weekend, but we tried to enjoy the in-between times.

Found a random carousel.

One of my highlights of the weekend--giggling with the boys at dinner.

On Sunday morning, we took a walk down by the lake. Marshall was having a rough morning, so we opted to have Terry carry him in the Ergo while I had Declan in the K'Tan.

Eventually, Marshall wanted to wander on his own, so we got about 20 minutes of exploring before...

Hotel hallways can provide adventure, too.

The weekend flew by, and now we're nearly at the end of March already. When I panic that time is moving too fast, I try to remind myself that we're making the most of every moment. Being married to my favorite person and watching these little boys grow up and is truly the greatest gift.

Next up is the month of April, and while I'm perfectly happy with a slow month, I am also SO excited for my niece and nephew to arrive in a matter of WEEKS! We've been setting aside the clothes Declan outgrows to hand down to our nephew, and it makes me so glad that they'll go to that sweet boy!

I hope time is moving slow enough for you lately. <3