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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Declan: 5 Months

A certain someone turned five months old over the weekend! 

Declan, you are such a joy! I am constantly amazed at what a happy, chill presence you are in our home. 

You are also gigantic! We love those sweet rolls and pudgy arms and legs. We don't go to the doctor again until next month, but my unofficial measurement has you at 18.6 pounds of delicious baby chub. You're in size 3 diapers and mostly 12 month clothes, especially because you're really long. The weather is finally warm enough for some short sleeves, and I am thrilled to get to see more of your arm rolls!

This month you really gained some control over your arm motions and are working on your ability to grasp anything around you. You love toys and teethers and have been working on pulling blankets toward you to bring toys closer. Your favorite toys are the Lifefactory circle teether and any of your soft circular rattle teethers. You also really like the musical octopus that used to be Marshall's, but pretty much anything with music and voices is a hit.

Speaking of voices, it's sweet and hilarious how you perk up at our voices. You hear Marshall or Daddy and get too distracted to nurse, and you hear me when I come home from work and give me a huge smile. 

You like books, but perhaps a bit less than your brother did. Hopefully Marshall's continued love of reading will help foster yours. Today you tried to eat Green Eggs and Ham, and Marshall very seriously said, "Declan, don't eat the book. It's not food." Wise little boy.

Sleep is going great, as it has from the start. You've had some rough naps and patches of fighting sleep, but you usually take three solid naps (45 minutes or more)--maybe one two hour nap in there--and one short catnap around 4:30 or 5 pm. 

Bedtime is between 6 and 6:30; we try to get into pjs, read a story, nurse and sing a song, and rock you to sleep. Lately you're able to go down on your own (awake in the crib and asleep within a few minutes), which I'm hoping to encourage! It's tough to develop a super strong bedtime routine because 6 pm is such a busy time--Marshall is playing, we're trying to get dinner ready, Scout is getting fed--but we're trying to make it work.

At night you sleep well. Usually you'll need some help settling between 9 and 10, and then you almost always wake up when we go to bed (10 or 11), so I feed you then. Then you eat at least one more time in the middle of the night, usually twice, so this month we're trying to work on dropping one of those night feedings. Honestly, I don't mind the nighttime feedings. I love cuddling with you and enjoying a few quiet minutes with you, since I feel our time is so limited during the day when I'm at work. But of course it's best for you to learn to sleep through the night, so we'll do our best.

It's strange to thin that at this exact age we moved Marshall to his own room and his own crib! We could likely do the same for you, but I'm in no rush. After we move you, I'll never again have a crib beside my bed, nor a softly snoring baby to listen for as I doze off. You can stay a few feet away just a bit longer.

Big milestones this month include getting really consistent with rolling (back to tummy over the left shoulder, just like Marshall!), super strong tummy time, and lots of reaching and grabbing. You love to practice using your muscles to pull yourself up to sitting when we hold your hands, but you're nowhere near sitting up on your own yet. I thought siblings were supposed to be opposites, but so far you and Marshall are practically identical in your abilities in the first few months!

You love to be carried and fall asleep so quickly when we hold you in the Ergo or K'tan (which I LOVE, by the way, for any mamas-to-be or anyone looking for a great gift!). You've officially graduated to legs-out carrying, and I think we'll be able to try a side carry soon.

You're still home with Daddy during the day, and it's going great. You two have such a great bond, and I love hearing about your days together--reading, walks, errands, songs, toys. I don't think I'll ever be able to express how proud I am that your Daddy gave you this gift of his time with you. I know he values every moment, too.

Eating is going great, too! You nurse when I'm home, but you take about three bottles during the day with Daddy, anywhere from 8 to 15 ounces on average. You've been super interested in watching us eat lately, too, so I imagine we're close to solids. Soon we'll be busting out the high chair!

You are absolutely in love with your big brother. You follow him eagerly with your eyes when he's in the room, and you smile and laugh when he does. Seeing you two together makes me a total mess.

(In the above photo, you kept leaning over and resting your head on Marshall's head. I love that he didn't mind!)

Photo of the month.

Holding hands on a walk

Marshall loves you, too.

You like: being held, getting up-close-and-personal interaction with Mommy, Daddy, or Marshall (you love funny faces, silly voices, etc.), getting tickled, snuggling with mama at the end of the work day and/or in bed at night, watching Marshall play, chewing on anything, listening to music and songs, people, animated story telling (you get super engaged when we exaggerate voices and make fun faces), and anything to do with your big brother.

You don't like: being cold after a bath, being hungry and tired, getting frustrated about being stuck on your tummy. That's about it!

For my part, I'm in awe that you're already five months old. A big part of me is so sad about how quickly these months are flying by. With your brother, I was able to savor the time a bit more because I was home with him, and with you I feel like I'm squeezing in little moments. I miss you terribly when I'm at work, and I work really hard to get as much time with you as I can. There is no easy answer, but I know that you know I'm your mama, and there are times when I cuddle you at the end of the day and feel you just relax a bit, as though you were waiting all day for me. I promise I was hurrying home to you, my baby boy.

I could go on and on about how I feel like I don't get enough time with you, but instead I'll focus on the fact that I feel so blessed for the time I DO get with you. You are so easygoing and fun and smiley! My heart quite literally beats faster when you smile at me, and I am in awe of your mellow nature. I hope we can nurture that calm, happy essence as you grow up so that you can teach us all to be more fun and relaxed!

Was there ever a time when you weren't here? I remember a life before you, but it feels like a world away. Even when we were a family of three, we always knew we wanted you, and now you're such a huge, joyful part of our lives. Thank you for helping me slow down and smile with you, for motivating me to work hard for our family, for helping me learn (slowly, because mom guilt is painfully real) that quality time matters more than a specific number of hours.

Any time I do have with you--even if just a few hours a day--is pure bliss. Watching you experience this world through such bright, sweet eyes makes me appreciate every moment a little more.

I hope you can feel how grateful we are for your sweet, fun life, Declan. You make every day something worth smiling about, and you make my nights so perfectly cuddly. Happy five months to you, my love.
Five months!

Less than one month <3

(Left: Declan at 4 months; right: Marshall at 9 months)