All of This Happened

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So, I haven’t exactly been hiding, but I spent much of the past 9 months looking like this, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging.

img_7325Our third born, June Powers, arrived on August 23rd, 2017 at 11 AM, one week early, via a scheduled c-section.

And she is just beautiful. None of us can stop looking at her. She came into the world kicking and screaming and weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, our smallest baby yet. She is quiet and gentle until she gets hungry. Then she is pissed. She seems to be unfazed by the screaming/yelling, non-stop talking, and tackling that goes on in our house, so I think she will survive here nicely.

Her first week here has been chaotic. James and Reese both started school and there were visiting days and orientations, not to mention dealing with the aftermath of a pipe that burst in our basement while we were in the hospital.

Meanwhile, June is straight chillin’ all day long. She sleeps at night. The first couple of nights home from the hospital I actually had to wake her for her feedings. For the record, when other people told me they had to do this with their newborn babies, I secretly never believed them. I know this may not continue, but it’s nice to have right now, while trying to recover from the c-section and get two kids up and out the door for school in the morning. Sidenote: I laugh a little inside when I say things like “get the kids up and out the door for school.” It’s so mom-ish.

I actually love the chaos this time around. Reese was born in November and because the weather was terrible, flu season was nearing, and she was our only child, her and I pretty much spent her first winter hunkered down in our living room watching Laguna Beach reruns. When James arrived two years later in March, the weather was better but we also had a two-year old who wasn’t in school yet, woke insanely early, never went to bed easily and could do very little for herself. Sicknesses ravaged our house those first few months and those were probably some of the hardest days of my life. I could remember feeling guilty just wishing that James would hit that 3 month mark and maybe start sleeping better. I felt like I was wishing his babyness away. So far, I don’t have those feelings this time.

Now, Reese is in school full-time, we have swimming lessons and soccer practices to go to and June will be dragged to everything. Much like any younger sibling, and I think she will roll with it.

Here are some glimpses of our first few days.

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Last Day of Nursery School

On the last day of nursery school the same photobomber from the first day was still wreaking havoc on our photo taking.

Reese officially finished nursery school in mid June and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to her lovely little school. James will start there two days a week next year, so we aren’t leaving it completely but Reese loved everything about her school so much and I know she misses it. She is as pumped as ever for full day kindergarten next year, and Andrew and I are excited to see her in this new phase in her life, even if I will miss my little helper every day. Can someone take James all day instead? Just kidding Jamers.

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Firsts

This past weekend we took Reese to her first movie.

She had been asking to go to a movie in a theater for a while. It was cold, dreary, and we had a full Saturday to kill. The only kids movie playing at our local theater was Kung Fu Panda 3.

$42 later, yes you read that correctly, two adult tickets and 1 child’s ticket at our outrageously expensive movie theater, came to $42. James was free, thank god, otherwise homeboy would have been left behind.

All in all, it didn’t go great and Reese asked to go home twice during the course of the movie. Our heads were saying, “hells no you can’t go home this just cost us $50”, but our mouths said, “it’s ok Reese, just cover your eyes at the scary parts.” Plus, we needed to see if Po got his chi back.  She spent a good portion of the movie with her eyes covered. Kai, the bull in the movie terrified her and no amount of lollipops or popcorn could fix it.

I honestly did not think it was that scary but unfortunately, Reese is JUST like her mom. I was scared of everything growing up, (including clowns which most children find delightful and hilarious) and to this day I don’t watch Dateline if I’m home alone at night.

Twice during the short car ride home Reese said, “How about you never take me to this theater again when Kung Fu Panda is playing.” Later, when Andrew was putting her to bed she asked, “Why did Mom want to take us to see that scary movie?”Also, for the past two nights at bedtime she has said that she can’t stop thinking about Kai. Awesome. A scary bull from ancient China is haunting my four-year-old’s thoughts.

So I may or may not have ruined the first movie theater experience for Reese. James, on the other hand has learned that movies include unlimited candy and popcorn so he is lifer.

First Days

This is the day my girl left for school.

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I wasn’t sure how she was going to do on that first day. I have never dropped her off anywhere, except with her grandparents. Would she cry when I was leaving? I didn’t think I would be able to handle that. Would she cling to my leg and beg me to stay? No, she would literally jog into her classroom, toss her backpack at me and wave goodbye to me from the dress up corner. I don’t think she even looked up.

When I came to pick her up, her teachers would tell me that it was like she had been going to school her whole life. I am relieved and happy for her that she loves school so much. She only goes two days a week for four hours but she tells me that she would like to go every day, and also to stay for nap time. She loves her teachers. She brings them flowers that she picked and often asks intimate questions about what they do after hours. “What do you think Mrs. Bannon is doing RIGHT now?”

Eating lunch is her favorite part of school. Rightfully so. Followed by playing dress up, particularly in the “Barbie costume.” She is one of three girls in her class and there are 6 boys. The two other girls in her class were best friends last year at school, but Reese seems to be fitting in. I’m not sure if she would know if she wasn’t fitting in anyway.

I am enjoying a few hours with just James and am thrilled for Reese to gain some independence and to interact more with kids her age, I also love hearing about what she is doing. Is it creepy that I would die to be able to somehow watch her while she is at school? I would love to see what she’s doing, what she’s saying etc. I am so fascinated by how she might act at school, away from me.

So while this is the end of our 24/7 togetherness, and that is a little sad, it’s just the beginning of first days, and that is so exciting.

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Big Girl Bed Still A Big Hit

We are probably setting a bad precedent, but Reese’s favorite thing to do is jump on her new bed. She says “I want to jump!” and she likes to have an audience when she does it. When her cousin joins, it is even more fun. My mom, sister and I were cracking up as the two of them went crazy on the bed (Mira got so crazy she lost her pants.)

There were some tumbles, a couple of collisions, and some run ins with the wall, but I think this my have been the best day of Reese’s life.

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Big Girl Beds

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Andrew and I had been talking about moving Reese out of the nursery and into one of our spare bedrooms for awhile. We thought it would be best to transition her from a crib to a bed before baby # 2 came, but I was procrastinating because I wasn’t sure she was ready.

Just before New Year’s, in a momentary episode of panic that occurred when I realized that the baby would be here in less than 2 months, we set up a twin mattress on the floor of Reese’s new bedroom.

We didn’t put anything else in there aside from the mattress. Too risky.

On multiple occasions in the nursery, I had witnessed Reese take down her humidifier, stand up and surf on her glider, try to swing from her curtains, and attempt to pick up and move her diaper pail. God knows what she would do when left to her own devices all night.

I had serious angst about this. Visions of her busting out of the room and wreaking havoc on our upstairs, or worse, trying (and succeeding) in opening the baby gate and falling down the stairs haunted me.

Before bedtime that first night, we realized that we would have to have her monitor and her CD player (she refuses to go to bed without her music playing) on the floor of her room. I told Reese that after stories Mom and Dad would leave the room and Reese should stay in her bed and sleep.

Yea right. I felt ridiculous even saying this to her. I know she was laughing at me on the inside.

This is how the first night went.

7:15 – Andrew comes downstairs after reading Reese stories.

7:18 PM – We hear a clicking noise and the monitor goes off. Andrew goes up to turn it back on. He opens the door to find a small individual, clad in a snowman onesie, hunched over the monitor. Upon seeing him in the doorway she quickly darts back to her bed. Andrew turns the monitor back on.

7:20 PM – He goes back downstairs and the monitor is promptly turned off again. He goes upstairs and takes it out of her room.

7:25 PM – After refusing to go the night without a monitor, I go back upstairs and set it up outside of her door, hoping we will at least hear her if she gets out of the room. While I am setting it up, I hear a loud fumbling with the doorknob and a small, pathetic little voice saying,  “I need some help with the door.”
I go into the room and lay with Reese until 7: 50 PM. She babbles for thirty minutes next to me in the bed. Some snippets from this convo with herself include “I eat ALL the chocolate chips”, “We allllllllll sleeping in the bed”, and “Where’s the Mama monkey?” When I tell her I am going to leave she wraps her arms around my neck and pleads for me to sleep in the bed with her. My heart is ripped from my chest.

7:58 PM – I leave the room after succumbing to requests for more books and following instructions on which stuffed animals should be put in the bed with her. She also throws her pillow at me and says “no pillow!” There are a few moans, a little crying, and then when I get back downstairs we hear silence through the monitor. Silence is the scariest thing to hear. I don’t know if there is silence because she’s actually being quiet and settling down, or if we just can’t hear her through the door. We hear various other bumps and thumps over the next hour or so, but no crying, so we are good.

10 PM – I peek into the room to find Reese asleep in the bed, on top of all the covers, using her Elmo as a pillow. Victory.

I feel that we got off pretty easy that first night. The second night was similar to the first, except with the monitor being taken from the room, she focused her attention on her CD player. She kept turning up the volume and blasting her nursery rhymes until they echoed through our house.

Now, the novelty of the room seems to have worn off and she usually just goes right to sleep after stories. She does wake up in the night sometimes, which she never did before, and scares the crap out of me when she shows up next to my bed, two inches from my face; but it doesn’t happen too often. When it does, she refuses my offers to come into our bed and insists that I lay with her in the “big girl bed.”  And so I roll myself out of bed, flop onto the mattress on the floor and snuggle up with Reese, all three Elmos, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Nahla, Froggy and the Octopus until she is able to drift off to sleep again.

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2013

2013 was a big year for us.

Reese turned two in November.

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She may not have loved her birthday party, but some people had fun.

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My sister got married in November and Reese was a flower girl. We got her to walk down the aisle by bribing her with lollipops. I learned an important parental lesson; candy gets shit done.

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We found out that baby number 2 would be coming to us in February 2014 and that Reesie would be getting a new cousin (her third!) in early March.

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Glasses were a big hit this year.

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Reese understood Christmas a little more this year. By this I mean that she knows nothing about the day being a celebration of the birth of Christ but everything about Santa, candy canes and presents.

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It was a year full of exciting firsts; first time eating an ice cream cone, first time swimming in a lake, first time riding an unenclosed train in frigid cold temperatures when Mom forgot your hat and mittens, etc. There were also some  “oh my god she’s no longer my baby” lasts. Your second, and last year as an only child, the last time you used a baba (pacifier), the last time sleeping in your crib (more on this soon.) The list goes on, and we know it is only just beginning.

Cheers to 2014. We can’t wait to see what it will look like.

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First Chore

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Reese has her first chore.

A few weeks ago, Andrew began asking Reese if she wanted to help him feed Miles. She got really excited about it and would follow him around, getting the food, filling the bowl and then, her favorite part, giving the command, “Miles, EAT.”

The other night Reese was coloring in the kitchen when all of a sudden she got out of her chair and ran past me muttering to herself, “I have to feed Miles.” I cracked up. I thought she was going to pretend to feed her or something, but no, she busted into the office, opened the office closet door (whaaat!?!) took out the Tupperware container filled with the dry dog food, carried it into the hallway, set it on the floor next to Miles’s dish, stuck her hand in and began putting the food in the dish, piece by piece.

I know this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was. I was blown away. It’s a mom thing I guess (I promise I mean that in the most un-obnoxious and maybe slightly sarcastic way possible.) In that moment she was now officially a kid. Baby no more.

It took her at least 15 minutes to fill up Miles’s dish. Miles waited patiently nearby, a puddle of drool forming at her feet.

Thus, Reese’s first chore was born, and we have learned that she is fiercely protective of it.

Last night when Andrew asked her to help him again, she got real pissed, real fast, when he tried to pour the food out of the container into the dish. She kept yelling “By hand!” which we can only assume  means she prefers to take the food out morsel by morsel using her hands. She gets even more fired up when the canned food is introduced into the mix. When Andrew began spooning it into the dish she yelled, “get away!” Sidenote: I know for a fact that she got that phrase from me so I just cowered in shame while Andrew looked at her in disbelief.

We have no idea why she hates the canned food, but think it has something to do with the fact that she feels that it messes up the dry food creation she has carefully crafted.

I vividly remember heated arguments with sisters over whose turn it was to feed our dog back in the day, so I am embracing this brief period of time when chores are new and exciting and being helpful is fun. Like most other things, I’m sure it will be over before I’m  ready.

Potty Dances

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This is our Elmo potty. Note the pretend “flusher.” When pushed, Elmo’s creepy laughter echoes throughout our house. The back of the potty shows Elmo wearing a scuba mask and swimming underwater. I have a problem with this, as I feel like it is implying that Elmo is swimming in the potty which is gross, and in my opinion, sending the wrong message about how potties are to be used.

We haven’t been great about consistency with “potty training”, if you can even call it that. We put Reese on it every now and then, but up until this week she had probably only gone in it once. The rest of the time she just sat on it and read books or “magazines.”

She has also learned to use it against us. She quickly realized that whenever she would say “pee pee” or “poo poo” we would stop whatever she was doing, take off her diaper, rush her to the Elmo potty, and read books to her. She used this to escape bath times, bedtimes, naps, and basically anything she deemed unfavorable.

The past two nights Reese has done a poop (TMI?) in the potty before bath time. Each time she does it, we make a big deal. There is applause and a song and dance that includes roof raising on my part and circular running with arms raised on her part. The song goes “Reesie went in the pot-tee, Reesie went in the pot-tee. Yea Reesie yea!” You can tell she is extremely proud and it might be the best part of the day for all of us.

Reese particularly enjoys the cheering part. Sometimes, she will sit down, make a few grunting noises, then stand up, point to the empty potty and say, “Yay! You did a poop!” (there is some confusion surrounding pronouns) and clap for herself. Sometimes she’ll add a, “Good job!” in there as an extra pat on the back to herself. When she fakes it like this, Andrew and I always remind her, “No Reese, you didn’t do a poop, but thanks for trying.” The other day she sat down, pretended to go, jumped up, started clapping and pointing at the empty potty and said, “Yay, you did a poop! No you didn’t.” then sat back down.  We had witnessed an internal battle and truth had prevailed.

So this is our method. There is no real method. We sit her on the potty at the same time each night and if she goes, we have a party. If not, that’s ok too. If she pretends to go, we just remind her of the cold, hard truth,  “No you didn’t.”

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PS Please disregard the giant bruise on Reese’s head. She fell the other night in the kitchen and knocked her head on the floor. She took it like a champ but it was a nasty one.