Sunday, March 23, 2014

Letters to Ari...18 to 19 months

Dearest Aristaeus,

I was looking back at my last letter to you and it's funny how I ended it.  I was telling you how excited we were to watch you become a big brother.  Little did I know, I would go into labor that very night and you became a big brother the next day.  And wow, what a great big brother you are!

Milestones/Special Events:
-You became a big brother on January 28th.  Beforehand we were really worried about how you would adjust and I am happy to say...the transition has went wonderfully for you.  You have been very sweet to Elle since the day she was born.  You like to give her kisses on her head and cover her up with a blanket. You like to help mommy with diaper changes by sitting next to your sister and handing me wipes.  I find it funny that you point to her bouncer or the ottoman when you want me to put her down, so we can play together.  When you wake up in the morning, you ask for each member of your family.  I think it's so sweet that you want to check in with her right when you wake up.  
-We had a very special Valentine's Day..the first holiday as a family of four.  We celebrated with take out dinner from our favorite Chinese restaurant.  
- Don and Mary's wedding was a pretty fun event for you.  You ran around and played with Ty for hours. The two of you had so much fun chasing one another. You also gave out lots of hugs to the sweet little girls in attendance.  

- You finished your stay in the Starfish Room at Milestones.  You started staying home with mommy.  When you return to daycare in the fall you will no longer be a Starfish. You will be in the 2 year old room.

You with your friends at daycare

-We went on our first hike this new year for Nonee's birthday.  We hiked to Johnny G's farm.  You hadn't been in your backpack since last fall and you sure remembered it.  We brought it up into the kitchen and you pointed at it saying "yeah, yeah, yeah" and tried climbing in.  You enjoyed the hike so much, you even fell asleep on the way back.  
- We went to the parade downtown for St. Patrick's Day.  Your favorite part was seeing all the trucks.  

St. Patrick's Day parade

-You finished your third session of swim class.  We were so proud of you.  On your last day, you scaled the pool effortlessly and even went underwater three times to retrieve a ring off the bottom of the pool floor.  

Swim class with Instructor Jim

-TALKING! You are learning more and more words and enjoying being able to communicate with us using your words. My favorites right now are "Oh, no!" and "Let's go".  When you say "Let's go" you even use your head and bob it into the direction you want us to come.  You tell us to "sit" when you want us to play with you.  You also like to constantly tell Buckwheat to "stay".  You put your hand out and actually yell it at him.  Other popular words right now: truck, out, outside, treat, bus, milk, kiwi, orange, yogurt, activity, open, blanket, turtle, firetruck, box, flower, fish, basketball, soccer ball, chair, Legos, socks, shoes, boots, money, shovel, and family members names.  And of course if there is anything you want to do, that you don't know how to say yet, you point at and say "yeah, yeah, yeah". You lay in bed each night and daydream about your family.  You say each persons name over and over and over.  Lucky for Elle, she has just recently made the rotation.  

Things You Like Right Now:
- Trucks & buses! The three o'clock hour at our house is especially excited for you as we usually see about 10 buses pass.  You hear them and run to the window yelling BUS! Trucks are also very exciting to you and you are sure to point them out when we go for car rides.  
-Yogurt.  You request a yogurt after every meal...every single meal.  
- Helping.  You like to help Mommy & Daddy take care of Elle and help around the house.  Favorites include helping with diaper changes, bottle feedings. vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and laundry.  If you hear Mommy say the word laundry, you run into your room and grab your laundry basket.  The other day I just said to Daddy that I was going downstairs.  The word downstairs was a trigger for you and you assumed the only reason I could be going downstairs would be to do laundry.  Sure enough, you went to retrieve your laundry basket for me. 

Helping with a diaper change

Helping Nonee make muffins

- Sensory table & art activities! You've been busy at home with mommy painting, coloring, tracing and playing with play doh, snow, money, coffee beans, flour, ice cubes, shaving cream, etc.  We usually do these activities on a specific table, so you point to the table all the time throughout the day and say "activity".   

- You enjoy the outdoors.  Even though it has been especially cold you ask to go outside all the time.  You love watching daddy shovel and mommy rake.  Of course you help us the best you can.  You also love going on walks and pointing at all the things you know.  

-FaceTiming with Auntie.  When I have my phone out, you say "Annie, Annie" and insist I call her.  Once you see her, you then are always sure to ask about her dog Miracle too.  You call Miracle "MeMe".  You think its so funny to watch Miracle. 
- You point to things and say who they belong to.  This includes things around the house and food.  You crack me up when you point to the garbage bag waiting by the door and say "Daddy" because you know he takes it out.  When I'm making us lunch you point to your plate and say "Ari" and my plate and say "Mommy".  
- Reading.  We seem to read every book in your library throughout the day.  You amaze me with your books.  Every time we read a story, you remember how to say more and more of the words and identify the animals/objects that you see.  You also like to act out some of the words or show us where the object is in our house.  For example, when we read J is for Jump, you of course need to show us how to jump.  When you see the sand dollar, you insist on going to get your sand dollar from vacation from the kitchen.  When you come to the gold frame, you point to the gold frame hanging in our living room.  Seeing you make these associations has been so much fun!
Reading all by yourself 

Reading with Auntie before bed

-Basketball and soccer are your favorite sports right now.  You learned to dribble a basketball, which is so cute.  You bend down and pat the ball while it sits on the ground before you shoot.  You are improving your soccer skills, using just your feet more and more.  You love yelling "Goooooaaaaaallllll" with your hands up in the air and running around the room.  Too bad this includes even the times you don't actually make a goal..ha.  

- You like to sing songs.  You like ring around the rosie.  You will come up to me, grab my hands and say "ring" while moving your hands back and forth when you want to sing. Other favorites include: The Wheels on the Bus and The Alphabet Song.  Your favorite alphabet song version is India Arie with Elmo.  You say "Elmo" after if finishes and then "more, more".  
- Legos, legos, and more legos! Five minutes after we clean up your legos, you bring over your bin saying "open, open".  

Things You Don't Like Right Now:
-Waiting in the car.  If Daddy gets out to run into a store or get gas, you say "Mommy...", wait for my response, and then say "Out".  Once you realize you're not getting out, you cry. 
- When you are tired, you seem to act out when you're not getting all the attention all the time.  If Mommy is busy nursing, you do the things you know you're not supposed to...on purpose.  This includes: jumping on the couch, turning the tv on and off, playing with daddy's receiver, taking an iPad or phone, standing on toys, etc.  You even have a sly look on your face when you do these things, testing me to see what you can get away with.  
- You need your snuggle time when you wake up from a nap.  If you don't have about 10-15 minutes of one on one snuggles, you can melt down easily.  
- Messes...if something falls on the ground you say "Oh no! Oh no!" until we either clean it up or convince you that we will clean it up later.  This is getting better, but you're pretty particular.  Yesterday, there was a dog hair on the couch and you yelled "Oh no!" Also, when we go for walks, you get upset when you see some garbage on the ground. 
- Being patient when waiting to leave the house.  You get into a lot of mischief while Mommy and Daddy are getting ourselves and Elle ready.  

18 month shots

Your Dad:
- You love playing basketball and soccer with your dad in the living room.  You actually like watching basketball too.  Daddy took you to the NCAA open practice this past week at the Bradley Center. You were very observant and interested in what the players were doing. It's like you were sitting there in absolute awe.  

- You have an "after dinner routine" with Daddy.  As soon as you're done eating, Daddy takes off your clothes and dipaer and you run into the bathroom to sit and use your potty chair.  You pee and run back into the kitchen so proud yelling "PEE! PEE!"  You get a high five from mommy, Elle, and Buckwheat and then run back into the bathroom.  After peeing, you take a shower with Daddy and Daddy gets you ready for bed.  

 Hiking with Daddy

Last swim class

DJ-ing with Daddy
Your Mom:
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time home with you Ari.  I love doing our activities together and having you by my side all day.  When I'm away from you for even an hour...I miss you.  One of my favorite times of the day is sitting in the kitchen having lunch with you.  We listen to music and chat.  I'm embracing every moment of our time together... I find myself taking a lot of pictures and videos because I don't want to forget one single memory of you.  

Grocery shopping with Mommy


Your sister:
Right now your sister does a lot of sleeping, which you don't seem to mind because we have more time to play with you.  She loves the sweet kisses from you and hanging out on the couch.  The occasional bonk on the head from one of your flying toys is making her one tough little lady.  The two of you already have a very special bond.  Sibling love is special. 

We are so proud of you Ari.  Watching you learn and grow brings so much joy to our hearts.  

Your Mommy

 A boy and his dog...18 months old

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dear Alexandra...1 Month Old

Dear Alexandra,

You are already a month old and still as sweet as ever.  When describing you to others, I literally say "She is the perfect baby."  It's the are so content and easy to take care of.  I've enjoyed being home with you so much. I try and take lots of pictures because I want to capture so many memories of you...bottle them up...and hold on to them forever.

-At your last doctor appointment, our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to let you sleep as long as you would like through the night. You gained a good deal of weight, so she said it wasn't necessary to wake you anymore to nurse. Thank goodness because you have been a show off in the sleep department.  We put you down in your bassinet around 9 each night and you sleep for 6+ hours each night.  We usually do a feeding and diaper change around 3:30/4:00 a.m.  When we put you back down, you easily put yourself back to sleep.  You don't need any coddling, rocking, patting, etc.  We just simply lay you back down and you fall back to sleep without putting up a fuss. You usually sleep until 7:00 a.m. and find yourself hungry again.  
-You were 11 pounds, 13.5 ounces and 23 1/4 inches long at your 1 month doctor's appointment. 
-Mommy caught one of your first smiles on video. You flashed it at mommy when we were laying in bed on the day you turned 1 month old. 
-You spent your first night away from home.  We stayed at Nonee and Papou's for the weekend while out there for Don and Mary's wedding.  You were such a precious angel at the wedding.  I had so much fun dancing with you.  

 Napping at Nonee's 

Still napping 

- You downed your first bottle! Mommy went to visit cousin Nicole and Daddy and your brother gave you your first bottle.  Daddy sent me a picture while I was gone and I was so proud of you.  

Things You Like Right Now:
- Sleep! You have a few awake sessions throughout the day, but they don't usually last that long.  I keep saying to myself, "I don't remember Ari sleeping this much."  I find it challenging to get some pictures of you awake.  

-You love coming into the bathroom when mommy or daddy take a shower.  We put you in your bouncer and you enjoy the sound of the fan and shower running.  You tend to stay awake during the shower and look around.  You especially like looking at the door, which mommy teases you about.  
-You also like the sound of the vacuum.  If you're fussing and mommy is vacuuming, you instantly stop fussing and just look around contently.  
- You still love to be swaddled.  The second daddy swaddles you at night, you just seem so satisfied.  You know it's time for bed.  
-You like taking a bath, as long as everything is perfect.  The water has to be just right and the bathroom needs to be overly toasty.  We usually crank up the heat to 75 for a half an hour before starting your bath with the bathroom door closed, so it gets nice and warm in there for you.  If you get chilled at all, it's over and you get upset.  But as long as everything is just right, you are as happy as can be.  

First bath


 Love your robe

Your current dislikes:
-Blocked tear duct! Your left eye is getting worse.  It drains continuously throughout the day and even seals shut throughout the night.  You aren't overly pleased with mommy wiping it with a washcloth throughout the day.  
- Your first cold.  I think you caught this from your dear brother who brought it home from daycare.  You have a runny nose.  
-Milk coming out of your nose! Yes, sometimes you burp and milk squirts out of your nose.  
- Heat's hit us again.  You get overheated very quickly in your bunting. It's difficult to regulate your temperature in that thing, but it's been so cold outside ...we don't have a choice.  We just try to open it up a bit once in the car and get you out of it as soon as we can.  

Your Dad:
-After we get Ari to bed, Mommy cuddles up on the couch and falls asleep too.  This is usually around 7:00 p.m.  This is the time Daddy gets you all to himself.  You snuggle with your dad, while Daddy enjoys a huge glass of pink lemonade (or cranberry juice) and watches some tv.  Sometimes you fuss a little bit during this time, but you are easily soothed...usually a change in position or view does the trick.  
- Daddy gets up with you in the middle of the night when you wake up around 3:30/4:00.  He changes your diaper and gets you all swaddled up again before nursing.  
- Daddy really enjoyed grocery shopping with you.  You cuddled up on his chest..and slept...almost the entire time.  

Whole Foods shopping trip

Your first bottle

-You received your first Valentine's rose from Daddy.  This was so special to me as I've been receiving them since we got engaged on Valentine's Day 10 years ago.  Now Daddy has two special girls in his life. 

Sleeping with your rose

Your Brother:
-Gosh, Ari sure has a lot of love for you already! He must give you 20 kisses a day.  He also likes to help mommy burp you by patting your back lightly.  If he sees a blanket anywhere in the room, he will shake it out and literally throw it on you.  He wants you to be nice and warm, taken care of.  When I change your diaper, he asks to come up and sit on the changing table.  He sits next to you and watches me change your diaper.  He also likes to give you high fives and fist pumps. We are always reminding him to be gentle...he's working on that! :)  Ari just finished his last week of daycare and now he is home everyday with you. 

 He wanted you to sit with him

 Valentine's Day

Playing outside

Cuddling with Ari before bed

Your Mom:
-I can't get over how perfect you are! I find myself just hugging you so tight.  I am still in shock that I have a little girl, a daughter.  God sure saved the best for me, when he sent me you.  
-We did a lot of cuddling and snuggling the past couple weeks.  I knew Ari was finishing up daycare and I would be busier with him being home to tend to, so I made sure to snuggle with you every second I could.  
-One of my most special motherhood moments ever was dancing with you at the wedding we went to.  I had always dreamed of having a child to dance with at a wedding.  Dancing with you was surreal - I had to keep asking myself if it was really happening.  It's a moment we shared that I will never forget.  

At the wedding 

 Monday morning snuggles

 Happy as can be

Helping mommy clean

I'm so excited for what this next month will bring.  It's my last full month of maternity leave.  I plan to soak up every single second. 


Your Mommy