Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Declan: Nine Months

Happy nine months, "little" one! We're right in the middle of a whole bunch of exciting developments, so next month's post will certainly be a doozy, but let's look back at how the ninth month of your life went.


It's funny: When we announced we were having a second baby, lots of people told us to expect that our second would be completely different from our first. I tried to prepare myself. Since Marshall was such a great eater, I assumed we might get a picky one this time. But since Marshall struggled with sleep, I hoped we'd have a great sleeper on our hands!

Well, what I really should have heard from people's advice was to expect the unexpected. Declan is not an amazing sleeper. But I also think we haven't really given him a fair shot. Since birth (even in the hospital!), I have cuddled Declan in bed with me at night. He has always gone down in his crib, but at his first wake up we both fall asleep (safely of course! no sheets pulled up, no swaddle, not too hot, etc.), and we both sleep well. (Marshall never slept with us in bed, except in the early hours of the morning, so I guess in that way they are different.)

Unfortunately, Declan has always woken up often. He's easy to get back to sleep, but he's woken up every few hours--every single night since he was born. Yikes. Honestly, though, since he goes back to sleep so easily, we never felt super motivated to work on changing those habits. We were all getting enough sleep.

Still, we decided that nine months was a good time to finally take the plunge and move Declan out of our room and into Marshall's room. So over Fourth of July weekend we went for it! 

As you'll notice, he is quite tall, and the crib we had him in is quite short, so we switched his crib to a toddler bed and gave it to Marshall, and switched Marshall's bed back to the crib for Declan. Everyone is settled in, and so begins a room-sharing situation that will last as long as we live in a two-bedroom place! It's only been a couple weeks, but it's going pretty well. Marshall sleeps through almost everything, including fire alarms and falling out of bed (...), so Declan's crying doesn't wake him very easily. Once, Declan woke him and Marshall said sternly, "Declan! Be quiet!" And another time he said, "It's okay, baby!" (He never calls Declan "baby" so he must have been tired.)

Technically, this post is going up a week after Declan turned nine months, but the last two nights have gone great with respect to sleep--including eight straight hours last night. So hopefully having him sleep away from us is a step in the right direction!

As for daytime sleep, most of Declan's naps are at daycare. A typical day looks like this:

- Wake up anywhere between 5 and 6:30
- Arrive at daycare around 8:45--then he either goes down for a nap right away if he's tired or goes on the class walk and then goes down after that
- Nap - ideally 90 minutes or more, but sometimes shorter
- Nap again in the early afternoon, ideally waking up around 4
- Bedtime at 6:30

The big changes this month were officially dropping the third nap and then moving bedtime to 6:30 (instead of 6, which was tough!). It's SO much better now to be able to have him home for closer to two hours before he goes to bed. We can play, feed him dinner, then slowly start bedtime, instead of rushing or skipping a meal!

And speaking of which...

(I normally write these posts as a letter to Declan, but I honestly forgot! I'll pick it up here...)


We have an eater! I mentioned that you were starting to enjoy more foods, but this month we finally got lots more finger foods into the mix. Now you're eating pieces of fruits and vegetables, shredded meat, pieces of bread, etc. You love it all! You've tried new foods like mushrooms, homemade whole wheat bread (made with maple syrup instead of honey), whole wheat pita bread, broccoli, boiled peas, and nectarines.

I think it's safe to say you love eating. You get so impatient in your high chair waiting for us to bring you food, and when you see "your" bowls or spoons, you start kicking and grunting!

Happy boy!

Does any of it make it into your mouth?

We got you this awesome cup--glass, but covered in plastic--and as many times as you've thrown it we're pretty confident it's not going to break (knock on wood). I am amazed at how quickly you got the straw thing down!


Oh, boy, do I love watching you at this age. Declan, you are growing so quickly and developing new skills every day it seems. The Friday before Fourth of July weekend, you started crawling! That same weekend, you pulled up to standing consistently. Now you still seem to prefer scooting to crawling, and we can't tell if you'll get faster at crawling or just skip to walking. Time will tell, even though I'm not-so-secretly hoping you'll crawl because it's so darn cute!

What is happening here?

You can push up to sitting without any trouble now, too!

You love crawling and climbing over obstacles.

Rolling and throwing are new favorite games!

You experienced a pretty good range of fun new places and firsts this month. We traveled to the Bay Area (your first time in my hometown), we took you on the swings, and we had a fun family day at the park.

More about you at this age:

You love people. You smile at everyone and often gaze at people until they smile at you. You love putting things into and pulling things out of boxes and containers, you love anything that makes noise, and you definitely love getting into Marshall's toys (especially those that are not quite appropriate for you). You're starting to show some interest in books (yay!), and you generally seem interested in new places and experiences.

I'd say your favorite person is Marshall; he can make you smile even when you're quite upset. Marshall will shake his head back and forth if you're upset, or he'll come up to you and try to talk to you in his silliest voice to get you to calm down. It makes my heart so happy to see you and your brother developing such a sweet bond.

I gotta say, though, you love mama quite a lot too. Your smile when I get home is what makes me rush out the door from work. You usually want to nurse right away when I get home, and I treasure that opportunity to slow down with you. I find ways to connect with Marshall upon arriving home, too, like reading a story or hearing about his day if he'll tell me, so I know after you're done breastfeeding we'll find other ways to bond. (Speaking of which, right now you get two bottles at daycare--about 5 ounces each--and you nurse with me twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon, and at least once overnight, which we're trying to cut out this month. I still pump twice at work.)

(Mama's tired)

You've had a little separation anxiety this month, so there are some days when we can't set you down for even a second without making you so sad, even when we're sitting next to you! I do love that you love to be held, though. If I'm holding you, nothing can make you mad, and I love that you find such comfort in my arms.

You and your daddy have a special bond, and I love that you are so in tune with each other. Each night I feed you and read you your story, and then Daddy sings to you and puts you to sleep. He has much more patience (stubbornness?) than I do when it comes to rocking babies to sleep, and you two definitely have a routine now. He also keeps you home with him on his off Fridays, which is another great time for you two to bond!


We have an appointment this Friday (7/14) for a checkup to see how tall you are and how much you weigh, but you're in size 4 diapers and 12-18 month clothes. You are a delicious little chunk, but I'm curious to see how much your sizes change as you continue to move more. 

Declan, we love you to pieces and are so grateful for the joy and love you bring our family! Even with the tough days of separation anxiety, the messy meals, the imperfect sleep, we could not ask for a more wonderful way to spend our days. Here's to the next month of adventures and fun!

We love you!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Photos of Life Lately - June 2017 & 4th of July

More snapshots from recent adventures!

Perhaps one of the coolest things in our neighborhood ever!

Family dinner outing at Shake Shack! I LOVE their buns, and the beer is good, too.

Here's my (candid) reaction to the buzzer telling us our food is ready. 

Marshall is finding ways to bond with his brother.

We really love watching them together. It's funny to see when Marshall chooses to play with Dec and when he prefers to do his own thing.

Marshall's patience surprises me sometimes!

Other times, he's less patient, and we're all learning how to navigate those moments.

Over last weekend, Declan moved out of our room and into "Marshall's" (now "the boys'") room. We'll all adjust eventually, but it was tough for M. He can be sensitive to change, to put it mildly, so we're helping him through the transition. Declan seems comfortable there, but he also got sick over the weekend, so he still spent plenty of time with us overnight.


"I'm proud!"

Some new clothes, thanks to Gammie and Grandpa.

Marshall often spends solid chunks of time just lounging on the couch. No book, no TV, just chilling there. We got ourselves a very mellow kid, indeed. 

He's getting big, but he's still so little. 

Sometimes you pick up your toddler from daycare and realize he's wearing his little brother's pants. 

Santa Monica

Part of Daddy's Father's Day gift - photos of the boys in Terry's favorite teams' jerseys. True to form, I have yet to actually print the photos...

We hung out with Marshall's best friend's family recently, and they busted out superhero capes. You've never seen anything quite so cute as two three-year-olds running around in matching Flash costumes. 

They came out to tell us they were "sneaking snacks," and when we checked on the little thieves they had stolen....apples! I am so charmed by their innocence at this age.

 Playing at home is such a blast these days!

More Duplo fun

Looking for some lost toy 

Vacuuming after corn-husking

And some adventures out of the house, too!

Swim lessons! Declan joins, too, now, so it's a whole family outing.

Park play!


Our morning routines are still a challenge for me, but we're finding moments of fun. The boys wake up at different times--and no two days are ever the same. Sometimes Declan is up at 5 am, sometimes Marshall sleeps past 7. Sometimes they're both up right around 6. I have to just roll with whatever happens. I pack lunches the night before while Terry does dishes, and Terry brings the boys' lunches and school bags down to the car when he leaves for work in the morning, all of which eases the burden on me.

There are some elements to our mornings that are always the same: fresh diapers and school clothes right away when the boys wake up (sometimes breakfast is extra messy and requires a change but at least we're mostly there), breakfast (smoothies, eggs, toast with peanut butter and fruit, etc.), teeth brushing for M, and as much playing and reading as we can squeeze. Plus I have to get myself ready, nurse Declan (he eats solid food at breakfast, too), and pack up anything else I haven't already prepared. We often have to sprinkle in a tantrum or two, and Declan is often starting to feel ready for a nap (if he woke up at 5 or so especially!) right around the time we're trying to get out the door.

It's usually chaos. I'm working on it. But the best mornings are always the ones when Daddy is home. <3

Quick recap of Fourth of July weekend:

We ended up with four days off together. After an unfortunate start with a car accident for Terry (he is okay and the kids weren't in the care!), we were glad that the weekend didn't have a ton on the agenda. 

On the holiday, we walked to a local park for a parade and picnic, which was actually really fun! It turned out to be a pretty big community event with lots of vendors, sponsored food, music, and activities for the (slightly older) kids. 

Who needs to look at a camera?

 Then we headed out to our friends' house for a BBQ, and Marshall snoozed on the way, which is rare nowadays! (Naps in general are super hit-or-miss around here; we're just aiming for 3 or 4 per week at this point, and early bedtime when the nap doesn't happen.)

Backyard fun!


Whew! Talk about a whirwind catch-up. That brings us up to speed, with lots of undocumented little moments in between. These little boys and that awesome guy I married (not to mention family and friends sprinkled in the mix) make my life so full and happy!